Thursday, April 30, 2009

The World Is Full Of Hope

"The initial flowering of Christianity (in Japan) was followed by terrible persecutions. Many people were killed, with an unprecedented cruelty that did not spare women and children. In addition to the killings, the Catholic community was decimated by the apostasy of those who abjured the faith out of fear. But it was not annihilated. Part of it went underground, and kept the faith alive by transmitting it from parents to children for two centuries, even without bishops, priests, and sacraments. It is recounted that on Good Friday in 1865, ten thousand of these "kakure kirisitan," hidden Christians, emerged from the villages and presented themselves in Nagasaki to the astonished missionaries who had just recently regained access to Japan."
To think that some Japanese Christians kept their faith, in secrecy and silence, for over 200 years, generation after generation living and dying without the consolations of the Mass and the Sacraments, ever believing, ever hoping, just patiently and faithfully waiting for the moment when they would be able to walk into the sunlight; and they managed this enormous collective Act of Faith without Catholic schools.
How did they do it?
"Near the site of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in Polands, workers found a message in a bottle written by prisoners, Written in pencil and sealed in a bottle, the message was dated September 9, 1944 and bears the names, camp numbers and hometowns of seven young detainees hailing from Poland and France. Officials of the museum at the site said that the bottle had been buried in a concrete wall in a school that slave laborers were forced to repair.
The note reads “All of them are between the ages of 18 and 20,” in reference to the young men who left a trace of their existence in a place where 1.1 million people were exterminated. The victims were largely Jews from throughout Europe, but also Gypsies and non-Jewish Poles.
Six of the prisoners were from Poland and one was from France. The note gives the names as: Bronislaw Jankowiak, Stanislaw Dubla, Jan Jasik, Waclaw Sobczak, Karol Czekalski, Waldemar Bialobrzeski and Albert Veissid.
Albert Veissid, one of the young men mentioned in the letter, is alive and now resides in France. Two of the others definitely survived the Holocaust. Karol Czekalski remained in contact with the museum at Auschwitz until the 1960s but has not been heard from since. It is not known whether Czekalski or Wachaw Sobczak – the other survivor – are still alive."
May M. Veissid enjoy very good health for what remains of his hopefully very long life. He survived captivity at the hands of history's most determinedly hateful killing machine, one that sprang from the loins of all that is modern. There must have been times when he felt that there was no hope for him; yet but even in the midst of all of Auschwitz's hell and devilry, he and his fellows were determined to let the world know that they had lived. The Third Reich might try to take their lives; but it would never take their names. It ended up taking neither. Salut.
The Pro-Hate League that is all secular human politics is governed by the conceit that human beings are capable of living with each other in peace and harmony without the assistance of He Who Is. This is a dumb conceit, one disproved every day. Yet it remains grossly compelling to those whose priorities are disordered. When we can't, or more recently won't, just live in peace with each other, it makes us wage wars of aggression and pillage dressed up as liberations; 'full of lies and booty' is just about the best description of neoconservatism yet coined.
The conceit also makes some of us think that unborn children should become human sacrifices to the cause of 'reproductive rights', and something called 'a woman's right to choose'. As Scripture contains no mention of either, one can only assume that these phrases are codewords, masks for something else. The writer is inclined to believe it to be Satanic evil of universal proportions. I just wish the abortionists would be honest; if they're intent on making human sacrifices, they should dress for the occasion - ditch the white coat and don an Aztec head-dress. The perversion of the ultimate creative act in which human beings can engage into an occasion of death and destruction is just about as evil as evil can get; and yet, there is always hope.
Attached to the nation state? Get over it. They come and go, and they rise and fall. They're here today and gone tomorrow constructs, spots just floating about on history's eyeballs. They're nice while they last, but they all end up killing themselves, and in the grand scheme of things they're about as durable as a stick of candy floss in the grip of a sweet-toothed five year old.
Attached to doggerel dogmae that make you say stupid things about lynching civil servants, despite the fact you'd cry like a girl if the rope were ever put in your hand to do it? Get over it. Saying dumb stuff like that is crucifying Our Lord all over again. You should know better. I'll believe there might be a grain of truth in what you say when you show me a classical liberal who's risen from the dead. Until the day comes, you will continue to talk nonsense, and I will continue to pity you and pray for you.
Attached to ideology? Get over it. All false, all rubbish, a very good way of gaining power over other people (and of achieving access to its fringe benefits, the chances to make lots of money and to hang out with lots of beautiful and wayward women), but even less durable than the nation-state.
Attached to reason? Get over it. If Steven Pinker's musings are anything to go by, it's taken the Enlightenment over 200 years to come full circle to a position with which, oh, just about everyone would have concurred before it started; that Man is imperfect and cannot perfect himself by his own efforts. Gee, what a shocker. The principal impact that modern reasoning has had on Man is that he is now more likely to behave like the beast that every rationalist since Darwin has told him he is than he would have been had the rationalists kept quiet.
There is only The Word; and The Word is full to the brim, choc-a-bloc, absolutely spilling over with hope. Compared to The Word the nation-state, doggerel dogmae, ideology and reason are nothing; absolutely nothing. Oh, for sure, the management of the world's most powerful nation has just been turned over to the greatest barbarian in its history, and Stupor Mundi's doings are going to provide a fecund source of comment for many years to come - but in the end, he's going to lose. That is not a dream, but a fact. We should pray for his conversion, for him to turn his face from the path of arrogance and barbarism, but if he doesn't, well, he has free will; a former editor of the Harvard Law Review can be assumed to be just as capable of studying Augustine as well as he studied Alinsky. Hope will win. The cheap, bastardised, utterly secular hopes expressed in his soundbite mantra 'Yes We Can' are utterly human hopes. Being human, he faces the same struggles against his capacities for exaggeration and falsehood as we face against our own; and it would have been more honest for him to have led chants of 'No We Can't', and 'I Will Fail'. For he will fail. Men like him always fail. Death was conquered, and The Word will win. Against The Word, Stupor Mundi's just small beer.
Always hope. Never give up, Never give in. The world of Man will not improve until all Mankind approaches their one true God with the simplicity and humility of a Japanese Christian stepping out from the shadows of a 200 year suppression.
Think Barack Obama can even make a dent in that kind of faith and hope?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Pierrot

If Mahmood Hussain is an immigrant, and what he is alleged to have said is true, I would suggest that he stripped of his citizenship and deported to where he came from in handcuffs while dressed as a pierrot.
Hat tip Laban Tall.

The Rasher

In his biography of St. Ignatius Loyola, Francis Thompson observed that while that great saint abhorred all forms of acquisitiveness, even forbidding the picking of flowers, he also thought there was no excuse for living in dirt. This found an echo in Fulton Sheen's remark that dirt was merely 'matter in the wrong place'.
There is no such thing as being 'dirt poor'. Where people live in dirt, it is only because they live in ignorance and want.
One of the great comic figures of modern times is Michael O' Leary, Chief Executive of the discount airline Ryanair. There is a very rude Irish word which precisely describes the impression that Mr. O' Leary's public pronouncements give of him - it's the one that rhymes with 'mob flight', itself a not inaccurate description of the discount airline industry. It is often said that where there's muck, there's brass; Mr. O' Leary seems to have one of those careers dedicated to proving that the inverse of that observation can also be true.
My friend Martin Meenagh has highlighted Mr. O' Leary's philosophising concerning the demographics most likely to be affected by swine flu. It will be, 'a tragedy only for people living ... in slums in Asia or Mexico'.
Mr. O' Leary might have cleaned up in the discount airline industry; yet perhaps he might not realise, or perhaps recall, that the loss of a single human life to swine flu as a result of ignorance and want is a greater loss to humanity than Ryanair's bankruptcy would and could ever be. That is the impression I got from reading his remarks.
Slum-dwellers. Some English and Scots would once have said the same of the Irish.
It is not known whether Mr. O' Leary has yet been the subject of a biography. If not, I would suggest that the task fall to his compatriot Roddy Doyle; and given that it would concern the doings of a man who helped turn what should be one of the most sophisticated and enjoyable forms of travelling into little more than swineherding, and who has rather odd and apparently uncompassionate views on swine flu, an apposite title might be 'The Rasher'.

Down On The Farm

The essentially cannibalistic nature of modern British society has already been remarked upon in this space; indeed, there can be few more cannibalistic practices than using the flesh of murdered infants as a baldness cure. In fact, it's worse than cannibalism; cannibals eat flesh to survive, not to make a good impression on the woman they hope will be their third wife.
Yet the cannibals are now confronted with the doughty shape of Doris Robertson; and they will hopefully discover that dinner is fighting back. Milk pricing is one of the grey areas where the dogmae of Charles Darwin clash with the tropes of Adam Smith, making all good coneheads and rationalists either delve into their orthodoxies' bowels in search of ever more arcane and prolix rationalisations of a fundamentally absurd situation, or else shuffle their feet in embarrassment.
Being good Darwinian mammals, we will never lose the taste for milk; and this is completely irreconcilable with using your economies of scale to put the dairy farmers out of business because you need to keep up your margin. One of the most pungent critiques of Zimbabwe's economy is that Zimbabweans kill their milk cows for food; how much more advanced we are, that we kill off the dairy farms with price wars. We're really so much more advanced than they are.
And in the same vein, the revocation of Lorna McConaghy's gangmaster's licence is just about the best piece of news I've seen in Scotland for what seems like an eternity, hopefully sending the very loud and clear message that our tilling fields are not killing fields of low wages and exploitation. When That Day comes, all those good Scots who have ignored or contravened the law in order to cheat people far away from their homes of their hire had better have answers.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Good News!

Anyone interested in good prose just for its own sake should savour the things of beauty which are A.A. Gill's TV reviews.
There are three prose writers I wish I could write like; GK Chesterton, Mark Shea - and Adrian Gill. Sir, I doff my cap.

A Foul Mouthed Old Man

I had a disappointing media experience on Sunday night - I watched William Goldman on 'The South Bank Show'.
I had been very much looking forward to it, to the extent of telephoning my father, a three times a week moviegoer in the days before Glasgow's cinemas were turned into bingo halls, to tell him it was on. To my mind, 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid' remains the paradigm of what an original screenplay should be. Having read 'Adventures in the Screen Trade' as a teenager and continued with Mr. Goldman's analyses of the movie business up to 'Which Lie Did I Tell?', I thought I would be in for a literate treat.
Instead, what the viewer got was an unnecessary flow of foul language from a man not a kick in the pants away from the age of 80. It might have been edited negatively (and I very much doubt it was), but Mr. Goldman came across as being a deeply unattractive person - the type of writer whose thoughts are best expressed on paper, and nowhere else.
I do not recall Mr. Goldman using a similar level of profanity in those of his books I have read. I do not imagine that he would consider addressing an American television audience in that way for a moment. Quite why a British television audience should be thus addressed escapes me.

Quote Of The Day

"Chinese Christians say that although the Chinese lack any sense of religion, their God will not forsake the suffering Chinese people. The internet is God's present to China. It is the best tool for the Chinese people in their project to cast off slavery and strive for freedom. " -
And 'Amen' to that.

Swine Flu In Ireland

Oh dear. Not good news.

You Learn Something New Every Day

Getting Shirty

Well, that didn't take long.
The yonglings have produced their very own fascistic 'climate change' 'shirt movement', 'Climate Rush'. Look at all those bright red sashes; so very 1930's. Unity would have approved so very much, darling.
Being compared to Codreanu's Iron Guard would no doubt send Jacob and The Hon. Pippa screaming into a wantonly destructive and childish rage like the spoiled children they are; but if there is doubt to be had that they are anything other than a troupe of fascistic, anti-human, anti-life crackpots and bullies intent on disrupting our albeit corrupt and degraded 'democracy', they are most certainly not going to get it from me.
Fascism requires the operation of only one emotion, hatred. To embrace fascism, you have to hate something or someone who's not like you really badly; and climate change fascism promises to be the worst kind of fascism of them all.
Climate change fascists don't just hate the citizens of countries other than their own; they hate all the people of the world. The Third Reich was motivated by the stupid belief that some races are inferior to others; The Climate Reich would be founded on the belief that all races are inferior to The Earth they inhabit. In The Climate Reich, the abortuaries would be cranked up to whatever capacity they have left, while the old, the sick and the weak would be sent for the needle in the arm without a second thought; and all the while, and with the sickening sentimentality that is the hallmark of all serial killers, Jacob and The Hon. Pippa would lovingly tend their dogs, pigs and chickens while signing death warrants with abandon, and feeling good about themselves for doing so.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Water

"Most governments are poorly equipped to deal with serious water challenges. Water ministries are typically staffed with engineers and generalist civil servants. Yet lasting solutions to water challenges require a broad range of expert knowledge about climate, ecology, farming, population, engineering, economics, community politics, and local cultures. Government officials also need the skill and flexibility to work with local communities, private businesses, international organisations, and potential donors."
To momentarily adopt the language of 'public choice', my own preference, at all times and under all circumstances, would be to use a water system designed and operated by a water engineer, rather than one run by a demographer or an aboriginal rights activist. Economists and anthropologists cannot make the rain fall more frequently, nor the rivers flow more quickly. Unless they are avid practitioners of DIY home improvement, few might be capable of laying water pipes and designing sewerage systems. There are some things that are best left to the experts; that is, if the celebrity economists will just let them get on with it.

Swine Flu

The right of people to move around the world, and the right of people-movers to profit from moving people around the world, is now considered to be a higher social good than saving human life. As Chesterton said, that is 'as simply and openly Anti-Christian as the Black Mass'.
Influenza pandemics tend to appear with depressing frequency. The Spanish flu outbreak of 1918-19 was followed by Chinese flu in the '50's, and Hong Kong flu in the '60's. The world might just be due another one. We have dodged the bullet for 40 years, and taking heed of the necessary precautions against infection might be a good idea.
Yet at the same time as advances in public health could have greatly minimised the likely number of casualties, political ideology and commercial imperative have developed in such a way that they are likely to be maximised. To travel to places where public health policy is not considered priority is considered to be a right. By failing to close our borders, or else submit Mexicans and travellers from Mexico to quarantine, the British government is saying that it considers the right of British citizens and residents to travel to and from Mexico without impediment to be of greater importance than the lives of my wife, my elderly parents and my young nieces and nephews. And yours.
It's good to know your place.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Piano Man

According to the 'Daily Mail' of 23rd April, next Tuesday (April 28) Nick van Bloss will be returning to the concert stage for the first time in 15 years, playing with the English Chamber Orchestra at Cadogan Hall, SW1.
Any readers in the London area wishing to attend what I am sure will be a remarkable performance by a remarkable man can book on 020 7730 4500 or at http://www.cadoganhall.com/.
Gaun' yersel, Nick. Blow their minds.

The Miracle Of Magdeline Makola

It is ironic that on the same day that David Marshall and Thomas Coyle had what is classed in some circles as a minor difference of opinion, a miracle might just have happened not too far away.
The discovery of Magdeline Makola, dehydrated and hypothermic but still very much alive 10 days after her kidnapper abandoned her to die in a car boot, might just have been miraculous. The statement given on her behalf after his conviction said,
"While I was in the boot of the car it was difficult for me to work out how long I had been there, but one of my strongest memories is realising that it was Christmas Day because it was so quiet outside.

I have a strong faith in God and I spent a lot of time praying that someone would find me.

Praying gave me a lot of strength and when the policeman opened the door I was so happy that my prayers had been answered."
Miracles do happen. They are not fairy stories for small children. Refusal to believe in the miraculous breeds hopelessness and despair. Because it breeds cynicism, hopelessness is one of the principal reasons why so much that happens in the world is just petty and crappy.
Man needs hope to live just as much as he needs food and air. It cannot be farmed like bananas, or mass-produced like didgeridoos or screwdrivers. The industry of hopelessness known as secularism cannot fathom this, its professionally cynical practitioners always and for ever little Thomases asking for proof.
But even after over a week spent trussed up in the cold and the dark, Magdeline Makola, an entirely innocent lady harmed by someone to whom she tried to perform an act of Christian charity, did not give up hope. She asked for no proof. She set her face like flint against every secular value from cynicism to rationalism and kept on praying; and yes, perhaps her prayers were answered, a loving Father showing mercy on His faithful daughter.
The good example of Magdeline Makola in stubbornly refusing to abandon hope during her long ordeal should be shouted from every street corner and rooftop in the world. Oh, to have a fraction of such faith!

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Cross Of Unemployment

I don't know if the title of this post is blasphemous - I sincerely hope not.
Mark Shea has posted a prayer request for a reader who has found themself unemployed. Having been unemployed several times, they have mine, together with my sympathy. A relation is also having to carry the same cross, for the first time in their life - while hopefully not overburdening readers with prayer requests, I would ask they be spared a thought. They have industrial grade responsibilities of a kind way over my pay grade.
Like war and divorce, unemployment is one of those extremely human curses, the sort of hardship that no self-respecting gorilla would inflict upon another. There is no real need for any human being anywhere in the world who wishes to work to be unemployed; none whatsoever. Yet our childish love of 'stuff' makes us act as if other people are nothing but stuff. The love of money might be the root of all evil; but the love of stuff is its branches. When you think of people as stuff, you have no problem discarding them when you feel their purpose has been served. You will even harm the interests of other people to ensure the survival of entities which cannot properly be said to exist in the material world.
The philosophy underpinning the existence of joint stock companies is an ontological absurdity. You cannot see or touch a company. Nobody has ever seen or touched one. You can see the paperwork by which they come into the world. You can see the symbols which represent them, and the physical assets they own; but you can never, never see their essence. Their essence is 'shares'.
Nobody has ever seen or touched a share in a limited company. Oh, you can see share certificates, proof that somebody owned so many shares in XYZ Company at a particular point in time and space; but you can never, never see the share itself. It does not exist in the real world. Yet the world treats such entities as if they were flesh, giving them legal personality and investing them with legal rights. Harming people by making them unemployed in order to ensure an incorporeal entity called a limited company remains healthy, or worse, can make greater profits, is Moloch's Inquisition. One would have to wonder whether the enthusiasm with which they cast people out of work in order to ensure that companies make more money turns the likes of Fred Goodwin into economic Torquemadas.
That the labours of those being piled on the stake were once so valuable that the company could not have become as large as it was without their efforts escapes the Torquemadas completely. In their worldview, there is only one interest to be served; those of the shareholders, whose property must forever remain unseen. There is something diabolical about this.
The stuff fixation seeps into our politics. The practice of politics is a sublime expression of human imperfection. One side preaches greed, the other envy, the pendulum swinging forever between the two. It is often said there is no love lost in politics; a tautology, given that there is almost always no love to lose.
These imperfections have helped put over two million people in the United Kingdom out of work. For most, it is no fault of their own, but a consequence of having been born into a culture which says bad is a good to be celebrated, and which places the rights of those who own property which cannot be seen over those human beings who have natural rights and bills to pay. Please don't forget the unemployed; and those who are unemployed should take heart from the thought that even though they might be deemed to be of little use to this world, they should not lose hope of the next.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Randomisms

The soi-disant, ersatz 'Scottish Government''s latest wheeze is that the police will be allowed to keep a proportion of monies seized from gangs. The practice of making financial gain from the arrest of criminals is properly called 'bounty-hunting'. Turning our police officers not into Boba Fetts but Boba Fettes can hardly be described as progressive.
Its other most recent wheeze is the appointment of a 'Chronic back pain tsar'. When Gilbert and Sullivan wished to satirise imperial Japan, they created 'The Mikado'; a similar effort on post-devolution Scotland might be styled 'The Lumbago'.
The most apposite and universally applicable piece of post-Budget commentary comes from a former US Assistant Secretary of the Treasury.
The number of fatal poisonings amongst Jews and Muslims may be set to increase exponentially.
As learning aids, books beat computers every time. You do not have to reboot a book. A book does not freeze on you at a critical moment. Messages saying 'The page cannot be turned' do not pop out of a book in the same way that some browsers indicate they cannot open some webpages. You do not need constant electrical supply in order to read a book. And a book is not so loaded with code that you have to wait five minutes for it to open.
And books do not have apps.
The Catholic publication 'The Tablet' seems to be calling for rather radical measures against bloggers, providing another reminder why I do not read the Catholic press. Paulinus has given it the treatment, and without anaesthetic.
Budget commentaries are exercises in invincible ignorance; usually issued by the invincibly ignorant. I think the commentors on the latter link have been holding an informal competition to see how many times they can use the terms 'Henry VIII' and 'syphilitic' in the same sentence.
Lastly, folks, a prayer request. Please pray for me. Not really feeling well at the moment, and am concerned is showing in the prose. Many thanks.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

KwikBlog

If anger was ever properly understood as being another manifestation of the sin of pride, the psychotherapy industry would go out of business overnight.
Professional angry people, such as newspaper columnists, consumer rights activists and many civil libertarians, specialise in industrial grade pride. When you are so full of pride and anger that you will kill yourself rather than admit you made a mistake, you are in a bad way.
'Pride management' would be a rather more effective form of therapy than 'anger management' ever will be.
The pimply prats who spout the virtues of Ayn Rand really should read Murray Rothbard's 8,000 word evisceration of this nasty woman and her personal cult; if they can read any kind of language other than Text-speak. They are the best kind of drones; the drones so indoctrinated into their dronehood that they actually believe themselves to be free.
It is astonishing how much effort goes into writing boilerplate about material choice. Consuming product is not living, although you'd never know it from the newspapers.
But life can become product to be consumed. The best use to which the flesh of murdered infants can apparently be put is as a cure for baldness. Hope is a duty; but sometimes it's difficult.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Random Quotes

"To put it in a terminology that harkens back to the more brutal age of ancient empires, the three grand imperatives of imperial geostrategy are to prevent collusion and maintain security dependence among the vassals, to keep tributaries pliant and protected, and to keep the barbarians from coming together" -
But we are right of centre bloggers! John Pilger has absolutely nothing to say to us! Not one word! There is nothing we can learn from reading him! Nothing!
"The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist. McDonalds cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas, the designer of the F-15. And the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley's technology is called the US Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps" -
Celebrity flat-earther Thomas Friedman, cited in 'New Statesman', December 22, 2000 - January 3, 2001, and quoted in John Pilger, 'The New Rulers Of The World', Page 114.
But we are right of centre bloggers! John Pilger has absolutely nothing, etc.
"Someday, after the Lord has returned, we will look back on this time and recall that the insane left chanted "Abortion is a blessing and our work is not done" while the insane right chanted, "Waterboarding is something of which every American should be proud." Both of them, by such words, spit on the elementary Catholic teaching "You shall not do evil that good may come of it." As Paul says, "Their condemnation is deserved."
Thanks be to God, their condemnation has been borne by Jesus Christ, whom Herod would have murdered in infancy like the Left, and who was tortured to death by the Machiavellians of his time who, like so many on the Right today, say "Let us do evil, that good may come of it." -

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Tiny Place Outside Bonn

"(The late Peter) Jenkins was a Konigswinter journalist. Konigswinter is a tiny place outide Bonn which, when Bonn was capital (sic) of West Germany, played host to annual conferences of British and German politicians, journalists and civil servants. These were followed by Franco-British conferences, Spanish-British conferences and there were endless meetings for pro-American British journalists too. Now the global leaders' meetings at Davos are far better known. But Konigswinter stands for the attempt to create a pan-European ruling class, a generation of opinion-formers who had left behind the enmities of the Second World War and looked to the European community (again, sic). Peter Jenkins, like Hugo Young, first of the 'Sunday Times' and later the 'Guardian', spoke for this fresh vision of a European Britain, anti-communist but also more socially inclusive and kinder than the American model. He was close to a succession of centre-left politicians - Anthony Crosland, David Owen, Roy Jenkins, Denis Healey - and was a great supporter of the breakaway SDP when Labour split over Europe and nuclear disarmament" -
Andrew Marr, 'My Trade', Page 354.
As was his widow, Polly Toynbee.
Until I read this passage two days ago, I had never heard either of Konigswinter, or of what happened there. One wonders how many of my fellow British citizens have. One also wonders just who was attempting to create 'a pan-European ruling class', and from what well sprang the confidence which enabled both them and those who attended their meetings to engage in what some might reasonably consider to be treason, without fear of consequences.
One of the anti-globalisation's movements more quaint aspects is its members' respect for 'the rights of indigenous peoples', shamans in loincloths, that sort of stuff. While the right of native peoples' to live their lives undisturbed by the pillage called 'globalisation' is a given, respect for native peoples should not really extend to exposing them to disease and damnation; fates all too likely if they are left to the medical and spiritual mercies of butt-naked village elders.
As someone who does not support the British National Party and wishes it no success, it seems illogical for Westerners who pussyfoot round loinclothed shamans not to be signing up for the BNP in numbers. From a certain point of view, it could be said that Nick Griffin and his company are campaigners for the rights of indigenous peoples just as surely as the aforementioned village elders. Given that its philosophy is about as far-seeing and rooted in fact as anything likely to be produced by a doped-up old mestizo prancing round a totem pole, such a move makes perfect sense; unless the mainstream anti-globalisation movement considers all indigenous peoples to be equal, but some to be more equal than others.
However, the crusties' holy writs do throw up some gems from time to time. In their book 'Global Revolt', Amory Starr, an anti-globalisation activist with a name straight out of Louis L' Amour, refers to a document produced by the European Parliament entitled 'Scientific and Technological Options Assessment: An Appraisal of Technologies of Political Control'. It's online.
With new revelations of nothing but old-fashioned police brutality against political protestors coming out every day, it's disquieting to see just how firmly the 'New Labour' machine has endorsed the culture of 'political control'. Perhaps facetiously, this writer believes that while all the Labour Party's current leaders were protesting against apartheid, they were in fact taking notes on how the South African government worked. That is what they are mutating into - mini-versions of such Goliaths as PW Botha, like Pinochet and Roberto D' Aubuisson the sort of guy we would now prefer to forget was ever on our side. In such cultures, the last technique of control is violence. Our police are now more violent towards us than they have ever been; and we are all Sowetans now.
Yet the sort of people who created New Labour were the sort of people who supported the SDP. Had hole in the corner affairs like the Konigswinter meetings been the subject of scrutiny before 1997, then given their previous apparent lack of goodwill towards the United Kingdom, the land that had given them all so very, very much, and towards the fellow countrymen they despised, it would have been foolish to assume that they would show either it or us any goodwill at any time at all.
Unfortunately, disease and damnation are constants of history. Trying to save people from damnation is quite difficult, but saving many of the Third World's unionised loinclothed shamans from disease is remarkably easy; just don't privatise the water supply. Did I just say 'We are all Sowetans now?' Sorry; We Are All Cochabambans Now. Or we should be.
The 'pan-European ruling class' is just another sorry bunch of tyrants; like all rulers, they prefer to rule undisturbed; and if needs be, they will ensure that flesh is bruised and bones are shattered. They are no more enlightened and no more pacific than any other antichrist or Caesar.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Linkdump

At one time or other, all of the links posted herein could have formed the bases of searing 2,000 word analyses of affairs; alas, lack of inclination means they have to be disposed of by way of witty aphorisms and smart neo-Chestertonian one-liners. They have just got to go.
It will not be long before persons and ideas are banned in Scotland; everything else seems to be. Pace Orwell, the soi-disant, ersatz 'Scottish Government's' vision for the nation seems to be that of a well-strung highland-dancing shoe stamping on a human face forever, to the tune of 'Strip the Willow'.
As a heavy smoker and obsessive-compulsive, I am beginning to see the snuff images of diseased flesh that New Labour has decreed should be carried on cigarette packets in my sleep, and am thinking of instructing solicitors to sue them for the effect they are having on my equilibrium. Now, that really would set the cat amongst the pigeons.
Nearer home, just how dangerous many Members of the Scottish Parliament really are has been illustrated by their suggestion that Fred Goodwin be pursued under anti-terrorism laws. Goodwin gives every impression of being a shark, albeit one of a slightly higher calibre than most - but a terrorist? Gie's a break.
If G20 good for leaders are 'good for nothing', the question, 'What are those who write about them good for?' springs to mind.
The 24 hour economy will only come into being when the human body is able to go without sleep. Until then, let's just work 9 to 5, and may productivity and growth be damned.
Eamonn Forde does a Niall Ferguson; in Mr. Forde's case, the name of the relevant condition is 'ERSE'.
All allegedly conservative rhetoric in favour of 'the small state' is nothing but intellectual justification for the financial rape of the poor by the elites.
It is difficult to see any normative differences between pay freezes and reduced working hours caused by aggressive unions, and pay freezes and reduced working caused by the greed of bankers. Someone enlighten me.
The men of business are going out of business. Alas! they didn't do protectionism and special pleading - skills in which journalists are well-versed.
And I give up - way too many to get through. Blogging might be light for a few days, trying to get rid of them.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Death Of Stephen Williamson

Mr. Williamson has passed away, apparently in suspicious circumstances.
Too many Scottish men and women are found dead this way, far too many; too many lonely deaths, often at the hands of friends, family and 'drinking buddies', and often the result of drink and drug binges. BBC News seems to carry several such reports every week.
O Lord and Father in Heaven, please, please melt the hearts of your children in Scotland. Unstop our ears so that we might hear Your glorious Word, and tear the chemical veil from our eyes. And please grant us the graces of tolerance and understanding, so that we might stop killing ourselves and each other.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Shea Is On Fire

Thursday, April 16, 2009

A Small Tableau

A few days ago, my rather upset wife told me about an upsetting incident she had observed at the local post office.
An elderly lady was becoming increasingly distressed and upset by her inability to operate some kind of chip and pin technology at the counter. While she was being assisted by the counterstaff, it was completely overwhelming her - her husband was behaving in the way some elderly Glaswegian men do, venting his frustration at the difficulties his wife was suffering on his wife. A short spell in Abu Ghraib c. 2003, sans false teeth and Rangers season ticket, would have done him good.
There is absolutely no need for an old lady to be forced to use a new technology in this way. For what reason was it introduced? To prevent her being mugged for her pension book? If that was the reason, then the recent savage murder of Jolanta Bledaite should serve as a reproach to all those who worship security technology for its own sake; if a robber is determined to get your money, they won't mug you in the street - they'll just torture you for your PIN numbers.
Technology is an alternative god, to the extent that some people seem to worship it. The technology the old lady was being forced to use was not making her safer. It was not improving the quality of her life. It was not making her wealthier. She was having to use it because a politician in thrall to novelty for its own sake and with nothing better to do signed a contract with a manufacturer that made the manufacturer richer. That's it. In recent years, the British government has wasted billions upon billions of pounds upon computer systems which, if delivered at all, appear late and don't seem to work. That money is wasted upon systems that make an old lady's life difficult, when she might not be able to get drugs she needs on the National Health as a result, is a perversion of public policy.
One of the great difficulties of having political systems rooted in ideology is that very often the technology advances at a rate with which the ideology cannot possibly keep up. The whining of Stephen Glover might be a reaction to the fact that literate and interested people no longer hang on every word uttered by people like him - the Internet has enabled a spontaneous mass expansion of the commentariat, a true free trade in ideas. This great expansion has also happened at the same time that government has become more authoritarian; a threat to itself with which government will eventually deal - and when it does happen, the likes of Paul Staines will be cast off a whole lot of Christmas card lists.
As an aside, I am coming round to the idea that this new authoritarianism is not the result of any particular desire to oppress, but out of fear. When the Berlin Wall fell, the neoliberals really did think that everyone would get with the program. When the anti-globalisation movements in the Global South took off, they realised that was a non-starter, so decided to protect themselves and their interests. The historians of the future might one day look back and consider 1994 to have been as significant a date in history as those of my generattion thought '1984' might be.
The old Glaswegian lady struggling with both her pin number and the old oaf she married is the victim of a perpetual human conceit; that we can improve our world on our own. We can't. A piece of technology intended to improve lives is making the lives of those it was believed it would improve miserable. Get rid of it, and bring back the pension book.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Spiteful Little Men

Yesterday, a columnist named Stephen Glover published a commentary in 'The Daily Mail' which, though heavily qualified, if read in a certain light could be considered defamatory of all bloggers. Mr. Glover wrote,
"Such is the power of the internet that people of little consequence can write whatever they choose and gain a spurious credibility far beyond what they deserve. How can it be in the interests of democracy for spiteful and often ill-informed little men, hunched over their computers in a mood of hate and vengeance, to vilify enemies with anonymous smears that may never be forgotten? "
It is ironic that this comment should have appeared nearly 20 years to the day after the Hillsborough disaster. Part of that tragedy's bitter aftermath was 'The Sun' newspaper's smearing of dead men as thieves; an ill-informed act of spite committed by the littlest of little big men, and a smear which on some parts of Merseyside will most certainly never be forgotten.
I am quite sure that I would be capable of falling within whatever definition of 'people of little consequence' that Mr. Glover might care to offer; to which one can only reply, good - that's the way I like it. With my 70 hits a day, I enjoy far greater editorial control over my output than Mr. Glover may ever have done. I do not depend upon my ability to produce words for my daily bread and so, and of course within whatever constraints the laws of the land might impose, am free to write what I like about whatever topic I like. I don't carry ads, and I don't hold fundraising drives. Having spent his career leashed to the whims of proprietors and editors, this is the type of creative freedom of which Mr. Glover might have only been able to dream; and of course and as ever, the merit of whatever is produced is entirely up to the reader to decide.
The ultimate owner/controller/guiding and animating spirit of the dead-Scouser-libelling 'The Sin' is one Keith Rupert Murdoch AC, KCSG. Mr. Murdoch is now an elderly man. The state of his soul is his business - if there are matters which weigh upon his conscience, it is to be hoped that he repents of them before the end. It will then be seen whether his successors have the capacity to keep the show on the road, if they're as good was the old man was; historically, the odds against dynasties surviving are not good.
For it was no more in the interests of democracy for Tony Blair to court Rupert Murdoch than for 'spiteful and ill-informed little men' to do whatever it is that spiteful and ill-informed little men actually do. At all times in his career, he has presumably never been registered to vote here, nor held British citizenship. Why his publications' good offices should be sought by those who wish to lead us is thus a mystery. However spiteful and ill-informed its users might be, the advent of accessible digital media has given them the opportunity to express opinions and influence events. Freedom of the press means the freedom of the press to compete - in his book 'My Trade', Andrew Marr records how this has extended to removing the speakers from public telephones, vandalism in so many words, in order to frustrate the opposition. Mr. Marr is candid enough to admit that he has suppressed a story concerning a friend; a classic example of what Chesterton described as 'freedom of censorship by the press'.
For too long, the press has treated the news as their property; blogging has perhaps taken it back a little. If commentators like Mr. Glover don't like it, that's unfortunate; but it might also perhaps be progress.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Hoping Against Hope

It's one of those days when, while fully recognising the importance of hope and the virtue to be found in hoping, Mankind's apparently hopeless condition is thrown in one's face from all quarters.
The whole Damian McBride business is just really, really nasty; there are no higher or stronger words for it. One is sure that Mr. McBride, Mr. Draper and the others involved are not bad men at heart. Bad men are people like career criminals, those who make it their business to profit from misery. While Mr. McBride was well-paid, partisan and given latitude to engage in blue-sky thinking which ended up being coloured by the pastels of the gutter, nobody has died as a result of what he has done. He and others may have conspired to tell lies and spread innuendoes; while wrong and immoral, if this were to be prohibited our newspapers would be out of business almost overnight. A case could even be made that he hasn't seriously cheapened public life; its values have been shown to be so cheap so many times that this is really just another bucketload of scum thrown on top of an already overflowing sewer.
To beg more sensitive readers' pardon, what he has done seems no different from the type of behaviours attributed to and described by Donald Segretti in 'All The President's Men'; those he describes as 'ratfucking'. Obviously, for those who would have been lied about and smeared, these revelations must have been unpleasant, unsettling and upsetting. Yet would many of them have behaved any differently, had the jackboot been on the other foot? A threadbare aphorism concerning sins and first stones springs to mind.
For the most unpleasant aspect of all in this affair is that the real nature of Mr. McBride's offence is revealed as having been breaking the rules of the game. Whatever game it is, it is one played far above the heads of the public, by insiders going at each other with all the fraternal warmth of a shootout between the Gambinos and the Genoveses. When we are involved in a Trojan War which has claimed tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of lives, the real obscenity in this business is that so much of the outrage is manufactured, for no reason other than that one faction hasn't played nice - the outrage shown by many of Mr. McBride's critics resembles the praise of a crowd which enjoys seeing one boxer beat another to death, while complimenting him on punching above the belt.
Such a sweaty, incestuous world as that inhabited by Mr. McBride must be one without hope, or at best false hope. At first, hopes might be of changing the world; but hopes directed solely to the aims of this world are bound to be crushed - far too many husbands lead hen-pecked lives on account of their wives' failure to understand that on his own, Man is imperfect and imperfectible. A truly hopeful man wouldn't engage in this sort of stuff. He wouldn't feel he needed to.
Hope springs eternal, while hopelessness perpetually sags. While there is no doubt that Sir David Attenborough's career as a popular naturalist has been long and distinguished, his contribution to the culture has largely been predicated by his ability to describe the type of behaviours once enunciated by Donald Segretti. Accordingly, his views on population control are neither here nor there. Population control mavens seem to behave in a form of predestination that would baffle a Jehovah's Witness. In their worldview, it is not just Heaven that is destined to be peopled by an Elect, but Earth also. Not even the most extreme predestinarian, sure of his damnation, would claim that while his hope of Heaven was hopeless, there would be no point in trying to do something about the Earth.
Worrying about the Earth's population is as fruitless as the population control mavens seem to wish us all to be. Only the truly backward, their spirits broken like butterflies on a wheel, don't have hope, or place their hope in numbers and projections. Numbers are fine things; but they're not alive.
Hope lives. Hope is not the property of those with means. No doubt some atheistic conehead will one day say they have found the part of the brain from whence hope comes; and if they think that will ever stop people believing in belief, then, with the utmost sarcasm, one wishes them the best of British luck. Hope comes from God Himself. Both the McBride affair and Sir David Attenborough's chunterings make me marvel at how just small and puny we are, and how desperately horrible and Hellish having to live in a hopeless world would be. The Men Who Hope Are The Sons Of He Who Is - and we have a slightly better patrimony than your average higher ape.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

'The Storm' - A Thought For Easter

The informal Kelly Test of a public thinker's value is whether they speak as well as they write, and vice versa. If you're Simon Schama, this ability is a great boon.

If you're Vince Cable, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson, it isn't.

Dr. Cable's book 'The Storm', an analysis of why we are bust and how we got to be bust, is currently storming through the media. Dr. Cable is, of course, an economist by training; sadly, he is also one by habit and repute. He does his lay readers the great service of framing his arguments in English, without feeling the urge to resort to calculus. It is disappointing that much of his book reads like the efforts of an economist who has felt the urge to translate calculus into English.

Its dust-jacket is glossily embossed, and suitably attention-grabbing. It features Dr. Cable in Protean pose, head held high and angled, staring into the middle distance. When a man on the cusp of old age is photographed from below, the age-old old age problem of nostril hair might be expected to present something of an aesthetic challenge. The more sensitive reader should have no fear of unsightly thickets - Dr. Cable's cavities are both as bald as Telly Savalas. However, for the sake of completeness, the photographer could have asked him to do something about the luxuriant meadow sprouting from his right ear. It's so big, he could fence it off and call it 'Watership Down'.

By the blurbs on their dust-jackets shall ye know them. Dr. Cable himself admits that '(T)his book was written in some haste'; this reader can only reply, 'and it shows'. 'The man who gives politics a good name' - Rory Bremner. 'A heavyweight in anybody's cabinet' - Matthew Parris, 'The Times'. 'Everything a politician should be and everything most politicians are not' - Jeff Prestridge, 'Mail on Sunday' (a newspaper for which Dr. Cable has recently started writing a column). You get the picture- the dust-jacket blurbs on this edition serve little purpose other than to edify Dr. Cable.

Dr. Cable spoils his book right from the outset through his unnecessary introduction of the issue of race (Page 7). Oh, he doesn't do it in so many words. Instead, he adopts a rather sly and crafty form of words, writing of 'subtle voices seeking to scapegoat foreigners, especially yellow and brown ones...'. That particular construction's architecture made this reader think that Dr. Cable thinks that if you don't think the way he thinks about trade and economic policy, he'll think you're a racist. To that line of thinking, one can issue a one word reply very apposite to the book's subject matter - 'insolvent'. The word 'insolvent' is nothing but the word 'insolent' with a very rude gesture in the middle. I wouldn't like to think that's what Uncle Vince thinks about people who disagree with him; after all, he's Uncle Vince, a heavyweight in anybody's cabinet.

Dr. Cable seems intensely suspicious of populism. The Thatcher government's 'right to buy' policy was 'brilliantly populist' (Page 25). He even conjures the hoary old spectre of 'populist demagogues' at one point. This pathological fear of populism makes this reader wonder whether he deserves to be considered the opposite of a populist - an elitist.

Because if this book - and it's not really a book, more of an elephantine newspaper commentary begging to be a footnote in a Ph.D. thesis - is nothing else, it's an argument in defence of globalisation (or as Dr. Cable rather irritatingly prefers to spell it, 'globalization'), possibly the most elitist policy in history. Unlike the vast majority of those who tout whatver virtues might be represented by that horrible noun, Dr, Cable at least does his readers the courtesy of attempting a definition of his own. He defines it as 'international integration' (Page 117).

At which point Dr. Cable's credibility as a pundit on anything from the state of the economy to the likely winner of the 3.15 at Catford hits a very tall, broad and uncompromising brick wall. Globalisation is a policy, not a process; it is one that has never been put in front of the people for their mandate, and should therefore not be defended by anyone who purports to be both a liberal and a democrat, particularly one whose public image is founded on their possession of the virtue of integrity, not their desire for international integration. The United Kingdom's integration into greater international norms is a policy which its elites have assiduously kept from the public, largely through the adoption of internationalist policies by all the gangs called 'political parties', and their inaccurate labelling of the popular (but strictly not populist) votes they sometimes call for as 'democracy'.

In the United Kingdom, both the passage of The European Union Act of 1992 and the resulting entity's subsequent enlargement without resort to referenda are particular cases in point; truly bipartisan crimes, both stupid and evil in character. And Dr. Cable seems to be just as much of a globaliser as those who made such legislation happen.

To his by now crunched credit, he does attempt to address issues. He makes the case that there was an oil shock in 2008, though probably too much of one - in this writer's opinion, for that's ever been worth, it's much more likely to have been the case that the backside falling out of Chinese manufacturing resulted in a straightforward drop in demand. He is quite correct to condemn the processes by which the Chinese have subsidised the West, although he does not seem to spread the blame evenly - the massive expansion of the US trade and budget deficits under the last American administration were financed by the Chinese desire to hold T-Bills, so it seems perverse to make little or no mention of George W. Bush's profligacy while blaming the mess on John Q. Public's desire to buy a flatscreen TV on his credit card; because he certainly can't do it out of his depressed wages.

He is honest enough to point out that wages have been falling while returns to capital have been increasing, yet seems in thrall to the cruel and wicked notion that this is a good thing because it has resulted in millions of Chinese being lifted out of poverty. What he is in fact describing is the phenomenon best and most succinctly described as 'global labour arbitrage'; it seems a pity he just couldn't come out and say it.

What he has to say about the depressive effect that mass immigration has had on wages in the United Kingdom seems to be precisely zero. This isn't really quite good enough; the last ten years have seen a new Volkerwanderung, and to fail to mention its impact on wages renders any conclusion that the author might draw on wages virtually null and void. He writes of the British education system that 'a generation's neglect of vocational skills has led to a situation where only Polish immigrants know how to repair leaking pipes and lay bricks' (Page 155). This statement is not absolutely true. Yes, there are considerable deficiencies in the provision of vocational education, probably a likely by-product of the absurd mindset that held we didn't need manufacturing - but as the experience of men like Billy Gallagher, Martin Kelly (and yes, that is his name) and his workmates and assorted Edinburgh jobseekers has shown, the displacement of both skilled and unskilled British workers through mass immigration has been neither anecdotal not apocryphal. It has happened, it is continuing to happen, and as Lord Mandelson's pronouncements have shown, it is government policy. Such a glaring omission is enough to make an admittedly critical reader wonder whether Dr. Cable banged his book out in just too much of a hurry.

He does have the decency to admit that the policy of subsidising farmers to grow corn for no purpose other than for it to be turned into ethanol is immoral - on this at least we agree.

In a short book written in haste, his analyses must at best be shallow; like those of a hardcore blogger trying desperately to arbitrage their time between that beautiful final paragraph, and shaving before going to work.

Although hopefully fellow bloggers will 'get' that allusion, it is very possible that Dr. Cable will not 'get' it. As a man of his own era once said, 'The times they are a' changin', perhaps in ways that Dr. Cable might not quite fully understand. What Dr. Cable doesn't factor in to any of his arguments is how people like me have been radicalised by the events about which he is writing, when his book's presumption, perhaps even great conceit, is that many in the public are still willing to listen to a word that people like him, the kind of people who got us into this mess, actually have to say.

Radicalised? Sure. Why not say it? Why not? What's happened to people like me, instinctive Tories, that we have been radicalised?

For me, it was the final realisation that from its outset, the globalisation policy had been nothing but a construct, an elitist consensus built on lies and deceit. It's now pretty clear that it was never about helping as many people as possible get opportunities - as only a fact as bald as a greater return to capital at a time of falling wages can ever show, it was always and only ever about the guys at the top screwing the guys underneath. This has been manifested in so many ways that their iteration has become pointless. Personally, I think it started the moment that corporate entities began to deliberately dehumanise their staff by referring to them as 'human resources'; a very sinister development to which organised religion should have set itself in opposition, and against which the sometimes great naivety of those who lead organised religion had no natural defences. The practices of offshoring, onshoring, outsourcing and downsizing were just further steps down the corporations' descent into the mucky immorality of early 19th century capitalism; an immorality to which the boys at the top returned with the enthusiasm of dogs to their vomit.

At a number of points in his book, Dr. Cable actually endorses this moral descent, I am sure in all innocence and without malice. He frequently uses the term 'moral hazard'. There is a very great moral pitfall in the use of this expression - actions described as 'moral hazards' in economics are only offensive to the commercial immorality of the early 19th Century, the period when the expression was coined. Put bluntly, in order to use the term 'moral hazard' and mean it, you pretty much have to buy into the same Benthamite utilitarianism that forced The Poor Law Amendment Act 1834 on England's sick, vulnerable and weak. This might shock Dr. Cable; if nothing else, he is a good liberal. However, perhaps his professional use of the term has become habitual and careless; in which case it has about as much meaning as a carelessly said prayer.

Now, I am very grateful, more grateful than I can say, that my particular radicalisation has been away from mainstream politics and towards the path of Catholic spirituality - Deo Gratias! Alleluia! Alleluia! Yet others who have been radicalised might not have received that grace, and Dr. Cable and the rest of the political class should be very wary of them. I would stop short of saying 'frightened'; those libertarian blowhards who soak themselves in the rhetoric of hanging politicians with piano-wire would cry like girls if the piano-wire were ever actually put in their hands. The violence of their prose betrays nothing but their own smallness. But our common British home, fated to be forever separated by words, works and water from the mythical 'Common European Home' so beloved by the political class, now contains a very large and growing number of very angry people. For all the blogging rock and roll indulged in herein, Dr. Cable's obviously sincere and well-meaning - but being sincere and well-meaning are not the same things as being correct. I got very little impression from his book that any of his proposed solutions are directed towards addressing the anger felt by many of Britain's newly radicalised people; probably white (such things seem to matter to Dr. Cable), probably mostly male, lower middle class people halfway through working lives in an economy which has always told them their labour is fungible and expendable in a way their own fathers' never was, and who face very much bleaker old ages. This radicalisation is the result of a collective and catastrophic failure of the political system which has now been in motion for two decades. While they sought to ingratiate themselves with financiers, our politicians forgot the people. But the people do not forget.

When his civilisation is failing, the concerned citizen should have absolutely no compunction about founding his own. As an ideologue of 'The Civilisation Of Truth And Love', I fully recognise that it might be a hard sell on the doorstep; although perhaps not as hard as one might think - who knows?

However, what many of the unhappy people in the United Kingdom might just be thinking is that conventional economics has failed them. This should not be surprising - it is a false religion. It was bound to fail. Solutions from conventional economics such as Dr. Cable's, no matter how sincere and well-meaning, just aren't going to cut it any more. The realisation many be dawning that the day of the economist is over; or could be, if that's what we want.

For what he has to offer is extremely conventional. Many of his criticisms are very well-founded - how can a bank have a bigger balance sheet than the country in which it's based? Dr. Cable's answers are largely founded on the bankers who have run amok through the world's economies having been stupid and greedy, abetted by poor regulation. This is true; but I'd go further. If economics is a science, there should be no reason to believe that it is incapable of producing mad scientists. In fact, it has gone full circle through the realms of worldly philosophy; it's gone from being an art to a science to alchemy.
Tradable assets like collateralised debt obligations (CDO's) were conjured from nothing, and called 'capitalism'. Quant jocks chopping formulae in backrooms became Sorcerers' Apprentices, wreaking havoc they could not control because they had unleashed something they did not understand - the system they produced was so complex and arcane that nobody could understand it. Nobody can. The difficulty with a problem created by a system nobody understands is that nobody can possibly ever understand how to fix it. In all genuine sincerity, Dr. Cable thinks that the old answers might work. In this, he is not a Sorcerer's Apprentice; he is instead like Paganini, forever fiddling away at variations on a theme.
Although Dr. Cable does at least try to provide answers to our problem, his ability to think outside the box is hampered by Euclid. What the other lot forgot is that it always was.
Yet in some ways this is also a sobering and quite unwittingly frightening book. Globalisation cannot work unless one Chinese desires to oppress another - agreed? In his foreword (Page 8), Dr. Cable quotes Marx, and describes the comment as 'prescient'-
"Owners of capital will stimulate the working class to buy more and more of expensive goods, houses and mechanical products, pusghing them to take more and more expensive credits, until their debt becomes unbearable. The unpaid debt will lead to bankruptcy of banks, which will have to be nationalised, and the State will have to take the road which will eventually lead to communism".
Regular readers will be glad to know that I have finally finished reading Fukuyama's 'The Great Disruption'. Reading a book by Francis Fukuyama is a literary experience not dis-similar to reading Bertrand Russell - if you're prepared to wait for a very long time, the author sometimes has something interesting to say.
On Page 252, Fukuyama writes,
"Joseph Schumpeter...argued in 'Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy' that capitalism tended to produce a class of elites over time that was hostile to the very forces that had made their lives possible, and that they would eventually seek to replace market economies with socialist ones. Daniel Bell argued that abundance makes the work ethic appear unnecessary and also creates a cultural elite that is in perpetual revolution against the staus quo. The very essence of artistic modernism, he observed, is the desire to violate established norms, question authority and defy community standards. Each generation finds the task of norm violation harder because there are fewer norms left to be undermined and fewer people who can be shocked out of their complacent conformism...Ultimately, according to Bell, a cultural elite that stands perpetually in opposition to all middle-class values ends up destroying the productive basis of the market society that makes its own existence possible."
This is what globalisation has been. This is what its advocates must confront.
And this, of course, was said just as pithily by Arnold J. Toynbee over 60 years ago, when he charted the decline of a creative minority within a civilisation into a dominant minority aping the habits of its internal proletariat. In the abridgement of Vols I-VI of 'A Study of History' that sits on my bookshelf, this is what the genius upon whose shoulders all writers and readers of history sit has to say about universal states created by the collapse of civilisations; or as Dr. Cable would call it, 'globalisation' -
"...we have not yet experienced the establishment of a universal state...Another fact is equally plain; there is among us a profound and heartfelt aspiration for the establishment, not of a universal state, but of some form of world order, akin perhaps to the Homonoia or Concord preached in vain by certain Hellenic statesmen and philosophers during the Hellenic time of troubles, which will secure the blessings of a universal state without its deadly curse. The curse of a universal state is that it is the result of a successful knock-out blow delivered by one sole surviving member of a group of contending military Powers. It is a product of that 'salvation by the sword' which we have seen to be no salvation at all. What we are looking for is a free consent of free peoples to dwell together in unity, and to make, uncoerced, the far-reaching adjustments and concessions without which this ideal cannot be realised in practice".
If the hairs on the back of your neck aren't standing up by now, they should be. Whoever said 'uncoerced' ever had to mean 'democratic'? Like all parties' adoption of internationalist policies and calling it democracy?
AJT goes on to discuss our current 'time of troubles' -
"We can discern why the eighteenth century rally in the course of our time of troubles was abortive and ephemeral; it was because the toleration achieved by 'the Enlightenment' was a toleration based not on the Christian virtues of faith, hope and charity but on the Mephistophelian maladies of disillusionment, apprehension and cynicism, It was not an arduous achievement of religious fervour but a facile by-product of its abatement".
And finally, he sets about proposing some solutions of his own, by way of 'Pilgrim's Progress' -
"...in the classic version of the myth we are told that the human protagonist was not left entirely to his own resources in the decisive hour. According to John Bunyan, Christian was saved by his enounter with Evangelist. And, insasmuch as it cannot be supposed that God's nature is less constant than Man's, we may and must pray that a reprieve which God has granted to our society once will not be refused if we ask for it again in a humble spirit and with a contrite heart".
This Easter Sunday, what the greatest British historian of the past 200 years seems to be saying is that Christ is Risen, while The Pie in The Sky Fairy still lies rotting in the Canongate Kirk. It is time to ditch the old ways of doing things. And listening to economists is one of the habits worth ditching.
Let me give you an example. Dr. Cable's book is titled 'The Storm'. Storms are very frightening things which cause a lot of damage - yet the horribly uneconomic clear-up operations which have to be carried out in their wake are performed in bright sunshine, with wonderfully crisp, cool winds having replaced the oppressive atmosphere that the storm has blown away.
By and of themselves, storms are not bad things. It's what come after them that counts.
A couple of minor quibbles about the book is that the lamentable state of British book-editing, a particular bugbear of this writer's, is once again thrown into sharp relief. While the book itself may have been written in haste, one wonders if it was not merely edited in haste, or if it was rushed straight from laptop to presses; that might be just about the only explanation for the marvellous typo which appears on Page 147, when Dr. Cable refers to 'a wasteful alterantive'. For a man allegedly so in touch in events, it is surprising to see Dr. Cable refer to the recently retired former Chief Executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland as 'Sir Frank Godwin' (Page 156). Perhaps he is related to the Fred Goodwin who once illustrated Treasure Island; mind you, after the recent revelations concerning his management style, allegations that Fred Goodwin, the paradigm of the definition of the word 'insolvent' offered above, sang 'Fifteen Men On A Dead Man's Chest' while wearing a parrot on his shoulder would not be surprising.

In the round, while it fails to convince, 'The Storm' cannot be said to be Vince's con either. It's just that people are looking for new alternatives; and all that Dr. Cable can offer are alterantives.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

The Murder Of Moira Jones

Yet another completely avoidable tragedy. It is not beyond the bounds of reason to describe Miss Jones's murder as a political murder - it was a direct consequence of defective immigration policy. If somebody hadn't thought we'd somehow be enriched by the no-questions-asked immigration of the violent, alcoholic Slovakian bumpkin who killed her, she'd still be alive.
But that's a message some people just don't seem to want to hear.
My condolences to her family.

Some Thoughts On The Death Of Ian Tomlinson

The first was 'Raus!'
The second was 'Schnell!'
I have appended some comments to the article linked to above. It is not cynical to suggest that the policeman who struck Mr. Tomlinson would never have come forward had he not been caught on camera. I may have missed it, but the lack of public sympathy for Mr. Tomlinson's family from any political figure has been disgusting. None of our radical barristers and professional civil libertarians seem to have expressed any outrage - so remind me, just what is the point of Shami Chakrabarti? Political worship of the police has resulted in arrogance bred from over-edification, over-resourcing and over-rating. For this, those elements within the Conservative Party who are little more than psychopathic bullies, publicly stating their desire for 'young thugs' to be 'birched' and to receive short, sharp shocks, are largely to blame.

Triduum

Service will be suspended for several days, due to the writer having more important things to do than think about all the little Pilates steering the ship of state.
To them, we say 'Repent!'

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Some Thoughts On Tony Blair

The recent publication of Chris Mullin's diaries 'A View From The Foothills' has produced a couple of thoughts (I should admit to not yet having read his book; all good things to those who wait).
Even if he had never entered Parliament, by any reasonable standard Mr. Mullin could be said to have led a very significant and worthy life. He wrote a novel, 'A Very British Coup', which was dramatised for television. This is a level of achievement very few people ever reach; and it is ironic that the greatest threat to the democracy he so cherishes should have come from the party of which he has been such a faithful servant.
As a journalist and campaigner, he worked tirelessly to overthrow the monstrous miscarriage of justice visited upon the Birmingham Six, being portrayed by John Hurt in a dramatisation of his efforts. If memory serves, he was one of the few pictured with them as they stood outside the High Court immediately after their release. Facing down the British state's security apparatus, and its fellow travellers in the Establishment, is a very brave thing to do at any time; to have done so on behalf of suspected members of the IRA at that time must have taken phenomenal courage and belief. I suspect that, much of his voting record notwithstanding, Mr. Mullin is one of life's good guys at heart; which is probably why he never went very far in the New Labour apparatus.
Mr. Mullin's achievements before entering Parliament absolutely eclipse those of Tony Blair, the man to whom he trusted his political fortunes. I understand that Mr. Mullin is not seeking re-election; may he enjoy a very long and fruitful career as Lord Mullin of Sunderland, and get back to doing what, as Chris Mullin, he used to be very good at indeed - shaking the Establishment and making people think. I hope he hasn't lost his touch.
Ah yes, Tony Blair. Blairs will be Blairs; if asked the question 'Is the Pope a Catholic', the sly, crafty, nasty Old Fettesian twister is likely to answer in the negative.
While demanding that others be tolerant to his standards, he might be unwilling to test the tolerance that others might be willing to show him. According to John Pilger, Blair's ability to move around the world may soon be seriously impeded by the prospect of being arrested for war crimes should he land in any number of countries.
Those who believe in One World will then have one of their biggest problems thrown into sharp relief; when it all goes wrong, there is nowhere on Earth that a global elite can exile themselves to.
Now that's a good plot. Chris Mullin should write a book about it.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The Tears Of Gennadius

"O miserable Romans! Why will ye abandon the truth? And why, instead of confiding in God, will ye put your trust in the Italians? In losing your faith, you will lose your city. Have mercy on me, O Lord! I protest, in thy presence, that I am innocent of the crime. O miserable Romans! consider, pause and repent. At the same moment that you renounce the religion of your fathers, by embracing impiety, you submit to a foreign servitude" -

Gennadius prior to The Fall of Constantinople, quoted by Edward Gibbon, 'History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire', Chapter 68.

And De Valera nods.

It Is Sweet and Right To Be Revolted By Peter Mandelson

Think that 'disaster capitalism' doesn't exist? Think again.
Peter Mandelson has been leading a trade delegation to Iraq. He is quoted by ' The Times' as having said that,
"This is a land of opportunity. You need to seize the opportunity and do more in Iraq."
The revulsion that normal people should feel upon hearing a land whose citizens died in untold and untellable numbers for no really good reason being described as 'a land of opportunity' by a person who has proved irreplaceable to one of the governments that killed them is perfectly natural; for in the place where it was made, and against the historical backdrop against which it was made, Lord Mandelson's pronouncement was both revolting and un-natural.
He is not fit to be part of the British government.