Sunday, 4 December 2016

Winners and Losers

Another day, another vote and the war on Brexit continues. The LimpDem ‘leader’ - or do they call him Akela at their cabinet meetings coffee mornings? – has been skipping about like a giddy new foal after the Richmond Park by-election proclaiming the second coming of a party that doesn’t entirely know what it stands for. Even after their five years in Downing Street as Cameron’s poodles I can’t recall a single policy utterance of any import that was uniquely theirs. Yet, according to Tim, the party, having gone from 57 seats in 2010 to just 8 in 2015, is now ‘back in the big time’. (I use the word ‘party’ merely out of respect for the dead.)

I did the maths; from 8 to 9 MPs is a rise from 1.2% to 1.4% of the 650 Commons seats. Basically, they have gained a fifth of an MP... a leg, at best. Another bit of arithmetic reveals that 70% of Richmond’s constituents voted in the June referendum to remain, but less than 50% of a lower turnout voted for Sarah Olney, touted as the remain candidate. Far from revealing the deep desire of Britain to stay in the EU, it rather shows a drop in such sympathies. Yes, that last is a purely semantic piece of political prestidigitation, but it shows how you can’t place too much confidence in what was, after all, a rather small victory against zero opposition.

Oh, sorry, I forgot to mention that the Labour candidate managed to lose his deposit by demonstrating that enthusiasm for Jeremy Corbyn’s buccaneering barmpots might not be all the Islington Party would wish – he got even fewer votes than there are actual Labour Party members in the constituency. The left is in trouble and once again they begin their excuse by labelling all who vote against them as extremists. A coalition of the left has been tentatively proposed to ‘fight back against the far right’. This was discussed on Friday’s PM on Radio 4 and barely disguised contempt coloured every utterance.

The Greens, LibDems, Labour and others, said Caroline Lucas & Co, should form a pact and agree not to contest each other’s patches. So, for instance, where Labour are the second biggest party, the others should agree to stand aside in the hope that their voters will turn out for Labour just to defeat the baby-eating Tories... the party which won a majority against all-comers and against all expectations just last year. Once again the staggering arrogance of the left is exposed; the little turkeys, they believe, were duped into voting for Christmas. They’re in for a shock.

The rise of Ukip, Brexit, Trump and coming upsets in France and Germany and all across Europe is not, as they dearly want it to be, the resurgence of Fascism; it is just the reaction to years and years and years of ‘progressive’ socialist claptrap. Unlike the militant French we don’t go setting fire to sheep at the first provocation. We just waited our turn and then quietly delivered our verdict on our tormentors at the ballot box. If Labour and the left believe they represent the 99% it’s no wonder they are always surprised when a majority of that 99% vote against them. All a coalition of the left will achieve is infighting, desertion and gifting the Conservatives a massive majority at the next election.

"Hallo, my darlings!" Tim Farron addresses the nation.

In other news, England won the rugby again for the fourteenth straight time this year, defeating Australia in a blatant display of aggressive nationalism at Twickenham, Richmond’s close neighbour. No doubt the sight of 80,000 cheering fans signing Swing Low, Sweet Chariot sends chills down the spines of people like Tim Farron. The left will not see what everybody else sees. What’s this; cheering on a national team? Rejoicing in victory against Johnny Foreigner? Celebrating superiority? Why, to them it’s practically Nuremberg!

Friday, 2 December 2016

The Death of Satire

All hail the mighty man-girl-child-genderblack-wrongskinned-dudewench Godfrey Elfwick who trolled the Guardian the other day with this magnificent cheek-tongued piece of hilarity. Cue the barrage of mediocre attempts by the inspirationally challenged who will now be machine-gunning the popular press with Viz-level parody in the hope of being published. I have no such illusions and bow before the towering sage of our age, for Godfrey truly is a one manwoman multicultural emblem for our millennium.

The whole phenomenon of fake news is rendering satire a tricky medium to work in as it is becoming almost impossible to distinguish fake from fiction. It was bad enough when we only had climate nutjobs, illuminati adherents, chemtrail devotees and vegans to scoff at. Now, even the most outlandish of human experiences could be real. The Guardian, from once being a respected bastion of journalistic integrity [citation needed] leads the charge into Narnia by stuffing its pages with opinion pieces masquerading as news. Godfrey’s little saga slotted right into their editorial narrative.

So, anything goes, nothing is real, up is down and coupled with a net population change of close on a million a year (650,000 in, 300,000+ out) pretty soon we won’t even have good old British phlegmatism to rely on. You’ll be able to tell people anything and they’ll believe it. Oh, wait, we’re there already: A recent scientific study has found pregnant women who use vibrators are 90% more likely to have a child who stutters. Accordion to surveys most people don’t notice when you replace words with the names of musical instruments. A pizza is a three-dimensional pie chart... that shows you how much pizza you have left. And an Oxygen atom went into the bar and said “I’m thirsty; give me a hydrogen atom. Wait; better make it a double.”

And there’s your problem. What do you get when you combine a joke with a rhetorical question? How can you take seriously a report which reads like an early Monty Python sketch? The surreal has become... a fish; Dali would be right at home. Political parties, ever the opportunists, are working on ways to get to grips with this post-factual reality, to which end Jeremy Corbyn has been employing a stage hypnotist at his cabinet meetings to render his shadow appointees susceptible to new ideas without having to filter them through a sieve of cynicism and mistrust.

Separating fact from faction...

Having realised a modicum of success through this technique, the hypnotist was invited to assist at JC’s keynote conference speech recently. The lights were dimmed, the audience hushed to silence and they all focused on the man on the platform. He took out a shiny gold watch on a chain and invited them to observe as he began to slowly swing it from side to side. As one, the attendees followed the watch, their eyelids began to get heavy, they found themselves relaxing... relaxing... entering a deep sleeeeeeep. But suddenly the watch-chain slipped from his grasp. “Shit!” exclaimed the hypnotist. It took a week to clean up the conference hall.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Schrödinger’s Cake

I genuinely don’t get all the column inches devoted to the slip-up/deliberate revelation that the government’s position on Brexit can be summed up as, ‘have cake and eat it’. After all, notwithstanding the metaphysical fallacy of possessing something which no longer exists, isn’t having all the cake the default starting position for all negotiations? Going in to Brussels armed with the feeble demand that we only want a few crumbs is a stance more suited to the Jeremy Corbyns of the world than to any rational Anglophile.

But the media, perhaps sensing their days of credibility are numbered, are grasping at straws to attract business to their increasingly ad-encumbered web pages, where clients linger for a few seconds before being driven away by the incessant barrage of pop-ups, auto-start video and animations, none of which bring anything resembling ‘enhancement’ to the experience. Even Radio 4’s PM programme had a discussion about ‘Schrödinger’s Brexit’; something which could both exist and not exist until somebody looked at it, when it would then be in only one state of being.

While most of those who voted to leave are quietly getting on with business, or better yet, planning for the opportunities which Brexit will bring and thus preparing themselves to both possess and devour all the cake coming their way, the clamour of naysayers shows no sign of abating. The Schrödinger comparison was actually quite apt in that the world is divided into three camps; those who are intrigued by the whole cat-in-a-box conundrum and will lie awake at night worrying about it, those who know that, alive or dead, the cat isn’t the issue and those who are blissfully unaware that anybody is worrying about a fictional bloody cat.

Asking for predictions about Brexit, complaining that the starting point is wanting everything and all the time talking down our prospects sounds just like petulant teens claiming their parents are ‘ruining their lives’, then locking themselves in their bedrooms and proceeding to stew themselves into a frenzy of loathing, thus bringing albeit temporary ruin to their lives. Brexit will be what we make it and repeatedly shouting that the UK cannot survive ‘on its own’ is hardly helping towards the positive outcomes that, surely, help everybody.

Try telling a child you can't have your cake and eat it.

You hear talk of children ‘divorcing’ their parents; I wish this lot would get on with it. But hey, in the meantime you can amuse yourself by getting in a lather about potentially racist money. The new UK £5-note contains traces of animal and is thus untouchable by vegans and some minority religious sects who haven’t yet worked out that, A) God doesn’t exist and B) If he did, he wouldn’t be worth worshipping if he cared about you coming into contact with what he’d created. All of which goes to prove that even if you did manage to both have your cake and eat it, some people would still never be happy.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Cheeky Fakers!

You are entering a world of pain. A dark forest in which Little Red Riding Hood is swallowed whole by the wolf and instantly dies, to be slowly digested along with grandma as the wolf sleeps off his repast. There is no woodcutter, there is no happy ending. Nature gets its way and they stay dead forever. Is that what you want? Is it? Is it? Well then if you want the happy ending you have to listen up and do what you are told, else it’s the dark, dark woods of truth for you!

It’s only a story, but the swirling mists of disinformation thrive on the primal desire for happy endings and the fear of being thought a bad person. Any deviation from the narrowly defined path is met with stern stares and dirty labels; descriptions such as psychopath and misfit are anathema to a race comprised of individuals who, above anything, want to fit in. So a long litany of epithets exists whose sole purpose is to mark out an individual as a dangerously different from the supposedly settled will of the masses.

Being berated as a racist is losing ground though, as ever more tiny transgressions against approved thought are called out as racist. Wanting to live among people like yourself has been denounced once too often as evidence of ‘far-right’ allegiances when in fact it is nothing more than wanting to feel comfortable and safe. The increasingly desperate lies that organisations like Tell Mama promulgate are beginning to look unhinged; those who cry wolf without a thought are themselves becoming marginalised and irrelevant.

The campaign to leave the EU was never waged by a government in waiting. The referendum wasn’t an election and the suggestion that what we paid to the EU for no net return could be spent here at home on one of the institutions held most dear by the lefties and remainers was only ever that, a suggestion an idea, a possibility. And a clever one at that, in the scheme of things, as it focused attention on how our hard-won public finances were spent. It was a story to appeal to a target audience and it may have done the trick.

Attempts to now call ‘broken promise’ when the promise was in nobody’s gift is disingenuous at best, downright dishonest in reality. But if you honestly thought you were saving the NHS by voting out and now completely regret that decision then frankly you ought not to be voting at all. This is just another fairy tale the remainers cling to, that out-voters didn’t know what they were voting for, while, presumably, in-voters were marvellously well-informed and competent to exercise their ballot.

Among the other lies – and there are many - confected by the losers is the idea that the right is rising. But there is no real organised right as such; the only organised politics is leftist in origin and using terms like ‘far-right’ and ‘extreme-right’ is just driving the wedge deeper between politics and people. All that’s really happening is that the ‘man in the street’ tired of being ignored is saying okay, you’ve had your fun but the world cannot function on advisers and focus groups and studies and experts in things nobody needs to understand. We need machines and tools and food and stuff grounded in reality and all of that requires real work not fancy words.

But still the war of words continues as the increasingly fake news site, The Guardian, does its bit by helping to create the story rather than just telling it. In a preposterous piece of naked propaganda it spins the yarn that in the aftermath of Saint Jo Cox’s death 50,000 tweets ‘celebrated’ her death. Notwithstanding the fact that this number pales into insignificance against the numbers who burned effigies in the streets on Margaret Thatcher’s demise or wish death on Tories on a daily basis, the story is based not on rejoicing in her death but rather refuting the canonisation of a politician not in tune with her party’s core supporters. 

"What a big tongue you have, Grand-mama!"
"All the better to lie to you with..."

And never knowingly out band-wagonned, Sunny Hundal leaps aboard the Jo Cox Express to denounce the new Ukip leader as soon as his win is announced with his claim that Paul Nuttall is metaphorically marching death squads to the doors of other Labour incumbents. The hyperbole is almost deafening as the story-tellers of the mesmerised try to maintain their hold on their listeners, while increasingly losing their grip on reality. But it's time to let reality back in. The big, bad wolf won... get over it.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Is the new world brave enough?

It’s a strange old world, isn’t it? Man is undoubtedly a pack animal and as such we are always happy to have a set of rules to follow. Rules mean we don’t have to think for ourselves and generally speaking, the majority of humans who have ever lived have done so without needing to synthesize an original thought. The sun comes up; it goes down. It gets warm in summer and cold in winter and the crops respond; learn to make hay while the sun shines and you have the basis of survival despite the tyranny of nature.

Once you get rules you get religion, with a bunch of men dressing funny, saying that god told them to and by the way, here are some more rules. And he said he wanted Keith here to be in charge. Now, call me cynical, but how come nobody called Keith out on his literally ridiculous new dress, his insistence that god wanted us to multiply and go forth and - much as he’d love to help with the graft - toil harder in the fields so Keith didn’t have to? Religion has tyrannised mankind for millennia and devised ever more structures, strictures and controls in the process; the divine right of kings, good ones or bad, is sanctioned by such irrational beliefs.

And we’ve lapped it up. It seems we are never so happy as when we are under some kind of tyrannical regime, doing as we are told – and here’s the best bit – actually punishing each other for falling out of line. The age of religion may be waning, at least in the civilised world, but the need to be bullied into conformity – even the kind of youthful conformity that tries to look different by all dressing and thinking the same – endures, deep in our instincts. Here, in the age of global politics, with the promise of a level of scrutiny over the internet which challenges even the omnipotence of former gods, we still seek the tyranny of thought.

However, when we try to exercise our rights to abide by the common consensus it seems that might is no longer right. The high priests of the new religions, born of post-religious political thought, will not relinquish their hold on us without a fight. And in the new language, straight from the literal word of Marx (peas be upon him) what was once worshipped as democracy becomes, in the words of John Major, the tyranny of the masses. The epithet, 'post-truth', is apt. Up is down, left is right and right is wrong... if those in charge say so.

Castro. G... T... ex.

It is fitting then, that yesterday, post-truth met its apotheosis  - its elevation to divine status – as the world acknowledged the death of a man who has been a tyrant to his people for over fifty years, yet lived as a shining beacon of social justice for millions of devoted followers who would never have to bear his wrath. It is interesting to see which world leaders praised Castro, as one of the last bastions of communism began its inevitable descent into destruction. Tyranny of the masses, Mr Major? It looks more like the clear vision of the forgotten. Democracy may yet have its day.