A New Place Of Exile

Richard Hutton

Category: Uncategorized

You be the ref: current political farragoes.

 

A comedy programme aired on a Saturday night, features a derogatory sketch; based on an unpleasant smear – which has long been unfairly leveled at a politician you support. How do you react?

1) Shrug your shoulders. A thoughtless comedian, long past their prime, trying to gain an audience through being controversial? Big deal. Haven’t people got anything better to do on a Saturday night, anyway?

2) Outrage! This injustice represents everything that is wrong about everything. Take to twitter immediately; and spend several days denouncing the comedian, and the channel which broadcast the show – along with anyone who might have been involved in producing it.

3) Write a short piece outlining why the sketch is misdirected, and liable to prove divisive; thereby making a difficult situation worse.

*

A former public official, with a track-record of extremely dubious behaviour, has made a statement which many people are openly agreeing with; on a subject you think is important. How do you react?

1) Shrug shoulders; and join in quoting them verbatim. Play the ball, not the person.

2) Fury! It’s the messenger, not the message which matters. Take to Twitter as soon as possible – instantly assume the worst about anyone who expresses agreement with the person in question; and harangue them, until they recant.

3) Write a short piece explaining that people who are quoting the person may be damaging their own reputations; and harming their cause in the process.

*

A politician renowned for campaigning against racism, throughout their career – even when it left them unpopular and marginalized – is being called a racist; after expressing support for an effaced mural, which had featured controversial imagery. How do you react?

1) Shrug shoulders. That’s street “art” for you. Should see some of the graffiti around my neighborhood! Like this one with a donkey and a …well, you get the picture.

2) Join in with the furor; even though you know the allegations aren’t likely to be true. It’s important to be seen saying the right thing.

3) Write a short piece stating that while the clamor is obviously a cynical political exercise, designed to cause damage in upcoming elections; both the mural’s artist, and the politician, ought to reflect on how easily something can get misunderstood – and exercise more diligence in the future.

*

A poorly-constructed referendum is conducted, on a complex and divisive issue. You find yourself on the losing side of the outcome – which is widely expected to turn into a debacle. How do you react?

1) Shrug shoulders. It’s unfortunate; but these things happen. Can’t win them all.

2) Outrage! This is the worst thing that has ever happened to anyone, ever. It is a waking nightmare of unending horror – and only by furiously denouncing it on Twitter, daily, can you even hope to preserve what remains of civilization.

3) Accept the outcome; but remain cautious about where it might lead – and campaign to prevent any harm it may cause to people.

*

There is a discussion about proposed legislation, designed to improve the personal safety of sex-workers. The sex trade is something that many people find disagreeable. How do you react?

1) Shrug shoulders. It’s a free world. Everybody has the right to do whatever they like. If anything, these attempts to interfere in the trade just seem to be prudish, and a bit patronizing. Besides, what would I do on a Friday night?

2) Fury! How dare anyone suggest that sex-work is acceptable? Don’t people realize that it’s a misogynistic industry – rife with exploitation, and abuse? These things are inescapable facts of prostitution. Sometimes you have to save people from themselves.

3) Recognize that there are some serious problems within the sex industry; but put your own feelings to one side, and give careful consideration to the claims and counter claims being made. Then try and arrive at an outcome which suits everyone’s needs and wishes, as far as possible.

*

Some people are using the term “gammon” to describe their political opponents, online. It’s being used to characterize florid men, in their middle years; who dislike foreigners – while being noticeably keener than most on real ale, and the use of nuclear weapons. How do you react?

1) Shrug shoulders. People are always calling each other names on the internet. Part and parcel. Besides, it’s just a bit of fun.

2) Rage. Write a five hundred word comment piece, for a reasonably popular news outlet; denouncing name-calling as the preserve of idiots and morons.

3) Appreciate that it’s only people being flippant; but write a short piece suggesting that dialogue needs to be inclusive – and that ridiculing someone over their appearance isn’t especially pleasant.

*

There is a debate about the inclusion of transsexual men/women in the candidate-shortlists of a political party; on the basis of self-definition. Some people have objected, on the grounds that this might result in eligibility criteria being abused. How do you react?

1) Shrug shoulders. The feminists are always complaining about something. Haven’t they got anything better to do?

2) Take to Twitter, and explain at length how science proves that trans-women, in particular, aren’t really women. It’s just basic biology – and as far as women are concerned, biology is destiny. Repeat this explanation, at regular intervals; and enlist low-grade male celebrities, with large Twitter followings, to echo your viewpoint.

3) Acknowledge that some concerns about loopholes are legitimate; but accept that unless transsexual people are going to be excluded from candidacy wholesale, then they will need to join shortlists for men or women at some point. Surely the most practical and humane course of action is to allow someone to identify within the category they are most comfortable with; rather than risk degrading people, needlessly.

 

 

So how did you do? 

 

Mostly 1’s 

That’s the spirit. Nothing matters very much. It’s not like actions have consequences, or anything. People spend too much time thinking, these days. Best to just get on with things, using commonsense.

 

Mostly 2’s 

You are a serious and sensible person; who believes in a politics of the practical, for the mutual benefit of all reasonable people. Whether that’s instituting a 5 pence charge for plastic bags, in return for tightening benefit sanctions – abstaining on immigration acts, in order to accommodate very real concerns; or supporting regrettably necessary wars, in good faith – and learning any correct lessons as required. Have you considered starting a new Centrist party? One for rational people only?

 

Mostly 3’s

I’m afraid, you’re on the wrong side of history. There’s a time and a place for thoughtful critique – and that time is never; while that place is nowhere. You would do well to familiarize yourself with the word ‘apologist’ – because, rest assured, you’ll be hearing it a lot. If anything, it’s too mild a term. Now, go and sit quietly somewhere – and think about how much you inconvenience your betters.

 

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How Russia did Brexit: Operation Red Herring.

It was very clever how Vladimir Putin managed to engineer Brexit.

Putin ran his operation from an abandoned fairground – cunningly using a Halloween costume, and some special light effects to deter interest from locals.

He then invented racism, and smuggled it into Britain; before creating tabloid newspapers, to promote it.

He even went to so far as to force politicians and journalists to exploit anti-migrant rhetoric – year in; year out.

Shortly afterwards, Putin established a network of think-tanks to lobby MPs for an EU referendum – in the same way that they had long lobbied politicians for policies, which their donors found lucrative.

Putin then plucked a Parliamentary Backbench Business Committee out of thin air; to cajole the Conservative government into a pledge for holding the referendum, if they retained office in 2015.

And let us not overlook his invention of Ukip – which demanded a referendum, too.

Backed up as it was, with 4 million voters; who surged towards the party in the immediate wake of the EU’s failure to manage the refugee exodus of 2011-2015 humanely. A crisis created by wars in the Middle East, which Britain’s government may or may not have been involved in.

Putin then personally instructed every single British media outlet to spend the entire referendum campaign fixated on David Cameron and Boris Johnson – circumspectly avoiding any substantive points at issue; in favour of gossip and conjecture.

This ensured that many people were left badly confused; and susceptible to being misled by one set of dishonest right-wing politicians – as opposed to being misled by another set of dishonest right-wing politicians.

Both of whom were wed to the same agenda – serving identical interests. Neither of whom prepared a contingency plan for the event of Brexit – even though they had three years notice.

The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was that one where he switched the salt and sugar around, so that nobody noticed until it was too late.

The second greatest trick? Convincing Tory MPs to keep using their Parliamentary majority to ratify Brexit legislation; even though they couldn’t agree between themselves on the overall outcome it should achieve.

And to think – Putin would have gotten away with it all, too; had it not been for some meddling folk, and their talking dog.

Woof, woof!

One year on: a sensible and moderate review of the General Election 2017

 

Given that it is a year to this very week, I can think of no better time to celebrate the first anniversary of Theresa May’s glorious triumph (perhaps too mild a word) in the General Election of 2017.

Paving the way – as it did – for the strong and stable government, which we enjoy today.

In fact, I recall only too well the Tory victory parades; and the festive street parties held in the newly-recrowned Prime Minister’s honour. Flags of celebration were hoisted. Bells pealed – ringing out the joy, nationwide.

Arguably more memorable still was the comprehensive vindication enjoyed by each and every political journalist, columnist, commentator, and analyst – sapient scribes, all; whose cautious predictions and insightful prescriptions were proven completely correct.

Before the election, they declared that May was brilliant; and would win a landslide victory, if not a 100 seat majority – resulting in a lifetime+ of Tory government.

And they were not wrong.

As they clarified afterwards, what they had meant all along was that May was awful; and would lose her Parliamentary majority – resulting in no less than a year+ of Tory government.

You cannot beat that for accuracy.

As for the cause of Labour’s disastrous improvement of fortunes, I think we need to lay the square of blame very fingerly at the door of one Jeremy Corbyn.

We all know what happened here: not only did Labour benefit from the media’s relentless pro-Corbyn bias (known to paleontologists as the Corbyniferous era); nor did Corbyn merely gain from the unflinching support of his MPs – but Momentum infiltrated the exit poll: and exit polls are a slur on the good name of reputable forecasting.

While Theresa May will take comfort in the fact that no majority is better than a bad majority – and pundits will find satisfaction in being entirely correct, once they had begun to say the opposite of everything they’d reiterated for two years; Corbyn really needs to take a long, hard look at himself.

He could, and should have gained at least 100% of the national vote – and probably more. If Labour had been led by one of the strategic masterminds behind the Edstone, then surely they would have done. Just like they did in 2015.

Brexit is good #PBFE

People complain far too much these days. There was a time when this country forwent brutishly ignoble recrimination, and simply got on with things – because it contained men and women of spirit!

The whole point of Brexit is that we can just do what we like afterwards. It really couldn’t be an easier task.

As that Ancient sea-faring chap once wrote: “water, water”… something or another. I forget the rest – but people get the picture.

So, as far as the glorious past of Britain’s future prospects can be derived, presently, I would make the following suggestions:

  • New visa requirements – just put “no bad eggs”, and leave it at that. Simple enough.
  • Blue passports for people who want them – as a reward for voting in favour of Brexit.
  • Blue passports for people who don’t want them – as a punishment, for not voting in favour of Brexit.
  • Build on the success of breaking-down barriers in the duty-free Toblerone market, by doing similar stuff. Only with different things.
  • Terrorists to just shut up and go away.
  • Everyone to speak British.

And the domestication of household pets to continue unabated (a stitch in time gathers no moss, and all that).

Get things back to the way they used to be, I say – if we want to see our country restored to its upcoming greatness, once again.

It really couldn’t be simpler.

Sanguine Rivers – The 50th Anniversary Of 1968: Enoch Powell’s Speech Modernified (and all that).

 

 

The supreme ship of statesmen is to prevent unpreventable evils. In seeking to avoid the unavoidable, one often encounters obstacles which are more than a mite trying.

The old patience seems to give, somewhat. There is a test of resolve – and all that kind of rigmarole.

You can’t always be entirely sure you haven’t imagined the whole thing, what?

And of course, by the time you’ve figured out which end is the beginning, well, it’s often as not time to go home.

This is why perhaps lots of people – far too many to be precise, but at least two persons of my acquaintance, at any rate – choose to focus on the present.

According to them, things do not exist, until they have materialised.

Amidst this hoo-ha, however, one abstrusion stands clear: such people confuse causing troubles, with predicting troubles.

“If only,” they like to believe; “if only people wouldn’t purposely set out to provoke acrimony, then it probably wouldn’t arise!”.

Peradventure, this habit of thought goes back to the era of primitive computer programming – and its attendant command that the word and the thing, the name and the object, are identical:

“Name of Object to be Created Identical to Existing Name IS_PERF_MON_STATS_TM of the Object Type Table error BaseAttributeForm” they think.

The discussion of potentially mausoleous, and – without vigilance in the present – needless evils derived from the past, is the most unpopular and, at the same time, the most worthwhile occupation for the politician.

Yet those who knowingly eschew the opportunity for their own personal advancement do not infrequently receive the derision of those who are only too keen to supplant them.

As a bad dose of good luck would have it – a week or two ago, I fell into conversation with a constituent of mine: a middle-aged, quite ordinary working man – who was unemployed in one of our nation’s many outsourced industries.

After a sentence or two about the weather – one obliges, of course, out of democratic principles; also the climate in this country really can be rather beastly – he suddenly said to me: “if I had the money to go, I wouldn’t stay in Britain – I would move abroad”.

I gave a deprecatory reply, to the effect that Monday seldom becomes Wednesday, without Tuesday featuring at some point; and that even permanent afflictions cannot trouble us forever.

But he took no notice, and continued: “it’s because of migration, it is” – that is how proletarian people speak and talk – “I simply want what is best for my family, and will not be satisfied until I see them all settled and working overseas; given the way things are headed in this country”.

Here is a decent, ordinary, patriotic Briton, who – in broad daylight – in my own town, says to his Member of Parliament – me – that this great country is not worth living in.

He feels compelled to move abroad, in search of a better life – and to take his family with him.

And why?

Because of the basic wrongness, of migrants and their dependents being able to travel hither and thither, without restraint. Something he simply cannot relate to.

In 15 or 20 years’ time – give or take several months, as a margin for error – minorities will be giving the stouthearted yeoman of England, a good sound thrashing in the societal stakes.

I can already hear the chorus of incredulation.

How dare I be so bold as to relay such anecdata?

How can I stand to tell such vertiginous tales?

The answer is that I do not have the right not to do so – because the time
never was, nor ever has been, even more of the essence than now. One can no longer afford to completely avoid having no opinion.

As many as five decades have elapsed during the past fifty years. Yet throughout that period, no fewer than zero Black people have led Britain’s government – and that is a number which can only increase.

Since 1953, only a single white person has ever been crowned Britain’s monarch.

And why are a meager eleven months of the year devoted to white history; when a mere twelfth of the population are persons of colour?

I simply do not have the right to shrug my shoulders and think about something more worthwhile.

What my constituent was saying, thousands of hundreds are thinking aloud. Not throughout Great Britain in its entirety, perhaps; but certainly in those areas of the country which remain largely untouched by migration.

These locales are already undergoing the total transformation – to which there is no parallel in a thousand years of English history; with as many as ten people in every hundred being a member of an ethnic minority.

On present trends, that could become ten per cent of the population, before the year is out. Possibly even one in ten!

That is not my figure. That is the official figure, told to a friend of mine – who is very knowledgeable about such things.

By no later than the present, those native-hewn Britons who were born here – and whose ancestors arrived in this country, from distant climes beforehand – will continue to be the majority of people living in our country.

It will be as if the true-born Briton, who can boast of immaculately British conception, simply did not exist; and never had done. Scarce will one English family be left alive, which does not from some foreign-origin ultimately derive.

It is this appreciation of factfulness which creates the extreme urgency of caution now – of just that kind which is the very hardest for politicians to take: being frank and direct, with members of the public.

In fact, it is not long since I myself witnessed the devastating impact of the sweeping and rapid cultural-change, which foreign introductions have wrought upon this once benighted nation, first-hand.

In the aisles of my local supermarket, I encountered as stouthearted and sensible a chap as ever I met – who was no stranger to roughing it, having spent 30 years or more, working in the cut-throat world of soft-furnishings.

Yet there he stood, completely overcome – and weeping tears of bitter lament.

Several other experienced men – to judge by their epaulets, retired officers from the merchant navy, all – were close by; rapt in a similar state of anguish.

The cause of their distress? A loaf of French bread being sold in full view of the unsuspecting public – on a shelf in the bakery section, of an otherwise perfectly British shop.

It should be understood that they bore no ill-will towards these foreign imports on any personal level.

It was not that they regarded the uncorruptible British bap as a far superior specimen of the yeast-born, and crust-laden, than any mere baguette you could mention.

No – they merely had very real concerns about the demographic threat posed to British loaves, on already crowded supermarket shelves; and these concerns must be taken seriously.

The suggestion that we might simply use a larger shelf – or an additional one – is, frankly, preposterous. The fact that nobody is allowed to talk about this dread appertainance…well, I will say no more.

This whole incident was symptomatic of the horrors faced by the embattled British population; who comprise a mere 94 per cent of the local community, these days.

The natural and rational first question for a nation confronted by such a prospect to ask is: “how can its dimensions be increased?”. Granted it be not wholly increasable, can it be expanded, or swelled – bearing in mind that numbers are of the essence – ?

The significance and consequences of a British element – residual in this country and its population – are profoundly different, according to whether that element is 94 per cent or 95 per cent.

The answer to the simple and rational question is equally rational and simple: a plethora of upright Britons, lying back and thinking of England; taking the bull by the horns – without stint – until the cows come home.

The only alternative to this simple and rational scheme, is to adopt an approach to migration which is neither rational nor simple. Chiefly, the encouragement of unarriving in Britain; combined with a determined discouragement of not departing, forthwith.

It almost passes belief that, at this very moment, no fewer than three thirds of some communities in modern Britain are either immigrants, descended from immigrants, or not even categorized as either of these.

And that is without taking into account the unknown number of people who cannot be added to this sum; because their numbers are unknown.

I stress that by the words “immigrants”, I am not talking about people who moved to Britain in order to work in our National Health Service; and whose efforts have allowed our economy to be expanded faster than would otherwise prove possible.

Or else those who raise their families here; and can generally be regarded as sound and useful members of the common-wealth.

Instead, I am talking about unquantifiable others – nebulous figures of nameless dread; who haunt our waking nightmares as intangible phantoms, that can but be imagined.

It is like watching through a gap in one’s drawing-room curtains, as a nation engages in heaping up its own funeral procession.

So insane are we, that we actually permit unmarried persons to move into Britain, for the purpose of marrying somebody – and founding a family.

This kind of behaviour has no precedent in human history.

Nobody has ever wanted to travel abroad before; let alone considered marriage – less still have they desired to start families.

It is certainly not something which should be regarded as simple and rational.

Instead, it should be reduced at once to negligible proportions; and the necessary legislative and administrative measures be taken without delay.

We cannot overstate how much this danger is underestimated. There is no more inaccurate misconception of the realities we currently face in the future, than those long since promulgated protuberantly by various vociferous denouncers of “discrimination”.

Be they the tabloids who hurrahed for the black-shorts – and which tried to blind this country to the rising peril of intolerant demagogues, who had a bee in their bonnets de douche about minorities in their midst.

Or corpulent archbishops, who live in opulent palaces – long known for their blasé attitude towards adherents of minority religions; and their zealous concern for the poor of this world.

Unlike them, migrants im into Britain – a country which has never known any discrimination between citizens, regardless of whether they were permitted to vote or not; or however lowly their status in life might be.

Yet once here, they are treated almost as well as native-born Britons; thereby incurring the out-spoken resentment of the silent majority.

The sense of alarm and resentment, of indignation and disgruntlement, of immeasurable discontent and incalculable antagonism, of fathomless jaundice and untold pique, boundless acrimony and incomputable rancour – with more than a fair share of unshared unfairness being sensed – lies not with the immigrant population; but with people whose ancestry in this country dates back many recent years.

For reasons which they could not comprehend without effort – and in pursuance of a decision on which they were never consulted, outside of elections – they found themselves as if strangers in their own country.

Britain seemed like a foreign land – something that no newcomer to our shores could ever truly understand.

Housewives could no longer buy traditional British food, like three-milk cake. Instead, they were forced to consume “pastel de tres leches“.

They found their husbands unable to obtain putting wedges at the local golf club. 

Men discovered that their spouses were unable to secure hospital beds, unless they were prepared to stand back and watch them being treated by foreign doctors and nurses – who had not even been born in this country!

Homes and neighbourhoods had changed beyond recognition. Sacrificial fires – with flames lambent – had replaced British street lamps.

Witch doctors could be witnessed carving unpronounceable words into the bark of English trees, using teaspoons: a practice for which they are ill-lent; and a habit seldom witnessed in this country, until the arrival of some two-score shamanics, no more than three weeks whence.  

Those few people in the majority, now find themselves in workplaces where employers hesitate to apply to the migrant worker the standards of promptliness, rectitude – and probity – which Britons modestly demand of themselves, at all times.

Plans for the future are now history.

In the hundreds upon thousands of letters I received, when I first spoke on this subject last time around, there was one striking feature which was largely new – and which I find ominous, most distinctly.

What surprised and alarmed me was the high proportion of ordinary, decent, sensible people – writing with a rational and often well-educated pencil; using a first class stamp, instead of the second-class variety.

I am going to allow just one of those many few dozen letters to speak for me:

“A long time ago, only a short while back, during a respectable street – on the outskirts of fashionable Puedam – a discerning house was sold to somebody who looked of foreign extraction.

Now, less than ten solar years later, only one white woman – a pensioner, of old-age; Caucasian and female – runs her own home”.

This is that woman’s story – it is an accurate report of feelings.

She was terrorised by immigrants – who pushed leaflets advertising takeaways, which specialised in foreign-cuisine, through her letter box; at least once a week, daily.

Due to nothing more than the ingrained British reluctance to surrender, she refused to take the easy option, and simply place a sign in her window asking them not to.

Instead, she complained to the Council, and contacted social services, then the village parish – before finally seeing sense, and dialing 999.

It would be no exaggeration to say that calling the response she received desultory, would be the greatest understatement in the history of these isles.

One young “lady” she encountered even went so far as to ask why the woman didn’t “just put the offending leaflets in her recycling bin?”.

If this woman has a fault – which I am not at liberty to observe – it is that she is apt to become discursive, when strongly moved.

Having lost her nerve, as anyone would in such circumstances, she began to talk at random – saying the first thing that chanced to enter her head.

In this instance, that would seem to have been the Pekingese: and the merits of austere treatment, if one is to get the very best out of the breed.

Her interlocutor having got the wrong end of the stick entirely – while being of a candid disposition – wound up the proceedings by making an opprobrious remark about the woman’s character, and general bearing in life.

Naturally, afterwards – when a calmer mood had descended – she wrote a letter to me, outlining this horrifying tale; and her own extremely dignified behaviour, throughout, in full.

And here I relay it now.

One is shocked – one raises the eyebrows! That is why I object to the prevailing sentiment in some quarters, that this tragic and intractable phenomenon – which we watch with mounting horror – is merely the devil of our own imaginations.

We are on the verge here of a change: foreigners have introduced xenophobia into this country; along with other strange customs, alien to our land, which seem weird and frightening.

The words I am about to use, are re-parroted verbatim – as they appeared in the local press on a day of the week, last Season.

They are not mine, but those of a very learned Member of Parliament – of a progressive bearing; who, in his time, has been described as “not incompetent”, on more than one occasion.

This is his story:

“Despite being seated beside a fearfully important West End producer, a fellow from the Punjab mistook the white jacket I was adorned with, for the accouterments of a waiter!

He then asked me to fetch the jam roly-poly and oysters for him – if I wouldn’t mind; please and thank you!

I bally well did mind – it was much to be regretted!

I don’t think I’m going too far, when I say that this whole episode just about took the giddy aunt!

And when I attempted a clarification – more for his sake than mine – dashed if he hadn’t proceeded to critique my method of eating artichokes!

The strongest condemnation does not suffice. The code of we Britons is rigid on certain points, such as this, for good cause”.

Give dangerous and divisive elements the very pabulum they need to flourish, and they will agitate and campaign against their fellow citizens: seeking to divide and dominate the rest, with the conducive mumbo-jumbo which the ignorant and the ill-informed are apt to trust.

All credit to the Right Hon. John Doe for having had the insight to perceive that – and the courage to say that that’s that; before all the unpleasantness in Miami, at any rate – the demise that never was, and so forth; which has detracted from the general thrust of his purpose, somewhat.

Nevertheless, rules and procedures exist for a reason; and where I am concerned, reason is wholly absent.

I have been assured by a very knowing Roman of my acquaintance in London, that my sense of foreboding is well founded.

Like the Roman, I seem to see the River Tiber tributating into the River Thames.

As he had the good grace to explain: thy brim multi spumante sanguinary cernobbio” – which, if my Latin remains serviceable, means “you can’t possibly hope to make an egg, without breaking a few omelettes”.

The kindest thing that can be said about those who propose and express support for this sort of palaver, is that they know not what they say.

Having turned my thoughts for many years upon this important subject during the past week – and maturely weighed the plots and schemes of my rivals – I have found them to be grossly mistaken in their computation.

One tries to be tactful, of course; but one is simply swimming against the tide. Indeed, it has all but foundered.

In numerical terms, it will be of Biblical proportions – long before the end of the century has begun.

Following discreet calculations, I have reckoned it at no fewer than one million and a half migrants, per native Briton.

Of these, I calculate there may be about several hundred or thousand additional foreign souls – from which number I add countless few score (times two, because coupled in wedlock); and this being granted, there will be a very great additional grievance of no less than a fair few dependents, defendit numerus

If we then round this figure up by four dozen and seven threes, we will arrive at the precise sum of half a migrant – plus a million or so – for every British indigenée in the land.

I assure you, I have worked this out parsimoniously.

Only resolute and urgent action in the future will avert this prospect in the present.

Whether there will be the public will to demand and obtain that action, I do not know; all I do know is that the public will not cease to demand this action, until it has been obtained.

For my own part, I have no personal interest at stake, in lending my endeavors to this necessary task – indeed, I hold no motive beyond satisfying the public good of my country.

It would merely undermine the public’s confidence in its statesmen, were they to believe otherwise.

 

How to write uninteresting and uncomplicated male characters in fiction – a sort of guide.

I am often asked how I manage to create so many uninteresting male characters when writing fiction.

It’s something which comes naturally to me, so I’ve never really given the matter much thought. In fact, I can’t recall ever spending any time thinking about the craft of writing at all, until now.

Nonetheless, a very learned friend of mine – who is by trade an author of literary fiction (and has won several prizes) – cajoled me into a spot of edification.

According to her, there is simply no shortage of female characters who feature in classics of modern prose, as decidedly uninspired constructs.

By contrast, their male counterparts tend to be depicted as complex and highly absorbing. “Convincing portrayals of real human beings”, as she put it.

My acquaintance wondered if I might be willing to help tip the balance, therefore; by demonstrating – on this very page – how easy it is to achieve an unemphatic characterization of fictitious men.

As a favour to her, I am only too happy to oblige.

Rather than spend a lot of time and effort pondering the ins and outs of characterization, however, I considered it best to simply provide clear examples of this material in action.

Perhaps the following excerpts can be regarded as a portrait gallery, of sorts.

*

“Maurice sauntered over to the bar – musky and tenacious – lifting his trouser leg; and slowly revealing a be-socked ankle.

His chin stuck out straight and true; the figure-hugging wrist-watch he wore glinted tantalizingly in the reflection of a light, or some such; which was shining from somewhere.

I could see the details of his credit card, impressing themselves against the taut cloth of his fibrous jacket pocket. His little flanks looked delicious”.

 

*

“Boris stood lordly above the shrimp and persimmon sandwich – his lips mouthed the word ‘caution’; but his stomach grumbled ‘proceed’. His gamey man-bosom was concealed only by the tweed jacket he always wore to the less welcome funerals.

Also the shirt underneath it, which was tight enough to both lift and separate, becomingly. His earlobes were plump and firm – imbued with the type of inherent nobility, which only centuries of inbreeding among the aristocracy can truly guarantee”.

 

*

“I am the little gopher – who enjoys a bit of the old how’s-your-father. Hear me squeek!” he whispered softly. “Yes” I replied.

“Has anybody ever lost their virginity to the ravishings of an especially virile male gopher?” he intoned. “Other than a female gopher?” I asked, uncertain. He smelled like a wax crayon.

I mimed the act of stroking his imaginary tail, mulling over the possible motives why some mammals have prehensile appendages – while others do not.

Romance with a gopher, who had faintly prominent pectorals, was a particularly specialized fantasy come true”.

 

*

“I could not help but notice his serene, manly handsomeness – the proud regard with which he seemed to hold his eyebrows, his hips; and his legs – crossed fetchingly at the ankles.

He then slammed the ammo cartridge into place. ‘Lock and load!’ he cried, with a sultry flick of the eyelashes.

The eight-man SAS patrol approached the compound, with their svelte frames enshrouded in immaculate uniforms”.

 

*

“Colin Burn ambled testicularly towards the buffet cart. While his loins were cold and damp as yesterday’s muesli – they had entered the room before the rest of his body; due to implacable laws of nature.

This symbolic happenstance was further enhanced by the fact that his long forgotten hairline revealed a lustrous and slightly pinkish-grey forehead.

His jowls had always been shapely – but now they were glowing with phlebitis; while the regal bearing of his buttocks was a sight to behold. Even if he did say so himself.

‘If only I could find an outfit to match’ he pondered silently; as the crest of his ample, poignant man-bosom heaved above the vest which clung to him – like a shipwrecked sailor, grasping at rocks in a swelling tide of some kind”.

*

 

“Following the divorce, Bailey had undergone plastic surgery in one or two key areas – and remodeled his body by doing lots of press-ups. His beautiful brown eyebrows had remained constant throughout.

He was now lying on his bed, in the halls of Residence – with his bare elbows exposed – when his fellow mature-student of archaeology, Sheila, knocked at the door.

She had come to help him with his dissertation.

The door opened – and there he stood: his generously proportioned biceps moved freely, as he twisted the door handle, nervously. His taut, rippling knees were simply bewitching.

Bailey’s voluminous derriere had always prompted remark, whenever a female gaze rested upon it. He now turned, and led Sheila towards the bed.

They discussed the recovery and analysis of excavation data long into the night”.

*

As you can see, it’s really rather easy to portray male characters in this fashion. So why don’t you encounter them more often in works of fiction?

There are many, many examples of female equivalents depicted this way in countless novels and short stories. It requires no real effort or imagination to write them at all, in fact.

I can only conclude that too many male authors simply regard men as more complex, and profound, than women; and portray them accordingly. Performing a real disservice to themselves and their readers, in the process, I might say.

Neither Mear One’s mural, nor Jeremy Corbyn are anti-Semitic – but sometimes satire goes wrong.

You may have read various articles about the furore surrounding Jeremy Corbyn’s expression of support for a supposedly anti-Semitic mural.

The artwork in question was called False Profits, and it was created by an artist called Mear One. Here is the screenshot, as it appears on the Guido Fawkes website:

Scary stuff, no? A cabal of men, with a Freemason symbol behind them? I mean that’s straight out the annals of anti-Semitic conspiracy theory, right?

Well, no.

To put it succinctly, the mural is not an anti-Semitic image. It is a critique of capitalists, exploiting workers.

However, it is problematic – and there is a valid criticism which can be made of both the artist and to some extent Corbyn; but it’s not the one that anyone seems to be making.

People have got the wrong idea about this mural – but that’s the point at issue here. It is wide open to misinterpretation – the imagery is very easily misconstrued; and so there’s a need to think more carefully about how something impacts on an audience.

Let’s go through the themes of the mural first of all.

In 2012, the artist uploaded a video to Youtube which describes the point he was trying to make:

“I came to paint a mural that depicted the elite banking cartel known as the Rothschilds, Rockerfellers, Morgans – the ruling class elite view, the Wizards of Oz; they would be playing a board game of Monopoly on the backs of the working class”.

Well, any reference to the Rothschilds is always liable to make people slightly uncomfortable – because they were frequently cited by actual anti-Semitic demagogues.

But the Rockerfellers and the Morgans are not Jewish. Instead, as Mear One says, what they have in common is that they are families synonymous with capital.

That this was the point of the mural is evident from simply looking at the full picture, rather than the cropped version:

Look at the hooded lad on the left-hand side, with his sign about the New World Order. Then at the gaunt mother on the right edge – the machine cogs, the polluting factories in the background. The Monopoly game on the backs of faceless men, doubled over.

This is not high art – if anything, it’s a fairly gauche purview on capitalism.

But what about the pyramid in the background? I mean, that’s a bit of an odd symbol, surely? Where might you have seen it before?

On US currency bills:

Let’s not have any laurel-resting, though. Mear One presumably included this symbol in his painting, in order to illustrate the theme of US capital.

So what actually is it, originally? What does the motto “novus ordo seclorum” mean?

The unfinished Pyramid is the Great Seal of the United States. Contrary to the mural’s suggestion, though, “novus ordo seclorum”does not mean New World Order – it means “new order of the ages”.

It was intended to signify a vision for the future, following the establishment of the United States, and the Declaration Of Independence.

Needless to say, regardless of whether you share the artist’s viewpoint, this is all mundane enough.

It is tempting therefore – and maybe even justifiable – to dismiss this incident out of hand, as nothing more than a misunderstanding; but if you’ve read this far, you will have surmised that it takes a fair bit of research to understand the artist’s point.

This was a mural, for people to walk past in the street – and it is a picture which is easily misunderstood. Indeed, it has been by a number of people; and has resulted in Corbyn issuing an apology.

This ease of misinterpretation does matter.

In fact, the same week that histrionics erupted over this mural, a similar incident made the news – namely a Scottish comedian using anti-Semitic language, while making parodies of Nazism; through the medium of pug.

It resulted in a boorish diatribe from another comedian, defending the jokes on the basis of free-expression.

That is, it received the exact opposite response to the censure which Mear One’s anti-capitalist mural prompted: namely, defending the use of anti-Semitic language in a joke; as opposed to denouncing a mural, because it bears a faint resemblance to anti-Semitic images.

There is an obvious cynicism to some of the reactions to both of these instances – but they don’t need to be given ground, in order to address the problem here properly.

The few-ish people who visit this site will have gathered that I tend to write a lot of parodies. Some of these involve lampooning xenophobia – including the genteel form it can take, at times. And in one case, a short play satirizing anti-Semitism.

Whether you care to take my word for it or not is entirely at your discretion, but I would say that it is not necessary to use racist words in order satirize racism. Quite the opposite. Not least of all because it simply ends up being unfunny if you do.

Did Charlie Chaplin’s Great Dictator see a comedian using the same language as Hitler? No – what it did instead was depict a crackpot ranting away about total nonsense; so that when people watched Hitler doing much the same thing, they saw him for what he actually was.

If Chaplin can manage to make fun of somebody like Hitler, without being hurtful towards the people persecuted by the Third Reich, then I am sure anyone else can manage it about his tinpot derivatives in the present day.

It is a problem when people do use derogatory language, even in jest – and especially with satire, because it is usually intended to be subtle; and the point being made is not always immediately clear. It is often purposely ambiguous, in fact; and it frequently does result in something being misunderstood.

If you want illustrative examples of this, look no further than Charlie Hebdo cartoons – be it their picture of the Nigerian girls kidnapped by Boko Haram:

Or their image of Aylan Kurdi, depicted as an adult assaulting women:

Shockingly callous, right?

No. People looked at these images, and saw them as racist caricatures; when they were not.

But that is the fault of the cartoonists, and no-one else. If satire requires an extensive background knowledge of context, in order to get the point being made, then it is weak.

The French public were outraged at the kidnapping of Nigerian girls – while supporting the misogynistic policies of their own government, aimed at single mothers living on low incomes in France.

The European public were horrified when an infant refugee drowned, trying to reach safety from war. They reacted with hysteria to sketchy reports of refugees sexually assaulting women in Cologne.

It was the double standards of these attitudes which the Hebdo cartoonists were depicting – and they evidently made a hash of it.

It happens – I don’t write satire in order to be cruel towards people; but to demonstrate how silly something affecting them is. To show it up for the nonsense it amounts to – and sometimes it goes wrong.

It isn’t really good enough to simply say ‘I can do what I like, because free speech’ – or to pretend that everyone else is stupid. It necessitates a bit of self-criticism; and maybe in some cases an apology.

Or at least a clarification, which rests on the basis that somebody else’s misperception arose off the back of your ineptitude.

What you say matters, because it can hurt people – however unintentionally. How you choose to depict something will have an impact, for better or worse, on any audience it receives.

This is the actual problem with Mear One’s mural – a lack of thought, about how someone else might see it; and an unwillingness to accept that it was ineffectual as satire.

It’s the same faultiness behind the Hebdo cartoons, and the pug jokes – and probably also some of the less successful pieces I have written.

This is not about free-expression – it is about using your brain properly; and accepting that sometimes, you cock things up.

Now let’s never speak of my ineptitude again.

The Right-Minded View: defeating fascism in the marketplace of ideas.

To put it mildly, I am appalled that some people are determined to close down free-expression, and alternative views, in this day and age.

From what I gather, a certain politician encountered a certain amount of protest – while delivering a speech about the merits of ethnic self-interest, on a campus somewhere.

Well it simply goes too far. But then I’m afraid that’s the nature of the hard-left for you.

In fact, it all brings to mind the notorious Scuffle Of Cable Street – where Oswald Moseley’s Legitimate Concernsmen were no-platformed by the PC Brigade.

Those in attendance may not have agreed with what Sir M. had to say; but refusing to listen to his argument, and then argue against that argument with a better argument, merely degraded an otherwise perfectly civil debate about which groups were no longer welcome in British society.

You may have disagreed with Moseley’s politics; but saying he was not a good man perhaps hurt his feelings. Did you stop to think about that?

This is merely one of many historical precedents, of course; and in my view, fascism can be overcome without any of this indecorous protesting malarkey – simply by defeating it in the marketplace of ideas.

For example, instead of launching a violent uprising against local authorities, the inhabitants of the Warsaw Ghetto should’ve taken the more civil approach of constructive engagement. Calm leafleting, for example.

Or better yet, they may have sought to occupy the moral high ground – through peaceful engagement, and asking respectful questions of their opponents.

What’s more, when the Soviets swept into Berlin during the onset of 1945, they didn’t deploy force of arms to achieve their ends. Oh no. Instead they engaged Wehrmacht officers in robust debate – leading to a full and frank exchange of views.

What they realised was really quite straightforward. Namely, that smashed windows – and broken rules – will always lead to raised eyebrows.

Consequently, the best way to bring about the Third Reich’s demise, was by praising moderate stormtroopers – encouraging them to do the right thing.

Accordingly, they all lived very sensibly ever after.

And say what you like about the Nazis, but at least they didn’t go around calling people rude names on the internet. Not if the historical records are anything to judge by, at any rate.

Besides, things have changed a bit since the 1930’s and 40’s, haven’t they? So why not give Moderate Fascists another shot at government? Where’s the harm?

Fingers Crossed, they won’t begin erecting concentration camps and all that palaver, once again.

The Right-Minded View: Donald Trump’s Tax-Cuts Are A Momentous Achievement

I, for one, welcome the prospect of a tax-cut for the wealth-creators of this world. A fair reward for good deeds done, I say.

Instead of punishing ambition by increasing taxes on those of us who happen to have girded our loins – and earned nicer holidays than our neighbours – it is far better to let everyone benefit from the trickle-down effects of prosperity’s rising tide.

High-time that people familiarised themselves with the Laugher curve – whereby if you reduce taxes, you increase them; so I understand.

It’s not as if anything much is funded by taxation – hospitals, schools, the police force, the military (and a few other things besides) not withstanding. So why do we have to pay it? This is precisely why the Cayman Islands remain such an attractive venture for so many of us – no matter how patriotic we may be.

All smacks of the politics of envy, in fact, this caviling.

It reminds me only too well of the impertinent response to recent news that our own fair Queen had been a bit creative with the old accountancy.

People overlooked the fact that it is Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs. Her face is on the bank notes. And she is the Queen of Bermuda, after all – so why shouldn’t she keep her money there?

I say that these Republican fellows follow suit – true, none of them actually paid tax to begin with, thanks to the many entirely justifiable loopholes they “exploit” (to use the overly emotive language beloved by the Left, here). So it’s not as if it changes very much, as is, now, is it?

And complaints to the contrary simply serve to show how hollow the pretensions of these so-called “socialists” are – as they talk about equality, while demanding that the wealthy pay a higher-rate of tax than the poor.

I consider the matter closed.

 

The need for a bit more honesty in political journalism

“Labour should be 20 points ahead in polls” (BBC). “If the Conservatives are such a mess, why isn’t Labour doing better in the polls?” (Telegraph)

Theresa May was turned into a lameduck by the general election result.

Before the general election, pundits were eulogising May; and predicting that she was going to deliver a 100-seat majority in Parliament – leading to a lifetime/decades/centuries of Conservative government.

That was proven completely wrong. So, people who had made those predictions – and were thereby confirmed to be either useless or dishonest – then changed position; and pretended that they had been vindicated, regardless.

Their complaint against ‘the Left’ and Jeremy Corbyn turned from ‘May is brilliant – Corbyn is terrible’; to ‘May is terrible – and Corbyn couldn’t even beat her’.

It’s demonstrably false. The Conservatives announced their ‘snap’ general election in April 2017 – and were polling at 43% of the stated voter-intention; while Labour were at 25%.

As the BBC put it:

“It might seem foolish to call anything a certainty now in politics, but this is probably as close as you’ll get. A raft of Sunday polls in the UK put the Conservatives somewhere between 11 and a massive 21 points ahead of Labour, the largest gap between the parties in the past nine years”.

The general election result saw the Conservatives finish with 42.4% of the vote; whereas Labour ended with 40%. There was clearly not a significant swing of voters away from the Conservatives, to Labour.

Instead, the major upsurge in support for Labour occurred over the course of a week, after their manifesto had been leaked to the media. It was evidently the policies Labour were offering to the public under Corbyn – and only under his leadership – which resulted in a surge of enthusiasm.

That is what shattered both the punditry consensus that only minor variations on liberal-conservatism were “electable” in Britain; and deprived the government of a Parliamentary majority – paving the way for its current turmoil.

This cannot reasonably be attributed to any other factor. The Scottish National Party lost nearly half of its MPs – primarily to the Scottish Conservatives. The Liberal Democrats contested the general election on opposition to Brexit, and made no gains in the overall public vote – in fact, their vote share decreased by 0.5%; they merely increased their number of Parliamentary seats from 8 to 12, due to the electoral system. Ukip’s dissipation granted a significant boost in popular support to the Conservative Party.

Commentators throughout the press published a variety of prophecies which turned out to be completely wrong. Nobody is blessed with omniscience; but if you have been left comprehensively discredited, it is not really justifiable to claim that somehow you were proven correct.

So, media pundits can pretend that they have called it right in defiance of their own output, all they wish. But it just leaves them looking like inebriated Texas sharp-shooters; who take aim at a barn door with their trusty 12-shot – miss with every single bullet; then use a piece of chalk to draw circles around various chips and divots, before claiming a dozen direct hits.

A bit of honesty would not go amiss.