Saturday, November 30, 2013


Ian Birrell writes an incoherent article about immigration in today's Guardian:

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.


Article in The Independent by Jenny Pennington writing about foreign students in the United Kingdom:

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


"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:

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:

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:,Authorised=false.html?

A few weeks ago Andrew Rawnsley wrote in the Observer a rather slighting article about the supposed vacuity of David Cameron's premiership:  

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:

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. 

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

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.


I am mesmerised by the website
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


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.


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


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.


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.


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:
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.

Here the Rev Flowers tells us he met Ed Balls (more than once):  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.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

John Aziz on the subject of immigration, writing on the Pieria website

Disgraceful article by John Aziz on the subject of immigration, writing on the Pieria website:

To justify unrestricted immigration he uses the highly provocative argument "...everyone is descended from immigrants. Our history as a species has been one of immigration out of Africa, and across the continents of the world. But modern political dialogue is not often cognizant of that fact."

Early migrations consisted of one tribe overwhelming another and taking the land they were settled on.  The defeated peoples were either enslaved or exterminated.  This pattern of migration happened in PRE-DEMOCRATIC times.

To say that this savage pattern of migration constitutes some kind of precedent that modern politicians need to be "cognizant" of is so appalling that I am seriously alarmed that organisations such as Pieria are giving it a platform.

In a democracy fundamental changes to society must not happen without the democratic consent of the majority (and if they do happen without that consent they are not valid and must be reversed).  If immigration is so beneficial Mr Aziz all you have to do is get a political party to put it to the electorate, with specific numbers, and ask them to vote for it.  No democratic vote means no immigration - it's as simple as that.

Owen Jones writes about the fading away of Conservative support

In the Independent Owen Jones writes about the fading away of Conservative support in Scotland and urban areas of the north (he conveniently ignores the northern Tory shires):

From the way he talks you would think this was a righteous rolling back of the hated Tories, annihiliated constituency by constituency, defeated by the popular appeal of socialism.

In reality what has happened is that the Tories have, by and large, left.  The dead weight of Labour administrations has driven away anyone with enterprise and initiative and these have effectively become internal exiles living in the London and the south (in much the same way that enterprising French people have left France to live in England).  The result is hollowed out urban areas devoid of private sector enterprise, heavily dependent on the public sector.

This is nothing to be proud of Mr Jones.

Scotland under Labour and the Nationalists is well on the way to becoming a failed state (economically).

Liverpool, Sheffield, Stockport and the rest are at risk of following Detroit into urban oblivion.

Jonathan Ashworth MP talks about "Cameron's cheap grubby smears..."

Using Twitter Jonathan Ashworth MP talks about "Cameron's cheap grubby smears over Labour and Co-Op..."

Excuse me Mr Ashworth, the grubbiness is not a smear.  The grubbiness is beyond all doubt.  The head of the Co-Operative Bank is revealed as (allegedly) a drug-taking porn-consuming expenses-fiddling incompetent lying hypocrite.

It is all the more shocking given the supposed high ethical standards the Co-Operative movement claims to have.

This is an organisation that donates money to the Labour party, sponsors Labour MPs, and provides sinecure positions for Labour appointees.

Millions of people (including myself) shop at the Co-Op and hold Co-Op bank accounts.  We do so in the naive belief that a mutual organisation would behave in a more responsible way than behemoths such as Tescos.  Imagine our disgust to find that an organisation that in theory WE own is being plundered by political gombeen men greased into positions of power by a self-serving Labour claque.

I want a thorough inquiry into the Co-Op's links with the Labour party, and if necessary criminal prosecutions brought against anyone found to have diverted Co-Op money into Labour party accounts (rather than going towards the generally pitiful dividend payments of pensioners and hard-up shoppers).

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Paul Mason introduced as "our Digital Editor" by Jon Snow on Channel 4 News this evening.

He was Economics Editor on Newsnight despite not seeming to know much about economics.

He was Culture Editor on Channel 4 News despite seeming to know nothing about culture.

Therefore it cannot do much harm to call him Digital Editor, or Knitting Editor, or Media Studies Editor - it's all the same with Channel 4 News.

James Bloodworth on Labour and immigration, published on the Progress website

An inconclusive article by James Bloodworth on Labour and immigration, published on the Progress website:

Interestingly he quotes a recent survey:  YouGov’s poll for this week’s Sunday Times found:  ‘72 per cent say the rules on immigration from countries inside the EU are not tight enough and should be strengthened. Only 31 per cent of us accept the argument put forward by some economists and business leaders that immigration in recent years has been good for Britain’s prosperity; 57 per cent think our economy, and not just social harmony, has suffered.’

" do you quantify the way people feel about their changing community, for example?"  James Bloodworth wonders.  The answer is so simple one is embarrassed to point it out.  All you have to do Mr Bloodworth is ask the people born in a particular locality (including the ones who have moved away after the migration has occurred) how they feel about the way their community has changed.

"we are already stuck with the free movement of capital" he tells us, ignoring that fact that it would be perfectly possible to control the movement of capital through exchange controls.  Indeed, the left might be surprised at how popular a reintroduction of exchange controls might be (it was right to lift them thirty years ago, but the world has changed considerably since then).  Exchange controls would be an effective way of controlling global capital (and don't give me that guff about investors taking their money out of the United Kingdom - we are too large a market for them to ignore).
I have said before on this blog that Nick Boles MP is an idiot.

He needs to go to the Six Bells pub at Witham-on-the-Hill and hear the complete contempt with which his constituents regard his antics.
The Co-Operative movement taking a bashing, the Falkirk scandal still simmering away with fear and loathing, and now Rachel Reeves trying to prove her macho credentials by a ferocious attack on the attitudes of young people.

Is it any wonder that morale on the left is sinking?


Fabulous news that Hull is the new City of Culture.

At last the east of England is receiving some attention.

And at least we will be spared all the usual diversity awareness garbage since there isn't any "diversity" in Hull - it is a cohesive society.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Randall Stevenson's Literature and the Great War 1914 - 1918.

Catching up on my reading, I have finally got round to the TLS for 8th November.

It contains a review by Kate McLoughlin of Randall Stevenson's Literature and the Great War 1914 - 1918.

Many interesting ideas.

For instance, the poetry of the Great War is unreliable because it was mainly written by the officer class and so does not represent the feelings of the ordinary combatants (however much it might be approved of by modern lefty intellectuals).

"Combat gnosticism" is the "secret knowledge possessed only by an initiated elite".

Modernism did not result directly from the experiences of the Great War.  Indeed it could not have done since most of the proponents of modernism were not combatants (James Joyce, Ezra Pound, Virginia Woolf etc).  Rather it was a revolution that used the dislocation of the Great War to launch a cultural coup.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Natricia Duncan writing in The Voice

Natricia Duncan, writing in The Voice, says:  "In June 1948, the merchant vessel Empire Windrush cruised into Tilbury Dock, bringing on its decks a group of people filled with big dreams and wide-eyed wonder.  The 492 Caribbean passengers had responded to an invitation from the ‘motherland’ to rebuild war-torn Britain."

Perhaps Natricia Duncan could give a reference for this "invitation" dated to 1948.  Who issued it, and what did it say?  We know from the Cabinet Office papers that the Attlee government specifically discussed the undesirability of coloured immigration, therefore I suspect that Natricia Duncan is telling lies and that no such "invitation" ever existed.
I am dismayed that Newsnight is to no longer have a Science Editor.

The science items on Newsnight were effectively the only exposure I had to science issues.

Also presented by Susan Watts in a rational and accessible style that had none of the usual monstrous egos of other television presenters (I find Brian Cox too much to take).

Sunday, November 17, 2013

At Swim, Two Boys by Jamie O'Neill

Have just finished reading At Swim, Two Boys by Jamie O'Neill.

It is set during the First World War in southern Ireland, which I suppose is what attracted me to the novel, since fiction that deals with Ireland during the Great War is unusual.  Also the book has a tremendous reputation (perhaps not wholly deserved) with reviewers comparing the author to James Joyce.  It's long (637 pages) and often I found it rambling and confusing.

It is the story of two teenage boys (obviously) over the period of a year up to the Easter rebellion in Dublin in 1916.  It deals with issues of identity, sexuality, nationalism, religion, class and legitimacy.  The ending is tragic.

There are many beautiful lines in the book, including the (comforting) sentence:  "Are they not truly the good who, desiring evil, renounce their desires?" 

There are also shocking sentiments expressed, including the savage statement of intent about the British:  "And he'd murder every last one till they were gone of his country.  That he would.  Every last one he told MacMurrough.  And still I'll kill them.  I'll kill them for fun..."  Remember that the "British" he is referring to includes English and Scottish migrants living in Ireland for hundreds of years.  Another indication perhaps that multicultural societies always break down in the end.

An interesting essay on Ireland immediately after the Great War appeared n this week's Spectator website:

David Mitchell's article about poppy wearing in the Observer

Perhaps I am stupid, but I struggled to follow the argument in David Mitchell's article about poppy wearing in the Observer today:

His narrative starts by condemning glam poppies (yes, I agree they are vulgar) then muses on the origins of poppy wearing (making mistakes that undermine his argument) and then concludes that Charlene White must have a right not to wear a poppy when reading the news.

The vulgarity of ostentatious celebrities (among which we must number David Mitchell himself, since his weekly page in the Observer is an exercise in vanity justified for no other reason than that he is a celebrity) has no relation to the grief of 1919, which in turn has no relation to the right of Charlene White to make offensive political statements on the public service element of commercial broadcast media.

The three issues are entirely separate and should not be conflated.

"No victory arches" says David Mitchell.  Except that there are dozens of victory arches throughout the United Kingdom.  Has he never seen the triumphant Victory Arch at Waterloo Station?  and

" triumphal parades" says David Mitchell.  Oh how ill-informed this man is.  There were triumphal parades EVERYWHERE, including in my former home town of Luton where the celebrations (yes, you read that word right celebrations) excluded the ordinary people who responded by burning down the Town Hall

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The white dahlias in the garden are still in flower - the past week at work


To my desk this morning, and the fact that all my things were exactly as I left them on Thursday was oddly, stupidly, moving.

Usual accumulation of e-mails, and I was ruthless in using the delete button.

Alec Nussbaum was in the office this morning and called into the Board Room everyone who had been on the training courses.  He promised us an easy week because we have given up two weekends.  We went through the sessions one by one, deciding whether they had worked on not.  General agreement that the workshops were better than the formal talks.  General agreement that holding the Institute's AGM on the first weekend was a good move.  Callum Smith (Institute Director) said almost nothing.

All the staff called together and an announcement from Alec Nussbaum that a new Director cannot be appointed until well into the New Year (Callum Smith has resigned but is staying on in a caretaker role).

Late morning I wrote a rationale for a new publication.  With the lack of an effective Director I am finding it is a lot easier for me to suggest ideas and get them accepted.  I wondered if I should apply for the Director's job.

Lunchtime I went to the big mall and was surprised to see Christmas decorations already up.

A cup of tea when I got back to the office.  Gary (Assistant in the Reading Room) politely asking how I was.  Most of the afternoon I spent writing an article that I had forgotten about and quickly had to get done.


The white dahlias in the garden are still in flower, which shows we have not had a frost yet this year.

E-mails from various people that I met at the training weekends.  

Feedback from Head Office about one of my articles (which had been satirical) - "Jen laughed out loud when she was proofing it".

It was four o'clock before I turned my attention to yet another piece I have to write.  Perhaps I need the stress of an imminent deadline to motivate me into action?  By the time I left at 5.20 the basis draft was done.

I revised the draft I wrote yesterday and was quite pleased with the result. 

I took the afternoon as holiday, going to meet one of my freelance clients.  Long afternoon talking about his marketing communications for next year.  He was self-pitying about his finances (and yet he has lots of money). 

Early evening we went to the Green Man at Trumpington.  Steak and chips.  I went through the motions of offering to pay (he is my client after all) but as I expected he insisted on getting the bill.


Tensions in the office between Katie (Accounts clerk) and Jutta (Receptionist) so that Jutta complained to Deputy Director Marcia Walsh.

All the morning spent replying to e-mails, which wears me out.

All the afternoon spent organising paperwork.


I spent the entire day in the Reading Room downstairs, wanting to get the new publication done.  I am breaking the rule made by Vijay Singh (former Director) and putting my name on the title page.  No visitors to the Library all the day.  I noticed that Gary and Matthew are hardly speaking.  They seem lost without Stan (former Librarian) and worried they would lose their jobs when the Library moves back to London.  I discovered at the AGM that the Library and Reading Room has its own board of trustees, which makes me wonder whether I could get myself co-opted onto it. 
I thought Dateline London was exceptional earlier today.

For some reason they had three guests instead of four (perhaps someone had dropped out at the last minute?) and this format worked much better than four guests all clammering to be heard.

Michael Goldfarb was on very good form and I am surprised news analysis programmes do not make more use of him.  Ian Birrell (Daily Mail) talked a lot of sense.  Agnes Poirier was as barbed as ever (describing the Commonwealth as "former slaves meeting once a year to see their old master").

Half an hour was too short really.

Friday, November 15, 2013

The UK Youth Parliament is so dull and worthy and pointless:

Is it not sad to see these people old before their time, wasting their youth on fuddy-duddy parliamentarianism.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Garden cities

In a discussion on garden cities on the Today programme this morning I thoroughly agreed with the person who emphasised the need for good quality architecture - people want houses in the traditional vernacular styles, using local materials.

The extra cost will pay for itself many times over in the care that people take of the buildings.

And I can recommend Garden First In Land Development by William Webb as a guide on how to construct a garden city (Milton Keynes is not a garden city, it is a New Town).


Article in the Daily Telegraph about the welfare of egg-laying chickens:

You should also bear in mind that male chicks are not valued in factory-farm egg production - they are put LIVE into a mincer shortly after birth.

There are times when I would like to put all the individuals involved in this filthy business (including the supermarket purchasing managers) LIVE into a mincer.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

I agree with Zoe Williams (Guardian) that the item on Channel 4 News filming the reactions of people in London hearing about the survival (or possibly not) of their relatives in a storm-trashed area of the Philippines was voyeuristic and unnecessary.

Lily Allen and her stand against sexual abuse in music videos

Any discussion of Lily Allen and her stand against sexual abuse in music videos presumably needs to consider her appearance in Pink's video for True Love where she cuts up a large carrot that is obviously meant to represent the male reproductive organ.

Antonia Fraser talks about the Great Reform Act at the Wallace Collection Friday, 29 November 2013 from 18:30 to 20:00:

Their opinion matches ours

Commenting on Jack Straw's admission that Labour made a fundamental mistake in allowing unrestricted immigration into the United Kingdom, Mark Ferguson (Editor of the website Labourlist) tells us:  "...if the next election is a referendum on immigration, we’ll lose".

I think we knew this already, but it is interesting to see that their opinion matches ours.


While not wishing to condone the abuse she has received, I must say that I find Charlene White's statement "I prefer to be neutral and impartial on screen..." astonishing.

Does Charlene White think that the Great War is an issue on which people can remain impartial?

Does she think the Royal British Legion is just another charity which she, as a celebrity, can choose to endorse or not as the mood takes her?

I would like to see broadcasting companies decide policy on poppy wearing, and provocative individuals such as Charlene White and Jon Snow taken off air on Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day (perhaps given some filing to do).

I find intolerable the idea that we are going to go through the next six years of commemorations with Charlene White, Jon Snow and others using their various platforms to make political points (while strenuously asserting that they are only being "impartial").

And does Charlene White's behaviour not give the lie to Sunder Katwala's claim that BME people are now enthusiastic poppy wearers?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

"Those three swallows do not herald a dawn" Jon Snow has just said on Channel 4 News, mixing and misquoting his metaphors.


Tim Montgomerie draws our attention to a YouGov survey:  "By 51% to 25% Britons would vote to stay in EU if Cameron renegotiates relationship".

But then you look more closely at the question that was asked, and it appears to be so utopian that it is surprising that anyone would vote NO:

Imagine the British government under David Cameron renegotiated our relationship with Europe and said that Britain's interests were now protected, and David Cameron recommended that Britain remain a member of the European Union on the new terms.
How would you then vote in a referendum on the issue?  

Another way of wording this nonsense question might be "Imagine the British government under David Cameron negotiated the best of all possible worlds... How would you then vote?"  

Or possibly "Imagine the British government under David Cameron negotiated an individual pot of gold for every British citizen... How would you then vote?"  

This is all silly.  

The ordinary voter in the United Kingdom wants an end to foreigners coming into the country.  If the "renegotiation" does not include this then you can forget about a YES LET'S STAY vote.  On the whole ordinary voters do not care about EU membership so long as it does not intrude on their lives - and the arrival of the eastern Europeans has been a bloody big intrusion.  

Indeed, let me talk directly to the Conservative members of the government and the Conservative backbench members of the House of Commons:  

If you mess up this renegotiation you will not believe the vial of wrath that is going to be poured out on your heads.
There is no more telling demonstration of the moral bankruptcy of the European Union than the sight of Roma fleeing persecution in one set of EU member states and wanting refuge in another set.

They should forget about harmonisation of chloro-fluoro-carbons and focus a bit more on harmonisation of human rights.

Is Liberty interviewing the Roma arriving here and compiling a dossier on human rights violations in Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary etc.

No you say?

Didn't think so - it doesn't fit the pro-EU narrative.
I see that Jonathan Portes is arguing that the moon is made of blue cheese again, and "proving" it with his sliderule and Excel spreadsheets.


Drivel from Oliver Kamm in the Times today - a newspaper noted for its drivel.

When columnists start writing about the Royal Family you know they have run out of ideas.

Rupert Murdoch is such a champion of libertarianism and the unrestrained market that it is surprising he does not take market economics to their logical conclusion and let the Times go out of business. 

No-one wants it, no-one likes it, no-one needs it.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Usual ritual non-wearing of a poppy by Jon Snow on Channel 4 News this evening.

And to draw extra attention to himself he presented an item on Armistice Day observation throughout the country.

Is it not time that Channel 4 was sold off? 

Deluded thinking

Misleading article by John Harris in the Guardian about grammar schools:

He is looking at the effectiveness of grammar schools today, after decades of abuse by the educational establishment, politicians and biased media such as The Guardian, and implying that the current flawed operation of grammar schools (in terms of social mobility) was always the case.

No, no, no Mr Harris.

Before the introduction of comprehensive ideology the system worked extremely well.

The deluded thinking is all yours Mr Harris.

Armistice Day

Today is Armistice Day.

In the office we have just had the two-minute silence.

Writing on 7th November Sunder Katwala, Director of British Future (sic), drew attention to poppy wearing among BME communities in the United Kingdom:

"Remembrance has become increasingly inclusive" said Mr Katwala, drawing attention to BME "shared participation in its rituals".

"62 per cent of ethnic minorities wear the poppy" research by the latest Ethnic Minority British Election Survey (EMBES) is quoted as saying.

Taken at face value this is very heartening to assimilationists.  What more convincing proof of assimilation of the immigrant communities could be desired than the fact that BME people are commemorating the British participation in the Great War (with all that that implies).  "Mission accomplished" as George W Bush might say.

Except that it doesn't quite ring true.

Is British Future saying that if I went today (Armistice Day) to Leicester or Brixton or Bury Park in Luton I would see sixty per cent of the BME people there wearing poppies?

Not very likely is it.  I might be wrong and doing them an injustice.  But it's not very likely that 60% of the BME population in Southall and similar areas are wearing poppies today and stood respectfully silent at 11 o'clock (did any mosques have displays of poppies in the way that Anglican churches had displays - if so perhaps we could see some photographs?).

Extrapolating from the EMBES research, Mr Katwala tells us that the BME displays of poppy wearing matches "the ethnic composition of the armies which fought the First World War".  This is a disingenuous argument.  British Future have produced no evidence that the BME people who fought on the Western Front were the great grandparents of the BME people in the United Kingdom today, and common sense tells us that they probably are not (the recruitment of the Indian Army pre-1947 tended to be specific).

Just as "Muslim terrorism" cannot be blamed on the Muslim community now resident in the United Kingdom, so Muslim heroism on the Western Front in the Great War cannot be claimed by the Muslim community now resident in the United Kingdom.  The terrorists were responsible for the terrorism and the heroes were responsible for the heroism.  To push either blame or virtue onto the wider Muslim community is bogus.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Second training weekend starts today.

I will be off-line until Monday.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Poppy wearing by Muslims

There is some imprecise terminology used in the Independent article on poppy wearing by Muslims in the United Kingdom:

I don't wish to disparage the efforts of Dilwar Hussein's grandfather (Dilwar Hussein is Chair of the charity New Horizons in British Islam) but it is extremely unlikely that he served in the British Army - he almost certainly served in the Indian Army defending India from Japanese invasion.  Indeed, it was an act of altruism by the United Kingdom to allocate British forces to the defence of India in the Second World War (which had already been promised self-government and a road to independence) when it would have been more logical to have abandoned the territory and concentrated on the defence of the British Isles.  And although the Islamic Society of Britain refers to Indians "facing down the hatred of Nazism" no mention is made of the activities of Subas Chandra Bose and the Indian National Army who were actively in alliance with the Nazis and are regarded as war heroes in India today.

The role of Indians in the First World War is more complex.  Again the number of Indians who served in the British Army was miniscule - almost all the Indians who served were in the Indian Army or princely regiments.  Technically India was ruled by a Viceroy who theoretically could have decided to remain neutral although in practice there was never any doubt that India would participate in the war.  But the fact remains that India entered the war as an ally of the United Kingdom, with a volunteer army (no conscription in India) and initially pursuing Indian war aims (the Indian conquest of Iraq was intended to add that territory to the Indian Empire, Indian activity in German East Africa was meant to pacify the Indian Ocean etc).  India participated in the 1919 Versailles Peace Conference as an equal to the Dominion governments Australia, Canada and New Zealand (against the wishes of the Americans).  One of the most impressive First World War memorials is the India Gate in New Delhi, and that is arguably the most appropriate focus for remembrance of the Indian dead of both world wars.

All this needs pointing out because a narrative is circulating that because Indians "defended Britain" in the two world wars this somehow legitimises immigration of Indians and Pakistanis into the United Kingdom.  This is a false argument.  Not only is there no proven correlation between the Indian participants on the Western Front and the Indian families who subsequently migrated to the United Kingdom (against the wishes of the majority we should note), India and Pakistan were given independence as a reward for their participation in the two global struggles and thus no "debt" exists between the British and the Indians.

What Professor Bonney is proposing is cultural cleansing (a subset of ethnic cleansing)

Narcissistic and muddled argument from Norman Bonney (Emeritus professor at Edinburgh Napier University) that because the United Kingdom population has supposedly become less Christian and Anglican (he is confusing church attendance with religious belief) the Remembrance ceremony at the Cenotaph should become secular.

Excuse me Professor Bonney, this is not about you and your beliefs.  It is not even about the rest of us and our beliefs.  It is about the war dead - the vast majority of whom were Christian and Anglican.

Atheists when they stop believing in God do not become "rational" and free-thinking.

They almost always substitute themselves for God and place themselves at the centre of the Universe.

Which is why they are so arrogant and intolerant and want to change the world to suit their own particular outlook.

And which is why we get insensitive lobbyists like Professor Bonney launching grossly offensive "papers" on the eve of Remembrance Sunday.

What Professor Bonney is proposing is cultural cleansing (a subset of ethnic cleansing) aimed at removing a religious group (Anglicans) from participation in a national ceremony.

Propaganda in favour of EU free movement of people

Someone called Oana Romocea, writing for an organisation called British Influence has produced a solipsistic piece of propaganda in favour of EU free movement of people:

"need to choose either populist-driven or evidence-based policies" says Oana Romocea, ignoring the fact that the opposition of the electorate is a bloody big piece of evidence that the pro-EU lobby seem determined to ignore.

On another point, the fact that some British people go to live in Spain is totally irrelevant to the objections most people have to the huge influx of Eastern Europeans moving into the United Kingdom.  The people who leave the United Kingdom have left.  They are nothing to do with us now.  The ability of a relatively few well-off pensioners to have a comfortable sunny retirement in Spain means nothing to the rest of us who have to tolerate millions of foreigners arriving here.  I would rather not have the "freedom" to go and live in Spain and ask the Eastern Europeans to leave the United Kingdom - and I am sure that would be the view of the majority.  And if the Spanish do not want British pensioners living in Spain my advice would be to chuck them out (they can move back to Eastbourne and Frinton).

Most offensive is Oana Romocea's glib assumption that the EU is about "its ultimate goal of unity".  I do not want a United Europe and I am sure this is the view of the majority of the British population.  It is likely of course that other European populations, mired in the depravity and collaboration of the Second World War, see European unity as the only way they can redeem themselves, but we should see this for what it is - an irrational attempt to escape the guilt of a terrible history by pretending they have become different people.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Professor Zetter

Roger Zetter (Emeritus Professor of Refugee Studies at the Refugee Studies Centre at the University of Oxford) muses aloud that the EU must "look at ways to decriminalise migration".

The only legitimate way to decriminalise migration is to seek a democratic mandate from the people to change the law.

Of course, this will not be good enough for Professor Zetter.

He wants the EU autocrats to subvert national policies on migration and "improve access channels" by EU fiat.

Why should so many people on the left seek to allow unrestricted migration from developing countries?

Partly they want to import more socialist-voting people.

But I also think it is a genuinely idealistic commitment to socialism.

"From each according to their means to each according to their need".

Because Western countries are rich their resources must be shared with the poor of the developing world.

There is nothing wrong per se with holding this ideal.  But we should be aware that socialists do not recognise private property.  Be warned, the left regards all the wealth of the West, whether held privately or publicly, as a common resource to be shared with the poor of the world according to their need.


Lazy journalism from Tim Montgomerie:

Black Americans are not the same as BME people in the United Kingdom - their history is different, their culture is different, their voting motivations are different.

The Republican Party is not the same as the British Conservative Party (I am surprised I even need to point this out).

America is not the United Kingdom.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Personally I am glad we are spying on the Germans:

I never thought they were our friends.
Article by by Atul Hatwal on the Labour Uncut website about the Falkirk gerrymandering scandal and the implications for the Labour leadership:

Quoting The Times, Atul Hatwal writes:  "Unite... gave red stars to those considered the union’s opponents, yellow stars to female members who might back it and double green stars to those the union had specifically ‘recruited for the selection’."

What on earth is going on here?

Whose idea was it to grade people with stars?

Are double-green stars first class, yellow stars second class, and red stars third class?

The research paper might be valid, it might be a pack of lies

The Today programme discussed the new research paper, published by the Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM) at University College London which attempted to prove that immigration was beneficial to the United Kingdom.

Unfortunately one cannot believe anything that a public body says about immigration.

Under the Public Sector Equality Duty public bodies such as universities have a statutory obligation to propagate a positive view of immigration.

Whatever the research carried out by Christian Dustmann and Tommaso Frattini they MUST conclude that immigration is positive - to do otherwise would be breaking the law.

Therefore the research paper might be valid, it might be a pack of lies.

There is no way of telling.

PS both the authors of the report receive funding from Norface, which appears to be a pro-immigration lobby group

Monday, November 04, 2013

Cathy Newman is wearing a poppy on Channel Four News.

Perhaps the programme is not as conformist as I thought.

Dean Burnett is being provocative

Dean Burnett writes in the Guardian a 1,219 word article on why immigration is "essential" without once mentioning democratic consent.

And yet post-war immigration has always been opposed by the majority of the population in every test of public opinion.

You cannot ignore the wishes of the majority and continue to claim the United Kingdom is a democracy, which is why the issue is of such burning importance.

Of course I realise that Dean Burnett is being provocative.

Let me be equally provocative and outline an easy, straightforward three-point plan to reverse post-war immigration:

Stage one - a referendum asking the people whether they want to reverse post-war immigration.

Stage two - use the Census data for 1951 to 2011 to identify post-war immigrants together with their descendants and dependants (the Census gives every individual's place of birth together with family relationships, and combining the data will identify over 90% of the post-war immigrant communities).

Stage three - use the tax system to remove any incentive for these individuals to remain in the United Kingdom, effectively giving them the status of failed asylum seekers.

I would much prefer that things should not come to this point.  I would much prefer that the problem of immigration is addressed by stopping any new immigration and assimilating all existing immigrant communities.  But Dean Burnett and the rest of the pro-immigration lobby should be aware that they are not the only people who can calmly and rationally propose outrageous and provocative policies should the need arise.

Health worker migration

Thoughtful article by Martin Drewry, director of Health Poverty Action, about the iniquitous and sinister implications of health worker migration from the developing world to the West:

Martin Drewry is absolutely right to say:  "Wealthy countries should not have to depend on poor countries to supply their health workforce; they should train and retain more health workers and manage their health workforces better."

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Sadiq Khan is trying to use the Indians who fought in the First World War

Sadiq Khan MP (Labour) writing in The Sun: "Muslims fought and died for this country in first world war".

Yes, but they were not the same Muslims who are living here now.

I have not seen any evidence (and British Future would be jumping up and down excitedly if there were) that demonstrates the Muslims who have arrived here as immigrants (against the wishes of the majority of the population we should note) are in any significant way related to the Muslims who fought for India, in alliance with the United Kingdom, in the First World War.

Presumably Sadiq Khan is trying to use the Indians who fought in the First World War as an excuse to justify the immigration of Muslims into the United Kingdom in 2013.

Same old Labour, still addicted to immigration.

Feel exhausted.

But have lots of new ideas.