Friday, October 01, 2004

Lighten Our Darkness ...

Our hovel is down a leafy and muddy lane, several hundred yards from the next house. The phone line consequently has its own set of poles, carrying the wire through the trees (overgrown hedges to be exact) which line the road.

Frequently in storms the line breaks and BT are called out. On one occasion it was discovered that squirrels had chewed through the insulation.

The nearest house capable of getting broadband was half a mile away. Until I read this. At last the 4 mile limit from the exchange (6 km to non-Brits) is being removed and we have the chance for broadband !

Alright, it's only 512K. But when I think of all those 12M downloads I've rejected. I might even listen to these peoples' stuff.

Rejoice ! And another reason to smile - the site of the Russian Wodehouse Society.

"When Troubles Come ..."

The Tory square is under pressure from all sides, with a fourth place in Hartlepool as UKIP peel away the votes from the right and the LDs from the left.

In the Spectator Peter Hitchens returns to the (in my view valid) charge that the Tories, while winning the economic wars of the 80s, lost the equally important cultural ones - and didn't even seem to be aware that they existed.

The slow-motion coup d’├ętat which placed the state under the full authority of political commissars was the end of a process they had begun themselves with their platoons of special advisers. Their own long failure to defend the hereditary principle as a valued part of the constitution left them headless and gutless when New Labour turned on the Lords and began to jostle the monarchy. They had actively taken part in the egalitarian trashing of the education system. They had emasculated the police, destroyed the power of parents and teachers over children, undermined marriage, sought to attack juries and mused publicly about introducing identity cards. They had initiated the process leading to capitulation to the IRA, and so couldn’t oppose surrender when it took place. They were even more compromised on the European project.

Which education secretary closed down most grammar schools ?

The breakup of the Tories would mean, as Hartlepool shows, the fragmentation of their vote to a number of parties spread between the LDs and the BNP. So Labour could stay in power for another decade even with a disillusioned and cynical electorate.

Also in the Speccie we have Pat Buchanan arguing that 'Bush is not a conservative' (which might be his appeal to some) and suggesting that he too is losing the culture war.

Interesting thesis. By 1987 the Tories were all-powerful, and people were speculating Labour would never hold power again. Now look at the two parties. If Bush wins in 2004, will that be 1987 for US conservatives, a high tide followed by swift decline ?

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Have Your Say

When Zarquawi (or his mates - there's no doubt this kidnapping is designed for max media) read posts like this on the BBC, they must have the feeling that Pavlov had when he rang a bell and the dogs all salivated.

It is terribly sad and horrifying to see a man treated in this way. However, and intentionally so, he is being treated exactly in the same way as the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. Imprisoned in a small cage with no idea of what the future may bring.

"Yes !"

"He broke the code !"
"High fives !"

As the excellent Eric the Unread says

"Yes, at this very moment George Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and Colin Powell are standing in line behind a bound Al Qaeda terrorist, captured helping the Taliban create heaven on earth in Afghanistan, reciting the Lord's prayer and the American Declaration of Independence. Soon George will take out his knife and hack off the militant's head. The tapes will then be sent to CNN, with the message that the Western World will be cleansed of non-Christians. Exactly the same."

Not exactly the same, Eric. The beheadee would be an innocent bloke pulled off the street, chosen on racial or religious grounds.

Eric suggests a small competition.

"So, your challenge, should you accept it, is to attempt to get a lunatic Have your Say comment published on any subject. Points will be awarded for pandering to the bias of the BBC Have your Say team, outlandish comparisons, anti-Western sentiment, stupidity, and mentioning Blair is a liar."

Go on, have your say ! Let Eric know about any successes.

I'm hoping my 'as Michael Moore has shown, Iraq was a peaceful country ...' will make it. Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

From Misogyny To Homophobia

Hari and Peter Tatchell are distressed by the lyrics of ragga stars like Buju Banton and the Men Elephant and Beenie, with their negative view of uphill gardening, batty boys and chichi men.

Thirty years ago ska master (and Muslim - I never knew that) Prince Buster was keeping his woman firmly in her place.

The Ten Commandments of man - given to woman
Through the inspiration of I; Prince Buster

1 Thou shall have no other man but me

2 Thou shall not encourage no man to make love to you
Neither kiss nor caress you
For I am your man, a very jealous man
And is ready to lay low any other man
That may intrude in our love

3 Remember to kiss and caress me
Honor and obey me, in my every whim and fancy
Seven days a week and twice on Sundays
Because at no time will I ever be tired of I-T, it
Honour my name, that every other woman
May honour it also

5 Thou shall not provoke me to anger
Or my wrath will descend upon you heavily

6 Thou shall not search my pockets at night
Or annoy me with your hearsays

7 Thou shall not shout my name in the streets
If I'm walking with another woman
But wait intelligently until I come home
Then we both can have it out decently
For I am your man, a funny man
And detest a scandal in public places

8 Thou shall not drink, nor smoke
Nor use profane language
For those bad habits I will not stand for

9 Thou shall not commit adultery
For the world will not hold me guilty
If I commit murder

10 Thou shall not covet thy neighbor's dress
Nor her shoes, nor her bureau, nor her bed, nor her hat
Nor anything that's hers
Neither shall thou call my attention to anything
That may be for sale
In any stores, for I will not give thee anything
But what you actually need for your purpose

Those are the Ten Commandments given from man to woman
By me, Prince Buster

UPDATE - for an idiotic liberal view of Hari's gripes, try here.

"The world is in trouble/Anytime Buju Banton come/ Batty boy get up and run/ ah gunshot in ah head man/Tell dem crew… it’s like/ Boom bye bye, in a batty boy head, rude boy nah promote no nasty man, them hafi dead." The average member of the reggae dancehall culture knows the message that this song is sending to its listeners. However, without a translation these lyrics do not mean a thing to someone who is not familiar with this culture and the vocabulary of dancehall artists. Translated the lyrics read: "The world is in trouble/When Buju Banton arrives/Faggots have to run/Or get a bullet in the head /Bang-bang, in a faggot’s head/Homeboys don’t condone nasty men/They must die."

I honestly believe there is nothing wrong with the lyrics of Buju Banton’s song "Boom Bye Bye" because of the fact that he is singing about his culture. I believe anyone, not only musicians, but any artist should be able to express themselves and their beliefs through their work. If it is the norm in your society to believe something is wrong then how can you expect a prominent artist to express himself in a manner that goes against the norm of his society. Personally I believe that he is singing about his culture and no one, no matter what the situation, should be criticized for expressing his or her beliefs.

I hope she remembers that when my concept CD, 'Reaffirming Patriarchy - Capture, Chain, Abuse and Torture all the participants in the Fourth Annual Composition And Cultural Studies Conference' is in the charts.

Naive Accomplices

"Nikki" ('I'm not a bleeding heart liberal') Campbell and Tony Blair battle on R5 to see who can put on the most concerned tones.

NC - "when you heard Ken Bigley pleading for his life and saying - 'Mr Blair, only you can save me ...' - how did it make you feel ?"

Couldn't we swap Campbell for Bigley ?

UPDATE - and straight in at Number One on BBC News - the new cage video.

Highlights -

"Tony Blair is lying. He doesn't care about me. I'm just one person"

In the footage he ... says his captors do not want to kill him.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Exhibition Killings

Aaronovitch joins the fatwa.

"We should not broadcast images, appeals and statements that clearly vindicate the Nazi-like criminality of men like Zarqawi. Just the bald facts of the case and nothing more. We must stop being naive accomplices to exhibition killings."


In the interests of fairness I must point out that the Magna Mater beat him to it by a couple of days.

We are in a totally unprecedented situation, one for which all our existing rules are simply inadequate. I think the western media cannot avoid the fact that it is now being used -- appallingly -- as a weapon of war against the west.

UPDATE - Michael Gove is on the case too (via Mick Hartley).

Mick also links to this remarkable story.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Spinster of This Parish

British Spin has ceased blogging and will in future drop his pearls of wisdom before the swinish multitude via email. Drop him a line at (And enjoy the spam, Spinster).

Wisdom it is, too - here, on the hard time the Lib Dems have been getting in recent byelections.

The Liberal Democrats have long been regarded as effective local campaigners. What has generally of less interest is that in many cases the Liberal Democrats have been successful by edging right up to the line of the truth and happily tip-toeing along it.

I could say more, but let’s just say that Liberal Democrat campaigns can have a creative relationship with the facts. “Local” candidates who are no such thing, Hospital and school closures that aren’t proposed attacked . Promises of action on graffiti, crime and local issues that contradict parliamentary votes.

This is fair enough. It’s called politics. After all, in an election campaign you need to get attention. You need to cause trouble, You need to stir things up. Sometimes you have to focus attention on issues in a provocative way.

It’s just that Liberal Democrats and other observers should not be surprised when their opponents call them on it. If you’re going to call yourself a local campaigner, how can you get upset about being branded an outsider? If you campaign for tough action on crime, don’t be surprised when your votes against tough laws are highlighted.

I noted the contradiction between LD local and national positions a while back in relation to asylum.

Nationally the LDs have always been liberal and caring on race and asylum - that 'great chieftain of the pudding race' Charles Kennedy gathered buckets of Brownie points by accusing William Hague of encouraging racist attacks every time Hague opened his mouth on asylum.

Yet when an asylum camp was proposed in the next county to me, who led the campaign against it ? That's right, the caring Lib Dems. And very professionally they did it too, getting 1,500 marchers, all local, on the streets of a town with a population of 6,000. Of course they weren't objecting to the asylum seekers themselves - oh no. The camp was in the wrong place, there weren't facilities, the Refugee Council disapproved - anything other than the plain unvarnished truth that locals, many of whom were themselves 'incomers' fleeing Birmingham, didn't want 750 young Afghan and Albanian men hanging on the streets of their pretty Georgian town. You can debate whether the objectors were 'racist' - the point is the Lib Dems were happy to lead them.

And for those who like to see the LDs getting slapped - Guacamoleville is a must-read.

The Bad News Is ...

That for some reason I'm number 10 on Google for "gay pick up sites Lee on Solent".

The good news ? Harry is number one.

UPDATE - Weird. First click puts some other apothecary blog up top. Hit search again once or twice and Harry arrives. Strange.

UPDATE 2 - Weirder. Harry's vanished and I'm up to #9. Was it all a dream ? I saw it I tell you ! Nurse !

My Struggles

Johann at Hari's Place has returned from the mountain with 10 Commandments for secular jihad. No quiet lifer he.

1= The fight against Islamofasiscm

Huzzah ! We agree ! This may not be repeated. Although as I've said before, that Sayyed Qutb talks a lot of sense.

1= The fight against climate change

Now had he said 'human-induced climate change' I think I could have agreed. But if he wants to fight against climate change per se he may as well shout 'No to the Third Law of Thermodynamics !' Somebody tell him about the Ice Ages, or the Greenland Vikings ...

1= The fight against the continuing existence and potential use of nuclear weapons

Well the only way to fight against the 'potential use' of something is to make sure that something doesn't exist. So we must disarm - and presumably the Americans too. I await with interest his proposals for disarming Iran, Israel, Pakistan, South Africa, North Korea and India.

4= The fight to extend democracy to peoples remaining under tyranny or in anarchic failed states
Vote Bush 2004.

5= The fight to ensure that democracy is meaningful, and not hollowed out by corporations, the rich, religious groups or other vested interests

Meaningful democracy for Johann, alas, is democracy where he agrees with the verdict. When a combination of the gay lobby and anti-family children's liberation activists (who now control all the major children's charities) enabled the age of consent for uphill gardening to be reduced to 16 I don't remember him shouting about the will of the people. Some vested interests are more equal than others.

6= The fight for equality for gay people

Equality=special treatment. Why should two sisters sharing a house not benefit from the same inheritance tax treatment as a couple of sensible shoe girlies ?

7= The fight for equality for women

Equality=equality of outcome. Life's too short even to start on this ... I'll leave it to Peter.

8= The fight to end the disastrous ‘War on Drugs’

Come on - they're not that expensive.

9= The fight to end the spiritual tyranny of ‘religion’, better labeled organized superstition, and to ensure its replacement with Enlightenment values

Among the Native British, Johann, the fight has been won - with consequences you can look at in the crime/STD/suicide/drug use figures - or just hit the town centre on a Friday night. And you've got most of the (increasingly irrelevant - as by your lights it should be) Church of England hierarchy on your side.
Elsewhere yet another author is wondering where Enlightenment values have got us. Hat tip to Her Majesty and the Pooter of Geek.

10 The fight against poverty, which breaks down into a fight: (a) against the extreme and undemocratic neo-liberalism imposed on much of the world’s poor by the IMF and World Bank; there is no freedom in a sweat-shop (b) against the remaining scraps of Stalinism that repress all markets, as in North Korea (c) The fight for social democracy – which means markets tempered by extensive corporate regulation, a welfare state, redistributive taxation, and social investment in education and public health

Hang on - we've got all of point c) in Britain currently. Must be why we're all so happy.

The more I read of Johann's stuff the more it sinks in how very young he is, and how very unconnected his ideas are. When I was his age I thought that 'Dance, F***, and Smoke Dope !' was the prescription for the good life. There are a host of educated Brits, brought up in the dying embers of our Judeo-Christian culture, who think it can be thrown away while miraculously all the good elements will persist. Richard Dawkins sits in an eight-hundred year old Christian institution and waits for religion, like the post-revolutionary state, to wither away.

Replace religion with "Enlightenment Values" ! You can see Enlightenment values all around you on the streets of Britain. Enjoy ?

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Goodbye England

Yet another report confirming what we all know - that educated Native Brits are getting out of England at a rate of knots. The projections showing the natives as a minority by 2100 look increasingly plausible. (This report stated that 43% of children in London schools were black or Asian. Given that [hyperbole]half of Central Europe now lives in the UK[/hyperbole], native Brit children must already be a minority in London).

The people leaving are middle class and educated. When my wife was organising a reunion for her Barts nursing trainees of 20 years ago, she found a quarter of them were living abroad, nearly all in the Antipodes or North America.

"Yet while most of the attention, regrettably or otherwise, has centred on immigration, the complementary emigration "problem" has been all but ignored. This is partly because, when you put the two together, Britain has more incomers than outgoers, and thus a net inflow of population. If everyone wants to come to the UK, we must be doing something right, surely? Yet this net inflow conceals a dramatic rise in the numbers of emigrants - and some significant changes in their make-up and destination.

In the early 1990s, incomers and outgoers were roughly in balance. Indeed, in 1992 and 1993 there was a net outflow of migrants. Since then, however, while the number of immigrants, using official figures, has nearly doubled, from 265,000 in 1993 to 513,000 in 2002, the number of emigrants has also increased, from 266,000 in 1993 to 359,000 in 2002. This last is the highest figure in the past two decades - and slightly higher per head of population than emigration from Ireland - and may well be the highest number ever.

Given that emigration is supposedly associated with economic failure and the government is forever telling us how successful Britain has become, this is something of a mystery - for the economically minded, at least. When you also note that, according to historical poll evidence, people are much keener to emigrate now than they were even during postwar rationing and the strife-torn 1970s, economic explanations start to falter."

London Juice (hat-tip for the NS item) has some answers.