Sunday, 31 December 2017
Well, here we are again at that time of the year when we are all invited to predict the future, get it spectacularly wrong and then discover that nobody really cares after all. Like the time when I predicted a 60/40 Remain/Leave vote when the referendum was announced. It seems futurology is a game for the experts which mere mangénues should ne’er feign to follow. Seriously, nobody knows the future, so it would be most unwise to forecast events which have yet to transpire. So, here goes.
I have been bequeathed just one vision for 2018. In my deep and tranquil sleep – the happy slumber of the righteous Brexiteer, so ignorant am I of the mental harm I have done to half my fellow countrymen – the only recurrent dream is the open-mouthed face of the proto-Remainer. Like Munch’s famous painting this face looks out imploringly at me and mouths its silent scream. Silent because, having started out shrill, it has risen in pitch to become almost inaudible to the human ear. Almost.
If Twitter had sound it would be a never-ending screech of angst, of impotent rage, of despair, of loss... and it would mostly be coming from one direction. It can’t be coincidence that the apparently disparate clumps of those who espouse the most minor of rights – all flavours of them - believe that they will only be free to pursue those entitlements within the bounds of a supranational administration. Such an administration that will ignore the settled wishes of the majority and happily impose on them the duty to tolerate and bend to those they find intolerable, by force of law
So, throughout 2018 and beyond, the imaginary fight of those who sport the #FBPE hashtag will play out. Every business closure, every dip in the value of the pound, every price rise will be blamed on Brexit and the uneducated racists who voted for it. And every high profile figure who vows – without any obvious power to do so – to reverse the decision will be cheered as a conquering hero. The battlefield will echo to their cheers and groans, their apparent triumphs and their disappointments. But the noise will be coming, mostly, from one side.
What the Remain camp appears not to have realised is that nobody is fighting back. Leave won and they have left the field. Like Japanese soldiers on Pacific islands, Remainers are continuing to fight the war long after it is ended. And while they keep up the struggle inside their own heads, Brexiteers are busily getting on, negotiating the peace. The day after Brexit, when we all wake up and discover that nothing has changed, that no damage has been done, Remainers will have only two options.
It's bright, it's Brexit
Those who are mentally strong enough will be able to shrug, sniff the air, realise their fears were unfounded and begin to rebuild the bridges they burned during the Article 50 period. They will be welcomed back into the fold. But the rest will behave like doomsday cultists, seeing the absence of Armageddon as evidence that their prayers have been answered; and they will strengthen their faith as a result. We will need to be charitable to them and treat their EU delusion as the mental illness it is. We will need to be better than them.
Wednesday, 27 December 2017
We should take with a pinch of salt the reversal of the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) claim that the Brexit vote would slow down Britain’s economy. The fact that they now say “in practice this has not happened” proves only one thing; that economic forecasts are as accurate as ten-year weather forecasts. Or as accurate as, say, Remain victory forecasts in the run-up to the referendum. Economic forecasts act more like push-polls, designed to affect behaviour, rather than to predict it; because nobody actually knows the future and people are fickle.
But, if Leavers gloat over this pronouncement they reveal themselves to be no better than the more fervid Remainers who repeatedly and almost gleefully use any gloomy news as evidence of the folly of Brexit. And both sides have used the “we haven’t even left yet!” argument to refute the others’ claims. It’s as if nobody has even heard of confirmation bias; a very real and demonstrable phenomenon which affects/afflicts us all. If you can acknowledge this very human bias and admit to being prey to it, you have a chance of, if not avoiding it, at least recognising when you’ve been guilty of rejoicing in supposed evidence that affirms your conviction.
For example I give you Michael Heseltine. So convinced is he that the EU is a sacred cow, without which we – especially fabulously wealthy landowners – will suffer, that he is prepared to sell his entire Conservative past up the Swanee and suggest we now need Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour. Because Hezzer’s cognitive dissonance is so unbearable he has attempted to achieve consonance by a mental contortion which involves the belief that Corbyn is a remainer – despite decades of opposition to the EU - and that a humiliating UK climb down and the acceptance of a ‘soft Brexit’ is somehow a prize to be sought.
When we believe something despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary we construct barriers, we deflect, we do anything to reinforce that belief. Or, far less often, we admit we were wrong. It is believed to be a survival trait, this willingness to believe the unbelievable; it’s the herd mentality, which drives mobs to act against their individual better judgement. But we expect more from those who would lead us, don’t we? Shouldn’t we?
Unfortunately, it is the case that we like our leaders to be afflicted by the same visions and values that we possess. I used to think that the absence of a god – any god – is so obvious that those who lead major religions must be privy to the secret that there is no such deity, because the church is an organ for control just as much as any government is and its leaders must be wiser than those they lead. But that’s a tough act to maintain and the simpler explanation is that archbishops actually do – despite the daily and overwhelming absence of any evidence whatsoever – believe in ‘His’ existence. But no, instead theologians construct narratives to explain this absence from our lives and strengthen their faith in the process.
This is you... not me. 😏
Tuesday, 26 December 2017
The old news that universities have been ‘ordered’ to promote and defend free speech, under threat of sanction from a new higher education regulator, the ‘Office for Students’ (OfStud?), has popped up in the post-Christmas newsbag. This office could, apparently, be gifted powers to fine, suspend or deregister universities if they do not meet this new statutory duty. This is the proposal, anyhow. Back in October universities minister, Jo Johnson, said young people and students need to "accept the legitimacy of healthy vigorous debate".
This sounds, at least on the surface, like ‘a good thing’ but I’m not convinced. Up for discussion also is the notion that universities must not become breeding grounds for racism, islamophobia and any other ism-style ‘hate crime’ you can dream up; and therein lies the problem. One person’s free speech is another man’s hate speech; so who decides what is acceptable? But more disturbing than any of this is the paradigm that the solution to regulation is more regulation; and that this is being lapped up by the right as an antidote to the left. The irony is thick enough to slice.
In a society with true free speech your delicate teen would have been toughened up by exposure to different thinking, different opinions, from an early age. He or she would have seen comedians telling jokes about both left and right and all in between. They may have even witnessed debate and discussions where both sides and the audience were willing to listen to a good idea, even from one who held opposing affiliations. But that was never the case anyway; the family and community comprise the bubble we grow up in, so we are already partly cast in that mould, if not yet fully set.
University isn’t the big wide world either, far from it, but it should be an arena for experimentation, for dabbling in ideas and for building a bullshit-shield against the worst excesses of extremism from either side. University should develop critical thinking skills and allow you to discern, as the Americans have it, shit from Shinola. It is as much bullying for the safe-spaces advocates to deny a platform to those they accuse of bullying. And to do it via officialdom is tantamount to official censorship. To then censor the censors is, well, I’m a little confused as to what it is.
What it isn’t, is free speech and expression. When the control of speech is itself controlled, no matter what it calls itself it isn’t freedom. The arbiters of what is allowed will be every bit as power-hungry, as self-righteous and as arrogant as those who illiberally try to push their faux liberal agenda today. We need a revolution against regulation and the Brexit/Trump axis is a part of that, which is why even while apparently legislating for free speech, those who practice it are still proscribed. One thing is for sure; as far as is possible, this revolution will NOT be televised.
Sunday, 24 December 2017
Once upon a time the principal figure of the mid-winter festival of ‘Oh-my-God-it’s-so-bloody-dark!’ was the pagan Green Man. A man of the woods, a man close to nature, a man in touch with the needs of his worshippers, which was mostly surviving the winter and not perishing through cold or hunger. Tinsel? That’s for the Druids! We want soggy wet leaf mould and mud; plenty of mud.
But we’ve come a long way since then so you would think we might have outgrown the need for mythical figures, making our dreams come true. But no, Christmas seems to get bigger every year. What to do next to make it all the more exciting? This year’s town centre, big, gigantic gimmick is anti-jihadi bollards dressed up as wrapped concrete presents or painted in bright, primary colours – another gift from the religion of peace - magical!
In the past we’ve adopted ever more outlandish versions of Christmas, adapting freely from other cultures; Father Christmas, Santa Claus, Kris Kringle, Krampus. And then there’s the nativity and the story of Edam and Eve and the birth of the baby cheeses... And never forget the animals – the little donkey, the sheep and their shepherds, the cattle and their lowing. And of course, reindeer; Christmas isn’t Christmas without the jingle bells of Rudolph and his Slade.
But Christmas is also the time for political capital with opposition MPs tweeting out festive wishes, while reminding us that the current government has personally murdered millions of starving children, burned thousands out of their homes and totally dismantled the NHS out of sheer spite. Eating their inclusive, non-gendered, vegan turkey substitute and toasting the achievements of BAME and LGBT activists whilst damning the Queen and all her family, the festive cheer must be unbridled.
The Momentum team have been working flat out to weaponise Christmas with the objective of getting their man into power. (Anybody remember when they were saying Jeremy Corbyn would be in Number Ten by now?) No bandwagon has been left unboarded, no bad news unexploited. But still they are not in power. It must be an evil Tory plot. The think tanks have been thinking overtime, working out how Jeremy could be given an even greater profile than he already has. It seems Glastonbury wasn’t enough.
How, they are wondering, can the true message be spread? Using the capitalist machines against them they are availing themselves of the power of social media to rebrand their man. Populism is no longer the wrecking ball which Farage used to bring about Brexit; no, populism is where it’s at and whatever people wish at his time of year Jeremy must be shown to be the man who can deliver it.
That'll have to do...
Out with the grey – let’s put him in a nice bright red coat. Perhaps a pair of big shiny boots so he can trudge about and bring cheer outside. And we know he doesn’t drink but can’t we get a picture of him with a wee sherry and a plate of mince pies? And maybe get him to smile more. But who in their right mind is going to believe in a jolly old man in red with a snowy beard who gives away free stuff?
Thursday, 21 December 2017
Singing: “Tis the season to get re-al – Tra-la-la-la-lah!” Except we never quite do. Every year the church seems to be fighting a losing battle against the increasing secularisation of our annual celebration of unfettered consumerism. Neighbours vie to outdo each other with grotesque displays of wasted energy; worshipping a multitude of holy icons in the form of garishly-lit reindeer, sleighs and fat Santas hauling around their bulging sacks. Familial differences are augmented as perceived uneven present distribution pits child against child and couples who barely speak from one day to the next engage in passive-aggressive bouts of competitive gift-buying.
But, for many millions around the world, Christmas is still about celebrating the Christian myth and reinforcing their chosen belief system. Extraordinarily, religion is an exemplar of that very human need for validation. Why are we here? Fuck knows, ergo God. And the very nature of faith is that when challenged by the utter lack of any evidence whatsoever throughout the millennia of recorded human existence, that faith is strengthened in direct defiance of the scientific method. But, they say, you can’t prove he doesn’t exist. But, we say, we don’t care.
And yet we do. It seems that humans are still too frail to survive without superstition and according to Radio 4’s ‘Beyond Belief’ religion is on the rise. No wonder we are doomed as a race if we have to turn away from reason and rely instead on clinging to the dogma of an omnipotent being. It might be acceptable if we could at least agree that there was just the one, all-powerful deity but no, being human we have to make god as complicated as possible because as well as a unifying force we also need him as justification for going to war. Plus ça change...
And talking of change, the BBC came under fire yesterday for a recruitment advertisement: Seeking a ‘Head of Change’, somebody who can “influence the success of the Terms and Conditions programme with far-reaching impacts” and “leverage opportunities for benefits” while they “engage senior stakeholders to understand change impacts” etc, etc and bollocks and anon... The national press mocked them for the nebulous job description and claimed that nobody understood what the job entailed or what its purpose was.
What we used to call coping is now called change management. But the nature of change is that we can never be sure what might have happened had we not managed it. Sure, we can model alternative futures and we can retrospectively imagine alternative routes to the present, but there is no proof. It’s the perfect job – no matter the outcome you can easily present a version of history which shows how we did so much better with you in post than without. And even better, you can justify why your original one-year contract should be extended. After all, we survived until now, but who says that will continue without you? Best be on the safe side and make it a permanent position.
Dear Dad, for Christmas I would like a new job...
Religion could learn much from this approach and should proactively recruit evangelists to spread the word. Forget all that preaching and churchy nonsense – all the churches are being turned into carpet warehouses anyway; the church is changing and this needs to be managed. Wanted Archbishop of Canterbury: The successful candidate will engage blue-sky facilitations to roll out the furtherment of the father in the firmament and leverage credibility opportunities going forward. Utilising the latest faith technology to eulogise the benefits of buying-in, our new change champion will ceaselessly promote the glory of the hereafter. This position is forever and ever. Amen.
Wednesday, 20 December 2017
David Lammy is in the ‘news’ again, although show me a day when this gratuitous attention seeker isn’t. He was banging his ‘Review of Racial Bias and BAME representation in the Criminal Justice System’ drum again, but when is he not? Talk about the effect of confirmation bias. Had the report not included the prejudiced term ‘bias’ it might carry some credibility, but this is a classic example of the cart leading the horse. Like so many such important sounding studies it begins with a premise then sets out to prove it; black kids are more likely to end up in prison, but there aren’t enough black judges.
Naturally society is to blame, or rather, the built-in, instinctive, unthinking, institutional racism of our hideously white society. And because he swallows the revisionist theory of racism - only those with power can be racist - black people have no power, ergo only white people can be racist. Notwithstanding the power he and numerous other ‘persons of colour’ have, by dint of office, he wishes to tip the balance to empower more BAME people and thus, what, let them be racist in their turn? This hardly seems the philosophy of a great mind. This has all the intellectual rigour of Tony Blair’s fallacial ‘let’s send every kid to university’ argument.
If the law is to apply equally, then diversity is the very last thing you want to impose; conformity is the key. Imposing quotas in all areas of the criminal justice system is, like all such measures, doomed only to failure, charges of positive discrimination, both in employment and in sentencing and furthering the divides which exist in our admittedly unequal society. But inequality is an abiding trait of most animal societies and certainly of humanity; perhaps Mr Lammy could point to some successful experiments where the imposition of equality has been successful? Mao’s Cultural Revolution perhaps, or something beginning with Lenin and ending with Stalin?
Or, he may wish to avail himself of the ‘criminal justice’ experience of a number of African countries which have reverted to post-colonial home rule. There is no reason whatsoever why a BAME aspirant should not be capable of rising through the justice system, but by merit. Indeed their applications – all applications, by the best in their field - should be welcomed and encouraged. And I truly hope that their skin colour would play no part in their success. But already the bias is in their favour. The Bar Council would bend over backwards to promote more women and ethnic minorities to silk but they can only work with what they get.
Constance Briscoe. A fine example
Perhaps, instead of trying to convert British society to better accommodate people of other origins and cultural norms, effort may better be expended on integrating other ethnicities into the British way of doing things. You know; fair play, tolerance and impartiality, not preferential treatment, playing the victim and whipping out the race card at every turn. Exploiting difference is what we evil white people do, isn’t it, David old boy? You haven’t really thought it through, have you?
Tuesday, 19 December 2017
One of the well-trodden paths of commercialism is to create demand, then fulfil it. Some things – fashion, new inventions, the latest model BMW, post-Christmas diets – have a market ready and willing to abandon the old and espouse the new. A good chunk of world trade relies entirely on the capricious and frivolous nature of the consumer. But ideas; ideas are often a bit harder to sell, so the vendor of ideology sometimes has to deploy more devious methods than just dangling the shiny trinkets in front of the slack-jawed customer.
To make your ideology more attractive you need to lay the groundwork and sow dissent where there are no genuine grievances, use statistics and surveys and polls to tell a story of the other you wish to counter; to create the impression of damage and then claim to be the cure. Remember when we were told we needed to open the floodgates to immigration because new, fresh blood was needed to do the work, pay the taxes and fund the retired? Now it turns out that older workers are having to retire later so they can continue to pay to support the burgeoning population of young, unemployed but breeding migrants.
Wait, you’ve learned that migration is not a solution but a problem? Shit, we need to counter that poisonous belief. Let me see; bigot, racist? No, that’s been done; people just laugh at you when you call them racist. It has to be bigger. I know, let’s resurrect the notion of ‘institutional racism’. Yeah, that’s it; it’s not you or me who are the problem it is all of us. A blast from the past; the McPherson report had to be returned twice before they managed to do what was intended and come up with the phrase and since then the police have morphed from a bold force into a timid service.
That’s the ticket then; just like fashion, notions come and go so this season we can say that institutional racism is the new black... as it were. Be ashamed, white people, but here’s how you atone: Look into my eyes... now open those immigration doors wide, like a good boy. Are you seeing a pattern yet? Twitter’s latest predictable clampdown on free expression used the fabricated notion of ‘far right’ extremism to exclude those warning of muslim extremism. And the EU is regularly sold as the solution to the strife cause by the EU itself.
Before you can sell an ideology you have to buy into it; only once you have made your own plunge into darkness will you try and sell that darkness as light to everybody else. Thus the hefty spectre of Emily Thornberry – in her mind the reasonable voice of unity - trying to convince everybody else that Momentum, the thuggish arm of leftism with their purges, their oaths of allegiance, their takeover of the Labour Party, is the beating and honourable heart of the movement. The deniers of democracy are touted as the embodiment of democracy.
And of course, the whole Brexit debacle. David Cameron misjudged the mood when he offered us a referendum he never considered he could lose. He employed all his PR guile into preparing the ground; he spent £millions on pre-campaign propaganda designed to convince us that darkness was light. Now, they are trying to sell the unwanted outcome as divisive and dangerous, cancerous and evil. Have they learned nothing? We bought the other product and now we – like all humans do – will continue to justify that decision until something demonstrably better is offered. It is far too late for fake polls, dodgy surveys and false claims. Telling us we got it wrong is just rubbing us up the wrong way and EU threats will only harden that resolve. To sell us this snake oil, you’re going to have to come up with a whole new problem to pretend it can solve.
Monday, 18 December 2017
In the oft-quoted sentiment of Voltaire, "To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticise." Well, on that basis it has to be islam. But that aside, I’m concerned about the way in which we are handling Brexit. After months of tense wrangling, deprecating descriptions of those who voted to leave, expressions of hostile intent towards a post-Brexit Britain and vainglorious pomposity from the burghers in Brussels, all of a sudden Theresa May is declared a saviour.
Heaping praise on her for her resolve – a characteristic for which she is certainly not known in the UK – the Eurocrats declare themselves ready to treat. I can’t be alone in smelling a rat. The process of the public political debate is, as has been observed by many, like a football game between evenly matched sides; the ball goes back and forth interminably and only after extra time and an unsatisfying penalty shoot-out is a result declared.
But like a rigged game we onlookers watch as open goal after open goal is left unscored. We watch as the arguments of one side are adopted by the other and new meanings are imparted to otherwise clear objectives. We want to leave, we said. This became “You voted for Parliamentary sovereignty”. No, we didn’t, we voted to end our thrall to representatives which no longer represented us. There has been no greater treachery than that of the Labour Party; once the great champions of the working class, now mere champagne swilling theoretical socialists, proposing policy for which few have asked.
For the many, not the few says Jeremy Corbyn, then swiftly ignores what the many are clamouring for. Meanwhile on the government side we get a great war of words and the repeated assertion that ‘we did not know what we were voting for’. The fictions of hard and soft Brexit have played out in mid-field, the players oblivious to our insistence that the flouted ‘will of the people’ was simply to rid ourselves of EU control. When one gambit fails the team captains appear to collaborate to confect another; thus Ireland now steps in to take a free kick.
And in all this the biggest casualties are truth, honesty, honour, principal, as one after the other is abandoned in favour of weasel words which obscure and obfuscate, delay and detract from the matter at hand. The language of diplomacy, or as we commoners prefer to call it, lying. We are taken for fools and called it openly. Those few in prominent positions who support our cause – the cause, remember, of the majority of working class people of Britain – are attacked and defamed as somehow working against our better interest; their better interest.
I hold in my hand a piece of paper...
The political class is in cahoots, if not by arrangement – for the sake of appearance – then certainly by instinct. They are united in believing that they know better than we who have to live with their decisions. And they are afraid because Brexit was about more than just leaving a sclerotic and corrupt supranational administration; it was about our rejection of the political status quo. They see their power base quiver and crumble and fight like tigers to keep it. Were Voltaire alive today he would be able to coin another bon mot: To know who they fear, simply find out who they are allowed to denigrate.
Sunday, 17 December 2017
It is Christmas time and in the true spirit of the season, the gift that keeps on giving has been more than bounteous in her ministrations. What a dreary world it would be without the eternally blundering, perpetually challenged, numerically blighted blimp of Hackney. Diane Abbott, MP. Even seeing those post-nominals gives me a smile. Yes folks, Ms Abbott is an actual, voted-for, honourable Member of Parliament; how starved must her constituents be for choice, or how very, very forgiving of stupidity.
Oh yes, stupidity. And that is me being generous because if the woman is not a lumbering, lithping simpleton, what other explanation can there be? If not for low intellect how is it that she can be so wrong on so many issues on every occasion she is trotted out? Why, even today she demonstrated the astonishing level of cognitive dissonance that must needs be attached to supporters of socialism by her performance on the Marr show. Clearly supporting the idea of offering to the British people a second referendum just two weeks ago, she managed to turn ‘the electorate’ into ‘Parliament’ with no apparent discomfort at all.
The woman can’t open her mouth without making a gaffe, from private schools to police funding, from racist remarks about white people to regularly going on broadcast media to defend policy of which she is wholly ignorant. The Labour Party displays a wilful blindness to the effect this woman has on their image when they refuse to gag her. Maybe they are going for the sympathy vote; after all the woman is a mental health charity case if ever I saw one, but fair game for ridicule because of the prominence of her position.
Never far from the news, even when she’s not making it, the latest Diane-inspired madness is the choice people made to be offended by a bloke in fancy dress at a darts tournament. Recognisably Abbott (in spite of the beard) and holding up a sign saying ‘190’ this visual gag was, genuinely, funny. As I type, Maajid Nawaz is holding forth on the radio about how disgustingly racist this was. *sigh* If you have to explain it, etc, but let’s give it a go: Without the blackface, he would just have been a bloke in a dress holding up a puzzling sign.
Perhaps he should have just told people he was being Diane Abbott. Or worn a badge. But that wouldn’t have been comedy, that would just have been lame. I’m sorry Maaj, but it was funny. And all the funnier for having aroused such righteous ire. The guy wasn’t insulting black people, he was having a jab at Abbot the Hut and her utter inability to deal with numbers. Maybe it should have been a fat black fella in a Lego-hair wig? Can you imagine the mental gymnastics the offence-seekers would have had to go through? He’d have been denounced as an Uncle Tom in an instant.
Maajid thinks the level of vitriol directed at ‘people of colour’ (and what a ridiculous phrase that is; naturally I have no colour whatsoever and am thus invisible to the political class) has never been so high. And here we go again, whipping up division, brewing a storm in a teacup, making a tragedy out of a comedy. You know, you can choose to not be offended; but there is so much more of a living to be made out of harbouring grievance.
I’ve been critical of people on Twitter. For that I apologise; I only ever wanted to be loved. So might go the defence pleas in mitigation for those who stand accused of ‘hate crimes’, for which read ‘mild antipathy’. I mean, lobbing a petrol-filled bottle at a mosque is a hate crime, as is beheading a captive journalist simply for not being muslim. Actual crime, fuelled by hatred, is hate crime. But now words are the instruments of war; hate and fear, the media claims, fear and hate – two-four-six-eight who do we excoriate?
The UK hate crime laws are based on perception and hearsay and much of the origin of so-called hate crime is tribal in origin; muslims against the west, the west against uncontrolled immigration, Tories against Labour, the UK versus the EU, etc. So let’s all just calm down and agree that the hysteria and hype is unworthy. Corbyn isn’t a demented communist would-be dictator; he’s just a daft old bugger. And Boris isn’t a speed-fuelled, back-combed glove puppet; he’s just a floppy-haired eejit. Neither is Tommy Robinson a hate-mongering neo-Nazi. And for all his shortcomings Owen Jones is basically a nice bloke who fell for the party line. Etc...
So let’s have a look at a world without hyperbole:
Conservatives – clue in the name – believe in a touch of parsimony, living within your means and generally not rocking the boat. Conservatives are charitable but thrifty and think that you value more that which you have to strive for. Human frailties are weaknesses to be overcome, not ‘conditions’ to be slave to, so large ‘C’ Conservatives have little time for indulgence in what they see as the largely self-inflicted epidemic of extreme minority issues. And they definitely don't eat babies.
Labour – the name is now largely historical – believe in equality and that the state is the method by which this can be achieved. They see as manifestly unfair that some people amass wealth and pass it on to their offspring and would see the wealth distributed as equitably as possible, if only there was a system which could actually achieve this. With a strong belief in social justice they see themselves as defenders of the weak and consequently don’t generally believe in challenging a person’s self-assertion that they are in need.
Me – I believe in self-reliance, endeavour and having a go. But that’s so boring isn’t it, being reasonable? You have to pick a side these days. You can’t have the opposition leader at PM’s Questions saying “You know what? I think you are dead right to pursue that approach and I for one would like to offer you the support of my party in getting the legislation past those bastards in the Lords!” That would be like watching a whodunit where the first thing you see was, well, who done it.
On the political compass test I come out slap bang in the middle; right in the cross hairs. But this can’t be right because, according to Twitter I am 'literally Hitler, spreading my poison and racism and all that shizzle. In reality I think I am in the so-called silent majority (except for the silent bit!). I work, pay my taxes, do stuff for myself from time to time and generally just get on with living. Just like most other people, I'm a nice guy at heart.
But there seems to be a real appetite for extremes; more so now than for a long time Express a preference for a smaller, less intrusive state and you are condemned as a Nazi, which is odd, as the Nazis worshipped their overbearing state. Express a desire for peace and harmony and you are a card-carrying communist, which is odd, as the communists deliberately starved the population of Ukraine and killed many millions throughout the soviet states.
Look into my eyes...
It doesn’t seem to matter what you believe, there is always somebody on the next-but-one tweet that not only disagrees with you but is able to probe into your deep, dark soul and divine your innermost thoughts. I imagine even somebody who does little more than post cute images of kittens runs the risk of being branded a dog-hater. Recognising this inability to empathise with each other I can only conclude that peace and love and harmony is beyond the reach of humanity... but imagine what a boring place it would be if we ever got there?
Friday, 8 December 2017
When did we get so soft? The new Defence Secretary, Gavin Williamson came out and told an undeniable truth that a dead terrorist is an ex-terrorist; a cast-iron, 100% non re-offender. The liberal media went mental – you can’t say that, they said. The legal profession also took him to task and counselled caution; you don’t want to sound like President Trump, they advised. No? At least Trump has either the balls or the political naivety to say out loud what everybody outside politics is saying. And at least Williamson is, for now, sticking to his guns.
Elsewhere, however, capitulation to victimhood gathers pace as students swallow lie after lie fed to them by the kinder, gentler politics of perpetual grievance. Not content with no-platforming speakers who say ‘bad things’ and cocooning themselves away in safe spaces with soothing cuddle-puppies, they can even feel themselves bullied when others use the most descriptive term yet devised to describe their delicacy. Boo-hoo, they say, calling us snowflakes damages our mental health.
Like all these whiny insistences on special treatment this sort of bullshit devalues genuine need. In all the areas that the state tries to help out those who cannot help themselves - mental health, disability, poverty, homelessness, etc. – freeloaders (for money, sympathy, attention, recognition) pile in with their bogus claims and spoil it for everybody. You can’t say this, you can’t say that. Oh, you’ll upset the gays, you’ll offend the muslims...
Trump, on the other hand? Jerusalem. Bosh! Job done. It might be childish, but I get an enormous amount of pleasure from watching the whiners on the left ball up in fury and bawl bitter tears of pure hatred just because somebody they despise has said or done something that most people are nonplussed about or even applaud.
And so it comes – as, inevitably it must – to the pantomime of Brexit and the last scene of Act One. After many months of rehearsal, Mrs May delivered the lines she has been rehearsing ever since she realised she had only two options – treat or leave; and this lady is not for turning. The media also played their part, pretending to gasp in wonder as the announcement was made that a deal had been agreed. This is no deal; it is a simple capitulation to the demands of outsiders that the farce be allowed to continue.
Every PM wants to leave a legacy
We are at the point in Springtime for Hitler when the audience ought to be walking out in disgust; abandoning the cast to play out their hollow fictions to an empty auditorium. But instead, they have decided to play along, delighted that somehow they can see the Emperor’s fine new clothes when all that has been dangled in front of them is a pair of scrawny, hairy bollocks. So, that’s it, we’re not leaving the EU after all. The End.
Sunday, 3 December 2017
In the 1970s the UK was in the grip of strike fever. Union officials gleefully called wildcat walk-outs, sympathy strikes, occupations, mob picketing and any form of action that could bring an organisation to its knees. Even some private companies found themselves caught up in the madness, choosing to close their doors rather than give in, resulting in their work-forces picketing the dole office instead. In nationalised industries, days-long ‘beer and sandwiches’ meetings were held, during which union moochers flexed their muscles and managements were held to ransom.
Inevitably these strikes achieved little to nothing. Necessary redundancies went ahead anyway, in some cases hastened by the very industrial action intended to prevent it. And in the case of the most militant of unions, longer term plans were put in place to render them impotent within a decade. As a result, the Labour Party, the former party of the workers, was banished for a political generation. Talk about shitting on your own doorstep.
It is the job of opposition to oppose. But it is not the job of any responsible party to simply obstruct. Decisions have been made with which you may not agree, but continuing to fight a battle long after the victor has left the field is denial and folly. Whilst politics itself may be a game, governing the country should not be; at a time when differences should be put aside for the national interest, undermining our position is tantamount to treason.
But it isn’t just here and it isn’t just Brexit. Across the developed world populations are awaking, trudging to the ballot boxes and saying no to the entrenched positions of increasingly socialist regimes. Fed up of being ignored, alarmed at mass migrations, the apparent elevation of minority rights above the rest, the fiscal failures of welfare states, ordinary men and women have found their voice. And the left doesn’t like it one bit.
Donald Trump was elected President of the USA. He didn’t just break in and assume control; he was voted in, democratically. And Hillary Clinton lost, democratically. The Conservative Party are the elected government of the UK, albeit by a thread. Angela Merkel cannot form a government, because the German people no longer want what she wants. Those who were promised a socialist utopia are disillusioned and no longer afraid to speak out.
Like the union wreckers of old, the left are not interested in giving the majority of people what they have said they want; they exist to oppose, to frustrate and to generally get in the way of progress. This is somewhat ironic for a movement that calls its politics ‘progressive’, but then, just like the so-called ‘anti-fascists’ their headspace is an irony-free zone. Meanwhile, Momentum pushes ahead with its takeover of local councils, despite what voters actually want – which is credible governance, not ideology.
The left love to talk about everybody else as dinosaurs; dull, lumbering beasts who should be extinct. But if anything it is the resurgent hard left who are the dinosaurs, harking back to the smoke-filled rooms of the seventies and the destructive deployment of union muscle. Then as now, it is the young who are taken in by promises of what will never be; aimless cannon fodder, all too ready to swear allegiance to a false prophet in the guise of Labour’s latest ‘Uncle Joe’, Jeremy Corbyn.
Did you ever wonder what being
on the winning team was like?
Like generations before them they will surely come to learn how they were used, then look on in exasperation as the next wave of recruits marches and chants and does all it can to be part of the problem. But instead of always being against, how about a little experiment? How about a year – one, single year – in which those clamouring for a change they are not going to get stand silent instead? Or, even better, get on board. Try being on the winning team for once; you never know, you might even get to like it.
Saturday, 2 December 2017
I worry about the fragile state of the world around me, I really do. In the winter of ’63, trudging through the snow to our new home, the prospect of a bedroom of my own – albeit for just a year until my baby sister claimed it for herself – was a major leap in our family fortunes. Central heating, windows that fully closed and didn’t let the snow in, fitted carpets, a refrigerator, telephone and other such luxuries were many years in the future but at least we had, for the first time, an inside toilet.
This isn’t some pity-me, poverty story; I’m not even sure we were really so aware that we were poor. It was simple reality for millions of ordinary families across the land. A council house, a coal fire and a rented television... when we had electricity. Education and hard work were the ways up and out and the grammar school system was like winning the lottery for council house kids like me – and it was for access to this grammar school that we ended up here in an older house and not in the brand new house reserved for us on the other side of town.
The stirrings of social protest were abroad, but demonstrations were something only the hippies and the deranged had time for. The working class was generally pretty grounded and sacrifices made now, everybody seemed to agree, would yield dividends in the future. And things got better, for everybody; yet not everybody was satisfied. While the silent majority got on with the job of making ends meet, the malcontents were laying the ground for recruitment to the causes of cultural mayhem.
If you believe the hysteria, we are at tipping point on so many metrics – financial meltdown, climatic Armageddon, the mother of all Brexits, Trump - the literal anti-Christ - homelessness, child poverty, foodbanks, gender identity, women’s rights, the pay gap, the equality gap... gaps gaping as wide as the eye can see. Gaps created first by not taking the concerns of our minorities seriously and then by taking them far too seriously.
Triggered; the default state of the
And yet, the sun rises, people go to work and the word keeps on turning. The huddled masses carry on almost as if they weren’t watching and don’t care... because they’re not. And they don’t. Furthermore they don’t need to. Selection may no longer be purely ‘natural’ but selection is an intrinsic part of our human story; we can make choices. Admittedly, not everybody has a cornucopia of options to take, but we all still have choices.
We can choose to be a victim, or we can choose not to let life grind us down. We can choose to be selfish, altruistic, or – if we have the means and the disposition – both. We can choose to take offence, even on behalf of others, or we can choose to cheerily suck it up. The poor will always be with us, especially when we make the definition of poverty subjective. But poverty is the absolutely best incentive to seek something better and most of the poor are doing just that.
The massed ranks of the protesting classes aren’t made up of poor people. They aren’t even really speaking for those people; those people are busy digging themselves out and many will succeed, unaware of the clamour raised in their name. The angry screeching you hear all around is the noise of the bubble. The echo chamber of the righteous who imagine that it matters; who think they know. In their minds they speak out for society, when in fact they are apart from society, existing in their own little fantasy world of impotent rage.
But where do they go from here? When our current crop of bien pensants wake up and realise all their protest has achieved nothing will they become the new charity cases? Clapped out, unemployable, mentally unhinged adult babies, forever trying to recreate their glory days; like Baby Jane – whatever happened to her? I almost feel sorry for them; poor things.
Sunday, 26 November 2017
Even if you don’t look very far, every day you will hear, or read about, the rise of the ‘far right’. It is taken as a given by otherwise sober news outlets, that Brexit and other recent phenomena are entirely the result of a concerted onslaught on our hearts and minds by manipulators spreading ‘hate’. The Nazis never went away, they imply, they just took jobs at the Daily Mail, although this article in said organ does a fair job of outing the real source of hatred in the today’s increasingly uncertain world. Swallow your revulsion and read it.
A key descriptor here is the word ‘activist’. Political activists pretty universally fly the flag of one particular colour and that isn’t the hue of blue. Indeed, people on the supposed right are more noticeable by their lack of activism. No mass demonstrations, no rioting when they don’t get their way. They don’t engage in looting or pointlessly destroying other people’s property and it almost unheard of for a ‘rightie’ to issue cheap death threats or wish cancer on their opponents. They are far too busy working for a living and pursuing what the left term as their hateful ideology.
The Mail may not be the finest newspaper out there and yes it does display a bias towards the British and towards traditional British values, but promoting hate? Do me a favour!. Live and let live and self-reliance may be anathema to the left, but it hardly constitutes hatred, let alone a definable political ideology. People on the notional right are far more likely to be apolitical at heart and tend not to impose their world-view of the on the rest, saying only, ‘it’s up to you’ and ‘life is what you make it’... and ‘mustn’t grumble’. It’s hardly the stuff of revolution, is it?
The Mail article linked above responsibly exposes the utter hypocrisy of the ‘Stop Funding Hate’ movement. In common with all its kindred tribes – Hope Not Hate, Reclaim the Streets, Unite Against Fascism – the collective often referred to as ‘Antifa’ rely on the unthinking obedience of its mostly juvenile acolytes. As they parade their banners and screech their slogans and spit and snarl, the degree of cognitive dissonance on display is remarkable, even for their incredibly high threshold of tolerance towards holding competing views without seeing the contradictions. They punch people because they are more peaceful.
Such malcontents talk openly and without fear of censure about causing physical harm, sexual abuse and even death to people for whom they hold the deepest enmity, yet cannot see in themselves that which they are determined to prove exists in others: Trawling through a news story for the flimsiest hint of antipathy, such as referring to a foreigner as, say ‘a foreigner’ they will, on finding (or imagining finding) such references, instinctively scream ‘Hate Crime!’ And then in denouncing this crime will call for their followers to demand the metaphorical public dismemberment of the person who dared to type the hate-filled word.
This is how Corbyn and his rabid fans will be brought low – when one day it dawns on them that the much-promulgated and fervently hoped-for ‘rise of the right’ simply does not exist. When the supposed far-right atrocities turn out never to have occurred. When they awake from their dream amid the burning ruins of the city they used to call home. When the camp followers one day - perhaps while setting fire to a pregnant woman for daring to say she didn’t think all Tories were murderers - suddenly wake up and ask themselves... Are WE the baddies?
Saturday, 25 November 2017
Did anybody expect anything more positive from Brussels? The latest play in the interminable mind game that is the uneven contest between the 27 other EU countries and the one domino that will topple the lot is to give us ten days to ‘do better’. This is, of course, code for ‘capitulate’. But from what we’ve seen so far – and always suspected – the collective that calls itself the EU (but would be more correctly referred to as ‘the enemy’) has no intention of bending. Far from it; should Theresa May offer them £40billion, they would insist on 60. The goalposts are not so much moving as dancing.
And during it all the endless leaks of supposedly confidential information. Tittle-tattle about he said/she said. Secret pacts, deals, Remainer cabals, offside briefings and the relentless whine of diehard Europeans intent on slandering all who voted leave as ill-educated, narrow-minded, xenophobic, low-grade, old, clapped-out and rotten-to-the-core neo-Nazis. Gleefully they tell each other that Leavers are dying out; one hard winter, they reckon and the balance will tip.
It can’t escape anybody’s notice that the frenzy, the quasi-religious fervour and the threats, cat-calls and jeers are coming, almost exclusively from one side. If only they had the dignity displayed by the vast majority of Leavers during the 40 long years of hope. Had we lost, they insist, we would be behaving just the same, but it is simply not true. We may not have taken the defeat lightly, but I like to think that – just as with the quiet certainty of the
right rest, in contrast to the shrieking fantasies of the left – Leavers
would have accepted the result, for now at least, and made the best of it.
But hey, the festive season is almost upon us and we have ten days to ‘do the right thing’ and ‘improve’ our offer. Let’s join together and celebrate in song with the Ten Days of Brexit.
On the Tenth day of Brexit,
The EU sent to me:
Ten Lords a-Leaking,
Nine Goalposts Dancing,
Eight Merkels Moaning,
Seven Deadlines Slipping,
Six Geezers Braying,
Four Calling Foul,
Three Flying Fucks,
Two Fingers Raised,
Three Flying Fucks,
Two Fingers Raised,
And a Parliament in a Quandary.
There, if that doesn’t bring peace and harmony throughout Euroland, I really don’t see what more we could possibly do.
Friday, 24 November 2017
The budget always brings out the worst in people. What’s in it for me, they ask, or, quite frequently, what’s in it for the poor and downtrodden, for the halt and lame, for the children? And behind all of this confusion of greed and envy, virtue-signalling demands for playing fields to be levelled, successful enterprise to be punished and equality to be magically brought about, is a basic incomprehension about the whole purpose of the budget. The budget is not about you, or me. It is about the economy as a whole and how the government is going to pretend to not be shitting themselves.
Nor is the budget a recipe for a bright new future because the budget, as always, is how to make the government’s annual national income of twenty pounds stretch to cover the demands to spend ‘twenty pounds ought and six’. Result, as Mr Micawber famously declared, misery. And while people bang on about the nebulous notion of ‘fairness’ they are quite unheeding of the fact that one man’s idea of fairness is another man’s example of greed. I worry about the fragile state of the western world today in which everything is about how much we think we need and so little is about how we earn it.
In the book ‘Mistakes were made (but not by me)’ the authors discuss the way we all believe the blame lies elsewhere. It seems to be an innate human trait to demand that others rectify the perceived wrongs and that we are blameless and pure of heart. And the perception of fairness may be much to blame. See? It’s not my fault; it’s fairness that’s wrong. And maybe, actually, it is. Here cometh the first lesson; no matter what your definition of fairness, the world is not fair, unless you are an economic absolutist in which case everything is fair.
Is it fair that a fictional nurse ‘had to’ use a foodbank? Well, yes... and no. It may be a shame that she fell on hard times, but is it not wonderful that charity still exists? Did she starve? No. Did she dine on the finest of fare? No, but does she deserve to? Does anybody? What is a fair wage? And having established such a thing would it be fair that somebody who is the very best in a field where talent is scarce should be paid more than somebody whose job could be done by an unskilled child willing to work for pocket money?
These are the questions that are never addressed when demands for a ‘living wage’ and price controls and tax cuts for me and tax hikes for ‘them others’ are paraded in front of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Last night on The Twitter an interlocutor tried to simultaneously convince me that, A) He understood how basic supply/demand economics functions, and that, B) Employers had a duty to pay ‘fair’ wages. It’s always the fault of the other guy isn’t it? What, I asked, if paying higher wages made the business unviable?
The response was an unthinking suggestion that businesses ought to be founded on a detailed analysis of what was a fair wage, then work backwards to arrive at a business model, presumably to then seek funding. It completely ignored the reality that we are all – except for those tiny minorities with certain psychopathies – social animals and the notion of ripping off customers and exploiting workers is absent from how we want to function. Most business owners would happily pay the best wages and sell the best quality at the lowest price. If only reality would let them.
Look at them Yo-yos...
So, when John mad-dog McDonnell and his notional master, Mr Micawbyn say they will raise wages, freeze prices, borrow at minus interests rates to drive investment in wondrous new infrastructure projects to make us all rich beyond the dreams of creosote[sic], just remember the wise words of their literary predecessor: “Annual income one pound, annual expenditure three-hundred trillion pounds, result; Venezuela.”
Tuesday, 21 November 2017
Mugabe is deposed but stays in place by the simple expedient of refusing to acknowledge the not-a-military-coup by the military who put him under house arrest and took over the national broadcaster. A few short months ago, Jeremy Corbyn became, ‘literally’, Prime Minister by losing a general election. The Russians elected Trump and brought about Brexit, even though they [actually] literally did neither. And Angela Merkel is not really German Chancellor even though The Guardian reported she had won a fourth term as Bundestag Boss back in September.
The world as we know it is out of kilter, out of whack. What’s up is down, what’s left is right and every piece of ‘fake news’ is as unbelievable as the next... except that some fake news is real news; if only we could work out which is which. And with no hint of irony Rochester and Strood Labour’s new Women’s Officer is a man. Yes, it’s a man in a dress, but, still... Boys can be girls and girls can be boys who like boys who like girls who like... oh, who cares? But we have to care. Twitter, the free speech platform is looking as if it intends to de-platform those whose activities – even outside Twitter – are deemed unacceptable. But who decides what is unacceptable?
Oh yes; control the media, control the message, control the message and you know where that ends up. I thought sites like Twitter, social media in general, were forces for good; if you don’t like what is being said you don’t have to listen to it but to silence the dissenting voice, to disallow anybody else to make u their own minds is just sinister. Last week, during my suspension, I picked up a troll who declared it his mission to ‘denounce’ my parody account. (Really no need; the parody is clear from the bio) Why? Because he didn’t like it and decided that others must not see it. It’s everywhere and it’s all the fault of Brexit apparently.
How’s that going, by the way? Oh yes, still about the money. No trade talks until ‘progress’ is made on the so-called divorce bill. This translates as pay-to-talk, with no guarantees of any return for that investment, a stipulation we must reject out of hand. Especially as Barnier has let slip that even if we do strike a trade deal we will continue to be effectively under
German EU rule long after. It appears that now it’s
the EU who want to have their cake and eat it, reserving to invoke a no-deal option even post-deal.
It's the illizardatti, obviously
Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. The supposed kinder, gentler, politics of the left continues to engage in bullying; witness the harassment of Paperchase by bien pensants who have likely never even read the Daily Mail, but know what it is in it because, well, everybody knows, innit? Bear in mind that among these usual suspects are people who believe in chemtrail conspiracies, Tories selling off the NHS to ‘their rich friends’, bizarre plots to keep poor people poor and the royal family being 7-ft lizard overlords from space. I started out by stating the world was out of whack. On consideration it is just the same as always... only more so.
Friday, 17 November 2017
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!
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
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
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
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.