Saturday, April 18, 2009

Hmmm ....

Christian Voice do some digging on Patricia Hewitt, Jack Dromey, Harriet Harman, and their NCCL (now Liberty) activities back in those liberated 70s when everything was possible.

I don't know if student societies and unions keep records, or if they've been purged now that so many student politicians are in power, but it's likely there's a lot more to be dug up from the 'radical' pasts of what Peter Hitchens calls 'the suburban revolutionaries who now occupy the corner offices'. I wonder if the shredders at Tabard Street were doing overtime when CV released the story ?

While I Deplore ...

... hitting anyone unless they've done something to merit it, should any one person in the UK unfortunately get an undeserved slap, surely "elfin-faced Nicola Fisher" (aka Max Clifford) is a prime candidate.

I notice that comments are off on the story. Can't imagine why.

(On reflection, this post reflects the zeal of the convert. Once upon a time I lived a lifestyle not unlike Ms Fisher's - and it never occurred to me to wonder why some nine-to-fiver or brickie should have to fund my life with his taxes. 'The State' had enough and to spare. Ms Fisher says she's off the drugs, though she doesn't say when that was. In which case, what does she find to do all day ?

I trust she's not one of the merry degenerates who blog here - a site which for some reason has gone invite-only.)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Great Wits Are Sure To Madness Near Allied ...

... and thin partitions do their bounds divide. Mr Ireland seems to be treading pretty close to that very fine line. I'm just not sure which side.

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)?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Reality 1, Satire 0 (again)

Former head of the BBC Greg Dyke, ex John Lewis chairman Sir Stuart Hampson and former Second Sea Lord and Commander-in-Chief of Naval Home Command Vice-Admiral Sir Adrian Johns are among the patrons of the new National Leadership Council which will look into leadership and how to improve standards within the NHS. They will be joined by Daniel Goleman, author of the international best seller 'Emotional Intelligence', and Dr Gary Kaplan, chairman and CEO of the Virginia Mason Medical Centre in Seattle, Washington.

One medic out of five to provide leadership to the NHS. Words fail me.

Greg Dyke ? and some pointy-head ?

A Few Daisies From The Curate's Lawn

Apologies for the light posting - family commitments and all that. Plus, while the country continues to go to hell in a handcart, it's just doing it in what's become the traditional way, with the traditional liberal responses. There doesn't seem to be anything unique or new about what's happening.

Ross has the last word on Bloggergate. Incidentally, I see Paul Anderson has come out of retirement for a final final post. Doesn't he realise there's a gap in the market for Labour bloggers as Derek Draper bites the dust, after a meteoric (as in a brief appearance and fade out) blogging career. I guess Paul's just too civilised - Guido and Piers Morgan must have been absolute cads and bounders at their public schools. Paul was probably a swot. Nothing wrong with that, mind you.

The education disaster continues. Every year the teaching unions bemoan the disciplinary nightmare caused (inter alia) by the policies they campaigned for.

A recruitment agency, Aspire People, advertised vacancies for "Hard Core Cover Supervisors".

"You might be an ex-marine, prison officer, bouncer, policeman, fireman, sportsman, actor or you might be an overseas teacher looking to get some experience in the classroom.

"Which ever it is we need someone who thinks they can get involved in a school environment and control the kids in schools throughout the midlands."

As the pound collapses, so our exports are cheaper and so go up - don't they ? Oh no. Talking of which, here's James Dyson in the Telegraph (see also this post) pointing out that we need to make things. Admittedly he took his own manufacturing offshore.

Every year, the number of science and engineering graduates falls. In the last decade, 18 physics departments and 28 chemistry departments have closed. We produce 24,000 engineering graduates a year, compared with over 60,000 psychology graduates ...

Nine of the world's 10 biggest corporations make tangible goods, whether they are cars, turbines, computers or consumer electronics. Of the world's 20 most profitable companies, three are in services. Although British firms increased research and development spending by 7 per cent in 2007, the increase was largely in oil and gas production, software and computer services, pharmaceuticals and banking. We need more research that results in exportable, patented goods.

And all those psychologists (IMHO psychology is a quasi-science and psychiatry not a science at all) are doing wonders for our "mental health" ? Er ... (admittedly the Mental Health Foundation has a vested interest in bigging things up. I presume it's a tax-funded 'Fake Charity').

Actually, those psychologist numbers. While the general point that we're producing lots of useless trick-cyclists is valid, compare with Dyson's Dimbleby lecture of 2004.

Since 1997, we have closed 18 physics departments and 28 chemistry departments.
As a result, we now produce only 3,000 physics graduates a year. Compare that to an astonishing 15,000 psychologists !
Hmm. While not impossible, I think it's unlikely we've quadrupled psychology places in five years. Maybe he's got better data. Or maybe not.

"The family isn't in decline, it's just changing"

Women aged 25 are now more likely to have had a child than to be married. Women aged 25 are now more likely to have had a child than to be married. The latest landmark in the decline of marriage was uncovered yesterday in Social Trends, the annual snapshot of the nation by the Office for National Statistics. Until recently more women had married by the age of 25 than had had a child.

But a large number of those having children will in fact be married. They're not mutually exclusive states. I think I'll do a separate post when I've looked at the stats.

The most interesting thing I've read in the last week is that the Blessed Michael Howard's son is an evangelical Christian preacher.

He is deeply unimpressed at Tony Blair preaching to the Pope last week about homosexuality and the use of condoms. The former prime minister said the Pope’s “entrenched” views were out of step with ordinary Catholics. He added that if we were to stick to the letter of the Bible “you’d have some pretty tough policies across the whole of the piece”. But this cuts no ice with Howard.

“Blair’s wrong,” he says. “There’s a clear process of development as God makes covenant after covenant with his people, but the Bible has an end and we can’t write an extra chapter.”

Just to be clear, he still believes people in actively gay relationships should not be part of the Christian community: “If a gay person was sitting here with us now I’d tell them Jesus had a fulfilled, wonderful life without sex.” As for the rivalry between faiths, Christianity will ultimately triumph? “Yes, but not by the sword.”

Howard lives on the generosity of 30 or so religious enthusiasts who have set up small standing orders to fund his preaching – although his parents helped him buy the house.

At least today, as they gather for Easter Sunday lunch, the family will have something safe to talk about – the launch of Howard’s book, 24 Hours That Changed the World. Like 24, featuring Jack Bauer, the ruthless counter-terrorism agent, the story of Jesus’s last day on Earth is told in tense, one-hour segments.

The opening – “Right now, government agents are plotting to assassinate me and someone I work with may be involved. My name is Jesus of Nazareth, I am a travelling preacher from Galilee and today is the longest day of my life” – gives the general idea.

The book is part of a series aimed at introducing Christianity to a new audience. The title of a companion volume, My Mate’s Gone Mad, neatly reflects the reaction of Howard’s friends when he first “got God” at the age of 15.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

This Joyful Eastertide

I do love this hymn. The tune is apparently Dutch, but it feels very medieval English. What a pity I can't find a cracking version on Youtube. Happy Easter to you all.

This joyful Eastertide,
Away with sin and sorrow!
My Love, the Crucified,
Hath sprung to life this morrow.

Had Christ, that once was slain,
Ne'er burst his three-day prison,
Our faith had been in vain:
But now hath Christ arisen,
arisen, arisen, arisen.

My flesh in hope shall rest,
And for a season slumber:
Till trump from east to west
Shall wake the dead in number.

Death's flood hath lost his chill,
Since Jesus cross'd the river
Lover of souls, from ill
My passing soul deliver.