Thursday, 7 July 2016


This morning I took a photo of a stinkhorn growing next to the old air-raid shelter at the bottom of our garden. We knew we’d find one because of the horrible stink, this being one of the ripest I’ve known. Conditions are just right with warm weather after lots of rain. There is plenty of rotting wood around too. From Wikipedia :

Botanist John Gerard called it the "pricke mushroom" or "fungus virilis penis effigie" in his General Historie of Plants of 1597, and John Parkinson referred to it as "Hollanders workingtoole" or "phallus hollandicus" in his Theatrum botanicum of 1640. Linnaeus described it in his 1753 Species Plantarum, and it still bears its original binomial name. Its specific epithet, impudicus, is derived from the Latin for "shameless" or "immodest".

Which naturally enough leads us on to Chilcot. All I’ve read are reports and comments, but an overall inference is pretty clear. We seem to have learned little that we didn’t know already, particularly the problem we have with egos and amateurism in our political elite, the problem of politicus impudicus perhaps.

We don’t attract enough pragmatic, hard-nosed people who see their job as identifying and protecting British interests. In part that is down to voters voting for political brands and woolly sentiment instead of the most worthy individual.

Unfortunately the problem loops back to Brexit and whether or not our home-grown political class is fit for purpose. Chilcot suggests not and Chilcot is very far from being the only clue we have.


Demetrius said...

We are looking at a generation of politicians born say, mostly between the mid 60's and around 1980. When you look at the period in which they reached maturity and where they were and what they were doing around then, it might explain a lot of it. One factor is that by then you begin to have people in those age ranges who never had much in the way of responsibility or making their own decisions about many matters when still young.

Sam Vega said...

Good point, Demetrius. That is also the first generation who were never told that they had got something wrong. All must win prizes.

Anonymous said...

The stinkhorn stinks in order to attract flies that will be exploited, the Chilcot does the same job. Carefully designed by carefully selected people to present a disgusting thing that will quickly fade. Very predictably Blair is in the frame but he is fireproof. There are other players but curiously we hear little about them. All very well managed.

So no, the only lessons that will be learned is how to do the same sort of thing next time, but better. One small blessing, we will not be able to afford another adventure like Iraq.

wiggiatlarge said...

We, well the Government is very good at setting up inquiries, in fact I would say we lead the world in this field if only one could export the expertise.

Yet at the end having spent millions and taken seemingly decades they all quite simply just rubber stamp what we already knew and what good comes from them virtually nothing,apart from long term lucrative employment for lawyers and the opportunity for a government leader of the time to espouse "lessons have been learnt", until the next one of course, Libya anyone ?

James Higham said...

Most apt indeed.

A K Haart said...

Demetrius and Sam - I think that's right. Even Grandson's sports day was carefully designed to weed out potential winners and drag them down to the average.

Roger - yes and the vast size of the report ensure that very few will actually read it.

Wiggia - compiling it was probably a pleasant enough occupation for those with the right temperament.

James - thanks.