It is a truth universally acknowledged, that an MP in possession of a cabinet portfolio, must be in want of the ability to say anything even remotely resembling the truth.
As a first foray into the world of economics, Philip Hammond`s autumn statement did not disappoint connoisseurs of massive fibs. Sadly lacking the charisma and idiocy of his predecessor, the new chancellor even attempted to tell jokes in between the lies. He started by describing a robust, resilient and secure economy based on a wise conservative fiscal strategy. It is not quite clear if he stated this as a joke or a lie but he went on to say that the promise to reduce the deficit has been abandoned and the government will be borrowing another £122 billion. (more…)
On another Armistice Day and with another sorry line of politicians trying desperately to look earnest as they lay poppy wreaths at the cenotaph, the passage of time means that there are no surviving veterans of the Great War and increasingly fewer survivors of the Second World War.
There was a time when our politicians understood the consequence of war as some of them experienced the brutality of conflict at first hand. Now dead; they have been replaced by politicians who are happy to engage in war from a distance and only if their own children are definitely not sent away to fight and die or fight and be maimed both physically and mentally. The closest these new Whitehall warriors come to the carnage is signing the contract that furnishes dictators with cluster bombs and the delivery platforms to blow away women and children. Look into their eyes as they remember the fallen and look into their morality as they place profits from the arms trade above human life. (more…)
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…)
Duel between Onegin and Lenski – Ilya Repin 1899
In these enlightened times of character assassination by sound bite, gossip and actual defamation, it is interesting to look back at a more chivalrous age when aristocratic politicians desperate to wield power would demand satisfaction from opponents by taking up rapiers or by the challenge of pistols at dawn. The noble heritage of snotty-nosed inbred yet wealthy imbeciles nominating themselves for the Darwin Awards in the name of saving face or some misplaced notion of self-importance is an honour code that deserves revival given the arrant nonsense, cant, garbage, perfidy and unmitigated testicles currently being spouted by snotty-nosed inbred yet wealthy imbeciles on both sides of the European argument. (more…)
Picasso sketch 1964
O for a Muse of fire, that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention to describe just how bloody wonderful it is to be an Englishman living in these joyous times.
Firstly we celebrated 90 glorious years of divine monarchy dedicating a lifetime of hollow crown duty by waving a lot and having to endure the permanent smell of fresh paint. Then we commemorated our holy English values as epitomised by our noble patron Saint George. As with most versions of English history, George`s origins and ethnicity are a little vague. He might have been born in Cappadocia which would make him a Turk or he might have been born in the Roman province of Syria Palaestina which roughly translates as either Syria or Palestine. What is certain is that he was not born within the concrete O of the M25, he did not speak English and his dragon slaying activities took place far away from Albion in a place called Beirut. Crying God for Harry, England and Agios Georgios might make you sound… well… a bit foreign. (more…)