Friday, April 17, 2009

Some Soggy Patches From The Curate's Outfield

Not for the first time, the Scottish Catholic Church stands up for the things that the English Catholic Church don't seem to care about any more. I'm not at all sure that the new head of the Church in England and Wales, Vincent Nichols, will be an improvement on his lamentable predecessor.

The Cardinal singled out the SNP Government's plans to introduce minimum alcohol pricing as an example of a “deeply flawed” and “utterly discredited” approach.

Cardinal O'Brien said: “This policy mirrors the approach taken by this and previous administrations to drug use, vandalism, antisocial behaviour, obesity, even promiscuity, and might usefully be called the ‘command and control' model of public governance.”

He went on: “Advocates of such a model take the view that ‘bad behaviour', whether it be public drunkenness, health-threatening overeating or teenage promiscuity, are all immutable and unchangeable.”

He concluded: "When our fellow citizens err and lapse we seldom focus on them or ask why they behaved as they did.

"Rather we rush to impose legal restraints on such action forgetting dangerously that no external restrictions can ever match the effectiveness of self-restraint."

Self-restraint ? What's that ?

He's spot-on - and actually gives as an example the idiotic air-gun ban proposed after this incident.

Via Mick Hartley, this Sunday Times piece on the psychiatrist and Sixties counterculture guru R.D. Laing, who stressed the role of the family in producing mental illness, and - surprise, surprise - turned out to be a monstrous father to his own nine children (by three women).

Admittedly he had his good points :

Ronnie went berserk, dragged the woman across the room and began pounding her against the wall, shouting between thumps: “Don’t you f***ing understand… that what I am f***ing going on about… is that f***ing social workers have no f***ing right to f***ing interfere with families!” He then threw her out.
And :

In September 1984 he was arrested for drunkenness after throwing a full bottle of wine through the window of the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh Centre in Hampstead shortly before midnight. He was found sitting on the pavement and muttering obscenities about “orange wankers”.
But I'm not sure these can make up for abandoning his wife and five children to live in poverty, beating up his daughter (for babysitting under the influence of drugs - the hypocrite), not to mention a hint of the traditional 20th-century 'guru' pastime :

A “community house” was established at Kingsley Hall, a former youth hostel in east London. Sally Vincent was unimpressed. “It seemed to me that the psychiatrists outnumbered the patients, who were all female and uniformly good-looking. Ronnie would be pompousing about dressed in white robes looking like Jesus and I’d be asking him, ‘Why has that bloke got his hands all over that girl?’ The whole thing stank.”
Oh, and there's this - which admittedly can be argued both ways. The key point is that having brandished the sword of truth, others were left to deal with the consequences :

In 1975, Karen’s sister Susan was diagnosed with monoblastic leukaemia and was not expected to live another 12 months. Her mother, her fiancĂ© and her doctors all agreed that the diagnosis should be kept from her to spare her further suffering. Her father disagreed; he took a train from London to Glasgow, visited his daughter in hospital and informed her that in all likelihood she was unlikely to live beyond her 21st birthday. He then returned to London and left the family to cope. Susan’s mother was incensed and told her children she hoped that her former husband would “rot in hell”.
In Mick Hartley's words : "I don't know for sure, but I frankly doubt that his works are "required reading for students of psychiatry and psychotherapy around the world". If they are, it explains a lot."

Two quick Steyn links which are evanescent, so grab while you can - his memorials to Oriana Fallaci and the Reverend Canaan Banana (on whom I blogged here):

The Reverend Banana denied the allegations, but within weeks several cooks, gardeners, policemen, air force officers, scores of students at the University of Zimbabwe, and most of the President’s football team came forward with similar stories. You don’t have to be Banana’s to work here but it helps. It was impossible to keep count: “Come, Mister Tallyman, tally up Banana’s” is easier said than done.

In Zimbabwe, homosexuality is punishable by ten years in gaol, and Mr Mugabe is famously antipathetic to the practice. You’ll recall that he’s denounced Tony Blair as a “gay gangster” leading “the gay government of the gay United gay Kingdom”. This was at a time when its first openly gay Secretary of State was being received with his partner at Buckingham Palace and another less openly gay Secretary of State was in the papers for an ill-starred encounter with a young lad on Clapham Common, and the unbiased observer might well, like Mr Mugabe, have been struck by the British cabinet’s lack of visible heterosexuals. But, eschewing the convention whereby former colonies are allowed to abuse the imperial power to their hearts’ content, Mr Blair took umbrage.

In such a climate, it’s hardly surprising President Banana found himself on trial for sodomy. Even the 1982 law forbidding jokes about the Presidential name couldn’t help him: who needs gags when you’ve got headlines like “Man Raped By Banana” (The Herald), “Banana Forced Officer To Have Sex” (The Guardian), “Banana Appeals Against Sodomy Conviction” (the BBC) and (my personal favourite) “Hand Over Banana, Mandela Is Told” (The Daily Telegraph)?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Re R. D. Laing:

He collapsed and died on the tennis court in St Tropez on August 23, 1989.This puts me in mind of the question often asked of George Best: where did it all go wrong?