Party Conference 2006

I shouldn't be pelted with pies for asking difficult questions 'But what was it all about?" said a kindly woman on my left as I arrived late for dinner last night in Bournemouth. "I mean, what did you actually say?" she asked, as I slumped into my chair. I felt like a wrung-out dish cloth. It was like being a survivor of the Jalalabad gulch. For a whole 10 minutes I had been dandled before the maniac eyes of the media King Kong. This way and that it had prodded me as it roared its incomprehensible roar and bathed me in the terrifying afflatus of its nostrils, and at the end of the experience, frankly, I was just as baffled as my friend. What was it all about? I stared at my plate and tried to collect my scattered impressions. All I could remember was having a quiet time at the Tory conference, and round about tea time I was in the press officers' area, borrowing a computer in order to crunch out a piece for the Times Higher Educational Supplement. I was composing a particularly tricky passage when I became aware of a sort of Apache whooping outside. A mob was gathering. They started drumming their feet. They started calling my name and bashing on the tinny little partition wall of the Tory press officers' zone. Then they started thumping on the walls. Then to the sound of rhythmic chanting a ladder appeared over the top of the wall, and the red eye of a TV news camera was trained on us; and at this point the sweet Tory press people said would I mind hurrying up and finishing the piece, because the whole thing was getting a bit Gordon at Khartoum. So we went outside and immediately they not only started yelling for me to "apologise!" and "resign!" but also to eat various cupcakes that they thrust under my nose. Eh? I said. What is the story, exactly? And they said that it had been a very slow news day, and that I had said four atrocious and unpardonable things, and they shrieked them unintelligibly into my ear. I have now been able to consult the morning papers, and to grasp the charges. But I find no gaffes, my friends. I find pure unvarnished common sense. I find important questions of political philosophy, and instead of trying to answer them everyone thinks it's much more fun to shut down the debate and scream "gaffe". I was accused of being rude to the Scots and saying that a Scot could never become prime minister. Rubbish. I repeatedly said how much I adored the Scots, but that it was difficult in the current constitutional circumstances to see how Gordon Brown - sitting for a Scottish seat - could command the loyalty and support of the English electorate. It is increasingly felt to be unjust that English MPs can be outvoted by Scottish MPs on very controversial questions affecting their own constituents, when they have no corresponding say over health and education and other questions in Scotland - and when the Scottish MPs have no say over those questions in Scotland itself! I said that Gordon Brown, sitting for Dunfermline, must address this if he wants to be prime minister. If that is a gaffe, then heaven help us all. Then I was accused of being provocative in prophesying that parts of Bradford might have sharia law. Balderdash. I was drawing attention to a theoretical problem in the localising agenda that we all support. Not only was there a risk that the NHS would become even more balkanised, I said, but you could imagine in a totally devolved system that Islamic zealots might take control of some inner-city area. I was illustrating the classic difficulty of any federal system: that a local majority may do something disapproved of by a national majority. Is that really such a blooper? Especially when I went on immediately to say that the experience of running councils and levying taxes might be a great thing for often alienated Muslim communities, since they would have a real stake in this country and its good government. Is that so frightful? Of course not. Well then, they screamed in my ear, I was in the soup for my attack on booster seats for 11-year-olds. I will not repeat the argument, but let me summarise by saying that you could regulate with a far lighter touch. Of course there will be good parents who want to use every possible precaution, even when the risks of not using a booster seat are very small indeed. Surely the best thing would be to have an information campaign about the potential benefits of these seats, rather than impose booster seats wholesale on the entire population, wasting police time and causing total chaos for schools who want to take children of varying sizes on trips. Is that such an epic clanger? Come off it, folks. And finally I was pelted with pies for having allegedly dissed Jamie Oliver, when the whole point of what I was saying was in support of what he is trying to do. All I said was that it was hard to persuade the kids to eat the lovely healthy stuff when they still had the option of the chocs and the crisps in the packed lunch. One possible solution was to go the whole hog, I suggested, and have a completely paternalist approach in which you bring back mandatory school dinners - delicious, Jamie-style liver and cabbage - and stop kids eating anything else at school but what they are given. The reason the mothers were posting the pies through the fence is that there is still total confusion about who is in charge of the school meal, schools or parents, and Jamie's campaign won't work properly until that ambiguity is cleared up. I was elected to ask difficult questions. These four "gaffes" conceal very big and very deep issues of democracy and accountability: the West Lothian problem; the consequences of true federalism and localism; the boundary between voluntarism and compulsion in health and safety; the shared role of parents and state in children's diet. Sometimes I have an answer, sometimes only part. In all cases we need much more debate and thought, but all my beloved press chums want to do is chuck pies and yodel. I suppose it's been a long conference season.

193 thoughts on “Party Conference 2006”

  1. Back on top form . Hilariously wise . My only quibble is that as Boris is a Cameron courtier ( Deputy Prime minister they are saying). He is not allowed to ask really difficult questions. Well ..not now , and not in public. Come to think of it though for we Conservative Conservatives he is a bit of Trojan Horse and we are not to know what he may say in private .

    Britains Leading Active Conservative and what a relief after the piffle Hefferlump was on about yesterday . Now he is becoming frankly rather stupid and I can hardly be bothered with him any more.

  2. Fascinating stuff.

    Were that these comments about pies and Scotsmen made by someone like Geoffrey Boycott – or someone with a similar dialect – people would be carrying him through the streets on their shoulders and demanding he be installed as Prime Minister.

    The Etonian accent, combined with Boris’ convivial approach meant that the message content (with the helped of BBC) was trivialised.

    Tragically, the light hearted and colourful approach to deliverying serious message content is lost on the dumbed down media and it’s public victims.

    May I put it more directly ?

    1. The menu in school canteens is not one of top 1000 challenges we must face. Time & effort is being wasted.

    2. We are about to be governed by an admirably loyal Scot – whilst his own nation is pursuing devolutionary strategies.

    Are these points not valid ?

  3. Bravo Boris. The media distorted things out of all proportion as there was not much else to talk about that day. Perhaps it was their revenge for David Cameron’s refusal to roll out policies!

  4. A couple of things for Jason Jarvis :

    Actually what kids eat is important as it affects their behaviour and education, not to mention that obesity at an schoolage usually means for life, and that brings additional costs in terms of healthcare and quality of life.

    If Cameron is serious about tackling the causes of crime and antisocial behaviour then education and health at that age are an important part of it. Of course any blue-blooded tory (or champage socialist blairite) doesn’t give two figs about kids on normal secondary schools, because theirs are in private schools.

    Also having a PM from ANYWHERE in the british isles is what makes the nation a democracy. The current PM is English, yet decides on issues affecting scotland, northern ireland, wales, etc as a national matter – the important thing is that Regional MPs can’t vote on regional legislation outside their region.

    It’s really quite simple – a regional MP (and England is just another region, not some special holy albion) who is PM *should* act as a local MP on regional issues, and PM on national issues. Of course, any PM tends to be more figurehead than active MP in their constituency, so it’s probably even less of an issue.

    Boris,

    Well written and well thought out, at least somebody in Camerons shadow cabinet can talk specifics instead of hand-waving vaguery. I wish you were a lib dem MP sometimes, but I’d rather have a decent MP in another party than a poor one in my own 🙂

  5. I am one of those mixed up types who hailes from both side of the Scotland/England border being half Mancurian and half Dundonian. I found your comments with regard to Brown (if as the media reports) deeply offensive. Why do you and so many others find the notion of being British so difficult to comprehend?
    The West Lothan Question is an issue that has to be addressed by giving England its own parliament. However the fact remains that we are all British and so the location of an MP’s constituency is irrelevent within Westminster. When are people going to understand that. It is not difficult. Does somebody have to be English to be PM of the UK?
    The comments attributed to you with regard to Brown are deeply offensive to everybody with an ounce of intelligence. I for one will not vote for a party that has racist MP’s. You have I feel wiped out the Tory vote in Scotland. The Scots, while deriding you Boris, will be rubbing their hands in glee.
    Lets face Scotland has the SNP and the Tories are now Englands ENP. Why not tell the truth and change the party name? Absolutely nobody will mind.

  6. No Aaron, TB was born in Edinburgh, which makes him a Scot as far as I can see.

    I do hope David’s posting was a troll. If not, and if his OTT outburst against imagined slights are typical for a Scot, then the quicker they attain full independence and can create their own socialist 3rd-world utopia (Gaelistan perhaps?) the better.

  7. DAVID:
    However the fact remains that we are all British and so the location of an MP’s constituency is irrelevent within Westminste.

    How many English MP`s are currrently occupying Scottish seats ? I feel very sorry for the loyalists stuck in the middle of this nasty divorce but a divorce is what it must now be.

    Have a look at the hatered expressed on Scottish nationalist sites before you allocate blame to us. I have little or no inclination to put up with it any longer. I think that is now the majority English view and scarcely rates as controversial.

    Oil , army , Barnett Formula , the attempt of evil new lab to bluff their way out of it . Its going to be nasty but best get it over with. WE have a chance to recover our neglected English culture and forget Rabbie Burns , the overrated minor comic turn . So its all goooood news.

    I hear the Scottish Parliament wants to ban Scots from buying rounds . …..nuff said .

  8. Boris you were a triumph!

    Serious comment on topic in time folks but can hardly focus. Just a quick plea…

    Boris, BORIS! Ah there you are.. please please look at Peter Hitchens’ blog here and take pity on the man, I mean he’s just gagging to get into politics. Bless his heart the poor soul is like the only one not invited to the party. Can’t you do something for the little whinge-pot? I think he’d be a damn-sight better than some. Our Labour council was ousted after 20 years and come the general election the Tory PPC did sod all whereas Labour were all over us. Labour won.

    I’ll make no mention of Peter’s column or that it apparently causes strong reactions in women as I’m sure you’ll mistake my meaning. But I don’t see why a sizeable column should be an impediment – you cope!

  9. Boris,
    The only reason it made such news was because the rest of the conference was so dull. No real debate, just Cameron slapping down the true conservatives. More stage managed than even New labour.

  10. The real downside of this furore was the response of Cameron, misquoting the Sound of Music, to say something like ‘what can I do with a problem like Boris?’.

    Cameron has made me an ex-Tory voter with his rejection of the issues that bother me, like paying too much tax to be wasted on lunatic things. Things which cannot be questioned without the media foaming ‘beyond the pale’. Things like, say, paying for two European parliaments, when perhaps one is too many. Or paying for millions of glossy colour leaflets explaining how loving parents can now be arrested for not making their children sit on 12 inches of polystyrene when driving to the shops.

    I voted Tory in the past because I believe in a small state and individual freedom. Cameron mouths this stance but leads his party in the opposite direction.

  11. Just to repeat what I prematurely wrote on the last article: Is Boris now the ONLY politician left who says what a great many people are thinking but dare not utter?

    Another great piece, Bozza, but methinks you were rather more aware of the likely consequences than you’re letting on!

  12. I’ve just had a look at the Hitchens article. I’d not read the man before but that particular article is extremely sensible. Even though I detest the cherubic garden gnome, Cameron, I was intending to vote tory at the next election just to help push this appalling mob out, but I now wonder if voting for a fringe party might just help to make the current conservative party fragment. Out of the fragments there might even arise, Phoenix-like, a proper Classic-Liberal party. (In which our boy-wonder, Johnson, would fit very nicely).

  13. I fear, Mr Issued, that your comment has just gone straight over the top of my head.

    Sorry about that, I’m sure there was an erudite witticism contained within it somewhere 🙂

    But you’re quite right about needing a few more mavericks letting off some ‘social hand grenades’!

  14. About time a politician came out and criticised Jamie Oliver’s statist obsession with taking away all choice from parents. I’m glad that we will have somebody in the next government who will stand up for our liberty.

  15. Hi Teejay – thanks for you comments.

    Without any shadow of doubt the diets of our children (and their subsequent behaviour) are issues well worth investigating – and I don’t think I said anything to the contrary.

    But it still doesn’t feature on in the top 1000.

    In far off and foreign lands, where people less fortunate than ourselves have access to only a small fraction of the nutriouces and varied diets that we enjoy here – and an even smaller fraction of the education available to us – people still manage to survive, invovate, evolve, behave and get educated.

    Do think Nelson Mandela had 5 portions of fresh fruit every day from and early age? And something from each of the major food groups ? How about Shakespeare ? No ?? Albert Einstein ? Thomas Edison ? Confucous ? Socrates ? Tracy Emin ? Damien Hirst ? Bill Gates ? Richard Branson ? Boris ? Me ? You ?

    No.

    Some stage, unhealthy food has played a signigicant part in our food consumption. But some how we made it. An dare I say it, had some fun along the way.

    Menus are not prescriptions, nor should they be.

  16. Chris Morriss – I was being satirical.

    Anything connected with that bloke backfires on me. (shakes head, pours drink) What bloke? Dunno, never heard of him. More tea vicar?

  17. 1) The West Lothian Question

    Simple, keep devolution, ensure that England is fairly funded, stop Scots/Welsh/N.Irish MP’s voting on matters that only affect England. Brown and his chums leave the room prior to the debate.

    2) Muslims Fundamentalists in Town Halls

    I can’t imagine fundamentalist Clerics wanting to take an interest in secular politics, besides they don’t usually like having their policies scrutinised.

    3) Booster Seats

    Bad legislation, the cops should stick it on a shelf and forget it exists.

    4) Jamie Oliver / School Dinners

    Better that the little brats get used to canteen food for when they start work. All this ‘food is bad for you’ nonsense is wearing thin. I’m fed up of people having a go at me for eating bacon and fried egg sandwiches.

    ‘Didn’t you have one of those yesterday as well Steve’

    ‘Fish and chips Steve? That’s really bad for you, you know’

    ‘Don’t you worry about all the fat you’re eating Steve?’

    I get it all the time, and Jamie Oliver has made it worse. Best thing about it is that the people who whinge at you about what you eat are the same ones that fell for the Fatkins diet scam.

    It’s bad enough people always telling you ‘you should give up smoking’ or ‘have you drank the whole bottle of wine?’. Now they are whingeing at me for eating aswell.

    What’ll come next? The Public Health (Eating in Front of Children) Regulations?

    Regulation 1.

    ‘Child’ means any person under the age of 16

    ‘responsible position’ means any person employed to work with a child or children.

    Regulation 2.

    Any person over the age of 18, employed in a responsible position, shall be committing an offence of they do eat in the view of a child any of the foods listed in schedule 1 of these regulations.

    Schedule 1.

    Bacon Sandwiches
    Fish and Chips
    etc
    etc

  18. The problem I have with Jamie Oliver and his ilk (esp. that horrid Gillian whats-her-name)is that their arguments are so one sided. Why have they not been complaining about Britain’s failure to ensure that all models (especially those under sixteen) at London fashion week have healthy BMI’s? Many young people die each year from anorexia, yet they ignore, if not encourage, this.

  19. Damn straight, Boris! Glad you chose to stand up for yourself this time.

    ps. Jamie Oliver is a self-righteous grinning goit that sold his soul to Sainsburys.

  20. ‘Jamie Oliver is a self-righteous grinning goit that sold his soul to Sainsburys’ (Mark)

    Surely you’re not suggesting he’s only in the celebrity chef business for the money now Mark?

  21. Jamie Oliver said schools should spend more on meals and dump turkey twizzlers.

    Did Boris say they shouldn’t spend more on meals and must bring back turkey twizzlers? No.

    They’re probably not that far apart then.

    The government/EU says parents must fit a booster seat under threat of prosecution.

    Did Boris say parents should not fit a booster seat? No.

    Amazing, isn’t it, how twizzled some people become.

  22. What the papers do not mention too often, is that schools are overcharging children for food that is still sub-standard. Perhaps if children were offered decent food at a reasonable cost then they might not want to get food from their parents at lunchtime.
    If schools were really that worried about the health of children they should not have sold off playing fields to builders.

  23. The Etonian accent, combined with Boris’ convivial approach meant that the message content (with the helped of BBC) was trivialised.

    My thinking exactly. Living, as I do, ‘oop norf’, I encounter this kind of thing every day. They say that they won’t vote Tory because they don’t understand ‘normal’ people and that Tories are snobs. They don’t realise the irony; it is they who are the snobs. Can you imagine saying that they won’t vote for someone because he’s black and can’t understand white people? There would be an uproar! Apparently, though, it is perfectly okay to dismiss someone because he/she was fortunate enough to have had a private education and has a posh accent. Such hypocrites! Incidentally, I have neither a posh accent nor private education; just the bog-standard comp and Auf Wiedersehn, Pet bark for me!

    Well done, Boris my son. Don’t ever let the left-wing media gag you!

  24. Calm down, lads.

    Poor old Boris. turn up at a conference, mutter a few words about one of the nation’s current saints, and all hell breaks loose. You can imagine his incredulity as he sat in the press office, trying to pen a…

  25. Boris, top showing at the conference I thought. And having been in some of the inner city areas of Bradford post-rioting, I have to say you’re probably not too far from what does go on, we were informed, although I’m not sure on the reliability of this, that some of the areas local people were using their own currency. I assumed it to be false, as I never saw any Burqa clad women leading goats to the shops to exchange for their groceries. But at any rate, your comments were raising a valid point, which is probably why the press didn’t want to debate them properly, that would have been far too sensible.

  26. Keep going Boris, You’re doing an excellent job.

    With “Jamie Oliver” – You’re exposing the nanny state tendencies of the current Government and making it clear that the Conservatives are in favour for individuals taking responsibility for their own lives – you’re doing this and you’re getting it across to a huge audience a clear difference between the parties.

    With booster seats you’re clearly showing you understand the problems of the loss of parlimentary control over our own laws and the stupidity of much EU regulation.

    You’re playing a big role in keeping the problem of Scottish MPs voting on things that don’t affect their constituants in the national conscious.

    In highlighting the potential problems with devolving too much power to the local level you’ve made a very good and valid point.

    The press are working for you, and you use them well; If you don’t like it then you can always come here to your Blog some more – perhaps with a video camera next time – you have seen

    haven’t you – do keep up.

  27. DAVID

    `The West Lothan Question is an issue that has to be addressed by giving England its own parliament. However the fact remains that we are all British and so the location of an MP’s constituency is irrelevant within Westminster.`

    If we have our own parliament then why do we need Scotland ?Why indeed do we need Britain ? I know many Conservatives have an endearing sentimental attachment to this dead concept . For Labour it is only convenient.
    It has to go ,and it will go it is only the temporary log jam in English politics that has saved it so long. If anyone can think of one , just one, good reason to continue to put up with the abuse, unfairness , tax drain and cultural inertia please tell me . Imagine and English Broadcasting Company. Then we might get some decent drama , arts and news coverage. Britain was never a mystical union it was a political and military reality . Now it isn’t and the more delay there is the more the negotiations will change from a civilised readjustment into a bitter recrimination.. Conservatives must always question the new but in the end must be prepared to jettison dead wood .

  28. Jaq – I liked your comments on the P Hitchens site: you are quite a political force to reckon with!

    Pete amillionpieces – you star! good to hear your views…

    Let’s hope the conference isn’t a precursor to what will happen in Parliament when it resumes next Monday otherwise we shall need all your help in the Boris Johnson nuts and bolts Office

  29. Well said, Boris! Keep up the good work. Don’t let the b…..ds, get to you. We think you’re brilliant.

  30. Ok off the point here, but what are everyone’s thoughts on Jack Straw’s comments about muslim women covering their faces?

  31. Boris, I love you !!!
    I want you to smear meat pies all over me. [Ed: inappropriate comment deleted…]

  32. interesting to note, that the BBC had the “jamie oliver” thing splattered all over their website on the day, but now they run a rather different piece….. i wonder if it had anything to do with the large numbers of people calling on the BBC to back off?

    too many people in public life, talk a good game, staged managed, top advisors writing for them, too frightened of upsetting people, instead of saying what they think.

    even “old labour” were respected, because even though i disagreed with them on how they wanted to achieve ideal goals we all wanted to see, at least they were honest, they wanted to tax more, and they told you they were going to tax more.

    new labour, are old labour, but without the honesty.

    what happened to polictician’s suggesting an ideal scenario, then stating how they were going to bring it about, and then explain and win the argument?

    now we have a scenario that everyone in the world would like to see, eg, “i want to see every child do well!” “i want no waiting lists on the NHS!” “i will make sure we have economic stability!” but they never tell us how they will do it.

    they just talk in two minute teatime news framing, should anything go wrong or someone finds out that all is not what they promised, then they refuse interviews or release a statement….

    keep speaking out Boris, someone’s got to!

  33. jack straw not going for the labour deputy or leadership is he?

    shame he “thought about speaking out” for some time, yet when presented with tv cameras, he couldnt even pronounce his local paper’s name correctly.

    he only asked if they would remove the veil, if they dont want to then thats ok, so wots the problem?

  34. Boris,

    The only thing I’m disappointed about is you denying the remarks! Pan fry Mr Oliver, declare war on the Scots please.

    Bring it on!

  35. All this ‘food is bad for you’ nonsense is wearing thin. I’m fed up of people having a go at me for eating bacon and fried egg sandwiches. (Steven_L)

    I’d just finished a plate of home-cooked bacon, eggs, mushrooms, and tomatoes on fried bread when I read this. So I went and fried up another.

    I really simply have no time whatsoever for any of these food fads, having endured dozens and dozens of the blighters over the past few decades.

    When I were a lad, school dinners consisted of meat and two veg submerged in dark brown gravy, followed by jam rolly-poly pudding and custard. And on the days when we got grilled bacon, everyone would line up to dunk doorsteps of bread in the hot dripping beneath. I once got beaten up for jumping the queue for this exquisite delicacy.

    As best I understand now, such a diet is considered to be actually poisonous by our current overmighty, interfering medical establishment. But, back then, it was called a ‘balanced diet’ by the nutritionists of that vanished era.

    My own personal view is that people should eat whatever they want to, but it is probably not advisable to eat the same thing every day. I once read of a man who ate nothing but carrots, and who gradually turned bright orange, and finally died. It was no surprise to me. Although it probably was for him.

  36. After I’d finished my bacon and eggs (which weren’t strictly kosher: I should have had baked beans and black pudding instead of mushrooms and tomatoes – but where do you get black pudding these days?), I heard someone remark on This Week that the NHS had been a religion for the British people since its post-war inception, and Dave Cam had simply recognized this, and replaced “Education. Education. Education,” with “N. H. S.”

    He’s probably right. At least it would explain why the medical establishment now has acquired the powers of the Spanish Inquisition, any dissent against which is not only impossible, but dangerous to one’s personal health and well-being.

    But it also means that we are here dealing with irrational religious dogma, and the medical establishment are simply another bunch of priests and bishops and abbots peddling another brand of pious indulgences.

    One day they will face the dissolution of their monasteries, and the last president of the BMA will hang from its porch, just like the last abbot of Glastonbury abbey, Richard Whiting, was hanged on Glastonbury Tor.

  37. Jaq read the Peter Hitchens thing, which I was hooked on from the moment I read this
    “sinister regional assemblies, to prepare us for EU occupation, in the English provinces”, which is something I `ve been worried about for ages . His points on Political exclusion are very close to my heart as well and was the reason behind the “stunt” mayoral application .To say what if someone outside the bubble said “Alright
    David I `ll have a go thanks ” . He goes on to fairly standard right wing concerns which are well known so I think the impact tails off.
    I think the decline of the unions in politics has been important . Without the ordinary people that have come up through this route to take on ,the Conservative Party has become full of “employees” of the con-trick and as both parties talk the same non-language it goes unnoticed. With real working people represented you could not get away with a party exclusively from the political/media class. The entire debate has floated fee of the country.
    I see this all the time where I am as shiny but useless 22year olds try to get jobs working for MPs and in Think Tanks avoid life entirely aiming to be onto their safe seat by say 35 .
    Someone like Boris can short circuit the process and that is why I like him but the utter lack of independent experience from other backgrounds is , in my view, a disaster.
    This structural problem added to regional assemblies , the EU , adds up in total to the theft of democracy and it is going on quietly in the shadows while we are sitting out in the sunny garden .
    So there !

    IDLEX – you always suprise me . Something of Beachcomber ,something of Saki ,

  38. K SAID -If schools were really that worried about the health of children they should not have sold off playing fields to builders.

    I agree . Well said . My brother is a teacher and he tells me that they have science labs coming out of their ears, funds they don’t know what to do with, but a collection of lazy useless teachers who gave up trying a long time ago. They cannot be fired and they cannot even be disciplined. They did not need the money they got from selling fields to developers and they have lied about it consistently.

    Peter Hitchens article was about the truth being banned from politics, well here is such a truth .The problem with education is the teachers and their unions .They will frustrate every re-jig of the system. When I read of this idea and that, being patted to and fro in Policy Forum it is immediately obvious to me that none of the people talking, know anything about a school. It doesn’t matter what you plant in a poisoned field . It will not grow .

    Why is it when inclusion is being talked about it is always about getting people from a Public Sector Background like Teaching involved. This is directly against that vastly more important group PARENTS. Who remain excluded? Look at the way parents have been treated in this country The first thing to do is get angry. . I have started a little local thing along these lines . We aren’t angry enough. “I `m angry and I `m, not going to take it any more”

    Brought to you by`RENT -A -RANT “available for weddings and birthdays. Give us a call………………….

    (a period of silence will now be observed )

  39. Newmania said: “but a collection of lazy useless teachers who gave up trying a long time ago. They cannot be fired and they cannot even be disciplined”

    And you can substitute ‘teachers’ for ‘Nurses’ and it’s equally true. You get good and bad in everything but if you have a blanket holier-than-thou attitude to a job title then, as you say, the not-so-goods are left unchecked and the standard of the whole operation goes down. (avoidable pun alert)

    Can I just remind everyone on the subject of Peter Hitchens that I’m NOT a prophet for Planet Peter and he’s NOT the Messiah – just “a very naughty boy” (Jones accent please)

  40. Sorry I meant “And you can substitute ‘Nurses’ for ‘teachers’ and it’s equally true”

    Obviously my eyes need more medication.

    PS: Thought the media feeding frenzy on Boris shown on Newsnight last night just astonishing.

  41. JAQ
    “And you can substitute ‘teachers’ for ‘Nurses’ and it’s equally true”

    Now nurses I “likey very much” they do a fine fine job in my expierience.Happy memories.

    And if anyone has any “massages” to deliver to Boris I`ll try to embarrass him with them

  42. I have to disagree with newmania on that one, in my experience the NHS nurses I have dealt with have been awful. In NHS hospitals I have seen nurses yelling at old ladies for falling out of bed (and that is while they have left them on the floor for ten minutes while they finished chatting. They do not help to look after the wards and it is all too common to see nurse on their way to work already in their uniform-no wonder thousands of people are dying from hospital infection. Perhaps it is time to go back to military style hospitals

  43. K – I suspect we see nurses in a quite different way K but seriously I like what you have to say and JAQ as always .Its the Kings Clothes Syndrome . Our wonderful Nurses , Teachers and worst of all our wonderful Policemen. Even cuddly Dave described the Police as the last unreformed
    public service..
    If you listen to DC he is lot less of a softy than people think he is and I really hope noone is silly enough as to go off in a sulk and let Brown in.I may moan a bit but I would never do such a thing Centre Righr /Right unity . Onwards to victory !!!!!!

  44. Why was there no such furore when Cameron branded those of us who think an English parliament is the solution to the WLQ ‘sour little Englanders’ who needed ‘educating’ about Scotland? Despite a recent MORI poll which found that 41% thought an English parliament was the way to go, he actually resorted to name calling and yet there was no such outcry! Boris says it as it is which is refreshing nowadays. It’s just a shame about his party leader.

  45. Why don’t we just drop a nuke on West Lothian and solve the question once and for all?

    Wimps!

  46. Given that Cameron is a very Scottish name, is he perhaps only a generation or two removed from the Pictish horde themselves?

    Crivens!

    Chris Morriss.

  47. “Pictish horde”

    Nice wordage Chris. Of course the tartan beasts have this silly idea that the oil is all theirs. In fact if we could just do a deal with the Shetland we could have our mac-Cake and Eat it. Without them its mostly Norway’s. How I love to drift through Friday afternoon inventing ways to annoy Scottish people.
    The clearances were a Scottish idea,. A British football rugby and cricket team would have no more than about 2 Scots in it . They really are useless. No wonder we have to suckle them like a whining infant via the Barnet Formula .

    Have at ye “pictish horde”!

  48. ‘A British football rugby and cricket team would have no more than about 2 Scots in it’ (Newmania)

    And that’s assuming we could go back a season or two, bend the rules to breaking point and somehow poach Rahul Dravid off them.

  49. Newmania – I think ‘old’ scottish law has a lot to be said for it, like the judgement of ‘not proven’ in a murder trial, hence avoiding the double jeopardy get-out. And the handfasting arrangement has a lot to be said for it (but don’t tell Hitchens I’m advocating this – he hates me enough). So there’s a lot of good stuff north of the border, I just think we should embrace the good and shelve the bad. Which makes me wonder of all the good things in America why we imported McD’s, terrorist hysteria and a stupid illegal war?

  50. ‘there’s a lot of good stuff north of the border, I just think we should embrace the good and shelve the bad. Which makes me wonder of all the good things in America why we imported McD’s, terrorist hysteria and a stupid illegal war?’ (Jaq)

    What do they actually make in the US that we want to import?

    The lager is better, and cheaper, in Eastern Europe, the wine better in Spain and Australia. We might as well import our clothing direct from the Indian Subcontinent and the best cars are made in Germany.

    As for Scotland, apart from malt whisky, smoked fish and crustaceans I can’t think of anything we need from North of the Border.

  51. Back to pies: I’d be interested to know Boris’s view on what schools should dish up at mealtime.

    We tend to forget there are a lot of kids for whom school dinner is their only proper meal, with ingredients hitherto costing less than a Mars Bar.

    I don’t have much direct contact with schools these days but a kid up the road offers a glimpse of the other side. He’s 11, the youngest of four brothers with a single mother and various fathers who might look in when they’re not enjoying HM’s hospitality.

    Nice enough boy, although it’s hard to understand him, he insists on coming round at weekends to weed the lawn and mow the roses for pocket money.

    Mid-afternoon I’ll ask him if he’s had anything to eat.

    “Yer, breakfast”

    “What did you have for breakfast?”

    “Bag of crisps”

    “And for dinner last night?”

    “Jacket potato”

    “And what will you be having this evening?”

    “Dunno. Me mum’s going out. Prolly a jacket potato”.

    “Anything in the potato?”

    “Mayo. Baked beans. Dunno”

    And that’s it. Day after day, a packet of crisps and microwaved potato. Maybe he doesn’t get even that during the week.

    This is in a fairly affluent village. God only knows what goes on elsewhere. Pies or no pies through the railings, surely they deserve one reliable source of nutrition?

  52. JAQ-
    Many times recently I have found myself more in agreement with Peter Hitchens than his famous brother Christopher Hitchens!
    Is it just me, or has the world just gotten dead confusing since 9/11?

    K- “Ok off the point here, but what are everyone’s thoughts on Jack Straw’s comments about muslim women covering their faces?”

    I could easily take offence at the covering in public and i dont usually go out of my way to be offended.

    However, I ve noticed recently that it sometimes turns me on to see a woman in that full garb, all in black with just her eyes showing.
    Sometimes they wear lacy gloves with the outfit too, which makes you wonder what underwear, if any, they re wearing underneath it all!

    One has to look on the bright side. As France’s Le Pen said of the Burkha, “It protects us from ugly women!”

  53. Reading Boris’s recollection of his media mugging is hilariously funny but belies a far more sinister backdrop to the way the media works these days.

    If you have no news, create it by trying to mis-quote and bludgeon someone who can always be relied on to draw readers interest.

    Whilst Boris’s comments were to the point and perfectly reasonable the media chose to ignore the logic behind them.

    I saw Boris on Question time in Leeds and remember with glee the manner in which he amply dealt with the old hack who is supposed to be in charge of the NHS.

    Perhaps the only way to get your point across is to add humour and controversy. If thats Boris’s way it certainly seems to work.

  54. PaulD – I could not agree more. The only distinction I’d like to make is that a childs diet is NOT dependant on a mothers marital status. There are plenty of families, with fathers, who feed their kids exactly the same stuff – I’ve seen it. And it’s this that gets me so mad – the assumption that if you’re a single mum that MUST be the life your kids are living. Well it’s not.

    It’s actually cheaper to feed kids healthily – TO COOK! And when you walk up the aisle you don’t suddenly get a blinding light and a cookery lesson from God. Doesn’t happen. There are just LOADS of married folk out there that feed their kids rubbish. They feed themselves rubbish too.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, my son has just turned his nose up at home-made spag bol and insists on beans on toast. For breakfast he likes toast and honey. Four slices usually. He had fish and chips at school today for lunch (fri) and will be having braised steak and onions with mashed potatoes, carrots, cabbage and parsnips for dinner tommorow. For lunch tommorow he’s ordered chicken curry so as it’s lunch I’ll do curried chicken and salad wraps with corn on the cob. Chocolate ice cream for desert after dinner tommorow but for lunch the children will be making their own flapjacks.

    PS: I’m a single mum if you hadn’t guessed. We often get our veg from a local farm and the children go into the fields and pick their own. Food is fun.

  55. Insomniac – what can I say??
    There are many things that annoy me about the little bro, but after some careful thought the most irritating has got to be that he’s prettier than me.
    I can take it from Boris, at least he’s younger, and shorter, and blonde.

  56. JAQ”There are many things that annoy me about the little bro, but after some careful thought the most irritating has got to be that he’s prettier than me.”

    You do mean Christopher do you? That “booze-adled former Trotskite popinjay” as George Galloway called him. Surely he s not prettier than you?

  57. I wonder if all this strange media attention is a consequence of the publication of a new book: Boris by Andrew Gimson. (Simon & schuster £17.99 ISBN 0743275845)

    Reviewing the book in the Spectator of 7 October, Toby Young concludes:

      Above all, Boris has tremendous force of personality. In his Diaries, Alan Clark talks about the effect that Margaret Thatcher had on him: ‘At the end, when she spoke of her determination to go on, and her blue eyes flashed, I got a full dose of personality compulsion, something of the Fuhrer Kontakt.’ Boris has this effect on people too. He is a Man of Destiny. Gimson doesn’t quite do justice to this facet of the Boris Phenomenon, and it is left to Lloyd Evans – quoted at length in the book – to sum it up: ‘He’s a war leader. He is one of the two or three most extraordinary people I’ve ever met. You just feel he’s going somewhere. People just love him. They go along with him and they enjoy being led.’

    Phew! Perhaps it was all this that had the media putting up ladders to get cameras on the future War Leader, and pestering him with questions in hope of a spot of Fuhrer Kontakt.

    I’m sure Boris makes a considerable impact on those he encounters. I doubt, for example, that Frenchman is going to forget the sense that Boris was ‘going somewhere’, as he was being flattened by 17 stone of War Leader on a bicycle earlier this year. Now that’s real Kontakt.

  58. Boris –
    “I was accused of being rude to the Scots and saying that a Scot could never become prime minister. Rubbish. I repeatedly said how much I adored the Scots, but that it was difficult in the current constitutional circumstances to see how Gordon Brown – sitting for a Scottish seat – could command the loyalty and support of the English electorate ”

    Cameron -recent speech in Scotland remarks upon ” sour little Englanders’ who needed ‘educating’ about Scotland? – he also called the English ” ignorant ” – and dismissed a comparable parliament of England to that of Scotland out of hand ( whilst accepting the Scottish parliament ) .

    The difference in treatment and attitudes of the British establishment re the Scots and the English exemplified by the above words says it all really .
    The United Kingdom , ie the British , was the result of a marriage , the document of which was the 1707 Act of Union . Article 111 of that Act stipulated that there should be one and only one parliament of that Union – and so it was until the Scotland Act of 1998 .
    Since then all is changed . Some of the comments above are by people who are still desperately trying to convince themselves that the British union will carry on regardless and that simply ignoring the massive discrimination against the English will make it all right . It will not .
    There are already more than two classes of MP in the British House of Commons
    ( eg Scottish MP’s – who can vote on English matters but not on Scottish matters ) .
    The proposal of EVOEM is only an extension of that complication – an extremely messy one ! Brown as PM , with a constituency in Scotland yet only able to legislate for England would be seriously destabilising to the already rocky and illogical British constitution .

    Questioning of the Union is now widespread – in England !

    The only way out is that there be a rferendum in England re an English Parliament . This is highly likely to be approved by a wide margin . The Parliament which then ensues must have at least the same rights and competencies as the Scottish Parliament and must be the vehicle for the governance of England .

    Thus an effectively federal United Kingdom would emerge . The heat would be drawn from the West Lothian Question and – proably – the United Kindom would continue .

    I cannot see it continuing for much longer otherwise .

  59. About the Burkha thing..

    ..I was walking through Cardiff city centre one day earlier this year when a saw a woman remove her veil. She removed it just long enough to hockle a huge ball of phlem onto the pavement.

    So if they don’t mind removing it in public to spit on the street I can’t see any problem with removing it to talk to someone.

  60. How very funny everyone is being : Steven L splendidly un PC , however we may have to part company it has sometimes occurred to me that if in our new dispensation we forgot to take Yorkshire I could probably live with it…..just kidding .

    Yes JAQ there is good in Scotland it is lovely country , spoilt by its inhabitants . Like France . Love those Italians though . On the food thing I went to cookery class a few years ago . I thought I`d meet women .I met gay men and somewhat unapproachable African and Hindu women ….it was great actually , nice people ,and well worth the trouble for impressing girlies

    IDLEX – I actually prefer Andrew Gimson`s stuff to Boris but then the latter is in politics now and a bit more careful
    JAKE – I don’t see the point of saving it and it might discourage egotistical PM`s from imagining we are still a “Great Power”.

    JAQ I don`t get the Hitchens thing I am only barely conscious of who he is . Noone is prettier than you and single mothers are wonderful .My wife smother brought her up in the worst area of Bermondsey
    With nothing , but she worked and did everything for her . She died a few weeks before our wedding and I have never felt sadder . What a wonderful woman . What all of this proves is that bad circumstances are not the only problem . Mrs. N deals wonderfully with our teacher friends and their illusions about Council estate life . (I `m sure you live in a rose covered

  61. k said:

    What the papers do not mention too often, is that schools are overcharging children for food that is still sub-standard… If schools were really that worried about the health of children they should not have sold off playing fields to builders.

    You are so right, k, as is Boris and everyone else condemining this food fascist government of ours. How dare they tell us what to eat!

    Someone’s already commented that Jamie Oliver does very nicely out of Sainsburys. Could that be the same Sainsbury who are crammed with unhealthy foods, who’s coffee shops sell only the highest fat foods imaginable and who’s former Director, Lord Sainsbury, did his utmost to force GM crops down our throats and onto our farms in UK?

    Surely not. What hyprocrisy. Keep on telling it as it is, Boris, you’ll still be well respected for it when Jamie Oliver is long forgotten.

  62. Steven L on the subject of what we import from the US I have this in the local press at the moment. Off subject really so please do not bother unless you are intereted in thwe gang violence in London

    On Saturday morning on Stroud Green Road, a 17year old man and a 19 year old man were both shot in the legs .The type of wound is important for this is a so called “respect” crime. Oh drugs again we sigh, and yes these crimes are often related to drugs, but illegitimate business is not the primary motive. For many teenage men drug crime only adds a frisson and some pocket money.

    Gang related incidents are proliferating across London. Last month an especially vicious killing occurred in the dull suburb of Norwood . Three rival gang “members” stoned 16 year old Stephan Perslaud to death like “a pack of animals ” .The names of the gangs involved vividly evoke the mental landscape of the perpetrators .”Take Them Out” and “Till Death”.

    Where does it come from? Lots of clever people have their ideas but part of the story is simply that it’s fashionable!

    The idea of ending a life to be part of an in crowd, may be deranged but the inescapable Rap culture that pumps out of MTV and Ipods non-stop encourages precisely such insanity. I am scarcely up to date but years ago “NWA”,( don’t ask), were in the charts, with the following typical material, hardly any of which is fit for civilised consumption..It is now much worse.

    “[Ed: restricted…] the Police…cause I ain’t the one, For a punk… with a badge ….” and so on

    After a gangster film I do not suddenly decide to rob a bank, but the atmosphere of misogyny, homophobia and violence is all pervasive in youth culture. The governments housing policy encourages father free families and boys with little structure in their lives make this primitive imaginary world their own.

    This week Boris Johnson has been in trouble with the politically correct, for, in his words, “dissing” Jamie Oliver He suggested that children can eat what they like .By contrast we are unconcerned that brutal encouragements to kill and maim drip poison into young lives ; every second ,of every minute, of every day .

  63. Well I’ll be round your place for nosh any time, Jaq.

    I honestly wasn’t having a go at single mothers. You can see the problem here: Dim but worthy girl with four kids by the age of 22, two of them now on asbo’s (actually I quite fancy her. Nice legs).

    We are only trying to save the youngest from a similar fate, even though it would be cheaper to get Alan Titchmarsh to demolish the roses than pay for mower repairs after the little bugger has driven it into a tree at full throttle.

    See, even on this site you get a few softies.

  64. Having lived in America I do worry about gang violence a lot and pray it does not get as bad as America here. In gangs in America an initiation involves murdering someone. Often this is not a rival gang member, but an innocent member of the public who happens to be at the wrong place at the wrong time i.e sat at traffic lights next to a gangs car or shopping with their children in a mall. Britain needs to act now to stop our society becoming like this.

  65. SINGLE MOTHERS – It is easy to say very unfair things . Having only just related what a great job my wife`s (single) mother did I notice I fall immiediately into the cliche
    “…..encourages father free families and boys with little structure”

    ..Without thinking.Diana , was also living in exceedingly difficult circumstances and poor accomodation that I suspect JAQ does not share. It is very possible in such a place to bring up fabulous children .I do recognise the picture Paul D paints though. You could hardly miss it here .

  66. Spot on Newmania – and I would love to hear Boris on the single most important issue of our age: How to balance libertarian values with the commercial pressures that destroy morality. And all this without introducing new laws.

    Negative commercial influence is, in my humble view, at the heart of so many social problems. Why do politicians not tackle it head-on? Because they may lose votes from parents who are quite happy for the child to play Grand Theft Auto while they go down the pub.

    Boris, you da man to take this up.

  67. Newmania – thankyou, I appreciate it so much. Bless you.

    PaulD – no I didn’t think you were having a go but.., I took the opportunity to clarify and comment. Um, as I will now..

    Folks there is a serious message to this single mother thing (as ever). I suppose what I’m quietly railing against is stereotype and prejudice. There IS a stereotypical view of single mothers and married folk in the media, a media that seems bent on causing prejudice or at least sensation.

    Stereotypes are usually founded on some truth and I’m sure that there are some single mothers who fit the stereotypical mould. (see PaulD’s post) Of course just being a single mother means you are more likely to be financially challenged and have to live in poor circumstances. But “bad circumstances are not the only problem” so true Newmania. After the Great War and WW2 there were a LOT of single mothers because a LOT of men had died in keeping this country free. They didn’t come home. But the fact of being suddenly without a man in the house, a biological father, DID NOT send hordes of children into crime. The fact of being the child of a single mother/lone parent does NOT guarantee bad behaviour and a life of crime.

    It’s difficult to rear children one way when they are rubbing shoulders with the opposite, whether their parents are married or single. And as I’ve said, a marriage license doesn’t magically turn you into ma and pa Walton. There are many married folk who are just awful and whose children you would happily avoid. And there are many good folk who just haven’t got a clue – “bad circumstances are not the only problem” So I don’t think the issue is one of marital status but of education and of social norms, perhaps a new class system.

    My example for this is from Jamie Oliver’s website. He says: “I was talking to a young mum who was bottle-feeding cola to a one-year old baby! She was telling me that she couldn’t make a shepherd’s pie because it was “posh”. That’s why I was so angry.” She couldn’t make a shepherd’s pie because it was “posh”?? Good Grief! But attitudes like this really do exist, I’ve seen it. And this is not dependent on being married.

    I agree completely with Boris when he says that the Jamie Oliver initiative in schools will be difficult to manage successfully without the support of parents and a paternalistic approach from schools. This NEEDS support from the government. Nor must the schools allow children to roam the streets in school time. This is not so much authoritarian as sensible management. It might dissuade drug pushers too. Boris has made a good point and it should be listened to, even though he’s an old Etonian and has blonde moments. Tuh, prejudice!

    By the way, there is a myth perpetuated in the media that a single mother means fatherless families. In my experience this is just NOT true. Apart from mothers wanting fathers to be part of their lives, what makes you think there isn’t a man around? There’s usually always a man around. The only fatherless family was the divine conception and you could argue that ‘Daddy’ was omnipresent.

  68. Boris –
    on Friday 15th September 2006 Mr Cameron made a speech referring to ” the unique genius of the Scottish people.”

    he also said
    ” We should not forget that Alex Salmond couldn’t ask for more effective allies in his campaign to break up the Union than sour Little Englanders who cry ‘good riddance’ when independence for Scotland is suggested.”

    and

    “It’s a question of attitudes
    and, in particular, the ignorance of English people about Scots and Scotland.”

    and

    “Whether it’s Russ Abbott-style lampooning or the inevitable aggressive Glaswegian drunk in TV programmes – – .”

    (Russ Abbot, born Russell Roberts 16 September 1947 in Chester, England) is a musician, comedian, and actor.
    Russ Abbott He was the 5th of 6 sons born to Donald, who was English, and Elizabeth Roberts, who was Scottish. )

    erm – so we are sour little Englanders south of the border but those north of the same border have a unique genius .

    Really good, this speech , for cementing Anglo-Scottish relations eh . Perhaps you could draw Mr Cameron’s attention to his own recent words and politely elicit from how this sort of bile is designed to induce the 85% of the British who are English to vote Conservative .

  69. JAQ-“There’s usually always a man” I `m glad to hear it .

    Can I ask a question that perhaps pulls these threads together a bit . I think we are talking about different problems . We were all supposed to meet at Sure start

    I read today that it is exclusively used by middle class parents which we are ……at a pinch. I know this is true from experience . Why should that be ? What could be done about it ? It seemed like a good idea but aside from being absurdly expensive (of course) for the taxpayer , it doesn’t reach the parts it was supposed to reach.

  70. JAKE Being a bumptious twit I wrote to David cameron`s office about that speech to point out what a bumptious twit he was being. I agree with all you say

  71. Newmania – the family of which I speak used SureStart. Their counsellor (an acquaintance) gave up after a month. Perhaps she was too middle class.

    Jaq – there’s really no need to bang on about single mothers. We all know that you and many others in your position are not of the stereotype. You can microwave me a potato any time!

  72. Boris is a genius. He is one of the few who is able to say “the Emperor has no clothes on” and get away with it. As soon as Tony Blair is done, Boris must cross the floor of the House and stand for Leader – we cannot wait a lifetime for this man to get into power.

  73. JAQ-You can microwave me a potato any time to . It just gets better and better here doesn`t it you lucky woman.

  74. Boris would never say “the Emperor has no clothes on.” He, as a properly educated fellow, would say “The Emperor has no clothes,” and leave off the problematic dangly bits.

  75. PaulD – yes 🙂 I realise I AM banging on about single mothers a bit – as Cathy said – Oh Ellen, I am Heathcliffe (arghh!)

    But I was trying, and no doubt failing, to highlight the misleading direction in which the media takes us when using these stereotypes to identify the cause of society’s problems. A piece of paper from the state telling you you are now married doesn’t cause you to behave in this way or that – I realise I’m on dangerous ground here but one could ask: is she like that becasue she’s a single mother, or a single mother because she’s like that? (or just as importantly, because he’s like that)

    You know, I suddenly have some sympathy for a certain someone because, when trying to introduce a truth and important point about the problems we’re all concerned with, it’s seen as a bit tedious – ‘banging on’

    ‘Sure Start’ is a case in point. I was offered help from SS and was in a position at the time when boy did I need help. I don’t like being too personal, contrary to popular belief but no Newmania – I’m not dating anyone, and when I attended a single mothers xmas party I was the only one without a chap in tow. And yes, they looked at me as if I was an alien from another planet. So I had no other help whatsoever – a perfect recipient you might think.

    SS offered a person to play with my children whilst I left the home. And that seems to be the main focus of all government schemes – to allow women to be rid of their children. I neither wanted nor needed this. As mobility was a problem at the time, I needed someone to help get a bit of shopping or stand and iron maybe – just a little bit of home help and a chat. This is not available.

    When it comes to condemning a mother for microwaving a potato, I don’t. I’m not holier than thou (even if I can’t stand microwave spuds) I’m trying to highlight the fact that cooking isn’t taught in schools, that sex is.

  76. I’m not dating anyone,- Once again “Labour” causes a waste of resources

    “cooking isn’t taught in schools, that sex is.” …and not well either . Most women are useless at it

    Always a good read JAQ

  77. Actually New Labour doesn’t “allow women to be rid of their children”, it positively encourages them to be rid of their children and puts enormous social pressure on them to embrace State substituted motherhood.

    I thought Camerons speech encouraging when he voiced his support for families, hopefully not just the married family but I would support tax breaks for the married family.

    I also agree with Boris that a paternalistic approach is needed in schools and the government should fund this.

  78. Newmania – “Most women are useless at it [sex]” – I’m brilliant at it – I get results.

    “Always a good read JAQ”? Oh God you make me sound like Mills and Boon. Sorry I’ll go and cook something. More tea Vicar?? Have a macaroon.

  79. I have spent the last few years in a Britain under the curatorship of the ‘New’ Labour government. I have also become increasingly exasperated by what I can only describe as an inexplicable tendency for contemporary society to diverge from the parameters I have felt constituted common sense, and march confidently toward the latest psycho fad.

    I have crystallized my discontent into the following categories.

    Courtesy
    There seems an alarming trend to turn rudeness into a virtue. This vogue is exemplified by the likes of Anne Robinson, Simon Cowel, Alan Sugar and Donald Trump. What has happened to common courtesy?

    It has never been, nor will it ever be, my habit to chastise another person publicly and to offend their sensibilities; I cannot think why the public at large finds people, such as the execrable Anne Robinson, so fascinating.

    Political correctness
    I have heard political correctness referred to, with some justification, as ‘Cultural Marxism’. Although this epithet may go a little far, it legitimately describes a phenomenon whereby one is precluded from saying what one thinks as a result of cultural FEAR rather than cultural prejudice. The mob hysteria which invariably follows any such ‘slips’ has been abundantly demonstrated by Boris in his article above. I find it extraordinary that I, apparently, am no longer able to voice my views in a public forum without the fear of being branded racist, fattist, ageist, sexist, anti-semite etc. etc. etc. I always take the position that few things are ‘true’ in the sense that they are incontrovertible; however, the search for a ‘better’ truth must surely come from argument (in the proper sense of the word) which requires voicing such potentially distasteful ‘proto-truths’ out loud. If these statements are palpably false or foolish, this fact will, very rapidly, become abundantly clear. If the latter event is not the case then the argument posed is surely, by any logic, worthy of discussion.

    I must also re-iterate my comments about courtesy. Political correctness seems to be usurping the position of courtesy in the community. I must observe, however, that I am courteous because I know it is the right thing to do; most people are politically correct because they know these things are the right things to say. To do the former is a pleasure because it makes me feel happier about myself through interaction with other people; the latter, alas, will ultimately lead to resentment because it is an unnatural restriction of our free will.

    Human Rights
    I believe it is the mark of a healthy government to protect the rights of its citizens even from itself. I also believe that these rights derive from the obligations of a person to the rest of society. I find is puzzling, therefore, that persons who have strayed beyond the borders of society’s boundaries continue to enjoy the same rights as those who conform to a community’s strictures and mores.

    I read this morning of an Italian ‘gentlemen’ who, at the advanced age of 15, stabbed and killed a teacher. I understand that, on his release from prison, he is to be deported back to Italy. I am therefore somewhat amazed at his complaint that the proposed expatriation will infringe his human rights and that consequently he should be allowed to stay within the United Kingdom.

    To address the aforementioned issue with the Italian murderer, I suggest TWO discrete sets of rights: ‘Inalienable rights’ (Life, liberty, pursuit of happiness, fair trial, etc) and discretionary rights which may be stripped in the event of criminal or anti-social activity. I would also, like the US, distinguish between serious crimes (Murder, rape, serious fraud, armed robbery) and more trivial crime (petty theft, street fighting, drunkenness) The former would attract the censure of a reduction of rights the latter may not. Perhaps three or more trivial offenses within a period of time should usher in the enforcement of the censures normally reserved for the more serious offenses.

    Impact of religion
    My spiritual views are my own and I do not care to share them with anyone else; they certainly do not hold with the idea of a super-being creating the universe with a quick abracadabra and Industrial Lights and Magic’s yearly budget. Notwithstanding these remarks, I respect the rights of all people to believe whatever nonsense they like.

    I do, however, take exception to their dotty ravings impacting my life and freedom. It is high time the United Kingdom became a secular state and utterly divorced itself completely from the trappings of religion. When God is involved in a decision, mortal men and women carry the cost. This has been true since the first cave-dwelling shaman carved a tree-trunk into a totem pole. Isn’t it time to stop?

    Self defense
    This refers to some extent to my views on human rights. I take the position that, If a person attacks another person, they have stepped outside the law. As a consequence they should no longer receive the protection the law would normally afford them. In other words, they have created a situation which, had they not acted in an unlawful fashion, would not have occurred.

    It is therefore my view that they must bear the consequences, however awful, of their actions. Thus, if a person retaliates, they may use any means available to defend themselves against possible harm and are further absolved from responsibility for any injury sustained by the offender.

    I cannot see how this is anything but logical, sensible and fair.

    ‘Affirmative Action’/Positive discrimination/Anti racism legislation
    When people are employed on the basis of abstract physical, religious or psychological characteristics rather than merit, society will suffer. I lived for some considerable period in an African country where I was subjected to the most appalling racism. Fortunately, my skills were more valuable to potential employers than my disability in being white, Jewish and English.

    EVERYONE can do something useful. If anything, the government should spend more money on finding out what individuals are good at before they are inducted into a career in which they are inept or worse, actively dislike. It is often the case that if someone likes doing something, they will probably excel at it. I do not hold with these ridiculous legislative acts which require one to employ quotas of cultural and ethnic groups rather than on individual capability and qualification.

    If I am paying the salary I must be able to choose to employ whomsoever I wish OR claim compensation from the government. In the event that certain population groups aren’t getting a fair crack of the whip, the government should provide business incentives for them to create their own workplace opportunities. Cultural and ethnic integration should occur in the schoolyard and pub NOT in the workplace where it may jeopardize the livelihoods and economic prosperity of others.

    Freedom of speech and censorship
    I am an ardent and committed supporter of free speech. Distasteful, discourteous and offensive though his comments were, the gentlemen recently given three years for writing horrible things about the poor young man killed in Liverpool has simply been a pawn of our rhetorical government. They have simply made an example of him and this is a travesty of justice.

    The young man concerned is undoubtedly a racist and perhaps in need of psychological or social counseling; he is NOT, however, jail material and this order of the court has done Britain a massive disservice. All these comments aside, he has the right to express his views as I have the right to disagree with them. As Voltaire allegedly said “I hate everything you say but will defend to the death your right to say it!” Rarely have better or truer words been spoken.

    Age of Apology
    I am becoming more aggrieved each time I read of a call for the British government to apologize for some past atrocity or omission committed in the name of empire. Whilst there is little question, at least in my mind, that the British (the English primarily) behaved like barbarians for much of the 18th and 19th centuries, I also believe there is no-one living who is responsible for them. If anything the British government should be apologizing for its current actions not various antiquarian diplomatic disasters.

    I am tired of being British and having the world expect me to wander around the world in a state of abject apology and wearing a hair shirt. These things were done, I do not deny them, and I didn’t do them; please move on!

    Anti-Semitism
    I am Jewish (theoretically anyway) and on Friday evening I join my family for dinner. In my case, having discarded the ritualistic nonsense of Judaism at roughly the same time as my train set, this event has little, if any, spiritual meaning for me. I see this weekly event as a tradition and, at the very least, brings the family together for a while. All this said please let me explain something which I hope will pierce the febrile minds of Middle-Eastern political commentators and diplomats. This is simply expressed as: “Jews can be wrong too”

    There I said it!

    My point here is that it is NOT, contrary to current European sentiment, anti-Semitic to suggest that a person of the Jewish faith has made a mistake. It is not unreasonable to suggest to this person that have perhaps made an error of judgment. It is further not anti-Semitic to suggest that the Palestinians are being abused by the government of Israel, the latter is simply a statement of fact that many, if not most, Israelis will confirm.

    Britain, please stop being cowed by the Holocaust and stop being so politically correct (again) in criticizing Israel. It is not anti-Semitic but almost certainly IS a dereliction of duty.

    Given that Boris himself has, to a certain extent, been the victim of some of these perturbing characteristics of modern society perhaps he would spend a few moments of his valuable time in explaining what the Conservative Party proposes to do about them.

    Robert Lipshitz

  80. Always a good read JAQ.

    May I point out that this is a vastly more positive comment than I ever get .Sniff sniffle

  81. ‘Britain, please stop being cowed by the Holocaust and stop being so politically correct (again) in criticizing Israel. It is not anti-Semitic but almost certainly IS a dereliction of duty.’ (Robert)

    It’s all well and good making criticism, it not difficult to be a critic. The question is, can you make constructive criticism?

    What should Israel do? They are surrounded by a terrorist class of Arabs that teach their childrens things like ‘Jews are pigs and apes’ and hold ‘martyrdom’ in the highest regard.

    Arab governments pay thousands of dollars to the families of suicide bombers, the cult of suicide terrorism is actively promoted by parents to their own children in ‘Palestine’.

    Jewish Immigration would have been good for the Arabs, they built Tel Aviv from scratch and brought new wealth to a poor agricultural area. But Zionism clashed with Pan-Arabism to disasterous effect. Instead of accept the Jewish settlers as neighbours and friends Arab leaders organised armed struggle against them. The leaders of the Palestinian Nationalist movement even sucked up to Adolf Hitler, such was their hatred of the Jewish people.

    The ‘Palestinians’ as you call them are basically just a horrible rascist Arab underclass, no-one in the Arab world likes them or wants them. They have attacked their Arab neighbours in Jordan, those that fled to Lebanon became indoctrinated into the new Hizbullah following support and funding from the Islamic revolution in Iran. It is no wonder Egypt didn’t want the Gaza Strip and no wonder the Jordan didn’t want the West Bank, they are both populated by an uneducated rabble of machine gun toting scumbags.

    Arab countries only support the Palestinian terrorists because they hate the Israel’s even more that they do their own criminal classes, after suffering countless defeats at their hands.

    Which brings us back to the point of constructive criticism. What should Israel do about the hordes of terrorist class scum that surround their country and want to kill their citizens?

    All their Arab ‘friends’ want to do is pay the little sods to blow themselves up. Why should Israel treat them any differently?

  82. ‘Whilst there is little question, at least in my mind, that the British (the English primarily) behaved like barbarians for much of the 18th and 19th centuries.’

    The English, primarily? Excuse me, but we’ve been united since 1707 and anything thereafter has been done in the name of Britain. The mere fact that England has the largest population obviously means that there are more Englishmen than Scots, Irish or Welsh involved in whatever we do/did, but this doesn’t enable anyone to start dividing up our ills into 70% English, 20% Scots, 10% Welsh and so on. You talk about politically correct nonsense, then go on to qualify it by writing some of your own! I tire of this constant bashing of the English as if it were a sport.

  83. What should Israel do? They are surrounded by a terrorist class of Arabs that teach their childrens things like ‘Jews are pigs and apes’ and hold ‘martyrdom’ in the highest regard. (Steven_L)

    After watching Israel wantonly and needlessly and pointlessly destroy the entire infrastructure of Lebanon a few months back, and create for themselves another few million sworn enemies, I regretfully concluded that Israel had lost it completely, and that the days of the state of Israel were numbered.

    What should rational Israelis do? Emigrate. And let the few remaining Jewish or Zionist fundamentalists fight the mounting hordes of increasingly well-armed Muslim or Arab fundamentalists that surround them to Israel’s extinction.

    I’m sorry to have come to this conclusion. I would have liked Israel to remain as a Jewish homeland. It was perhaps once possible for it to have reached a peaceful settlement with its neighbours, but I no longer see any possibility of this. And any hope of it probably died with Yitzhak Rabin anyway.

  84. RUDENESS
    Robert . If you think rudeness has been turned into a virtue you can just sod off.
    POLITICAL CORRECTNESS/PRIMACY OF FREE WILL
    Your point on political correctness is unlikely to be challenged here for which reason I have sometimes pointed out that politically correct attitudes can coincidentally be quite correct.
    I `m sure you ,as a Jew , will have some sensitivity to what worshipping the primacy of free will can lead to. Hmmmmm?
    FREEDOM HUMAN RIGHTS
    On curtailing human rights the classic Tory conundrum is the death penalty . Roughly speaking it said that when someone clearly deserved to die it was repugnant on the state to forgive them in the victims place and an act of moral cowardice. This is the endgame of your point the forfeiting of life itself. I `m not sure myself but the uncertainties of the legal system tend to bring me down on the “best not” side
    SECULAR STATE.
    You say you do not share your spiritual views but go on to share them most liberally. What you are complaining about is really theocratic political groups with whom you do not agree. There is nothing special about such groups. Western Democracy , currently under attack from Islam, was far more seriously under attack from Communism and Nazism .This “Western democracy” has large elements of Christianity in it and developed in what was Christendom. Consequently it must and does have large elements Judaism but the history is troubled and these relationships are dynamic not complementary. Can you not see the dangers of removing the spiritual from the state entirely leaving pride and greed un fettered The worst regimes I can think of have done just this . I would argue for a balance .
    SELF DEFENCE
    On self defence I agree and I think it is clear that the law here is institutionally driven by our awful police who always prefer convenience to justice
    VOLTAIRE
    VOLTAIRE “I hate everything you say but will defend to the death your right to say it!” Rarely have better or truer words been spoken.”……….. well it sounds impressive doesn’t it .? Voltaire was a writing against a backdrop of despotism and and the absence of freedom . It becomes more problematical in a free society when incitement and calculated misinformation are a larger problem .I wonder if it is an illusion that a democracy can function without a large area of agreement and an area of prescribed speech and action. This sacrifice allows us to be free. Voltaire was not suggesting anarchy but taken out of context it looks like a plea for just that.

    AFFIRMATIVE ACTION
    In two minds . The Conservative party we have an affirmative action to get Women Mps into parliament . Such a voice is certainly needed . However it gives the leadership a PC excuse to rub out dissenting voices as well . It is a difficult subject for me and the many pluses and minuses of this current row of it are a good example of the problem.
    THE BRITISH EMPIRE
    The terms in which you attack the British empire are absurd and in my view the stupidest part of what otherwise is an interesting polemic . It is a-historical and inaccurate. I noticed the Georgian PM today saying how lucky the countries who had been part of the Empire were . He said they inherited attitudes and institutions that have helped the greatly by contrast to the dead weight ex communist bureaucracy he struggles with. The alternative was not to be a modern free sovereign state it was to be part of another empire which would any way probably itself have been preferable to the dictatorship of the small group that ruled previously.. I do agree though that stopping the historical carousel whenever it suits for the purposes of blame construction is an odd modern phenomenon.
    A TRUE STORY ( APOLOGIES)
    For example, listening to an Indian man (weirdly and repeatedly) describing himself as black I hazarded a guess that his family originated from Africa. |His forbearers , I guessed, were part of the civil service, and got kicked out by the blacks .This he admitted but said it was our fault they defrauded the blacks for conquering India etc.etc. and so on into infinite regression.
    ISRAEL and the JEWS

    Yes Jews can very obviously be wrong and you have made at least one point most eloquently …ho ho. There is a latent anti-Semitism in the left of this country which , paradoxically , is often shared in by Jews . There is nothing new in this .Many Jew hating Jews were part of the Bolshevik and Menshevik parties . We have seen much coded Jew baiting under the guise of “Cries for Peace” recently. If the state of Israel had chosen to act sensitively on their border confronted by Saudi bought weaponry in the hands of a Terrorist army they would have been the only state ever to have done so. The UK in Ireland , the US in Central America The Soviet Union everywhere and China on its borders. Contrast and compare .
    HOLOCAUST DENIAL
    I disagree , I am not cowed by the irrelevant detail that you are Jewish and I accuse you of a lazy mindedness that amounts to anti Semitism. You are part of a long Jewish tradition of exactly this and remembering the holocaust a vital correction to the pervasive need to forget it .

    WHAT WILL THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY DO

    As the disembodied spirit of the Conservative party creating these words directly from ideas in virtual space I would say this . You have raise a number of points of differing types . For each there is an answer but I (disembodied stc…) am not always amenable to the question “What will you do ” and its evil sister ?”Something must be done”. I am not desperately unhappy with the current dispensation on these subjects and my policy would be “Nothing at all” with some minor provisos. I have spoken and so it shall be .

    _____________________________________________________________________ .
    ___________________________

    Interesting stuff and thanks for your excellent contribution. I have focussed on elements I would emphasise differently but I am not by any means broadly out of sympathy with you except on Israel and the Empire. There you change tack towards a Liberal fallacy in my humble opinion .

    LASTLY I would like to apologise for the cruel indifference of a historical process that ended with you being called Lipshitz . If I could upon myself some part of your pain I gladly would.

    Hope to see more of your opinions

  85. Old boy. For someone who claims in a radio interview that his view of modern day Papua New Guinea was formed by reading a 1950’s Time Magazine photobook, you have a very thin skin indeed.

  86. Speaking just for myself, I thought that Robert expressed himself far more clearly and eloquently than newmania in his/her response to his posting.

    I’m not sure that I agreed with everything – or indeed anything – that Robert wrote, but I thought that he wrote it very well indeed. It was also very nicely set out, with neat boldface headings to each segment. By contrast, newmania’s response was disordered and jumbled, and almost incomprehensible in places.

    There is a tremendous virtue in simply writing good English, regardless of its formal content. There is also a tremendous virtue in setting out one’s words on a page in a visually harmonious manner. If you can do this, you will regularly win half the argument before even a single word has been written.

    Boris is a past master of such English. The words fly off his fingertips like the spin balls bowled by Shane Warne, doing things that you don’t really believe can be done with English.

  87. Unfortunately, newmania, you are just as incoherent there as you are here.

    This is probably some sort of tragedy. Like Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, or Macbeth or something…

    Too bad.

  88. Thanks for that Idlex ,your critical faculties have deserted you on this occasion but your examples of tragedies have thrilled and surprised me..or something
    I think Hamlet might more properly be defined as a problem play myself but you know best.

  89. I thought Mel Brooks did the best ever Hamlet solilithing ever, everyone else tries to be Olivier rather than Hamlet.

  90. JAQ while I plot my revenge on Idlex where is your blog . I would like to see how someone puts it together?

  91. Newmania – sorry I had to pop out. But please be forgiving with my blog as it’s not only quite new and I’m still learning but last week I broke one of the golden rules – put something new on every day. Actually I had a problem seeing so can be forgiven. That and the comforting thought that PH plays the same old tune in his column week after week and gets paid a shedload of money for doing so and no-one seems to notice (30 years ago nobody alive could have imagined a one-night-stand? Aw bless peter, aged 25 in 1976 and unmarried, were you the only one not invited?) The problem with my vision is also the reason Fortean Faith has not been updated and I feel bad about that but could do no more. Normal service will be resumed ASAP, and I’ll probably be able to update Fortean Faith tonight. Also, on the subject of glory – YOU got not a mention but a feature with your comments on my blog!

  92. Newmania – sorry I had to pop out. But please be forgiving with my blog as it’s not only quite new and I’m still learning but last week I broke one of the golden rules – put something new on every day. Actually I had a problem seeing so can be forgiven. That and the comforting thought that PH plays the same old tune in his column week after week and gets paid a shedload of money for doing so and no-one seems to notice (30 years ago nobody alive could have imagined a one-night-stand? Aw bless peter, aged 25 in 1976 and unmarried, were you the only one not invited?) The problem with my vision is also the reason Fortean Faith has not been updated and I feel bad about that but could do no more. Normal service will be resumed ASAP, and I’ll probably be able to update Fortean Faith tonight. Also, on the subject of glory – YOU got not a mention but a feature with your comments on my blog!

  93. Idlex, you are so right about presentation and simple writing in good English. Unfortunately, in much of today’s world presentation has become the only thing that matters. I weep at the amount of “style over substance” material bombarding me daily, from the worship of vacuuous celebrities to the ever more desperate attempts to make me take out a new credit card.

    At least Newmania always has something passionate to say, even though I don’t understand half of it. I just wonder how his family afford the earmuffs.

  94. Its probably easy to be critical of newer, stricter eating regimes when individuals aren’t the teachers stuck with 30-40 sugar high prince and princesses, day in, day out.
    And personal choice concerning children?
    “what would you like to play with today munchkin, the dolly or the box of matches?” same principle as the Boris argument, only the latter would wind some parents in court.
    And you know, craving sugar and doing anything to get sugar is an addiction, why not put a fruit machine by the playground and ask the kiddies to choose?

    And on a more personal note, as a person with the genes from hell in terms of so many disorders, a healthy diet in rejection of junk food isnt about head in the clouds idealism because of my “choice”. Instead its one of the only things I can do to make myself healthier and more resilient to present and future ailments. Junk food turns the knife really slowly in the quality of life of individuals. This matter needs to be tackled in the real world; sometimes idealistic political theory isnt good enough.

  95. Yeh me too, wot PaulD said.
    “I weep at the amount of “style over substance” material bombarding me daily, from the worship of vacuuous celebrities”
    Apparently Victoria Beckham is going to reveal her style secrets: Marry someone incredibly rich and you too can look this emaciated! And publish the tell-all biography obviously.

  96. eyeball – agree completely – ask a 15 yr old boy which he’d rather read: soft porn or hamlet? Hmn, tough choice!

    Please see here for an experience confirming your point.

  97. Jaq: A snip from your referred website. It’s just so easily done and if shopping or lifting anything heavy is difficult, like fruit and veg, then you buy the minimum you can. And you don’t eat it, you give what you have to your children.

    I feel like a fraudster commenting on this as I live a comfortable life, probably like most contributors to this forum. But I cannot help thinking there is something missing here. The writer is obviously an intellgent woman. Why, in this age of bloated welfare state, should she be reduced to a choice between feeding herself and her children?

  98. Idlex, you are so right about presentation and simple writing in good English. Unfortunately, in much of today’s world presentation has become the only thing that matters. (PaulD)

    And you are so right about that, too.

    But I did say that you win half the argument with good English and good presentation. The other half lies in the formal content of that English, the accuracy of its observation, the lucidity of its reason. The most arrant nonsense can be dressed in beautiful flowing English, but it remains nonsense all the same.

    Presentation can backfire, however. Whenever I see some politician in well cut suit and tie, with trophy wife beside him, and flag or bust of Churchill behind, I have the intense impression that I am about to be well and truly had.

    At least Newmania always has something passionate to say, even though I don’t understand half of it.

    I agree. And I don’t understand half of it either. Which somehow struck me as rather tragic.

    But I get the impression that newmania always writes in a hurry, and simply hasn’t the time to write carefully. Perhaps one day, when he finds the time, we will be treated with some superb, considered essay whose form and content will leave us all stunned and amazed.

  99. Well yes Paul, that’s how it was and that’s what I’ve been banging on about earlier – that this idea of a bloated ‘Nanny’ state looking after us is wholly misleading. The ‘Nanny’ in this scenario is not so much Mary Poppins as the Gestapo.

    Take for example a new mother with post-natal depression. First of all it’s on my medical records that I suffered with this and I didn’t. I won’t bore you with the details but this was a chance comment the doctor misheard in a postnatal exam and wrote the diagnosis down. Although I’ve complained, he’s a doctor and it stands. So just getting the correct diagnosis is a problem. Then, if you’re hospitalised and are not married or have family alive and well who can take over, your children are taken away by social services and it’s very doubtful you get them back. The State is not our friend. The State is no-one’s friend. The State does not support families of any description. I’m hoping Cameron would do better. I know mothers who have sat terrified to take their seriously ill child to the hospital for fear of it being thought a suspicious injury or illness when it wasn’t. Parents are frightened to let their children play. That’s half the reason why middle-class children are so organised. Their play is organised and supervised and homogenised to protect them.

    I had a number of operations this year and have been unwell for a long time. Thankfully I’m on the mend now. But Paul, there’s no help, save from family and friends. But helping someone can become tiresome. I explained the situation to someone on the net and asked if I could write to stave off the boredom, on politics and stuff, as we write here. Rather than just asking me not to write any more, they ridiculed more and chipped away until finally hurting well below the belt. I tended not to ask other people for help given that a friend in need is a pain in the donkey. The other people went slightly nuts when I ended up unable to walk again. Anyway, all seems to be well. Thankfully.

    But there is no help from the State Paul – the State is there to make decisions for you, not to help you with your own.

  100. PaulD – if you didn’t notice it before Paul; Boz, Melissa and the Boz Cats have never ceased to be supportive and I thank them for that. With good wishes and even a signed book to stop me climbing the walls, I’ve greatly appreciated their support and understanding. I just hope to see Mac recover enough to post here again.

  101. please be forgiving with my blog as it’s not only quite new and I’m still learning but last week I broke one of the golden rules – put something new on every day. (Jaq)

    It seems that everyone has a blog these days, although none as elegant as raincoaster’s.

    But you put your finger on what seems to me to be the problem with blogging: you’re supposed to write something every day.

    And, for myself, I find that some days I have nothing to say. Or I am too busy to say it. Or I am too tired to find the words with which to say it.

    Accordingly, I have concluded that I am not a natural blogger. Instead I find myself interested in reading blogs, and the comments they attract, and am occasionally roused to post some comment myself.

    I sometimes wonder how Boris (who isn’t really a blogger) can manage to regularly produce a thousand words a week. Does he never find that he has nothing to say? Apparently he doesn’t. I can only conclude that writing is as effortlessly natural to Boris as reading is to the rest of us, and that he can dash off an essay on anything in the time it takes me to read it – and perhaps even more quickly than that.

    But perhaps this isn’t quite true. From Boris at top of thread:

      borrowing a computer in order to crunch out a piece for the Times Higher Educational Supplement. I was composing a particularly tricky passage when I became aware of a sort of Apache whooping outside.

    Tricky passage, eh? Perhaps it isn’t all quite as effortless as it looks after all.

  102. Jaq, you’ve obviously had a rotten time but with your wit and wisdom you are better placed than many to get through it.

    I’ve read some real horror stories about my own county council (Essex) snatching children from their parents on the flimsiest of evidence at the same time as congratulating themselves on reaching their targets (damn targets again) for turnaround of child protection cases. But I do wonder when you say
    Then, if you’re hospitalised and are not married or have family alive and well who can take over, your children are taken away by social services and it’s very doubtful you get them back.

    VERY doubtful? Surely, if there is no evidence of incapability after a hospital stay, perhaps brought about by a road accident, even Essex would have difficulty removing the children permanently.

    Not trying to belittle your own problems, just curious why you should say that.

  103. Idlex: Another one who amazes me is Richard Littlejohn. It’s one thing to spew out your opinions on events of the day, quite another to invent the kind of scenarios he does to illustrate his case, and in such an amusing and perceptive way, several times each week against the relentless pressure of publishing deadlines.

    We all have thoughts that make perfect sense to us until they are transferred to paper. Rare indeed are those with the special gift of making their thoughts flow effortlessly onto the page in a way that captivates the reader. Boris is one of them. While they must have certain techniques, it is, in the end, a gift.

  104. “There’s no help, save from family and friends”

    There never is….. I `ve posted on your site (I think).

    Idlex you’re conceited and supercilious remarks have irritated me so if that was your intention; bravo! I am often mystified by people and this is just another occasion.

  105. It has recently been my habit to read Boris’s occasionally oblique views on matters politic. Last week, however, I missed his article and mentioned my disappointment to a colleague; he kindly referred me to this site.

    Having read Mr. Johnson’s amusing and perceptive comments on the matter of voicing opinions in the public domain and further noting the opportunity to comment on this forum I was inspired to place my own views on this and other matters, and to pose a question to the member for Henley. To whit, how he, or his party, feels about the issues I raised and what, if anything, he might do to address them.

    It was a harmless affectation of the moment.

    Imagine my surprise therefore, to discover that such, I thought, insouciant commentary invites a tirade of invective laden obloquy and critique.

    I am, generally, not in the habit of public argument because I have always felt my views and opinions are my own and not for public consumption. Since I am not in public office, I feel no need to justify them to a wider audience. However, given the strength of vituperation evinced here, I feel an onus has been placed upon me to reply.

    Firstly to Steven_L, thank you for your courtesy in taking the time to read my rather rapidly compiled vapourings. I see you have selected a point which was not, I felt, the main thrust of my argument and which was only tagged on because I have been giving the matter considerable thought of late. The issue you raise being the plight of the Palestinians in and around Israel.

    My first observation on your comments is that I detect a note of anger and emotion in your condemnation of the opinions I expressed. This seems disproportionately vehement in denouncing Palestinians as a whole and exposes your unequivocal support for Israel. I can only surmise that you have family in the region or perhaps have suffered a loss as a result of terrorist activity; I’m cannot think of any other compelling reason for such vigorous verbal abuse of the Semitic people of Palestine. Perhaps, because of the loss you have suffered (if I am correct in my suspicions), you enjoy some level of vicarious pleasure when the Palestinian people are systematically abused and degraded by the Israeli regime. I sincerely hope I am wrong in this assessment but, if not, please accept my deepest and most sincere condolences for any loss you or your family have incurred as the result of the unrest in this region.

    Now, whilst I concur that the Palestinians are probably their own worst enemies, I also see that they have very little choice in their behaviour. Please remember Steven that Israel was a child born of outrage; cut from Palestine by the scalpel of international bureaucracy, in the form of UN Resolution 181, 1947. The Palestinian people had no vote in this matter, it came to them as a decree from on high that they had been evicted from their historic lands and must find alternative accommodation. This is somewhat akin to perhaps the inhabitants of, say, London, being told that everyone within the M25 must move out and leave their homes because a contingent of Celts have an historic claim to this land and this claim has been upheld in Belgium. It is also important to remember that most of the first Israeli government were on file with the British government as terrorists at the time and their activities were at least as offensive and indiscriminate as Hamas and the PLO.

    Insofar as you refer to Palestinian support for Nazi Germany, it may surprise you to learn that Ben-Gurion allied himself with Hitler too. Nazi Germany even issuing a medal to the effect of Zionist and German cooperation. Ben-Gurion’s basis for this odd relationship being founded on the belief that ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’, the enemy in this instance being Britain. I add this as an aside to support my own position that many of the international community of Jews decry Israeli actions as much as the Arab world and have for some considerable time.

    With this in mind, I think it is unfair of you, Steven, to lay the entire blame for the current state of affairs at the feet of Palestinian ‘freedom fighters’. If you do so I must assume you also hold those members of the French resistance for their acts of sabotage and terrorism during the Second World War in equal contempt; i.e. those members of SOE attempting to dislodge an unwelcome and invading foreign people from their shores. I would consequently be interested to hear your critique of ‘la resistance’ who lost their lives during many valiant acts of bravery in keeping the Nazi army off balance and consequently contributing to keeping the German army away from the shores of Britain.

    Now presently, Israel receives something of the order of 3 Billion US dollars per year from the United States government in various forms of aid, largely military. The Palestinian people, on the other hand, receive a paltry sum from various aid organizations which is almost entirely spent on community projects and medical supplies. Even the sums you mention in supporting the families of suicide bombers are subatomic in comparison to those received by the Israeli military. I cannot see any merit in your argument that they shouldn’t engage in suicide bombing; it is simply the only effective mechanism they possess in expelling the invaders to their lands. Please explain to me what the difference is between a suicide bomber in a restaurant and a cluster bomb dropped from a military plane on a block of flats. The Israeli military have recently killed more people in the latter manner then Hamas could ever hope to even if the entire Palestinian government decided to blow themselves up in the middle of Tel Aviv. My point here is that the mechanism of death is irrelevant. One method has no more moral superiority or deserves no more or less censure than the other. Both sides of this war (because, contrary to popular opinion, it IS a war), use the materiel (sic) they have at hand, that is all that can be said.

    I will refrain from a point by point analysis of your comments regarding ‘gun toting scumbags’ et cetera, these seem to derive more from anger and contempt than from considered political analysis, can we perhaps agree that the Palestinians have a legitimate gripe about these invaders and have not been adequately compensated for the loss of their historic lands. This dissatisfaction is compounded by the activities of the Israeli government in creating Jewish only settlements/suburbs in the West Bank and Jewish only roads and infrastructure. You may be aware Steven, that this activity (effectively colonization) of occupied territories is in direct violation of the Geneva convention to which Israel is a signatory. Yet, despite numerous UN resolutions (more in fact than Saddam Hussein ignored) the Israeli government continue to add insult to injury to the Palestinian people and often deprive them of basic human dignity in going about their affairs; creating an effective and de jure apartheid in the West Bank.

    I am not sure if you are aware of the situation within the West Bank Steven but it is not, as the Israelis constantly endeavour to portray, a situation where the Palestinians live under their own supervision in the West bank and the Israelis merely want to live peacefully with their neighbours. The Israeli government has annexed large areas of the West bank where they have constructed the aforementioned settlements. Palestinians may not travel on ‘Jewish only’ roads which connect these settlements, the consequence of which is that, in order to get to work a Palestinian may need to travel over a hundred miles out of his/her way and go through numerous checkpoints because the roads I spoke of bisect large chunks of the occupied territories making time-consuming circumnavigation a necessity. Imagine Steven, if you will, living in London and having to go to Brighton via Birmingham because you are obliged to cross a road which is the sole province of an occupying army. Can you not find it in yourself to admit that you may be a little peeved about this situation? Would you not consider the privations such inconveniences imposed somewhat unfair?

    All this occurs in a land which, less than three generations ago, the Palestinians effectively ran themselves although, admittedly, under the governorship of Britain. Surely you can appreciate the level of dissatisfaction this must engender and, should you and your family be similarly dispossessed (certainly judging from the passion of your rhetorical condemnation of the Palestinians) I have no doubt you would be among the first to take violent action against such invading aggressors. Happily you live in the comfort of a democracy where such dreadful mistreatment is far less overt.

    I hope you take my fundamental point that “it takes two to tango”. Whilst I have no doubt the Palestinians must take some measure of the blame for the unrest and recriminations, I am firmly of the opinion that the bulk of the responsibility for the violence in this region must be placed at the door of the Zionist oppressors who perpetuate and, to some extent, exacerbate the frustration of the people of Palestine.

    These people (Israelis) are not representative of Jewry. They are, in my humble opinion, an embarrassment to this faith. I will come back to this issue when I address newmania’s critique.

    Now on to Andy who has apparently taken exception to my comments on Britain and its unfortunate behaviour during the 18th and 19th centuries and further to my glib comment regarding the English contribution to this delinquency.

    I throw myself on the mercy of the court, I retract the comment; it was ill judged and probably unfounded. I concede that the Scots, Irish and Welsh were entirely complicit in the selling of opium to the Chinese, in the oppression of the Boers and the theft of South African mines and that Ghandi had no call whatsoever to criticize Britain in its governance of the sub-continent. The fate of our nation has never been decided on the playing fields of Eton and the preponderance of English Prime-Ministers and cabinet members during this unhappy period was utterly inconsequential in the diplomatic and international adventures undertaken by the British Army and Navy. I further submit that the term ‘gunboat diplomacy’ should never have been attributed to Lord Palmerston, which historic personage was almost certainly born in Scotland and not London as is widely believed and historically recorded. The same must also be said of Labour’s Clement Attlee who under no circumstances ‘did a runner’ and left the Palestinians under the despotic heel of Zionism because it seemed expedient to do so at the time; he too was almost certainly born in Scotland or Ireland although, with a name like Clement, probably not Wales which is known for its inclemency.

    Please accept my sincere and abject apologies for having called the English national conscience into question.

    My point Andy was that these things, for better or worse, have happened and there is nothing any one of us can do about it. I am tired of calls for apologies from various parts of the colonies for things that no-one living had any part in. If I have wounded your English pride then please accept my humblest and most profound apology for my negligence in considering your feelings as an Englishman. I, having caused the offense, take full responsibility for it and I hope you or your descendents don’t see fit to take it out on my great-great-great grandchildren who, as I’m sure you will agree, had no part in it.

    Now, at last, we come to the comments of newmania. I must first confess to being somewhat nonplussed by this harangue. I can only surmise that it was the product of some ill conceived chemical adventure; unless your nom-de-guerre infers some unfortunate psychological disability.

    I was under the impression that I had addressed my observations to the Conservative Party or its local representative, Boris Johnson, rather than some popinjay with delusions of adequacy. None-the-less, it behooves me to thank you for taking time out of your, no doubt, busy schedule in slapping together the hodgepodge of misconceptions in your extraordinary monologue.

    I believe it would be tedious to perform a point by point analysis of your misgivings about the principles and values I, Ill advisedly, it seems, posted previously. I will only address the points that I found most specious and unjustified. I would prefer to avoid your vernacular, rarely using invectives like ‘sod-off’ in my normal conversation or prose; there is a surfeit of unpleasantness in modern social intercourse and I see no value in adding to it. You, curiously, seem to delight in this type of casual contempt which I find distressingly common these days. I have never met you or done anything to excite your censure yet you are comfortable in advising me to ‘sod-off’. I only hope that these exhortations do not reflect the advice you might give to children or we will only increase the already overwhelming number of oafish louts we must contend with on the streets of Britain. Would it be unfair to say that your comments exemplify precisely the acerbic, glib stupidity which contributes the complete absence of manners in the United Kingdom today?

    I am in no doubt that Boris would agree with me completely on the latter point; consider yourself berated and please refrain from this contemptible behaviour in future. It does you no credit whatsoever and merely exposes you as a fool. I must assume that hiding behind the façade of anonymity this forum offers, provides you the opportunity to behave in such a vulgar manner without fear of direct reprisal. Some may find this amusing; I, however, find it reprehensible.

    You have further claimed that I have been somewhat more than candid and liberal with my spiritual views; this being the case I invite you to explain them to me. This should present you with no great difficulty as, according to you, I have made them abundantly obvious. Other than the fact that I am not a practicing Jew I suspect you would find little to discuss. Take my advice, hyperbole should be well supported or the commentator becomes superlatively conspicuous.

    Newmania, I am at a loss to infer from what your criticism of my Voltaire quotation derives (sic). I merely think the quote reflects my own views on censorship. It matters not to me whether he (Voltaire) made the comment whilst having his legs waxed or was drunk and disorderly; the backdrop is irrelevant to me, the words themselves are significant. By this, newmania, I mean that, however repugnant, puerile and unfounded I find your commentary, I rejoice in the simple fact that you have the freedom to give voice to these opinions in public. To do anything else would be sheer hypocrisy, a passion you no doubt enjoy.

    Let me make it abundantly clear that not all Jews are Israelis although most Israelis are Jews. Judaism is a monotheistic religion dating back to shortly after God chose Moses to be his spokesman and prophet some millennia ago. That is how the story goes and, from my own point of view, it is an interesting and entertaining (if somewhat violent and frightening) fable. Israel, on the other hand, is a Middle Eastern country which was effectively destroyed by Titus in (66 -73 AD) and then (partially) recreated by means of the 1947 AD UN Partition plan, resolution 181.

    Although I come from Jewish roots I do not condone the activities of the Israeli government PARTICULARLY their recent and disastrous incursions into Lebanon and Gaza. My concern derives largely from self preservation. I live in fear that the true facts of Israeli human rights abuses in Palestine and Lebanon will become common knowledge and that, although most right minded Jews, even many living in Israel, completely disavow the activities of the Israeli government, this will not be enough to forestall the backlash of international disgust against Jewish communities worldwide. The behaviour of Israel is predominantly indefensible and my concern is that we will see a resurgence of Anti-Judaic (not anti-Semitic you note) propaganda which will result in the persecution of Jews around the world because of the terrible excesses of one misguided facet of one of the oldest communities in the world.

    Most Jews do NOT support this behaviour and I would like to take this opportunity to divorce myself from the activities of this fascist, evil government. Their actions are IN NO WAY representative of international Jewry.

    I don’t hate Jews and I am NOT a self hating Jew. I am a man who has the courage to spurn popular rhetoric which supports a regime which deserves the deepest censure of the nations of the world. I do not expect the Israelis to disarm, leave Israel or do anything else which would prejudice their position. I DO expect them to treat the Palestinians they have displaced with dignity, justice and honour. Newmania, I would like you to explain to me what you find so offensive about these views.

    This brings me to a point you made which has exasperated me somewhat. Where, in my comments, do I deny the Holocaust or even suggest that there are any discrepancies in the historicity of this event? I demand an answer!

    I find the inference that I have made such an allegation DEEPLY OFFENSIVE and tantamount to defamation! Your glib observation on this matter leads me to believe that you didn’t, in fact, read much of my text at all, simply a few ‘eye-catchers’ before diving in with your unwarranted and ill-founded display of arrogant inanity. Your allegation of ‘lazy mindedness’ is patronizing and impertinent, deriving, I presume, from your desire to leave the impression of some level of intellectual and scholarly superiority. Sadly it only provides incontrovertible evidence of your own stupidity or, more likely, intoxication.

    If you read my ACTUAL paragraph (fourth under the subheading ‘anti-Semitism’), more carefully this time, you will note that I only draw attention to the Holocaust because it is the card played by the Israeli propaganda machine whenever the rightness of their actions come into question. If you are truly NOT an anti-Semite you should write to the Israeli embassy this very evening to criticize their behaviour. If the US and Britain continue to condone Israel’s actions, it is my fear that it’s only a matter of time before another pogrom descends on European Jewry. The first signs of such persecutions are already taking shape themselves in a variety of manifestations around Britain.

    On that note, and going back to the Voltaire quotation you took such exception to, I also find the legislation in Germany and France which precludes research into the Holocaust atrocities ludicrous. There is no doubt (in my mind anyway) that these unspeakable acts took place, and having an act in law which prevents investigation into this matter only serves to lend weight to the arguments of those claiming that it didn’t happen at all! If an act was passed into law in the United States preventing any investigation of the lunar landings, what conclusion would one be invited to draw about the Apollo program?

    And so we come to the issue which I find most tawdry. How on earth do you have the egregious insolence to arrogate questions to yourself on behalf of the Conservative Party or Boris Johnson? I would be interested to know what your position is in this illustrious organization if only so I can complain to your superiors about the unadulterated nincompoop they have unleashed on an unwitting electorate. If you are, as you claim, ‘the disembodied sprit of the Conservative Party’ I can only take pity on the incarnate version which must be cringing in embarrassment. I recommend you read the offending paragraph again when you are sober and less prone to the opaque collection of malapropisms exhibited there.

    One final word of advice newmania, sarcasm is, at best, a feeble tool for humour. I hope I have made at least this one point most eloquently.

    And with that I bid you all farewell, this sort of thing takes up FAR too much time.

    P.S.
    Idlex, thank you for your kind remarks. I am sorry you didn’t agree with me and leads me to wonder why.

  106. While I know it’s terribly bad form to quote oneself, “Rare indeed are those with the special gift of making their thoughts flow effortlessly onto the page in a way that captivates the reader”.

    Case rests. I don’t doubt your wisdom, Robert, but…

  107. Idlex you’re conceited and supercilious remarks have irritated me so if that was your intention; bravo!

    It was not my intention, newmania.

    There are at least two of us here who don’t know what you’re on about half the time.

    And you should be told. So that you might take corrective measures.

    I will of course in turn examine my own boundless conceit and arrogance – along with my thousand other personal defects. It’s a more-or-less full-time job.

  108. Idlex, thank you for your kind remarks. I am sorry you didn’t agree with me and leads me to wonder why. (Robert)

    I neither agreed nor disagreed, Robert. I was simply admiring your presentation and your English.

    Unfortunately, I may now have to take this back. Your latest posting is so dauntingly long that one almost feels one must stock up with food and water and warm clothes before embarking upon it.

    One of the many, great, and hitherto unacknowledged virtues of newmania is that he is relatively succinct.

  109. I will of course in turn examine my own boundless conceit and arrogance – along with my thousand other personal defects.

    Idlex, following that you’re left with only 999.

  110. Idlex if you read this Robert stuff, which I have it is actually a bit frightening. Its hilarious but as I can be found easily enough I think I`ll leave it

  111. Idlex if you read this Robert stuff, which I have it is actually a bit frightening. Its hilarious but as I can be found easily enough I think I`ll leave it (newmania))

    I’ve seen scarier mothercare adverts.

  112. One of the many, great, and hitherto unacknowledged virtues of newmania is that he is relatively succinct. (idlex)

    Surely “One of the many, great, and hitherto unacknowledged vices of newmania is that he is incoherent”.

    Just out of interest newmaniac, what does: “Its hilarious but as I can be found easily enough I think I`ll leave it” actually mean?

  113. JAQ: I thought Mel Brooks did the best ever Hamlet else tries to be Olivier rather than Hamlet.

    Ooo I don`t know about that. I remember Derek Jacobi in the classic BBC version with a quite different approach, and Kenneth Branaugh ,in a role demanding a questing intelligence and self doubt, is at his best.
    Hamlet is a character in whom it is said people see themselves. The play is in fact suspiciously amenable to many interpretations and I believe this emanates from a textual incoherence that was not intended.For this reason it is usually classified as a problem play. The overall effect is of a medieval map where details are luminous but scale is wrong. This fracturing quality can, and has been, read as part of a design but I am not convinced.

    Of one thing we can be certain .Had Idlex been at the Globe to advise Shakespeare on coherence the result would have been vastly improved …….

    Sorry Idlex I couldn’t resist. I have regained my good humour and although revenge is due I cannot follow through ………( Five acts of dithering will be required to make my mind up)

    Check out blog though , oh go on humour me!!
    http://iznewmania.blogspot.com/

  114. What does “Its hilarious but as I can be found easily enough I think I`ll leave it” actually mean?

    It means that despite the temptation to mock Robert`s’s Hurree Jamset Ram Singh performance, I shall not . I am only very slightly concerned about the possibility of being tracked down but that is enough and if you read the post carefully you would see what I mean. I really wouldn’t bother though.
    .Do you have anything of interest to say Woeful or are you only here to make little virtual friends and enemies as it appears?. So far you have added nothing to my life whatsoever.”You are boring” . I hope this sentence is sufficiently unambiguous for you.

  115. ‘My first observation on your comments is that I detect a note of anger and emotion in your condemnation of the opinions I expressed’ (Robert)

    I’m not angry with you, the Palestinians or the Israeli’s. I was making the point that anyone can criticise, but that your criticism of the situation was not constructive. I don’t have much time for the Zionsist or Pan-Arabist movements and neither I, nor my family have never been a victim of either.

    I still think teaching kids to become suicide bombers and glorifying them as ‘martyrs’ is evil though. My view is that however much longer authoritive Palestinians continue with this nonsense, the longer they will continue to be ‘punished’ by the Israelis.

    None of the Arab states jumped in to help Lebanon fight, Syria and Iran have only jumped in to help the Palestinians through the Hizbullah movement. After seeing what was done to Lebanon and knowing the IDF have taken delivery of some nice new bunker-busters I can’t see the Syrian, Egyptian or Jordanian leadership kicking off again. Iraq is in no position to attack Israel for the foreseeable future and I can’t see the Saudi’s wanting to get their lovely new Eurofighters dirty either.

    That only leaves Iran, is Ahmadinejad mad enough to do it?

    By the way Robert, welcome to the blogosphere.

  116. Robert: I hope you’ve not just quickly been and gone: your literate comments were a breath of fresh air, and didn’t deserve the vituperation of some of the more deranged and incomprehensible posters here.

    Though I really do think, that with hindsight, weighing up the good and bad, the British Empire (governed mainly my the Scots of course)was actually ‘a good thing’. Many parts of the world should feel relived that King Leopold of Belgium didn’t get there first with a very much nasty form of colonialisation.

  117. Chris your point on King Leopold was very much what I was saying wasn’t it? Admittedly you put it far better. I wrote:

    “The alternative was not to be a modern free sovereign state it was to be part of another worse empire which would itself have been preferable to the dictatorship of the group that ruled previously”
    Not my best sentence in retrospect but we seem to agree. Are we both deranged then?

  118. Being a complete knob, I also emailed Cameron about his rather bizarre take on securing votes in England.

    Apparently, like UKIP voters, the actively English don’t really matter. I think as Wellington had it, the English are ‘the scum of the earth’.

    Boris for PM
    Clarkson for DPM
    Hammond for Transport

  119. You know,I believe little woeful may be peeved with me.I am glad you were able to follow the train of thought on this occassion though.

    Why not focus your energies on some more interesting topic ? Just a thought.

  120. PaulD – I’m loathe to interrupt the current discussion but, you did ask..

    When you said “Jaq, you’ve obviously had a rotten time but with your wit and wisdom you are better placed than many to get through it.” my initial sarcastic reaction was “oh, well that’s alright then” and please forgive me but I’ve too often had to overcome the failings of the NHS and Social Services. I’ve heard friends say “but you’re a survivor jaq” as if that excuses the system – it doesn’t and there is an emotional and physical cost to those who can survive the system, what of those who don’t? Or who cannot escape it?

    When you say “Surely, if there is no evidence of incapability after a hospital stay, perhaps brought about by a road accident, even Essex would have difficulty removing the children permanently. Not trying to belittle your own problems, just curious why you should say that?” the important phrase is “perhaps brought about by a road accident”. Yes my difficulty this year was much needed surgery but other people may be viewed differently by the State. My evidence for this is not just what I see in society but there was a ‘Dispatches’ type programme detailing the treatment of those suffering depression, and the likelihood is that they lose their children for good in the ‘we’ve found them another home so best leave them there’ argument.

    Depression is seen as a mental health issue when I and many health professionals argue that it’s a grey area. Depression is often caused by a traumatic event, such as childbirth, death of loved one, traumatic injury etc. If not dealt with and supported correctly, depression can take hold. But it’s a chemical imbalance and though throwing drugs at it may deal with the symptoms it doesn’t heal it as such. Mental health treatment and support is DIRE in this country, just RUBBISH. And I think because depression is seen as a mental health problem rather than as a particular illness you can recover from, you are more likely to be seen as incapable and undesirable – worse than a drug addict. The program presented evidence, and I have no reason to disbelieve them from either presentation nor social evidence, that their claim that people with depression, especially those that are poor and unsophisticated, are unlikely to get their children back.

    Paul I think you make a very important point when you say “I’ve read some real horror stories about my own county council (Essex) snatching children from their parents on the flimsiest of evidence at the same time as congratulating themselves on reaching their targets (damn targets again) for turnaround of child protection cases” because I think that’s what this government is all about.

    I know it’s ridiculous but what if I said, ok let’s scrap social services and give local councils the money to deal with social problems in their own community and they can employ people to help do that from the community. Because, isn’t that the idea??

    So, I honestly genuinely believe there is much to be said for the conservative approach – small state, more local descisions, more support for the family (all families) and an emphasis on supporting the NHS, control of immigration and an emphasis on community policing ie. bobbies on the beat. Call me old-fashioned but when recent government legislation has proved NOT to work, I want the next government to deal with that, not just bitch about it. I want results, I want policies and I want out of the EU.

    I want a lot don’t I? Can Cameron satisfy my needs? We shall see!

  121. Er.. gentlemen please, this isn’t an English exam. All viewpoints on Boris’s topic or politics in general are welcome. We do not descriminate here and there are unwritten rules about expression and decency and any language that is gratuitously insulting or inflammatory.

  122. Newmaniac, I just popped across to your blog site and am now having a panic attack.

    If you are the best the Conservatives can offer in the fight to liberate London from ‘Red Ken’ all I can say is “we’re doomed”

    [Ed deleted]

  123. Good points,
    i think it is rather rude to leave a comment like that; i feel Boris is a legendary character and is doing a fine job, both in politics and in entertaining a counry of rather boring, criticising people. if only there where more like Boris then we would not be in this god awfull mess that we now find ourselves in. jolly good show- keep it up.

    [Ed: very kind comment William!]

  124. Woemanster – you’ve been warned, take your personal insults about someone elses blog off this site and stick to political and NOT ad hominem argument please.

  125. If you are the best the Conservatives can offer in the fight to liberate London from ‘Red Ken’ all I can say is “we’re doomed”

    There are 47 possible candidates of differing levels of seriousness. Two of them are in prison; I just got a call to that effect. You will be relieved to hear woeful that my application was a protest gesture against political exclusion and in particular against the prospect of having to canvass for Nic Boles. It looks as though we may well get a decent candidate after all .I hope so.

  126. Woemanster: If you’ve studied this site so closely, you will have noticed that most differences are dealt with either by gentle sparring or by force of logic. Could you find it in your repertoire to follow that tradition?

    I’m grateful for your flattery but you are addressing a simple soul who freely admits he does not understand the complexity of the Middle East situation well enough to comment with any authority. The braver among us are bound to attract flak on a subject where passions run high and views become polarised. Listen and learn, old son.

  127. Singularly Issued – indeed, just ignore him, the wheels are turning.

    “The Guardian was highlighting this thread last week”? Have you a link?

  128. ‘Steven_L occasionally brings up some good points (but seems to find it impossible change his mind about anything)’ (Woemanster)

    I’m only 26 and haven’t made my mind up about anything yet. I see you guys as helping me (make my mind up that is). I’ve been pretty bored recently, and in truth haven’t got a great deal to say about anything at the moment. It’s always good to hear other peoples opinions on international politics though.

    What are we supposed to be talking about again? Whether Boris should be pelted with pies for saying what he wants?

    Well I thought Boris was an incredibly good sport when that wretched student in Edinburgh tipped a pint of beer on his head earlier in the year. I’m sure he could take a few custard pies without losing it. I also very much doubt he would have punched that egg-thrower if he had been in John Prescotts’ shoes.

    But truth be known there are politicans I would much rather see have pies thrown at them. I’d prefer to see Boris on the government front benches fending off the oppositions’ attempts at intellectual pie-slinging and telling us what he thinks more often.

    If I could see one politican put in the stocks and pelted with the preverbial custard pie it would have to be Tessa Jowell. I choose Ms. Jowell above all others for that hideous sales pitch she embarked on, on behalf of all the UK’s casino bosses. That one where she leaned across the roulette table and began encouraging the electorate that throwing their money down that bottomless hole was a good thing. I couldn’t believe it when a Labour Minister uttered that games of chance ‘shouldn’t just be the preserve of the rich’ as if Casino bosses refuse entry based on income; what tosh!

    That sickening photoshoot summed up New-Labour for me, it was about then I decided that they had to go before they ruined us all.

  129. Singularly Issued – oh yes, thanks for that it looks an interesting site. I’d heard of it but not checked it out – will do now.

  130. I am simply devastated to have missed all the drama!

    not to mention a chance to show off in front of the Guardian. Dammit, next time you get press coverage can’t you email me or sumpin’? I hate missing an opportunity like that, and I’m sure, given time and Google enough, I could come up with something witty and moving about how those pies were misdirected and should have been served to the homeless rather than wasted in such fashion. Bugger.

    Besides, everyone knows it’s beer that’s good for hair.

    Robert, I’m glad to see you posting here. You’re both eloquent and cutting, my favorite combination.

    newmania, you’ll love blogging. You need only post three or four times a week, really, although your regular wordcount in the blogosphere indicates that coming up with material won’t be a big challenge for you.

    idlex, thank you again for your kind comments.

  131. Hmm, I got here too late to read all the pointless insults flying around. Funny how these discussions often end up sinking to the schoolyard level. Maybe some people were fed too much junk during their formative years?

    On Boris: well done. Good to know someone has the guts to actually say something when speaking, these days – even if on seemingly secondary issues. Please come to Canada and set our politicians straight.

  132. raincoaster – you didn’t miss much but the Troll thought you were wonderful. How about commenting on the issues Robert has raised? I’m a bit pushed this evening but I’m sure you could add something?

  133. Not a chance. I’m two weeks late on some freelance work and money is in short supply. One tries not to blow off all opportunities.

    karen, there’s no hope for our politicians. If Boris can grab Harper by the belt loops and pull his head out of Bush’s butt, that would be progress, I suppose, but it would take quite a yank, so to speak.

  134. Jaq: Mental health is another subject on which I don’t feel qualified to speak – although perhaps I should. My own mother suffered severe and largely unresolved depression from when I was about 8, spending several years in the local “loonie bin”, as that ghastly relic of a Victorian mental institution was known. Since then it’s been converted into a large development of upmarket flats, many of the residents unaware of its grim past.

    Most of the patients went around stuffed to the eyeballs with valium and mogadon to keep them quiet. Ma should never have been there; the great majority of patients were real “nutters” (sorry to use such an un-PC expression but you’ll know what I mean – the mutterers, dribblers and Napolean impersonators). It was all rather frightening when I went to visit her as a boy.

    The one humorous moment came when we were waiting to see her doctor in a room where other patients were drifting in and out. After some time, the door swung open and man in white coat and stethoscope strode in. As we rose to greet him, he held out his hand with a “Hello. Have you had a bath? I have!”.

    Her plight wouldn’t happen today, so at least there has been some progress.

    As for your own circumstances, I agree that this monster known as the NHS can only improve with, as you put it “small state, more local descisions and more support for the family”. To which I would add the private sector playing a bigger part in surgical matters. That is why I’m beginning to like what I hear from the boy Dave.

  135. Of one thing we can be certain .Had Idlex been at the Globe to advise Shakespeare on coherence the result would have been vastly improved ……. (newmania)

    I strolled over the Globe for a copy of Hamlet, and glanced through it. Here’s a bit from the opening of Act 3, Scene 2:

      HAMLET: Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to
      you, trippingly on the tongue: but if you mouth it,
      as many of your players do, I had as lief the
      town-crier spoke my lines. Nor do not saw the air
      too much with your hand, thus, but use all gently;
      for in the very torrent, tempest, and, as I may say,
      the whirlwind of passion, you must acquire and beget
      a temperance that may give it smoothness. O, it
      offends me to the soul to hear a robustious
      periwig-pated fellow tear a passion to tatters, to
      very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings, who
      for the most part are capable of nothing but
      inexplicable dumbshows and noise: I would have such
      a fellow whipped for o’erdoing Termagant; it
      out-herods Herod: pray you, avoid it.

    Oh dear… Where does one begin? First of all there’s an obvious typo in the third line: he must have meant ‘life’ rather than ‘lief’.And I had to look up ‘groundlings’ in my dictionary – it means the spectators in the cheapest seats. And any talk of termagents would soon have raincoaster rinsing out your mouth.

    And what’s Hamlet on about, anyway? As best I can make out, he’s complaining about the poor performance of his fellow actors. It seems they have been shouting out their lines so loudly that they’ve been deafening even spectators at the back of the house. One wonders about the condition of those at the front. Stretchered out?

    It is almost as if one was watching an episode of Cracker, when Robbie Coltrane suddenly stops it all, and asks his fellow actors to speak their lines more naturally, not bellow them out like sergeant-majors on a parade ground. Normally this sort of thing becomes an out-take that doesn’t appear in the finished production, but in this case it has been mystifyingly left in, like a mechanic’s screwdriver on the back seat of a recently serviced car. i.e. very sloppy.

    In short, this entire passage quite obviously shouldn’t even be in the play at all. Much like my shopping list shouldn’t be in this posting (Bread, Lurpak spreadable butter, bacon & egg sandwiches, super-soft loo rolls, and whisky).

    I could go on. But all I will say is: Thank goodness this Shakespeare chappie isn’t posting comments here.

  136. Idlex, after Shakespeare, posted:

    ‘Nor do not saw the air
    too much with your hand, thus, but use all gently; for in the very torrent, tempest, and, as I may say,
    the whirlwind of passion, you must acquire and beget
    a temperance that may give it smoothness.’

    Sounds like Clinton teaching Tone the Clinton Thumb.

    ‘O, it offends me to the soul to hear a robustious
    periwig-pated fellow tear a passion to tatters, to
    very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings’

    And whatever else you do, Tone, no more follicle implants and avoid tub thumping like Prezza and Gordon.

  137. This is off topic but seriously awful: http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/politics/article1819640.ece

    “Police and social services may be exempt from death-in-custody Bill….
    The police and other official bodies could escape prosecution for the death of people in police custody, army barracks or prison or local authority care, if exemptions to a new Bill are agreed this week…….But civil liberties campaigners warn that the list of exemptions, if agreed, will allow many government bodies to escape prosecution for gross negligence.

    They fear that under the Bill there would have been no redress for the family of eight-year-old Victoria Climbié, who died following the failure of social services to intervene in her case, or for the family of Jean Charles de Menezes, the Brazilian who was shot by the police on the London Underground last year after being mistakenly identified as a terrorist suspect…….
    The civil liberties group Liberty said: “These exemptions give the impression that the Government has listed all of the circumstances where the gross negligence of state bodies could cause death and has asked its lawyers to provide a get-out clause for every one of them.” etc

  138. PaulD – yes, you’re right, there has been progress. In the 60’s and early 70’s they used to put women on Valium and Librium for having a bad headache – they used to call everything female ‘nerves’. A colleague of my fathers had a wife who suddenly got violent headaches. They put her on valium, she dropped down dead two weeks later with a cerebral heamorrage. You’re right, things have changed for the better – at least adulterous females don’t get locked up in an asylum. They get a divorce! Thankfully my recent circumstance was a brush with surgery that was (eventually) succesful. There was some talk of farming surgical procedures out to private practice but I don’t know what’s happened to that. I heard that private practices rent the equipment needed from NHS hospitals and it’s boxed up and delivered, used, then thrown back in the box dirty and shipped back unwashed. It would be better if that same equipment was used properly at the hospital. Apparently the funding structures of hospitals are interesting. So yes. It will be interesting to see what Cameron’s going to deliver and given that it should NOT be too vague and should be deliverable, I think it’s right they take time to… get it right.

  139. How infinitely pleasant to be chuckling to myself, in my cosy nook, at an IDLEX contribution. Shakespeare has been “improved “many times most notably in the Victorian period when King Lear was famously given a happy ending by Thomas Bowlder. He has been considered a paradigm of misconceived politeness ever since but I feel strangely friendly towards him today:

    To Bowdlerize

    To remove material that is considered offensive or objectionable from
    [After Thomas Bowdler (1754-1825), who published an expurgated edition of Shakespeare in 1818.]

    Where do you draw the line? Conservatism is about Liberty but also against anarchy, itself a prison, .Conservative debates often turn on this issue. Freedom is a more slippery notion than simple Libertarians sometimes seem to suggest and some order is , in my view; essential.

  140. Jaq: Librium, that was the drug, not Valium. Thanks. Perhaps I’m trying to blot out the memory. Right now the memory is blotto’d out. Idlex may be in a similar position.

  141. JAQ . I `m not sure I entirely agree with everything you say, but mental health covers such a wide spectrum that I can’t be sure we are discussing the same thing .

    You will not be immensely surprised to hear that I have some personal experience of depression. I was much helped by the work of Dr, Claire Weekes. This woman is a modern Saint and god knows how many people her insights have saved. It isn’t a gimmick ,it is cognitive therapy, and it works by changing the way your mind is wired. Like most people picking up a book ,in desperation, I distrusted anything claiming to be a “cure”. I remember this explanation of why changing your mental state is not the quasi religious witch doctoring that infests the area of medicine concerned.

    She said , when you begin to learn a piece on the Piano you can’t play it . After practising regularly it begins to come easily . No one would call this anything other than commonplace but that is all we need to achieve . We will practice and we will change the connections of your mind .

    My problems were born out of a very slight but undiagnosed neurological condition , less serious than a stammer. It had some minor effects but a vicious cycle of anxiety ,symptoms and increased anxiety set in, over many years, and it became debilitating.
    The sanity and commonsense of Dr. Claire Weekes was the way out for me . She is easy to find and I daresay ,as usual,everyone knows more about than I do. Nonetheless her books are much better than the semi digested versions of Cognitive therapy available from the NHS and very many people are still suffering needlessly.
    Nothing would please me more than to have pointed someone in the right direction.

    I appreciate that others have a great deal more to bear than I did but I am not a health professional and can only speak from my own experience.

    (As a pianist I remain atrocious by the way)

  142. Oh dear. If the Boris blog is going all anti-psychoactives, I may have to give it up. It’s really only the combination of gin and gun control that’s prevented me from taking a life so far.

    newmania, you have something against anarchy?

  143. newmania, you have something against anarchy?

    Yes ,are you an anarchist then?I am a poor pianist but the sound of my playing is still preferable to the sound of someone sitting on the keys.That is anarchy.

    Actually I tend to compromise by allowing myself every freedom but getting sniffy with anyone lese who wants the same.

    I `m guessing Noam Chomsky is waiting in the wings here . Am I right?

  144. Cash for Casualties

    Give a bung to Mr Blair and you are appointed Lord Greasypole of Loanshire.

    Now the Broons, Des and Gordy, will bung you your income tax back if you are ordered to commit suicide up the Khyber Pass for absolutely no reason whatsoever.

    My heart swells with pride. Who needs close air support or mechanised infantry when you know that your £15,000 salary will stretch just that little bit further?

    http://www.englandism.com/latest_news.htm

  145. Singularly Issued – assume you’re talking about chickens otherwise that would have to be deleted. Are you by any chance suggesting that Gordon Broon is a chicken??

  146. JAQ- Your link.Can`t find anything, is it me ?
    Singularly- I was sent some horrifying details on the poor equipment our troops are lumbered with last night .Is this partly what you are getting at?I would be interetested in more of your views and to know what your position is exactly

  147. Remember the old saying “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me”? It’s very true, so just ignore the sods. I am sure that you never said those things, or that they were interpreted to make you look bad. You do not owe them an apology or need to explain to them. If their actions are upsetting you, then they are winning. Don’t let the bastards grind you down.

  148. I think the word “cock” in this context meant ……oopsy daisy.
    This raises rather serious poultry related questions.

    Why do we not eat Turkey eggs?
    Does the chickenite government have an anti Turkey agenda?
    When oh when will they break out of their mental ghetto and vote for Christmas when Christmas has so much to offer the majority?
    Can you forgive the massacre of the Armenians?

    “French fans warned not to get their cocks out at Hampden Park! ” Genuine Scottish Recorder Headline of two weeks ago.

    Actually Turkey is dry and tedious but you can put up with it once or twice a year. ..Or find yourself a juicy young bird and keep it quiet …Life is so sad..

  149. A juicy young bird, ah those were the days 🙂
    Can’t check out links just now but I’ll get back to you Newmania.

    There was a green paper published yesterday about children leaving care I think.
    And you can’t make it up folks – apparently Katie Holmes has advised Vicky Beckham that in order to conceive a girl child she must surround herself with images of womanhood. ahahahahaha. Who needs scientists when we have celebrity eh?
    Oh and in the Daily Bellylaugh I spied a little something that alleged that extremely male brains tend to autism. I’m saying nothing but so many amusing possibilities spring to mind. If only Autism wasn’t quite so unfunny.

    Let’s celebrate xmas everyone – the festival of a 1950’s Coke advert, hedonistic gorging of dry white meat, sprouts and sherry, and arguing with the extended family you’ve happily managed to avoid all year. Oh and the debt. I can tell you’re all excited 🙂

  150. extremely male brains …in female bodies JAQ.( DT)That reminds me a a good put down I directed at Greenham Common Woman.

    ” To me a man stuck in a womans body is a delightful prospect. To you an identity crisis requiring therapy,if not surgery. Can you not accept we see things in different ways …..”

    Now why is it people get so cross with me ?I `m never rude

  151. “I am a poor pianist but the sound of my playing is still preferable to the sound of someone sitting on the keys.That is anarchy.” newmania

    I assume you mean that the latter (someone sitting on the keys) is anarchy?

    I would have to disagree. Anarchy means without leaders not without order. You comments describe chaos not anarchy.

    Common misconception.

  152. I assume you mean that the latter (someone sitting on the keys) is anarchy?

    I would have to disagree. Anarchy means without leaders not without order. You comments describe chaos not anarchy. (Kdapt)

    It does not even describe chaos.

    The sound of the descent of two hemispheres onto a piano keyboard could probably be mathematically described with great exactitude.

    Indeed, given a recording of the sound, it would probably be possible to calculate the position, velocity, radius and elasticity (and quite possibly the sex) of the descending buttocks.

    The result is neither anarchy nor chaos, but mere discord.

  153. Kdapt, you are quite right. Thank you.

    It’s just occurred to me that along with the rude comments, the allegedly worshipful comments the troll directed at me were deleted as well. This, along with the recurrent and inexplicable outages this site has been experiencing, may negatively impact my desire to comment here. What’s the world coming to when obsequious flattery of raincoaster is deleted?

    You’d almost think I didn’t run it.

  154. “it does not even describe chaos.” (idlex)

    There are a number of different definitions of chaos. Mathematicians themselves cannot even agree if a truly chaotic system exists or if, in fact, everything is chaotic and that ‘order’, perceived at the everyday level, is merely an anthropic illusion.

    Chaos (n)
    1) A state of utter confusion
    2) A confused mass
    3) The confused, unorganised state of original matter before the creation of distinct forms.

    In describing newmania’s musical analogy, I choose to use it in the sense of definition 2.

    Anarchy, in the context of political science, or, as implied by a question such as “…are you an anarchist then?”, refers to a doctrine of social order whereby a society operates without a hierarchy.

    Like ‘decimate’, popular usage in the wrong context (such as newmania’s) has given the term ‘anarchy’ an overtone of chaos. Regardless of these contemporary misunderstandings, anarchy does not mean chaos any more than decimate means ‘nearly destroyed’.

    In the context of chaos, it is a term often misused by those wishing to cast an unpleasant light over the concept of responsible self determination. Anarchy will, however, in any practical sense, remain an unworkable utopic fiction until large groups of humanity can develop a true, consistent and responsible social conscience.

    I have often wondered if a true democracy (unlike the parliamentary democracy we enjoy in Britain) is a form of anarchy. Anarchy doesn’t mean there are no rules only that no national subgroup (government) has the authority to create the rules.

    Anarchies are still allowed to have administrators.

  155. idlex, doesn’t that depend where you sit? (raincoaster)

    No, I don’t think it matters at all, as long as it’s on the piano keyboard.

    There are a number of different definitions of chaos. Mathematicians themselves cannot even agree if a truly chaotic system exists or if, in fact, everything is chaotic and that ‘order’, perceived at the everyday level, is merely an anthropic illusion. (Kdapt)

    Or conversely chaos is an illusion, and everything is ordered.

    Anarchy will, however, in any practical sense, remain an unworkable utopic fiction until large groups of humanity can develop a true, consistent and responsible social conscience.

    Will that ever happen? I think anarchy will only become workable if and when humans no longer need to live in interdependent societies.

    Anyway, raincoaster is an anarchist, so perhaps she’ll tell us what’s what.

  156. I am a poor pianist but the sound of my playing is still preferable to the sound of someone sitting on the keys.That is anarchy. (newmania)

    The more I think about it, the more I think that this is not just wrong, but completely upside down.

    Anarchy does not break out when newmania sits on the keys. It breaks out when he starts playing the piano.

    But I must admit I’m still trying to get to the bottom of it all.

  157. ‘Anarchy will, however, in any practical sense, remain an unworkable utopic fiction until large groups of humanity can develop a true, consistent and responsible social conscience’ (Kapdt speaker to Tories)

    What communism, or anarchial communism or any such unworkable model of society requires is everyone to agree with each other.

    When you say ‘a true, consistent and responsible social conscience’ what you mean is that they all agree with each other. It’s not going to happen.

    Firstly, education in a anarchy would have to be based on brainwashing the recipient into the communal way of thinking, as opposed to teaching the student to think for themselves as is currently the way in Western society. In this respect the human race would be going backwards in terms of cultural and scientific advancement. A community of zombie-like clones would emerge, it would be like living in hell.

    Secondly, whenever any problem arose, such as a shortage of food or water, people would naturally disagree on what the solution was and how it should be administered. If a desparate populous, short of food, disagreed with the administrators of the anarchic state what would happen?

    It all seems silly to me, but maybe I’ve just got no imagination.

  158. Kdapt . This is all very interesting
    “I would have to disagree. Anarchy means without leaders not without order. You comments describe chaos not anarchy”

    Yes you are right because chaos and anarchy are in practice ( and in theory) identical. My 13 month year old son , for example, creates chaos . Were I to allow him to continue I would be allowing a state of anarchy .If after a week or so you picked up the anarchy and I tidied the chaos we would sit for hours merrily arguing the toss while my wife quietly left me.
    .

    You suggest that the belief that an absence of imposed order will result in chaos is unfair . You will no doubt be adopting the opposite principle in every aspect of your life from locking up at night to stopping at red lights
    .
    Yes I know you believe , you claim , that there is a perfectly cooperative state where the need of the self becomes the need of all and the problem of the thief and the cheat disappear. Then we would all have to agree on who the thief and the cheat were Where societies appear to enjoy anarchic order it is only because the levers of control have been hidden in the mind and soul . In such a society I would have to cause violent harm merely to know that I was still free. Other perfected beings would applaud as the blood drained from my prey understanding my self determined needs at that time ( perfectly).

    . This and many other irresolvable paradoxes are resolved in a mystical belief in the ascent of man to the angelic state .It has much in common with Communism especially in left wing academic circles such as America’s in the sixties.

    I do not wish to be an angel .Danger , risk confrontation and fire and pain were consigned to hell by Milton and following Blake everyone has preferred the devil ever since because he was free I would argue that the extent of pooled selfhood required for anarchy not to become chaos is such that there would be no individual left to have any self -determination. .

    I suppose William Blake was a sort of mystical anarchist and he reconciled this problem poetically .He was also as daft as fruit bat and thought he saw fiery angles at least once before breakfast.

    And I have just noticed Steven L said much the same thing quicker and better…….Cobblers .

  159. “My 13 month year old son , for example, creates chaos . Were I to allow him to continue I would be allowing a state of anarchy”

    No it wouldn’t. Please re-read my comments, you seem to have missed the point.

  160. I agree with Steven_L. But I still don’t agree with the original thesis:

    ‘Anarchy will, however, in any practical sense, remain an unworkable utopic fiction until large groups of humanity can develop a true, consistent and responsible social conscience’ (Kdapt speaker to Tories)

    This supposes that it’s what we think that really matters. And, upon this thin premise, a vast political edifice of attempted thought control has been shakily erected. That if we can just get everyone else to think the same way that we do, the world would be a wonderful place.

    I don’t see that what we think matters that much. I don’t see that the world would be a better place if we were all in complete agreement that this Titanic ship of our civilization was, or was not, about to run into an iceberg. Events will prove it one way or the other. But those events are not yet under our thought control, last I heard.

    Much as I’d like to, I don’t really think I can blame George W Bush for Hurricane Katrina. I can only blame him and his entire administration for their response to this very real event.

  161. “It all seems silly to me, but maybe I’ve just got no imagination.” (Steve_L)

    I can’t comment on your lack of imagination and I’m not sure what you mean by ‘silly’ but, if you are saying that anarchy is unworkable in a practical sense, I agree; I’ve never said otherwise.

    Anarchy is a concept and a utopian one at that. It just stops working when there are more than a few people involved.

    The reason I corrected newmania on this point is because it is commonly believed that the idea of anarchy is bad, and I feel it’s important to point out that, just because something is unworkable or impractical, it doesn’t make it a bad as a ‘concept’.

    By analogy, it would be nice to create cheap electrical generators which just run on water or air. Unfortunately, this concept doesn’t work at a practical level; this unfortunate truth, however, doesn’t make the idea itself any less desireable.

    Anarchy is much the same. Whilst it is desirable as a concept, because it requires that all members of society are, qualitatively, equally responsible and consistently deal with each other honestly and fairly (surely this is a desirable state of affairs), it is unworkable practically. The reason anarchy fails in practise is simply because people aren’t ‘equally responsible …’.

    I therefore reject the imputation that anarchy is chaos and I reiterate that it means without leaders and not without order. I freely admit that the concept is unworkable in large social groups but do not see that this sad truth undermines its desirability as a concept in the least.

  162. In this respect, I’d like to record The Thoughts Of Lynn Cheney:

      CHENEY: That was really the underlying topic of my last book, Telling the Truth. It’s postmodernism, the notion that there is no such thing as truth. There’s only your version of events and my version and Charles’ version and Harry’s version, and the one that prevails will be that of whoever is the most powerful. This seems to fly in the face of the way scholarship has proceeded for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.

    I think the link is on Digby somwhere.

  163. “This supposes that it’s what we think that really matters” (idlex)

    What we think is all that matters. When enough people think the same way humans engender revolutions, war or mathematics. When they think chaotically things stay pretty much the same.

    It’s hardly a shaky edifice or a thin premise, it’s the underlying principle of society. i.e. that the dominant will of a large enough national subgroup will influence the direction of any socio-political system.

    If everyone was honest and fair we wouldn’t need a government; they aren’t, so we do.

    Is that a simple enough concept to digest?

  164. “the notion that there is no such thing as truth” (idlex)

    Very interesting quote. Perception rather than veracity is undoubtedly pre-eminent in the 21st century.

    I find the term ‘powerful’ (as in “whoever is the most powerful”) ambiguous though. There are many ways to interpret and/or measure power per se; I would have said ‘influential’ rather.

  165. What we think is all that matters

    No.

    Not at all.

    We’re simply trying to follow the plot of unfolding events, like sorts of bad detctives – like Colombo.

    What we think doesn’t matter one single perfect damn. We are always mistaken in what we think: We don’t no nuthin about anything.

  166. No Kdapt- I have not missed the point. I have understood the point and disagreed. If you read and understood my contribution you would that find we are not so very far apart. After a quick demonstration of the absurdity of anarchy as a working theory for life I move on. I have claimed that anarchic/order is only achievable poetically or mystically. After a hasty and inglorious retreat you give it even less credit than I do.

    KDAPT (the wild ) SAYS
    “…just because something is unworkable or impractical, it doesn’t make it a bad as a ‘concept’………………… By analogy, it would be nice to create cheap electrical generators which just run on water or air. Unfortunately, this concept doesn’t work at a practical level; …..

    Well yes ,it would be nice if every time I bored someone to death a five pound note appeared in my pocket . It would be nice if Scarleet Johnassen spying me from her Limousine asked if I would like to run my ….and … with a … clinging …relief (ed .. not acceptable ). Sadly magic is only for children’s a birthdays and so is the “conceit” of anarchy .
    I have likened anarchy to religion and admitted the depth of the idea in these terms( see William Blake). You now believe it is a childlike magical “supposing”. Obviously I am the true believer in anarchy.

    I suspect, in our real lives you would find this very much born out. I wonder of the two of us who has had the most brushes with authority of one kind or another?I certainly hope you have not got into more trouble than I have.

    Be good .

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