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Monday, 18 November 2019

Courage



Test launch at Greenock - source

I recently stumbled across a reminder of how Hawker Hurricanes were used on a few merchant ships during WWII. My father alluded to it once or twice.

CAM ships were World War II-era British merchant ships used in convoys as an emergency stop-gap until sufficient escort carriers became available. CAM ship is an acronym for catapult aircraft merchant ship.

They were equipped with a rocket-propelled catapult launching a single Hawker Hurricane, dubbed a "Hurricat" or "Catafighter" to destroy or drive away an attacking bomber. Normally the Hurricane fighter would be lost when the pilot then bailed out or ditched in the ocean near the convoy. CAM ships continued to carry their normal cargoes after conversion...

In total, there were nine combat launches. Nine German aircraft were destroyed (four Condors, four Heinkels and a Junkers 88), one damaged and three chased away. Eight Hurricanes were ditched and only one pilot lost.

Somewhere in the Atlantic a Hurricane pilot climbs up the supporting superstructure and into the cockpit of his disposable hurricane. He is to be fired into the air by a rocket in order to attack an enemy bomber, knowing he will have to ditch the plane or parachute into the sea afterwards and hope for the best. Maybe we should pause for a moment and wonder what we have lost.

Sunday, 17 November 2019

Harry and his declining popularity




The other day found Mrs H and I meandering around an antiques centre where they seem to think it a good idea to pipe radio programmes over the speaker system. Rather like walking round the Co-op with antiques instead of baked beans. 

I wouldn’t usually listen to radio folk pretending to be horribly enthusiastic about trivia, but a two-way discussion about Prince Harry caught my ear. Both interviewer and interviewee were agreed that Harry’s popularity has declined since his marriage and both were happy enough to claim that media intrusion must have something to do with it. 

They seemed to agree that Harry’s behaviour has something to do with it too but preferred to dance round that aspect of the problem rather than drag it out into the open. They didn't really want to suggest what this issue might be even though it must have been obvious to many listeners.

It's difficult for them. They could hardly point out that some people might see Harry as a woke wuss – at least not on air. They couldn’t even tone it down a little and suggest that Harry is showing himself to be a politically correct plonker under the thumb of a ghastly wife. 

That would have raised a storm of indignation from more than one direction. Yet if they had at least explored the perfectly legitimate plonker angle, maybe more people would actually listen to the radio.

Saturday, 16 November 2019

Woodentops



Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson, on the left, plants a small tree

The Conservative Party has said it will plant 30 million trees a year by 2025 if it wins the general election - as the Liberal Democrats pledged to plant twice as many trees in the same period.

The Tories' £640m fund would be used to plant trees and restore peatland.

Labour dismissed the scheme and said the prime minister had an "atrocious environmental record".

The Lib Dems would plant 60 million trees a year across the UK by 2025, leader Jo Swinson said.

What does Jeremy Corbyn have to offer in the tree planting competition? I suggest he doubles the Lib Dem offer and goes for 120 million. Then it is over to the Greens who must think in terms of 240 million a year at least. 

Friday, 15 November 2019

Free for all




A revealing development I’m sure you’ll agree. 

“Diane Abbott tells me it will deliver at least eleventy six megapixies per second," John McDonnell replied when asked about the speed of his new broadband scheme. 

"That should be enough for a decent game of Space Invaders,” he added with a wintry smile.

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

The smart metre



CountryLiving has some eco-tips for those who prefer their Christmas to be cosily sanctimonious. There are thirteen in all, beginning with an invitation to rent your Christmas tree.

1 Rent a Christmas tree

Real Christmas trees are much more sustainable than artificial alternatives. In fact, one study concluded you'd have to use your fake fir for 20 years for it to be greener. That said, seven million real trees will be dumped in January rather than recycled.

This year you could go one further by renting a real tree from a British farm.

Number five is an invitation to pay more for your Christmas nosh.

5 Buy your food from the right place

Use the annual gastronomic extravaganza as an opportunity to show your support for some brilliant ethical small-scale producers. Turkey and any other cuts of meat you plan to serve are a good place to start: you’ll use fewer food miles, less packaging and you can feel confident that you haven’t supported any intensive farming practices

However my favourite is number four.

4 Get a smart metre

Wow at last - a metre not restricted to the boring old non-woke limit of one hundred centimetres? Sadly no. It is merely a plug for smart meters. Oh well - Christmas was always disappointing in one way or another.

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Abandoned Russian homestead






Fascinating video although it could do with more context - or maybe wanting some context is a tribute to the video. 

Just a guy with a video camera but the BBC couldn't do it. The BBC would add context but lose everything else by telling rather than showing. It would tell us about the poignancy instead of allowing us to feel it in our own way - or not feel it at all. The Beeb would probably add some music too - music it just doesn't need.

Monday, 11 November 2019

When a picture paints few words



Luminaries from the world of nice pictures have decided that oil giant BP needs a little more money while people in Scotland need a little less art.

The Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh has said it will no longer show the BP Portrait Award exhibition.

"We recognise the need to do all we can to address the climate emergency," National Galleries Scotland said.

The prize is run by London's National Portrait Gallery and has been sponsored by the oil giant for 30 years.


Maybe the whole thing is a piece of performance art.

Sunday, 10 November 2019

Conway Stewart





The other day found me inspecting the wares of a dealer in antique writing implements. Not that I know anything about such things, but I was reminded of my schooldays and the first fountain pen I ever owned. A Conway Stewart it was with a gold plated nib - a present from my parents.

Of course I dropped it fairly early in its career. Naturally enough the thing obeyed Sod's Law. It hit the classroom floor nib downwards, bent the nib at right angles and even though I managed to straighten it the pen was never the same again.

I replaced it with a cheap pen purchased from the newsagent and as far as I remember never admitted the Conway Stewart accident. Fortunately we were eventually allowed to use ballpoint pens in school. I got on better with those.

Saturday, 9 November 2019

The BBC - still sitting on its hands



The Express treats us to yet another piece on the increasing irrelevance of the BBC. Familiar stuff yet strangely fascinating - rather like watching the EU pootle along hoping for the best.

BBC in crisis: Broadcaster's future at risk over failure to adapt - ‘I won’t pay’
THE BBC may face a further funding blow next year if pensioners refuse to start paying to watch the national broadcaster, placing the future of the broadcaster at risk...

Mark Thompson, a former BBC director-general who is now chief executive at the New York Times, revealed in a speech last month that the average viewer of BBC One alone is now 61.

Tony Hall, the BBC’s director-general since 2013, is not too concerned about the changes.

He said in September: “I believe this is a huge opportunity for people like us.

“In this market, services that are distinctive and different will stand out.”


That last sentence sounds like the kiss of death to me. The BBC already provides a service that is distinctive and different because people can be dragged off to court and even jailed if they don't pay for its compulsory user licence. The trouble is, people notice.

Sit on your hands, apply political pressure whenever possible and hope for the best. It's the bureaucratic way.

Thursday, 7 November 2019

Fried bread



Autumn Colour

Yesterday we headed off on one of our favourite moorland walks, knowing it wouldn’t be too boggy. Before setting off we popped into a popular cafe and treated ourselves to a traditional bacon and egg breakfast with most of the usual goodies – bacon, egg, sausage, tomatoes, mushrooms and of course fried bread. A rare breakfast for us but most enjoyable, especially the fried bread.

I’m not sure why fried bread is so delicious. Really it is only a kind of fatty toast, but delicious it certainly is. I could have eaten more but nobly restricted myself to one slice.

The walk was fine in spite of the cold, low cloud and poor visibility. Very autumnal it was, with lots of colour still left on the trees. It rained continuously as we made our way back off the moor but that didn’t detract at all from the walk. It can be very atmospheric walking in the rain, especially after fried bread.

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

We are routinely outplayed



There are many times when a chess player must admit that he or she has been outplayed. Lose gracefully, learn from the more obvious mistakes and live on to fight another day – that’s the only way to deal with it.

Similarly we the UK electorate have regularly been outplayed by the establishment. Political life and political choices are narrowing and moves which might favour the ordinary voter are not being made. Unfortunately we are unlikely to learn much from being outplayed even though Brexit showed us how crudely the establishment defends itself when taken by surprise. The establishment may not be particularly smart but it has the money, the time, the staff and the unimaginably vast networks of patronage.

It seems to be an unfortunate weakness of democracy that too many voters are too easily persuaded to cast votes which are obviously poor moves in the political game. Too many vote tribally, too many do little or no research into the people they vote for and too many opt for simple answers to deal with situations which are so fluid and so complex that there cannot possibly be simple answers. This much is frequently obvious but still we get the simple answers.

The great mass of voters do not spot and take advantage of collective political opportunities such as Brexit or the emergence of new and more dynamic political parties. Too often the same cross goes in the same box against the name of the same stooge, lunatic or crook.

Ours is no longer the culture which emerged victorious in two world wars. It is not sufficiently self-confident and adaptable to play realpolitik successfully. This is what winding down looks like from the inside. It’s our own fault.

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Tipping point - when it all began to go wrong





The moment in modern civilisation equivalent to the fall of the Roman Empire was the First World War... most particularly almost exactly one hundred and three years ago the Battle of the Somme in 1916 when we threw away the flower of our manhood.

It's a point of view worth preserving because something clearly has gone wrong and something clearly was thrown away round about this time. 

Monday, 4 November 2019

Fabricated ignorance




The Witches' Ride

I’ve been thinking about ignorance recently. What do I know about ignorance? Quite a lot I suppose, but ignorance is a rum notion isn’t it? Throughout human history there has been a type of knowledge which is not knowledge at all because it is wrong, obsolete or simply nonsense.

For example, any modern person may understand the social pressures whereby witches came to be accused of witchcraft. Yet it is not possible to know how witchcraft actually works because it doesn’t. Nobody ever knew in any meaningful sense so it is not possible to be ignorant about the workings of witchcraft.

Obviously we may be ignorant of many things, ignorant of facts, social conventions or quirks of personality, but some forms of knowledge are fabricated. Fabricated knowledge serves a number of purposes, political, social and economic and is often used to establish a form of social superiority via fabricated ignorance.

Suppose we invent an idea –

Mortifying as it may be so some observers, the thematic betrayal or certain obscurantist norms in wider fields of observation than is usual for such arcane matters will in the end have a debilitating thrust is spheres far removed from its intransigent beginnings.

What does this mean? It means nothing.

Conventionally it seems as if anyone could be ignorant as to the meaning of the statement. Yet the statement is meaningless so ignorance about its meaning is ignorance about nothing - in other words fabricated ignorance.

Similarly one may be ignorant about astrology. Not the public face of astrological prediction, but its supposed working principles. Here again, as astrology is nonsense it is not possible to be ignorant about astrological mechanisms because there aren’t any. This would be another example of fabricated ignorance. It wasn’t always the case of course, because astrology was consistent with early cosmology, but now it isn’t consistent.

In general, those who dabble in nonsense defend the nonsense by suggesting that critics do not understand it so the critics are simply ignorant. Similarly those who see little value in attempting to understand it are equally ignorant. It’s a dilemma for the critics – a fabricated dilemma.

As we know, proponents of gender politics are engaged in a battle against biological facts. Anyone who asserts that there are only two genders is supposedly ignorant about the social nature of gender. Again this is an example of fabricated ignorance - gender is not socially assigned.

The catastrophic climate change narrative is much the same. A core aspect of the narrative revolves around fabricated ignorance. One has to be an approved climate scientist or a celebrity to understand why catastrophic climate predictions are valid says the narrative. Anything less is ignorance.

Yet as nobody knows how to make those predictions there is nothing to understand and therefore no ignorance. This gives narrative proponents an inbuilt advantage because it inevitably draws critics into an impossible swamp of drivel as they do not wish to stay on the sidelines and be dismissed as ignorant.

This seems to give us a key point. A vital aspect of the climate narrative has been the manner in which it aims to fabricate ignorance within the general population, including bureaucrats, journalists and politicians. It does not build knowledge so much as fabricate ignorance. That remains the core political aim.

Sunday, 3 November 2019

Grandad, did you vote against the communists?




Admittedly it’s an over the top title, but how does any sensible person cast their vote at the forthcoming general election? The House of Commons has been a disaster zone ever since the Brexit referendum unexpectedly kicked it in the nuts and none of the parties has any credibility left.

The Lib Dems don’t care about the referendum result, the Greens are fascist extremists and Labour has saddled itself with a bunch of idiot communists. Does a Leave voter abstain, vote for the Brexit Party or vote for Boris?

To my mind the only thing to do is vote for the person who seems to be the most capable and pragmatic local candidate. The trouble with that is we have political parties calling the tune and at the moment we have some outstandingly malign and undemocratic parties, particularly Labour.

Hence the title of the post. We need to vote against extremist loons and however unpalatable it may be to admit it, the Tories are not extremist loons. Conservative in name only perhaps, closet socialists perhaps, somewhat loony perhaps, but not as viciously extreme as the alternatives. A vote for Boris may be unpalatable, but to my mind there is no pragmatic alternative.

Saturday, 2 November 2019

In for a flogging?



But he learned some social lessons. The Clara School was a school for the children of the better classes, for the people of the district were well off. The boy wore leather breeches and greased leather boots which smelt of train-oil and blacking. Therefore, those who had velvet jackets did not like sitting near him. He also noticed that the poorly dressed boys got more floggings than the well-dressed ones, and that pretty boys were let off altogether. If he had at that time studied psychology and æsthetics, he would have understood this, but he did not then.

August Strindberg – The Son of a Servant (1886 - 1909)


I have a suspicion that this little episode is a pointer towards the origin of Jeremy Corbyn’s entire political philosophy. Not so much his social background but his sense of inferiority rooted in a well below par school performance. He has always known why the other boys would never copy his homework.

He isn’t well-dressed either, and certainly isn’t pretty, so does that mean he’s in for an election  flogging? I do hope so.

Thursday, 31 October 2019

Race to nowhere




There are some strange creatures in the modern political arena. Elizabeth Warren and her notorious claim to be a member of the Cherokee Nation for example.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren apologized Wednesday for "not having been more sensitive about tribal citizenship" after The Washington Post published a 1986 Texas bar registration card where she listed her race as "American Indian."

It has always been embarrassingly obvious that Warren’s likely aim was to identify herself as non-white in a plausible and advantageous way. Which in turn highlights what we already know – there are political, social and even professional gains for white progressives who adopt a kind of apologetic not-really-white political identity. A more subtle version of the Warren approach we might say. Warren Lite perhaps.

One might achieve this in a number of ways. As one is a cosmopolitan citizen of the world and as all colonial baggage has been ostentatiously rejected, the Warren Lite progressives of this world seem to permit themselves an honorary non-white identity. It follows that those who do not subscribe to the Warren Lite game are racists.

The lifeblood of modern progressive political life seems to be a need to hate, to identify and vilify outsiders. It is primitive but effective because hating the outsider is the outsider’s fault and therefore justified. As it always was of course, but how is something as primitive as group hatred justified on the modern caring, nurturing political stage?

One common progressive justification of hatred is seen when political outsiders are labelled as racists. There are many others such as driving big cars and supporting Donald Trump, but racism is one of the majors. Outsiders are racists which makes them the purveyors of hate goes the narrative. Therefore political attacks on outsiders are not expressions of hatred but justifiable outrage at the outsiders’ supposed racism. In other words, as well as being a genuine social and political canker, racism is also being used as a political scam directed at outsiders who are not actually racist. An unpleasant and dishonest game which has been obvious for some time.

It is a pity that we have yet to learn how to deal with deliberately divisive political creeds in a coherent manner. A pity that we fail to admit that fostering an abiding hatred of social or political outsiders is much the same as fostering racism. In the moral belly of the thing it is indeed much the same. Within progressive politics, the bourgeoisie seem to be viewed as another race and that seems to be okay with them.

We should not be surprised - not so long ago the aristocracy saw themselves as a different breed when compared to the great mass of working people. The notion of breeding was taken seriously and not only by the aristocracy. Further down the social scale many people saw themselves as inherently inferior to the aristocracy and especially inferior to royalty.

Simple observation suggests that there is an important sense in which progressives see themselves as a different breed to the bourgeoisie. In the moral belly of the thing, this is the primitive undercurrent still flowing beneath the hatred of Donald Trump and his millions of supporters. A racist undercurrent one might almost suggest - a Warren Lite offshoot of those older ideas about breeding.

From a progressive perspective Trump is obviously viewed as an outsider. Not one of us, spawned from a different breed, from a morally inferior breed. Don’t believe it? Look at how he has been vilified – how he is still vilified by supposedly civilised and intelligent people. Trump understands all this of course, and uses it.

One cannot take this too far though. Identifying and hating the outsider is a powerful political urge and hiding the urge from any kind of moral analysis is just as powerful. We all do it to some degree – that’s a core problem. We rarely admit it though – that’s the second problem. Not admitting it is politically advantageous – that’s the third and biggest problem.

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Cop out



Chile has pulled out of hosting two major international summits, including a UN climate change conference, as anti-government protests continue.

President Sebastián Piñera said the decision had caused him "pain" but his government needed "to prioritise re-establishing public order".

The COP25 climate summit was scheduled for 2 to 13 December, while the Apec trade forum was next month.

The UN said it was now looking at alternative venues.

World leaders were to gather at this year's Conference of the Parties (COP) to discuss the implementation of the Paris Accord - a landmark international climate agreement, first signed at COP21 in December 2015.

This is the first time a country has pulled out of hosting the conference at such short notice.

We live in strange, strange times. BBC staff seem to believe that these climate jamborees add genuine value to the human condition. As if loons, bureaucrats and dodgy scientists can get together and build political schemes to alter the weather. It's beyond weird. 

Monday, 28 October 2019

Holidays and the need to know




Holidays are rum games aren’t they? Here we are enjoying a short break in Norfolk, getting out and about, doing a spot of bird watching, drinking lots of coffee followed by long lazy evening reading or surfing the web.

Because we are on holiday I’ve tended to switch off, ignoring the endless screeching nonsense that mainstream news has become. Of course life goes on with or without the constant clamour and absolutely nobody is surprised that it does so. Ignore the nonsense and life goes on because that’s what life does.

Many activities bring this out. For me a walk in the Derbyshire hills or a long evening read, but holidays seem to drive the message home particularly well. Mainstream news is mostly a mix of wild exaggeration, nonsense and celebrity drivel we don’t need to know. Ignoring it could easily become a habit.

Sunday, 27 October 2019

Destroyed by bureaucracy




A core feature in the Brexit mess has been the visible power and extent of huge unaccountable bureaucracies. Deep State some have called it. Put crudely one could say that there are two broad types of bureaucracy.

Type 1 has some direct public exposure which tends to constrain its behaviour. The exposure delivers a level of accountability. An example is the NHS - a mediocre service but efforts to evade accountability are at least visible.

Type 2 has little direct public exposure which inevitably leads to a lack of accountability. Major examples are the EU and the UN. Interestingly, one might say that NHS management is a type 2 bureaucracy within a type 1.

The two are not completely separate of course and it is all a matter of degree. Even so we have a vast and growing problem with type 2 bureaucracies because our mainstream media and political class are not a substitute for public exposure.

My working life was almost entirely spent within official bureaucracies of one type or another. The bigger they are and the closer they are to type 2, the less interested they are in the public they supposedly serve. They are still intent on avoiding scandal but the internal needs of the bureaucracy come first. Life beyond the bureaucracy – that comes a distant second.

As the bureaucratic gaze turns inwards, the need to avoid scandal becomes a need to project a fashionably respectable ethos to the outside world. Creaking, wasteful, ineffective and even harmful bureaucratic processes are overlaid with the gloss of professional PR. The PR in turn creates even greater public isolation.

It is not that bureaucrats are bad people, but motives matter, outside pressures matter, success and failure matter. In other words feedback matters and feedback merely bounces off the PR. It is a serious problem which seems to be getting worse. For those who listen - Brexit and Trump have been telling us this for some time.

Sooner or later we may be destroyed by our own bureaucracies.

Saturday, 26 October 2019

Hols



Part of Norfolk

Here we are on holiday in Norfolk again. I had wondered whether to pack shorts and T-shirts in view of Greta Doomberg's famous prognostications. By now Norfolk should be well on the way to becoming a subtropical paradise but after a short period of reflection running into milliseconds I decided on plenty of wet weather gear.

Oddly enough this has proved to be the right decision. Presumably the climate isn't infallible and doesn't always get it right. How dare it.

Thursday, 24 October 2019

Unchained library




It is surprising how much organisational knowledge there is near the bottom of any large hierarchy. For example, folk on the Tesco checkout seem to know quite a bit about what the company is getting right and what it is getting wrong. Additionally, people near the bottom or middle of an organisation may be well aware of who is useless and who is not.

To put this into a much wider context, Grandson has just acquired his first laptop computer as a birthday present. He is already on his second mobile phone. It isn’t easy to tell because he still lacks much of the background knowledge to put things into context, but it’s a fascinating development.

A lad of twelve has a powerful way to access information all over the world. Vastly more powerful than anything available to any adult throughout human history until only a few decades ago. Compare Grandson’s laptop to the chained library at Hereford for example. A striking reminder of how things have changed and are changing still.




Looping back to the first point - in a wider sense, politically relevant knowledge below the elites has become incomprehensibly vast in only a few decades. If we don’t know something in the public domain we are usually on the track of it within a few clicks.

We may not have access to the internal deliberations of the elites but there are far more of us with far wider access to the public domain. We are creating the public domain too. In the end that may be what counts.

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Do I Really Live In An RV?





Fascinating - I've often wondered why we tie ourselves down to bricks and mortar. It appears to have been necessity in this case, but a place to live sucks colossal amounts of money out of people. It's one of many disappointments about the environmental game. We still seem to be stuck with mostly traditional brick houses and very little genuine innovation.

Not that I want to live in a camper van...

Monday, 21 October 2019

But I thought it would be fair



Stories spun from a recent TV documentary about the Harry and Meghan show leave one with a curious sense of how old-fashioned it all is.

Meghan: Friends told me not to marry Harry because of tabloid press

The duchess says she never thought being part of the Royal Family would be "easy but I thought it would be fair".

Repeated bleating about media intrusion in order to generate more media intrusion. Too familiar to be interesting - a pre-digital game only older royal enthusiasts are ever likely to play unless something really juicy turns up like a divorce. Even then - who cares?

Prince Harry, answering a question about rumours of a rift between himself and the Duke of Cambridge, said he and his brother are "on different paths" and have "good days" and "bad days".

No doubt they are on different paths, but Harry and Meghan's path probably wasn't chosen by Harry. They seem to be on the woke celebrity high profile path but that's is merely the path many celebrities follow. Does anyone really care if Harry and Meghan do the same? Presumably Meghan thinks so but Harry should have known better. 

That he doesn't know any better is mildly interesting but his lack of judgement isn't supposed to be the real story. Unfortunately it is.

Sunday, 20 October 2019

Greta Attenberg speaks out



'Tragic, desperate mess'

"At last nations are coming together and recognising we all live on the same planet," Sir David acknowledges. "All these seven worlds are actually one and we are dependent on it for every mouthful of food we eat and every breath of air we take.

"We have it in our hands and we've made a tragic, desperate mess of it so far."

Meanwhile we treated ourselves to a walk in the hills around Bakewell after first stopping off for a coffee. The coffee shops were as busy as one would expect on such a pleasant Sunday. I took a couple of photos of the "tragic, desperate mess." Maybe Sir David should get out more.

Bakewell

Path through the woods




Saturday, 19 October 2019

Maybe things are looking up




Over the past few years there have been a number of positive developments. Amid all the Brexit clamour we should not lose sight of them.

Firstly, Brexit has exposed the House of Commons as a club for shysters and loons where democracy is not a primary concern. We always knew it, but having the message shouted from the rooftops on a daily basis should hammer the message home and the message may last. It may even penetrate the heads of significant numbers of tribal voters. Certainly the House has some work to do if it wishes to be taken more seriously and that must be positive.

Next we have the very public exposure of Speaker John Bercow’s biases and inadequacies. We also have the Brexit mess to thank for this and it is long overdue. Let us hope that should he choose to hang on after October the momentum to oust him remains. His ousting may not happen but the negative exposure is positive.

In addition we have Jeremy Corbyn’s obvious inadequacies exposed by the Brexit mess. He clearly has almost no idea what is going on, no idea what to do about it and obviously struggles to remember even the simplest briefing. This again is positive.

Moving away from Brexit, the antics of Greta Thunberg and Extinction Rebellion have done much to expose the infantile nature of the catastrophic climate narrative. It will not easily recover a degree of gravitas after Greta’s obviously ill-informed teenage hectoring. Numerous images of transparently deluded Extinction Rebellion folk ostentatiously obstructing real life have also highlighted the vast intellectual gulf between climate activism and real life.

Finally, it is worth noting that none of this exposure was planned by the establishment. Powerful vested interests may be powerful but surely they have no wish to look so foolish.

Thursday, 17 October 2019

Light at the end of the Brexit tunnel?





Photo taken during our walk today. The track goes under an old railway tunnel and appears to be completely covered in thick, wall-to-wall mud. Actually it is mostly cow shit and at the end of the tunnel there was lots more of it. 

I don't know why I thought of Brexit as we carefully navigated our way through. I'm sure a reason will come to me.

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Hitler - a poor fish



In 1941 the Rockhampton Morning Bulletin published a piece by the popular writer Sir Hugh Walpole who had known Adolf Hitler before the war. It is a reminder about the elusive nature of  political evil and how it may build a following and force its way into power from the most unpromising beginnings.

SIR HUGH WALPOLE KNEW HITLER
SEEMED "POOR FISH" CERTAIN TO BE KILLED


Did I ever know Adolf Hitler? Oddly enough, I think that I did better than I know some of my real friends, writes Sir Hugh Walpole, in "John O'London's Weekly." It was in the early twenties during two successive summers at Bayreuth. I stayed there for more than two months, summer after summer with Lauritz Melchior, who was at that time singing the leading tenor roles in the Wagner operas.

I was also a friend of Winnie Wagner, wife of Siegfried Wagner's only son. Many strange stories there about that odd adventurer, but the only thing that matters here is that Adolf Hitler, fresh from his Munich prison, passed some time at Bayreuth.

He was, and is, a great friend of Frau Wagner, and he had, and he has, a passion for Wagner's music. I sat in a box with him on the occasion when Melchior made his debut in "Parsifal." I have never since heard him sing as he did that day. The tears poured down Hitler's cheeks.


During the second of these summers I was with Hitler on many occasions, talked, walked and ate with him. I think he rather liked me. I liked him and despised him, both emotions which time has proved I was wrong to indulge. I liked him because he seemed to me a poor fish quite certain to be shortly killed.

He was shabby, unkempt, very feminine, very excitable. He resembled, I though then, mediums I had seen at Conan Doyle's flat. There was something pathetic about him, I felt. I felt rather maternal to him! He spoke a great deal about his admiration of England and the need of her alliance with Germany.

I thought him fearfully ill-educated and quite tenth-rate. When Winnie Wagner said he would be the saviour of the world I just laughed. I was wrong about one thing-his evil. I didn't detect it then. I thought him silly, brave and shabby-rather like a necromantic stump orator. I didn't realise at all his one supreme gift-the gift that has brought him and his country where they are today-his gift for knowing instinctively the "spot" in any man's character to attack-the weak spot, the spot that is ungenerous, greedy, mean, traitorous, lecherous, and, above all, cowardly.

Oh, yes, he is a remarkable man all right! He is among the evil, slinking, betraying Bagmen of history. Why didn't I put poison into his coffee in Wahnfried?


I was wrong about one thing-his evil. I didn't detect it then says Walpole, but at that time was it there to be detected? The potential for enormous evil was clearly there, but presumably Winnie Wagner didn't see it either.

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Getting Angry At The People Who Keep You Alive





We know Extinction Rebellion is undiluted hypocrisy but to my mind this is an excellent way of putting it - the modern world keeps them alive. 

Monday, 14 October 2019

When the censor says No!




In any other cause, I doubt not, you would have cautiously weighed the consequences of committing your name to the licentious discourses and malignant opinions of the world. But here, I presume you thought it would be a breach of friendship to lose one moment in consulting your understanding.
Junius – Letter III to Sir William Draper 1769

This delightfully satirical quote has lurked at the back of my mind for years. The analogy behind it is obvious enough – we consult our understanding in a manner analogous to consulting a friend, or an authority. Conversely we may fail to consult our understanding in a rush to judgement.

It is a powerful analogy which fits well with Daniel Kahneman’s analogy of fast and slow thinking. Understanding is the slow part while to lose one moment in consulting your understanding is analogous to a censor standing guard on our understanding. The censor is fast – much too fast for the slowly grinding wheels of understanding.

In the Junius quote, friendship is akin to censorship by allegiance. Friendship and allegiance are too visceral, their censorship too fast for certain modes of understanding to be consulted. Which leaves us with the key point – we may have the potential to understand something but we cannot consult our understanding if the censor flicks off the light.

It’s a spooky idea because it seems to work. Too often we see people defend the indefensible in a manner which seems to suggest a rigorously censored understanding. The root cause of the censorship may be obvious to others but that doesn’t help the afflicted – their censor just says No!

For example this one is too embarrassing to embed in the blog post -


Saturday, 12 October 2019

People who never let go




Years ago I worked with a chap who had a fixed idea that certain aspects of the entire organisation of over 10,000 people should be radically adjusted to suit his personal preferences. He would go on about this for years even though his idea was hopelessly absurd. Yet he just couldn’t let it go.

This is something the internet rams home - how some people cannot let go of an issue and move on. Sometimes it is a case of fighting a battle and refusing to give in, but sometimes it is merely the inability to let go, to adjust. Some years ago I was reading a technical blog post which had attracted hundreds of comments and over 140 of those comments were made by a single person banging on about a single issue. I counted them – must be the nerd in me.

Brexit has highlighted this strange issue to an extraordinary degree. There are educated people out there who cannot adjust to the referendum vote. They cannot make the best of the situation because that would require them to accept it. They just can’t do it and prefer to go on and on and on about it for years even if that makes the situation far worse than it need be. Weird people. Boring too.

Friday, 11 October 2019

Rain, rain, rain





What a day. Here in Derbyshire it feels as if it has been raining forever. Maybe it is Gaia's way of telling the crusties they should shower au naturel - a shower in the rain for the ultimate in sustainable cleanliness.

I hope not.

Thursday, 10 October 2019

The World of the Wordsmith



This piece from 1998 is worth revisiting - an essay by Robert Nozick reminding us about the problem of self-regarding professional wordsmiths. A few quotes may give the overall flavour, but the whole thing is well worth reading.

Why Do Intellectuals Oppose Capitalism?

It is surprising that intellectuals oppose capitalism so. Other groups of comparable socio-economic status do not show the same degree of opposition in the same proportions. Statistically, then, intellectuals are an anomaly...

By intellectuals, I do not mean all people of intelligence or of a certain level of education, but those who, in their vocation, deal with ideas as expressed in words, shaping the word flow others receive. These wordsmiths include poets, novelists, literary critics, newspaper and magazine journalists, and many professors. It does not include those who primarily produce and transmit quantitatively or mathematically formulated information (the numbersmiths) or those working in visual media, painters, sculptors, cameramen. Unlike the wordsmiths, people in these occupations do not disproportionately oppose capitalism. The wordsmiths are concentrated in certain occupational sites: academia, the media, government bureaucracy...

The opposition of wordsmith intellectuals to capitalism is a fact of social significance. They shape our ideas and images of society; they state the policy alternatives bureaucracies consider. From treatises to slogans, they give us the sentences to express ourselves. Their opposition matters, especially in a society that depends increasingly upon the explicit formulation and dissemination of information...


Intellectuals now expect to be the most highly valued people in a society, those with the most prestige and power, those with the greatest rewards. Intellectuals feel entitled to this. But, by and large, a capitalist society does not honor its intellectuals. Ludwig von Mises explains the special resentment of intellectuals, in contrast to workers, by saying they mix socially with successful capitalists and so have them as a salient comparison group and are humiliated by their lesser status.

Nozick's essay is interesting not only for what it says, but twenty one years later we may discern a growing sense of outrage at the most blatant wordsmith bias within academia, the media and government bureaucracy. The entire EU project is a wordsmith project, as is the climate narrative. Even supposedly technical/economic projects such as HS2 are wordsmith projects. Our energy policies are degenerating into wordsmith fantasies.

Huge numbers of people who use the internet as a news and information resource will be fully aware of all this and in any event the curse of the wordsmith is hardly new. Yet it seems to be where much of the current political turmoil originates.

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

The real crustie problem – radical dullness




Boris Johnson has dared to cast some mild scorn on the Extinction Rebellion loons.

Extinction Rebellion protesters on the streets of London have been labelled "uncooperative crusties" by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The demonstrators - who are demanding action on climate change - should abandon their "hemp-smelling bivouacs" and stop blocking roads, the PM added.

Police have already arrested more than 300 people at the start of two weeks of protests by environmental campaigners.

Some activists glued themselves to government buildings early on Tuesday.

Speaking at a book launch, Mr Johnson said: "I am afraid that the security people didn't want me to come along tonight because they said the road was full of uncooperative crusties and protesters of all kinds littering the road.

"They said there was some risk that I would be egged."


Gosh - a risk of egging. How original. Yes the crusties are a nuisance but the real problem is how dull and unoriginal they are. Waving placards, chanting slogans, disrupting daily life, gluing themselves to this and that. It’s all been done before, the totalitarian politics, the anarchic evasion of responsibility, the designer scruffiness, the inability to build anything worthwhile – all of  has been done before.

Why the blue blazes can’t they come up with something original? It’s all so dull, dull, dull. As if they watch the BBC news, read the Guardian, believe what Greta Doomberg says, think polar bears are going the way of the dodo, think totalitarian political nostrums might actually work because nobody ever tried them before. Strewth – they even seem to think they are radicals.

It’s been done before, over and over again. It’s tedious, uninteresting, useless, unproductive, dimwitted, intellectually dead, hopelessly naive but worst of all it’s dull.

Monday, 7 October 2019

Not enough experts say experts




The Institute of Experts recently published a damning report highlighting the scandalous lack of experts in both government and industry -

The Institute of Experts has access to expertise in anything from Mayan woodworking tools to the precise molecular composition of nettle jam. Yet so often news media are willing to invite the views of celebrities or prominent pundits where the authority of established experts in the field is sorely needed.

The report goes on to describe what it calls the trifecta of expert government. Three crucial ways in which government may avert a looming crisis – an impending catastrophe where there are not enough experts to tell people what they should have done ages ago.

The three key proposals are –

  1. Revise expert salary scales to compete in the global expert market.
  2. Fund university expert degree courses to train the experts of the future.
  3. Create a cabinet-level Minister for Experts.
  4. Create an Expert Startup Fund to encourage world class expert innovation.

If implemented in full, these key proposals will kick-start a whole raft of innovative work within the expert community, stimulate employment, bring more young people into the field and facilitate an ongoing national debate about the need for trained experts in all aspects of the economy.

Sunday, 6 October 2019

Back to the fifties




One positive outcome of the Greta Doomberg climate circus is how it has highlighted the long term strategies of global elites. The climate narrative may be obvious nonsense but Ms Doomberg has reminded us that those behind it don’t care. Emotional drivel is good enough for the masses – as it always was. Ms Doomberg has broadcast that message good and strong, although the poor lass seems to think she is telling us something about the climate.

The underlying strategy is clear enough because the clues were there long before Ms Doomberg was pushed onto the stage. Malthusian panic behind the scenes about sums it up.

The masses are out of control. Something must be done or... or... or... Or there will be nothing left for the Important Ones.

That really does seem to be it. Apply Occam’s Razor - the Important Ones are worried about too much consumption by the global masses, especially those who aren't poor. They really do think that we’ll use up all the fossil fuels and there will be nothing left for People Who Matter, not to mention their offspring.

As a result we are creeping fairly rapidly towards restrictions on private cars, air travel, household energy use, general consumption and even food. The overall trend seems to be aimed at reducing general living standards to those which prevailed in the 1950s apart from the free speech and the lovely warm coal fires. This standard could probably be sustained indefinitely.

At which point we’ll have two levels of sustainability - ours and theirs.

Saturday, 5 October 2019

Indicators of a degenerating society





A powerful look at bureaucratic degeneration. We are bound to wonder if anyone actually knows what can and cannot be done within the rules and the regulations. Life becomes a matter of what you can get away with. 

Friday, 4 October 2019

Counting sheep






YouTube - An ancient survival of language used to count sheep in the Lake District and surrounding areas. There is a mix of languages including Old Welsh, Old English and probably Old Norse. For example Pimp is equivalent to the modern day Welsh for five.

So definitely not a traditional way to count MPs.

Thursday, 3 October 2019

A particularly careless thing to do




The eternity of truth is inherent in it: all truths—not a few grand ones—are equally eternal. I am sorry that the word eternal should necessarily have an unction which prejudices dry minds against it, and leads fools to use it without understanding. This unction is not rhetorical, because the nature of truth is really sublime, and its name ought to mark its sublimity. Truth is one of the realities covered in the eclectic religion of our fathers by the idea of God.

George Santayana - Scepticism and Animal Faith (1923)

Even during my lifetime, our concept of truth seems to have changed. It has become less conspicuous as an ideal underpinning developed societies. Yet within living memory, truth could still be described as one of the realities covered in the eclectic religion of our fathers by the idea of God. Today it isn’t so easy to treat truth as an imperishable ideal. There is also a sense in which the social status of truth has declined.

In Santayana's day, Christian culture could be said to embrace a view of ultimate reality where any human viewpoint rarely or never attains the ideal of eternal truth. Only God understands eternal truth. That gave us a secure ideal for truth – something we may approach forever but never attain.

It follows that any human view of reality may be improved on the endless journey towards the ideal of eternal truth. This in turn gives us an ideal of honesty in the sense that we may honestly strive towards the ideal of eternal truth while accepting that any point on that journey may be improved, however fond of older truths we may be.

Of course all this is subject to the numerous failings and dishonesties of human life. Leaving that aside and acknowledging the ineradicable nature of human dishonesty, eternal truth as an ideal has enormous advantages. It takes it away from the human arena - something a secular culture cannot reliably achieve. This may be familiar secular problem, but it has become far more serious over the past century and even worse in recent decades.

If truth is not an eternal ideal known only to God, then the foundations of truth and the search for better truths become shaky and more easily manipulated. As the social status of Christianity declines so does the social status of truth. Not something secular society anticipated.

This is not to claim that the foundations of truth were solid under the care of Christian culture – they were not. Yet the ideal of eternal truth was secure in its association with the deity and now it is not. This has allowed all manner of genies to emerge from all manner of bottles.

The baby we are throwing out with the Christian bathwater is not only the ideal of eternal truth but the corresponding significance of honesty. It is always honest to pursue a better understanding of eternal truth, however imperfect that understanding may be. Yet without eternal truth as an ideal we have no corresponding ideal against which honesty may be judged.

Unfortunately there is more, because the ideal of eternal truth in a Christian society also has a moral element – the search for truth is the search for God’s truth. Perhaps not something we should emphasise too strongly but the moral aspect is not insignificant. Truth is associated with the deity and the search for it is a moral search. This does allow us to suggest that as Christianity has declined so has this moral aspect of truth. That makes three babies thrown out with one lot of bathwater - a particularly careless thing to have done.

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

A cheap and easy egomania




He gives a shilling to a starving man, not that the man may be fed but that he himself may be a shilling-giver. He cultivates sympathy with the destitute for the sake of being sympathetic. The whole of his virtue and his creed of conduct runs to a cheap and easy egomania in which his blind passion for himself causes him to use external people and things as mere reactions upon his own personality. The immoral little toad swells itself to the bursting point in its desire to be a moral ox.

Stephen Leacock - Essays and Literary Studies (1916)

To my mind this quote encapsulates the modern political scene – a cheap and easy egomania all done with the money of other people. If Brexit hasn’t hammered home this message then we are lost.

Let's see - who is the immoral little toad ?

Sunday, 29 September 2019

Seems harsh



Recently heard over our local garden centre's speaker system.

Kevin to compost - Kevin to compost.

Poor Kevin. I wonder what he'd done?

Saturday, 28 September 2019

The timid world of the BBC



It would be comforting to discover that the public arena is becoming less weird and more rational. Sadly it isn't so. A recent example has been this silly issue at the BBC.

Naga Munchetty: BBC not impartial on racism, senior bosses say

On Wednesday, presenter Munchetty was found by the BBC's Editorial Complaints Unit (ECU) to have breached the corporation's guidelines by criticising US President Donald Trump's motives after he said four female politicians should "go back" to "places from which they came".


Part of the BBC response was -

The email from the BBC's Executive Committee - which includes director general Lord Hall and director of news and current affairs Fran Unsworth - tells all staff: "You will have heard a lot of comment over the past few days about the BBC and the reporting of racism.

"The BBC is not impartial on racism. Racism is not an opinion and it is not a matter for debate. Racism is racism."

Suppose we amend that last sentence to something less controversial.

Theft is not an opinion and it is not a matter for debate. Theft is theft.

No that won't do. It may be less controversial but is still too rigid. In many situations theft is certainly a matter for debate. Going back to the original issue, Trump's comment may be seen as nationalist or merely patriotic rather than racist. It doesn't matter, the point is that political labels are almost always debatable. 

Calling Trump's comment racist isn't a fact but an opinion and obviously a matter for debate, but of course that's the point. The BBC chooses not to debate certain debatable issues. Yet again we are confronted by its creepy lack of social and political courage. It really is a useless outfit.  

Thursday, 26 September 2019

Harry sticks to the script



The Duke of Sussex says there is "a race against time" to halt global warming, adding that he is "troubled" by climate change deniers.

"I don't believe that there's anybody in this world that can deny science," he said.

He called it "an emergency", adding "the world's children are striking" after teenage activist Greta Thunberg led a worldwide protest on Friday.

Prince Harry is visiting Botswana as part of a tour of southern Africa.

He says it was the place he went to "to get away from it all" after his mother's death.

The duke had visited the country soon after Diana, Princess of Wales, died in August 1997 and had made "some of my closest friends" there.

"Now I feel deeply connected to this place and to Africa," he said during a visit to the Chobe Tree Reserve.

Strange how politically correct it is to display a soft spot for Africa, the spiritual home of kleptocracy.

Wednesday, 25 September 2019

Sticking to the script




As we know, political life has much in common with acting, but how close is it to a purely thespian career? Prime ministers, ministers, MPs- are they merely actors? Very close to it presumably, because if one assumes they are merely actors then many things become clear. A common enough point of view perhaps, but in our current political turmoil these things are worth repeating. The turmoil isn’t accidental.

Let us devise an imaginary political actor named Creep. Let us assume that Creep doesn’t make much effort to understand his own words when it comes to political discourse. He learns the script but goes no further. Creep has found that there is political safety in the script if he allows for a limited amount of ad-libbing. This is what he does if his script does not fit a particular political scenario – he ad-libs to build bridges back to the script.

We see this all the time in politics where standard scripts seem to have taken over political discourse. The reason is simple enough - standard scripts are the best and easiest way for Creep to navigate through the minefields of political discourse.

Sticking to the script works because it is easy and it is easy because scriptwriters design their scripts to be easily delivered. They know their actors so their scripts require little in the way of mental agility. There is no compelling need for a political actor such as Creep to absorb all the detail behind his scripts.

Maybe this sounds cynical, but for political actors there are advantages to not researching the background to their scripts in too much detail. It keeps the ad-libbing within narrow bounds. Arguments rarely strike home because no great effort is required to deflect them. Creep’s scripts may not fit a particular political argument but he can usually be relied on to ad-lib and deflect awkward arguments back to the script. Creep has no real choice anyway. Creep is an actor.

For Creep, political discourse is easy, no matter how powerful opposing arguments may be. His scripts and acting ability keep things under control. Here we have the dual purpose of the political script - it works well and it makes life easy for political actors. The downside for voters is that many political actors are merely that – actors. Voters cannot vote for or against the scriptwriters.

Tuesday, 24 September 2019

Kristian Niemietz on political correctness





Not a new angle on political correctness but it may be worth noting how strongly Brexit Remainers have tried to present their position as the higher status position. For many Remainers, the social status of Remain seems to be the only significant issue.

Monday, 23 September 2019

The balloon



source

Many years ago while bringing up our young family, a little lad and his sister used to come round to our house to play with our two kids. We never really knew who they were, they just appeared on the doorstep every now and then.

One day they both came round each holding a toy helium-filled balloon on a bit of string. In those days such balloons were more of a novelty than they are now. Anyway, as usual the little lad played various games with our son while his sister tried to be friendly with our daughter.

The two boys were outside when cries of consternation caused us to see what they were up to. Unfortunately the little lad had managed to let go of his balloon and up into the air it went. We were just in time to see it disappear into the heavens never to be seen again.

However the little lad didn’t go in for tears and lamentations. He simply nipped into the house, snatched his sister’s balloon, popped back outside and let his sister's balloon go too. An impeccably egalitarian move I thought.

Sunday, 22 September 2019

BBC Brexit bias



To my mind the most remarkable revelation of the week was to be found in the Daily Mail. John Humphrys' take on the BBC attitude to the Brexit referendum.

But recalling the morning after the 2016 referendum, he says: ‘Leave had won – and this was not what the BBC had expected. Nor what it wanted.

‘No nods and smiles when the big bosses appeared. No attempt to pretend that this was anything other than a disaster.

‘Their expressions were as grim as the look on the face of a football supporter when his team’s star player misses the penalty that would have won them the cup. Bosses, almost to a man and woman, could simply not grasp how anyone could have put a cross in the Leave box on the referendum ballot paper.

‘I’m not sure the BBC as a whole ever quite had a real grasp of what was going on in Europe, or of what people in this country thought about it.’


Yes this is easily explained as well-known BBC bias, but surely there is another question which isn't so easily answered. Why would professional broadcasters fail to take some pride in understanding both sides of the Brexit debate? If Humphrys' view is sound then BBC staff up to and including senior levels failed to understand the basics of the debate - such as crucial questions of democracy and accountability.

Yet it isn't difficult to understand both sides of the debate. I voted Leave and I'm hoping that Leave means Leave but I understand why people voted Remain. From what I see, I think most Leave supporters understand why people might vote Remain. Similarly I would have expected professional broadcasters to have no great difficulty in putting their own views to one side in order to understand and maybe even predict the mood of the electorate. Apparently they weren't up to it.

It suggests the BBC is an astoundingly unprofessional outfit which in turn suggests there are two BBCs. One section delivers the technical side of BBC output plus the slick, professional presentation. That side of the BBC is pretty good.

The other section seems to be a narrow, somewhat amateurish and bureaucratic management structure which does not even understand its own audience. Dump this bit and maybe the BBC could revive itself - but only within a fully commercial environment.

Saturday, 21 September 2019

Susan Crockford on polar bears





A good, concise summary of why we may ignore polar bear scare stories. 

Incidentally, why are polar bears so fascinating? Their ability to thrive in such severe conditions? I'm not sure but they are fascinating.

Thursday, 19 September 2019

Between known and unknown





Where sheep pasture meets high moorland.

The photo was taken not far from the Barrel Inn during one of our favourite Eyam walks. It always reminds me of the way our view of the natural world has changed over the centuries. 

That sharp division of the land would have been even sharper for our ancestors - almost a border between known and unknown, between civilised and uncivilised . Most of them, especially town dwellers, would have seen the moorland as a wild, remote and dangerous place. Even with a touch of superstitious awe in some cases. An area to be avoided. 

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Save your praise



It's a strange world where Greta Thunberg can speak to the US Senate climate task force when she is not a US citizen and has no expertise in climate science.

Greta Thunberg has told US politicians that they're not doing enough to combat climate change.

"I know you are trying, but just not hard enough. Sorry," said the climate activist, who's inspired young people across the world to protest against the impact of global warming.

She told the Senate climate task force in Washington DC to "save your praise".

"Don't invite us here to just tell us how inspiring we are without actually doing anything about it," she said.

The 16-year-old was one of several young activists from around the world invited to address the task force during two days of action and speeches.

Save your praise? Consider it saved. We know why such stunts are arranged of course, but is the obvious explanation sound? Lateral thinking might suggest that she is being manipulated to convey an impression that climate change is no longer an adult concern. 

Whatever Greta says about the global climate, her age, lack of experience, and general demeanor add nothing obvious to the supposed gravity of climate change. Almost as if that is the underlying intention. Not her intention, but the intention of people who wish to see the whole sorry business discredited.  

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

One step forward, two steps back



source

...they were the eyes of a madman, but of a madman who can yet calculate upon and arrange his position in the world. He was mad for his own purposes, and could, for these same purposes, bind his madness to its proper bounds.

"My brothers and sisters," he began, "I have come to-night to give you a warning, and this warning is given to you not as the expression of a personal opinion but as the declaration of an assumed fact. Disregard it or not as you please, but I shall have done my duty in pointing out to you the sure and certain meaning of my message."

"I, a sinner like the rest of you, live nevertheless in the fear of hell fire. Hell fire has become, I think, to many of the present generation a mockery and a derision. I come to tell you that it is no mockery, that it as surely lies there, a blazing furnace, in front of us as though we saw it with our own eyes ..."

Hugh Walpole – The Captives (1920)

Monday, 16 September 2019

What does Lib Dem mean?



Rhetorical question of course - but from the BBC

Lib Dems pledge to cancel Brexit if they win general election

The Liberal Democrats have pledged to cancel Brexit if they come to power at the next general election.

Members voted for the new policy at their party conference in Bournemouth by an overwhelming majority.

Previously, the party has backed another referendum or "People's Vote", saying they would campaign to Remain.

After the vote, their leader Jo Swinson, said: "We will do all we can to fight for our place in Europe, and to stop Brexit altogether."

Of course the Lib Dems know they won't win the next general election so as usual they are in a position to promise anything. A liberal democracy for example. Yet anyone with even the most rudimentary observation skills will know that the Liberal Democrats are not liberal and are not too hot on democracy. Maybe one shouldn’t complain because the Labour party isn’t interested in those who labour for a living.

Yet even in political life words ought to mean something.

liberal
adjective
respecting and allowing many different types of beliefs or behaviour


democrat
noun
a person who believes in democracy

Seems clear enough to me. I wonder why they have such difficulties with it?