This country is in a very dangerous situation. As if we need reminding, Michel Barnier told us pointedly this week that every national parliament in the EU – not to mention the Walloon assembly – will have a veto on the UK’s future deal with the European Union.
His message was that this veto will be exercised unless Britain accepts EU governance over everything from tax policy to competition, regulatory standards, and environmental rules, and accepts the sweeping extra-territorial reach of the European Court (ECJ). “Nobody should underestimate the risks,” he said.
If this is true — that no deal with the EU will be possible unless we become a vassal state of the EU, which isn’t going to happen no matter how much the establishment tries — then why are we still bothering with the charade of negotiating? Just walk away now.
The UK’s aim seems to be to drag things out while keeping quiet about what’s involved, so at the last minute they can say that unless we sign this deal we won’t be able to trade with the EU from tomorrow, and our planes won’t be able to land in Europe tomorrow, and so on, and so we’re left with no choice but to sign.
Perhaps David Davis is being clever, thinking that the British public, or at least the establishment, won’t tolerate us walking away at this stage, and expects a deal to be struck, but he thinks that later on the public won’t stand for what the EU wants, and at that stage we can walk away. But that seems like wishful thinking. It seems more likely to me that Davis and his team are now heavily invested in getting a deal signed. That makes it harder to walk away. That’s why we should walked away a long time ago.
This is why it’s more important than ever that the Brexiteers bring down May ASAP, and derail the betrayal of the referendum vote that’s currently taking place. The stitch-up is happening. It must be stopped.
Verily. But what, pray tell, did Meghan Markle study at University? Physics?
Computer Studies then?
Applied Stats, at least?
No. If you must know, it was THIS.
THIS? Is that very scientific?
Well, not really. That’s Theatre and International Studies. My own acronym, I’m very proud of it.
Not much STEM in that, is there?
Not a lot.
Did she at least have to calculate some angles to understand audience sight-lines?
But hey, now that she’s a Royal, she’ll be able to rectify this oversight by enrolling in Biochemistry forthwith at the University of Chippenham.
Well, maybe the reason she didn’t do STEM herself was because she had her own personal dreams, dreams which didn’t involve her spending most of her life around centrifuges and autoclaves.
Maybe that’s true. But then, maybe, just maybe, most young women choose not to do STEM not because of gender stereotyping, but because they have their own personal dreams as well, none of which involve Bio-Rad Digital Droplet PCR Systems.
Tough luck. Meghan has ordered them to do STEM.
But isn’t she a tiny bit dim? Just a tiny bit?
No. She’s clever and feisty.
But even the The Telegraph’s Royal Correspondent seems to think she’s a moron:
Ms Markle, who spent time puzzling over instructions to help the girls with their work, said she was impressed with a programme which allowed them to temporarily edit web pages, saying the ability to change untrue information into “something positive” was “so cool”.
They can change a web page! Fake news will be a thing of the past!
Well, not everyone can use a computer.
I love this bit too:
The couple, who are both feminists according to Ms Markle
Everyone thought Harry was a lad, but he’s turned out to be a drip and a patsy, hasn’t he? Patsy and Sparkles. The Corbyn Royals.
Am on a train listening to strangers, families, couples – all chatting, making friends, swapping stories, laughing. This is how humans normally interact. Then I go on Twitter: lots of strangers spitting anger, abuse, hatred. The internet is fucking us up. As a species.
What is revealed on the internet (or should I say social media — most blogs don’t display this sort of behaviour) is the hidden underbelly of our thoughts and feelings, which are normally covered up in a face-to-face social context by politeness.
This is not, of course, an original observation; in fact it’s the standard complaint about social media. But I did amuse myself recently by noting that the old ‘The Shadow Knows’ strip by Aragones in Mad magazine pretty much predicted, in its own way, social media. Take a look at some of his old Shadow cartoons: the Shadow is basically Twitter and Facebook, isn’t it? The id being let out of its cage. A window onto our heart. The subconscious being left at home alone when Mum and Dad are out for the night. All now posted freely for the world to see, no longer buried away in shame.
One of the bizarre things about taking kids to eat out in the UK is that most places you go to insist on serving kids’ drinks in the tallest, thinnest glasses you can possible imagine. In other words, the glasses that are most likely to be knocked over by kids. The restaurants seem to think that kids find such glasses cool. Which they often do. But no glass looks cool when it’s been upended by the an arm, and is spilling sticky sweet red stuff all over the table and floor, and maybe some broken glass to boot.
A posh restaurant’s idea of a suitable glass to serve to a 5-year-old.
And there seems to be an direct relationship going on here: the posher the place, and thus the more embarrassment that is caused by knocking a glass over, the taller and thinner the glass.
So let me make it clear to any restaurant owners who may have come here by mistake, or any regular reader who is contemplating taking advantage of the demise of so many of Jamie Oliver’s restaurants by opening a few of their own: you serve kids’ drinks in the widest, shortest glasses you can find. Glasses that have a centre of gravity so low that they’re practically velcro’d to the table. Under no circumstances should you even contemplate putting anything made of glass that is taller than a soft drink can anywhere a child. In fact, with kids it’s best to think plastic. I don’t care how posh you are. Think plastic.
And for God’s sake, when there are children around get unneeded wine glasses off the table ASAP. If you leave a dozen wine glasses on the table a minute longer than necessary don’t expect a round dozen to remain when you come back. Expect instead to see broken bits of glass everywhere.
So apparently some businesses are starting to get off Facebook, mainly as a protest over the way Facebook has allegedly been handling data, and because they think there’s too much abuse hurled on Facebook. These reasons don’t greatly impress me, but what I have often thought over the years is: why are any businesses on Facebook? And why do they take it so seriously?
Sure, some businesses benefit by being on Facebook, they get recommendations through it that they may not otherwise get. Or people may just see them, or find them by searching Facebook. But that only applies to certain types of businesses. But a lot of businesses don’t benefit much from being on there. You may say, they aren’t disadvantaged either, so why not? But that doesn’t explain why they all think, or used to think, that being on Facebook is an absolutely essential thing for any modern company to do. But how does Nescafe having a Facebook change make you buy more Nescafe? And how does all the banal crap that corporates spout on their Facebook page make anyone buy from that company more than they otherwise would?
And most companies aren’t very good at Facebook. Even the ones who would definitely benefit from having a Facebook page, if they did it properly. For example, for local pubs and bars can obviously use Facebook to their advantage by advertising what they have on in the coming week: the quiz nights the open mic night, the steak night, the band on Friday or Saturday. But 95% of pubs and bars that have a Facebook page are absolutely hopeless at keeping this sort of thing updated. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen a pub Facebook page that has a lot of this sort of stuff listed, but it’s all months out of date, because after a while whoever was doing it couldn’t be arsed. That always mean I give that place a miss. So that Facebook page actively sabotages that place; they’d be better off not having a Facebook page at all. If you need information about a company, the company website is usually better than the Facebook page.
So my advice to most businesses is to get off Facebook. And if you really need it to keep your customers updated, then update the bloody thing regularly, or else delete it.
I left this comment about the Henry Vincent affair at Tim Newman’s blog, and thought it was worth a post of its own here:
To see whose side the police are on, you need to look at who is in control of them. And that’s the modern progressive sociology- degree-left. And they are not on the side of the common man. They’re on the side of the travellers. Not that they particularly like travellers (travellers aren’t exactly feminists) but if it’s a common man who’s taken the law into his own hands versus travellers, the latter wins. That’s why the floral tributes are being protected.
So the police aren’t doing a bad job at all from this perspective. They’re doing a good job of reminding the general public of where they stand. Remember, since Lenin’s time the left has been keen on sending out messages to the public through the authorities they have taken over.
At the rate they’re going, the British police are going to be awfully surprised when one day in the near future they are called upon to restore law and order and find the population treating them very much as part of the problem.
Or else the British public is going to be awfully surprised one day in the future when they’ve had enough of the police being like this and they finally try to do something about it, and find that it’s too late.
So: there’s the campaign for the Universal Basic Income.
And there’s the campaign for the legalisation of marijuana.
So what if they both succeed? A universal basic income, enough for anyone to live on without having to ever worry about getting a job. And marijuana a-plenty, all of it perfectly legal. Does anyone think this is going to end well?
One of my more off-the-beaten-path comedy loves is a writer mostly forgotten now, but pretty big in his day: Michael Green, and his ‘The Art of Coarse’ series of books: The Art of Coarse Acting, Coarse Drinking, Rugby (still the world’s best-selling rugby book), Sailing, Golf, etc. I was doing a bit of re-reading of some of his books recently, and decided to Google him, and discovered that he had died about six weeks ago, so I thought it would be appropriate if I gave him a bit of a send-off.
Green after selling a million copies.
If you haven’t read any of the series before, they describe these various pursuits from the viewpoint of the ambitious-but-crap amateur, the actor who thinks he’s great but who really prefers to spend Act I getting noticed and Act II in the bar , the rugby player who thinks his talent has been overlooked all these years, but still considers that a win accomplished without expending much energy is better than a win that requires exertion, because the latter requires less skill and brains, and so on.
He also drolly details the other eccentrics in the boat crew or the team or the production who are even bigger duffers than the Green character. It’s a very British type of humour, in the sandwiches-for-lunch-in-a-layby-near-Nuneaton manner, with incompetence, laziness, and cunning all featured players, but team spirit and being a trouper get a guernsey too. The portraits are all drawn kindly, without much spite or malice. Some of it is laugh-out-loud funny, some of it is more gentle. It’s not comedy genius, but it’s consistently amusing and there’s no padding like you get in a lot of actor’s memoirs, it’s well-crafted and edited.
One of the things I really liked about these books is that, as well as being funny and spot-on (or not spot-on but still funny) they really evoked their era: provincial Britain in the late 50’s, and early 60s. Although later books were written in the 70s and 80s, they all seemed to have that same feel about them.
The portrait of Britain painted in these books was a realistic but affectionate one. Britain was a somewhat drab, conventional, poor and cold place at the time (to some degree anyway — let’s not overdo that old cliche), but it was still full of characters, characters who weren’t that way by deliberately dressing-up and posing, as happened later in the 60s, but ordinary people who were just naturally following their own trumpet section. It was full of suburban-but-free spirits who just got on with living life and pursuing their hobbies, who didn’t spend half their time agonising over whether they’d accidentally bought something from South Africa, or whether, to take a more modern example, the way somebody spoke to them constituted a micro-aggression. No-one had to stay at work until midnight because of government-mandated admin, so other pursuits were possible. And it was a more unself-conscious era, when University rugby players could fill a bath with beer bottles and sing bawdy songs without being forced to go to a series of diversity lectures as a punishment.
An interesting, and possibly amusing — depending on what level you score on the Molgrano-Skriansk score of sadism — is that this cover featured my great-Uncle Bingo, quite the wealthy squire at the time, in a stage battle with his next-door neighbour Henkel, in the local production of Chain Mail a-GoGo. They were both engaged at the time in a court battle over boundaries, and both ended up bankrupt as a result, although Uncle Bingo always maintained he won a moral victory because he broke Henkel’s fingers on stage, possibly on the night of this photo, although Henkel maintains that Bingo only managed to do this by sending the boys around. I doubt this explanation myself, if only because my in (admittedly juveline) memory of Bingo’s boys, they struggled to break open a bottle of champagne, despite their right forearms being more developed than their left, which was strange as most of them were keen tennis players.
As a result when I read the books I get a sense of the time and place more strongly than any realist novel from the period. Well, perhaps not more strongly, but equally strongly, and Green’s books are far more fun to read, and I don’t have to put up with the angry politics that most of those novels are full of.
He has other books as well, which I’m intending to get hold of and read, but for anyone who wants to read any of his stuff you can’t go wrong with ‘The Art of Coarse Something’ series. Choose whichever topic you’re most interested in to start with, but they’re all funny even if you’ve never had any previous interest in the activity before.
Pressure has mounted on technology companies to cleanse their platforms of abuse and toxicity following the 2016 U.S. presidential election, as it has become more apparent how much they were leveraged and manipulated for ill.
On the contrary, what has become apparent is how little technology companies were manipulated in the 2016 election, and how little effect it had. But the media will keep repeating this line over and over, despite all the evidence against, hoping that it will eventually become received wisdom.
We saw the same thing happen with the Iraq War. It’s received wisdom now, even across the right, that the Iraq War was a complete disaster. But it wasn’t. It’s too strong to say it was a success, but it wasn’t a failure. At least, if you think it was a failure, you need to argue that, and distinguish it from Obama’s own Middle East failures years later.
Anyway, during the war, and for a few years after it, the right-wing blogosphere was full of people poo-poohing the Iraq nay-sayers. And it’s not like all these people explicitly said at some stage that they’d reconsidered the evidence, and changed their mind. But the old drip-drip-drip feed worked its spell, and now every man and their dog sings from the same hymn-sheet on Iraq.
Possibly this intemperate rush to go to war with Syria will swing opinion back again on Iraq, but Iraq isn’t what I want to discuss here. What I’m claiming here is that the old saying, that if the media repeats a lie enough times eventually it becomes believed, is, to some degree — to enough of a degree — true, only not about the topics that most people usually think it’s true of.
And these lies about Facebook and Twitter are going to lead to further governmental power being used to shut down political opinion. So it’s vital that we stand up and say that the Russian Facebook story is garbage, that the idea that Russian Twitter bots swung the US election and the Brexit referendum is rubbish, and that we will not allow restrictions on free speech to be built on a tissue of lies. If we don’t say all that now then good luck trying to get any right-wing comment past the Facebook and Twitter bots in a few years time.
This has caused alarm, but it shouldn’t really come as any surprise, because it’s clear to careful observers that this has been the aim of Western leftists for decades. The only interest should really be that this aim has been stated so openly. Usually this ultimate goal gets hidden away from the mainstream so as not to frighten the horses. In fact, this reveal may be a sign that the left is starting to worry that Trump’s election is threatening the progress of this aim, when all had been proceeding swimmingly for so long.
The modern method the left is using to bring about the one-party state is to gradually introduce laws that effectively ban people from being conservative, or from acting in ways deemed non-permissible by the left. Take business and industry. The left realised that outright nationalisation was unlikely to happen after the disasters of the 1970s. So instead of wholesale government takeovers of companies, companies were allowed to stay in private hands for the time being, but gradually more and more legislation has been introduced which effectively gives more and more control of the company to the government, and this process is nowhere near finished. The fact that left-wing governments try to introduce licencing for every trade it can is no accident. (Latest UK example here — licences for estate agents.)
The other legislative method is to bring in laws that seems fair and balanced to the mainstream, but then apply it in a very one-handed way; for example, legislation that is used to force Christian bakers to bake cakes with gay messages on them, but mysteriously never gets used against Twitter banning conservatives, or against the endless online hateful threats made against conservatives.
A younger version of Jack Dorsey, a picture that also fills me with hope.
The end state for the left is simple: eventually it will be against the law to be a conservative, to be a climate change sceptic, or to be anti-immigration, or to hold that there are only two genders, and so on. Anyone who thinks that the left and the progressives have any commitment to freedom of expression, freedom of opinion and diversity in politics is fooling themselves. The progs will use every advantage they have at their disposal to shut down their opposition. They always do. That’s why this Medium article is right in a way: a civil war, of some sort, is coming.
Ever since Brexit the right has been saying that Brexit was about ordinary people ‘taking back control’, and the start of a shake-up of politics. We could expect a UK version of the Trumpian revolution to follow soon after, where big government and political correctness gets the boot, and things go back to where they were 20-30 years ago, and we start having some sane policies again.
Unfortunately that sort of revolution seems dead in the water. The Conservatives and Labour have both moved leftward, both have ramped up the political correctness, yet both are dominating the polls like they haven’t done for a long time. UKIP is moribund and the few anti-establishment parties there are have polling figures that require an electron microscope to see. It looks to me like Brexit was as much about left-wingers wanting the way cleared for old-style socialism and Communism as anything else. Some of these old-style leftists may not be that keen on political correctness, or immigration, but they are very keen on getting hold of other people’s money.
The conventional thinking around the Conservatives and Jeremy Corbyn seems to be this:
The Conservatives originally thought the taking over of Labour by Jeremy Corbyn and his band of hard leftists was a Godsend to them, because they thought Britain would never elect a bunch of near-Communists, so it would be huge majorities for the Conservatives as long as the hard left were in charge of Labour. Corbyn is good for us, they thought, so they went easy on him. But then it turned out that lots of British people, especially young people, do like aggressive, old-style socialism, and now Labour have soared in the polls, polling much more than they ever did under the drippy Ed Milliband, and are threatening to win an election. So Corbyn turns out not to be so good for the Conservatives after all.
There’s a lot of truth in this, and it’s true that Corbyn’s Labour are threatening to win the next general election. But the fact is that the current Conservatives line-up still desperately need Corbyn and his cronies to stay in control of Labour to have any chance of victory. A great many people – including many who had previously voted UKIP, and even many (especially in the North and Midlands) who had previously voted Labour – voted for the Conservatives at the last election because they were the party of Brexit. But there is now widespread disillusionment with the Conservatives on the right, and amongst the traditional working-class, which in the last few weeks has turned to outright anger.
One reason for this is the sense, whether well-founded or not, that Theresa May has ‘sold out’ on Brexit, particularly in regard to continued migration during the transition period, and fishing rights. And in recent weeks we have had plenty of incidents that have inflamed social media: the banning of three right-wing speakers and journalists from entering the UK, the revelations that another town, Telford, has seen the mass rape of underage children by Islamic men, the BBC’s supression of the Telford news, Tommy Robinson being banned from Twitter, the internet comedian Count Dankula being found guilty of a hate crime for his joke video where his girlfriend’s dog does a Hitler salute, rapists and murderers being let out of jail after serving short sentences, police harassment of people who criticise transgenderism, and so on.
(Not all of these can be directly blamed upon the government, of course, particularly Robinson’s Twitter ban, but the ‘traditionalists’, reasonably enough, are incensed that Christian bakers are forced to bake cakes with gay messages on them, while Twitter is free to refuse any content it wants to refuse.)
So support for the current Conservatives is once again collapsing amongst traditionalists, who see the Tories, not entirely inaccurately, as a soft left party. There is really very little in the Conservatives’ current practices that would entice such people to vote for them, and plenty that repels them, and once Brexit has happened then there will be even less reason for the Brexiteers who voted Tory for the first time in 2017 to vote for them again.
Thus the Tories are threatened with a complete electoral wipeout at the next general election, whether that happens in 2022, or earlier, assuming the same team remains in place until then. (And there’s a fair chance of that happening, for despite the widespread unhappiness with Theresa May, Philip Hammond and Amber Rudd on the right, the Tories appear to be terrified of changing anything lest their current tenuous grip on government dissolves.)
But there is one large life-ring floating right in front of them, and it bears the name ‘Corbyn’. This is what will keep them afloat for the next few years, and into the next election, presuming Corbyn is still in place. The traditionalists hate May’s Conservatives, but they’re terrified of Corbyn’s Labour. Some of them have suggested, in a Peter Hitchens-like spirit, that Labour needs to be allowed a term in power so that the UK can see how bad the hard left is, and so the Conservatives can be destroyed, and replaced with a new right-wing party, or a reborn Conservative party. But most traditionalists know how risky that is. They know that if a hard-left Labour gets into power they’ll rig the system as much as possible to keep themselves, or at least their ideas and their placemen, in power. In five years they can do an enormous amount of damage to the country, far more than Blair and Brown ever did. Also, there’s no guarantee that a reborn right-wing party will emerge, The Conservatives may be broken beyond repair. Or the right may splinter into two opposed factions, and neither will be able to win power.
So when it comes to polling day, you can expect many people who hate Theresa May and think the Conservative are bringing about the slow death of Britain to vote for their local Conservative candidate, simply to stop the keys of the country being handed over to Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell and Seamus Milne, who would all bring about the quick death of Britain. That is what will keep the Conservatives afloat: the fear of a hard-left UK government under Corbyn. A Blairite Labour party, on the other hand, would not produce the same fear, and the traditionalists would stay home. That doesn’t necessarily mean a more centrist Labour party would win an election – we don’t know how many on the left would also stay at home rather than vote for New Labour Mark II. But we do know that Labour under Corbyn will win if the right refuse to vote Conservative on election day. That is why the Conservatives still need Corbyn: he’s the only person who’ll bring out their base.
I’m just wondering what was going through Steve Smith’s mind when David Warner came up to him and said, ‘Steve mate, is it all right if Cam takes some sandpaper on the field with him to work on the ball?’ Was Smith gelling his hair and not really paying attention? ‘Yeah yeah, whatever Dave, kinda busy right now‘. Or was he paying close attention and though it a brilliant idea? ‘Genius Dave, why has nobody ever thought of taking some sandpaper on the field with them before and just getting it out of their pocket and scratching the hell out of the ball? Why pussyfoot around with fingernails? If you’re gonna do it, go hard, or go home.”
Or were the three of them sitting around the table having a meal and pitching ideas of how you could get away with ball-tampering without being seen? Was this was the culmination of their mental efforts, the best that they could come up with after two hours of brain-storming? After razor-blade fingernails and false fingers full of acid and the belt-sander had been rejected as unworkable? ‘Let’s keep it simple,’ Warner may have said. ‘Less to go wrong with a piece of sandpaper. And it’s yellow, so it’s sort of the same colour as skin so no-one will notice it.’
Using this mini cordless belt-sander was one idea. The exhaust bag was a problem as it was difficult to cover with your hand, so the idea was for Bancroft to pretend it was his sunglasses bag.
(It wasn’t like Smith or Warner were under any great pressure. They wanted to win the series, sure, and they looked like they were going to lose it, but it’s not like the press was saying that heads would roll if they lost. It’s not like the English press who wanted half the side sacked after the Ashes loss. I think Warner just wanted to get one over on de Kock, and he probably thought the Saffers were cheating as well.)
And Smith clearly had no clue in that first press conference. ‘Mistakes were made, lessons will be learned, let’s move on, tomorrow’s another day when all this will be forgotten,’ seemd to be how he was thinking. He couldn’t have got that more wrong. And I swear Bancroft was still playing with that sandpaper while he was sitting there.