17 Jun

The show must go on!

from the office of the Controller Monomedia (incorporating BBC, SKY & ITV) to all staff…

Boys & Girls,

First, congratulations and a million thanks for your coverage on the day after the Kensington fire. Our ratings were off the top of the Richter scale. It’s even more mega than that: forget the death of Jo Cox or Cilla or even Michael Jackson, this is our finest hour since the princess popped it in 1997 and the universal Dianafication that followed.

Kensington represents our biggest touchy-feely extravaganza for decades. And wow, you certainly showed how to sell it!

I’ve just enjoyed looking back at the vids. There were so many highlights but surely the masterstroke was the split-screen shot with “cold fish” May on one side and Comrade “Hugger” Corbyn on the other. Jeremy, “man of the people,” kissing the little ones, while May, beautifully captured scowling behind a line of coppers, was the icing on the cake.

Editors and film crews did excellent work getting close-ups of smiling children of the local riff-raff. And how you captured the delicious “anger”!

Above all you remembered the first law of telly journalism: emotion – especially grief – is “sexy.”

Of course, I realise that all this was not achieved on the hoof. Your preparations were meticulous and cameras were in place early. This reminded me of one of our greatest successes, the Brixton and Toxteth riots of 1981. Every evening before sunset, our crews were on the spot when the oiks emerged and started chucking their petrol bombs. There were some unforgettable moments –  like the close-up of the young thug stepping inside the smashed window of a shoe shop and nicking a pair of expensive trainers.

Your manipulation of the mob’s mood was superb. Every time a presenter said “There is rising anger,” there was rising anger.

The juxtaposition of dispossessed survivors and cries of “heartless” and “cuts” was another stroke of genius.

But the most wonderful Diana moment for me was when one of our prettiest young presenters – tears in her eyes – delivered straight to camera – “Here in Kensington and Chelsea, some of Britain’s very poorest are living side-by-side with the richest fat cats.”

Now, the thing is, you must not let up. The present media bonanza mustn’t be allowed to fade into a nine days’ wonder. It’s your responsibility – and privilege, I might add – to keep it going. Your job is to fan the flames, so to speak!

Emerging themes for the next few days; (1) masses of floral tributes (2) wayside shrines (3) vigils (4) gratuitous – and escalating – violence.

See if you can get a rock singer to dedicate his/her latest “number” to the people of Grenfell Tower.

I must end on a cautionary note. It has come to my attention that some of our people have been heard muttering, “Hey, we’d better be careful what we wish for. If we actually succeed in putting Jeremy in Number 10 and getting a revolutionary communist government, press and telly freedom will be the first things to go.”

Ignore these Jeremiahs. (Gosh, I nearly said Jeremys!)

It’s our show. Enjoy it while it lasts!

Love

Gordon

Gordon Oswald Dickheadson {GOD}

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16 Jun

I apologise – for my understatement

Harold Wilson famously said, “A week is a long time in politics.” How about amending that to “a couple of days” in the light of recent events?

Here is something I wrote this morning:

“On the political scene, I really think we’re in the deepest you-know-what. I’m not persuaded by such as Lord Stoddart, Charles Moore and Simon Heffer – much as I respect them – that we’ve reached “peak Corbyn.” The current leftish antinomianism has momentum – literally! – and, in my view, still has a long way to run. In addition to democratic votes, we are seeing the typical Marxist-Leninist tactics of taking to the streets, mobilisation of the unions, the social and political blackmail of the people; utopian promises, lies and threats  become an institutionalised political tactic Add to this the wholesale bribery of a generation of young people who have been propagandised and de-educated in the state schools and the “universities” where they are mollycoddled in their “safe spaces” and where free speech is all but abolished.

“Day by day we are seeing the practice of politics move further away from peaceful democratic processes and closer to the streets and to violent insurrection.

“As a friend put it to me just before last week’s General Election, ‘We’re one crisis away from revolution’.”

In a very short time we see that the Grenfell Tower disaster is being outrageously politicised by the Corbynistas. Jeremy himself has been endlessly photographed hugging and cuddling Kensington locals in the street. At the same time his comrades have described Theresa May as “inhuman” for not engaging with the locals on her visit to the scene yesterday.

The word “inhuman” was also used to describe Mrs May by a SKY News reporter at the scene. The reporter added, “There is a lot of anger. There could be violence on the streets.” Does that statement only very marginally fail to count as incitement to violence?

Another reporter said of the leader of the house, Andrea Leadsom, interviewed at the scene, that her visit was part of a “damage-limitation exercise” by the prime minister’s colleagues following Theresa May’s alleged “Inhuman” behaviour yesterday.

Meanwhile, the communist shadow chancellor John McDonnell has renewed his call for a protest march to be held next month to be turned into “an insurrection of a million to force Mrs May to stand down.”

What price the ballot box which resulted in the rejection of Corbyn’s Labour party, a rejection measured by the fact that it won 56 fewer seats than the Tories – worse than Labour’s defeat of 2010 which Corbyn called “a disaster.”

I now see that my words of this morning were really an understatement of the danger faced by the nation.

It’s later than we think.

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16 Jun

2017 0r 1917? Or perhaps 1848 or 1789?

On the political scene, I really think we’re in the deepest you-know-what. I’m not persuaded by such as Lord Stoddart, Charles Moore and Simon Heffer – much as I respect them – that we’ve reached “peak Corbyn.” The current leftish antinomianism has momentum – literally! – and, in my view, still has a long way to run. In addition to democratic votes, we are seeing the typical Marxist-Leninist tactics of taking to the streets, mobilisation of the unions, the social and political blackmail of the people; utopian promises, lies and threats  become an institutionalised political tactic Add to this the wholesale bribery of a generation of young people who have been propagandised and de-educated in the state schools and the “universities” where they are mollycoddled in their “safe spaces” and where free speech is all but abolished.

Day by day we are seeing the practice of politics move further away from peaceful democratic processes and closer to the streets and to violent insurrection.

As a friend put it to me just before last week’s General Election, “We’re one crisis away from revolution.”

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15 Jun

Hilary is bunk

You don’t need much in the way of wits to see through the phenomenon Hilary Mantel.

Her biographical novel Wolf Hall is a book only literal-minded and forensic. Its author tells us that every smallest movement of the plot was first checked against what could be discovered as the most accurate historical account. The result is not a novel but artifice, the literary equivalent of painting-by-numbers – a technique which surely pre-empted any reluctance on the part of the literal-minded judges to award Mantel the Man-Booker Prize. Mantel regards Cromwell, the plunderer of the monasteries, as a principled man and an idealist – but then her original idea of what constitutes a man of principle must be set beside her description to Sir Thomas More as “a fanatic.”

And now here comes the Great Dame again to give us the Reith Lectures on the relationship between history and fiction. She does not betray the reputation for fatuity which she first revealed in Wolf Hall. In fact she exceeds it, particularly when she begins with an astonishing remark concerning historical persons: “We can know what they did but not what they thought.”

If this were the case, we could know what Nelson had for breakfast on the morning of the Battle of Trafalgar but we could never know that his battle tactics were dictated by his earlier thought: “I will sail my fleet in a straight course directly through the middle of the enemy’s lines of ships.”

But that thought is precisely what we do know. We can infer Nelson’s thoughts from his deeds. What we may be conflicted about is whether he had one egg that day or two.

Or again: we know what the Roman commanders were thinking before they sailed to invade us. They were thinking, “We can succeed in this operation.” Or they wouldn’t have come!

Nearer home, we can know that Dame Hilary Mantel gave the Reith Lectures because we have recordings of her giving them. We can also know that, some time before the lectures began, she thought, “I will agree to give this series of lectures.” And if we ourselves, give the matter more attention, we can come to know in more detail her train of thoughts as she was making up her mind to give the lectures, what she would entitle them and what she would say; and even why she would say what she did say.

We can learn the meaning of historical study from R.G. Collingwood who wrote: “Historical knowledge is the re-enactment in the historian’s mind of the thought whose history he is studying.”

There is a widespread and foolish notion that what we call history is the past in, as it were, a long stream of events going right back to earliest beginnings. This is delusional thinking for there is no such past. It exists only in the minds of present day historians as they think about the past.

Dame Hilary takes the forensic view of the past and forms of it a kind of museum culture. This too is delusional.

Collingwood again: “Nothing capable of being learnt by heart, nothing capable of being memorised, is history.”

Rather, history is our present thoughts about the doings of our predecessors. 

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13 Jun

Ill met by moonlight

There is a noxious composition by Harrison Birtwistle called Endless Parade, really an extended noise, the very antidote to music. It’s one of those many pieces written by avant garde composers to irritate regressive people who like their music to have tunes and even to have something to do with beauty.

Endless Parade has its verbal, intellectual and philosophical companions in most of the discussion programmes about history, ideas and the arts on such as the BBC, the Arts Channel and the History Channel. With notable exceptions  – such as Leonard Bernstein’s remarkable series The Unanswered Question or Bryan Magee’s Conversations with Philosophers – these programmes are at best uninformative and misleading and at worst mere fatuity and claptrap.

Typically the format consists of a presenter who pretends ignorance – when this is Melvyn Bragg the pretence is undetectable – who asks faux naif questions of “experts” on behalf of the  ignorant and idiotic listeners or viewers. What follows is the spectacle of academics attempting to talk for long enough to generate in themselves the hope they might accidentally discover something interesting to say.

They hardly ever have. And this is not least because they can’t speak English. They speak only academic jargon. They might be reading from the text book or, more likely these days, the “study module.” They also speak “hand- me-downs” which are really only the unexamined universal prejudices of left wing university types turned media sages: The Renaissance a good thing; the Enlightenment a jolly good thing; French Revolution a pretty good thing; universal rights – bang on; democracy, modernity, diversity, feminism, multiculturalism, equality etc…

No need to flog it to death

And I mustn’t fall into the same trap and waffle as these illustrious persons do. Let me offer an example.

Yesterday on his Radio Four programme Beyond Belief the genuinely likeable Ernie Rea was asking a panel of three “experts” about humankind’s relationship with the moon over the millennia. Amid the usual catalogue of infelicities and desecrations, there was offered the insight that it was only with the coming of the Romantic Movement that we “…began to talk not just about the city but about the wilderness; about women and the feminine as well as males and the masculine; about the night and the dark as well as the day.”

By heck, whatever did we do for conversation before the time of Shelley, Keats and the other boys (and girls) in the 18th century band?

Had we really never come across Moses who led the Israelites forty years in the wilderness of Sinai? Of Jonah in the darkness of the stomach of the great fish? Or, “Yea the darkness hideth not from thee” (Psalm 139:12). Or the fact that St John of the Cross (1542-1591) wrote of “the dark night of the soul” centuries before Mary Shelley gave us the benefit of her nasty dreams? In my ignorance I had thought women had always featured prominently throughout our religion, mythologies, history and culture yonks before The Lady of Shallott turned up. Or perhaps Eve, Ruth, Naomi, Deborah the prophetess, Cleopatra and the Queen of Sheba were only men in drag? Same goes for Ophelia, Desdemona and Lady Macbeth, I suppose?

Did we have to wait for the Romantics before we could talk about women? For heaven’s sake the dumbos on our panel of “experts” were discussing the moon! Wouldn’t you have though that even academics might notice that from ancient times the moon has always taken girls’ names: Selene, Artemis, Diana?

Beyond Belief indeed

PS It never stops. That doyenne of the purple patch and the non sequitur, Hilary Mantel, has just been on previewing her forthcoming Reith Lectures by telling us, “The spoken word differs from the written word.”

Gerraway!

Give her the Nobel Prize somebody!

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11 Jun

All Infants Now

How can we account for Jeremy Corbyn’s success in the general election? It’s education – stupid!

The Jesuits used to say, “Give me a child until he’s seven and I will show you the man.” With socialism  it takes a little longer: “Give me fifty years of comprehensive education and I will show you a nation of idiots.”

The Department of Education itself admits that, after eleven years of compulsory state education, 43% of pupils leave school unable to read. write and count efficiently. Worse, two generations of teachers – who come out with such expressions as “I was sat” and “I was stood” – have gone through this system, so the result is dumber still and dumber.

Perhaps I’m not being fair. They have a curriculum, don’t they? They learn stuff? But the curriculum is devised by left wing educational commissars who boast of “increasing pupils’ literacy and numeracy.” Yes, their literacy and numeracy are excellent: it’s just that they can’t read, they can’t write and they can’t add up.

History? This is the slave trade – but carefully omitting to mention that this trade was abolished in British dominions by British toffs and policed by the Royal Navy. They teach the evils of empire and imperialism, without reference to the cruellest and most prolonged imperialism of them all, and that’s Islamic imperialism. Bits about Hitler. Nothing about Nelson, but loads about Nelson Mandela. Loads more about Martin Luther King, universal rights – especially for terrorists – and the pagan fantasy of global warming.

Literature? You don’t mean dead white males do you, and honorary dead white males such as Jane Austen and George Eliot? Try The Catcher in the Rye instead.

Music? Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert and the repertoire of the classical tradition? Don’t be so elitist. We’ve got rock music and steel bands. Ethnic music. Peruvian nose-flute music. The teachers are all at Glastonbury anyhow.

Natural history? Windmills and cutting down trees in the US and shipping them over here to provide biomass to reduce the “carbon footprint.” Definitely no fracking.

Moral instruction? Wear a condom. How to become homosexual. And – brand new this one – how little boys can become little girls if they like and little girls become little boys. And you don’t have to be either if you don’t want to. Equality. Diversity. Multiculturalism. Political-correctness. Unilateral nuclear disarmament.

Religious education? Islam is the religion of peace and love. Christianity is mostly old bunk. The main thing is not to be “Islamophobic.”

When pupils have mastered this agitprop schedule of ignorance, they can move on to what is misleadingly called “university” where they will learn about safe spaces, “no platform” for anyone who disagrees with this rubbish, and how to abolish free speech

Provide a curriculum like this and you will produce –as we have – a generation that will idolise a Marxist Jew-baiter, a unilateral disarmer who doubles as a friend of the IRA, Hamas and Hezbollah.

The most disturbing aspect of all this is that, whereas in 1983, when the loony leftie Michael Foot produced a manifesto similar to Corbyn’s, the people threw him out on his ear.

But today such dangerous idiocy is applauded

That is the extent of our infantilisation over a mere 34 years. 

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09 Jun

Maggie, thou should’st be living at this hour

How bad do you have to be to get scuppered by Jeremy Corbyn? You have to be very bad indeed – as bad as Theresa May, in fact.

There was no need for her to call this general election, as she had a working majority with three years to run. She called it because she regarded Corbyn as utterly unelectable, which he probably is – unless the alternative is Theresa May.

She claimed she called it because she “had the balls.” And now she has made a balls of it.

How can a decent, middle class Tory lady, a daughter of the vicarage, be outthought and outperformed by a lunatic leftie and – under that “I’m your favourite granddad” persona – a nasty piece of work, seething with hatred for everything that is decent about our country? Corbyn is an enemy of Britain, a Jew-baiter and supporter of terrorist groups such as the IRA, Hamas and Hezbollah?

She can achieve this astonishing feat only by being astonishingly incompetent. She was seriously incompetent in her long occupancy of the home office, and she has been doubly incompetent as prime minister.

Her first tactical masterstroke as leader was to alienate her own core support: the home-owning aspirant classes

Her arrogance and vision of her own worth are transcendental. In her fancy pants and shoes, she presents herself as megalomaniac-chic, albeit somewhat past the zenith of such freshness as she ever possessed. A combination of Imelda Marcos and any one of the Macbeth witches.

This was demonstrated in the way she ran her campaign. No one else featured in this campaign.  There were no competent colleagues by her side. She made sure she had no competent colleagues for she knew that these would show up her spectacular incompetence.

She began her campaign by saying to the people: “Look at me. Focus your entire attention on me. You like me, don’t you?”

And the people said, “No – we can’t bloody well stand you!”

But is is the people who will pay the price. Whatever is fudged and cobbled together out of the present shambles, there will be in it a large measure of socialism. And socialism always impoverishes the people.

The consequences of her scuppering almost certainly mean that Brexit will be scuppered too. I suspect that this was her agenda all along: for we recall she voted Remain.

The old story of hubris and nemesis.

And the weather forecast this morning: “Waste and void, waste and void; and darkness over the face of the deep.”

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08 Jun

Fings ain’t wot they used to be

This morning the BBC reported more police raids on houses in the East End of London as “part of their on-going investigation into the terrorist attack on London Bridge.”

It’s ages since I paid a visit to the East End, so I thought I’d pop along and see how the land lies these days.

The place has changed beyond recognition and presents a bewildering spectacle to those of us who knew what it was like in the old days. I thought the best place to start would be down by The Old Bull & Bush but, whether it’s just me getting disorientated for space and time at my age or what, I couldn’t find it. I called in Saleem’s minimarket…

“Nah,” said Saleem “The Old Bull ain’t there any more,guv. Most of the old boozers in these parts ‘as been shut down and turned into madrassas in’t they? For the learning ov the kids innit? My boy’s up to Taleemul Haq  in Class 8”

“So much seems to have changed?”

“Everythink, mate. Even the old songs. Nah the kids sings Let’s all go down The Strand – blow up the Kuffars. But If yer wants ter find art wot’s going on, like, get y’self a copy of the Docklands & East London Gazette.  Y’can read Urdu in’t yer?”

“East End traditional foods?”

“Ah, the nosh. Well, it’s the same mate innit – but different. We ‘as that jellied halal goat wiv coconut nah.”

“I see. But I suppose the really traditional things haven’t changed, and a Cockney is still someone born within the sound of Bow Bells?”

“Wot planet is you on mister? Fings ‘ave changed. Nah you’ve got ter be born wivvin earshot ov the call to prayer from 46 Whitechapel Road.”

“What’s that when it’s out?”

“East London Mosque mate. Wassermatter – in’t you religious?”

Perhaps I shouldn’t have said what i said next, but I was in shock: “And I suppose that’s where the Islamic State supporters buy their suicide vests!”

He gave be a long indulgent stare: “Nah, fing’s ain’t wot they used ter be. The boys dunt need no suicide vests, guv, There’s a geezer in the Mile End Road – know wot I mean? – wot hires out white vans. Get y’self wunna these, and ask yer old lady if she’ll lend you a few kitchen knives – and Allah’s yer uncle and Mohammed’s yer ant!”

“Some things don’t change. I see you’ve still got your taxi business.”

“Couldn’t manage wivvart it, mate. I ‘ad that Osama bin Laden in the back of my cab wunce.”

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07 Jun

Good news at last!

At a time of prolonged bad news – the indisposition of Diane Abbott for example – it is cheering to have a refreshing report from Iran.

This week there occurred an agreeable carnage in the form of successful suicide-bombings of the Iranian parliament and the tomb of Ayatollah Khomenei. Saudi proxy forces (Islamic State) attacked Iranian heartlands (the republican guard) and killed more than a few

This is only the most recent episode in a much longer conflict. And it’s really comforting to know that Muslim barbarians wage war not only upon Jewish and Christian infidels, but upon their own co-religionists

For Iran versus Saudi Arabia, read Shia versus Sunni. These two sects of the same barbarism have been at each other’s throats for 1400 years.

With luck – or, as I would put it, by the grace of God – these two forms of all that is despicable might soon come to destroy one another

Here is a brief theological analysis of the situation: we are not to think that the war between good and evil is between God and his angels and Satan with his equally disciplined army of devils. For, while the angel band is united, the demons are all at odds with one another

As Milton said: “Pandemonium and confusion worse confounded”

As Our Lord put it, very nicely if I might say so, “A kingdom divided against itself cannot stand.”

Roll on, I say. Roll on 

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06 Jun

Saying is doing

Mishal Husain, the fatuous (Muslim) radio presenter, said on The Today Programme this morning that a Muslim man unfurling the black flag of Islamic State in public and inciting his audience to support them should not be prosecuted “only for his words.”

But it is a very rare thing for words to be only words. Many words and their usage in context are also actions.

If I make a promise, I thereby do something as well as say something.

If I declare an oath, I do something

To shout “Fire!” in a crowded theatre is to do something: its purpose is to warn.

And if, by my words, I incite people to support a murderous organisation, I certainly do something.

(If you insist on the technical, philosophical term for these sorts of utterances, I can tell you they are called logical performatives or speech acts – because in saying something the speaker is also doing something.)

Ms Husain should be told than many of the most important of our actions are all in our use of words, in our speaking and in our writing.

That is why a slander or a libel is an offence.

It is why we all agree that we ought to keep our promises: because the words of my promise commit me to a particular action

You would think that  a Muslim such as Ms Husain would understand this – because presumably she believes that to blaspheme Allah – in words only - is a punishable offence?

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