Tuesday, 9 December 2008

A quick round up

A quick round up.

Journalists should not look down from too great a height on Karen Matthews, convicted last week of the Shannon Matthews scrimmage. I agreed with a pal who works on a famously loathed tabloid when she said: ‘One thing nobody is saying is how this bunch of public school-educated mockneys,’ – the reporters on said organ – ‘were taken for a ride by two chavs in the middle of nowhere, addled on drugs and with barely two brain cells to rub together’. Journalists, immensely self-regarding and often possessed of low intelligence and imagination as they are, have trouble facing up to things like that. Only Liddle in the Sunday Times mentioned it. Having said that, scamming Fleet Street, albeit on a more morally acceptable level than the Matthews is easy enough if you know what to do and have a few contacts. Tabloids, especially these days, manned as they are by the dozy, credulous, Princess Diana-fied Facebook generation, will always be prey to this kind of bullshit.

I say they ‘always’ will be, but Andrew Sullivan says newspapers will be gone very soon now. I think the same, basically. Like so many other things, the internet will kill them without adequately replacing them. Democracy and the exposure of abuses of power are at stake here and in the wake of the newspaper decline the tin pot gods of internet comment, where conspiracy theories and juvenile sarcasm rule the day, will gain influence. This will suit the postmodernists just dandy, because ‘there will be no truth’ - but theirs. To the Chomsky and Michael Moore-gobbling student-minded there are no truths – except theirs. Aside from seeing less of Simon Cowell and Kate Moss and others of their type, no good can come from the death of newspapers, rubbishy as they mostly now are.

Reading of newspapers, and the interest and attention needed to stimulate literacy generally, will also be sapped by Sir Jim Rose’s education proposals. Backed by Ed Balls and, I would imagine, the majority of Labour, they will be remembered as a flashbulb moment in the history of British political and educational folly. History, geography and religious studies will be moved into a ‘human, social and environmental studies programmes’. Oh dear.
This is, of course, a modern leftist’s ideal: Abolish the past and control the present. Indoctrinate children with the new religions – climate change and a spurious internationalism, which, as we saw with Germany and will see with America, when the going gets tough is a rather meaningless Islington dinner party fancy. ‘Politicians back it,’ said a BBC news reporter last night, ‘and teachers want it.’ I bet they do. I’ve met quite a few young, new ‘teachers’ in the last few years (they have expanded as a class – no pun intended – since Labour poured millions into the education system, with only a decline in literacy and a rise in anti-social behaviour to show for it) and as a rule I have found them to have been unintelligent, politically, culturally and morally empty – except for eco-platitudes, multiculturalism and a ragbag of the hand-me-down shibboleths of 1968 learned at ‘university’. They were also, almost to a man and a woman, immensely hypocritical about how they referred to the white working class and Asian/Black ethnic working class. The latter referred to in the careful, utopian language of Cultural Marxism; the former as ‘chavs’. I wouldn’t mind betting that these education reforms will be seen, by those with the nous to recollect and work it out, as one of the larger death knells of literature, democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law in Britain.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Ray Winstone on Scum Britain

The 'hard man' actor Ray Winstone was in the Mail on Sunday yesterday ranting and raving about Britain having gone to the dogs, what with an incompetent yet dictatorial government (ZANU-LABOUR as Matthew Parris in the Times noted they are now being called in the wake of the Damien Green scrimmage), an emasculated police force, filthy hospitals and much else wrong. Sample:
"‘I wouldn’t mind if you could actually see something being done with all the money they take off in taxes. But I don’t see more police on the streets. I don’t see more schools or hospitals being built. What I see is no one on the streets and then a legal system that doesn’t support the coppers when things finally get to court. There are criminals getting off every day in this country.
‘I see people going into hospital ill and coming out worse with an MRSA bug they’ve picked up from an unclean ward. And I see so many people coming into this country that we can’t cope.
‘As far as knife crime is concerned, what’s wrong with getting tough? First offence, a warning. Second offence, five years and third offence life.
‘I’m happy for anyone from any other country to come here if they want to work, but I’m not happy to support everyone for nothing. I don’t want anyone taking the p***. If you’ve come into our country and you commit a crime, you should be deported. End of story.’ He shakes his head. ‘To me, this all makes sense.’"

He goes on to intimate that he supports the death sentence.

There's quite a lot of implication and one or two big ironies in this. Obviously I am not surprised that Winstone, an ex boxer, Essex born and bred son of a licensed cabbie turns out to be a working class conservative of the old school. What is surprising and amusing is that he must be one of the very few actors in Britain who holds these views or makes them known. If he was 30 years younger and looking to get on, saying the above mouthful - or anything half as strong - would destroy your career in a trice, the British Theatre being a closed shop of left wing platitudes ranging on a spectrum between the Redgraves' lunacy to a simple calculation that when 'social democracy' is in charge the money tap (funding) comes on with a veangeance. Winstone's fellow 'social realism' actors, Philip Davis and Tim Roth are champagne socialists of the common-or-garden variety. I wonder what they'll say about their old mate when they hear what they'll call a crypto-BNP diatribe?
Another irony to consider is that Winstone loathes the criminality, violence, drug and welfare addiction which has spread through the land. Yet he himself must implicated in this. Every thug I ever met had a working knowledge of Winstone's hard man oeuvre, most especially that repugnant, did-far-more-harm-than-good film Scum, which was a classic example of the exploitation movie dressed up as political filmmaking. Have I not heard boneheaded, Stella-swilling, line-racking morons 'doing' Winstone's 'who's the daddy?' speech, usually before the fisticuffs kick off, many times? Monkey see, monkey do. That's the sober lesson of television's impact.
Then there's the director who launched Winstone's career, the Liverpudlian left-winger Alan Clarke, he must be spinning in his grave to hear the boy dissing welfare claimants and migrants. One thing's for sure, Ken Loach won't be calling him up.

Sunday, 30 November 2008

***Racing Interlude***

I was sorry to see that Sam Thomas fell off the favourite for the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury yesterday. It's happening every weekend. Champion Trainer Paul Nicholls must be starting to think the team's jinxed. Ruby Walsh injured and Thomas unseated every other ride. There was some incredible jumping at Newbury yesterday.

A lesson from the third world*

*Health warning: If you work for The Guardian, its style guide forbids you to use the experession 'the third world'.

How refreshing to see that India's home minister Shivraj Patil has taken moral responsibility for the Bombay** attacks. (The BBC has quotation marks around moral responsibility; doubtless they are seen as ironic apostrophes in the minds of news editorial.) When was the last time a British cabinet minister said and did that? About the time of the Falklands War, I would have said. Yes, there have been many resignations, but they have taken place after absurd levels of personal lobbying, media lobbying, prying, negotiation and outright blackmail.

** Yes, I called it Bombay. And so, apparently, do many of its citizens. The name was changed by Hindu nationalists. How funny to see British cultural marxism (that's PC in its correct terminology) rolls over and sops to a nationalist whim (the nation state being the Original Sin of man's relationship with topography and the prime reason everywhere must become EU sector no. 78978979; in other words nowhere). Why? Whatever a post-colonial country does is right. Handsome is as handsome does, as my old granny used to say. And when it is airbrushing its history of the mark of the imperial oppressor it is very right indeed. But many Indians still call it Bombay. My brother-in-law works there from time to time and confirmed this.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Hostages and killings in India

I see Muslim militants have gone on a killing bender in India.
Just before I saw the news of the attack I was pondering what might happen if we did the sensible thing and left Afghanistan and Iraq. Would all this just stop or would there be new gripes? I've also thought for quite some time that holiday-making anywhere near anything that calls itself a mujahideen is bad news. I see this getting worse. I suppose in the end they'll be pulling people off the street here and decapitating them. I'll keep an eye out and see if Iqbal Sacranie or Inayat Bunglawala have much to say on this.