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British Culture at it’s finest

The United Kingdom in 1964 – a big government country that was O.K. ish (well perhaps).

Anti big government people often make the assumption that life gets worse as government gets bigger. It is true that if government grows, in size and scope, things will not be as good as they could have been – but life can still, for a while anyway, get better for most people.

Take my home town of Kettering, Northamptonshire. Government started to grow here in 1875 (in other towns it was after 1870 – but we did not vote for an Education Board here), with the rise in national taxation and the increase in functions pushed on local government by the Disraeli Act of 1875. Yet life still got better here till at least 1960 – and government was big indeed by then.

I am not just talking about real wages – but general life also. For example Wicksteed Park (the first amusement park in the country) did not exist in the 19th century – but it was a national institution by 1960, although it has sadly declined in recent years. Also ordinary people were better dressed in 1960 than they were in the 19th century (when some children did not even have boots or shoes – even in a town famous for making them) – although, again, one could hardly call people in 2014 well dressed, or well behaved.

And the buildings were fine (or at least O.K.) – the destruction of so much of the “town that Gotch built” did not really begin till 1960. And the town was not too big with endless housing estates eating the fields and the bluebell woods. It was still the Northamptonshire of the writer H.E. Bates and others.

In 1964 there was full employment and historically high wages, no welfare class (of any size) unlike today. But people were also mostly well behaved, polite, well dressed and so on.

“That is trivial stuff Paul” – perhaps. although I do not think so, but there is rather a lot more.

I have already mentioned the lack of a welfare class in 1964 – there were people who could not take care of themselves, but there were not millions of healthy working age people who had never worked and never would. Is this not important?

Also non state institutions were vastly less unhealthy in 1964 than they are now. “Oh Paul is going to obsess about the Churches again” – actually I was thinking of the family.

In 1964 most people still lived in stable families – now we do not. Is this not an important change – and not for the better.

In 1964 the fertility rate was positive, we could replace ourselves as a nation – now it is negative, we can not. We have vast immigration instead of our own children.

In 1964 most shares were still owned by individuals (there was no Capital Gains Tax) and the City of London was matter of self employed stock brokers and stock “jobbers” (wholesalers). The brokers worked for individual clients who still owned most shares (the “Aunt Agathas”) and stock jobbers worked selling shares for the companies.

Now most shares are owned by institutions (hired manages in control of other hired managers – with real owners a thing of the past) and private investors are taken to the cleaners by faceless organisations in a post “Big Bang” GOVERNMENT DOMINATED City of London.

Even Ulster (Northern Ireland) was quiet before 1964 – the main news stories there were about lost cows and the latest attractions at Port Rush. Not how the IRA (Sinn Fein) was running the government and destroying education.

Indeed education was much better in England and Wales also – Grammar Schools were common, intelligent children could get a good education (at the expense of taxpayers). Qualifications meant something – not like now. And the universities were only just starting to over expand.

And the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland was an independent nation in 1964 – not a slave of the European Union, we were are own masters.

Also the British armed forces were still a real force in 1964 – the Wilson-Healey gutting of the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force (reducing Britain to a token power dependent on others) had not yet happened. Britain was not a joke – we still mattered. Yes in spite of Suez, and in spite of the pathetic “Super Mac” we still mattered. And there was no conscription – getting rid of conscription was about the only good thing that “Super Mac” ever did.

And there was still freedom of speech and freedom of association – the 1965 (and all the later Acts) had not yet been passed.

“We get it Paul – in 1964 everything was wonderful – everything now is awful”.

No I am NOT saying that.

The advance of technology in the last 50 years has been a good thing (yes I find the internet time consuming – but the advance of technology has been a good thing) – and that has enabled higher living standards, for most people.

And government in 1964, although much smaller than now (the Welfare State has exploded since 1964), was still vastly too big – unsustainable big in the long term, all the seeds of our present and future societal crises were already long planted before 1964. Government dominated health care and education and old age provision (at least for the poor) and none of these things is good – although the old traditions of the pre government dominated schools and hospitals (the grammar schools and hospitals were still private in the 1930s) still dominated the government services of 1964, teachers, nurses and doctors still acted like dedicated professionals (not dominated by endless government rules and union practices).

However, it was a good country in 1964 – it was a better place to live than Britain had been in (say) 1874, when government was vastly smaller.

I am not saying that if government had been kept to the level, size and scope, it had been in 1870 or 1874 that Britain in 1964 would not have been an even better place – of course it would have.

But Britain in 1964 was an O.K. ish place in 1964 – in ways we are not now, and this should not be forgotten.

Dr Bonham’s case.

A man by the name of Bonham refused to pay for a license to practice medicine from the London College Physicians.

The College pointed out that not only did it have authority granted by a King (Henry VIII) , but also a specific Act of Parliament upheld medical licensing. So it fined Bonham (half the fine going to the college – half to the government, just as the Statute said it should) and ordered him to be imprisoned.

In the modern world that would be it – consumer protection upheld, and the evil “Dr” Bonham shipped off to be raped to death in prison somewhere (to the applause of the media – and the education system, the schools and colleges with their “protect the consumer” and “protect the worker” textbooks). However, this was 1610………

Chief Justice Sir Edward Coke (with his wicked, reactionary “Medieval mind”) was outraged by the whole thing. Not owning a piece of paper (a “license”) was not a crime under Common Law (to the Common Law a crime was an aggression against the bodies or goods of someone else – not failing to buy something). Also how could a body (the college or the government) sell licenses and, at the same time, sit in judgement over the case? This would mean that those who profited from the sale of licenses (had a financial interest in it) could punish those who did not buy them! – Which (to the modern minds of both the college and the government) is replied to by “well yes you Feudal nutcase – THAT IS THE POINT”.

Sadly (in spite of the work of Sir Francis Bacon, the author of the Progressive classic “The New Atlantis”, and mentor of Thomas Hobbes – the great philosopher who spread the enlightened notions that “law” was just the whims of the rulers, and that humans were just machines, not beings – not moral agents). The reactionary Sir Edward stopped the imprisonment of Dr Bonham – and declared that he did not have to pay a fine for refusing to buy a piece of parchment (a “license”) as the Common Law (those DUSTY CENTURIES of Year Books full of cases about one man hitting another man over the head with an axe – or damaging a local church by using its windows for target practice for archery……) knew of no such “crime”, and that it was an outrage that those who sold these pieces of paper could fine (indeed imprison) those who refused to buy them (Sir Edward’s “medieval mind” just did not understand the Progressive modern world……).

Nor did this reactionary bigotry end with Sir Edward Coke.

Chief Justice Sir John Holt (late 17th century – the generation that produced the English Bill of Rights and other hopelessly reactionary documents. with their right to keep and bear arms and so on, that are affront to the modern Progressive world) held to the same view that Acts of Parliament do not overturn fundamental principles of natural justice embodied in the centuries of tradition of Common Law reasoning (in spite of Progressive Legal Positivist Thomas Hobbes “proving” that there was no such thing as natural justice or natural law in a moral way – and that the judges of the Common Law, in seeking justice over the dusty centuries, were just lost in illusions – true law being just the will of the ruler).

Chief Justice Holt – even cited judges as far back as Bracton (did he not understand that only what has been said in the last five minutes matters?) and openly stated that Acts of Parliament do not trump fundamental law – indeed it is the other way round. And that it was possible (although difficult) for legal reasoning to find justice. Not that all judges would always agree (YES – there are other cases in the centuries of Year Books that contradict the cases that Sir Edward Coke cited, he knew that and it does NOT undermine his position), but that legal reasoning (fundamentally reasoning in justice – after the manner of Aristotelian reasoning) was possible – that law was NOT just the ravings of Kings and Parliaments. That fundamental law was different to (and higher than) “legislation”.

Chief Justice Holt even tried to apply this to slavery – which to him (as to the 19th century American lawyer and later Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Salmon P. Chase) was the Common Law crimes of false imprisonment (dragging someone back if they ran away), and violent assault (whipping someone for refusing to work – no more acceptable in Common Law than throwing someone in prison for refusing to buy a piece of paper, a “license” or an “insurance policy” as with “Obamacare”).

In the United States this reactionary tradition continued with, for example, Justice Pierce Butler of the Supreme Court who held (by dissenting in “Buck Versus Bell”) that a State (even after it passed a “statute”) could not hold down a screaming woman and cut her up for the “crime” of (allegedly) having a “low IQ” out of fear that the women might give birth to babies who also might (allegedly) commit the “crime” if having a “low IQ”.

Justice Butler did not even believe that the government had the right (even after passing a statute) to exterminate “inferior races” – he had clearly never read the noble Progressive writings of the Fabian socialists H.G. Wells (the teaming millions of blacks, browns and yellows must go, forms of gas could be developed and…..) and George Bernard Shaw (every person should be made to justify their existence before a government board, “like the income tax tribunal” and if the board was not happy with them, they should be executed), friends of fellow Supreme Court Judge – O. W. Holmes Jr who wrote the Progressive view of Buck V Bell.

To a Progressive such as Holmes  the old American saying (attributed to Mark Twain) – “no man’s property or liberty is safe – when the legislature is in session” (a much realistic attitude that the deluded British faith in Parliament) is replied to with “and a jolly good thing to!”.

Well where do you stand gentle reader?

With the vile reactionaries such as Sir Edward Coke, Chief Justice John Holt, Edmund Burke (see his writings on Ireland and India), American Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase, 20th century Justice Salmon P. Chase (and the others of the “Four Horsemen” who opposed such Progressive things as Franklin Roosevelt “National Recovery Agency” – General Johnson’s Jackbooted “Blue Eagle” thugs who tried to set the prices and business practices of every enterprise in the United States).

Or do you stand with the noble Sir Francis Bacon (of The New Atlantis), Sir William Petty (the creator mathematical “economic planning” in the mid 17th century), Thomas Hobbes, the Bowood Circle of the late 18th century (funded by Lord S.) with such lovely people as Jeremy Bentham – with his 13 Departments of State controlling every aspect of life (as it is the duty of government to promote pleasure and oppose pain – and natural law and natural rights are “nonsense on stilts”, law being simply the will of the rulers), and with the Hobbes lovers among the “Westminster Review” crowd of the early 19th century (with their “land question” – i.e. the view that the state could plunder the ancient estates, overturning “feudal” notions going back to the ninth century, as David Ricardo had “proved” that….. let us ignore the fact that Frank Fetter refuted David Ricardo on land a century ago, the Ottoman Empire, and Eastern Despotism generally, rocks, it is “Progressive” to attack the estates of “feudal” Western land holders). And the “New Liberals” of the late 19th century, and the Fabians and the American Progressives and………….

Ignore the warnings of old reactionary Common Lawyers such as Sir Edward Coke and John Holt that Progressive Francis Bacon stuff is really the dark side of Roman Law – the “Civilians” with their doctrines that the will of the ruler has the force of law, and that no law binds the government (because the government can change the law as it likes).

After all such warnings are repeated in the speeches of reactionary (and “corrupt”) President Warren Harding and reactionary (and “stupid”) President Calvin Coolidge in the 1920s (see the Politically Incorrect Guide to the Presidents) when they pointed out that  such things as the Progressive “New Freedom” of Woodrow Wilson which claimed to “evolve” beyond the principles of the Constitution of the United States, are (in fact) a product of German collectivist political philosophy (see J. Goldberg “Liberal Fascism”) going back as far as the 18th century philosophy (see the works of Hayek on this – for example the “Constitution of Liberty” and “Law, Legislation and Liberty” – although Hayek can never free himself from the general philosophy of the very people whose political ideas he attacks – and, contrary to Hayek, their politics comes naturally from their philosophy) and that this political philosophy is (in turn) a return to the ideas of the “civilians” – the Roman Law scholars with their doctrine that the government is limited by no law (as it can create any law it likes – and change any existing law) and that one must hope for wise rulers to promote the happiness of the people… The reactionary Harding and Coolidge claiming that those who seek to “evolve” beyond “vulgar” or “primitive” views of freedom (the property rights view embodied in such things as the British and American Bill of Rights) actually collapse back into the darkest tyrannical despotism.

Surely no one (but the most hardened and bitter reactionary) would deny that governments should promote pleasure and prevent pain (prevent the little darling people, children really, hurting ourselves) – without letting any silly “old right” stand in their way?

Fruity Girls

Today the A-level results came out. I never knew they were friends of Dorothy. Anyway the Daily Mail celebrates with this…

That is better than their earlier piccie which showed no lads at all. It would appear only sexually attractive girls pass the exams. I had to wear a wig (itched like Hell) and shave my legs (itched like Hell) but I got four A-levels.

And it isn’t just the Daily Mail. They all do it. The BBC do it, the Telegraph does it, even The Guardian does it. As to educated fleas… Who knows or indeed cares?

One hundred years from now my scholastic achievement shall be forgotten and it will be concluded by historians that in the late C20th-early C21st only sexually attractive women won this (by then) obscure qualification and that on the basis of four of ‘em in a row jumping in unison. For they shall have access to the digital archives that clearly show that only A-levels were only for fruity girls.

Savoir-faire …

But I can’t imagine Jeeves as ever needing this technique.

Two Spoons and a Rusty Farming Implement…

Is this Britain’s most feckless father? Meet unemployed Peter Rolfe who has had 26 children by 15 women and says ‘it’s just unfortunate so many of them have fallen pregnant’

Apparently he has cost the UK GBP500,000 over the last 20 years in bennies. Well, I guess he has to buy a birthday present at least once a fortnight.

Now, as a married man with an A-level A-grade in biology women do not “fall pregnant”. It takes two to tango so to speak. Or 1+15 (15!) in his case. Let us have a look at this veritable Adonis of the Isle of Wight…

He’s not exactly George Clooney is he? They must be gagging for it in the Solent!

The Mail story quotes heavily from an up-coming (no pun intended) C5 doc about “Benefits Britain”. Now obviously they take the outliers (and outright liars) but is this really about bennies? There is something sicker underlying this. Now I am socially liberal but you can take something so far and this is taking the piss and vinegar. The total lack of any form of sexual morality or taking any responsibility for personal actions is shocking. Having sex with someone is an active choice. It is about agency and without agency we are mere flesh robots chained to our baser urges. Now I’m not saying this geezer who looks like the sort of department store Santa you wouldn’t let your kid near shouldn’t have an active sex-life but… in an age of cheap, widely available and reliable contraception… Anyway, he’s objecting to having a four bedroom house off the council and claiming he needs six bedrooms to house his… er… tribe. My wife and I live in a two bed house. She uses the second bedroom as an office. We also have a cat who sleeps where he pleases because he is a cat. Hell’s Teeth he’s neutered. Can we claim? I don’t want kids (never have), my wife is ditto and Timmy lacks the mandatory equipment. Nah! course not. But if the Isle of White Council wants to bung me expenses for a trip South then I’m up (never been around there). I can furnish my own two spoons and indeed the rusty farming implement. Plenty of them around here. We even have mole traps and they are technically on dodgy ground legally I think. Vicious things. Well capable of preventing #27. Or moles, obviously.

Crassology – Dixon style.

Last night I watched the final of “Britain’s got Talent” on ITV. It was primarily a collection of profound tosspottery. But this act stood out (even above the pro-mawk that was teenage rappers “Bars and Melody”. It was “Paddy and Nico”. An elderly British woman being chucked around the stage by her much younger Spanish dancing instructor – “Oh, young man!”. The act itself reminded of a Quote by TS Eliot along the lines of it being fascinating “If you concentrate on the essential horror”.

But that was not the point. Paddy, the geriatric hoofer, had almost missed the final due to some (clearly) minor injury and Alesha Dixon (one of the judges) praised her “courage” and explicitly compared it to the courage of the troops on D-Day. Epic fail.

So, doing a three minute dance routine is equivalent to charging Sword beach with a rifle at a German machine-gun nest? Alesha, get your dictionary out.

I dunno who won. Frankly I was past caring so put the footie on only to see England secure a goal-less draw against those titans of the game – Honduras. Yes, Honduras. When it comes to the real thing Italy are going to murder us and stack the bones in the shower before breakfast.

I did quite a lot of swearing at the telly last night. And yes, there is a literary ref there which I’d be interested if anyone knows. And I mean knows, not Googles.

The end of the footie…

Well, I had my Dad on the phone… He’s a Liverpool fan and was gutted they were pipped by Man City. Well, they finished second and in the final game they had they beat my team (NUFC) 2-1 at home. Now, if Stevie G hadn’t fallen over a bit back in a “schoolboy error” (I quote St Alan of Hansen) then… Anyway, more to the point we wouldn’t be in this position (10th) if (a) Alan Pardew (the manager) didn’t feel the need to chin people on the field and (b) our long-playing striker Shola Ameobi didn’t, in the final game of the season, with nothing of substance to play for, (against Liverpool at Anfield) feel the need (why Shola? why?) to call the ref a, “Fat Dwarf Mong!” and get sent off for his trouble. Possibly his last game for the club. He is out of contract now. Way to go! I mean he could have lapped it up as a fine player and servant of the club in the centre circle and then been lamped by Pardew as the confetti fell.

So, my Dad was complaining about finishing second and not having won for donks. Well, fair enough up to a point. It was the 1920s when the Toon Army last won the Championship. It was 1969 when we last grabbed silver-wear (Fairs Cup) and I was born in 1973. Anyway, we have that “Hazard Blunt” Mike Ashley conning the ship and Pardew running the team.

Being a Newcastle fan is an act of self-harm. We got beaten by the fucking Mackems 3-0 at St James’ Park this season. Have you ever been to Sunderland? Jesus Christ on a bicycle! They haven’t invented the fucking wheel in Mackemshire! If Hull is the land where dreams go to die Sunderland is where nightmares kick the bucket. Just don’t go. And we got beaten by them, 3-0, at home. And then there is Peterlee (a town where there is something gynaecological wrong if you’re not pumping out numero 3 by your 15th birthday. And Blythe, or Consett… Or even Tynemouth. On the headland there is a beautiful ruined abbey. The Vikings did a number on it but that had nothing too North Tyneside Council who built a coast guard station next to it. Built in the ’70s. It looks grand.

The quantity of destruction of architecture done deliberately by councils is stunning. They have got better but some things aren’t re-jiggable.

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.

Roger Lloyd-Pack (1944-2014)

I was saddened to hear that the actor Roger Lloyd-Pack died yesterday of pancreatic cancer.

Probably one of my favourite TV shows whilst growing up was “Only Fools and Horses” and Lloyd-Pack’s “Trigger” was an absolutely vital part of the ensemble that made that show so brilliant – and it was epically good at times rising to heights of utter genius. Of course he was in loads of other stuff like “Harry Potter” and “Dr Who” but for me he shall always be the bumbling Peckham street-cleaner. I think we forget too easily that whilst the show was centred on the antics of Del and Rodney the rest of them from Mike at the bar of the Nag’s Head to Denzil the scouse trucker, Grandad, Uncle Albert, Boycie, Marlene and all the rest of them really made the show and gave the central cast folks to spark off.

As I said, I grew up watching that and I still watch it. Trig is no longer in my memory but in the Sky (in every sense). He is the overhead one Dave or Watch or whatever. Perhaps the nearest to immortality we can get. His peerless deadpan shall not be forgotten as long as electromagnetism exists.

I don’t think I can embed this (it’s BBC) but just click

…and there is loads more.

Cooking with Nick Griffin

Yes, you heard it right. For my next trick I suspect it’ll have to be kite-surfing with the Dalai Lama.

Anyway, Nick Griffin, the now bankrupt leader of the BNP is presenting cookery shows on Youtube. I suppose it’s a bit like de-snagging LANs with Hitler. Or something. “Goering, you never told me this network was installed by a Herr Cohen!!!”. I digress and must move on because I have a 9am building a tokamak with Ant & Dec.

Anyway, here is the new Nigella in all his shambolic glory.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8_HThEYP2o&noredirect=1

Well, there are things to note. I can cook and a beef casserole is one of my “signature dishes”. OK, I’m not exactly Michel Roux Jr (who is a perfidious frog, obviously – despite being a UK citizen – and my Mum fancies him!) and Mr Griffin cooked this veritable feast upon an Aga which is of course Swedish and we don’t want those Scandies coming over here with their affordable, but unfathomable furniture and their raping and pillaging of Lindisfarne (Northumberland folk-rock *shudder*) and all that. I once saw a doc about a plumber of Pakistani origin who fixed Agas. He was making a mint out of deranged cougars in Surrey who thought the path to enlightenment required the boiler from the Great Eastern chugging away in their kitchen. Anyway this guy who was doing well (and fair play) branded himself as “The Aga Khan”. It amused me.

Please watch the whole thing if you can. It is long but hilarious in parts. Some of it didn’t exactly amuse me though such as Nicky wearing a “Help for Heroes” shirt. I wonder what the Gurkhas or the many other Commonwealth troops in our armed forces think of that? Or what women make of it or how anyone who isn’t a total moron takes his advice on the need to remove the foil from a stock cube? Well the last one is funny. As are some similar “Top Tips”…

Day of the Doctor.

It is today. It is a fixed point in time and space and I shall be there – or at least in Stockport (the Manchester tickets had gone) – to see the 50th anniversary show live in 3D in the cinema. Cool. I shall not be alone. This is being shown live in 94 countries in 1500 cinemas live. This has never been done before. My wife recently bought the 50th anniversary edition of Dr Who Magazine. It has a copy of the 1964 first anniversary edition of the mag which includes a letter from a reader saying that the Who was the best programme (don’t we call ‘em “shows” now) on either channel. How times change!

I should have bought a fez for the night. Fez’s are cool. There is nothing more but this…

When Two Twats Go to War.

Apparently Jezza and Piers have been feuding for 13 years.

Battle of the big-heads: Fisticuffs. Hissy fits. For 13 years, Jeremy Clarkson and Piers Morgan have waged a hilariously juvenile feud… and now it’s hit new depths

I would question the use of hilarious here for they are both epic bell-ends. As you can imagine it isn’t Oscar Wilde and James Whistler.

Apparently… Piers Morgan calls Jeremy Clarkson a ‘muscle-depleted Chihuahua’.

Ohh… man-bags at the ready. The only thing that needs to be depleted here is the uranium in the shells from the A-10 used to turn them into force-meat. Or how about this…

Round four: October 2003
The supersonic passenger jet Concorde makes its final scheduled flight for British Airways from New York to London. Among the celebrities onboard are, yes, Piers Morgan and Jeremy Clarkson.

Despite the fact that Clarkson has told other passengers that Morgan ‘is a little ****’ and he’s going to ‘punch his lights out,’ BA put Clarkson in the seat directly in front of Morgan. As Clarkson takes his seat he says, ‘Oh, ******* hell, I’ve got a **** behind me.’

‘And I’ve got one in front of me, too,’ Morgan replies. Further potty-mouthed badinage ensues and Morgan taunts Clarkson: ‘Come on big man, show me what you’ve got.’

Clarkson then tips a glass of water over Morgan, much to the amusement of fellow passengers, including Joan Collins and Jodie Kidd.

Later Clarkson calls Morgan while the latter is chauffeured back from Heathrow. ‘This is all getting very silly. Let’s put it behind us. Please,’ he says. But is the feud put behind them? Not for long.

I have seen such “hilarious” antics before on a flight. It was a budget airline from Prague to Manchester. Some lads in front of me decided to be generally obnoxious and ultimately staged a farting contest in a row just ahead of me and my wife. They were “telt” by the Flight attendants in no uncertain terms to pipe down or there would be a taxi with flashing blue lights to greet them at Ringway. They shut it because they were “proles” so bad behaviour isn’t “hilarious” unlike with “celebs” like Jezz and Piers. The Flight Attendents looked more like nightclub bouncers than “trolly dollies”.

Round five: March 2004
Morgan and Clarkson both attend the British Press Awards. A thoroughly refreshed Clarkson makes his way to the table where Morgan, who has just begun his TV career alongside editing the Daily Mirror, is sitting.

‘Now that you’re in my world of telly, I can tell you you’re ****,’ the Top Gear star remarks.

A heated conversation ensues, in which Morgan sees Frances Clarkson, staring daggers at him from her table. ‘Why does your wife always blame me for everything you do?’ he asks.

Clarkson is outraged. He swings a right hook at Morgan, followed by more blows, hitting Morgan’s temple and forehead.

The following day, Morgan tells reporters: ‘He then tried to headbutt me — missing my nose by about an inch. I think it’s fair to say he was a little inebriated. I’ve frankly taken worse batterings from my three-year-old son.’

Clarkson admits: ‘He’s won really. This is just one in a long line of clashes. We’ll have to kiss and make up.’

And there is much more “antics” between these two.

Apart from the simple fact they fight like girls if you or me had done this we’d have another appointment with the paddy wagon Indeed if you or me had done this we’d be accused in The Mail of “The sort of yobbery that is typical of ‘Broken Britain’” and not of “hilarious” japery.

For the record I used to find Clarkson May and that little fella’s antics amusing but he’s just become a pathetic self-parody of himself who has jumped more sharks than an Orlando water-park does in a season. I mean how many ways can the Top Gear lads wreck a caravan – again. Morgan is though just a total and utterly irredeemably unmitigated cunt of the very first water.

But when two such “characters” go to war you don’t pray for a victory, you pray for a bipartisan dual smiting in the Biblical sense.

And you also wonder at the Mail thinking this light-hearted hi-jinks. I suppose because neither are Rommanians coming over here to get a job in Burger King.

The Daily Mail are deranged gits as well. The great myth of many that immigrants are a “burden” perplexes me but that’s for another post. I’d much rather have a Bulgarian nurse and a Romanian waitress over here than Jezza and Piers. I doubt though Sofia or Bucharest would play swapsies. I wouldn’t.

Morrissey, the consumer monkey.

Both the Mash and the Guardian (!) have both kicked Mozzer.

Excellent stuff.

From the Mash…

“On The Smiths re-forming, he writes: “Work with those trio of twats? Sod that. Mike Joyce has still got my belt sander and he bleeding well knows it.”

Morrissey never had a belt-sander. Does he look like the kinda guy who even has a set of screwdrivers? Does he fuck! If you want a shelf putting-up ask me, ask your Dad but don’t ask Mozzer. He will recoil in horror because you have cheese in the fridge. And then write a dreadful song about it.

The Guardian has this (but read the whole thing, like the whole Mash article)…

Sod Morrissey, a bitter, old hasbeen who a couple of years ago told the Guardian that “it’s a relief to feel relaxed in more places than just one” (he has homes in Los Angeles, Rome, Switzerland and Britain) and who called the Chinese a “subspecies” for their treatment of animals.

The class that he now represents – a middle-aged, capital-rich, metropolitan elite – doesn’t give a toss about you. They’ve proved it in every way it is possible to prove.

Like HS2, like windmills, like all the rest? Yup. Mozzer is the ultimate last twat up the ladder onto the Zeppelin and laughing self-righteously as he does it. He is the “Last of the international playboys”. He is a complete and utter wanker.

The Guardian article goes on to witter on about how 40-something white males are Mozzer’s last fans. Well, speaking as a 40 year old white male I never liked him when I was 15. Oh, there were Smiths fans at my school but they were all professional miserablists like Mozzer himself.

I prefer Blondie.

A tale of two passengers.

I have flown from Malta to Manchester. I can’t say it was a great experience. Flying very rarely is these days but fortunately I wasn’t on the plane with this tosser. Please read the whole thing – it’s mind-bending. Here is a taste…

A drunken jet passenger was tasered by police after stripping naked on the airport tarmac – and challenging the captain to a fight.

The 52-year-old man, who had arrived in Manchester on an easyJet flight from Malta, also urinated up the side of the Terminal One building.

Video taken of the amazing incident shows the burly, bald man removing his clothes on the runway apron and posturing at the captain – before receiving a slap across the face from his female companion.

Almost makes you wish for the days of Paul Temple on flying boats with wicker chairs and a G&T served just right.

Apparently the gentleman in question has been arrested on the grounds of being suspected of being “drunk and disorderly”. I hope the magistrate doesn’t feel the need to consider this one for too long.

On the other hand this is a brilliant story.

Why I hate the Daily Mail.

Well, the Miliband stuff is beyond anyone’s pale.

I disagree with Ed Miliband on much but there is a hop, skip and jump between that and the virtual grave-robbing they’ve done recently.

But that (vile though it is) is not the real reason. The real reasons are the comments section called [out of their] Right Minds. It’s like a mirror image of the Guardian’s Comment is Free.

But nah, it ain’t even that. Nor is it the obsession with house prices (like the cost of a basic essential going-up is like a good thing?) or their idea that the entire population of Bulgaria is going to sell children to peadophiles in Midsommer next Thursday.

No. It is (and I have previously mentioned this) the right sidebar called “Femail”. Now apart from the name being hideously cute like a kitten that has just puked on a Persian rug it is (very) soft porn whilst the main editorial rants and raves about porn as though it were the work of Satan himself. The hypocrisy is risible in it’s obviousness. I have seen “Femail” sidebar stories trumpeting some starlet’s weight loss post-partum to size 6 (UK) next to polemics against the “media” (which clearly doesn’t include the Mail) for encouraging eating disorders in kids. Or some rant or rave about binge drinking or whatever next to some pic of some X-Factor wannabe falling out of her dress (and a nightclub) simultaneously.

But the Miliband thing is a shark-jump.

I wouldn’t wipe my arse with the Mail – even if I were Venezuelan.

And this is not because I like Ed Miliband. It is because this is plain nasty. If I disagree with the leader of the opposition I shall so and why. I won’t go after his dead father.

And this is the same paper that has campaigned for mandatory IP porn filters that you have to opt out of to protect the kids. But when it gets called on this dreadful stunt starts wibbling about “press freedom”. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying the paper ought to have been banned. I’m not saying they ought to be censored (or whatever) but… If they have the right to offend (and they do) then I have the right to be offended. By their grossness over the late Mr Miliband and their serial set of double standards that makes Dr Erwin Schrödinger’s moggie know whether it is coming or going.

Oh, and their football coverage is shite. Their coverage of WAGs (and their handbags that cost more than my wife’s car) on the otherhand…

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