Friday, 17 November 2017

Beyond Brexit

Hush, listen, whisper who dares, an internet parody's setting the snares. Some of you followers on Twitter may have wondered where I’ve been or the last week. Well, here’s the story. [Link] In the meantime I have been amusing myself as Len McCluskey, a parody account I created back in 2013 and occasionally use to view conversations involving people who have blocked me. Sometimes I can’t help myself and feel driven to respond, but this last week Len has been reaping a rich harvest, as so many seem to need to believe that a prominent figure really is talking personally to them.

It’s frankly worrying how many people are ready to engage with somebody they either strongly disagree with or desperately want to be accepted by. Len has been busily confounding lots of them who, even when repeatedly told ‘*never trust a parody’ persist in trying to push their point. One punter even seemed convinced that when ‘Len’ tweeted “*Nunquam enim confidunt parodiam” he was suggesting that the punter himself was a parody and carried on for several tweets without grasping the reality. Anyway, I’ll let Len take up the story:

‘Ey, watch out lar, hiya comrades; it’s Big Len McCluskey ‘ere, leader of Untie, the union and future master of the not-so-free wairld. It’s been an 'oot, this week, stepping in for Battsby, but I ‘aven’t been wasting time. No, I’ve been using the platform to clarify our position on Brexit among other things. See people think the Labour Party does what I tell them, but this isn’t always true. Not always. And Brexit is one of those grey areas which needs a bit of attention; so are you paying attention?

Right. See, the official position of the Labour Party is and always has been for Remain. When I say ‘is and always has been’ I mean this, of course, in the socialist sense of ‘whatever fits the narrative today’. Traditionally, Labour has held the moral high ground but Blair and Mandelson and that ‘New Labour’ stinkpile queered the pitch with all their ‘relaxed about people getting filthy rich’ malarkey. Now, this won’t do; Labour and the trades union movement must undo all this ridiculous aspiration and tell the people, once more, what they need to believe in. And, of course, this is Brexit; it always has been.

But we’re not there yet. The bloody referendum made the proletariat believe that their voice mattered, that their vote mattered! Since when has anybody given a fig for votes? Here in Untie we don’t even let people vote, for heaven’s sake; ridiculous idea! Let people vote and before you know it they’ll expect you to respect what they voted for. And where does that end? No this needs to be nipped in the bud. And I have been playing my part; oh yes.

With the unambiguous Twitter bio: “Untie General Secretary, leading trade unionist in Britain and Ireland. Fighting for austerity and cuts in our communities. Doesn't know the meaning of parody.” I have been reaching out to the community. Somehow I seem to have enraged a number on both sides who seem unclear what I stand for. Well, I try to make it obvious that what I stand for is the opposite of what they do, thus pleasing everybody engaging with me, if not necessarily within that particular conversation at that particular time. It all evens out in the end, if you look carefully enough.

But it isn’t exactly rocket science; if you are upset by ‘me’ saying Unite are for Brexit, then hop onto a conversation where I hint that Unite is for Remain. It astounds me that folk can’t grasp that this is how politics works now. Nobody knows, with the exception of the Limp Dems and the Greens [spits] where any party really stands on Brexit and this is because they don’t know either. On balance, if pushed, I came down on the side of Brexit for the following reason, which far too many people accepted without criticism. Are you ready?

Happy Socialist Workers, doing a traditional dance.

So, this is now the official Untie position. We want to increase the power of the workers. We believe in fair and equitable socialism. We believe in the people of Great Britain; one nation, one leader, one people – power to the people. We intend to hold mass rallies throughout the country to build this movement. Who will join me in establishing a new Socialist Workers Party? One that will work on a truly national level? And if anybody can come up with a snappier title than National Socialist British Worker’s Party that would be really helpful, thank you. 


Coda: I have now acquired a little camp follower of my own. He was fooled by the Len parody and he just can't let it go. I'm sure Twitter has rules about harassment and pestering, but it's fine. He has made it his mission to inform everybody who responds to me that I am not me, as it were. The poor wee laddie will eventually tire and weep himself to sleep. If you see hi, tell him I said Hi! 

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Bleak House

The interminable wrangling over Brexit continues as Theresa May’s beleaguered government weathers gaffes and embarrassments and tries to push its EU Withdrawal Bill through the depressingly confrontational House of Commons. Knocking on for eighteen months after the referendum, the result of which, the electorate were promised, would be executed by HMG, no progress has really been made. Half of ruling party don’t want Brexit to happen at all and the opposition will do anything to frustrate it, even if they actually want to leave the EU themselves. Never has the phrase ‘playing politics’ seemed so apt. Nor, ‘cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face’.

But all the talk of deals and divorce bills, of compromise, offer and counter offer is nothing more than a soap opera. And like the characters of a soap opera they are doomed to repeat the mistakes cast in stone by their creators; captive to their character and in thrall to the script. For make no mistake there is a narrative here and it is relentless in driving the storyline around and around in relentless circles of despair and helplessness; yet there is a purpose behind it all – the survival of the EU.

There is no deal to be had, this much must be apparent to any impartial observer, but look at the jobs created in not achieving an agreement. Armies of lawyers, lobbyists, experts and advisors, all working to one end – stalemate. A state of inertia suits everybody except the majority and if we have learned anything these past few years, the will of the majority is irrelevant in the mutant form of democracy we practise today. Referendums have been held in a handful of EU member states and their outcomes overturned or simply ignored.

This is now the way of the west and it reminds me of nothing so much as the miserable and cynical case of Jarndyce v Jarndyce, so eloquently derided by Charles Dickens in his excoriation of the Court of Chancery. And like other bullshit industries built on the inflated constructs of grievance, self-esteem, gender identity, race, religious sensitivities, etc... we are drowning in the salty crocodile tears of self-pity and indulgence and up this particularly shitty creek nobody has paddles; we are just bobbing around on a maelstrom of misery, imagining we are helpless to do otherwise.

The EU negotiations summed up...

The EU gives us nothing that we couldn’t have as an independent nation, but it can never admit this. It is a self-justifying money pit, creating ever more inventive ways of wasting talent and resources which could be better put to productive use in the national inerest. Our leaders need to wake up, sniff the caffeine, breath the fresh air of freedom and crack on with getting us off the merry-go-round. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step – the mission to bring down Animal Farm begins with Brexit.

Monday, 13 November 2017

The Ballad of Reading Twitter from Gaol

It’s a cold and lonely place, Twitter jail. Here in Worldwide Scrubs, the prisoner of conscience scrawls five bar gates on the walls with his own blood, counting the days, the weeks, to his release. Okay, it’s just the one week but for what? I responded to a race-baiter by calling him a soppy cunt... and then I did it again. But hey, he is a soppy cunt; you know, one of those Lee Jasper types, who believes that blacks can’t be racist and whites can’t help it.

Not a famous person, I should clarify - I know that dropping the C-bomb on the blue-tick brigade is an instant slap on the wrist – no, this was just an ordinary Joe. But Twitter determined that I broke their rules on ‘hateful conduct’. By which rule “You may not promote violence against, threaten, or harass other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease.

Well, I did none of those things and neither was it purely gratuitous; the man was being a cunt about it and I told him so. If Twitter has an objection to the use of a particular word why don’t they just prevent you from using it at all? It may not be everybody’s go-to profanity but have you heard what is considered acceptable in wider public discourse today? Especially among the young... who are, we are constantly told, the future. Chaucer would be rubbish at Twitter.

But of course, banning words is the start of a slippery slope, so Twitter doesn’t do that; it bans people instead. Like the precious university children no-platforming speakers with whom they think they might disagree, social media has a poor record on freedom of expression. It’s fine to bray “Tory scum” and wish death on whoever is beyond the pale today, but call out the hypocrisy of their selective Voltairisms and banished you must be. First they came for the truth-sayers, etc.

Here rots Battsby, wan and pale,
All alone in Twitter Jail.

So, here I am, victim of my own proclivity for wading in when I see blatant cuntery on my timeline. Is this spell on the naughty step going to change my ways? Not a lot; maybe I will avoid ‘picturising’ quite so many idiots, maybe I will lay off the ‘C’ word. (See, I’m already doing it.) But more likely, as many before have done, I will scale back my prolific tweeting a tad, disillusioned by the restrictions placed on my opinions and stick to posting pictures of kittens. Watch this space... 

(In the meantime, my parody account, @Untie4len is active and flogging this blog!)

Friday, 10 November 2017

Comrades!

Real Socialism, you know the one that’s never been tried, has been on my case of late, in the form of a solitary soldier for the cause. This sturdy representative of the Socialist Party of Great Britain was not to be deterred by mere facts, observations of human nature or simple argument. Even their total national vote count in the low hundreds wasn’t a cause for despondence against the shiny-faced optimism of this paragon of the merry, but tiny, band of post-Marx idealists.

Founded in 1904, their single aim is to bring about world socialism, believing that while any form of money exists, those who possess it will always reject the common way and seek to better their own lives. The SPGB mission statement is bold and simple: “The establishment of a system of society based upon the common ownership and democratic control of the means and instruments for producing and distributing wealth by and in the interest of the whole community.” And when I say simple, oh my, relying as it does - and can only do – on the total buy-in of every person on the planet; it’s all or nothing, folks.

Oh, communism, you say, to which the ‘Socies’ will reply, huffily, that they are not communists, no matter how much they stress common ownership, common good and the root word community (from the Latin communis – except Latin is bound to be elitist and thus haram.). But whither the ‘real socialism has never been tried’ malarkey? Try citing the failure of the many so-called socialist regimes and they will denounce them all as ‘state capitalism’, perhaps recognising that without capitalism you have little incentive for progress, yet still rejecting the profit mechanism out of hand..

But while sharing and charity and general philanthropy are very much a part of the human character, being forced to give away what you have hard-earned to those who have done nothing to deserve it is anathema to practically every species on the planet. We compete, we improve, we evolve; under ‘real socialism’ we would presumably revert to an imagined former state, possibly as far back as the Garden of Eden, which makes a belief in the ability to live as true equals without measuring relative merit more like a religious cult than a serious political movement.

In this they have much in common with Corbynism. (Will Corbynism one day join the Moonies and the Branch Davidians as examples of the lunacy of closed communities?) Of course, under True Socialism, our worth will be assessed and our contribution determined, measured and shared out via the mechanism of centralised control of resources and ‘self-defined’ needs. That is, if you decide you need it, you must need it, because nobody would ever cheat, would they?


Even such ideologues as this must recognise the need for organisation and as such would have to convene committees and tribunals, cooperatives and all that entails; selected, elected members of the community who would serve only in the interest of that community and be responsible for ensuring the egalitarian administration of resources. So, ‘from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs’ as somebody once wrote. I can’t imagine how that could possibly go wrong.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Feeding Frenzy

President Trump stood alongside Japanese premier Shinzo Abe and ceremonially scattered fish food into a pool of koi carp. He paid attention to his host and copied his actions; when in Rome and all that. For reasons which can only be ascribed to a partisan – or pathological – need to portray Trump in a bad light much of the world press sought to discredit him as having instead just dumped the food dismissively into the pond.

In what sterile, stagnant world of utter tedium could this even begin to masquerade as being of interest to anybody at all? The Fake News phenomena has been easy to write off as a ‘not happening’, understandable partial reporting by people lacking the full picture, or just a bit of fun by would-be satirists, but it’s not just that, is it? This particular piece came about via the release of a video doctored to show what the editor wanted to show and it was lapped up by, among others, the Guardian and the [not] Independent and spread around the world by social media determined to sow mischief.

The Paradise Papers is another non-story designed to fuel outrage and whip up dissent among the perpetually mediocre – the same old envy-driven attack by the usual suspects to whip up sentiment for the nefarious purposes of left wing politics. But it is well documented and plain to see that if you try to squeeze those with the means to put themselves out of your grasp they will do just that. In fact the very tax avoidance employed by those who can – who already pay far more tax than those demanding they pay even more – is exactly as a result of those demands.

But the appalling logic of the socialist narrative actually works. Live off benefits but also work cash in hand and illegally evade tax and you are some sort of folk hero, a Robin Hood doing your bit to snub your nose at the establishment. But seek to minimise your tax bill in accordance with the law and you are some form of capitalist monster. If you are poor Labour vote-cattle you can’t afford the luxury of grasping what hypocrisy is and the truth must play second fiddle to the vicarious pleasure of a vague whiff of scandal

And talking of scandal, over in the Westminster trenches of the sex-war front the feeding frenzy continues as more and more seedy behaviour is forced over the top and into battle. How many political lives must be sacrificed in the no-man’s land of ‘inappropriate behaviour’ while back at headquarters, far behind enemy lines, those orchestrating the outrage quietly bury the real crimes?

The press, yesterday...

If ever there was a time for strong leadership this is surely it. How the Tory party must crave some discipline right now and a Prime Minister they can get behind. Well, they have one, or at least they could pretend they do. Given that nobody of worth is going to come forward until the Brexit business is settled, the best direction for the government is to get behind the general that everybody knows will be sacrificed in the end and go for one last big push. Don't be koi - there's no point in carping on about it. :o)

Sunday, 5 November 2017

The Age of Unreason

It is the lot of one generation to bemoan the decline in the next. Since man first started recording such thoughts, the undeserving young have featured highly, teenagers being picked out for special opprobrium even before the term ‘teenagers’ was coined. In parallel, the unequal – some would day simply different - roles of men and women have also provided rich pickings for satirists, activists and ordinary people trying to make sense of the world.

Obviously, if each generation was genuinely less capable than the one which preceded it, mankind’s evolution must surely have taken a backward track; it’s a wonder we haven’t returned to hunting and gathering, gleaning the hedgerows for berries and smearing ourselves in our own shit for warmth. But of course the reality is that those slovenly teenagers become adults, change their attitudes and take their place in the world. And of course not all young people are wide-eyed ingénues, ripe for exploitation by venal adults. Not all.

Bu what the hell is happening to the world at the moment? Since the Enlightenment, the Age of Reason, we have been expanding the life chances for every single one of us. No longer are we born and bound into serfdom, into predictable lives of drudge and early death. The opportunities for all people in the developed world are immense and varied, exciting and rewarding. But are we content with this bounty? Apparently not.

After several centuries of progressively loosening the ties that bind we find our world a confusing maelstrom of strictly defined liberties and vaguely stated restrictions. We seem to have a raft of statutory rights that are as if written in stone and inviolable, yet we can unwittingly commit a crime just by expressing a thought that somebody else chooses to misinterpret and find offensive, often long after the words were uttered. We have the right to live our life exactly as we wish yet to do so might put us on the wrong side of the law.

The current Westminster outrage is but one example, with committees now convening to draft codes of conduct and individuals pondering how to avoid the traps. Surely we know the difference between a clumsy attempt to engage and a wilful effort to dominate and control? If we don’t notice the instance a come-on turns into a no-thank-you is that so horrific? Should all public servants be neutered before entering the profession? Should they wear asexual, ill-fitting uniforms to conceal their attractions? Masks? Burkas?

The Prime Minister holds a cabinet meeting

Maybe the whole notion of men and women together in the same workplace should be subject to legal scrutiny and to preserve safe spaces for all everybody should be isolated, working from monastic cells in silence. Hell, maybe they should all convert to islam and be done with it; this sometimes looks like the direction of travel anyway. But, in reality, none of this will happen. They will hold their inquiries, more rules will be agreed and everybody will get back to work unimpeded by allegations of sexual impropriety... until the next time.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Grape! There was a bunch of them!

What’s the saying? Stick and stones may break my bones and here I am in jail... without ever having hefted a stick or weighed a handy pebble in my hand ready for lobbing. Nope, I am here because a long, long time ago, in an encounter of which I have no recollection, somebody I don’t know reported me for words I might not even have uttered. But had I uttered them they may have caused somebody – not necessarily the complainant - some measure of unease... and that’s enough, these days.

No intent on my part need be proved; the merest possibility of offence being taken is proof enough, it seems, of offence being intended. And offence is now among the most heinous of crimes. All it takes is an accusation and off go the alarms; SWAT teams descend in pre-dawn raids and the bewildered defendants – guilty until proven innocent via the medium of injuriously expensive legal action by thug law squads buying off and possibly intimidating the ‘victims’ - are scooped up and paraded in the press.

Recourse to law is of course only for those of means; not for nothing is it said that Britain has the finest justice you can buy. But what of the rest of us? The latest round of witch hunts sparked off by rumours of impropriety in Westminster is ripe for political exploitation. People of power and influence using power and influence to get laid? Whoever heard of such a thing? But, far more importantly it has to be established, is a briefly fondled knee worth the same amount of outrage as a clumsily worded proposition?

All of the hysteria, the jumped up charges, the ill-recalled and misreported events will do little to alter the human frailty, clumsiness and sheer lack of class at the heart of this new distraction from the pressing affairs of state. Of course rape is rape and must be taken seriously and at least they ‘care’ about the women who work in and for our government. But where was (and is, for that matter) the government outcry over the tens of thousands of victims of systematic rape and trafficking in every part of the land where muslims proliferate?

You might say we expect higher standards from our elected officials, though they’ve rarely shown they deserve such trust, but how low were (and are) the expectations of the morals and behaviour of those who live in such ghettoised ‘communities’? I expect that what we used to proudly call a police ‘force’ must be relieved that now they’ll be able to get stuck into this and put on the back burner all those petty incidents the plebs want them to investigate.


Burglaries, murder, terrorism, muggings, stabbings, acid attacks etc, are all very well, but it’s not like ‘real’ crime, is it? And let’s face it, getting down and dirty with historic drunken fumblings in Westminster could be the making of some keen young direct-entry graduate’s career and what is more important than that? Today, as we wake to the news of the killings in Manhattan and the empty words of solidarity from weak leaders the world over, we should be re-focusing our efforts on the real threats to our very civilisation. I’m not holding my breath.

Monday, 30 October 2017

Sexy Beast

News just in - it’s everywhere; they’re all at it! If there was such a thing as a divine creator he would be banging his head repeatedly on his desk. Why oh why, he/she/it would be asking, did he/she/it create the laws of sheer cussedness? You know them: Sod’s Law, Murphy’s Law, Parkinson’s Law and here, the inevitability going under the monicker of the Law of Unintended Consequences. Who could possibly have predicted – save for an omnipotent, omniscient god – that a design feature that ensured the survival of the species would turn out to be so, er, problematic.

Animals fuck; they can’t help themselves. And when they aren’t fucking, they are thinking about fucking, talking about fucking, trying to create the opportunity to fuck or slagging off somebody else for any or all of the above. The selectively sanctimonious media just love it. Take Gove gate (what a long time ago Saturday seems now). My, what opprobrium was heaped on Michael Gove when he observed that an interview with John Humphrys was akin to entering Harvey Weinstein’s bedroom.

The weak punchline was lost amid the howls of derision and anger, completely ignoring Neil Kinnock’s follow up repetition of the arguably closer to the knuckle comments about groping. As ever, there is a divide between the punishment tariffs for left and right; it took several days for Jeremy Corbyn to approve sanctions against Jared O’Mara’s transgressions, even in the face of petitions from most of the rest of the party, while Gove was hung out to dry before he’d even finished talking about losing his dignity. Maybe Jeremy was reflecting on his own sexual shenanigans before passing judgement?  

And suddenly the entire male population of the planet seems to be getting in pre-emptive apologies for advances, real or imagined, from their dim and distant past. It’s a bloody minefield. In a phone-in radio show I heard a presenter undergoing all sorts of linguistic contortions to try and grasp what was considered acceptable. At which point does a compliment become an unwanted advance? I mean ‘nice bangers’ is probably out in most circumstances, but given the lengths some women go to, ‘your breasts look very attractive in that tee-shirt’ would surely be a welcome observation? ‘Top top’ hardly cuts it.

And having negotiated the unsolicited advance without rejection, at what point of persistence does that morph into sexual harassment and that in turn into sexual assault? If there are indeed rules, then we should be told. Men especially are very good at rules, if only we know what they are. Seriously, if you lay down exactly what is and isn’t acceptable we would behave so much better. But this is just the problem; nobody knows at which point any given woman will switch from interested to repelled and we’ve all seen it happen... or is that just me?

Filth!

Honestly, the world has gone stark, staring bonkers over all this. And it isn’t even particularly recent; negotiating the sexual battle ground has always been fraught with difficulty but it seems to have become increasingly awkward in direct proportion to the amount of sexual freedoms won by groups with ever more diverse proclivities. All we want to know is, how do we ‘know’... you know? In other news it has been reported that up to 300,000 people in the UK leave jobs in the UK every year due to mental health issues. Is it any wonder?

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Homage to Catalonia

The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain, they say. There was little sign of precipitation in Barcelona yesterday as the sun shone down brightly on the brave Catalan freedom fighters, or merciless wreckers of the constitution as many would have it. Once again we see the diametric opposition of the happy optimists and the miserable pessimists. In Spain it is the left who are broadly supportive of Catalan independence, whereas everywhere else it is the left who are the killjoys.

For this is what it is, this desire to stamp out the joyous human yearning for liberation. Entrepreneurs, go-getters, call them what you will. Pioneers, brave new worlders, people who long for change, for something new, for something over which they feel they have control. In other words, Brexit in a nutshell. Right on cue, the EU has declared that it does not recognise Catalonia’s claim. Of course it doesn't. 

The first instinct of big government is the urge to oppress, to subjugate to stamp on the sunny, upturned faces for freedom and bring them to heel. No wonder socialist states seem to have such an admiration for islam, they have so much in common; joyless inhibitors of spontaneity and mirth. So while Leanne Woods has called upon the Welsh assembly to recognise a free Catalonia, and many in the SNP say the same, the official, po-faced UK position is to side with the bloc. If we had an independent  English parliament you can bet your life it would come out for the little guy.

Nationalism has been portrayed as Nazism; it’s not. It is only natural to want to belong, but that doesn’t mean the bigger the herd the better. The bigger the herd the more likely it is that parts of it will want to wander off to find their own pastures. Even the United States is what it says - a union of states, but with each one proudly retaining its own identity. And the US has a long tradition of distrusting federal agency over self-determinism, backing the loner against the might of government, cheering on the maverick.

The direction of travel for society may have been heading for the dead-end of ever larger central control for some time but maybe that tide is turning. The next evolution of human organisation might not be the one world government beloved of the scaredy cats but a new devolution into manageable, human sized, identity-based units. I know, let’s call them nations; there’s a novel concept.

Angela isn't happy

Of course, if you are dull and serf-like you may prefer to amble along with the herd and live your life limited by others. Nothing wrong with that; the majority might even be better off that way, but how dull a prospect is that? Fortune favours the brave and as Shakespeare said, there is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. In 1587 Sir Francis Drake set sail for the bay of Cádiz to singe the beard of the king of Spain. Today, the king of Spain may be well be Angela Merkel, but her beard is long overdue for a singe.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Pejorative? No thanks, I'm with the Prudential.

Chocolate stabber, shirt lifter, fudge packer – who hasn’t used a homophobic epithet or two? And if you say you haven’t you must be a bit of a poof. I say a ‘bit’ of a poof because your actual full-on, shove-your-cock-up-another-man’s-arse, out-and-proud gayers are not shy with the self-effacing pejorative. And quite inventive with the invective. Queer dear? Who isn’t, these days? In a world where whatever you last feverishly dreamed you might imagine you wish to be, so be it. You could even come out as a gender ambivalent toast rack and nobody would be allowed to so much as bat an eyelid.

So, the sanctimonious trashing of Jared O'Mara by both left and right is a bit rich. Let he who is without sin and all that... Okay, some of it was maybe a bit strong and all of it now spectacularly misjudged, especially coming hot on the heels of Clive Lewis and on-your-knees-bitch-gate. But the sad thing is that while elements of the Labour Party are feverishly doing the work of the Tory spin doctors, it is a disappointment that those Tory spinners haven’t chosen to just ignore it all and let the opposition bring itself efficiently into disrepute.

The British used to have a reputation for being good sports and preferred a fair fight; this is far from even-handed. Yes the man seems to have been a bit of a low-life by current standards, serially insulting pretty much every possible identity grouping, but at least he hasn’t singled out one minority to bully. So it’s a tad embarrassing to see the side which really should hold the moral high ground – the real party of the workers – jumping aboard the trash train. In a shit-slinging competition nobody ends up smelling of roses.

Anyway, you don’t want to get the Labour whip withdrawn, for heaven’s sake. Let him dangle there, stinking up the place and bringing the party's moral standing under scrutiny again and again. After all, if you’re offended you’ve almost certainly chosen to be, unless you have really never, ever used mocking, hurtful words aimed at individuals or at specific groups of individuals. I know I have and I reserve my right to continue doing so. Judge me, why don’t you? Oh, wait, you already did.

So what? Our political class have long been exposed. Far from being solemn upholders of the law and defenders of the nation they have become hostages to fickle fortune and bend, like delicate straws, in the slightest of breezes. To court popularity the Tories rip off Labour slogans and policies; in desperation to gain the throne Labour appeals to the lowest common denominators. Standards in public life went out of the window a good few decades ago, so here’s the open goal to aim for:

Brexit, Trump, Sebastian Kurz, Le Pen, Geert Wilders, Ukip... These aren’t any more ‘far-right’ than Tony Benn was Joseph Stalin. Their ‘rise’ is a reaction to the indifference of mainstream politicians to the real lives of their constituents. The surge in what is derisively referred to as populism (it used to called 'democracy') is exactly because of the grandstanding condemnation of idiots who would better be ignored. The electorate really doesn’t care how virtuous you are; it cares about what you can actually do for all of us; not just for discrete groups of us. 

Rule Number One: No pooftahs!

Nobody apart from the members of these discrete groups cares one jot about the ever more finely chopped and diced UK population. Ghettoes, physical or merely suggested, do none of us any good, but for too many years that’s the way our supposed multiculturalism has driven us. When a party appears that can truly put identity politics to one side and stick to a simple narrative of single nationhood, driven by the common good, that party will deserve its victory. Until then I guess it’s back to politics as usual... you big bunch of pooftahs.

Monday, 23 October 2017

The future will be with you shortly

Among all the many imponderables there is one, highly noticeable effect of the Brexit vote and that is the clear division between those who voted to leave and those who voted to remain. On the one side is a band of bright, positive individuals, eager to greet the future and straining at the bit to get on with the job. On the other side is a Borg-like hive of naysaying malcontents, parroting their leaders and claiming to know what lies ahead. And their collective vision is a nightmare.

But there is good news for all. The future is simultaneously unknowable, exciting, filled with opportunity and ‘what you make it’. We learn from past mistakes – arguably this is the main reason the slim majority voted to leave – and try and avoid them. Humans are decision makers, using knowledge and experience to make every fuck up a new and different fuck up. Sometimes, despite ourselves, we might actually get it right. Leavers are not rushing to hurl themselves blindly off a cliff edge; they are looking for new ways to fly.

Into every life a little rain must fall. In the past we have experienced world wars, the sudden decline of massive industries, natural disasters and plain bad luck. People have bet the farm and lost. They have entered into disastrous marriages and ended up broken, yet they mend in time. Some people will lose out after we leave; those people should be planning to minimise their losses. Some people will gain and they should be planning to maximise their gains.

But for most people, the world will simply keep on turning. You will still be able to do the things you do now. Your pay packet will never quite be enough to pay for all you crave. Interest rates will rise and fall, pension plans will ebb and flow and just when you are back in the black your car/house/kidneys may fail. Some people will deal with calamity by calmly picking themselves up and getting back on their feet. Others will go to pieces. At the moment I think we are getting a clear idea about which group is which.

If I was an employer, looking to add to my workforce – and one day statistics may bear this out – how you voted might be of great interest to me. Remainers seem to be relentless pessimists, very happy to point to every negative thing as being directly caused by their Brexit bête noire; how might this indicate how they will cope should my business one day be in trouble? On the other hand, Brexiteers seem to be happy souls, full of drive and keen to make a success of it, whatever happens. Just a thought.


So, when you next see a Remainer blasting all Leavers as poorly educated, small-minded, xenophobic, regressive troglodytes, you may want to bear the following in mind. Such Remainers are ignorant wreckers, oblivious to any ‘facts’ which detract from their doomsday narrative and eager to cling to any evidence, no matter how flimsy, or how contrived, that everything will end badly. The derided Leavers, in contrast, are ready for the challenge, up for the fight and will do their very best to make a success out of it. As we face ‘the end of the world as we know it’ whose company would you prefer to keep?

Friday, 20 October 2017

Starving

Tom Watson is reported to be on hunger strike to express solidarity with prisoners in Guantanamo Bay. But maybe he's secretly hoping to just to shed a few pounds before Christmas, or get back to his beach body weight? I wonder if he recognises that doing something from which he may directly benefit is hardly a sacrifice. I wonder also if he has fully thought it through. It’s one thing for somebody under extreme stress to be capable of denying themselves sustenance, but for somebody living a comfortable life and obviously fond of pudding this might prove an impossible challenge.

What if nobody notices? Or worse, what if he openly flaunts this fast but gorges himself nightly like a muslim in ramadan? If the weight doesn’t fall off him in an appallingly unhealthy manner questions will be asked in the house. On the other hand it may start a trend; who wouldn’t like to see John Prescott or Eric Pickles stepping away from the pies? Of course, Tom Watson may be made of sterner stuff and he isn’t the only parliamentarian to have tried this.

The British Isles' most famous hunger-striker and one who carried right through to the end was Roibeárd Gearóid Ó Seachnasaigh, better known as Bobby Sands, who led the 1981 protest in the infamous Maze prison. The strike was in protest against the removal of Special Category Status for IRA political prisoners, treating them merely as criminals. During this period he was elected to the British Parliament as an Anti H-Block candidate. His subsequent death in prison was a clarion call to the faithful and caused a spike in both recruitment to the cause and renewed terrorist activity. Be careful what you wish for, Tom.

Actually, 1981 wasn’t the first time for Bobby Sands. While he was in prison in Long Kesh in the early 1970s he tried to do something similar. During his three years under lock and key he announced his decision to go on hunger strike, alone this first time, to protest against his treatment. But this attempt only lasted a few days before he broke the fast. As everybody expects Tom Watson to buckle early, perhaps this is the model he intends to follow, rather than the ten-in-the-Maze example.

Tom - no more pies - Watson, on hunger strike yesterday

Records have now been released from that period, including the testimony of the guard who persuaded Sands to give up on his mission. It seems they had become close – as far as prisoner and jailer can become – and many conversations were had while he was refusing to eat. He was recently interviewed for a Panorama programme about the period and directly asked about how he had managed to get Sands to give up. “Well in the end it was quite easy,” Said the prison guard, “actually, it was a piece of cake.”

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Community, innit?

Nick Ferrari was at his berating best yesterday, when doing battle with the phone-in public commenting on his suggestion that stop and search should be reinstituted. His reasoning? That the surge in London knife crime coincided exactly with the scaling back of stop and search. He stayed behind the line that most of us would have hovered over – that the ethnic make-up of London has a significant influence over these statistics. This view, common among the type of dreadful racists who no longer call parts of London home, is of course verboten these days.

Various callers chipped in, many taking him to task for expressing his thesis and blaming it instead on gang mentality and/or the reduction in police resources, oblivious to the blindingly simple observation that the gangs in question invariably shared certain characteristics. Easily targeted and very recognisable characteristics; the kind of characteristics that make stop and search pretty straightforward. Almost all of the callers that were against his proposition referred to their ‘community’.

As a white British person – one for whom a sense of community has long since been a troublesome thing to espouse – that word means only one thing; it means people who are ‘not like us’. Community used to imply cooperating, rubbing along and contributing. But the word today evokes antagonistic, segregated colonies of largely non-indigenous people, largely living on benefits and absorbing a disproportionate chunk of what are euphemistically referred to as ‘resources’. Money, is what that means; follow the welfare cheques and there is where you’ll find your communities.

Amid all this is the fantastic (literally) rise in the reporting of hate crimes. Well what would you expect when even the police themselves, normally timid about prosecuting property crime, are actively encouraging such reporting. Breitbart reports that they are visiting mosques to better increase such reporting. Oh, Breitbart you may cry, that’s even worse than the Daily Mail, but there is no smoke without fire.

So, even as we are as good as told that middle class victims are not worthy of assistance, with hate against minorities taking priority, the police ‘service’ is going out of its way to antagonise the people who pay the taxes which pay their wages in favour of people who invariably don’t. For what other conclusion can be drawn from the idiocy of rainbow-flagged new police cars, gay pride police events and yesterday the embarrassing ‘paint your nails against slavery’ idiocy.  

Twitter reacted in robust form, ridiculing Avon & Somerset Police in particular, whose officers were to be seen sporting garish colours with glee and an apparent lack of self-awareness. As community outreach it was ill-considered and aimless – what the hell had one to do with the other? It wasn’t a great stretch that they classified some responses as hate crimes in themselves.

You're nicked; that colour, with your complexion?

With such visible pursuit of those who post hurty words on social media - the word normal has become the most hateful word you can use – together with the regular insistence that they cannot afford to challenge more physical crime and the regular jolly japes that usually backfire on them, it is little wonder that crime is on the up. Given that it appears you are more likely to go to jail for word crimes than for burglary, or stabbing, or rape or assault, your regular crims must think all their birthdays have come at once. May I suggest that a return to proactive physical policing would be welcome and there must be some dinosaurs in the force who are longing for a good old dust up with the bad guys. Once they’ve removed their make up, obviously.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Brexit. It’s hard

The bonkers game that sees the Conservative Party try to match Labour’s fantasy football league of politics is breaking sinister new ground with Philip Hammond’s mooting of a generational tax divide; tax the old to bribe the young. While Labour can shift its stance daily – Brexit sunny-side-up, Brexit over-easy, hard-boiled Brexit – and hardly anybody cares, the government is like a flailing toddler trying to land a punch on a six-foot adversary whose hand is on its forehead. It looks foolish and useless.

I honestly believe that not even Labour voters now actually believe in Labour’s policies, for two main reasons. One, they have no firm, plausible, agreed and deliverable policies whatsoever. And two, they have no need to worry about anything so boring as how the debts get paid as long as the man in the top job keeps handing out the Werther’s Originals. Oh, Jeremy Corbyn, they sing, united in their mass delusion that Old Man Marxism is the answer.

But here’s the odd thing. Across Europe it is the right-wing, populist, nationalist movements which are making progress, shaking things up and giving the big-state, socialist rulers bloody noses. Whereas here in the country whose traditional national character is the very embodiment of Conservatism it is to the left that chunks of the electorate are turning. Because, to those who haven’t seen it in action, socialism sounds so... nice.

History will remember Tony Blair for one thing and it won’t be the war that all the left-wingers keep berating him for; it will be the bringing about of the very character change that is fuelling their rise. The left should be worshipping him. When he said he wanted to rub the right’s nose in diversity he wasn’t kidding. He took that puppy by the scruff of the neck and shoved its snout right into the great big pile of stinking multiculturalism he had deposited on the hearth rug.

So, at a time when Mrs May and her entourage should be circling the wagons and digging in for battle, they are distracted by leaks and leadership challenges and self-destruct suggestions like ‘let’s hike up the taxes on our most loyal supporters’. The EU team are laughing down their sleeves at us and frankly taking ‘le piss’, shrugging their shoulders and saying ‘non’ at every turn. And in this they are aided and abetted by a Labour Party willing to simply acquiesce and submit entirely to the EU’s demands.

Submission is quite a handy stance, too, when it comes to Labour’s love affair with islam. Under a Labour administration many more muslims will hold positions of power, the borders will be as porous as surgical gauze and the economy will be entirely controlled by Brussels. Corbyn won’t need any policies of his own as he will willingly accept whatever the EU caliphate dictates.

Stop asking the electorate and start leading them!

So what’s to be done? Aping Labour policies has never served the Tories well; they should immediately refrain from going down that track. Trying to buy off the student vote is pointless anyway because young people will always hate to hear the truth especially from the Tories. Instead Mrs May should take a leaf out of Europe’s book. Not the EU, but the people of Europe. Take a right turn, resurrect your Conservatism and give us a ballsy, what-the-people-voted-for, outright rejection of everything the EU stands for. 

Monday, 16 October 2017

Syllo-jizm

I’ve been taking a break from daily blogging; it can be such a chore. But sometimes you come across useful idiocy of such quality you just can’t ignore it. Twitter is a target-rich environment in that regard in any case, but Carlos was a particular treasure. Repeatedly citing a letter in an obscure journal as objective proof of his thesis he took on all-comers like a short, ginger-bearded Scotsman on speed.

His thesis, you ask? That capitalism is a voracious killing machine. Putting aside the fact that businesses would fail quickly indeed if they set about executing their work forces, the man’s entire argument revolved around his cast-iron faith in, I guess, the kinder, gentler politics espoused by Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell. So, to sum up: capitalists are murderers, because I say so. And then, to add some texture to this bland offering; therefore they must also be sociopaths and cowards, to boot.

A syllogism is a perfectly valid form of reasoning in which a conclusion is drawn from two given or assumed premises. For example, Aristotle’s "Barbara" syllogism has the major premise that ‘All men are mortal.’ The minor premise is ‘Socrates is a man.’ The conclusion being, ‘Socrates is mortal’. But not all syllogisms are equal and the form is often used to draw a pre-determined and often derogatory conclusion, to wit: Racists are stupid, stupid people voted for Brexit, therefore Brexit is racist.

Carlos’s reasoning was both simple and wrong, but he wouldn’t be shifted from his indefensible position and he kept coming back, all whirling claymore and thrashing sporran, again and again. We all feared for his sanity. You can read the thread here if you have the stomach for it. Feel free to join in:[Link

Tyrants do not provide welfare for the masses. Tories wish to keep the UK welfare state affordable. Therefore Tories are tyrants... and by extension, so is anybody who expresses agreement with a single Tory policy. This is the key to leftists thinking – begin with the conclusion that Tories are evil, then work backwards by any means necessary to assemble your proof. On no account should you challenge your beliefs and in particular you must never critically examine what alternatives Saint Jeremy offers the faithful

Labour repeats, over and over, that they will fix our economy, our society, for the many, not the few. They run this mantra past the flock on a daily basis. They say they will somehow fund hundreds of billions of pounds of public spending from tackling tax evasion, entirely missing the point that tax evaders do so because they can. They tell the wicked witch story of a rich class of cruel fat cats exploiting the workers without ever wondering where the workers will find employment without the employers. They talk of public ownership of infrastructure and utilities with no mention of how they will buy back these assets. In short, they lie.

Now that's what you call logic!

So here we are at our conclusions. People like to hear nice things | The Labour Party says nice things | The Labour Party must be nice. Conversely: The truth is often hard to bear | The Tories are trying to work within economic realities | The Tories must be cruel, heartless sociopathic bastards. Pick your pill – the ultimate irony being that it is the blue one which sends you back to serfdom.

Friday, 6 October 2017

Shrink to fit

We have a housing crisis, by all accounts. And that’s not meant as a dismissive phrase; there are too many people here and too few dwellings to accommodate them. We will build more houses, cry politicians of all colours; then quietly forget they ever promised any such thing. Pledges to ease the squeeze all end up forgotten when the knee-jerk response later turns into an ‘ambition’, or an ‘aspiration’. Nothing changes, except the scale of the problem. And yet it is all so simple, at heart.

Too much demand, too little supply. If we can’t build more houses where people want to live, that they can afford to live in – and the evidence of decades seems to be that we can’t – then we need to turn this problem on its head. If we had fewer people we would need fewer houses; it really is that simple. The trouble comes in persuading people that our Ponzi economy is all wrong. We don’t need millions of grunts working at sub-minimum wage, propped up by the few truly productive. We need real jobs with real purpose and none of the bollocks. (You know who I’m looking, you there, in the offence-taking industries.)

Brexit may very well be a start. Maybe we do need to become a bit more prickly towards foreigners; dissuade the low-skilled from coming here, insist on payment for services consumed and repatriate immediately on conviction or unemployment. Britons-first really would have an effect and we should apply it to all areas: jobs, access to benefits, positions of authority, education, etc, etc. We should genuinely consider shrinking the population and actually become a littler Britain; our survival may depend on it.

Ponzi, you say? Yes. Ever increasing expansion of GDP comes at a high price – see today’s productivity figures - because you need ever upwards expansion and ever more public spending, so let’s do the reverse. Let’s actually put our own interests as occupants of an island of finite size at the very forefront of politics. Not individual happiness and fulfilment – that’s your problem to solve – but what works. Small state, a highly educated population, quality work, skilled, trained, productive and competitive. And we should aim to live within our means, as self-sufficiently as possible.

And if that means we have a little less variety, that we have to pay what it actually costs to produce food, that we need to take more individual responsibility for our welfare, well, you can take a commitment to diversity and variety and ‘equality’ too far. And I believe we have. If Britain becomes a much harder place to sponge off we will quickly become less attractive to those who would do so. If foreign investment pulls out then, fair enough; how bad would it be if we really did stand on our own two feet?

Too few houses? Or too many people?

If this means a smidgeon of xenophobia and a tendency to dissuade reproduction by the uneducated, so be it. If this means we regain a reputation as an aloof, unemotional, pragmatic nation of tacit, cold-blooded queue formers, fair enough. If we demand a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay, a fair go for the little fella, help only for the genuinely needy and the meagrest of dole for the idle, what is so wrong with that? When you think about it, all we need to do to solve so many of our issues is to become more British about it.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Shaking it up..

It’s a mixed-up muddle-up shook-up world. They are talking of cutting defence spending when the security and safety of our realm hasn’t seemed so perilous in a generation. The NHS caters for a wider and wider variety of ever more exotic ailments, administering expensive treatment to all and sundry while pensioners freeze for want of care and attention. Cut-rate migrants work for a pittance, pay no tax and in return are treated with suspicion, while perfectly able Britons languish on welfare which is too generous to turn down.

The government spends fortunes on an army of advisory roles which tell us the many ways in which we can usefully hate ourselves: the diversity, equality and human rights industry doesn’t miss a beat in berating our values. Using the multiple clubs of gender, sexuality, ethnicity, national identity and a myriad other metaphorical pointy sticks they encourage us to beat ourselves up for being undeserving of any of our successes due to our imaginary ‘white privilege’.

Despite the numerous noisy campaigns, various ‘pride’ movements and the many concessions we ‘normals’ have been forced to concede to the – and let’s not be coy - ‘abnormals’. I see little evidence that any of it has made any significant contribution to the sum total of national happiness, productivity, usefulness, etc... It appears to be, much like communism, a zero sum game. Give and take always appears to operate in one direction; any increase in one person’s happiness coming at the cost of a corresponding reduction in another’s.

Take the Tory Party. No babies were barbecued at conference, no elderly care patients were sacrificed and at no point did the faithful don robes and hoods and chant at a black mass. The awful, unacceptable [to some] truth is that Tories are humans too. The difference between them and certain other parties is that they actually want to confront reality and while dreaming of a better future, they understand that we have to consult the nightmares of the present. What a shame then, that the court of public opinion has sentenced them to ape the largesse of the left, but water down the offerings to a few feeble sops which will satisfy nobody.

It’s time for a paradigm shift in society. We have too many people in the country, so the answer is to import more? We have a housing crisis, so we need immigrants to come to pay to build more? The NHS is overburdened? Solution – yep, bring in more people, their families and their dependents, to paper over the cracks. And all the time we are told there is an impending employment crisis... the robots are coming!

No party dare grasp the nettle, but it’s time for some radical change. Get the utterly useless diversity consultants out in the fields. Make the costly management consultants do a decent day’s work in the factories... for once their worth could actually be measured. Force Human Resources to provide an actual resource. Stop student Marxists from becoming educator/indoctrinators and impose some real rigour in schools Slash the numbers of university places in half and then in half again. Children who haven’t achieved some academic success by 15 should be working; everybody tells us how much more mature they are than kids of half a century ago – let them prove it.

And what’s so wrong with people starting at the bottom? - The people in those low-paid jobs don’t all stay there forever and a huge number of the low paid are hard-working youngsters on a conveyor belt of improvement. Today’s potato pickers are tomorrow’s foremen. Today’s burger flippers are tomorrow franchisees and today’s factory production line drones are tomorrow’s captains of industry. And some people are perfectly happy to stay on the bottom rung forever; let them.


If a real leader had the balls to stand up in front of the electorate and declare that the era of freeloading is well and truly over, they would almost certainly be out of office in hours. But somebody has to tell the truth and somebody has to break the spell of socialism. Theresa May had that platform and if she’d gone in hard, she would have been backed. But no, she had to go and promise to give people other people’s money. The shake-up will have to wait.

Monday, 2 October 2017

Party Piece

The party’s over, or should that be The Party is over? The Conservative conference has opened in Manchester and delegates have been welcomed to the city by banners suggesting they be hanged by the neck until dead, with effigies swaying in the breeze to hammer home the point. So much more detail than mere indiscriminate spitting; now we can be in no doubt that the spirit of revolution is in the air. And how.

The problem for No.10 and the Tory Party is that the revolution is not in their ranks. Shuffling, backstabbing, bickering dissent, yes – ‘twas ever thus - but no Conservative reformation, no firebrand, back to basics barnstorming... no vision. And a vision, if not a miracle, is what we need. Where is the confidence? Where is the spring in the step? Mrs May’s hunchback, drop-shouldered, palsied mouthed posture sits in stark contrast with the sharp-elbowed, gleaming-eyed predator we had in the last truly Conservative Prime Minister.

Where is the zeal? Wither the spunk? Who do we have to lead? Jeremy Corbyn is riding high on a delirious tide of juvenile adulation. Labour supporters, especially young Labour supporters, smell victory in the air and the more unsophisticated their political awareness the more fervent their support. Indoctrinated simpletons, yes, but indoctrinated simpletons with fire in their bellies.

In Catalonia the Spanish police have been wading into thousands of people only trying to make their voices heard. Right or wrong, legal or no, the voters were mostly peaceful, but the state responded with a level of force that would have been applauded to the rafters had it been applied to the islamic invasion of Europe. Ironic, isn’t it, that when the people ask to be protected the guardians lay down their arms and when the people demand to be heard they take up cudgels.

What is happening everywhere – France’s Front National, Germany’s Alternative für Deutschland isn’t ‘the rise of the right’. Nationalistic, patriotic, proud citizens craving independence isn’t ‘the return of fascism’. People trying to have their fears recognised isn’t anything sinister, it is the opposite; it is the two-way conversation that modern democracies are supposed to thrive on.

Jeremy Corbyn hasn’t cleverly captured the zeitgeist; he has, by an accident of the incompetence of the Labour Party over the last few years, become the only figurehead who appears to care for the dispossessed. That his policies, his entire politics are an unworkable mish-mash of simplistic populism is irrelevant. In an ocean of cold mediocrity, Corbyn is a transitory upwelling puddle of lukewarm relief and everybody is leaping into his warm, moist embrace for a few minutes of feeling... well, feeling there is something other than the cold.

The Tories are screwed right now. Theresa May is undoubtedly a woman of commitment and has paid her dues, but she can’t connect with the public. Boris Johnson can undoubtedly connect, but not with the grown-ups and he is not to be trusted. Phil Hammond is a snake. And all the rest are tainted by the ridiculous internecine squabbling of the last two years. There is no ‘right wing’ in British politics; all parties have been, wrongly, trying to occupy the centre ground and the Tories are still trying.

It doesn’t work. The wets have the centre, Corbyn has the left, so the Conservatives need to rediscover their roots; if the opposition insist the government is right wing, then to the right it should, unashamedly, go. And when it gets there it needs to fly the flag for honest, unabashed Conservatism. Don’t apologise for capitalism, cheer it. Don’t cringingly pray at the NHS altar, insist it ups its game. Don’t dole out benefits at the drop of a hat, make them the exception, rather than the rule.

Shy Tories? What is there to be open about?

If Mrs May’s motley crew really want to steer the UK through the Brexit negotiations; if they really want to be the party of working people; if they genuinely wish to hold onto power in order to see through their reforms they need to stand up straight, reassert discipline and bloody well say so.  Jeremy Corbyn preaches hope for a better future, based on a gloomy fantasy of never-ending government largesse; it’s about time the Tories also brought hope, based on the optimistic and achievable reality of self-reliance.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

After the ball was over

Transcript: Victim Interview

Sergeant Copper: For the tape, my name is Sergeant Copper. Also present are Elspeth Socialworker and  representing Miss Young-Person is her solicitor Gloria Law. [pause, shuffling of papers, scuffing of chairs]

Now, Miss Young-Person, can you tell us, in your own words, why you are here today?

Young-Person: I want to give a statement. I want to tell my story. [pause] He promised me sweets if I went with him.
SC: Sweets?
Y-P: Yes. I like sweets
SC: Did he say what kind of sweets?
Y-P: No. He just promised me that there would be sweets; whatever I wanted.
SC: Did you take the sweets?
Y-P: No, because [pause, sobbing] well, I never saw the sweets. I mean, he sounded perfectly plausible. You know... whatever type of sweet I said I liked he said I could have. If I wanted mints he said he would get me mints. If I wanted toffees, then toffees I would have, he told me. But I never saw any toffees... or mints.

SC: I see. Did he ask you to do anything in return for these sweets? Anything for him?
Y-P: I don’t know, really. I mean, he didn’t ask us to actually, you know, do anything. Not as such. I think he just wanted us to love him. He smelled funny. Like camphor, or something.
SC: Us?
Y-P: Yes. At first I thought it might just be me; maybe I was... chosen. He made me feel special, you know, like a kind old grandad. And although he seemed a little lonely, as if he really needed me, he made me think it was all about me and that the world was there just for my benefit. He told me that no matter what I wanted, he would make it happen.

Gloria Law: It is. It is your human right that whatsoever your heart desires, you shall have it. Because it is your irrevocable human right to be happy and successful.
Y-P: Yes, but I thought he meant only me. He spoke directly to me, from my smart phone... at least, I thought he did. But then, when I went to meet him, I discovered I wasn’t the only one at all. There were thousands just like me.

Sergeant Copper: And what happened, when you met the others?
Y-P: Well, they were all very nice. All like me; just like me, in fact. They all had a sort of ‘glow’ about them, as if they – we – had all been drugged, or enchanted or something. I felt like I had no option but to do what everybody else did. I didn’t feel special so much then, more like we were all the same. I wasn’t sure I liked it, but I felt I had to play along because...
SC: Because, what?

Y-P: He held us in a sort of trance. It felt like we all knew the words to the song and if we tried to sing different words... well, it didn’t feel like an option I dared to try. You know, I sort of felt that even if I didn’t agree with what he was saying, I still had to sing the correct words, or else... I don’t know. We just all sang along, whatever we were feeling inside.
SC: You had to sing?
Y-P: He made us chant his name.
SC: Oh?
Y-P: [sings] Jeremy Corbyn...

Jeremy... not as other children.

Elspeth Socialworker: Well, you are safe now. Your parents are coming to pick you up after this interview. But we need you to do one last thing, before you go. Sergeant?
[indistinct noises. A box is placed on the table: video evidence accompanies this transcript]
Sergeant Copper: Miss Young-Person, using the doll, would you show us exactly where he touched you?

Monday, 25 September 2017

The Nazis are coming!

There isn’t half a lot of hoo-ha (should that be Haw-Haw?) about on the subject of the rise of the right. The steam is spouting from every orifice as the puffing and panting squawk boxes of the activist left gear up to the next level of screechery. They are all getting their knickers in a twist and equating the surge in support for the AfD in Germany and the prospect of Anne Marie Waters leading Ukip with a call for cattle trucks and gas chambers. Behave, the lot of you.

Far right indeed! You may not have noticed, possibly because from inside that shiny bubble all you can see is a soap-sudsy distortion of yourself reflected back at you, but practically the whole of politics in the UK is slap bang in the centre. The voters for both sides all want pretty much the same things – peace, prosperity, freedom from worry and disease – they just differ in how they think it should brought about.

The pragmatists on the right understand that none of this comes for free and busily crack on feathering their own nests as all of nature tends to do. The idealists on the left believe it should be enshrined in human rights and spend endless hours in their dream state imagining a world of infinite diversity whilst maintaining equality for all. The workers on the right know they have to pay for what they get; and the dreamers on the left also know that the workers on the right will have to pay for what they get.

It’s little wonder, then, that the backbone of the country simply cracks on and the mainstream political parties try to appeal to as broad a spectrum as possible; inevitably, this means they rarely stray far from the centre ground. Last night, in response to a comments about Ukip hardly being ‘far right’ a Tweeter posted the following graphic to ‘prove’ they were, literally Hitler. Quite apart from the alarming scale, which purports to show an extreme fascist tendency for the parties they don’t like, this is a simplistic and unrealistic model.


Well, two can play at that game. Given that some of my detractors readily and regularly call me a Nazi I was somewhat surprised when I honestly took the test some months ago and came out smack bang in the centre. (Okay, I was half a small grid square above and to the right of the line, but I was still devastated!) Anyway, as something of an expert now in these matters I took the liberty of creating an updated and far more accurate version of that graphic to suit the current political landscape. Here it is.


So, as you can see, labels aren't always helpful and memes can be used to illustrate, but never to prove, any point you care to make. And as I’m in charge of this here commentary, I observe that the difference between left and right in Britain is fag-paper thin apart from a few oddball extremists. The only fly in that particular analytical ointment is Jeremy Corbyn’s fan club, Momentum. Given half a chance they would be out hanging Tories from lampposts.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Florence and the Machine

I always had doubts over Brexit. Never a doubt that we should leave; in that I have never wavered since 1975. I also still believe what my teenage self thought - that this was a betrayal of British history and a craven admission of weakness. And right from the start I felt vindicated in my views when, year after year, corruption and incompetence went unaddressed, even rewarded. Wine lakes, butter mountains and perverse funding allocations are, unfortunately, inevitable consequences of complexity.

Running a sole trader business can be tricky enough, especially in a competitive market; being responsible for employing others far more so. As you scale up an enterprise it becomes impossible to keep a realistic overview of the whole organisation and when you get to national level, roles become so speciated that it is impossible for them to interact in a meaningful way. (This is one reason why Communism can never work; you have to let natural economics have its way if you want to avoid both oversupply of un-needed goods and rationing of essentials.)

Thus sensible western governments evolved a useful model of governance without too much overt regulation and a laissez-faire approach to the economy as a whole, intervening only where sensible coordination and national interest were required. If this meant that the French thought differently from the Dutch, so be it; variety being the spice of life and all that.

But with the advent of the EU that all changed. When the common market we were persuaded to join morphed, almost without a murmur, into a supranational behemoth of complex control over every aspect of our lives we began the process which has taken us to where we are now. Anti-Brexiteers demand to know our destination – where will Brexit take us? Well here we are at the destination to which EU membership has brought us all. Like the view?

Across Europe we appear to be powerless to confront a migrant flood which will have a devastating and impoverishing effect on us all, because having submitted to the rule of an unimpeachable junta we seem unwilling or unable to protect ourselves. We are afraid to say anything for fear of causing offence to persons unknown. We accept edict after edict and do as we are told and defer to others when we should be determining for ourselves how we function as a society.

The rise of the EU and its inevitable collapse has us all in its thrall - and collapse it will, as have all other administrations before it. The world is always changing but so many fault lines seem to be converging at the moment as to make this implosion potentially catastrophic. That we were prepared to man the lifeboats before we struck the iceberg should have been a signal to others to look to their own survival.


But no; the Prime Minister who for party purposes granted a referendum he assumed he would win abandoned ship immediately after the result. The shuffling about for a replacement was only the start of delaying the execution of the people’s wish. His replacement was always, at best, a placeholder until a new, decisive leader could be found, but we agreed to give her a chance. I always had doubts over Brexit and yesterday those doubts were realised. Theresa May’s olive branch offering in Florence was a simple betrayal of the hopes of millions. Brexit may not be dead, but the cancer of British party politics will do its damnedest to kill it off.