Thursday 20 June 2024


Boris Johnson to release bombshell new memoir as date it will hit shelves revealed

The publication date for Boris Johnson's hugely anticipated autobiography has been revealed, with the publishers promising it will "shatter the mould of the modern prime ministerial memoir".

Mr Johnson's memoir from his political career, including his time as London mayor and in Downing Street, will be released on October 10 this year. A newly-released book description promises expectant readers that it will be "written in his inimitable style".

I don't read political memoirs but this one is tempting. Will it be...

Reliable?  Hardly.

Readable and amusing?  Bound to be.


A post about growing old, written from my own perspective because it’s easier to write that way, not because I think these musings are even slightly unusual. Here we go then –

A problem with growing old is how dissatisfaction with the present seems like a nostalgic comparison with the past. Merely the rose tinted spectacles game, but in my case it is generally isn’t that. My memories of the past sometimes compare favourably with the present, but it is too easy to forget the silly fashions, industrial strife, creeping ugliness and the seeds of decline. There are all manner of comparisons any oldie could make, but the seeds and green shoots of decline were there.

As I grew older, a number of changes occurred in my general outlook. I have seen the cycles all old people have seen. The same mistakes, assumptions and fashions cycling round from generation to generation. Lessons have to be learned and relearned, they cannot easily be passed on. No amount of education does that.

As my personal stake in the future ebbs away into younger family members, I also feel a certain indifference towards the present. I know it will pass away and become the past, all old people know that. We know it viscerally in a way that younger people don’t, but in time they will come to know it viscerally too, but we can’t teach them that either.

A strong and persistent impression is how stupidity never relaxes its grip on human affairs. That’s an effect of growing old too, knowing about the durability of stupidity. It’s a human failing, always has been, but we pretend it can be cured in spite of all the evidence that it can’t, it just has to be avoided. Yet stupidity creates opportunities for people who aren’t stupid but are prepared to join in and exploit it.

It’s a core problem, the exploitation of stupidity by people willing to seem equally stupid in order to exploit it. It’s where political equality ends up, a corrupt willingness to seem equally stupid. 

Climate change is just one example, exploited to such an insane degree that it has become racketeering on a vast scale, but this too will fail as stupidity always does. And this is one of the lessons of growing older. Not so much the stupidity, we’ve always known about that, but the intractable nature of it, the impossibility of ever curing ourselves of it.

In my case that’s where the nostalgia comes from, it comes from remembering that stupidity can be contained by sensible people, but today the sensible people have still not found effective ways to counter the overwhelming level of stupid lying our digital world has enabled. The best we can hope for is that this is merely the beginning of another cycle.

Wednesday 19 June 2024

Because I can’t stand being lied to

Henry Getley, previously a loyal Labour voter has a gloomy TCW piece on his decision to give up on voting.

Why I’m poll-axing myself

ALONG with the usual junk mail offering me double glazing, funeral plans, investment opportunities, etc, I tore up a somewhat different piece of unsolicited post the other day . . . my poll card for the general election.

I binned it because for the first time in the 54 years that I’ve been eligible to vote, I won’t be doing so on July 4. Instead, I’ll be doing something useful, like mowing the lawn or taking the dog for a walk.

Why? Because, as has long been obvious to most of us, there’s no point in voting. Under Tories or Labour, we always end up in a progressively worse mess. Right now, things are frighteningly dire under the Conservatives – a crippled economy, rising prices, a proxy war, the Net Zero suicide plan, the Brexit betrayal, the covid con, rampant wokery, gender and racial madness, Islamic militancy, a quisling media and uncontrolled immigration, to name but a few. Meanwhile, Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour hordes are jostling to get their snouts into the Westminster trough and take the Tory insanities to even dizzier heights (or depths).

Familiar enough, but it is worth reading the whole piece as a reminder that even some Labour voters may become too tired to care after incessant lying by the major parties. 

As for Labour, Ed Miliband was a predictable write-off, while Jeremy Corbyn had genuine, if idiotic, convictions. Once Corbyn was trounced at the polls, Starmer managed to rise without the inconvenience of any principle or plan. He stands for nothing but getting himself into Downing Street. For all its manifesto waffle, Labour’s only real selling point today is that it’s not the Conservative Party.

Another of the reasons I’m not voting is that I can’t stand being lied to. Blatant, outright, barefaced lies abound. I know being a politician means you’ve got to be a liar – but boy, do we have a prize bunch of truth-twisters in Sunak, Starmer and the rest.

Tea with a buzz

Premium tea products recalled because some 'contain insects'

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) say retailers TK Maxx and Homesense are recalling selected batches of Kintra Foods Organic Premium Leaf Teas.

"Insects may be present in these products, which makes them unsafe to consume," according to the watchdog.

The three varieties being recalled are Calm & Relax, Chamomile, and Sleepy. They were on sale in the stores between April and June this year.

As we are encouraged to look favourably on a Net Zero insect diet, maybe this tea is an experimental product aimed at a yet to be exploited virtue-signalling protein tea for a low carbon future. A tea where we are no longer threatened by bovine flatulence.

'Sleepy' could even be a premium tea aimed at boosting Joe Biden's US presidential election prospects, showing he has no intention of wandering off-message.  

Tuesday 18 June 2024

Modern cuisine

McDonald's ends AI drive-thru trial after order mishaps

Videos of McDonald's drive-thru "fails" have gone viral in recent months, leading to a "thoughtful" review of the technology.

McDonald's is ending its AI drive-thru trial after customers reported errors in their orders - including bacon being added to ice cream.

As well as topping a dessert with bacon, the AI drive-thru assistant added $211 (£166) worth of chicken nuggets to another customer's order.

Maybe the AI system is telling us something about McDonald's and fast food. 

Which reminds me of the other day when I was standing behind a young woman in a café queue. She was a perfectly normal modern mother. I knew she was a mother because she had the names of her children and their dates of birth tattooed on her rather capacious back.

Looping back to the ancient art of cookery, this young mother had fingernails so long that she could never have cooked anything for her kids apart from shoving something ready made into the microwave. She could slice open the pack fairly easily I suppose.

 Do artificial nails melt easily? I don't know, but if so that's another cookery problem. Maybe daddy did the cooking, or maybe McDonald's.  

Charlie on The Great Tragedy of Modern Life


Almost comically statesmanlike

Sam Bidwell has a very useful Critic piece on the Labour manifesto.

Blairism at its most zealous

The Labour manifesto is a recipe for bland bureaucratic managerialism

If Michael Foot’s 1983 Labour manifesto was the longest suicide note in history, then Keir Starmer’s 2024 successor is surely history’s longest victory lap.

If Michael Foot’s 1983 Labour manifesto was the longest suicide note in history, then Keir Starmer’s 2024 successor is surely history’s longest victory lap.

At an eye-watering 133 pages, one might expect “Change” to set out a comprehensive programme for government, replete with details of Labour’s plans for the next five years. Instead, we’re treated to page after page of carefully-constructed prose that avoids committing to anything too specific, and several full-page pictures of Starmer looking almost comically statesmanlike.

The whole piece is well worth reading as an insight into deranged managerialism, but also as an example of a bureaucratic malady currently destroying the developed world. We see just that in Starmer's leadership, his anxious determination to take the evasion of responsibility to ever more carefully crafted absurdities. 

Yet if it’s radicalism that you’re looking for, Labour’s manifesto has it in spades. Not radical socialism, mind you, or radical progressivism — this is Blairism at its most zealous, a veritable Ma’alim fi’l-tareeq for bland bureaucratic managerialism. For every one of Britain’s major structural problems, Starmer has prescribed a new independent commissioner, a new knee-jerk regulatory intervention, or a new arm’s length body.

Don’t believe me?

For a start, there’s Labour’s new “Ethics and Integrity Commission”, which will be empowered to remove or censure ministers that fail to meet certain arbitrary “ethical standards”. There are also plans to expand the powers of the “Independent Adviser on Ministerial Interests” to enable investigations into ministerial misconduct, and proposals for a new “House of Commons Modernisation Committee”, which will be tasked with policing the behaviour of MPs.

Then there are the open-ended plans for House of Lords reform, the new “Council of the Nations and Regions”, and the promises of further devolution to Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. In other words, the sovereignty of our Westminster Parliament is set to be diluted even further.

The role of the Office for Budget Responsibility will be strengthened, meaning that Governments will no longer be able to undertake bold budgetary reforms without facing a Truss-style backlash from the economic establishment.

Mad? Yes it is, quite mad, but also an indication of the finger-pointing culture which is the other side of modern bureaucratic managerialism. Get on the wrong side of this machine, point out the lunacy, or even a few unwelcome facts and you place yourself at the wrong end of that pointing finger.

It's also a reminder of political courage, people who are not cowed by it all and are prepared to oppose the gross excesses of modern bureaucracy. Rishi Sunak doesn't have that courage, his party doesn't have it, Keir Starmer intends to make sure it doesn't matter anyway, nothing will come of it. 

Until Nemesis casts her ice-cold eye over it of course.