Thursday, July 31, 2014

"Never, never be afraid to borrow money"

It has been brought to the attention of this blog that former actor Michael Cashman is to be made a Labour peer and sit in the House of Lords with an high likelihood of entering the Shadow Cabinet.

It is also noted that in one episode of Eastenders (in the mid to late 1980s) he spoke the words "Never, never be afraid to borrow money".

Of course, he will say that he was just speaking the words of a fictional character.

But arguably the entire Shadow Cabinet is made up of fictional characters speaking words that have been written for them.
Thank goodness we have a day off from Alec Nussbaum and his "gnostic polling" analysis.

The Irish ambassador

The Irish ambassador appeared on the Today programme this morning to talk about the new memorial to southern Irish people who fought in the First World War.

He should have apologised to the British people for the persecution of people in southern Ireland who wanted to retain their British identity (many of the soldiers who returned to Ireland after the war were treated in an appalling way).

The Irish republic was created out of intimidation, fear and cultural cleansing (in many cases ethnic cleansing).

As a result it became a sick society in which terrible abuses were carried out.

It is still a sick society and will remain so until past wrongs are acknowledged and apologised for.
Nothing in the news about the Blackwall tunnel, apparently blockaded by ISIS sympathisers.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Hugh Gaitskell House opened in 1964

Walking around I came across Hugh Gaitskell House opened in 1964.

Does this not typify socialism?  Grey, utilitarian, conformist.  Modernist in style, divorced from the historical continuum of English culture.

Anyone living in this building is likely to become neurotic, resentful, angry.

Hugh Gaitskell introduced prescription charges for the NHS - remember this whenever lefties claim the Conservatives are opposed to the idea of free healthcare (which we are not).
"It's a classic third world slum" said Paul Mason on Channel 4 News, showing his contempt for the people of Gaza that he is supposedly championing.


"After we win the referendum?  I don't see UKIP fading away.  I see UKIP becoming the Independence Party with Independence becoming their philosophy - independence in private life, independence in public life, independence in national life".

"And eventually they will merge with us as the Conservative, Unionist and Independence Party".

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


For all their emotional intensity, I am unsettled by the reports from Gaza that seem to wallow in the misery of the people there.

It seems that Paul Mason (who is supposed to be an Economics Editor) and others are indulging in a sophisticated form of ambulance-chasing, using the material produced out of the misery of Gaza to produce award-winning reports designed to advance their own careers (sorry if this sounds cynical).

On a wider level, it occurs to me that without making any moral judgement in this conflict (both sides are right and both sides are wrong) the United Kingdom could offer to transport children under 16 from Gaza to the British sovereign territory in Cyprus for the temporary duration of the emergency.

It would be a form of kindertransport - surely the Israelis would allow that?

Monday, July 28, 2014

At last the presentation is finished.

I feel completely drained.

To add to things, one of the dogs fell seriously ill.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Crescent in Hertford Road

Grandest building in Edmonton must surely be The Crescent in Hertford Road.  It took thirty years to build, and was completed in 1856.  Where there are now private gardens was once a carriage drive with communal plantings.

High density housing, and yet preserves dignity and individualism.

It urgently needs to be restored - Edmonton does not have such a surfeit of fine architecture that it can afford to lose The Crescent.

Jon W Chambers is scornful

In this article about Ed Miliband's recent speech Labour activist Jon W Chambers is scathing in his analysis:

At one stage Jon W Chambers had to suppress his laughter (not laughter at one-line jokes, this was nervous proto-hysterical laughter, the subliminal sort of laughter when you are so frightened by what you are seeing that you want it to be a joke).

Jon W Chambers is scornful about the Labour pledges to freeze house bills ("motivating people to vote on self-interest").

He is cynical about Ed Miliband's attempt to restore "trust" in politics ("in the same speech where he offered a grovelling apology for a photo opportunity in Rupert Murdoch’s The Sun newspaper").

He describes many of the prospective Labour MPs in swing marginals as "lazy".

When even committed Labour supporters are this sceptical, it does not bode well for 2015.

To call women to repentance

And so in a rush (for twenty years is a rush in the history of the Church) women have entered the priesthood and may serve as priests and bishops.

One cannot take seriously the idea that this is mere faddish compliance with equality best practice.

Such a number of women, entering the Church so quickly, must be for a purpose - a divine purpose.

Surely it is to speak to women with an authority that male priests can no longer assume?

To call women to repentance.

And to condemn abortion.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Stamford Hill

All these extra "off site" meetings with Alec Nussbaum at his house means travelling through Stamford Hill.

It must be tense there at the moment.
Stupidly I volunteered to produce a Powerpoint presentation for the exhibition.

It means I have editorial control over the message going out.

But it has also meant hours and hours of extra work, including spending this weekend producing the eighty slides.

Pointing to a pattern

There has been a big demonstration in London earlier today in support of the people of Gaza.

Leaving on side any issues of who is right and who is wrong.

I was interested in reports of the appearance of blatantly anti-semitic banners.

When the animal rights movement started to gain popular support we know that secret police infiltrated them and urged extremist behaviour (violence, arson etc) presumably in an effort to discredit the movement.

When the EDL started to gain popular support mysterious "EDL activists" appeared giving Nazi salutes at the Cenotaph and the organisation became discredited.

And now that Gaza is receiving a measure of popular support we see the appearance of extreme pro-Gaza activists with anti-semitic banners that discredit the demonstration.

I am making no comment on whether these three campaigns deserved to be discredited or not.

I am pointing to a pattern.

If your organisation threatens the establishment it will be subverted.

This may not be happening with the knowledge of the elected politicians.

Senior civil servants and public officials are quite capable of doing this on their own.

Friday, July 25, 2014

This disgusts me:

I want to see prison sentences (long ones) for the people responsible.

And the senior Princeton administrative staff running the laboratory will have to resign.

Ed Miliband's speech earlier today

Referring to Ed Miliband's speech earlier today Yvette Cooper (Shadow Home Secretary) tells us that leadership is "not PR and posturing".

Then why did the Labour Party hire PR guru David Axelrod?

And how much did they spend on David Axelrod?

It rather insults our intelligence to say that the Labour leadership is not involved in PR when they have spent a fortune on one of the biggest PR names on the planet.

Indeed the phrase "I'm not from central casting" sounds suspiciously Hollywood-American to me.

As if a Californian-based PR guru had written it.

An ideological moment

I went to see the restored St Lawrence Jewry fountain, re-erected after forty years in store.

When it was taken down James Callaghan was Prime Minister.

The heat of the day was beginning to ease.  The setting sun edged the side of the fountain in gold.  The gothic revival fountain was poised between the Wren bulk of the cathedral and the Wren tower of St Augustine's (the rest of the church was destroyed by the Germans in 1940).

It was a moment of intense aesthetic pleasure.

But it was also an ideological moment.

How exultant the modernists must have been in the 1970s when they succeeded in having the fountain banished.  How convinced the brutalist philistines would have been that they were junking all of the past and starting again.  And yet here the fountain is, more prominent and more beautiful than before.

That is how I want society to be.

All the rubbish of the last fifty-five years removed.

And we return to status quo ante.

If it were to come out it would be the end

I received a confession earlier.

From someone who has gone through all the usual interviews and covert vetting before being accepted as someone we want to boost.

I know him quite well, and it was probably my endorsement that was key to the Institute taking him up.

Anyway, we were walking along a London street and his attitude changed, and he became very quiet, and stopped to look into the windows of an office.

I was curious as to what he was looking for and he prevaricated in answering my questions.

", I will tell you in about four years time, when all this is over...  now is not the right time... you will only go and tell Alec Nussbaum... "

We had a modest dinner (modest in food, not in cost) and I continued to return to the subject every few minutes, knowing he wanted to tell me.

I established it was nothing to do with sex.

And it was nothing to do with money.

And it was nothing to do with drugs.

And then it all poured out and I was surprised - very surprised indeed.  I saw at once his difficulty.  If it got out it would be the end.

Although not technically criminal.  And he had only been twenty at the time.  And the chances of it ever coming out are tiny.

But if it were to come out it would be the end, and lots of people would be embarrassed.

I ought to tell Alec Nussbaum (perhaps he wants me to tell Alec Nussbaum, perhaps that is why he confessed in the first place).

But I have decided not to tell Alec Nussbaum.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Bidisha's question

I find myself echoing Bidisha's question:  "Emily Maitlis, Kirsty Wark, Laura Kuenssberg are all amazing and sharp on BBC Newsnight - why wasn't one of them promoted to lead presenter?"


This is an important Guardian article:

Chickens are live animals, they can experience fear, they can feel pain.

Future generations will be as appalled by the way we treat animals in 2014 as we are appalled at the way slaves were treated in 1814.

The opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games

Having checked Newsnight had nothing of interest I switched over to The Papers on BBC News 24.

But it was still showing the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games.

It was awful.

This is not to be anti-Scottish - I thought the Opening of the 2012 Olympics was a load of "multi-cultural crap".

Indeed, Aiden Burley's Twitter commentary would have been a welcome corrective to all the internationalist jingoism on show in Glasgow last night.

I waited until the Scottish team appeared in their controversial high-camp 1970s-coloured costumes (as if the designer had been inspired by YouTube episodes of Jason King set in the Scottish Highlands in 1971).

And then I switched off.

One rather dreads the weeks to come.

The endless mindless comments about sport from leftie politicos, as if they are trying to prove they are rounded individuals instead of mono-obsessed nerds.

The inevitable article from Sunder Katwala telling us the Glasgow Games demonstrate how "inclusive" and "welcoming" society has become, and how this validates all of post-war immigration despite it happening against the wishes of the majority.

The unavoidable oddball remarks from Bonnie Greer reminding us that the "dark" Picts were almost certainly black, the Black Watch were to a man black, and Shakespeare's Dark Lady of the Sonnets was of course black and an upcoming Hollywood feature will dramatise this very point.

Eventually Dan Hodges will write in the Telegraph that victory of the Scottish team means the end for Ed Miliband.  Unless of course the Scottish team does badly in which case he will write that the bad performance of the Scottish team means the end for Ed Miliband.  Indeed, he has probably written the article already and just has to change one or two key words and it is ready to go.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Very interesting Tweet from Michael Savage (The Times).

It is obvious that the Speaker is not good enough.

It is time for him to go.

This scam has destroyed the welfare state

This is why the welfare state has lost public support:

Labour took the public resources built up by decades of National Insurance contributions and gave them to newly-arrived immigrants on the nebulous criteria of "need" in return for bloc-votes by immigrant communities.

This scam has destroyed the welfare state and effectively destroyed democracy.

Latin was the language of the Romano-British peoples

Adam Ramsay, in a silly review of languages formerly widespread in the British Isles, misses off the most obvious one - Latin. 

For four hundred years Latin was the language of the Romano-British peoples.

It is to the credit of the Anglo-Saxons that they not only adopted this ancient language but preserved it for centuries, through the Reformation, into the modern era.

The greatest of all English historians, the Venerable Bede, wrote his History of the English Church and People in Latin, not Anglo-Saxon.

Indeed, Latin was taught in United Kingdom grammar schools until the 1960s and 1970s when grammar schools were abolished in an act of socialist-inspired spite.

It is arguable that without the support of Welsh and Scottish Labour MPs the abolition of the grammar schools would never have been tolerated.

Thus Ellie-Mae O'Hagen (through her support for socialism) must accept partial responsibility for the extinction of at least one ancient language.

Blair is never coming back, not even in a supporting role

James Bloodworth tells us:  " is now 40 years since a Labour leader (excluding Blair) last won a General Election. 40 years. Let that sink in for a minute. The last time an election was won by Labour-minus-Blair Leonid Brezhnev was leader of the Soviet Union and Richard Nixon was about to be impeached."

As Blair is never coming back, not even in a supporting role, things look dire for the Labour Party.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


There are disturbing tones of irredentism in this Ellie-Mae O'Hagen piece on Welsh culture:

"Welsh evolved from Brittonic (meaning indigenous Breton, as opposed to Anglo-Saxon), and until the Romans came along, it was spoken in England too."

" indigenous Celtic culture I’ve inherited by being born in Wales – a culture that isn’t unique to my small and beautiful corner of the country, but at one time reached across Britain..."

Does she really think English people dominate Welsh people?

I was not aware of lording it over the Welsh.

Perhaps I have been doing it unconsciously.

Or perhaps Ellie-Mae O'Hagen just needs to get over herself.


Another day of meetings that went on so long there was no time for lunch and no time for dinner, and I barely had time to grab this packet of jellies before Alec Nussbaum offered me a lift as far as Finsbury Park (it would have been easier to go to Kings Cross, especially as Alec Nussbaum refused to let me eat in his car in case I got sugar everywhere).

A whispering huddle in the loos

I am getting fed up with all the conspiratorial meetings that are held in the toilets at Head Office.

There is nothing more off-putting than being asked into a whispering huddle in the loos on the third floor.

In any case, this violates the Head Office policy on openness and transparency since women can hardly be asked into the Gents (or perhaps they have their own loo-based conspiracies?).

Monday, July 21, 2014

Obviously I am not happy that such a pro-immigration libertarian such as Evan Davis is replacing Jeremy Paxman.

If he continues to be biased and provocative on the issue of immigration he will have to go.

I give him eighteen months.

How sinister the Barbican looks

Look how sinister the Barbican looks, towering over the City in a menacing brutalist way.

Many MPs have flats in this complex.
Palimpsest speech by Tony Blair in which he means the reverse of everything he says.

"We despise playing politics with immigration".

Yeah, right.

That's how all those millions of extra Labour voters got here.
One wonders whether any of the lefties currently at the Blair speech will have the courage to make a citizen's arrest.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

He was never really a Tory:

What a wasted life.

He could have gone into the Liberal party and had a career with more integrity.

An existential crisis on the A1010

Totally absorbed in her nails.

Had one broken?

Was this an existential crisis on the A1010?

One of the wonders of north London

I took a break from the conference to go and look around Waltham Abbey famous as the burial place of Harold Godwinson (he usurped the throne as Harold II although I think William the Conqueror had a much more legitimate claim to the throne).

The heat and humidity were debilitating and enervating.

Looking towards the High Altar you can see one of the huge Norman columns that support the structure.

You would think that in such a stone building it would be cool, but there was no respite from the heat.

Up a short flight of steps to an elevated chapel to see the 15th century Last Judgement mural.  It was a wonderful experience to see this painting.  This is one of the wonders of north London.

It needs to be conserved properly.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

He was sitting there in his vest

Driving back through north London as a passenger in Alec Nussbaum's car, I saw this guy on a little balcony above a shuttered shop.

He was sitting there in his vest (it was still very hot), drinking a beer, reading his paper.

There was something about the scene that reminded me of southern climes.

There were no criticisms when I gave my report, which was a relief - the past week at work


A rush to arrange a Polish interpreter for the weekend.  This involved a lot of 'phone calls.  Perhaps I am not at my best troubleshooting (I said this Alec Nussbaum and he said I was like Alexander Haig, I get mad when things go wrong).

I worked on the broadcast copy research, the deadline drawing uncomfortably close.

A proposal to tie up inheritance bequests (specifically from grandparents) in a scheme so that the money can only be spent on education and training.


Most of the morning spent on a photoshoot - portraits of the Council.  We used the corner office as a makeshift studio.  Just head and shoulders shots, but the photographer took hours fussing about.

A brief from Ashish Sharma.  He is so woolly and vague that talking to him is very tedious.  I wondered if anyone would notice if I just ignored him (the Birmingham office has gone downhill since he took over).


I had allocated the day to writing my report for the Management Meeting tomorrow.  But there were so many interruptions (telephone calls and e-mails) that I did not make much progress.  I worked through lunch to get the basics done.

The heat almost unbearable.  Two electric fans on my desk.  But I did not take my tie off.

A call from Alec Nussbaum asking me to so a report for tomorrow about the "competition".  Although it was very short notice and an extra thing to do, I did not mind doing this report.  I argued that sometimes your competitor is your best friend.


Rain and then hot sun makes the atmosphere humid.  Some of the rain has been torrential.  Driving to work one saw a green wet landscape sparkling in the dazzling sun.

I was at my desk a few minutes early and opened the new e-mails that had come in.  Then I spent an hour editing my report for the Management Meeting.  I finished just in time.

The meeting started at 10 and went on for four hours.  Alec Nussbaum chaired the meeting - he has a surface amiability but is actually deeply cynical.  It was very clear that he was double-checking information as it was given to him.

There were no criticisms when I gave my report, which was a relief.

During the sandwich lunch talk turned to Gaza.  Alec Nussbaum became very animated and said that Israel had twenty-five thousand activists around the world who are used to influence opinion.  "That's how I want us to be" he said, "we are building a big team of opinion-formers who can sotto voce promote our ideas without seeming partisan".

After the meeting I checked proofs.


I gave some work to Joey, a graphic designer we sometimes use.  He was sunbathing when I rang him.  "My shoulders are burned" he said.

Labour leaders can't really be ruthless

One of the most perplexing aspects of leftie comment on Labour poll leads is that they thought even 37% was an occasion for rejoicing.

Now they have slipped to 34% the penny is beginning to drop - they are not doing enough to consolidate their position.

Presumably Ed Miliband in his forthcoming reshuffle will have to be as ruthless as David Cameron.

The problem is that Labour leaders can't really be ruthless.

The party structure counts against ruthlessness and the party temperament tends to oppose ruthlessness.

Friday, July 18, 2014

All those rushing to comment on what is happening in Gaza should remember that it is impossible for people sitting safey in the United Kingdom to understand the fear that is on both sides and is compelling each side to act in the ways that they are.

If someone was trying to kill you would you react rationally?

The lady volunteer

"No please don't do that, I can't bear it when people do that."

The lady volunteer sent down from Head Office shifted in her chair awkwardly, as if she were somehow being violated. 

"Please don't do it, I'm asking you nicely not to" (rising note of distress in her voice).

Then... "Oh nooo".

At the desk in front of her Alec Nussbaum deliberately extended his tongue and licked the flimsy plastic lid of his black cherry yogurt.

"You should never lick the lid" the lady volunteer said.

"Never never never."

"It's just so..."

Thursday, July 17, 2014

A society made up of immigrants

This sort of article by Jonathan Portes is so depressing:

He genuinely believes that people are interchangeable.

That a society made up of immigrants is no different to a society made up of families who have a thousand-year continuum broadly in the same place interacting with the same institutions.

He sounds like those Aussi wine producers who assure you that the swill they bulk-produce in aluminium barrels is just as good as the wines produced through the French terroir system.

The society we have in the United Kingdom has grown up organically over many centuries.  It can be expanded by adding people gradually.  But the idea that you can transplant millions of people and society is going to remain the same is nonsensical.

Of course if you don't care about British society (or indeed are covertly hostile to it) then the destructive nature of mass immigration will not bother you.

And shame on Bright Blue for giving this dissembler a platform - except that one cannot take Bright Blue seriously (a report on Newsnight showed that the "think tank" is just a desk in Ryan Shorthouse's bedroom).

They should not chase ratings but produce programmes that are of the highest quality

The whole point of the BBC is that they should not chase ratings but produce programmes that are of the highest quality and are valid in terms of creative integrity as validated by peer-review from critics.

The fact that one or other demographic group finds them unattractive at this particular moment in time is of no consequence.

They may well appreciate the programmes in the future (perhaps when newly-arrived BAME people have a better understanding of English) or they may never appreciate them, no matter what effort is made - by which argument the BBC needs to be junked at a rate proportional to the percentage growth of the BAME section of the population.

Death-on-demand for terminally ill people

With all the renewed talk about death-on-demand for terminally ill people, one is aware of an inconsistency in the arguments of those in favour.

In American, which still has a death penalty, there is considerable room for error in the means used to kill people.  Sometimes the substances work, sometimes they don't.  Sometimes the substances have such a botched effect that the subject dies in mouth-frothing agony.

There is also a great deal of disquiet from companies who are asked to produce the substances used to kill people - often they are not happy that their products are being used in this way.

Why is it so difficult for trained professionals in America to kill people, and yet we are told by the pro-death lobby in this country that doctors would be able to do it easily and comfortably?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The major component of inflation IS wage costs

Very lightweight report by Paul Mason on Channel 4 News this evening.

He told us (with exaggerated ponderousness) that inflation going up with wages remaining static means big trouble for the Conservative party.

However he did not explain how inflation can go up in any sustained way without wages going up.

As the major component of inflation IS wage costs it does not seem possible.

Obviously raw materials can go up in price, but manufacturing is a small part of the British economy.

Excessive profiteering can take place, but usually competition drives down prices.

It is possible we are in a "new paradigm" where "somehow" inflation goes up but wages remain static but one would expect the Economics Editor of Channel 4 News to explain the mechanics of this new paradigm.

Not for the first time I am left with the suspicion that Paul Mason is a fraud who does not really understand economics at all.

Restrained article by Ed Conway, Economics Editor of Sky News

Thoughtful, perceptive and restrained article by Ed Conway ( Economics Editor of Sky News, and columnist at The Times):
If wages do not recover "I would expect a real backlash against those forces of globalisation (particularly immigration)."

The new Nordstrom Tower

One World Trade Centre is supposedly America's most patriotic building as the height (1776 in imperial feet) represents the moment the colonies became independent.

Patriotic British people should presumably stay at the hotel in the new Nordstrom Tower as the height (1775 feet) represents the last year of British rule.

Is the Guardian any better than the NSA?

The Guardian likes to position itself as on the high moral ground:

However the Guardian itself is a surveillance organisation.

It has agents throughout the world.

It has an ideology it wants to see implemented.

It has enemies and informers and Sidney Greenstreet types who sit in back rooms pulling all the strings.

It indulges in covert operations, character assassinations, and liaisons with criminals - or perhaps we should say people who have committed crimes, or indeed to be absolutely politically correct we could call them people who do not have legal agreement for the actions they feel they have had to take.

Is the Guardian any better than the NSA?

Nanteos Cup

The Nanteos Cup has been stolen!

Not since the theft of the Stone of Destiny from its rightful place in Westminster Abbey has a comparable crime been committed.

Who is the latter-day Captain Blood who has done this?

Political statements were slyly slipped into Thought for the Day this morning

Political statements were slyly slipped into Thought for the Day this morning by Angela Tilby (Diocesan Canon of Christ Church, Oxford).  Into a musing about the outbreak of the First World War and the German victory in the World Cup she repeated the dishonest argument that pan-European co-operation has kept the peace in Europe and that this is preferable to national policies by nation states.  This is completely at variance with the reality - peace in Europe was achieved in 1945 by the military defeat of Germany and was ensured subsequently by the Allied armies of occupation based in Germany until this day (ostensibly to protect Germany from the Russians, but also to protect the Germans from themselves).

Political priests are not new, but there seems to be rather too many of them these days.

If the Reverend Tilby wants to be a politician she should stand for election in a constituency, not use the broadcast pulpit of the BBC Radio 4 Thought for the Day slot to propagate her views.

Alternatively, perhaps we could have the Anglican clergy directly elected by the electoral rolls of each parish (that would stop obnoxious clerics being parachuted in by bishops pursuing agendas that do not have widespread popular support).

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The great Goetz murals

As new Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond establishes himself at the Foreign Office which of the great Goetz murals will he talk inspiration from?

Britannia Bellatrix?

Britannia Colonorum?

Or Britannia Pacificatrix?

Emmeline Pankhurst

It is very noticeable in this photograph that when first unveiled the statue of Emmeline Pankhurst (her birthday is today) was in full view of the Houses of Parliament.

Now it is so hemmed in by trees and bushes that it can hardly be seen even from a few feet away.

Would it not be a fine thing for David Cameron to reverse the years of Labour neglect and have the bushes cleared away so that parliamentarians can once more see the statue? (for all their cant Labour leaders are anti-women - Harriet Harman has told us that Gordon Brown was prejudiced against women; and we know that when Gillian Duffy dared to express strong feelings she was just dismissed as a "bigoted woman").

The bushes should be cleared away.

Currently the statue of Ms Pankhurst resembles those war memorials put up by the Soviets in the cities of eastern Europe they liberated - the city councils subsequently surrounded them by screens of trees and fountains so that no-one could see them.

How clever of the Guardian

When I saw this article about Etonians illustrated by a picture of Her Majesty The Queen I thought how clever the Guardian picture researchers were:

During the Second World War Her Majesty (then Princess Elizabeth) was educated at Windsor Castle by tutors from Eton College (about a mile away) and so technically received an Etonian education.

How clever of the Guardian to know this.

I have always thought that beneath the bolshie republicanism they are all secret royalists (one has only to look at the coverage given to the Royal Wedding of HRH The Duke of Cambridge - as many pages as the Daily Mail).
I am sorry Michael Gove is no longer at Education.

No, it was never open to the public

On the Today programme's Thought for the Day (BBC Radio 4) the Curate of St Mary's Amersham talked nonsense about the nature of evil and seemed to contradict the words of the Scriptures (this is so commonplace among Anglican clergy that it is hardly worth mentioning - they seem to have lost their way and are mostly interested in being social workers or corporate administrators or diversity awareness lecturers).

What interested me was the mention of St Mary's Amersham.

As a shy ten-year-old I travelled by 'bus from Chesham to Amersham and entered this church and sought out the incumbent (I can't remember if he was a Rector or a Vicar).

Eventually a towering (to me), grey-haired and formidable figure in a black hassock appeared and irritably asked me what I wanted.

Perhaps I had dragged him away from writing his sermon.  Or interrupted his prayers.  Or brought a halt to a sherry and gossip session with the head of the Mothers' Union.

Timidly (I was very timid in those days, my voice so quiet that most people could not hear me) I asked if I could see inside the Tyrwhitt-Drake chapel.

No, he could not admit me to the chapel.  It was a private mausoleum and the family wanted the door kept locked.  No, it was never open to the public.

I must have persisted as eventually he relented and said I could poke my head round the door for a few seconds.

The huge key rattled in the lock, the colossal door opened and the priest stood aside while I looked into the mysterious interior - experiencing a stab of excitement akin to what Howard Carter must have felt when he first broke through into the tomb of Tutankhamen.

I can't remember what I saw.  I have dim memories of marble shelves crowded with marble urns but these must be false memories as Google Images tells me the chapel is actually full of sculptures and memorial tablets.  Perhaps in my mind the Tyrwhitt-Drake chapel has become jumbled up with later recollections of the Capuchin Crypt in Vienna.

I am sure, however, that my brief glimpse saw dazzling white shapes and scintillating white lights.  The dazzling shapes and lights may have been all in my imagination.  But to me, at that moment, they were real.


Philip Hammond is to be Foreign Secretary

Excellent news that Philip Hammond is to be Foreign Secretary.

And if we were to unilaterally withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights (sic) it would concentrate minds throughout other pan-European organisations, particularly the EU.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Undermining Ed Miliband's authority

"I will not be able to support DRIP at third reading without a 6 month sunset" - Tom Watson threatens Ed Miliband with rebellion:

Yet another prominent figure in the Labour Party undermining Ed Miliband's authority.

What is wrong with these people?

Have they convinced themselves they cannot win in 2015?

"My Dad was a bishop" Jon Snow has just announced

"My Dad was a bishop" Jon Snow has just announced on Channel 4 News.

My goodness, his family is stuffed with privilege.

How much privilege is it possible for one family to accumulate? (on a day when we have heard about the hereditary lawyers in the Havers family).

The joke is that we are asked to believe that all these people have risen to the heights of the establishment by their own efforts.

Why doesn't Jon Snow show some self-respect and get a proper job as a welder or a hod carrier.
Thank goodness we are rid of Ken Clarke.

Predicting a Conservative majority

Just when you thought things were beginning to settle down for Ed Miliband former Home Secretary Charles Clarke tells us Labour has no narrative:

He is also predicting a Conservative majority (my thoughts also, although it is necessary not to seem too confident).
As a right-wing Conservative I am not all that fussed Owen Patterson has gone.

Why not Peter Bone promoted?

Or Bill Cash?

Poems by Alfred Austin

Have just finished a collection of poems by Alfred Austin, who is perhaps the only political journalist appointed Poet Laureate.

His poem Forgiveness might have been written on the theme of parliamentary journalism:

Seen through the vista of the vanished years,
How trivial seem the struggle and the crown,
How vain past feuds, when reconciling tears
Course down the channel worn by vanished frown.
How few mean half the bitterness they speak!
Words more than feelings keep us still apart,
And, in the heat of passion or of pique,
The tongue is far more cruel than the heart.
Since love alone makes it worth while to live,
Let all be now forgiven, and forgive. 

For several years I have had a book of poetry that I dip into, reading one poem (or one page if the poems are long) per day.

I have just started the collected poetry of Rupert Brooke - with the centenary of the First World War coming up it seemed appropriate.

John Bercow contributes to the public contempt of the Commons

On Daily Politics earlier today Isobel Hardman said that Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow contributes to the public contempt of the Commons through the way he ridicules and sneers at MPs.

I immediately thought of his deliberately exaggerated pronunciation of the name Selous - "Sea-louse".

It is a poor state of affairs when the Speaker undermines the very institution he is employed to defend.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The White Bear pub decorated for the World Cup

The White Bear pub decorated for the World Cup.

I'm afraid that after England left the competition I lost all interest.

Bartholomew Close

While I was at Smithfield I walked round Bartholomew Close where the narrow lanes and mixed use of buildings preserves an echo of the medieval city.

The redevelopment of the area threatens to replace the Victorian industrial buildings with anonymous office blocks without architectural merit.

It would be a shame it this were to happen.

The Twentieth Century Society is protesting about the plans.
There is a moment after you have deliberately stirred up a hornet's nest when you wonder whether you have done the right thing (or even that you have done something that you can control).

Relics of warrior cults carried onto the battlefield to ensure victory

Earlier today I watched on the National Geographic channel Saxon Gold: New Secrets Revealed.

It was a fascinating programme about the Staffordshire Hoard.

I was particularly intrigued by the dating of the artifacts which range from 550 BC to 800 BC - some are thought to predate the Saxon invasion (and so would have come from north Germany).

Most of them display military iconography.

Is it possible that these were talismanic relics of warrior cults carried onto the battlefield to ensure victory?

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Doors at Head Office were closing on me - the past week at work


Alec Nussbaum's forward planning day.  Various people came up from Head Office for us to meet ahead of the merger.  I met R who has taken over the Exhibitions programme from David L.


Most of the morning spent dealing with e-mails.  It was a lazy sort of day and I have hardly any major projects to be working on.  My workload is not at all demanding, and without a Director based in the offices it is difficult to see where new work will come from.


Into London for a series of meetings. 

The Ritualisation of things to make them permanent seminar was interesting. 

A meeting with R and David L (who leaves at the end of the month).  They talked about exhibitions as a way of doing research.  R warned me (superfluously) about Alec Nussbaum ("He can be difficult - he rebukes people in public").

Then a meeting with Mary McF who leaves on the 25th.  It was a meaningless meeting that lasted forty minutes.  Unlikely I will see her again.

Then I went up to wait for Ashish Sharma.  I waited thirty minutes.  Then his assistant told me he had cancelled.

Into the Breaking Through Barriers presentation.  It was a big meeting.  New Zealander Cathy Q (aged in her 20s, friendly to everyone) struggled in her delivery.  The odious Anne Boswell-Urquart was at the presentation, and in the discussions I made a point of disagreeing with everything she said.  I meant this to be subtle, but she obviously noticed and snapped at me.  About fifty people at the presentation.

I left feeling that doors at Head Office were closing on me, and not just the crash as I went out the security gate.


The countdown to next year does give a theme to the passing days, although most of the Institute's projects are already prepared and implementation is left to others.

The minutes for Breaking Through Barriers arrived by e-mail, with everyone asked for feedback - I was generous as I like Cathy Q, but she needs to do a lot more work on the campaign.


The system was down again, which was irritating. 

When I returned to my desk after lunch Karen S (works in telephone surveys) presented me with a choc-ice to mark her birthday.

As the system was still down I went into the Reading Room and picked a book at random off the shelves - a slim book Assets and Progressive Welfare.

Usual circulars arrived for the weekend.

I am not disheartened by the surveys, I have hope for the future.

Perhaps the United Kingdom should leave the EU economic area and join the China economic area

On CCTV's Dialogue Yang Rui interviewed David Dollar from the Brookings Institution.

They discussed how China's "strong central leadership could make all the difference to growth rates" boosting them to 8% pa rather than the expected 4% pa.

However a sophisticated economy cannot grow without an educated and innovative workforce.  An educated and innovative workforce will need to have a critical outlook (all innovation comes from criticism).  A critical class of people will eventually criticise they way they are governed and controlled - this is inevitable.

Therefore China's economy already contains a paradox - growth is not possible with a critical outlook, and a critical outlook must eventually mean on-going governmental reform and democracy.

The discussion referred to the need for internationalisation of the RMB exchange rate regime - liberalise interest rates; open up financial services to competition; open up the capital account.

As we are living in a globalised world distance is no longer a constraint.

Therefore perhaps the United Kingdom should leave the EU economic area and join the China economic area.  It would make a lot of sense given how complementary the two economies are (unlike the EU where all the economies are competing).  China has reserves of 4 trillion dollars.

A unique celebration of our culture, faith and identity

At the 12th July parades Orange Order Grand Master Edward Stevenson said the day was "a unique celebration of our culture, faith and identity".


An impassioned Michael Goldfarb on Dateline London earlier today said:  "Satyagraha worked for Gandhi".

I am not sure that Satyagraha did work, although it is convenient for all sides to pretend it did.

Clement Attlee, when asked how much Gandhi campaigns influenced him on whether to give India independence said "Very little".

India was jettisoned because after the Second World War the United Kingdom could not afford to maintain imperialism (which contrary to the plundering and looting reputation is actually very expensive).

Plus he wanted the money to set up the NHS.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Smithfield Market

Another view of Smithfield Market.  Italianate facade, with central arcade and very charming pepperpot towers at each end.  Kentish red brick and white Portland stone, designed by Sir Horace Jones 1866-67.

The First World War memorial along the Grand Avenue that goes through Smithfield Market.  I'm not sure how authentic the multi-coloured paint is.  The memorial was designed by G. Hawkings & Sons and unveiled in 1921 (or 1924?).  Note the figures representing Fame and Victory holding laurel wreaths.  When I worked nearby I used to walk along the Grand Avenue each lunchtime on my way to the Barbican library.  When I first saw this memorial I was so moved that I stopped and read each name (over two hundred of them).

Positions are created, doors are held open, backsides are eased into reserved chairs

Paul Mason is now Channel 4's Economics Editor (and has just given a report on air).

He was originally employed as Cultural and Digital Editor.

This is the way the media establishment operates.

Positions are created, doors are held open, backsides are eased into reserved chairs.

Of course there would have been a completely transparent and open recruitment process.

But it was always obvious that Paul Mason was going to get this job.

No-one else gets a look-in.

This jobs-for-the-boys is pretty poor considering that Channel 4 poses as a public service broadcaster.

Oh how cutting!

Oh how cruel Owen Jones can be - see this review of the IPPR's Condition of Britain:

"When elected Labour leader, Ed Miliband was offered a blank sheet of paper. He has since doodled over much of it..."

Oh how cutting!

Is it possible that Owen Jones could literally kill people through his sarcasm in much the same way as the Americans have secret death rays and the Russians have secret psychic weapons?

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Very interesting item on Newsnight about the Selfie Generation.


Many times I have wandered around Smithfield Market, which has a wonderful melancholy atmosphere.

The best time is to go there in the evening when everyone has gone home.

Inevitably it will be developed and tarted up and go the way of Covent Garden, but perhaps the Victorian architecture can be preserved.

I am very pleased that Eric Pickles has thrown out the proposals to put a seven story block at the western end of the site destroying the interior.

Socialism is for juveniles who have not grown up

"Specific political events may partly shape each generation, but they seem to come up against an immutable fact: most of us start on the left and drift to the right" says Harry Lambert in the New Statesman

Is this really so hard for Mr Lambert to work out?

Young people generally have no property and (below about thirty) no children.

Therefore they can afford to be cavalier about socialism. 

Who cares how high taxes are if you are not paying them?  It's easy to be critical of the police when you don't have a house and front garden that needs defending from thieves and vandals.  Education policy is entirely theoretical when you have no children that can be affected by bad teachers and sub-standard schools.  Young people are convinced they will live forever, so the NHS is more about abstract ideas of "fairness" instead of looking long and hard at whether the people working in it are performing well enough.  The idea of disadvantaged people struggling to get by on benefits is outrageous until you become a tax-payer and realise that taxes will have to go up to meet social security spending - at which point high taxes become outrageous.  Only the most hard-hearted and uncaring would deny entry to the thousands of refugees who want to come here, until you realise that if they gain the right to work in the United Kingdom they could well be used by unscrupulous employers to undercut your job.

You see Mr Lambert, there is nothing so very difficult to understand.

Socialism is for juveniles who have not grown up yet (and perhaps never will).

Like Vic Spanner in Carry On At Your Convenience

As surely as night follows day, Owen Jones supports any strike that's going:

Like Vic Spanner in Carry On At Your Convenience, Mr Jones interprets every issue in terms of class struggle:

If Owen Jones had his way WC Boggs & Son would be completely shut down and the owner squeezed until the pips squeak.

Dyson only wants overseas engineers because he can pay them less

Sir James Dyson whinges about not being able to bring in cheapo engineers from overseas to boost the profits of his companies:

I am shocked and angry at the statement "Some 90 per cent of the people doing post-graduate engineering courses at our universities are foreign students".

Universities are paid for by taxpayers.

Why on earth are we taxpayers funding courses for foreign students?

The Department of Education needs to instruct universities to only recruit British students for engineering courses.

And if they can't recruit any British students?

Scrap the courses and sack the academics (except of course that "suddenly" the universities will find they can recruit British students).

They only want overseas students because they pay more.

Dyson only wants overseas engineers because he can pay them less.

Grants to historic English cathedrals

This is of course good news:

However the grants to historic English cathedrals is from public money, and under the Equality Duty the cathedrals must now presumably be accessible by all religious and non-religious groups.

This does not just mean admission, but use of "services".

One would want to see ecumenical services with Roman Catholics, Methodists and Baptists.

Perhaps Jehovah Witnesses and Seventh Day Adventists.

But are we going to allow Muslims to fly their black flags and carry out their ceremonies in Anglican cathedrals?

Is it possible that even pagans (and there are a lot of bolshy pagans) will be able to perform their rituals in front of the Shrine of St Alban and the Shrine of St Chad and the Shrine of St Edward Confessor?

Tough on immigration and tough on the causes of immigration

On the Today programme this morning reference was made to Theresa May being the longest-serving Home Secretary of modern times and said that she was popular among Conservatives to succeed David Cameron as party leader.

Her popularity among Conservatives is easy to understand - she is tough on immigration and tough on the causes of immigration.


Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Rob waiting patiently.

UKIP can get support from people who are supposed to be ‘core Labour voters’

Astute analysis by Martin Phillips (who is on Labour's National Policy Committee) arguing that "UKIP can get support from people who are supposed to be ‘core Labour voters’ "

We are once again having our noses rubbed in diversity

A new Royal Mint coin featuring black Victoria Cross hero Walter Tull (do we really need yet another officer lauded - what about the ordinary soldiers who performed acts of heroism?)

A new exhibition on Sikh participation in the First World War has opened at SOAS and this will no doubt be used by the pro-immigration lobby to "justify" mass immigration into the United Kingdom

A new statue of anti-British agitator Mahatma Ghandi is to be put up in Parliament Square

In the words of Andrew Neather it would appear that we are once again having our noses rubbed in diversity.

As a Conservative I tell you that the only effective way to stop this is to vote UKIP.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Following Germany's defeat of Brazil this evening how is this going to be expressed?

Is it a national victory for Germany?

Or are they "merging" and "harmonising" their victory into pro-European hegemony over the rest of the world?
One small note - can we stop American Democrat politicians using Northern Ireland as a cause celebre backdrop to garner the "Irish vote" in American elections.

It is shabby behaviour and unworthy of serious politicians.

I hope Hillary Clinton is not going to jump on that particular bandwagon.

British identity

Declan Kearney, Chairperson of Sinn Fein, calls for leadership by the British government respecting the Ardoyne Parade in Northern Ireland:

As a British taxpayer (with no connection to Northern Ireland other than the fact that it is part of my country) I also call on the British government to support all people in Northern Ireland who wish to express their British identity.

I do not want to see any retreat in this area.

It takes years to understand the sensibility of a particular electorate

On Daily Politics (BBC2) this lunchtime American political consultant and pollster said British voters are more sophisticated than American voters and that it takes years to understand the sensibility of a particular electorate (this was in reference to David Axelrod's appointment as PR adviser to the Labour Party).

Where are the values going to flow from?

This sort of thing is very depressing:

One of the consequences of the abdication by politicians from controlling the Church of England bishops is that the bishops now think they are politicians and can intervene in policy.

This is especially worrying given the undemocratic nature of the Church of England hierarchy - where votes are manipulated and anyone conservative is told, ever-so-politely, to Shut The Fuck Up.

But if we can distract ourselves for a moment from the guitar-twanging pew-ripping politically-correct-lecturing awfulness of most of the current clergy, there is a serious point to be considered.

If the schools are to stop teaching Christian values, what values are they going to teach?

Muslim values?  Humanist values?  Pagan values?

And who is going to decide what those values are going to be?

Harriet Harman?  A commission led by Lord Heseltine?  Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi?

If the values taught in our schools do not flow from the thousand-year cultural continuum of our English Royal and Christian society where are the values going to flow from?

Sunday, July 06, 2014


The west wind moves upon the fields of barley...

Twelve Bar Blues by Patrick Neate

I have just finished reading Twelve Bar Blues by Patrick Neate.

It is three stories in one - the experiences of a black jazz player in Louisiana in the early twentieth century; the experiences of a prostitute/jazz singer in 1990s London; the interactions among tribal figures in rural 1990s Zimbabwe.

It is an impressive novel, although it assumed a liberal outlook and a liking for jazz.

The misery sequences I thought were overdone. 

The prose style often adopted the tone of a cautionary tale - as if the book were being read aloud by Morgan Freeman. 

Patrick Neate obviously knows nothing about archaeology and failed to research even the basics.

Often his characters express a cod ideology of blackness and jazz.  As Patrick Neate is not black his projection of these ideas onto black characters is dubious.  How can Patrick Neate know what it is like to be black?

Often there is meaningless twaddle:  "The truth is that fate is both as crude and as subtle as a key change in music or the twists in a narrative.  And the truth is where you want to see it, so long as you've got enough moral energy or enough moral despair to get up and go looking."

The n-word is on every other page of this novel.  Obviously Patrick Neate is a liberal and presumably is using the n-word ironically.  But nevertheless it did seem gratuitous.

The panel absolutely ruled out any suggestion

On Sunday Politics the panel absolutely ruled out any suggestion of Alan Johnson MP standing against Ed Miliband as leader of the Labour party.

But the fact that the issue was discussed on one of the major politics programmes is an indication of how "febrile" things are getting.

Something is going to happen.

Perhaps not the Alan Johnson thing.

But something.

Daily Mail ever helpful:


It was in a field near Great Walsingham that a discovery was made of fifty urns "deposited in a dry and sandy soil, not a yard deep, nor far from one another".

This inspired Sir Thomas Browne to write his great poem Hydriotaphia:
The Four Latin Doctors we need to know about - St Gregory, St Jerome, St Ambrose, St Augustine of Hippo.

Michael Meacher MP wades into the imbroglio

Never one to hesitate, Michael Meacher MP wades into the imbroglio over the "dead hand" at the heart of the Labour party:

At least he admits that there is "a major struggle going on" and that it "risks splitting the party".

Saturday, July 05, 2014

A bizarre intrusion into an already preternatural experience

Driving home yesterday the heat was so intense, even in the early evening, that I felt I had to stop the car and rest for a while.

I turned off the main road, and then turned off again into a quiet village.

Six o'clock, the sun still high in the sky, the air so hot I felt it warming my lungs as I breathed it in.

High above the private hedges that screened the houses I could see a sliver of silver moon in the cerulean sky.

The key to the church was kept at the Hall, but the Hall was silent so that the house itself seemed exhausted by the endless hours of oppressive sun.

I looked round the outside of the church, the silence a little unnerving.  Obviously an ancient and holy place, the tower at a different angle to the rest of the building, the finials on top of the topmost pinnacles dazzling gold with the sun.  In my mind the music of Debussy's Apres midi d'un Faune.

Dappled sunlight on honey coloured stone, the archaeology of the building complex, Romanesque remains next to gothic tracery.

The silence disturbed by a sound of hissing and sizzling, so that going back out onto the round I saw a traction engine trundling along the deserted street, accompanied by billowing clouds of soot and steam.

It was a bizarre intrusion into an already preternatural experience.

Mosul was a Christian city long before the arrival of the Muslims

It is worth reminding ourselves that Mosul was a Christian city long before the arrival of the Muslims:

The Bible reminds us that we will see many false prophets arise.

By their works ye shall know them.

There seems to be three camps in the Labour party arguing over policy

Labour's internal war over policy spills out into public again with Lord Prescott attacking Jon Cruddas and Lord Glasman, calling them "wonks and lecturers":

He accuses Jon Cruddas of throwing a strop.

He says the party would get on better without these groups looking at policy.

He says he worked out all his policies himself and just handed them over to the civil service and told them to get on with it (as if the civil service works that way! - and in any case I cannot think of a single Prescott policy that was successful).

There seems to be three camps in the Labour party arguing over policy - the left, the right, and the expedients (like Lord Prescott) who think you should just make it up as you go along.

To be fair to Mr Cruddas, he was asked by the Labour party to work on policy.
On Fox News earlier today Louie Gohmert (Member of the US House of Representatives) was interviewed on the subject of illegal immigration into America and said:  "This Administration knew what they were doing when they threw open the borders".

That sounds rather like what Labour did post-1997.

We are still living with the consequences.

There is a crisis of legitimacy over immigration.

Multiculturalism is not working

On Dateline London earlier today Gavin Esler asked "what is the trigger to radicalisation" (so that young Muslims in the United Kingdom become terrorists):

Sudanese journalist Nesrine Malik replies "primarily it's a sense of marginalisation within the UK... ethnic and discrimination..."

If after fifty years of on-going BME immigration (against the wishes of the majority) Muslims are still feeling marginalised then, whoever and whatever is to blame for this, should we not just be honest and admit that multiculturalism is not working?

Albert Einstein: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.

Subsiding private landlords with housing benefit

The left can't have it both ways:

If landlords are refusing to let properties to benefits claimants it rather undermines the claims by lefties that housing benefit is subsidising private landlords ("Why are we subsiding private landlords with housing benefit, rather than building homes which would also create skilled jobs?"):

I always thought this claim was suspect.

Sunder Katwala is telling fibs

Is it possible that Sunder Katwala is telling fibs in this article for the Daily Mail?

""Soldiers from across that Empire fought alongside British troops in 1914. Their descendants are now British citizens living in towns and cities across the UK." says Mr Katwala.

Except that there is no convincing evidence that the BME people in the United Kingdom are descended from the 130,000 BME people who were in the Indian army in 1914 and served on the Western Front.

You can see how the deception is being played. 

BME people in the United Kingdom today are black and brown.  BME people who fought on the Western Front were black and brown.  Ergo (so the British Future argument goes) they are one and the same, and the immigration of BME people into the United Kingdom (against the wishes of the majority) is justified by the participation of their grandparents and great-grandparents on the Western Front.

Except that there is no evidence to support this.

Of course, given the numbers involved there may be one of two current descendants among the millions of BME people currently here.

But they seem to be very shy about coming forward.

Mr Katwala, you are very fond of surveys.  Why not carry out one of your surveys and ask BME people how many of them are directly descended from BME participants on the Western Front?  And let us have some case studies that we can examine.

Until then please refrain from making unfounded statements.

Friday, July 04, 2014

BME graduates are failing to get jobs

What are we to make of this article by Jeanette Arnold (Member of the London Assembly):

We are told that London has the highest educational achievements in the country.

We are told that London is close to being a majority BME city.

And yet BME graduates are failing to get jobs.

What is happening here?

Has the London educational miracle been over-hyped - the BME graduates having been cruelly duped with a grade inflation that is at variance with their actual ability?

Is the public and private sector in London so steeped in racism (personal racism, institutional racism, conscious racism, unconscious racism, overt racism, covert racism etc) that they would prefer to employ sub-standard white graduates rather than outstanding BME graduates even if it means lower profits and poorer achievement for their organisations?

Or are the BME graduates just experiencing what everyone else in the jobs market is experiencing - a never-ending inward flow of well-qualified overseas graduates desperate to work (even at pitifully low rates), speaking good English, and with no "attitude" or chips on their shoulders?