M.A.D

Watching Question Time last night I couldn’t help coming to the conclusion that we’ve gone absolutely mad. There’s some very wound up and angry people in our country, who aren’t really thinking things through. You can’t claim to want to preserve a Christian country and then advocThe Four Riders of the Apocalypseate using nuclear weapons.

Let’s just look at Trident. The reason that the nukes are on submarines is that so when Britain is a smouldering cinder, we can make sure that millions of other innocent people are also smouldering cinders. Does that make you feel good?

The best defence against a rogue state such as North Korea, is indeed diplomatic pressure. But if all else fails a missile defence system. Alternatively, if we became more like Switzerland or Norway and happily wealthy, healthy and comfortable in our own position in the world, no one would be interested in bombing us anyway.

The Four Horsemen, from the Apocalypse by Albrecht Durer, 1498

Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bad enough and they were small in comparison to what we have now. Take a look at the image below or click on this link for an excellent chart from Business Insider UK.

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The image shows the destructive power of Tsar Bomba, the Soviet RDS-220, which remains the most destructive explosion ever detonated by man. 1400 times bigger than Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined and 10 times the entire fire power expended in WWII.

So, the complete destruction zone – flattened by the explosion itself, atomic winds and a firestorm. No survivors. Although you may want to be there, because dying of radiation sickness and extreme burns in the outer zones in as little as 7 days won’t be a picnic either.

As for the rest of the country, depending on which way the wind blows there will be some radioactive fallout, and add in a complete, overnight collapse of infrastructure and the economy, are you still going to feel better knowing innocent people in some foreign country are just as screwed as you are? If so, you are morally bankrupt and that is not because I’m a wet Liberal.

People used to grow up with the fear of nuclear war, the CND movement, Greenpeace, programmes such as Threads and graphic novels such as Raymond Briggs’, ‘When the Wind Blows’. I’m not one for scaring people, but suggesting using these disgusting, depraved and immoral devices really does need thinking through. Not to mention the fact that it’s akin to paying for your own funeral – only a very expensive one. Trident has an estimated cost of £167 billion over its 30 year lifespan, £5.56 billion per year. Follow the money, it’s not being built to make us safer.

 

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‘Give the elites a good-kicking’ and other Brexiteer nonsense

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Jumbo 16 months old 41 stone bred by J Young, Newholm, Yorkshire

Numerous Leave voters have tried to distance themselves from accusations of racism by claiming they just wanted to give the elites a good-kicking. However, the fact that they are now voting Tory to give Teresa May a mandate for who knows what, exposes the truth that it was really about immigrants all along.

From where I’m sitting the elites look like Tories and just a brief game of matching houses to Tory MPs creates a rather useful visual shortcut to illustrate this fact.

For those who missed the fawning coverage of Pippa Middleton’s wedding in the right-wing ‘keep the plebs in their place’ media, here’s whose house it was:

Richard Benyon, Tory MP for Newbury, Englefield House, Berkshire
Englefield House Richard Benyon Newbury

Another example, closer to home:

Richard Grovesnor Plunkett Ernie Erle Drax, Tory MP for South Dorset, Charborough House, Dorset

Charborough House Richard Drax South Dorset

Incidentally, 6 of Richard Drax’s ancestors were also MPs and Richard Benyon’s father was an MP and he is the great-great grandson of Lord Salisbury PM.  These people really do take voters for granted and have done for generations. What’s more, so many people in the south like to stereotype northerners, saying they vote for Labour because that’s what they have always done. Well, taking a look at at how many times seats such as North Dorset have been out of Tory hands, you have to conclude that a pig with a blue rosette pinned to it would win – albeit with an unobjectionable blue suit, smarmy manners and a pedigree to match.

Finally, another dodge against accusations of racism was the idea we would take control of our borders. Well firstly, we do have control of our borders and secondly, it would help if the Border Force budget hadn’t been cut by 25% from 2011-2016 (The Telegraph). All during Teresa May’s watch as the longest serving Home Secretary in 50 years. So, more Brexiteer nonsense really. I was going to go on about police cuts, but the opposition seems to have got its act together on that front, so I won’t.

Personally, I want the Tories to win but by not much. Brexit negotiations will be a political hot potato. The truth will slowly emerge, unless we seriously become some Big Brother type society overnight. You can’t polish a turd – well you can if you make it rich enough and maybe throw in a title – and you can’t have the ‘politics of envy’ both ways. Was Brexit really about the elites and the working class?

Posted in Brexit, Democracy, Dorset, EU Referendum, General Election 2017, Immigrants, Immigration, Tabloids, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Chamber of Secrets has been opened…Beware

An Old Woman at a Window emptying a Chamber Pot by after Frans van Mieris the elder (Leyden 1635 - Leyden 1681)

An Old Woman at a Window emptying a Chamber Pot (Sleazy Bess) by Frans Van Mieris 1635 – 1681

The Overton Window is a political theory, developed by Joseph P Overton, that refers to the range of policies that the public will accept. So whilst the BNP were unacceptable in just 2009, their policies are now mainstream. The Overton Window has been opened…Beware

BNP Campaign Poster 2009

The revolving door from the National Front to the BNP to UKIP to The Conservative Party has shifted the centre ground to the right. The ‘New Dawn‘ (BNP Campaign Video 1997) has finally risen. And it would appear that John Tyndall, the Neo-Nazi founder of the British National Party, the man with the combover, was actually ahead of his time on political policy.

The Front National in France, a party founded by Neo-fascists, Vichy apologists and holocaust deniers in 1972, has followed the same trajectory. Repackaged by Marine Le Pen, having dropped the troublesome anti-semitism, it secured 1 in 5 of the French votes in round one of the presidential election. What’s more it finds support in the oh so free British press, with its own revolving door of Breitbart journalists. It really wouldn’t be much of a leap for some wannabe rightwing populist in Germany to repackage the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, and say, “we’re different now, we support the ordinary German”.

As Aaron Banks (the biggest UKIP and Leave.eu donor, though nobody in Clacton knows who he is) says in his April 2017 interview with Carole Cadwalladr:

“The needle on public opinion has shifted so far now. And trying to shift it back is as hard as it was for us to shift it the other way. There’s people protesting, all the rest of it. But the fact is, they’re not going to shift public opinion. It has shifted. It is what it is. It’s permanent.”

And there’s a man who knows how the general public can be swayed with some strategically placed digital advertising and media lies. He is wrong on one thing though, it’s not permanent – that’s just hot air. The Overton Window has been opened…Beware

Leave.eu Turkey 2

 

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Dorset’s Lush Workforce

Dorset has a lower average birth rate than England and Wales at 8.3 births per 1000, compared with 12.1 nationally. It has a higher death rate than England and Wales at 11.5 per 1000 compared with 8.7 nationally. This is due to the fact that it has a higher than average population of over 65s at 28%, compared with 17.9% across England and Wales. This puts pressure on adult and care services, with a projected growth of 50% in the over 65s over the next 25 years. So without in-migration to the area, there would be both a skilled and non-skilled workforce shortage and the population would decline.

The June 2015 statistic for unemployment claimants across the whole Dorset LEP (Local Economic Partnership), which includes Bournemouth and Poole UAs is 0.9% of working age residents totalling 4,141 people. There is simply not the pool of local workers available to fill the 20% of non UK workforce jobs in companies such as ‘Lush‘, which are found across Dorset. Unless, the unemployed from up north ‘get on yer bike(s)’ to ‘misquote’ Baron Tebbit (Cons).

This situation is replicated across most of the southern ‘shire’ counties which voted Leave, and indeed some that voted Remain such as West Berkshire. Forcing people to take unsuitable jobs, would not solve either the UK’s productivity challenges or fill all the vacancies.

Then there is the skilled workforce, which has been a victim of underinvestment for years by UK governments. The educated, skilled workforce are more likely to be net contributors rather than net beneficiaries in terms of tax, meaning that they give more than they receive. To use an endearing term from the Torygraph, ‘givers’ rather than ‘takers’ are where a household’s gross income exceeds roughly £38,000 (2014/2015).

‘2014/2015 50.8% of all households received more in benefits (including benefits in kind) than they paid in taxes, equivalent to 13.6 million households.’ (ONS)

Now, I don’t object to the redistribution of wealth through taxation. Nor do I object to caring for our growing elderly population, believing it to be a mark of civilisation. However, there firstly has to be wealth to redistribute (you can’t get rid of all those ‘rich elites’ overnight, as many commenters on the DM, DE and BBC HYS boards are suggesting) and secondly, the average taxpayer needs to realise that they are NOT paying for themselves let alone immigrants.

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Zacchaeus the Tax Collector, Luke 19

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Liberal: The Dirty Word

Reading tabloid articles and their associated comments from ‘the people’, it is clear that Liberals are to be one of the convenient scapegoats for the world’s problems. Ignoring the fact that ‘liberal’ is a multi-usage term applied to a number of often contradictory beliefs, tabloids have trained ‘the people’ to react to this trigger word, alongside a few others, and to use it to shutdown debate. Liberal is being used in a bigoted way, by ‘the people’ who really don’t like being called bigots. Therefore, this post has been written so that during any debate with ‘the people’, the most common misuses or more accurately – misleading uses – of the term are easily recalled.

Liber (root from Latin liberalis meaning noble, generous or benefiting a free person) + al (suffix indicating a relationship to the root)

Liberal – willing to respect or accept behaviour or opinions different from one’s own; open to new ideas. Not really that bad is it? We all have to live together and you can’t kill everyone who disagrees with you, although this has been tried before. Also, time can’t stand still. A nice quote on liberalism comes from William E. Gladstone, 4 times British Prime Minister and leader of the old Liberal Party:

‘Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear.’ 

Incidentally, Gladstone was known as, ‘The People’s William’ and also said that, ‘Men are apt to mistake the strength of their feeling for the strength of their argument. The heated mind resents the chill touch and relentless scrutiny of logic.’ (or facts)

Liberal or Keynesian economics – emphasises the concept of the free market and moneylenlaissez-faire policies, with the government’s role limited to controlling the excesses and providing support services. Keynes refined and developed his ideas in the aftermath of the Wall Street Crash and Great Depression of the 1930s; recognising the need for some regulation saying that, ‘Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone.’ 

‘The Moneychanger and his Wife’ by Quentin Matsys, 1514 .

Neoliberalism (related to Libertarianism) – also a belief in the free market but placed alongside the policies of a deregulated and globalised economy. The Neoliberalist policy model is the transference of economic control from the public sector to the private sector and the reduction of public expenditure, focusing instead on personal responsibility. It is associated with the ‘Chicago School’ economist Milton Friedman and was adopted by Thatcher and Reagan ‘Reaganomics’.

‘So that the record of history is absolutely crystal clear. That there is no alternative way, so far discovered, of improving the lot of the ordinary people that can hold a candle to the productive activities that are unleashed by a free enterprise system.’ Milton Friedman.

The ‘unleashing’ of those free market activities is where we are now, but hey, I’m NOT an economist! But I’m NOT a businessman either. It could be argued that we don’t really have a ‘free market’, but the resulting scramble would be even uglier and there would be a lot of human collateral.

On a final note, Liberal was also a term of abuse in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, when it meant ‘free from restraint or action’ in a society dominated by strict religious codes. It was the Enlightenment that revived it in a positive sense to mean ‘free from prejudice, tolerant, not bigoted or narrow’ and ‘favouring democracy’ in the late eighteenth century.

So, if you are NOT Liberal, what are you?

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‘The Execution of Torrijos and his Companions at Malaga Beach’ by Antonio Gisbert Perez, 1887 – 1888.
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The Country of the Blind

“He began to realise that you cannot even fight happily with creatures who stand upon a different mental basis to yourself.” The Country of the Blind and Other Stories by H.G. Wells, 1904

“In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.” Adagia by Desiderius Erasmus, 1500

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The Blind Leading the Blind by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, 1568

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How to make Britain Great Again

Otherwise known as,’ My own post-Brexit manifesto for 2017′

Or, ‘It’s hardly the Garden of Eden.’

lucas_cranach_the_elder_-_the_garden_of_eden_-_google_art_project

  1. Lose weight – but not for yourself, for the country. Being slimmer and fitter will not only help our ailing NHS but it will also help productivity. It has been shown that areas that voted for Brexit were more likely to suffer from higher obesity rates, so if like me you have a few extra pounds then do your best to lose them.
  2. Don’t throw litter. It’s everywhere and it’s disgusting. It’s also traitorous.
  3. Get educated – if the opportunities are there for you and you are fit and able. Why not? They say ignorance is bliss but is it if it means struggling along at the bottom? Encourage your children to try their best at school, so they have opportunity and choice when they grow up. It may not be a level playing field, but don’t take it lying down. And don’t repeat the media rubbish about teachers word for word. That’s written by very clever and manipulative people to keep you in your place.
  4. Take personal responsibility for your life – in the words of Camille Paglia, ‘We can’t all be victims.’
  5. Beautify any outside space you are responsible for with flowers and fresh paint. Be proud of your home, town, street. Why let the French and Germans beat us on this front?
  6. Pester your council to also spend money on improving public spaces and if they’ve run out of money (for whatever reason) volunteer to do it yourself or as part of your community. Roundabouts may be a good place to start – a la Francais.
  7. Get to know your neighbours. Stop fearing everyone. As the Spanish say: ‘Los buenos, somos mas’ – The good, there are more of us. Know who needs a bit of extra help, know who is lonely.
  8. Stop reading fiction rags – yes, those tabloids that just lie and spread fear and hate. What does it do for you? Ask yourself, ‘Does this make me feel good? Is this helping me get more out of my life?’ It may mean giving up on the ‘news’ altogether but do we need our lives run by the media’s agenda? To paraphrase C.S. Lewis, they’ll tell me when there’s a war.
  9. Lobby for a consumer goods and assets tax to be called the ‘Team Britain Tax’ – or something along those lines. You’re not being punished for your wealth but contributing. Who would object to paying more tax to make our country great? Imagine walking out of your house, down a beautifully paved street, to a pristine park with freshly painted railings, planted borders, picnic areas free of litter and lots of equipment for children to play on. Then moving on to the free or subsidised community swimming pool, library or adult education class. Or whilst out in your pedestrianised town centre, with its individual and regionally sensitive architecture, being caught short and finding a public toilet that is open, nearby, clean and free. Or living in your rural village, catching a reliable bus to work. Or finding a porter at the railway station to carry your bags. Or having subsidised childcare facilities at your place of work or any other convenient location. In fact, who would object to paying more and fairer taxes per se, if everything you could possibly need was provided by the state? Only traitors! This would be a real and meaningful shared wealth. This is what really underpins the Hygge in Denmark.
  10. Call for all our public institutions to be secular. It really would solve a lot of problems. No ban on religions, but practise them privately.
  11. Respect your British traditions if they’re important to you. Keep Christmas within its twelve days for example. You don’t have to put up your decorations when the shops do or take them down on New Year’s Day. And maybe you could accept the fact that Britain is multi-cultural and embrace or at least allow other traditions. What harm does it do? You’re more likely to lose your identity by being a consuming worker drone, buying to be different or because you’re worth it.
  12. Buy British produce. Support local food suppliers. Sign up for a box scheme. It can be cheaper and healthier. Learn to cook if you need to.
  13. Learn about British history and literature. Travel around your country. You can’t love your country if you know nothing about it. It’s a bit more than flag-waving, although as George Orwell points out, we British are rather fond of it.
  14. Grow your own fruit and vegetables if you can. It’ll enable self-reliance and provide some protection against price inflation or a sinking economy. Try to create community gardens or plant edible fruit and nut trees in public spaces.
  15. Decrease your energy use. Again you don’t want to be hostage to oil price rises or undemocratic countries selling you finite resources that our governments have sold off too cheaply or wasted.
  16. Recognise that there are no simple solutions to complex problems – that’s populism.
  17. Realise the depths of your own ignorance and always honestly question your own judgement and motives. It really is true that the more you know the more you realise you don’t know.
  18. Recognise your prejudices and try not to act on your own anger or fear. It has long been known in propaganda and its offspring, marketing and advertising, that fear and desire are the emotions we are most likely to act upon. The media know this, our politicians know this. Don’t be fooled into hate.
  19. Leavers – Realise that Remainers didn’t just vote on the economy or listen to the Remain campaign. We are not all rich or elite. For some, ‘Freedom of Movement’ has given us the opportunity to acquire work experience and life experience that wouldn’t otherwise have been available to us. It has also enabled many ordinary people to retire in the sun, in luxury they could never afford here.
  20. Remainers – Start making contingency plans for a hard Brexit but try not to let anger override compassion. I will certainly need to regularly remind myself.

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rondpoint

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