Tuesday, September 29, 2009
It had to come, and the winner is Anne Applebaum. The wife of Poland's foreign minister Radek Sikorski, the Subprime Sobieski and veteran of both the American Enterprise Institute and the Bullingdon Club, has used the Polanski family's unfortunate, although unfortunately not unique, experiences in wartime Poland in order to justify the pocket pederast's evasion of the lawful consequences, the just desserts, due to him for molesting a child in 1970's California.
Whatever 'understandable fear of irrational punishment' Polanski might have as a result of his wartime experiences, it did not prevent him from penetrating a girl of 13 in another country over 30 years after the war ended. One would imagine that doing that particular crime in California would at all times have been easier than doing it in Krakow, as would have been the experience of doing the time; indeed, one has written very recently on how Poland has recently passed laws allowing for the castration of sex offenders, a thought that should have the diminutive dirtbag crossing and re-crossing his legs in a state of high anxiety. There may perhaps be a study in comparative justice to be made here; Polish pleas for special treatment for Polanski's offences against American justice open the door for American pleas in favour of American abusers of Polish justice. I'd love to hear how that one plays in Katowice.
It should not be forgotten that part of Polanski's justification for his offence was that be believed his victim to be sexually experienced and the act consensual - perhaps the trauma of living under the Third Reich had cut it out of him, but at the time of his offence he seemed to possess no sense that interfering with a child is somehow wrong, a bad act. This attempt to cast what is a grotesque act against a person protected by law in a purely technical light, as if the act of securing sexual gratification upon a child is no different than failing to judge the stopping distance before a red light, gives some insight into how his mind worked at that stage in his life. Maybe it also slimes a wee lassie's character; but Roman's a genius, didn't you know?
It is not true that he has been unable to return to the USA or to visit the UK since he began his evasion of justice - he's been able to return whenever he's wanted to, but he knew that to do so would involve paying a price he didn't feel to be worth it. He deserves no sympathy on that account. Indeed, one could question the ethics of those Americans, such as the late Walter Matthau ('Pirates'), Harrison Ford ('Frantic') and Johnny Depp ('The Ninth Gate'), who appeared in Polanski's movies while he was to all intents and purposes a fugitive from American justice. Was appearing in a movie, and working with a famous director, more important to them than the idea that they might be helping a fugitive from justice remain a fugitive from justice by helping them to earn money? Did any of these people ever later go to the FBI to report on his whereabouts (well-known, I'll admit) and what he was doing? If Joe Schmoe from Palookaville came across one of the 10 Most Wanted and knew they were one of the 10 Most Wanted, isn't that what they would be expected to do? Why should Oscar Madison, Captain Jack Sparrow and the Blade Runner be any different?
Polanski deserves no special treatment because of his family background. His crimes were not against the nation of his upbringing, but against one that had accepted him with open arms and had given him opportunities far beyond the reach of the vast majority of its citizens. He deserves no special treatment because of his assorted special tragedies - being widowed young and violently is not carte blanche to commit crimes of your own. The impact of those events might provide mitigation - but the only place where that should be heard is a California court, not on the opinion pages of the 'Washington Post'. The forgiveness he has received from his victim is a personal matter between the two of them - unless a court is advised of it and considers it to be of some weight in mitigation of his offences, it is of no legal consequence whatever.
Yesterday, I wrote of how similar Polanski's case was to that of Ronnie Biggs, but upon reflection there is a gaping difference between them. You see, Ronnie Biggs was a Cockney nobody who stole money, while Roman Polanski is a creative genius who succumbed to temptation while taking photographs for 'Vogue'. This chasm in thinking more than illustrates what the Establishment's prorities really are - steal money and go on the run, you're a scofflaw; if you entertain us, if you amuse us, and get caught molesting children (who knows, perhaps re-enacting one of the themes of what was your most famous movie up to that point, that of father-daughter incest), you're in the tent. Although it shouldn't be shocking, this particular disconnect continues to shock the hell out of the reasonable and moral, for it shows how at the top of our society a human being's relative worth, even that of a 13 year old girl, is determined not by the fact they are spiritual and intellectual beings in their own right and worthy of respect because they exist, but by what gain, whether it be financial or creative, that they can provide for those who count. Although Polanski's produced his fair share of clunkers while on the run, the very least you can say for this very small man, so small in so many ways, is that he's kept up a batting average good enough to be considered worthy of being kept on the teamsheet until teatime.
But bad light always closes play. Perhaps there is some mitigation for Polanski after all - in using a human being as a thing for a short-term gain, he may have merely been imitating the mores of those with whom he associated. After all, by continuing to go to the movies, it was the public who kept the casting couch creaking. Or perhaps the mores he assimilated were of those who had governed him in his youth. All of them seemed disdainful of the value of life.
Polanski is not Pilsudski, a fact which those who may have vested interests in the maintenance of good Polish-American relations would do well to remember. I encountered some child molesters in my previous professional life; every single one of them was pathetic. For all his creativity, Roman Polanski is just as pathetic as every other pathetic old pervert. He knew he had done something wrong, and didn't want to face the consequences, consequences he evaded for over three decades of Parisian high life, fortune and acclaim. He was scared of taking his punishment. He's not the first criminal to have felt fear of being punished, nor will he be the last - but such unmanly behaviour as running away from what you have done, from the consequences of your own actions, is just pathetic. If you think the California State Police are a Gestapo Sonderkommando, a Californian prison akin to a Third Reich extermination camp, then you don't know what you're about; and that's just pathetic as well.
Attempts to excuse the pathetic are only pathetic, can only be pathetic, as well. The most pathetic thing of all about this affair is that Roman Polanski's lapse into perversion resulted in what must by now be one of history's most inconvenient moments of lust; and somehow, one can't help but think that there's a very sick and pathetic joke in somewhere. The joke's not over yet, and it's all on him.
Monday, September 28, 2009
Or is it?
The pocket Polish pederast Polanski is no doubt sweating bullets right now, as a result of the LA District Attorney's attempts to reconcile one saying, that 'justice delayed is justice denied', with another; that 'revenge is a dish best served cold'. An argument can be made that to incarcerate the pint-sized panderer, now 76, 30 years after his flight from Californian justice would be cruel and unusual. That may be the case; yet what differs from his case and that of, say, Gerard Conlon is that Polanski pled guilty. Unlike Mr. Conlon, he was not fitted up for something he did not do and could not have done, but caved when confronted with evidence of his crime before evading lawful justice for three decades.
If there is any criminal to whom Polanski bears a measure of comparison, it's Ronnie Biggs; and no reasonable person could sugges that Biggs did not deserve to do at least some stir after coming back to Blighty.
Today it's Patch. Tomorrow, it's you.
A bi-partisan move - ah, both stupid and evil...
A bi-partisan move - ah, both stupid and evil...
On Saturday, my wife and I attended the open-air market in the Merchant City, getting out before the freakshow. It was lifestyle journalist heaven, elegant yet funky, English hardly spoken (and that which was far more Home Counties than West of Scotland), lashings of creative facial hair and not a single Burberry baseball cap in sight.
We had taken the bus into town, its journey taking us through Bridgeton and Dalmarnock. The disparity between the other-wordly high-end consumerism on display in the Merchant City and the civic neglect along the way along London Road and Dalmarnock Road was startling - the stretch of London Road between Bridgeton Cross and the Trongate looks as if it is returning to the forest.
This is perhaps a perfect exemplar of the model of government that Glasgow's authorities have followed since about 1980 - attract the tourists and shoppers, portray yourself as cosmopolitan (something of an uphill struggle in a city still so parochial and territorial that failing to come from 'my bit' can lead to injury), and above all else, for God's sake keep the locals away.
One wonders who has been best served by this. If the state of London Road is anything to go by, it hasn't been us.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Jack Straw And The BNP on 'Question Time'
Saturday, September 26, 2009
The manufactured outrage regarding the news of Iran's uranium-enriching facility reminds one that it's just that; ersatz, manufactured neconservative wind and water.
This facility presents no risk to the security of the United Kingdom, the United States or France. Within their own borders, the Iranians can do as they please to their hearts' content. You might not like it, but that's sovereignty for you. This is just another phoney crisis whipped up to keep the people fearful, and the American Enterprise Institute happy. Nobody appointed Sarkozy, Brown and Obama to the roles of the world's school prefects; and neither we nor the Iranians are their fags.
Move on along now. Nothing to see here.
The Poles have followed the Czechs' example and approved a castration law for sex offenders, in order to "improve the mental health of the convict, to lower his libido and thereby to reduce the risk of another crime being committed by the same person".
Modern society's desire to castrate the poor, the sick and the weak is pervasive; the writer believes that the castrating effect of some antipsychotic medications is intended only to castrate the prescriptee, and has nothing at all to do with the treatment of psychosis.
Yet while such moves as the Poles and the Czechs have made will undoubtedly be approved by the rest of the world's feral right-wing thugs, they require the mental application of a very dangerous double standard; that when Germans pump Poles full of chemicals in eugenic attempts to reduce their libido, well, that's a bad thing - but when Poles do it to Poles, that somehow makes it OK.
Friday, September 25, 2009
The process by which a resident citizen's nation becomes foreign to him; a process which, in the case of the United Kingdom, has now been going on for 20 years.
One shouldn't ever feel anger towards one's fellow man, but looking at the video embedded in this post, one really can't help it.
Someone might go to Hell for this.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
"The British prime minister was well acquainted with what she called 'the remarkable success of the Chilean economy', describing it as 'a striking example of economic reform from which we can learn many lessons'. Yet despite her admiration for Pinochet, when Hayek first suggested that she emulate his shock therapy policies, Thatcher was far from convinced. In February 1982, the prime minister bluntly explained the problem in a private letter to her intellectual guru: 'I am sure you will agree that, in Britain with our democratic institutions and the need for a high degree of consent, some of the measures adopted in Chile are quite unacceptable. Our reform must be in line with our traditions and our Constitution. At times the process may seem painfully slow." -
Naomi Klein, 'The Shock Doctrine', Page 131.
The letter is apparently dated 17/02/1982, and is contained box 101, folder 26 of the Hayek Collection, Hoover Institution Archive, Palo Alto, Ca.
It would be interesting to see it, to determine whether or not Thatcher considered that the Chileans were entitled to a high degree of consent before - nah, they just got murdered by Pinochet's secret police.
Friedrich von Hayek was a Mitteleuropan hack scribbler who saw the British Establishment coming, rubbing his hands at its rapaciousness; a Maharishi Mahesh Yogi for men in Savile Row suits. Thatcher's reported senility means that she will not have to answer any questions about her attraction to his ideas, which, like so much else of Mitteleuropan origin, seemed to need the spilling of blood to become a reality - but we can make her followers and her political heirs in the Conservative Party fidget a little.
"A month before (Peter) McPherson left (Iraq), (L. Paul) Bremer told him he would no longer have to worry about private-sector development. That job would belong to Thomas Foley, an investment banker and a major Republican Party donor who had been President Bush's classmate at Harvard Business School.
"Tom, there are a couple of problems with that", the contractor said. "The first is an international law (The Hague Convention of 1899, which prohibits occupying forces from disposing of the occupied's property) that prevents the sale of assets by an occupation government.
'I don't care about any of that stuff', Foley told told the contractor, according to her recollection of the conversation. 'I don't give a shit about international law. I made a commitment to the president that I'd privatise Iraq's businesses".
When the contractor tried to object again, Foley cut her off.
'Let's go have a drink', he said." -
Even for someone who has read and written quite a bit about Iraq, Foley's 'I don't give a shit about international law' is arresting. One would hope that the quote is thrust in front of every single one of the war's British advocates and apologists, with a forceful demand for their suggestion as to how we are to compensate the Iraqis, given that we helped robbed them of what was theirs after our collusion in their conquest. It's a bit like being knocked down by a police car, and then being charged with jaywalking.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
The almost operatic nature of Baroness Scotland's disgrace begs to be turned into, well, opera. Not quite 'The Pearl Fishers'; more 'The Toilet Cleaners'.
Why is it some people believe they're so important that they think cleaning their own bogs is, in a manner of speaking, beneath them? Baroness Scotland would have saved herself a great deal of trouble, embarrassment and expense if she had spent more time associating with Messrs. Reckitt & Coleman than Messrs. Slaughter & May; and if having been fined £5,000 because she couldn't be bothered doing her own housework doesn't provide her with enough motivation to don the rubber gloves, in this space she shall henceforth be referred to as 'Marigold'.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
The Sober Thistle has drawn a good analogy in saying that the SNP's suggestion that 16 and 17 year olds be permitted to vote in any independence referendum would make them 'child soldiers'.
He's dead right, of course. The corruption of Scotland's young by a traitor caste of Scottish nationalist schoolteachers would make a great subject for a novel; one encounters so many young who seem to be inclined to Scottish civic nationalism that there are times when one can almost believe it's actually happened.
The only difference between a 17 year old Liberian child soldier and a 17 year old Scottish child soldier is that the only killing the Scot has done has been virtual, and they have access to a wider range of haircare products. Otherwise, both seem to be dead behind the eyes.
Monbiot has a good comment in today's 'Guardian', sitting beneath another workaday story of the abuse of the world's people by business -
"Tedious directives, state power and bureaucratic snooping – the interference that everyone professes to hate – are all that stand between civilisation and corporate hell."
I have to agree with him. Regulation is the natural order of things - the harvest is not brought in in the winter, lead cannot be turned into gold, 'e' equals mcsquared at all times and under all circumstances and, despite the best efforts of our chartered accountants, one and one always makes two. Those who moan and bitch and bitch and moan about business being over-regulated seem to assume that having a business sector is the natural order of things. That ain't necessarily so, a point which my previous suggestion of a few summary uncompensated forfeitures would impress quite forcefully upon those who see globalisation, whatever that is, as a vehicle for advancing the liberty of business to do business while turning the world into a prison planet for the rest of us.
Limited liability companies should be kept on leashes as tight as a dancing bear's. They do not exist in any meaningful sense - neither eating, nor breathing, nor sleeping, nor living nor dying (and thus presumably undead), it is grotesque that they should be permitted to contract obligations and sue for relief against flesh and blood. The one thing one never hears nowadays is any word of thanks from British businesspeople to their fellow citizens for being so tolerant of so many of their madcap antics. This state of affairs might not endure.
Whenever a newspaper columnist uses the words 'more and more of us want', it can be safely assumed that the group they are referring to is no broader than his mates; or indeed himself.
As someone who runs a high risk of being euthanised should 'assisted suicide' become legal, one can only repeat one's previous injunctions towards those who advocate such a law, that they should be grateful for every second that they are alive; and grow some bloody balls. Dying is living.
Monday, September 21, 2009
The release of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed (the 'h' always pronounced gutturally, as in 'sheugh house') al-Megrahi's dossier outlining his 'innocence' raises a number of really quite grave questions.
Firstly, there is no obligation on any pannel to lead evidence in their own defence. I might be mistaken, but I don't think Megrahi did. One of the hazards of having a standard of criminal evidence requiring proof beyond reasonable doubt, and not absolute doubt as many of those of Megrahi's supporters who don't have a clue about Scottish criminal law seem to think, is that the court has to go with what's in front of it. This wasn't in front of it, and the abandonment of his appeal now means it will never go in front of any court. Its value as evidence of his guilt or innocence is therefore nil, and it accordingly belongs on the fiction shelf, along with the rest of the, ahem, 'bad journalism and worse literature' that Scottish criminal law has generated over the years
Secondly, it now seems to be being suggested that the abandonment of his appeal was a gambit designed to facilitate his release. I for one believe that he is mortally ill, and not long for the world; but if he persists in maintaining his innocence now that he has surrendered his right to process, one has to wonder whether the surrender of process constituted an abuse of process.
Huh? Say what? Come again?
You read it right the first time. If he is still saying he is innocent despite abandoning his appeal, which for what my opinion's worth is not something an innocent man would ever do regardless of how sick he was, does the abandonment of the appeal constitute an abuse of process?
is that some wag will always ask, 'Where's Pollux'?
This is a horrible situation, and my sympathies are entirely with Miss Semenya. What is being forgotten here is that she is an athlete; and there must be no greater sacrifice for an athlete than being unable to compete. Helping her compete is the problem that the prurient, fat, red-faced blazers in the athletics world should really be trying to fix.
Take a sick and elderly parent, and a grasping and avaricous middle-aged child desperate to get their hands on their parent's money in order to reverse the consequences of their own financial incompetence.
Add a glass of whisky with an elephant's dose of barbiturates crushed into it, and some crocodile tears when telling the police that 'Mummy said she couldn't go on'.
Stew godlessly for about 40 years, and you should have a perfect serving of legalistic fudge. I hope Debby Purdy sleeps well in her bed knowing that her scheme to ensure her husband is not deported to Cuba should things get a bit much for her will result in many, many murders. Never mind, she's going to get what she wants; and a lot of other people are going to get what she wants, whether they want it or not.
No matter how objectionable the aim, even up to and beyond the point of mortal sin, you will always find a British businessman willing to speak in its favour.
It's a pity that when successive British governments set about smashing trade unions, they forgot to include the Confederation of British Industry. Viva la revolucion!
Sunday, September 20, 2009
My apologies for the lack of posts over the past few days, but I seem to be being affected by something best described as creative narcolepsy; as soon as I start to write something, I find myself falling asleep.
Those of a more churlish disposition, who might accuse my prose of having the same effect on them, can rest assured it's now doing it to me.
I think I know what's causing it. The nature of my illness is such that one can live with it, but doing so is an exercise not unlike fighting the Zulu - you have to take certain precautions, and ensure that they are observed without question. One of these is the necessity of maintaining routine. For better or worse, and as always for no particularly good reason, there's not been much routine about for the best part of four months now, and of course one eventually has to pay the penalty.
For as surely as nature abhors a vacuum, when one routine goes out the window another comes in automatically through the front door. I much prefer a routine which involves reading GK Chesterton to one of addiction to 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine', but that's the way the chips have fallen. Yet just as there could have been no triumph at Rorke's Drift without the disaster of Isandahlwana, as soon as normal routine is restored one can go back to the contemplation of the weightier issues in life, rather than getting angry about a fantasy Universe in which God is forgotten, only alien cultures are permitted to be religious, and civil societies based on harmony and brotherhood require massive military machines. It's too far-fetched.
The pious and humble Bajorans give every impression of being Klingons in saffron robes. The Vorta are what you get when you teach koala bears to read 'Mein Kampf'. And the Federation's hypocrisy is astonishing. It goes to war with The Dominion, a society that genetically engineers less sophisticated life forms for its own purposes and then demands that they be worshipped as gods, without realising the effects that its own presence, and the presence of the equally hypocritical Maquis, its hypocrisy always served with a dash of hippy sanctimony, have on the inhabitants of so-called 'uninhabited worlds'. Imagine what effect seeing a race of giants descending from the skies in silver chariots would have on the local wildlife. Imagine what local creatures might think when they see these giants appear and disappear at will, and summoning their food out of thin air with just a command.
Regardless of the colonists' intentions, could they not come to be worshipped as gods? Or be tempted to set themselves up as gods? I guess such a scenario would need another 'Star Trek' spinoff show...
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Paul Foot Was A Jackass - An Occasional Series Attacking A Now Dead Upper Class Revolutionary's Reporting Of The Lockerbie Case
I'm reading John Pilger's anthology of investigative journalism 'Tell Me No Lies', at the moment.
Although I would imagine the feeling wouldn't be mutual, as time goes on I'm developing quite a lot of respect for Mr. Pilger; more eagle-eyed readers will have spotted his webpage on the sidebar. Although there are times when he goes way OTT, he cannot be faulted for either his sincerity or his directness; and those Brits who might care to criticise him should recall the observation made by Andrew Marr in his book 'My Trade', that Pilger was not radicalised by anything happening in the Middle East or Southeast Asia, but by the sight of poverty in the North of England.
However, there are times when he strikes out; and including the late Paul Foot's crapulous ruminations on the Lockerbie case in 'Tell Me No Lies' is one of them. They amount to little more than a shambolic collection of gossip, innuendo and outright mistakes.
I never saw Foot on television without a Jacobin's sneer on his face. As time passes, one came to realise that if his revolutionary struggle had ever been successful, he might just have been the kind of revolutionary who would have had no difficulty in ordering his enemies' execution; perhaps even do the deed himself. For revolutionaries like Foot, everything is political; one has to wonder whether his journalism was merely an extension of revolutionary struggle, actions undertaken to undermine and destabilise the state you want to overthrow. That's the only light in which some of this stuff could ever make any sense.
Example - In a 'Private Eye' piece of 29 December 2000 entitled 'Campbell's Soup', he wrote concerning the trial in The High Court in The Netherlands that,
"The three judges listened in near silence as Mr. Keen set out his formidable case. They were not so silent when Mr. Alistair Campbell (no relation to the Prime Minister press secretary, but the Scottish Lord Advocate Depute and therefore a government minister) argues that the case against Fimah should continue".
This is nonsense. Mr. Campbell, now Lord Bracadale, was Home Advocate-Depute. Advocates-Depute are not ministers.
Now this is a glaring example of Foot's incompetence (or perhaps lack of integrity - everything's political, after all, and there is no reason why the journalistic good faith of a journalist who also happened to be a revolutionary should not be capable of being questioned) that just jumps off the page. How many others are lurking out there?
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
A story from a few days ago that didn't get enough airtime.
It seems that the SNP is seeking to grasp control of the Judicial Appointments Board for Scotland, the Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland, the Scottish Commission for Human Rights, the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission and the office of the Scottish Parliamentary Standards Commissioner. This would, of course, castrate these bodies' powers to do anything which might not conform to the SNP's agendas.
As they strip the willow to a Canadian barn dance with a wee dram and a folk song, the most committed Scottish Nationalists will say that this is a Good Thing. They are wrong. Their soi-disant, ersatz 'Scottish Government' is nothing but a minority Scottish Executive. It has no claim to the title 'Scottish Government', and it is a catastrophic failure of Unionism for any Unionist to use this title. I have written before that the SNP has an acute problem with both law and the rule of law, and this is a classic example. In a society with an independent judiciary, political seizure of the means of appointing judges is a recipe for tyranny - and a tartin-tinted tyranny is just as much a tyranny as any other, and anyone who proposes doing such a thing should be viewed as being a potential tyrant, no matter how good his golf handicap or his length of service on the Kirk Session.
Like all nationalisms, Scottish civic nationalism proclaims the virtue of the nation, while both hating the people and reflecting all that is most rotten in the culture. Got a mental health problem, and need someone to speak up for you? Guid Scots who dance the Gay Gordons and recite Tam o' Shanter don't have mental health problems.
The Americans got this sort of thing right by finding the form of words 'We, The People'. The Scottish civic nationalists show how they get this sort of thing so horribly wrong by proclaiming 'We Are The People'. The SNP is increasingly beginning to resemble what you might get if you crossed an Edinburgh lawn bowls club with The Legion of the Archangel Michael. It is a most unattractive, and actually quite frightening, spectacle.
There is no crisis in public spending, or taxation, or anything else. There is no need for the slightest cut to be made to any public service. What does exist are a number of gangs desperate to hold power over others, and in hock to those who pay their bills. They attempt to gain power, sometimes for no discernible purpose other than to advance their paymasters' agendas, by attempting to instill fear into the people. Touting the existence of non-existent crises is one of their oldest tricks.
This was not the type of crime which ever seemed to happen in the days before mass Third World immigration, and the non-benign neglect of British border security. It makes one wonder whether it would survive were either position ever to be reversed.
The rule of law must trump stoners' rights and libertarian fantasies.
Monday, September 14, 2009
is an aphorism which seems to apply with as much validity to plunder as to anything else.
But of course they're all worth it. What is interesting is to see how many of these people are non-UK nationals, which makes one wonder whether there is an anti-British bias in so called British boardrooms. If there is, it isn't going to last.
How twee, and so very Scottish, to deny what you are for no purpose higher than selling another thousand units of stuff.
David Hume, the ultimate de-Scottifier, would have been so very proud.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Friday, September 11, 2009
In praising the Chinese Communist Party for being 'relatively enlightened', the fanatical yet oddly vacuous globalist Thomas Friedman has gone too far.
This is an offence against good taste and justice. It is an insult to the dignity of human life. It indicates that the author prefers oppression and control to the wild anarchy of liberty (this should not be surprising - for those who believe in the global economy, liberty is at all times defined as liberty for them to make the laws and get rich, while the rest of us can be jailed without trial and spied upon for our own good; ending the so-called 'Cold War' was never about freeing eastern Europe, or crushing Communism, but about making the world safe for business and for nothing and nobody else). It tells me that Friedman considers himself and those he praises to be better than the rest of humanity. It makes me wonder just how far he would be willing to go to advance his vision of a global economy (no such things exists, nor can exist while the nation state exists), or what he would do should he get it. It suggest to me that his opinions are dangerous, which I suppose makes him dangerous. Accordingly, it indicates that he is someone who must be opposed at all times and under all circumstances.
The question you should ask yourself when reading Friedman is, does this man hate and despise me? Increasingly, the conclusion I find myself coming to is 'Yes'.
Hat tip Mark Shea.
"The most unlikely gardeners now regularly discuss their runner bean crop, how to keep slugs off the courgettes, and their preferred type of chard. People with hectic lifestyles and tiny urban gardens are still eager to discuss tomato seeds. This has gone well beyond a rural fantasy of self-sufficiency. The results are evident in unprecedented waiting lists for allotments (estimated at 100,000 earlier this year) and the sales of vegetable seeds, with UK companies reporting increases of 30% in 2007 and another 40% in 2008. There are similar reports in the US.
It's easy to put this down to a straightforward response to tough times and the recession. But there's more to it than that, because – let's be realistic – by the time you've bought your seed, slug repellent and compost, you're unlikely to have saved that much money. This is not primarily driven by economic need."
Maudlin Grunting, 'The Guardian', today.
"Anyone who has ever read Robert Service's quite searing 'Russia: Experiment with a people', will know that in some societies which have undergone massive social changes such as the termination of the Union would be, the ability to grow your own food can determine whether or not you survive; and if the Scottish National Party are serious in their claims that Scotland would be able to make it as independent nation, they shouldn't be handing out advice which would be of interest to post-Soviet survivalists."
The blogger, October 26 2008.
Who do you believe?
The Lord Chief Justice is apparently sympathetic to assisted suicides.
If he is sympathetic to those of dying of horrible diseases, he should be equally sympathetic to those who choose to live with them; or indeed, have no choice but to have to live with them. Legitimising those who assist gutless cowards (for that is all a wannabe assisted suicide is, a gutless, cowardly control freak who can't handle the facts of life called pain and death taking place on something on their own absolute dictatorial terms) to traipse off to Caritas to be put down like a lame horse is going to do nothing but endanger the lives of those who consider themselves to have more dignity than to subject themselves to a fate that would shame a goldfish; and yes, are proud of the fact that they are alive, and acknowledge that while they are alive they must struggle to live.
I am no longer interested in listening to English liberalism. English liberals gave the world the workhouse. The spirit of English liberalism gave us the abortion holocaust. It is the most destructive force this country has ever known, its touted concern for humanity usually masking some kind of madcap get-rich-quick scheme. To hell with it.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Hopefully the mess of pottage melts in their mouths, not in their hands.
An old bee in the bonnet gets to buzz.
Can we at last bin the idea that Scroggs's marketing plan for the Gigawidget is somehow deserving of the same level of confidentiality as a solicitor's advice to their client, a doctor's treatment of their patient and a priest's in the confessional? Smashing the erstaz mystique of 'commercial confidentiality' would go a long way to restoring the correct balance between the private sector and the private citizen; which in my opinion should be that of the businessman publicly thanking his fellows for voting for conditions which enable him to do business, and his acknowledgment that his fellows are the landlords upon whose sufferance business remains capable of being done.
A few eye-watering uncompensated summary forfeitures would do the British business class no end of good.
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
that the author of this piece might just be desperate to be invited onto...
Monday, September 07, 2009
Having had a little time on my hands over the past week, I have been reading the complete non-fiction of Jorge Luis Borges, a corpus of work produced between 1922 and 1986.
Nah, make that trying to read instead. There are very few books that have actually defeated me. Trevor Royle's history of the Crimean War was one, 'Das Kapital' another (got as far as page 49, and the used train ticket I used as a bookmark still stands at the point of my retreat, a silent rebuke on the bookshelf), and I was determined not to let Borges go the same way.
He was clever and well-read, for sure; and he knew it. Yet he had no airs; much of his non-fiction was produced for a woman's magazine, in Scottish terms, a bit like Hugh MacDiarmid writing for 'The People's Friend'. He was at his strongest when dealing with literary criticism, popular culture (his brief review of 'King Kong' is a classic in any language, for example), and the places and people and types of people he knew best; it takes a particular kind of confidence to be able to write an angry but still hilarious letter to your fellow Argentines on their annoying habit of making nuisance telephone calls. His observations on anti-Semitism, Nazism and Peronism are, or should be considered to be, timeless; and that's where the problems start.
Time is a four letter word that seemed to give Borges enormous trouble. While freely admitting to not possessing a philosophical bent, discourse on the nature of time seems to be one of the most worthless and redundant of intellectual activities. The sun comes up. Then it goes down again. What's the bloody problem?
Ditto with what seems to be atheism and pantheism. Unless you adhere to the Third Way cop out called agnosticism, most people either believe in God or they don't, and no amount of incredibly windy wordplays are going to convince the other side one way or the other. Sometimes we get a nudge in the right direction, in which case defences of Basiliades are going to bounce right off us.
In sum, the non-fiction of Jorge Luis Borges is not at all unlike a glass of milk - both are healthiest when consumed semi-skimmed.
The news that the BNP are going to be invited on 'Question Time' invokes the response, 'not before time'.
My own antifa credentials being, of course, impeccable, one can say such things without being accused of whatever the -ism du jour might be; yet one can hardly deny a place on a current affairs discussion show to a party for which the people have, you know, voted in sufficient numbers to ensure its leader's election to the European Parliament.
The BNP is something of an oddity in the modern British electoral system, deriving from its popularity from expounding policies which differ from not one but three mainstream parties. One is almost tempted to ask, 'Who are the democrats?'
I remain convinced that the BNP's voters are largely not race-baiters and potential Einsatzgruppenfuhrers; in all likelihood, they are people who feel themselves excluded from society as a result of the economic and cultural mono-ideologies of the past two (three? four?) decades. If they feel this way, it is probably with good reason; they have been excluded from it, and the BNP is the only party that seems to be adopting a holistic approach to policy that they feel addresses their concerns. The desire to throw the bums out always leads to the election of more bums; yet while almost all political rhetoric is wind and hot air, at least these bums are speaking some old farts' language.
Regardless of its aims, the very fact of its existence demonstrates that our democracy still exists; and while Little Nicky Griffin, The Cambridge Boxing Blue, might give every appearance of being a thoroughly unsavoury individual, my money would be on him waging a better defence of the BBC's right to exist against the unmandated, undemocratic assaults of Sunny Jim Murdoch than say, Oliver Letwin or Ed Balls ever could. Or would.
One of the most interesting aspects of this news is that the Labour Party seems to be tying itself in knots trying to avoid providing a speaker to counter the arguments of someone who claims to represent the interests of the working class. This is one of those wonderful occasions when the secular world turns itself upside down as a result of following its contradictions to their natural conclusions. It is so contrary to the spirit of democracy that in the eyes of some, it might just succeed in painting the BNP in a favourable light.
It will be interesting to see whether editorial sleight of hand is used to diminish Griffin, or whichever other giant papier-mache head the BNP sends along, by having them open every debate, thus giving every other speaker the chance to counter their arguments. This would be an Establishment stitch up, and it will be very interesting to see how the program actually pans out in that regard. And it will be interesting to see whether the BNP talking giant paper-mache head gets to make the point that now that it has been ordered to open membership to all comers, the Black and Muslim Police Associations will be required to do the same.
And it will be very interesting to see whether the Conservatives actually engage the BNP on policy, as opposed to spastically defaulting to the kind of sterile name-calling that has propelled it to prominence. The electoral nullification of the BNP has at all times been the duty of the Conservative Party - a duty it has neglected for many, many years.
Saturday, September 05, 2009
The British government's ongoing refusal to address the question of grotesque bonuses that bankers pay themselves, awarded for doing what seems to be little more than looting the economy, makes one wonder just how deep the financial sector's capture of our government has been.
That this practice continues despite the banks having had to be bailed out quite clearly indicates that bankers feel themselves entitled to such payouts; there seems to be no question of them having to be earned. In such circumstances, the bonus is to the banker what the tithe was to the medieval prelate; a tribute payable by the serfs to an arrogant and remote overlord.
There is no question that this is the fault of both the study and practice of economics, and the violent application of economic theory to democracy. The more madcap economic purists will say that this is not the case, that if the theory had been followed we'd all be fine. However, such arguments border on jesuiticalism; if you start off by telling people that it's OK for them to always act rationally in their own self-interest, then they'll always act in their own self-interest; and as we have seen since the start of the credit crunch, the rest of us will be too busy worrying about how to pony up the tab to be able to debate whether or not their actions were rational in the first place.
The idea of debating whether our bankers acted rationally, or were instead so irrational they they merited being restrained in mental institutions under compulsory measures of care, is not one which has caught hold quite yet. Its day might yet come.
For nearly three decades, perhaps much longer, the banks have had too much power, to the extent that we now must question whether the country is being run for our benefit or theirs. They are just one sector of the economy. There is absolutely nothing special or unique about them as businesses. Indeed, the vast majority seem to be anti-businesses, making nothing and producing nothing. Perhaps from the start, there would have been merit in considering a banker to be nothing more than a slightly better class of bargee - someone whom you know is necessary in order to keep things running smoothly, but who are by their nature disreputable, the sort of person you wouldn't want your daughter to marry and who should be shunned and mocked in the street.
But no, the solar gravitational pull felt by power towards money meant that the bankers ended up becoming knights and lords; in the case of Frederick Goodwin, for seeming to do little more than casting thousands of people out of work. For a title to be awarded to such a man was a disgrace; that he has kept it is an aggravation of the offence. If, as Chesterton said, tradition is nothing but democracy extended over time, then it can also be fairly said that aristocracy is nothing but plutocracy extended over an equivalent period.
The existence of protected classes of persons is an affront to the very concept of democracy. Yet that's what the bankers now are. Going about business as usual with the authority of the state when your actions have led to the ruination of the false economy you were instrumental in creating is perverse; yet the sense of entitlement bred by being able to run roughshod over every democratic norm knows no shame. In their worldview, it's necessary for them to be paid so much, otherwise they'll go elsewhere. In one of Parliament's more purple moments, Cromwell shouted, 'In the name of God, go!'; a sentiment one can sometimes detect echoing faintly down the arches of the years, when some drone or other is heard bleating, braying or lowing about how much we owe bankers for helping keep us clothed, fed and sheltered. Go, please, just go. The model is broken, and no amount of glue and blutack can fix it.
As Eric Hobsbawm quite rightly remarked, class war is almost always waged with very much more venom from above than from below. Two decades of violent and unremitting class war perpetrated by the world's rich upon its poor have brought us to the brink of disaster. It is hard to see how the fourfold expansion of the world's labour market has benefitted anyone, not when the price of goods has been artificially deflated by cheap Chinese and Indian labour on a dollar a day. The argument that this expansion has helped lift millions out of poverty is morally nullified by the workers of the Third World being forced to work in dangerous conditions more appropriate to the savage capitalism of the early 19th Century; and those who claim that their poverty is their 'comparative advantage' might care to reflect not only upon the disgusting idea that being poor anywhere can be an advantage, but also upon the damage to international relations that a generation of mutilated Chinese bodies and broken Indian minds will eventually cause. At some point, the classic liberalism might just have to be dumped in favour of bigger weapons; and the whole tedious cycle of history will start all over again.
It doesn't have to be like this, of course. There is a better way, which would be for government to begin exercising control over business in a very much more direct and interventionist manner than it has done in recent years, starting with the directors of failed businesses, no matter how large the business or well-connected the director, being publicly harangued by the relevant minister. This is something Vladimir Putin does with great style (demanding that Oleg Deripaska hand back the ballpoint pen with which he'd signed an undertaking was one of the best pieces of polical theatre I can ever recall seeing), and is one of the most admirable aspects of modern Russian political culture. Governments should be neither friendly nor unfriendly towards business; they should instead be strictly business-neutral. Businesses have no votes. This natural inability to participate in civic life should automatically muffle its voice, instead of its voice being the only one that's heard.
There are those who will say this is unfair, and would amount to victimisation. To this, only can only reply is that it should be considered one of the risks of doing business. That is, if your business model still factors risk into it - the risk seems to have gone out of banking sometime ago, at taxpayer's expense.
We are now living with the consequences of having had a series of governments so business-friendly that they have brought us to the point of ruin, the nadir of managerialism. Instead of businesses being consulted about everything, let the people, you know, us, be consulted instead.
Before it's too late. For what, I do not know; and do not really want to find out.
Friday, September 04, 2009
In my opinion, no matter how young these offenders might be, the very grave and perhaps sexually motivated nature of their crimes means that the law should consider them to be dangerous for the rest of their days. The law considers them to be very dangerous children - until one sees almost impossibly absolute evidence of their repentance and reformation, as adults the law should consider them to be very dangerous men.
Accordingly, their names and images should be released to the public, they should not be given new identities, adult images of them should be issued upon their release from custody and their neighbours should be entitled to be made aware of their histories.
By the same token, two days ago a serial sectarian offender named David Bates was imprisoned at Glasgow Sheriff Court; his fourth conviction for religiously aggaravated offences. The BBC reports that one of his priors was for a drunken and unprovoked assault on a priest. Somehow I don't think the message that his behaviour is sometimes unacceptable is quite getting through to Mr. Bates.
It seems quite clear that when drunk and in public, David Bates poses a danger to those he believes to be Roman Catholics; yet no image of him seems to have been published. This is disturbing. As citizens as well as Catholics, do we not possess the right to know what he looks like, so that we might avoid him should he appear to be in drink?
This is a live issue for me. I live quite near him. Although she has lived in the west of Scotland for many years, my wife's Irish accent still remains relatively undiluted. Oliver North remarked of Abu Nidal that he would meet him on equal terms anywhere in the world, but was not prepared to let his wife and family meet Nidal on Nidal's terms. I can understand this. While I would be willing to debate religion with David Bates on any terms he wishes, I really don't want my wife to meet David Bates, tanked up on Buckfast and in a Pope-fighting mood, on his terms.
Letting us know what he looks like might, just might, lessen the chance of that happening.
According to The Journal of The Law Society of Scotland,
"Reform of the legal profession in Scotland will be one of the key legislative measures in the forthcoming session of the Scottish Parliament, the First Minister confirmed today...
The Legal Services Bill, to be published at the end of this month, will remove restrictions on solicitors entering into business relationships with non-solicitors and allow external investment in legal firms, one of the aims being to allow leading Scottish commercial law firms to compete effectively with other UK firms and internationally. The Scottish Government will appoint approved regulators who will regulate the new business structures."
If they can't compete effectively at the moment, why should the law be changed to help them? Can someone please tell me what is so special about 'leading Scottish commercial law firms' that the law should be changed to help them stay in the game?
Thursday, September 03, 2009
Why is it that when the BBC selects pundits for 'Question Time', it seems to do so almost exclusively from publications either controlled by one of three families, the Murdochs, the Barclays and the Rothermeres, or from 'The Guardian'?
If newspaper circulation is falling, why do we only hear the opinions of people who write for newspapers? Isn't this a bit like the captain of the Titanic suggesting going snowboarding on the 'berg?
Why do Peter Hitchens and Melanie Phillips have to travel to parts of the country they might not have the slightest clue about, places of whose local issues they might have no grasp and not the least interest, when there will be an articulate and well-informed local blogger who could present a case for common sense just as well as a member of the commentariat?
Makes no sense.
If you think that a more democratic BBC would be one in which a local blogger, or even the editor of a local newspaper, would be considered a better candidate for inclusion on the 'Question Time' or 'Any Questions' panels than a national mediacrat, please link to this post.
Conservative Putin-baiters like the East Kilbride born Liam Fox would be well advised to give some thought to the claim made by their London peers that they have seized control of the Metropolitan Police.
London's top Tory, is, of course, named Boris. When the Russians do it, they're Stalin reincarnate. When the Tories do it, it's because we're a mature democracy.
Hat tip - Mark Shea.
One of the reasons I am unsuited to the holding of civic office is that I am sometimes attracted to the panache of Russian penology.
I mean, when your jailers shave your head and sew you into lice-infested pyjamas, I imagine that you are certainly aware of the fact that you are being punished.
One cannot help but think that the creatives who produced this advert could do with a dose of that kind of treatment. I would stop short of having the words 'I AM AN ARSEHOLE' tattooed on their foreheads; but it's a close run thing.
This advert is for the World Wildlife Fund, as is or was. Many of the more misanthropically Malthusian humanity hating save the whale types decry our selfish and irresponsible behaviour, of how we do things like engage in irresponsible parenting, have too many absent fathers and single mothers, and feed our children an unsustainable diet of junk food.
Not unlike the giant panda on WWF's logo. Man, I could really just go a sealburger right now.