Friday 30 August 2019

The Final Countdown

It’s getting silly now. Like many who voted to leave the EU I did it for pragmatic, quite straightforward reasons. I don’t have the gift of prophecy so, unlike so many who proselytise for remaining under the direct control of a foreign power, I have no idea what the future brings. But I do have a clear and unwavering picture of my moral, social and political positions and development over the years. And I opted – given a free vote – to place my trust in the basic decency, honesty, thrift and wise counsel of the British people themselves.

I have never draped myself in the flag, although I quietly did my bit by serving in Her Majesty’s armed forces for a number of years. I have never taken to the streets to demonstrate, for a number of reasons: One, I have seen the scant regard given to noisy rabbles by the typical Briton. Two, being English, through and through, I am not given to public displays of grief, anger or even jubilation; I cling to my British phlegmatism, proud that it sets me apart from the more emotional Johnny-Foreigner, the behaviour of some of whom is, frankly. embarrassing.

But more importantly, I have never espoused a cause so precious that it has been worth my energy and dignity to parade my enthralment to all and sundry. Yes, I want to leave the EU. No, I don’t expect a return to empire, nor necessarily any ‘sunlit uplands’ to which I have not directly contributed. I don’t expect anybody to fight my battles for me (and I recognise I am fortunate not to need them to) but I also don’t expect anybody else’s single vote to hold more value than mine. And of course, being British, should I lose a battle, I quietly applaud my adversary, withdraw from the field and wait for the next time.

Just because Leave voters are not out in number, screeching obscenities at Westminster, spitting and snarling at those with whom they disagree, does not mean that the strength of feeling is any lower, nor that opinions have changed. Iain Duncan Smith once cautioned: "Do not underestimate the determination of the quiet man" and right now it feels as if we are the British garrison at Rorke’s Drift, facing up to an enemy we don’t recognise; an alien, hostile, noisy and numerous enemy; and lest anybody think that ‘enemy’ and ‘foreign’ and ‘alien’ are hyperbolic descriptors, just look at what they intend.

That is no less than the overthrow of an elected, if marginal, government. The overturning of constitutional procedures which go back centuries. The dismissal of the monarch’s role and in the process the trashing of the life’s work of the world’s longest serving and arguably the most steadfast head of state. And ultimately – for this is the European Union’s destination – the subjugation of a once sovereign nation to the whim of an unelected and unaccountable politburo of cronies and cranks with a common vision utterly at odds with the populations over which they hold sway. For them to refer to Boris Johnson’s prorogation of Parliament as a coup is an absolute triumph of doublethink.

Oi! Don't frow them bladdy spears at me!*

So the battle is joined. And while the throng on the field is clearly that of the aggressor, the invader, the foreigner, parading their garish colours for all to see, do not imagine there is no resistance to their aims. We have watched and waited as they beat their drums and bare their chests. We have kept our powder dry as they have fired off salvo after salvo. We have rationed our resources as they have laid siege to our motives, our intelligence and even our patriotism. But we have held steady and now, in the last scenes of this uncivil war we are waiting until we see the whites of their eyes.

(*Yes, I know. This ISN'T a genuine quote from the film!)

Wednesday 28 August 2019

People’s Parliament?

As Boris makes exactly the right, slightly threatening noises towards Brussels and Brussels responds with a petulant no pay/no deal stamp of its tiny feet, the panic on the remainer benches is bubbling over nicely. We have yet to witness a full-on stampede from the Commons back benches but this may be the precursor to that mad dash for the cliff edge of sanity which all fervent EU-philes are hilariously ready to undertake.

Leading a party which is backed by 0% of the public (allowing for rounding errors) Anna Soubry imagines she is somehow spearheading a cunning cross-party pincer movement to decapitate Brexit by sabotaging Boris Johnson’s premiership. His heinous crime? To dare to carry out what the people voted for when Parliament could not do its job and asked those same people for orders. Having returned the ‘wrong’ answer and after three years of refusal to honour it, Anna and her henchmen have now signed the Church House Declaration and posit themselves a ‘People’s Parliament’.

As opposed to what? Are you now admitting that the current Parliament does not represent the people? Are you actually arguing that our parliamentary system is broken? Because, if this is where you are going, here at last is one thing on which we are agreed. Politicians are not elder statesmen, worldly wise and heavily invested in the prosperity of the nation. They are instead driven by narrow interests – some would say self-interest – and rarely possess the nouse to grasp that there are some things which the ordinarily bovine British people will not simply ignore.

And biggest among them is our precious illusion of democracy. Ask the Lib Dems how they fared after Nick Clegg’s broken promise on tuition fees. Ask the Tories how presenting the hopelessly out-of-her-depth Theresa May as ‘strong and stable’ worked out for them. The electorate may be the lumpen masses, slow and thick, but they can see through this flimsy bullshit and know when they are being played. A ‘People’s parliament’ with no election, no recall and no accountability to the voting public? This is, unironically, the EU in miniature. Once again the solution to damaged democracy is to break it some more.

And who would lead this politburo? Obviously Jeremy Corbyn is desperate to plant his arse on the other side of the aisle, but his desperation shows as he has tried to frame his long-awaited desire to leave the EU as, variously, a ‘Tory Brexit, a ‘cliff-edge Brexit’ and yesterday a ‘bankers Brexit’. What?? As Daniel Hannan reminded him: “Remain was backed by every big corporate, every big bank, every party leader, the church, the civil service, NGOs, celebs - the entire Establishment. Does Jezza really think we’re going to fall for the idea that Brexit is elitist?

The principle reason for the Brexit vote wasn’t immigration, it wasn’t NHS funding, it wasn’t even the elbowing out of the national story of the British people themselves. It was the root cause of all of these things: governance we can’t control. Hate policing, the no-platforming of unapproved speakers, the relentlessly negative coverage of national pride, the promotion of values at odds with most ordinary citizens; these are all manifestations of that overarching arrogance. The idea that replacing an albeit marginally elected government with one that has no such mandate is an effrontery bordering on tyranny.

How Anna Soubry THINKS she looks...

In the past, unsavoury ends awaited those who usurped power and tyrants have fared poorly. The traditional British have huge reserves of patience, but that patience is near-exhausted and the time has come for these rogue parliamentarians to be reminded who they are supposed to work for. And while British uprisings have tended be somewhat subdued, with violence rare, not everybody wants a bloodless solution to this attempted coup. This coalition of the treacherous had better back down or be prepared to face the consequences.

Tuesday 27 August 2019

By Accident or Design?

The notion of their being an over-arching agenda such as the Coudenhove-Kalergi plan to homogenise Europe by miscegenation seems a bit far-fetched. And so do the various supposed plots to flood the continent with sub-Saharan Africans. But the Barcelona declaration that opens the door to Europe for potentially millions from North Africa is real enough, which gives credence to the many conspiracy theories pointing to the planned extinction of the white race.

Judging by their rhetoric this is a destination eagerly anticipated by some high-profile political players who daily reveal their utter contempt toward the natives of the countries that invented the modern world. That there are such plots to rid the world of whites, common sense and modernity feels all too ridiculous, extending well into tinfoil hat territory. But there is, undeniably, a narrative at play which makes it all too easy to join the dots and create whatever picture you want to see.

White people who are afraid of those they don’t identify with are ‘white supremacists’. White privilege is claimed as a device to prevent them from adopting any form of victim mantle, unlike certain ‘oppressed’ groups who veil up at the merest hint of preferential treatment. Everywhere we see the suggestion that white is bad and black is good, yet it is the self-proclaimed super-good whites who are pushing this notion while the stabbing, raping, robbing and assaulting is carried out disproportionately by outliers from the non-white population.

What is wrong with the ‘liberal’ mindset and what is the purpose of this Goebellian assault on reason? I’m not convinced there is a cohesive, designed purpose; what I see is an increasingly vocal, guilt-laden minority of the white population, schooled to shame. They bow down in supplication before the diversity altar, offering their first-born in sacrifice to rid them of their stain and absolve them of blame for the perfectly reasonable actions of their fellow first-worlders who – inexplicably in their eyes – cannot see their wrong.

It’s not just the black/white issue; this division into acceptable opinion and ‘the far right’ extends into all sorts of areas, not least the otherwise mundane process of extricating ourselves from the EU. We want to leave, said the leavers, since when we have been constantly barraged by charges of imbecility, knuckle-dragging xenophobia, being gulled by the Russians, etc, etc, etc. The absurd idea that we were somehow influenced by ‘the elites’ who will enrich themselves post-Brexit, which will simultaneously turn the country into an economic backwater is a brilliant example. (Which is it, remainers, richer or poorer? Make your mind up!)

So, as we approach the current deadline – other deadlines are available – the narrative is once again heating up. And if you wanted an example of how supposed plots are so hard to hold together, the remain propagandists are ramping up Project Fear like never before, but without any comprehension of the effect they are having. As the prospect of a genuine departure looms, Tusk & Co are saying that if we don’t pay their confected ‘divorce bill’ there will be no trade deal, as if they have never heard a single word we’ve said.

Do you think they fell for it?

A near-perfect own goal. There is what is real and there is what you want to see, but this plays right into what they can never see, the very reason FOR Brexit, this over-arching preoccupation with control, with ownership of the zeitgeist… the very thing that has turned against them. You can control the narrative all you like, but sooner or later people just stop listening and make up their own mind.

Monday 19 August 2019

Owen Jones Survives!

I really can’t get overly exercised about Owen Jones’ ‘blatant premeditated assault’. But, oh my, his little adventure has been working overtime as a proxy for the relentlessly predicted but never quite materialised rise of the right. Far right domestic terrorism, I believe is the fashionable interpretation of what was probably – I really couldn’t care less – a couple of pissed-up wankers who either recognised the whiny little shit, or had experienced the little shit whining earlier that night. As obnoxious as is Jones’ politics, he’s hardly a prime target for settling a political score.

The front pages of the newspapers regularly sport photographs of assault victims: frail pensioners beaten half to death; police and bystanders macheted to the bone; virulent bruised, blackened swollen eyes; blood everywhere. The Boy Wonder? Not a scratch, well actually, a bit of a scratch. But fellow lefty polemicist, Polly Toynbee, lost no time in tweeting: “The physical attack on Owen Jones is a shameful and terrifying harbinger of the Brexit world of hate, intimidation, and scapegoating, egged on by an undemocratic, unelected Prime Minister…” Oh my good lord, is anything not the fault of Brexit?

But as an illustration of double standards this episode is a veritable Da Vinci, exposing as it does the splendid anatomy of hypocrisy which weaves its way through the whole of left-wing discourse. Owen Jones openly mocked what he calls right wing figures being ‘milkshaked’ and no doubt he is right behind the ‘punch a Nazi’ rhetoric which gives licence to thugs like the masked morons of Antifa to assault people with whom they disagree. Let’s not even mention that Jones’ favoured political causes have resulted in the deaths of millions, because – look! – far right extremism.

The hypocrisy of the left isn’t even disguised any more, as identity politics fractures into even more finely divided sects it is necessary to damp down the dissonance and openly support those you openly loathe, so long as they appear to sign up to some nebulous notion of left-wing solidarity. And while people like Toynbee and Jones and Lammy and Abbott shout about ‘divisive’ Tory policy from the rooftops they practise a level of division and subdivision with a near surgical skill. Even the LGBT banner, under which Jones is regularly seen, is a paper-thin attempt to cover the cracks as unnatural bedfellows are thrust together (pun intended) to claim a common cause.

Stand down the trauma team - he'll survive...

Did he deserve to be assaulted (and make no mistake, this was an unforgiveable criminal act and absolutely should be prosecuted)? Of course not. Did he bring it on himself? This should not even be a question we ask; if free speech means anything it means we need to let the objectionable condemn themselves by their own words. But, seriously, is this evidence of organised, far-right violence; do give over! OJ will milk this for all it is worth; let him. More people might see him for the utter phony he really is.

Sunday 18 August 2019

Death Throes

As we come to what feels like a premature end to the soggy summer, as the days grow noticeably shorter and cooler, things are beginning to die back. The brightest blossoms have been and gone, the flowerbeds are shedding their petals and hips have replaced roses. The garden isn’t the only thing experiencing its cyclical decline; political autumn also beckons, where the hopes and dreams of knaves and chancers also diminish and die.

As Parliament’s fantasy of deposing Boris Johnson fades, along with it go the reputations of people like Dominic Grieve; once a Conservative, now a quisling. Jeremy Corbyn’s true naked ambition to rule at any cost is exposed to the ridicule it deserves. And Ken Clarke’s transparently disingenuous ‘if I must’ when asked about leading a unity government shows Clarke to be exactly what we have long come to regard him as, a flag-bearer for a foreign power.

The big joke, of course, is ‘national unity government’. The last thing we are right now is unified, in fact if there is any over-arching, popular, mass-supported inclination it is to get on with Brexit. Ever since the unexpected outcome, the establishment in all its guises has tried to paint Remain as the homogenous, sensible consensus and Leave as a desperately divided muddle of hard Brexit, soft Brexit, WTO Brexit; a partial and uncertain palette containing all possibly shades of Leave, none of which complement any of the others.

But as the ambitions of the fervid Euronationalists fade into the mists; as the mewling, moribund, maudlin, misery of Remainers fails to convince the nation, autumn brings its riches for those of a more positive mien. Throughout the summer the relentless negativity of anti-British factions has simply failed to dampen the spirit and as the lawns grow lush in the welcome rain, we have the mellow fruitfulness of the coming season looming through the mists.

The one force the remain campaign cannot counter is cheerful optimism. Try as they might their only message has been that Brexit is certain doom and staying in means things ‘might not be so bad’; that’s their vision – the EU might be shit, but it’s shit we know, so let’s vote for tepid inertia. It is little wonder, then, that they have no answer for Boris, the one-man Indian Summer, bursting onto the scene with a positive message, not of unqualified hope, but of abundant and joyful faith in the indomitable spirit of the patriotic British.

Browbeating, talking down our prospects, predicting catastrophe, threatening destructive political action, insulting the intelligence of Leave voters, enlisting the assistance of foreign actors to drive home their message and even openly colluding with foreign powers to pervert the referendum outcome has all come to nothing. And through it all, the real British have quietly held their nerve, listened to and dismissed the gloom-laden naysayers and waited for a real leader to mount the stage.

Can you imagine May, Grieves, Hammond et al doing this?

Boris does not come without baggage, not least the ever-present influence of Project-Boris and the suspicion that whatever he does, this vainglorious figure does for himself. But after more than a decade of sheer misery; Brown’s dour and profligate fiscal incontinence, Cameron’s hamstrung coalition administration, Theresa-fucking-May and her unerring ability to suck the atmosphere out of an entire country, how could Boris the Bouncing Bomb not raise a smile? On Hallowe’en, let us all raise a glass as the Remain reign of mediocrity breathes its last.

Thursday 15 August 2019

It Ain’t Level

Welcome to the annual orgy of congratulations, commiserations and parental hand-wringing anticipation as ridiculously tall children (what ARE they feeding them these days?) up and down the country receive their A-Level results. A quarter of them are expected to get an A* grade, a grade which was introduced to differentiate between those who had done well and those who had done really well. Of course, we used to have a way of doing that without all the starry stuff – it was just called an A grade and it literally gave its name to the epithet ‘A-grade student’ – and everybody understood what it meant.

But yesterday it was leaked that at least two exam boards will award an A-grade in A-Level Maths for a mere 55%. Not Media Studies, not Sociology, but mathematics. Fifty-five percent? That should barely scrape you a pass. To get an A you must surely need at least 80%; isn’t that what most people outside the academic world would expect? As a nation we contract out education to the state and in return for the consideration of our taxes we expect performance of that contract; not just an accounting fiddle that those Potemkin villages exist… on paper.

This is an indication of how far we have sunk and if teachers are not protesting about it, one can easily conclude that either they are colluding with the fraud, or they are too poorly educated themselves to recognise it. Fraud? Yes, of course; it is deliberately falsifying results, because grade boundaries are the result of deliberate decisions. The teaching profession is charged with preparing the nation's kids to lead useful lives. We keep being told how we live in an increasingly technological world, so why are we handicapping our own children and then using that as a pretext for the mass importation of better-educated graduates from overseas?

On Radio 4 this morning I heard a farmer who gets almost all his seasonal labour from Bulgaria bemoaning the fact that he can’t attract local youngsters to do the work; work which used to be eagerly looked forward to in rural areas. The harvest was a time to rake in some good extra money and rural schools even organised half-terms to coincide with the crops. But of course, these geniuses, with their multiple gold stars and attendance certificates and pupil of the week awards are far too ‘well-qualified’ to consider grubby fingers and broken nails.

We don't need no education...

Meanwhile the ability to communicate deteriorates even as the means of communication multiply. The appetite to reason rather than follow a creed declines as more and more new-age faiths compete for gullible acolytes. The well-rounded individual is displaced by the narrow-minded specialist and increasingly we are led not by leaders of conviction but by people whose only conviction is their right to lead. And year on year we lose the capacity to judge on merit, rather than mode; easy fashion trumps hard work. It’s not just the nails that are broken.

Wednesday 14 August 2019

The Berc is back...

It’s been a quiet few weeks from the pint-sized poison dwarf of Parliament but suddenly, up he pops and rants that he will “fight with every breath in my body” to prevent the government from carrying out the expressed will of the electorate And ‘Spreadsheet Phil’ Hammond has – by a feat of uncanny synchronicity- crept out of his crypt to pen an op-ed in The Times in which he says again that ‘the PM has no mandate for a no deal Brexit.’ So here we go again for round four-hundred and thirty-four (or thereabouts) of Project Fear, this time with added loathing.

But look, this ‘deal’ was ever an illusion and as has been pointed out tirelessly by those of us who voted to leave, the Withdrawal Agreement isn’t even a deal. The EU has made it clear that no deal is on offer except the invitation to surrender all negotiating leverage and meekly discuss terms of our effectively handing back sovereignty to Brussels. Because, in order to have any access to any supposed benefits of the single market, we would have to accept free movement, legislative oversight, etc, etc, all of which is exactly what we voted to leave.

And yes, sovereignty was the principle issue. Immigration and border control figured heavily in the campaigns because the power to set our own policy in these areas is fundamental to national sovereignty, but even that ambition was hijacked by our own slimy, sleazy swamp-dwellers. Simple sovereignty soon became ‘Parliamentary Sovereignty’ and as quickly as the decision had been contracted out to the voters, it was seized back by those who were the problem in the first place. Parliament has shown its hand so clearly it is a wonder the gates have yet to be stormed.

Formerly, the EU was seen as the identifiable enemy of our freedoms; the unaccountable technocrats deeply in thrall to an ideology that was ‘of Europe’, maybe, but not of many European nations, especially not the British. But the question of the referendum was also about control and the need for the people of any country to feel they were being heard and been represented by those who could be replaced if they overstepped their authority. The EU was merely a proxy for government everywhere; what is happening in Hong Kong, France and Kashmir are all expressions of rejection of imposed rule.

You can plead all you like that no deal was not what we voted for and that yes, a deal should have been easy – regulatory alignment, harmonised standards, common values and all of that – but we are where we are and the EU has made it plain as can be that negotiations are over. But that’s not good enough for Hammond, with this being released from No. 10 and tweeted by Sebastian Payne of the FT: "Hammond and Clarke sabotaged the UK’s preparations to leave… They drove the country into a dangerous cul de sac with a clock ticking towards Oct 31 because they never accepted the referendum result and they fought to overturn it…

Bercow's legacy

I reasonably expect and fervently wish that, should we ever actually leave the wretched and institutionally corrupt European Union, all-pervasive and extensive investigations will be undertaken into each and every quisling politician involved in what I shall dub Bercowism. And I hope that once those investigations are concluded the results are made fully public and the guilty brought to book, not just ushered away with a nice, neat peerage.  ...Over my dead body, Bercow has all but said.  If that’s what it takes, John... if that’s what it takes.

Monday 12 August 2019

Listing to the Left

One of the weapons in Twitters insidious little armoury, stocked to aid its holy war against the unbelievers and their persistent expressing of incorrect readings of the scripture is the dreaded ‘list’. Like many such weapons against thoughtcrime it is not only ineffectual, it is risible and, if anything, further desperate evidence that the eternally offended are ill-equipped for the conflict. Who has ever done anything other than laugh when receiving the notification that ‘@Twatface has added you to the list ‘People who make me cry’?

Actually, the titles of their lists say so much more about them than just their mental fragility; there, in concise little nuggets of micro-aggression, their own prejudices, cowardice and moral superiority are laid bare for all to see. A mutual follower helpfully listed the titles of lists to which he has been added recently:
·         Cunts
·         Gammon
·         Thicker than mince
·         Putin's little helpers
·         Brexit enemies of Britain
·         Traitors & Quislings
·         Bullied badly at school

Charming, but can you tell his crime? Of course you can – he voted to leave the EU. Yesterday on Twitter the same kind of people who list those who dare think differently were all thinking the same as they howled in outrage at Sajid Javid’s proposal to revive the minting of a Brexit 50p coin. Bearing the highly offensive legend “Peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations" this innocuous commemoration of an important national event has triggered yet more bleating condemnation of we Putin’s little helpers. Even rather prominent figures, such as writer/producer Dominic Minghella, have fallen off the sanity perch over it, laughably suggesting they would refuse to accept it as legal tender.

What is the purpose of these lists to which we, the unwashed are added with monotonous regularity? Does anybody ever consult them? Are they used for mass pre-emptive blocking? Blocking without any form of engagement is a particularly weak-willed form of cowardice: I wouldn’t like them, you say? Then I must never see or hear their opinions in my timeline. There are even accounts which threaten to block anybody who retweets, for whatever aim, the opinions of anybody with whom they may later discover they are not in complete accord.

A message group in which I am included regularly exhorts its members to report certain accounts. I never do. Unless I have been personally harassed – which happens very rarely because I don’t often continue pointless discussions with no hope of resolution - I will not permanently block anybody. And on the rare occasions when the spite has become relentless I have blocked only for a few days, until the froth has subsided. As for piling in and reporting to get accounts removed? That is a groupthink response to which I hope I am largely immune.

The great ship of state...

It all seems to come down to people wanting only to deal with others of the same mindset; to inhabit a bubble of opinion which causes no discord. But I thought diversity was our strength, surely? I mean, haven’t they been banging the drum for multiculturalism for decades now? Or can you now only be inclusive if you all think the same?  Caroline Lucas has made her own list; an all-white, women-only list, who will somehow speak for everybody. The left has an appalling track record in actual diversity of thought, but this is downright ridiculous, even for them. I hope somebody is making a list…

Thursday 8 August 2019

Cerk Berks

The English language ever changes. “The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
moves on: nor all thy piety nor wit shall lure it back to cancel half a line, nor all thy tears wash out a word of it.” And so the remnants of the language of my growing years remain, even as some would erase the past completely. In the absence of a universal authoritative grammar we were taught what our local elders and betters agreed on; and good old Auntie Beeb reinforced, in received pronunciation, that they were correct.

An extended ‘thee’ before a vowel, a short ‘the’ ahead of a consonant. ‘Different from’, not the grating and all too often heard, Americanised ‘different than’. And whatever the Oxford Dictionary insists ‘ise’ is still far easier on the eyes than ‘ize’ in almost every instance. But move on that finger does and as our non-consenting multicultural experiment continues, the language with which to adequately describe it becomes ‘enriched’ by the curiously perverse methods of removing punctuation, ignoring nuance and allowing a bland insouciance towards form.

On social media the noun ‘bias’ has now almost exclusively replaced the adjective ‘biased’ and the ‘bias BBC’ does nothing to stem the tide. Whether through laziness, simple ignorance or a desire to discourage nobody from expressing themselves, however illiterately, it has become harder to both read and hear what was once the most expressive and sophisticated language on the planet. Not everybody has abandoned it, of course, but those with the most influence appear to have decided that the onus is on the receiver, not those who deliver the words, to make sense of them.

But while the imprecise and sloppy use of words is annoying, what grates more than anything are the pronunciations which have crept in through a certain malaise, a certain timidity and a fear of offending. In particular, we seem to have lost an entire vowel sound. Southerners have long been unable to render the hard northern ‘U’ in written form, writing ‘oop north’ when anybody from the north knows exactly how to sound ‘up’ and ‘cup’ and ‘tup’. We find ‘oop’ quaint, a little patronising and oh, so southern and smile when we hear people ask us if we’d like a ‘cap’ of tea, or request that we keep to the parth and not walk on the grarse.

But, in words like bush and book and cook we used to have accord. I well remember as an undergraduate trying in vain to disguise my northern twang, worrying about how to say bush and ending up with an alarming ‘bersh’ which pleased nobody and attracted much and well-deserved ridicule. In attempting to conform I had instead shamed my origins and betrayed a lack of confidence that the world would accommodate me not as myself but as I thought others wanted me to be.

So it is with a mixture of amusement and dismay that I now regularly hear on the radio, on the telly and in real life, people talking incessantly about ‘cerking’. They sit in ‘rerms’ instead of rooms and discuss the reading of ‘berks’. Abandoning more nuanced superlatives, everybody is now simply ‘gerd’. I’m gerd, you gerd? Some of them even go online and enter chatrerms where they recommend cerk berks to each other. They need a blerdy gerd kick up the arse.

A cerk... reading a berk.

Control the language and you control discourse. Banning words because they may offend is one sign of this insidious practice, but another, perhaps more subtle manifestation is the fear of being strongly expressive in any way. The banal, universal vowel ‘er’ seems to be taking over and the effect is ugly and craven and needs to be resisted. Be proud of your guttural renditions and stand firm in the face of conformity. It’s only words, I know; it’s not the end of the world, but perhaps it’s the beginning of the end of something worth saving.

Monday 5 August 2019

It's a fact

Facts; tricky buggers, aren’t they? Because what are facts when we are talking not about what they describe, but what they imply? And all facts are not equal: while the number of feet in a mile, or how many buns in a baker’s dozen are undebatable certainties, other fact-like nuggets, especially statistics, are often used to illustrate contrary positions in an argument. And while I naturally scoff at supposed evidence for your aberrant beliefs, I gleefully embrace equally shaky verification that my god is bigger than your god. I am no better than you.

Also to be taken into account is the plethora of fake facts, mistaken facts, incomplete facts, wishful thinking and downright fraud perpetrated in the name of fact and its unhappy bedfellow, truth. Your truth isn’t the same as mine and while mine may – I believe – be grounded in experiential events, your truth may be derived from beliefs which have little or no facts to substantiate them. I cite, as I often do, the absolute fact that not one piece of ‘evidence’ has ever proved the existence of god. You, naturally, counter that no evidence has been offered for his/her/its non-existence. I quote the scientific method, you rely on faith. I have faith in the scientific method… and so it goes.

When arguments are exhausted and the brick wall you have been banging your head against refuses to yield you, we – all of us – resort to other explanations. The other side has been influenced by dark forces, fallen for propaganda, been taken in by the elites who are feeding them well-rehearsed soundbites, attack rhetoric, posing as objective truths. Then, when the enemy captures those positions and turns the same words against us, we fall back, regroup and find some different words. The events have not changed and the full facts are never known – even when a think tank calls itself ‘full fact’ – but our perceptions shift. All the time.

How often have you been ‘Indecisive Dave’ watching a debate as if it were a tennis match, your head swivelling from left-to-right and back again as you nod and agree with each participant in turn. And then, when no convincing thesis wins the day, reverting to the comfort of your original position. It is little wonder, then, that mankind has embraced the frankly ridiculous notion of a magic man – or woman - in the sky who somehow orders everything so that the most deserving, the most devout, will see their reward in the afterlife.

Well, bollocks to that; I want my loot now. And so do you. Which is why the ‘facts’ about ‘the elite’ are so deliciously, egregiously deceitful. The elite, or ‘the elites’ are manipulating your every thought in order to make you slaves to the market economy? Oh, come on, people. If anything the manipulation is being done – deliberately or in ignorance – by those who use envy and a sense of injustice in the guise – deliberately or in ignorance of equality – to mobilise sentiment against those who have succeeded. Or maybe you are just manipulating yourself?

Which facts do you prefer?

I’m not yet a citizen of a post-fact world and I have a great deal of time for evidential investigation, but I am also hyper cynical and assume that ‘your’ facts are tainted. In my more self-aware moments I admit that the same applies to mine, but I just don’t see how blaming society’s ills and especially individual difficulties on those who have managed to buck the trend and make something of themselves is helping. Instead of trying to bring down the successful maybe, just maybe, we should be copying them. At the very least we could start trying to think for ourselves and not be so easily led by pipers playing our favourite tunes.

Thursday 1 August 2019

Sauce for the Geese

Caroline Lucas is involved with something called ‘Dear Leavers’ (@DearLeavers) an attempt, they claim, to open up an ‘honest conversation’ about Brexit. But is it? Is it really? This conversation appears to begin with a presumption that it is the supremely benevolent and intellectually superior Remainers who are big enough to offer an olive branch to the lesser mortals who were duped by ‘rich elites’ into voting against their own interests. There-there, they coo; it’s not your fault, they soothe; while all the time we know their teeth are tightly clenched.

Julia Hartley-Brewer asked Dominic Raab the other day, “Can you guarantee to me right now that on the 1st of November when I wake up we're going to be out of the EU?”. Well , how dare the strumpet be so presumptuous? One of her thousands of more politically correct Twitterlocutors posed his own question:  Dear Julia, with respect, do you not think it is time to stop referring to people as 'Remoaners'? Whatever happens on October 31st, we have to get the country back together - Leavers and Remainers - and the constant use of derogatory terms will never achieve re-unification.

While he may have resigned himself to departure from the EU bloc he seemed to believe it was the Leave side which had to surrender ground. Yet, in the same conversation one enlightened remainer soul felt the need to helpfully add “We are getting our country back one funeral at a time” in reference to the popular Remain trope that the leave vote came almost exclusively from ancient Little Englanders; the belief that a second referendum would go in favour of the vibrant, multicultural, woke New Europeans; the belief that his country was obviously now called Europe, Northwestern Region, Sector 23, B.

Now, while there is undoubtedly a fair clutch of knuckle-dragging, socially-challenged, gammon-faced morons in favour of sticking it to the Germans – why, I occasionally include my pig-ignorant self among them – these people really don’t have much of a voice. They are equally despised by everybody, regardless of whatever they think their politics are. Their insults are illiterate, unfocused and have no impact because they are not echoed by anybody with any authority, moral or otherwise. And where they have engaged in any form of action it has been as much fuelled by thuggish urges and base stupidity than by any coherent ideology.

But look at the other side, those who think that national sovereignty is a medieval throwback. For over three years, those in the Brussels camp – Julia’s remoaners – who have massive backing in the media, schools, the establishment, parliament itself, have been calling Leave voters racists and xenophobes, too stupid to know what they were voting for. The onslaught has been relentless and shows no signs of letting up. If anything it has recently shifted up a gear since the Remainer Anti-Christ has become Prime Minister.

Respect. It has to be earned...

If anybody needs to dial down the rhetoric it is surely those who have been most engaged in it. So, Ms Lucas and your disingenuous ‘Dear Leavers’ malarkey, how about we leave the EU as the government promised we would and afterwards you lot show us that you can meet your own lofty standards of civility?  Who knows; once you demonstrate that you have some respect for us, maybe our respect for you might grudgingly return.