Monday, December 30, 2013

Daniel Hannan's book










Very interesting article by Matt Ridley in today's Times.




















Especially the last paragraph.

I wonder if any economic historian has done an assessment of where the United Kingdom would be now had we not become enmeshed in the EEC / EC / EU ?

I will be buying Daniel Hannan's book and I advise you to do the same.

The Daily Star




















Even the most impartial of commentators when presented with the front page of today's Daily Star must conclude:  Enoch Powell was right.

The Daily Star has a circulation of 706,000 (The Guardian has 189,000).

Richard Spillett wrote the article on the secret Home Office report.

Sunday, December 29, 2013


















Brandy cream is wonderful in coffee.


















This Champion beer is an incredible 7.3% by volume.

Six bottles are going to be enough I think.

The poll featured on the front page of the Observer today was utterly fatuous














Is it not disturbing that a growing number of people who ought to know better are shamelessly dismissing democratic majority views on immigration as "populism"?

And the poll featured on the front page of the Observer today was utterly fatuous.

Ask a silly question and you will get a silly answer.

68% per cent of those surveyed said they do not object to immigrants who learn English, get a job, pay taxes and become part of their local community - in other words completely assimilate.

Unfortunately immigrants by and large do not assimilate. 

Would it not be more sensible to assimilate the millions who have already arrived here before we allow any more in?

Ostentatious grandstanding that is merely symbolic

Are we really supposed to admire Germany for taking in one thousand Syrian refugees?

To quote a German cartoonist of a hundred years ago:  what is one pretzel amongst so many?

And I think I agree with the commentator on The World This Weekend who identified refugee fatigue as a reason why we are not taking any of these people.

When even Trenton Oldfield and his family claims "refuge" from the vicious racist state of Australia we know that the asylum system has zero credibility.

And even if we were to agree to take a thousand Syrians, the suspicion is that they will be wealthy Syrians with contacts - the rich Syrians who can afford to get out.

Far better the current policy of giving half a billion pounds in aid to Syria's refugees.  Practical help locally provided.  Not ostentatious grandstanding that is merely symbolic.
How fed up I am with newspapers that fill pages and pages with mindless moronic lists - events of the year, people of the year, books of the year.

Too slight to say anything significant, and yet pages and pages are covered with them.

Drivel I'm afraid.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Geoffrey Hill's Selected Poems
















I have finished reading Geoffrey Hill's Selected Poems.

I read it a poem a day, so it has taken a couple of months.

I bought the book specifically to read Mercian Hymns, and was so impressed I printed out an article by William Milne (which I have also read several times now).

I knew immediately that I wanted this poem to be part of my life.
Visiting other people can be wearing, especially when they have children.

I am sure Jamie Hamblett is full of all the virtues, but there is only so much Union J one can take.
Anyway I went to the farmshop to get a lamb joint for lunch on New Year's Day.

There was a half leg that looked a bit big, but you can never tell how much people are going to eat, so I pointed at it and said I would have that one.

The assistant looked surprised and went to get the butcher.

He put the joint on the scales and said (I thought) "Fourteen forty-three - is that alright?"

I said OK, and instead of handing me the joint over the counter he carefully wrapped it up, brought it all the way round the counter, and reverentially put it in the wire basket I was holding.

At the till the girl rang up £40.43.

I was aghast.

It will have to go four meals at least.

Later I justified the purchase.  It is not the farmshop meat that is too expensive.  It is the supermarket meat that is too cheap to ensure the animals have a decent life.
Interesting article by Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt on the impact of immigration:  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/labour/10539925/Labour-White-boys-underachievement-linked-to-mass-migration.html

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

No posting on this site until after Christmas.

One of the great Feasts of the medieval church

Christmas Eve, and once again I am impressed by the all-encompassing totality of the Christmas festival.

And how medieval the Feast is this year - the gaudy colours, the raucous merry-making, the co-option of folklore both modern and ancient.

Even atheists and minorities appear to be joining in the celebrations (and this is all that is specified by the Thirty-Nine Articles - belief is not necessary, all that is required is conformity).

So for all those secularists trying to explain away Christmas here is a statement of the position:

•  Notwithstanding the state's sincere toleration of religious belief, all people in England are, under the Thirty-Nine Articles, auto-enrolled in the Church of England whether they like it or not.

•  In a few hours time the official and commercial activity of the country will come to a halt in respectful honour of the religious event.

•  Tonight and tomorrow the churches will be full.

•  Tomorrow the Head of the Church of England will make a televised broadcast to the nation that will be watched by millions.

•  Almost the entire population will celebrate one of the great Feasts of the medieval church.

Last night on The Papers on BBC News 24 (there was no Newsnight) Independent writer Owen Jones told us:  "This is a relatively irreligious country".

In your dreams mate, in your dreams.

Note slightly amended to replace United Kingdom with England.

Monday, December 23, 2013

It may seem ridiculous, but I am discovering Fleetwood Mac for the first time.

And feeling entranced by how beautiful the songs are.

Formerly I just dismissed them as a relic of the 1970s - and like everything to do with the 70s thought they were beneath contempt.

Drowning in a sea of love indeed. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013






Interesting question asked by Tim Montgomerie (and Matthew Ridley in The Times).

"Hanging, spitting at meals, cock fighting, homophobia have become unacceptable.  What'll be next?"

Immigration.

Immigration without the consent of the democratic majority is already totally unacceptable to the majority of ordinary people.

The pro-immigration lobby has no arguments to deploy and resorts to insults (forgetting that the "racist racist racist" chant doesn't work anymore).

So go ahead Mr Cable.  Go into the 2015 election with your Liberal Democrat colleagues arguing for more immigration.  You and your party will go the way of the dodo.

And do please talk about Enoch Powell.  He was one of the greatest Conservatives.  Comparison with Enoch Powell is a great compliment to a Conservative.

Reading

Because I am working until lunchtime on Christmas Eve I have had to get all the shopping done this weekend.

In the town this afternoon I was walking past Waterstones and found myself going in to buy books for myself, despite the boxes of books I have still to read (at least two hundred).















Above:  one of the books I bought was The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald, inspired to do so by a recent article (which I have read several times) by Robert McCrum.
















Above:  the other book I purchased was Stoner by John Williams.  I am a bit doubtful about this novel (it has been extravagantly praised by all sorts of people, and yet somehow it looks dull).  Anyway, I bought the hardback version as it was (with the £3 discount) the same price as the paperback.

This is how I intend to spend the Christmas break - reading.

Saturday, December 21, 2013
















Above:  this stone has eroded so that the date "1914" is no longer recognisable.

Good news that the Government has allocated money towards the restoration of First World War memorials:  https://www.gov.uk/government/news/millions-of-pounds-to-support-restoration-and-repair-of-first-world-war-memorials

Friday, December 20, 2013

Anjem Choudary interviewed on the Today programme

When I heard Anjem Choudary interviewed on the Today programme this morning the thought once again came into my mind:  Enoch Powell was right.

And later in the programme when I heard about the systematic abuse of young girls by BME gangs the thought again insisted to me:  Enoch Powell was right (not withstanding the idiocy of the senior police officer who tried to tell us this was all run of the mill domestic abuse nothing to get worked up about).

We do not need these people in our society and I would like to see policies (covert if necessary) to reduce their numbers.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Tibet

A senior Tibetan monk has been beaten to death in police custody.

http://www.tibetsociety.com/content/view/447

Where are all the lefties who were preening themselves last week on how they brought down apartheid?

Why arn't Mr and Mrs Bercow holding candlelit vigils outside the Chinese embassy? (oh I forgot, their anti-apartheid campaigning was entirely fictional).

What has happened to Peter Hain MP that he should be so strangely silent on this issue?

There is only one course of action we can recommend

Mr Coates needs to realise that we are not taking the EU renegotiations seriously as we do not intend to stay in.

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/politics/article3952977.ece

Obdurate and intransigent Eurocrats lecturing us in mittel Europa accents and saying "No" all the time is exactly what we want.

The narrative:  we have tried to be reasonable, we have made every effort to seek a compromise, but you can see for yourself what these people are like.  Drunk with power and arrogance they seek to dominate every part of our lives.  Regretfully there is only one course of action we can recommend to the British people...

Airplanes do not just travel in one way Mr Birrell

What a bizarre argument Ian Birrell deploys when offering us yet another of his pro-immigration articles.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/families-that-need-18600-to-spend-christmas-together-the-shameful-earnings-threshold-imposed-on-british-citizens-wanting-to-bring-their-foreign-spouses-here-9013882.html

Airplanes do not just travel in one way Mr Birrell.  All the examples you quoted could see their families any time they like simply by going to where they are.  Presumably the cost of an air ticket London to Fiji is roughly the same as an air ticket Fiji to London?

And what do you mean by politicians showing "leadership" over the matter of immigration?

By this do you mean ignoring the democratic will of the overwhelming majority of the ordinary people? (as expressed in every test of public opinion on the subject of immigration since 1945).

We have seen rather too much of that sort of "leadership" since 1997 thank you very much.

We want MORE political accountability, not less. 

Including the facility to put politicians and civil servants on trial for exceeding their authority.  

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Grammar schools

Owen Jones, writing in the Independent, once again attacks grammar schools:

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/anachronistic-and-iniquitous-grammar-schools-area-blot-on-the-british-education-system-9013626.html

I think he misses the point that although grammar schools may have been a preserve of regional and county professionals (although that is not entirely proven - one 1950s report is very slight evidence) they brought the elite a lot closer to the working class than the present system of hyper-elitist public schools.

The children of doctors, teachers and local government officers may have been middle class, but they would have been familiar with the working class communities they lived among and served, which is why previous decades were more cohesive (more "one nation" if I can use a Disraelian Young England phrase).

With the abolition (largely) of grammar schools and the forced conscription of all state pupils into bog-standard comps that link was lost, and the public schools have swept the board of all professional, political and civil service positions - with the result that we now have an establishment elite that (through no fault of its own) has only a tenuous understanding of socio-economic classes C1, C2, D and E.

Grammar schools are vital to provide much-needed competition to the public schools.

For the record, I went to an appalling comp and left at 16 with almost no qualifications - it took me years to gain qualifications in the evenings while working full time.

Cronyism

Paul Mason has just delivered a report on Channel 4 News about the United Kingdom's fleet of military drones.

Paul Mason Channel 4 News Culture correspondent and yet this was not a culture story.

He is Channel 4 News Digital correspondent and yet this was not a digital story.

Who one wonders is going to be pushed out of Channel 4 News to make way for Paul Mason's carefully choreographed rising star?

Is Faisal Islam for the chop?  Is Jackie Long about to get the boot?  Is Cathy Newman going to be moved aside?

When it comes to cronyism the left looks after its own.
Ben Page, Chief Executive of Ipsos MORI, tells us:  "Concern about immigration and personal finances both now almost level pegging with anxiety about economy."

http://www.ipsos-mori.com/Assets/Docs/Polls/Dec13IssuesIndexSlides.pdf 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A grand total of twenty-four














One doesn't wish to disparage the efforts of these eight individuals, but was this the best that India could do?

A grand total of twenty-four pilots out of a population of 316,000,000.

Are we supposed to be grateful for this?

Is this supposed to "justify" the millions of immigrants coming here after the war (against the wishes of the majority)?

How many Sikh, Muslim and Hindu Indians joined the German and Japanese forces may I ask?
I have looked in vain for holly wreaths that do not include bits of leylandi and plastic flowers (or plastic berries).

I think I will probably have to have them made.

"No evidence average wages depressed" says Jonathan Portes

"Really no evidence average wages depressed" says Jonathan Portes on his Twitter site, commenting about the effects of immigration.

Here he violates one of the primary rules of academic discourse - absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

Of course in a very literal sense he (and Mehdi Hasan and James Bloodworth and all the rest of the lefties piling in to comment) might be right.

Suppose a factory has an annual wage bill of one million pounds over 50 staff (including the owner who pays himself a salary as a tax dodge), paying them an average of £20,000 per annum.

The owner then decides to replace 49 of the staff with cheapo uncomplaining immigrants and just pay them £10,000 per annum and raise his own salary to £510,000.

The number of staff remains the same.  The wage bill of £1 million remains the same.  The average salary remains the same.

Jonathan Portes prances around with his sliderule and tells us immigration has no impact.

Matthew Goodwin learnedly pontificates about "deprivation" for the poor immigrants.

The Labour party lectures us on "vibrant diversity".

You see how this trick is played?

The ethnic peoples bring the deprivation with them

Matthew Goodwin (Associate Professor of Politics at Nottingham University, Fellow of Chatham House, Co-author Revolt on the Right) draws our attention to a graph that tells us "Ethnic minority groups in UK more likely to live in deprived neighbourhoods in 2001 and 2011".

https://twitter.com/GoodwinMJ/status/412879738361741312/photo/1

The implication is that these ethnic people are being crowded into deprived ghettos by a society riddled with institutional racism.

The truth is the reverse.

The ethnic peoples bring the deprivation with them.

As a teenager and into my early twenties I lived in the Dallow ward area of Luton.

Not a wealthy suburb, and not a wealthy town, but Dallow ward was a respectable working class area.

I saw for myself the arrival of waves after waves of BAME immigrants.  Very swiftly the area declined - overcrowding in houses; schools and medical facilities packed (and I mean PACKED) with people who could not speak English; illicit businesses (including two doors from us an all-hours car repair operation in a former front garden hardly bigger than a car); noise all the time; people hanging around the streets at all hours; litter and rubbish everywhere.  House prices fell, so that although the original residents wanted to move away they were effectively trapped as they could not afford housing anywhere else (my parents struggled all their lives to buy their own home, and this happened to them).

Of course, Matthew Goodwin will not have experienced any of this.  As a la-di-da academic his background will be comfortable and middle-class.  To him all this is "vibrant diversity".

http://www.ethnicity.ac.uk/census/CoDE-Deprivation-Census-Briefing.pdf

Monday, December 16, 2013

Discussion on Channel 4 News about the shortage of housing.

No-one mentioned why demand for housing is so acute.

But the fact remains that you cannot allow three million people into the country (2001 to 2011) without giving some thought as to where they are going to live.

Presumably Labour thought:  get the immigrants into the country first and we can work out later where they are going to live.

Slavery in the United Kingdom

Theresa May gave a very sound interview on the Today programme this morning on combating slave trafficking.

Labour were in power for thirteen years and did nothing on this fundamentally important issue.

I suppose they just thought the more immigrants the better, whatever conditions they have to endure.

And still whenever discussing slavery in the United Kingdom the left is saying can we let the illegal immigrants stay anyway.

It's as if immigration is the only aspect they are bothered about.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Curiosities

















At the back of the building we were shown a glass topped cabinet displaying various antiquarian curiosities dug up in the surrounding fields.

Ammonites 190 million years old; Neolithic flint scrapers 6,000 BC; Bronze Age pottery 3,000 BC; Iron Age pottery 100 BC; Roman coins; Anglo-Saxon pottery 420 AD.

Later a walk down a very muddy lane to see the site of a medieval building.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

We made vague unspecified plans to reschedule - the past week at work

Monday

Mud and fog characterised my drive to work.

Effectively I had a day of coasting, doing very little real work.

I sent an e-mail withdrawing my application for a post at Head Office as I do not think I could stand a return to commuting to London.

The afternoon very static.

Tuesday

I woke at 5am and didn't really get back to sleep again. 

When I got to the office I found that Maria B, my visitor from Head Office, had cancelled.  This was a relief as she would have been at the Institute four hours, which is a long time to keep someone interested and entertained.  I called her and we made vague unspecified plans to reschedule.

It was rather a boring day.  There was little to do, and I could not motivate myself to do even that.  Late morning an e-mail from Alec Nussbaum asking me to rattle various cages (his expression).

More freelance work came in, and I wondered if I could find enough to support me if I left the Institute and worked from home.

Wednesday

Not enjoying the cold mornings and the clammy fog.

At 10.30 I went with Tim Watts (Development and Innovation) to a nondescript motorway hotel for a meeting with Callum Smith (outgoing Director) and Vijay Singh (former Director who left us some months ago).  Before Vijay Singh arrived Tim explained that we had to have the meeting at the hotel as Alec Nussbaum will not allow him back in the Institute's offices.  We discussed a campaign that Vijay Singh wants to carry out, using the Institute's network.

I was as critical as possible while still maintaining a surface appearance of co-operation.

Thursday

All my preparation wasted as tomorrow's Management Meeting has been cancelled.

Most of the day I replied to e-mails, looked at reports, collected papers together.

Friday

In the afternoon I travelled up to London to attend a 4 o'clock meeting at planning Head Office.  Anne Boswell-Urquart came into the meeting late eating a bread roll that dripped mayonnaise (she is such a slob) and sat at the back giving us the benefit of her opinions.  I dislike her so much that I couldn't help opposing everything she said.  Rumours circulate that she is to be Director of the Institute if it moves back to London.

Horrible train journey back, and I had to stand the whole way.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Pikey



Why is Jack Dromey MP referring to a "pikey"?

He has laughed it off as a reference to Dad's Army.

Has anyone spoken to Gareth Martin in Erdington Royal Mail Sorting Office and asked him why he is called "pikey"?

In any case, does not using this word (broadcast to the world on Twitter) show a lack of judgment?

The dog in the film The Dambusters is called "Nigger".  It is the fictional name of a black dog.  But would anyone today call their dog such a name, even as a jokey reference to The Dambusters?
Southern Ireland needs to be told, at government level, to stop dumping their unemployed people into the United Kingdom.

The free movement between Southern Ireland and the United Kingdom is an anomoly that needs to be ended (and if that means a proper land border then so be it).

Also the "right" (sic) of these people to automatically vote in British elections.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/unemployed-told-to-leave-ireland-in-desperate-move-to-slash-welfare-costs-9002720.html

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Camilla Schofield's Enoch Powell and the Making of Post-Colonial Britain

Vernan Bogdanor reviews Camilla Schofield's Enoch Powell and the Making of Post-Colonial Britain and tells us "Schofield distinguishes Powellism... from Thatcherism".

In this Camilla Schofield is mistaken - Thatcherism was (indeed, is) the practical and pragmatic application of Powellism, including economic policy (particularly in her first term). 

Vernon Bogdanor is himself mistaken when he says:  "Most of Powell’s prophecies (and in particular his prediction of a racial war in Britain) have proved spectacularly wrong."  Is there not a "racial" war occurring at this very moment?  Otherwise how does Mr Bogdanor account for the statistics related to the many thousands of incidents of racially-motivated violence since 1968 (statistics which are widely regarded as under-reporting the situation).

Of course, such incidents do not touch Mr Bogdanor in his little academic bubble, so perhaps he is not aware of them.

http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2013/12/empire-state-mind

Like a scene from the film Zelig

The Mandela Memorial Service surreal sign-language debacle is on one level very funny.  The whole world seems to be laughing.  It is like a scene from the film Zelig.

But do please bear in mind that the goons and gangsters running the ANC are not known for their sense of humour.  They might think the world is laughing at them.  The poor sign language chap might end up in gaol (or even worse things might happen to him).

He is just someone's relative or crony who has been propelled into the spotlight.

In marketing communications you come across loads of these people.  You might be commissioning a website or a new publication, and you are trying to get the best person for the job.  And then a senior director comes up to you and says:  My wife's nephew is a graphic designer / photographer / website designer and he's really good, so I think we should give him a chance.

Of course, such people are never "really good".  They are usually awful.  And because they are a relative or a crony of someone important you have to put up with them.

That, I guess, is the story of the Memorial sign language interpreter.

Stupid and incompetent, but he does not deserve to be declared an enemy of the state and go the way of Wally Stuttaford.

A literary form

Author and presenter Melvyn Bragg appeared briefly on the Today programme this morning talking about Pliny the Younger.

Perhaps I misheard, but I was sure he said "eruption of Venus" rather than the eruption of Vesuvius described by Pliny the Elder ("eruption of Venus" sounds like a novel by Radclyffe Hall).

But I was intrigued to hear Melvyn Bragg say that Pliny the Younger was innovative in the way he made his letters into a literary form.  And this made me wonder if anyone is using blogs as a literary form.  Indeed, am I perhaps attempting this (in my usual clumsy and inept way) with this very blog.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

I Had a Dove by John Keats



I had a dove and the sweet dove died;


And I have thought it died of grieving:

O, what could it grieve for? Its feet were tied

With a silken thread of my own hand's weaving:

Sweet little red feet! Why should you die —

Why should you leave me, sweet bird? Why?

You lived alone in the forest tree,

Why, pretty thing, would you not live with me?

I kissed you oft and gave you white peas:

Why not live sweetly, as in the green trees?

Economics Editor for Newsnight

Job advertisement for Economics Editor for Newsnight:  http://careerssearch.bbc.co.uk/jobs/job/Economics-Editor/6255

One wonders if they could afford Gillian Tett.

Sneering



Is it really necessary for Independent writer Owen Jones to attack his political opponents on the grounds of how they look?

If Mr Cameron looked young for his age would Owen Jones be sneering that he resembled a 12-year-old?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Let migrants in to top my pizzas, says Dominos boss who is struggling to fill a thousand vacancies:  http://metro.co.uk/2013/12/09/dominos-boss-lance-batchelor-let-migrants-in-to-top-my-pizzas-4224449/

Or you could just pay more Mr Batchelor.

That's the usual way a company attracts employees in a market economy.
The Today programme this morning (BBC Radio 4) said that no European leaders would speak at the Nelson Mandela memorial service held today in Johannesburg.  Is this meant to be a reproach to the Europeans?  If EM Forster were alive today would he sum up the post-1990 European attitude to Mr Mandela as: 

"Here is an African that almost behaved like a gentleman. But for the colour of his face, we might even let him join the club" (I have substituted the word African for the word Indian).

Obvious

I hope Aditya Chakrabortty will forgive me for pointing out the obvious conclusion implicit in his article:


http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/dec/09/britain-now-developing-country-foodbanks-growth?CMP=twt_fd

If the United Kingdom allows immigration of third world people is it not inevitable that it will start to resemble a third world country?

Trenton Oldfield

The moral bankruptcy of the entire asylum appeals process is demonstrated by Trenton Oldfield claiming that he and his family have to seek refuge in the United Kingdom because their human rights would be violated if they returned to Australia:  http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/09/boat-race-protester-trenton-oldfield-wins-appeal-deportation?CMP=twt_gu

The immigration tribunal judge, Kevin Moore, does not seem to be sufficiently educated in world affairs to understand that Australia is not a state in which human rights are violated.

Note also that Trenton Oldfield is comparing the campaigners who supported his cause with the campaigners who demanded the overthrow of apartheid.  Which implies that he is comparing himself to Nelson Mandela.  A farcical note seems to be entering this whole episode (or perhaps the farce has been there right from the start).

And is it not amusing to see all the lefties who were so dismissive of the Boat Race stunt at the time now cheering on his asylum appeal - how quickly the fashions change in left-wing causes célèbres.

Monday, December 09, 2013

Paul Mason's mates

Why did Paul Mason do a report on police behaviour at the Senate House sit-in at Bloomsbury on this evening's Channel 4 News?

He is the Channel 4 News Culture correspondent, but this was not a culture story.

He is the Channel 4 News Digital correspondent, but this was not a digital story.

Am I right in thinking that we are seeing an example of cronyism here?  That Paul Mason was helped into Channel 4 News in the first available vacancy, and is now being eased into increasingly prominent news stories.  Eventually he will presented as their Politics and Economics Editor.

I suppose we cannot blame Paul Mason's mates for wanting to help him get on.

Except that this process is not very transparent, and all sorts of discrimination issues arise.

This is the way the Establishment behaves.  Not very nice is it!   Someone needs to stamp on Paul Mason and his cronies.

The barbaric regime spectrum

Reluctant as I am to encourage more wind-baggery by proto-hagiographers of Nelson Mandela, I was astonished to read Dan Hodges describe the Afrikaner hegemony in South Africa as "one of the most barbaric regimes on the planet".

Even a cursory review of world history in the period 1948 to 1990 must conclude that South Africa was not in the top ten nations on the barbaric regime spectrum.  Not even in the top twenty.  Not even in the top thirty.

Saying such a thing Mr Hodges just makes you appear silly.

But perhaps you are banking on the fact that this week commentators can say any old rubbish in favour of Nelson Mandela and no-one will dare correct them.

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/danhodges/100249725/nelson-mandela-tributes-david-cameron-was-no-friend-of-white-south-africa-but-his-party-was/

Have conditions at Dimbaza improved?

And have you noticed the sanctimoniousness with which anti-apartheid campaigners are now clothing themselves? And the huge numbers of lefties who are jumping on the bandwagon. Presumably during the 1980s Trafalgar Square must have been filled to bursting each and every night to contain all these empathising individuals.

Such is level of revisionism we are now asked to believe that Mr and Mrs Bercow were (in spirit if not fact) among the hand-holding demonstrators outside the South African Embassy, waving their candles and joining in a chorus of We Shall Overcome.

Last Grave at Dimbaza indeed.

Have conditions at Dimbaza improved one jot as a result of Mr Mandela and his legacy?

All you lefties need to get over yourselves.

What did Nelson Mandela do that was so noteworthy?

On a day when the United Kingdom parliament is tied up with flattery and flummery surrounding a deceased person who had a very marginal connection with this country, is it unreasonable to ask what exactly Nelson Mandela did that was so laudable?

Apparently he was someone who could have carried out a "bloodbath", but didn't.

Is it so exceptional, even in Africa, to expect politicians to refrain from slaughtering people?

No doubt the Afrikaners, other European immigrants (including a significant number of Jewish people) and the large Asian community were relieved not to have experienced a "bloodbath".  I am sure the large multi-national companies operating in South Africa are very pleased that their plunder of the economy continues unabated.  On a general level I think we can all be grateful that large numbers of people have not lost their lives.

But what did Nelson Mandela do that was so noteworthy?

Here was someone who could have behaved like a savage but restrained himself?  I don't think that is something especially worth celebrating.  Even in Africa I think we can expect, indeed demand, that politicians do not behave like savages.

He was not a Bokassa.  He was not an Idi Amin.  He was not even a PW Botha.

We might be relieved that he was none of these people, but is it not an indictment of the African continent that a politician who was not a monster is so exceptional that it warrants a special session of the British House of Commons to mark the fact.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Collecting Cultures

Plodding through the Collecting Cultures initiative, is this really the best way of managing an acquisitions policy?

This is trying to make a science out of what must be an art.

And the process is so dense and bureaucratic that it is effectively closed to involvement by non-specialists.

http://www.hlf.org.uk/HowToApply/programmes/Pages/CollectingCultures.aspx#.UqTdzCfF-hp

The Constant Economy by Zac Goldsmith












Have just finished reading The Constant Economy by Zac Goldsmith.

It is a very practical book and full of dozens of proven initiatives that could be put into operation immediately.

This is the kind of Conservative thinking I want to see adopted.

Also I am disgusted that a 1,000-cow factory dairy farm in Powys, Wales has just been approved by the Welsh Government.

Letter about Trenton Oldfield from Oxbridge "dons"

When Theresa May receives this letter (below) about Trenton Oldfield from Oxbridge "dons" she should remember Oxford's snub to Margaret Thatcher on 29th January 1985 and throw the communication into her rubbish bin.

And if Mr Oldfield resists deportation I hope he is tasered.

http://donsspeakout.wordpress.com/latest/

http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/january/29/newsid_2506000/2506019.stm

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Good in a way - the past week at work

Monday

More economies in the office - office supervisor Gladys Y (a fat malevolent presence) has gone.

Very little work to do.  A new Director of the Institute will not be appointed until April at the earliest.  I will have to plan my own work until then (which is good in a way as I can do the projects that interest me instead of just following other people's bland ideas).

Dreary cold weather.

Tuesday

I used the morning to go through a heap of papers that has accumulated.  Some of them go back to Vijay Singh's time, and I just threw these in the bin.  The rest I put into folders and filed away.

Persistent questions to Deputy Director Marcia Walsh revealed that my budget for next year will be the same as this year.  In the absence of a Director I can sign off invoices up to £2k per project.  Anything over that has to be signed off by Alec Nussbaum.

Later in the afternoon an e-mail from the new manager of the small Birmingham office saying he wanted me to continue to do their communications (Peter Whitgift has gone).

Wednesday

I spent the day working with outgoing Director Callum Smith on a presentation he has to give.

Thursday

Nothing much to do today, but it does not bother me unduly.  The period before Christmas is usually quiet. I did some planning for next year, and all the publications for 2014 are going to be on topics that are central to my interests (unless the new Director alters things).

Friday

Alec Nussbaum was at the Institute today and reassured everyone that a move back to London looked very unlikely, mainly because of the high cost of finding new premises (but the rumour is that we are to be slotted into Head Office, so I did not take his statements entirely seriously).

Friday, December 06, 2013

The Lebanese News Agency has published a tribute to Nelson Mandela:

"Mandela became almost one hundred years old, and remained till the last minute a rare piece of brown gold that scintillates over humanity and that presents live examples of the values of forgiveness, reconciliation, the recognition of the other, and inflicting moral and ethical punishment to all the concepts that make the human being a fierce beast struggling for survival with the spirit of domination and revenge."

Perhaps it has lost something in translation.

http://www.nna-leb.gov.lb/en/show-news/17854/
It gets worse:  poet and novelist Ben Okri pays tribute to Nelson Mandela on Newsnight.

Has anyone on Newsnight read The Famished Road? (that's a rhetorical question, as the book is unreadable).

Self-immolated in Tibet

The Tibetan who self-immolated in Tibet during David Cameron's trip to China has died and officials have cremated the body in secret.

http://www.tibetsociety.com/content/view/443
And do please spare me the Reverend Jesse Jackson's tribute on Newsnight.

Boring snoring doesn't even begin to describe this.
And I think I'll give Channel 4 News a miss rather than be confronted with "Jerry Dammers' Spatial AKA Orchestra".
I'm not going to buy a newspaper today.

And probably I won't buy one tomorrow or Sunday.

It's going to be all too predictable.

Unlike when Margaret Thatcher died, and there were some interesting discussions, this is all going to be gush gush gush.

Mandela and the ANC

Hugh Muir writes about Nelson Mandela: a beacon for black Britainhttp://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/dec/06/nelson-mandela-black-britain

In this article he asks the question:  "So Black Britain... revered his life. What can it learn after his death?"

In South Africa an intransigent elite allowed unrestricted immigration against the wishes of the majority.

Mr Mandela and the ANC demonstrated that the only way to stop this unrestricted immigration (which was accumulating all the resources of the country to the detriment of the indigenous majority) was through violence.

Surely there cannot be anything to learn from this Mr Muir?

Perhaps when all the gush and mush has subsided we can see Mr Mandela for what he was.
Already I am bored with all the South African coverage.

It's not as if they are saying anything new.

It's just the same things over and over again.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Enoch Powell was right












One reads the reports of this trial and the conclusions are inescapable - Enoch Powell was right.
















If you don't like it here Goldman Sachs you can fuck off.

And you can forget about ever coming back.
As a former University of London student I am unsettled about the reports of police intervention and arrests in a demonstration at Senate House.

It seems very heavy handed.

Could they not just clear them out without using violence and without arresting them?

Senate House was the model for George Orwell's Ministry of Truth in 1984.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Amazed to read that Trenton Oldfield is still in the country.

He needs to be booted out sharpish.

http://donsspeakout.wordpress.com/2013/12/04/boat-race-protester-threatened-with-deportation/
Whatever the problems faced by the people of Ukraine, someone should tell them that joining the EU is not the answer - they would be swapping one tyranny for another.

The Political Integration of Ethnic Minorities in Britain by Heath, Fisher, Rosenblatt, Sanders and Sobolewska

Review of The Political Integration of Ethnic Minorities in Britain by Heath, Fisher, Rosenblatt, Sanders and Sobolewska:

http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/lsereviewofbooks/2013/12/04/book-review-the-political-integration-of-ethnic-minorities-in-britain/

The review, by Ron Johnston (professor in the School of Geographical Sciences at the University of Bristol) includes the rather telling line:  "Labour has been identified as ‘their’ party by the ethnic minorities (just as it was as the party of the working class in earlier decades)".  I think we already knew that Labour had become the immigrant party.  But it is still rather surprising to find this stated so boldly.

Professor Johnston also seems incurious as to why ethnic minority attitudes include the view:  "...the main positions of their Conservative opponents – particularly with regard to restricting immigration – are viewed negatively."  Why should immigrants be so keen on encouraging other immigrants?  It suggests that they see themselves as part of a revolution to overturn society, not integrate into it.

Which in turn raises the question of which immigrants are being allowed into the country.  If immigration policy was to only allow entry to wealthy families from north America, Australasia and western Europe an analysis of this kind would find they were politically integrated into Conservative voting patterns.  If on the other hand a duplicitous government had been actively encouraging migration into the United Kingdom of Pakistani peasants hey presto! the Labour vote receives a boost.

By not enquiring into the original political activity in their home countries of the ethnic minority communities surveyed Anthony Heath and his colleagues have indulged themselves in a rather pointless exercise and produced a book (256 pages) of no real value.
Isn't Jude Law a bit old to be playing Henry V?

At Agincourt the king was 29, not 41.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

It is very noticable that the people most advocating unrestricted immigration are...

...people who are themselves from immigrant communities and immigrant backgrounds: 

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/columnists/article3933863.ece

And yet Mr Aaronovitch poses as if he is impartial.
Labour's policy of keeping immigrants segregated by their ethnicity and compartmentalised into Labour-voting blocs incentivised by electoral bribes continues today with the formation of 'Sikhs for Labour' under the leadership of former MEP Neena Gill.

Enoch was right

Reading the reports of the trial of Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale the persistent thought goes through my mind:  Enoch was right.

OECD's Pisa 2012 exams

According to OECD's Pisa 2012 exams the United Kingdom is ranked 26th for maths, 23rd for reading, 21st for science.

This has led to anguished calls from what Denis McShane MP calls "the left-lib educational commentariat" that the United Kingdom should do more to emulate the way things are done in Shanghai and Singapore.

One aspect of our system that would not be tolerated in Shaghai or Singapore is the existence of teacher training courses where the academics are ideologically committed to a "comprehensive" template of education regardless of what politicians, parents or taxpayers want.

No would they tolerate a unionised teaching profession which protects (indeed embeds) incompetent teachers and gives them complete job security no matter how lazy or stupid they are.

Monday, December 02, 2013

The Promenade de Verdun

A government press release refers to the sacred soil of the First World War battlefields:  https://www.gov.uk/government/news/flanders-soil-arrives-in-britain

My thoughts went back to the summer when I walked around Purley Garden Estate and saw the Promenade de Verdun which also incorporates sacred soil from a Great War battlefield.















Above:  the Promenade de Verdun was designed by William Webb when he laid out the estate and was intended as a tribute to the fallen French soldiers who died at the Battle of Verdun in 1916.




















Above:  a sign talks about the sacred earth that was brought from France and mixed with British soil as a symbolic foundation for the memorial.















Above:  the avenue of Lombardy poplars stretched off into the distance, the afternoon silent, the summer air fragrant.















Above:  at the end of the promenade was the memorial - a simple obelisk.  Made of granite, so it will endure for centuries.  The sense of peace at this spot was almost overwhelming.
Lots of people jumping on the Tom Daley bandwagon.

I suppose a good journalist can turn anything into money.

Turnip Prize

I am sure that Jon Snow referred to "the Turnip Prize" on Channel 4 this evening.

I am sure that's what he said.

But perhaps I was just projecting onto his words what I wanted him to say.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-25175225
Boris Johnson, by referring dismissively to people with an IQ of 85, may have made the same mistake as Sir Keith Joseph when he called for birth control for social classes 4 and 5.

People don't like this kind of talk.

And in any case, the idea that the Conservative Party would have two Old Etonian leaders in a row is ridiculous.

http://fc95d419f4478b3b6e5f-3f71d0fe2b653c4f00f32175760e96e7.r87.cf1.rackcdn.com/6B8B539B1E9A4FC6A543A22F8002B75E.pdf

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Nineteen Twenty-One by Adam Thorpe
















Have just finished reading Nineteen Twenty-One by Adam Thorpe.

The narrator is a weedy intellectual Oxbridge student called up right at the end of the Great War, the war ending before he is actually posted to the trenches.  Too cowardly to reveal himself as a lefty pacifist, he is injured during basic training, and thus unintentionally acquires the status of a war combatant.  Discharged from the army he retires to a broken down cottage in the Chilterns to write what he hopes will be the defining war novel.

Except that the drafts he produces are rubbish, inauthentic and pretentious.

Realising he needs inspiration he goes on an organised tour of the battlefields, which in 1921 still have much of the detritus of war in place.  Thousands of others are also visiting the former trenches, looking for the graves of family killed in the war.  The narrator falls pathetically in love with a young woman looking for the grave of her brother, and has a sordid affair with a middle-aged German woman looking for the grave of her son.

Throughout the novel characters appear who illustrate some aspect of the First World War - a farm labourer whose genitals have gone (and drops his trousers for a fee); a Chinese worker in France who shows him the "hand of General Haig" (in a deep dugout a skeletal hand that protrudes from the mud wall); a vast ossuary filled with unknown bones and open to the public who line up, dressed in black mourning clothes, to visit what might possibly be the remains of someone they once loved.

"We've still got it in the bone, the war.  It went too deep.  It's still in there, right in there, inside.  Right in the marrow.  Even those who are getting born, now, it's in them too."

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Incoherent

Ian Birrell writes an incoherent article about immigration in today's Guardian:  http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/nov/29/end-gutter-debate-britains-immigration-policy

The hostile climate to immigration today has been caused precisely because for decades the establishment having been showing "leadership" by ignoring the democratic will of the ordinary people (in every test of opinion since 1945 the overwhelming majority have said they want immigration to stop).

You do not have to talk to many people to gauge the exasperation and anger that politicians still don't get the message.

What is it going to take Mr Birrell?

How far do you and the rest of the smug self-satisfied elite intend to provoke the people?

Or perhaps you think you can provoke the people as much as you like as they will never turn on you?

"Sordid", "stinking", "rancid" - these are all words I would use about your article Mr Birrell.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Jackie Long on Channel 4 News is usually a professional and competent interviewer.

But this evening when she talked to someone who had made a film about House music she came across as very wooden.

The teenage interviewee was saying "whatever" out loud, but you could see that the same sentiment was going through Jackie Long's mind.

Sweeteners

Article in The Independent by Jenny Pennington writing about foreign students in the United Kingdom:  http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/immigration-stats-are-bad-news-for-the-government-but-worse-news-for-britain-8970577.html

The giveaway line is "Sweeteners include the ability to stay on in the country to gain work experience for a few years or to support themselves by working alongside their studies."

Sweeteners indeed.

What these colleges and universities were effectively saying under Labour was: "bung us several thousand pounds and sit through our courses for a few years and we will sell you British citizenship at the end of it".

This went on for years under Labour.

A rotten and corrupt and evil government.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Skedaddle




















"Seeking refuge is not a crime" says Ellie Mae O'Hagan (Centre for Labour and Social Studies).

What would have happened in the Second World War if, instead of organising to fight tyranny, huge numbers of the British population just ran away and sought "refuge" in America?  If in occupied France the Resistance stopped resisting and crept away to Quebec?  If in occupied Poland the freedom fighters left the forests and sneaked away to some neutral country where they insisted on their right to "refuge"?

The vast majority seeking "refuge" in the United Kingdom should be back in their own countries fighting for a better life for everybody.

Not practising an I'm-alright-jack me-first-sod-the-others skedaddle to a cushy "refuge" in the West.
Thank goodness Theresa May is in the Cabinet and able to talk sense on this issue: 

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/politics/5291652/immigration-britain-eu-soared-past-year.html

A lie by Heather Rolf

Referring to an article about immigration (by Malcolm James and Naaz Rashid) Heather Rolf, Researcher at NIESR, writes on her Twitter page "In 2004 migrants were largely welcomed to the UK. Now xenophobia is shaping the debate."

This is a lie by Heather Rolf.

She cannot produce any evidence from 2004 (or any other year post-1945) showing that the ordinary people welcomed migrants, despite many surveys on the subject being commissioned.

You are a liar, Ms Rolf.  You have no business passing yourself off as a serious researcher.  And by telling such an absurd lie you have rather made a fool of yourself.

The article by Malcolm James and Naaz Rashid:  http://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/malcolm-james-naaz-rashid/romanian-and-bulgarian-migrants-it%E2%80%99s-not-immigration-but-xenoph

The severity of neurological experiments on monkeys

On the Today programme this morning the issue of experiments on animals was discussed, and Dr Jarrod Bailey told us "the severity of neurological experiments on monkeys has been routinely underestimated."

The solution would be to require live broadcasting (available on the web) of all experiments on animals as a condition of the licences for such experiments.

One can say with a fair degree of certainty that the experiments would then come under immediate democratic scrutiny and control.

The same requirement of live broadcasts could be applied to abbatoirs - an area which has a dubious record in humane treatment of animals.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Jon Snow interviewed the Romanian ambassador on Channel 4 News this evening, discussing the migration of Roma people from the Balkans to the United Kingdom.

And yet he failed to ask about persecution of the Roma in Romania.

Rubbishy journalist is he not?

David Cameron is destined to achieve greatness

The Today programme led this morning with the news that David Cameron is to seek to curb the free movement of people in the EU.



Financial Times:  http://www.ft.com/cms/s/add36222-56be-11e3-ab12-00144feabdc0,Authorised=false.html?_i_location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ft.com%2Fcms%2Fs%2F0%2Fadd36222-56be-11e3-ab12-00144feabdc0.html%3Fsiteedition%3Duk&siteedition=uk&_i_referer=http%3A%2F%2Ft.co%2FfkqgJ7zIb0#axzz2lpwe6JUG


A few weeks ago Andrew Rawnsley wrote in the Observer a rather slighting article about the supposed vacuity of David Cameron's premiership:  http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/nov/17/david-camerons-convictions  


I have never doubted that David Cameron is destined to achieve greatness.    He will seek, in good faith, to negotiate with the EU to achieve those objectives desired by the ordinary people (an end to free movement and the dumping of surplus labour in the United Kingdom; an end to "ever closer union"; an end to arbitrary "directives" imposed without the agreement of the Westminster parliament).  He will meet obdurate opposition and the talks will break down.  He will call a referendum on the EU and will go down in history as the Prime Minister who reaffirmed our sovereignty and led us out and into the world.  


I am not opposed per se to the idea of EC membership (EU is going too far) but in the unlikely event that the negotiations are successful and are approved by the electorate I think we need to introduce the safeguard of a principle of continuing assent to membership, with a scheduled referendum every ten years. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Kenan Malik on the subject of diversity and immigration

Article by Kenan Malik on the subject of diversity and immigration:

http://kenanmalik.wordpress.com/2013/11/25/in-defence-of-diversity/

In 2,785 words he does not once mention the democratic right of the majority to decide who they share their country with.

And yet this is the key to the whole issue of immigration.  Get democratic consent for immigration Mr Malik and you can have as much as you want.  The counter argument is that without democratic consent none of the immigration that has occurred in the post-war period is legitimate, including Mr Malik your own arrival and continued residency in this country (I hope you will forgive me for being so personal, but you have been highly provocative in your article and I wanted to be equally provocative).

Quoting examples of Victorian and Edwardian immigration is irrelevant as the United Kingdom was only a partial democracy, and the ordinary people were unable to control who came into the country.

The disgrace has been the post-Second World War period when every test of public opinion has said NO to immigration and it yet it continues to happen, and the bogus argument advanced that this is just some elemental force that no-one can control (German military "immigration" into the United Kingdom in the period 1939 to 1945 was very successfully controlled - indeed, absolutely stopped).
Interviewed on the Today programme this morning Nicola Sturgeon told us that negotiations between an independent Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom would be guided by what was best for all parties.

It is ironic that a nationalist should advance this opinion.

Ms Sturgeon should know, as a nationalist, that nationalism is not guided by rationality.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Charles Robert Watkins



















Intriguing memorial in burnished brass to a soldier who died in the Great War.

At the top we see the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet together with a laurel wreath.

Below these symbols is the text:
 
In Loving Memory of Charles Robert Watkins, born Sept 29th 1891, killed in action on the Belgian Frontier Feb 3rd 1915.  He, being made perfect in a short time, fulfilled a long time.


How should we decode this commemorative tablet?

The Greek letters represent Alpha and Omega, a symbol for the eternity of God.  Within this eternity is placed a laurel wreath, symbolic of victory.  The brass plaque is saying that the victorious death of Charles Watkins will be hallowed for all time.

The Belgian frontier in February 1915 was where the German Schlieffen Plan finally failed when confronted by the French army and the British Expeditionary Force – the date indicates that Charles Watkins was not a conscript but a volunteer.

The line of scripture (“He, being made perfect in a short time, fulfilled a long time”) is from the Apocrypha, a non-doctrinal book of the Bible.  It means that we should not judge the value of a person’s life by how long they have lived, but by how much virtue they have possessed.  Charles Watkins was so virtuous (so the memorial tells us) that he should be considered perfect.

There is no indication who commissioned this memorial but one supposes it was his parents (it could have been a wife, but a wife would presumably have chosen other qualities than virtuous perfection; it could have been a comrade, but the “perfection” descriptor seems too intimate for that).

“Perfection” is of course an ambiguous definition to make of a young man of 23.

Moral perfection?  Physical perfection?  Perfectly loyal?  Perfectly courageous?  Perfect as a fighter?  Perfect as a (perhaps sublimated) lover?

We don’t know – although perhaps he was all of these things.

There is also a hint of bitterness in the choice of religious text.

As the casualties mounted into hundreds of thousands there was a feeling that the best of the population was being slaughtered and that as a result the country would fall into the hands of the second-rate or third-rate (the cowards, the war profiteers, the pacifists, the disloyal, the communists, the foreign aliens, the likers of atonal music, the writers of defeatist poetry, the daubers of abstract paintings etc).

“He, being made perfect in a short time, fulfilled a long time” comes from the so-called Wisdom of Solomon.

The parents of Charles Watkins were obviously deeply religious to have chosen such an obscure quotation from the scriptures.  They did not choose one of the more traditional epitaphs.  Instead they went for a line from an eschatological sequence.

The section it is taken from goes on to say: “Thus the righteous that is dead shall condemn the ungodly who are living”.

And then it delivers a terrible warning about what is going to happen to the seditious elements of society:  “God shall laugh them to scorn; and they shall hereafter be a vile carcass, and a reproach among the dead for evermore. For He shall rend them and cast them down headlong, that they shall be speechless; and He shall shake them from the foundation; and they shall be utterly laid waste and be in sorrow, and their memorial shall perish.”

As an implicit curse against the filthy forces of modernism this seems fairly strong.

And as a curse it came to nothing, for as we know, the seditious elements of society have more or less triumphed in every sphere.
The Falkirk Report will never be published voluntarily apparently.  "If the report is published, then the general secretary and Ed’s office will have some impossible questions to answer" says Atul Hatwal on the Labour Uncut website.  It needs a whistleblower to put this secretive report into the public demesne.

http://labour-uncut.co.uk/2013/11/25/the-real-reason-labour-will-never-publish-the-falkirk-report/#more-17520 

The same thousand-generation claim that Neil Kinnock made

"Scratch the surface of any Briton and you will find a migrant" says Sarah Wollaston MP (a Tory MP) writing in the Guardian http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/nov/25/cameron-hysteria-grasp-nettle-immigration

This is an offensive thing to say. 

There are no migrants in my family Ms Wollaston.

Just as Neil Kinnock can refer to a thousand generations of his family, so I can refer to a thousand generations of my family, settled in England, probably not moving more than fifty miles every five hundred years.

Indeed, scratch the surface of any Briton and most of them can make the same thousand-generation claim that Neil Kinnock made.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

How is it possible to have 20,000 vacancies in the NHS with so many people unemployed?

What is wrong with our education system that we are not producing young people ready to fill these vacancies?

Just remind me please how many billions we waste on lazy teachers, incompetent careers advisers, snooty port-swilling higher education lecturers who think they don't have to make an effort.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/nhs-hospitals-send-overseas-for-nurses-before-winter-crisis-8959790.html

Plaques



















I am mesmerised by the website www.english-heritage.org.uk/discover/blue-plaques/
and find myself planning my journeys through London with reference to the plaques along the way.

The Liquid Continent by Nicholas Woodsworth















Have just finished reading The Liquid Continent by Nicholas Woodsworth.

It is a travel book - the authors meandering journey from Alexandria to Syria to Venice to Istanbul.  It was a book I was looking forward to reading, inspired by a review in the Daily Telegraph by Stephen McClarence (the cutting dated 8th March 2008, so it has taken me a long time to get round to it).  But ultimately I found the book disappointing - perhaps no book could live up to five years of anticipation.

The premise of the book is flawed - that the Mediterranean has created a cultural affinity among the cities and ports on its shores that transcends nationalities.  This is a sort of reverse Pirenne thesis (Pirenne argued that the Mediterranean world was united until the Arab invasions of the Middle East and North Africa).  This flaw would not matter if there were not more profound let-downs in the book.

The Alexandria section is excellent, and the subsequent journey to Syria superbly uncomfortable (both physically and emotionally).  But his arrival in Venice leads to pages describing episodes that seem to have been generated by the equivalent of the local chamber of commerce - dull people on yachts, dull delivery teams, dull museum personnel.  The Instanbul section is little better - dull trips on boats, dull custodians, dull fishermen.

One suspects that the author has been very careful not to offend any of the people he has met and named, and thus we have one-dimensional portraits that are inoffensive but also very boring.

Also it is an endurance to have to read about the author's wife.  She may be beautiful and charming and intelligent.  But the author is hardly an impartial witness, so he should have left all this out.

And the chapter endings each have an irritating tease of the "little did I know what was to happen next" variety.  One or two might be relevant.  But every single chapter is a bit predictable, and one gets the impression that the author added them in after the first draft.

Anyway, I did like parts of it. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

We both agreed it was outrageous - the past week at work

Monday

Grey damp start to the week.

Most of the time I wrote copy for yet another new publication.

'Phone call from Alec Nussbaum complaining that I had not written up the sessions from the AGM and training days.  The recording equipment had failed on two occasions so that the only record of these sessions are the notes I made.  As these notes were made for my own private reference it is a cheek for Alec Nussbaum to order me to type them up and circulate them (although of course I did not say this).

Marcia Walsh (Deputy Director) showed my the payoff that had been given to Vijay Singh (former Director).  We both agreed it was outrageous.  "It stinks" said Innovation Manager Tim Watts.

Tuesday

I can't say anything about this day I'm afraid.

Wednesday

Recently I have been putting my papers into a draw each evening so that my desk would be clear for the cleaners.  The difficulty is that I never get a chance to get them out again, given the amount of urgent work that has to be dealt with instantly.  Thus I was appalled when I went through the draw this morning and found lots of projects that are behind schedule.

I encouraged Marcia Walsh to complain to the Head Office legal department about the Singh payoff.

In the afternoon I worked on a controversial project - responsibility for anything to do with this campaign is becoming a game of pass the parcel.

News that a senior person from Head Office is to visit the Institute tomorrow, and this made several people (including myself) uneasy, as a move back to London would be very problematic.

Thursday

Simon C (Campaign Manager) came to my desk and expressed concerns about the imminent arrival of Peter J from Head Office - or the Head Office honcho as he described him.

Peter J duly arrived and most of the morning the Campaign managers were in a meeting with him.

To avoid the tension I went out at lunchtime, walking through the cold drizzle down to the mall to have a cup of coffee in Whittards.

Back to my desk where I worked on various small tasks.

At 4 o'clock all the staff were gathered together for an announcement by Peter J.  He told us that the Institute as presently constituted was too expensive and that a complete review of operations would have to be made.  News that Simon C had "resigned" this morning and had left immediately.

Marcia Walsh told me that she had raised with Peter J the issue of Vijay Singh's payoff, and had been told that it was effectively to buy his silence.  Also that current Director Callum Smith would have to be paid off (he is supposed to have resigned, but it is open knowledge that he has been pushed out).  It is these payouts that have put the Institute's finances into the red, and basically we are paying for Alec Nussbaum's inability to work with people.

Before he left Peter J told me to "keep up the good work", so at least he knows who I am.

Friday

As a result of the cost-cutting announced yesterday a number of projects have been cancelled. 

I suppose it would not be the end of the world if I had to look for another job.
I am puzzled why Labour are making such a big deal over Lynton Crosby.

The name hardly registers among the electorate.  Ask most people who Lynton Crosby is and they cannot tell you.  Ask politicos what image comes into their mind when you mention the name Lynton Crosby and they usually draw a blank.

The guy is not prominent enough for the voters to get bothered about him.

For Labour's "crosbyisation" strategy to work they have to make him a tangible figure in the minds of ordinary people.  And I can't see them doing it.  He's too boring (I mean that in a positive way) for people to get worked up about.

But if Labour want to squander the remaining eighteen months going down a cul-de-sac who am I to complain.

From Nick Sutton:  https://twitter.com/suttonnick/status/404343467830034432/photo/1/large
Watching Dateline London earlier today (the discussion admirably led by Carole Walker) they discussed the Flowers Co-Op scandal (Flowersgate?  Co-Opgate?  Snorting-fleecing-bungling-gate?).

Thomas Kielinger from Die Welt said "This is the sort of thing that happens in third world countries".

Abdul Bari-Atwan from Al Quds Al Arabi said (about the Reverend Flowers) "This is the cream of the Labour Party".

My goodness, what must the world think of us.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03k5z00


Here the Rev Flowers tells us he met Ed Balls (more than once):  http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/treasury/TC%206-11-13.pdf  How many meetings were there?  What did they talk about? (the Rev Flowers says they did not talk about the Co-Op banking operations, so what did they talk about?  - donations to the Labour party?  - the Flowers view of Labour policy development?).
My view is that Attorney General Dominic Grieve has done the country a great service by speaking out.

Perhaps now others will feel able to speak, despite the inevitable chorus of racist, racist, racist.

And the report when it is published will be like a bomb going off.

And of course, of course Dominic Grieve is sorry if any offence has been caused.  We should all be sorry if any offence has been caused.  But these things need to be said, otherwise democracy becomes entirely devalued.

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown has just said on Twitter:  "Brit Asian political corruption is bad" and then tries to justify it by saying other groups are also corrupt (as if two wrongs make a right).  But at least she has admitted publicly that British Asians are corrupt.  Rather makes a mockery of all those white people saying Dominic Grieve should apologise.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Daniel Trilling, writing an introduction to the New Humanist magazine

Daniel Trilling, writing an introduction to the New Humanist magazine, tells us:

"... in our new-look quarterly format, we want to provide a space where people from different backgrounds, with different life experiences, can come together and discuss the kind of society we’d like to build. As Kenan Malik argues in his cover story for our Winter 2013 issue, age-old fears about “alien” cultures have been given a new lease of life by globalisation, under which the old political certainties have been eroded and identity politics have thrived. In Britain at least, the political consensus that “too much” diversity is a bad thing has become so stifling that dissenting voices are fast becoming marginalised."

Here we can see, in one paragraph, all that is wrong with rationalism (sic), immigration and diversity.

It supposes that there is only one "rational" view of things (in this respect Mr Trilling resembles Ayn Rand with her atheist objectivist certainties).

Note the patronising assumption that opposition to immigration and alien cultures is based on "fears".

Presumably it has not occurred to Daniel Trilling and his rationalist colleagues that opponents to immigration have looked at the issue calmly, intelligently, indeed rationally, and come to the conclusion that they do not want it (and that "not wanting immigration" is a democratic right that they can choose to have enforced).

Also note the breathtaking arrogance with which Mr Trilling describes his ambition:  "...we want to provide a space where people from different backgrounds, with different life experiences, can come together and discuss the kind of society we’d like to build."

"The kind of society we'd like" has already been built Mr Trilling.  It was constructed organically over the last one thousand five hundred years.  The validity and desirability of this society can be gauged by the countless millions of people all over the world clamouring to come here.

Of course, humanists when they reject God do not become "rational" atheists.  They simply substitute themselves for God, and place themselves at the centre of the universe.  Thus Daniel Trilling's desire to play God and rebuild society.