Ukraine? The brochure looks nice
It is not clear that the British government quite understands the habits of the mercenary soldier. After its dithering Foreign Secretary Liz Truss indicated that British citizens were free, should they so wish, to go to Ukraine and fight against Russia, she sympathized with these would-be Lord Byrons. Her staff reminded both her and the men ‘o war of the latest travel advice on its website:
We fully recognize the strength of feeling about British people wanting to support the Ukrainians following the Russian invasion [but] there is advice up on traveling to Ukraine. We currently advise against traveling to Ukraine, as you can see from the website.
If only those grizzled, one-eyed veterans of Afghanistan and Chechnya who were intending to go to Ukraine for their holidays had read the United Kingdom government’s travel website! If only Putin had read it! These are the type of reasonably psychotic folk who think nothing of travelling across Europe to a banana republic which does not even have the luxury of bananas in order to be shot at by people who, although they may misgender others, are very good at shooting people in sub-zero temperatures. These men are the dogs of war going into the jaws of hell, not tourists from Wiltshire looking for interesting cheese or a tour of the old Kiev tractor factory. The government neglected to advise these soldiers of fortune as to whether they need Yellow Fever jabs or sun-screen.
The Goldberg variation
When an already irritating person chooses their own name, and that name is even more irritating than the person, you know you will be hearing from them again soon. Whoopi Goldberg is actually Caryn Johnson, and presumably figures that a black woman taking a Jewish surname is like a quadruple COVID jab for the soul, and you become untouchable. Goldberg was suspended by ABC for making light of the Holocaust, so her people presumably suggested a softer target for her next assault, and Goldberg has opted to attack a 95-year-old woman who is not in the best of health and her — admittedly dysfunctional — family.
Yes, the co-host of The View — a sort of Leftist sewing-circle for fat women — has demanded an apology be made by the British Royal Family for their role in the slave trade and colonialism. The British, said this expert on colonial history and British foreign politics in the nineteenth century, had run “ram shod [sic] over India for years.” Even experts can make mistakes. As you know, Ram Shod was actually the name of the Deputy-Under-Assistant in Charge of Elephants and Punkah-Wallahs (Fourth Cousin), Punjab District, between 1878 and 1882.
Fijian missile crisis?
All I can say to Ms. Goldberg is “Rerevaka na Kalou ka Doka na Tui” — or, if you do not speak Fijian, “Fear God and honour the Queen.” The motto of this sleepy little Melanesian country seems to ensure that the Union Flag will stay right where it is on Fiji’s own flag, up in the corner like a stamp on a letter.
But our Caribbean subjects are getting uppity about the Commonwealth, with Barbados having jumped ship and plenty of drum-beating in Jamaica about ditching the oppressor, throwing off its shackles, and advancing proudly into a future which will undoubtedly be even worse than its past. Now, suppose Australia and New Zealand start to get ideas of separating themselves from the mother country? Well, quite. Mutiny on the Bounty!
So I applaud the brilliant Royal Naval subterfuge currently underway. The UK government and that of Fiji have this month co-signed a Memorandum of Understanding, ostensibly to “further [advance] our shared commitment on oceans conservation, climate change and tackling maritime challenges.” The last undoubtedly refers to piracy, but Fijian Jack Sparrows won’t have to adjust their schedule too much, and the guff about conservation and oceans means the same in any language. There is more to this than meets the eye.
Incidentally, the British High Commissioner to Fiji is His Excellency Dr. Brian Jones, which gave me an unshakeable image based on my conspiracy theory that Rolling Stones guitarist Brian Jones didn’t actually drown in his swimming pool in 1969 but disappeared to Fiji, where he now signs memoranda and walks the shores in a crumpled linen suit, still with his Richard III haircut, and sings softly, “This could be the last time . . .” But I digress.
This is a worthy naval strategy. Place a few missiles on Fiji, 1,200 miles or so from New Zealand and its horse-faced Prime Minister, disguise them with those nice garlands of flowers they give tourists, deploy some of the bigger boys from Her Majesty’s fleet, and we can keep an eye on the Antipodeans in case they try running off the plantation.
Thomas the Colonial Engine
In their remorseless and unsmiling quest to destroy and defame everything still tolerable about Britain, the woke auditors have turned their attention to those great leviathans of the rails, steam trains. As a boy, I once saw one from a hill in Surrey on a summer day. It hurtled from the tunnel and across the valley, history in motion, its huge genii of steam the whitest and most beautiful thing I had ever seen. It’s the whiteness, of course, that is the problem.
The National Museum Wales (NMW) undoubtedly needs every groat — or whatever the Welsh use as coinage — of government funding they can get, and have decided it’s best to fall in line with the rest of the curates of British history and culture: “Trade and exploitation were embedded in Wales’ economy and society and were fundamental to Wales’ development as an industrialized nation . . . [We must] explore how the slave trade linked and fed into the development of the steam and railway infrastructure in Wales.”
There now therefore have to be trigger warnings on exhibits, just to help everyone have a fun and educational day out — you know, the point of museums. So says the NMW, and every other museum in Britain is now undergoing a retrospective moral audit. Is there a statute of limitation on slavery, by the way? Can we Anglo-Saxons get some of our Danegeld back from those blond Nordic oppressors by way of reparations?
I am the most amateur of historians, but even I can see that one of the factors which helped to end slavery was the Industrial Revolution. Slavery ended not just because of some philanthropic statutes signed by men in wigs (how did that start, by the way, the wig business?), but because the market could bear it. The West didn’t stop wanting slaves, it stopped needing them. Broad-brush history, I know, but if everything that sprang from the Industrial Revolution is tainted by slavery and should be “decolonized,” you won’t be doing much today — or for a while, actually.
The NMW blatantly states that it was the effects generated by BLM that led to this decision. So it is that a postcode gang of corrupt, violent, entitled, muddle-headed, uppity, thrift-store Marxists are the reason we can’t have nice things. Cotton is nice, but slavery cost far more than it was worth. If the Industrial Revolution had happened in Portugal in, say, about the fifteenth century, before the Portuguese made slavery a money-spinner and started everyone else off, they might have stayed at home. The blacks of Ghana could have stayed on the beach, and we could all enjoy steam-trains without people like the NMW spoiling our day.
In other railway-related news, it is a sad fact that around 240 unfortunate souls annually in Britain do an Anna Karenina and commit suicide by throwing themselves under trains. Of this figure, a morbidly exact 80 of these desperate people last year were Asian women (in the British sense), and their route of choice is the line connecting Reading and Paddington Station in London, with two stations in particular featuring in this macabre toll, Slough and Southall. I stayed in Southall for a few weeks 15 years ago, and the only other white face on its streets apart from my own were a few Poles who had moved there for cheap apartments.
Female suicide among those of a certain religious background is something of a commonplace in London, although this is not of course discussed in polite circles. Or media circles or government circles. I found about all this from — and must accordingly tip my hat to — the redoubtable Mr. Simon Webb of the YouTube channel History Debunked, who has only just made this scandal public. Further links are also there, and this older gentleman is a very pleasant, very English, razzmatazz-free content provider who I fear for on YouTube, as he has been sailing close to the algorithmic wind of late concerning race.
The upshot is that railway companies have been surreptitiously redesigning stations and trains for years. Huge trapeze-artist nets? Bouncy castles that inflate on the line as soon as a hysterical Muslima is spotted rushing trackwards? Cow-clearers on the trains? None of the above.
Instead, there will be more surveillance, and you will feel that much safer on your overpriced journey knowing that yet another company has your mobile data and your image has been stored once again on CCTV. Hopefully you will be sitting down for the journey, because you wouldn’t have been able to at the station platform. They are taking all the benches away, presumably as a stern message against honor killings.
And this is not confined to Southall and Slough (by Christ, you can see why Sir John Betjeman, poet laureate, wrote in 1937 in his poem “Slough,” “Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough”), but was rolled out across the UK.
I am reminded of the famous story of Sir Charles Napier in India. Seeing men building a funeral pyre for a deceased local man, Napier knew that the man’s very undeceased wife would be forced to leap after him into the flames according to the custom known as suti. Napier said to a Hindu priest defending the age-old practice thus:
Be it so. This burning of widows is your custom; prepare the funeral pile. But my nation also has a custom. When men burn women alive we hang them, and confiscate all their property. My carpenters shall therefore erect gibbets on which to hang all concerned when the widow is consumed. Let us all act according to national customs.
Fast-forward to 2022 and Napier would have said something very different had he been in charge of the railways. Perhaps as follows:
Be it so. The driving of your wives to throw themselves under trains is your custom. But my nation also has a custom. My surveillance technicians shall therefore place more CCTV cameras to add to the ones we have already, the total number of cameras in the UK being third globally behind only the US and China. And this will affect everyone in the country because of a handful of people from one small area and one background. We will spread inconvenience to those who don’t deserve it, and fail to acknowledge the depravity of the culture of those who do. You observe your customs and we will observe ours.
I wrote here about the British government’s Online Safety Bill and its implications. Rolled out under the banner of “protect the children,” the Bill is ostensibly “about” the security of the little ones but is alive with loopholes allowing the suppression of anti-government expression. They must have realized — not just from reading my piece — that they had been rumbled, and are trying to apply some cosmetics to this treacherous legislative instrument. Despite desperately trying to put lipstick on a pig, however, there is more than a trace of the porcine remaining.
Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab may have a surname that sounds like the mating call of a bullfrog, but he has popped up this month to put our minds at rest in case we thought the bill would lead to, you know, censorship and the violation of free speech and the silencing of the citizenry; that sort of thing. It is standard fare. Buzzwords like “wokery and political correctness” vie with “countering cancel culture” and preventing the “parameters of free speech being narrowed.” Go tell it on the mountain, Raab, you technocratic morpion (got that one from Waiting for Godot. Still don’t know what it means).
But what really does give me the pip is the following: “Effectively, free speech will be given what amounts to a ‘trump card’ status in a whole range of areas.”
This is not a game of “top trumps” in the playground, you driveling nimrod. Quite apart from the fact that this crafty rhetoric makes of free speech something which is and ought to be a gift of government, who decides how extensive this “whole range of areas” will be? It’s all fine and dandy for you to stand there looking like a German football coach and telling us what you will be giving us for Christmas, but don’t think that the government can silence the people that easily. [Checks. Finds out that the government can silence the people that easily.] Bah!
Scotch on the rocks
When I was growing up in 1970s England, there was a sort of unofficial league table of which was the most pissed country in the Home Nations. It was generally agreed among my peer group that the Welsh were relatively sober and rolled in last with the English a place above them and Scotland and Ireland duking it out — possibly literally — for top spot. This we awarded to the Scots as, while yer man drinks Guinness, the big yin likes a scotch, and once you throw whisky into the mix, all bets are off. Childish humor, but Scotland has always had a reputation for drink and drug problems.
There’s no humor to be wrung out of this story, I’m afraid, but it does end our monthly look at the septic isle on a bagpipe note of optimism. Jamie Greene is the Conservative Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) for the region West of Scotland, and his harrowing tale of life with chronically alcoholic parents is worth your time, particularly if you have had any contact with alcoholism, which is a desperate condition that kills its victim with the slow, deliberate speed of a Medieval instrument of torture.
After the death of Mr. Greene’s father, alone in a horrible flat and not found for days, his mother spiraled into the same abyss. He took charge of her, and the story of his battle with social services is familiar and contemptible. Now Mr. Greene walks the corridors of power, and he has not forgotten. He is a concise thinker, and his view of Scotland and alcohol is worth quoting in full:
We’ve been talking a lot about drug deaths in Scotland, which I think last year were sitting at around 1,200-1,300 [Note: the population of Scotland is 5.5 million], but in 2020, there were nearly 1,200 alcohol-specific deaths. The true figure I suspect is far greater because of the comorbidity around alcohol and its long-term effects — drug deaths often have a very immediate cause and reaction, whereas alcohol can take much longer and the effects of it and the ultimate fatality of alcoholism could take much longer.
I suspect that alcoholism is on the rise because we live increasingly in a society which has devalued personal choice, also known as moral agency. And alcoholism is all about free choice. Every first drink of the day an alcoholic has he knows he can pour away if he wants to. And, next day, the not having poured it away hurts almost as much as the physical pain.
So, good luck and all the support he requires for MSP Jamie Greene. I feel slightly ashamed at always claiming that all modern politicians go through a production line reserved for the political class without living a meaningful life between Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) at Oxford and Westminster (or Holyrood, in this case, that being the HQ of the devolved Scottish Parliament). Mr. Greene certainly has, and not an enviable one.
The Scots are far from alone. Mr. Greene quotes a charity as having found that one in four Scots are problem drinkers, but as noted their reputation has preceded them a little and may skew focus. When I worked in English hospitals, I regularly heard that on a Saturday night, half of the patients in A&E (same as the ER) were there because of alcohol — either drunk themselves, or were injured by someone who was. Apart from the human misery, alcoholism is a stiff round for the economy.
So, given that Britain is keen on societal wars — the “war on drugs,” the “war on domestic abuse,” and so on — how about alcoholism? Then again, alcoholism doesn’t need a war, just a peace treaty signed between the drinker and himself. But that is not an easy document to procure, and Jamie Greene, it is to be hoped, may do something about it, representing as I hope he does a strand of the political class which may thicken and grow, possibly even making of that despicable art something which could prevent the preventable evils of which Enoch Powell spoke. Scotland the brave, indeed.
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