Thursday, 29 July 2021

Shorthand

It’s everywhere you look. The handy labelling of anything you like as anything you want it to sound like. Tips are now reframed, gloriously, as ‘life hacks’, imbuing them with a vitality they rarely deserve; all those click-bait pages telling you how you can’t live without them. Since the word ‘essential’ was attached to entirely unnecessary things back in the 80s, ancient artisan lore has been repackaged as if it were newly discovered intelligence from a distant galaxy.

The knowledge that was once handed down in the family now appears as revealed texts from the lost books of ancient cultures, otherwise known as the Internet; the place where everybody goes to slap each other on the back, form cult-like echo chambers and invent ever more ridiculous shorthand for perfectly normal things. Stick an ‘i’ or an ‘e’ in front of a perfectly ordinary doohickie and watch it become an overnight sensation of new-age awesomeness.

Likewise, in social discourse, there has always been an inter-generational disconnect, the young necessarily wanting to confound and conceal from their elders the exciting [perfectly normal] things they are getting up to. The invention of new words, or the recycling of very old ones is nothing new. And thus ‘chillin’ makes idleness sound productive, just as some have convinced themselves that ‘social media influencer’ is a worthwhile way of avoiding a real job.

Words are also used as weapons and an annoying interlocutor can be dismissed as a racist, a fascist, or even go for the jugular with a 'literally Hitler'. One of the interesting ways in which the demented left is currently tackling their cognitive dissonance over the embracing of islam – an ideology entirely at odds with everything they think they believe in – is to pretend that the biggest threat to society right now is far right extremism.

They label everything they can’t comprehend as ‘far right’ without the slightest consideration of what they believe the far right to be. (If you examine the ‘far right’ you’ll find it is, essentially, communism with more tattoos.) This would be absolutely fine, if everybody possessed the intellect to rise above it and see it for the hollow and insubstantial branding it really is. We all do it, by the way, left and right, old and young alike.

Governments do it too, and then it gets problematic. In an effort to communicate with the hoi polloi, government spokesmen and women alter their speech patterns and use words in ways that perfectly illustrate how unfamiliar they are with them. Politicians never look less in control of their brief than when they try to adopt the accents and idiom of ‘the youth’ with whom they are trying to connect. When Tony Blair took off his tie, it was meant to signal ‘look at me; I’m just like you!’, but when he compounded this with his adoption of the glottal stop he just came over as yet another plank trying to con the masses.

And of course we’re doing it all over again with the pandemic. Already today I have seen doctors trying to persuade people to have the vaccination being described as Nazis. Terms like ‘clotshot’ and ‘killer vaccine’ only serve to over-simplify everything while revealing your credentials to all who read. On the other side, it transpires, shorthand such as 'anti-vaxxer' and 'rabid conspiracy theorist' enrages many who may have perfectly legitimate grounds for their caution.

Mind your language!

The truth doesn’t seem to matter in any of this, and the adoption of the right collection of phrases identifies you as being on one side or the other just as readily as does a badge or a placard. It seems to be a default setting for Human Mk 1, to coin a phrase, but I’m not convinced it is all that helpful. I’m even suspicious that some people take up a side based on which has the cooler language, the slicker patois, rather than what that side actually stands for. There’s nowt so queer as folk.

Wednesday, 28 July 2021

The Search for Sanity

There has always been an uneasy relationship between dreams and reality. What we want and what we can achieve are not – as the inspirational speakers suggest – one and the same. “All you have to do is to believe in yourself and you can be whatever you want to be.” That’ the mantra, but it is as flawed as flawed can be. Yes, if you are a gifted and enthusiastic athlete, with the right musculature, nervous system, drive and training, you might get to compete in the Olympics. And then get beaten by a man in a dress.

The multicultural dream must have seemed like an ideal solution to everything, to the twonks who dreamed it up. Just imagine an incredible blend of all the talents, all the flair, all the vibrant cultural contributions; all mixed up to add zest to our national ambitions. But while academic professionals, experts in their fields, with a secular attitude to life and a hunger for knowledge might mingle well, the reality for many is sheer misery. Unmanaged immigration has brought squalor, graft, modern slavery and terror to our shores.

The Covid affair was a golden opportunity for Boris Johnson’s government to unite the country against a common enemy. Surely, if we all clap for the NHS, mask up, sanitise and socially distance for a few weeks, we can not only beat this thing, but beat it together. But, after a dismal series of confusing advice, U-turns, clarifications followed by reverse clarifications, well look where we are. When it had a chance to show strong leadership, Project Boris turned an opportunity into a disaster.

And then there is the dash for Net-Zero. Oh my. Forget Covid, immigration, transactivism and all the rest. This is the Daddy of unworkable ambition. The ending of the sale of gas boilers by 2035 has been pushed to 2040. As I recall, they were intending to ban them over a decade ago. Why the shifted goalpost? Because the date, plucked no doubt from thin air by a pimply pre-pubescent government advisor, was unrealistic from the start.

But if that seems like good news, the all-consuming obsession with electric transport appears to be more rabid than ever. Why? After all, we could reduce our actual man-made carbon output to actual zero if we simply became extinct in some Jonestown-like national suicide pact, but it would make not one jot of difference. The Chinese economy alone would probably absorb any reduction we made within a week.

As an example of unrealistic ambition versus achievable reality this has to be up there. When MPs voted for the 80% reduction by 2050 target demanded by the Climate Change Act, back in 2008 many probably assumed that 40 years was enough time to develop the technology and change the behaviours. More importantly, they judged that it was far enough ahead that the fallout would be mopped up by their successors. But in 2019, like a loser at the table, they doubled-down on their gamble and said, “80%? Pah! Let’s shed the lot!”

Why do we live in this artificial world of hyperbole, where every normal thing is amazing and everybody deserves to ‘live their truth’, regardless of ability to achieve it? When people talk of ‘holding the government to account’ they then do nothing whatsoever to actually achieve that aim. Instead they reel off a few slogans, pat themselves on the back, promote each other way beyond their competence and label it achievement. And then reward it further, by elevation to the Lords.

With every illusory sleight of hand, by governments, by ‘influencers’, by wannabes like Femi Oluwole, who inflate their relevance and imagine themselves into a job, we are slowly losing our grip on the here and now, the cold, hard facts. Unreality TV, vacuous ‘slebs’, the endorsing of anti-heroes and vaunting ambition all serve to blur people’s understanding of their limits. Within your means, yes, you should strive to be all you can. But for fuck’s sake, let’s get real again and recognise when we just have to get on with it, recover our sanity, and make do with what we’ve got.

Tuesday, 27 July 2021

The Little Reset

So much for The Great Reset. The hideously complex wish list of the World Economic Forum never had a chance of getting off the ground. It looks like nothing more than a tidied-up mind-map (another faddish nonsense) resulting from a drug-fuelled weekend among idealists and crazies… and people with far too great a regard for their own influence and power. As a unifying, totalitarian plan for the future it was only ever pie in the sky.

Yes, influencers operate throughout society; from the shouty bloke down the pub, through the fleeting fame of celebrities spouting new age drivel, to the very heart of governments. Your offspring inform you of the imperatives of the day – climate change, human rights, trans activism, socialism, and so on, and you listen indulgently. Government spokespeople spout jargonistic new initiatives to revolutionise society itself. But the ultimate success of change agents has to be measured by results.

And the results are far from the overarching centralised power so many warn against. And look at who is doing the warning: The clearly deranged Kate Shemirani, the serial nutjob David Icke, and Jeremy Corbyn’s even madder older brother. Yes, there are more credible dissenters out there – scientists and doctors and even politicians – but, far from being silenced, they are being heard. Over and over again. In fact, we her little else.

Boris Johnson’s lunatic advisors have come up with some barely credible ideas to ‘save the planet’, but they have been rebuffed and ridiculed as they should be, and nobody has yet been jailed for rinsing their dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. Only today it has been announced that the date for replacing gas boilers has been pushed back another five years. To my recollection this is the fourth or fifth time that unrealistic ambition has been postponed.

All I am saying is what I have been saying – and seeing – for years. As little as you think your vote matters, collectively we actually do influence what governments do. They need to be re-elected at some point but in between elections they float the wildest of ideas, possibly in the full awareness that these are just pipe dreams, and I am sure that sometimes they are surprised by what is accepted and what is rejected. We might not get what we think we voted for individually, but we do end up with what a collective voter base elects.

The plain truth is that we all have our ideas about how we would rule the world, ideas that receive a big slap in the face should we dare to air them. Try it for yourself; make a bold statement on social media of the way forward and see the alacrity of those who leap in to tear down your ideas. This is exactly what appears to be happening around every part of the agenda for this proposed great reset. The bits that stand up will be accepted and adopted. The rest will just be abandoned.

Governments, especially democracies, have a terrible track record in enacting controlled change, no matter how benevolent their intentions. (I really don’t subscribe to the biblical notion of ‘evil’, and never have.) Of far greater efficacy are the movements started by charismatic individuals, as incredible as they may be. I was reminded today of Joseph Smith, who claimed to have been visited by God and as a result founded the Mormon Church. Now, that is crazy, but today there are over 16 million of them, all following a made-up religion. (For the avoidance of any doubt, all religions are inventions of man.)

I’m not alarmed at all. I remain unconcerned about all the clamour in the world today. People are rejecting perfectly good advice and believing the outlandish. But at the same time, other people are listening to alternative voices to the official channels, some of which are undoubtedly sound, while some of the official advice has been shown to be unreliable. How do you decide what is correct and what is not? I suspect we are are all driven more by apparent consensus than fact, no matter how much we tell ourselves otherwise.

On every subject of concern – climate change, Covid, communism, energy, population, social engineering, and so on and so on – there are as many opinions as there are individuals. An argument that appears to hold water today will be dismissed tomorrow and in a week you may be amazed you ever endorsed it. This will never change, but, as for the much-vaunted great reset, it’s already been reset. Well done, you freedom warriors, you!

Monday, 26 July 2021

Personal Madness

There are a lot of screechy voices about at the moment, stirring up unrest and unease and creating a climate of hysterical fear. “It’s all about control. It’s about influencing behaviour! The elites want you compliant and controlled!” Put like that it certainly seems sinister but wasn’t it always thus? What government doesn’t want a population who generally behave responsibly, pay their taxes and stay out of trouble? What employer doesn’t want a workforce that turns up on time and does what is expected?

And don’t we all engage in influencing behaviour throughout our lives? Most parents school their young to be good little humans, don’t they? We alter our own behaviour in order to influence others when we want them to like us, to buy from us, or when we perceive a threat to our safety. We seek to influence political direction by using our votes – and political agents seek to influence us to give our vote to one party or another.

It’s move and counter move – whenever ‘alternative’ ‘free thinking’ movements spring up it isn’t long before the emblems of individuality become mass produced and turn into uniforms. It happens all the time. In fact, it would be extremely odd if governments weren’t trying to influence our behaviour – to lead more productive lives, to be better educated, to look after our health better, to be more resilient to changing circumstances. Save more, exercise more, spend more, play more; for goodness sake, be happier!

And just because you want to believe you are being coerced negatively doesn’t mean you are or you aren’t. Your dog spits out its medicine and views you with suspicion. Your cat goes into hiding when it spies the dreaded vet cage. Your kids ‘hate’ you when you deny them their ‘human rights’ to do whatever they want to do. And yet all you want is the best for them. Is it not possible that governments are just behaving as you do yourself?

Humanity is possibly defined by its deliberate attempts to engineer consensus – the lion just eats you, but the human persuades you to eat yourself. A healthy dose of cynicism alerts us to the possibility of harm, but it doesn’t take much for that to tip over into paranoia, especially when you can go online and find others – plenty of others – who appear to think the same. The weaponisation of what has been termed ‘motivated reasoning’ has been well studied in recent years, especially since Trump’s conspiracy-fuelled presidency.

There is a natural human tendency to believe whatever satisfies our preconceptions, regardless of its veracity, and the Internet is awash with fodder for the hungry. It has been referred to as an ‘infodemic’, a preponderance of information, misinformation and deliberate disinformation to satisfy whatever validation you crave. And some succumb to the collective narcissism that pervades groups with noble aims to restore ‘freedom’. Who doesn’t want to be a freedom fighter, eh?

Long after the facts are laid bare, picked over, interpreted and disseminated, there will be some, perhaps many, who will genuinely believe that they resisted a sinister new world order attempt to shackle them to the yoke. It wouldn’t surprise me if the weekend Freedom Marches continue long after Covid has been forgotten, becoming a regular family day out for the disaffected. We do, after all, seem to have become a nation of protesters of late.

Believe whatever you wish, but just think about the smorgasbord of plate-ready theories out there for your perusal. Wherever you look, somebody is busy joining the dots, exposing the deceits, aligning the planets, waking up, or just plain making mischief. Why should you adopt just one theory when there are so many to choose from? And hey, with a bit of creativity, maybe you, too, can come up with a new twist? A customised madness, all to yourself.

Friday, 23 July 2021

Tommy

The country has largely forgotten about ‘Tommy Robinson’, the controversial but undoubtedly brave man who spoke up against muslim provocation and violence and paid a heavy price for it. You may – irrationally – hate the man (hatred is an irrational and emotional response which benefits nobody) but he was emblematic of the need to stand up against a tide of frightening change, a change evidently unchallenged by those whose role it is to keep us all safe.

Naturally, the powers that be were, and remain, horrified by his very existence. In the complete absence of action on their part, how dare this upstart be capable of galvanising others into forming a resistance? How dare somebody – a low, uncouth somebody at that – say the things that must not be said? How dare an unelected figurehead do the things the elected dare not do?

Whatever you think of Stephen Yaxley-Lennon he did command the floor at the Oxford Union, having been invited there to be made a figure of ridicule. He engaged with a number of muslim groups, mostly hostile to him, in order to better understand what was happening. He was set up, time after time, and he was provoked far too often, as he later recognised himself, to physically fight back. But he learned from this.

He was very publicly vilified, long after he denounced the English Defence League, which he acknowledged had attracted the wrong type of people and had the wrong type of approach. If you wish to meet violence with violence you need the forces of state on your side, something he never had. Indeed, there was a prolonged period when it seemed that the police were under orders to prevent him from having anything approaching a normal life.

As a result of concerted actions by the police themselves, various disturbing muslim activist groups such as Tell Mama and Hate not Hope he was harangued and harassed wherever he went. He was denied platforms, as one by one his social media accounts were shut down. He was jailed several times, often on grounds which seemed tenuous at best, and appeared to be handed down sentences far in excess, one imagines, of those that would be dealt to a muslim transgressor. Hell, there is no doubt about it; he was targeted by agents of the state.

Not to defend him, because he did do some stupid, vainglorious things, but for what it is worth I tend to be on his side. What he is against is something we should all be against. How he went about it might not seem wise, but how many of us would have carried on, as he has, in pursuit of something he believes in? He has had his family life wrecked, been made bankrupt and had his ability to earn an honest living effectively taken away.

Why am I writing this now, when everybody has quietly forgotten all about him? He is in the news again because he has been landed with ridiculously high costs in his latest unequal brush with the law. Ask yourself whether a single penny would have been demanded had the adversaries in this case been the other way round. Or, you know, don’t bother; you have probably already adopted a position on the man you hate as Yaxley-Lennon.

Was he seeking a place in history? Maybe, I think part of him is driven by the modern obsession with fame. Is he a far-right terrorist, as many will claim? I don’t think so; the term terrorist is applied far too readily by security forces determined to pretend there is a balanced threat to society. Is he really just a nasty thuggish piece of work? Quite possibly, at the start of this crusade, but I think he has become thoughtful and genuinely concerned and has grown into somebody with real, useful insights into this struggle, who ought to at least be listened to.

Where does all this end?

But a far more important question to ask is why is he? People like this, would-be heroes, don’t arise out of nowhere. The threat he tried to counter is not only still there, it is growing and remains unchecked. If anything, it looms larger now than anything, as public concerns turns to the millions of people we let into this country without any concern for whether they pose a threat to our way of life. It doesn’t matter if you hate Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, the fact is this country needs a Tommy Robinson. We broke this one; who will be next?

Wednesday, 21 July 2021

We need to talk about Abdul

I caught a tiny bit of Nigel Farage on GB News, interviewing a representative of Amnesty over the influx of migrants via the dinghy flotilla which daily arrives on our shores. Naturally, Mr Amnesty had no questions to ask regarding the legitimacy of theses arrivals, claiming that at least two-thirds will be found to have legally defensible claims to asylum. The rest, of course, he will leave to the inertia of our immigration system, knowing they will be given leave to remain and then conveniently forgotten about.

Local residents in Kent are appalled, with many feeling they are under an invasion which is not being appropriately met by the British government. But, if reports are to be believed, Boris Johnson himself regards illegal immigrants as ‘future taxpayers’ if only they can be given the right to reside here as British citizens. There are many wrongs in that statement alone, but it feeds into a fundamentally false economic premise that we need mass immigration. We don’t.

For every legitimate, cultured, educated refugee who seeks asylum, integrates into British society and becomes a net contributor to the nation’s wealth and wellbeing, there are untold thousands who bring us nothing. Even a net-neutral taxpayer (somebody who pays just under £10k per year in tax and national insurance - salary around £43k) only has to produce a single child to create a net cost for the next 20 years. (And the children of a certain culture rarely go on to become high achievers.)

The Malthusians may well be right, and a far better way of managing affairs might be to limit the population, concentrating on bettering the skills of those who are capable of using their minds and better rewarding those who are most suited to using their hands. I grew up in a Britain where an average-wage worker with a nuclear family could afford to buy a house, but Thatcher’s property-owning democracy seems further away than ever.

The country’s vision and ambitions from the 1980s have been successively torn up, derided and ditched by a series of governments for whom the sole purpose of the electorate is to elect them. And it does not look like getting any better, any time soon. The distractions of the covid affair, the climate crisis, the desire to accuse every Caucasian of racism, and any number of issues of interest only to vanishingly tiny minorities have not changed the clear reality that Britain has fallen.

People like Mr Amnesty and all the other generally leftist forces are engaged in a campaign to legitimise mass immigration from unhelpful, backward cultures as some noble mission. Almost all of these migrants are muslims, fleeing muslim regimes, but they bring the thinking of those regimes with them. Rapists don’t care if the children they rape have progressive parents; if the women they abuse campaigned to bring them here; if the taxpayer they vow to subjugate pay more each year to feed their own enormous broods. They don't care; we, their benefactors, are also the dirty infidels they despise.

They are DEADLY serious.

At the same time as western leaders ignore the pleas of their people and bring in ever more sub-minimum wage, kebab-economy, unskilled ingrates in the name of a ‘skills shortage’, we are seeing other thinkers heralding the age of AI and automation making labour near obsolete. So, what will we do with the tens of millions of adherents of islam when there is no longer any work to keep their beheading hands occupied? We really need to think again.

Tuesday, 20 July 2021

Buggered

As the heralded end to Covid restrictions has come and gone and predictably under-delivered, the chatter turns to the carnage caused by the continuance of test and trace. As an idea to prevent the spread of infection it has laudable aims. But given the choice, many will refuse to use it, or else ignore its advice. If you get paid by the hour and you can’t work from home and you have mouths to pour food into, why would you respond to a machine telling you to self-isolate when you are fit enough to put in a shift?

When it comes to doing your duty by your country you have to be persuaded that your sacrifice is worth it. For a great many, protecting a third party from a harm which seems slight and a probability which is small, sacrificing your ability to make a living is too high a price to pay. Men who would lay down their lives for their country are unconvinced that staying off work to protect Janice in the office from getting a sniffle is a noble effort that anybody will recognise or reward.

Underlying all the chaos is the burgeoning suspicion that something is off. We couldn’t afford social care yet the government put half the workforce on furlough for a year. We can’t build enough houses for our own people but we continue to import hundreds of thousands of migrants, many of whom will breed but never work. The wearing of Christian religious symbology is considered offensive to muslims, but mass gang rape by muslims is excused as a mere cultural foible.

It goes on: the vanishingly small proportion who are genuinely transgender are treated like royalty, but women who don’t want biological men in their private spaces are vilified as hate campaigners. Statues of historical benefactors are torn down and tributes to violent criminals installed in their place. And everywhere across the left the madness of critical race theory has driven white academics insane while black activists have become power-crazed.

The world is pretty mental right now, with the west appearing to fight many battles on many ever-shifting fronts. So it is little wonder that people, driven batty by lockdowns and masks and social distancing and unfathomable ‘bubbles’ are looking for reasons. And you don’t have to look very far; Twitter appears to be operating as a machine to generate irrationality.

Every political event is imbued with meaning; every meeting of leaders and every photocall open to alternative interpretations. Rumours are treated as facts then fetishised as absolutes. And every possible distortion of history is deployed to demonstrate how this is not only orchestrated, but has been in play for decades if not centuries. I am frankly surprised that Nostradamus isn’t credited with predicting it all, nay starting it all.

Social media has become an even more toxic environment than before with any position open to challenge, including no position at all. Shoehorns are being pressed into service to make the wackiest of intentions somehow fit events as observed. And it all comes down to how you view the balance of power and how it affects liberties most of us have never exercised. My life has hardly been affected, but that isn’t good enough, it seems.

What is absolutely clear, however, is that the whole truth will never be known, but even if it was, the myths will persist to obscure it. Some people will grow old believing they have been victims of a global plot to suppress their life chances and will likely hold such grudges to the grave. But just look at it all. For a plot it is pretty aimless. For a tool for control it is all pretty blunt. As a plan to depopulate it has proved hopelessly inefficient.

What? You think anybody is in CONTROL here???

Whatever you think is ‘really’ going on and for whatever reasons you can surmise, what is utterly lacking is a unifying theory which explains everything. Well, I think I have one, and it is this. While there are some pretty nasty people in the world and there are those who seek to exploit others, governments are neither as omnipotent nor competent as any of them would like to believe. Governments don’t so much act as react. And there’s been this bug going around.

Thursday, 15 July 2021

Piccaninnies

As the foolish footballing farrago of imaginary hate crime continues to dribble on, the conclusion held, it seems, by all politicians and other bloviating commentators is that we are all racists now. It’s official. And, of course, like every fad, once everybody has got one it ceases to hold any allure. So it is that the rabid pursuit of offence in every single thing has ended up at the only destination possible; Ladies and gentlemen we will shortly be arriving at Worthlessness.

And yet embedded, institutional, systemic, structural racism is on every media tongue. It is touted by the newspapers, by the broadcasters and most especially by social media. Once again, the commentariat misses the point. It’s too late, it’s over, it is yesterday's grievance. Like I imagine a majority of ordinary folk, I am less concerned about racism with every day that passes. Leveraged to gain overtly political advantages, it has ceased to have any relevance beyond the cringing, chattering classes who have boarded the guilt train. No guilt here, and as far as I’m concerned BL simply don't M.

But the bandwagon still has a lingering momentum, as it lurches downhill and trundles towards the gutter of history. Just as with a cornered rat, fighting for life, the struggles and screeches of the race justice warriors become ever more frenzied, ever more strident, as they lose purchase. A few decades ago racism was firmly on the retreat as most people accepted we had a mix of ethnicities in our national make up, but that we were all people after all. But a gradual slide into harmony wasn’t enough for some.

When racism has become a minority proclivity, what is the point of ‘anti-racism’? All it does is create pretend victims in order to foment outrage. But it has overplayed its hand and nobody believes it any more. It is like hope-not-hate which clumsily tries to pour opprobrium over anybody who dares to criticise islam – ersatz blasphemy law in action. Saying you are an anti-racist is not saying you are not a racist; it is saying you have signed up to that new religion of self-loathing, hair shirt wearing anti-white activism.

As an overt ‘anti-racist’ you are literally judging people by the colour of their skin. You are judging those almost 100% non-racist white people to be the opposite of what they are. In fact, you are judging them to be just like you when in reality they are better than you. Not through any entitled, anti-racist, nonsense term such as ‘white privilege; they are better than you because they don’t judge you, they pity you your poverty of ambition. They pity you for your adopted victimhood.

Yesterday, somebody resurrected the text of Boris Johnson’s infamous Piccaninnies article, in which he was taking the piss out of Saint Tony Blair, casting him in the guise of the great white saviour of colonial times, bestriding the globe and bringing salvation to the dusky inhabitants of less enlightened continents. For those who are interested, this article is a handy read because it sets out quite simply why there is nothing to see here.

They'll be banning this next!

But the truth has no place in the discourse of racism. And the abandonment of historical racism is a truth which will not be acknowledged, no matter how long ago. Imagining that they have a superweapon against which the ‘far right’ have no defence, the term racist is used on every occasion to stifle debate. But you know what, fuck them; fuck them all. If the price for being the boy in the crowd is to be slagged off as a racist, bring it on. Marcus Wotsisname is... English. There, I said it, and I don’t care who knows.

Wednesday, 14 July 2021

Soft Power

The rebels failed to block the government's intention to do something the electorate actually welcomes – slashing the foreign aid budget. When I say ‘the electorate’ I, of course, refer to the majority of the population, those people whose votes put governments into power but whose opinions thereafter are unsolicited and routinely ignored. If governments could do away with elections altogether they probably would.

But there are other people with votes. Many fewer people but with more important votes – they think – than the lowly hoi polloi. These far more worthy, far more moral people often hold views which are incompatible with the masses they rule over. Every few years they court the power-giving votes of the great unwashed; we’re listening, they say, but we won’t remember what you said after we take charge.

And then they spend our collective money without asking whether we want it spent. To justify foreign aid they talk of soft power. We are buying influence, they say, we are standing tall on the world stage, we are oiling the wheels of international trade. Well, if we have something worth trading why do we need to offer bribes? Who are we trying to influence and why? Have they never noticed that those despotic regimes they prop up in return for arms sales actually hate us?

Foreign aid, they say, is a small price to pay to retain our standing, and to assist the poorest people in the world. Well, how about dealing with the poorest people in the UK first? Show us how buying gold-plated Mercedes for corrupt dictators translates into roofs over the heads of our homeless. Show us how, for every cruise missile B.O.G.O.F. token we send abroad exactly how much is poured into UK social care.

Why not be open about it, instead of deciding that we mere voters will never understand how oh-so-clever you all are? You never know, a little bit of honesty could go a long, long way. But what am I saying? Despite all the talk of transparency over the last few decades the machinations of government are as opaque as ever. I get that there must be secrets; I don’t get why we often appear to reward those who despise us before we take care of our own. 

If the politicians can’t see it, the electorate is all too aware of the massive disconnect between power and the people, and foreign aid is just another one of those policies which appears to be a one-way, wrong-way street. We open the door to invasive immigration, we create dependencies we can't afford. We are less safe, not more secure, as a result of some of our foreign policy.

Those worthies who wish to continue funding foreign despots can always throw their money at the innumerable charities founded to do exactly that. They can see the larger part of their personal donations pour into the greedy pockets of the directors, and maybe in doing so they will experience the dismay the rest of us see when the taxes we have no choice about paying are frittered away. For the majority, however, charity must surely begin at home.

Monday, 12 July 2021

Beautiful?

In 1966, while queuing for an ice cream I overheard the football World Cup final score on somebody's transistor radio and went back to tell the family. I don’t remember being jubilant, elated, or any other emotion, I just remember hearing the news and passing the information back to the others on the beach. I was 8 years old. I imagine I was pleased but I truly don’t recall.

I’ve never been a massive football fan; a bit crappy as a schoolboy and, if truth be told, never all that much of a team player. It strikes me that teams work best under firm leadership and an ordered hierarchy, whereas in business and politics, in society itself, teamwork is often invoked when in reality it is very much dog-eat-dog; the individual gets the glory, but praising the team is seen as part of the ritual.

Most people are not really in teams, no matter how much the word is used; you get on with your job, your life and you generally succeed or fail all on your own. But in sport it has to be different; a bunch of talented individuals will rarely win against a disciplined and practised team effort. From school side to local club to the Premier League, people adopt, at various removes, a vicarious sharing of the prizes.

And in international sport the national team becomes emblematic of the nation itself. This may be at the heart of the English problem. We don’t want the team to represent politics, social strife, or egalitarianism; we just want the win. We don’t want footballers as social commentators, as saints or shining examples. We just want them to be damned good at the game and to bring home the trophies.

I don’t really know much about football; I don’t much care. But over the years I have become less invested in the national game as I have seen how much it seems to mean to people I don’t think I would thankful to team up with. I don’t know the players and I lack the lexicon to pontificate over a pint about how much better the match would have gone had I been in charge (unlike so many armchair coaches and managers.

But I do feel qualified to comment on the use of sport in politics and my view is quite simple; it should play no part. I know that’s a forlorn and na├»ve hope and sport will be used to any political end to which it can be bent, but it is tedious and predictable when it happens. Last night, today, the air is rent with cries of racism. Oh, give me a break.

Football and politics - bollocktics!

Why do people not realise that professional sportsmen, while they may be physically at the peak of their powers, rarely possess the intellect and grace to speak for the nation? While mature thought and an educated world view is not beyond their ultimate reach, it is way beyond the credible grasp of a man-child who plays a game for a living. By putting an agenda not supported by all front and centre, the so-called beautiful game can turn very ugly indeed.


Sunday, 4 July 2021

A Curious Case...

What I like about humans is… Oh, wait, that blog would end right here. I mean, what I find curious about humans is their readiness to respond emotively to a topic without thinking first. I noticed two things this morning which prompted me to tweet. The first was the reaction to Katharine Birbalsingh by angry people determined to paint her excellent schooling approach as some form of cruelty. The second was an impassioned outburst by Neil Oliver about vaccinating children, or, rather, not.

Both stirred the cultists who treat children as idols to be worshipped, to engage in some good old traditional online abuse. The hatred in some comments was quite visceral, as people decided to project their own interpretations onto the argument and, as usual on social media, reason was the first casualty. So, abandoning reason myself I tweeted out what I thought was a simple enough question: “Why do people revere children above all? Seems odd to me.”

Actually, I did know what I was inviting. I’ve done The Twitter for a while now, so all I had to do was sit back and let people assume I was having a pop at kids when in fact I was asking about the way in which many adults lose their mind when it comes to children. I quickly lost count of all the “children are the future” replies – the go-to aphorism whenever this subject is raised. So let’s do that first.

The future just is. Tomorrow is the future, and the day after, and so on. The existence of kids is entirely irrelevant. Of course, without progeny the human race would die out at some time in that future, but the future of the planet need not include all species. There is something selfish about the assumption that the world needs homo sapiens, and there is a growing opinion (much of it from children) that Earth would be better off without.

Ah, but, they explain, without children we won’t have future adults who will forge ahead with the human project. True, but they won’t be children then, will they? Childhood and how it is handled, is a costly investment in our future society; this is also true. Why then, do people get so emotive when those few, like Katharine, seek to optimise that investment? And why do largely the same people get angry at the prospect of seeking to protect those children from disease?

I just feel that when it comes to children many lose their objectivity altogether. In earlier times, parents were demanding vaccination. Now, largely due to the ridiculous amount of information, misinformation, disinformation and opinion out there people think they are making informed choices when in fact those choices are anything but rational.

I’m not taking a side on the vaccination thing on which I remain obstinately and honestly ignorant. That isn’t what this is about, so I won’t respond to any vaccine-related replies. What it is about is the propensity of humans to jump to conclusions and adopt positions based not on facts, but on emotions. This may not be the best way to order our affairs, but I concede it is the human way. And I reserve the right to remain curious about it.

Saturday, 3 July 2021

Rayner Days

Is it just me, or is Angela Rayner actually very stupid indeed? Famously leaving school with more children than GCSEs (not that GCSEs are in any way indicative of intelligence or reason) she has spent the run up to the Batley and Spen by-election positioning herself as Leader-in-Waiting. I say ‘positioning herself’ but is it really ‘being manipulated by Momentum as a useful idiot for a power grab’?

Voted into the Deputy Leader position by the unions, she is a poor running mate for Keir Starmer, who needs no assistance at all in appearing vacuous and policy-free. Because,, of course, that is Labour’s current offering to the electorate, isn’t it? Vot us into power and we will vacillate, procrastinate and wave whatever flags you order us to wave while doing absolutely nothing whatsoever for fear of upsetting the lengthening list of ‘the usual suspects’.

But Rayner? Clumping about wearing the shoes of a teenager and defending that style decision with breathless lack of comprehension she makes Little Britain’s Vicky Pollard look like an exemplar of incisive decision making. Yeah, but, no, bu’ yer, bu’ no… or sumfin’ or noffin’ or wha’ever… It is almost as if the Labour Party are conducting an experiment – inspired, perhaps by BLM, Shola Mugabe Umbongo, the LGBTQI+++ set and others – to see just how far hey can go before the boy in the crowd plays the ‘emperor naked’ card.

You would have to utterly cultified, incredibly dumb or otherwise incapable of independent thought to be able to imagine her, for one second, occupying the post formerly taken by Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher. And can you just imagine her on the world stage? Or at the palace? “Yer wha’ yer Majesteh?” The crypt in Westminster Abbey must be practically humming as former statesmen spin wildly in their tombs.

Keir Starmer is, of course, hopeless. Forensically failing to lay a glove on the hapless Boris Johnson, Captain Hindsight is scarcely a challenge – the next election is Johnson’s to lose. But can you imagine even a die-hard communist voting for the flame-haired fishwife unless they somehow believed that they would among the ones to pull her strings? (In which case, they would be even bigger useful idiots then Anj-er-ler herself.)

Why are you walking one pace behind me, Ange?
All the better to stab you in the back, Keith.

Of course, whoever leads the Labour Party into the next election already has a fifth columnist ally in place. The fecund and famously cock-led Johnson will, it seems, stop at nothing to bankrupt the country in the name of environmental justice. When you can no longer afford to drive, heat your homes or pay your electricity bill, power cuts notwithstanding, even you may be tempted to give Labour another go…

Friday, 2 July 2021

Battered and Spent

 In the end a mere 323 votes put a weak and lacklustre Conservative candidate in second place behind a woman whose only credentials to stand were a dead sister, martyred in Labour folklore, and her out sexuality which is the kind of identity candidate Labour love to promote. Either way it’s a lose for the electorate in Batley and Spen. Keir Starmer’s feigned glee cannot hide the dire state of left-wing politics in the west.

Torn between standing true to their traditional values, or abandoning former voters for the kaleidoscope of special interests competing for attention, the last twenty years of Labour has been a downward spiral of mediocrity. You can’t court the muslim vote by standing a candidate whose very existence is anathema to them. And you can’t unite the working classes by berating them and sowing division. Starmer’s throne is as unstable as ever, I’d say

If anything, Labour won by the ballots which were not cast. No matter the fervour of the metropolitan news media, no matter how the chattering classes were billing this as a pivotal by-election, less than half of those eligible to vote bothered to turn up. I suspect that large among the abstainers were thousands of die-hard ex-Labour voters who would never vote Tory in a million years. They think their silence speaks, but it only speaks against them.

In yet another stronghold, the walls of the keep have worn ever thinner; at the next general election this constituency is far from safe and a few strong moves from Johnson, the People’s Philanderer, may be all it takes to swing the mood. Labour is far from secure and the leadership far from settled. I pity the party for its dearth of talent; awash with every kind of queer, there is not a single saleable policy in sight.

But the Tories have nothing to feel smug about; on every front they are looking less like a popular choice and more like a punishment beating for the plebs. On immigration, a massive issue for many millions of Brits who feel completely abandoned, Priti Patel is proving impotent and increasingly desperate. Nobody is falling for the rhetoric when they see the daily shuttle service from the continent, followed by the slick reception process.

On the pandemic, no matter the medical realities, people have just had enough, and the mood is such that many will willingly risk infection just to be able to get back to normal. Of course, if lockdown is lifted completely and the death rate rises dramatically, Sajid Javid will probably be blamed. But if the opening up proves inconsequential most people will assume the government panicked over lockdown in the first place. There is no win for government here.

Green, build-back-better policies are going to make some people (who will almost certainly be portrayed as Tory cronies) extremely rich at the expense of the majority. Save the planet but lose the country. Every measure put forward involves massive disruption and cost for marginal environmental gains. I’m still waiting to see a joined up strategy, but all I see is more misery for the workers.

No matter who you vote for the government always gets in

Batley and Spen has proved a damp squib. No big upset, no seismic change in the direction of the public discourse, just a sizzling out of a briefly ferocious conflagration. Nothing to see here, really, please move on. As always, for all the heroic talk, for all the bluster, nothing is going to change. And I still don’t know or care – nobody does - who the Tory candidate was.