A Snow job on WWI: 'A snow job' used to mean a PR exercise to cover up some ghastly cock-up but you will note from the capital 'S' in my title that I am referring to a person, in this case, Mr. Dan Snow, the well-known TV historian - although I have never actually watched any of his programmes. Not, I add hastily, that I have anything against him but I find TV history (along with TV science) to be irritatingly influenced by the need of the producers to use old film clips or cgi effects. Be that as it may, according to The Telegraph, Mr. Snow is experiencing considerable 'incoming' after one of his programmes attempted to clear away some of the many myths surrounding WWI. Here is a list of them:
1. It was the bloodiest war in history to that point
2. Most soldiers died
3. Men lived in the trenches for years on end
4. The upper class got off lightly
5. 'Lions led by donkeys'
6. Gallipoli was fought by Australians and New Zealanders
7. Tactics on the Western Front remained unchanged despite repeated failure
8. No one won
9. The Treaty of Versailles was extremely harsh
10. Everyone hated it
For what it's worth - not much! - I agree with Mr. Snow that most of those are myths but particularly the last one. This notion has grown up on the backs of the superb but deeply anguished poems of the great war poets like Owen and Sassoon who, it is believed, spoke for all the men concerned, but commonsense tells you that is non-sense. It's not possible to give numbers but very many men actually enjoy war. The best example I can instantly think of is Winston Churchill who as a young man positively relished being in the very centre of where-ever the action was fiercest. Also, #4 above, is particularly galling because the sacrifices by the gentry of Britain were enormous. So well done, Mr. Snow!
If Dave is dim, Ed is dead: Dead, that is, from the neck up! I do understand and sympathise with the fact that politics being class-based there is a whole swathe of society, mostly plebs, who will vote Labour simply out of vague feelings of 'tribal' loyalty. Even so, they must be dimly aware that in Ed Miliband they appear to have the original 'empty man'. So far, the only characteristic he has shown which marks him out is a ruthless streak prepared to sacrifice relations within his family for the sake of achieving high office. Well, nothing wrong with ruthlessness in a politician so long as it is applied wisely but it is at precisely that point, as we stand looking into Ed's inner personna that we see the void. Even his trusted - but not for long! - lieutenants, like John Cruddas, can see that such politices as labour might have are being chopped up into little sound and TV bites that can easily slotted into the 24-hour news cycle. Fraser Nelson sums it up thus at The Coffee House:
Cruddas is a serious politician, who can see that his party leader just doesn’t have serious answers to Britain’s serious problems. I have a feeling that more voters will draw this conclusion as the election draws near.
July 10th could be interesting 'over there': According to Breitbart News, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) scandal 'over there' has taken a turn into a Federal court-room at the behest of Judicial Watch, a Right-wing organisation with a history of forcing administrations and government agencies into the dock if they have behaved improperly. Apparently the judge scheduled to hear the complaint that the IRS has failed to fulfill its legal duties has a reputation for sinking his teeth into such culprits and it bodes badly for a White House which has striven to keep the IRS scandal under wraps. Can't wait . . .
Laffer's laughing even louder: I am obliged to John Redwood for pointing out this superb example of the Laffer curve in action. 'George 'n' Dave', under advice from their Treasury nitwits, raised Capital Gains Tax (CGT) from 18% to 28% and then sat back rubbing their greedy little hands and waited for the money to roll in. At the end of last year the Treasury collected £1.2bn or 30% less than they had forecast. And what they actually collected is still under half the level reached in 2008-9 with a lower rate. How does that old song go . . . 'When will they ever learn, when will they learn?'
A well-deserved Boudreaux bashing: Don Boudreaux, proprietor of The Cafe Hayek, does not suffer fools gladly, and they don't come much more foolish that Sen. Cardin of Maryland. This Senatorial windbag has been complaining bitterly that malicious and evil speculators have been driving up the price of American fuel. Boudreaux points out the oddity that this comes from a man in favour of carbon taxes so you would think that he would be all in favour of it! In addition, as Boudreaux puts it:
If the speculation is as you describe it, then no one will suffer more than the speculators themselves, for they will buy too much gasoline today and sell it tomorrow at a loss. Moreover, if you truly believe that this speculation is “excessive and malicious,” then you should put your own money where your mouth is by going short in gasoline: not only will you make a mint by selling gasoline today at prices that you have divined are “excessive,” you will also put downward pressure on today’s gasoline prices, thereby helping motorists all across America.
After all these decades in which Congressman Cardin has been elected by the people of Maryland have they not yet realised what a total prat he is?
"Hard Candy": I am always a sucker for a film or book which is different. I mean, it has to be done well to keep me watching or reading but if it is original then I'm halfway there. Such it was with the film Hard Candy which is terrific but do NOT read the Wiki link until you have seen the film! The film is virtually a two-hander, played by Patrick Wilson and Ellen Page, neither of whom were known to me beforehand. Both were simply excellent and Miss Page, especially, was riveting. This is not a film for the faint of heart because in all senses it is a thriller.
No more rumbles today, I'm off to bed.