At first glance, the story of an obscure Tory councillor creating an online petition demanding that anyone who still supports membership of the European Union be charged with treason smacks of a crude attempt at humour and is obviously a very weak joke. A second glance would confirm the hoax as the petition is in the name of a councillor Christian Holliday who represents the Burpham ward in the delightful town of Guildford. If a councillor Cruella de Winterval representing nearby Effingham had demanded the re-introduction of thumbscrews and the rack into the criminal justice system, the joke would not have been more obvious. However, a third glance reveals the treason petition story to be true and a bizarre invention called Christian Holliday actually exists and wishes to “amend the Treason Felony Act to make supporting UK membership of the EU a crime.”
It seems that the petition has been taken down and a Guildford councillor has been suspended by the local Tory party. No doubt the councillor will complain of censorship, an attack on free speech and a liberal elite conspiring to bring about the end of democracy but will then slide deservedly back into obscurity where he will not cause too much damage. That a councillor, let alone a Tory councillor, should prove to be a complete and utter idiot is not unexpected news but, as a symptom of the collective emotional breakdown currently debilitating the nation, the thought that this kind of nonsense could ever be considered as even remotely appropriate is much more troublesome. (more…)
In those far-off heady days during the European referendum campaign, some of us hoped that the deranged musings of idiots, borderline fascists, actual racists, scaremongers and various prophets of doom would end once the British people had made their historic decision. The preposterous and obviously false claims and counter-claims from both sides cheapened the debate to the state of pointless and partisan bickering and made for a contest between an unbelievably duplicitous Remain campaign and an unbelievably duplicitous Leave campaign. Sadly, the return to common sense and the status quo of generally harmless whopping great lies has, to evoke the civil rights credentials of Prime Minister Theresa May, been a long time coming. Instead, the ravings of some very strange people which were once instantly dismissed as just a part of the comedic warp and weft of society are now being accepted as potentially valid, possibly true and even something less than a complete insult to basic humanity. (more…)
Samuel Johnson`s assertion that patriotism is this last refuge of a scoundrel only works if the scoundrel is clever enough to manipulate prejudice and ignorance to manufacture a state of false patriotism and, therefore, extreme international danger. Boris Johnson`s assertion that any hope of a negotiated ceasefire in Syria has “run out of road” meaning that “more kinetic options” – including military intervention – need to be considered, look and sound like the posturing of a scoundrel. Doctor Johnson went on to say that “prejudice does not have reasonable grounds, so you cannot deny them with rational arguments.” Mark Twain, however, hit the nail on the head when he described a patriot as “the person who can holler the loudest without knowing what he is hollering about.” (more…)
To openly gloat over the misfortunes of others, even if they happen to be the most unpleasant, hate-filled, narcissistic attention seekers to ever pollute political debate, is not big and not clever. However, when dubious politicians display their “man of the people” credentials by softening the mood with some whacky stunt, the nation and indeed the world should applaud them for giving us all a right old laugh.
So, after adopting a serious face to sincerely hope that UKIP MEP Steven Woolf makes a full recovery, we should give him a heartfelt slap on the back for being part of the funniest public punch-up since Monty Python`s fish slapping dance. We should also thank Boris Johnson for giving us an image of him gagged and bound to a chair in a locked basement somewhere in the vicinity of Whitehall to prevent him from cracking anymore jokes. Gratitude is also owed to Nigel Farage, who, after having his only policy nicked from under his nose, continues to amuse as his party falls apart amid handbag fights. But at top of the tree, lobbing comedy faecal nuggets with definitely not gay abandon sits one Donald Trump. (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…)