Saturday, November 22, 2008

Bits 'N Pieces 'N Stuff

The hereditary mediacrat Giles Coren writes what is actually a refreshingly conservative appeal for the maintenance of high culture in difficult times; certainly a higher career peak than winning the 'Bad Sex in Fiction Award'.
This article has some personal resonance; he writes "if, rather than calling radio phone-ins to say that Len Goodman is a spoilsport, you had learnt the French horn, you would, if nothing else, be able to play your children a bit of Mozart while they sit shivering round the last candle in the house." I really can play the French horn (in F, admittedly, rather than the more common E flat). I wasn't really very good - the best player I've ever heard was a bloke called Ewan McGregor - but having had to flog my own rather expensive horn to a minor public school some years ago, during a slough in fortunes and in an effort to keep oneself independent of the state, is a matter of some regret; as is having been unable to afford to replace it since. Hopefully it found a good home.
And the Mozart horn concertos are considerably more difficult to play than they sound.
The best article on why a bailout for Detroit's auto manufacturers is necessary comes from Thomas Palley. Nobels all round!
The Mayor of London is apparently 'pondering' what the BBC describes as an 'immigrant amnesty'. Regardless of what else might be said of him, Boris Johnson is undoubtedly an intelligent man. He will know the arguments against amnesties - that they don't work and that they only encourage more illegal immigration. Therefore, one can only assume that he is engaging in Cameroonian ethnopandering.
The Vatican has forgiven John Lennon for remarking that The Beatles were more popular than Jesus. The historical record seems to indicate that at all times and under all circumstances, John Lennon was a cheap smartass with limited musical talent of his own, a boor and a bore, with a violently aggressive temper. It says much for us that we have made giants of men like him. However, one cannot criticise the Vatican for exercising its prerogative of forgiveness.


Blogger Jockney said...


Boris seems to think that he can not only makes laws but have applied in London only!

Richard London

22 November, 2008 14:58  
Blogger Martin Meenagh said...

I wonder if half of Britain's problems aren't that London is an unacknowledged separate country in effective control of these islands. England and London are demonstrably different in their economy, society, and demography. London is also just big and rich.

Had the recent recession not begun to take hold, I think there would have been a very good case for freeing England from London with legislative independence for both.

Now, however, London is to be reminded that it depends upon England for food, energy and, soon, tax subsidies, as well as the battered sense of importance of its property owners. What are the rest of these islands going to get out of the deal?

I proffer no solutions. But it does occur to me that the cultural rot and elite (in the christopher lasch sense) attitudes that have produced the things this blog regularly rages against are in part a direct consequence of London attitudes and behaviours.

Perhaps Johnson is onto something. I know that you oppose Scottish devolution Martin, and I understand that--but what about libertating England and therefore Britain from london?

23 November, 2008 12:05  
Blogger Martin said...


I wouldn't call them expicitly 'London' behaviours - the same behaviours are probably now prevalent in every important capital. They're internationalist, an inevitable consequence of increased cosmopolitan internationalisation.

Johnson is not being morally serious. If he's claiming that what's good for London is good for the rest of us, then he's perpetrating an enormous fallacy. What has been good for some in London has often been hugely detrimental to the interests of many other places in the UK.

Liberating the rest of the country from London sounds like a good idea, but it opens a can of worms. Read my old post 'A Most Untypical Thursday' on the side of the blog.

23 November, 2008 14:25  
Blogger Martin Meenagh said...

I will indeed. I'm glad you seem well, by the way. I agree with you about what was called 'NY-LON'--that London was inflated as other major cities were. As Mike Davis noted, globalisation brought 200 new major cities, and a planet of slums. I do think London and England have made a very bad couple at the centre of Britain for some time though, and I wish that there were serious second city contenders if London is not to be quarantined....

23 November, 2008 22:30  

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