Monday, March 31, 2008

Au Revoir

Having had as many retirements from blogging as Frank Sinatra, I'm a little loathe to announce another one; but my recent technical problems, combined with other stuff, are irritating me so much that I really cannot face writing another word at the moment. Recent comment has been a bit too samey, even for an obsessive.
If, on the other hand, a newspaper were to offer me £1,000 per week to write a column, well, that would be another matter altogether...damn, those new meds are good!

My Lasting Contribution To The Immigration Debate

According to a report in today's 'Daily Telegraph', a major report into immigration will be published tomorrow, indicating that its net gains are of virtually no value.
Without wishing to be seen to be patting myself on the back, I still take a little pride in having been at least six months ahead of the government in appreciating the spread and seriousness of foreigner-perpetrated crime.
One hopes that tomorrow's report will at least acknowledge that some lives have most certainly been changed by immigration in ways that its authors should hope never to experience.

One Step Ahead Of The Washington Post...

Well, maybe like nearly five years ahead; although the WaPo sub-editor who thought up the headline, 'Like the Wild, Wild West. Plus Al-Qaeda' to describe the Pakistani borderlands was bang on the mark, I still prefer to describe the invasion of Iraq as 'Running The Bad Guys Out of Dodge'.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

A Plague On Both Their Houses

The Old Firm are playing each other today. It is to be hoped that the event passes without fatalities.
One of the more perceptive lines in 'I Claudius' is Antonia's description of Caligula as the rash symbolising the sicknesses of corruption and degeneracy which were afflicting Rome. Glasgow Celtic and Glasgow Rangers are the rash symbolising the sickness of the West of Scotland - the wilful refusal of many people to respect their neighbours' consciences.
What is doubly disgusting about this state of affairs is that both entities only exist for the pursuit of their shareholders' profits; both know that they would be nothing without this loathsome sectarian loathing; and yet both continue to make bleating noises about 'fighting sectarianism'.
If their boards of directors were serious about 'combating sectarianism', they would arrange for both companies to be dissolved immediately, while suggesting to their shareholders that they should donate their profits to the cause of Christian unity. But they'll never do that; and while these two entities exist, everyone who patronises them should examine their conscience as to whether they are collaborating, even unwittingly, in the spread of hatred between human and human.
While Celtic and Rangers continue to blight us like Harpies, some Scots will continue to hate other Scots simply because they are what they are; and contrary to much of the propaganda, the camp-followers of both sides are equally guilty. This is uncivilised, the behaviour of barbarians and savages; and if the truth hurts, that's unfortunate.

A New Dawn In Anglo-Russian Relations

Anthony Brenton has retired as British ambassador.

Not quite as soon as some might have liked...

Friday, March 28, 2008

Why Libertarianism Is Wrong, And Will Always Be Wrong

"Thatcherism is the system of political thought attributed to the governments of Margaret Thatcher, British Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990. Thatcher was unusual among British Conservative Prime Ministers in that she was a highly ideological leader — she once slammed a copy of Friedrich Hayek's The Constitution of Liberty down on a table during a Shadow Cabinet meeting, saying, "This is what we believe."
"Professor Hayek...has suggested that an individual owner of capital goods might aim at keeping the income he derives from his possession constant, , so that he would not feel himself free to spend his income on consumption until he had set aside sufficient to offset any tendency of his investment-income to decline for whatever reason. I doubt if such an individual exists" -
There's been an interesting discussion ongoing at Tim Worstall's for a couple of days, based upon a post of his at 'The Business' (the comment by Gillies which I have referred to can be found on this thread).
Without ragging on the gracious host of that blog, whose patience with sufferers of Claudian Tourettes is sublime, or his commentors, the lack of knowledge of economic history on display is startling.
The reason why German manufacturing overtook British manufacturing so quickly at the end of the 19th Century can be summed up in two words - free trade. Being one of the smart guys of history, Bismarck knew that Germany would become richer, faster, if its internal markets were tariff protected, and if energies were directed towards the gaining of income through exports. Every other significant German achievement of that era, and very many since, have flowed from Bismarck's decision to direct the economy towards rapid industrialisation, and the tariff was an essential tool of his work.
Bismarck did not concern himself with the bald tyranny of price. He adopted a larger view than was possible under a British system where the only consideration that ever mattered in any decision to invest was how much it would cost; never how much you would gain from doing so.
Those of Tim's commentors who touch on the role of education in creating the manufacturing gap are quite correct to do so. As has often been recorded, in the late 19th century there was a much higher ratio of Germans studying in the Technische Hochschule than of Brits studying sciences. The focus of excellence in British education at that time was knowing your Tacitus from your Themistocles, playing team games, discouraging homosexuality, reading G.A. Henty and being a good chap. It is indisputable that the sclerosis in British science caused by the evangelical present's harping towards the classical past hobbled British manufacturing; and that German excellence in science education was a direct consequence of a decision of the German state.
As one commentor has often observed, at that time and for decades after British engineering was led by men who had learned on the job as opposed to having studied their discipline, well, scientifically; 'practical men'. This led to a very conservative approach towards research and development which, allied to the uniquely British division between the proletariat and the rest, itself an inevitable consequence of adopting laissez-faire so soon after the Induistrial Revolution, aided the decline of British engineering.
By the time Bismarck came to power, the United Kingdom had already practiced laissez-faire policies for the best part of 40 years. You can tell a lot about a people from their language - it is telling that English has no direct equivalents to the German 'Schwerpunkt', being the ability to work toward a common goal, or 'Technik', the ability to take a product from the drawing-board to the showroom in as short a time as possible. Contrary to the beliefs of the most extreme libertarians, the British can show these traits when they have to; but under normal conditions, they are too addicted to the atomising influence of laissez-faire, and its politcal child libertarianism, to be able to sustain the effort.
Laissez-faire only works as a means of reducing cost. The only efficiency it ever promotes is financial; it does not encourage excellence in learning, design, research, and production. It does nothing to ensure that individuals are able to reach their full educational potential, or that the sum of human knowledge is advanced by one iota.
Libertarianism preaches that individuals have no relationship with each other beyond the economic, that, as Hayek himself said to Bernard Levin, that altruism does not exist, and that concepts like 'spontaneous order' will break out if humans are left to their own devices. Like Keynes, I would ask the libertarians where such an outbreak of spontaneous order has ever actually occurred.
Of course, it never has - anywhere. The Belgians have recently made a good fist of it by going without a government for nine months - but they've just elected another one. 'Spontaneous order' is utopian, it comes from and belongs in no place; and any philosophy which implies that altruism, the desire of man to do right by his fellows, does not exist does not itself pay the respect necessary to the values which have shaped history.
In this world The State, The Nation, whatever you want to call it, is, for good or ill, indispensable. That's a fact.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

How Do You Solve A Problem Like Marina?

Marina Litvinenko, widow of the late and much-discussed Lt. Col. Alexander Litvinenko, FSB (Retd.), has a piece in today's 'Times' entitled, "Alexander Litvinenko: a wife's plea".
It begins,
"I have asked my lawyers to petition HM Coroner to hold a full inquest into the murder of my husband, Alexander Litvinenko. Only a review of the evidence in an open, independent court in Britain will get to the truth about who poisoned his tea with radioactive polonium-210 on November 1, 2006, as well as how and why.
I do this against the wishes of the Scotland Yard and David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, who both told me that making the evidence public would prejudice a criminal trial of the chief suspect, Andrei Lugovoy, whom the UK is trying to extradite from Russia. But after waiting for 15 months I have come to the conclusion that Mr Lugovoy, a former KGB agent, will never be extradited. So I respectfully reject their argument. I cannot wait for another ten years for a slim chance that their approach would bear fruit."
I cannot believe that Mrs. Litvinenko does not know that Andrei Lugovoi cannot be extradited - the Russian constitition forbids the extradition of Russian nationals from Russia.
Mrs. Litvinenko has always presented as being a very dignified woman, very much more dignified than many of her late husband's mates, and she has always had my deepest sympathy for having been thrust into widowhood so young and in such horribly public circumstances; but if she's now in the business of asking questions, she should get ready to answer some as well.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Would The Last Person Out Of Scotland Turn Off The Lights?

With our zeitgeist, schwerpunkt and whatever other clever German concept you care to think of being provided by this shower of gowks, it makes one shudder to think that in 50 years time, BBC Scotland will still be cranking on about maternity unit closures, pupil-to-teacher ratios and the football scores.
After a while, reading about schools and hospitals just isn't very interesting any more. The Scottish Parliament should be congratulated for peacefully achieving every tyrant's secret dream - it has made our public life boring.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Thought For The Day (Or Something Quite Like It)

"The greatest anguish a man can suffer is to understand much and prevail in nothing" -
Something not dis-similar to a saying of Attaginus, quoted by Robin Lane Fox in 'The Classical World'.

Freedom For Dalriada!

The news that Stuart Hill has mounted a legal challenge to Scotland's claim to the Shetland Islands is to be given a guarded welcome - if only because it will give others grounds to challenge the territorial unity of any future separate Scotland.

The Nationalists wish to break up one country, the United Kingdom, in pursuit of their goals - so if they are ever successful, they must be ready to face the break up of Scotland in the face of others' claims.

Freedom for Dalriada!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Light Blogging For The Forseeable Future

The PC died yesterday.

Incredibly, this is the second one that has collapsed me on a Good Friday.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Some Thoughts On 'Islamophobia'

If Inayat Bunglawala were an Irish Catholic Glaswegian, he'd be the type who insists on their children attending Irish dancing and language classes, who refers to taxpayer-funded Catholic schools as 'our schools', and whose ultimate honour would be having his son accepted as a ballboy at Celtic Park.
He is a type, a model of wilful and tedious non-integration.
"Alcohol-fuelled antisocial incidents are worrying and reprehensible enough without being hijacked by those with a not so subtle anti-Muslim agenda of their own. "
One of Canon Ainsworth's assailants is alleged to have shouted 'fucking priest' as they assaulted him; the attack is being classed as sectarian in nature; and Alan Ramanoop, one of Canon Ainsworth's parishioners, has been reported as saying, "“I’ve been physically threatened and verbally abused on the steps of the church...On one occasion, youths shouted: ‘This should not be a church, this should be a mosque, you should not be here’.
All this raises a question; although sectarian abuse seems to have been shouted, it would not appear to directly identify those who issued it as Muslim, and the alleged perpetrators' only distinguishing physical characteristics seem to be they they are both of Asian extraction - so why is Bunglawala so quick off the mark to denounce 'Islamophobia'?
One of his duties as a professional Muslim is, of course, damage limitation; yet unless the police have other information which doesn't seem to have been reported, he seems to be jumping the gun.
Why would he do this? Surely it doesn't mean that Muslims in the area where Canon Ainsworth was assaulted have a record of making this kind of attack - does it?
And it never ceases to amaze me that, given the apparent richness of Islamic cultural history, the word that professional Muslims most commonly use to describe dislike of Islam is one rooted in Greek.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

All The Little People

is now up on The Devil's Kitchen.

The Problem With Thatcherism...

is people like Simon Heffer.
English Bob has a good old fashioned Thatcherite Robo-rant on the state of the economy in today's 'Telegraph', calling for tax cuts and cuts in public spending; but if he thinks that the British people will happily suffer anything similar to Yegor Gaidar's venomously Thatcherite 'shock treatment', he's up a gum tree. Sorry, Chief - been there, done that.
Ain't no union barons left to bitch at anymore, Heff...Thatcherism's success in throwing the baby of union membership out with the bathwater of union militancy has left the public with nobody to blame for their financial woes other than their government; not a particularly stable state of affairs, and the renewal of Thatcherism might just tip the whole damn house of cards over.
It would, of course, be possible to maintain our level of public spending while cutting taxes; however this would involve getting out of the EU and raising a tariff - and Heffer's such a rigid ideologue that that solution probably wouldn't occur to him.

Paul Craig Roberts on 'The Collapse Of American Power'

Although Paul Craig Roberts is quite right to channel Correlli Barnett in relation to the USA's current financial pickle, he doesn't go far enough; there are a great many other comparisons that can be made between the USA of today and the UK that Barnett analysed in 'The Collapse of British Power'.
There is the military overstretch; as Barnett recorded, prior to 1939 a full third of the British Army was stationed in India, primarily as police auxiliaries. As the British role in India was in the 1930's, so the American role in Iraq has degenerated, from its original purpose of 'liberation', into what it is now - a police action to stop Iraqis killing as few other Iraqis as possible.
There is the dogmatic adherence to free trade theory, even in the most sensitive areas of state; there is absolutely no normative difference between the situation that Barnett recorded of the UK having to import technicians from the USA, Sweden and Switzerland in 1914 to manufacture bomb-timers because of light industry's destruction through free trade, and that which Dr. Roberts himself has reported concerning the USA's declining ability to manufacture military hardware.
There is the tyranny of the universalist mindset; just as the public-school and Oxbridge educated types whom Barnett castigates were more interested in being good chaps than ruthless imperialists, and thought everyone else wanted to be a good chap as well, so too the State Department wonks who cooked up Iraq thought everyone wanted to be an American. We now know this not to have been the case.
Lastly, there is the perpetual unwillingness of Canada to spend money on its own defence; a recurring theme in the histories of both the British and American superpowers.
Aye, there's much ruin in an empire...

Monday, March 17, 2008

The End Of Globalisation...

Deo Gratias.
Perhaps historians in the future will come to describe the period which started with the collapse of the Soviet Union and which may just be ending as we speak as 'The Age of Bush'; and how ironic it would be if the whole house of paper and cards were to collapse at the fag-end of the eight year fag-end presidency of the son of the man who declared the New World Order.
The collapse of the world's stock markets is globalisation's 'Berlin Wall' moment - the time when the ideology is confronted with a crisis to which it cannot find an answer, and after which it's dead on its feet. Globalisation was supposed to make us richer - but when tens, possibly hundreds, of millions of people around the world end up the poorer for it, it will have no credibility any more.
George W. Bush has been Tumbledown Dick to his father's Cromwell; never as good as the old man was, and never smart enough to know it. His policies will leave financial chaos in their wake, a chaos from which he will be shielded; yet even if it takes time, if the coming storm brings even a small reversal of so-called 'globalisation' (whatever it actually is) in its wake, then the pain might just be worth the gain.
Power to the People.

Things That Go Bump In The Night

Sunday, March 16, 2008

In Search Of Historic Tourettists

(For what it's worth, this post is dedicated to the memory of the late Rodney Marks).
Never having seen 'I, Claudius' in its entirety before, it's been very interesting catching it on UKTV History; and the nature of the Claudian affliction is, well, puzzling.
Although the Wikipedia entry for Claudius states the possibility that he suffered from Tourettes, it also quotes the following -
"The historian Suetonius describes the physical manifestations of Claudius' affliction in relatively good detail.[1] His knees were weak and gave way under him and his head shook. He stammered and his speech was confused. He slobbered and his nose ran when he was excited. The Stoic Seneca states in his Apocolocyntosis that Claudius' voice belonged to no land animal, and that his hands were weak as well;[2] however, he showed no physical deformity, as Suetonius notes that when calm and seated he was a tall, well-built figure of dignitas.[3] When angered or stressed, his symptoms became worse. Historians agree that this improved upon his accession to the throne.[4] "
Weak knees that give way from under you...yeah, know that one...shaking head...know that one...(occasionally) confused speech...know that one...'when angered or stressed, his symptoms became worse'...know that one very well...
It's impossible to verify a diagnosis for Claudius, of course - but the very broad range of Tourettes symptoms, and what seems to be the fact that he exhibited many of them, means that a punt on him having been a sufferer might not be too wide of the mark.
Whether or not this adds any weight to the conclusion may be debatable; but Claudius seems to have shared a personality characteristic, the tendency to take long digressions, with the second possible historic Tourettist - Adam Smith.
Wikipedia's page on Smith notes,
"Contemporary accounts describe Smith as an eccentric but benevolent intellectual, comically absent minded, with peculiar habits of speech and gait and a smile of "inexpressible benignity."[6]"
'Peculiar habits of speech and gait'...hmmm...
In his book on 'The Wealth of Nations', P. J. O' Rourke wrote,
"He talked to himself. His head swayed continually from side to side. When he walked he looked as of he was headed off in all directions...Dining at Dalkeith House, the country seat of the Duke of Buccleuch, Smith began a scathing commentary on some important politician with the politician's closest relative sitting across the table. Smith stopped when he realised this. But then he began talking to himself, saying that the devil may care but it was all true...(w)hen Smith was a government official in Edinburgh he had a ceremonial guard consisting of a porter..wielding a seven foot staff. Each day when Smith arrived the porter would perform a sort of drill team exercise. One day Smith became fascinated by this and, using his bamboo cane in place of the staff, matched the porter's every motion, present arms for present arms, about face for about face, parade rest for parade rest. Afterward no one could convince Smith that he'd done anything odd". (pps 172-173)
Why should he think that? He was a sufferer of complex tics who couldn't stop blurting out what he thought and who'd just undergone an echopraxic episode. At that time, for him to walk behind his porter in that manner must have been the most natural thing in the world to do.
For Smith to have been a Tourettist is not at all beyond the bounds of possibility; yet if Smith's influence on history has been largely benign, I'm afraid that of the third possible historic Tourettist was largely not.
The late Lindsey Hughes' biography of Peter the Great recounts that Peter suffered from extremely violent facial tics - if memory serves, Professor Hughes didn't make the connection with these being a possible consequence of Tourettes.
Having thought myself a very clever boy for producing this insight, it's with only mild disappointment that I've discovered, while preparing this post, that Bengt Lagerkvist has beaten me to it - specifically in regard to Peter's above average alcohol intake, a not uncommon feature of the condition.
However, there were other aspects of Peter's behaviour that also make Tourettes plausible.
Peter was a raging obsessive-compulsive; no explanation other than OCD can account for the consistent energy and effort he put into creating a Russian navy - a project which, as Evgeny Anisimov has quite rightly described it, had all the ultimate value of the Soviet space program. All it did was consume resources in pursuit of national prestige, and produced very little to show for it. The construction of St. Petersburg, Peter's fantastical 'Window on the West', was another project which devoured treasure, and lives, and from which Peter just could not be dissuaded.
The evidence that the man who conquered Britain, the father of economics and the victor of Poltava suffered from a sometimes much-misunderstood condition seems quite strong; but whether or not these speculations have any actual value is for others to determine.

Blogging Bilderberg

Tim Worstall has made a rather silly crack concerning those who wish to discuss the nature of the Bilderberg Group -
"...I take it as a basic guide to the opinions of others that when people start complaining about fractional reserve banking that rants on the Rosicrucians and the Bilderbergers aren’t far behind."
I have dealt with this in his comments, under reference to my Freedom of Information request concerning Ed Balls, the negative reply I received, and that notorious hothouse of fevered paranoia, 'The Daily Telegraph'.
A relatively new blogger named 'Nozzy' has rehearsed many of the more infantile arguments against discussion of Bilderberg; but a rather striking thought arises from this discussion.
It is extremely silly to spend a great deal of time complaining about the diminution of national sovereignty through the EU, and how the EU bodies comprise an unelected supranational dictatorship, while at the same time mocking the concerns of those who fear that our democracy's interests are not best served by our representatives attending quasi-secret meetings with international business people and representatives of other governments.
EU critics who criticise criticism of Bilderberg forget that maxim that what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander; an oversight which, in the wrong hands, might fatally undermine their own intellectual credibility.
I rather hope that, should they ever lose their own battle , they'll be kept warm by the memories of how much they laughed at conspiracy theorists; and they'll never realise the joke was on them all along.

An Open Letter To The British National Party

It seems one of your supporters has taken succour from something I've written; rather strange, given that my opposition of you, and your philosophy, has been consistent - and noted.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Hope

The Church Of Alex Salmond

There are significant dfifferences between the reports carried by the BBC and The Scottish Daily Express into the spanking that Scotty took yesterday before Holyrood's Local Government Committee concerning his involvement in L'Affaire Trump, aka 'Golfballs'.
"Local government committee convener and Labour MSP Duncan McNeil also said it was "extremely unwise" for the first minister to "directly facilitate" a meeting between Trump representatives and Scotland's chief planner, Jim Mackinnon.

The committee report stated it seemed "astonishing" to accept Mr Salmond - who is removed from the decision-making process in the application - did not perceive there might be a risk in his actions, which might lead to legal action.
"The committee believes that, far from taking a precautionary approach, the first minister was cavalier in his actions and displayed, at best, exceptionally poor judgement and a worrying lack of awareness about the consequence of his actions," the report concluded."
However, the now-nationalist 'Scottish Daily Express' also reports (not online ) the committe held that Scotty didn't seem to appreciate that,
"...his actions might be open to question".
Of course he didn't; the party he leads is a personality cult - and as a rule of thumb, the leaders of personality cults tend not to be questioned by their acolytes.
Personality cults also have a habit of reflecting all the personality's flaws - in Salmond's case, his aggression, insolence, immaturity and disregard for law and the rule of law - and tend not to outlast the personality for very long.
Let Salmond falter: and watch Scottish nationalism, and the intolerant nationalist trolls who infest Alan Cochrane's comments section, crawl back into the heather.
See you again, lads - in another 300 years. Maybe the Great Caledonian Curry Crisis will have been solved by then.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Gender Imbalances In The Professions

The Law Society of Scotland admitted 59 new solicitors last week.
The extent of this gender imbalance is, to say the least, startling.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A Little Piece Of Britishness

Pace the criticisms of Alice Miles, Roy Greenslade, Anthony Browne, Daniel Hannan and the aimlessly inarticulate Welsh teenagers the BBC 'Six O' Clock News' dug up yesterday, I think there are a great many very good reasons for insisting upon an oath of allegiance to the British monarch; not the slightest of which is that Scotty's naturally, volubly and flatulently agin it.
Should Scotland ever become separate, hopefully he'll not insist that Unionists take any oath of allegiance to the Scottish state; or to him.
Although their historic liberties are being eroded, the British people seem to fail to appreciate that they are one of the few peoples upon whom such demands have not been made at one time or another. The libertarians will be chanting passages of Hayek at each other for even thinking this might be true, but it's sometimes good for the mental, moral and emotional health to acknowledge that you are not the sole Master of your own wee Universe; to acknowledge that your liberty to act as an individual will, if taken to extremes, inevitably impact upon the liberty of others; and to publicly profess that you believe that sometimes the greater good of the many is more important than the greater good of the one.
Bluntly, we now seem to be a nation of narcissists; and unless we find a cure for our affliction, we will meet the collective fate of Narcissus.
Thus it was with some surprise that one noted that a little piece of Britishness, missing for over a decade, has been restored to public life - the battered old despatch box that Chancellors used to use on Budget Day.
Alistair Darling may have been trying to be clever; he might have been under orders from the man who shunned the old box himself (it may have been insufficiently radical for him, or else he genuinely thought himself so exceptional that this national symbol had been soiled by having been entrusted to others); but however it came to be in Darling's hands, it was a neat touch - a rare example of leaders thinking neither inside nor outside but about the box.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

What Do The Scottish National Party And The Crew Of The Starship Enterprise Have In Common?

is now up on The Devil's Kitchen.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Where Is Our Voltaire?

Describing the famines that followed the disastrous winters of 1709 and 1710, Voltaire acidly remarked that the French "starved to the sound of Te Deums".

Voltaire, the Bob Dylan of the 18th Century in ways that Bob Dylan can only imagine, was one of the first celebrities, and stayed a celebrity to the very end; having courted fame all their days one can imagine many of today's celebrities echoing his last words when their own time comes - "For God's sake go away and let me die in peace!"
We're not quite back in 1710 just yet - but a report in yesterday's 'Sunday Herald' entitled '2008: The year of global food crisis' makes one think we're nearer it than we might appreciate. Or like.
Bad harvests, the catastrophic decision to use crops to power cars rather than to feed mouths, the absurd economic power held by a few supermarket chains, and the growing taste for meat amongst those Chinese Communists getting rich on the back of 'free trade' are all conspiring to push up the price of food - at a time when increased energy consumption is, ahem, pushing up energy prices and we're in the middle of a 'credit crunch'.
Globalisation, Rich Man's Communism, still has its defenders - Tim Worstall can wax Panglossian on the subject. But what I have yet to see from any government source is an acknowledgment that the increased cost of necessities is a direct consequence of their pursuit of unmandated globalist policies.
One wonders whether the ghosts of Attlee and Bevin weep when they think that the Labour Party has not only effected the displacement of the British working class; not only led the nation into a wholly unnecessary war; but has now managed to crown it all by pursuing policies which have helped push up the price of the bread on poor mens' tables.
And when they begin to feel the pinch, one hopes that the globalists draw some comfort from their own Te Deum, that "economics is not a zero-sum game".
Yeah, dudes - whatever. Wonder what old Voltaire would have said to that...

Sunday, March 09, 2008

The Cordoba Foundation

Run by one Anas al-Tikriti, whose noggin hasn't been spied on the gogglebox for a wee while, its website states that,
"At times when human minds and intellects clash, the spirit of Cordoba is evoked. The symbol of human excellence, intellectual ingenuity and spiritual elation, Cordoba, the city, civilization and people, remains living evidence of the ability of minds and aspirations to meet, collaborate and strive for the common goal of advancement and success."
On its face it's a rather bland, neutral-ish corporate mission statement no different from any other collection of formulaic, well meaning and instantly forgotten junk words; but it does need one very small rider.
That is "and Cordoba was run by the Muslims".
There are other examples of cities where people of different civilisations, nationalities and religious tradtions have lived together in peace - ancient Rome, 18th Century Amsterdam and modern London spring to mind - yet Cordoba was the only one run by the Muslims; and to present Cordoba as an exception to history when it really wasn't does make one wonder why it was selected.
Is it because everyone lived in peace? Or because the Muslims were in charge?
Just asking...

Henry Porter On The Abolition Of Civil Liberties By Stealth

Bit of a must read.
As a daily user of the railway network, I feel particular empathy with his complaint against "the commands barked through speakers telling people to behave". Despite the fact that one has to endure the ordeal of travelling inside the hamster cages which First Scotrail calls its rolling stock, usually packed to the brim with an unwashed, sullen humanity which can at times be breathtakingly malodorous, and from all relevant orifices, I have never yet given British Transport Police any occasion to arrest me - and thus it puzzles me why I must suffer a loudspeaker telling me that the CCTV on the platform on which I am standing is directly linked to BTP headquarters.
To whom do I pose a threat? Do they think I'm going to strip and dance a polka?
Porter is also correct to criticise that vile contraption 'The Mosquito' and those who deploy it. Anyone who either invents or uses such a device doesn't like young people, wants to hurt them, very probably in order to make money, is a sadist and a bully, and should be shunned.
There is an article in the 'Sunday Telegraph' which perfectly encapsulates the official pettiness, in fact nastiness, which Porter takes to task. Entitled 'The 'terrible legacy' of sick-note Britain', it refers to one Dame Carol Black suggesting that "GP sicknotes (should) be replaced by "fitness notes" telling employers which tasks people can and cannot do...(her) review will recommend that such a scheme should be computerised, allowing the Government to monitor work absence patterns, and enabling doctors to provide patients and employers with more useful information about health conditions. "
Speaking as someone who has, in the past, required to take a very large number of medical absences from work, provided it gets its PAYE tribute every payday it is none of the government's business how often I actually turn up.

The Squalid Legacy Of Secular Liberalism

The sad life, and sadder early death, of Alfusaine Jabbi, a juju man from The Gambia.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

The Innocence Of Argentina

is now up on The Devil's Kitchen.

Comparison

In their mutual, and absolute, dependence on unsuitable advisers, in one case Piers Gaveston, in the other Karl Rove, it is difficult not to see some comparison between the appalling reign of Edward II and the appalling presidency of George W. Bush.
They both took control of strong, wealthy nations; and through their own caprice, abject laziness and reliance on bad advice, they both managed to throw it all away.
America may yet recover from the profound, un-American harm that the Bush presidency has inflicted on it; a regime of destroyers, if ever there was one. One hopes so.

Alex Salmond, Bully

As ever, Alan Cochrane tells it like it is.

The Scottish Nationalist Anthem -

"We don't want to fight,
But by Jingo if we do,
We've got the neds, we've got the drams,
We've got the folk songs too!
We'll send them home to think again
While Scotsmen still be true
The Brits will not restrict the cooncil rebate!"

Friday, March 07, 2008

Some Thoughts On The Retirement Of The Rt. Hon. Rev. Dr. Ian Paisley

I think Sir Simon Jenkins over-dignifies Paisley by describing him as a 'Taliban'; if only because Paisley seemed to lack either the guts or the will to do what a real Taliban would have done and pick up the gun in pursuit of his beliefs.
John Paul II wowed Reagan and helped bring down the Soviet Union; but he never fooled Ian Paisley.
One would hope that the old demagogue enjoyed his moment in the sun; for what my opinion's worth, I think being the top dog, the main man, in Northern Ireland is what he always wanted. Once he'd got it, he had nothing left to achieve and could go at a time of his own choosing.
And given that Peter Robinson, his likely successor, has been his deputy for 28 years it'll be interesting just how long the Democratic Unionists will be able to survive in his absence. The king is dead - long live the...well...
Oh dear - there goes peace again...

Thursday, March 06, 2008

The Lisbon Lambs

Readers of this blog unfamiliar with the doings of the erstwhile Glasgow Celtic Football and Athletic Club Ltd. may be unaware that the team which won the 1967 European Champions' Cup later became known as 'The Lisbon Lions'.
On must ask oneself, cui bono? Who gains what from this vote? Has our democracy degenerated to such an extent that interests of party now entirely supercede those of patriotism? We all know that the British elites don't do patriotism - it would be a bit uncomfortable trying to explain it when you're on holiday in Tuscany - but even in their own narrow self-interest, couldn't they have voted to provide a mechanism whereby they might at least have the chance of retaining some of their own powers? Last night the turkeys voted for Christmas, gobbling platitudes as they waddled into the lobbies.
Or do they actually hate the United Kingdom so much that they really do wish to see its abolition and subsumption into The Macronational Entity? Having stoked the fires of micronationalism in Kosovo, the 'Europeans' can't even agree on whether it should be recognised. Last night's vote was policy-making that bordered on pathological schizophrenia. Everyone's entitled to their own country - except us?
Last night did, however, have one positive result - the final collapse of whatever credibility the Liberal Democrats might have enjoyed. This is a good thing, long overdue, and entirely the consequence of the kind of jockeying and manouevering for which the assorted Bugginses who have led that party for the last 20 years have become rightly notorious. For attempting to lead his troops into the bunker marked 'Abstention', Nick Clegg, Current Buggins-in-Chief and hopefully The Last of the Bugginses, deserves a medal, and the thanks of a grateful nation.
It beggars belief that Parliament should hold this vote so soon after a Prince of the Blood has returned from a foreign war. Much like the nation itself, it's disappointing, but one supposes one shouldn't be surprised.
Our MP's are a bunch of losers, and so are we for electing them - for if we don't take any interest in how our nation's governed, we deserve to lose it as surely as a gambler deserves to lose their money.

Ministers With Principles

Although I don't think The Daily Telegraph intended to print that " (Ruth) Kelly was said to be arguing within the Government last year for Catholic abortion agencies to be exempt from equality laws forcing them to offer children to adoption by gay couples", reports that she and some of her colleagues wish to rebel over embryo research is to be welcomed.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

We're Back In The Days Of King John

"As John's baronial supporters fell away, so it seemed that those who took their place were parvenus and foreigners" -

David Carpenter, 'The Struggle for Mastery', Page 274.

'Parvenus and foreigners'? They sound pretty much like the hedgies, the non-doms and the EU to me...

Monday, March 03, 2008

A Middle East Peace Plan

Has all common humanity finally departed from the Middle East? Don't these folks want to try and live in peace with each other? Are they all so inured to smiting and counter-smiting that they can't even countenance that prospect?
Why don't they just try to live together? Or must Israel always be a laager state and the Palestinian Authority a prison state? Must it always be like this? Is there no hope of change? Have the people abandoned hope itself?
Why can't they all just let bygones be bygones and start working and living together?

Sunday, March 02, 2008

A Personal Post

As a no better average blogger, one of the less morally satisfactory aspects of my blogging is that I consistently fail to live up to the Christian principles I profess to hold.
Whether they were originally powered by stupidity, native aggression, poor impulse control or the sense of omnipotence one feels when given the chance to say what one thinks, time and again I've returned to old posts and almost wept in shame thinking, 'Did I write that'?
I seem to possess an extremely sarcastic style; indeed, Dennis once wrote to me saying he wouldn't like to get on my wrong side. When one's friends say that about you, just what on Earth must those one criticises think?
I have been very fortunate, perhaps even received a little grace, in that some of those I have, for want of a better word, harrassed have bothered to treat with me later - they are better men than me.
On February 6th, Oliver Kamm commented of me that,
"Well done on managing to keep your self-pity in check this time, though."
Mr. Kamm is not to know that whatever quirk of heredity or environment resulted in me having Tourettes has now, hopefully only temporarily, also rendered me a cripple - a state of affairs with which a formerly able-bodied person can sometimes find it hard to come to terms. He's not the only person to have mentioned the unpleasant quality of self-pity to me; for myself, must try harder. Mr. Kamm says he is not a believer, and might not appreciate this; but I forgive him the temporary offence he caused me, and thank him for pointing me in the right direction.
I also forgive and thank the person who, on 24th February, commented here that,
"Thank you Martin for your blog which reminds us why the severely mentally ill should not get near a computer".
That this person quoted my full name puzzles me; they must know me, or know how to find out stuff about me - given the spoor of data we all now leave behind ourselves, that can't be too hard. Yet although they may have been trying to insult me, they have in fact done me a service worthy of thanks; if one has given the impression of being 'severely mentally ill', then the fault is all mine. Again, must try harder.
This post has been motivated by Oliver Kamm's post of yesterday, entitled 'Blair and his masters'. In it, he links to a piece by Neil Clark. The perception one has of those two gentlemens' relationship is that it has been so historically poor that the police have now become involved. As an occasional correspondent of Neil's, I have always found this committed man of the left, someone with whom one might be thought to have little in common, to be a thoroughly gracious and civil interlocutor; and it pains me that two such intelligent, accomplished men with so many insights and so much to say should be at such odds over what seem nothing more than matters of ideology and doctrine. The bloody history of the 20th Century shows us just where the fatuity of 'he said this', 'he said that', can lead; and although one would never suggest that they actually meet and shake hands, perhaps the interests of peace and productivity might entail a period of silence from each concerning the other.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

But Who Is To Guard The Guardian?

Being (cough) a public intellectual manque (and yes, that is the French and not the Scottish spelling) and wannabe homme serieux, it was difficult reading 'The Guardian's' response to HRH Prnice Harry's deployment to Afghanistan without old Juvenal's famous question springing to mind.
Sir Simon Jenkins, all trademark urbane pessimism, calls it a 'blunder', and can see no good in it; a point of view which one would not imagine Ladbrokes offering odds against Sir Simon holding.
Peter Wilby, apparently the former editor of two publications, 'The Independent on Sunday' and 'The New Statesman', neither of which I read, describes the lad as 'supposedly heroic', and decries a serving soldier in the British Army thus -
"The stories you read this morning and saw last night revealed what only what officialdom wanted to reveal. What a triumph for the government's spin machine. What a triumph, too, for the spin merchants at Buckingham Palace, who can re-package a man who was previously suspected of spending too much time getting inebriated with hooray Henries in West End nightclubs. All of a sudden, Harry is not just an action hero but also a sort of people's prince, craving normality, living rough and mucking in with the lads in Helmand province without a flunkey in sight to hand him his toothbrush. "
Hopefully Mr. Wilby doesn't develop the desire to receive an honour later in life - he might be sorely disappointed. He might be feeling slightly jealous, of course - being now the former editor of two different titles, his own flunkey privileges might be running a little thin on the ground.
'Flunkey'...not unlike a word that came to mind when reading Mr. Wilby's piece...
The icing on the cake is provided by the priapic cat impersonator, erstwhile charity promoter and sometime Dundee ward boss George Galloway.
The Lochee Snark must have thought he was being desperately clever when he wrote, 'Cry 'God for Harry, England and St George'; he presumably didn't realise he'd been bettered, both in timing and context, by six hours.
Galloway concludes a particularly nasty rant thus -
"It is going to play an enduring role in prolonging this futile (Afghan) adventure, and perhaps starting others, in a country which British armies have three times before staggered out of in defeat, leaving so many of their number behind. No one, not even Alexander the Great has successfully occupied Afghanistan; and Harry, whatever you think about him, is certainly no Alexander the Great"
Unless Galloway's frustration at the failure of his own antiwar efforts has finally turned his brain, there is absolutely no point, and thus no merit, in comparing a very junior British Army officer with one of the greatest psychopaths in history; so why say it?
The Guardian's own 'mea culpa' for, er, helping to protect the life of a soldier on active service is a beautiful example of how liberals engage in liberal self-abasement in front of other liberals for breaching liberal doctrine:
"For this playboy to be reborn as a man of action may be gratifying, but it carries real risks. His talk of "Terry Taliban" running for cover grabs attention, but also makes him enemies. The royal family's dubious claim for a role in public life is based on its capacity to unify. By identifying himself with an unpopular war, Prince Harry diminishes his capacity to do that. Muslims, in particular, may resent him for waging a war which - rightly or wrongly - many see as a war against Islam. "
Yeah, well, that's 'wrongly'. Just be honest and admit it - you didn't possess sufficient courage in your own convictions to buck both Buckingham Palace and the Ministry of Defence; and that in this matter, the young man you call 'this playboy' has proved to be a very much more tenacious and committed opponent of the Establishment than you lot can ever hope to be.
Maybe, just for once, instead of knocking men in uniform the liberals might show a little respect instead; after all, it's the guys with guns who guard 'The Guardian'.