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What have the Romans ever done for us

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”…

This is what happens…

… when you invade Afghanistan (for the umpteenth time) and lose about 3,400 coalition dead and God knows how many maimed or traumatised beyond my comprehension or probably yours too. War has a cost and that cost requires a pay-off or it is worse than meaningless. It is obscene. And I’m not even including the Afghans killed in this bizarre attempt to impose the Great God of Democracy within an Islamic Republic (which is how Afghanistan styles it self under the Khazi of Kabul). Leaving aside the bitter irony that the secular US led invasion following Islamist attacks led to to the formation of an Islamic Republic. (I’m saying nothing about Iraq here which is also now styled as an Islamic Republic.)

Anyway, this is what happens…

Afghan government officials have proposed reintroducing public stoning as a punishment for adultery, Human Rights Watch said, even though the practice has been denounced both inside and outside the country as one of the most repugnant symbols of the Taliban regime.
The sentence for married adulterers, along with flogging for unmarried offenders, appears in a draft revision of the country’s penal code being managed by the ministry of justice.
There are several references to stoning in a translated section of the draft seen by the Guardian, including detailed notes on judicial requirements for handing down the sentence. “Men and women who commit adultery shall be punished based on the circumstances to one of the following punishments: lashing, stoning [to death],” article 21 states. The draft goes on to specify that the stoning should be public, in article 23.

Anyone surprised? I’m not. It probably won’t make it into law but the fact this ancient evil is even being discussed seriously is dreadful.

What a terrible waste of blood and treasure. And how foreseeable.

How many Afghan wars has Britain been in now?

Darwin, Pauli & Stuff…

I have a strong interest in biology. I actually started a biology degree but switched to physics. I have some issues with Darwinism. No I am not a creationist but I tend to think the views of folk like Lynn Margulis got side-lined and I can’t stand Dickie Dawkins. OK Margulis was mad as a box of frogs on some stuff but whatever! She was almost certainly right with symbiotic development of eukaryotic cells. And then some weird stuff in evolution is down to maths more than just pushy little replicators slugging it out (that’s quite a good joke, actually – though not at a club at 2am which is packed with sluggy and pushy little wannabe replicators). Yes, slime molds are fascinating examples of self-organisation. They ain’t pretty but neither are engine rooms. I have a maths book somewhere which deals with the way they organise. Apparently it is dead easy to write a computer program to model them. Basically they operate more like a society than a single organism. Truly bizarre but then so is a jellyfish which you can stick in a blender and then can spontaneously reform.

Biology is very strange. And we are only now starting to be getting the full sp and it is hideously mathematical (and I like maths). A maths student I knew at university was doing a PhD on cancer angiogenesis – cancers developing their own blood supply! I saw his talk on it and left feeling not 100% – and I was not alone. Like I said down in the basement there are some very unpleasant things. To say nothing of the woodshed. I guess at some level I kinda thought if I stick with biology I might get a disease named for me (and probs a very unpleasant one) but physics! Ah, you can get a star named for you. I was a romantic youth. Still am.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not dissing Darwin who had a truly profound insight into the Universe. But of course he didn’t get the full toffee apple – nobody ever does. Not even Newton and in many ways Darwin was biology’s Newton. Before him it was all myopic vicars hunting butterflies and pinning them up or some such. Chemistry is mainly buggering about and trying to make epic pongs – which is why we have mainly left it to the Germans. As a kid I did a chemistry masterclass thingie in the Easter hols at Newcastle University and some student at some point had scrawled in a way that suggested some form of abysmal moral torment the phrase, “Chem is wank” on my desk. Oh, it’s useful and I’m glad other people do it but A-level was my limit and I guess seeing my teacher blow the bejesus out of the fume cupboard doing the thermite reaction (now banned in schools) straightening his tie and saying in very calm tones, “Um, quite a vigorous reaction” was enough. But this is getting off topic. It was hilarious though. And he was a good teacher. 25 years later I recall that lesson. If only we’d had facebook then that moment would have been immortal.

Anyway…

This blog has collected a load of comments by creationists from tweets, blogs and whatever. The unmitigated pignorance of them astounds me. It isn’t so much they are wrong. They are in the words of Wolfgang Pauli, “nicht ganz falsch”. They are not even wrong. Hey ho! Let’s go!

@Yhwh_TheLord so then why do women have babies if we can just evolve fRom um whatever you think we evolved from?

You to old to believe in evolution. If we came from monkeys, why are there still monkeys. are they the stupid that couldn’t evolve?

I’ve never seen an animal or a micro organism become a human. So that evolution shit is out the window for me.

Evolution is atheism. It’s not science, but an impossible, unrealistic, unbiological, invented process in order to remove God from equation.

And it goes on. And on.

So why am I blogging it? I have a long-term hatred of what can be called the science/religion debate. Putting the two in opposition has never made any sense to me. It doesn’t stop folk though. I’m sat having lunch at Lenton Hall University of Nottingham in 1993 and this git sidles, yes, sidles up to me and gets chatting. Well he’s a missionary and he rapidly turns around the meet and greet into, “Well if you come back to my room I have an excellent 20 minute defence of religion against science.” I politely but firmly declined. Should I have added that many people on my physics course were religious? Nah, that obvious fact never works with these folks. Then there was the head of the Christian Union who used to organise five-aside footy and at half-time once came out with, “You know in many ways God is like a football”. What fatuous guff! How precisely is God like a football? I mean some of the greatest minds of all time have wrestled with the question of the existence and nature of God and he comes out with that utterly meaningless toss! So fuck you Descartes! God is like a football because Robin said so (he was a twat BTW – an epic twat – a twat’s twatter of a twatting twat). There was a nervous silence and a lot of folk looking at their boots until someone suggested we just get on with the second half – thank God! Need I say quite a few of us were Christians. Not me but a few of the lads. They were even more deeply embarrassed. God is like a football – oh Pity Me! (a village in County Durham BTW).

There is no real clash between science and religion because fundamentally they are about different things. I can tell you (roughly) how a hydrogen bomb works but a priest can tell you whether it should be used. It’s very much like asking a plumber about the wiring. This is not to say I don’t have ethical viewpoints and it is not to say the priest might not have a strong interest in scientific matters (note vicars and flutterbies -as my Gran used to say) it is just that they aren’t the same thing and when people attempt to conflate religion (or especially quasi-religions such as National Socialism or Communism*) with (usually pseudo) science very bad things tend to happen.

Science says how things are and how to do ‘em. It should have next to no input in the moral dimension. It doesn’t say what ought to be done. That is for all of us as moral human beings to decide. By the same token religion (and moral stuff in general) ought to take note of science and not see it as a threat. Moreover the fusing of the two is a terrible idea and the instrument of totalitarians because it makes us objects to play with in the lab. And an invented (note I reffed Pseudo science earlier) lab at that. Science and religion fill two very different human needs and arguing the toss about which is better is like arguing whether pizza is better than Coca-Cola. You might ask a bishop in a moment of spiritual doubt but you’d ask an engineer or physicist if your PWR looked shonky. And vice versa. And the same applies to all religions (or moral codes) as it does to the sciences. You wouldn’t (even though she was a scientist) ask a botanist to look at your iffy PWR any more than you’d ask a nuclear scientist to tell you the best way to get rid of the crop-infection on your farm.

Science versus Religion is possibly the greatest nicht ganz falsch in the history of thinking. Yet it goes on.

H/T Infidel753

* The Sovs were not exactly into “racial realism” but did some bizarre stuff. They had women volunteer to be inseminated with gorilla semen because Stalin wanted to cross-breed a race of invincible Planet of the Apes style warriors and workers. And yes, I do mean they genuinely volunted for the socialist cause which is the really spooky bit. Utterly bent out of shape. Here’s your monkey baby says the midwife before taking it off to the research facility 214 for “studies”. Of course it didn’t work because “perverse science” is never “correct” in any sense of the word. The very idea that Darwinism leads to communism is twisted because communism lead to Lysenkoism and attempts at disgusting cross species mating (which can’t by definition work anyway – OK up to a point it can: mules, ligers etc but human/gorilla is really pushing the envelope). Anyhoo it doesn’t take away from my point that science is morally neutral. It is. It can be twisted though. Not to put too fine a point on it this is exactly why we need different modes of thought – not just science or pseudo-science. That is why religions and other moral concepts exist and need to. Because to put a very blunt point on it any quantity of knowledge on the structure of the atom or the structure of DNA says nothing about why you shouldn’t rape, murder or steal. That is a moral question and just as religion should keep out of science science has nothing to say about religion or morality and nor should it try to. And as to “science” impinging on politics – God help us!

Gen Gapped

I recently had a strange experience. I was buying cat food and smokes in the Co-op. The new lass is quite young and my card failed. It took three wipes for the chip to work. It’s a bit embarrassing to have your card not clocked by the machine as a cue forms. And note I was buying cat food and a pack of fags – not a Mercedes. Anyway, it worked eventually and I mumbled an apology to the shop assistant. I said something about how I wished they’d never gone “chip and pin” and just kept the magnetic strip. The look was as though I had attempted to broker kitty food and 10 Mayfair using Triskelion Quatloos. She said she’d never known anything but chips. Weird for both of us. I had to show her the vestigal mag strip on my card. It was almost as though (and I’m 40!) I’d had to explain that once I had to drive sheep into town to buy dung. I’m typing this on a lovely little Lenovo bought this year – I wear mirror-shades and am a techno-fetishist of the first water. I grok tech. Having said that my GnatWest (a million pin-pricks) card does the contactless which I just don’t trust despite not being a ludd-not-ist. I want an active transferral of funds and not a vague wave of the card. And that because I understand the tech to the extent to which I understand how it can be subverted. I wonder how she would have reacted if I’d tried to pay in Au*.

So I got gen-gapped. I wonder. And I wonder this. This was a relative gen-gap. OK if me and this girl (I use the term after some thought) were “walking out” then it would be a bit odd due to the age difference but not staggering. But not to bizarre. No, but it does raise a question I used to often ponder… How far back does one have to go that if you “time-scooped” someone they would find the contemporary World utterly baffling? It’s, I think a very interesting question. As an addition to this my wife is probably roughly twice the age of the girl in the Co-op but has never played a vinyl record. As a further question here has this Co-op lass ever played a CD? She’s never used a swipe card

Have any of you had similar experiences? I’d like to know.

*You seen those TV and other ads for “unwanted gold”. Now I’m not a “gold-bug” but does anyone have “unwanted gold”? I mean they might be on their uppers and a tin of beans to feed their kids is more valuable (value is relative to need – the basis of the market). In the context cat-food (4% meat and therefore 96% God knows what was more valuable to me than what was in my bank A/C. Obviously! That is how markets work and must work. Anybody sitting at their computer who has had Mr or Ms Kitty pawing at the return key knows this. So does the cat which is why the little furry buggers do it.

Was it just me…

… or as guests at Maggie’s funeral did I honestly see Geoffrey Howe and Michael Heseltine? And I heard that José Manuel Barroso was there. What were that vile trinity planning upon – dancing upon her grave?

At another level, according to the BBC News, some scumbags threw stuff at the horses in the cortege. That says much to me.

It is the same mentality that blew-up the Boston Marathon. Just lacking the blood and guts to do it for real.

Disgusting,

“What can men do against such reckless hate?” – Theoden, King of Rohan.

That phrase chimes with me and has done since I was a kid. Because the enemy does hate with a recklessness beyond measure, beyond reason. That is why they chucked stuff at the horses.

She stood against reckless hate.

And that is what we have to do. We have to stand. Maggie did and so shall we.

Stand!

Total Fucking Barbarians…

From The Guardian

One of seven Saudis due to be put to death on Tuesday by crucifixion and firing squad for armed robbery, speaking over a smuggled mobile phone from his prison cell, has appealed for help to stop the executions.

Nasser al-Qahtani told Associated Press from Abha general prison on Monday that he was arrested as part of 23-member ring that stole from jewellery stores in 2004 and 2005. He said they had been tortured to confess and had no access to lawyers.

They were apparently juves at the time which don’t matter a jot to me. Nothing much does when I hear the word “crucifixion” uttered in anger in 2013AD. And I bet it’s done in public though you won’t be able to sup a beer during the hilarity for that would be immoral. Or watch girls in their summer clothes for that too would be immoral. Crucifixion for three days though is moral. Sometimes allegedly they behead you first – with a sword. Thank heavens for small mercies. God almighty, even the bloody Romans would take a few coins to break the condemned’s legs and help ‘em on their way. These depraved camel fuckers are beyond anything I can imagine – 3 days! Is that in the Qu’ran? I’ll bet dollars to donuts it ain’t anyway it’s 2013 for the love of fuck. A kid was born recently who was HIV+ and is now not. Dennis Tito is planning a second honeymoon for a middle-aged couple to Mars! My wife’s new phone has more computing power than Alan Turing ever played with. But not it would seem in the Un-Magic Kingdom (the unhappiest place on Earth). What an epic shit-hole!

1. 9/11 terrorists – 15/19 were Saudis.

2. One enlightened princeling owns an airline (as you do) and employs a female pilot. This is progress – w only got there with Amy and Amelia when my grandad wasn’t even in short pants – of course we could have got there sooner but we had to wait for two guys from Ohio to build a ‘plane. Of course whilst she can fly (because they never got around to banning it) she can’t drive to the airport because women can’t drive. She’s allowed to fly a Boeing or Airbus but a Toyota is beyond her.

3. The last King (the one before Abdullah) had hordes of children due to his harem and due to his alleged “dicky ticker” had the planet’s only one-step escalator installed in the Royal Palace.

4. I can’t go to Mecca on pain of death! Only Muslims can. Not that there is much point anyway because it’s all been paved to build 5* hotels for rich folk on the Hajj (have you seen the cost of that?). The archaeological stuff has just been flattened. It’s like Vegas without the gambling and booze and broads. Or a complete fucking waste of concrete in the desert.

But they are a key ally in the “War on Terror” (see 1) and for some Godforsaken reason we sell ‘em Gen 4.5 Strike Fighters. Blimey. The first time I saw a Tiffy it was in RSAF colours in Malta. I assume on a ferry trip. They also crucify people. I wouldn’t trust those intellectual and moral retards with a propelling pencil let alone a fighter jet. And BAE Systems only managed to get the deal via grand an hour hookers and Scotch Whisky laid down when Rob Roy was knee-high to a grasshopper. If it wasn’t for the World-Class blow-jobs and the Malts they’d have bought Block-52-60+ F-16s like any sensible person. But so would we! And I guess when you are in a country that is dryer than an Arab’s sandal* and all the girls wear the Millet’s back catalogue God knows.

Perhaps the odd crucifixion relieves the tedium somewhat. God alone knows why we don’t call them for what they are. They aren’t the only gaff knee-deep in four-star. Alberta is but that involves fracking which is controversial. Now if fracking is controversial where does that put crucifixtion?

We live in a very morally troubled World.

*BTW the (in)famous episode of “Yes, Minister” in which Jim Hacker get’s pissed on a visit to a fictional Mid-East country is based on truth. That’s magic that is, “There is a call from the Scotch (sic) Office – a delegation of Teachers”. “A call from the Soviet Embassy – a Mr Smirnoff”.

Harry, England and St George…

So Prince Harry has killed some fellas in the ‘stan. Well, that’s his job innit? Put a fellow in a GBP65mill choper and expect them to pootle then that is an obscene waste of money. He was there to stick 30mm chain-gun rounds up beards. Have you seen what one of those does to a personage? They cut you in half. And then there are the Hellfire missiles and Hydra rockets and that is DNA if you are lucky. You’re still well dead mind.

An aside: I’m glad the BBC has finally admitted Harry ain’t a pilot. He’s a gunner. I knew that months ago because I saw him get into the front seat of an Apache.

Well, it’s good Harry is back and in one piece (unlike so many of our lads and lasses that get C-17ed back in bits). God and Captain Wales possibly know. I don’t. After 9/11 we should have gone in done an epic stomp, bagged bin Laden and got the fuck out by January at the latest. Afghanistan is an unmitigated and unmitagetable shit-hole of the first water. I saw an interview a year or so back with a US Army officer. He’d been to meet the twinkly ol’ tribal elders and they’d given him tea and all. But when (he was an engineer) suggested building a bridge to this Allah-forsaken shit-hole which would create jobs and work and all the rest they were like nay! For all the young fellows were a-Talebaning. Well, fuck ‘em I say! Post being nice to the locals this US Army officer didn’t say but gave every impression what he was really thinking. Which was basically, “Beam me up Scotty!” We could spend the next hundred years “nation-building” in the ‘stan and we would get nowhere. The gaff is undefuckable. It doesn’t even look medieval. It looks Jurassic. Either we get the eff out like now or we take the Lt Ripley option but this buggering about in what is Britain’s 4th (count ‘em!) Afghan War is just an inglorious waste of blood and treasure.

You know how the Taleban came to power? Two warlords fought a duel in Central Kabul over the rights to the bottom of a young lad. They fought it in ex-Soviet tanks. I mean as you do. Most natural thing in the World – to get in your T-72 to claim your buggery rights. And that is how the Taleban came to power. People saw them as a stabilizing force. Obviously they were very evil but a choice between Islamist repression and complete anarchy isn’t much of a choice.

I’m just glad I don’t live there. I will be grimly curious as to what the female literacy rate is ten years from now.

I’m not hopeful.

Was the chief long term victim of the Hundred Years War limited government in France?

I have been rereading a couple of works that I have not looked at in many years – Sir John Fortescue’s “In Praise of the Laws of England” and “Of the difference between absolute and limited monarchy”.

Fortescue was writing in the late 1400s – at the time of the so called “Wars of the Roses” in England, but it is his picture of France that interests me here.

Some of what Fortescue writes is exaggerated, even bigoted. But there is, sadly, much truth in the picture he presents of France.

By the late 1400s France was a land where (as with Roman Empire) the professional army of the King could demand that people in towns and villages give them anything they needed (or claimed to need). And where the Estates General (the French Parliament) had given up the right to regularly approve (or decide NOT to approve) taxation – with th nobles of France having been bought off by imunity from most (although not all) taxation.

Also any ordinary person could be condemned to death in France by the King’s judges without anything that would be understood as a proper trial in England.

Roman law (in the sense of the Roman law of the Empire – with the Prince being above the law and able to change the law by his own WILL) had triumphed in France – with such “feudal” ideas as juries swept away. Louis XI (“Louis the Spider”) sat in his dark tower making up webs of “laws” on the basis of his whims, much like a Roman Emperor.

However, France had not always been like this. Once the nobles, townsmen and freemen of France had been strong in the defence of their liberties – and had forced such Kings as Charles the Bald to recognise them.

Indeed, for example, such things as even the King of France not having the right to take the land held by one family and give it to another had been accepted as an “old right” even as far back as the 877 Edict of Quierzy.

Juries (first, of course, as a form of gaining evidence rather than deciding a verdict) actually came to England from northern France – yet in France (by the time of Fortescue) they had been suppressed. After all one could not have a local group of freemen giving their formal view, either as evidence or as judgement, of the facts of the case – that might limit a judge in his desire to execute people, or to torture them (“putting the question” another feature of late Roman law) till they confessed.

So what had changed? How had such things as eternal taxation (as opposed to taxation considered as a emergency matter – to be approved, each time, by the Estates General) come to be? How had the French King mutated into something close to a Roman Emperor?

My own view is that the so called “hundred years war” with England (mostly faught on the soil of France) was the main factor in the transformation of France from having a limited government – to something that, whilst not totally without limits, was close to be like the government of the Roman Empire (unlimited government).

French desperation to survive conquest, and the desperate desire for “order” (as armed men of many masters and none plundered and killed in most of the country) led to the French people placing vast power in the hands of the government.

Remember what were considered terrible and exceptional circumstances in England during the so called “War of the Roses” had been the NORM in France for around a century.

It may be this that so transformed France from a land of limited government – to what Richard Burke (the son of Edmund Burke) was later to call a land where “the state was all in all”.

Roman law, modern law and “Feudal” law – a hint as to what that wild madman Paul Marks is on about.

I am no legal expert (“we have noticed Paul”), but I do want to give an hint about what I am on about when I mention the words “Feudal law” or Roman law or modern law – it if be wrong….. well see later for my “get out of jail” card on that.

Before I say anything more I had better state that one can have serfdom without feudalism (for example the Emperor Diocletian established de facto serfdom by declaring that peasants could not leave the land – and many other legal systems had done this before him) and one can have feudalism without serfdom (places like Sark, feudal to only a couple of years ago, were not known for serfdom).

“Feudalism” is (if it is anything – other than just a word) a system where people swear loyality (they make an active choice) it is a MILITARY thing at base, and “feudal” law is about (fundementally) such blood contracts (after all one is swearing to defend someone to the death – one’s own death, and the other side of this contract, the obligations of one’s lord, has to be fundemental also) are based on tradition and custom – made into formal law. That is why (by the way) “Feudal” law can be different in different places – different old customs and traditions.

“Feudal” law can not, logically, be anything else (than old customs and traditions presented as formal law). as if this law can be changed by “the Prince” (either a Roman Emperor or a modern “legislature”) then they can not be part of a contract – as they are, effectively, “above the law” (because the can change it whenever they feel like doing so).

One swears to defend one’s lord to the death and he (or she – for a fedual overlord can be female) swears to unhold the law (as, for example, Henry the First of England did in his formal charter of 1100 – in order to get the people to rally to him against his older brothers) – if the “the law” is simply whatever they say it is (as with a Roman Emperor or a modern Parliament or other legislature) then this is not Feudalism – any more than the “my honour is loyality” of the SS was the warrior code of Northman (indeed, as Tolkien noted, to pretend that there is no difference between honour and loyality – and to hold that loyality is unconditional, i.e. that one will do dishonorable things if ordered to do so, is a direct and deliberate MOCKERY of the traditional honour code). One swears to to defend one’s lord to the death (one’s own death) in return not for “protection” (that is a Roman view of law – or a modern one – after all if one is promising to shed one’s life’s blood for someone else personal protection is not the main thing in play), but for JUSTICE for the upholding of tradition and custom. Seen as a manifestation in this world of divine and universal justice (different in details from place to place – but not in fundemenal PRINCIPLE and, for the same reason, not changing fundemenally over time). This is why the oath is a sacred thing – based on the creator of the universe and the natural law itself.

“All theory Paul – what does this mean in PRACTICE?”

Very well.

First for Roman law (i.e. late Roman law – the law of the Empire). For this I will turn to “Justinian’s Institutes” (Cornell University Press 1987). By the way this is only a tiny part of Roman law of the time – there were many volumes of the writings of previous law officers and the legislation of Emperors (actually the truth of the so called “Code of Justinian” is that most of it is not from Justinian and it is not a code, the “Twelve Tables” back in 450 B.C. may or may not have been a code, but the endless rules and regulations that Romans lived under more than a thousand years later certainly were not a code).

In this work it is stated (Book Two, section one “The Classification of Things”) that neither the seashore or rivers can be privately owned.

So no private beaches under Roman law – and no protected fishing (or protection of water supply from rivers) either.

Anyone may fish where they like – and no private person or association (what Romans would call a “collegia” – spelling alert) may restrict water supply by stating that it is private (they can do that with a well – but not with a river).

In the modern age such thing as Spanish law (that holds that no river is private) and even supposedly Common Law New Zealand (where the last Labour party government nationalized the sea shore) follow the idea that neither rivers or the sea shore (the beaches) can be private property.

It is very different under Feudal law – the notion of “private property” may not be formally stated (that depends on the exact type of “Feudal” law we are talking about – for example it was stated under the law of Norway) the King (as lord of lords) may (or may not) formally “own” everthing – but he certainly can not BEHAVE as if he does (more on that later).

And rivers and beaches can be de facto owned under Feudal law.

For example under Scots law (inherited from their local version of feudal law) right up to 1845, if you wanted to sell something you gave a public display of what it was – remember most people could not read.

And if you wanted to sell private fishing rights (something that can not exist under Roman law) you, as well making a speech before witnesses (plus anyone who wanted to turn up to the river to watch the former owner of the fishing rights sell them to someone else) you handed over a fish.

For land it was some earth (on the site you were selling – again before witnesses), for the hunting rights of birds it was a bird (again….) and so on.

Also under Roman law the owner of a transport service (say someone who makes their living with a couch or carts) or the owner of an inn (or other establishment of business) could not turn away a customer – could not “discriminate” against them (to use modern language) as the owner of a transport service was a “common carrier” and the owner of an inn provided “public accomidations”.

Feudal law does not even know what “common carriers” and “public accomidations” are.

If you owned a cart (or some such) you could transport people or goods. And if you owned a building you could put people up (in return for payment).

But you did not have to do so – if you did not want to.

Owning a cart did not make you part of a special caste that served the state (indeed the term “state” does not really fit into feudal thinking – it is a Roman term or a modern term).

Ditto if you owned a building and put people (if you had a mind to) in return for money, that did not mean you were a special sort of animal called a “public accomidations” person serving the needs of the state (whatever “the state” is supposed to be).

But all the above misses the point anyway……..

As the point is – if Justinian (or some other Emperor) had decided (on a whim) to change the above “legal principles” they could (they were above the law – and could make the law whatever their WILL wished it to be).

If a feudal overlord said one day “I have decided to change the law – after all the law is whatever I say it is”. People would have thought they had gone mad – they might even have called a priest to fight against the demon or devil that had taken over the mind of their lord.

Of course one would fight to the death to save the life of one’s lord – but the lord had no rightful power to “change the law”. After all that would mean a power to overthrow custom and tradition – the manifestation in the land (the spirit of the land) of the law of God, the natural law of the universe. This might manifest itself differently in different lands (depending on the customs and traditions of that land and people), but the fundemental principles of the law were divine and universal.

Of course Roman legal thinkers (like Greek Stoics and Aristotelians before them) also accepted the existance of natural law – but they held that state law trumped it.

“Feudal” thinking (when understood the concept of “the state” at all – which it did not really) held the exact opposite.

The King might give orders in battle and war (and so on) – but if his orders went against the law, they were void (at least to a man of honour). That is why “the spirit of Nurenberg” (“I was only obeying orders”) might be fine from a Roman point of view – but does not make any sense from a “feudal” one.

The lord may call upon you to fight to the death – indeed he should not have to call (you should do that without him asking). But he may not order you to rob or murder someone else – to commit an injustice.

Of course terrible injustices (mass murder, rape and so on) might still occur. But if someone said “what I did was lawful because the Prince (or council or….) told me to it” then they simply showed (even to a person with no learning at all) that they simply did not understand what the words “right” and “law” meant – and were, at best, insane.

Canon Law (church law – and it is impossible to understand “feudal” law without understanding the influence of religion upon it – whether Christian or PAGAN) held the same view – see Brian Tierney’s “The Idea of Natual Rights” (Emery University 1997).

Like Roman Law, Canon Law held that there was positive law (the commands of the Prince – of council in a Republic like Venice) and natural law.

But (like “feudal” thinking) it turned the Roman law thinking on its head.

Far from “positive” law trumping natural law – natural law trumped the “will of the ruler”.

Hence more than a thousand years of Church-State disputes (or disputes between Canon Lawyers and Roman Lawyers – in spite of them, in many ways, shareing the same tradition) they looked at things in reverse ways.

“That was just because the Church wanted to declare what natural law was – as a power grab”

Partly YES – but the Church always made a distinction between Christian practices (the rules of the Church) and the universal laws of God – that applied to nonChristians as much as to Christians (indeed even to nonChristians AGAINST Christians).

Of course some Popes and so on were corrupt scumbags guilty of every crime known to man – but some were not, and even the worst of them held that there were things they should not do (even if they did them) the idea that their WILL was law, would have been denounced as the vomit of the Devil (even by the worst Popes.

Canon lawyers (like “Feudal” ones) would have regarded the pretensions of modern Parliaments (and “human rights” courts) to change fundemental law as they see fit – as, at best, insanity and (more likely) as clear evidence that these “legislatures” and “judges” were agents of the Evil One.

And one must not think that such people were stupid or filled with silly fancies. Many of the Popes and theologians of the past were profound legal thinkers and philosophers – not every Pope spent their time chasing girls and murdering rivals (and even the oness that did often did good work also).

Still back to “Feudal” law – and a single example to come to the end of this post……

I draw from “A Summery view of the feudal law, with the differences of the Scots law from it; together with a dictionary of the select terms of the Scots and English law, by way of appendix” (John Dundas 1710).

As a general rule of thumb – the older an account of “feudal” law the better. As old accounts are more concerned with just laying the thing out – not (like Maitland and his, Blackstone influenced [no wonder the Founding Fathers of the United States despised Blackstone - with his doctrine that whatever Parliament declared was law], crew “explaining” what law “must” be i.e. whatever the state, Parliament, says it is).

Difference number 80.

“By the Feudal law no Man is forced to part with or sell his Few [fief of land] or any part of it.

By our law [i.e. law made by Parliament and so on] a vassel may be forced to give some part of it for High-ways and if his Neighbour be building a Park, or Inclosure, he may be forced to sell an adjacent corner of his Grounds to him, to perfect it”.

This is much like the so called “Edict of Quierzy” (877) which repeated the “old right” that not even a King of France could take the land of one person and give it to another (or himself).

To a Roman lawyer this makes no sense.

To a modern lawyer (such as that scumbag Maitland – and I am right to call him a “scumbag” after all he claims that no Act of Parliament “has ever been passed” that was irational or evil, so there is no need for any judge or jury to oppose an Act of Parliament as being against natural justice, a concept he scorns anyway – I could name a hundred Acts of Parliament passed before Maitland wrote that Devil-vomit lie, that were utterly evil and against basic natural justice) it makes no sense also.

As Maitland says, mocking the upholders of the “speculative dogma” of natural justice “We can  (its upholders seem to say) concieve that a statute might be so irational,  so wicked, that we would not want to enforce it; but as a matter of fact, we have never known such a statute made.”

Pages 107-108  “A Sketch of English Legal History” G.P. Putnam and Sons, New York and London (1915) chapter five (written by Maitland rather than his coarthor Francis Montague) on “Statute and Common Law”.

Oh you dog Maitland,  you pig  – may you be burning, even as I type these words,  for your lies. What of the Statute of Labourers that tried to reduce all peasants (including those who had always been free – such as the people of Kent) to serfs? Much in the manner of the Emperor Diocletian. Or the Stature of Artificers under the first Elizabeth that tried to turn all people (bar the rich) into de facto slaves – forbidden to practice any other trade than that of their father, and forbidden to leave the parish of their birth?  What of the “Black Act” (passed as late as the 1700s) that punished some two hundred crimes (some quite minor) with death?

What of so many other Acts of Parliament – both so irational and so wicked that no one (other than a monster) would uphold them?

However,  I hope the idea of law as trying (in the circumstances of  time and place) to give effect to the principles of jusice (NOT the WILL of the ruler or rulers – in the mannor of the late Roman Empire or of Thomas Hobbes and his “Legal Positivists” with their Hell vomit doctrine that whatever the “legistlature” declares is law)  makes a some sense to libertarians.

As for my errors – no doubt many and terrible……

I offer the words of John Dundas.

“If this Treatise should happen to be less correct, the Reader would be pleased to give himself the trouble to mend the Errors, and excuse what is amiss, this Book being given to be printed by a certain person when the Author was our of Town, and knew nothing of the publishing of it, not having designed so soon to send it abroad into the world.”

Apocalypse postponed – again.

We all know it was finito on the 21st. Due to the end of the Mayan Long Count.

Except it like wasn’t… Mind fair play to the Mayans – they still exist and still have their language and culture – shorn of human sacrifice – that does happen in Mexico mind mainly as a result of the deathly tango between “The War on Drugs” and the gangs… But that’s another matter…

But quite a few of them made a few quids out of new-age twats. And if a hippie and his or her money is parted due to ancient and brilliant mathematics and astronomy then Nick is happy.

Over at the “Christian Science Monitor” they have a round-up of their top-five failed (obviously) prognostications of global doom. They are all corkers…

***

The Millerites* – serial prognosticators of doom – kinda like religious Alan Hansens – but there was a “Great Disappointment” for them when the world didn’t end in 1844. They split and we got the Seventh Day Adventists and ultimately the Branch Davidians.

***

December 21st (again) 1954. This is a cracker…

Martin’s followers, many of whom quit their jobs and gave away their possessions, gathered in her home to await the aliens. (Martin’s husband, a nonbeliever, slept upstairs through the whole thing.) To avoid being burned by the flying saucer, her followers removed all metal from their persons, including zippers and bra straps. Midnight came and went and the group became increasingly agitated. Finally, at 4:45am, Martin said that she received another message from Clarions informing her that God was so impressed by her groups actions that He changed His mind and decided to spare the earth.

I love the fact hubby slept through the End of the World and what sounds like some sort of deranged Dianetics orgy. I mean why worry about the clap if it is the End of Days? Or maybe it was like the Heaven’s Gate “Away Team” who watched Star-Trek videos before they drank the Kool-Aid (or whatever). Some of those even castrated themselves so they didn’t get a stiffy when Lt Uhuru fiddled with the Crimble dec in her lug. Me, I lugged the ‘scope and Pentax out the back and got some pretty decent photos of Hale-Bopp. With my girlf and a cable release. Mentalists. I mean I knew my Solar System Dynamics lecturer Carl Murry had a year’s sabbatical in Florida to work on his book so why worry? Prof Murry is still with us and so is Florida. The book is available from Amazon. The paperback is fifty quid. There is a used hardback for nigh on nineteen hundred quid. I assume it is a mint signed first edition or similar. Very bright chap Prof Murray. Looked to the future. I have a copy of the earlier ring-bound photocopied version with my own spider-crawl marginalia.

***

Hal Lindsey. Bog standard apocalyptica though repeated – often. He now claims (after his predictions for 2000AD didn’t come to pass) that Prez Obama is setting the stage for the antichrist. If the antichrist is Joe Biden I think we can all sleep safely for he is a moron.

***

Pat Robertson, who in a 1980 broadcast of “The 700 Club” said “I guarantee you by the end of 1982 there is going to be a judgment on the world.”

The world didn’t end in 1982, but “WKRP in Cincinnati,” did.

So why was Mr Robertson running in several desultory attempts for the presidency when it’s all effed anyway?

***

And finally my personal fave. The Prophet Hen of Leeds. This one is instructive for utterly contra to millennial or apocalyptic visions this shows that the good folk of Yorkshire then, as now, have a warped, nay, fowl, sense of humour. And in these final days it is good to have a certain sense of continuity.

***

Now we only have the enforced jollity of Crimble. Ho, ho, ho! to look forward to.

Something I saw in the Telegraph darkly amused me. The Crimble Special of the execrable “Call the Midwife” on BBC1 (which has displaced the “Who” spesh – Dear Gods!) said it would, “Have you crying into your Christmas pud”. True, in a sense. In the sense of outraged boredom and terminal tedium.

Merry Christmas everyone!

(Bah, humbug!)

*Not to be confused with the Miller Lites which is only the end of beer (as if that wasn’t bad enough).

I thought I’d died and gone to Hebburn…

A few days ago I was in the local Co-op buying bleech or some such. Anyhows, they have an area manager in and he is uttering the latest diktat. The woman on the till is astonished, gob-smacked by it. It went like this…

“You have to stock aubergines – tell Terry*.”

“But, but… what do you ever do with them?”

Area Manager doesn’t look taken aback. Seriously – must be used to it. He tries to talk her down in much the same way a copper might with some bloke on the tenth floor who is planning on jamming himself on the pavement (I assume Area Manager tasted aubergine once in a moussaka on Corfu and had seen the future). If I was a cruel man when I made my purchase I would have whispered under my breath, “I also like kumquats you know…” but the local A&E probably doesn’t have enough defibrillators anyway so I didn’t.

I have never really seen the point of kumquats but the imp of the perverse is a powerful imp.

This is 2012 and the Co-op regards aubergines (“Aubergines, Auber-here, stealing all our vegetable racks!”) as exotic. I mean if you can’t get a frigging aubergine what hope for a jet-pack? Right next door is a proper greengrocer who stocks several types of squash!!! Such decadence hasn’t been seen since the last days of Caligula! We also have a butcher and a deli (this stocks different forms of cheese). Both the local(ish) TESCO and Sainsburys even have a stab at sushi. Just before Guy Fawkes night the Co-op got in a huge consignment of… Easter eggs. Seriously. The Co-op is like Stalin just shot his load… in an aubergine. Even Uncle Joe would have known an aubergine when he saw one being a Georgian and all… The Co-op is fucking chronic.

I “popped” for some tomatoes a bit back and took them to the counter and had to have them returned because I spotted one had grown a Gandalf of a beard of something I’ve only ever seen on a sodding petri dish. And not any of mine (I know how to streak-plate). I mean the ones in movies where Denzel Washington or someone has 24 hours to save the Earth and bed a well-fit co-star (why is there never a phone call that goes like this, “Can we re-schedule for Thursday I’ve got a lot on right now”. “OK, cool, see you then!”). Nah, instead of that I had two slags** gossiping about X-Factor which was clearly more important than serving moi and Terry replaced my toms with a grumplestiltskin of a face-on at a speed matched only by glaciers. He then disappeared out back grumbling about customers actually wanting produce that wouldn’t give them pantomime poisoning***. Presumably for a fag or a wank**** or (most likely) just a general skive.

But the crowning turd in the punch-bowl came Friday before last. Now I was going out to see “Skyfall” (not bad BTW) and dinner was hurried and the Co-op tend to… Well, my wife is vegan and she frequently has said she can find fuck all to eat there. Well I was in the same dilly of a pickle. I thought I’d get a brace of their reasonable Aberdeen Angus burgers (nowhere near as nice as the ones I make but OK) but no! No burgers for Nick! Useless twats. They had replaced ‘em with – I shit ye not – a fucking display of four types of “Rustlers” (more on those soon). So I looked at the shelves for something tasty and quick (bear in mind this is kinda a convenience store/small supermarket) and there was the fifth-root of fuck-all. I got meatballs in the end. So seeing as I have no dietary whatevers I was as stumped as my vegan wife. That is fuckwittery from the Co-op on a cosmic scale. I got something in the end. I suppose I could have got the frozen burgers by Birdseye but that is all eyelids and rectums. Anyway I didn’t have the defrost time if I wanted to see Mr Bond. Not a fucking chance. No chance for anything to be shaken or even stirred apart from the bowels and that in a cataclysmic Old Testament sense.

Oh yea who eat the unclean parts of the ossifrage behold!

There are things in that shop that violate Deuteronomy. And possibly Leviticus.

This is…

…the Rustler’s microwave burger…

… an atrocity that makes being groped by DLT look like some form of “boisterousness”.

Having said that the microwaveable kebab is some form of Crime Against Humanity

And they had replaced all their proper burgerage with Rustlers. Cunts.

They really are a collection of tit-ends. More tit-ends than a fucking dairy farm in Wisconsin. An utter tittery of dunces.

The milk is OK at the Co-Op. There is pity-all you can do to cunterate milk.

But the water! Christ on a bicycle playing the fuckulating Souzaphone. The shop is hideously expensive. Well, some of it is but that is the “ethical water”. They also have normal H20 for people who are not the “saved class” that show their “ethics” by buying expensive tat and know piss-all about basic chemistry. Ethical-fucking-water!

What the the Allah-buggering-piss-flappery is “ethical water”? Is that water that can write a Desmond essay on Spinoza’s juvenalia as well as quenching a thirst? Or is it just water bought by self-righteous self-abusers? Note the hardly disguised selling of indulgences and the piccies of happy natives who’s water is ultimately sold to some school-run mumster with a BMW X-5 to make her feel better about killing the planet with diesel to take Tarquin and Cressida to school. Does anyone other than me think this more patronizing than anything the (obviously evil) British Empire ever did? Anyone thought these folks might not want to be “happy natives” for Co-op customers to feel good and have the opportunity to own a Beemer as well? Nah, that would be so inauthentic for the poor dears wouldn’t it? Better keep ‘em in abject poverty so they can make “authentic things” to be bought by middle-class Indy readers to assuage their consciences over having the X-5…

It sticks in my craw. It really does. I am typing this on an excellent little netbook/laptop by Lenovo (S205). This machine was designed and built in China by people whose parents were probably starving peasants without a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of. If they had remained “authentic” or Mao-ist or whatever I’d not have this machine on my lap, you wouldn’t be reading this and China wouldn’t be dragging itself into a bright future. A survey a few years ago showed that 80% of “Chuppies” (middle-class Chinese) liked English cider so Bulmer’s planted orchards and built a factory over there. What goes around comes around. It ought to be about creating wealth, not the “selling beads to the natives” approach of Fairtrade nor the re-distribution idiocy of sharing the morsels of the last ration-box on the lifeboat. Wealth is not fixed. I could go on. And I shall, in a later post…

“I took a poo in the woods hunched over like an animal. It was awesome.”

(look it up). So is cholera, doll.

- Drew Barrymore (who promised E.T. to “be good” and then became a pre-pubescent heroin addict). She was muntering around some potless gaff in Central America and thought shitting like an animal was “cool”. OK, if that is her fetish – fine. And maybe it is if you don’t have to do it all the time. But how patronizing is that? Coming (so to speak) from someone who at the time lived in a mansion in Hollywood? I could be wrong but I think that was valued at $20m round the time. Fuck off. You are not part of the solution. You are the problem. Poverty does not bring dignity. They are utterly seperate variables.

Wealth (and aubergines) are not to be ashamed of. Protectionism is something to be ashamed of. We should not be ashamed that we have indoor plumbing but that we actively prevent development in some of the poorer countries by our trade policies and then engage in patronising and pointless genuflection to the Gods of “Fairtrade” as, yes, an indulgence is just wrong. That the EU subsidises (controls) our farmers etc. and that the counterbalance is Fairtrade is obscene. It helps almost no-one.

Why not just cut the Gordian knot?

Why not let us all run and play?

*Terry is the most idle cunt who ever (slowly) walked this goodly Earth. If he moved any slower he’d have moss on him – like a three-toed sloth.
**The first time I was ever in Buxton (genteel spa town etc..) some lad walked past me and my then girlf and he just said, “tits”. Oddly enough the same happened in New Orleans with the same girl. She had nice breasts but a slim build and they went with that and were hardly bazonga material so that’s odd. I find it odd that it happened over six time zones but then you are no longer alive if reality loses it’s eternal power to astonish.
***A terrible malady that makes someone think they are Christopher Biggins and playing Widow Twanky at the Swindon Empire. I have actually sort of met Mr Biggins and he seemed a decent sort. And yes, he was a panto dame at the time.
****For some reason (my filthy mind) I’m thinking of an old Turkish proverb, “A women for duty, a boy for pleasure but a melon for ecstasy!”. They don’t tend to have melons in the Co-op. Perhaps they are too exotic or perhaps Terry has jizzed in them during his many “technical breaks”. Perhaps that’s why the fruit and veg tend toward the manksome?

It’s shite being Scottish…

I was born in Newcastle. It is spitting distance from Scotland (or to put it more reasonably closer to Edinburgh than to Leeds or Manchester). And before any fucker starts we gave the World the Stephensons and the Lit and Phil (membership is from about 50 quid a year). It’s the largest independent library in the UK outside of London. It’s not just Geordie Shore up there you know. Though we also gave the World Viz. Tits oot for the lads!. I love Viz. I suspect regular readers know it was like Mother’s Milk to moi.

This is though is nonsense…

The First Minister cited repeated examples of the SNP overcoming adversity and argued the party would triumph again because of its political opponents moving to the Right.

That would be the Tories who are the Right the same way I am from Alpha Centauri. If they truly want “independence within the EU” then so fucking what? I would prefer the Union stayed in place but if the eaters of deep-fried pies want the right not to eat said pies (see Nicola Sturgeon – let them eat caviar!) then fuck ‘em. England shall survive. We always have. Since the days of the Egg-Kings.

Oddly enough I have a GBP20 in my pocket. It has Adam Smith on the reverse. Just saying…

He said Labour had moved onto the Tories’ political ground by promising to review the cost of a series of ‘free’ benefits introduced since devolution such as personal care for the elderly and tuition fees.

Meanwhile, he said the Conservatives had descended into “extremism” after they published official figures showing only 12 per cent of Scottish households contribute more in tax than they receive in public services.

Note even The Telegraph puts scare quotes over ‘free’. And this is the Conservative government that has viciously cut spending by er… increasing it.

We are the Union. If North of Hadrian’s Wall they want to descend into mysticism and tyranny so be it. But I won’t be happy and neither will the average Glaswegian.

We are this:

We are legion. Ask the Germans. The Union gave those fuckers a profound and well deserved cunting so they behaved and made nice cars and never invaded Poland again – apart from to buy cheap and good beer – better in the Czech Republic, mind. We burnt an Empire to save the World. Sort of. But we did. We gave a large chunk of it to a lawyer in a nappy. Seriously. I have been to the Civil rights Museum in Atlanta, GA and they had all sorts of stuff from MLK. They had his bible and typewriter and his empty bottles of aftershave (odd!) and his Levi’s denim jacket (exactly the same as the Levi’s denim jacket I was wearing at the time – spookie!) and more. And they also had via reciprocal agreement Ghandi’s personal stuff. A nappy, a pair of specs and a stick. It was weird. MLK was shot five years before I was born but his stuff was like stuff I had. Aramis was his favoured brand – my Mum used to buy me that. Ghandi’s was exactly the sort of stuff I would expect for the Jimmy Saville of human rights.

If Mr Salmond has found a Magic Money Tree (Pecunia arbor?) then can I have a cutting. Can RAB, can Cats, or Single Acts or Lynne or Julie or the bloke down the road? And if Mr Salmond has a cow for sale I have some magic beans (well they turned up all tinned and all at Sainsburys as if by magic – invisible hand and all that or farmers, truckers, shelf-stackers, logistics managers etc.)

The EU Flying Prize…

I know this has been done to death here (cracking post from RAB!) and elsewhere but it needs to be said or re-iterated at least. I was born in England in 1973 (the year the UK, the Irish Republic and Denmark joined the club) and I have subsequently been to (in no particular order) France, Spain, Belgium (briefly), Holland, Germany, Yugoslavia (as was – twice!), Hungary, Czechoslovakia (and subsequently the Czech Republic), Poland, The Irish Republic, Portugal, Hungary, Austria (very briefly), Greece, Malta and indeed Turkey. Some of the above several times. Many of the above I shall happily re-visit. There is a picture (I really have to sort my piccies out) of me hugging a statue of a bull over the Asian side of Istanbul and no I wasn’t pissed at all. I was just thinking cool! Another continent bites the dust.

You think that artificial? Of course it is! The East side of the Bosphorus is no more or less culturally European than Porto. Being European is a state of mind. It has nothing to do with (often nominal) religion either. An odd thing about Istanbul is that it has maintained into this century the habit of having streets of x,y or z. Just down from the Europa bull is the street of wedding dresses. And by wedding dresses I mean things Jordan would regard as OTT.

I mean Katie Price not the near-East country.

I have met gits on three continents. Mainly I have met decent people. I have met many of both in my own country. I have met many of both in Europe or the USA and many in my “toe in the water” trip to Asia. I even met some recently in Paris! I have met gits of course but for good or ill they seem to be fairly evenly distributed. In a deluge in Istanbul I slipped and fell awkwardly on subway steps. A Turkish businessman in a nice suit helped right me and asked if I was OK (I was – I only fell awkwardly to protect my camera bag). He spoke perfect English. He was very nice. I know “nice” sounds like damning with faint praise but it was nice. On the far side of this continent people were just the same.

Well, almost. I found the Turks to be polite and helpful. Sometimes witty (hard to gauge sometimes given the language gap) but be aware the restaurant barkers are tiresome.

We can all get on. I like (some) French wine, Czech cars, Polish vodka, Scottish salmon (not the Alex version), Italian cheese, Finnish software, women from everywhere (as long as they are smart, funny and good-looking), German ham, Belgian beer, Spanish tiling, Swedish crime stories, English novels…

We build airliners that are duralumin overcasts because we have engineers, not politicians. Have you flown on an Airbus? Probably. The wings are designed in Bristol and made in Wales. Final assembly is Toulouse. Whatever! OK, the last two ‘planes I was on were Brazilian but that is not the point is it? I’ve flown on a fair few Embraers and they always got me back (good on you Brazil!). So are all the rest I have flown on. If the ground traffic was bad it has taken me longer than the one hour fly time from Paris to Manchester to get from my outskirts to Manchester Town Hall.

This they don’t get it. We can fly, we can twitter, we can Skype… All this has nothing to do with the EU.

In the 1960s my Gran phoned her sister who had emigrated to Melbourne. My Gran didn’t have a phone. She used a local grocer’s shop she had an a/c with. A twenty minute call cost nearly a week’s wages. She hid the bill.

We have created a global society not because of politics but in spite of it.

I am writing this near Manchester. The latest kitty in the count is Julie (near Chicago – spot on virgin post Julie btw!) and the server is in Queensland, Oz. Did legislation and politics make it possible for us to all run and play? Did it hell! I am typing this on a Lenovo laptop. This was made and designed in China but that’s because Lenovo bought up IBM’s brand for laptops and it has USA DNA so to speak. It runs Windows 7 for a start.

And that is the point. The EU (and more broadly) is an exercise in stealing our intrinsic internationalism and then parceling it back as a “gift”. If you, as I do, read late Victorian/Edwardian stories then the World was at least as globalized as it is now. Seriously. Read the Holmes canon if you doubt me. We don’t need a superstructure in Brussels to give us back (and we must thank them for it) rights we always had. They took those rights and are now parceling them back and expect us to be grateful for giving us a semblance of what we had a century ago! They call it progress. I call it graft.

No, I don’t exactly. There is graft obviously but it is more than that. It is about the political class making itself important whereas in a rational World none of this is needed. We are not a nursery school. We don’t need an authority figure to make us “play nice”. We certainly don’t need this to be self-imposed with the tacit concept that if we don’t have nanny we will automatically be at each other’s throats. The EU is many things. Ultimately it is patronising. We don’t need looking after and we really don’t need the aggression of the EU because the same political class (note I don’t say working class, middle class or upper class but -political class) building barriers only to partially tear them down and then claim credit for it. The EUrocrats are the sort of people who will piss on your rug and then want a lollypop for cleaning half of it.

Europe is united at the the most fundamental level. This is bottom-up*. Officialdom never helps. It hinders and when it “tries to help” it requires praise and a gold star sticker on the infant school merit board. This is toxic. This is politics – making out they are heroes for granting rights you had anyway if not for politics taking it away and then drip-feeding you such rights back (or not). When I lived in Stepney, East London, we’d go to the Globe pub and round the table would be Brits and Americans, and French and Italians and Germans and all the rest. We’d do the pub quiz**.

We don’t need nanny to get on. We need ourselves. Just that. And we need cheap flights. The sort of things that the EU goes berserk over in terms of CO2 and stuff. They like trains instead. Trains. Fucking trains. Like Orv and Will bust their humps to go by fucking train.

Jebus wept!

We are not united by politics. We are united by cheap ‘planes that our EU Lords hate. Have you ever wondered about the concept of a geographical super-state in a non-geographical age? I have. They haven’t. They are playing the C21st with C19st pieces.

And if I had a single Euro for every time I have been accused of being anti-European (I am European for God’s sake!) for speaking out against the EU or the single currency despite loving Europe I’d be able to bail-out Greece. Well, for a week at least. If I were Angie I’d tell the hairy-backed fuckers to fuck off***.

So, I shared a joke about a bottom with a Frenchman. Is that not what it should really be about? If the powers that be realized just how similar we then they would melt like the Wicked Witch.

We need each other. Well, we are best with each other. We don’t need them telling us that. We don’t need them to “make it so”. We need shared laughter in a bar in Paris over a bared bottom. That sort of thing does more for genuine European integration than any quantity of expense account genuflecting from Brussels or Strasbourg.

And of course the sort of cheap flights the EU hates. Here “integration” and “environment” lock horns. Here I speak truth.

*Literally. I was in a bar in a student area of Paris recently (Thanks MHG!) and there was a birthday going on. Several students were somewhat Brahms et Liszt. One had forgotten to wear a belt and his trousers had slipped somewhat. My wife did a “pull-down gesture” and one of his mates yanked his underwear down revealing bare bottom. Generalised hilarity ensued. A bit later I got chatting with one of the lads outside whilst we were having a fag. He said, “You liked my mate’s bum?” I said, “Très bien!” and we chortled.

**I particularly recall one event because we were all bamboozled by a single question. “What was the first London Underground station to open?” That made very little sense to us all because a railway with one station makes no sense.

***The Greek male national sport would appear to be sexual harassment. They are largely right mummies boys you see. I was in this street in Athens once and I’m asking directions and this git (see above about gits – partially) starts fondling my girlfriend’s buttocks. I should have lamped the hairy backed troglodyte (he seriously didn’t look like a Spartan from 300). I didn’t because it was so off kilter I scarcely believed myself. Oddly enough the nicest town I saw in Greece was Sparta. Had a bloody good kebab served by a Greek-American who was back to the old country to help his uncle out. Jolly decent sort. Much can be done with a Greek if you catch them early enough.

Did Charles the Bald help create the West – by accident.

What is the post Roman West? How does it differ from the Roman Empire?

Well, for example, under the Roman Empire the army was a professional force – it was the state.

The warbands of the Germanic chiefs were not the world of the Middle Ages either – the armies of the Middle Ages were Feudal, the King called upon his land holding vassels and they brought their men to his aid (if they were loyal).

They came from their castles – which were neither the state fortresses of the Roman Empire, or the strongholds of independent rulers.

They were something else – privately owned castles. And a King who tried to take land away from such lords – risked (indeed invited) revolt. But it was more than that – a ruler who took land from those who had inherited it invited contempt (people were outraged by what he had done – he was regarded with disgust) – it was a different world from the late Roman Empire.  So the land went down over the generations (over hundreds of years). And other property (including coin) was also held more securely than under Roman law (at least as it was under the late Empire). A ruler in the Middle Ages might rob Jews with impunity (indeed he might win praise for robbing Jews – but Jews had been robbed and slaughtered by Roman Emperors also) – but to rob other Christians (even though they were Merchants, craftsmen or free peasants) invited contempt and open hatred – something that rival rulers might well use against him (or that the, armed, common people might take revenge for themselves).

Jews often did not even carry weapons (rather like Roman “citizens” under the Empire had not carried weapons – because they were not allowed to) – so they were beneath contempt. But however vile the commons were – they (0r at least the free ones) did carry weapons.
Roman Emperors were not limited in what land they could take by Feudal law – Roman law was whatever the Emperor said it was. The Emperor (the state) had a whim – and the intellectuals duely justified it and made it formal law. Roman legal philosophers reconised the concept of natural law (they even accepted that natural law forbad slavery) – but, to them, it had no practical force in the real world (the will of the state trumped it).

And the feudal landholders who led their men to the aid of the King – how did the travel and how did they fight?

On horseback – they were knights. They looked rather like Roman heavy cavarly of the late Empire – but their weapons and armour were not made in state arms factories (they were privately made), and their horses did not come from state stud farms – they were privately bred and owned horses.

Nor was there one great universal Empire – for all the claims of the new “Holy Roman Empire”.

On the contrary there were various Kingdoms, and Grand Dutchies and…… Not the temporary holdings of strongmen, but Kingdoms (and Princedoms and ….) that formally recognised the right of each to exist and to govern themselves.

Certainly they might invade each other – but they were, formally, at least under the same natural law (made by God – not by man). Another King (or Prince or ….) had rights. To put them to death in some savage entertainment would invite outrage.

One had to work hard to invent a good legal reason to invade somewhere else (and it is not automatic that one would come up with something) and if the case was bad then this would have an effect – the Church (an independent force – not a branch of the state as under the Roman Empire) might denounce you, your own lords might decide you had spat upon their honour (by involving them in an unjust war) and on and on.

Certainly wickedness and the slaughter of the innocent continued – but their were risks (and not just the battlefield risks that Roman Emperors understood) there was the risk of practical consequnces from inciting disgust with your conduct (even if the conduct was successful).

Not all Kings (and ….) only pretended to be honourable and uphold the natural law – some actually thought that their sworn word (on the Bible – or not) meant something (in a way that would have astonished someone in the late Roman Empire) – and even those rulers who were utterly cynical (rotten to the core) had to at least pretend to be men of honour upholding the universal law (the true law that they did not write) – and putting on a convincing performance needs certain pratical actions and inactions.

A strange hybid of the old warrior honour code of the barbarians – and the idea of formal law and government of the Romans.

When Papa Franz – the Emperor Franz Joesph last Hapsburg ruler before the First World War refused to go along with hate campaigns against the Jews – because he had given-his-word to treat all subjects equally,  he was dealing with a concept (honour) that his ancestor riding out of Hawk Castle (from which the word “Hapsburg” comes) a thousand years before would have understood.

And his kin – both Habsburg and Bavarian Wittelsbach, risked their lives in the 1930s and 1940s – for people with whom they had nothing in common and whom aiding gave no advantage of power.

The highest ideal of chivalry – the service of the great (service till death) for the weak and helpless, and (the greatest leap of all – and so often failed) service to the alien, to the “other”.

Do I have to explain that a Roman ruler (even after the formal conversion of the Empire to Christianity) would have been utterly baffled by all of this?

The dark side of men (our love of seeing the blood of our enemies cover the ground – as their heads roll in the dirt) is well known. Whether Roman or barbarian we all love cutting the throats of our enemies (show me a man who denies feeling joy, or at least quiet satisfaction, at the dying screams of his enemies – and I will show you a liar). But to risk our own throats – and to risk them for those who are no kin of ours (or connection of ours) – that is something else again. As is showing mercy to enemies who have thrown down their arms – and grasping their hands in friendship at the very moment when they expected torture and death. Rare indeed are those who can match the deeds of Alfred the Great – or his warrior daughter Ethelfleda (or Aethelflaed – perhaps if the lady had a less difficult name she would be feminst icon) the “White Lady of the English”, but in our Walter Mitty way we think ourselves heros – the concept had no real meaning in the late Roman world. The great soldier certainly – but not those who would follow justice for its own sake, and follow it in regard to foes as well as friends.

All the above remained, in part (but it was always only in part), till quite recently.

Tanks may have replaced cavalry (not that Alfred and those who came after him really understood cavarly – indeed Tolkien argued that this lack of understanding led to the terrible events of 1066), but the code of honour remained.

Indeed up to the late 19th century so did the idea (in the British army at least) that an officer shoud not profit from military service – indeed that it should cost him and that he should outfit himself (and sometimes troops) at his own expense.

Colonel Blimp is a mocked figure – but he has his good side. There are things he will not do – and, more importantly, things he will die to save others from.

As even the socialist George Orwell admitted (in despair over the alliance of the National Socialists and the Marxists in 1939) “who now will now step forward to defend civilisation – only Colonel Blimp and the old school tie”.

Stepping forward from his (near bankrupt) country estate – or from his job in the City of London (where “my word is my bond” was the basis of relationships till 1986 – for it was a private club, indeed several different private clubs, not the government regulated entity it has been since 1986) to lead his tanks (or his aircraft) into battle with those who had betrayed civilisation and had declared “my honour is loyality” (thus showing they had no undertanding of what either “honour” or “loyality” really mean under the unversal law) – as if they were fighting raiders and invaders (whether Viking of Barbary corsair) centuries before.

“But what has all this to do with Charles the Bald”.

Well this man was the grandson of Charles the Great – Charlemagne.

Charlemagne is an over rated figure – due to his patronage of intellectuals (he paid for their bread, and their ink and parchment, and they praised him – there is some honesty in that relationship I suppose). He was essentially no good.

He did little to oppose the Islamic invaders of Europe. His campaigns aganst the Eastern pagans (such as the Saxons) were marked by brutality and cruelity (even by the standards of war) he plundered endlessly – and used the plunder buy the loyality of thugs. His campaigns against the pagans may have led the Viking age – both as revenge, but also because he had undermined the Fresians (the traditional check upon the Norse – going right back to Roman days). And he not did spare Christian Realms – as Bavaria was to discover in 788.

And why should he spare Christian lordships? After all Charlemagne believed in the old Roman Empire with himself as a new Constantine (another meglomanic), the Church his faithful servants – and the whole world his domain.

In economic policy to Charlemagne was a (late) Roman.

De facto serfdom (the tax policy of Diocletian that peasants not be allowed to leave their area of birth) was a difficult thing for any neo “Dark Age” administration to enforce (lack of written reconds and so on), but Charlemagne would have had no objection to it. And it is more than this.

In the Christian Church there has always been a great conflict over what a “just price” is – indeed over what “justice” is.

Is a just price one that is voluntarily agreed between buyer and seller?

Or is a “just price” what the state thinks is “fair”.

Just as is justice to each their own – or to each the income and wealth the state thinks “fair”?

No prizes for guessing which side Charlemagne came down on in this debate. The side the late Romans had come down on.

The side of tyranny.

Income and wealth went to who Charemagne thought it fair for them to go to (no better than an Islamic Caliph or a late Roman Emperor).

Prices were what Charlemagne (and his intellectual hangers on – that faction of the clergy that he favoured) thought “fair”. Bavarian law (also written by clerics) came down on the other side (that a just price was a price that the buyer and seller  voluntarily agreed to) – so Charlemagne judgment was not automatic (not predetermined) – he made a choice to come down on the side of tyranny.

A good fighter and a parton of the arts and scholarship – but one can say the same of Constantine (or of many Islamic rulers).

In the world of Charlemagne we are not in the West – not as I have tried to describe its spirit above.

However, under Charles the Bald things changed – partly because Charles the Bald was not a very good soldier.

The Bretons defeated Charles the Bald in great battles, where the outnumbered Breton cavalry followed a war of movement – out flanking the Frankish armies and engaging in hit and run attacks, in the end Charles fled his own army under cover of night, leaving it to its fate.

Charles accepted de facto Breton independence and self government – something that lasted from the 9th century to the 16th century.

And it also established a principle – the new “Empire” (already divided under the sons and grandsons of Charlemagne) was going to be a very different place from the Roman Empire – places could, de facto, secede from it (and rule themselves) and Kings and Emperors would recognise their self government.

The Church also had more independence under Charles the Bald than under Charlemagne. The Bishops were (mostly) loyal to him – but then he desperatly needed their loyality.

Needed it because his kinsman Louis the German invaded his domians and Charles could not raise an army to oppose him (because Charles was an unpopular ruler).

The intervention of the Bishops saved the rule of Charles and he and his kinsman were eventually reconciled (various late Roman heads are exploding at this point – priests preventing a conquest [?] a power struggle not being to the death [?], does not compute – head explodes….). But there was a de facto price for the loyality of the Bishops – if one depends on their independent authority one has accepted that they have independent authority.

Nor were they the only people that Charles the Bald needed – especially as the Viking raids got worse and worse.

In his Edict of Pistes Charles the Bald did conventional things – such as ban trade with the enemy (especially in weapons and horses – selling them to the Vikings was punisable by death). But he also tried to develop his cavalry arm – for only cavalry could move fast enough to oppose raiders (and withdraw fast enough to avoid destruction if they found they were overmatched).

But how to raise this cavalry?

Charles could have tried the late Roman way – paid troops, given equipment from state arms factories and horses from state stud farms.

However, he simply did not have the resources to do that – so he tried something else.

Any private person who had the money to own a horse had to come and fight on horseback – or send someone to fight for him.

This was actually a return to the Classical world (including the old Roman Republic) where rich men had made up the cavarly – either directly, or by paying (personally) for the horse and horseman.

About a thousand years of French chivalry can be dated from this.

True in the 18th century the sacred Blue Cordon (once a group of knights who has sworn that the King would be unharmed till the the blue sashes they wore were turned red by their own blood) had turned into a glorified dining club (translate “cordon blue” into French and you will understand) – part of the general degeneracy that led to the French Revolution.

However, some ghost of the “old France” still remains, even the idea that a bad life can be redeemed by an honourable death that prevents some terrible act of wickedness, and in an intensely personal sense of honour and achievement that can be seen in extreme sports and in exploring.

Charles the Bald tried to ban private castles – but the effort was absurd.

He did not have the resourses to build (and maintain) enough castles of his own (although he did build fortified bridges that may have saved Paris, some years after his death, by holding up the Vikings) and castles were desperatly needed.

So local land holders (one can argue about whether they were officially land “owners” – but they were de facto private landowners, indeed far more so than landowers under Roman Imperial law) built, maintained and manned the castles. They were the first (and often the only) line of defence against raiders – both Viking and Muslim Corsair.

Estate management is a vital skill or any landowner (otherwise the family will go bankrupt – and the land pass to someone better at estate management) – but for centuries in France (and elsewhere) how to ride and how to fight were also vital skills.

It was not till the reign of Louis XIV that the nobility of France became painted toys, with absurd hairdos living in his vast (and rather absurd – its water supply did not work) palace (so different from where Kings of France had traditionally lived – compare Versailles to the Chateau De Vincennes on a visit to Paris). The noblity of France (unlike the nobilty of Britain) lost power and they lost their basic link to the land – they became toys of the Kings (and Louis the XIV aped the Roman Emperors – he was the Sun King) and fell with them. This is, in part, unfair some French noble families resisted the corruption of Versailles – but not enough.

And private castles had long been targeted by the Kings of France – and made useless by the age of gunpowder.

Lastly….

The private landownship (or de facto private landownership), on which everything else (from the idea of limited government to a spirit of personal honour) is based, where did it come from?

It came from the same source – the weakness of Charles the Bald.

He accepted that fiefs of land were hereditary – and not even a King of France could justly take the land of one person and give it to another (this is the foundation upon which modern Western civilisation was built).

It is fashionable to downgrade the importance of the Edict of Quierzy (877).

Modern historians (the same sort who regret the Ottomans not taking over all of Europe centuries later – because the Ottoman despotism was a much more “tolerant” and “progressive” civilisation than the landowner dominated European realms) downgrade the importance of the Edict of Quierzy.

Either they say it was just a restatement of an old principle (as if that makes it less important) or they say it was for selfish motives – to protect the allodial lands of his mother from Louis the German and to win over the support of lords against Louis the German.

That is like saying the Great Charta in England in 1215 was not important – because the basic motivation was to protect the property of barons from the King.

Of course the motivation was selfish. If Charles the Bald could have protected the lands of his mother (without having to call on the aid of others) he would have done so (by the way – where in asiatic despotism, sorry I mean in progressive social justice, is there concern for the large scale private property in land of a women?).

As for winning over Lords by a formal declaration that even a King can not steal their land – or steal it from their children….

It remains a formal declaration that a King can not justly take land – either from adults or their children.

All liberty (including civil liberties) is based upon private property rights – and if the property rights of the great are not respected what hope is there for the property rights of ordinary folk?

The slow (and vastly painful) process of building civilisation – of establishing liberty, depends on such foundations.

Even if they were (in part) built (unintentionally) by the weakness of a 9th century ruler by the name of Charles the Bald.

Global governance

What is Global Governance?

Easy, it’s global government, but the words are slimed with weasel in an attempt to make them more palatable.

When it comes to rich global elites, she would know:

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the Clinton Global Initiative Monday “One of the issues I have been preaching about around the world is collecting taxes in an equitable manner, especially from the elites in every country,” Clinton said. “It is a fact that around the world the elites of every country are making money. There are rich people everywhere, and yet they do not contribute to the growth of their own countries.”

Problem with global governance, where do you go if you don’t like government policies?

When it is an international treaty, how do you change the law?

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