“That one can convince one’s opponents with printed reasons, I have not believed since the year 1764. It is not for that purpose that I have taken up my pen, but rather merely to annoy them, and to give strength and courage to those on our side, and to make it known to the others that they have not convinced us.”
G.C. Lichtenberg (1742 – 1799), courtesy of 'Deogolwulf'
Yes, yes, I know I was supposed not to add anything before I go away, but this is a truly frightening essay, not least because it draws upon profound truths concerning our European 'civilisation'. I am immensely grateful to Val Dorta for the reference. Read - and be afraid, be very afraid!
I make no apology for borrowing the headline from The Sun (We love it!). They are undoubtedly the headline masters of the universe.
So, what did you think of it? The bribe, I mean. Of course, it's possible you may not have received one, but I did. It was, if I may be allowed to indulge in a little national stereotyping, a typically Scottish bribe. In fact it was so weeny, so stingey, so microscopically miniscule and mean, that 'ur wee Gordie' has succeeded in dishing out money to buy votes whilst simultaneously insulting the 'bribees'.
I will set aside, for the moment, the insult to our intelligence implicit in offering people a bribe using their own money! Alas, my judgement of the intelligence of most of my fellow subjects is even smaller than the bribe I was offered yesterday. Why anyone would praise a chancellor for generosity when all he is doing is giving you back your own money, beats me. It is rather like the more addle-pated Lefties who praise gross, old cows like Claire Short for "compassion" because she helps fill the vaults of Swiss Banks by giving sundry kleptomaniacs my money - not hers, mark you, but mine!
But if you are going to buy a vote, at least do it right! He offered me £200 off my council tax but forgot to mention that it is only for one year (and golly, gosh, and bless my breeches, it just happens to be election year!); and also he forgot to mention that all properties are being upgraded and so my council tax is likely to go up by another £400 - next year, well after the election is over.
Sorry, Gordie, I'll take my £200, but I wouldn't vote for you if it were a choice between you and that monkey that got elected mayor of some dump up north!
This is a little 'diamond' of a poem, but it will mean much more to those who have, at some time in their lives, sat outside barracks on the grass during a hot afternoon, and half-listened to the drone of a weapons instructor explaining the intricacies of the Lee Enfield .303 rifle:
Naming of Parts by Henry Reed (1914-1986)
Today we have naming of parts. Yesterday
We had daily cleaning, and tomorrow morning,
We shall have what to do after firing. But today,
Today we have naming of parts. Japonica
Glistens like coral in all of the neighbouring gardens,
"There may be troubles ahead.." as the old song has it. Yes, I know, the 'same old, same old' but, as ever, in a new disguise. The cold war, by which I mean the struggle between capitalism and communism as exemplified by the USA and the USSR, is over. Even the internecine war in the middle east may be heading for some sort of deal as both the scorpion and the frog, swimming in their river of blood, decide that 'enough is enough, my life already'! As for the 'war on terror', or putting it more accurately 'the war against militant Islam', it's going to be messy and long-drawn out, but in terms of grand strategy, it's a flea-bite.
What strikes me as very much more serious is the looming confrontation between America and China supported and encouraged by Russia. There is little doubt in my mind that the Russian nationalisation of their oil and gas reserves means that the supply (or otherwise!) of these vital commodities will become a matter of state policy not commercial policy. Already they have the Europeans, including Britain, 'on the hip' as we become ever more dependant on Russion oil and gas. Similarly, they are the main supporters of the gangster Chavez in Venezuela whose oil is of significant importance to the US.
China is, I suspect, surprising itself with its own growth and strength. Like a muscled heavyweight on steroids, and egged on by the Russians, it is not going to be too long before it starts kicking sand, not directly in the face of the US, but in the faces of the smaller nations on the Pacific rim. Taiwan, for starters! America is going to need allies in the region, such as Japan and South Korea. It will require delicate diplomacy, allowing these less than enthusiasticly pro-American populations time to realise that there are worse things in the world than the USA - much, much worse!
It is, therefore, with utter despair that I watch the Europeans (including us) throwing a match in the arsenal by moving to an agreement to sell arms, and arms technology, to China. Now, to the Left, sellling arms is as bad as taking a dump in the Vatican is to a Catholic! But do we hear the squeals of outrage? Do we see the demos in every capital in Europe? Are George Galloway, Ken Livingstone, the StWC, the SWP and all the other alphabet soupniks shouting their outrage? Er, no, actually! You will only hear from them when America starts to deploy in its own defence.
There is one factor which might, just, avert a fairly grim outlook, and that is the centrifugal forces within China itself. My impression (because I am no Sinologist) is that in China's history there has been a tendency for the regions to attempt to split off if the centre is weak. I suspect that the rampant capitalism now rife in China is weakening the hold of the Communist Party, not only because of the growth of independently minded tycoons, but also because of the freedom that capitalism bestows on ordinary people in their daily lives. I am hesitant to write too much on Chinese affairs because my ignorance is profound, indeed, if anyone with greater expertise than me (not difficult) reads this, I hope they will comment.
Meanwhile, we can only watch and weep as Tony Blair undoes all the good he did in standing by the USA in Iraq, by supinely following Chirac et al as they flog weapon systems tp Peking which one day might be used against Los Angeles.
This is Shakespeare's epilogue from The Tempest. The 'EngLit-lot' would have us believe that any notion of this being Shakespeare's farewell is simple sentimentality. Well, it won't be the first time the 'EngLit-lot' have been wrong, as the late A. L. Rowse never tired of pointing out. For me it is impossible to believe that a man of Shakespeare's acute sensitivity was unaware that the flame was dying, and that with The Tempest, he had finally written himself out, or at least, that he had written all that was meaningfull to him. Of course, as with so much of his writing, it can be taken at many levels; the plea of an actor for applause, the release of an actor from his role-playing, the acknowledgement by Prospero that his magic was gone, but who can read the last seven and a half lines and not imagine that ironic sense of loss as the writer's poetic and philosophical spirit finally wanes. I am not much given to sentimentality, but it always makes me swallow hard and blink a lot when I read it:
Well, perhaps I should begin with a clarification. I am unconvinced of the need for great changes in our current anti-terrorism laws. Mostly this stems from deep mistrust of these ex-communist and Trotskyist ministers who now lord it over us, but also from the fact that this administration lies about everything. It seems to me that two simple actions would solve minister's problems. First, withdrawal from the eurocentric, so-called Human Rights law; and second, to allow electronic eavesdropping to be used in court.
That said, I do agree with Charles Clarke in his basic premise that, so to speak, ministers should propose, and judges should dispose. In other words, it is for a minister to take the responsibility of issuing an order to infringe someone's rights, and it is for a judge of the law to decide if he got it right - and if he keeps getting it wrong, it is for the people to exact the penalty at the next election. The sight and sound of judges and lawyers attempting to get their self-important and avaricious hands on executive power, is deeply disturbing.
Once again, I repeat Shakespeare's injunction, "First, let's kill all the lawyers!"
With a dry mouth and trembling fingers, I pick up my rusty sword to do battle with the mighty Kamm who is affronted by the prospect of a 'Martin Bell look-and-sound-alike', independent, anti-war candidate standing against Mr. Blair in the next election. He complains that it would be ".. an affront to representative democracy that coarsens the political culture.." Sorry, Oliver (if I may use the familiar), but you are defending a man who employed Alistair Campbell as his right hand; and off-hand, I cannot think of anyone coarser. The previous Tory administration reached, I thought, the deepest pits to which any modern political party could sink, but Campbell has taken 'New' Labour to new lows.
I am not at the centre of affairs, or even on the fringes, and anyway, I have other pre-occupations to take my interest, so I have no specific knowledge of the Westminster 'village'. However, seen through my beady and baleful eyes here in deepest Dorset, this government has turned lying (I won't use their 'smart' euphemism - spin) into an art form. They lie, and lie, and lie again. Their first re-action to any adverse news is to lie! I can remember vividly the occasion in the first few months of Mr. Blair's regime in which he said, "Hey, look, I'm a pretty straight sort of a guy!" At that point I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, he was a liar.
Oliver is a city man and should know well the old city adage, if a man tells you his word is his bond, take his bond! In a shoddy, disreputable eight years, Mr. Blair has done one brave and honourable (and shrewd) act. He placed our country alongside the USA in the war against terror despite the howls from his own party. But in doing so he deployed all the deceptive trickery that Campbell was infamous for, and in doing so, he has weakened the chances of any future government taking strong action based on Intelligence briefings. He deserves to go.
I suggest they get that monkey who became mayor of some God-forsaken northern town to stand against him.
I don't know if this is a record, and I certainly wasn't trying for one, but I have now been thrown off three blogs! The first was Damien Counsell's www.pootergeek.com/, about which I was, and still am, genuinely sorry. Counsell is an amusing and intelligent fellow who shares some of my interests, but unfortunately we got at cross-purposes over a genuine mis-understanding. The next was Chris Brooke, aka, the Virtual Stoat, as I prefer to call him. Brooke, an Oxford academic, took a First in supercilliosness which I think he learnt at the knee of 'Archbishop' Richard Dawkins. Brooke is given to handing down socialist tracts on economics as though they were from Mt. Sinai, comfortable in the knowledge that he never has, and never will have, to meet a payroll in his entire, comfortable, middle-class life. I was not sorry to be shown that particular door. Finally, a few days ago, Mark Elf from http://jewssansfrontieres.blogspot.com/ gave me the big 'E'. In this case I was glad to go. There is a stench of something rotten about this site - don't go there - the clue is in the title!
Politically, Mr. Counsell is far removed from the other two who are paid up members of the 'Trot-lot Tendency', but all of them share one characteristic - a skin so wafer-thin in its delicacy that one would hesitate to bid them good-day lest they take umbrage. Years ago there used to be an ironic saying concerning negroes walking around waiting to be insulted. These three are much the same. Mind you, they can dish it out with a vengeance, it's just that they aren't much good at taking it.
As some of you may know, I spend a certain amount of time over with what I loosely call the 'Trot-lot', here, here and here, to name but a few. My jokey reference to Trotsky may cause wailing and gnashing of teeth amongst them, because these people are tremendously sensitive, and to refer to any of them without using exactly the correct nomenclature causes the sort of furore that might arise were you to call a 'Wee Free' a non-comformist. It is pretty meaningless to outsiders, but these sects guard their schisms with fury and vengeance.
They are not without a some charm, and they certainly provide amusement, but it doesn't take too long to unmask the snarl beneath the smile. Take Mark Elf for starters, under the comments section of his post entitled "The Word of the Beloved Leader" in which berates a British Jew for interfering in the squabble over Ken Livingstone's remarks. So far, so normal, but in the course of the comments discussion Mark Elf said this, "No I wouldn't support giving a platform to the BNP or any other fascist group." I pointed out that any remarks from him on the subject of freedom of speech would be cant and humbug as it was obvious that what he believed in was freedom of speech approved of by him. Toys were hurled from his pram, but, and as always it is a crucial 'but', no denial of the original statement was forthcoming. To be fair, at the very end he did, eventually, write this,"I don't think racists should be banned from the internet." Well, it's a start!
Now I turn to something far more inexcusable from Meaders at Dead Men Left under a post headed, appropriately enough "By Any Means Necessary". In this he attacked Oliver Kamm, who had carried out one of his usual forensic examinations of the 'literature' emanating from the Stop the War Coalition (StWC). In the Comments section I attempted to pin Meaders down as to whether he supported the expression used by the StWC, that in furtherance of their interests, the so-called Iraqi resistance should "use any means necessary"; or whether his conscience, his moral feelings or even his humanity would impel him to change it to "use any means necessary except...". Jenny from http://hurryupharry.bloghouse.net/ put it more succinctly than a waffling old git like me, she wrote, " Yeah come on Meaders, do you support the killing of workers queuing for jobs or not? A simple yes or no will do." Answer (so far) comes there none!
However I am pleased to report that not all is lost on the 'Trot-lot' front. Ed at http://introoksbyism.blogspot.com/ shows alarming signs of original thinking. I'm not quite sure which of these mad-houses he actually belongs to, but I can't help worrying that if he carries on not just thinking the un-thinkable but actually thinking in the first place, the apparatchiks are going to knock on his door early one morning. Even Ryan, once dubbed "the stupidest blogger on the net" by Mr. Kamm, shows occasional signs of living on the same planet as the rest of us, but that may just be due to his advancing years!
Incidentally, I apologise for the poor layout on some of the posts below, but I am still learning my way round this blogging lark.
From time to time, I intend to copy out a poem, for no reason except that I like them. Here is the first by George Herbert, 1593 - 1633. Alas, I will never share his religiosity, but I envy his faith, and the expression of his feelings is sublime: