Monday, 29 June 2009

Sharia/Andrew Marr/Yvette Cooper/The Gods of the Copybook Headings

The stories that caught my eye today are nicely representative of the dog days of this Thatcho-Socialist government. The Mail’s front page tells us that Britain has 85 sharia courts. This is the sort of story (along with stories about teen crime, drug abuse, immigration and cultural Marxism in the civil service) that the orthodox Left, be they Obs readers or Spartists, always depose by saying that the Mail has “made them up” or “exaggerated” them.
The story’s source is a report into British sharia courts by the think tank Civitas. The Muslim Council of Britain, a dubious organisation at the best of times, declares the report to be “scaremongering”. This is likely to prove a sort of integrity affidavit in reverse. I haven’t read the booklet yet but I’m willing to bet the information inside is far from fabricated or distorted. Yes, the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal is recognised under the same act as Jewish Beth Din courts, but Dr David Green, director of Civitas, says:
‘The reality is that for many Muslims, sharia courts are in practice part of an institutionalized atmosphere of intimidation, backed by the ultimate sanction of a death threat.’

It is clear to me this situation has come about and gained power due to the endemic cultural and moral relativism within the liberal elite*.
I am aware I make this point again and again, but since our rulers have no intention of easing up their agenda, I am afraid those of us who disagree must not cease pointing it out. Our rulers in government and across the major institutions have a great belief that their obstinate casuistry can prevail via a never-ending campaign of attritional pressure on the public; simply wearing everyone down and repeating and streamlining an official version of language, language designed to alter thought, and therefore reality.
Though it is admirably and cheerfully honest about the smugness and hypocrisy of the middle-class Left, Andrew Marr’s Observer column from Sunday, 28th February, 1999, is a great example of the totalitarian attitudes that have driven the “social democrats” of the last 20 years:

What then can be done? (Apart, of course, from widespread and vigorous miscegenation, which is the best answer, but perhaps tricky to arrange as public policy.) First, we need to raise still more taxes …And the final answer, frankly, is the vigorous use of state power to coerce and repress. It may be my Presbyterian background, but I firmly believe that repression can be a great, civilising instrument for good. Stamp hard on certain 'natural' beliefs for long enough and you can almost kill them off. The police are first in line to be burdened further, but a new Race Relations Act will impose the will of the state on millions of other lives too.

Hmmm. Here we are, ten years later, with the BNP in Brussels and Marr’s beloved Labour violently hated by large parts of its purported constituency. Imagine if Marr’s proposal – final solution, so to speak – of effectively breeding the white working class of Britain out of existence was applied to other ethnic groups? There would be some little outrage, wouldn’t there?
But, even though it is obvious that relativism, pluralism and multiculturalism of the Labour project have been divisive and destructive, the agenda doesn’t change. They keep on with it. Witness today’s story about the Department for Work and Pensions busily engaged in sending to thousands of fake job applications to businesses to find out if they’re racist. This was a wheeze from Yvette Cooper’s (Mrs Edward Balls) Ethnic Minority and Employment Task Force within the Department of Work and Pensions. This story, more almost than the expenses racket, made my jaw drop. Possibly because I have extensive dealings with that ministry and have been shocked at its incompetence. Like so many departments under Labour, they cease to perform the basic function they are charged with and instead begin to carry out new and exotic functions borne from the abstractions of Oxbridge-educated Islingtonistas. Government by smart asses with gold-plated pensions and soft, pudgy hands.
It appears Gordon Brown has finally realised that the indigenous working class, white, black or brown, got the worse deal under Labour. So today he launches his ‘houses for British people’, a textbook piece of Labour moonshine, created by robbing Peter to pay Paul, i.e. nicking money out of the Transport budget and hoping The Sun will big the scheme up for them.
The proposal, like 99 per cent of government schemes designed to buy off public opprobrium, will quietly disappear into the deep freeze of civil service wrangling and bureaucracy in due course.
The other story I noticed, which shows up the sheer incompetence of the Brown/Blair double act, is the Army chiefs memo to the Iraq inquiry, saying that once the war had begun, funds for the Army were not released by Brown’s Treasury, which meant necessary tools to prosecute Mr Blair’s war were not available. The adverse affects of this have been seen in our newspapers many times. Blair has also been criticised in the memo by army chiefs. I wonder how they speak of him in the regimental messes? Which brings me, in a way, to Kipling’s great poem The Gods of the Copybook Headings, which speaks for itself:

As I pass through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place;
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "Stick to the Devil you know."

On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "The Wages of Sin is Death."

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die."

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four—
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man—
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began:—
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will bum,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

*I try not to overuse the phrase liberal elite, as it seems to break Orwell’s commonsense rules laid down in Politics and the English Language, but since there is a centre left ruling class of politicians and other bureaucrats, from the government through the civil service to the BBC, you have to use the expression.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Standing on the shoulders of, etc

Drinking with a friend of mine on a boat by Embankment at dusk last night, I was reminded of these lines by Conrad, which are worth sharing:

'Forthwith a change came over the waters, and the serenity became less brilliant but more profound. The old river in its broad reach rested unruffled at the decline of day, after ages of good service done to the race that peopled its banks, spread out in the tranquil dignity of a waterway leading to the uttermost ends of the earth. We looked at the venerable stream not in the vivid flush of a short day that comes and departs for ever, but in the august light of abiding memories. And indeed nothing is easier for a man who has, as the phrase goes, "followed the sea" with reverence and affection, that to evoke the great spirit of the past upon the lower reaches of the Thames. The tidal current runs to and fro in its unceasing service, crowded with memories of men and ships it had borne to the rest of home or to the battles of the sea. It had known and served all the men of whom the nation is proud, from Sir Francis Drake to Sir John Franklin, knights all, titled and untitled -- the great knights-errant of the sea. It had borne all the ships whose names are like jewels flashing in the night of time, from the Golden Hind returning with her rotund flanks full of treasure, to be visited by the Queen's Highness and thus pass out of the gigantic tale, to the Erebus and Terror, bound on other conquests -- and that never returned. It had known the ships and the men. They had sailed from Deptford, from Greenwich, from Erith -- the adventurers and the settlers; kings' ships and the ships of men on 'Change; captains, admirals, the dark "interlopers" of the Eastern trade, and the commissioned "generals" of East India fleets. Hunters for gold or pursuers of fame, they all had gone out on that stream, bearing the sword, and often the torch, messengers of the might within the land, bearers of a spark from the sacred fire. What greatness had not floated on the ebb of that river into the mystery of an unknown earth! . . . The dreams of men, the seed of commonwealths, the germs of empires.'

Gazy McGonagall


I held the tiny ship with care,
As she grew accustomed to the air.
I knew not her, nor she me;
Her eyes shut tight – as well they might be.
Gripping fingers but no teeth,
Cheeks of fine, rare roast beef.
She’ll do for a journey crossing many borders,
Without a map and missing orders.
The voyage begins.

WG 25th June, 2009

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Brown Studies/The Immigration Reckoning/Tory Millionaires/Yeats/62p trixie

“Don’t say Brown, say ‘useless’” was, I believe, a commonly used jeer against Harold Wilson’s alcoholic Foreign Secretary Lord George-Brown in the 60s. Yes, it needs to be brought back into service.
The news that the autistic Scotch control freak (who, like so many control freaks, has no control over anything) will very likely step down before the next election made me pause for this thought: never elected, never voted out. Levered into power and inflicted on an electorate that could never stand the sight of him. What pathetic and dishonourable men govern this country. I would have a smidgin of respect for Brown if his arrogance meant he’d go to a general election, took the humiliation and destroyed his party along the way. Great leaders need a touch – just a touch, mind – of Ahab. (Good album/blog/novel title, that: A Touch of Ahab)
And the Labour Party does need to be destroyed. As does the Conservative Party. The Labour Party’s policies have become antithetical to civilised life. Ditto the Tories.
Of course, there are fringe benefits from Tory rule: they tend to not want to interfere relentlessly with personal liberty, they are a little more empirical, something we badly need at the moment. Unlike Gordon Brown, they won’t go running down to Buckingham Palace to serve notice on sexist monarchical lines of descent just when the British economy is going into full-scale meltdown. A Conservative government might – might – just be able to save British pubs, for example, or at least stay the execution, by reversing the punitive tax and other regulations, which Labour inflicted on them and which are now destroying them as a result. The Conservatives might be more practical in matters of law and order. Labour’s interference in that area has been truly disastrous. But by and large, the Conservatives will simply continue Blairism, which was Thatcherism with socialist spending plans. The rich and privileged will continue to be pampered, and everyone else can just lump it. This was proved to me last week when Boris Johnson announced his idea for an amnesty on illegal immigration. Boris doesn’t know shit about London life, as was proved with his ridiculous booze ban on Tubes and buses (incidentally, I flout this rule whenever I feel like it). Boris doesn’t have to queue. If he did he’d know that the basic objections to his plan – London is hellishly overcrowded and its services, from health to transport, stretched to breaking point – are correct and moral. But of course the Tory fetish is always and at all times a quick buck, and big business loves an immigrant who comes cheap and, to quote Boris’s adviser Anthony Browne, “pays their tax”. Socialists love them for their demographic-altering properties, as a McGuffin for all manner of non-negotiable culturally Marxist civic alteration and for vague righteous notions of post-colonial guilt (even if the immigrants come from Turkmenistan).
I never had a problem with immigration until Labour had been in charge of it for a few years. I don’t know anybody who did. Now I know lots, including members of ethnic minorities.
I could see the way things were going nearly a decade ago. I knew the people who would be the losers would be the indigenous poor of Britain, a constituency held lower in esteem by Blair and Mandleson than excrement on the bottom of their very expensive footwear. Both those men, with crocodile tears flowing, would be most hurt by that observation. But always judge a politician on what he does and not what he says. On that basis my observation is correct.
One of Blair’s most audacious feats of chicanery was achieved in the field of immigration policy. He simply and repeatedly lied, while the evidence that he was lying was freely available and often published. In 2005 he made a speech at Dover on immigration that perhaps was the ne plus ultra of new Labour doublethink. He said that his government was working hard to create strict controls on asylum seekers, which would therefore bring down immigration. This gave the impression that the main cause of rising immigration would be checked. Of course, asylum seekers never were the cause of rising immigration figures; it was the government’s policy of issuing work permits for non-EU residents and their dependents that accounted for the huge rise in immigration. A full account of the nuances behind this policy can be found here.
In the light of the recent election of two British fascists to the European Parliament everyone should be reminded of the key Labour policies that put those two men on the Brussels gravy train. They were policies held dear by the money and privilege-loving ex-Marxists who constituted the Labour front bench in the middle of the decade.
Three years after Blair’s speech at Dover, and eleven years after Labour’s victory, the first of many reckonings on one of their most obstinate policies was published. Note:
The verdict of the committee, which boasts a brace of ex-Chancellors, a former Bank of England governor, sundry ex-Cabinet ministers and prominent economists, is unambiguous. The record levels of immigration since Labour came to power have had "little or no impact" on our economic wellbeing, while the Government's assertion that immigration is essential in preventing labour shortages is "fundamentally flawed".

I was talking to a girl at a party last week, and she took a sort of amused stance at my concern at the rise of the far-Right. “Oh, I wouldn’t worry. The BNP getting elected wasn’t about immigration, it was just the credit crunch. It’ll all blow over.”
This is exactly what Edward Balls would say. It is the orthodox Left’s comfy place of denial. Just as soon as we can get another credit boom going, everything will be all right.
I don’t agree. Which, to return to my original point, is why both main parties need to be destroyed and new parties emerge. I believe we are at a crossroads: one road leads to a balkanised and deeply divided society, the other to a civilised and free society. One road is easy, the other hard.

But enough of that; we know which road the two Etonian millionaires will be driving us down come next election. I had a week away from this blog to concentrate on Royal Ascot, where I picked up some small winnings and nearly won the Tote jackpot. I was not in a financial position to attend, but was quite happy to watch it on television – the most telly I have watched for a very long time. It was enjoyable: two of my favourite popular musicians were there: Mr Rod Stewart and Mr Charles Watts of the Rolling Stones (himself a noted horse breeder) and the racing was the best you can see in the world. The star of the week was undoubtedly Yeats, who made history as the first horse to win the Ascot Gold Cup four times. What an animal. Had Yeats the poet still been with us he would have written a poem about Yeats the horse’s performance. Someone was very confident in Yeats’ abilities because they had 25,000 on him to win. Which he duly did. You can watch the race here. Note Johnny Murtagh crossing himself at the end of the race. Although I am a non-believer I found this rather touching.

Although I didn’t win the Ascot jackpot, I did place a 62p trixie on three horses running at Goodwood on Friday night. I was most pleased when it won me eight hundred pounds, or the equivalent of 16 weeks’ dole money. Victoria Sponge 12/1, Yes Mr President 8/1, My Shadow 7/1. My hat is off to the horses and jockeys.

Monday, 15 June 2009

The Last Raspberry

The recession hasn’t actually started yet. By which I mean the public narrative of the recession hasn’t started yet because it hasn’t affected the public sector yet. It soon will. The recession proper will start the day the staggeringly huge subcutaneous membrane of paper shufflers and middle management in the civil service and public sector start getting their marching orders.
This section of society will have watched the events of the last ten months unfold with slightly worried eyes while safe in the knowledge that though the P45s were being handed round in the sector that pays for their padded existence they knew they were on for a pay rise. Well, sooner or later that party will be over and then the trouble will start in earnest.
Government sympathisers within the media may be reduced, but many journalists addicted to the Thatcho-Socialism of Labour are still at large and occasionally they lob a ‘green shoots of recovery’ story in to help out. A cheery economics reporter on the BBC this morning: “Why is everybody being so gloomy?’
Once the grim scythe comes towards his people, the state employees, the tune will change rapidly. Popular culture will suddenly discover the recession; indignation will appear; it’ll be like the early 80s all over again. Perhaps The Specials will make a record.
Had the economy had been wrecked by a Tory government we would have heard a great deal more from all movers and shakers in our culture by now. Brown would have been the butt of every comedian and DJ’s joke, as Thatcher, Major and their cabinets were in times of economic distress. But most of the people who control popular culture in Britain thoroughly approved of Blairism and new Labour (it was a superb way of being an absolute pig for money, power, advantage and privilege while maintaining you had a conscience and were not a ‘wicked Tory’. That is why so many TV and newspaper people were new Labour supporters) and still do. Now all the wheels are off the wagon and there is truckloads of evidence about sleaze, incompetence and downright deceit you might think there’d be an emerging strain of opprobrium for Labour, with its Goebbelsian deceit, its wars and its incompetence, but I don’t see much of that.
Contrast this with Cameron’s likely tiny-majority government come next year. There’ll be some noisy and righteous condemnations of government then. Marches, benefits, placards, the full monty Just you wait.

Encouraging events! Revolt in Iran and the Times’ leader calls Gordon Brown a liar (the Ed Balls fan club known as the Financial Times has, last Friday, also declared this government’s stance on spending plans to be dishonest).
I have nothing to say about the Iran rebellion other than I wish them the best of British luck, as people used to say, they are going to need it. Let’s hope Barack Obama can find some time to yell them on. That will upset Ahmadinejad but I don’t think that matters much, does it? As a pal pointed out to me yesterday, ever since Obama became King of America that country’s enemies have been rattling their sabres with rare energy. Do they sense a weakling has taken over from a bull in china shop?

Back to Brown. He’s unveiled the big lie that will take us to the general election: Labour Will Spend, Tories Will Cut. We know that this man is incompetent, but to castigate the Tories for spending figures straight out of your own government’s plans and projections is pretty incredible incompetence.
The money’s all gone and the only course of action any future government will have is to cut spending and raise taxes. It’s a simple as that.
I take no Thatcherite relish in this but I long ago came to the conclusion that if any form of modern socialism – fairness versus inequality of resource and opportunity – is to win the political argument then it must confront its many Achilles heels; the big one being bureaucratic sclerosis and managerialism. It won’t, but there you go.

Ooh, we get an Iraq inquiry. All done behind closed doors. What a surprise. It will be finished long after Brown is finished and I’m quite prepared to bet cash this very afternoon that the big dirty secrets of that epoch – and the major guilty parties – will remain largely untouched. The Iraq inquiry will be Labour’s last long raspberry at the truth.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Finally, a June Evening

Free pleasures. The two landscapes are of the allotment up the road. My attempt to do Samuel Palmer with a mobile phone camera...

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Email to a pal re Martin Amis's The Information

How you going with The Information? It disappointed me in the end. FAR. TOO. LONG. No one now can hold a candle to him adjectivally, his similes are stunning etc As a stylist he is a nonpareil. Absolutely brilliant. But fuck me, 500 pages about this prick who hates his mate for being successful? With a few easy-to anticipate twists and a bit of existential anxiety thrown in – done very well, I must say, but it seemed tacked on to give the penny-plain story some…intellectual gravity? The usual stuff about West London shitholes all present and correct from London Fields. 500 pages! That’s a grand a page just for the advance. He goes for a Lear bit towards the end along the lines of what is the meaning of thunder. It was, I think, supposed to come across as the ultimate WHY but seems more like a whiney teen spliffhead in the park. I had a lot of good chuckles at it, though, his talent for escalating a humorous idea is great – mind you, some of the running jokes don’t come off – but the whole thing is about him, him, him; the world, the universe in fact, as seen by an extremely clever, wealthy writer who’s done a lot of drugs, been around a lot and is starting, to use Byron’s youthful phrase, ‘to grow tired of the sun’. Correction, not about the world but the world’s effect on him. There’s nothing wrong with this at all but the great novelists – trades descriptions act: he is referred to as such, or was before The Eagleton Incident – can take us over whole societies; this, however, is kind of close-up work at Tolstoyan length, with some galactic physics chucked in. On the other hand, apart from where it sags, you enjoy hanging out with this writer because every sentence, every word is considered, tasted and pushed to its limit on occasion – though sometimes not considered enough in my opinion: he has a fetish for those irritating DeLillo-ish sentences. Parody: ‘He got back behind the wheel, the wheel of the Micra. He knew the world hated him now. He knew it. He knew that. He knew.’
Know what I mean? Great impact now and again but it becomes a peccadillo you have to tolerate. The real thing about that book is that you end up thinking, fella, it CAN’T be *that* bad being you, can it? (he says both characters are based on him). As my mate Ryder said when Cobain topped himself: ‘Depression? Try being broke for months, walking to work every day and living on baked beans…’
I think the reason he got SO into 9/11 was that SOMETHING BIG AND IMPORTANT HAD FINALLY HAPPENED in his lifetime that he could write about. Bit more than the Stones at Earl’s Court and the Cold War that never really delivered. His old man had communism and world war two; all he’d had was sex, drugs and Nabokov. I still think my diagnosis of his prose as being ‘like Kingsley on skunk’ is accurate.
But still, RESPECK, as they say in the streets. He’s worth a million Hornbys and Parsonses. True, I am an unpublished novelist but you don’t have to be a carpenter to criticise a chair – hey, that could be a payoff line from Subterranean Homesick Blues…


It All Comes Round

My father on politics: 'It's like going to the pictures years ago: if you sat there long enough the same film would come back on.'
I was reminded of this when going through my diaries of the last five years. 200,000 words of...not too disgraceful writing about my life and times. I found this bit, from 27th April, 2006, made me smile:

'Presiding over all this is Blair and he doesn't want to come off the pool table. The party knows that the longer he stays the more there's a chance of bloody disaster in the next general election - it's the Last Days of Thatcher all over again: the MPs see him now as dead weight, a liability to their continuing in the style to which they have become accustomed. I have some sympathy for Blair's view: I believe he looks at those back benches, and the grass roots activists behind them and thinks: 'The sheer ingratitude of it! Look at what I gave you, you pigs and trogs: you were nothing without me and you'll be fuck all when I'm gone: you couldn't have got the last ten years of power without me' etc. In other words a bit like Napoleon's marshals begging him to abdicate in 1814.
Gordon Brown is waiting in the wings, and waiting. It may well be that Blair will turn resentful over the party turning on him and stay longer than he knows he should: a sort of scorched earth policy. Brown, when he finally gets his hands on the controls, will find a public largely alienated from him and his party and so angry they are unbribable.'

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Oborne on the BNP

I could write a lot about Labour's role in empowering fascism in Britain but Peter Oborne does the job here.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Pause for Thought

"What was it like? If you were not there you will never know. Go to a cemetery and look at every cross and think of each one as a son or a husband or a father of children and count them, and then you might know a little."
He collects some sand from the beach and places it in a plastic bag.
"Let's go home," he says. "It's over now."

Worth reading.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

'Building a Safe, Just and Tolerant Society'

The reports of evidence given in this case were perhaps the most distressing I've ever read.

'The Old Bailey heard Sonnex had been jailed for a previous knife attack but was allowed out on licence and went straight back to his life of crime.'

This is why socialism and law and order are a disastrous mix.

Why is that, you ask?

Simple; ever since new Labour came to power they have worked hard to liberalise the treatment of offenders, via the sentencing advisory council (which is why you should always take with a pinch of salt tabloid-toadying statements made by Labour Home Secretaries who demand 'inquiries' when those liberalising measures cause violent death). Violent criminals are routinely granted bail - this was order number one from the Home Office/Ministry of Justice/Whatever Banana Republic-style epithet the clever clogs who govern us have dreamt up now - and that has caused more 'heads to be kicked like footballs' than you can shake a stick at. It's also got a fair number of people killed: Gary Newlove, for example, kicked to death by bailed teens in front of his daughter. Bail granted to all but in the most exception circumstances. I'm willing to bet that prison licence works in exactly the same way. It's all fun, as the saying goes, until someone loses an eye.