Monday, 31 October 2016

Horror story

The time of evil approaches and as the clock ticks slowly, so slowly, towards midnight and the pendulum creaks ever lower, the body on the cold stone below groans in torment as he recalls the words of the ancient prophecy: “Darkness falls across the land. The midnight hour is close at hand. Creatures crawl in search of blood, to terrorise your neighbourhood. And whosoever shall be found without the soul for getting down, must stand and face the hounds of hell and rot inside a corpse's shell.” A thrill rushes through his body. He shivers and closes his eyes...

How had he got here, to the place of his transition to the other, ungodly world? And who would take his place on Earth; who would exchange the Jones boy’s unsullied spirit for an evil, old soul to stalk the night with malicious intent? From midnight until dawn he would suffer the twilight world of purgatory, undergoing the tortures of purification while the undead malevolence re-entered the corporeal world in his body to enact revenge on those who had condemned him to an eternity in hell.

Many years ago a bargain had been struck, a promise made, never believing he would have to pay the price. It had all happened in nineteen-sixties Oxford. A night of student high jinks and much drink had brought them all together to the séance. He recalled it as if a dream; the warped and condensed essence of a hidden memory, tantalising sequences juxtaposed with random irrelevances. But one thing was real; everybody around that board had gone on to reap great rewards from life; glittering children growing to equally scintillating adulthood.

The incantations had begun in a fit of giggles as a young female host tried to gather them around the Ouija board in the tiny bedsitting room. Another boy, Peter, a few years her junior was trying to intone the sacred words of the Necronomicon but he lost his way several times as he stifled jags of spasmic laughter. Owen himself was biting his fist in an effort to control his own sniggers. But, suddenly, the temperature dropped ten degrees and the lights went out. In the centre of the table a stub of a candle nobody remembered lighting sputtered and gave off a feeble yellow glow. Silence stood heavy over the assembly and the three, as if on command, took their seats.

The evening seemed to pass in seconds and afterwards none would ever speak again of what had happened there. But deals had been made, Owen remembered that much. Without any obvious talents they each went on to the success they had bought that night. Polly, craving recognition, became a famous Guardian columnist. Peter, who had always seen himself as better than the common herd was ennobled and entered the House of Lords as Baron Mandelson. And now Owen Jones, who had coveted and been granted eternal youth, was paying the toll.

Owen lay there, held immobile by an unseen force. The same stubby candle put out a feeble light but its smoke intensified and for a moment took the form of the foul creature from below and he was suddenly vouchsafed a glimpse of the demon he had pledged to trade places with, over half a century before. The eyes! Those dreadful windows into the twisted soul of one consigned to burn in the fires of hell; a tortured soul who would not accept death. Owen screamed as he beheld the face of evil itself...

Blair. Back from the dead to kill Brexit...
Heeeeeere's Tony!

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Five facts you never knew about pumpkins

The humble pumpkin’s Latin name, Cucurbita pepo means ‘Squash the Devil’, which incantation is still used in the climactic dance display that closes the Corsican Pumpkin Festival. A cowering figure in red robes plays the Prince of Darkness who is finally flattened by a giant pumpkin, especially cultivated and blessed for the occasion. In recent years, Lucifers – drawn by lots from a list of nervous public officials – have suffered various broken bones and on one occasion a complete nervous breakdown.

Vegans can’t eat commercially grown pumpkins. Although from a vine whose family includes courgettes, marrows, gourds and various squashes the International Vegan Council have declared the pumpkin verboten on the grounds that pumpkin growers traditionally use manure which has passed though the gut of animals. Other foods banned by vegans include eggplant, durian fruit, penguin biscuits, lion bars, sea cucumber and leather fruit.

Some cultures use the pumpkin in traditional medicine, the various parts having different medicinal applications. The ground-up seeds contain high levels of protein which are used to nurture cells in stem cell research in the high Andes Mountains. In Liberia, small pumpkins grown in laboratory conditions are used as temporary replacements in kidney transplant surgery. And throughout the west, practitioners of eastern holistic cures use hot pumpkins placed on the spine to relieve stress, although admittedly this is due to a mistranslation of an ancient Chinese text.

Whereas in Europe and North America the term ‘couch potato’ is used to describe somebody of a lazy disposition, sitting around all day and rarely moving, other places, notably South America, turn to the pumpkin for inspiration. To call somebody ‘my little pumpkin’ is an endearment, referring mainly to their shape and possibly to their Donald Trump style facial colouring. But for a shaming reference they use the more descriptive, “Hey, get off your arse you lazy, fat, fucking pumpkin!” It does the trick. Pumpkin has also become identifiable with white privilege in recent years.

Pumpkins – apart from the seeds, of course - have no calories, which means that you could eat as much as you like without putting on any weight. In fact it takes more calories to physically eat and to digest pumpkin flesh so that it actually has the effect of making you lose weight. In ancient times, whole villages were lost to starvation, having grown only pumpkins for survival over winter until this phenomenon was realised. This is why pumpkin pie, for purely nutritional purposes, is stuffed with fat and sugar. Eat up; it may very well save your life.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Red & Blue

An infographic appeared on social media in the run up to the US presidential election, showing how the map would look if only certain groups voted. With red for Republican and blue for Democrat (which always looks wrong) it is not surprising that the intentions of certain groups show polar opposites in colour scheme. The map for ‘persons of colour’ is entirely blue, whereas that for ‘white men’ is almost entirely red. Overall it isn’t particularly illuminating except for one obvious thing; the groups perceived to be disadvantaged all turn to the big, blue party of state. What a shame, then, that state intervention in social affairs generally tends to make things worse.

There is something persuasive about the idea that the strong help the weak. Maybe because it works in groups who have reason to club together – families, interdependent settlements, etc – it is tempting to believe it can work in wider society. But really, what is my incentive to support you, who I don’t know from Adam and have nothing in common with, unless it is to deter you from turning to crime and violence to take what I have worked for? That isn’t a welfare state, it is a protection racket. Oh dear, Mr Taxpayer, we wouldn’t want you to have an ‘accident’ now, would we?

How do those who promote all-pervasive socialistic meddling in the affairs of the population sell the idea to its client voter base? How do you get people who at heart have the same drives as those they would rob? You warp the notion of fairness to include entitlement without effort. You discredit the idea of ‘bettering yourself’ insisting that mediocre is good enough. You push the agenda of equality, insisting despite all the evidence that all people have equal worth and therefore are deserving of equal outcomes. But most of all you must paint all who don’t share your vision as somehow evil.

Just as social media has devalued superlatives, such that the lamest of jokes causes people to say they can’t breathe, or that they are in actual tears of laughter, hyperbole must be employed at every turn. It is not enough to have a debate and present an alternative view; shouting ‘you lie!’ is now sufficient to declare that you have ‘destroyed’ the opposition or merely repeating your own poorly presented argument without relevance constitutes ‘owning’ the other side. Into this disturbed and easily persuaded ocean of credulity it is a simple matter to portray all who disagree as Hitler.

Once this would have been dismissed as the hysterical outpourings of student union politics, but all over the world, apparently respectable commentators of full adult credentials are coming out with guff like this: “...we’re [seeing] aprocession of European far-right nationalist parties — the U.K. IndependenceParty in Britain, the National Democratic Party of Germany and the DanishPeople’s Party...” Writing like this often refers to popular movements as ‘far-right’ and assumes that the working people who support them are engaged in routine and extreme, Nazi-level bigotry. Ironically this conclusion must not be challenged.

Get out your crayons!

Into this confused state of affairs enter one well-known agitator for failed solutions, Ken Loach, demonstrating that with a bit of effort one can sustain gullibility long beyond the age when wisdom ought to have displaced your juvenile leanings. I, Daniel Blake has had mixed reviews, divided pretty much along the same social lines that would paint a national map monochrome blue or red. I won’t be seeing the film. I don’t need to. I’ve lived adjacent to it and seen it all before. The chaotic lives people live and their detachment from the political process and the way they can gleefully accept the mantle of victimhood and become performing seals for the left-wing circus. Controlled and cajoled by promises that in a century have never been delivered. Duped by promises of a better life hereafter, who is really manipulating their map?

Friday, 28 October 2016

The first casualty

Here is a painful truth. You may need to prepare your safe space in readiness should you trigger during the rest of the paragraph. Are you ready? Then here goes; nobody wants to hurt you. Still standing? It’s true though; unless you have stirred up some animus with somebody you have wronged or against whose own existence you regularly rail, unless you have provoked somebody in some way, nobody, generally, wants to hurt you. Actually, I have over-generalised here; of course there are people who would hurt you just for who and how you are, but none of them are in government.

Devout muslims may wish to behead you, or hurl you from tall buildings, or set fire to you, or stone you, but they are fucking insane and they don’t belong here. And yes, there are plenty of people who would spit at you in the street, throw eggs or, at a pinch join a lynch mob, but they only reserve this treatment for Tories, who they refer to as ‘scum’. We should also not forget that there are violent criminals out there who rob and rape and assault and kill, but this is largely indiscriminate, so it’s not personal. None of these people, however much you want to believe it, are in government.

For clarity, by government I mean specifically the Conservatives whose members bear the opprobrium of the vocal left who daily accuse them of hatred and violence and deliberate intent to harm. And yet, this clear and generalised lie is accepted by the target group who are regularly whipped up into frothing and frightening mobs in demonstrations which occasionally cause real harm to innocent members of the public. When the left talk about ‘divisive’ policies they appear to be blind to the extreme divisions their particular narrative drives.

Maybe there once was a time when rapacious business owners, in cahoots with the ruling class, sought to keep the working man down. Maybe there was once a time when rich landowners cruelly treated their servants by intent. Maybe, one day, a Tory actually did eat a baby, but those halcyon days of privilege are long gone and sadly missed. No, the only instances of Tory cruelty that now exist do so in the minds of hysterical, sobbing dupes deprived the perverse dignity of actually starving to death. But, if the lie works...

Most politicians, wherever their loyalties lie, would like to be honest, but the business of politics can be a dirty one and it is a great relief for many to get away from the stifling cloisters of Westminster and back to their constituencies, where they can engage in the honest work of helping the very people who sent them to the house. One such member was taking a stroll about the parish when he came upon a group of young boys surrounding a dog.

Fearing mischief he asked them what they were doing with the mutt, which was held on a makeshift collar and lead fashioned from string. One of the larger boys explained that it was a stray and that they were discussing which of them would get to take it home. The MP, impressed that the group was engaged in a form of debate asked them about their deliberation process. The older boy explained, “we’ve decided that whichever one of us can tell the biggest lie will get to keep the dog."

Does your dog bite?

The honourable member was somewhat disappointed. “You boys shouldn’t be having a contest telling lies!” he exclaimed and then went into a lengthy speech about how important it was to tell the truth. He talked about the important position he held in society and how honesty and integrity were essential to the fulfilment of the trust placed in him by their mothers and fathers who had elected him. When he finished, the boys stood in an uneasy silence, looking at each other and hanging their heads. The smallest boy took the dog’s lead and with a sigh, handed it to the politician. “You win,” he said, “the dog is yours.”

Thursday, 27 October 2016

If it quacks?

Monday used to be National Sicknote Day, the day when your local GP would glance at the full surgery waiting room but know he would be out on house calls by mid-morning. The genuinely ill didn’t bother dragging themselves to the local practice because it would be standing room only until the cursory examinations were completed by the dispensation of a couple of aspirin and an illegible signature securing a few days off for the malingerers. By the early eighties, Self-certification for Statutory Sick Pay allowed the workshy to diagnose their own twenty-four hour stomach bugs and freed up the doc from providing social security to get back to medicine.

In other countries healthcare is less heavily abused, probably because costs are born by the sick or their insurers at the point of treatment. But in Britain, integral as it is to the welfare state, the NHS is yet another much-abused entitlement whose heaviest users are often its lowest contributors. If you build it they will come and at times a city-based A&E department can resemble the temporary, volunteer-manned mission hospital set up hastily in the aftermath of war and famine in a primitive, flyblown forgotten African state.

Whose job is healthcare really, though? Surely the care of you and yours ought to be very much yours and theirs. And while screening for less visible conditions and early treatment for some is undoubtedly vital, when you delegate all responsibility for your wellbeing to people whose time is necessarily rationed, is it any wonder that the system is regularly described as ‘creaking at the seams’, ‘in crisis’ or that we have a matter of days to ‘save’ the NHS.

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges has recently identified a number of routine treatments and checks which may have little efficacy and has called for a change of culture in how doctors prescribe treatments. Just because your patients demand treatment it doesn’t mean they need it. The press doesn’t help here, nor does the chattering of the Internet. No sooner does a treatment become available than some people are in the queue for it whether it is genuinely applicable to them or not. If blood-letting were to be reintroduced it wouldn’t surprise me to see leech surgeries springing up in Portakabins hastily set up in hospital car parks.

The NHS was once described as ‘the envy of the world’, although doubts have always existed over whether that was ever actually true. But it has always struggled against the weight of demands for it to dispense quackery for free alongside genuinely life-saving treatment. It could be argued that the gullible demand for crackpot cures and old wives’ social psychology could be provided ‘in the community’ by private providers. To relieve the pressures on general practitioners maybe we should issue vouchers to be redeemed at the local witch doctor ?

Meet Dr Bob Transformer; the lead chair in electrotherapy...
You'll just feel a little prick...

But don’t we already do that by promoting the alternative therapy scene? Reiki, acupressure, naturopathy, aromatherapy, balneotherapy, homeopathy, biofeedback, reflexology... candles, crystals, stones and bones, consulting crones; when will we three meet again? And people willingly turn to these means when conventional medicine hasn’t helped; often because ailments are imaginary, or self-inflicted. Since the NHS was set up it has gradually dropped its universal offerings; eyes and teeth and ears have all gone to private providers; why not do the same for malingering too? Outsource imaginary ailments to the imaginary cures industry and let the sickbay rangers get the treatment they deserve. 

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

How stupid are you?

Imagine being stupid and actually knowing it. Going through life trying to live up to ideals you can’t possibly attain? Looking in the mirror every day and seeing a great, big dummy; how stupid is that? Of course, people who think themselves stupid have at least the sense to limit their exposure to opportunities to display it... which probably makes them not so stupid after all. Isn’t it all relative anyhow? Compared to, say, Einstein or Steven Hawking we’re all a bit intellectually deficient.

Then again there are those of enormous intellect who would easily pass as stupid were they to try and mingle among those dreadful denizens, ordinary people. Being able to imagine all the atoms in the universe while simultaneously memorising Pi to ten thousand decimal places might be a neat trick at a Royal Society soirée but it’s not going to earn you much kudos at the Dog and Duck during happy hour. There’s book smarts and there’s street smarts, as they say.

But if you want next-best-thing-to-a-vegetable stupid, so stupid you don’t even know you’re stupid, all you have to do is find a Brexiteer. Why, even the daft appellation they’ve claimed for themselves sounds like a dyslexic child’s version of Alexander Dumas’ swashbuckling heroes. A Brexiteer could change his name to Adolf Hitler, have a swastika tattooed on his forehead, collect Nazi memorabilia, join a Hitler Appreciation Society, paint yellow stars on the front doors of Jewish businesses and homes and still not understand why his neighbours call him a Nazi. Actually, strike that, his neighbours are likely to be equally as stupid.

You see they, that white underclass of Nazi sympathisers, don’t integrate with the rest of society. Born in Britain – England, most likely – they nevertheless refuse to become full members of the enlightened multicultural melting pot which marks the British out as the most European of all European peoples. And despite the atrocities committed in their name, you never see a member of the Brexit community standing up for British values, do you? Oh, they SAY they are moderate Brexiteers, but we all know here is no such thing.

If there is such a thing as moderate Brexiteers, why don’t we see them demonstrating against the violence, the ignorance, the small-minded bigotry and all those afore-mentioned atrocities? But we should maintain our tolerance because these people are too inbred and stupid to know better. They are stupid enough to believe everything they are told; as Graham Norton says, we should feel sorry for them, because they were taken in by lies. And as her holiness, Saint Diane knows, they are all just racists anyway.

That is how the media want to portray Brexiteers. Every single, stubborn, intransigent one of them is too stupid to understand what they have done and they must be protected from their own dangerous lack of moral responsibility. In all stories relating to Neanderthal, petrol-hoarding, dangerous dog-owning siege-mounters the phrase ‘post-Brexit’ must be inserted so that we can see the damage they have done. Every attempt must be made to portray them as ‘the other’ and deny them a voice.

Dear Remainers, this is satire. You may wish to do some research.
Is this what you want?

Meanwhile, the rest of Britain, the doctors and lawyers and scientist and politicians and ‘community’ leaders and emergency services employees and charities and university students and the brave, brave children who are the future, must stand up for Europe and demand that the process voted for by the hateful majority be voted down. Don’t listen to the propaganda spun out by the Leavers. You are far too intelligent to be taken in by nonsense like that. There are no grey areas. Remember: Europe good, Brexit bad... or are you too stupid to realise?

Monday, 24 October 2016

Horse Trading

They say that a camel is a horse designed by a committee. All the ideas are in there – tick those boxes - but the fox would be laughing his head off if the Quorn tried to pursue it mounted on a herd of dromedary. Back to the drawing board you might think, but there is a perversity in human nature that makes purity of vision a rare thing and imperfect outcomes of those committee decisions have a habit of persisting whether they work or not.

Consider the European migrant crisis. Despite various ‘summits’ and much tub-thumping and the will of the people being expressed in frustration on a daily and very clear basis, there is still no coordinated approach to solving the problem. The problem is, of course, that all of Africa seems to want to move here. Africa, with all its abundant resources, is incapable of solving its own problems; imagine an African committee designing a horse. No, don’t. The migrants may reconsider their plan after a few months in a British winter. Unlike, say, a Scandinavian winter wonderland we just seem to get all the left over bits of weather – wet, dark, gloomy... maybe some slush.

On the climate committee nobody can even agree what the real problems are, let alone establish priorities with the result that we simultaneously throw £billions at schemes which benefit landowners and foreign manufacturers while ignoring the less sexy, closer to home and ore effective solutions of better energy performance and education. If the windfarms are still standing in fifty years it will be interesting to measure their true cost-benefit performance, rather than just the sometimes fraudulent claims used to attract funding.

Wherever you look, everything is too complicated for governments to solve; too many competing opinions and theories clog up the system and prevent effective solution from being driven through. In education there is the perpetual merit versus equality conundrum; how can we promote excellence while allocating so many resources to controlling behaviour and struggling to achieve mediocrity? Our police forces are failing to tackle what most of us regard as real wrongdoing, but logging like crazy anything which can remotely be described as a hate crime.

Politics, government at least, is supposed to try and solve all this but in trying to accommodate every crackpot principle and leave no group knowingly unoffended, they tie themselves in Gordian knots of indecision. And look at the groups supposed to hold the government to account; Ukip is going through its death throes, Labour appears determined to remain in ineffective opposition for ever, the Greens continue to make no impact at all and the LibDems, despite the illusory ‘Witney surge’ are pretty much done for.

British politics has become that horse drawn by committee. Too many fingers, too many pies, too detached from the people who elect it. We need to throw away the blueprint and go back to the drawing board but as that isn’t going to happen we need to content ourselves with the closest thing to a recognisable government we can find. Love her or loathe her, Theresa May is currently the only horse in this race. Short of turning the country off and turning it back on again we have to work with what we’ve got. 

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Tin hats at half-mast

I see the great people’s choice and oracle Diane Abbott is trotting out her favourite themes again - ‘white people’ and ‘playing divide and rule’ – as if she is entirely innocent of playing the race card herself at every opportunity. In her world view it appears there is a secret cabal of lilywhite puppet masters overseeing our every move, funding this, directing that, with the express aim of keeping her people down. It’s always keeping people down, you notice, never raising people up.

Others talk of Papal plots to dominate and control the christian world, some central force coordinating islamic attempts to overthrow the west, governments rigging elections and a global plan to deliberately dumb down the population into reliable, unquestioning drones to do the bidding of the One World President. Who he, you rightly ask, though answers are thin on the ground. Some posit a complex familial and historical conjugation of royalty and religion, tangled up with the Knights Templar and the Holy Grail. Others see a mysterious, shadowy banker, coveting all the world’s wealth like Smaug in his lair.

I’m not saying people don’t conspire; we do it all the time, at some level, but I’d have more truck with global conspiracy theories if there weren’t so many of them. Everywhere you look people believe that dark forces thwart their ambitions because to believe otherwise reveals some unfortunate truths about the reality of human nature. In the same way believers in intelligent design can’t accept that the simplicity and elegance of evolution requires no contrivance, conspiracy adherents see the hand of Marx, or Rockefeller, in everything.

They would rather maintain their faith, with all the hard work that entails, than accept the simpler truth that conspiracies are such hard work. Keeping secrets is difficult, maintaining the lie is difficult and justifying every twist and turn that doesn’t accord with the imagined master plan is tortuously like trying to explain why your god allows floods, famines, earthquakes and terrorism to happen. It’s so much less contrived to just accept basic human naivety, fallibility and a yearning to explain the inexplicable.

The very idea of a planned society is attractive at some level. We all bring to the table what we can and we all take what we need; isn’t that the basis of socialism? To a struggling population this sounds completely fair until, of course, you feel that you are putting in more than you are getting out. Equality and fairness; don’t judge, accept everybody, embrace diversity. Again, it sounds wonderful until you realise some are accepting their favours without passing it on. And education; it is far easier to allow the slow drift downwards than to apply rigour, which looks too much like an authoritarian past.

Of course, sooner or later, society has to introduce legislation to enforce what started out as egalitarian ideals, but it just gets out of hand. Think though, if it really was a massive plot we wouldn’t have access to information sources like the internet and all our news output would be strictly controlled. Instead we have unprecedented oversight of everything happening pretty much everywhere. And what do we do to explain everything, when the chaos of human interaction is laid bare? We create even more conspiracy theories to address ever more specific themes.

Social evolution, not planning, has thrown up the mutations of feminism, black lives matter and all the many factions and splinter groups of the various gender, race, sexuality, equality and fairness movements. Occupy, Corbynistas, Nats, Cons, Neo-cons, Greens, Trumpettes, Hillaryites, Ukip, Charlie Hebdo, Pride... all supposed answers to various perceived problems. Which of them survive will ultimately depend on whether you can, metaphorically, breed from them!

In all the hubbub you could be forgiven for being confused.; for clamping your hands over your ears and shutting out the world. Which cause to follow; which to despise? Making choices is hard, it’s something we humans are notoriously poor at doing, which is probably why most people don’t become activists and just get on with living. But if that melee of competing demands for attention sounds like a conspiracy to you then maybe you are still looking for the intelligent designer solution; good luck and don’t forget your tinfoil hat.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Banging on...

The press is full to bursting with precious, self-fulfilling depictions of hate. All around us, Britain has ‘suddenly’ become a terrifying place to live. Brexit is to blame, they say, because until June 23rd 2016 Britain was ‘the most tolerant society on Earth’, welcoming with open arms the glorious diversity of multiculturalism. Then, overnight, the brownshirts took over, looting Jewish businesses, painting yellow stars on the front doors of Jewish households and herding the Jews into labour camps under armed guards. Oh, wait...

The usual suspects have been writing for months now about fictitious surges in hate crime, to the point where this fable has gained traction. And now every naïve occasional contributor to the Guardian-led morality press has his or her story to tell about how they have personally observed the extremes to which our society has been dragged by the ignorant, racist, seething Nazis of the Brexit-voting underclasses who have tried to sabotage a thousand years of civilisation brought to us, of course, by the French. Without Europe, Great Britain is just an island of wode-wearing savages to them.

In painting this picture they are assisted by various EU officials, doing their level best to threaten punishment on our disunited kingdom and suggesting that negotiations be carried out in French to maximise our disadvantages. And as Canada concludes that the EU is impossible to deal with and other countries line up to offer support for the simplicity of trade with the UK, more and more worms crawl out from the wainscoting of our own mother of parliaments. They are, it seem, frit.

Both sides have their own narratives, of course. On the Leave side it is one of subjugation to a foreign and unfriendly power and subsumption to a future uniculture celebrating nothing so much as uniformity and conformity and supressing free expression. But even in seeing the EU as an evil empire, we wish it no great ill, indeed the more prosperous, the more they will spend with us. You see, we are pragmatic; let’s leave and settle our own affairs without having to please many masters.

But there is something in the mindset of those susceptible to socialism that needs to be fed with dread. They cling onto stories which tell them of the small-mindedness of Brexiteers and how those feeble intellects must resort to violence and hatred of the other. And they really believe this guff, as they tell tales round their campfires in fashionable suburbs where the Union Flag never flies. But it is all bollocks, isn’t it?

They should travel with open minds to the regions lost by the British long ago. To the former industrial towns which now in parts resemble the downtrodden wastelands of the third world. They should view with de-rosed spectacles the migrant ghettoes where integration was never even considered, let alone attempted. They should speak – and listen – to the deep-rooted local inhabitants who have found themselves displaced by the ideology of diversity. And they should check the timelines of these events.

Set course for Little Britain?

Far from there being any sudden change, this creeping rejection of Britishness and national pride has been deliberately supported for years. And those leave voters you despise so much have been side-lined for the best part of half a century, without any meaningful incentive to adopt the EU ‘solution’. There has been no sudden rise in hate; it’s been simmering away for decades. So before you decry this imagined explosion of bigotry and loathing and try to blame it all on Brexit, don’t forget, you started it.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Practical Magic

One, two, buckle my shoe. From the earliest of our days we hear about numbers. Three, four, knock at the door. Numbers are everywhere; they describe our world. Ton-up, megabyte, 3-D, fourth estate, fifth column... Five, six, pick up sticks. Cashier number nine, please, ‘ten items or less’[sic] buy-one-get-one-free. Seven, eight, interest rate; ‘the pound is worth...’ ‘the FTSE ended...’ ‘At the third stroke’, count your blessings; you just won’t thrive without numbers. Telephone numbers, house numbers, personal identification numbers, National Insurance numbers. Nine, ten... a big, fat zero.

I used to regularly use the line: Twenty percent of British school leavers are functionally illiterate... and the other third are rubbish at maths. I’ve given it up now; it used to get a laugh, but now it rarely raises a smile; rather it elicits serious nods and expressions of concern. Really? Oh, come on you guys. From time to time the national newspapers feature maths problems that have defeated the cohorts it was aimed at, usually under some pithy headline which asks ‘Can YOU do the Maths?’ followed by a series of numerical questions of such a basic nature you suspect a spoof. 

But it’s a growing problem. Mike Ellicock from the charity National Numeracy claims there is a 26% wage premium for basic numeracy. Not for A-level, or even GCSE maths, just an ability to deal with everyday numbers. Some people even claim that the blame for the sub-prime mortgage crisis originates, in part, in a lack of understanding of numbers. Whether that holds water is a whole other discussion, but there is no question that our education system is at the heart of the problem. An OECD report earlier this year had some hard words to say about the numeracy levels of undergraduates, suggesting university may not be for them.

Numeracy is indispensable in navigation our increasingly complex world and given the skills shortages in STEM subjects any parents with ambition for their children should take steps to give them this vital understanding. A friend of mine was recently concerned that his son was falling behind in maths and took the bold step of enrolling him in the local catholic school. Being somewhat lapsed this took some effort on his part, but the school has a great reputation for sending its pupils on to some of the best universities in the country.

Expecting, at best, a moderate improvement he was delighted to see his son taking a renewed interest in the subject, regularly spending hours on his homework. His overall demeanour improved and his behaviour was a joy to see. He went from being a typical surly teenager to a smartly dressed, attentive and polite young man. At the first term parent-teachers meeting he was given a glowing report from his form teacher, especially for his maths, in which he regularly gained A-grades.

Delighted, his father asked him about the dramatic improvement as they were walking from the school assembly hall. “Why are your math grades suddenly so good?" His son pointed up at the large crucifix on the wall and said, in a hushed voice, “When I walked in here the very first day and I saw that guy on the wall nailed to a plus sign, I knew this place means business!”

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Wakey wakey!

The new Westworld, adapted from Michael Crichton’s 1969 book, is shaping up to be a must-watch. I only hope they don’t try and drag it into a second season with the resulting disappointment that invariably brings. I won’t be a spoiler, if you haven’t started watching it, but the fundamental plot twist is really rather clever. Of course, none of it is real; we willingly suspend our critical faculties to accept this other reality for the duration of the show before returning to our regular lives.

It is a mark of maturity when you can happily accept the alternative world of a summer sci-fi blockbuster, but then slip without the slightest hiccup back into ‘normal’ mode as you leave the cinema. When you are an impressionable child, however, relinquishing your immersion in the other world is harder. And in these days of heavily merchandised movies, kids can be seen parading in costume for days after a viewing, reliving their fantasies. We’ve always had fancy dress but now ‘cosplay’ affords supposed adults the same indulgences.

All very harmless, you may say, as you watch the parade of steampunks and hipsters and goths and others, all living in their own little imaginary universes, but is it? Our new age injunctions not to judge others frees some people to never grow up. All very Peter Pan, but if a great problem of our days is an ageing population, do we really want to encourage, at the other end, an extended childhood, a form of mirror senility, where people of voting age are disinclined to separate fact from fancy and take longer to become fully engaged members of a serious society?

I watched an Adam Curtis documentary the other day, called Hyper-normalisation, in which it suggests that the complexities of the world are deliberately boiled down, by government and the media, to easily digestible tales of goodies and baddies and how “we have retreated into a simplified and often completely fake version of the world”. Curtis suggests that one could become “ much a part of the system that you were unable to see beyond it.” with your hopes and dreams indistinguishable from the state such as under Soviet Russia and the regimes of the Middle East dictators.

The dream we have always wanted to inhabit, in the enlightened west, is one of freedom and peace and prosperity, with individual responsibility and tolerance thrown in for good measure. And to a large extent this is what we had. “Mustn’t grumble!” was our cheery watchword, as we accepted the reality of our situations and the fragility of our contentment. Things will turn out fine, you’ll see, we told ourselves and generally got on with it.

So when did people start taking fictions so seriously? There is a narrative of harm at large. Rationally tolerant people have been browbeaten into tolerating anything and everything in the name of diversity and multiculturalism, no matter how ridiculous or harmful it seems and whole sections of society now believe the fairy stories they tell each other. Take this idiot piece in the Guardian, that bastion of self-harming illiberalism, in which it is argued that Brexit has turned Britain from tolerance to bigotry. Can’t you almost see the self-congratulating, non-critical dupes all getting together for group hugs and general agreement?

It used to be a hallmark of the British that we had an ironic, dry, satirical sense of humour. Self-deprecating; what’s the matter mate, can’t you take a joke? Coupled with a healthy pull-the-other-one scepticism we were armoured against the ludicrous and able to laugh at ourselves. So, in an effort to return to the sanity of the real world I suggest we take back control by taking the piss. Instead of pandering to them, mock your children; they’ll thank you for it one day.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Beyond Brexit

I take a day off and what happens? I come back to find the opposite sides of Brexit still calling each other stupid. Or, to be more specific, the less eloquent Brexiteers are slinging mud and insults in a reactionary fashion at Remainers, while the intellectual big guns of Remain are aiming what they think are finely-honed arguments at anybody who voted to leave. And yet that ignorant lumpen proletariat refuses to back down. How dare they ignore democracy! But they each had a vote and Leave won, say the pragmatists. Then how dare they ignore ‘parliamentary’ democracy! They’re not happy.

Day after day the pro-EU lobby demands that its voice is the only one that should be heard. If only there weren’t so many babbling voices as  the entire country goes stark, staring, full-on, fruit bat bonkers. Feminists tear into women, the left tie themselves in knots over denying, yet shoring up their institutional anti-Semitism and over the pond the US election has become so bizarre that, whatever the outcome, you fear for the sanity of the entire country. The western world is one almighty fuck-up right now and this is not lost on dear old Uncle Vlad.

Decades of pandering to a self-destructive narrative about multifarious, yet nebulous inherent human rights has put the rights of individuals ahead of the rights of society, so that freedom and security and plain common sense have been sacrificed on the many altars of fractured idealism. Instead of the imagined rainbow of multicultural mores we have a straightforward divide of the old-fashioned kind. Not so much a haves against have-nots struggle, although that will never go away, but more of a righteous-versus-the-ungodly kind of affair.

Today we are split into the factions of want-to-be-led against do-as-I-say and it isn’t getting us very far. The would-be leaders, among which there is no clear consensus, squabble between themselves over the minutiae of their enormously disparate aims, while the rest of us (the thick ones, remember) do our best to keep the country going. If you had a clue, we would happily follow, but you don't. Where once we had the blitz spirit of keeping calm and carrying on, one nation against a common enemy, we now have the splits spirit which mitigates against any form of unity.

Seriously, who cares about your very specific struggle for recognition? The more you seek to define yourself as a rights-holder on the grounds that your particular needs are a unique subset of the modern holy grails of identity; gender, sexuality, race, religion, disability, etc, the more your majority tends towards one – zero if your problem is low self-esteem. In a way you should be grateful for the referendum; at least it’s given you a bigger family to belong to. But that sense of membership is illusory.

The big brains are all for remain?

We Brexiteers, we happy band of fruitcakes, loonies and racists, voted out for reasons the Bremoaners, despite their 'superior' intellect, don’t really grasp. We actually do want to keep calm and carry on. All we need from government is basic law and order and a state that works, which we can afford. When it comes to ‘empowerment’, give us the tools and we’ll finish the job. Despite all protestations to the contrary, the will of the 52% is actually pretty coherent. If it helps at all, the squabbling leave factions can continue with our blessing to think of us as thick, but at least we know what Brexit looks like.

Beyond Brexit

I take a day off and what happens? I come back to find the opposite sides of Brexit still calling each other stupid. Or, to be more specific, the less eloquent Brexiteers are slinging mud and insults in a reactionary fashion at Remainers, while the intellectual big guns of Remain are aiming what they think are finely-honed arguments at anybody who voted to leave. And yet that ignorant lumpen proletariat refuses to back down. How dare they ignore democracy! But they each had a vote and Leave won, say the pragmatists. Then how dare they ignore ‘parliamentary’ democracy! They’re not happy.

Day after day the pro-EU lobby demands that its voice is the only one that should be heard. If only there weren’t so many babbling voices as  the entire country goes stark, staring, full-on, fruit bat bonkers. Feminists tear into women, the left tie themselves in knots over denying, yet shoring up, their institutional anti-Semitism and over the pond the US election has become so bizarre that, whatever the outcome, you fear for the sanity of the entire country. The western world is one almighty fuck-up right now and this is not lost on dear old Uncle Vlad.

Decades of pandering to a self-destructive narrative about multifarious, yet nebulous inherent human rights has put the rights of individuals ahead of the rights of society, so that freedom and security and plain common sense have been sacrificed on the many altars of fractured idealism. Instead of the imagined rainbow of multicultural mores we have a straightforward divide of the old-fashioned kind. Not so much a haves against have-nots struggle, although that will never go away, but more of a righteous-versus-the-ungodly kind of affair.

Today we are split into the factions of want-to-be-led against do-as-I-say and it isn’t getting us very far. The would-be leaders, among which there is no clear consensus, squabble between themselves over the minutiae of their enormously disparate aims, while the rest of us (the thick ones, remember) do our best to keep the country going. If you had a clue, we would happily follow, but you don't. Where once we had the blitz spirit of keeping calm and carrying on, one nation against a common enemy, we now have the splits spirit which mitigates against any form of unity.

Seriously, who cares about your very specific struggle for recognition? The more you seek to define yourself as a rights-holder on the grounds that your particular needs are a unique subset of the modern holy grails of identity; gender, sexuality, race, religion, disability, etc, the more your majority tends towards one – zero if your problem is low self-esteem. In a way you should be grateful for the referendum; at least it’s given you a bigger family to belong to. But that sense of membership is illusory.

The big brains are all for remain?

We Brexiteers, we happy band of fruitcakes, loonies and racists, voted out for reasons the Bremoaners, despite their 'superior' intellect, don’t really grasp. We actually do want to keep calm and carry on. All we need from government is basic law and order and a state that works, which we can afford. When it comes to ‘empowerment’, give us the tools and we’ll finish the job. Despite all protestations to the contrary, the will of the 52% is actually pretty coherent. If it helps at all, the squabbling leave factions can continue with our blessing to think of us as thick, but at least we know what Brexit looks like.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Fear Index

‘My life is ruined’ is a phrase once only ever heard from the sobbing mouths of petulant teenagers denied a 'human right' like staying out late. Now, lives are daily ‘ruined’ by being knocked back on X-Factor, that cynically manipulated freak show for the lumpen masses who gloat and point and utterly fail to see how they are laughing at themselves. It’s almost as if they positively crave life-ruining experiences and failing to get any for themselves are happy to revel in the crushing of others. Perversely, craving hurt is one of the crueller human traits bestowed by evolution.

Hiding behind sofa cushions while watching Dr Who as a child. Shrieking yet still giggling when tickled and still wanting more. Supporting *insert-team-here* despite season after season of disappointment. Pleasure often accompanies pain and in extremis can become sinister-to-blood-curdling, like battered women returning to their abusers and Stockholm syndrome towards murderous captors. But in all these things lies a kernel of optimism, a spark of hope that, this time, it will be okay.

An evergreen playground bully tactic is the ‘stop hitting yourself’ game. But now it’s as if the bullies have turned on themselves, using their left hands to repeatedly smash their right fists into their faces. Immediately following the referendum various players placed their bets and the tremor of the plunging pound sent shocks around the world. Then, it all sort of calmed down. Foreseers of doom were quiet, almost accepting and except for a few vocal nutcases most people shrugged and got on with life as usual. The sky didn’t fall in, the mob did not rampage and there were no public lynchings.

But - quelle horreur! – this could not be allowed to stand, so some brave self-harmers carried on regardless and insisted that the world would, indeed, end. The BBC, for instance, continue to frame every piece of bad news with the sub-title ‘post-Brexit’. And in encouraging the unchallenged reporting of every parcel of perceived unpleasantness as a hate crime, even the police are enrolled in the campaign. Pretty soon we will become undisputed world leaders in manufactured outrage and able to export offence to the world, except that, according to Marmiteers like Polly Toynbee and Marina Hyde, the world won’t buy what we have to offer because of Brexit and... Marmageddon!

It’s all beginning to look very childish indeed; you didn’t pick me for the team, so I’m stabbing my own football. There! After a pause to gather breath all the old voices are re-joining the chorus of gloom. Oh yes, Project Fear is putting the band back together and their common refrain is to once again accuse all the hated, ignorant, racist, sexist, xenophobic, homophobic, misogynist Brexiteers of deliberately sabotaging the future of the country. Odd, then, that it’s those of us who voted out who are optimistic about the future. Paraphrasing Sting, voting out was such a curious thing to do if leavers love their children too.

Toynbee: If we, your rulers, say it is so, then it must be so...
Oh, Polly, if only reality would bite.

We know our future lies in working together to build a better Britain. Yes, we may enjoy the odd triumphant jeer at the mewling, puking infants of Remain (And why not? We’ve put up with the quislings for years) but it’s not we who are ‘sabotaging’ the country; quite the reverse. The world is watching and if anything is making us look foolish and unreliable it is the remainers stoking up the fear factor. No wonder they see division; they are largely responsible for it. No wonder they see hate; they are, literally, asking for it. It’s time for the sulky teens to stop bleating about their lives being ruined and start rolling up their sleeves, like grown-ups.

Friday, 14 October 2016

Banking on it

Modern economies are built on castles in the air. We have entire industries depending on a willing belief in their nebulous worth. Entertainers know the fickle nature of their audience and a whiff of scandal can suddenly end a career of decades, no matter what the talent involved. In fact so much scandal has there been in recent years it has created practically a causal link between talent and sexual impropriety. Is this for real, or is it more likely that if the opportunity is there, our base human nature will take advantage of it? I’m going with the latter; it’s far simpler and more pragmatic than searching for the sinister explanation.

When it comes to flimsy, there is no bigger flight of fantasy than the money game. Money was once issued as an IOU against realisable assets. It was a value token for labour against goods and services. One hour of my time buys dinner. Or it buys one hour of your time. I trade my sticks for your turnips and so on and I hope eventually to have a tall enough pile of sticks to never have to worry about starving. But as the Jenga bricks of greedy gelder are stacked higher, reaching impossible heights, the perceived worth of some things – shares and expectations - decouple from reality.

A FTSE 100 boss is paid 150 times what his workers get not because his intrinsic value is so high, but because he can make or ruin a deal just by saying yes or no. Similarly investment bankers get fabulously rich on the backs of their clients, but when they get it wrong they get it wrong big and there was once, in folklore at least, the presumption that a failed banker would take the ‘honourable’ way out and plunge to their death from a high window, that defenestration being symbolic of their fall from grace and power. In recent years the perception is that the money gurus are long overdue such a descent.

There is a story that when Einstein died he arrived in heaven to be informed that his room was not yet ready. “I hope you won’t mind staying in a dormitory.” Said St Peter, “We are very sorry, but it’s the best we can do and you will have to share the room with others" Einstein says this is no problem at all and there is no need to make such a great fuss. So an angel leads him to the dorm and Albert is introduced to the present inhabitants. “Here is your first roommate. He has an IQ of 180!"

"That’s wonderful!" says Albert. “We can discuss quantum theory and relativity." The angel escorts him to an elderly gent with a flowing beard, playing chess with himself. “Ludwig here has an IQ of 150" Einstein shakes his hand and declares “I look forward to discussing mathematics and physics with you, while we wait for our rooms.” Moving on, he is introduces to a third man, Thomas, who he is told has an IQ of 110. “That’s great!” he says, “We can discuss the latest Broadway plays and some of those marvellous new movies.”

Another man steps out to shake Albert’s hand and introduces himself as Tarquin. “I’m your last roommate and I feel inadequate in such august company. I’m sorry, but my IQ is just a shade over 80.” Albert Einstein, ever the genial mixer, smiles back at him and asks, “So, where do you think interest rates are headed?"

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Ferry Tales

I’ll start with Lily Allen. Or is it considered bad form to speak ill of the brain dead? Yesterday she invited ridicule by apologising for the British at an orchestrated howl-in in Calais: ‘Theenk of ze cheeldren!’ she admonished. But think of the tip of the iceberg, I would reply. They are in France, but they are not French. They are certainly not British and they have crossed through several safe countries to get there, where – and I really can’t be any clearer here – they are not welcome. They are alien in every sense of the word and the only thing we know for certain is that they hail from a culture whose guiding principle is anathema to every decent moral of the west. Insofar as we should consider their existence at all the word cockroach is not inappropriate.

These ‘poor children’ are the ideological means by which purchase may be found for the crowbar to prise open the gates. And just as parasites find apparently harmless ways into their host, once the eggs are laid and they multiply it can be almost impossible to eradicate them. Eradicate? Yes; ‘destroy completely; put an end to’. Because it will be us or them in the end. If you think not then try visiting any number of formerly British towns which now look like Middle Eastern war zones. Those places look like that because they made them look like that; insular enclaves of invading species that do not share our cultural DNA but hungrily consume what we provide.

You see, that’s how it works; offer an inch and those you are negotiating with will take every yard you have, which is why Theresa May must not be cowed by Labour’s demands for a parliamentary vote on the terms of Brexit. Claiming that the vote didn’t mean what those who voted for it thought it meant, they want nothing more than – while saying they want the opposite – to overturn the will of the people. And to their shame, the Tory Remainders (the new bastards) are happy to ride Labour’s coat tails if it gives them a chance to dictate to the little people what they should say and think and do.

In attempting to deliver the softest of soft Brexits, indistinguishable from full membership except perhaps for the lack of influence (although we saw precious little of that, so in fact no change at all) they refuse to accept the sub-text of the vote. As Nigel Farage has repeatedly said, this is nothing more than Parliament versus the people because the people didn’t do the right thing. To this end they are ramping up the fear rhetoric all over again, enlisting willing allies in industry and finance to threaten doom, in the hope that even those who voted to leave might be shamed into believing they are condemning their fellows to penury, just as Lily Allen and he bleeding hearts prey on our naivety.

This is fearmongering claptrap and precisely 
why Parliament must not be allowed to 
overturn the express will of the people

But Mrs May must hold firm to her promise; the lady must not be for turning. Imagine a poker player saying “Oh look, full house!” and then wondering why he didn’t go on to win the game. The remainders are crowing about the value of the pound, about Unilever, about that obscure foreign bank that has mumbled something about moving out of London. This isn’t economics at all, it is politics, but if your house is built on sand... If necessary we bite the bullet, take the strain and rebuild everything on firmer foundations. And those who don’t like it, well tough; they can always get on a ferry to Calais.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Damned Nation

Guardian contributor John Harris thinks we are a nation of bigots. Interesting that people with his views also tell us we’re a nation of immigrants. Is this where we get all that bigotry from, I wonder, because it is all I hear whenever anybody tries to raise a debate about the pace, the type, the morality of immigration into a country supposedly so filled with bitter hatred of ‘the other’. Once again, wilfully, mistaking an objection to unfettered, uncontrolled, free-movement for racism, Harris launches into the sort of dressing down we’ve long come to expect from our superiors in the ‘progressive’ elite.

Assuming that everybody holds his ‘correct’ views he denigrates what he sees as nastiness pervading society, presumably because he has only ever sought out the opinions of those similarly disposed towards what will in the future be seen as a form of invasion; a cultural replacement. Maybe he should ask the northern towns where white working class people have been displaced by waves of muslim immigrants from Pakistan. Maybe he should ask the agricultural towns where all the employment has gone to formerly itinerant, now settled eastern Europeans, who have come in such numbers that integration has been unnecessary.

But, the apologists (and, to be fair, the employers) say, we can’t get the British to do the work. Is this the vision of socialist Britain that was intended by Blair’s third way? I think not – I hope not – but sadly, the once powerfully industrious British have been enfeebled and addled by a sense of unearned entitlement and belief in a self-worth which they may never be worthy of. So much for New Labour’s education revolution – if you say it three times, it is writ, the spectre of Tony Blair will appear, although now as a ghostly piñata rather than a symbol of awe.

You want young people to be empowered? Then give them the tools to earn a living and take charge of their destinies. Education doesn’t have to mean degrees and you need no degree in basic life skills. Like many of his ilk Harris actually believes in inherent ‘Tory nastiness’ and that asking companies to declare the makeup of their work force is a ‘monstrous, illiberal idea’. But what if identifying where most overseas employees are utilised is a first step in analysing where our young are deficient so that steps can be taken to plug that gap?

But Harris isn’t really all that interested in saving Britain or the British. He says ‘London speaks for itself’ and indeed it does, but London is no longer regarded as an English city by the English themselves. Oh yes, it is the English particularly with whom Harris has a problem and he genuinely appears to swallow the Farage-as-Hitler narrative touted by the left, dismissing all talk of national sovereignty as proof that we are the bigots he has portrayed. Interestingly, he also seems to label this as a Tory plot, when much of Ukip’s support comes from the very people recently abandoned by Labour.

Rock against Racism, Leeds, 1981.
A crowd that white would now be called racist

As for his admiration for the Anti-Nazi League and Rock Against Racism, sure we all had the badges in the seventies but most of us grew up and moved on. Even at that age we didn’t need an assembly of pop stars, with their half-formed ideologies to tell us how to behave. No, you can’t blame it on the English, Mr Harris, but you may want to examine what decades of social engineering has produced – and the ANL and RaR are a part of it. I don’t think the Tories have all the answers, but I do believe their more pragmatic approach and their having the guts to take on the problems rather than gloss over them is a far better way than the third one.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Hip to be fooled

Meet Rastus. Rastus thinks of himself as a bit of a hipster. A few years ago Rastus would have been called a trustafarian. Rastus doesn’t know this because he is too young to know anything very much. What Rastus does know is that it is wrong for him to enjoy white privilege, just because he was randomly born white instead of a more noble pigmentation. Rastus hates his parents for not being mixed race. Rastus would be very embarrassed if he was old enough to know that Rastus was a name often used in the past by racist comedians to ridicule black men. So, because we know better than Rastus, we’ll call him Mike... which is what his parents christened him.

Mike rejects Christianity because it is the religion of hate and division. He embraces muslims because they need his support. They are misunderstood and so Mike occasionally stands with his friends and cheers on other white people holding placards saying nice things about muslims. The muslims suspect Mike and his hipster mates of being homosexual and would throw them from tall buildings, given half the chance. Mike thinks it is important to embrace other cultures. Other cultures think it is more important that they throw Mike and his friends from tall buildings.

Diversity is the most important thing of all and in order to make diversity work you have to enforce it. Because, as everybody over the age of fifty knows, with the possible exception of people like Jon Snow, diversity creates division. Which is odd, when you think about it because the people who love diversity the most also seem to hate it when politics is said to be divisive. If only others could be like Mike and educate themselves to not only not see this, but to see the inability of others to hold two opposing concepts as simultaneously true, as backward and deserving of change through re-education.

But help is at hand. Academia – the world of much cleverer people than you or me – is doing its utmost to invent, study and legitimise the assault on base ignorance. When their project is complete, white males without dreadlocks or veganism will be required to demonstrate their adherence to the multiple faiths of the inclusion industry, preferably by throwing themselves off a cliff and saving others from taking the trouble. And woe betide those that scoff at the new orthodoxy.

If you haven’t noticed the rise and rise of hateful hypocrisy on the left then you must be on that side of the fence because from the viewpoint of the average man it is staggering. Labour ministers who can denounce private or other selective education while expensively schooling their own. Commentators who eulogise about the multicultural Babel they have made of London, while tweeting from their cosy Cotswold enclaves. And everywhere the relentless assault on the perfectly reasonable desires of ordinary people not to be made refugees in their own country.

We are women, we are everyman...
It's diversity if we say it is...

Say a word and it’s a hate crime. Observe the world as it is and not how they tell you it is and it’s a hate crime. Even overtly trying to do or say the right things when they can look into your very soul and declare you are faking it will soon be a hate crime. Just keeping up with what is now verboten can induce anxiety and mental strain and this may be your only way out of a hate charge. “Yes, your honour, I cannot bear the burden of my privilege and it has driven me mad. I plead insanity... and may god have mercy on my soul.”

Monday, 10 October 2016

Crocodile Tears

When I was a kid there was a nasty piece of work who, having left school the previous year, used to wait at the school gates at the end of the day and beat up anybody his younger brother nominated. The younger brother played the victim and earned a certain cachet but gained no friends. The solution came in numbers, as the nominees soon realised who their friends were and where their best interests lay. The Shad brothers moved on; Omi got sent to Borstal and nobody cared what happened to the weedy one, but it was an interesting observation in the exercise of power and alliance.

A threat is only meaningful if there is a very real chance of it being carried out. Parents learn the hard way that you have to come good on your sanctions or the power slips from your grasp into theirs. A lone bully with loose fists is an immediate danger but without allies – who are usually only joining in from fear for themselves – he will soon be outnumbered by the sheer weight of ordinary people who won’t stand for it. Occasionally you get a Cray, but more often you get pale imitations. It seems there just aren’t enough psychopaths to go around.

Politics has its fair share of psychos, but in the end they all fall. So people like French President Hollande trying to strong-arm the UK into a Brexit so light it’s like they signed up for punishment detail will only get so far. And besides, if you want to be the bully, be careful who you pick on to prove your mettle. Fifth columnists may have infiltrated our society but when push comes to shove we Brits have never taken kindly to Johnny Foreigner meddling in our affairs.

Weedy, friendless, LimpDem 'leader' Tim Farron seems to believe that we didn’t vote to leave the EU at all and demands a parliamentary vote on our position regarding the single market. This is like getting your big brothers to lie in wait at the school gate to mug those you don’t like. He thinks that a rigged vote will effectively reverse the outcome of the referendum and defy the wishes of the seventeen and a half million ‘ignorant racists’ who voted to leave. Well, guess what, Tim, those numbers aren’t afraid of you and your kind.

Please god, don't make me be LibDem leader any more...
Think sad thoughts, Tim!

The remain lobby’s shrieks of pain and woe have yet to die down and still they are demanding to know the unknowable “But what does Brexit look like?” while stamping their little feet and balling up their tiny fists. Some of them are still so fraught they can produce tears at will, like an actress summoning up sad memories to provoke the appearance of emotion. But those crocodile tears are convincing nobody. What does Brexit look like? Well stop blubbing and let’s find out, shall we?

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Trump or Clinton - Trumpton?

Phwoar, look at the baps on that! Marks out of ten? I’d give her one! Terrible arthritis, she has... hands like that! *mimes holding melons* Skirt, gash, fanny, split, Wendy, Judy, Sheila, bird, slag, bitch, tart. Ah, woman, how do we know thee, let me count the ways... So, Donald Trump is guilty of bloke talk in an unguarded moment a decade ago. So what? The reactions have been as predictable as the existence of this tape. Of course he’s a letch, of course there’ll be others, have you not been paying attention?

As newly castrated male politicians line up to denounce him, casting stones to which they have no entitlement, they use words like offended, sickened and disgusted. Really? Or are they mostly just relieved it wasn’t them? Relieved they weren’t famous enough to be wired for sound when they were bragging to their buddies.

Do I think Trump’s an egotistical wanker? Yes, of course. Do I think this debars him from office? Of course not – that is almost a necessary prerequisite for this job and few of his predecessors in the history of the presidential race can claim they’ve never boasted of their sexual skirmishes. Hypocrisy is more than a word to the illiberal left; it’s practically an entry requirement. Who among us doesn’t have some moments for which we would turn the clock back if we could?

In some parallel Earth the nice guy would get the girl and success would accrue to whoever ran the most ethical business. Bribery, corruption, lewd behaviour and the misuse of office would be the fictions of perverse minds and a minority taste at that. But look at what sells in this world; the most ordinary of soap operas feature sexual impropriety that would make Trump blush. Our novels are awash with big conspiracy, corruption at its heart. And you can barely move on the internet for pornography to satisfy every warped taste.

As much as you may loathe the man and as much as you may convince yourself that he is unfit for office, Trump is what he is, what he always was. But just look at yourselves; from the overwrought reactions in the media you can almost imagine his reputation would suffer less from the broadcasting of a video of him beating a tramp to death with a Champagne bottle. Hell, he’s even apologised for it – or at least he’s said sorry for being caught – but that may not be enough.

Politics isn’t about truth, it’s about perception. And perceptions change; that’s the thankless task of the media. If the US election was unsightly up until now, with each side telling tales to teacher on the other, stand by for it to become downright ugly. Trump’s team will be poring over the peccadilloes of Bill Clinton with a fine toothed comb and if it wasn’t for his Jimmy Savile-like ability to feel no shame he ought to be quaking in his boots.

A fine pair...

Do I want to know all the stuff that’s going to come out in the next month? No, not really, but like a slow-motion car crash, it’s going to be hard to look away. But, however much you may need to hold your nose in order to elect The Donald, always keep in mind what the alternative is. Trump or Clinton... what a massive pair.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Brexit Butterflies

A giant butterfly flaps its colourful wings deep in the Amazon jungle and three weeks later it rains over the Amazon distribution depot in Doncaster. To be fair, it was always likely to rain in Doncaster and nobody can trace the origins of the storm back to the butterfly anyway, but it’s a handy little bit of pseudo-scientific fancy to explain cause and effect and unintended consequences. The ripples spread and just as a rumour can ruin a career who knows, a little local vorticity might just beget an Atlantic depression to rival Hurricane Matthew.

In overnight trading in Far Eastern markets on Thursday the pound took a dip and recovered almost immediately. What devilry was this? What hand wrought this alchemy? Could it be a concourse of market-manipulating software confounding human trading? Or maybe it was a panic reaction to the perception of the so-called ‘hard Brexit’ espoused by Mrs May et al? Was it down to the French president’s Dirty Harry routine, threatening the UK with hardball? Or was it none of these things?

Economic experts, in attempting to explain the hiccup yesterday made idiots of themselves by lining up to offer one explanation after another in an authoritative manner, did nothing so much as demonstrate how, while theoretical economics is a perfectly valid study, economic forecasting is simple mountebankery. If, as many continue to believe, there is some wild conspiracy of the elite to yoke the little man to the wheel, surely they could have all huddled together in a smoky room to thrash out the narrative before taking to the news stations and chat rooms. The value of shares in Bacofoil depends in part on the demand for the raw materials for tinfoil hats.

Is it more likely in fact that nobody knows what Brexit will bring, but that the naysayers are so determined an ill wind must blow they will greet every blip, every halting step as proof-positive that the apocalypse is nigh? Only if the UK fails utterly will they be satisfied, which is pretty much the definition of cutting off one’s nose to spite the face. It is quite bizarre that these arbiters of all that is ‘correct’ would want to line up on the side of pessimism and narrow-minded bigotry while claiming the mantle of open-minded free thinkers.

The truth seems to be that Remainers would happily sacrifice all they hold dear, rather than admit that Britain can survive, even thrive, outwith the bounds of a sclerotic, controlling and ruthless bureaucracy. The value of the currency, shares, commodities, property and all that an advanced nation produces should be based on tangible things, not on the whims of markets spooked by prophecy, superstition and plain meddling in things that the meddlers often just don’t fully understand.

Lepidoptera Brexitus - poisonous

If an economist flaps in London the shock waves will be felt around the planet. He may even believe that those effects can be forecast and controlled. But when loose-lipped forecasts of disaster, rather than real trade conditions result in people losing their jobs, towns losing their industries and panics across the markets plunging whole countries into recession it ceases to be a game. Economic doom-mongers peddle a dangerous poison. Maybe it’s time these exotic lepidopterans had their wings clipped.