Monday, March 31, 2014

Balkanisation

In defiance of  Kwame Nkrumah (quoting Kobina Sekyi) I have come to the conclusion that the only long-term solution for Africa is the balkanisation of that continent.  Only when each ethnicity has achieved the self-respect of self-determination will they be able to enter into voluntary co-operation with their neighbours.  The current lines on the map are imperial conceptions of who the Africans are, and impose impossible demands and limitations on the aspirations of the ordinary people.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/28/libya-poised-retake-oil-ports-rebels-split-country?CMP=twt_gu

Democracy

Faultless reasoning by Stefan Stern on the LabourList website:  http://labourlist.org/2014/03/government-of-the-people-by-the-people/

If the people want a policy the people must have it.

If the people do not want a policy it must not be forced on them.

Are we really at a point where politicians need basic lessons in democracy?

And so we go on with the present unsatisfactory system

Fascinating look on the Left Futures website of the managerialist impulse within political parties (using the Labour Party as a case study):  http://www.leftfutures.org/2014/03/labours-significant-divide-between-renewal-and-decay/

The Conservative Party has solved the mangerialist problem by accumulating all decision-making power at the centre and relying on media advertising to win elections.  There are still local associations but they do not do anything, still less do they influence policy.  Eventually this high-handed usurpation will come to grief, but things seem to be jogging along well enough at the moment and will see the party through the 2015 election.

Labour has gone in the opposite direction - factionalism, fractionalism, fatuous febrile fumbling.  In part this stems from the party's origins in the non-conformist religious tradition.  They cannot help free-thinking, it is fundamental to who they are and what they do (you could offer the collective Labour Party an immaculate version of the socialist New Jerusalem, ready to implement and all tied up with a ribbon, and they would still pick holes in it and say it needed more ramps for the disabled and health & safety restrictions on the nirvana experience).

The only long-term answer for both parties is a return to mass membership (and please don't say this is not possible - it absolutely is possible).

Unfortunately the Labour leadership will not countenance mass membership as it will change dramatically the Labour Party they love.  The Conservative leadership will not agree to mass membership as it will take power out of their own hands.  And so we go on with the present unsatisfactory system, waiting for...

The stick

Reading this Hugh Muir column, it seems that he has come to the conclusion that many of us came to a long long time ago - "diversity" is not working:  http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/mar/31/ed-vaizey-altruism-not-enough-achieve-diversity

It cannot work as it is a policy that does not have democratic consent.

Politicians could, of course, gain democratic consent any time they like simply by asking the electorate to vote whether they want "diversity" or not.

But they choose not to do this.

One is reminded of the Abraham Lincoln saying about not being able to fool all of the people all of the time.








On his Twitter site Hugh Muir tells us the solution is "less carrot much more stick".

Which is of course the usual behaviour of anti-democratic apologists who want their pet policies imposed on the people without democratic consultation.

You should be careful Mr Muir that the stick is not used against you, as most people in the United Kingdom do not like being pushed around.

Rev

The BBC2 comedy series Rev was mentioned by a bishop on Rdio 4's Thought For The Day this morning.

Euan Ferguson, writing in yesterday's Observer, unwittingly identified what is wrong with the comedy-drama when he wrote:  "at his heart is not so much a crisis of faith but the full and faithful knowledge that God does not exist other than to provide the wages".

Rev is unconvincing because it is about clergy who do not believe in God.  

Which means we are essentially watching a comedy about social workers, and not very good ones.

Regular churchgoers will spot this immediately.  

The rest of the laity will think this is what the Church of England is all about - The Office in frocks for men.

http://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2014/mar/29/rev-mammon-the-great-british-sewing-bee-television-review

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Article by Jamie Doward in today's Observer, interviewing Georgiana Sale











Completely uncritical full-page article by Jamie Doward in today's Observer, interviewing Georgiana Sale Head Teacher at City of Leeds School.

Ms Sale comes across as an unbearable self-righteous prig (the smugness of the accompanying portrait photograph!).

"I feel truly blessed" Ms Sale tells us, "There is a richness about this school.  Multiculturalism is a real asset, something to celebrate."

I am sure we are happy that Ms Sale feels "blessed" by multiculturalism.

But the fact remains that under the Equality Act she is not legally able to say anything different.

Which means she is just spouting propaganda and the article is entirely worthless.

You should be ashamed of yourself Mr Doward for submitting garbage like this.

http://www.theguardian.com/education/2014/mar/30/city-of-leeds-school-english-as-second-language

The pace of cultural integration

Analysis of the Census data reveals there has been a move in self-identity from White Irish to White British:  http://www.ethnicity.ac.uk/census/CoDE-Changing-Identities-Census-Briefing.pdf

Does this indicate the pace of cultural integration of migrants - a subject we are all interested in, since the easiest way to solve the problem of immigration would be to assimilate the incomers/interlopers out of cultural existence.














The latest Elyar Fox video for A Billion Girls (due for release 13th April) shows Elyar Afshari performing in front of a giant Union Jack.  No reference to anything Azerbaijani.  Will other Eastern European communities follow this example? 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=egRlSfS8XxY

Transactions of the Ancient Monuments Society

















The arrival of the latest volume of Transactions of the Ancient Monuments Society always tends to put me out of action for a couple of days.

This one has a fascinating study of medieval warren lodges.

I think I will drive over to Thetford soon and look at the warren lodge there.

Crimean Memorial Church




















Recently at the Victoria & Albert Museum I looked round the Empire Builders exhibition - architectural drawings of British architects working overseas including the legendary Crimean Memorial Church in Istanbul by William Burgess.

I would love to see this church - the interior is by GE Street.

The church needs £130,000 for repairs - you can send donations to the Diocese in Europe Board of Finance, FCO Istanbul, King Charles Street, London SW1A 2AH.

Louis MacNeice
















I always have a book of poetry I am working my way through, reading one poem (or perhaps just part of a poem) a day.

I have just finished The Burning Perch by Louis MacNeice.

On the whole I found his work a bit bleak.

Memoranda to Horace and Charon and Réchauffé.









Funnily enough, at the same time I was reading Louis MacNeice I came across a reference to him in Simon Raven's Feathers of Death.  This tells you all you need to know about the sort of people who read this poet.  Lefty, cosmopolitan (we would say multicultural), sexually er... ambiguous.


 At the same time as I am writing this blogpost I am listening and half-watching the excellent documentary on BBC Four about Ivor Gurney.

Tensions - the past week at work

Monday

Responses to the mailshot have come in steadily, and I spent the morning analysing them and writing a briefing paper.

Tuesday


Tensions between the Reading Room staff (Gary and Matthew) and the Research team led by Abi Reed.  Abi wanted to look through the locked filing cabinets.  I would quite like to look through them myself.

Wednesday

A confidential meeting with a small group of volunteers who want to carry out a particular campaign.  I told them they should have more confidence.  One has to take risks sometimes. 

Thursday

A quiet day.  I talked to Deputy Director Marcia Walsh about the mess Head Office seemed to be in.  She revealed the Institute had received a big donation from a London dentist.

Friday

Another day spent working at home on Alec Nussbaum’s project.  He always rings me just after 9, presumably to check whether I am working or not.  My task is to produce scenarios and come up with ideas and angles.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Lord Howell needs to take a walk along Dallow Road in Luton if he wants to see what "nasty" looks like:  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2591558/Immigration-clampdown-making-Britain-nasty-warns-George-Osbornes-father-law-Lord-Howell.html

The growing bibliography

Interesting review of the growing bibliography associated with the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War:  http://www.economist.com/news/books-and-arts/21599798-first-world-war-was-defining-event-20th-century-thousands-books-have

The author (who does not seem to be identified on the webpage) tells us that "When the war ended suddenly, after the extraordinary “100 days” offensive that culminated in the armistice of November 1918, it was greeted as victory."  It was indubitably a great British victory.  And that victory should be celebrated (celebrated with all due solemnity, but celebrated nonetheless) in November 2018 - preparations need to start now to plan this victory celebration on a scale commensurate with sacrifice that was made.

Also I was interested in the mention of William Philpott's Bloody Victory which describes how the Somme became the turning point of the war - more attention needs to be paid to the significance of this battle.

Roma migration into Sheffield

On the Today programme this morning the main report, immediately after the eight o'clock news, looked at Roma migration into Sheffield.





Later an organisation called Stand Up To Racism (sic) tweeted that the BBC was "whipping up hostility to Roma people" and urging their followers to complain to the BBC.

I listened to the report on the Today programme and far from whipping up hostility the BBC actually gave a voice to the voiceless.  John Humphrys was on a street in Sheffield interviewing an official from a diversity-awareness organisation who was blandly repeating the usual pro-immigration platitudes.  In the middle of this interview (which was in one of the areas affected by the immigration) a group of ordinary people came up and intruded into the discussion, insisting that the diversity-awareness official was not telling the truth.

The diversity-awareness official turned to these people and in a lordly way told them "you will be able to speak later" (basically she was saying shut the fuck up).

To his great credit John Humphrys allowed the people to give their side of the story and many valuable insights were gained that otherwise would have been suppressed.

We know that the pro-immigration lobby operates on the basis of lies and bullying (screaming "racist racist racist" at anyone who tries to discuss the subject) but seldom has such a blatant example come to light.

All credit to the BBC for managing this so well.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Was it really necessary for Channel 4 News to film Michael Crick live in the dark and the pouring rain?

Are we supposed to think he is standing outside Preston Crown Court all night in case there is some dramatic new development?

Would it not have been more sensible for him to have been filmed in a nearby hotel?

The Farage-Clegg debate

I did not watch much of the Farage-Clegg debate yesterday, mainly because I felt I already knew what each would say.

I did however see the "read the small print" gaffe, which I thought Nick Clegg got out of quite cleverly and quickly, although not without damage.

Sunder Katwala reviews the debate on the openDemocracy website:  http://opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/sunder-katwala/cleggfarage-debate

Mr Katwala says in his article:  "When Ipsos MORI confronted survey participants, who had significantly  overestimated the proportion of migrants in Britain, with the ‘real’ figures the two most popular responses were: ‘I still don't believe it’ and ‘those are the people you know about’. ('I was just guessing' was much less common)."

Here one sees one of the dividing lines between the pro and anti immigration camps.

When Sunder Katwala says "migrant" he means very recent arrivals.

When others (indeed, I would say the majority of people) say "migrant" they mean members of migrant communities who have arrived since the Second World War.
There is no more mortifying experience than being forced to apologise to someone you despise - especially if they have behaved just as badly as you have.

A fatuous discussion about "the Midlands"

Also on the Today programme this morning a fatuous discussion about "the Midlands" and how no-one knows anything about the area.

Does this not prove the lack of any popular allegiance to the EU's carve up of England into artificial regions?

In this wilfully stupid radio conversation no mention of the Saxon treasures recently discovered near Litchfield, beautiful and significant relics of the ancient Midlands kingdom of Mercia.

And more up-to-date, no mention that the greatest Prime Minister of the post-war period came from the Midlands town of Grantham and throughout her life preserved in her philosophy the views and opinions of the people of that area, and took those principles to the very heart of government and world affairs.

And why have on the programme a multicultural writer of doggerel instead of the great Midlands poet Geoffrey Hill - possibly our greatest living poet.

There needs to be a clear-out at the top of Sport England

On the Today programme this morning there was a report on how Sport England was cutting funding to football (a working class game) supposedly on the grounds that "grassroots participation" targets had not been achieved (this is usually code for diversity and multiculturalism outreach projects).

There needs to be a clear-out at the top of Sport England.  Almost all the senior officials at the quango were Labour appointees.  They will go on pursuing the policies of the Blair-Brown until they are given their marching orders.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

I have no intention of watching this video by the glutinously-voiced Stephen Fry.

I find that watching Stephen Fry makes me feel as if I have just been crawled over by a giant snail.

Ugh!

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/stephen-frys-humanist-secret-of-happiness-is-the-best-thing-youll-watch-today-9214536.html
There is always that moment when playing office politics that you light the blue touch-paper and just before you retire immediately there is always that risk it is going to blow up in your face.

Alma mater

I see from this list from Luton Borough Council that my alma mater (I use the Latin ironically) Icknield High School is "partially open" - which means it is partially closed due to striking teachers:  http://www.luton.gov.uk/news/Pages/Teachers%27-strike---school-closures.aspx

If salaries at schools were decided by a vote of the alumni I'm afraid the staff at Icknield High School would end up owing me money.

Dreary dull-as-ditchwater deadwood.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Since the Second World War house price inflation has averaged 7% per year

Channel 4 News had a report that showed Chancellor George Osborne at a bingo club in Cardiff in their bulletin tonight:  http://www.channel4.com/news/

They also reported that inflation has fallen to 1.7%, much to the chagrin of the Labour Party.

Low inflation means it is less likely that interest rates will go up, which is good news.

Andrew Sparrow reports that house prices in the United Kingdom as a whole are an average of 6.8% http://www.theguardian.com/politics/blog/2014/mar/25/harriet-harman-says-labour-making-steady-progress-politics-live-blog?commentpage=1#block-53314ef4e4b038e10603ca01

This should not be of any real concern.

Since the Second World War house price inflation has averaged 7% per year (with peaks and troughs, but overall it remains a steady and consistent 7%).

Rev on BBC2

Disappointed by the return of Rev on BBC 2 last night.

When you cut a rubber tree the rubber does not gush out, it seeps out slowly, dribble by dribble until there is a sticky mass of gunge that is unmanageable unless collected into a bucket.

This is how I felt about Rev.

The political correctness seeped out and seeped out until the characters were not believable and the situations entirely artificial and the conversations so anodyne they were silly.

Article by Luke Akehurst for LabourList

The Labour in-fighting is back on again in this article by Luke Akehurst for LabourList:  http://labourlist.org/2014/03/why-yesterdays-letter-to-the-guardian-was-a-mistake/

"I am not happy that the letter attempts to rehabilitate Neal Lawson and his faction" says Mr Akehurst.

Oh how I have missed the factionalism. 

Perhaps it never went away, but was always there covered over by a Milibandite gloss (Milibandite would be a good name for a clear gloss lacquer - the sort that dries hard and inflexible and produces hairline cracks in thousands).

Books in prison

As someone who is helping (through my taxes) to pay for the books in prison, can I ask that no-one is considered for parole until they have read all of Trollope?

And the punishment cells are equipped with Sebastian Faulks and the poetry of Benjamin Zephaniah.

And no-one is sent out into the world without a copy of The Waning of the Moyen Âge by Huizinga.

http://www.theguardian.com/news/reality-check/2014/mar/25/books-banned-prisons-justice-secretary?CMP=twt_gu

Mr Field is MP for Westminster and the City

Conservative MP Mark Field is arguing for an appeasement policy towards immigration according to this article by Matthew Holehouse in the Daily Telegraph:  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/conservative/10721797/Tories-make-ethnic-minority-voters-feel-like-they-are-a-mistake-MP-says.html

The appeasement argument is well-known.  Just go with the flow and everything will turn out fine.  Never mind democracy, we the elite (Mr Field is MP for Westminster and the City) will make the best we can of the difficult situation.

Appeasement as a policy never works.  Feeding the monster of immigration will only make the monster more hungry.  One only has to look at America where uncontrolled immigration has made the Republican Party unelectable (to whoops of delight from the left in this country).

There are times, Mr Field, when you have to confront people, and tell them to back off.

If you can't do this to the pro-immigration lobby then you are no use to us.

Flight MH370

The tragedy of Flight MH370 has concluded with the realisation that the missing airplane crashed into the southern Indian ocean.

Already the drama is passing into mythology, as this esoteric article by India Ross in the New Statesman indicates:  http://www.newstatesman.com/world-affairs/2014/03/lost-passengers-flight-mh370-why-modern-world-can%E2%80%99t-cope-missing-people (although it does not seem to have occurred to India Ross that most of the world's population will not have access to the digital social media she talks of so the all-pervasive argument falls a bit flat).

Presumably the crazies will soon start talking about Flight MH370 passing through a hole in the Antarctic and into the hollow centre of the earth where clones of Edward Bulwer-Lytton and Madam Blavatsky are already examining it through the magical power of vril.

One of the more frivolous aspects of the narrative has been the gushing reaction around the world to the appearance of Flight Lieutenant Russell Adams, who led a search for the missing aircraft http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/malaysia-airlines-flight-mh370-australian-pilot-russell-adams-internet-sensation-1441581 (the attention is supposed to have irritated Flt Lt Adams and also provoked disdainful comments about lack of respect by David Sim and other journalists).

Having had Flt Lt Adams brought into focus, one cannot help noticing his lack of ear lobes.

According to a study in the Harvard Business Review lack of ear lobes can indicate leadership potential, although another study reveals that individuals who lack ear lobes also have hairy ears and translocation in chromosome number 22 (whatever that means):  http://bioinfopublication.org/files/articles/4_2_1_IJMCR.pdf 

Monday, March 24, 2014

This article in the Daily Telegraph about aborted babies being burned as rubbish utterly disgusts me:  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/10717566/Aborted-babies-incinerated-to-heat-UK-hospitals.html

It is fashionable for atheists to regard the scriptures as meaningless twaddle, but reading this article I was reminded of the Canaanites passing babies "through the fire" as a sacrifice to Moloch.

One of the desperate proles queuing for three hours



Oddly worded "tweet" from Kevin Maguire (Daily Mirror).

Has Kevin Maguire been dismissed from his comfy well-paid job in the political-media elite (with attendant appearances on This Week, Press Preview etc) and is now seeking employment at Aldi?

The "we" implies that he is one of the desperate proles queuing for three hours in the hope of being noticed and accepted by a not very caring employer.

In reality, he is trying to avoid using the same wording as the Conservative bingo and beer advertisement last week.

Which is worse?

Those who openly acknowledge there is a gulf between the political-media elite and the ordinary people?

Or those who pretend they are one of the workers while all the time enjoying their covert status as a pseudo-toff?

Stinking hypocrisy Mr Maguire.

What would Frederick Engels make of this?

They are simply surrendering

I do not condone the Russian invasion and occupation of Crimea, and I join those calling for a Russian withdrawal.

Nevertheless one cannot help but be struck by the supine acquiescence of the Ukrainian armed forces.

One would expect them to put up some resistance, even if just a little.

Are the Ukrainian forces in the Crimea fighting the Russians on the seas and oceans?

Are they fighting with growing confidence and growing strength in the air?

Are they defending the (almost) island of Crimea, whatever the cost may be?

Are they fighting on the beaches?

Are they fighting on the landing grounds?

Are they fighting in the fields and in the streets?

Are they fighting in the hills?

No, they are not.

They are simply surrendering.

Ukrainians, if you do not defend your country you cannot expect anyone else to do it for you.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Having just watched Martin Amis I thought it was rubbish.

And obviously very cheap television.

It reminded me of those Grumpy Old Men television programmes (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grumpy_Old_Men_%28TV_series%29 ).

The new Tobias Hill novel What Was Promised


















Review in last week's Observer of the new Tobias Hill novel What Was Promised.

Written by Stephanie Merritt, the review makes the novel sound interesting, and she describes him as "one of the outstanding writers of his generation".

However I would advise caution.

Recently I read Tobias Hill's novel The Hidden.

It was a pot boiler.  Everything thriller cliche he could think of seemed to be put in the mix and over-cooked to a mush.  The idea of a secret band of terrorists working as archaeologists was silly and completely unconvincing. 

Which was a shame, as there were many parts of The Hidden that were excellent - so much so that I would guess Tobias Hill had worked himself at an archaeological excavation in Greece and had written a brilliant diary of his experience and then ruined it by stuffing in all sorts of Da Vinci Code nonsense.

Great War in Portraits exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery














The Great War in Portraits exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery.

Rather too crowded.

Painting of Siegfried Sassoon, the equine profile emerging from the surrounding browns and greys.

An RAMC Stretcher Bearer by Gilbert Rogers - an ordinary man given heroic treatment.

Gassed and Wounded by Eric Kennington - the injured soldiers lying together intimately.

Major JB McCudden by William Orpen - impressionistic fresh face, the eyes cooly unimpressed.

General Sir Herbert C. O. Plummer by William Orpen - boiled face, imperial moustache, terse air of practicality.

A room with portraits of three emperors - the British King-Emperor in red, the German All Highest in black, the Austro-Hungarian KuK Emperor in white.

In the wall of photographs some of the faces (Albert Ball for instance) looked completely modern.


http://www.npg.org.uk/whatson/firstworldwarcentenary/exhibition.php

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Are all the rumours true? - the past week at work

Monday

Like most Monday mornings, the first couple of hours seems to be spent dealing with e-mails.  Some excellent pictures had arrived over the weekend.  I dropped them into a Powerpoint presentation.

I also worked on the Operation Plan for tomorrow's meeting.

Tuesday

A day spent at Head Office.

As soon as I arrived Danielle from Publications rushed up very excited about praise (from the highest level) for a publication I had done most of the writing for.

On an upper floor I met Ashish Sharma and he offered me a job in the Birmingham office (he had to get additional funding for the post - "I said you were invaluable").

I made a non-committal reply, but privately I made up my mind not to accept the post unless I could work from home.

Between meetings (of such banality I can hardly remember what they were about) I went for a walk to think about the job offer - Beech Street, the battered grandeur of Long Lane, Farringdon Street with its little courts and alleys, finally to the bridge and the grey rushing water of the Thames.

When I had hesitated Ashish Sharma had said I might not have much choice.  Does this imply that the Institute is moving back to London?  Are all the rumours true?

Wednesday

An e-mail from Danielle with the praise (names redacted) for the publication.  The praise was extensive.  Annoyingly it was sent to me in confidence, so I am unable to distribute it.

In a discussion with Deputy Director Marcia Walsh I caught her lying, which was a satisfying moment.

Thursday

A day on confidential work.  So confidential that Alec Nussbaum told me to work at home.  Working at home meant I hardly got anything done and just lazed about.

Friday

A photoshoot in the Reading Room downstairs.  I managed this, which allowed me to appear busy without actually doing anything.  The photos are for a mysterious "prospectus" that Alec Nussbaum is working on.
Stephen Kinnock has become Labour's candidate for Aberavon - the parliamentary Labour party is well on the way to becoming an hereditary caste.
The front page of the Guardian has a focus on the statins controversy.

No mention that the Chinese health system prescribes red rice yeast to reduce cholesterol - why do we not see the NHS researching this alternative instead of always (ALWAYS) opting for medicines from pharmaceutical companies that have no interest in putting forward a medicine they cannot patent and control and charge premium prices for.

It seems ridiculous that I have far more readers in America than the United Kingdom (it's about double). 

Friday, March 21, 2014

A Very British Renaissance

Enjoyed watching A Very British Renaissance which has just finished on BBC2.

Dr Jame Fox is a perfect presenter - knowledgeable but never showing off.

Not sure I agreed with all his conclusions (I thought England remained a chivalric society until at least the Civil War).

http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/proginfo/2014/12/very-british-renaissance-ep2.html


Boxing

Boxing seems everywhere at the moment.

Tommy Coyle retained the IBF International lightweight title last month.

Tony Parsons made an intriguing documentary on boxing that was broadcast earlier this week:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b03ympq6/The_Culture_Show_Tony_Parsons_The_Art_of_Boxing/

Foster the People's new song Coming Of Age (which has a 1980s feel to it) features boxing in the video (made by BRTHR):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBqzrj18S2w

Is it really wise of Labour to laugh and jeer at the pastimes of their own supporters?

The Conservatives have come under attack from Labour for being "condescending" and "out of touch" for cuts in duty on bingo and beer in the Budget earlier this week:  http://www.itv.com/news/story/2014-03-19/backlash-at-patronising-online-budget-advert/

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls was particularly scathing.

Presumably Mr Balls has not seen the beautiful video that accompanies the Manic Street Preachers song Rewind The Film.

Made in 2013 and shot in the Treharfod Social Club in the Labour heartland of South Wales, the film shows a working class community enjoying bingo and beer!














Of course I realise that the Labour parliamentary party and their spads are more likely to drink Chardonnay than beer, and the idea of playing bingo will elicit guffaws of scornful laughter from public-school alumni such as Ed Balls.














But is it really wise of Labour to laugh and jeer at the pastimes of their own supporters?  Can we not conclude that it is the Labour intellectual elite who are out of touch?  And they wonder why UKIP is doing so well in Labour constituencies!






Above:  sneer sneer sneer from Kevan Jones MP (Labour North Durham).















Just as an aside, I think it is very touching that the Treharfod Social Club still honours members who died in the First World War in a memorial that overlooks the snooker tables.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PwwtOd3pMlk

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Bryanston Court
















Bryanston Court in the West End, by the south end of Edgware Road.

1920s vaguely art deco mansion block.  Anonymous, discreet, debased sort of opulence.  Home of Wallis Simpson in the mid-1930s, although a blue plaque has been refused (surely not because she was divorcée?).

Bingo and beer




Oh how the lefty intellectuals are sneering at the working class pastimes of bingo and beer.

Of course secretly they hate and despise the working classes.

They would much prefer the workers to be confined to their brutalist high-rise rabbit hutches and forced to read the collected works of Eric Hobsbawm and made to attend compulsory multiculturalism re-education courses.

Yesterday's Twitter storm by the left was like an episode from Orwell's 1984.

Kind and wise and generous

Given the huge amount of money that has been pumped into Western economies since 2008 it is inevitable that inflation will eventually start to rise, and possibly start to rise dramatically.

Not this year.

Not within the next five or six years, given the fragility of the economy.

But eventually it will rise - indeed, inflating the debt away seems to be the covert strategy of Western economies.

Inflation destroys savings, particularly the savings of the elderly on fixed pensions.

Therefore the Chancellor's decision yesterday to allow the elderly access to the money in their pension funds seems kind and wise and generous.

Take your pension money and put it into tangible assets - property, land, perhaps antiques.  Use it to help your family.  Spend some money on your health.

Leaving it in a pension fund may not be the wisest choice as inflation will erode it to almost nothing.

Obviously I am not a financial advisor, and this is just my private view.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A disturbing experience for me just after 12 noon today.

I read this article by Zoe Williams and agreed with every word:  http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/mar/19/martin-amis-english-provocative-preposterous?CMP=twt_gu 

Article about illegal migration by Paul Gallagher in today's Independent

An emotive article about illegal migration by Paul Gallagher in today's Independent:  http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/immigrant-detainees-face-excessive-force-and-abuse-says-moj-report-9200583.html

Mr Gallagher needs to realise that unrestricted migration, including illegal migration, is itself a form of violence against a society.

Of course middle-class writers like Paul Gallagher, working for la-di-da lefty-liberal publications, will not see any of that violence or recognise the insidious nature it takes - the overcrowding of communal facilities, the claims on communal assets (often built up over generations), the unilateral insistence on politically-motivated ideology such as "multiculturalism", the depressing effect on property values (often heavily mortgaged and the only capital asset a family has), the feelings of hopelessness and lack of democratic control, the debilitating collapse of community morale and individual confidence etc.

No immigration without consent Mr Gallagher.

Unless you adhere to this principle you cannot complain about future state violence to reverse immigration that has not had a democratic mandate.

I would like to see research on the level of state violence the public will endorse to bring illegal immigration to a stop.

The government report Paul Gallagher's article was based on:  https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/291836/npm-ar-report-12-13-web.pdf

Passchendaele

The new £1 coin is to be introduced in 2017.

I hope the design will make some reference to the centenary of the Battle of Passchendaele July to November 1917 - a great tragedy and victory.

In case anyone is in any doubt about the seriousness of this anniversary 244,897 British men died in the battle.
http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/british-victory-at-passchendaele

The appointment of foreign-born Nemat 'Minouche' Shafik

I am not enthusiastic about the appointment of foreign-born Nemat 'Minouche' Shafik to a senior position in the Bank of England.

Were there no English women who could have been appointed?

And if not, what does that say about the way English women are educated and employed, that none of them have the requisite experience?

What loyalty is an Egyptian going to have to the ordinary English men and women the Bank of England is meant to serve?

Surely she is just going to look after her own internationalist, globalist class and make "painful" decisions that are not going to touch her personally in any way.

There needs to be a moratorium (say twenty years) on the appointment of foreign-born people to United Kingdom institutions.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Independent article by Adam Sherwin on Martin Amis and his new BBC4 documentary, Martin Amis’s England

Reading this Independent article by Adam Sherwin on Martin Amis and his new BBC4 documentary, Martin Amis’s England I was struck by how Martin Amis has lost his power to shock:  http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/news/martin-amis-money-has-finally-defeated-british-obsession-with-social-class-9197993.html

Oh he tries to be offensive, but this was all said a long time ago and repeated so many times over the last fifty years it just seems tired and cliched.

The monarchy on the way out?  Money replacing class?  The chav classes are racist and violent?

These statements may or may not be true but they are hardly original insights.

And when you take away the power to shock, what is left of Martin Amis?

Nothing.

Nothing at all.
Although one Old Etonian Prime Minister every fifty years is acceptable, two in a row is out of the question.
If ever there was a project suitable for the Big Society it is free nationwide childcare provision staffed by volunteers - properly trained and checked volunteers.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Claim that BAME Londoners are hardest hit by cost of living issues

Stupid beyond belief is the claim that BAME Londoners are hardest hit by cost of living issues, based on a report fronted by Jennette Arnold:  http://cityhalllabour.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/London-Cost-of-Living-Falling-Further-Behind-1.pdf

BAME people have been pouring into London since 1997 from the poorest societies all over the third world.

Is it not axiomatic that if you continually import the poorest people from around the world, those "Londoners" (sic) will then be the poorest people in London and thus adversely affected by the high cost of living in London?

Is the left so stupid they cannot work this out?

Give up Owen Jones for Lent

There is a good case to be made for everyone to give up Owen Jones for Lent.

Like chocolate munch bars stuffed with vegelate and sugar, or 6% cans of Stella on special offer at the Co-Op, an Owen Jones article offers you a fix of faux outrage without any of the substance that good health (in this case the good health of society) requires.

Take for instance this deliberately contrarian article on bias in the BBC:  http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/mar/17/bbc-leftwing-bias-non-existent-myth?CMP=twt_gu

I do not believe that the BBC is biased either to the left or the right.

I do think however that Paul Mason's appointment as economics editor for Newsnight was a disgrace (he was blatently biased, and had no real grasp of economics), and to follow this with another openly leftie commentator on economic issues is stretching tolerance too far.

And on a point of information, it is ridiculous for Owen Jones to call Nick Robinson a "rightwinger".  His nickname in the Young Conservatives was "Red Robbo".  By no stretch of the imagination could he be described as One Of Us.

Clear and unambiguous

Listening to an item on the Today programme on the proposed new garden city planned for Ebbsfleet, it occurred to me that here was a perfect untouched venue to commemorate the British victory in the First World War on a scale that would do justice to the tremendous achievement of the millions of British combatants and in time for the victory anniversary in 2018.

Not some wishy-washy "we were all guilty" lets-pretend-it-was-all-multicultural sort of monument.

Nor something so abstract that it leaves most people baffled ("modernist" designs are completely inappropriate to Great War memorials).

I am thinking of something as clear and unambiguous as the Mamayev Kurgan memorial:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Motherland_Calls

And entirely paid for by private donations.

Crowned heart




St Patrick's Day, and Google have chosen a "Claddagh" or crowned heart design for their celebratory logo.

The crown used is an imperial crown (with hoops), which in heraldry is a symbol of "victory, sovereignty, and empire".

No native Irish king ever wore an imperial crown (although the British monarch is descended from the O'Neil high kings of Ireland, and still reigns over Northern Ireland which is an integral part of the United Kingdom).
 
Curiously this article in the Guardian (by an anonymous "staff reporter") makes no mention of the crown but instead talks about a shamrock:  http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/mar/17/st-patricks-day-google-doodle

Sunday, March 16, 2014

HH Bridgman's St Pancras Workhouse

















Back elevation of HH Bridgman's St Pancras Workhouse, now part of St Pancras Hospital.

It fulfills all one's imaginative conception of a Victorian workhouse - gloomy, overpowering, forbidding.

When it first became an NHS hospital many elderly people in the borough were afraid to go there as they thought they were being put in the workhouse.

Evil















The arrogance of the Observer's leader editorial was breathtaking today.

The idea that the United Kingdom has to feed the world (instead of developing nations finding their own solutions).  The suggestion that democracy should count for nothing.  The implication that only stupid short-sighted people oppose GM crops.

The world already has all the food it needs, many times over - but most of it is destroyed before it reaches a market.  The world does not have a production problem, it has a distribution problem.  The industrial production of food is already discredited, GM crops will only prolong the nightmare of suffering, cruelty, ill-health, environmental destruction, waste and exploitation.

The Observer leader talks of aphids and how they need destroying.

I'm afraid I value the life of the smallest aphid higher than I value the frankenstein scientists and their apologists (including the writer of this leader).

The aphids are innocent, and are living in harmony with nature.

The pro-GM claque are evil.
"Tony Blair passed away this week" Andrew Neil said to Frances O'Grady on Sunday Politics earlier today.

Obviously he meant Tony Benn.

But it still surprised me to hear the words.

Chung Shek
















Having missed the Chinese Painting exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum I thought the Chung Shek show in Eton might compensate (a little).

He is a Dutch artist but from a Chinese heritage, and now living in London.

Technically very accomplished, the paintings seem too commercial.  Defining Reality was the theme, but the images portrayed unreality.  His portraits are good:  http://www.csartstudio.co.uk/portaits

The Broken Road by Patrick Leigh-Fermor
















Recently I finished reading The Broken Road by Patrick Leigh-Fermor, the third in his travel sequence describing his walk from London to Istanbul in the 1930s.  I have read the two previous books A Time of Gifts and Between the Woods and the WaterThe Broken Road was published posthumously from an unfinished manuscript, and has an unpolished feel - as if a beautiful veneer casing had been left of a clock so that you could see the mechanism and how it all fits together.

All the usual Leigh-Fermor elements are in the book.  Highly picaresque, he is one moment camping with peasants in a cave huddled in with their animals, the next hob-nobbing with the diplomatic elite of Bucharest.  Effortlessly he charms people - Bulgarian nationalist youths, assorted monks in Mount Athos, German-trained middle-aged chatelaines of deserted hotels.

But for me the charm no longer worked.

I first read A Time of Gifts when I was 19, the age Patrick Leigh-Fermor was when he started his walk.  It completely captivated me, and the romance and adventure of the book seemed overwhelming.  It even inspired me to make a similar journey (but by rail, and disastrously I only got as far as Munich). 

Reading The Broken Road I felt I was just listening to another posh boy who has had his path in life smoothed for him.  The money arriving at regular intervals, the letters of introduction to the highest in every land he passes through, the incredible self-confidence he displays.  And I felt that if I were to meet the 19-year-old Patrick Leigh-Fermor I would dislike him intensely.

Saturday, March 15, 2014



















Hearing about the troubles at the Co-Op makes me fear the organisation will go the same way as Kwik Save.

Retailing in working class areas is a specialist commercial activity that deserves a sociological study.
Hardly anything worth writing about concerning the past week at work.

There was however one surreal moment when I attended a small presentation at Head Office at the speaker referred at length to an article by Alec Nussbaum until I was obliged to tell him "I wrote that, Alec just put his name to it later".





















Forlorn shop. 

There was something about the melancholy of this scene that was very attractive.

Friday, March 14, 2014

The front page of tomorrow's Daily Mail carries the headline:  Scientists' hidden links to the GM food giants.

Worth buying for that article alone I think.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/index.html 
I was very impressed listening to PM on Radio 4 earlier today to hear Tony Benn's analysis of the then EEC (now the EU) and its undemocratic nature.

Especially he pointed out (one could almost say exposed) the way in which senior civil servants in EU member states meet up covertly (or at least not openly) to decide pan-European policies.
















Above:  the Guardian building from the end of the platform at Kings Cross.

The building was designed by the Dixon Jones firm of architects.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The old Tibetan culture




















A Tibetan portable shrine on display in the Victoria & Albert Museum.  The case was used to transport holy talismans.  Approximately a hundred years old.

The old Tibetan culture is very precious, and one hopes that Tibet will one day achieve freedom and the old ways be restored.

On the anniversary (actually yesterday) of the Tibetan uprising in 1959, I think of Churchill's message to occupied France:  "Good night, then. Sleep to gather strength for the morning, for the morning will come. Brightly will it shine on the brave and true; kindly upon all who suffer for the cause..."

Imperial arrogance towards Tibet

I am very disappointed that China should display imperial arrogance towards Tibet:  http://www.rfa.org/english/news/tibet/force-03122014164603.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

No wonder they do not criticise Russian behaviour in Ukraine.

The public will support whatever steps are necessary

Latest research on public attitudes towards immigration:  http://www.ipsos-mori.com/researchpublications/researcharchive/3355/Immigration-are-we-talking-about-it.aspx

The political class (all main parties) still has not realised that the majority want all immigration stopped completely and society restored to a state they feel comfortable with.

Eventually the will of the majority will make itself felt, but by then a lot of psychological damage will have been done to those who will have their lives disrupted.

The survey companies are also not being honest in recording public attitudes towards the level of state violence acceptable if it stops immigration and results in the removal of illegal immigrants - indications are that the public will support whatever steps are necessary.

Article by Clive Martin on the Vice website

I was very interested to read this polemical article by Clive Martin on the Vice website discussing the crisis in masculinity:  http://www.vice.com/en_uk/read/anatomy-of-a-new-modern-douchebag

My own thoughts:

http://afroml.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/the-crisis-of-masculinity.html

http://afroml.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/a-new-ideology-of-masculinity-is.html

This was published by the BBC today and might be relevant:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-26543095

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The 1870 neo-Byzantine West London Synagogue

















Passing the 1870 neo-Byzantine West London Synagogue I was impressed by these beautiful capitals of acanthus leaves. 

I didn't like to go inside.
After a clash in the office I am faced with the choice on what to do next.

I thought long about resigning on a point of principle (over dishonest manipulation of data).

Rather than take such a drastic step I have decided to "hand back" the reports I am supposed to produce each week.

I hope that is not too cowardly - it's a sort of resignation, a partial resignation.

The commitment Ed Miliband will make later today

On the Today programme this morning Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander explained the commitment Ed Miliband will make later today to promise a referendum on EU membership only if there are significant extra powers transferred to the EU.  These are weasel words.  Under the qualified majority voting introduced by the Lisbon Treaty (signed by Gordon Brown without any democratic mandate) the EU already has all the powers it needs to pass new laws and impose new directives.

More significantly, what Labour is also announcing today through Ed Miliband's speech is that Labour does not intend to do anything to stop the flood of migrants from the EU into the United Kingdom.

PS on Newsnight yesterday Emily Maitlis referred to "David Miliband" before hurridly correcting herself - Ed Miliband is still struggling to achieve name recognition, even among political commentators.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Necessary War and The Pity of War















I have been meaning to place on record how much I enjoyed the two documentaries about whether the United Kingdom should have entered the First World War - The Necessary War and The Pity of War.

On the whole I agreed with Sir Max Hastings, although Niall Ferguson was also very interesting (but the format of his programme did not work).

Undercover cop Peter Francis

On Channel 4 News this evening so-called undercover cop Peter Francis told us he was a "professional liar".

Which rather undermines everything he says.

http://www.channel4.com/news/peter-francis-stephen-lawrence-public-inquiry-prosecution

Co-Op

If the Co-Op is forced to demutualise presumably all the members will get shares in return from surrendering their membership rights.

That is going to be a huge boost to the economy.

The Co-Op is sitting on a lot of valuable real estate.

Update - on Channel 4 News just now Faisal Islam has just the phrase "fat cattery" when talking about the Co-Op board.  I like this description.  It conveys the idea of someone aspiring to become a fat cat.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Theresa May writing in The Sun on immigration:  http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/politics/5499329/theresa-may-blasts-government-critics-on-immigration.html

A very sensible and balanced assessment.

If Scotland becomes independent they are not sharing our language

And another thing, if Scotland becomes independent they are not sharing our language.

They must either go back to using gaelic or pay us a royalty for using English (it is our intellectual property).

Or I suppose they could use German if they are so keen on the EU.

A contrived equality

In a speech today former Prime Minister Gordon Brown addressed the issue of Scotland's place in the United Kingdom and said:

"...we have got to make for a better relationship between Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom, to turn what I would call a unitary and centralised state of the past into a partnership of equals..."

The problem with this is that England and Scotland are not equals.

England has vastly more people, more wealth, more power, more prestige, more assets, more capacity than Scotland.

So how can they be "equal"?

A contrived equality would mean that English people would count for less than Scottish people - and that will not get English agreement.

Especially as the "equality" being proposed by Gordon Brown is on the basis of ethnic regionalism.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-26510735

Sunday, March 09, 2014

1914-1918: The Cultural Front

I have just listened to 1914-1918: The Cultural Front on BBC iPlayer radio:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03th76d

Presented by Francine Stock, it is the first of a three-part series.

Invasion literature; The Vigil by Henry Newbolt; sonnets by Rupert Brooke; the Germans burning an ancient Belgian library; the spontaneous boycot of alien musicians; Kipling warning "The Hun is at the gate".

Live from Downing Street by Nick Robinson
















Have just finished reading Live from Downing Street by Nick Robinson.

I felt I was reading two books.  One a worthy but dull history of political reporting in the United Kingdom.  The other a much more interesting account of Nick Robinson's experiences as a news reporter.

The BBC described as "the most trusted purveyor of news in the world". 

I thought he was unfair to Anthony Eden.

Andrew Anthony in today's Observer




















Shockingly callous remark by reviewer Andrew Anthony in today's Observer.

He is already bored by the commemoration of the First World War.

No matter that nearly a million British people died in that conflict, Andrew Anthony can't be arsed with all this history.

He would much rather turn his critical attentions to something hip and happening and more in sympathy with his lefty sensitivities.

Paul Hogarth's colour illustrations for Siegfried Sassoon's First World War novel

The Victoria & Albert Museum currently has a small exhibition of Paul Hogarth's colour illustrations for Siegfried Sassoon's First World War novel Memoirs of an Infantry Officer.

The exhibition is hidden away in a gallery that is little more than a corridor, and is very hard to find.

The illustrations date from 1981, but in style seem older and unthinkingly repeat the lions-led-by-donkeys cliche-myth.





















Above:  safe in a comfortable headquarters (a commandeered hotel no doubt), this old buffer seems to be walking from lunch to the map room, presumably to send more young men to their deaths.  It is easy to laugh at these characters and lampoon them.  The reality was much more complicated.




















Above:  the bomb throwing scene.  The soldiers are just dehumanised shapes in the distance.  Sassoon loved the men under his command, so it is odd to see them conceived in this way.





















Above:  the wire cutting scene.  Again the men are just tiny shadows.  Bands of dull colour - blue, brown, black.





















Above:  the hospital ship taking Sherston/Sassoon back to England on sick leave.  Three quarters of the image is filled by the grey sea.  The novel has Sherston/Sassoon looking out of a porthole, which might have been more effective as an image than this rather anonymous view.

http://www.vam.ac.uk/whatson/event/3094/memoirs-of-an-infantry-officer-paul-hogarth-illustrates-siegfri-4487/ 
The Guardian has poached (stolen, not boiled in water) lefty agitator Owen Jones from The Independent.

Was it the purity of the Guardian's ideology that attracted him, or did they just offer more money?

Not for the first time one has the impression that the left is eating itself.

Saturday, March 08, 2014

It is easy to get distracted - the past week at work

Monday

So many rumours about the Institute moving back to London that I sat at my desk this morning and considered how I would find a new job.

I worked on plans for a new mailshot, writing the letter and a leaflet that will go with it.

Tuesday

Once a week I work at home on a long-term confidential project.

Unfortunately it is easy to get distracted and I spent a lot of the day reading about the Younghusband invasion of Tibet.

Wednesday

All I seemed to do today was reply to e-mails.

Thursday

Arguments with Deputy Director Marcia Walsh, who also looks after finance.  As an economy she wants to stop any campaigns until the new Director is appointed.  I had to appeal to Alec Nussbaum to get my funding restored.

Friday

A lot of today I spent researching photographic images.  I find it a very pleasant task.  A good photograph can make all the difference.

Tower of Imperial College
















The tower of Imperial College rising above the hideous 1960s extensions and veiled by the natural gothic tracery of the bare trees.

The tower is all that is left of Thomas Collcut's original design for Imperial College.

Ben Judah in the New York Times

Spiteful anti-British article by someone called Ben Judah in the New York Times:  http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/03/08/opinion/londons-laundry-business.html?from=opinion

It would be instantly forgettable nonsense were it not for the fourth paragraph which begins:  "It boils down to this: Britain is ready to betray the United States to protect the City of London’s hold on dirty Russian money."

What on earth does Ben Judah think we are "betraying"?

We owe no loyalty to the United States.

Mr Judah, do you not remember when President Obama was first elected one of the first things he did was send back the bust of Winston Churchill that was on display in the White House Oval Office?

It wasn't just consigned to a side table in a back corridor.  It wasn't even put away in a cupboard.  It was sent back.

We got the message.

You don't want to be our friends.

You have all those new buddies in the Far East who are your best friends now.

So fuck you Ben Judah (if I may be allowed to use an American expression).

You go to your new friends and ask them for support.

We are looking after our own interests, not yours.