Thursday, October 31, 2013

I will probably leave about one o'clock and hope to get there about five.

If you are there before me start to set things up.

I have plans for what we can do in our session on the Saturday.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Over two hundred thousand Roma

Report on Channel Four News this evening that over two hundred thousand Roma have entered the country in the last ten years.

TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND !!!

To say that I am angry about this is an understatement.

But one must keep calm.

And assert politely but firmly that none (NONE) of these Roma have any legitimate status here, and will never have any legitimate status here whatever the self-serving lying politicians may say.

Indeed, let me talk directly to the Roma community:

  1. You are here without my agreement.
  2. I do not want to share my country with you.
  3. I would like you to leave.
http://www.channel4.com/news/immigration-roma-migrants-bulgaria-romania-slovakia-uk 

Secondary sources


Owen Jones tells the world (via Twitter) that his forthcoming book is based on interviews, not secondary sources.

That will be an improvement on Chavs, as out of 213 references in the book 127 (60%) were references to press clippings.

http://afroml.blogspot.co.uk/2011/07/chavs-by-owen-jones.html

"Cultural Catholicism"

Is it not alarming the way in which the Labour Party is targetting immigrant communities and making implied promises that society will be tailored towards them if they vote Labour?

Baroness Margaret McDonagh (General Secretary of the Labour Party from 1998 to 2001, and her sister is Siobhain McDonagh MP for Mitcham and Morden) was talking to a largely Irish audience at a meeting organised by Progress at London Irish Centre in Camden yesterday:  http://www.progressonline.org.uk/event/campaign-for-a-labour-majority-how-can-labour-win-a-mandate-in-2015-with-lpis/




                             












 


What does Margaret McDonagh mean by the extensive involvement of "cultural Catholicism"? (Is this code for Labour policy towards the monarchy?  Is it a hint about Labour policy towards Northern Ireland?  Is it an indication of Labour's policy on the Establishment of the Church of England?).  

Why does Labour talk officially about integration of migrants, and yet unofficially is telling migrant communities they are special and can expect special treatment in terms of "social political outlook"?  

There is more of this sectarian gerrymandering planned by the Labour Party aimed at Asian, Chinese and Jewish migrant communities:  http://labourmajority.org.uk/events/upcoming/#.UkrOdn-eb_Y  

This should be seen in the context of overwhelming levels of immigration, including an open-door policy under the last Labour government.  

The Conservative Party needs to wake up and see what is happening here.  In particular we must end the ability for Irish Republic and Commonwealth incomers to vote in British elections.  Otherwise what has happened to the Republican Party in America is going to happen to us.  

It does not take many immigrants per marginal constituency to turn the seat Labour, especially if individuals such as Baroness McDonagh are going round promising them the earth if they only vote Labour.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Without socialism the "left" is nothing

Although Marko Attila (sic) Hoare is correct in this Guardian article to point to the ideological bankruptcy of the left, he is less sure in trying to analyse the right:  http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/29/what-does-left-wing-mean-redistribution-wealth?CMP=twt_gu

Left-wing must mean socialism, the collective principle applied to society, but socialism has become discredited.

Without socialism the "left" is nothing, therefore their descent into self-doubt and increasing irrelevance.

The right on the other hand has a complete programme for society - Christian, monarchist, nationalist (mildly), traditionalist (of course), family-orientated, self-reliant, venerating private property, valuing individual liberty.

This all comes as a package, for instance it would be difficult (if not impossible) to have a Conservative society without Anglicanism (however lefty the clerics get). 

Marko Hoare sees none of this, and tells us the only dividing line is one of economics - which seems a very marxist way of looking at the situation.

I also suspect that Mr Hoare confuses Conservatives with libertarians (they are very different).

But the failure of ideological leftism is a tribute to the strength of Conservatism.

Increasingly the left (by which we must mean the Labour Party) is reduced to crying "me too (but slightly differently)" to the Conservative vision of society.

It is nonsense to talk about a civic national identity

It is a mistake for Sunder Katwala to talk about "civic national identity" in reference to what he calls "Englishness".

English identity predates cities and was already fully formed centuries before any civic identity emerged, therefore it is anachronistic to say that urban-dwelling people are English in any cultural sense of the word.

Indeed if you look at any large city in England you will see that well over half the urban area is not "city" at all, but suburbia - urban areas pretending to be rural (with half-timbered mock-Tudor houses, trees along all the roads, pubs pretending to be country inns etc).

London has more parks and open green spaces than any other European capital, and it is a cliche to describe it as a collection of villages.  Even so, surveys of Londoners routinely report that a majority aspire to moving out of the city to the countryside.  Many achieve this aspiration through buying second homes.

Therefore it is nonsense to talk about a civic national identity. 

The majority of the population may live in the urban areas but this is through necessity, not choice.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/28/liberals-englishness-flags-national-holidays 

Monday, October 28, 2013

As a former student and member of ULU I agree with Stella Creasy MP that the ULU decison to ban participation in Remembrance Sunday is shameful:

http://london-student.net/news/10/28/ulu-will-represented-remembrance-service/



Very interesting article on immigration by Simon Danczuk, Labour MP for Rochdale:  http://uk.news.yahoo.com/comment/talking-politics/left-must-tough-immigration-094547516.html#F5wNSfH

A very mealy-mouthed compromise




Helen Lewis (New Statesman) was not wearing a poppy when she appeared on Sunday Politics yesterday.

However she disguised this fact by wearing a very busy dress of red flowers on a dark background, so most people will not have noticed.

This seems a very mealy-mouthed compromise.

Either she is a socialist red in tooth and claw protesting against the militarism of the imperial British state.

Or she is a running dog revisionist of the new bourgeoisie, betraying the revolutionary masses with her cowardly compromises.

One cannot run with the fox and hunt with the hounds Ms Lewis.

Vote-rigging in the Falkirk constituency

It's all kicking off again at Falkirk:  http://labourlist.org/2013/10/could-miliband-re-open-the-falkirk-selection-inquiry/

Thousands of compromising e-mails are being released to the police by Grangemouth owner Ineos.  The Unite union organiser Stevie Deans was stupid enough to carry out vote-rigging in the Falkirk constituency using his work e-mail!  He and Unite are well and truly busted.

As the e-mails belong to Ineos, perhaps when the police are finished with them they could be put on a website for us all to have a look?

And when is the Labour Party report on Falkirk finally going to be published?

Jo Brand needs a bloody big boot up her fat arse

No mercy should be shown to Jo Brand.

Remember what she did to Carol Thatcher?

Those who live by the sword should die by the sword.

Jo Brand needs a bloody big boot up her fat arse - one that kicks her off broadcast media for good.

Anyway she's a tired old 90s act in a tired old 90s format show.  All this dated stuff needs to go.  Thank you and goodnight, as they say.

I note that Stella Creasy MP was trying to defend Jo Brand yesterday on Twitter yesterday.  This will not do.  You can imagine the outcry if someone said Stella Creasy was a druggie.

And perhaps the BBC might consider how much damage this sort of incident does to their reputation.  I speak as a friend of the BBC.  And yet I will not defend the licence fee when this sort of thing happens.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2477780/BBC-accused-defaming-Prince-Harry-Jo-Brands-cocaine-joke.html

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Beaufort by Ron Leshem
















Have just finished reading Beaufort by Ron Leshem.  I picked this book up on impulse, attracted by the reference to Beaufort Castle, a mysterious crusader fortress in southern Lebanon (mysterious because very few historians can get a close look at it).  It's a work of fiction, but based on real events - the experiences of a garrison of soldiers from the Israeli Defence Force.

There's actually very little about the castle in the book - the soldiers are stationed at a modern concrete fort built beside the ancient structure.  Written in the first person, the novel recounts the last months of the IDF garrison before withdrawal from southern Lebanon.  Claustrophobic, alarming, often gross.

Israel-Palestine is an issue I can never make up my mind on.  You listen to one side and it sounds utterly just and convincing, then you listen to the other side and it sounds equally just and convincing.  So you are left with the impression that both sides are in the right (which means also that both sides are in the wrong).

Beaufort the novel revealed that Israel is a state under constant attack, and pays a heavy price to maintain its security.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

I am finding that no-one stops me

Monday

I kept myself busy during the morning with lots of little tasks and also replying to e-mails from Head Office.  But in truth had I chosen to do nothing, no-one would have bothered me so lax is Director Callum Smith.  I have also begun initiating campaigns myself, without any reference to the Institute's overall policy, and I am finding that no-one stops me (if anything, the rest of the team seem glad that someone is taking a lead).

Tuesday

Callum Smith and myself met with a ideas-generator sent down from Head Office.  As you might expect, he was an extrovert know-it-all.  Abi Reed (Surveys Manager) and Tim Watts (Innovation Manager) were also in this meeting.

I sat at my usual place at the Board table, and the meeting under Callum Smith was much more gentlemanly than the former blue sky meetings held by Vijay Singh (when he would cover the white boards with incomprehensible scribble).  The meeting marred however by the ideas-generator who would not stop talking!  He ruined his case through over-talking so that the whole meeting turned against him and we just wanted him gone.

Wednesday

Bored this morning, I composed an e-mail questionnaire and sent it out to one of the key databases and within minutes the most astonishing responses came back so that I felt I had a genuine insight.  I briefly wondered whether I should involve anyone else and decided to keep it to myself and work on it until someone told me to stop.  In the afternoon I drafted a factsheet based on the research and asked the admin team to duplicate it and send it out to a list of opinion-formers.

Thursday

I have been asked to write another short story, dramatising one of Head Office's initiatives.  I find this sort of work very easy, and wrote one and a half thousand words in about three hours.  When I looked it over later I felt it didn't need any revising so I just pinged it off to Alec Nussbaum.

The system down again - whenever this happens I am just stuck and can't get on with anything.

In the afternoon I worked on my report for the management meeting tomorrow.  The upper floor was deserted with only myself and Jutta the German receptionist in the office.  Jutta is full of surprises - she played Saint Saens Sampson et Delilah on YouTube at full volume.

Friday

Gary (assistant in the Reading Room) is ill with food poisoning, and Matthew (other assistant in the Reading Room)  complaining that he cannot keep up with all of the Head Office requests for articles and newspaper cuttings.  Deputy Director Marcia Walsh told him he would be able to find things easier if the shelves were not in such a mess.  Matthew is one of the dullest people imaginable, and yet he is supposed to be having an affair with Jutta (who must be ten years older than him).

All the management team assembled at 10am for the Management Meeting, the first since September.  Callum Smith began the meeting by telling us that he was standing down as Director, as soon as a replacement could be found.  The individual reports were rather subdued after such an announcement.

Lunchtime a buffet meal was brought in, the food not terribly nice.

I went to my desk and checked my e-mails.  Katie in Accounts (a spiteful sloaney young woman with blonde hair and blue eyes) was mocking Stuart, a temp working in the warehouse while Gary is away.  He is too shy to talk to her - tongue-tied and obviously wanting to get away from her.

St George's church in Goltho

I am shocked by the destruction of St George's church in Goltho a few days ago.

It was a beautiful building, one I visited with my late mother and late aunt about ten years ago - late summer, late afternoon, long grass turned brown by the sun, peaceful meadows, still interior, silence that has stayed with me.

Of course, it must be rebuilt.

It MUST be rebuilt.

http://www.thisislincolnshire.co.uk/Charity-s-pledge-protect-church-destroyed/story-19989623-detail/story.html#axzz2irNd6gwe

Friday, October 25, 2013

NO GLORY in War 1914 - 1918

An organisation which calls itself "NO GLORY in War 1914 - 1918" has its Campaign Launch this evening, 7.30pm at St James's Church in Piccadilly.

Billy Bragg is one of the performers at this concert, which perhaps gives you an indication of what political ideology underpins this organisation.  Jeremy Corbyn MP will also be at the event.  Supporters of NO GLORY in War 1914 - 1918 include Ken Loach, Tony Benn, Vanessa Redgrave, Ken Livingstone, Walter Wolfgang (famous for being thrown out of the Labour Party conference for heckling Jack Straw) and The Pogues.

What is going on here one might ask.

Why is the left mobilising a hard core of socialists and an assortment of luvvie celebrities (Jude Law, Carol Ann Duffy, Simon Callow) to campaign against people they accuse of "glorying" in the idea of war?

Their aim is, of course, seditious.  It is to make people feel uncomfortable about the British victory in the First World War.  It is to imply that the honour and glory due to the British participants in the Great War somehow equates to glorying in the idea of war itself.

This is a bogus and dishonest argument.

They would be more honest, and perhaps command more respect, if they just campaigned as an anti-war organisation without any of the fol de rol Oh What A Lovely War prancing and posing (as if anyone would believe The Pogues were impartial about the British military!).

But what of the specific idea of glory as related to the First World War?

We need to go back to the war and its immediate aftermath to see whether the participants and their families regarded the national struggle as glorious.

The Cenotaph in Whitehall specifically says the dead of the Great War are glorious, and this sentiment is echoed on hundreds of thousands of other memorials across the country.

Consider this memorial to Charles Winckley, killed while leading an attack in France on 20th July 1916:



Here we see the twenty-two year old Captain Winckley climbing from his trench on the front line.  In his right hand he brandishes a gun, in his left hand he holds up a swagger stick, presumably as a signal for others to follow.  Above him angels make exultant gestures (note the delicate gothic tracery that frames this heroic scene).  He is clearly rushing towards his death ("into cleanness leaping" as Rupert Brooke might say).  The face, despite the moustache, is the face of a boy and is obviously copied from a photograph.  Waiting for him, beyond the symbolic mullion of the gothic window, is the martyr's crown of glory.

On one level this is of course just make-believe.  Charles Winckley's death was probably messy (both bloody and muddy) and painful.  He was probably frightened and nervous when he jumped up onto the edge of the trench and ran towards the German guns.

But his parents (his parents please note) wanted him to be remembered with glory.

Who are we to deny their child his glory, even at the distance of a hundred years?

Vulgarity always speaks for itself

An interesting discussion about the position of women in society on the Today programme this morning was rather marred by the lustful lip-smacking way in which Cherie Blair pronounced the word "pregnant" several times.

The fecundity of Mr and Mrs Blair is not an image I wish to dwell in the morning or indeed at any time of the day.

It is not my intention to accuse Cherie Blair of being vulgar (vulgarity always speaks for itself).

But I feel it would have been more seemly for her to have said "when I was with child", especially when talking on BBC Radio.

Coal

I only saw a little of Question Time last night, but I was heartened to see Peter Hitchens advocating a return to coal.

The United Kingdom has coal reserves to last two hundred years.

It is mad that we are not using that coal to produce cheap and plentiful electricity.

And I do not accept that burning coal is inevitably "dirty".  It must be possible to design coal-burning power stations that do not producing damaging emissions.  It's a technological challenge that can be solved.

PS I know it is rude to make personal remarks, but Independent writer Owen Jones does seem to be putting on weight.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Lively debate on Channel 4 News just now on the topic of Islamic dress.

The audience especially seemed animated.

http://www.channel4.com/news/catch-up/
Richard Nicholl (Second-year law student at Emmanuel College, Cambridge) seems typical of those musing aloud this afternoon:  "Ultimately though we'll soon have to figure out a way to sustain a population where automation renders most people surplus to requirements."

The answer to this is simple - a share-owning democracy in which individuals and families are sustained by the dividends from the shares they own (with payment for all employment being a mixture of cash and shares).

But what to do about the public sector?

The average salary of Labour Party employees is £43,000

And can it possibly be true that the average salary of Labour Party employees is £43,000 ?

http://labour-uncut.co.uk/2013/10/24/is-the-average-labour-party-salary-really-43k-per-year/#more-17372

Do they not know that the average salary is £21,000 ?

To people on average salaries the Labour Party apparatchiks are fat cats.

No wonder the Labour Party struggles to understand ordinary people.

And these are the people that lecture the rest of us about the cost of living !

Talk about stinking hypocrisy.

Politicians "pandering to public anger"

In an article about immigration Cathy Newman (Channel 4 News) talks about politicians "pandering to public anger":  http://www.politicshome.com/uk/article/86711/cathy_newman_lets_talk_about_the_i_word.html

Does it not occur to Cathy Newman to ask why the public are angry in the first place?

Ever since the Second World War the public have said NO to immigration.

On every survey in which their opinion has been sought, on the issue of immigration the public say NO by a huge majority.

And yet it keeps happening.

Is it any wonder that the public are angry?

We are supposed to be a democracy right?

That was what the Second World War was all about wasn't it?

And yet on the biggest issue of social change the public have been ignored.

This is a highly provocative act by the political establishment.

And the only answer is for the public to be equally provocative and insist:  none of the post-war immigration is legitimate, and none of the post-war immigrants (together with their descendants and dependants) have any legitimate status in the United Kingdom.

There is no need to get angry about immigration. 

There is no need to get violent (the pro-immigration lobby love violence as that allows them to say people opposed to immigration are just racists). 

If you are not happy about immigration all you have to do is insist that the democratic will of the people on the subject of immigration is respected and implemented (you also have the personal option of withdrawing your co-operation from any aspect of immigration you are presented with in your everyday life).

Insist on the democratic will of the people and I promise you that immigration will have to be reversed - every single bit of it.

Teachers in our classrooms have the proper qualifications

Press release just issued by the Labour Party:  http://press.labour.org.uk/post/64948765108/we-will-call-a-vote-in-parliament-to-make-sure-teachers

In this press release Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt says:  "Labour has been very clear: all teachers must be qualified. So next week, we will call a vote in Parliament to make sure teachers in our classrooms have the proper qualifications."

It sounds innocuous enough.  Who could argue with more qualifications for teachers?  Except that this is not as innocent as it seems.

By "proper qualifications" Labour means teachers must go through the established teacher training regime.

And the established teacher training regime produces (indeed one could say indoctrinates) new teachers with all the old leftist baggage of state-is-good comprehensive-is-good all-the-kids-must-have-prizes ideology that the free schools are trying to escape from.

PS I was amused to read Tristram Hunt's press release just after reading Mark Ferguson's article on LabourList earlier today in which he says (echoing Alastair Campbell) that the Shadow Cabinet are limited by the "two Eds" to sending out press releases instead of developing any real policies that might make the two Eds look lightweight:  http://labourlist.org/2013/10/campbell-is-right-the-shadow-cabinet-arent-doing-enough-but-is-anyone-asking-why/

Russell Brand on Newsnight yesterday

Shambolic interview with so-called comedian Russell Brand on Newsnight yesterday.

In his quest to be ever-more outrageous Russell Brand called for a revolution to overturn democracy and usher in a socialist society.

Presumably the idiot thinks that revolutions only come from the left.

In any breakdown of society that would precede a revolution it is very unclear what new authority would emerge.  It is perfectly possible for radical right-wing revolutionaries to seize power.  Indeed, faced with a choice between a Chairman Mao figure and a General Franco figure is it not likely that the ordinary people will favour stability and order over a disruptive socialist year zero?

As a Conservative I do not want any change to our democratic system.  Revolutions are anathema to me.  I broadly like things the way they are.

But in the fantasy world of whoopie-cushion revolutionary politics that Russell Brand conjures up, is it not ironic to contemplate Mr Brand calling for a revolution and then getting one he did not like - indeed, one that dealt very abrasively with non-conformists such as Russell Brand.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

I'm disappointed that Channel 4 News did not lead on the Royal Christening.

And why is Paul Mason doing a news report - he's supposed to be Culture correspondent (or was that just a ruse to get him on the payroll?).

Update:  the Royal Christening coverage came about half-way through Channel 4 News, but was worth waiting for.

A dark day for Grangemouth

The Grangemouth complex is to close with very significant job losses.

It is a dark day for Grangemouth.

In this article, published a few minutes ago, Eric Joyce MP gives his thoughts on the Grangemouth tragedy (for it is a tragedy for the people who have lost their jobs):  http://ericjoyce.co.uk/2013/10/grangemouth-tragedy/

"... instead of engaging with the situation and organising a coherent plan to save jobs, Unite called a strike over a pathetic and petty issue related to Labour Party internal politics".

"...the company’s offer was rejected following the stupidest of strikes for the most idiotic of reasons".

"Workers at Ineos need proper union representation – right now, they’re getting the fumbling, dumbed-down, politicised opposite."

Is it possible that Unite have gone too far this time?

This is the Unite that controls the Labour Party.

What has Ed Miliband got to say now?

Surely he can see that accepting Unite money has tainted the Labour Party and made him silent at the very time he should have been urging conciliation to save all those jobs at Grangemouth.
I'm not all that impressed by John Major's interventions.

My background is just as humble as his, and I can tell you he does not speak for the Tory working class (he wouldn't be so wishy washy on immigration and the EU if he did).

John Major lost in 1997 because he was abandoned by his supporters.  He was abandoned because he was seen as weak and a loser.  And loser is what he proved to be.

Grangemouth

Totally incomprehensible discussion this morning about the Grangemouth dispute on the Today programme this morning.

It would have helped if someone on the programme could have given a brief synopsis over what it is all about.

The Unite union representative said that everyone agreed, except that they didn't agree.

There was an oblique reference to a company with a Chinese-sounding name which apparently owns 50% of the Grangemouth refinery.

What on earth is going on?

Still nothing from Independent writer and Unite activist Owen Jones - presumably he has been warned off (in management style Unite is a dictatorship of the proletariat).

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

I am so bored by Alex Ferguson.

On the PM programme (BBC Radio 4) the interview just droned on and on until I switched the radio off.

He is a completely uninteresting person.
Speaking in the Immigration Bill debate Diane Abbott MP has "Just reminded House of Commons that GPs do not want to act as immigration officers".

And yet statistics show that the overwhelming majority of the ordinary people want immigration to stop.

Are GPs out of kilter with the majority of the population?

Or has Diane Abbott got her facts wrong?
Labour will not oppose the Immigration Bill going through the House of Commons today.

Well done Labour.

Buy to let

Hugo Rifkind is wrong to imply that buy-to-let is a "money for nothing" phenomenon:  http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/columnists/hugorifkind/article3900619.ece . 

Owners of buy-to-let properties are exposing themselves to considerable risks, not least the risk of buying an asset that could fall in value - perhaps fall dramatically in value.

Not to mention the risk of damage by tenants, and the risk of non-payment of rent (and it would seem that whatever the safeguards, a bad tenant can do a lot of damage and run-up considerable arrears before they can be ejected, and if they have no income the money often cannot be recovered).
The NHS has commissioned a study that indicates £2 billion a year is filched from the NHS by health tourists (free-loading foreigners):  http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/oct/22/temporary-migrants-nhs-cost-study?CMP=twt_gu

That equates to £76 per year for each income tax payer in the United Kingdom - at a time when many hard working families are struggling with the cost of living.
Independent writer and Unite activist Owen Jones seems oddly silent about the dispute at Grangemouth.

He is not known to be shy and hesitant.

And yet on Grangemouth he says nothing.

The Portes answer is more immigration

Stewart Jackson MP draws our attention to:  "of 112k EU migrant job seekers 37% in UK had never worked in their country of residence".

Immidately he attracts the ire of Jonathan Portes.

And are we not a little tired of Jonathan Portes setting himself up as a Judge Jeffreys of all immigration statistics?

Whatever the issue of the day, in whatever area of policy, the Portes answer is more immigration.  More and more immigration.  Don't care what the problem is, let's have more immigration.

All you have to do Mr Portes is stand for election on a pro-immigration platform. 

There's no need for you to control policy from within the civil service (as you did under Labour).  There is no need for you to try to influence policy from within a think tank.  There is no need for you to cavil on the sidelines about all these mendacious politicians.

All you have to do is find yourself a constituency and stand for election. 

Then you will have a complete and absolute mandate for what you are advocating. 

And through the brilliance of your statistical interpretations presumably getting elected will be a breeze - the electorate is going to love you and your statistics!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Institutions can project their work down through the centuries














These two graves in Ellington All Saints in Huntingdonshire belong to two sisters who in 1599 set up a small charity for the relief of the poor of the village. 

The charity, known as the Town Lands Dole is still going today, and is a remarkable example of how institutions can project their work down through the centuries.  The income is provided from land (about sixty three acres) which is let out as allotments.  There are eight trustees, which include the vicar and churchwardens. 

The two table-top tombs are listed.  Although they date from Jacobean period the stonework is reused and is 14th century (from the quatrefoil design).  Recently restored.
Is it not the case that Ed Milband's rash announcement that a future Labour government would freeze energy prices if they win in 2015 has led directly to the pre-emptive hikes in prices by energy companies?

Far from helping the cost of living, Labour's economic incompetence has led to immediate hikes in bills for most consumers.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

EDL
















Above:  a major interview with former EDL leader Tommy Robinson was published in yesterday's Guardian.  The assumptions are what you would expect from such an interview, and in such a newspaper.  However I feel bound to say that I am no wiser as to what Tommy Robinson has done that justifies such excessive discussion about his possible redemption.

He has expressed unfashionable views.  He has taken part in demonstrations (all demonstrations are fatuous in my opinion).  He is supposed to have inculcated "fear" among communities who all too often resort to special pleading when faced with opposition.















Above:  indeed if we look back to March 2009 we see that most of the United Kingdom were expressing what would later become the cornerstone of EDL views.

However, the EDL is reported as having changed over the years.  It has attracted extremists.  It has become so extreme that Mr Robinson feels he can no longer remain a member.




















Above:  in today's Observer is a letter about the activity of undercover police teams who infiltrate "extreme" organisations and destabilise them by encouraging ever-more extreme, offensive and illegal behaviour.  We associate this police activity as being within left-leaning organisations.  But it does occur to me whether the extremists who undermined the EDL might have been police agents.

Of course, I realise that writing impartially about the EDL means I will be accused of being a racist sympathiser, but one learns to discount this sort of intimidation.

What a great piece of legislation is the Localism Act

The Sunday Politics earlier today included a very interesting interview with Eric Pickles, which encompassed a (far too short) discussion of the Localism Act:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03cz8p4

The Localism Act includes a little-known provision which allows communities (usually a petition of on thousand people) to declare a building an asset of community value which allows the community to control what happens to that building or even to compulsory purchase the structure.

So far (and disgracefully) redundant churches are not included under the Act, but local pubs are.

I understand that the wonderful Baring Hall Hotel in Lewisham has received such designation.

What a great piece of legislation is the Localism Act - worth more as a legacy than any amount of foreign wars.

More on the Baring Hall Hotel:  http://afroml.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/grove-park-in-south-london.html

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Finally (and AT LAST) I have done my tax return.

The dining room is covered in papers.

Friday, October 18, 2013

The disgusting badger cull in the west country is becoming a farce.

It needs to stop now.

The Parliamentary Briefing paper http://www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/SN05873.pdf  issued at the start of the badger cull to inform Members of both Houses specifies a MAXIMUM OF SIX WEEKS.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

There is a very simple way of raising incomes in this country

Alan Milburn and the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission publishes a report on social mobility today:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-24553611

Mr Milburn concludes that while work is "still very important", it is not a cure for poverty.

Which basically means he is saying nothing can be done (except a very limp appeal to employers to pay higher wages).

There is a very simple way of raising incomes in this country.

Close the labour market.  Stop the inward flow of cheap labour.  Ignore the howls of anguish from special interests and STOP entry into the country by cheapo foreign labour.

Then inevitably as labour becomes less plentiful employers will be forced by the market to offer more to attract workers to their companies (not just more in terms of wages and salaries but more in terms of benefits such as non-contributory pensions, free healthcare, free child care etc).

Of course this measure is impossible for Labour to do, and difficult for the Conservatives.

But you will not achieve any meaningful level of social mobility without it.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Centenary plan to commemorate the Great War




















The BBC has announced its four-year Centenary plan to commemorate the Great War:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/mediapacks/ww1/
These are broad plans, and no doubt they are flexible enough to allow variations and amendments.
At first sight it is a interesting and comprehensive programme, although I found the comment "it is incumbent upon us to offer differing interpretations of the war and we won’t shy away from doing that" rather ominous (there is a danger that the usual claque of lefty loudmouths will attempt to hi-jack the commemorations as part of their on-going agenda). 
However I was disappointed and concerned that no particular focus seems to be planned on the impact of the Great War on the English countryside.  This was the moment when the countryside was depopulated.  Millions of farmers and farmworkers (and squires too let us not forget) gathered-in the harvest of 1914, went off to the war, and far too many did not come back again.  Many millions of farmhorses went off to the war and did not come back again.  The impact this had on the communities that remained is one of the most moving and tragic of the whole conflict.  The men and horses were replaced by machines, and a whole way of life vanished.  
The legacy of the war also lingers longer in rural areas.  Often I have stood before lists of village war fatalities with the children and grandchildren of the men named and heard their stories come alive.  You cannot understand the modern countryside without reference to the Great War.
More:

A slighting reference to boiled cabbage was made

In the jokey spot at the end of the Today programme this morning, where they usually discuss trivial subjects (or serious subjects in a trivial way) there was a discussion about English cooking.

There was an assumption that English cuisine was bland and boring, and a slighting reference to boiled cabbage was made (although personally I like well-boiled cabbage and cannot stand "crispy" vegetables).

What was noticeable about the discussion was that none of the participants was English-heritage.  The presenter was Asian-heritage (and made the slighting remark about cabbage), one of the contributors was Jewish-heritage and the other was Italian-heritage.  Of course you do not need to be English-heritage to discuss an aspect of English culture but considering the premise of the discussion (that there was a "problem" with English cooking) it did seem insensitive, even for the jokey throwaway spot.

Everyone has their likes and dislikes.

To me Asian cuisine consists of smelly nauseating slops.  But usually I refrain from saying so.  And certainly there would be an outcry if I were to say so on national radio.

And on the subject of cultural sensitivities, I feel an opportunity was missed on the Today programme this morning when Greg Dyke was interviewed and was not invited to comment on the disgusting whiteness of the Polish national football team.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Andrew Mitchell owed an apology - including from the opposition front bench.

And what about all those Tweeters who defamed him?
Zaha Hadad's design for a yatch seems to have been inspired by the humble string vest:  http://www.designboom.com/design/zaha-hadid-designs-128m-superyacht-for-blohm-voss-10-15-2013/
Retweeted by Janan Ganesh:

"FTreader: Simple way to introduce sense into UK immigration debate. One day next year all those not born here should withdraw their labour."

And perhaps the day after they could make arrangements to go back where they came from?


"Democracies do not have good taste" Grayson Perry tells us.

Which presumably means dictators have excellent taste.

Monday, October 14, 2013

I'm not happy that Channel 4 News has just referred to the terrorists caught last night as "British men".

They are not British men.

They are immigrants who have somehow acquired British citizenship.
How can the Museum of Immigration at 19 Princelet Street justify its charitable status when it is continually intervening in party politics?

Corruption in the Labour Party

Peter Willsman writes with passion about corruption in the Labour Party:  http://www.leftfutures.org/2013/10/illegitimate-interference-by-party-staff-into-our-internal-elections/

This is a different sort of corruption to the Unite corruption in Falkirk and other constituencies.

This is apparantly an internal corruption:  "Party members do not want to be in an organisation where paid officials whose wages members pay are subverting internal democracy. All decent members want to see these degrading practices ended and not again brushed under the carpet. Party members believe that cheats should not be allowed to prosper."

Faked

Is the BBC slipping back into its old fakery ways?

There is an intriguing image that pops up in a BBC film about discrimination in the London housing market:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-24372509



What is the provenance of this photograph?  Who was the photographer and when and where was it taken?  The reason I ask is that it looks so obviously faked.  It looks as if an existing notice in a window has been photoshopped and somewhat clumsily had a new message put on, with none of the variations in tone that you would expect in an unedited photograph.  Because the image has been inserted into a film there is no clue as to where this photograph has come from.  And such an inflammatory image would surely be well-known would it not?  If it was genuine we would see it everywhere.  Diane Abbott MP would be referring to it on Question Time.  Lee Jasper would be repetitively twittering about it day after day.

If it turns out to be a fake whoever was responsible at the BBC needs to be sacked.
Deliberately ignorant article about immigration by James Kirkup:

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jameskirkup/100241161/in-their-hearts-senior-tories-think-immigration-could-be-a-good-thing-but-how-do-they-tell-the-voters/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

Mr Kirkup, there is a difference between tourists who come here for a couple of weeks and then go home again and permanent immigrants who intrude themselves into our society without democratic permission.

And as for your statement "In their secret hearts, some senior Conservatives believe that immigration is not the problem that many voters believe it to be" if this were true it would only confirm how out of touch the political elite (all parties) are.
Owen Paterson has become an embarrassment and needs to go.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Complete withdrawal













Since about midday Friday I have been ill with 'flu.  A fairly mild 'flu but I have had a continuous headache, ache all over and all I want to do is sleep.  In the hours I have been awake I read After the Coalition by a group of Conservative MPs. 

The book was published in 2011, so is not absolutely up to date.  And my illness gave a bilious sheen to the pages.  But there were many interesting ideas.

As a nation, Britain has always been suspicious of the EU project.  The vision of a United States of Europe does not appeal.  We did well to stay out of the euro, and to secure a rebate.  Nevertheless, as a country we are not yet ready for complete withdrawal...

Which implies that the authors can envisage a time when we will be ready for complete withdrawal.

Possibly after the Euro elections next year.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/After-Coalition-Kwasi-Kwarteng/dp/1849541582
Can I just check, does Bonnie Greer still welcome the appointment of Tristram Hunt as Shadow Education Secretary?

I thought she said he would "take on" Michael Gove, not agree with him whole-heartedly.

The Unite Union has commented on Tristram Hunt's announcements:  "No, no, no to this wrong-headed, ill-thought out policy".

Friday, October 11, 2013

He does not feel particularly English

Sunder Katawala (Director of British Future sic) directs our attention to a short article written by the Cambridge Blogger on the subject of feeling English (or rather how he does not feel particularly English):  http://thecambridgeblogger.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/muddled-talk-about-englishness.html

And then one notices that the author of the piece is Joe Devanny, which is (as the surname research department of Leicester University will tell you) an Irish name.

Is it possible that Mr Devanny does not feel English because his family is not in fact English?

Of course, there is no knowing how many generations the Devanny family has lived in England.

We do know however that English people have lived in Ireland for centuries without their families being accepted as "Irish".  They developed a local affinity and an Anglo-Irish culture and the English called them Irish (although the Irish called them English, or in the north British).  But did they "feel" Irish in the same way that Connemara potato-eaters felt Irish? - I think not.

Each family contains within itself a micro-culture (attitudes, beliefs, perceptions about the outside world) and transmits that culture from one generation to the next.  Family micro-cultures mutate over the generations, but we do not yet know how they mutate and how much remains constant.  It is interesting to speculate whether the constant element in a family micro-culture will transmit itself over hundreds or perhaps even thousands of years (if I forget thee oh Jerusalem may my right hand lose its cunning).

The left will only stop trying this strategy if we start doing the same

On the whole I thought yesterday's Immigration Bill was excellent.

However the Daily Express is reporting that Unite's Len McClusky is already planning to make the legal duties contained in the bill unworkable.

http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/435928/Red-Len-McCluskey-vows-to-wreck-Theresa-May-s-Immigration-Bill

We should not be surprised at this.

Len McClusky is skilled at gerrymandering the political system - within his union, within the Labour Party, and within the wider British political process.

Like an inverse King Midas he corrupts everything he touches.

Of course, he wants open door unrestricted immigration because he knows that the vast majority of those immigrants will vote Labour and irrevocably change the political complexion of the United Kingdom government.

I sometimes think the left will only stop trying this strategy if we start doing the same.

For instance, we could (quietly, with no fuss) identify a quarter million of the very poorest white people in South Africa and Zimbabwe and encourage them to move to the United Kingdom for asylum reasons or under a special "humanitarian" policy the Home Office can covertly devise.

The quarter million white Southern Africans are then directed to the 50 top marginal constituncies where they are given priority access to the best social housing (decanting out the Labour proles who might already be living there) and fast-track no-questions-asked access to state benefits.

Any opposition from Labour should be shouted down with screams of "racist racist racist" - this needs to be planned in advance to neutralise opposition.

Make sure that the new immigrants are aware of Labour's historic antipathy towards white South Africans - this needs to be hammered home so that they feel under threat.

Next election watch as 50 formerly marginal constituencies become safe Conservative seats with average 5,000 majority.

Hand out food parcels to the starving

According to the Today programme this morning the British Red Cross is contributing to emergency food relief in the United Kingdom, which I suppose puts us on a par with Haiti and Syria.

You might feel alarmed that society in the United Kingdom is presumably near collapse if the Red Cross needs to hand out food parcels to the starving.

And then you might notice that British Red Cross Chief Executive Sir Nick Young held a sinecure NHS "modernisation" position under the last Labour government as well as a sinecure position with the (now discredited) Office of the Third Sector (part of the Cabinet Office under Labour) and has spoken nostalgically about the Labour period of government as "a golden age".

Is it not a disgrace that the Labour party has been voted out of office and yet their former apparatchiks are still controlling major charitable institutions like the British Red Cross and carrying out political stunts such as this?

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/exclusive-red-cross-launches-emergency-food-aid-plan-for-uks-hungry-8872496.html

Thursday, October 10, 2013

It is perhaps unfortunate that Kevin Pietersen should choose to intervene in the "who should play for England" debate.

http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2013/oct/09/kevin-pietersen-jack-wilshere-twitter-englishness?CMP=twt_gu

Being English surely implies a broad loyalty to the English people.

And in a key moment of his career Kevin Pietersen was not loyal.  He removed himself from the English team and made 'phone calls to the foreign opposing team disaparaging his English team-mates.  Of course, he has since laughed this off, but some people do remember it.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Are the lefties who are attacking Jack Wilshere for his comments on the eligibility to play for England the same lefties who sneered and jeered at Zola Budd for being given a fast-track to qualify as "British" for the Olympics in 1984?

What makes a person English anyway?

As Gary Younge (Guardian) is found of pointing out, England is not a nation and does not have the "tropes" of nationhood.

At an etymological level English is an ethnicity, not a nationality - the land was named after the people (England, land of the English) unlike say America where the people are named after the land.
The badger cull pilot has failed, so the answer is... let's have another pilot.

It's like that episode of Father Ted where they keep trying the same failed idea over and over again.

The pilot has failed.

Leave the badgers alone.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Is it possible that Diane Abbott MP was sacked today as Shadow Health Minister for no other reason than because the "cull of the Blairites" was looking too one-sided?

Was she sacked because the wider Blairite claque was briefing to the press that the party was moving (indeed "lurching") to the left and Ed's team hurridly needed to prove this was not the case?

My goodness, these people!
The afternoon of the long knives continues.

Patrick Wintour (political editor of the Guardian) tells us "Big Blairite cull underway".

Is this cull a sign of strength (I can kill these people with impunity) or a sign of weakness (I cannot have these people in the team, they are not following orders).

"If I say the word MILIBAND what image comes into your mind..."

On the Today programme this morning the BBC's Political Editor Nick Robinson said David Miliband when he meant Ed. 

It was a error made last Saturday on Dateline London by Saul Zadka of Al Lon ("David Miliband" very slight pause as if he had registered his mistake "AND his brother" continuing the point).

The name "Ed" is not foremost in the mind when people discuss the leader of the Labour party - even for very experienced and professional commentators such as Nick Robinson and Saul Zadka.

If these people are experiencing confusion, what hope is there for the ordinary voter?

"If I say the word MILIBAND what image comes into your mind - quickly quickly just say what comes into your mind..."

And what comes into the mind seems to be the name David.

In part this must be because of lack of differentiation between Ed Miliband and David Miliband.

Even after all this time and all this effort.

It must be very worrying for the Labour party.

Ban from future interviews people who pull this sort of stunt

I am not happy that John Rentoul (Columnist, Independent on Sunday) used an interview on the Today programme this morning to advertise a book by David Aaronovitch (the link with the subject under discussion was so clumsy that it cannot be regarded as anything other than a gratuitous advertisement for a fellow lefty author).

This sort of thing may seem innocuous, but undermines the non-commercial status of the BBC.

If lefties are using the public broadcaster as a covert advertising medium, then how can we argue against full commercialisation?

Perhaps the BBC can ban from future interviews people who pull this sort of stunt.

Can we please not see or hear Jon Rentoul or David Aaronovitch on the BBC again.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Remember the Great War

How should the Great War centenary be marked? (2014 to 2018 and also the Treaty of Versailles centenary in 2019).




















This is the (rather phallic) war memorial at Ellington in Huntingdonshire.  It commemorates the men of the village who went away and did not come back.  Every November it is still the focus of village respect.















We do not need to wonder how the servicemen of Ellington wanted us to remember the Great War and their fallen comrades.  There must be no sorrow.  We must be proud of the British victory in the Great War, especially because it was won with Ellington blood, and we must emulate the noble behaviour of the Ellington heroes.
Unusual for Bonnie Greer to welcome the promotion of public school posh boy Tristram Hunt MP in the reshuffle earlier today.

And how many millionaires does the new Shadow Cabinet contain now? (it used to be seven).

As  Kentish Town born, bad-comp-educated scion of an East End family I'm afraid I cannot take someone called "Tristram" seriously - at my school he would have got a bloody good kicking just for the name alone.
The Shadow Cabinet seems to be moving determinedly to the left - Byrne out, Twigg out, Murphy demoted.

Of course, it would be ridiculously cliched to say this was a neo-Stalinist purge.

As far as I know no ice picks have been used.

Reshuffle update:  hard left MP Jon Trickett now full member of the Shadow Cabinet and Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet Deputy Chair of the Labour Party.

Malala Yousafzai was interviewed by Mishal Husain

On the Today programme this morning Malala Yousafzai was interviewed by Mishal Husain.

Malala Yousafzai is a 16-year-old victim of terror and violence who has come to live in the United Kingdom.  Her views are taken seriously.  She has addressed the United Nations and been interviewed on the Today programme.

Ralph Miliband was a 17-year-old threatened by terror and violence who came to the United Kingdom in the 1930s.  And yet we are told that his 17-year-old views should not be taken seriously.  He was not old enough or mature enough to know what he was saying.

Double standards seem to be at play here.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Today's Observer on "identity"



















(please ignore the hair in the top left of the picture - one of the dogs decided to intrude into the shot).

For such an important subject, the page in today's Observer on "identity" was surprisingly lightweight. 

An article by Sunder Katwala of British Future (sic) quoting statistics that did not seem to have any provenance.  An inauthentic use of marketing segmentation jargon.  A slapdash use of celebrity photographs.

The whole thing looked as if it had been thrown together at the last minute.












In his piece Sunder Katwala once again took it upon himself to talk about the First World War.  It might help if Mr Katwala could tell us what role his own family played in the war.  Otherwise his pronouncements invite the riposte:  what's it got to do with you.

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/oct/06/what-makes-modern-britain-great-tribes 

The Stranger's Child by Alan Hollinghurst

 











Have just finished reading The Stranger's Child by Alan Hollinghurst.

The paperback has 560 pages, and the novel is so well-written that at no time did I feel bored with it.

Ostensibly about a poet (obviously based on Rupert Brooke) it is actually a literary detective story comparable to AS Byatt's Possession.

Alan Hollinghurst is a seditious writer - he subverts the country house Brideshead genre, he undermines the reputation of Rupert Brooke, he exposes the myth-making surrounding the Great War.

The first section is slightly cloying (home life among the Honeychurches I thought), and I did not enjoy entering the soul of a bank clerk, but it is a fine book.

A new ideology of masculinity is developing




















Earlier this year Diane Abbott MP made a speech on the Crisis of Masculinity.

After a generally sound assessment of the situation she put forward a number of unconvincing solutions.

In my opinion the crisis of masculinity has been brought about by the left's systematic assault on the institutions (formal, informal and social institutions) that in the past were used to tame and control masculinity.

Whether those institutions have been destroyed through stupidity, through well-meaning interference or through deliberate malevolence and spite we will leave on one side.

The fact remains that the institutions have been smashed.

And as Diane Abbott points out, there is now a crisis of masculinity.

Therefore it is reasonable to ask what the young men experiencing this crisis intend to do about it.

My own assessment is that a new ideology of masculinity is developing, independent of the traditional institutions (which have been smashed) but also independent of the left's gormless social engineering and strident political correctness.

This new ideology of masculinity has fourteen attributes which I have labelled cults, although they could equally be called enthusiasms.  This seems to be an entirely new vision of society independent of the traditional culture of the right and the crass political correctness of the left.  However I might be wrong - it is possible that what is emerging is simply a pre-industrial form of masculinity reasserting itself now that the bounds that formerly held it in check have been loosened.




















1  The cult of the body.

Denied access to the identity provided by traditional masculine roles (defined within the family, within a previously all-pervasive Anglican religious culture, within the social hierarchy that used to permeate every class, within the Protestant Work Ethic that governed employment expectations, within the national myth which allotted a "place" and life-meaning for everyone etc) young men have fallen back on the most fundamental point of masculine reference - the male body.  The body has become the symbol of the new masculinity.  It is the one thing that even the most disadvantaged young men can use to define themselves and their relationship to other men and to women.
















2  The cult of nudity.

Pre-war men almost never took their clothes off in public.  Now semi-nudity in public is common and complete male nudity is increasingly seen in film, television, magazines etc.  This nudity is not narcissistic but relates to a way of achieving masculine identity.  Naked display is an established way of creating masculine impact.  More than just showing-off, the body is displayed in a timeless classical context with ideal proportions and demonstrative good health.  Nude posing also symbolises fearless courage since the body is shown unprotected.

















3  The cult of youth.

In the new masculinity youth is increasingly led by youth and rejects leadership from women or older men.


















4  The cult of the fittest.

Over the last twenty years there has been an explosion of gym-orientated activity - for all age groups and for both genders, but primarily led by young men.   The social elite among young men is increasingly defined by physique.  This disturbing body fascism rejects those who do not participate and excel at body culture. 

















5  The cult of dynamism.

In the new masculinity young men are expected to be dynamic.  Intellectual activity is not valued.  The dynamism of individuals contributes to the dynamism of the social group, and non-dynamic men (the overweight, the slow, the disabled) are excluded from core membership of the social group - as are women.


















6  The cult of violence.

Brutalism is deliberately cultivated with young masculine peer groups, and the ability to inflict and endure pain is highly valued.  Previously this predilection for violence would have been tamed within socially-accepted contexts (military, sporting and educational).  Increasingly it is spilling out onto the streets.

















7  The cult of inclusion.

Diane Abbott is mistaken in thinking that young men seek in gangs a substitute for family life.  It seems increasingly apparent that young men are seeking masculine social groups in preference to family life.   Loyalty (a guarantee of safety), honour (a clear code to follow, however that is defined by the group) and obedience (relief from the anxiety of making decisions) are seen as attributes young men cannot find in a family context.  In the masculine social group there is no isolation.  Once an individual has been accepted they are "in".  And making an effort to fit in becomes the over-riding imperative.


















8  The cult of manliness.

Manliness is related to looking and acting like a man.  Manliness also implies having the strength to assume the role of social protector, able to defend the community (however that is defined by the social group) - not hiding from danger, not expressing fear.  It also requires (and this is a key dividing point between masculine and non-masculine men) the idea that men are expendable and might need to sacrifice themselves to defend the social group.















9  The cult of sublimated nationalism.

George Mosse famously said that love of country was erotisised nationalism.  The new masculinity can be described as nationalism without the nation (or with a highly exclusive definition of the nation, perhaps relating to the England football team).  This form of nationalism is indistinguishable from male social bonding, and becomes an abstract arena in which young men who do not know each other experience a close fraternity.




















10 The cult of hero worship.

With the increasing rejection by large numbers of young men of formal education we are seeing an increasing emphasis upon emulation of role models.  Young men watch and interact with other young men to learn social roles.  The objective appears to be the transformation of feelings of alienation into ecstatic feelings of community led by "heroic" figures.




















11  The cult of performance and achievement.

Within the new masculinity individuals are expected to develop a strong ego and sense of self-confidence.  The emphasis is upon performance and perfectionism, and is often associated with extreme behaviour.  The new masculinity is above all related to security and survival, and all members of the social group are expected to contribute towards achieving this.

















12  The cult of health.

Remaining absolutely healthy is an obsession of the new masculinity, although ironically the pursuit of health often results in counter-productive behaviour (the taking of steroids for instance).  Diseased individuals are shunned.  Extreme monotonous diets are often adopted.




















13  The cult of competition.

The emerging new masculinity is hyper-competitive.  Competition within social groups, competition between social groups, and competition with external forces (authority).

















14  the cult of fraternity.

As we have seen, instead of a post-industrial masculinity emerging we are seeing the reassertion of a pre-industrial primeval autochonthus masculinity.  At what point will this new masculinity go mainstream and be adopted by society and integrated within the wider collective fraternity?  And what impact will it have on the rest of us?

Friday, October 04, 2013

The Crisis of Masculinity

Article in the New Statesman by Alan White on the subject of gang culture:  http://www.newstatesman.com/culture/2013/10/how-do-we-talk-about-gang-culture

Alan White links to Danny Finkelstein's depthless article Even now, we still don't understand the riotshttp://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/columnists/danielfinkelstein/article3836013.ece

However Diane Abbott MP has already explained, with great cogency, that gang culture is a symptom of the Crisis of Masculinity.

Diane Abbott made her speech approximately four months ago and it is probably the most important speech we have yet heard from her. Addressing the Demos thinktank, Ms Abbott talked about what she termed “The Crisis of Masculinity”. You can read the full speech here:

http://www.demos.co.uk/files/DianeAbbottspeech16May2013.pdf

The speech is important because a crisis of masculinity implies a crisis in society – potentially fifty per cent of the United Kingdom’s population. Unlike most of Diane Abbot’s pronouncements (which most people do not take seriously) this speech seemed well-prepared, carefully considered, and chimed with a number of observations that other social commentators have been making. Therefore I think we are justified in looking at her speech in detail and seeing if it has relevance to our own work in this area.

The speech makes forty points. Although generally and ostensibly non-partisan, Diane Abbott makes a number of ideological statements and draws predictable ideological conclusions. This bias is useful as it tells us how the left perceives the crisis in masculinity and what their policy options might be.

Her analysis is correct – there is indeed a crisis in masculinity. However Diane Abbott errs in representing this as primarily a crisis for men. It is actually a crisis for society, with political implications for both left and right.

Diane Abbott is quite wily in the way she interprets this crisis as a failure of capitalism. Predictably she does not take responsibility for helping (along with the rest of the Labour Party) to smash up the institutions that gave meaning to masculinity, helped to curb masculinity, and co-opted masculinity into the service of the nation state (the United Kingdom). We need to reassess the crisis in masculinity cross-referenced with Labour policies and the damage they have done to institutions (damage through incompetence and damage through deliberate malice masquerading as “reform”).

To go through some of the Diane Abbott's points:

“This generation no longer asks itself what it means to be a man”. The argument here is presumably that young men have become apathetic about their identity. Society’s repudiation of Weber’s Protestant Work Ethic (as a way of mobilising society) might be relevant here.

“And too often, women - particularly those who achieve success - wrongly get the blame”. This appears to be an attribution of resentful misogyny to the individuals experiencing the crisis of masculinity. Traditionally the concept of “chivalrous behaviour” tamed misogyny, but the transmission of this behaviour code has effectively come to an end (except perhaps in the public schools), and any attempt to revive it would be met with ridicule from the left.

“Tomorrow, too many British men and boys will wake up isolated and misdirected by a boundless consumer outlook, economic instability and whirlwind social change”.  Consumerism is the enemy of both left wing and right wing conceptualisations of society. Traditional forms of self actualisation have been destroyed (go to school, get a job, get married, have a family, participate in social rituals) and replaced by identity through materialist consumerism which is only available at a cost and in any case can never be fully achieved.

“…too many British men shouldering the burden of a growing economic mess they did not create will commit suicide”. Pessimism in society is a result of the failure of the traditional forms of consolation, particularly religious consolation. Derided by atheists as “pie in the sky when you die” religion (specifically Anglicanism) did at least console people experiencing social setbacks - people who are now left with no consolation.

“British society has given in to a fatalism about outcomes for boys…” Fatalism is a false philosophy (nothing can be done, therefore we should do nothing). It can only be erased by replacement with a more positive philosophy –how individuals can fit in to a historical and cultural continuum that gives meaning to their lives.

“A generation of British men without realistic heroes, who feel like they have been set up to fail”. Who has smashed up the British icons and replaced then with ideological models such as Mary Seacole? Young men increasingly feeling that this society is not designed for them, therefore is it any wonder they feel resentment?

“A ‘we’ve got nothing left to lose’ generation of British men”. This is the real crisis in the Crisis of Masculinity, that a growing section of society is of the opinion that they have nothing to lose, therefore they will be open to quasi-revolutionary solutions. Without institutions there is no bulwark against volatile changes in society, with the result that revolutionary options are an increasing threat.

“A nation of atomised, lonely, entrepreneurial boys, who often have lives without meaning”. The two thousand year traditional historical and cultural continuum was able to compensate have-nots with abstract concepts such as national loyalty (which was seen as two-way) and national belonging. Since the 1960s this tribal view of society has been systematically undermined, with nothing satisfying put in its place.

“A society where British manhood is now shaped more by market expectations – often unachievable ones - than by fathers, family values, a sense of community spirit and perseverance”. The left has relentlessly promulgated policies designed to destroy the institution of the family (divorce, abortion, permissiveness etc). Even a very modest attempt to support marriage through the tax system has been met with ferocious opposition.

“…there is a powerful role for fathers”. And yet the left routinely attacks the “patriarchy” of traditional families with fathers in influential roles. We need to assess what is the cost to society of patriarchy, what is the cost to society of an absence of patriarchy, and what is the cost-benefit analysis comparison?

“…we need to work towards creating a society and an economy in which young boys and men can talk about their identity, and find their way in the world without shame, isolation, or feelings of resentment.” Who decides what identity we are going to have? Pre-1960s western cultural identity grew organically over two thousand years but post-1960s this organic identity has been subverted and there is no general agreement on what to put in its place.

“Yesterday’s heroes, in the fantasies and the realities of British life, were affirmed, in part, by physical strength, silent stoicism, and athletic daring. Fewer men than ever are able to connect the fabric of their lives to those archetypes”. Here Diane Abbott seems to be talking about Manliness Archetypes and the way they were celebrated through institutions (educational establishments, sporting clubs, the armed forces etc) and popular culture.  If young men are not given manliness archtypes to emulate they will invent their own.

“The decline of heavy industry and manufacturing jobs has left a lot of men in a position where they don’t feel the jobs on offer – particularly service jobs – are ones they feel comfortable with.” The occupational roles may have gone but the physical bodies remain. Not everyone is going to want to sit at a desk all day, and some thought needs to be given to this.

“The masculine predilection for risk and violence, far from saving national pride, often collides with modern workplaces, industries and our outlook in Britain today”.  And yet the predilection for risk and violence remains. It is not going to disappear because of lecturing and hectoring, it needs to be tames through social institutions.

“Many British men have no authentic voice”. You can say that again. The elite increasingly represents only itself – this is a problem for all of us, but young men with a predilection for risk and violence are in a position to do something about it.

“For many, what makes a man in modern Britain is his ability to flaunt consumer power”. Money has corrupted society. Politicians have corrupted society.

“Hard work, love, community, and family are no longer necessarily part of a British right of passage (sic)”. A rite of passage going where? The traditional historical-cultural continuum took individuals on a journey through society and the expectations of society - the deliberate junking of concepts such as duty, loyalty and responsibility (even to mention these words is to invite ridicule) has resulted in people living lives devoid of social meaning.

“I’m particularly troubled by a culture of hyper-masculinity – a culture that exaggerates masculinity in the face of a perceived threat to it”. Unless masculinity is tamed by social institutions it must result in hyper-masculinity. One only has to make anthropological comparisons to understand what men will regress to if no longer controlled by society.

“At its worst, it’s a celebration of heartlessness; a lack of respect for women’s autonomy; and the normalisation of homophobia. I fear it’s often crude individualism dressed up as modern manhood”. It is silly to say that the fault is individualism. We are really witnessing a reversion to physical instincts as opposed to intellectual reasoning.

“Look into the eyes of many of the men sitting in the cubicles of bureaucratic English office, with a disintegrating family life”. Is it any wonder family life is disintegrating when the family as an institution has been so thoroughly undermined? Families are the building blocks of society and without traditional families the situation is increasingly volatile.

“It’s an unfortunate political landscape that catches many men between the belief that all human beings are essentially equal, and the collapsing pillar of patriarchy that mistakenly says men are naturally superior to women”. The Crisis of Masculinity is a crisis for feminism also – it is not “patriarchy” that is claiming male superiority but the animal instincts of the natural world. Without social institutions there is no bar to an increasing reversion in some sections of society to animalistic impulses of varying degrees (an ape does not respect the autonomy of a female ape, nor is there gender equality among the apes).

“But the messages being sent to our boys are just as limiting and restrictive: be macho, be strong, don’t show your emotions”. How does society control machismo? Traditionally this is done through social institutions but many of these have been warped by political interference so that they no longer work properly.

Anyway, I have probably written enough for now, and you will have your own lines of enquiry to follow.

Following Diane Abbott's speech I did some research of my own in this area which I hope to write up in the next few days.