Monday, 30 January 2017
It’s a phenomenon I have been observing for some years now, the propensity of a good and growing number of the population of this sceptred isle to seize upon victimhood, rally round a cause – any cause will do – then convince themselves of the veracity of their intelligence, as opposed to the clear evidence of their own eyes. The Tory Party is secretly engaged in a war against the little people, selling off parcels of the country’s infrastructure to private enterprise for the reward of holidaying on Branson’s island, or partying on some billionaire’s private jet. They are the conductors and guards on the gravy train, packing in ever more paying passengers and stealing their luggage. Yes, Tories will do anything for money and they, literally, skewer babies for sport. We know this because people like Owen Jones tell us it is so.
Did you ever tell ghost stories round a campfire? If you didn’t you missed out on a vital developmental experience in understanding the separation of fact from fiction. A ring of glowing faces lit by firelight and beyond them, the impenetrable dark. Open-mouthed and barely breathing you listen to the tale-teller, seeing nothing beyond your closed circle of sameness; all part of the same Scout troop, identi-kit proto humans. The narrator intones the sacred passages, passed from teller to teller over the years, until you get to the part about the lunatic escaped from the asylum and in your mind you all see the severed head as it is gently tapped on the roof of the courting couple’s car.
But then, in a moment of climactic horror, your heart leaps into your mouth as the assistant scoutmaster leaps into the circle with a blood curdling scream. The jolt both intensifies the horror then brings relief as adrenalin floods then leaves your system. It was just a story, no matter how much you were bound up in it; just a story. The bogey man has left the scene and normal life resumes, the only bit of fiction left, a vestigial fear to instil the occasional blurred nightmare.
But imagine if you weren’t in a story. Imagine if your town changed its character in a single generation and the incomers began to oppress and threaten its citizens. Imagine if the traffic was stopped by people reciting the memorised but dimly understood passages from an ancient manual of supremacy while sticking their arses in the air. Imagine the early morning peace being shattered by the garbled and distorted wailing from tinny loudspeakers. And imagine areas that are de facto off limits to whites, women and homosexuals, enforced by the threat of violence. See then, the leering faces of ugly old men in beards appearing all over your television channels to tell us that islam intends to dominate and then subjugate the country. Imagine all that but not being able to wake up, because it's not a story, it's not a dream, it's real.
If you were to sit around Owen Jones’ righteous campfire you wouldn’t see any of that. As they told each other stories of their goodness and light – the true fictions of today – you could look in but they couldn’t see out. You watch as they enact their own rituals, each signalling to one another until this virtuosity comes full circle. Trapped in this self-affirming cycle, this ‘universe of me’, they invent their own demons, secure in the knowledge that as long as they stay in the bubble they can believe.
But there’s good news for the rest of us, awake in the real world. While the counter-Trump demonstrators are self-flagellating in the cold winter rain today they might like to reflect that decades after the ban-the-bomb marches we still have the bomb. Following the never-ending referendum rejection protests the UK is still on course to leave the European Union. And tomorrow morning Donald Trump will still be the most powerful man on earth...
Sunday, 29 January 2017
There is a new turmoil on the left, whose adherents are saying that Trump is – literally – Hitler and drawing fresh parallels with 1930s Nazi Germany but that is, of course, simple bollocks. It’s almost wish fulfilment as if, devoid of any sensible policies and desperate to deny power to anybody but themselves, they would rather bring down their own governments and import change on a scale that will assuredly harm everybody.
The younger generations in the west have been browbeaten by left-leaning establishments such as state education teaching colonial guilt, the legal system appearing to put offenders’ rights before those of their victims and mass media like the BBC and The Guardian who act as propagandists against the beliefs of many perfectly decent working people. The legacy of all this is the trope that white is never right and, rather than pursue cultural longevity, to overturn centuries of advancement and atone. Atone until it hurts. Atone until national identity becomes something shameful. (Ask a German, they’re quite good at it.)
But President Trump – they hate it when we use his title - is not Hitler. Literally. And it is the muslim faith which is intolerant. It is intolerant of other religion, gays, women, pork, booze and just about every freedom that the west represents and enjoys. Its avowed purpose is to convert or kill; islam – literally – means submission and in muslim countries no other way is tolerated. If anybody here is preaching superiority and absolute control it is islam and its followers, both overtly – we call these ‘muslim extremists’ - and by meek compliance and tacit support – we just call these ‘muslims’.
America already has its own religious fundamentalism, to an alarming degree, but they are not engaged in the business of killing, rather in the slightly aloof, holier than thou, spreading of christianity which is just really annoying. Oh, except for the bit where they get to have a say over what you do with your body. But christianity is dying out, whereas islam is, literally, proliferating; the fertility rate of muslim immigrants is an overwhelming weapon that needs only inaction for it to triumph. The rise of islam in the west should cause alarm, not welcome.
Of course my views are fuelled by prejudice and preconception, but then so are yours... and theirs. That is how human beings work. But at least those of us on the right don’t try and pretend that we’re not selfish. We don’t really like diversity, unless it is on our terms. We white people are happiest when our black and brown and yellow colleagues blend in and behave more like us. We don’t tie ourselves in knots defending one group of ‘others’ while condemning another; we just prefer the company of our own.
So what is upsetting the clamorous protesters so much? The US has a president who is doing what he said he would, is that it? Or is he demonstrating leadership and power in a way his predecessor did not; is that what’s hurting? The muslims of the world have had over a thousand years to settle down, give up the slaughtering and accept other populations’ point of view. If the left believe islam can reform they must be more barmy than we thought. Until islam can sit itself down on the naughty step and think about what it did, somebody else has to put it in detention.
Friday, 27 January 2017
Trump has come out, as he said he would, firmly on the side of limiting future muslim influence in America. "We don't want to become a Muslim country" he said. With muslim birth rates outpacing that of Americans of northern European origin by six to one, his embargo on immigration from certain ‘troubled’ regions is entirely sensible, pragmatic and predictably has riled the left who, for reasons unknown, simply will not criticise even those whose avowed aim is to obliterate all other forms of thought. Maybe they see a kindred spirit.
But, but, but, we need immigration the globalist cry, as if the Ponzi model that has been operating for decades is any kind of answer. We need to take the young of poorer countries to prop up the outrageously generous pension entitlements of the baby boomers. Has anybody, in any government seriously examined this claim? The relatively wealthy pay the bulk of the taxes, which governments, always desperate to keep the plebs onside, spend on welfare programmes of such indiscriminate profligacy that they need to borrow eye-watering sums to make up the gaps.
Why? Because the flood of low-paid workers contributes nothing at all; in the UK we even pay them tax credits – calling them in-work benefits instead of the dole it is – so that they can get by. And then we moan about our low productivity while tweaking the statistics to ‘prove’ they are essential. This need to constantly expand the population, storing up even greater unmeetable costs and dissatisfaction ahead, is simply ludicrous. It is like putting people on disability benefits or keeping them at school just to make the unemployment figures look better. If anything we should be lowering the population, starting with a reduction in numbers of those who, by design, contribute nothing.
But until we get that contented, manageable population in lucrative jobs, owning their own homes and happy to rub along together we have to make do with what we’ve got. Donald Trump, of course, has a long history of finding people he can work with in order to fulfil his ambitions and right now he is filling positions to bring about the changes he wants to see. To which end he has devised the simplest of job interview tests for choosing the right man. Even as Theresa May was jetting over to the States to meet him, he was meeting eager applicants to run his new infrastructure projects, with budgets of $Trillions.
He asked the first applicant, an ex-journalist, “What is two plus two?” whose answer, somewhat predictably, was an innumerate twenty-two. The next applicant was a social worker and she said “I don't know the answer but I'm very glad that we had the opportunity to discuss it." The third applicant was an engineer of some years; he looked like he could have worked on the Hoover Dam. This man pulled out a similarly ancient wooden slide rule and came up with the answer “Somewhere between 3.999 and 4.001.” The next was a lawyer who declared “In the case of Jenkins vs. the Department of the Treasury, two plus two was proven, unequivocally, to be four.”
The Donald deploys his secret army of accountants...
The President sighed, this was proving fruitless and he only had one more applicant waiting in the ante room. This had better be the man for the job; he needed somebody he could work with. A former accountant for PWC the man walked nervously into the Oval Office, his gangly frame and horn-rimmed glasses straight from central casting. Donald looked him in the eye and asked “What is two plus two?” The accountant got up from his chair, walked to the door, closed it, came back and sat down. Leaning across the desk, he said in a low whisper, “How much do you want it to be?”
Thursday, 26 January 2017
Sometimes it is better to make a decision, even a bad decision, than to decide nothing at all. The limbo of dither holds glory for nobody. Rather than be a sitting duck, awaiting certain death at an uncertain time, better to fly into the jaws of fate with a chance that fate may be caught napping and you get to quack another day. It is a feature of humans that for all our big brain power we are often remarkably slow to learn such things.
The leap of faith that launches stratospheric success can also plunge the jumper into penury, but at least it’s living. Sitting, waiting, even demanding that somebody, anybody-but-you, does something is a fool’s fantasy. Take a chance, buy that lottery ticket, apply for that job you secretly feel under-qualified for, start that business, jump out of that plane, streak naked down Oxford Street... roll those dice. If necessary roll the dice to decide which way to jump, but for pity’s sake, jump!
What Donald Trump has done – at least on the surface – is dismantle in just a week, all the inactivity of the Obama years. Some of his decisions will reap rewards and some will be simply catastrophic but guess what, the blood is pumping. The USA is alive with tingling expectation or spasms of dread, but it has a pulse again after many dormant years. The pulling together which happened after 9/11 was quickly dissipated as the failed liberal-left project to neuter the world turned unity and pride into shame and inaction. Well, the boot is back on the other foot.
Kennedy said “Ask not what my country can do for me...” for in truth that way lies indolence and weakness. But Trump is saying “What can I do for my country?” and he is asking it out loud with deeds as well as fancy words. Will he be a great president? Will he be a disaster? We won’t really know for years, possibly decades, but right now he is the man in the big chair and all the mewling and puking of the infant malcontents of the destructive and unruly left won’t change that very soon. While he has executive powers he’s shown he’s going to use them.
Whatever you think of the man, however much you need to believe he is where he is from sheer luck, however much you hope to see him fall, the reality is he’s not afraid to ‘just do it’. Maybe, instead of shrinking, horrified, from even attempting to take a lesson from the ginger-mopped monster you could try it some time? Actually, for once, instead of choosing a side that makes you feel warm and fuzzy but ultimately achieves nothing, you could decide to do something; something for yourself, something better than taking to the streets chanting pointless slogans.
Who are you looking at?
Hey, you might fail, but you already failed yourself and wasted your potential if you didn’t give it a go. While the mob is making a mess you could make a success. Trainspotting 2 opens very soon and as much as Ewan McGregor’s recent anti-Trump sentiments may have fed your fear, Renton’s opening speech in the original movie inspired a generation twenty years ago: “Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family... Choose your future. Choose life.” Choose. Try it. What have you got to lose?
Wednesday, 25 January 2017
The latest variant in the fake news phenomenon is the ‘alternative fact’ farrago. Both of course, are intended to deceive but as Groucho said “Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others” Over the years many news organisations have been accused of distortion and even gross deception in order to serve a narrative, but in recent years the whole business of lying to the world has been legitimised by spin doctors who are now so bold they can repeat a barefaced lie to camera a hundred times without batting an eyelid.
We used to need an outlandish figure like Robert Maxwell to carry off such astonishing effrontery but now it seems as if it is the carefree, everyday normality of organs which should stand for truth and justice. Ah but, whose truth and what do you mean by justice? Is it just to let people starve while others grow fat, or is it kind to let people grow fat and ill while others stay fit and thrive? Is welfare really a human right? And what is the real truth behind climatological carbon? A good rule of thumb used to be ‘follow the money’, but the democratisation of lying muddies the audit trail.
We seem, many seem, to need a backing track to our lives, a tune to sing along to, a theme to tie it all together, but why do we think, or why do some of us think, there has to be such meaning? It used to be religion but what if – and here’s a shock to the system – there is no order to our universe and things just happen? Some things are true and others are not, but every now and then, quite often if we’re honest, what we expect to be the truth turns out not to be. A nutter kills Saint Joe Cox, which somehow proves that all who voted to leave the EU are vexatious simpletons with Nazi sympathies. Yet looters who plunder businesses and try to harm the police are excused because they’re upset about the outcome of a vote.
These things aren’t really part of an organised whole, but the extent to which some parts of the whole are organised can be telling. It’s hard enough to distinguish truth from tittle-tattle from the vantage point of a distant observer, but how do you do it when you are a throbbing part of the enraged mob? Is it an ideology, or just a fun day out in town? The flimsy rationale for some allegiances often hangs by a single thread; the left is good, therefore the right is bad and there’s an end to it. Once you have decided which side you’re on that side can do no wrong, but how do you break free from groupthink?
To be able to tell fact from fiction you need to do more than accept face-value, bias-confirming soundbites. You need to be educated but not indoctrinated, widely read but not too fickle, informed but also incisive. Oh and you need to be impartial, the hardest thing of all. It is said that critical thinking skills are thin on the ground but even possessing all of the above humans are notorious for making poor choices: ‘I can’t afford the thing, I can’t afford the thing... Honey, I bought the even more expensive version of the thing!’
The expensive thing many seem to want to buy right now is that life can be made wonderful by the application of government. Dream on. You want a good life, you have to work for it. It really is as simple as that... you just have to break free of the chains you have meticulously wrapped around your thinking. It is nobody else’s job to make you wealthy, healthy or happy... or wise. This, undeniably, is true, but it’s also hard. What’s the alternative? There isn’t one, but sometimes it is just easier to accept the truth you want to hear.
Tuesday, 24 January 2017
After the kerfuffle of the last seven months it’s about time we took stock of where we are and how we got here. A lot of people are very upset – very, very upset – that despite no actual rights having been withdrawn from them, other people have the temerity to suggest that maybe some of those rights are worth examining for legitimacy and worth. And a whole lot more people are angry because they’re angry, following the whining zeitgeist because, hey, it’s a day out and a chance for selfies in the great outdoors.
But how dare we, for instance, challenge the new orthodoxies of gender fluidity, climate change urgency and equality for all, regardless how obviously unequal human specimens prove to be? How dare we question whether we can afford the sort of welfare state that has increased first world borrowing beyond our ability to even control the deficit? (Children are the future, right? So let’s spend their inheritance and fuck the consequences.) What right have taxpayers to insist that we see value for our contributions; are we unaware that there are people out there who don’t even have the privilege of paying tax?
The protesting classes talk about division yet spend half their time dreaming up impressive new ways to divide society into ever more esoteric sections; the LGBTQ+++ phenomenon is but one example. The malcontents demand more funding to address perceived shortfalls and label anybody asking the simple question “How do we pay for it?” as any one of a hundred different types of bigot for expressing their simple concern. When you think about it those of a leftist persuasion are endlessly inventive when it comes to thinking up ways to hate us simple folk who see things far too clearly for our own good.
It’s not enough though, is it, being logical, calm, measured and phlegmatic... or ‘British’ as we used to call that. David Cameron suggested we should ‘hug a hoodie’; maybe we need to consider cuddling a communist because it’s sure as hell they are not going to make the first move to reconciliation. Brexit should be an opportunity to rediscover shared values but no matter how much the Remainers try and push the right-wing hate-crime narrative, the invective seems to be pretty much a one way street... look left before crossing. Take this charmer who called LBC to say he wants those who voted for Brexit to suffer for what he sees as their ignorance.
For not one second did he consider that their simple wish to regain independence from an increasingly sclerotic political experiment had any merit. Complexity may bring benefits to the superior few whose intellect allows them to simultaneously espouse opposing ideologies without wincing but simplicity can be understood by all. That’s a part of what we were voting for; grand projects like the EU don’t simplify things; making all causes equal, no matter how contradictory, doesn’t simplify things.
Keep it simple, stupid!
And we do need to simplify things because when it gets too complex, only those able to rise above the contradictions – doublethink, in Orwellian terms – can thrive. We want the simplicity of knowing what is good and what is bad, what is right and what is wrong. And more importantly, we want the simplicity that allows us to understand how to live with each other without squabbling over ever more irrelevant causes. In advocating for endless division and derision the left has long abandoned the moral high ground in favour of browbeating the simpletons... We shouldn’t play that game; we may be simple... but we we’re not stupid.
Monday, 23 January 2017
There is an adage in screenwriting that is as easy to say as it is hard to do; show, don’t tell. Many a budding scriptwriter has found it impossible to avoid jarring exposition in their dialogue: “Oh hey, Marjorie, who was that you were talking to just now?” Marjorie replies “That was my brother. He’s just returned from an expedition in Borneo, where he contracted malaria...” As you reach for the remote control any interest in the story has faded away; the audience has to do its part and having the plot handed over on a plate is of little use to anybody other than teenagers and devotees of the one-dimensional Fast and Furious franchise. What you don’t have to work for, at least a little, is often worthless.
Shouting about your ‘rights’ and demanding that your first-world grievances be heard isn’t showing, it is telling, only louder. And it’s not very endearing. At the #WomensMarch in Washington Madonna declared (screeched would be more appropriate) a ‘revolution of love’ and then went on to say “Fuck you!” to all the people whose cooperation the women’s movements will need in order to get anywhere, namely men. Even while appropriating and monopolising loving and caring as the exclusive preserve of womenkind she was encouraging the sisters to disrupt, disobey and disavow the democratic process.
So, a mixed message then? It seemed so. For one thing, what was it they were really marching about? Women in the first world already have pretty much all the rights that are going. Granted, the abortion thing is a difficulty in the US but you have religion to blame for that. Cure yourselves of those irrational beliefs and you’re sorted, to which end eliminating islamic extremism would rather seem like a bloody good idea. Oh, but no, some of you donned impromptu hijabs to show how very little you understand about the modern feminism you claim to espouse.
But really, what is their beef? As Katie Hopkins wrote: “... a shared sense of victimhood is not sufficient to make change happen. And at its most fundamental the unifying cause for these collected individuals is that they are not men.” And that really did seem to be all there was to it, an opportunity to utter some primal screams, dress up as vaginas and generally make the place untidy; which is a tad ironic, when you think of it. As for those glass ceilings, they’re not going to smash themselves and there’s no point in expecting the men to do it for you. But we still don’t know what they were really protesting about, or why.
The almost entirely left-leaning fanatics seemed to be incandescent with rage about inequality and division and every other imaginary slight they could shoehorn into the proceedings. But would they have been protesting if all the things they demand were already in place? Surely if the ill-defined equality they seek, if they were already safe and secure, there would be no mob offensive. Surely, if after eight years of the Lord God Obama all their prayers had been heard and answered, they would be content? Show, don’t tell, ladies; who really let you down?
Wall of vaginas? Or queue of cunts?
For all the rhetoric, when you look beyond the hotch-potch of hypocrisy and imagined hurt what you see is a mob that appears to be protesting about the impotence of their own anger. They were showing that, no matter what, they will demand more and if they ever get their hands on all that is tangible, they will further demand the nebulous. Whatever they imagined they were telling us, the message was lost as we just saw a parade of angry, mostly privileged women protesting for the sake of protesting. Never mind bringing down Trump, the only thing destroyed here is their own credibility.
Friday, 20 January 2017
The day is come. You can feel the build-up. All around the world, lefties and democrats and snowflakes and gender-agenda-benders and political sheep and Lily Allen and Jon Snow and Alistair Campbell and Owen Jones and Nicola Sturgeon and the list just goes on and on and on... are rending their garments, tearing out their hair, self-harming and generally melting down. It is truly glorious and it’s not going to stop today. Even after President Trump has taken his seat in the Oval Office they will not accept it. Sales of Valium are going to soar. (Top shares tip there.)
They say he’s a clown, they say his presidency will be a joke, they dearly wish him to fail. If only they could genuinely see what we see. And I’m not talking about Trump. There are millions of people who voted against him, just as with Brexit, who are going to quietly accept the result. There are millions of people the world over who are secretly thinking it’s going to be okay. But if the hundreds of thousands of screeching malcontents could only see themselves clearly, through the lens of normality, they might be embarrassed enough to shut up shop, go home and get lives.
Sadly, the intransigent socialist creed runs deep – borrow and spend, bankrupt the country, fail in your promises, get booted out of office then blame the wreckage on the rescuers. Every time. After which they ratchet up the rhetoric and wait for the booby traps they left to take effect. Societal sabotage is in their blood and I guess it’s hard to teach old dogs new tricks. But every now and then a dog will surprise you. And I am reminded of the story I heard from my butcher the other week...
A dog walked into his shop with £20 and a note in a shopping bag he held in his mouth. He dropped both on the counter. The note read “1 kilo of sausages and two pork chops, please.” The butcher was duly amazed, but packaged up the order and took the money. The dog waited, his head cocked to one side. The butcher looked at him inquiringly and the dog barked once, nodding towards the till. Suitably chastised, the butcher opened the till and gave the dog back £5 in change. The dog barked back his thanks and bounded from the shop.
The butcher was, naturally, curious and he quickly placed the closed sign, locked the shop door and followed the dog, which had carefully crossed the road and appeared to be perusing the timetable in the bus stop opposite. Two buses passed, both of which the dog ignored, finally boarding the third and showing a day pass to the driver who smiled in recognition. The butcher hastily hurried on board and observed as the dog watched the passing streets with interest. He finally trotted up to the front of the bus, pressed the request-stop button and hopped off, closely followed by the butcher.
What did I say about letting sleeping dogs lie?
The dog raced up a sides street, ran down a garden path, dropped the bag of meat on the step and reached up to knock the knocker. A few moments later the door opened and the man who answered started shouting. “You useless bloody hound!” he yelled and aimed a kick at the dog. “You stupid, stupid dog!” The butcher intervened at this point. “What the hell are you saying?” he asked “This dog is a genius!” The owner responds, “Genius, my arse,” he said “it's the second time this week he's forgotten his key!”
Thursday, 19 January 2017
Well, I say chaps; bit of a hoo-hah, what? Seems dear old Boris has been upsetting Johnny Foreigner. Good show! Why do you think Tess put him in post in the first place? You see, your average foreign fella lacks the sheer sense of fun to belong to the same club as we jolly ‘Englanders’, as I believe they like to call us, as if we’d be insulted. Actually, we love being referred to as Englanders because it upsets the Jocks and the Taffs and the Paddies so much. What larks!
It seems good old Boz said “If Monsieur Hollande wants to administer punishment beatings to anybody who chooses to escape, rather in the manner of some World War 2 movie, then I don't think that that is the way forward and I don't think it's in the interests of our friends and partners.” Bally well spot on, I think you’ll agree. And given that what he meant was – I saw his first draft – “If that jumped-up Vichy-Frog, Nazi collaborator, cheese-snaffling surrender gibbon thinks he’s man enough...” I’d say it was a pretty diplomatic response to the gibe. Still, it was enough to send the apologist fifth columnists into a spin.
Of course, that nasty piece of phlegm, Guy Verhofstadt, who, because he’s not English, pronounces his name the same way as the clarified butter that makes Paki cooking so greasy, waded in with the unhelpful tweet: “Yet more abhorrent & deeply unhelpful comments from @Boris Johnson which PM May should condemn.” To which Michael Gove cheerily replied “People "offended" by The Foreign Secretary's comments today are humourless, deliberately obtuse, snowflakes-it's a witty metaphor” hashtag-getalife” Sporty stuff all round.
The Prime Minister's official spokeswoman brushed off suggestions that the Foreign Secretary should apologise, describing his comments as a "theatrical comparison". This is entirely apt as we find ourselves in Panto season – another British tradition that the unwashed masses beyond our shores will never fully comprehend. They’re only jealous because they’re not us; as Flanders and Swann put it: “It’s knowing they’re foreign that makes them so mad.” But what is there to apologise for anyway?
If we can’t rub along without a bit of good-natured banter, what kind of an alliance do they think we have? I mean, your average Dago spends half the day asleep, the Eye-ties are more concerned with their shoes than with getting the job done and the Zorbas all grow moustaches in honour of their mothers. It’s all harmless fun, but you do need a sense of self-deprecating humour to understand. Which brings us to Jerry. Herr Merkel’s millions are so bloody earnest they wouldn’t know a pun from a palindrome and couldn’t acknowledge the craft in either. Life must be difficult, spending your every waking hour apologising for... well, you know.
Don't mention the war.
I suppose we ought to make allowances for the poor bastards, born without the benefits of being British. It’s not their fault they didn’t win the lottery of life; it must be tricky being from such indeterminate stock and so easily riled. All of the EU is in meltdown over Brexit so we maybe should cut them some slack. And most of all we shouldn’t upset the Hun; the sausage-eating, jack-booted, swastika toting, heel-clicking Bosch can be quite sensitive about that sort of thing. The least we should do is not mention the war.
Wednesday, 18 January 2017
I never knew the empire, but my grandfather did and having been a child in the First World War, served a brace of His Britannic Majesties before, during and after the Second great unpleasantness. Because of the efforts of his generation I grew up English; I remember being curious that my nationality was called 'British' and I was taught and understood who the other British peoples were, but I was and will remain an English man. It was and still ought to be something to be proud of. Of course, some of the less noble excesses of the British global adventure were known about, but we glossed over that and we knew, innately, that we were indeed a special breed.
One of the features of my very early years was the succession of countries being granted, or claiming their independence from British protection, while yet wishing to remain a part of the recently founded Commonwealth of Nations. Today, I suspect the citizens of some of these countries act and feel more British than we are allowed to do. Because, as I was growing into adolescence and then into adulthood, something peculiar was happening. My first stirring of political interest came when Ted heath appeared to give away our sovereignty even as he assured us he was doing no such thing.
Two years later I watched in some dismay as the 1975 Project Fear won the referendum on staying in The Common Market. The promise of holding that national referendum – the first in British history – was in no small part the reason a Labour government got into power the year before. Save British workers, save British independence, save everything British was the rallying cry. Were there riots? Were there underhand attempts to frustrate the outcome? No. We were assured we would remain every bit as British as we had always been, but we would be stronger, more prosperous as a result of joining hands with our European partners.
Well, we did get prosperous, but how much was a direct result of European partnership may never be known; the whole of the western world became wealthier as we paid down the war debts and looked to the future. But we didn’t stay British, not in the way that used to be recognisable the world over. New generations who had never known a world outside what became the EU were told of our abhorrent past; of how we only did harm wherever our expeditionary forces set foot. Newer generations still were told how it was the EU which had saved us from further conflicts. The latest generations have no notion of the Britishness I grew up with.
No wonder we can’t have a level conversation about Brexit. Those who have never known independence are understandably nervous about the future, but instead of facing up to that future they think they are staring into a black hole. What happened to cheerful Tommy Atkins? What happened to the phlegmatic, ‘mustn’t grumble’ attitude of the generations for whom making do and carrying on was Britishness to the core? We played the cards we were dealt; we didn’t demand the croupier deal again.
Which brings us to now. Had the 1975 generation any notion of where we would end up they would have voted to leave. Nobody voted for an emasculated and dependent nation, in thrall to foreign masters; nobody in the general electorate had any vision of us becoming a European administrative region. So, for me, you can forget all the economic talk – history has proved that no one knows what lies ahead – the most important part of Theresa May’s speech yesterday was about coming together, regaining our confidence and forging ahead as a proud, self-governing people.
Coffee? Are you some sort of fifth columnist?
If that means facing tough times, so be it; it likely won’t. But if the sore, tremble-lipped losers continue to do their damnedest to weep crocodile tears over spilled milk, it will take so much longer to achieve. Self-fulfilling doom prophecies are no help at all – I’m talking to Nick Clegg, Tim Farron, Emily Thornberry, Anna Soubry; the list goes on – the PM has spoken and the project is underway. Project Hope, Project Forward, call it what you like; we are where we are, for better or for worse and the only grown-up thing to do now is roll up our sleeves and crack on. Be British about it.
Monday, 16 January 2017
The very best way to assemble a conspiracy theory is by reverse engineering. Start with an observation, for example: today’s kids are dumb. Then examine what they are being taught; common core maths is incomprehensible to the older generations and is immediately suspect. Now, dig back in history to find some statements, some events, to ‘prove’ it. The 1909 Woodrow Wilson address to the New York City High School Teachers Association Fits the brief nicely:
“we want one class of persons to have a liberal education, and we want another class of persons, a very much larger class, of necessity, in every society, to forego the privileges of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks.”
Hey presto, a one hundred-year long conspiracy to keep the low animals down, the pigs in power and restrict the potential of the majority of the human race in what are generally referred to as ‘developed’ countries. But, of course, Wilson was laying no such foundation. Read as part of the whole he was setting out, very eloquently as it happens, what we all know, or ought to be capable of understanding. And that is that not every student is capable of achieving high academic learning and even if they were, such learning is often of little practical use. We need a thousand people who can measure and cut and shape things, for every mathematician who can explain precisely what the numbers mean.
Another conjoined meme that regularly does the rounds is on the lines of “Governments don’t want an intelligent population because people who can think critically can’t be ruled. They want a public just smart enough to pay taxes and dumb enough to keep voting.” Variously attributed to H L Mencken, George Carlin and others, it is a popular expression of a deep-rooted mistrust of government that appears to seek the opinion of the masses but then does the exact opposite, or so frustrates that opinion that it amounts to the same thing. Such a shame I can’t quite put my finger on any topical examples just now...
Anyway, as much as common core maths seems ridiculous and intended to dumb ‘the kidz’ down I’m of a more generous inclination in assigning it to the category of ‘well-meaning idiocy’. Just as Woodrow Wilson was talking about education preparing children for a useful life in the world, today’s educators are seeking to equip them, as efficiently as they believe possible, with the tools to negotiate an uncertain future. They’re just not as good at it as they would wish to be. Spoiling the child by sparing the rigour has long been a feature of ‘progressive’ education that strives to deliver a socio-political ethos as well as an education.
We don't need no...
But are they so very wrong, after all? We are in an age when one can make a living out of doing nothing very useful at all. The commentariat, the world of social justice, the equality and diversity industry and the new, burgeoning work for idle hands, exploring the myriad inventive gender identities which are multiplying by the day. Maybe, when the machines finally do take over all the grunt work, we will indeed need more products of a liberal education. What could possibly go wrong?
Sunday, 15 January 2017
You have to feel sorry for Jeremy Corbyn, really. This man of principles appears to have abandoned every one of them since he took the reins of what is left of the Labour Party. A career-long opponent of the EU, he now painfully claims to want to retain membership of the single market. A once proud defender of ‘British jobs for British people’ he now has to declare that freedom of movement for low-skilled workers, lowering wages and displacing Labour’s traditional voter base is a price he is willing to accept for said membership. A former red ‘firebrand’ he now meekly acquiesces to the EU’s impositions on its workers.
After a week which he began with his ‘yeah, but no, but, yeah, but...’ clarification of his multiple and varying stances on these policies he has taken the stage at the Fabians conference and left with yet more egg on his face. His latest policy response to the laughter and despair he aroused last week is to re-establish his commitment to the very worst, simplistic principles of Marxism and populist socialism. The answer, he really wants to say, is nationalise everything. Starting with the trains and moving on to care homes, if his heart isn’t in the right place then there goes the last possible excuse for indulging his fantasies.
The formula ‘make everybody better off’ as a starting point is nothing but a soundbite for the masses. The idea that you can achieve this by making some people worse off is pure cant. And the proposal that you can keep happy those on the lower rungs of the earnings ladder by propping them up with state charity is demeaning and preposterous. Anybody can stand on a stage and say they will ‘save’ the NHS, or improve the railways, or tackle Britain’s productivity shortfall, or make our schools the envy of the world. But without a credible means by which any of these things might be achieved you may as well say you will levitate or reveal god, or resurrect the dead.
Actually, Corbyn has already brought many policies back from the electoral graveyard and is somehow keeping them on artificial life support to no discernible purpose. Even failed communist plans deserve a decent burial and to be left to rest in peace. But listening to Comrade Jeremy, I can’t help but feel like Winston Smith; I’ve heard all this before, I remember it didn’t work the first time, or the next, or the next, but I am being asked to believe that, as under Common Core, three times four can equal eleven.
Children grow up dreaming and hoping and imagining bright futures where anything is possible. For a very fortunate few, success comes about by accidents; of birth, of opportunity, of flashes of inspiration, of being in the right place at exactly the right time, of sheer luck. But the majority will only succeed by applying themselves to acquire the skills and responsibilities that participation in our system of mostly benign capitalism requires. The high dreams fade and are tempered into realistic objectives as the reality hits home. Somebody should shake Jeremy gently by the shoulder and wake the poor old fucker up.
Thursday, 12 January 2017
Buzzfeed’s leaked intelligence that the CIA have actual video of Michelle Obama fellating a horse while Donald Trump pleasures a donkey with Barry looking on, masturbating into Tony Blair’s opened and gently steaming skull, may not be verified by anybody actually seeing said tape, but this hasn’t stopped YouTube from pre-banning it. No fake news for the popular online vloggers; everything you see is exactly as it happened.
Most news is fake news – have you ever read a report on a subject you know a great deal about and found sheer bollocks in every paragraph? Well why should it be any different when it’s politics, or war, or celebrity shenanigans; Kim Kardashian’s arse alone has its own team of reporters working round the clock to bring you untruths you never even realised you needed to know. How in the world is the average Joe to tell what’s real? Although celebrities have their own special world affairs advisors to keeps them informed; this is why Lily Allen, Meryl Streep and the Cumberdumbers are so well-informed.
If yesterday’s press junket with The Donald was a glimpse of things to come – I do hope they call them ‘Press Trumpets’ from now on – we are in for a world of confusion; the Trump train is going to be a whole lot of fun in 2017. ‘It is reported’ has replaced the authoritative statement of fact when announcing news, along with ‘unconfirmed speculation’ and ‘alleged’. In an age when everybody has the ability to record and broadcast events as they happen you would imagine we ought to be getting closer to the truth, not further away.
Even the BBC were dismissed yesterday as ‘another beauty’ alongside children’s news channel Buzzfeed, the entire Fox network and Citizens Naughty News, as Trump ushered in a whole new era. Want to know the next big thing in news coverage? Well, much like the partisan readership of newspapers, broadcast news is known for its bias, so the natural development is to allow viewers and listeners to contribute their own facts to the story. Already, tweeted comments are often ticker-taped across current affairs reportage; why not let @AngryAngus edit the content as well?
You can already download an app to your smart phone which searches for the latest bulletins and automatically edits them so as to appeal to your interests and allegiances. Thus an unconfirmed allegation that a famous footballer has been involved in a hotel-room ‘romp’ can be variously be presented as a harmless bit of fun, the worst excesses of pampered wealth, a grave career-threatening error of judgement, or an impending court case. The app also allows you to vote for your favourite version and then compiles and issues a verdict. The errant striker can then be variously applauded, shamed, or issued a court summons within minutes of the original event. Isn’t technology wonderful?
Extra! Extra! Write all about it!
They have called this the post-truth, post-factual age, an era when nothing you see or hear or read can be relied on. Facts ain’t what they used to be and truth is what you make it. Instead of presenting said facts and allowing you to draw your own conclusions – a process far too rigorous and effort-heavy all round – it is so much easier, cheaper and faster for you just to turn to a source which supports your unshakeable prejudices and leave the cumbersome facts for history to assemble once the verdict is in. You read it here first...
Wednesday, 11 January 2017
After a day in which the vicious, right wing media in the form of the BBC’s John Humphrys, a known racist and enemy of the people, set a trap for the glorious leader, in which he was forced to confront and then denounce, sort of, vaguely, the policies on which he was to speak later in the day, Comrade Corbyn has been understandably reticent about setting the story straight. However, the Labour Party is made of sterner stuff and after a pep talk and back rub from Diane, Jeremy was persuaded to issue clarification about Labour’s latest
u-turn policy launch:
We are absolutely agreed, he informed us in an exclusive interview, that Brexit will mean Brexit, which is to say that whatever Brexit turns out to be; hard or soft, boiled or fried... or even over-easy, it will be what it will be. The future, Jeremy continued, is not ours to see, to which he added enigmatically, ‘Que será, será’. You see, Labour is not wedded to hard policy; we are more sort of engaged in that, hope-she’s-forgotten-all-about-it, sort of way. Or indeed he, because we very much support marriage for all. So, you see, we’re not wedded-to, er, marriage, but we don’t want to be misinterpreted, nor do we rule it out, which I think is pretty clear.
All of which means that of course we remain committed to the single market, but not if it means only having a single market – we want access to all of the markets - and not if it means uncontrolled immigration. I mean immigration is always good, every last bit of it, but not always, yes? No, we need to control who enters our country, especially if they wish us harm by bringing over ways of doing business which do not gel with the British psyche. Entrepreneurialism, for a start: dreadful French word for a form of endeavour entirely incompatible with the values of the working man who Labour has always supported, especially when he is not working. We need to protect our workers from exploitation by those who would come here and start up companies.
To that end Labour will introduce a maximum wage. In fact we’ve already effectively done that by forcing the Tories to guarantee a state-endorsed pay packet. They call it the living wage but in reality it isn’t as good as that, which is one of Labour’s proudest triumphs. Well, we will continue with that policy because it makes sense; nobody wants to see a street cleaner earning more than a coffee shop worker or a taxi driver. Or a surgeon. When we get into power the New Labour National Wage will be a defining moment and if you don’t like it, you can always leave. Or bank offshore.
It is precisely the creation of wealth that makes people rich, which is abhorrent if you are living on the breadline, so we will gradually introduce and then increase punitive levies on wealth creation, including a new progressive tax regime which will start at 90% of gross income from any source other than public office. In this way we will stifle growth, choke off profits and utterly discourage anybody from getting ideas above their station. Now I know you are all thinking wait, that’s Tory thinking, but that’s where you’re wrong, you see. Labour have always been the party of the underclass and we intend to ensure the underclass are always with us.
Witt all this in place immigration will no longer be an issue; quite the reverse, to which end we will be beefing up border security to ensure we retain the workers we have. You see, people have said that Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour has lost its way, that it is making up policy on the hoof, but the party’s strategy has been consistent throughout. If we were crystal clear about our actual policies, if we spelled out what they really mean, nobody would vote for us ever again, so this is why we have to obfuscate and hope that our voters are
stupid loyal enough to ignore all that we stand for and
vote for us anyway. It’s worked for over a hundred years, so there’s no reason it
can’t work again.
Jeremy's metaphor for Britain under Labour...
What people really need in this country is firm leadership. They need a government with a clear and transparent... and see-through, but not completely see-through, in fact a rather cloudy vision for the future, which leaves behind the mistakes of the past but retains that connection with our proudest traditions of keeping the working man where he belongs, do you see? Jeremy then explained why he, the leader, was not for turning, unless a turn was the right thing to do. Follow me, he urged, I will be right behind you.
Tuesday, 10 January 2017
As a rational, middle aged, heterosexual cis-male white man, there are many issues about which I am actually not allowed to have an opinion. Mental illness is one of them, so here it is; it’s mostly bollocks. If you were offended at this point you may be a bit doo-lally yourself; I didn’t say it was all bollocks, just mostly. Mostly because if you treat every bit of instability every bout of sadness, every losing-it moment as a condition warranting medical attention, then you must be insane. But hey, in a world where everybody requires their own individual, highly personalised, bespoke bit of disadvantage in order to ‘compete’ it is little wonder that eventually the madness would filter up to government level.
Theresa May is putting the crazy back into constituency, the wacky back in ward and the barmy in the ballot box by a token financial gesture towards mental well-being that has already produced demands for even more. Because, of course, that’s the way with the welfare state; once you open up another box of bonkers, there’s no telling where it will lead. Actually, that’s a bare-faced lie; we already know exactly where it will lead. Case after nutcase will grab the population’s imagination as the scope of Project Mental Britain creeps until no lunacy goes unrewarded. It’s your human rights, innit?
Mad axe murderers, gibbering psychotics and howlers at the moon are clearly a danger to themselves and others. It’s not them we’re worried about. Oh, except maybe for the axe jobbies, because insanity has long been a basis for criminal defence. Indeed, many recent unfortunate incidents of the jihadi Joe variety have been excused on the grounds of poor mental health, or as it is more widely known, islam.
But I digress. The point is that, like learning difficulties, the sort of mental health that May is inexpertly pontificating about exists in a continuum; there isn’t one position on the scale at which shyness becomes pathological; there isn’t a dividing line between anxiety and clinical depression. And while awareness is all well and good, bringing it into the classroom as has been suggested is akin to what has happened with education; nowadays if you don’t have a special educational need you have to struggle along all by yourself.
So watch the list of mental maladies grow with each passing year, each providing fodder for a burgeoning industry. Think I’m making too much of this? Then consider the growth of counsellors, life coaches and desperate chancers, all cashing in on the insecurities and snowflakery of the upcoming generations. If neuroses are going to be the basis for the new age cuckoo community then almost by definition the following are mentally ill: toddlers, teenagers, fatties, goths, lefties, the socially awkward, serial fad-followers, cat ladies, loners, hypers, ghost-hunters, god-botherers and anybody who leans on the crutches of difference.
The low self-esteem machine has been steadily churning out inadequates ever since some people realised there was money to be made in identifying and labelling the normal fears we all have as treatable... for a price. According to recent reports, seventeen million man-hours a year are lost through mental ill health – or is that actually immeasurable bollocks? And how come those who study aberrations of the unbalanced variety are invariably needy, unstable nutters themselves?
But, if we are going to formalise hysteria at a national level and classify it so as to allocate funding we need a more accurate metric. I propose The Streep; a unit of self-harming self-delusion at which fantasy and reality become sufficiently indistinguishable as to be capable of affecting everybody in the room. After all, if going bananas is going to be taken seriously we need to consider the very real probability that it is contagious; it could affect the whole bunch. So line up for your sick note, form a disorderly queue, get your diagnosis here and pick up your cash from the chemist; you’d be mad not to.
Monday, 9 January 2017
From the same sort of mentality that created Agenda 21, the notion of thought crime and the concept that black people cannot be guilty of racism, that fertile jihadi breeding ground known as the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies strikes again. They specialise in awarding the kind of degree essential to otherwise unemployable zealots seeking funding from the burgeoning grievance industry, in particular that sector of the trade which slavishly seeks reparation for the sins of our hideously white ancestors. To that effect they are attempting to airbrush whites from history apparently oblivious to the fact that this would, ipso facto, render their highly honed victim status their own, damned fault.
“Entitled ‘Decolonising SOAS: Confronting The White Institution’, the union’s statement of ‘educational priorities’ warns ‘white philosophers’ should be studied only ‘if required’, and even then their work should be taught solely from ‘a critical standpoint’”
Naturally, as philosophy and the history of thought are overwhelmingly products of white origin, removing such philosophers from the syllabus would be akin to removing Newton from Physics, Michelangelo from Art, Lindbergh from Aviation... and Rhodes from Rhodesia, one experiment which has actually been tried with murderous effect. But students at SOAS are impervious to such logic, a state which can far more readily be attained if your study of thought is unencumbered by considering the people who did all the heavy lifting in that arena. Who needs to dither with the dialectic when black-lives-matter is all you need to power your pain? And who wants to ponder pure reason when the obvious conclusion to the black man’s burden is that it is all the fault of whitey?
Future innovations may involve black trainee doctors refusing to study anatomy on white corpses. Black and Asian mechanics may have to avoid working on white cars for fear of cultural association and being branded Uncle Toms. And be sure to eschew all technology created by white men which, in effect, means eschewing all technology. Way to go, you deep, dark thinkers, you. It’s hard to conceive of a more successful route to the exclusion from participation in society which you fondly imagine you are already experiencing.
I’ve never worked in an environment where people of different hues were not accepted as individuals. The British have worked bloody hard to make everybody welcome, so long as they observe the few rules we have... or had. Before the doctrine of multiculturalism, Britain used to actually be a successful multicultural society. All the constant pandering to difference does is exacerbate the difference. All the title BME does is mark out the malcontents. Don’t you know that the prejudice is in the perception; as long as you perceive that you are victims you will never break free from the shackles of your own making.
In the meantime, equalities legislation is harming the potential of companies that can’t afford to hire to quotas and doing nothing to improve the performance of those that can. In the constant crisis that is the NHS the hiring of £57k p.a. Assistant Directors of Equality and Diversity only creates more division and antipathy. I have a more than sneaking suspicion that these positions create more trouble than they solve; will hospitals in the future operate a strict colour quota system for treatment? I wonder what the students of SOAS think?
Saturday, 7 January 2017
From the topsy-turvy, roller-coaster, fantasy world that is global politics, we bring you Barack Obama’s pronouncement that, during his presidency, he promises “...for the most part, race relations have gotten better.” Ignore the Black Lives Matter outpouring of hatred for anybody white and the spate of cop killings in their name; lest we forget, Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, so his word as a saint must be taken as gospel. In other news Cambodia’s Pol Pot and Uganda’s Idi Amin never did get the recognition they richly deserved for their work in ensuring their populations never grew to place too much strain on the infrastructure.
In similar vein, Mussolini made the trains run on time, Martin McGuiness only had killed those who were necessary for peace, Fidel Castro did wonders for Cuban cigar sales and the NHS is an inviolable national treasure which must be worshipped as a deity. Never mind all that ‘populist’ negativity, let’s focus on the good things, ignore what doesn’t work and forget actually getting things done, just sell, sell, sell. Tony Blair’s period in government was a masterclass of smoke and mirrors, as focus groups and statistical conjuring told us the story they decided they wanted us to believe.
This is the kind of governance that leads to enormous numbers of the disenchanted turning away from the path of righteousness and voting with their feet for a world view that resembles, at least in part, what they live every day. Glorious diversity may bring nebulous benefits to the reality-challenged, but it brings chronic misery for entire communities. The imagined and much broadcast ‘net benefit’ of immigration is a mantra chanted by those who are in thrall to the magical realm of beautiful rainbow people who, mounted atop their trusty unicorns, wield the sword of social justice and don the rosy spectacles of blind faith in the inherent goodness of all mankind.
That man stabbing you? He is simply frustrated by climate change. The new weekly stoning spectacle over there on Westminster’s College Green? A vibrant display of multicultural togetherness; see how the men in pyjamas ululate in ecstasy with each fresh wound. And the ‘so-called’ housing crisis? Deliberate propaganda from the dreadful goblins of the far-right, to make it seem as if the cosy, cheek-by-jowl proximity of our ever more diverse population mix is anything other than a marvellous opportunity to comingle and blend and share. Sharing, that’s the key; what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine; extending the concept of forced marriage to society itself.
If everybody gets prizes, nobody wins. And humanity is nothing without its winners. If you don’t have top dogs all you have is a load of dogs. The aspiration of equality, while fluffy and lovely in theory, is unrealistic and can only be achieved in practice by hampering the aspirations of excellence. And like enterprise, human ingenuity and social cohesion all attempts to force it, constrain and control it, tend to do the opposite. In the face of failure, no amount of spin will convince those who see the failure at close quarters. So yes, Barry, you leave the White House imagining you brought peace. I hope you still believe that when you wake up and see what you and your kind really did.
Friday, 6 January 2017
There is much fear and fervid chatter just lately, over the rise of artificial intelligence and the future of the workforce, especially that part of the workforce that doesn’t show much evidence of innate human intelligence. For the supposedly alpha evolvers of the planet we are particularly poor, en-masse, at demonstrating why we deserve to occupy such a pre-eminent position on the pyramid. But, to be fair, we’ve come a long way in keeping people in work, no matter how hard they try to avoid it.
For example, as much as dyslexia is undoubtedly a genuine suite of impairments to communication in the written form it is an unavoidable fact, for the time being at least, that reading and writing are essential skills in the general world of work. But is it really fair on the others when students flourishing a statement furnished by somebody else with a vested interest in justifying their own expertise are given extra assistance to attain the same qualifications? Do we then provide readers and extra time on every job they do where reading is required?
Should we be concerned when people who may have taken ten attempts to pass their driving test are allowed to freely utilise our crowded motorways? There used to be a requirement that electricians pass a colour blindness test, but that’s now seen as discriminatory, so they are no longer tested. But hey, how hard can it be: red to red, black to black... blue to bits. What’s next, a ninety metre head start for 100m runners who are a bit tardy? Multi-guess final practical assessments for neuro surgeons? Astronauts with acute travel sickness? Maybe it’s time we re-thought the whole notion of access for all and just let the machines take over where they can?
Of course, we will always need human intervention where machines, as non-sentient assemblies of electro-mechanical components, cannot make subtle decisions based on judgements and real human experience. Satnav, for instance, can’t see the actual road ahead and the hugely expensive weather forecasting computer models require meteorologists to study the prognosis and say no, do it again. Machines aren’t perfect, yet, but it’s not so long ago that attempts were made in industry to treat human workers as if they were mere automata, an era from which I bring this cautionary tale.
At the Time and Motion Academy’s annual conference an expert concluded his keynote lecture with the advice not to adopt the techniques too readily in the home. He was asked why and went on to explain: “I watched my wife's routine at breakfast for many years,” he said “and I saw that she made many unnecessary trips between the fridge, the cooker, the table and the cupboards, often carrying a single item at a time. One day I demonstrated to her how she could be so much more efficient by rearranging the kitchen and considering carrying more than one thing on each trip.” An audience member asked “Did it save time?" And the expert replied “Actually, yes. It used to take her over twenty minutes to make breakfast... Now I do it in under ten.”
Thursday, 5 January 2017
Today it’s all about girls and boys, university and ‘that’ Labour peer. Shami Kebabrabalti, who says "Gender injustice is so embedded in our society and our world, that sometimes we stop seeing it.” She is so right, oh yes indeed... but the gender that is being hard done by, as far as education is concerned, is the male one. Some ardent feminists even go so far as to suggest restricting the participation of males in society to being sperm donors only and even that by strictly clinical means. Ugh, men!
We ought to give that a go, though. The men could all go and live on an island – Australia ought to do it and it does have previous in this regard – and see if they can get by on only such skills and ingenuity as are within the purview of the newly irrelevant sex. It would be fascinating to see how long the far superior womenfolk survive on gossip, feminine solidarity and bitching about the dudes once their technology begins to falter and fail. Over in Aus it is likely to get a bit unruly, untidy and obviously smelly but at least they would have the option of bathing if they so wished; back in the civilisation of the sisterhood I have an inkling they may soon stop drooling over the pretty boys and begin to fantasise about plumbers...
Of course that is a ridiculously simplistic, generalised, juvenile and frankly Neanderthal representation of the male-female dichotomy. It’s also pretty much spot on. For all the decades of hammering square pegs into round holes, the attempts to feminise men have largely failed... as have the many, many projects to get women to be equally represented in the rough, tough, dirty, hands-on trades of engineering and the more robust sciences. For every fast-tracked female exec, leap-frogging over the male competition to boardroom stardom; for every female apprentice whose image has been used on the front page of every trade magazine; for every woman boxer, wrestler or racing driver, there are hundreds of fellas equally able.
Why do we have to tell ourselves fairy tales about sameness when the very essence of the binary genders that 99% of the human race identify with is difference. Men, women; with the exception of the statistically insignificant anomalies that’s what we’ve got. Our physiology is different, our mental acuity different, our social preferences different and our attitudes to much about life... different. It’s what we like about each other.
If you are a woman who has carved out a high-flying career without the reverse prejudice of women-first or women-only policies you won’t be offended by any of this. If you are offended, the chances are it’s because you’re not so secure in your merit as you have tried to convince yourself. You may need a female-only safe space. The uneasy partnership between men and women and the perversity of nature forcing us together has existed unaltered for millennia. Where did this desire to pretend that gender is a choice come from?
I blame education, education, education. If a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing a lot of simply untrue knowledge may be the death of us. We have progressed from a model of civilisation that worked to a fluid social experiment that is unleashing continual unrest and dissatisfaction. Despite all the choices people are presented with today, I have a sneaking feeling that people were generally happier back when they had far fewer options. If you wanted an indicator as to how pointless this debate is, even Lily Allen has waded in – despite having the clear choice not to...
Anyway, I don't why am I bothered, I have plenty of stuff to be getting on with. I’m enrolling on my cycling proficiency PhD next week over at the Wallamaroo University of Manly Things. It should nicely complement my Masters in 25m breast stroke. If anybody needs me I’ll be over there with the blokes... and the last remaining cold beers on the planet.
Wednesday, 4 January 2017
This sceptred isle benefits from a most favourable aspect, a strategic bastion against travails, set at the confluence of five mighty air masses (six, if you count the prodigal Returning Polar Maritime) which, as if to confound our already over-stimulated senses, bring weather quixotic enough to baffle the most powerful computers on the planet. At the same latitude as Canada, permafrost and ice storms are unknown. When the European interior is blanketed in snow for months the mild waters of the Gulf Stream gyre keep us, if not cosy, mostly above freezing. Apart from our traffic management we can function all year round with hardly any adjustment necessary in our routines.
Yeah, for sure, on the two days of snow we go a bit doo-lally, but it’s all over and done with quite soon. And on the plus side we can manufacture a weather record from practically every day’s observations. Somewhere in the UK it will be the coldest/hottest/wettest Wednesday 4th January since... well, since the last one. But it’s not completely batshit crazy; every year, pretty much, we get four seasons. Admittedly, not necessarily in the exact same order, but there nonetheless, recognisable, familiar and somewhat comforting. Such a shame that the enviro-mentals have to make such a song and dance about every little cold snap, every little heat wave.
A shift of fifty miles in the expected location of a depression centre and a city is saved from deluge, while another gets heatstroke. Before we created the great indoors, where everybody lives in splendid isolation from nature, only a true Brit could stoically handle the sheer level of phlegm that was needed to survive here. Talk about natural bulwarks. But then, along came Vice-Admiral Robert Fitzroy with his newly minted notion of ‘forecasts’ and the job of weather-guesser was created. All you have to do in Britain for your forecast to come true is wait... it may be some time but it will come true in the end and everybody will have forgotten what you predicted anyway.
A week ago, some pundits were practically forecasting a new ice age, while others were going for the ‘hottest January on record’. By Sunday evening it was ‘button up for three nights of extreme sub-zero assault’. Sure enough Tuesday dawned frosty, but not as cold as foretold. The BBC was by then forecasting a five degree Tuesday night with similar throughout the week, or what I like to call ‘same as every year’. So here we are today with the weekend’s forecast proved wrong, yet the rhetoric suggesting it is all on track. Incidentally, the best way to start a new day’s outlook is to briefly summarise the current situation, preceded by the words ‘as forecast’.
It is sheer folly to pretend to see more than 48 hours ahead; nobody is even fully confident about what will happen tomorrow. And as it is with British weather, so it is with British politics; woe betide the chancers who pretend to have knowledge that nobody possesses. Forecasting the departure of Sir Ivan Rogers from the Brexit negotiations may not have required too much prescience – especially in hindsight – but with his passing we should also discard much of the frost and gloom he was expecting. It was, after all, just guesswork.
A bit of a squall... nothing more.
We have a brief winter to get through and then it will be spring and the prospect of invoking Article 50 lies ahead. As forecast it’s been a messy old time, especially for all the meddlers and naysayers and doom-mongers, but the days will get longer and warmer, no matter what the alarmists will tell us and I predict a long, glorious frequently hilarious political summer ahead!
Tuesday, 3 January 2017
Just to reaffirm that the Christmas lull in hostilities, where it even existed, was just that, a lull, Katie Hopkins has come under ferocious attack for speaking in favour of reports that the Cologne Police engaged in racial profiling to exclude North African men from the New Year festivities. In the absence of any more specific intelligence this generalisation seems a pretty fair bet if a repetition of the rape and sexual assault atrocities of last year are to be avoided. Or maybe we were all wrong and racist because it wasn’t committed exclusively by migrant muslim men who then fled for the cowardly cover of cultural misunderstanding. Oh, wait...
Then Lily Allen, instead of voicing outrage at the midnight murder on the dance floor in Istanbul tweeted her alarm that the gunman was described as a migrant based purely on the image captured on cctv. And that he was reported to have shouted something about a ‘snack bar’. Responsibility for the carnage has since been claimed by ISIS, but the liberal brainwashing must run deep indeed, when you see, repeated in country after country, the medieval barbarism of islam, yet associate scowling Arab features with peace and joy to all mankind. I would love to be able to peep into Lily’s inner mental workings if she were asked to choose between sitting next to a Nordic woman with a handbag or a Middle-Eastern man with a big beard and a rucksack.
And into the seething pot of anti-white hate, Paddy Ashdown has – as always, late to the party – directly compared Brexit to the rise of Nazi Germany. (yawn) Really, Paddy? Have you looked at who is calling for a denial of the expressed will of the majority? Who is hoping that, were the referendum re-run, enough out-voters will have died to alter the outcome? Have you seen which side of the political divide wants to ban words and thoughts and any actions not corresponding to the approved doctrines of the – for now - ruling classes. Know thyself, the ancients implored; have a good, hard look into that black mirror of the soul and think about what you see.
‘Male, pale and stale’ ring any bells? Now that is racial stereotyping and there is a word for people who so readily desert their fellow countrymen in times of strife. No, don’t tell me, I’m sure it will come back to me in a minute; you know what one’s memory is like when you’re getting on a bit. You’re 75 yourself, Paddy are you so sure your own vote will still be capable of being cast should you get your wish? The hypocrisy of the left knows no bounds.
We fear ‘the other’ for good reason and people of markedly different appearance have long been the bogeymen of our dreams because – and here the ‘enlightened’ will be horrified – to us they look dangerous. When they regularly remind us by example just how much they hate us it must take an enormous effort of denial to turn your back on instinct. Green men from Mars could attack the Earth and as the death rays vapourised their comrades, the Lily Allens would beseech the survivors not to judge and they would condemn those who fought back.
Nope. Nothing to see here. Just a young man on holiday...
So, racial profiling is fine by me. It’s effective and until it proves otherwise it should be rigorously applied. You feel targeted because you look exactly like a suicide bomber? You feel your insistence on dressing like those who behead burn and maim people for no other reason than they don’t share your superstitions marks you out? Your feelings are hurt because the bad white people aren’t sure you can be trusted? How about, instead of protesting against those who try to keep you safe, you join Paddy at that mirror and see what we see?
Monday, 2 January 2017
New Year resolutions? What’s the point? Turning over a new leaf, only to find another wrinkly, mouldy old leaf beneath? I was, for a time, considering starting 2017 by becoming Switzerland; declaring neutrality in the perma-war between left and correct, then realised I just couldn’t do that. It would be a betrayal of all that I have seen over the years. Sure, I could pretend to be a lefty – coming over all treacle and platitudes and occasionally wishing death on somebody for admiring Thatcher, but that’s not really my style. I prefer pointing and laughing when they deny that, since 1848, Marx & Engels’ methods have simply ‘not been tried properly’.
Ah, you say, that makes you as bad as they are. Well, maybe, if you exclude the deep-rooted pathology of the collectivists. Under the mutually exclusive, cognitively dissonant, oxymoron of an ideology – equality and diversity – they (mostly innocently, I concede) manage to disadvantage those who most need help and empower those who are no help at all. Under uncaring capitalism, the dog-eat-dog world does at least breed some quality dogs. But under the soft, woolly doctrine of socialism all that ever seems to emerge is... many more hungry, angry mongrels.
In an imagined Utopia everybody is able-bodied, skilled or learned and wilfully gives of his or her talents to the benefit of all. We are uniform of temperament, able and eager to engage in debate and explore new ways of being. No idea is too humble for consideration, no power too mighty to challenge and we accommodate any and all expressions of difference because embracing change is the only constant. The new Orwellian era declares that change is stability, variety is unity and ignorance, well, we know nothing about that. No complaint goes unheard, no opinion invalidated and as we toil to common purpose our happy voices are united in sweet, sweet song.
So tempting is this simplistic dream, to the reality-impaired, that whenever the echo-chamber mirror begins to crack, the aspic-glazed denizens of dreamland clamour for more of what ails them. Stockholm syndrome manifests itself so strongly that when Merkel’s millions strain German compassion to breaking point – and they are unrivalled at being repentant compassioneers – they blame themselves for not being even more welcoming. When the Euro impoverishes the southern states and keeps half of their young people unemployed, the call is for even more political integration. And against the rampant tide of openly-declared, home-brewed jihad they offer only submission.
The image of the year. Both last year and this.
My reaction to all the remoaner squeals, the stuck-pig shrieks of the social justice warriors as they demand I bow before their idols? Much as it always was. I am an interested bystander, fascinated by the lengths to which the severely deluded will go to manufacture outrage which ultimately hurts only them. I am indifferent up to a point and that point is where they openly declare that their free speech is more important than mine, that the young must listen only to them and that their vision for a dysfunctional and downward-bound future is both inevitable and desirable. They are simply wrong. So I will continue doing as I do, pointing and laughing because, let’s face it, the world is so much more fun when I do.