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Britain

The Miller’s Tail…

So Maria Miller, Sec State for Culture has fallen on her sword (for I am slain iDave!) due to her diddling expenses.

What the flying fuck do we have such a position for, apart from some croney of iDave diddling expenses, obviously?

Have you been to the National Gallery (it’s free by the way – and my favourite art gallery in the World*). Did Turner need a Department of Culture to paint his piccies? Did Francis Bacon? I recently saw some of his in Amsterdam recently**. Did Tolkien need one to write Britain’s favourite books? Did Elgar? Did the Beatles? The Stones? Does Adele? Do you or me? God help us Shakespeare managed to make it without the state!

Culture is simply what we do. In a sense it is what we are. We just do it. From posting video of a cat doing something amusing on Youtube to the Elgar violin concerto we just do it. In this case “we” is Kyung-wha Chung. She is my fave fiddler ever -do listen to the rest – it’s great***. And I have a weakness for the violin concerto. And that is her with the LSO conducted by Solti. Neither are Brits but Elgar was. And in a real sense that kind of sums up “culture” for me in the sense that here we have a piece of music played by a Korean/American with the orchestra conducted by a Hungarian/mainly American with an honorary British knighthood. What I mean is Elgar has “stretch”. All true culture has. Elgar is quintessentially English and not from a rich background (at one point he was employed to conduct an orchestra in the local lunatic asylum) but that his music can reach from Seoul to Budapest to Chicago and touch people enough to play it that well says something.

I have been to a folk festival (for my sins). It was curious. Apart from getting Brahms und Liszt (it was a stag do) it struck me how parochial (and in extreme cases nationalistic – not in a good way****). True culture is in a sense beyond borders. God help me I am English but I can’t stand the Tory club Little-Englander with his G&T any more than I can stick the “shop local, think global” lot with faux tribal tattoos. I was going to get one if I’d completed my PhD – my equation. Alas for me and an inker this did not come to pass. Folk is shite anyway. But what I was really trying to say is… I once came across in Georgia (USA – not entering the Putindoom) a fellow who expressed surprise at my mere existence. He declared a desire (and he was well adult) not only to never leave the USA (for there be dragons elsewhere ) but to never leave the state of Georgia. I’d just done a 2,500 mile road trip round the SE USA. I guess I just like globalization and that Huge Furnished Shitting-Stall can get his locally-sourced onions off behind his organic arras.

Anyway, that is getting seriously off the point (if there ever was one*****). This I like. (Aside – there is a shop in central Amsterdam that sells Brit stuff called “Arkwrights”).

Yes there was. Culture. It is universal and natural. It should be allowed to just happen but it is intrinsically global (and that scares people). Now don’t get me wrong – I have nothing against “local colour” but our culture is increasingly self generating and global. That does not mean it is less diverse. Gods no! You can get decent sushi in Manchester******. If that means the Eccles cake is heading the way of the sauropods then so be it. Mind, in Porthmadog you can get excellent fish and chips (but fuck all else). And they all speak Welsh! But that is not my point. You expect good fish of whatever sort in a fishing port. And good chips anywhere (apart from Amsterdam).

Culture happens. It can be global. It can be local. It can be both. Concentrating on the local is absurd in the age of jet planes and youtube in my eyes. The more it goes global the better I think. I have God knows how many channels off my Sky dish. I can watch a Nigerian soap opera if I want – I don’t because they are piss-poor but… Why do we need a culture secretary at all? Why when we have Easyjet? Why when we have the internet? Why when within walking distance I have have Chinese, Italian,Spanish and Indian take-aways/restaurants? Why have a culture secretary?

*I’ve been to quite a few of the greats.
**See, I’m not uncultured. I could have gone to the ‘Dam and spent my time bombed out of my box sucking dope from bongs shaped like penises. I went to the maritime museum, the Jewish history museum and… Mind the food over there ain’t great. I did eat kangaroo mind (a first for me) but it was bloody awful. Having said that it might be just due to the Dutch tendency to serve Flintsonian portions and bugger the quality. And chips with everything.
***But not as great.
****Not that that was anything like that.
*****There wasn’t really.
******My brother would disagree because he’s lived for several years in Japan.

Libertarianism and Conservativism – foes or friends?

F.A. Hayek at the end of his “Constitution of Liberty” (1960) wrote “Why I am not a Conservative” – which is odd as Hayek had (perhaps without knowing it) a good grasp of what actually is a positive conception of conservatism, and a poor grasp of libertarianism.

Hayek rejected the word “libertarian” as “artificial” which is just as well as he was not a libertarian – philosophically or politically.

Philosophically Hayek was a determinist (like so many 19th century and early 20th century thinkers, he assumed that “science” mandated determinism). Hayek took David Hume literally (whether Hume should really be taken literally is a hotly contested issue), the “I” (the human person) is an illusion, as is human choice – a thought does NOT mean a thinker (a reasoning “I”) and as there is no agent (no human being – no reasoning “I”) there is no agency (no free will), actions are predetermined by a series of causes and effects that go back to the start of the universe – and humans (who are not beings) can do no other than we do (we could not have done otherwise – as choice is an illusion).

Politically Hayek claimed to an “Old Whig”, but is hard to see how his philosophical views are compatible with the Whig point of view – which was based on the MORAL value of human free will (it is not an accident that David Hume was not a Whig) . The determinist (such as the Thomas Hobbes) holds that “freedom” is just an absence of external restraint – for example when a dam fails the water is “free” to rush out and destroy towns and so on. “Freedom” (in the determinist view) is not a matter of moral choice (remember choice is an “illusion”) so “freedom” is like taking one’s hand off a clockwork mouse and letting this clockwork mouse go around on the floor. It is hard to see how this “freedom” can be of any moral importance at all – if any view of politics can be based upon it would be a politics of tyranny (exactly the politics that Hobbes did base upon it), after all walls of water from broken dams (and so on) does not sound very nice.

Still does Hayek say anything else about his politics? Yes he does – again in the “Constitution of Liberty” we are told that he supports the “limited state” not the “minimal state”, because (according to Hayek) the minimal state can not be defined and the limited state can be defined.

Hayek is just wrong – the minimal state is easy to define (although very hard to achieve or maintain – an anarchist would argue impossible to maintain or achieve). The definition of a minimal state is one that just uses force only against the violation of the non aggression principle (attacks on the bodies or goods of people or groups of people). It is actually the “limited state” that is hard to define. Limited to what?

Hayek does make some vague efforts to define the “limited state” – for example he says that such a state applies “general rules” that apply to everyone.

O.K. then – everyone is to have their head cut off. Is that a good example of a “limited state”?

Hayek also says that a limited state does not seek to have a monopoly of any service.

O.K. then – everyone but the children of Mr Smith of 25 Silver Street to go to a state school?

Unfair example? O.K. – how about the state hands education and healthcare “free” (at the expense of the taxpayers), but you are free to pay twice (i.e. pay again on top of taxation) to go private? Is this the limited state?

How about you can go to any doctor you like and send your children to any school you like, but the state pays the bill (no matter how big it is), is that the limited state?

Such a state (one that seeks to provide or pay for education, healthcare, old age provision and on and on) will end up spending half the entire economy (and still fail). That does not sound very limited or sustainable – and Hayek (in his attack on the Welfare State) shows he understands this. However, his “limited state” is not defined in a way that prevents it.

Oh dear this post seems to have turned into “why Hayek is crap” which is unfair as anyone (even the best of us) looks terrible if one just concentrates on errors and weaknesses. I will leave the above out if I ever give a talk on this subject (because it sounds terribly negative) – but it needed to be put on record.

So why is Hayek (perhaps without knowing it) insightful about Conservatism?

Hayek’s own definition of Conservatism (given in “Why I am Not a Conservative”) is not good. He just defines it as being opposed to change – so (for example) a North Korean conservative now would be a socialist (or that is the system they have) and a British conservative I (say) 1870 would be a free market person – as this was the system of the time.

Whatever Hayek may have believed that is not a serious definition of Conservatism. But Hayek (again perhaps without knowing it) does give a description of Conservatism – in “Constitution of Liberty”, “Law. Legislation and Liberty” (and other works).

Cosmos not Taxis – spontaneous order (evolved over time) not top down planning. What Hayek called the results of “human action not human design” (it would be have been better to say the results of voluntary action not forced action – but Hayek had philosophical problems with even voluntary design).

Or (in the language of the conservative writer M.J. Oakeshott) a Civil Association not Enterprise Association, a Societas not a Universitas.

Institutions and customs that evolve over time often without people knowing the reasons they are useful – till they are broken.

As Tolkien’s (Tolkien being a Catholic Conservative) character “Gandalf” puts it in the “Lord of the Rings” – “he who breaks a thing to find out what it is, has left the path of wisdom”.

This is what Conservatism is about – a preference for evolved custom and ways of doing things (ways of living) over imposed “rational” planning by the state.

The state (in the Conservative view) is like the Thrain of the Shire (Tolkien’s) and the Mayor.

The Thrain does nothing in peacetime (in war it is different) – he just farms his estate. And the Mayor is the leading figure at formal dinners (like those of the old Closed Corporations that were the only “urban local government” before the Act of 1835 in England and Wales), he does not order folk about. Families govern their own affairs and do not attack each other (police forces were not compulsory on the counties of England and Wales till 1856). There is plenty of (moral – traditional) authority, but little naked “power”.

I think it is obvious show this view of Conservatism is close to libertarianism (hence “Tory Anarchist”) – a friend not a foe. But is it tied to Hayek and his philosophical opinions?

No it is not – which is why I mentioned Oakeshott and Tolkien (two Conservatives with very different philosophical opinions to Hayek). Both Oakeshott and Tolkien believed in free will (agency – moral responsibility, the ability to choose to do otherwise).

Even in the 18th century Conservatives did not follow the philosophical opinions of David Hume (again IF they were his opinions – I repeat this is hotly contested). Neither the Tory Conservative Dr Johnson or the Old Whig Conservative Edmund Burke (a real Old Whig – unlike Hayek) accepted determinism and the denial of human personhood (moral choice – the ability to choose to do otherwise). Edmund Burke and Dr Johnson (the Whig and the Tory) both believed in free will (agency – moral responsibility, the ability to choose to do otherwise) and were moral universalists (not just Dr Johnson – but Edmund Burke also, for the T. Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson view of his is totally wrong, to Burke it did not matter if something happened in the Middle Ages or right now, in India or America – right was right and wrong was wrong).

Is this the only view of Conservatism?

Of course not – there are other views of Conservatism. For example the statism of Disraeli (with his life long commitment to “social reform” – yuk).

However, that is hardly “doing nothing” (against those who do not themselves aggress against others). The Tauist Old King Log sitting in the shade – rather than Young King Stork “helping” his subjects by eating them.

Recipe for Spoiled Brat Nation

Rachel Canning

Changes to the child neglect laws will make “emotional cruelty” a crime for the first time, alongside physical or sexual abuse. The Government will introduce the change in the Queen’s Speech in early June to enforce the protection of children’s emotional, social and behavioural well-being. Parents who deliberately starve children of love face jail under new Cinderella Law

The biblical proverb (Proverbs 13:24) from which we get the more punchy aphorism “spare the rod and spoil the child” may be a bit dated in an era where all but the mildest of parental chastisement is potentially subject to intervention by agents of the state and the criminal sanctions for being found guilty, not only the incarceration of the parent concerned, but the force seizure and adoption of the children of such a parent.

Such laws are brought about due to a handful of cases each year, usually where children have died due to parental abuse (quite often the boyfriend of the mother rather than an actual parent) and often exacerbated by woefully inadequate child / social services.

So to make matters worse, the UK now intends to expand the boundaries of the state to allow child / social services to intervene and prosecute “mental cruelty”.

So what is “mental cruelty”?

Certainly water boarding little Esme seems to be covered by existing laws, so it’s obviously not that.

Sending her up to bed without any pudding because she was cruel to young Tarquin? possibly.

Telling Tarquin he should play with his toy cars rather than dressing up Esme’s Bratz dolls and having an impromptu tea-party? Absolutely! - Gender stereotyping, lock ‘em up, throw away the key and snatch the kids into the state sanctioned redistribution programme, known as adoption.

Expect the legislation to be so broadly and nebulously written that it can be interpreted as meaning whatever the hell the agents of child / social services want it to mean.

So next time little Esme asks for that pony, you’d better start thinking about stables and hay suppliers rather than committing an act of mental cruelty on her by saying “No” you CHILD ABUSER!

What do you mean you can’t afford it? You need to be asking yourself a different question – “Can you afford the financial, legal and emotional costs of NOT buying her a pony?”

Quids…

The Daily Fail just has to say this. OK, it’s bimetallic but that is it. It doesn’t really look like the Euro. More to the point if we are introducing a new coin design does that not imply a commitment to Sterling? I don’t want the Euro. Guess why? Euro notes are OK. Euro Coins are very difficult to distinguish and God alone knows what they make ‘em from but after a couple of years they look tatty as Hell. Look, I can get myself around say US coinage, or Czech or Polish or British but Euros don’t float my boat. OK, so like the Euro coin it’s bimetallic but so is the GBP2 coin which I rather like. “Standing on the shoulders of giants” and all that caper. But dear me! The Euro cents I handled in Amsterdam recently just looked rough – like they came from one of those toy tills. They looked like they had been through a Belgian. Or an Alsation. Something of that kidney. They all look the bloody same yet different. Having different national images is a pain because whereas we have instantly identifiable symbols whereas having a variety of national symbols on the reverse you don’t bloody know – I mean you know if it is German* or French but it isn’t obvious if it is 10c or 20c. It identifies where the coin came from but not what it is worth. Having them all the same colour is a hyper-pain too. The notes work. The coinage doesn’t. And it looks shonky. It doesn’t look like the Euro my dear Fail. It looks nothing like it. I think it looks quite nice. Although by 2017 I bet it won’t buy a Coke but that is another matter. And there is also too many. I like the US system (I know they have other coins) but largely it’s 1,5,10,25 and that is your small onion. Works. OK, the fact that the nickel is bigger than the dime always annoyed me but nothing to the Euro. I also liked the dollar bill. I, being a Brit, am just not used to holding a wad of foldable. I felt like a movie star though in truth I had about enough to go to Wendy’s for a burger. The smallest paper you get here is a fiver which is worth roughly USD8.30**.

But, let’s get back to the score. The pound coin is not being scrapped. The Fail is mongering the scares. It is being replaced. Fair enough. It still has her Britannic Majesty’s head on it. It looks fuck all like a Euro. I quite like it.

*The German one has Norman Foster’s “Friendly Eagle” on it. You know the one that doesn’t invade Poland. And let us all be grateful for that. Because the last time that happened…

**So I say to my wife. “That’s good – can we go to the USA”. Problemo. Myt wife is a translator and is often paid in USD so that isn’t good. Swings and bloody roundabouts. You simply can’t win. You can run but if you do so you’ll only die tired.

Religious Exemptions in Law – Is Mr. Singh to blame?

Sikh Motorcycle Club

A group of religious fanatics terrorise the community :-)

Further to the brouhaha over at York University in Toronto, I got to thinking about the problem of religious exemptions in law and the various compromises that have arisen trying to balance the rules of secular society without violating freedom of religion. (more…)

Upfront and in your face…

No excuse not to know what they are up to now, and have been all these years, since Jean Monnet, a Communist who was never elected to anything, and much preferred it that way, came up with the idea of a United States of Europe.

Viviane Reding, Vice President of the European Commission and the longest serving Brussels Commissioner, (also never elected) has openly called for a United States of Europe, and bugger what we the mere citizens of our respective Nation States think about it. Read a speech she made back in 2012.

"We need to build a United States of Europe with the Commission as government and two chambers – the European Parliament and a "Senate" of Member States," she said.

Mrs Reding’s vision, which is shared by many in the European institutions, would transform the EU into superstate relegating national governments and parliaments to a minor political role equivalent to that played by local councils in Britain.

Under her plan, the commission would have supremacy over governments and MEPs in the European Parliament would supersede the sovereignty of MPs in the House of Commons.

National leaders, meeting as the European Council, would be reduced to consultative, second chamber role similar to the House of Lords.

So there you have it, bold a brass, no more softly softly catchy monkey, no more Democracy either. The Great and the Good will watch over us forever more my fellow European Brothers and Sisters, and we will be grateful, oh so ever humbly grateful!

I will be voting in the European Elections in May, and you know who I will not be voting for don’t you? Yes the usual suspects… Lib/Lab/Con.

When Law Becomes Subjective then the Rule of law is totally Fucked.

When I was an executive in the Crown Court, I had an oppo on my section, a CO name of Sam. He was a big strapping lad of Afro/ Caribbean extraction. He loved sports of all kinds, and was good at them. He beat me easily in the Crown Court Table tennis championship final, for instance. Christ you should have seen his forearm smash… which was the point, because mostly I didn’t.

Anyway, we were having an pint and reading the paper in the pub over the road one lunchtime. and he comes across an article about how racist Robinson’s jam was for putting Gollywogs on their labels. He was outraged. Not because he agreed that they were being racist, but because he thought it utter fuckin nonsense, and was all a white leftie slur.

He told me that he had collected the tokens as a kid and had sent off for all the enamel badges. He had the complete set. In fact he was very proud of them. Back in the late 70’s and early 80’s you see, you didn’t see many Black Tennis or Golf players, you had to wait a few years till Arthur Ash and Tiger Woods turned up for that, yet there they were represented by his Golly badges that he displayed with pride on his school uniform jacket, a spur to his aspirations.  He thought that calling them racist was nonsense on stilts.

Ah but that was then, we live in much more enlightened times now don’t we boys and girls?

When the Law descends to the point where the only criteria that can be taken into account in a case is the supposed offence caused to a supposed victim, rather than objective evidence that no offence was intended or even contemplated, then you know that English Common Law is well and truly fucked.

This case should never have even got to the Queezy  legal Tribunal stage without being thrown out. The fact that it is now being considered at the Court Of Appeal at great cost to us poor bleedin taxpayers, tells you all you need to know about the fuckin mess we’re in today.

So come on Denise Lindsay, do you feel lucky Punk? Fancy another easy payday do ya? You are a lying freeloading chancer, who deserves suing yourself. I’ll be hearing from your ambulance chasing lawyers soon will I ?

Pregnant? Don’t visit the UK then!

“A pregnant woman has had her baby forcibly removed by caesarean section by social workers. Essex social services obtained a High Court order against the woman that allowed her to be forcibly sedated and her child to be taken from her womb.”

Telegraph (link)

As usual, these draconian actions were carried out in secret almost 15-months ago, supported by the UK’s much maligned Court of Protection. The unbelieveable behaviour of Essex social working scum has only been revealed due to the parliamentary privilege of John Hemming MP, one of the few parliamentarians that seems prepared to stand-up for families caught in the judicial nightmare of dealing with the UK’s predatory social workers and the Court of Protection.

I wish Anna Raccoon were still well enough to comment as she would be even more scathing.

Year in, year out, we read of social workers behaving in a manner that would shame the Gestapo and yet despite all of the bland mutterings about “Children being our primary concern” or “The council cannot comment on individual cases”, such abominations continue.

As my Malaysian wife often says of the UK, “…and you call this the first world?”. Too bloody right.

The Court of Protection needs to be either stripped of it’s power to hush-up such matters or disbanded entirely. This sort of reprehensible behaviour by social workers will continue until we remove the veils of secrecy behind which they hide. The only way to stop such abuses is to shine the light of the media in the dark recesses and throw social workers in jail.

Obviously, none of this will ever happen as social workers are a fundamental pillar of the leftist collective. Indeed it is fear of them coming in and seizing “young Tarquin” on some pretext that keeps a lot of the middle class in line and compliant.

Words fail to express how angry I am at this…

Tutto nello Stato, niente al di fuori dello Stato, nulla contro lo Stato (“Everything in the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State”)

Benito Mussolini in his address to the Italian Chamber of Deputies 26th May 1927

Mozzer strikes again…

If you know The Smiths that’s quite witty.

Morrissey has attacked President Obama and the tradition of turkey-eating on Thanksgiving, in a blog post on his website entitled ‘Thankskilling’.

My sides nearly split with mirth.

Morrissey described the annual lighthearted turkey ‘pardon’ ceremony that Obama takes part in, where turkeys are saved from being slaughtered, as “embarrassingly stupid”.

Well. apart from describing Mozzer as an ageing Ted with a chronic masturbater’s complexion. Yup, the greatest export Manchester ever made… But traditions are “stupid” (aren’t they?) and traditions (pretty much by def don’t include the presidency of Barack Obama – a tradition going back to 2008 is not exactly traditional is it?) It is is silly but then so is wearing a paper crown on Christmas Day. Very silly but Mozzer, we is just trying to have fun – which appear to be something Mozzer who once wrote that real upbeat ditty, “Girlfriend in a Coma” fails to get at any level.

Otherwise I would drone endlessly about the wit and wisdom of Chairman Mao over a buggered tannoy whilst some fucker arse-vogeled a 1980s Casio keyboard to accompany. Without Johnnie Marr you are nothing. Just a (poor) voice wandering alone in the wilderness…

“Please ignore the abysmal example set by President Obama who, in the name of Thanksgiving, supports torture as 45 million birds are horrifically abused; dragged through electrified stun baths, and then have their throats slit. And President Obama laughs. Haha, so funny!”

Do I detect the voice of a left-winger betrayed?

Furthermore, “As Ingrid Newkirk from PETA points out, turkey ‘meat’ is one of ‘our nation’s top killers’, causing heart-attacks and strokes in humans due to saturated animal fats and cholesterol. And President Obama laughs.”

A very strange use of quotes around ‘meat’. Either it is or it isn’t meat. The moral discussion about eating it (or not) is not furthered by scare quotes any more than PETA’s dismal attempt to rebrand ‘fish’ as ‘sea-kittens’*. And in any case eating turkey and having a heart attack is one’s own choice. I can’t stick turkey anyway. Dry and insipid, much like chicken and roast pork.

Morrissey has long been a campaigner for animal rights, vociferously promoting a vegetarian diet – and sometimes tipping into controversy. He said that the 2011 Utoya massacre by Anders Breivik was “nothing compared to what happens in McDonald’s and Kentucky Fried shit every day.”

The news that he is now scheduled to play a Nobel Peace Prize concert in Oslo has upset some in Norway, given his earlier comments.

Well, the Nobel Peace Prize is not worth a penny-weight of Arafat’s giblets really but that is offensive. I am now deeply tempted to obtain a moose burger just for the hell of it!

In 2009 he left the stage at the Coachella festival saying: “The smell of burning animals is making me sick. I can smell burning flesh . . . and I hope to God it’s human.”

Would Mozzer have been happier at Auschwitz than in the vicinity of a hot-dog stand? I’ve been to both in my time. I have also been a vegetarian (sort of – I could never make a chilli that really worked) and am married to a vegan but that casual moral equivalence is appalling. Utterly wrong. It is that sort of attempt at making a KFC the same as a NAZI death camp the reason I fear for the future. That it can even be said is very scary. Killing 6 million Jews is not on the same moral map as getting a hot dog. It is indeed chilling rather than chill dog. Animals of course require our care but they are not us. Up to a point they are moral agents (my cat knows he’s done a bad thing when he pukes on the duvet) but they are not the same. Very similar in many ways but not the same. We once lost Timmy. We were moving and he fled the house due to the disruption at something like the speed of heat.**

He came back after a tense while. We spent an extra day sitting on orange boxes (so to speak) with not even the telly waiting for him. My wife was in tears – there were a number of kebab shops in Levenshulme. Then a paw scratched at the door. That night he insisted on sleeping between us in our bed. So, stick that up your arse-trumpet Mozzer. I do care for animals. And Timmy has a lovely big garden to prowl and get into fights with other cats who invade his territory. He also eats meat for a certain value of meat. He only likes the cheapest stuff in terms of pouches. He’ll go insane if I have fish. I once got some smoked mackerel from Aldi (and very good it was too) and had to exfiltrate the kitty from the bin for he’d gone in head first after the skin. I was alerted by a terrible mewling and the sight of a tail. Daft bugger.

“Bring me the head of Elton John… which is one instance in which meat would not be murder, if it were served on a plate.”

Now, I’m no fan of the Rocketman but might it be apposite to say he’s sold more records than Mozzer? That he isn’t a total twat? And perhaps more to the point, whilst I might want to eat a nice sirloin, Mozzer wants, for whatever obscure reasons (mentioned above) to eat Elton John’s head which is a bit too Heston for me? You’d have to get through the rug first apart from anything else. But you do have to wonder if John’s success over decades in the pop business doesn’t irk the Salford One? Or the fact his HIV/AIDS charity has done more good than Mozzer’s sanctimonious posing? I mean I was never a Smiths fan (and the solo stuff is drivel) but to the extent the Smiths were good was down to Johnnie Marr and not the gladioli-wielding bard of Salford.

At a moral point why is it not allowed to eat critters but OK with people you don’t like? All totalitarianism (and Morrissey is a totalitarian – well, a wannabe one anyway) is about this.

Morrissey is a sort of eternal recurrence of DH Lawrence. The sort of quasi-socialist who hates the “little people” who don’t get him. Lawrence once wrote (and this was published, I think) about how he wanted to set-up a circus big-top and have the lumpen proletariat shoved through to be exterminated to the sound of a band playing popular songs. Yes, he did. I lack refs for it but yes, he did. Is this much different from Mozzer? No it isn’t.

They are both utterly overrated. Check!

They both have chips on their shoulder you could sink battleships with. Check!

They both despise the people they allegedly seek to help. Check!

So that’s that. The quotes are from here.

*An odd one as my little cat loves to eat his sea-kittens. More interestingly, if I have a sea-kitten then we have a Rommel v Patton situation. He’ll lurk then strike but then I am smarter being H sapiens sapiens and he’s Felis silvestris catus. He made an elaborate encircling manoeuvre round the back of the sofa last night whilst I was eating pizza.
**USAF fighter-jockey slang for anything between the speed of sound and that of light.

The stupid viciousness of stateism – at the local level.

There is a hole in the pavement near where I live – some workmen are doing something or other. The hole is not very big – it would be easy to put a fence round the hole whilst still giving people room to walk round it, but no…….

Instead of just having a fence round the whole, the entire pavement is blocked. Of course people could walk on the pavement on the other side of the road (as is the case with some other work in the town…. actually forcing people to walk on the other side of the road is pointless in this case – but that would be another story), but the powers-that-be have another idea……

Instead of people walking on the other side of the road, there is a fencing along the middle of the main road,,. allowing people to walk in the road (rather that walk on the pavement on the other side of this narrow road). The fencing is right at a CHOKE POINT where the narrow main road crosses on a bridge into the town. Reducing a two lane busy road to a one lane road.

Yes. you guessed it gentle reader, there are terrible nightmare traffic jams.

I do not claim that this is sabotage – that the officials who gave the orders have a deliberate plan to cause chaos. The regulations (“health and safety” or whatever) are just stupid – and they are applied with a lack of concern for the harm they do, that does indeed amount to viciousness.

Complain? There is no point – no point at all.

Complain to a local councillor? I am one – I know we have no power. Complain to a County Councillor? They have no power either. Complain to officials (of the “Highways Agency” or whatever) “we are just following policy” would be the response.

The road has no private owner, no one who really cares whether the people who try to use the road can use it or not.

It is all hopeless.

Remembrance

I was born in 1973, in Newcastle. There are worse places to be from. Much worse. Mogadishu springs to mind. We Geordies perfected locomotion. They perfected female genital mutilation. I rest my case.

Anyhow, this morning, guess where I was? Of course I was at the war memorial in my little town on the outskirts of Manchester.

I can’t stand the vicar for she is a vile moo (as a Quaker Warden I’m expected to be ecumenical and do some outreach and stuff) but the Rev Margaret is a right witch but like whatever… She conducted a solemn and dignified service today. A soldier played the bugle. There were cops there like Barney Rubble tends to break out in middle-class towns in Cheshire on Remembrance Day? I guess coppers died in the Blitz so fair enough if they were there for that.

This is our war memorial…

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And yes, I wore my poppy. Not with pride but with humility. The first war I recall was the Falklands. That memorial was built in 1920. There is no person alive who fought that but we remember them. Of course we do.

I recall the first British serviceman to die in the Falklands. He was a Harrier pilot and called Nicholas – which is of course partially why I recall it. I don’t think he was shot down. I think he crashed in bad weather.

I remember. I remember lots of things.

And I remember today. Every year. Of course I do!

Well he would say that, wouldn’t he?

Given that the wit and wisdom of Mandy Rice Davies is becoming all the rage with the upcoming Andrew Lloyd Gargoyle’s production of Stephen Ward… The Musical (yes I’m trying and failing to get my head round that one frankly). John Selwyn Gummer (fangs are a memory) as was, Lord Deben, as now is…and Chairman of the Uk’s “Independent” Committee on Climate Change, has smugly waded into the Global warming debate condemning the Media for even bothering trying to find a balance in the conflicting views of a very complex subject. According to Gummy…

Evidence in favour of climate change is so strong, he said, that it could be compared to evidence linking smoking to cancer or evidence that the Moon Landing was not staged.

Not the best analogies I have ever come across your Lordliness. Gummy has a degree in History and probably hasn’t enough science to wire a plug properly, but he is so certain that man made Global warming is a fact that he wants all dissenting voices silenced. Yep that’s Democracy in action alright !

But I wonder why he is so certain given his complete lack of scientific knowledge? Could it be that he is a smug, self satisfied, venal troughing  bastard (just LOOK at that pic), filling his boots at the expense of the rest of us, just like Tim Yeo, Ed Davey, and that still on Licence old lag, Chris Huhne? Why yes it could!

Whatever the fuck happened to declaring a conflict of interest?

Oh, for f…

Cameron Launches State-Backed Mortgages Plan

Eh? Is he trying to out-crazy Millipede, or what?

The scheme was due to start in January but hours before the Conservative Party Conference opened, the Prime Minister revealed that NatWest, RBS and Halifax had all agreed to provide the new deals.

It is widely being seen as a response to Ed Miliband’s Labour conference crowd-pleasing announcement that the party would freeze energy prices for two years as conference season has shaped up as a “battle over the consumer”.

Ah. Yes. Yes, he is.

He denied that the move would create a housing bubble and said that they had taken advice from the Bank of England and empowered it to stop a bubble being created.

Well that’s all right then. I expect he’s borrowed Millipede’s magic wand.

My normal response to this kind of willful insanity in any other aspect of life would be to wash my hands of it and walk away. If the others involved are so determined to make a complete pig’s ear out of the thing then, as we say round these parts, “Hell mend you”. I’m out.

But that’s kind of tricky to do with governments. Especially when the major political parties are engaged in a hell-for-leather race to the bottom nuthouse.

Why the EU doesn’t matter.

Despite the protestations of not-so-former Maoist José Manuel Barroso, it is not the existence of the EU which stops the German tanks rolling across the Polish border, but nearly 70-years of peace and relative security in Europe, the source of which was NATO and free trade rather than any EU inspired initiative.

- Kitty Kounter John Galt.

Absolutely. When I was a student I read a lot of late Victorian and Edwardian literature (cheap, out of copyright and all) and the idea that immigration, for example, is a new thing is risible. The London streets I walked down were much the same as those walked by Holmes and Watson. This is perhaps why I thought the reboot of Sherlock was a very bad idea until I saw it. I then really liked it. I mean I was prejudiced – John Watson MD, a British Army Doctor wounded in Afghanistan – in the C21st! Oh, wait… Oh, yeah… And there is a Khazi in Kabul too and we are involved in our fourth Afghan War. Or fifth – I forget. God alone knows what the point is. I do recall a Times cartoon from 2001 with the tag-line (from a USAF General), “We’re gonna bomb them forward into the Renaissance!”. Yeah, right. Whatever.

The ‘stan is and always has been a lost cause. The Taleban came to power at least partly because of a regrettable incident in Kabul when two warlords decided to fight a duel over the buggery rights to an attractive boy. They did this in downtown in broad daylight and in tanks. Wow!

But Europe – no. Europe is not a lost cause though the EU does not make this so. Holmes and Watson would dine in Italian restaurants and so do I. Essentially we’ve just given up fighting each other due to things like Angela Merkel being the boss in Germany and not a deranged and strangely ‘tached bastard – either of them. But also due to cheap flights and stuff. Prague is now somewhere we go for a stag do and not a “far away country of which we know little” to quote the best mayor Birmingham never had. The EU didn’t do this. Easyjet did. So did football, so did food – just consider the extent to which nobody regards lasagne as foreign as such. I collect old cookbooks and some of the stuff is frightful.

The EU is a prime example of giving us what we already had and then taking credit for it. If that sounds like a protection racket and not burning your warehouse down then… Well, it is. The EUropols simply can’t cope with the fact that, for example, I’ve had a couple of French flatmates or that my sister-in-law lives in Poland with a Polish chap, who, after a few too many brown vodkas than were strictly speaking good for me I agreed to watch the Lord of the Rings – extended director’s cut back to back. Now here is where it gets interesting. They live very close to the Czech border. Except it isn’t really a border as such. You can drive through it and not notice a thing. There is a Avia L-29 and a T-34 and possibly the most peculiar property I have ever seen for sale (probs sold by now). It’s the old Polish/Czech border-house (Paperien bitte! and all that). I think it is (was?) technically straddling the border so going into the kitchen might involve an emigration, technically. But how cool is that? A house in two countries. It almost makes me wanna be an accountant because the dodges could be awesome. Oh, and the Czechs invented deep-fried cheese. And do cracking beer.

The EU didn’t make any of this possible. The EU is a superstructure of gits who claim they made this possible. They have to claim this because otherwise they are utterly irrelevant. They have to make barriers in order to be seen to break’em. They are an irrelevance desperately trying to be relevant. They claim I can live anywhere in Europe and I can but then I always could. They are like somebody beating you with a 2×4 and then expecting thanks for taking you to A&E afterwards.

I love Europe. It is my home. But it was not gifted to me by Brussels. It just is. It always has been and it always shall be.

The likes of UKIP who seem to believe the entire population of Bulgaria is imminent at Gatwick as I speak are wrong. No Mr Farage the UK is not “full”. We are densely populated but still are about 12% of land area built upon. And that is everything. I mean everything. That is houses, roads, factories, docks, airports, warehouses, shops – everything. The whole nine yards. And no. I also disagree with the left who, let’s face facts, wish a Europe that holds a deranged “balance of power” between East and West. I mentioned eating deep-fried cheese in the Czech Republic? The Cold War is over. Has been for decades.

As a kid I had a C20th history book from the late ’60s. Now this proffered two options – and it was blatent – nuclear holocaust or a “United States of Europe” holding the balance of power. I believe the assumption was that a kinda Swedish Social Democracy would be the “third way” between Uncle Sam and Uncle Joe. Utter bollocks obviously. But it was stated not as opinion (though it was) but as fact.

And we are still stuck with this inconvenient “truth”. Do I need a EUrocrat let me go to the Czech Republic and eat deep-fried cheese? I mean really? on a six figure salary? I mean for fuck’s sake! All I need is a few Crowns and an appetite.

They may tek our lives but they’ll nivver tek us seriously!

The BBC News is leading on the story that in exactly a year the pale folk up Norf get to vote on dissolving the Union. Well, like, whatever. I don’t care. If King Alex of Pies wants his fiefdom then so be it as long as the rest of us don’t have to pay for the woadsters (is the woad even historically accurate?) to create a Socialist Celtic Wonderland. In any case it is utter gesture politricks (not an sp) because NewScotland(TM) will of course be de facto be as economically tied to England as ever – even though they have pandas. You simply can’t sever those ties easily and they are the real ties that bind – between individuals and companies and such. It’s like imagining Norway can be truly independent of Sweden, or Canada from the USA.

Now don’t get me wrong. This post is not really about Scottish Independence which is a bizarre idea in an increasingly globalised planet (or maybe not – the only branch of government I trust is my parish council – so, perhaps smaller political entities is the way ahead) but this blanket coverage of what is in many ways a non-issue (we’re not going to get “Checkpoint Alex” in Berwick or rebuild Hadrian’s Wall (don’t tell Micky Gove – it’s the sort of deranged thing he’d like – teaches Classics and gets the proles doing something)).

No, this post is about something deeper. It is the absurd attention that the TV News (I’ll betya Sky weren’t better) pays to politics. And it ain’t just us. I was last in the USA in 2006 and a certain chap I’d never heard of was everywhere on the TV. You might know of him – he’s now the President. He was being hyped more than two years before the election. Now regardless of your feelings about Mr Obama that is ridiculous and so is this. As I said, this is irrelevant. We have a Scottish contributor here, Sam Duncan. Now we, obviously, don’t agree on everything but I’ll bet you dollars to donuts if we met we’d probably talk more about the late and lamented Commodore Amiga computer than who pays for prescription charges in Fife. Shallow? No. Real. We hear a lot in the blogosphere about stringing ‘em up etc but the cruelest and most effective treatment for the political class is to ignore them. They’d rather be flayed over a gun-carriage than have me or you just go, “Yeah, like, whatever…” You can argue the Midlothian question or whether there ought to be a separate Scottish team at the Rio Games in 2016 until you are blue in the face but, “Sam, do you think Atari would have developed the Amiga better…” is more interesting. The really big questions are the small ones. Politicians only make their stuff important because we let them. And the mirage of Scottish independence is a prime example. Note it is exactly a year from now that Scotland goes to the polls. It will be the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn. Now if that isn’t gesture politics then I’m a Dutchman!

Does anyone care? Hell’s teeth! When I was in the USA in 2006 I visited amongst other things the Capitol which the Redcoats torched (using the contents of the Library of Congress as kindling) during the War of 1812. Like who cares anymore? I didn’t do it – honest! It’s quite possible ancestors of mine fought at Bannockburn though I neither know nor care upon which side. This is not to dismiss history but to put it into context and not keep on trotting it out like Basil Fawlty with German guests.

And here is something that barely scrapped the news yet really puts our minor squabbles over flags and such into genuine context – this summer our species achieved something remarkable and in the grand scheme a much bigger deal than arguing the toss over the EU-specified meat-content of a haggis or whatever excruciating minutiae the pols raise to rarefied heights of significance. Voyager I passed the Heliopause. There is now a man-made object in interstellar space. Now that is important (and more to the point cool) and makes the ambitions of Mr Salmond and Ms Sturgeon (why so fishy?) look utterly petty. Or to quote John Nance Garner* (he was speaking about the US Vice Presidency – that he held), “It’s not worth a pitcher of warm piss”.

Similarly, I have never for the life of me understood Ireland and it’s “troubles” (how delightfully euphemistic). I guess they were “solved” by giving Gerry Adams** a ministerial Jag rather than a cell in the Maze Prison which of course says much about the venality of politicians. No, I never did understand Ireland. If we consider one substantive issue (i.e. not the colours flying over Stormont) like, say, abortion then surely there would be a meeting of minds between staunch Catholics and staunch Presbyterians? So why the agro? Neither of them were up on birth-control or queers so they ought to have gotten along like a house on fire which I suppose in a twisted sense they did. I know many, many people died (frequently horribly) in Ireland over the decades but this anecdote sums it up for me. I gleaned this gem from a documentary many years back. Apparently you set off a fertilizer bomb using sulphuric acid and the best thing to keep that in is apparently a condom which is then ruptured for the kaboom! OK. I’ll take their word for it only ever having used condoms for the more traditional reasons but being “good Catholics” debate erupted amongst the IRA as to the use of “immoral objects” to achieve their moral goals such as indiscriminate killing and maiming. The lack of seeing the big picture here is astonishing. As a side-light it is also illuminating as to assigning morality to objects. I can’t help but feel there is some sort of connexion with the gun-control nuts. A gun is neither moral nor immoral. Going on a rampage in Mumbai is immoral. Shooting a rabid dog in the way Atticus Finch did is the right thing to do. Morality is not about means but desire. With a box of matches you can burn a Rwandan village (and its inhabitants) to ash but you can also light a cooking fire for the refugees. Nobody said life was about easy decisions. Nobody but politicians anyway. They are far too eager to legislate and then call the problem a done one. Just look at the “War on Drugs”.

There is an uncomfortable truth here. Being good and decent is not about law as such (would you rape, rob or murder even if there were no laws against such acts?) it’s about being good and decent and whether you get that from a holy book or just knowing (I suspect there is a large cross-over) morality is not legality. It is not statutes, laws nor all the rest. It is generally fairly basic and obvious***. And that is what is uncomfortable. Like Voyager I in the interstellar cold we have to let slip the surly apron-strings and no amount of politics and minimum booze prices or smoking bans or warnings on fatty food or campaigns against sexual harassment shall do that – just plain decency out of the creche – and yeah it’s a tough one to wave nanny goodbye.

Arguably such laws are counter-productive but the simple truth is that being fair, decent and honest is internal because if we are worth anything we are moral agents, not subjects. It is that simple and that hard. It is why (and I’ve lived in some rough areas – but not here, not now) I implicitly trust my next-door neighbour with my keys and we have hers. Perhaps politicians don’t get this simple truth. Laws can’t force the “good” whether it be a ban or a nudge or whatever. You just are good. Or not. Or most likely a “bit of both”. Yes, the morality of actions can be difficult to judge. That is partly why such judgements matter. Morality matters because we aren’t just Skinner’s pigeons. Politicians don’t understand this. They have the hubris to believe they can perfect the human condition. They can’t (clearly) and neither can we but we can get much closer than they because in a sense we don’t believe. Politics is almost entirely grand-standing. If I were ever in a position to employ folks then would I give a toss about whether or not they were gay, straight, male, female, black, white, Muslim, Christian or Jew… No! If they could field-strip a Dell and tell me what was wrong with it then bingo!

That wasn’t as much of a digression as I had feared.

I regard myself as a libertarian almost not as a political position or even an anti-political position but as orthogonal to politics. The title of this post (despite wrapping itself in a second-hand version of a third-hand Scottish flag – must be a bit tatty by now…) has nothing really to do with Scotland. It’s about the bigger picture. It’s about what freedom really means. Nationalism (of any form) is just a crib-sheet for freedom devoured by politicians. We know better. Don’t we?

We are star-dust that has just started to flirt with the Galaxy and the BBC witters on about Scottish Independence? I like Scotland (when it isn’t raining****) or I’m being eaten alive by midges and it will still be there however the vote goes. It is obviously of supreme importance to the sort of people this sort of thing is of supreme importance to but if, for example, I asked Sam to recommend a Linux distro would it matter? No. Of course not! -

See how irrelevant this is to us all? And see how nasty making it so is?

And Voyager I just projs on!

It’s like the final scene in “Antz” where the CGI pans out to show the anthill is just a little mound in Central Park in NYC.

*A contrary sod but let one of his enemies extol his virtues. In Congressional testimony, union leader John L. Lewis described him as “a labor-baiting, poker-playing, whiskey-drinking, evil old man”. Gets my vote!
**Perhaps the most bizarre graffiti I ever did see was in the gents of the George Green Science Library, University of Nottingham, “I’d sleep with Gerry Adams but I’d be thinking of Martin McGuinness”. God knows!
***Yes, I appreciate there are complexities here. Especially in terms of things like IP and contract law and such and such.
****Living near Manchester that is very important.

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