Friday, December 11, 2009

What Is To Be Done ?

Various lefties are panicking about the great Tory Scythe of Government Jobs which they foresee.

Laban thinks - along with the rest of the sentient world - that they're inevitable no matter who gets in. Cast your minds back to the last Labour government to hit a really big, global crisis - the 1929-31 MacDonald administration. When the crisis hit then, the options, not mutually exclusive, were

a) come off gold standard. Today’s equivalent - letting the currency fall. This is happening now - but so much manufacturing has been destroyed - more than under Thatcher - that it’s having little effect on our balance of payments. So that weapon is blunted.

b) cut Govt spending. This broke Labour in half and led (via a run on the pound) to the National Government, which did make cuts. No party at the time considered printing money, which is how the current deficits are being funded. Whoever gets in will have to make cuts - the only question is whether we’ll need a sterling collapse/gilts strike to force them (Labour win or perhaps a hung Parliament) or whether they’ll be done straight off (Tory win).

c) introduce tariffs. Not many people know this, but the UK actually weathered the depression relatively well compared to the US. Tariffs plus ‘Imperial Preference’ did a pretty good job, considering. But it’s most unlikely we’ll do tariffs - we’re in the EU so we can’t, Labour are just as 'free' market as the Tories - and anyway, no Empire, and no ’sterling currency area’.

So we did all 3 in the 30s - and while it was bad, it could have been worse.

But now ? Cuts are the only option. We have no other choices bar the Weimar/Zimbabwe route.

Be great if it were otherwise and we could trade our way out of recession, selling our world-class machine tools to China and our hi-tech medical diagnostic equipment worldwide. (Joke).

But we don’t make things any more to trade with* !

* of course that's not strictly true. Exports are rising - it's just that imports are rising faster. But what manufacturing we do have is now mostly foreign-owned. See what happened to the steelworks at Teeside last week to realise what that means when times are tough. Indeed apart from Rolls Royce, the only hi-tech major industries that ain't been flogged yet are some of the defence industries - which are likely to be hit by government cuts. Personally I'd sack all the social workers and probation officers before cutting a single hi-tech job - they can retrain as prison officers for the massive expansion. I can dream...

Friday Night Is Muzak Night

Great lyrics and a very Wizard of Oz feel, this - and the plot of the 1949 musical whence it comes, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court is pretty similar, with our American hero waking up in Camelot. The Bing Crosby version's even more 'wizardy'.

More gentle, half-forgotten 80s stuff. Always had a soft spot for this. How come Peter and Jeremy never made more - or did they and I missed it ?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Some Fell On Stony Ground ...

Laban adds his four penn'orth to the Great Tiger Woods Debate, as channeled by Zoe Williams.

Surely if this affair tells us anything, it is that in 2009, in the Southern states of the USA, with Obama as President, a white person can still beat up a black man without charges being brought.

Was it for this that Rosa Klebb refused to give up her seat on the bus ?

It's wasted on them, I tell you. Wasted. Does Magna Carta mean nothing to them ? Did she die in vain ? I'll make an exception for commenter Col1000.

(something I didn't know - Rosa Parks was beaten and robbed in her own home by a young black man in 1994. She was 81. But they do things differently in the Land of the Free. Over here you can torture an old lady for two days then kill her, and you'll only get eleven years plus a free change of identity - in order to protect the baby you conceived on one of your many 'days off'. A 'minor crime' like hitting and robbing an old lady in her own home would probably be community service in the UK. Joseph Skipper got an 8 to 15. He was still inside when Rosa Parks died 12 years later. He's since been released and is on the rob again.)

Darwin Nominees

It's pretty much traditional now. Some young scallawags get killed doing things that are perhaps foolish, perhaps criminal, or perhaps both, and their friends who pop up to mourn the deceased are, to a man or woman, incapable of writing in English:

"at t end ov t day 2 young boyz av died , av u never wen u was young was daring n willing 2 do things tha no1 else wud do??"

Compare the comments - and the mourners, above, with the much poorer community Gwilym Rees Williams grew up in - and wonder what's happened to our culture - and our education system - in the last 50 years.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009


Amanda Craig (who she ?) in the Mail bemoans the tyranny of pink (for those of you who've been rightly ignoring it, some (childless) Labour dimwit called Bridget Prentice (nee Corr) thinks pink stuff for girlies is just socialisation by the partriarchy) :

Occasionally, I would get together with other pink refuseniks at the local mothers' club.

While our daughters squabbled over whose turn it was to use the glittery pink crayon, we would moan on about the tyranny of this repulsive colour.

Where had we all gone so wrong? If our children are born blank slates, as the scientist Stephen Pinker (no, I haven't made up his name) claims, then all this mania for a particular colour has to be culturally imposed, an addiction caused by nurture, not nature.

Alas, commenter Harry Storm of Vancouver (I think he made that name up) puts his finger on the flaw in the above :

Since Amanda Craig obviously hasn't read "The Blank Slate" by Stephen Pinker, she shouldn't be using it to make her point. In fact, the entire point of Pinker's book is that we're NOT born as "blank slates." Since she thinks it says the opposite, there are only two possibilities: a) she hasn't read the book, in which case she shouldn't use it to make a point, as it makes her look silly; or b) she's an idiot who doesn't deserve a column in a daily newspaper.

Underclass News

Last summer an Asian chappie cunningly disguised himself in "the paint-splattered overalls that were meant to make me look like a Pakistani immigrant doing odd jobs to survive in his new home" and went to hang out for a few months on the Southmead council estate in Bristol to make this BBC documentary about the hideous racism of the native inhabitants. I do hope he wasn't taking a flat away from a local ;-(

Now the point of it all was to show the dreadful racism etc etc. But this tremendous piece of reporting in fact reveals the young inhabitants to be dreadful full stop, despite the fact that the target appears to be (sigh) the Daily Mail.

The impulse to segregate was compounded by the messages that seemed to reinforce the idea that the treatment in Southmead reflected the mood and views of the rest of Britain. "Hundreds of thousands of migrants here for handouts, says senior judge". "Britain paying migrants £1,700 to return home BEFORE they've even got here" "The violent new breed of migrants who will let nothing stop them coming to Britain" These headlines were just three of many that were printed in the Mail, a right-wing daily during my time in Southmead. I don't usually take much notice of the headlines in the Sun and the Mail unless they are truly shocking, but in Southmead the headlines seemed to have an impact on the treatment we received. The level of low-level hostility from adults seemed to be directly linked to the content of the headlines. More outright hostility from younger adults and children followed a day or so later.

That's right. The Mail comes out, those adults who can read immediately start giving grief to incomers, and a day or two later, when the less literate natives picked up the message, they kick off as well. Puh-leese !

I wonder if they thought of going to the local paper shops and asking what the daily orders were ? Bet they didn't. I'll lay odds the Mail's not the Southmead paper of choice.

The whole thing is in fact a Daily Mail reader's underclass nightmare and could without much editing easily find a way into that mighty organ :

Hundreds of cans of high-strength cider littered the streets every Saturday and Sunday. I saw unemployed drunken youths accost shoppers in the mornings. The green spaces that looked inviting from afar were littered with used condoms, pregnancy test kits and the excrement of pitbull dogs that were popular pets amongst residents. In the daytime, teenage mothers pushed young children around the estate. I saw the partner of one young mother call a toddler a "****ing little ****" before smacking him hard enough on the back of the head to make the child drop to his knees and cover his head in the expectation of further violence. In the early evenings, young teenagers would sit at benches swigging from bottles of cheap alcohol...

A group of local girls, none older than 15, were talking to each other loudly. Amongst all the squealing, the only words I could make out were "****", "*******" and "****". Occasionally one of the girls would pull her skirt up at a passing car of boys and the others would cheer and hand her a bottle of brightly coloured liquor to swig from. Every now and again, one of the cars would stop and another girl might stand in front of the passenger window and pull down her top. The boys would try and persuade them to get in. Eventually, two of the girls got into a crowded little car with wide tyres and lowered suspension.

I had been absent mindedly watching the events in front of us. After the car drove away, the Sudanese father turned to his daughter and said; "That's what English girls are like. Never talk to people like that."

Roy Jenkins "civilising mission" is complete. The culture is FUBAR. Quite properly he don't want his daughter to be like a native. But what his son will make of the native girls may be different.

Just before they got on their bus, a group of teenagers outside the chip shop behind us proved the technicians' point by rounding on a passing elderly local.

"Look out, he's a perv," shouted one boy. Before another pushed the girl standing next to him in front of the old man and said, "I bet you wish you could **** her". They all then burst into laughter.

Poor chap. Old, white, male, straight, poor. Not a member of any designated victim group. No hate crime there. No help to be had. The BBC would never be so judgemental as to spend two months just to prove that Southmead has some very scummy youth therein. That would be picking on the most vulnerable in our society, after all (the chavs, not their victims).

Southmead is a locus classicus for the idea that you can make people better by throwing social workers at them. Remember the wise words of Charles Murray :

During the 1960s and 1970s, the Americans tried everything: pre-school socialisation programmes, enrichment programmes in elementary schools, programmes that provided guaranteed jobs for young people without skills, ones that provided on-the-job training, programmes that sent young people without skills to residential centres for extended skills training and psychological preparation for the world of work, programmes to prevent school dropout, and so on. These are just the efforts aimed at individuals. I won’t even try to list the varieties of programmes that went under the heading of “community development”. They were also the most notorious failures.

We know the programmes didn’t work because all of them were accompanied by evaluations. I was a programme evaluator from 1968 to 1981. The most eminent of America’s experts on programme evaluation — a liberal sociologist named Peter Rossi — distilled this vast experience into what he called the Iron Law of Evaluation: “The expected value of any net impact assessment of any large-scale social programme is zero.” The Iron Law has not been overturned by subsequent experience.
In fact these programmes go back before that. My hero Norman Dennis worked in Southmead in the 1950s :

He had lived on a notoriously bad housing estate in Bristol, Southmead, for more than a year in the 1950s. It was one of the two worst housing estates in the city. As part of his research, he had participated in local life, as well as interviewing people in their houses, often for hours at a time. He was the sociologist with the Bristol Social Project, which was designed to apply the techniques of improvement elaborated by the Chicago Social Area Projects of the previous 20 years or so...

Dennis' hindsight view was that 1950s Southmead 'by the standards of the early 1990s would have looked almost entirely civilized'.

The Bristol Social Project is also a bit of a locus classicus - run by a doubtless intelligent and competent public schoolboy (John Spencer, St Pauls and Balliol - his report is here) and a total failure :

The Bristol Social Project, which ran on the estate from 1953 to 1958 engaged in counselling, group work and community development on the estate and bequeathed a Community Centre and Adventure Playground, both of them still functioning. However Southmead’s fortunes did not improve significantly over the next 30 years and, by the end of the 1980s, social conditions had deteriorated to such an extent, that major disturbances were occurring in the streets of the old estate and Southmead was front page news.

UPDATE - not all of John Spencer's report on the Bristol Social Project is available via Google Books, but what you can read is pretty much 100% waffle (I liked the bit where they discovered that one of the local shopkeepers was also fencing stolen goods and running a moneylending operation. The locals on the Project wanted immediate action taken against him, whereas for John Spencer the discovery was 'an opportunity for learning and discussion on the variety of moral standards on the estate'. The locals were 'irritated' by this. I bet they were). No wonder he ended as Edinburgh's first Professor of Social Education.

The project was considered 'influential' - 'Bristol's experiments might well be followed elsewhere' said the Guardian, and Town and Country Planning noted the use of 'trained community workers, a relatively new shere of social work which is rapidly gaining recognition'. We're awash with the buggers now, and Southmead is still what it is (only worse) after 50 years of social work.

(via, of all places, Liberal Conspiracy)


If the Government just send their press releases straight to bloggers, or put them up on the web, maybe we won't miss the MSM as much as we thought.

Left-wing Guardian :

Pointing to recent convictions of white supremicists, and the broader rise in overt racism, Denham will say: "It is important that local Muslim communities do not feel that they are being singled out if other forms of extremism are a threat in the area."

Right-wing Telegraph :

Pointing to recent convictions of white supremacists, and a broader rise in overt racism, Mr Denham will say: “It is important that local Muslim communities do not feel that are being singled out if other forms of extremism are a threat in the area”.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Diversity Dissension

Commenter Tendryakov, who I think I've seen here, deconstructs Sarah Sands' gushing hymn to multicultural Britain.

Sands : "Queenie understands the drabness of Britain without immigration ... the real point of diversity, on television and in life, is not that is correct but that it is vibrant."

Ms Sands is a posh girl from Tunbridge Wells who lasted eight months as editor of the Sunday Telegraph, failing in her mission to make it 'like an Ipod'.

Tendryakov :

Have you got the message everybody? Before the 1960's, when mass immigration began, life was barely worth living in this country. Who knows? Yes, some woman from London who was born in 1961. I've heard it from several other people as well, Dominic Sandbrook, "social historian" frequently wheeled out on the TV, born in the 1970's. You see folks, up to then, the people of Britain languished in their misery for a couple of millenia, longing for the day when their lives would be enriched enough to make life tolerable. Up to the sixties, most people were engaged in stopping each other from committing suicide due to the unendurable grey reality of existence. There was no sunshine, no colour, no flowers, no fruit, nobody smiled. It was dreadful. Yes, in 1950's Britain, if you haven't already been told a million times, every window of every neighbourhood of every town and city in Britain had a notice saying "No blacks, no Irish, no dogs", in different variations.

Behind the doors of every corner shop there was a grubby abortionist, and on every street there were bunches of thugs beating up gay people, yes, all the time, 24 hours a day. Hell it was, to live through those times. I was born in 1947. I know. I had to endure a childhood in the 1950's. But hark, I understand from statistics that upwards of 2 million Londoners have abandoned the scintillating diverse wonderfulness of London in the past decade, and have gone to live not in Bradford or Birmingham, but, oh, yikes, places like Herefordshire, Dorset, Lincolnshire, where diversity is horrifically low. Oh, calamity. Oh, those ungrateful creatures! Quick,enrich their lives with diversity, somehow, anyhow. They can't be happy for long without it! Quick!
Add his small testament to my attempts to record those bearing witness to life before the Fall.

"He who controls the present, controls the past. He who controls the past, controls the future."

Despite the efforts of Sandbrook, Sands and many others, this control is a difficut task for our rulers. There are simply too many people alive who can remember Britain in the 1940s, 1950s or even the 1960s (remember that the culture of the 1960s only spread in the 70s - and went mainstream even later, around the time Habitat stores opened everywhere. For an accurate picture of 1966 England look at the World Cup Final crowd - 95% in ties - ties ! and many also sporting hats). My son looked at the 1964 Panorama report on the Kop and asked 'where are all the black people ?' (he didn't ask where the women were - also conspicuous by their absence).

But these generations - the wartime generations - are dying and will soon be gone. Mortality is even now on the horizon of the post-war grammar school boys, the people - of whom I'm one - who destroyed the culture to which they were the heirs.

So it's important to record the lives and opinions of these generations, partly for their own sake, but partly to refute the arguments of those who believe (or have motivation to claim to believe) that the present is always better than the past.

UPDATE - the Curmudgeon :

"... now the dark ages are over, and the present age is yielding ever more to a bright future whereunder the benighting mist of the dullest and most hideous race on earth will finally lift to reveal a sunlit land..."

Professor murdered

"Richard T. Antoun, author of "Understanding Fundamentalism: Christian, Islamic, and Jewish Movements", was a caring and gentle man who spent his life trying to dispel stereotypes about different cultures, especially Middle Eastern cultures, his colleagues at Binghamton University said Friday."

It's unfortunate then that his death should reinforce them.

Saudi national Abdulsalam Al-Zahrani has been charged with second-degree murder in the stabbing death of Binghamton University Professor Richard T. Antoun.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Another Sad Tale ...

From the Sri Lankan camps where several hundred thousand Tamil civilians were interned after the defeat of the LTTE :

“The Tigers killed between 20 and 30 people in the group I was with as we tried to run,” V. Sivalingam, one of the final Tamil detainees released on Tuesday, recalled. “There were four or five of them. At first they argued with us. Then the crowd around them grew bigger. They began to panic. People started to push past them. Then they opened fire. Close range. Waist high. Directly at us. It was chaos. The military were shelling us at the same time.”

Sivalingam, a cook from Mullaittivu, had miraculously survived, and succeeded in reaching the army’s lines with his wife of 20 years and five children after an epic flight that involved wading through neck-high sea water for ten hours. Within a matter of days he and his family found themselves interned by the authorities in a Zone 2 camp of the infamous Manik Farm complex, where they remained until Tuesday.

The Tigers didn't want the Tamil civilians to leave the shrinking zone where their fighters were holding out, leaving them open to shelling by the (mainly Sinhalese) army. In the camp Sivalingam spotted one of the LTTE men who'd shot at them.

“I did nothing. I told nobody of his identity. I could have had him arrested but I didn’t. The LTTE had fought long and hard for us. At the end of it all they did terrible things — we know that. But they didn’t have much choice.”
It's not that, though. It's this :

“I said goodbye to my wife of 20 years for good when I walked out of the camp gates,” he said. “We had been through so much together. We had escaped through the fighting knowing it could be the end of our lives. But we survived. I loved her. But in the camp she consorted with the military for extra rations. That association disgraces her. She’s gone to Jaffna. I’ll never have her back.”

Did she do it for the kids ? Who knows ?

Pass on his decision. You really have to be in the shoes, methinks. I can hardly imagine any of it, but I was reminded of the scene in Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's Cancer Ward where former Gulag inmate Kostoglotov tells a sympathetic medic (Vera Gangart?) what happened to his imprisoned wife. I paraphrase :

"On the first day the guards arrange for the new women to shower so they can take a look at them. Then they get told, you'll sleep with so and so, you'll live in this hut ... if they refuse, they'll starve them or work them to death as an example to the others ... I don't blame her. She did what she had to do to survive. But we both knew it was over for us."
Solzhenitsyn knew worse than that, of course.

When young women like Laurie Penny argue for the right to be pissed up, half dressed and completely safe on the streets I wonder if they realise how slender is the divide between civilisation and 'do what thou wilt' - and how fortunate we are and have been in this country for the last few hundred years. We've not had anything in England like 1947 India or 1945 Berlin for at least a thousand years, since the Norman Harrying of the North and before that the Danish/Viking invasions.

Historically, our relative peace and civilisation over such a long period is most unusual. My fear is that the utopians of the Cultural Revolution, in well-meaning attempts to turn good into best, are well on the way to restoring us to the historical norms.

Hmm ...

... looks like the days of Lord John Taylor being wheeled out on the Today programme to be asked the vital question 'exactly how racist are the Tories' ? may be drawing to a close :

A Tory peer has been caught using someone else’s home address to claim tens of thousands of pounds in expenses. Lord Taylor of Warwick, a 57-year-old former barrister, told the House of Lords that his main home was a terrace house in Oxford which he neither owned nor lived in. The property’s owner, Tristram Wyatt, a university academic, said he was unaware that his address had been used as the peer’s main home.

Taylor has lived in his family home in Ealing, west London, since 1995. By claiming his address was outside the capital he accumulated more then £70,000 in subsistence expenses between 2001 and 2007. When confronted earlier this year, Taylor claimed he had lived at his mother’s home in the West Midlands during those years. However, this claim was false as his mother died in 2001 and her house was sold that year. His former wife has also confirmed that he lived in London, and nowhere else, until their separation in 2003. The disclosures will be looked at by the police team investigating peers and MPs. Taylor declined to comment last week.

Hmm. He's toast.

UAF/EDL - Nottingham

Someone who went to the demo as an observer and took a fair bit of video here :

"....when discussing the EDL he was pretty adamant that the entire organisation were guilty by association with the more extreme element, yet when talking about the Muslim community his opinion was that nobody could have a complaint against them in general, only against very specific extremists. You can't have it both ways, demanding exceptions for your favourites and making generalisation about your enemies; either you're biased, or you've extra information that you're not sharing."

I agree with the general point. If you can't tar community A with the brush of the bad things some of their members have done (killing and injuring hundreds of people with bombs on buses and trains, for example, or in the case of some less competent members trying to), then you can't reverse the logic and use outliers of community B as typical of everyone in community B. Let's have some consistency here.

Someone of my age who joined the UAF protest here :

...we started to look for demonstrators among the crowds of shoppers, Goths, stall-holders, army families and British Legion members.

I spotted a small group of badge-wearers near the stone lions of the Council House. Cautiously I scanned the badges. This was just as well. They included a small enamal badge with the figures "18". It could have been an advertisement for a lucky Lotto number but I doubted it. I've known for years about the Combat 18 code by which 18 stands for A.H., or Adolf Hitler. There seemed some irony that a badge-wearer combined his "18" badge with a Churchill "V for Victory" badge, but I decided not to stay and point this out.

We wandered past the stalls of Neapolitan treats and olive oil and the British Legion veterans holding huge flags. Eventually someone ran up to us. "Anti-fascist demo?" he enquired. "Other end of the square."