Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Hidden Migrants

How right the Daily Express is about those born in Britain to one or more foreign parents.

All four of the so-called Duke of Edinburgh's children must be deported at once to Schleswig-Holstein, Sonderburg or Glücksburg, where they belong.

A Glorious Tradition

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

This Opening To The Transcendent

I have the fondest memories of Strasbourg, but they are from before I became a Catholic...

How Much Must Women Change Themselves?

"The hormonal impacts of taking contraceptive medication for years on end are neither properly understood nor reported," says Holly Grigg-Spall.

We have long since decided that femaleness, simply in itself, was a medicable condition requiring the pumping of women's and girls' bodies full of highly poisonous substances in order to stop those bodies from doing what they do naturally.

That is the very opposite of medicine.

And it is being done in order to make women and girls permanently available for the sexual gratification of men and boys.

But we now seem to have decided to treat maleness in the same way, and to get in even younger than we did with femaleness.

The prescription of drugs to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder increased by more than 50 per cent in the six years to August 2013.

Mostly for having been born boys, half a million or more British children are now drugged up to their eyeballs with Ritalin and such like as "treatment" for ADHD and various other nonexistent conditions.

Soft Southerners

David Mellor would have been kicked out of any taxi and told to walk if he had done that up here.

Private View

Over to David Cameron to call for private schools to be taken out of politics altogether by losing their charitable status and simply being taxed as the businesses that they are.

Even he does not send his children to them. They are now institutions of the global megarich, physically located in Britain by chance and by historical accident.

It is not as if the people who still use them can vote here. Or would notice if the fees went up.

Meanwhile, another "frontier of the State" could be said to have been "rolled back", and another "Labour tax hike" could be said to have been "blocked".

Fit To Print

If The National, "the newspaper that supports an independent Scotland", succeeds, then it will show that there is still a market for sufficiently distinctive political voices in the print media.

Lay Not This Sin To Their Charge?

As the remains of St Stephen turn up in Ramallah, Israel votes to do everything short of denaturalise both St Stephen's devotees and the close relatives of Ramallah's inhabitants.

Her Christian cheerleaders abroad are as Saul of Tarsus.

At The Extremities

How does one apply to be on Theresa May's "civil liberties and privacy board"?

I shall of course consider it a personal affront if I am not classified as an extremist under her barking mad new laws.

Watch out for the MPs who will vote against them, indicating the categories against whom all of this is really aimed.

"The greatest threat to our security in all of our history"? What, greater than the Blitz? It is as if Tony Blair never went away.

School's Not Out

The increasing censorship and so on at universities is the result of the introduction of undergraduate tuition fees.

Most people go to school for free. Yet those who go on to university, and there is no university that admits predominantly from the fee-paying sector, have done so on that basis: neither they nor, distinct from general taxation, their parents have contributed one penny to the efforts made by the school to get them there, but those efforts have demonstrably been made.

For nine thousand pounds per annum, in most cases to be paid off by being in debt for decades, they expect a de luxe version of that which they received at school. If that gives a university the culture of a school, then so be it.

Already they talk about "going to", rather than "being at", a university and its constituent parts. They talk about "doing", rather than "studying" or "reading", a particular subject. They talk about "Year One", "Year Two" and "Year Three", rather than "the first year", "the second year" and "the third year".

They are still at school. Only more so, because they are paying to be there.

No News Is Good News

Ed Miliband and his bacon sandwich were the main "news" for days, as was that business with some faded pop star last week. Nigel Farage's going to the pub is the main news whenever it happens.

Part of the most recent Newsnight was about Scrabble, with much of the rest given over to an "interview" with a non-English-speaking French nobody who had a book to plug.

#CameronMustGo is nothing like so trivial.

Meanwhile, three polls show a Labour lead of four or five points, including a six-point Labour lead in England. Labour could in principle win an overall majority with English seats alone.

I just thought that you might like to know.

Why Jim Webb Matters

The Goalposts Have Never Moved

The ridiculous Owen Paterson is apparently unaware that there never was "a free trade area" called "the Common Market".

He never listened to Peter Shore, Michael Foot, Tony Benn, Douglas Jay, Barbara Castle and all the rest. Or, for that matter, to Enoch Powell. Anyone who didn't, cannot complain now.

As thick as mince, and unknown for anything apart from an Alan Partridge remark about badgers, who would be in his Cabinet? That brother-in-law in the Lords and on The Times who chaired Northern Rock when it went bust?

Monday, 24 November 2014

Many Mansions

I do not like the mansion tax. But it is a very popular policy.

Following his remarks over some tweet or something, a variation on it is going to have to be proposed by the politician most vulnerable to the charge of representing the mansioned and no one else.

David Cameron.

He'll call it something else, of course. But he'll have to do it.

From Pariah To Policeman

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf, explains Robert Fisk.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Oddly Shaped Balls

I have no idea whether or not Professor Allyson Pollock is right about rugby. But I know why her critics treat her as, in her words, "a traitor to some cause."

Rugby defines many subcultures, and even entire peoples, as different.

As neither British (or, these days, American) nor Australian. As neither North Welsh nor English; as Welsh while, often militantly, unable to speak Welsh.

As a Scottish Borderer, and thus still liable to encounter, even if less baldly, the attitude to the young David Steel when he visited Glasgow. The son of a Past Moderator of the General Assembly, he was asked if he was "enjoying [his] visit to Scotland."

As an Afrikaner, defined precisely by not being at least half a dozen other things, past and present.

As an ancestral Basque or Catalan from the South West of France, where next to no one still speaks either Basque or Catalan, thereby necessitating other signs of distinctiveness. 

Ireland is, as ever, more complicated. But playing rugby marks out particular social groups in different parts of Ireland. As, with a strong political element, does very insistently not playing rugby.

In England, by far the strongest following, including the schools where the game is compulsory, is very easy to identify.

That section of society is as distinct as any of the above in their respective countries or, in New Zealand's case, neighbourhoods, and it is considerably more so than several of them.

Yet until the advent of the present Government, those people were just about able to pretend that they were this country's historical norm, and at least still a part of its mainstream.

But the reaction of the real norm and of the real mainstream to a regime that had come to power in a sort of coup in spite of the mere result of a General Election has opened even their eyes to reality.

Having given themselves a five-year term, they have lasted long enough to watch the depiction of them change from anger to remorseless ridicule and utter contempt.

Therefore, they cleave even more closely and fiercely to their defining cultural peculiarities.

Afrikaners, and ancestral Basques and Catalans from the South West of France, are central to their national lives by comparison.

But Expecting A Different Result

The Imitation Game Today

Peter Hitchens writes:

Crowds are flocking to see the laughable new film about the computer genius Alan Turing The Imitation Game.

I think they are  mainly women besotted with Benedict Cumberbatch, though some men may enjoy the sight of Keira Knightley got up as a 1940s intellectual sexpot.

It’s the usual hopeless attempt to recreate the past by dressing the cast in acres of tweed, making them all smoke and renting some ancient cars.

But the ending is genuinely horrible. The homosexual Turing is shown robbed of his mental powers by hormone drugs supposedly intended to make him ‘normal’.   

We can all shudder at this stupid and wrong treatment.  But it is easy to condemn the follies of the past.

At the time, fashionable opinion believed Turing’s ‘chemical castration’ was a humane alternative to prison.

What similarly stupid things do we believe today? How about this?

Despite growing medical doubts (a report this week said it had more to do with drug marketing than medicine), we dope huge numbers of children with pills very similar to illegal amphetamines.

This mass-doping is justified by the suspect ‘diagnosis’ of an alleged complaint called ‘ADHD’.

If Alan Turing were a child now, I think it pretty likely that his ‘odd’ behaviour would lead him to be drugged in this way, killing his special talents.

It seems to me very probable that, as you read this, some potential genius is having his life blighted, forced by smiling adults to swallow pills to make him ‘normal.

We can see this was wrong in 1953. Why can’t we see it is wrong now?

He goes on:

How can it possibly be balanced for the BBC’s Radio 4 Today programme to run an uncritical, near-reverent commercial for cannabis, as it did on Wednesday?

This is not a joke. People who take this drug can end up in locked wards for the rest of their lives.

Who was responsible?

The Last Days of Christian Iraq?

"The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country. After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything," explains Patrick Cockburn.

The Choice Is Clear

An horrifically bad candidate, from the stable that by 2016 will not have won a national election in 20 years.

Rather a good candidate, whom one would have to register as a Democrat in order to vote to nominate.

As one would have to do merely in order to vote to stop the bad candidate. That can only be done by supporting someone else in particular.

If nominated, then she would certainly become the President of the United States.

Get Her Out Of Here

Why does anyone allow Edwina Currie into their country?

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Rochester Round-Up

A sitting MP has been re-elected with far fewer votes than he managed last time.

He will certainly lose his seat to his own old party in May, and he is already engaged in a public feud with his new Leader, who makes up policy on the hoof.

The sight of Carswell and Reckless voting for Clive Efford's Bill to save the NHS, with Reckless even speaking in support of it, was too hilarious for words. NHS privatisation was, with Farage's amateur and dictatorial style, the reason for Mike Nattrass's secession from UKIP.

They were rightly torn to shreds by Dennis Skinner, who voted against the Treaty of Rome, against Thatcher's Single European Act and against the Maastricht Treaty, as well as having campaigned for a No vote in 1975 and for a Labour vote in 1983.

But UKIP has accepted what now seems to be the defining principle of British politics, that the heart and soul of England is the people who always voted Labour up to and including the 1992 Election. Those people have always voted Labour ever since, too. They always will. Thus speaks the heart and soul of England.

Still, UKIP may as well make itself useful, by campaigning for the abolition of prescription charges, of eye and dental charges, and of hospital car parking charges. Along with the renationalisation of the railways, of the utilities and of the Royal Mail, as supported by the majority of their (and of the Conservatives') supporters.

That white van man was a Conservative supporter in 2010 and will have voted either for that party or for UKIP in Thursday's by-election. He openly admits to having hung out his flags purely in order to annoy ethnic minorities. They will not have been offended by those flags. But he hoped and expected that they would be.

Emily Thornberry should have stood her ground. She grew up on a council estate, where the houses will not have had porticoes. In her childhood, or even in mine, next to no one would have known what that flag was.

Flag-waving in general is not very English. But until 20 years ago, if you had asked the English what their flag was, then they would have told you something quite other than that. Nothing invented by, of all things, the advertising industry can be said to be part of working-class culture.

Least of all something that was invented as an integral part of pricing the working classes out of attendance at live football matches by rebranding them as a posh boys' interest, in order to make possible a drastic increase in the price of the beer thus associated with them.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

A Big Day Tomorrow

Clive Efford's Bill to save the NHS.
Ian Mearns's Bill to end the abuses of zero hours contracts.
Ignore the mere re-election of an incumbent for a party that had never previously opposed him. That will not be news.

Still In A Computer Wasteland

But while I am here, Seumas Milne on how austerity has obviously failed and ought therefore to be abandoned.
Mehdi Hasan on the austerity-promoting and anti-democratic EU, even if he does need to speak for himself, since some of us of the same generation, and likewise of the historical Labour mainstream rather than any kind of Marxist, certainly did recognise all of this even when we were teenagers.
And Peter Oborne on UKIP, Daniel Hannan, and the fact that Michael Gove is the worst Chief Whip in a generation.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Reckless, Indeed

He is mostly Irish.
And not "came over  in the nineteenth century" Irish, either. His grandfather was Henry McDevitt, the considerably less Irish Éamon de Valera's man in East Donegal.
Repatriation, indeed.

Upon The Holy Hills

Brendan O'Neill and Tim Stanley should come to Durham.
Up here, we read in disbelief of these bans and things elsewhere.
We'll debate absolutely anything with absolutely anyone.

Village Voices

Yesterday's defeat of the Government over pubs echoed the defeat of the Thatcher Government over Sunday trading. As in that case, Tory traditionalists lined up with Labour against their own party's market fundamentalists. (Traditionalism and fundamentalism are always very different things, whatever alliances they may form from time to time.)

A key figure in that case was Sir Roger Gale, as he has since become. He was on Newsnight last night to mark the tenth anniversary of the hunting ban. He was debating against Labour's Baroness Mallalieu, of the Countryside Alliance. Sir Roger is a stalwart of the League Against Cruel Sports.

It is a feature of anti-hunting Conservatives (of whom there used to be far more; only procedural devices prevented a ban in the Major years, when it had majority Commons support) that they are otherwise very right-wing indeed, whether Old Right, New Right, or a combination of aspects of each.

Think of Sir Roger. Think of Sir Teddy Taylor. Think of Ann Widdecombe. Think of the late Alan Clark and the late Sir Anthony Beaumont-Dark.

It is also noticeable that many staunch hunting areas elect very few Conservative MPs, and that some elected barely any for a good many years until 2010.

Think of Yorkshire, the Midlands, Devon, Cornwall and Wales.

The unenforceable hunting ban is bringing the law into disrepute in certain areas and among certain people as surely as the non-enforcement of the drug laws does in and among certain others.

Indeed, there are points of contact. From where do you think that, directly or indirectly, squires' children obtain their drugs? Especially among men, there has never been much of a line between the very top and the very bottom of British society.

Universal Disservice

The case for a Police investigation into the privatisation of the Royal Mail, Lib Dem policy in 2010 and carried out by Vince Cable, has always been unanswerable. Where is that investigation?
And now, exactly as predicted, the universal service obligation is going down the pan, too.
Only Clive Efford's Bill on Friday can prevent the same thing from happening to the NHS.
Yes, David Cameron, of course it is backed by the unions. Your party and circle are funded up to their eyeballs by the American healthcare companies, unscrutinised by a BBC that was until recently chaired by Chris Patten.