Via Peguin Books
Imagine inventing a new word to describe something undesirable only to find that the word quickly becomes part of common language but with its original usage completely reversed. Then consider the sorry experience of minor politician and sociologist Michael Young.
Credited with drafting large chunks of Labour`s 1945 manifesto, Young played a major part in securing a landslide victory for Clement Attlee and the almost unthinkable defeat of Sir Winston Churchill at the conclusion of the Second World War. The 1944 Butler Education Act established free and universal education and set the school leaving age at 15. It also introduced the tripartite system of education featuring grammar schools, secondary technical schools and secondary modern schools. In theory, comprehensive schools would combine features of all three streams. Allocation of school places was determined by academic examination when a child reached the age of 11. The results of a maths test, a general essay and a third test on general reasoning would define the child as a member of the elite, someone who could be trusted with expensive machinery or a basic manual labourer expected to be grateful for the chance at any education at all. (more…)
Area 51, as any self-appointed expert on alien life forms will more than happily tell you, is a top secret dark operations base located on a salt flat near Groom Lake in Nevada some 83 miles north-northwest of Las Vegas. The dead and injured victims of crashed space craft are taken there for either autopsy or examination. Some experts go so far as to suggest that surviving extraterrestrial beings are actually sharing their knowledge of advanced technology and are even now colluding with earthly governments in secret research. Obviously the presence of non-earthlings would create panic and be very bad for business for world religion so it makes perfect sense to keep such creatures locked up and safely out of sight. (more…)
With a paucity of remotely sensible political analysis being made available to a bewildered yet cynical public, it is tempting to simply join in with the blizzard of outrageous allegations and smears against friend and foe alike safe in the knowledge that any factual evidence will never be checked. Even if some naïve soul investigates the veracity of various claims and counterclaims, we have rapidly realised that proof is irrelevant and irrefutable evidence is best ignored. With politics descending further into playground name-calling followed by little boys starting a fight and then running away, the most efficient way to stick the boot in is with the tried and tested personal anecdote.
So, my wife once met a man on a train who said he knew a woman who had a sister who knew a man that told this absolutely true story. (more…)
If we accept the old Spanish proverb that suggests a wise man is capable of changing his mind but a fool never will, I hereby tender my wisdom credentials by conceding that for a number of years I have been completely wrong about Iain Duncan Smith.
This damascene moment of realisation coincides with other glaring errors now mercifully reversed and corrected. I can only offer heartfelt apologies for years of snide invective, defamation, grubby insults and ignorant left-wing dogma based on the politics of envy. (more…)
Via Stefan Rousseau Reuters
With just four short months to go, preparations for the summer solstice have hit fever pitch with the announcement of a self-selected all-England Morris Dancing team to challenge the world. The six most honest, intelligent, hard-working and photogenic synchronised handkerchief wavers have finally stepped out from the shadow of collective ministerial responsibility and can now campaign for patriotism unfettered, un-gagged and, if the first 24 hour hours is anything to go by, more than a little unhinged. With Boris Johnson sewing flowers into his hat and strapping bells to his knees and elbows, English Morris Dancing is certain to enjoy a tumultuous resurgence. (more…)