Friday, 30 September 2016
They say you can smell it, the reek of corruption. The guilty parties are presumed to wallow in the stench of it and it is generally accepted as a truism that power causes it. Power over resources, power over things and most especially power over people. Who judges the judges? Who polices the police? But it starts way lower than these lofty heights; corruption, like charity, begins at home. And where corruption goes, hypocrisy usually follows.
Sam Allardyce was swiftly removed from the England manager’s job because of the sensitivity of the Football Association in the wake of the Sep Blatter affair and others and now more dodgy dealings are coming out into the open; it turns out the face of the beautiful game is scarred with ugly backhandery where everybody has his paws in everybody else’s pocket. Nobody is hugely surprised though, the general public have got used to being the mugs who ultimately pay for it all.
Sport and politics may be mired in corruption, whatever the colour of the supporters scarves, but we are hardly free from it ourselves: Getting into a club because your mate is on the door and lets you queue-jump. Blagging a big game ticket via the corporate hospitality allocation. Hot-housing your child to pass an entrance exam simply because you can. Using power to obtain sexual favours; using sexual favours to obtain access to power. Generally speaking, we accept that it happens as long as it is behind closed doors, but as soon as sleaze is exposed we have to feign outrage and cast the first stone.
Public funds, political donations, charity, planning applications, building contracts; all come in for intense scrutiny at some time and all are under permanent suspicion in this paranoid world. Possibly none are so discredited than the uses to which the foreign aid budget is diverted, but foreign aid itself is a form of corruption; greasing the wheels of commerce in the world’s far flung places, to which end I am reminded of the Development Minister of a central African country, newly independent who visited London a few years ago.
At the invitation of UK’s department for trade and development and to gain access to some funding the minister was having dinner with the British secretary. He was mightily impressed by the lavish hospitality and not a little surprised when his host invited him to a private dinner party at one of the most prestigious new addresses in the capital. Apartments in the gleaming landmark tower block cost tens of millions and the African minister asked of his host “How can you afford all this on a public servant’s salary?”
The secretary took him to the picture window and pointed to the Millennium Bridge. “See that? That bridge could not have been built without the direct involvement of my department at the time.” The African minister was duly impressed, but the suave Englishman hadn’t finished. He put a finger to his nose, winked and whispered conspiratorially, “Ten percent”
Two years later a British delegation were visiting the African country to see for themselves how British largess had enriched the lives of its citizens. They were greeted at the airport by a fleet of limousines and sped past crowds of cheering children waving national flags to a lavish reception at a gleaming, gilded palace. The UK Secretary of State was open-mouthed at the grandeur and sought out the African development minister. “I thought you were a poor country” he asked “how can you afford all this?”
The minister laughed and escorted his guest to a window. Beyond, a wide river meandered lazily. “See that bridge?” the minister said. The British official stared. He looked to the left and to the right and could see no sign. He looked again, then turned back to his host. “No,” he said, “I can’t”. The minister laughed, a huge rumble of mirth from deep in his belly. He patted his pocket and declared “One hundred percent.”
Wednesday, 28 September 2016
I didn’t stay up to watch the great debate because A) It isn’t really all that important, B) It probably won’t matter very much in the long run, and C) Are you mental? It was Trump and Clinton, for heaven’s sake. What was I going to learn by listening to a pair of geriatric mental defectives going at it over a lectern? As it happens I did wake a couple of times and heard bits of it on the always-on (don’t ask) radio that lives in the bedroom. The early polls are right. Insofar as it means anything at all, Hillary ‘won’.
But it was far from being a presidential debate. Let’s face it, the USA is screwed in leadership terms, whichever one it ends up with. But that need not be such a problem. After all, Belgium did without an entire government for 20 months and nobody really noticed because governments are often more about setting tone, rather than doing any hard governing. And as far as I can make out, Italy hasn’t had anything resembling stable government since, well, since Mussolini. So long as the Chianti keeps flowing, it seems, it’s all good.
Let’s face it, much as I would laugh and laugh and laugh should Donald Trump take up residency in the White House, a part of me would feel sorry for the USA. I don’t think Trump would be the new Reagan, I think Trump is – and you do too, if you’ll admit it – a vainglorious, bombastic bag of hot air with a hair trigger and an eloquence that would make Wayne Rooney look like a world class orator. His performance the other night, although many are wishfully claiming otherwise, was clumsy, unprepared, and occasionally petulant. He sounded like a playground bully, bested by words, firing back “Yeah? Yeah? Well... your momma!”
As for Hillary, where does one start? She is as dull as dull gets and as much a part of the rancid establishment as the incumbent she hopes to succeed. The missus likes Obama, says he’s got a personality and it’s true, he does seem like a good man at heart and probably great fun at dinner. But he has done much to lead America down the slippery slope of decline that socialism inevitably brings and like our own soft-left recent governments has let down swathes of exactly the kind of people who made the USA great. Hillary represents more of the same. Plus, you know, Bill...
Top trolling, USA. Well played...
America is due a republican in the top job, as the UK is due a new Maggie. May and Trump could do business together and who knows, she might distract him while the US government gets on with running things behind his back. He’s no smooth operator and he will be way more of a laughing stock than Dubbya ever was – George Bush looks pretty good now, doesn’t he folks? Hell, he may last no more than a few months before it all goes tits up for him. But face it you have to root for him because the alternative is Hillary fucking Clinton.
Tuesday, 27 September 2016
Floppity Bunny frolicked in the sweet green grass outside the burrow as he waited for his bestest ever friend to walk with him to work at the Happy Valley Fun Factory. His little pink nose twitched with delight as he sniffed the air. Oh what a joyful day they would have, doing a job they loved and bringing happiness to the whole world. “Hey Flops!” shouted Foxy Woxy as he bounded along the woodland path to the sunlit glade where Floppity lived. The two friends linked arms and skipped off to work. Mrs Bunny waved them off and grinned with pleasure at the anticipation of a day of good old spring cleaning... and gin.
At Uncle Jeremy’s ecstasy emporium work was its own reward, so much so that even just thinking about it was just heaven. Foxy and Floppity were joined by Fiona Ferret and Malcom Mole and the four of them beamed from ear to ear as they imagined all the fun they would be making today. Ordinarily they would put in a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay but when they arrived at the factory gates they found Mr Brock the Badger, the works manager, drawing a heavy chain through the railings and securing it with an enormous padlock.
“Why, what’s the matter?” asked Malcolm “Is it a holiday?” The friends clapped with glee but the normally smiley Mr Brock shook his head. “Not today, my old friends, not today.” He sighed, took out a marvellously spotted handkerchief and wiped a slick of sweat from his brow. “It’s bad news, I’m afraid.” He went on to explain how the factory would have to close because nobody could afford to pay for the jollity they manufactured. “We’re getting all our joy from the Far East now” he said “they make it so much more cheaply than we can.”
The friends were stunned and thought it first it must be a joke, a mischievous prank that Mr Brock was playing. After all, the whole of Happy Valley relied on the factory for their livelihood. But when he put on his hat and set off down the road with a heavy and troubled gait they realised he was serious. “But how?” they asked and “But why?” Mr Brock sighed and sat himself down on a convenient tussock. The friends gathered round as he told them how this sorry state of affairs had come about.
In the bad old days, under the Tories, he elucidated, there wasn’t much happiness about, so Comrade Corbyn and Wrong McDonnell decided that something must be done. They borrowed lots and lots of money and set out to guarantee happiness for all, to which end they had bought some magic beans from a tinker and determined that Britain would become a world leader in manufacturing happiness from nothing. Jobs for all, they said, and well-paying jobs at that. But it turned out that the British weren’t very good at making happiness and their brand of orderly mirth was an esoteric offering and far too pricey to sell abroad.
So we made happiness for the domestic market, he told them, which only the rich people could afford and as sales dwindled the prices went up and we had to keep paying our workers more and more to keep everybody else supplied with cheap imported happiness. The new party, renamed Fluffy Old New Labour, kept pouring in the borrowed money until one day it all ran out. And that day was today. Mr Brock stood up, replaced his hat and strolled off leaving the friends open-mouthed.
Labour Party Conference 2016
It was getting cold now and dark clouds had hidden the sun. They pulled their thin coats around them and for the first time saw how flimsy and insignificant their lives would be without work. As they trudged back toward the glade, Malcolm and Fiona bid them farewell and promised to stay in touch. Floppity looked up at his much larger friend and asked, forlornly, “But what will we eat?” The fox put his arm around the rabbit and grinned a toothy grin. He said, “I’ll think of something.”
Monday, 26 September 2016
“Be like still water, Grasshopper. Use your enemy’s strength against him.” Master Po’s advice to the young Kwai Chang Caine is a central principle of various martial arts and one that has been heeded and employed by many people and groups over the years. For some time now alien cultures have been using the west’s liberal society to invade it by making appeals to a generosity of spirit often lacking in their countries of origin. From where most of us are watching it looks like nothing so much as taking the piss.
Wage violent jihad from within using the enemy’s generous welfare system. Avoid deportation by pleading a right to family life. And now, in a move which should have British lawyers hang their heads in eternal shame, use state legal aid to assist the prosecution of soldiers who have to bankrupt themselves to pay for their own defence. These irresponsible legal actions assume that the complainants were all innocents, going about their lawful and peaceful business and not the active bomb-makers and participants in armed insurrection most of them actually were.
The developed world is in deep trouble right now and it is a trouble largely of its own making. As wealth has been accumulated and public facilities built up our societies have become more soft-liberal and self-harming by assuming the mantle of charity central for all the world’s poorest. When the displaced indigenous peoples complain they are berated for being racists, believing the charge they have backed down and allowed their governments to hasten the rot by promulgating the myth that immigration is, of itself, good.
In the face of the bold revolt of Brexit it has been claimed that there is an upsurge in our despicable racism. The same accusation will be used to facilitate the importation of yet more who have designs on milking our system while not contributing to it. The police are unable to counter violent demonstrations of force when they involve ‘people of colour’ for that would be racist. How soon before we see French-style running battles in the streets? When it comes to job creation the state-sponsored hate crime industry is booming. This is not a society in control.
There are none so blind as those who will not see and this Game of Thrones thing that the press and the establishment think they run? Do they imagine that soundbites and accolades and obfuscations and evasions will ward off the threats by attacking or covering over the symptoms instead of tackling the cause? HS2, Boris Johnson, the ‘genius tactician’ George Osborne and his ‘northern powerhouse’, the third runway... Diane Abbott. Are these characters and projects confected in the hope that they will distract our attention from the real issues which face us? Because it’s not working.
Where there's a fire there's a fiddling politician...
Why do politicians refuse to acknowledge what plebs like me can see a mile away? Or are they like hipsters in their little hipster bubble, imagining they are cool and trendy and that the mocking laughter they hear is actually a form of praise? I heard Labour MP Angela Rayner on LBC talking about the evils of ‘Tory austerity’ and ‘taking the fight’ to the Tories and ‘preserving the fabric of British society’ which, she claimed, the Tories were destroying. She sounded like she believed every earnest word. If the Labour party ever had a strength it was in convincing large numbers of sheeple of this narrative. Master Po would have been proud of Kwai Chang Corbyn.
Friday, 23 September 2016
Well, Aleppo has experienced its heaviest bombing for a long time. The Russians are coming. Some aid is getting through, while other such convoys are being shelled and all hell is breaking loose. Fortunately, the BBC is too preoccupied with losing Bake-Off to worry about all that. Meanwhile, here at home, despite the results being known some months ago - such is their electoral integrity- the Labour Party will tomorrow announce their elected leader... again. Will it be a throwback to failed far-left socialism, the magic money tree and squeezing the rich... or will it be the other one?
Who cares? The rest of the world is still banging on about Brangelina and their kids of many colours – Tim Rice already has the lyrics sorted out and rumours are rife that Andrew Lloyd-Webber fancies a go at another West End hit. The papers are full of the usual health scare, health fad, health service soundbites, topped up with envy pieces about other people’s vast wealth... and horoscopes. Why even the Kardashians have been banished to the wings as a flurry of inconsequential gossip-fodder floats to the front pages. We really are an embarrassingly shallow species.
War, famine, disease, a migrant crisis that threatens to alter the whole world order, global warming, global cooling, running out of gas, too much gas, pollution, space invasion, earthquakes, hurricanes, floods and fires. The planet is beset by death and destruction all around, but we can put all that aside to catch up on the gossip and spend half our lives on social media sited dedicated to the worship of televisual crap: Give us this day our daily soaps.
But seriously, the Brad and Angelina thing reminded me of an acquaintance of mine, from way back, who married a local beauty known as Klondike Kate; a bigger gold-digger you’d be hard-pressed to find. Kate and Kev’s marriage was a thing of wonder for all around and as he’d come into a bit of money and made some good investments she saw it as her spousal duty to ease his burden and take the weight of responsibility off his shoulder by spending his fortune as fast as it grew.
Kev was a canny old cove, however and he managed to squirrel away some of it into various little rainy-day funds and a secret art collection he kept in the attic. A long-time fan of the Antiques Road Show, Kev had an eye for the sort of dusty Victorian watercolours which were occasionally revealed to be lost paintings of celebrity artists of the age and worth many tens of times their purchase price. He reckoned that when the gloss went out of their marriage he might have in his hoard enough portable value to start over when she had cleaned out his bank account and taken the house.
No need to adopt a cavalier attitude...
One day Kev’s lawyer called him and asked him to come into the office. “I have some bad news” he said. “Your wife has been rummaging around and she’s found a picture she reckons is worth a million pounds.” Kev blinked and thought for a moment. Damn, she’d found his stash. On the other hand, his little hobby would appear to have been a wise investment after all. “But surely” he replied “that’s good news?” The solicitor looked at Kev and shook his head. He said “It’s a picture of you and your secretary...”
Wednesday, 21 September 2016
When I was young, Britain was a multi-tiered society and despite the best efforts of Labour’s post-war flirtation with power the class system was alive and well, simply because the class system is what has defined the British for centuries. If you can’t be voted king you learn to stop day-dreaming about it; well, some do. But you can aspire to improve your stock by pairing well and investing in your brood. ‘A touch of class’ means exactly what it sounds like it means and you can’t elevate your status without any effort. John Prescott must have known he was lying when he said in 1997, “we are all middle class now”. But then again, it was John Prescott, so who knows what he was thinking?
New Labour traded freely on the equality myth and despite the clear evidence of our own eyes and all of human history, enough people bought into the lie and Britain and the British began to be slowly edged out and swept from the map. They came close, too – at what point does ‘increasing diversity’ morph into cynical and criminally insane population replacement? Perhaps we should ask Germany, or Sweden... or France?
On the drive into work yesterday the Today programme was featuring the tech sector in its non-stop ‘despite Brexit’ coverage. Lots of bright-eyed young entrepreneurs were lauding diversity to the heavens. London’s tech supremacy is what it is because of diversity, they all chorused. Diversity is the key. Diversity is intrinsically good. Everything is better with diversity. Sadiq Khan must be laughing up his sleeve at all these middle-class white Europeans flying his flag. Maybe, just maybe, success brings diversity and not the other way around? And has anybody asked the burka-blighted northern cities how much prosperity and success ‘diversity’ has brought them?
The European Union has done its best to bury pride and national identity in a sea of ‘vibrant’ multiculturalism. Given enough time those with the memories of our monocultural successes would have died out and the next generation or so would never be able to hark back to a time ‘before’. But the Brexit vote gives us the chance – the greatest ever chance – to find out whether we still have what it takes, or whether the contemptuous socialist experiment has already done its dark work. Nobody should forget Churchill’s words: “Socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.”
Tim Farron – Charlie Drake lookalike and temporary leader of the LimpDems still think we need more EU and is pursuing his twin fantasies of a second referendum and the Limpies ever again having a hand on the levers of power. In his conference speech he imagines his party can replace Labour as the party of opposition. I guess, insofar as they will never again have any influence whatsoever he is right, but actual opposition beyond a nominal and reedy back-of-the-stalls protest, no. They've only ever been the recipient of votes from people who feel they have a solemn duty to scrawl their cross, but have totally lost faith with the older parties.
Farron said he is worried by the prospect of a quarter century of Tory administration, but what is so wrong about having a period of stable government, especially when it so easily could be an actual, pragmatic and sensible British government and not some concoction of alien notions of impossible complexity? Twenty five years of fiscal responsibility and reward for endeavour, not just for existence, might just be exactly what we need. And it gives us time to grow a new generation who don’t expect everything to be handed to them on a plate.
Public Service Announcement
Know your place, you say? Are you seriously suggesting that we revert to a world where people are pigeonholed and taught to understand their position in the hierarchy? Actually, yes, I am; it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as the myths pretend. And if you can get past that folkloric socialist programming you might understand; some people actually should be kept in their place. The rest of us should be given back the dignity of aspiration through effort; not instant gratification in return for voting the right way, but a place to belong and a shot at improvement. If you don’t understand this there may be no hope for you. If you do understand it you’re probably nearing retirement.
Tuesday, 20 September 2016
Last Friday was assessment day, the day when my temporary charges are put through their paces and demonstrate what a pointless existence I lead. My job is made more dispiriting by the lack of consistency in the education and training leading up to this point, the candidates having arrived via a variety of routes involving different timescales and a different succession of tutorial influences. It never fails to disappoint when, instead of eager, bright-eyed enthusiasts I meet jaded, confused and occasionally, slightly angry individuals.
By the time I get to meet them they ought to be more of a team – and to be fair some groups very much are – making my job one of applying polish and finesse. Instead I sometimes feel I have to spend far too much time correcting and biting my tongue. As my tongue dislikes being bitten, this inevitably results in the deployment of good old-fashioned sarcasm which, while some may consider it the lowest form of wit, invariably results in hilarity... at least for me, which is the important bit.
The main thing I notice is a lack of an ability to learn, unless you count being led every step of the way as learning. Where is the desire, the hunger, the willingness to go beyond ‘being taught’? Is this the product of our school system today, or has it always been like this? The notion of learning principles and then adapting those principles to practical circumstances is an alien concept to some, who want to reduce everything to a lengthy set of ‘how-to’ instructions, rather than hold a much simpler methodology in memory.
Imagine a recipe which, instead of instructing: “Cream the butter and the sugar together until pale, beat in the eggs, then fold in the flour...” went more like this. “Get the butter from the top left hand shelf of the fridge and put it on the counter. Then wait for it to warm up. Twenty minutes should be enough. Now get a bowl. You need one that holds at least two litres; it should have the volume printed on the bottom. Put it next to the butter with the open side upwards – if you are right-handed, have the bowl on the left of where the butter is waiting, or, if you are left-handed put the bowl to the right of the butter. Now unwrap the butter by unfolding the wrapping paper, one flap at a time and put half of it in the bowl. Not the wrapper, the butter. Use a knife to cut it in half. Consult this diagram if you are not sure what ‘half’ means...”
You get the picture... or do you need a diagram? For far too long the UK has been pursuing a child-centred education when what we need is a work-centred education. Even just a turning-out-useful-people-centred education system would be a step in the right direction. People say the idea of selection and discipline is turning the clock back but at least the kids half a century ago actually learned things, real things, things they remember to this day. When – as I did on Friday – you see a twenty-something using the calculator on his phone to work out an approximate value for (0.42 + 0.44) ÷ 4 you can’t help but feel that sparing the rod did indeed spoil the child.
Perfect, little, square, socialist sausages...
But help is at hand, in the guise of Labour’s latest back-to-the-future (if you’re in 1923) initiative. Momentum want to set up a ‘children’s wing’ so that they can
infiltrate the minds educate infants in how the evil
capitalists want to eat them all world of politics works by “increasing
children’s involvement in Momentum and the labour movement by promoting
political activity that is fun, engaging and child-friendly”. Not brainwashing
at all. On the good side, I’m guessing, I soon won’t
have to worry about my candidates needing a calculator for simple sums... they
won’t even know how to use a calculator.
Friday, 16 September 2016
Multi-tasking? Some days it is all I can do to watch the telly AND listen to it; I tend to drift off. As the old saw goes “Sometime, oi sits an’ oi thinks. Sometimes, oi jes’ sits...” And when it comes to driving, it’s a hard enough thing to do properly anyway, without added distractions such as scenery, passengers, other cars and the radio. The radio, you say, surely that’s not much of a distraction but, trust me, it’s tricky. I have often had to forego the details of a piece of radio drama, or a searing political analysis in order to concentrate on negotiating the new road layout around roadworks, or even to just creep forward, three yards at a time, in the regular snarl-ups that constitute motorway travel in Britain today.
When Britain’s first motorway, which later became the M6, opened in 1958 (as old as me and just as slow) people travelled out from Preston to wait on bridges and wave at the cars below. Such was the novelty. Today, people travel miles to avoid the clogged arteries of the wheezy old transport network. It’s a tedious drag, fraught with peril as lane-hoppers, tail-gaters and a mad procession of vehicular morons try to kill you as you’re trying to concentrate on the weather forecast and it’s not often I agree with the Daily Mirror but we are in the midst of a new epidemic of stupidity and selfishness and downright criminal negligence.
What is so novel about mobile communications that dribbling morons will queue for days to own a device that ultimately appears to own them? Some people are so attached to their electronic owner I suspect they rely on it to tell them when to breathe in and out. And even the sanest can find it next to impossible not to check their screen every few minutes. So it’s little wonder that there is a rising toll of death due to telephone on Britain’s roads. They are talking about bigger fines, but I’d suggest an on-the-spot day in a cell and your car impounded for a week... along with your phone.
The roads were dangerous enough with just British morons on them but down here in the southeast you are just as likely to be taken out by a Latvian as by a home-grown lunatic. You have to wonder whether the standard of their driving test is the equivalent of ours, not that the acquisition of a full licence necessarily says anything about competence, but we’ve all seen those Russian dashcam videos. Maybe everybody should follow the good example of a young Pole, Janusz, who recently applied for a UK driving licence.
As a pre-requisite he had to undertake a medical examination, including an eye test. In the consulting room the doctor dimmed the lights and on the opposite wall illuminated the eye test chart. “Read the top line for me, please.” Janusz was instructed, which he duly did with ease. Then with alternate eyes covered he was asked to read lower and smaller-font lines until the doc was satisfied. Finally, the doctor gave him a card with the tiny letters: 'C Z W I X N O S T A C Z.' “Can you read this?” he was asked. Janusz grinned and replied “Read it? He’s a friend of mine!”
Thursday, 15 September 2016
During the course of the last couple of days I have heard or read reports of some person or other, in respect of a healthy exchange of views, of ‘ripping them apart’ or, of ‘tearing them a new arsehole’. Invariably, when you click on the link and watch the events themselves – Prime Minister’s Questions, for instance – you wonder if you are actually watching the same thing as the poster of the link thought they saw. Did Jeremy Corbyn really ‘wipe the floor’ with Theresa May, or did he (and she, to some extent) simple slug out their time repeating the same old mantras, waiting for the end-of-round bell?
Every day on Twitter thousands of people claim to have won arguments on totally spurious grounds; ‘I win because you called me a bad name’ or, ‘No reply? That means I win!’ or, ‘I see you have your troll army wading in... you lose’ or, and this is always the best by far, by blocking anybody who disagrees, as if putting your fingers in your ears and singing “La-la-la-laaaah!” is the ultimate Socratic clincher. Incidentally, I keep a gallery of screenshots of those who block me as a sort of trophy wall. Today’s picture is made from some of those images... just because it amuses me.
Anyway, the principle of hearing in an argument only those aspects with which you agree is known as confirmation bias. It’s bad in science and it’s bad in society but unfortunately it is a built in ‘feature’ of humanity. It’s where we get political tribalism from and why morons call for Tony Blair to be dubbed a war criminal and for Iain Duncan Smith to be tried for murder. It’s why you keep the circle of acquaintances that you do and why it is sometimes so difficult to countenance the company of those with opposing views.
It’s almost certainly why I find lefties weedy and whiny and utterly incapable of understanding the true nature of humankind. Humans are clever(ish) opportunist monkeys with a central drive of self-preservation and greed. This incisive and accurate analysis is naturally why some lefties think of me as an unreconstructed Nazi who cannot be salvaged and therefore must be disposed of. I expect they would have me gassed if they could.
Every now and then, however, somebody surprises me and I stumble across a concord with another which goes beyond politics and life-view and in whose company entirely opposing dispositions go almost without comment. But such encounters are rare; we all tend to drift along on our own little raft of preconceptions and sooner or later I find the sanctimony of the worshippers at the holy church of the NHS gets too mawkish to bear.
Anyway, I watched yesterday’s PMQs and it followed the same old script. JC managed to get in an email from an admirer and repeatedly bleated on about ‘segregation at eleven years old’ as if the proposal was to separate kids into barbed wire enclosed work camps (like they did when he was at grammar school!) and the PM reiterated the government intention to provide good school places for all. But if you think Jeremy Corbyn ‘wiped the floor’ with Theresa May yesterday, it just proves you are a dangerous, untrustworthy, gullible, communist fool!
PS: If you are a dangerous, untrustworthy, gullible, communist fool you may want to avail yourself of a dictionary and look up ‘irony’, ‘satire’ and ‘block’.
Wednesday, 14 September 2016
What caught my eye yesterday was the you-couldn’t-make-it-up story about one Louise Raw who was angered by a pie. Yep, a pie. It seems pie are no longer just squared, they are also racist. Think about this for a moment; racist pie. What next, misogynist mousse, sexist soufflé? It can surely only be a matter of hours before it is all blamed on Brexit and the referendum results overturned, the Gregorian calendar returned to Julian and all the brown people relocated in their mud huts. Then and only then will the outrage brigade be satisfied. What am I saying; they will never be satisfied.
It’s only the frivolity of this idiotic offence-seeking that has taken the edge off the worst thing to happen to Britain in a generation. Yes, Bake Off is fucking off to Channel 4, minus its most important ingredients – Mel & Sue. Okay, I admit I’ve never watched it but ‘er indoors is actually incapable of functioning without it, as are millions of others. It can only be a matter of time before reports of various fragile conditions being triggered begin to overwhelm the emergency services. “Hello, ma’am, police here. What seems to be the problem? Not rising, you say? We’ll despatch an armed biscotti unit immediately.”
I’ve almost finished reading Bill Bryson’s The Road to Little Dribbling, his affectionate follow up to Notes From a Small Island and even Bill, while still clearly in love with the dear old thing, knows that she’s lost the plot. The mostly calm, understated, stoic and tolerant land of just forty years ago has become a rabid, frothing extremist; a placard-wielding, social justice tribal warrior with the intellect of a slug, the energy of a slug and the charisma of... you get the picture. Vibrancy is one of those attractively-sounding attributes that turns out to just means noise. See also, multiculturalism
We British used to be fascinatingly dull on the surface with all the fervour buttoned up and hidden away; maybe this is how we were able to sneak up on history and ambush it so often. As small boys we were being trained for empire and those woggles, toggles and tabs in our Baden Powell socks hid a determination to succeed. Hell, we even openly carried knives, without any public outrage, so that come what may we were always prepared. No stick left un-whittled. But put all that enthusiasm on the surface and we’re no better than Johnny Foreigner, with all their public displays of emotion.
Remember, Remember Empire Day, the 24th of May
And today they are sticking the knife in David Cameron, a perfectly honourable man with honest intentions and a sense of humour, to boot. What happened to quietly and methodically eradicating all traces of your predecessor without drawing too much attention to it all? Nah, you can stuff your progress and your vibrancy where the sun never sets. Let’s resurrect Empire Day... because it is something to be proud of. Slice of pie, anybody?
Tuesday, 13 September 2016
When I was growing up it was all about Africa. Every other Blue Peter appeal to our generous, privileged, juvenile, western sensibilities was about a famine in some god-forsaken semi-desert hellhole. Pictures of the bloated bellies of malnourished infants from Biafra then Sahel then Ethiopia were broadcast to play on heartstrings, with the intention of capturing sympathy and pocket money. Parents berated English kids for not eating their greens with the oft-repeated “starving children in Africa would be glad of that broccoli...” I dare say it still happens today.
But sod that, I thought; I might have collected thousands of milk bottle tops to try and buy a guide dog for the blind, or recycled newspapers for some other domestic fund-raiser, but the more I heard about and saw of the situation in Africa, the less I really cared. As Gilbert O’Sullivan sang in 1971 “When I'm drinking my Bonaparte Shandy, eating more than enough apple pies, will I glance at my screen and see real human beings starve to death right in front of my eyes?” Yes, I thought, I very well may. But I’d have had to catch the Six o’clock News and not, like now, have it piped into my head, unbidden, via every conceivable medium, every minute of every day.
I may have been in danger of being converted, but I listened to what I was being told and learned that starving women can’t conceive... and therein lay their salvation. So, what did the do-goody-good west do? We prolonged their misery by feeding them, letting them carry on breeding and increasing their numbers so that the next famine affected far more. And by the time you’ve lived, vicariously, through three or four famines they cease to have any fascination except for the uneasy feeling that it might have been better to have let nature take its course first time round.
I’m pretty sure I’d got to this stage by the time I was around fifteen, at which point playing drums in a rock band took up all my emotional commitment. My pragmatism in deciding to fix my life before meddling in that of others only continued to harden. But here we are, knocking on for half a century later and what has changed? The same old deluded fools in the west, salving their consciences by interfering in other people’s problems, making them worse and then handing down the messy consequences to the next generation for them to deal with.
Back when I was a kid we sent money and maybe some volunteers, but it eventually turned out that the real issues were with them and their environment, their cultures, the way they dealt with their own destinies. It didn’t work. So now the ‘solution’ is to import them, their cultures and the way they deal with things into the west so that, what? So we can hope to dilute their destructive tendencies? Swamp their stupid genes with our gullible ones? From whatever honourable source the motives spring, this river is only ever going to flow in one inevitable direction; downhill. We are building our future society on the shifting sands of a cultural flood plain.
Please give generously - Alms for Islington
One day in the future will Black Blue Peter try and dip into the deep pockets of affluent African children to try and save a dying Europe from famine, war and pestilence? Will a resurgent dark continent once again become the cradle of civilisation and the salvation of the world? I don’t see it somehow, do you?
Monday, 12 September 2016
Meritocracy? You can almost hear the spitting from here. Those dirty, nasty Tories want a country where working harder, applying yourself and gaining qualification and expertise gets you more than sitting on your fat, entitled, uneducated arse and squeezing out dole-spawn as fast as you can fill in the benefit forms. How awful to suggest a society where your success depends on your efforts rather than lucking out on the lottery. Score cards, not scratch cards; elitist bastards! I think this was the gist of Labour’s education secretary, Angela Rayner's response to Theresa May’s grammar school announcement.
The purpose of opposition is to oppose. But not to blindly gainsay every single thing the government does or wants to do, or to threaten to reverse any changes made in a never-ending circle of spite; tit-for-tat revenge legislation where the only losers are the losers... the same old losers. The legacy of past Labour policy is a culturally deprived and cast-aside underclass created as an unintended by-product of social legislation over the last century or so. Not an underclass of dirt-poor, malnourished urchins who struggle daily to survive, but an overstuffed rabble of idle malcontents who struggle each day to imbibe sufficient intoxicants to maintain their torpor.
Oh sure they learn the mantras “I wanna gerra job but there’s nowt out there.” and “I gave ‘undred-an’-ten-per-cent but that’s not good enough for them an’ they sacked me and took on a Pole.” or “Fatcher ruined this country...” without qualification and as if events of 30 years ago give you a lifetime pass to feel aggrieved. Instead of pulling oneself up by one’s bootstraps a simmering rage of righteous entitlement seems motivation enough... until the next case of Stella arrives and oblivion quells the rage for another day.
Maybe we should have the government oversee job selection processes and ensure that companies take on their fair share of the feeble, the dim and the downright slothful? How about making a percentage of places in medical school available to the educationally challenged; heaven forfend we only allow the gifted to become heart surgeons. The Paralympics is an excellent example of the equality agenda to us all. but wait, no it isn’t. These people are nothing other than elite athletes and do you know, the bastards practice all the time? These games will never truly represent equality until there are events which favour potato-shaped people fuelled by KFC, or skunk-addled skanks with the intellect of amoeba.
The biggest problem will be in persuading those labelled ‘disadvantaged’ that putting in a bit of effort will give them any more advantage than sitting around on their fat arses, waiting for the chip van. And it starts all the way back in childhood. Poor parenting limits the life chances of their offspring before they ever set foot in a school, but good schools, with the freedom to offer better to those who work for it can do a lot to counter the rot. We did well in the Olympics and are doing well in the Paralympics not because we supported the also-rans but because the funding went to the winners.
Symbols of evil, or something to celebrate?
Call them grammar schools, call them super-comprehensives, call them what you like, but instead of going into paroxysms of rage at the very thought of diverting funding from the squeaky wheel dullards and mounting demonstrations with poorly spelled placards (or the hilariously ironic #grammerschools hashtag) why not get on board with the idea? The idea is, of course, to rescue our dire education system from the murky lower rungs of the world ratings ladder. Face it; throwing money at under-achievers simply hasn’t worked. Is it so bad to want to nurture talent, or is your ideology so warped that you would condemn all to mediocrity rather than countenance the thought of anybody getting ahead? Just what is it that the left have against excellence?
Friday, 9 September 2016
There has been the usual chatter this week about education, grammar schools and school uniforms. Are we to take it that the diminutive oxygen thieves are back in their holding pens, giving much needed respite for their forlorn progenitors? The apparent progressive decline of British education seems to be beyond the powers of government to halt, which is at best disappointing. Human evolution happens over millennia so the kids of today should be no less capable of benefitting from a proper education than those of half a century ago.
Comprehensive schooling is a flim-flam, a con, a way of delivering poorer, flatter outcomes for ever greater costs. The people who make a living from propagating the rot are the very same non-experts decrying a return to what used to work. They are the sociologists and educational theorists, the meddlers and dropouts, seemingly determined to ruin it for future generations. What failures are they bitter about and why take it out on teachers and pupils?
I mean, I get the anti-grammar arguments – wealthier parents will buy into grammar catchments and employ tutors to cram for the entrance exams but that’s easily fixed, surely? Turn bog-standard comps into grammar-plus-comp combos and stream the bejaysus out of them. Provide a higher standard of academic education for those who warrant it, delivered by real teachers and get the statemented kids into intensive classes and relentlessly drill home the basics... under armed supervision if necessary.
Bring back practical subjects and introduce new ones, from working on the school allotment through woodwork and metalwork through to small-scale industrial fabrication techniques, computer-aided design and modelling and at all levels employ both carrots and sticks, literally if figuratively doesn’t hit the spot. Instead of trying to make educators into entertainers, attempting to hold their audience in a series of ten-minute stand-up sets, get the students engaged in actually doing something, for whole hours at a time. And whatever it takes, get the bright kids away from the thugs.
There is no real reason an inner city school couldn’t deliver outcomes as successful as parts of the private sector; it just needs an injection of enthusiasm, rigour and possibly a prison wing. After all, school should prepare pupils for their lives beyond. One failing school in London decided to turn itself around and brought back a more punitive regime which reaped enormous rewards in attainment. Your school days should be, they say, the happiest days of your life, although not every student was happy about it.
One little girl came home from school in tears and told her mother that she had been punished for something she hadn’t done. In former days a parent would quietly acquiesce to the wiser counsel of teachers but not in today’s combative climes. “Right,” she said “I’m going straight down there to have a word with your teacher” and began pulling on a coat. The child cowered a little; she had seen her mother’s fury at work before and dreaded the scene that might ensue. Fortunately, reason intervened and the mother asked “What, exactly, was it that you didn’t do?” Her daughter replied, “My homework.”
Thursday, 8 September 2016
Nobody knows what tomorrow will bring. This is as true for the length of time it will take you to drive in to work as it is for how you will fare in the National Lottery. If people knew which horse would win the race, or which shares would double in value next week then acting on that knowledge would almost certainly change the outcome; the odds on a certainty are no odds worth betting on. So it is disappointing but not unexpected that bitter remainers are still asking in that irritating, high-pitched whine “Well,what does Brexit look like?”
Maybe it is all deflection because, having said that Brexiteers would be cutting off their collective nose to spite their face and having threatened the direst of consequences, many economic forecasters – for which, read mountebank – have altered their outlooks in a more positive direction. Damn and blast, say the pro-EU brigade, we hoped that voting to leave would bring the country down and it hasn’t; we must now do our utmost to cause the collapse of the British economy or else we’ll look like idiots. I know, we’ll insist on knowing “What does Brexit look like? Eh? EH?”
I do love the way they scrunch up their little faces and stamp their feet and demand to know the unknowable future that, of course, nobody knows. Not the doomsayers, not the gleeful Union Flag-wavers, not the bookies and certainly not one single economist of any persuasion. But hey, if you want to feel good about your pain, my weepy little EU-philes, have a look at the Great Wall of Calais; that’s what it looks like. Happy now? Does that satisfy your absolute certainty that we are all racist, xenophobic, insular, inward-looking, nasty, Nazi, Little Englanders? Good.
Now the bad news? Something like this would have to have been erected, regardless. It has nothing to do with Brexit no matter how much you want it to. The only other option – the one that I guarantee a majority of British people would consent to in a heartbeat – is military action, up to and including fatal shooting. Why? Because Calais is a tiny fraction of what Merkel’smuslim invasion has in store. No wall will be big enough to contain the astoundingly ill-considered plan for the EU. Trust me, you will be glad of the English Channel when the time comes.
Calm down. While there is still a Europe to trade with we will trade. As for the incessant background drone about ‘trade deals’, such devices are merely ways for governments to interfere with commerce, which rarely improves matters. And when it comes to the dire predictions of idiots like this as to how long these imaginarily necessary deals will take it is irrelevant; trade will take place whether or not governments have haggled over their cut. All of which argument ignores the unassailable truth that the vote to leave was emotive, not pragmatic and no amount of economic horror fantasy will change that. Leave it; move on.
Illegal immigration - no dice!
And back to this 'terrible wall', as if building walls to keep people out was anything new. The ‘great wall’ is just another obstacle for migrants to climb as they roll the dice and make their way up the chequer board of civilisation. Britain is the winning square; the top of the game. Except what may now await them at Calais is the head of an enormous snake that slides them all the way back to Africa. It’s about time we started to win again.
Wednesday, 7 September 2016
Well, I have to say we’ve been having a simply torrid time just lately. Jocasta and I had been rummaging around in the offence drawer for something to be angry about on somebody else’s behalf and just when we thought we’d found something really rather special it turns out that some other white people ruined it for us. I mean, that’s despicable and entirely typical of the type of privileged white meddlers in business that is none of theirs. You see, Jocasta and I – Peregrine, by the way, charmed, I’m sure – are professionals and it is utterly sine qua non that these matter are left to people like ourselves who know how to handle them.
Now, it’s not that climate change isn’t racist, you understand, because it undeniably is, it’s just that those... people... those soi-disant white allies at the airport were being a little bit racist themselves. You see, in doing the bidding of the black lives matter chappies, they were guilty of cultural appropriation; they don’t realise just how insulting it must be for black people to use whites to do their bidding unpaid. It was positively ghastly; slavery is not satire, you know? And don’t take our word for it – just look what other black people think of them. And that pony tail? So nineties, pur-lease!
Now when J and I were doing our PhD – I say ours as we did it jointly – in ‘Intersectional Race and Gender Protocol Anomalies and their Impact on Oppositional Movements in the Societal Continuum of Class Struggle in the Twenty-First Century’, we learned to our cost not to help black folk. They are a proud and noble people but more trouble than they are worth; we say this because we care. Anyway, don’t get involved; they don’t like it and you may well end up getting yourself stabbed. It’s all in the dissertation.
Should you call us ‘doctor’, you ask? Well, perhaps not just yet, the old ‘dissie’ is with our supervisor; he told us it may take a while to make a decision.... although now you mention it, it has been since 2013. Anyway, the jolly old race game is old hat now; classic supply and demand. There’s been such an over-supply of nouveau racism now that everybody is doing it, it’s time to move on. So this morning, over our home-made quinoa, tempeh and sun-dried tomato breakfast bake, drizzled with liquid aminos and sprinkled with chia seeds (yum!) we hit on a simply super new crusade.
We hate it when rich people
culturally appropriate poor people's problems.
Every year, a disproportionate number of uneducated, poor people from under-privileged neighbourhoods are driven to drink through ignorance and easy access to benefits. They suffer a higher rate of premature death than even we highly educated vegans through cumulative liver damage. And being white, they often don’t get the help they need, on account of the sensitivity with which interfering with their culture is viewed in society... or the possibility of being knifed. So, we aim to tackle the matter at source; we are off to chain ourselves to the gates of the Guinness Brewery. You can support us and see our progress on the hashtag #BlackLiversMatter.
Tuesday, 6 September 2016
There’s a whole lot of disingenuity going on down Media Meadows at the moment. Behind the closed doors of cosy cul-de-sacs heartbroken Remainers are consoling each other and offering mutual support by coining delicious little ditties to spread dissent. Listen to the Today programme early in the morning on Radio 4 and you’ll hear such introductions as “despite Brexit” such-and-such an index is back to its pre-June level. Or trade is bouncing back after the “post-Brexit shock”. And just to be absolutely sure that the message gets through any such recoveries are presented as temporary: “we mustn’t read too much into what looks like good news” and “time will tell if this growth is sustainable”... and on it goes.
Of course, any dips in trade, currency values, prices, wages etc are largely as a result of business holding its breath and holding back decisions because of the hell-fury, painful-death scenarios woven by Project Fear in the run-up to the referendum. And any reversion to normality is portrayed as valiantly fighting back against the damage done by the unthinkably stupid will of ignorant, old, racist people who killed the United Kingdom. This is true because this shining example of the righteous young says so.
With the exception of the self-fulfilling prophecy of the “We’re going to crash! We’re going to crash! Oh god, we’re going to crash!” as the establishment let go of the controls and prayed in the aisles little of any consequence has yet to happen and independence offers all sorts of opportunities as yet unrealised. Had it not been for the vote, July would have been glossed over as a dip and the bounce greeted unequivocally good news. But of course that does nothing to scare the little people.
On PM they have a new regular segment called Brexit Street. Did they choose a middle of the road suburb with educated voices for and against? Did they pick an area with a positive vision for the future, now getting to grips despite originally being against? No, they chose Thornaby, a deprived, northern post-industrial town in Teesside where harsh-on-the-cultured-southern-ear northern accents assault the delicate Islingtonite sensibilities. Hearing those tones up close they would instinctively flinch and give up their iPhone. Further, the programme features almost exclusively those who play up to the ignorant, racist Neanderthal stereotype who voted against civilisation.
And then they press government and Theresa May in whose hands lie our fate: “But what does Brexit look like, eh?” they say, shoving the microphone aggressively into the faces of any pro-Brexit figures who dare to surface. “Where’s the £350million a week for the NHS, eh? Eh?” So yesterday’s apparent volte-face on the much-lauded ‘points based immigration system’ was greeted with derision and malicious glee by the Euro-rati. Another failed pledge, they say, ignoring the fact that the Leave campaign as not conducted by anyone single party with the power to unilaterally enact change. But let’s look at this one, burning issue.
Australia of course, imposes conditions and quotas on top of the points, so even if you stack up – age, health, qualifications, skill set, criminal record (lack of, ironically) etc – there is no guarantee of a place unless there is...an actual place and you behave yourself. But what Britain needs, apparently, is something very different, according to Mrs May; we can’t be using any off-the-shelf remedies.
Oh no, what Britain needs is an entirely different procedure, which assesses applicants against a number of criteria, say: age, health, qualifications, skill set, criminal record (lack of) etc. Complement that with further controls regarding eligibility to stay on and access to public services, benefits and so on and add, say, a cap on numbers and bingo, you have a brand new method, completely different from anything else in the world. A non-Australian-style, criteria-based pointless 'process'. Oh yes; we invented practically everything else, let's get started on a new design for the wheel...
Monday, 5 September 2016
It seemed to start in the Blair era, but it was prevalent long before then, that politics had to tell a simple story. And furthermore, in the interests of the now overused phrase ‘joined-up government’ everybody had to have a role in that story. In what came to be called ‘the narrative’ you were goodie or baddie, villain or fool and once cast you were destined to play your part until you were written out of the show. If you were lucky you got a nice, juicy departure and your name lived on, but more often than not you quietly exited, stage left and were never heard from again.
The script of the political soap opera is thinly drawn because the audience isn’t interested in layers, in depth, in subtle nuance of character. We like our players, pantomime-style, to be little more than two-dimensional; it’s much easier to understand them that way. While we may enjoy a taut, twisting plot in a ninety-minute movie, watching the good guy become the bad guy then switch back for the goodbye, such willing suspension of disbelief isn’t sustainable for long periods outside of cinema. On the outside we want the simplicity of knowing when to boo and when to clap.
Enter the junior doctors. Clearly the good guys; they bounded on stage accompanied by the theme music that said they’re on our side. Clever people, we thought, far too intelligent to be manipulated; they will only be striking because the government is cruel and stupid. Up went the cheers, discussions were held and an agreement entered into; spit, shake hands – don’t forget the anti-bacterial scrub – curtain. But wait, what’s this? They’re striking again? Oh no, we’re a simple audience and we thought we’d already seen this bit. Jeremy Hunt was the bad guy and we booed him off stage. Now we aren’t sure whose side to be on.
Doctors are supposed to be bastions of intelligence and thus, we would like to think, common sense. Everybody, left and right, should be on their side for they only speak truth, surely? But now we are watching an entirely different, yet still recognisable screenplay, the one where the oh-so-clever people are being manipulated by shadowy Marxist conspirators... or are we? In the absence of all the facts, we have to rely on the deeper narratives that have been embedded for years. Socialism good, Conservatism bad... or the other way around. It’s like watching a film where you suddenly realise you haven’t been paying close enough attention so now, whichever way it ends, you’re not going to be satisfied.
In the wider population people generally rub along and make do with what they’ve got. Their desire for colour – for most lives are insufferably drab – is fulfilled by fiction. It is little wonder then, that for most people political engagement is difficult. You have to concentrate, watch, listen and follow the arguments. But when your reward for doing all that is to realise that we are no further on and nobody is listening to you anyway, it is little wonder that most people switch off and watch Bake Off instead.
Things are actually going quite well right now. We have a new Prime Minister who seems to have the weight, the heft for the job. Unemployment is low, as are expectations, so there is little need for unrest. And yet unrest is what we’ve got. Andrew Marr’s newspaper round up yesterday seemed to be a concerted effort to find ways to attack Theresa May instead of the bastion of impartiality we have come to expect from the national broadcaster. (I jest) Why are so many people on the left so very pissed off when there is so little substance to their complaint?
It’s that bloody narrative again, isn’t it? Let’s see, despite little in the way of actual evidence their story tells of the systematic oppression of gays, disabled, trans, immigrants, fathers, mothers, students, nurses, doctors, etc, etc, etc. This is what oppositions do and the left are the eternal opposition in Britain. Sod working for the common good, instead they stir up malcontent; rejected again and again by the electorate and in the absence of any chance of gaining power the sole purpose of the political left seems to be to piss on everybody else’s chips. And in the end it’s an attractive narrative, to play the downtrodden underdog, so attractive that even supposedly intelligent people are drawn into it.
It’s hardly a plot for the future though is it? The left wing narrative plays to a sense of despair, something which all of us have experienced at some time. But it’s not enough to despair and then get over it, succeed and move on; the beast needs feeding and the fodder is any group whose situation can be portrayed as disadvantaged. It has long been said that the left practise the politics of envy; a green-eyed monster preying on the vulnerable. So, remind me, which is the nasty party now?
Sunday, 4 September 2016
The March for Europe was fundamentally dishonest as nobody has suggested that Britain should leave Europe in the first place. That might be a tad problematic anyway as we ‘left’ around nine thousand years ago and with climate bleaters warning of ever-rising sea levels it is unlikely we are going to re-dock any time soon. That small point made, back to the matter in hand. No matter what Izzard, Tatchell, Jones and their juvenile army of the easily-led tell you, Britain will continue to have engagements with the European continent as it has throughout recorded history. As neighbours though, not as cohabitants.
The only thing we are planning on leaving is a discredited and costly political union which has brought ruin on some countries and now threatens, through sheer impotence, to allow itself to be invaded and subjugated by the unstoppable force of islamic immigration. I say ‘unstoppable’ knowing full well that it could be stopped, but it won’t be; somewhere in that EU mind-set is a white-European-hating kernel of defeatism in the guise of ‘progress’.
Maybe someday, long in the future, humanity will be integrated in a global network of equality, where everybody loves everybody else, all our customs and habits are regularised and a benign system of governance works for everybody. When that day comes... what am I saying, that day will never come. Even within just the European continent the disparities between regions are enough to cause tensions, hell even within the British Isles we still live with the threat of a resurgent IRA. To think we could simply dissolve borders and all live happily ever after was a ludicrous and naïve dream.
If you want just one example of how human behaviour fails to meet the ideal that progressives seem to believe they can engineer, look no further than Keith Vaz. Dear Keith, ‘untouchable’ Vaz has rarely been out of the news and as a self-publicist he has managed to survive an astonishing number of scuffles. But as Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee he may soon come under the scrutiny of the Committee on Standards in Public Life (or as I just mistyped that ‘Pubic Lice’).
In1995 this committee established The Seven Principles of Public Life, also known as the "Nolan principles". Let’s see how jolly old Keith Vaz stacks up against these criteria for the behaviour of Holders of Public Office
- Selflessness – act solely in terms of the public interest.
- Integrity – not place themselves under [obligation] that might seek to influence them...
- Objectivity – In carrying out [business] holders should make choices on merit.
- Accountability – accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office.
- Openness – should be as open as possible about all the decisions and actions they take.
- Honesty – a duty to declare any private interests relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest.
- Leadership – promote and support these principles by leadership and example.
It’s a high bar and one you could say sorely tests the frailty of human nature, but surely our leaders are up to the challenge? Sadly, it appears not. Over and over again the pattern of behaviour for some people in high office is the same; power corrupts, but also gives the impression of invulnerability. If a public figure of such visibility and regular scrutiny as Keith Vazeline can so easily hide for so long, how likely is it that the unknown ‘leaders’ of the European Union are ordaining restraint for us that they are unable to commit to themselves.
Keith Vazeline... losing again.
One of the oddest things about the March for Europe bunch is that they would be the first to come to the defence of people like Vaz no doubt explaining his furtive behaviour as necessary given the amount of hate they see in society. Yet at the same time these are the usual suspects who protest about the globalisation of business and the secrecy of government and imagine a cabal of high-powered world leaders pulling all the strings. Why in the face of that they would vote for supranational governance is a mystery as deep as why a feminist would defend islam. But hey, if you want to align with Slippery Keith's stance on the EU please feel free to say so.
Friday, 2 September 2016
They won’t let it lie. Tomorrow is the Twat Parade; the Malcontents’ March for Europe. Arch idiot and old woman impersonator, Eddie Izzard, along with a company of hand-wringing useful idiots will attempt, by the power of looking childish, chanting and making whiny speeches, to turn the clock back. These Little Europeans want to return to the bad old days of Communist Russia, an imagined former golden time and are not afraid to resort to narrow-minded bigotry to get their way. They will call old, white, British people Nazis and wish them harm, in order to prove just how enlightened, caring, inclusive and non-racist they are.
Meanwhile, to add butt-hurt to their suffering, the pound has risen in value and manufacturing is booming, at least relatively, as it is shown that some 71% of economists got the Brexit effect forecast completely wrong. The rest merely got it mostly wrong because here’s the thing; when it comes to economics, nobody knows anything of the future. The alchemy of economic forecasting is a propaganda tool used to interpret the past in ways which justify current policies... and we’re getting wise to it.
And now the junior doctors are going on strike as well. I picture picket lines of small boys and girls wearing scrubs far too big for them and tripping up over their stethoscopes as they lisp about how everything is just not fair and stamp their tiny feet. But, for the general, tax-paying public – those who don’t worship daily at the altar of the NHS and unquestioningly believe every word the high priests utter – the doctors are starting to look more like the Remainers which most of them probably are; a deal is on the table, it’s not a bad one, suck it up.
One day, when there’s a morning-after pill to cure your liver following alcohol abuse and smoking no longer causes lung cancer or gene therapy is daily finding cheap remedies for every defect, junior doctors may look back on this contract as their own golden days. For far too long doctors have held a certain power over us, with their high and mighty ‘I had to study for twenty-seven years before I turned thirty to get where I am today’ attitude, as if they held the power of life or death over us. If you think I’m being unfair then you haven’t had the relationship with the medical profession that I have.
For instance I went to the doctor only last week. He was new at the surgery so in an effort to judge his character I asked him if he had ever laughed at a patient. He seemed shocked and assured me that he certainly had not. I asked again; had he ever laughed directly in a patients face? He put on his most sincere expression and gravely reasserted that no such lack of professionalism had ever occurred. I have to say I was grudgingly convinced at which point I agreed to show him my problem and promptly dropped my trousers. The bastard just laughed and laughed and laughed.
Now, I haven’t got the biggest dick in the world, I’ll grant you that, but this doctor was in tears looking at it. He looked away and gritted his teeth but still he couldn’t stifle the laughter. Yes, it was only about the size of a triple-A battery but come on, you expect a certain decorum. I grabbed him by the shoulder, shook him and told him to pull himself together.
You seem to be a little dehydrated...
Eventually the convulsions eased and he put on his best straight face as he asked, between giggles, what the problem was. I waited until he had composed himself and adopted his best consulting expression. His shoulders still heaved a little, but I am a patient man, in more ways than one. Finally, he seemed to be receptive to a serious medical discussion. “Well, doctor,” I said, a little annoyed that it wasn’t obvious, “It’s swollen.”
Thursday, 1 September 2016
When, in 1998, I told a disbelieving Australian backpacker that the UK would not join the Euro he mocked. “What?” he said, “The single European currency that’s happening next year?” We were in the USA at the time and a small crowd of ‘Mercans gathered as we debated the point. Yep, I said and expounded my belief that while it might work for some unknown country called Europe, it would never be to British tastes. He argued that it would be just like the dollar in the fifty United States. I argued that Europe was a long, long way from being a single country with a single constitution, shared struggle, traditions and political values. He was young, so he didn’t really grasp why we couldn’t, you know, like, come together, dude.
So imagine my utter lack of sympathy for the plight of the Eurozone today... Now I’m not claiming seer-like powers of prophecy but I knew a bad idea when I saw it. I admit my aversion probably had more to do with being English – avowedly not European - than having any deep economic insight, but I felt that was enough and besides, my forecast proved to be the equal of - better than - any economist on earth. And so here we are today; me with a strengthened confidence in my original convictions, Europe, mostly fucked. I try not to laugh, but you know, up yours Delors and all that.
Another fabulous ideal of the EU was of course the free movement of people and some deaf, dumb and blind kids still fly the flag for the Schengen zone. Hey, I’m all for treaty partners having agreements which make border checks more perfunctory and allow employment wherever you may find it, but once again the disparity of the member states has created unnecessary turmoil. As I retweeted yesterday, courtesy of @OffencePolice, “If British businesses need foreign workers, they can make the case for visas. If the case is ‘We want to pay staff less’, they can piss off.”
The result has been a labour drain from poorer EU countries to richer ones, making it impossible for those poor states to retain talent and they now largely rely on the charity of the rich states whose taxpayers resent them for doing so. And of course, the formerly working poor of the rich states are being parked on benefits as business prefers to
utilise cheaper and more compliant/grateful employees. As for the absurd notion that legions of
low-paid, low socially-involved migrant workers will somehow do anything more
than fuel the inevitably catastrophic model of ever greater consumerism, long warned against by people
like Aldous Huxley, that dream, too is coming unstuck very rapidly indeed, isn’t
it, Mrs Merkel?
Of course, once into Europe – that great big soft touch with the flimsiest of borders between it and Africa – migrants from anywhere in the world can feast on the hard-won riches of the west without ever making any contribution other than by fouling the shallow end of the gene pool and causing mayhem. And then there’s that Calais thing. Anna Soubry may believe – as she stated yesterday - that we didn’t have a positive debate about immigration, but, given that a majority of her own constituents disagree, maybe they already had that debate and she just wasn’t listening.
It's a jungle out there...
And that, in a nutshell is it isn’t it? Politicians not listening. In a representative democracy we don’t want or need a referendum on every issue; we elect our representatives and then we expect them to actually represent us and not just assume that after the vote we will leave them to govern in a vacuum for five years. But since John Major we haven’t had representative government but assumptive government. Tim Farron can whinge all he wants about Brexit showing us up as fools but his party could be said to be the most representative of them all at the moment in that virtually nobody gives them the time of day. If he can figure out why that is - and that is a pretty long shot - he may be in with a chance of understanding why nobody gives a toss what he thinks.