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August, 2009:

Strangeness

Possibly NSFW. I don’t absolutely know. Can anyone tell me what this is about?

Thanks to Daphne for it.

Defining Moments in History

Like everyone else in my generation, I have no idea where I was when I heard the news that Edward Kennedy had died. I can’t even remember what town I was in.

Harry Hutton

Quixotic

All of this fuss about Dan Hannan and Enoch Powell; it really is a load of tripe.

Shall I let you into my own dirty little secret? There were two people I would always listen to. If either one ever appeared on television discussing constitutional issues I would stop whatever I was doing and listen closely. On economic or social matters I really didn’t give one hoot what they had to say, let alone two, but on the constitution, sovereignty and the nature of democracy? I listened, hard, because they were two men who were fast in their principles, and whose opinions on those topics I respected enormously.

Who were they? I have no doubt you have guessed one of them, Beelzebub’s right hand man himself, Enoch Powell of course. And the other? Well, I guess you would have to call him Beelzebub’s left hand man – Tony Benn.

So, all you lot whining about Hannan, go figure.

Australian television

Just been reminded just why I never watch news analysis on Australian TV. Tonight I had the misfortune of watching this, biased to the point of dishonesty every time I’ve seen it.

Two items tonight, one on the BNP in the UK, the other on Zimbabwe.

The BNP? Well the message was pretty much a cudgel around the earhole. RACIST, FAR RIGHT WING, and, horrors of horrors, 20% of the UK electorate were in favour of ‘some’ BNP policies – all repeated over, and over, and over. There was pretty much no other message offered.

Well yeah. 20% of Britons support ‘some’ policies, all without naming a single BNP policy they support, apart from beating us over the head with the overt racism. Of course they support some, cut out the racism and it is all pretty much boilerplate stuff any leftie could be comfortable with, but it really wouldn’t have suited the narrative to show the reality.

Zimbabwe, on the other hand, well, we all know Mugabe is a child of the left, so even for this lot it would have strained credulity to start throwing around FAR RIGHT WING. So? What do they do? Bit of straight talk about the effects of the far left Mugabe regime?

Nah, that would be too honest. Instead – nothing. Nothing at all. Oh, sure, we got the message about what a dreadful place it was, but when it came to the ideology which set the scene?

Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

Is it any wonder I despise these people?

Pearls of Wisdom

But don’t you realise that profit is sordid and dishonest and selfish? Not al all like drawing a salary-cum-expense-account from the government.

H. Beam Piper (Oomphel in the Sky)

It took me a long time to understand how much this man had influenced me. Heinlein, yes. Everyone acknowledges Heinlein, mentioning him is a sign of membership to the club, like a badge, or a not terribly secret handshake. Piper though? If you haven’t read him since you were fifteen go back and read him again. I suspect you will find much you never realised was there.

Consider Lone Star Planet, which posits a legal system that considers the killing of a practicing politician to be justifiable homicide.

One can dream I suppose.

I have just read Omnilingual, one of my all time favourite short stories by any writer, hadn’t read it for years and had forgotten just how good it was.

And another, the story of Benjamin Bathurst, an envoy of His Britannic Majesty; if you have never heard of him He Walked Around the Horses in 1809, never to be seen again. For those unfamiliar with British history, pay close attention to the name of the author of the final dispatch.