While I was in the National Portrait Gallery I had a look round the Grayson Perry Who Are You? exhibition.
It was meant to be seditious "fun", interposing Grayson Perry artworks among the great art of the past.
You can see what Grayson Perry was intending: All this historic art shit is no better than my shit as I have proved by putting my art in with them. You fucking gormless chavs are just impressed by the frame not the art. You could put an unmade bed in an art gallery, call it art, and the fucking punters wouldn't know the difference.
I am paraphrasing Mr Perry of course, but it is how I imagine he speaks.
And of course, it is just a variation on the Emperor's New Clothes joke.
Mr Perry is a bully, but we must not let him bully us.
We are completely entitled to like accessible art if we want to - it is OUR National Portrait Gallery, not Grayson Perry's.
She does however have a point. It is not possible for every person in the world to have the same consumerist lifestyle as the average person in the United Kingdom. Even to give every household in the world access to basic electricity would involve power generation that would poison all of us.
Furthermore, it is not possible for the average person in the United Kingdom to maintain a relatively high standard of living when faced with globalised competition. The elites (all societies and including the readers of the Economist) will be alright. But the ordinary people are going to lose as the protective barriers (trade, nationality, migration etc) are removed to satisfy globalisation ideology.
And although Ms Bennett expressed herself in a clumsy way, the poor in India are perhaps better equipped to cope with what is going to happen as they have the compensation of a fatalist philosophy.
Although he describes the problem competently enough, he fails to analyse it convincingly.
For instance: "...the political class has acquiesced in the slow death of social mobility for one very simple reason: the vastly unequal outcomesthey almost all accept as de rigueur render all notions of "equality of opportunity" null and void." If he were familiar with Exodus by Professor Paul Collier he would know that research indicates increasing rates of immigration and "diversity" erode trust between and within communities. Therefore in a society where there is no trust it is unsurprising (if despicable) that the political class only looks after their own. Also "...wealth concentrates when the returns on capital are higher than economic growth" (here Bloodworth is quoting Piketty). In the United Kingdom ordinary people have been able to accumulate capital assets through private house purchase. It is not the hoarding of capital assets by the elite that has destroyed social mobility - it has been the collapse of incomes due to the reckless expansion of the labour market that has made the accumulation of capital assets (both property and shares) increasingly unaffordable by most C1, C2 and D households.
Emma Barnett (Women’s Editor for the Daily Telegraph) is by all accounts a privileged and educated person ("She writes news, comment and features across the channel and the newspaper. An award-winning radio presenter, from October 2014 she will present a weekly Sunday show on BBC Radio 5Live. Emma also makes Radio 4 documentaries, guest presents Woman's Hour and sometimes appears on the telly.").
For all her obvious education Ms Barnett does not seem to have received any instruction in the Classics, otherwise she would be familiar with the phrase In vino veritas.
The drunken young man whose "racist" views she found so offensive was simply telling her what he really thinks. Loosened by alcohol from usual constraints and inhibitions he voices what is in his mind. Freed by drink from fear of repercussions he acts in the way he wants to act - which includes verbal and physical violence towards the classes of people he sees as tormenting him.
If Emma Barnett knew more white working class men she would know that what this young person said was remarkably mild and absolutely representative of their views towards immigrants and privileged media toffs (for in his eyes Daily Telegraph Women's Editor Emma Barnett is a privileged media toff).
Of course, all violence must be regretted. The violence of the thrown hot chocolate must be condemned. But equally the passive-aggressive violence of the toffee-nosed media do-gooder (as Ms Barnett must have presented herself) should also be condemned.
That Emma Barnett was thinking violent thoughts is revealed to us in her phrase: "My temples throbbed as I felt unable to suppress the urge to silence him."
Thank goodness Emma Barnett does not have dictatorial powers otherwise the young man might have been silenced for good.
And do these words not sum up for us the immense disconnect in this country over immigration? We have the words of the majority (crudely but sincerely expressed by the young man) contrasted with the media elite represented by Emma Barnett whose one urge was to silence him. One can be appalled by this exchange on public transport, but one cannot deny the claim that the majority of working class people are not allowed to talk about immigration.
Of course it is possible that the working class majority in the United Kingdom will remain silenced on a permanent basis.
But it is equally possible that their anger will explode, in which case Emma Barnett might have worse things thrown at her than hot chocolate.
On Dateline London Polly Toynbee raised an equivalence between a film fantasising about the assassination of the North Korean dictator and Hilary Mantel fantasising about the assassination of a Tory Prime Minister.
She fails to realise that there are enough oddballs who cannot differentiate between fiction and reality, and Hilary Mantel's fiction may well encourage someone to act on her (carefully mediated) suggestions.
If the assassination of Tories is fine to fantasise about, can we please legitimise fantasising about the assassination of left wing members of Parliament?
It is by all accounts a poor country. It has basic healthcare, but the materialist consumerism of the West is missing. Therefore they have less lifestyle diseases caused by obesity, lack of exercise, urban stress.
The United Kingdom during the Second World War experienced severe rationing, and yet the population was far healthier than it is today.
“Reducing immigration would be the first thing,” says Booth, an
unreconstructed socialist who, on every subject except Europe, is about
as far-removed as it is possible to be from the ideology of Ukip. “I
don’t believe Britain can accommodate 200,000 people every year,” he
says. “If this carries on we risk civil disruption, and religion will
come into it and all that bollocks. This is not about race. If you made
the argument economic, I think more people might listen. But we haven’t
got the balls to tell the EU to piss off.”
Page 133 "During the 1980s... the police had been trained to treat working-class people as the 'enemy within' ". Who is supposed to have done this training? Was it via seminars or tutorials or home study courses? Or is this just a ridiculous assertion that has no basis in fact? It also takes no account of the huge landslide victories won by the Conservatives in the 1980s. These would have been impossible without support from working class voters.
Page 147 Owen Jones gives no motivation for the police bias against BME people. For instance, do the police overtly or covertly seek to recruit racists? Or are ordinary people conditioned to become racists once they have entered police employment? Or are they indifferent to race issues, but persecute BME people because they are secretly paid a bonus to do so? Owen Jones, unless you explain a motive for an action you must not claim that the action fits your hypothesis. Because it is equally possible that BME people are stopped and suspected more than other groups because they commit more crimes.
Is it not ironic to see all the atheist commentators whooping up the appointment of the first Anglican woman bishop?
And is it not a matter of shame for the Church of England that the decision to include women as bishops was the result of back-stairs dealing, highly convoluted "representation", and a sort of "go away and vote again until you agree with us" non-democracy?
Does this not undermine any moral authority that Libby Lane might claim?
"...there wasn’t a single black or brown Briton in the entire film" whines Satnam Virdee (Professor of Sociology at the University of Glasgow and Deputy Director of the ESRC-funded Centre for Dynamics of Ethnicity CoDE based at the Universities of Manchester and Glasgow).
He is talking about the Ken Loach film The Spirit of 1945 and effectively calling Ken Loach a racist.
Perhaps Professor Virdee could be directed to the many thousands (perhaps hundreds of thousands) of crowd photographs taken in the United Kingdom from the invention of photography up to 1945. He can then show us all the black and brown people he claims were resident in the country. Unless he is claiming that they have all been meticulously scraped off the negatives.
Page 63 et al - the Establishment is presented by Owen Jones as an ideology, but no proof is offered. It is probable that there are ideologues (of all persuasions) within the Establishment, but the truth is much less sinister although still problematic. The Establishment is a large informal network of individuals who hold power and influence and intend to remain in power and influence helping each other out, giving opportunities for the progeny of people they know, recruiting into their ranks those who who cannot be silenced by any other means. There is no over-arching conspiracy. There is just the same old corrupt behaviour that asserts itself in every society, including those of the former Eastern Bloc, when scrutiny is inadequate. The difference is that the British Establishment for historical reasons has acquired a patina of respectability.
Page 81 - discussing Len McCluskey "A proud Scouser, rarely clean-shaven and with an imposing frame, his tub-thumping speeches at political rallies often draw a rapturous reception from true believers". proud Scouser... imposing frame... tub-thumping... rapturous
reception... true believers - did an Oxford alumni really write this cliche-ridden sentence? The failure of the publisher to amend this line demonstrates the cultural cringe our society has towards The Establishment's Oxbridge graduates when they are no more elite or skilled than the rest of us.
Chapter 3, Mediaocracy
Page 89 - referring to the 1992 general election "...an earlier speech made by the Tory Home Secretary, Kenneth Baker, alleging Labour plans for an 'open door' immigration policy". Even as far back as 1992 the Labour plans for unrestricted immigration were known. It rather makes their subsequent apologies for immigration seem cynical and false - we must never let these people back in.
Page 90 - Angela Eagle MP (and Shadow Cabinet minister) "It's a media that's ideologically driven by its owners who have particular views that you or I probably wouldn't agree on an awful lot of the time". This claim that the media is ideologically driven is silly. The Morning Star is ideologically driven but hardly anyone buys it. If the Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph were ideologically driven then how does Owen Jones account for their popularity compared to the Guardian or the Daily Mirror? Newspapers exist to make money. If people didn't want them they wouldn't buy them and the Daily Mail would end up with the same circulation as The Independent. To be continued. http://afroml.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/the-establishment-by-owen-jones.html http://afroml.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/the-establishment-by-owen-jones-2.html
Above: on display in Kings Parade some of the codified stratification of the Establishment - although the Establishment's soft power is much more complex and subtle than mere colours and badges.
Finally I have finished The Establishment by Owen Jones (this has taken me a long time to read not because it is unreadable, but because other reading projects have intervened).
The book was a big disappointment. Instead of writing a much-needed expose of the Establishment and how they get away with it, Owen Jones has simply invented his own "Establishment" and written about that. And you've guessed it, the Owen Jones Establishment is just his own views and prejudices mashed up and reheated and served with a tiny bit of new garnish.
Some examples (page numbers refer to the hardback edition):
General point - there are only seven references to immigration, and all of them make the assumption that immigrant communities are the victims of the Establishment. And yet immigration is one of the key ways in the post war period in which the Establishment has divided and controlled and suppressed the working class, all the time presenting it as some uncontrollable elemental force as if it just happens without anyone making decisions. But because this does not fit the Owen Jones view of history he ignores it (therefore we are justified in saying Owen Jones is as much an Establishment stooge as any of the people he condemns).
In the Introduction (page 6) he talks of the Establishment having an ideology of neo-liberalism that led to the privatisation of nationalised industries. This rather overlooks the fact that the old nationalised industries were stuffed with Establishment figures who were unaccountable, dictatorial and ran huge swathes of the economy as if they were an extension of the civil service. They were privatised because they had become a self-serving vested interest, not because they were a socialist.
Chapter 1 The Outriders. It is wrong to define Margaret Thatcher as Establishment. She was anti-Establishment through and through (state-educated, a woman, a scientist, a corner shop grocer's daughter, a denizen of a dull Midlands provincial town, a Methodist - in terms of education, occupation, social origin, geographical origin, religion etc she was an outsider). The Establishment ferociously attacked her candidacy as leader, wanting William Whitelaw (Winchester, Cambridge and the Guards). The first significant opposition from within the Conservative Party came from Sir Ian Gilmour Bart. (Eton, Oxford and the Guards) who while still a member of her Cabinet said in February 1980 "In the Conservative view, economic liberalism à la Professor Hayek,
because of its starkness and its failure to create a sense of community,
is not a safeguard of political freedom but a threat to it." The first MP to openly rebel against her leadership was Sir Anthony Meyer (Eton, Oxford, Scots Guards) in November 1989 providing the stalking horse that enabled Heseltine and the rest of the "treachery with a smile on its face" clique to wade in.
Page 21 - it is wrong to attach so much importance to Madsen Pirie who was at the time little more than a self-important pipsqueak. Margaret Thatcher's commitment to the free market came from her own convictions (she was perfectly capable of thinking these things out for herself) as well as from Enoch Powell who had independently of Hayek had come to the same conclusions (see the Simon Heffer biography). If Madsen Pirie and the Adam Smith Institute were/are so influential why are they largely ignored today? (when was the last time we saw Madsen Pirie or Eamon Butler on Newsnight or Channel 4 News).
Page 23 - "the staggering increase in living standards and the greatest, most stable economic growth this country has ever seen" was not because of public ownership of key industries and utilities. The post-war boom of the 1950s and 1960s was generated by the need to repair the colossal damage caused by the Second World War. By the early 1970s this renewal was petering out, leading to the economic and social problems that decade is renowned for. To be continued. http://afroml.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/the-establishment-by-owen-jones.html
I am not a member of UKIP and it is nothing to me whether they win Basildon or not.
But I wish they would stop apologising.
Everyone knows what they are like. The support they have gained has already factored in the unpolitically correct candidates. It's the language you can hear in any pub (maybe not wine bars in Islington and Holland Park).
And I also thought the interviewer was asking inane questions in a bullying way.
He should have had a plate of cold porridge tipped over him.
On a serious note, I suppose what the interviewer was trying to elucidate, in his cack-handed manner, was the way in which an area of London was being colonised by outsiders against the wishes of the local people who feel they are being "swamped".
As someone who comes from an old (genuine) East End family I can sympathise with this view.
In Prime Minister's Questions, taken by the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, reference was made to the Roman god Janus.
As I am sure you will know, Janus was associated with the Rites of the Salii - twelve patrician youths, dressed as archaic warriors who made a procession round the city, dancing, and singing the Carmen Saliare to mark the opening of the yearly war season which started in March.
Earlier on Daily Politics Nick Robinson told us that the General Election campaign will start on 30th March.
"In order to succeed Labour needs to have a 'pro-business, pro-worker' agenda" says Chuka Umunna this evening, channelling his inner Peter Mandelson.
"'It is not a question of how big the state is - it is a question about what it does" - which is code for Labour cuts if they win the next election (we would do the same as the Tories only slightly different).
Disregard the conclusion "Torture didn’t stop a single terrorist attack" - it is not possible to prove a negative.
Following the attack on the World Trade Centre western governments and their security agencies took all necessary steps to prevent a recurrence. That message got out and the supplying and servicing of the terrorists dried up, leaving only the fanatics. And as we have seen, there are not enough fanatics to prevail against us.
"...they also want policies that are aspirational and not motivated by envy or resentment of those who are better off" Mr Mandelson tells Labour (in other words you need to get intensely relaxed about rich people).
"...don’t like a ‘them and us’ mentality where you have to be for the ‘bosses’ or for the ‘workers’" (so Owen Jones can get stuffed).
"...do not confuse the importance of protecting people with protectionism of economies and markets" (in the aggregate immigration is good, so stopping bothering about those left behind).
Tony Blair in 1996 "my project will be complete when the Labour Party learns to love Peter Mandelson."
One of the most significant announcements in the Chancellor's Autumn Statement is the proposal to extend the cathedral renovation fund to parish churches.
At the moment churches are applying for lottery funds which usually means they have to provide "access" and "community use".
These requirement are being used by wreckers within the Church of England to rip out pews, abandon high altars and generally trash Victorian interiors.
Renovation funds that do not require drastic internal reorganisation will be most welcome.
Church of England congregations are still the Tory party at prayer, but Anglican clerics are almost all of them lefties who delight in smashing things up in the name of progress and bullying people in the name of "diversity".
But let us play silly-buggers for a while and pretend Andrew Sparrow is honestly reporting the news, and not indulging in lefty image manipulation.
IF it is daft to regard Emily Thornberry as a chav-hating snob then why did Ed Miliband sack her from the Shadow Cabinet and announce he was more angry than he has every been over the tweet?
Either way the Labour party does not look good.
More angry than he has EVER been? More angry over a tweet than over the dead children of Syria? Than over the 800k users of food banks? Than over the on-going collapse of Labour support in Scotland? Than over the way the bankers have got off Scot-free from crashing the banks? Than over the way the LibDems lied about tuition fees?
Andrew Amesbury. In this blog some names have been changed, some places have been disguised and some characters have been obscured. But the essential truth remains. You can e-mail me on firstname.lastname@example.org