Thursday, December 18, 2014

Cuban Health Paradox

Article by Margot Sanger-Katz in the New York Times on the supposed "Cuban Health Paradox":

There is not so much of a health paradox in Cuba.

It is by all accounts a poor country.  It has basic healthcare, but the materialist consumerism of the West is missing.  Therefore they have less lifestyle diseases caused by obesity, lack of exercise, urban stress.

The United Kingdom during the Second World War experienced severe rationing, and yet the population was far healthier than it is today.

Nick Timothy

I do not like the way Nick Timothy is being treated:

Manipulation of the candidates' list is far too common in all parties (including UKIP).

It is time the Conservative Party devolved candidate selection down to constituency associations with no gerrymandering from Central Office.


I am fascinated by the potential of polycarbonate in architecture:

But I wonder if any architect has designed a polycarbonate structure in the gothic style?

A house perhaps based on the Bishop West Chantry in Ely Cathedral (or the Bishop Alcock Chantry).

“If this carries on we risk civil disruption"

Important contribution to the political debate by Tony Booth:

“Reducing immigration would be the first thing,” says Booth, an unreconstructed socialist who, on every subject except Europe, is about as far-removed as it is possible to be from the ideology of Ukip. “I don’t believe Britain can accommodate 200,000 people every year,” he says. “If this carries on we risk civil disruption, and religion will come into it and all that bollocks. This is not about race. If you made the argument economic, I think more people might listen. But we haven’t got the balls to tell the EU to piss off.”

"Consume" authenticities

This is interesting:

Of course, people "consume" authenticities all the time, it is one of the main ways in which they can achieve self-actualisation.

The Emperor Augustus revived the Roman state and founded the Roman Empire by reasserting the traditions of the past.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Establishment by Owen Jones - 4 (Chapter 4)

Chapter 4 The Boys In Blue

Page 133 "During the 1980s... the police had been trained to treat working-class people as the 'enemy within' ".  Who is supposed to have done this training?  Was it via seminars or tutorials or home study courses?  Or is this just a ridiculous assertion that has no basis in fact?  It also takes no account of the huge landslide victories won by the Conservatives in the 1980s.  These would have been impossible without support from working class voters.

Page 147 Owen Jones gives no motivation for the police bias against BME people.  For instance, do the police overtly or covertly seek to recruit racists?  Or are ordinary people conditioned to become racists once they have entered police employment?  Or are they indifferent to race issues, but persecute BME people because they are secretly paid a bonus to do so?  Owen Jones, unless you explain a motive for an action you must not claim that the action fits your hypothesis.  Because it is equally possible that BME people are stopped and suspected more than other groups because they commit more crimes.

Labour referring to the 1930s in Prime Minister's Questions

The problem with Labour referring to the 1930s in Prime Minister's Questions as some kind of economic benchmark is that very few people alive today can remember the 1930s.

In the 1980s it had some resonance as most people over 50 could remember the economic conditions.

Now it is just an historical event that they may, or may not, have been taught about in school.

Someone aged 20 in 1933 would be aged 80 now.

If the majority want you there you can be an expat

"When is an immigrant not an immigrant?" asks lefty politics academic Rob Ford (University of Manchester)

There is a simple and straightforward answer to this:  when the interloper is in a country with the consent of the majority of the host population.

If the majority want you there you can be an expat.

If the majority don't want you there you are just an immigrant (and an unwanted one).

It all relates to democratic consent.

Whooping up the appointment of the first Anglican woman bishop

Is it not ironic to see all the atheist commentators whooping up the appointment of the first Anglican woman bishop?

And is it not a matter of shame for the Church of England that the decision to include women as bishops was the result of back-stairs dealing, highly convoluted "representation", and a sort of "go away and vote again until you agree with us" non-democracy?

Does this not undermine any moral authority that Libby Lane might claim?

Tom King is a racist

Is it not highly offensive, bordering on racist, for Labour student activists Tom King (SOAS) to tell English people how they should run their affairs?

Tom King is Welsh.  He is from Swansea.  The Welsh already have their devolved assembly, and he should confine his opinions to that.

And is it not typical of non-English people that his solution to "the English problem" is to chop England up into regions so Labour can do their usual divide-and-rule trick.

If Tom King cannot concede that English people are entitled to the same expression of their nationality as Welsh people and Scottish people then Tom King is a racist.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Effectively calling Ken Loach a racist

"...there wasn’t a single black or brown Briton in the entire film" whines Satnam Virdee (Professor of Sociology at the University of Glasgow and Deputy Director of the ESRC-funded Centre for Dynamics of Ethnicity CoDE based at the Universities of Manchester and Glasgow).

He is talking about the Ken Loach film The Spirit of 1945 and effectively calling Ken Loach a racist.

Perhaps Professor Virdee could be directed to the many thousands (perhaps hundreds of thousands) of crowd photographs taken in the United Kingdom from the invention of photography up to 1945.  He can then show us all the black and brown people he claims were resident in the country.  Unless he is claiming that they have all been meticulously scraped off the negatives.

The Establishment by Owen Jones - 3 (Chapters Two and Three)

Chapter 2, The Westminster Cartel

Page 63 et al - the Establishment is presented by Owen Jones as an ideology, but no proof is offered.  It is probable that there are ideologues (of all persuasions) within the Establishment, but the truth is much less sinister although still problematic.  The Establishment is a large informal network of individuals who hold power and influence and intend to remain in power and influence helping each other out, giving opportunities for the progeny of people they know, recruiting into their ranks those who who cannot be silenced by any other means.  There is no over-arching conspiracy.  There is just the same old corrupt behaviour that asserts itself in every society, including those of the former Eastern Bloc, when scrutiny is inadequate.  The difference is that the British Establishment for historical reasons has acquired a patina of respectability.

Page 81 - discussing Len McCluskey "A proud Scouser, rarely clean-shaven and with an imposing frame, his tub-thumping speeches at political rallies often draw a rapturous reception from true believers".  proud Scouser... imposing frame... tub-thumping... rapturous reception... true believers - did an Oxford alumni really write this cliche-ridden sentence?  The failure of the publisher to amend this line demonstrates the cultural cringe our society has towards The Establishment's Oxbridge graduates when they are no more elite or skilled than the rest of us.

Chapter 3, Mediaocracy

Page 89 - referring to the 1992 general election " earlier speech made by the Tory Home Secretary, Kenneth Baker, alleging Labour plans for an 'open door' immigration policy".  Even as far back as 1992 the Labour plans for unrestricted immigration were known.  It rather makes their subsequent apologies for immigration seem cynical and false - we must never let these people back in.

Page 90 - Angela Eagle MP (and Shadow Cabinet minister) "It's a media that's ideologically driven by its owners who have particular views that you or I probably wouldn't agree on an awful lot of the time".  This claim that the media is ideologically driven is silly.  The Morning Star is ideologically driven but hardly anyone buys it.  If the Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph were ideologically driven then how does Owen Jones account for their popularity compared to the Guardian or the Daily Mirror?  Newspapers exist to make money.  If people didn't want them they wouldn't buy them and the Daily Mail would end up with the same circulation as The Independent.

To be continued.

Does he think we are all cretins?

Paul Mason on Channel 4 News has just pointed out that the building behind him is the Parthenon.

Does he think we are all cretins?

Does he think we might confuse the Acropolis with Carlton Hill Edinburgh or Centennial Park in Nashville Tennessee?
Can we make this Yvette Cooper idea retrospective please - all individuals born outside the United Kingdom and entering the country since 1997:
My goodness.

Michael Heseltine is on Daily Politics talking about loyalty!

A lecture on loyalty from a two-faced git like him.

You buy a present for someone and then badly want to keep it

Secret Santa time in the office.

Have you ever had that experience where you buy a present for someone and then badly want to keep it yourself?

This is for one of the campaigns managers.

It looks excellent - Enoch at 100 edited by Lord Howard of Rising.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Establishment by Owen Jones - 2 (Introduction and Chapter One)

Above:  on display in Kings Parade some of the codified stratification of the Establishment - although the Establishment's soft power is much more complex and subtle than mere colours and badges.

Finally I have finished The Establishment by Owen Jones (this has taken me a long time to read not because it is unreadable, but because other reading projects have intervened).

The book was a big disappointment.  Instead of writing a much-needed expose of the Establishment and how they get away with it, Owen Jones has simply invented his own "Establishment" and written about that.  And you've guessed it, the Owen Jones Establishment is just his own views and prejudices mashed up and reheated and served with a tiny bit of new garnish.

Some examples (page numbers refer to the hardback edition):

General point - there are only seven references to immigration, and all of them make the assumption that immigrant communities are the victims of the Establishment.  And yet immigration is one of the key ways in the post war period in which the Establishment has divided and controlled and suppressed the working class, all the time presenting it as some uncontrollable elemental force as if it just happens without anyone making decisions.  But because this does not fit the Owen Jones view of history he ignores it (therefore we are justified in saying Owen Jones is as much an Establishment stooge as any of the people he condemns).

In the Introduction (page 6) he talks of the Establishment having an ideology of neo-liberalism that led to the privatisation of nationalised industries.  This rather overlooks the fact that the old nationalised industries were stuffed with Establishment figures who were unaccountable, dictatorial and ran huge swathes of the economy as if they were an extension of the civil service.  They were privatised because they had become a self-serving vested interest, not because they were a socialist.

Chapter 1 The Outriders.  It is wrong to define Margaret Thatcher as Establishment.  She was anti-Establishment through and through (state-educated, a woman, a scientist, a corner shop grocer's daughter, a denizen of a dull Midlands provincial town, a Methodist - in terms of education, occupation, social origin, geographical origin, religion etc she was an outsider).  The Establishment ferociously attacked her candidacy as leader, wanting William Whitelaw (Winchester, Cambridge and the Guards).  The first significant opposition from within the Conservative Party came from Sir Ian Gilmour Bart. (Eton, Oxford and the Guards) who while still a member of her Cabinet said in February 1980 "In the Conservative view, economic liberalism à la Professor Hayek, because of its starkness and its failure to create a sense of community, is not a safeguard of political freedom but a threat to it."  The first MP to openly rebel against her leadership was Sir Anthony Meyer (Eton, Oxford, Scots Guards) in November 1989 providing the stalking horse that enabled Heseltine and the rest of the "treachery with a smile on its face" clique to wade in.

Page 21 - it is wrong to attach so much importance to Madsen Pirie who was at the time little more than a self-important pipsqueak.  Margaret Thatcher's commitment to the free market came from her own convictions (she was perfectly capable of thinking these things out for herself) as well as from Enoch Powell who had independently of Hayek had come to the same conclusions (see the Simon Heffer biography).  If Madsen Pirie and the Adam Smith Institute were/are so influential why are they largely ignored today? (when was the last time we saw Madsen Pirie or Eamon Butler on Newsnight or Channel 4 News).

Page 23 - "the staggering increase in living standards and the greatest, most stable economic growth this country has ever seen" was not because of public ownership of key industries and utilities.  The post-war boom of the 1950s and 1960s was generated by the need to repair the colossal damage caused by the Second World War.  By the early 1970s this renewal was petering out, leading to the economic and social problems that decade is renowned for.

To be continued.

Joey Barton about Lewis Hamilton

One must agree with Joey Barton about Lewis Hamilton:

"He should never have won. He is a terrible role model to any Britain. What precedent does that set. Bad day in our history."

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Whether they win Basildon or not

I am not a member of UKIP and it is nothing to me whether they win Basildon or not.

But I wish they would stop apologising.

Everyone knows what they are like.  The support they have gained has already factored in the unpolitically correct candidates.  It's the language you can hear in any pub (maybe not wine bars in Islington and Holland Park).
The problem with Hilary Mantel is not that she is a good fiction writer.

It is that she is such an awful historian.

"Meticulously researched" my arse.

We are not allowed to talk about immigration

Article by Ben Riley-Smith in the Daily Telegraph reveals that Labour intends to suppress any discussion of immigration during the election campaign:

Is this not proof that we are not allowed to talk about immigration?

These policies affect everything.

They affect everyone.

And yet there is to be no discussion.

There is no need for this kind of slur

Am I imagining things?

Or is there a similarity between the Guardian cartoon of a shadowy top-hatted global speculator and a German cartoon from the 1930s of a shadowy top-hatted global speculator?

I am not in favour of globalisation, but I do not think it is part of a conspiracy by greedy speculators.

You can unpick the economic processes and understand why it is happening and introduce policies to moderate it.

There is no need for this kind of slur, and the Guardian should know better.

A great comfort

This news is a great comfort to me:

It also makes sense, since God Is Love and dogs have so much to teach us about love.

And I knew this anyway, before the Pope said anything.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Friday, December 12, 2014

Andy Burnham rattled on Daily Politics about the privatisation of Hinchingbrooke Hospital under the last Labour government.

Nick Clegg's goad at PMQs has obviously touched a nerve.