There are quite a lot of lists of failed climate predictions floating around the web. But this one is possibly the best.
Another condescending feminist wants to learn us that our view of Georgian womanhood is all wrong:
Sexual favours, swearing and drinking – why everything we think about 19th century women is wrong
The imminent adaptation of Emma, starring Anya Taylor-Joy, which happily promises to be more searingly comic than most, nevertheless presents the cast of usual suspects: pretty, well-heeled young ladies destined for romantic entanglement; meek female subservients; faintly ludicrous old spinsters. It’s the model of Georgian womanhood we’ve come to feel comfortable with.
It’s an embarrassing piece. Apparently we all think that all nineteenth-century woman, all of them, are like the genteel upper-class women in elegant Jane Austen-style novels. But wait ‘ til you hear the amazing news that this genius has discovered — not everyone in the nineteenth century lives like they’re in an Austen novel! Apparently there were rude and badly-behaved lower class people in the nineteenth century! Hard to believe, I know, but she has compelling evidence. And she says that there were women convicts too, and get this — they didn’t always have their little finger uplifted when they drank tea. In fact, some of them behaved damnably:
The year is 1821 and the John Bull, a female convict ship, is sailing its disputatious cargo from Cork to Port Jackson – now better known as Sydney Harbour.
Charged with maintaining their welfare, the surgeon-superintendent Dr William Elyward has spent weeks recording the challenges he has faced in his remarkable journal – which I recently uncovered in the course of my research. It is a warts and all insight into the women on board: some fight with the sailors on deck; others offer sexual favours in return for tobacco; some hide in chests to skip Church in favour of drinking; many spew forth streams of “obscene language”.
Scoff ye not, it’s all real. None of us knew anything about this, did we? We all thought bad behaviour had been invented in the jazz age. We all thought that every woman in the nineteenth century lived respectable lives in country mansions. But we now we have to adjust our simple little minds, for finally we have some real history.
Next thing you know we’ll be discovering that not everyone in the medieval period was a knight on a holy quest.
Half an hour later taxis arrive, drinks are hastily finished, and they head off to a Chinese restaurant called Taste of Dragon. This isn’t a place they’ve ever been to before, but the Beagle had said he wanted Chinese when he’d been asked a few days ago. Everyone was hoping that Beresford wouldn’t come, because his argument with the Beagle has become tedious (so much so that Douglas and Garret had declined the offer to come taste some dragon), but Ren is glad Beresford is coming because it means that they aren’t all obliged to feign interest to the Beagle about his talk, and he can talk to the others about the TITE and whatever else they feel like talking about.
Ren notices that Compton avoids sitting near Derek at the restaurant. Although the two have quite a lot of in common, and can sometimes engage in witty conversation together in a public setting, privately they hate each other, and each greatly disapproves of the other’s political beliefs and moral character. Also, Derek has a tendency after a few drinks to start going on about his pet interest, French political rebels, and they’ve all heard what he to say on this topic eight-hundred and seventy-three times, except for the new boy Ren, who has only heard it five times. It’s this Francophile tendency that has earned Derek his long-established nickname, ‘The Frog’, although the recent students assume it’s because of his looks, which are becoming more amphibian as he ages. Previous generations of students, in the days when Derek was not so jowly and squat, assumed it was because of the shaggy old green fisherman’s jumper he would always wear. Other students swear that it’s because he’s always wanting student princesses to kiss him, although if he’s still doing that now, in his fifties, it’s doubtful he’s having much luck.
Beresford and Hedley have simmered down for now, and are talking to George Bagnall, who has managed to get in between them, but Ren notices with suspicion that Derek is making extra sure that they both get plenty to drink.
Compton and Ren are sitting next to Walter Clutterbuck, a trim, neat little departmental veteran, and a former Head of Department. They are talking about their current Head of Department, a late middle-aged man of Hungarian-descent called Professor Grant Kapshar, who came into the department a few years ago. Kapshar, it is rumoured, has been instructed by senior management to improve the department, shaking it up if need be. Walter and Compton are speculating that this suits the desperation he has to feel important, something which he isn’t getting adequately from his publishing, which is mostly quantity over quality.
Kapshar is chiefly distinguished by three things: his platinum-blonde hair, his proficiency at getting funding, and his inability to feel human emotion. Or at least to display it. Hence his nickname, Robot, bestowed on him by Compton. (He had other nicknames before, like Warhol and Dracu, but now it’s mainly Robot. This nickname has not yet been drawn to his attention.)
‘How to explain Robot?’ says Compton. ‘What is the point of Robot? Answer: He is a machine for getting grants.’ Compton is enjoying being able to trot out some of his best lines again for Ren’s sake. ‘That is his purpose. That is what he excels at. What’s more, he is the most efficient grant-getting machine in the world, because he manages to extract great wads of grant money with the most meagre material ever submitted to a grant panel. Somehow the thinnest gruel, with hamster-powered intellectual content, that varies only slightly from what he has submitted the previous five times, convinces the people who are supposed to know who to shower with moolah to shower it over him. He’s like a fifties B-movie hypnotist, holding up a telephone book and they throw money at him, stuffing it into his shirt and his socks.’
‘At least each grant gets credited as another departmental success,’ says Walter. ‘We’re not complaining too much.’
‘Maximum monetary output for minimal intellectual input,’ says Compton, who hadn’t finished.
‘So how does he do it?’ asked Ren.
‘For one thing, he knows how to write grants,’ says Walter. ‘I’ve had to look over quite a few of his before they’re sent off, and he writes in precisely the way you have to with a grant application.’
‘That’s because he’s on so many grant panels himself, making decisions on who to give grants to,’ says Compton. ‘He’s learned how to do it. That’s his real area of specialisation.’
‘Yes, all the main grant players are on these panels,’ says Walter. ‘They’re the ones who know how to write them, because they know what grant panels are looking for. He’ll tell you himself – if you want to learn how to write grants, get yourself on a panel. Good advice.’
Their conversation stops as some food is placed on the table, and Derek pours more wine for everyone around him, making especially sure to fill Beresford and Hedley’s glasses. George keeps trying to change the subject, but Beresford especially is itching to get the conversation back to the topic of time. It appears now that they have genuine areas of disagreement.
‘It’s a big job, putting in a grant bid,’ says Compton. ‘There aren’t as many grant bids put in as you’d think.’
‘The sheer amount of numb-numbing work involved in submitting even one puts most people off,’ says Walter. ‘And most people haven’t a clue how to do an effective one.’
‘Yes, why put so much work into something you think you have little chance of getting anyway?’ says Compton. ‘And for most philosophers there isn’t really any need to have a grant anyway. For now, at least.’
‘Another problem,’ says Walter, ‘is that many of those that are submitted have something not quite right somewhere in them. Ticked the wrong box, submitted the wrong figures, written outside the box. Grant is good at getting it all right. Ticking all the right boxes, literally and metaphorically’.
‘It’s the perfect job for someone who is at heart a bureaucrat,’ says Compton. ‘If his grandparents hadn’t left Hungary he would have made an ideal Communist functionary. When the robots have put the rest of us out of work he’ll still be there.’
‘The robots will be programmed to copy him?’ says Ren.
‘To a tee.’
‘The other thing,’ Walter says, ‘is that he has no qualms about writing the sort of inflated puffery you have to write about your research to be in with a chance of getting a grant, because he believes it. You have to big your research up. Make it sound grander than it really is. Most of us old-fashioned British academics are much more modest about our work, at least in public, and we’re not used to talking about our work as though we’re writing about someone else.’
So that Soweto Kinch jazzer who claimed on Newsnight recently that he had been the victim of racism on the train to the ITV studio has given his account of what happened on Facebook. His story, although rather confusing, sounds real, but it all seems like the usual terrible service that you get on trains, which I experience quite often when I travel on one, espeically at big stations. And I’m not black.
His assumption that all this was racism sounds like … his assumption. He’s a guy who sees racism everywhere, he’s from the snowflake generation, so it’s no wonder that every little thing that doesn’t go right for him gets put down to racism. Despite the fact that he got into Oxford to do history, he got a recording contract, has loads of tours organised for him, he’s an acclaimed musician, he gets to go on Newsnight for some self-promotion, despite all that he’s discriminated against, yet apparently I’m the one with white privilege, despite being broke, with no publisher wanting to go near my book, so everything is a struggle. (When I used to gig the band and I had to carry massive great loads of heavy gear ourselves, often up staircases, and we were all white.) So there’s just as much evidence that I suffer from racism against whites as that he suffers from racism against blacks.
Nevertheless, he should complain to the train company’s management. Racism or not, he was badly treated. This is often par for the course on British trains, and it needs to change. The staff can be unhelpful and surly, and treat you like a criminal, and as he says, he paid £170 for the first-class ticket (enough to get you a plane to Europe), yet he was hardly given first-class treatment. (Though possibly there is another side to this story.)
(There’s also some mobile phone footage at the bottom of the post – I found the video only worked on Internet Explorer on my computer – but it proves nothing, except that Soweto Kinch likes to name-drop.)
Here’s what happened…
I ran to make the 4.30 train, and made it to the platform with only seconds to spare. I pegged it with two saxophones, a heavy suitcase and a rucksack past four carriages to the first available first class carriage. I had a 1st class ticket.
With barely a minute before departure, a train ‘manager’ intercepted me said, ‘I can’t guarantee you a seat’
I looked and saw at least 4 empty seats and thought that sounded strange. Obviously tired from running, and having put down my saxophones, I wondered why he was being so pedantic. I asked for help with my bag… which he promptly declined. He said I had to get off, and board the adjacent train. As soon as I boarded the next carriage I saw it was a fully crowded standard carriage, and I’d have to now stand.
Annoyed at being made to stand, when I could have sat for at least 10 minutes (between New St and Birmingham International) I shouted for his name, and he didn’t give it.
It’s of course hard to ‘prove’ racism. without footage. But his attitude was curt, to say the least. He told me ‘calm down’ at the same time as hurry up and ‘get off the train’ …
At no point did he say ‘there’s a first class carriage at the end of the train’ or even more helpfully, ‘Do I need a hand?’ Or you can leave your suitcase here and come back for it.’ ..I digress
Nobody ever says ‘I’m not letting you put your bags down and sit for 10 minutes because your a black geezer and I resent your negrosity.’ It’s an unspoken animus that you can see your fellow white passengers aren’t being subjected to
I get off the train after 10 minutes and still haven’t been told there’s a first class carriage at the front. The same member of staff is now physically blocking me from getting on the train in 1st class. At this point I start recording.
You can see in the clip. There are clearly free seats… I’m audibly fuming that I might be missing the important ITV interview later, because he won’t let me on the train. Then he says…
‘There’s a first class carriage at the front of the train’
Believe me his tone was a lot more polite once I started filming!
So now I had to run to board the train, as the whistles blowing… with the 4 bags, in standard class. Leave my bags behind, walk to 1st class at the other end of the Train… which was actually FULLY BOOKED!! The were more empty seats in the other 1st class carriage than the one I had left 🤦🏾♂️
To cut a long and frankly boring story short, I spent 20 minutes, either standing or moving between seats. Before eventually sitting down in first class with all my bags in tow. For the princely sum of £170, I don’t think it qualifies as a 1st class service.
I will be making a formal complaint to Avanti. There was actually no need for the train manager to be as rude to me as he was. One practical reason I haven’t followed up with the authorities… was… rushing to get to the TV studio, for PESTON and then rushing to the airport for an early flight. It literally happened hours before the interview.
Here’s where it gets more interesting…
I spoke to train staff afterwards. The two Asian staff said, ‘that guy’s can be a bit funny’ the white woman said ‘In 18 years of working with him, I’ve never known him to be racist’. They all AGREED he didn’t have to handle a seating arrangement so aggressively. Maybe there’s a pithy proverbial lesson here.
Of course, they say ‘he was probably just stressed’ and ‘You’re just reading race into it’, among other #racistproverbs
I would ask, can I get onto train without being harangued?
Look guys.. it’s not my job to prove to white people whether they’re racist or not. At no point in our ugly interaction did the train manager say ‘black’ neither did I say ‘racism.’
I’ve had this with Pizza, National Express, Easy Jet…This sort of thing happens more or less every day. Micro aggressions have been becoming macro aggressions for a while now.
Update: Fawning article on Kinch’s Newsnight appearance here.
Where would the human race be without Slate? Here’s their latest advice column:
Dear How to Do It,
I (a man) live in a large house along with six brothers, all adults and close to each other in age, two of whom I am having sex with. I am naturally much closer to them than the other four. “Yarin” and “Ferdinand” are both fully aware that I have sex with both of them. With the exception of occasional flares of jealousy on Ferdinand’s part (based in insecurity; we’re working on it), it seems to suit all of us very well. The house we share the rent for is large enough that I’m sure the other four brothers don’t know about the sex.
The useless advice columnist is unable to offer any advice at all, and can only ask these Ultimate Slate Questions:
I don’t know why six adult brothers would be living in a house together, why their parents weren’t more concerned with overpopulation and what it might mean for a looming water shortage
A tale of horrendous suffering in the Mirror:
A furious mum-of-two says her and her son were left shivering for 24 hours after being left with no heating or hot water.
Nicola Dickens, from Aplsey in Nottingham, is unimpressed with the amount of time it took an engineer to show up after her boiler broke down on a freezing cold night.
The 50-year-old, who has multiple health problems that affect her mobility and her day-to-day life, contacted Nottingham City Homes (NCH) on Monday morning after she woke to find the boiler had broken down overnight.
Our boiler started having problems over the Christmas/New Year period, which of course is the single worst time of the year to have boiler issues. Getting a repairman in was extremely difficult. I had to ring around multiple firms before I could find someone who could fix it before February, and he couldn’t come for a few weeks. Meanwhile we had to sometimes turn the boiler off at night because of the problems.
So why does this woman merit a story in a national newspaper because the council took 24 hours to send in a repairman? Their heater got fixed the very next day. Try getting that level of service in the private sphere without paying an absolute fortune. I looked up some emergency repair firms who would come in straight away, and you’re talking at least £500 just for a few hours work, plus hundreds more if the problem isn’t straightforward. I bet this woman has more money in the bank than I do (because that isn’t hard).
she had to wait at home and rely on a portable heater and boil hot water in the kitchen to use in the bathroom
I was doing that for weeks. Do I get my picture in the papers now?
Let’s have a look at the compo face she and her son are pulling:
Very good. But wait … what’s that her son is wearing? Is he wearing … shorts? Why, yes he is. He’s frozen to the bone, apparently, yet he’s walking around the place in shorts. My God, he’s like Scott of the Antarctic. He’s the Shackleton of Apsley.
(You’ve got to wonder whether the Mirror have run this nothing story deliberately because of that photo, thinking they can get some humorous attention from the internet.)
Update: If you read the comments you’ll see that even the Mirror’s readers aren’t impressed.)
That’s Laurence Fox, all right. Always lecturing us about race. The hectoring old cow. Unlike the non-judgemental Guardian, which definitely does not have decades of endless lecturing about race on its CV.
What hope do we have when even senior, supposedly sober Telegraph columnists engage in such ludicrous reasoning on climate change as this:
If it’s a choice between Trump and Greta, I’m with the teenage zealot …
Where have our winters gone? I miss them .. It is hard to recall an old-fashioned winter where it would snow at least two or three times between December and April.
You mean you’ve already forgotten those bitingly cold winters we’ve been having in the last decade?
I am reluctant to attribute what might prove to be temporary weather glitches to long-term climate change, but there is clearly something going on that cannot be ignored.
Reluctant? You’ve just done that.
We don’t have to buy into the apocalyptic angst of Greta Thunberg, on show again in Davos yesterday, to recognise that something has to be done.
He actually said ‘Something Has To Be Done’. How about we do a snow dance, Philip? That’s ‘something’.
Whether or not you are a sceptic about the impact of CO2 on the climate or question man’s involvement in producing the greenhouse gas, our energy future is a non-carbon one, like it or not.
Our energy future involves a lot of talk about non-carbon energy sources, while relying on ‘carbon’ for a long time to come.
Virtually every government has committed to this as an overt aspect of public policy and those that haven’t, like China or the US, have a rapidly growing green energy sector poised to exploit the move to a carbon‑free future.
You mean the China that’s building coal-fired power plants at a rate of knots? That China?
Perhaps Mr Trump would be persuadable if he were to recognise there is a hard‑headed economic imperative here. He should listen to someone like Marco Alvera, an oil and gas CEO who understands what is going on and has ideas to address it.
At a conference in Venice at the weekend, he said we should commit to the one clean energy source that is plentiful, easy to transport and getting cheaper to produce.
Ah, another ‘journalist-went-to-a-talk’ story. This is where all this is coming from.
Mr Alvera likes to adapt the argument known as Pascal’s wager to our climate change conundrum. The 17th‑century French philosopher and mathematician asked what we should do if we had to bet our lives on the existence of God. Pascal posited that the rational response was to behave as though he did exist because we have nothing much to lose if it turns out that he doesn’t, but risk eternal damnation if he does.
Climate change is the same. If Greta is right then the consequences of doing nothing are calamitous. But if she is wrong, changing to a cleaner energy future is a good thing in itself and can even generate growth and prosperity.
Seriously? Pascal’s Wager, which has been long ridiculed by most scientists and philosophers and thinkers, is now the basis for the largest and riskiest economic and political transformation in human history?
Pascal’s Wager justifies any proposed change in response to any possible threat. It’s possible that all the ducks in the world are really super-intelligent and they’re about to launch a takeover, so we need to kill them all. It’s possible that nylon stockings are eventually going to cause a nuclear explosion. Make your own ones up. The consequences of doing nothing, should these claims turns out to be true, are calamitous. In fact, they’re far more calamitous than most of the possible climate change scenarios.
Proper risk analysis, on the other hand, tells us to look at probabilities of the possible bad outcomes, not just how bad some possible bad outcome would be, were it true. The catastrophic climate change scenarios all have tiny probabilities. Even the IPCC admits that.
(James Delingpole tackled the Pascal’s Wager argument a decade ago in Watermelons in a clear fashion, see pp. 126-8.)
Then we have to look at the costs of the proposed action. The real costs, that is, not just vague claims like ‘Oh, moving everything to solar energy would be, like, you know, cool, my friend went to this talk once and she said that apparently solar works just as well as coal’. The costs – the real costs – are what needs be weighed against alternative courses of action.
The costs of abandoning fossil fuels are not zero. Not even remotely. Changing to renewables will be massively expensive, destroy jobs, and hinder prosperity, because they cannot provide anywhere near the energy we need. ‘Generate growth and prosperity’ is nonsense, and Johnston should be ashamed of himself for falling for this.
Besides, nothing we do will make much difference to CO2 levels. We can all start taking holidays on sailing boats instead of planes and the difference it will make will round up, for all practical purposes, to zero.
In the past, hydrogen has been too expensive relative to fossil fuels but that will change as new taxes are loaded onto coal and gas to meet CO2 targets and the cost of renewable energy continues to fall.
If we’re loading new taxes onto coal and gas then most of us will be poorer. On the one hand people like Johnston say ‘It’s like Pascal’s wager, it doesn’t cost anything to change to renewables, so we should do it anyway’, but the reality is cripplingly high energy bills for most people. Which people like him wave away with exactly this sort of comment:
No one pretends the transition will be straightforward
If I had a penny for every time I heard an environmentalist use the euphemism “No one pretends the transition will be straightforward”. It’s doublespeak for ‘Many of you will be crying with fear every time you get an energy bill, but that’s worth it because we have to be doing something’.
but if there’s widespread adoption of the technology and the necessary infrastructure, it will become increasingly affordable.
Translation: ‘Possibly your grandchildren, or maybe your great grandchildren, will see a day when energy poverty doesn’t rule their lives. Although don’t bet on it. But at least the temperature of the Earth will have only gone up 0.0012 rather than 0.0013 degrees’.
You do not have to be a teenage zealot to see sense in that.
You don’t have to be a teenage zealot to think this makes sense, but being an old fool seems to help.
Catching up with some news items I’ve meaning to bring you.
Accusation that five members of Joe Biden’s family have benefited through him:
one particular politician — Joe Biden — emerges as the king of the sweetheart deal, with no less than five family members benefiting from his largesse, favorable access and powerful position for commercial gain. In Biden’s case, these deals include foreign partners and, in some cases, even US taxpayer dollars.
The Biden family’s apparent self-enrichment involves five family members: Joe’s son Hunter, son-in-law Howard, brothers James and Frank, and sister Valerie.
When this subject came up in 2019, Biden declared, “I never talked with my son or my brother or anyone else — even distant family — about their business interests. Period.”
As we will see, this is far from the case …
NBCUniversal marketing chief wins massive damages after a #MeToo-inspired sacking:
The studio’s former marketing chief, who was ousted in March 2018 amid a misconduct investigation, has won an arbitration award in the ballpark of $20 million.
Former Universal Pictures marketing chief Josh Goldstine has won a multimillion-dollar legal judgment against the studio in a case that an arbitrator appears to have deemed a devastating misfire of the #MeToo era.
Another massive solar energy scam:
An executive of a San Francisco Bay Area solar energy company pleaded guilty Tuesday to participating in what federal prosecutors said was a massive Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors of $1 billion.
Ryan Guidry, 43, of Pleasant Hill entered pleas involving the scam and money laundering. He could face up to 15 years in federal prison.
Which new civil servant has Boris Johnson brought in to head up the new Brexit talks? Why, it’s none other than the same guy he used before:
Which brings us to the question of exactly who are the men we have to rely on for this – who is doing the negotiating for us? Who (hopefully) will be squaring up to the EU bullies on our behalf? The same team as before is the worrying answer. And that surely is a matter of grave concern.
That David Frost, the civil servant in charge of the last round of negotiations, who secured so little, is still heading up the UK negotiating team, is disturbing, just when the UK needs to execute a Copernican revolution in its orientation to these talks; and when, since the Conservatives’ decisive electoral victory, we should be in a prime position to do so.
Frost is a former advisor to the Open Europe think tank, known for their squishiness on the EU. Some more on this here at Politico.
Finally, the idiots who run Pink News these days thought that Laurence Fox was being serious when he was engaged in a humorous argument with satirical Twitter account Jarvis Dupont (an account that pretty much everyone on right-wing Twitter knows is satirical, including Laurence Fox).
From Gavin Longmuir in the comments:
From a civil engineering perspective, as one of the profs at Grayvington U might say, restoration of a crumbling old tower is akin to walking on eggshells — preserve the exterior façade while rebuilding and strengthening the interior. A single mistake, the tower falls down, and the civil engineer has to spend the rest of his career building mud huts in Zambia.
If the engineering contractor has to disrupt an exquisitely planned schedule to do whatever has to be done to make it possible to ring the bells safely, and then has to undo all of that temporary work and get back to the original plan — then 500K does not sound like an improbable number.
500k can easily be raised, though. Just don’t expect Parliament and the civil service to take the money.
My view is that if Big Ben won’t ring, then hire some massive speakers to play a bell sound, and let the whole of London hear it.
Update: More on the Big Ben restoration project here. Surprise quote:
MPs were told the new budget is looking set to hit £80million, nearly three times the original £29million budget when Parliament signed it off in 2016.
A government project that is almost three times the original budget? But that never happens, right?
Oxfam are even more stupid and mendacious than the last time they released this sort of report:
Oxfam report finds 22 richest men in the world have more wealth than 325 million women in Africa
It seems to have temporarily escaped Oxfam’s notice that the West is rich and Africa is poor. Which is surprising, because that’s what they’re normally shouting at us about. My 11-year-old son probably has more money than these women in his piggy bank. As the Centre for Global Development says:
The calculation works not because 62 people own the vast majority of everything (they don’t), but because 3.5 billion people own barely anything. Both groups own less than 1% of the world’s wealth.
That’s right. The 22 richest men in the world don’t own vast amounts of the world. In fact, they own less than 1% of the world’s wealth. (Even the the 2153 billionaires in the world apparently own only 2.5%.)
But wait, there’s even more gob-smacking dumbness:
Danny Sriskandarajah, Oxfam GB chief executive, said the findings of the report show that the “economy is just plain sexist”.
Do I really need to comment on this? People donate money to get this level of analysis?
Janet Daley no longer understands the world:
Americans are schooled (literally) to regard their democratic institutions and the document that created them – the Constitution – as sacramental …
Something very drastic must have happened to the American psyche over the past generation to have created this paradoxical interpretation of patriotism which can accept contempt for the fundamental national values that once united the population.
So she’s says that people who voted for Trump don’t seem to mind that important, quasi-sacred national institutions, which you’d expect them to value very highly, are being undermined by Trump and the right. But her analysis falls rather short:
Much analysis of the Trump phenomenon … attribute his popularity to the crisis of the “left behind”. The economic stagnation of the Rust Belt and the collapse of working class employment has produced an endemic sense of hopelessness that most Americans have never known or ever expected to know … As everybody seems to agree, this is the secret of Trump: his “make America great again” pitch is a specifically economic one.
This is only some of the story. The bigger story is the leftist capture of these important institutions. They’ve been taken over and weaponised by the left. (Janet Daley used to notice that sort of thing before her 60’s left-wing roots showed and she became a never-Trumper.) That’s why there’s not a lot of respect for these things any more. The left destroyed that respect, not Trump.
People voted for him, despite the fact that he’s not the most polite man, precisely because he was the only candidate (well, maybe Ted Cruz was as well) who seemed to care about restoring these institutions, at least the ones that really matter (so: not the UN). He’s the one appointing a load of new judges to the courts. He’s the one trying to restore the borders. Yes, the borders, those ones that the Democrats opened up. Didn’t Janet notice that?
In other, the left is a serious threat to the country, and the Western world, and Trump seems game for a fight with them. It’s not that hard to understand, and many voters do understand it, but not, it seems, columnists who are living in the past, who don’t really understand the threat facing us.
The MPs’ £500,000 estimate of allowing Big Ben to bong on Brexit night is more than 30 times more than the bill for sounding Parliament’s Great Bell on New Year’s Eve, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.
The news risks undermining the House of Commons’s Commission decision not to allow Big Ben to chime at 11pm on Jan 31 on grounds of cost.
It will put further pressure on Parliament to allow the bongs to sound. By lunchtime today £220,000 had been raised by members of the public to cover the cost of the Brexit night bongs.
It would be tempting to think that the whole Big-Ben-chiming-for-Brexit-Day is of no importance. And that’s how I initially viewed it. But I’ve changed my mind. These things matter. Obviously it’s not that important in the grander scheme of things, but you need to bear in mind that the battle for Brexit is not over. The battle to get our country back has barely begun. The clerisy are always in battle-mode, and they will be treating every little thing as an opportunity to establish that they are in charge, not the rest of us.
Stopping the bongs for the most ridiculous of reasons is a classic case of an assertion of power. It’s basically saying, ‘Don’t think you’ve won. That was just a minor battle. We still control all the territory worth having. That party you think is going to change everything is still our bitch.’
That’s why it’s worth forcing the issue. It’s not like the end of the world if it doesn’t happen, but hearing those bells ring out will send a message back to the Leftwaffe, saying ‘Think again. The bells are your funeral toll’.
Update: But of course not everyone on the repressive left is a force to be reckoned with – take these wet lettuces for example:
I hope anyone who’s going to the pub tonight takes sensible precautions, and brings a straw:
According to Nutt, the optimal dose is 5gm a day, which is about a third of a glass of wine or half a pint of light beer.
Pubs do not serve 40ml measures of wine, he said, but he had a solution. “Order a pint or glass of wine and three straws and share it with two friends,” he said.
Yes, that’s right. Three of you need to share a pint of beer (or wine) using straws, and that’s all the alcohol you’re allowed that evening.
This is from a scientist who had previously been appointed by the government to official committees. No wonder the public doesn’t trust ‘experts’.
Update: Of course the straw has to be a metal one, otherwise you’ll be arrested (thanks to Nikolai in the comments for reminding me of the perils of using straws).
Ren decides that this is a suitable time to talk about the TITE because none of the Department’s Continentalists are here (they are, of course, staying away because today’s talk has been an analytic talk). He’s wondering how best to bring up the topic up, when Compton says, ‘So you were going to tell me what happened yesterday at the titty.’
‘Yes, I’m afraid it’s all become very titty-politti,’ Ren says, sounding a bit too pleased with his prepared line. He starts to fill Compton in on what happened in the TITE yesterday. Some of the other philosophers present – Walter Clutterbuck, Tristram York, Martha Gelber, George Bagnall, Bill Porterfield, and Derek – keep half an ear on what he is saying, as much as they can with Hedley and Beresford bashing away at their other ear. They’re mostly sympathetic to what Ren is saying about the TITE. Derek is as hard left as they come, but he has no truck with Continentalism. The rest are analytic soft leftists, and regard Continentalism, in their understated way, as ‘unfortunate’. But it’s hard for Ren to be heard as the visiting speaker and his antagonist are continuing their pointless and loud argument at the other end of the group. Ren can see Douglas, who is stuck next to them, looking over at Ren’s end of the group wondering whether he could politely move away, now that Beresford and Hedley are fully preoccupied with demonstrating how ignorant the other is.
‘Oh dear,’ says Martha to Ren. ‘I was afraid something like that might happen with that course, but I didn’t think it would get as bad as that.’
‘It’s that Balderstone chap,’ says Bill. ‘No wonder it’s like that with him in charge.’
‘It’s not just him, though,’ says Compton. ‘This is what the people behind it wanted. The whole of SADE are like that.’
SADE, which stands for the Staff and Development Unit, is the department that runs the TITE and other staff development courses.
‘This is the beginning of there being no escape from the left,’ continues Compton. ‘You will be forced to be a leftist if you want to be an academic. Eventually it will become law that you have to be a leftist, not just in academia, but in the wider world.’
‘You always exaggerate these things,’ says Derek. ‘And I’d rather you didn’t call them leftists. The real problem with the SADE lot is that they’re foisting mumbo-jumbo on intelligent people who have previously been trained to think well. What we need is to make academic people teach what they know better, not to cloud their minds up with poison gas.’
‘From what I’ve heard none of the SADE people know anything about teaching academics to be better teachers, it’s not just Balderstone,’ says Ren. ‘They’re terrible teachers themselves.’
‘Yes they are,’ says Martha. ‘I went on one of their short courses a few years ago, it was a disgrace.’
‘Not a surprise,’ says Walter. ‘You know they’re all just rejects from other departments?’
‘Are they? What do you mean?’ says Ren.
‘I mean that most of them have not been hired in as teaching specialists. Most of them don’t have a background in education at all. They’re people who their original departments wanted to get rid of, because they were no good at research or teaching, or both, but as it’s hard to sack an academic, they got shunted off instead to SADE.’
‘Great, so we’re being taught by third-raters who couldn’t hack it as proper academics themselves,’ says Ren. ‘So where does Balderstone come from?’
‘He’s one they did bring in from outside. But I don’t know what his background is,’ says Walter. ‘Do you?’
‘He conveniently doesn’t have a staff webpage,’ says Ren, ‘so I don’t know what he has. But he appears to have never seen anything so outlandish as an educational research finding, so I doubt he would come from Education.’
‘Well, you say that,’ says Compton, ‘but a lot of Education departments have been colonised by the left, and their training is now worthless.’
‘You mean colonised by the Continentalists,’ corrects Derek.
‘Education departments were colonised by the left a long time ago,’ says Compton. ‘That opened the opportunity for them to be further colonised by Continentalists, which has now happened. And now they’re got their foot through the door into the rest of the University system.’
‘Well, I’m going to ask Grant, as Head of Department, to write a letter of complaint on behalf of the department,’ says Ren. ‘My other issue with the course is the inordinate amount of time it takes up. The whole thing needs to be completely overhauled, or dumped.’
‘They won’t dump the general idea of having training courses for new lecturers, that’s here to stay,’ said Compton. ‘So the line has to be that it should be taken over by empiricists. It should be shorn of the politics, and it should be reduced in the time it takes up.’
‘You know we’re only doing one afternoon of video work?’ says Ren.
‘One afternoon a week?’ says Walter.
‘No, one afternoon in total,’ says Ren.
‘You mean where they video you giving a mock lecture?’ said Bill.
‘Yes, apparently four of you get to do it in a group, which means you get about half an hour spent on you for filming and analysis. This course goes for two whole years, and we get half an hour of video work. Half. An. Hour. Out of two years. That sort of thing should be the basis for the whole course. Regular filming of yourself and analysis of how you’re doing, are you speaking too fast, too slowly, are you being too boring, how comprehensible are you for the level you’re teaching at, are you getting better at this as you go along, and so on. That’s the sort of thing that’s needed. A proper nuts and bolts servicing of your teaching over a couple of years. Not half an hour of it, and then five hundred hours of postmodernist propaganda, which you must parrot back, or pack your bags. You know, I might just not go any more.’
‘But don’t you have to pass the course, otherwise you don’t pass probation?’ says Walter.
‘Yes, but probation is three years long. My contract doesn’t say that I have to start it in my first year. I could re-enrol next year, when it might have improved.’
‘Or got worse,’ says Compton.
‘Well, I’m going to get Grant to do something. I’m also getting some of the other people on the course to get their Heads to do something too.’
‘Another drink for anyone?’ says Walter.
‘Another pint of Mildewmelter, please,’ says Ren.
‘Or whatever it’s called. Mildewmouse? Something like that.’
‘Would our guest…’ begins Walter, before raising his voice, ‘Would our guest like something as well?’
‘Yes thank you,’ says Beresford, looking up from the argument. ‘Another red please.’
Walter looks embarrassed. ‘I, er, meant our guest speaker, but of course I will get you a red, Beresford. Hedley, would you like a drink?’
‘I’ll have red too, please.’
‘Medium or large?’
‘Oh, large I should think. Thank you.’
‘Large for me too, thanks,’ says Beresford, who isn’t going to let Hedley outdrink him.