Quote Of The Day #48

Christopher Hitchens


“Only one faction in American politics has found itself able to make excuses for the kind of religious fanaticism that immediately menaces us in the here and now.  And that faction, I am sorry and furious to say, is the Left.  From the first day of the immolation of the World Trade Centre, right down to the present moment, a gallery of pseudo-intellectuals has been willing to represent the work face of Islam as the voice of the oppressed.  How can these people bear to reread their own propaganda?  Suicide murderers in Palestine- disowned and denounced by the new leader of the PLO- describe as the victims of disperse.  The forces of Al-Qaeda and the Taliban represented as misguided spokespeople for anti-globalisation.  The blood-maddened thugs in Iraq, who would rather bring down the roof on a suffering people then allow them to vote, pictured prettily as ‘insurgent’, or even by Michael Moore, as the moral equivalent of our Founding Fathers.”

Continue reading “Quote Of The Day #48”

Picture Of The Day #4

From The Sunday Times on 29/04/2018.

The childish tit-for-tat over racism is exactly what puts people off politics. Labour accuses the Conservatives of racism over the Windrush scandal/balls-up/wherever to distract attention from their ongoing problems with anti-Semitism. Or vice versa? Or both?

The racist abuse heaped on the new Home Secretary shows there is nothing between the far left and the far right.

Is it just me or does Sajid Javid look like a Minion?

The Guardian Theme Song

With apologies to Tegan and Sara

It is a mainstay of British political debate and comedy that newspapers pander to their readers’ prejudices. Talk about people living in a bubble and not listening to views they dislike long predates the advent of social media. The classic sitcom ‘Yes, Prime Minister’ aired an episode in 1987 called ‘A Conflict of Interest’ where the three main characters discussed the readership of various newspapers…

  1. The Daily Mirror is read by people who think they run the country.
  2. The Guardian is read by people who think they ought to run the country.
  3. The Times is read by people who actually do run the country.
  4. The Daily Mail is read by the wives of the people who run the country.
  5. The Financial Times is read by people who own the country.
  6. The Morning Star is read by people who think the country ought to be run by another country.
  7. The Daily Telegraph is read by people who think it is run by another country.
  8. The Sun readers don’t care who runs the country, as long as she’s got big tits.

View the scene here. Continue reading “The Guardian Theme Song”

The New York Attack

I predict…

This blog is only nine months old and already I have written posts about Islamist attacks in…

Westminster in March 2017,

Manchester Arena in May 2017,

London Bridge in June 2017,

And Barcelona in August 2017.

Had I chosen to do so, I could have written posts about attacks in cities as varied as St. Petersburg, Kabul and Mogadishu. I shall not repeat myself but merely make a few predictions about what will happen in the days and weeks following the latest atrocity in Manhattan. Such is the frequency of these attacks and such is the predictability of the response by the Establishment that I am fairly confident that most of my predictions will come true. Continue reading “The New York Attack”

A Proposal For Change

Time to end the stranglehold of the Establishment

It is fair to say that the West is going through a period when faith in politicians and the  political system is at a very low point. Whatever one thinks about the UK’s decision to leave the European Union or Donald Trump’s election to the presidency of the United States, these are, by any standards, unusual events. As were the Front National’s Marine Le Pen winning 34% of the vote in the French presidential election in May (double what her father achieved in 2002) and the AfD winning 1 in 8 votes in the Bundestag last month.

And as faith in politicians has declined so has faith in religion; outside the USA, Christianity is dying in the West and the indigenous population of Europe and North America is not warming to the latest aggressive and intolerant version of the Abrahamic delusion that has poisoned Western society since the fourth century.

People are at once cynical and ill-informed about politics – witness the enthusiasm for Jeremy Corbyn among people in their 20s and 30s. Some of Corbyn’s most ardent fans support his plan for large-scale nationalisation but also want to want to stay in the neoliberal EU. Both of these positions are intellectually valid but they do tend to be mutually exclusive – you simply can’t have both. Look at the way Greece was treated by the EU when it was forced to sell off state utilities to pay debts to international banks. There was no ‘bailout’ for Greece, only for the banks – privatised profits but socialised losses.

It is time acknowledge that the democratic institutions of the West are in need of a thorough overhaul. I have written before about the debt the West owes to the Classical Greece and Rome rather than to so-called ‘Judeo-Christian’ values. One of the key ideas I think can revitalise democracy and end the domination of the neoliberal Establishment (by which I mean all the main political parties in the West) is sortition – the selection of public officials by lot. Continue reading “A Proposal For Change”

Leap Of Faith 

Science and Religion are not competitors 

If the Sun was scaled down to the size of a white blood cell, the Milky Way would be the size of the continental United States. There are between 100,000,000,000 and 400,000,000,000 stars in the Milky Way and it is estimated that there are between 100,000,000,000 and 200,000,000,000 galaxies in the universe. Even if you take the lowest estimates there are about 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (10 sextillion) stars in the universe. Then there are the spaces between galaxies which are even larger than the galaxies. The Milky Way is between 100,000 and 160,000 light years across but the closest galaxy to our own, Andromeda, is around 2,500,000 light years away. The sheer scale of the universe is incomprehensible to poorly-evolved east African primates who only learned to speak properly less than 200,000 years ago. But the most important things to the ‘creator’ of all this are the genitals of one species on one planet that orbits one of these stars and whether one half of said species shows its hair to the other half. Continue reading “Leap Of Faith “

In Defence Of Classical History 

Imagine a world untouched by Christianity.

I recently attended a three day history conference. Now I know that sounds like torture to a lot of people but I loved it. One of the highlights was a professor of ancient history giving a lecture comparing democracy in ancient Greece and modern Europe. In particular he drew parallels between the Brexit Referendum in 2016 and the Sicilian Expedition during the Peloponnesian War (431-404BC). Whatever your views of the referendum, it was an exercise in democracy on an very large scale. Over 33,000,000 people voted – 72% of registered voters and 65% of the voting age population. In Athens, the people’s assembly (demos) voted on all government business; it was a direct rather than a representative democracy. In 415BC, the demos voted enthusiastically in favour of a plan to conquer Sicily. The expedition was a disaster and the Athenians lost 200 ships and thousands of soldiers. Whether the Brexit vote turns into a disaster on the scale of Sicily is anyone’s guess (personally, I doubt it). The point I am trying to make is that studying Classical History helps us to understand the workings of democracy. People are people, demagogues are demagogues – although I would hesitate to compare Boris Johnson to Alcibiades because he would like it too much. Upper-class playboy with a penchant for rabble-rousing and swapping sides? Sounds familiar? Continue reading “In Defence Of Classical History “