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Mainstream Media

MSN bigotry

How dare Israel be better capable of defending its people than is Hamas.

 

The level of hatred of Israel in his questions is sick.

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.

Media

My comment to an article at the Telegraph where Daniel Hannan repeats an old canard:

Despite the claims you repeat here, Silvio Berlusconi did not compare Martin Schulz to a concentration camp guard, someone who was usually a member of the SS. He, instead, compared him to a military prisoner of war camp guard, specifically, to Sergeant Schultz of Hogan’s Heroes.

A very different concept.

That the media then went into a frenzy of misinformation is pretty much par for the course.

It was true then, it remains true today

“Mr Bond, they have a saying in Chicago: ‘Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it’s enemy action‘.”

Auric Goldfinger

MSNBC at its best

Yeah, that’s right. Animal Farm is all about those dreadful capitalists.

Barque to the Future…

This is USS Zumwalt…

Just launched at a cost of umpty billions. Now I know aeroplanes and bugger all about ships but does that not look rather similar to a US Civil War ironclad to you? Like this…

The Zumwalt class is designed to have the radar sig of a fishing smack. I guess you might get much the same from the CSS Albermarle not, obviously, that it was an issue at the time. It is possible (and the USN has been ickling on about railguns for some time and a planning sea trials in 2016 which is when the Zumwalt is due to enter service. So clearly looks may deceive and it might look the same but be bigger on the inside so to speak.)

So… It’s kinda odd but for completely different reasons the naval architects have gone back to the future. Either that or the Confederacy had some unknown naval genius beavering away and designing a low radar-return ship almost a century before radar.

But, and this is a biggy for me. Now it might sound nit-picking but how the heck is that a destroyer? It displaces 15,000 tons, it is 610ft long. That is a cruiser at least. Surely. Is this some bizarre ruse to get the funding past Congress? Because the Zumwalt class is essentially designed as a 1-1 replacement for the Iowa class battleships.

That is a broadside from an Iowa class (Actually BB61 USS Iowa). Those are 16″ guns. Who needs railguns when you can hurl a shell the mass of a VW for a couple of dozen miles. I’d be much more impressed by railguns on the Zumwalt if it was nuclear powered and therefore had practically unlimited electricity. Hell’s teeth I’d be going for a fully nuclear navy! No need for oilers and fill ‘er up every 25 years! You’d buy a car that did that. Especially if it had a railgun. It has to be noted though that we won the Cold War partly (thank you Ronnie!) with recommissioned Iowa class battleships and the off-key caterwauling of skanty-clad songstresses. I dunno which scared the Kremlin most. But they are very big guns indeed and Cher is wearing very little indeed. That was the ’80s and that is how we won. Hard and soft pressure. Ronnie and MTV – an unstoppable alliance.

I mean can you imagine how dull communism must have been?

Yeah, and inevitably here’s the video…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5G4O5AMSevc

Yeah, I liked the ’80s. We seemed to be going somewhere and that dear reader is a guilty pleasure from the era. But that’s one hell of a ship whatever you think of Cher.

And if we had another Ronnie then Vlad would be hiding under a table in the Kremlin with stained trews. And if we could take out Comrade Kim and the Ayatollahs and dear old Bob and… I can dream. But that video speaks to me of serious belief in our moral, social, military and economic might. We believed it then. That is why I liked the ’80s.

PS. The Iowa class were designed to be Panamax. They had 18″ wiggle room so never again complain about parking in TESCO.

PPS. This has been edited by moi. This fecking Toshiba is at the very end of the tether.

RIP – Peaches Geldof (13 March 1989 – 7 April 2014)

While I always regret the death of some mothers daughter, and some child’s mother, I am at a loss to understand why the Australian ABC radio news is headlining the demise of some obscure British media personality.

It must be true because I read about it in the Daily Mail…

[Editorial note - this story is from a while back but I've been sick as a mangy hound with nastiness so never finished it. I'm back now.]

… except it isn’t. Since childhood I have been an aviation fanatic. I’m astigmatic, somewhat short sighted and RG colour blind. So when I started my degree I spoke to the recruiting officer for the East Midlands Universities Air Squadron and when I explained my ishoos I was told to politely eff off. Having said that would you really trust someone who had to be told what colour Corsodyl toothpaste is with hands on the throttle and stick of a something that costs more than David and Victoria Beckham’s house and can drop JDAMs?

Thought not.

Shame but fair enough I guess. Having said that the highest scoring fighter ace in British history, Major Edward “Mick” Mannock, Victoria Cross, Distinguished Service Order and Two Bars, Military Cross and Bar (61 confirmed kills, maybe 73) and that Irishman was blind in one eye (allegedly). He (allegedly) bribed someone in the medical section to get the sight-test chart and memorised it. I think they are a bit more careful these days. Never trust the Irish or the Daily Mail.

Why?

Prince Harry has created a scholarship to get wounded veterans behind the wheel of an iconic Spitfire.

A fine and noble goal except a Spitfire (do we need to be told it is “iconic”? Do we ever need to be told something that actually is iconic is “iconic”?) doesn’t have a wheel. No, seriously. This is a snarky piece but it is aimed against the Mail and not Harry. I knew a lass at Nottingham University who helped out with riding for the disabled. Imagine how freeing it is for a paraplegic to be astride a horse and to gain that speed, height and mobility. A Spit has rather more horses in the front so…

The scheme, inspired by Second World War pilot Douglas Bader, will see the strongest candidates move up from a Tiger Mother biplane, to a Harvard, to the bespoke craft.

A Tiger Mother? God help us! The Harvard though was the RAF’s LIFT at the time so OK there but what’s that with “bespoke”?

Oh, and we had many disabled pilots in WWII. One bloke had nose art on his Spitfire showing the arm he’d had blown off flicking the V-sign.

Harry, an Apache helicopter pilot, launched the scholarship by climbing into the cockpit of a Spitfire and starting it.

Er… He’s an Apache WSO. Whatever.

But this is astonishing…

Not Spitfires

The Mail caption is this, “Britain built about 20,000 Spitfires, but they became obsolete after the invention of the jet engine. Here, a fleet is pictured with wing commander Robert Stanford-Tuck for the 1968 film.”

I’m not even going to point out they are Hurricanes.

I can fact-check stuff in the press. But I have limits. I know about certain areas such as aviation, bits of physics, a few other odds and ends but that is my lot. Worrying isn’t it? How much can the media smuggle past you as “truth” if you don’t know the subject?

I’m just wear my Mr Sceptic hat. I’m not exactly accusing them of making things-up or even of cherry-picking things to reflect their views but of in a fundamental way not really caring about hard truth. I mean that in the sense that the Mail sees the truth of telling a heart-warming story of the dashing young prince driving fast cars for a good cause (which it is) is more important than the awkward little facts. They all do it. What we have to do is behave like small Danish boys and sometimes shout, “But I can see his willy!!!”.

Geraldo loses it

A Mrs. Powel of Philadelphia asked Benjamin Franklin, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” With no hesitation whatsoever, Franklin responded, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

WOW!!

Geraldo criticises Bill O’Reilly for  deminimising (wot?) Barack Obama.

For those outside the US who don’t, on the whole, watch that Superbowl thingie…

So the web site wasn’t tested before launch? Really?

He pretty much admits this? Really?

Obamacare, Benghazi, IRS

The world catches up

The Huffington Post indulges itself in a post about twins who, to the best of everyone’s knowledge, aren’t siblings.

Hmph. They are years behind the Kitty Kounters

Anyway, tomorrow morning I’m off for a few days. A short boat trip around the Whitsunday Islands. Just north of here.

Toodle pip. See you on Sunday, maybe.

Sherlock Who?

After reading a small few of the tidal wave of articles on the latest Sherlock I am forced to ask myself, and you, should I watch it?

I ceased to take any notice of that show some time ago when I realised that, under Stephen Moffat, Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock Holmes and Matt Smith’s Doctor Who were essentially the same character.

Now, Doctor Who changes character with every regeneration, so, fine. If played by Smith he is a manic egomaniac I can live with that. But Sherlock Holmes? Sherlock Holmes DOES NOT prance about like a ninny, and I am not interested in watching him do so. I turned the episode off, and have never been back.

Should I revise my decision?

QOTD, Tom Good and Mrs Slocombe’s Pussy.

I appreciate this is a new and self reffing one but I’m giving my co-blogger, Cats, a QOTD…

Collective action will occur in any group of people, and so it should. Universal self sufficiency is just an alternative term for universal poverty. No civilisation above savagery can survive without specialisation, and no dwelling much better than a mud hut can be built by a single person.

Not only is there nothing wrong with collective action, it is something to be sought. The issue is exclusively one of how it is organised, whether by free cooperation or enforced.

Absolutely. The whole principle of the free market is that we do different things. Cats, for example, might install a bang-on computer network but I suspect he is no Kylie when it comes to singing popular songs whilst gyrating his hips – well, not for me anyway… Having said that I can’t exactly imagine Ms Minogue crawling under a desk with a posidrive. Though given her legendary ass (a treasure of the English speaking peoples) I’m not sure I wouldn’t mind seeing her give it a go. Anyway, and this is a bit of an aside things like this are more effective contra radical Islam than any number of JDAMs. Try watching that video, having a wank but thinking of the wit and wisdom of Abu Hamza.

But… This is not exactly a new observation from Cats but one that, like a Kylie video, deserves another run-out. An advanced society requires specialities. Nobody can do everything. And that is where trade comes from. For example the ’70s BBC sitcom “The Good Life” which focuses on the attempt by Tom and Barbara Good to be “self sufficient”. But their neighbours Jerry and Margo who are utterly conventional (and somewhat conservative – I shall not even mention Mrs Mountshaft and the Music Society) eternally dig the Goods out of Pinky and Perky’s sty. I see the show as a satire on the dismal attempt by the Goods to do everything. The money quote comes from Jerry. Tom has a go at “wage-slave” Jerry about why he obeys “Sir”. His reply is roughly, “18 thousand a year (note this is the mid-70s), a company car and an expense account”. He shoots, he scores because money can be exchanged for goods and services including those services done vastly better than by a bodger. Note also Tom is a total git and treats his wife Barbara (played by Felicity Kendal (who frankly I wouldn’t have minded watching wiggling her bum whilst crawling around with a posidrive either) better than your bum Cats – no offence meant Cats!) as little more than a feudal chattel.

Tom Good is something you wouldn’t get now on TV. He is a kinda proto-green who is portrayed by Richard Briers as a deeply unsympathetic character. He treats the toothsome Barbara like a lackey. Jerry and Margo have a vastly more balanced relationship and they also enable Tom and Barbara’s insane attempt to run their half-arsed small-holding in a London suburb. What is amusing is of course Tom gives-up a good job as a senior draughtsman to pursue this absurd dream and the only way he keeps it “pretending to work” is that when push comes to shove Jerry and Margo are there. So the very middle-class “wage slave” and his executive missus keep Tom in his absurd fantasy. It might as well be about wind-farms.

The show circles the overhead on Dave in the Sky of course. Beamed from the Satellites of Love until the heat death of the whole game. Nothing that ever matters (and ’70s sitcoms) ever truly dies.

Not with the overhead of digital immortality of the clacks. Not even Mrs Slocombe’s pussy is dead. God help us! I mean we* will be laughing at dismal pussy jokes** till the sun becomes a red giant.

Anyway back to the Goods…

And this is very interesting. Margo and Jerry were first envisioned as minor characters but couldn’t be kept down. To the extent that when the show aired in the USA it wasn’t called “The Good Life” but “The Good Neighbours”.

*For a different “we” obviously.
**I find them quite amusing because I am utterly puerile. Here is a taster… “Is that Mr. Ackbar? Mrs. Slocombe here, your next-door neighbour. I wonder, would you do me a favour? Would you go to my front door, bend down, and look through the letter-box? And if you can see my pussy, would you drop a sardine on the mat?” That is fucking genius. Read it all here. There is a serious point (though humour is very serious of course). These lines are with us for eternity.

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.

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…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And Voyager I just projs on!

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

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

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