THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
Previous month:
March 2011
Next month:
May 2011

April 2011

Leftism vs humour

You can’t have a laugh with a Lefty - Telegraph.

Simon Heffer doesn't strike me as the cheeriest soul himself. I have only seen him once in person; at Lords, which is a jolly enough place, and he had a longer face than the sporting circumstances justified. Still he nails the left in the linked article, which is unusually supportive of his avowed foe David Cameron.
Lefties, with one or two notable exceptions, are a sour, boot-faced lot. They are inevitably so because they are motivated by grievance and envy, neither of which is a sentiment guaranteed to put joy in one's heart. They seek offence where none is intended; they strive to suppress individuality of expression; they like to control others. Humour, whose main purpose throughout existence has been to deflate such priggish, pompous and sour attitudes, is therefore the enemy of militant Lefties, who wish to standardise attitudes and behaviour, and whose political project is to enforce and inflict as much control as possible over others.
Quite. Though Cameron would present a more difficult target for the miserabilists if his jokes were any good. I am convinced enough now of his good humour. It's his political courage I doubt.

Where is the Guardian's England?

Watching the Royal Wedding, I could not help but wonder who all those people in the streets of London were. Experiencing England, as I have, mainly through its media for the last twenty years, they seemed unfamiliar. They were clearly untroubled by envy, for example. They cheered the succession of impressive British motor cars (as well as the dowdy VW minibuses). Where were the Prius-driving prigs? Where were the equality fanatics? Where were the alienated youths, the anti-Christians and - for that matter - the aggrieved immigrants decrying the home culture (or lack of it)? Who were the polite people processing sedately behind a one-officer-deep police line to get a view of "the balcony scene?"

Could it be that England has not changed as much as the Guardian would have us believe? Could it be that the carefully-cultivated BBC and Guardian view is only a bad dream from which we might wake at any moment? Like my illustrious namesake I am a republican, for reasons to be discussed some other day, but today - thanks to the Royal family's celebrations - London felt like home. As G.K. Chesterton put it;

...we are the people of England; and we have not spoken yet

Smile at us, pay us, pass us. But do not quite forget.

We are a funny bunch, no doubt, but from the scenes on the streets of London today, we are not finished yet.

If you are going to lie, then at least be consistent

Since Monday, the Paines have been living in London. We have rented an apartment near to the hospital Mrs P. must visit two days a week, three weeks out of four, for the foreseeable future. She was admitted as an in-patient on Tuesday and we are now waiting for her to be discharged to my tender care. It's good to be a 10 minute walk away from her, if rather odd to be living in the country I left in 1992.

In between hospital visits, I have been trying to make the place comfortable for when she comes home. Amazon guaranteed delivery this morning of a TV I ordered to amuse her while she recuperates. When the deadline passed I checked the online tracking and was surprised to find the courier claimed to have attempted delivery at 0824. I was here and no-one rang. The porters had seen no-one. No contact card was left for me to arrange "redelivery". I received another parcel without problems at 0845. This made no sense.

I called Amazon. The couriers told them they hadn't left a card because they couldn't gain access at all. To a portered building?  How odd. I wasn't happy with the suggested "redelivery" next Tuesday so Amazon agreed to cancel the order. A lady with a nice North American accent said they would refund me once the courier redelivered to them. I said that - given the amazing speed of the courier's vans - that should be quick. She sounded puzzled but called back within ten minutes. Her manager (presumably more familiar with UK geography) had authorised an immediate refund when she showed him the tracking details (pasted below). Well done, Amazon. Shame on you, courier man.

The delivery driver must be quite honest really. Such inept lying suggests little practice. I hope he enjoys the extra leisure he's wangled this Easter weekend. I suspect, if Amazon has anything to do with it, he'll have a lot more leisure soon. Meanwhile, I am off to carry a TV home from Ken High before heading off to the hospital.

Happy Easter all.


Date Time Location Event Details
23 April 2011 08:24:00 AM London GB Held by carrier - customer to arrange delivery
23 April 2011 08:24:00 AM London GB Delivery attempted
23 April 2011 07:11:00 AM Scunthorpe South Humberside GB Out for delivery



How can we save the Left?

More stuff does not make us happier. Doing stuff, especially for others, does | Suzanne Moore | Comment is free | The Guardian.

Beauty if correctly viewed
Suzanne Moore thinks, apparently, that being left-wing involves trusting people. You don't have to have lived (as I have) in socialist countries with a massive apparatus of control (or in post-socialist ones happily dismantling it) to find that comically delusional. Anyone who lived through the New Labour era must marvel too at her claim that;

...surely anyone vaguely left-wing is more optimistic than those on the right, because we tend to believe that people given power and freedom will do good things for each other...

If she tried, could she be more wrong? We libertarians are constantly mocked by Leftists for believing that (while bad people will always do bad things) if left to our own devices, most of us will look after ourselves and our families and a good number of us will act selflessly on occasion. The Left, on the other hand, never stops demanding (for our own good, of course) more control. That's precisely because what they truly believe is what Moore has the nerve to attribute to her political opponents (based on observing her own children);

...without socialisation we would simply bite each other, grab whatever we goddamned want and shove it in our mouths...

No we wouldn't. For centuries of human progress before Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Neil & Glenys Kinnock, John Prescott, Tony Blair and other con-artists learned the power of political hypocrisy as the perfect cover for doing precisely that, we trended in the opposite direction, building cooperative ventures and steadily improving the human condition.

I am still optimistic about the potential of the human race. But I am pessimistic about the prospects for people capable of such astonishing self-deception. I can only wonder what such a fantasist sees when she looks in the mirror. Katy Perry, presumably.

The terrors of Tolley's


In my days practising commercial law in London 20 years ago, we called our tax lawyer colleagues with the volumes of Tolley's Tax Guide under each arm "the deal busters." My, how their deal-busting weapons have grown. For those at the Socialist Worker Party front known as UKUncut, here are the rules that people obeying tax law must follow. That you have repeatedly claimed people going to the trouble and expense of complying with such detailed rules should then pay tax as if they hadn't marks you out as fools, scoundrels or both.

Cuts, what cuts?

Here are three examples from my own recent experience. First (as they might put it) a not rich but "comfortable" elderly couple are spoken to by a medical social worker after a hospital visit. They are financially-independent and in reasonable (though not perfect) health for their age. Both are fully-mobile and active. Each has a car and they get around (a lot!) without difficulty. However one is deemed disabled and the other is therefore offered a payment of several hundred pounds a month to look after him. The social worker making this offer looks askance when the lady proudly retorts that she vowed to be with her husband " sickness and in health..." and does not need to be paid to take care of him.

Secondly, a millionaire middle-aged couple. The wife is seriously-ill and being treated privately. The hospital (rather against her will) involves a charity providing support to people in her position. A representative shows up bearing forms for her to claim disability allowance. She declines and the charity worker mistakes her reasons. "Don't worry love," she says, "...we can help you fill in the form." When put straight, she snorts "That's not the point. Everyone's entitled!"

Thirdly a man who works for a fake charity. His organisation has a contract from the government to interview a category of unemployed people about their suitability for work and help place them in jobs. The "clients" have been told their benefits will be stopped unless they present for this service. So he spends his working days with people who (at best) sit in front of him with earbuds in, listening to their MP3 players, while he goes through the pointless motions of his contract.

This dying civilisation is bleeding money from its every wound but still employs (directly or through fake charities) armies of social workers to push state dependence. I would like to say that no taxpayers' money was wasted during the incidents reported here. That is almost true in the first two cases, due to the laudable responses of the two women concerned. But of course none of the public servants concerned work for free.

The reaction is more interesting than the Rally

I'm attending the Rally Against Debt. And that makes me worse than a Nazi, according to the hysterical Left – Telegraph Blogs.

If you are following the #RallyAgainstDebt discussion on Twitter or elsewhere, you will have been struck by the ferocity of the Left's reaction. The cuts only started yesterday and they are mild. They are little more than Labour promised, and probably pretty much what it would have had to do, if re-elected. They are being implemented without enthusiasm and are inexplicably not targetted on social engineering projects.

There is no ideological sea change here. Press and public may confuse "deficit" (the shortfall in government revenue) with debt, but that's just stupid. The cuts are only in the rate of increase of national debt. There is no plan to repay it. On the contrary, it's planned to grow. Like only the most improvident households, the country is borrowing to service borrowings. If Ministers were the directors of UK PLC, as they like to fantasise, they would be jailed (and personally bankrupted) for "trading while insolvent."

Debt service is already a major government expense and will continue to get worse during the life of this Parliament. No reasonable person can disagree (indeed even Ed Balls can't disagree) that action needs to be taken. Taxing the rich won't cover it. There aren't enough of them and they are too mobile. The ones who are not mobile will disengage economically if not allowed rewards for the risks they take with their capital. Right now, those living on their savings are losing value by the minute on their deposits. They are hardly going to risk them elsewhere unless there is some return. With idiots demanding that even loss-making companies pay taxes, there's little danger of that. Money needs to be put to productive work for jobs to be created.

The greatest burden of taxation in this country falls on ordinary workers. In our funny snobbish British way, they may fancy themselves "middle class" now, but they are workers by hand and brain who lack enough capital to live without employment. They pay most of the tax and have no realistic capacity to pay more. They have been indebted by politicians buying votes with borrowed money on the basis that their careers will be over by the time the vultures circle. It has been trans-generational piracy on an epic scale.

The TUC, UKUncut and the so-called "anarchists" protesting on our streets (as far from anarchism as can be conceived, but less violent leftists want distance from them) are not kind, gentle, caring people whatever they may say. They are demanding that money we don't have be spent on them. The trade unionists were demonstrating for their own pay and perks. These are selfish, hypocritical and judging by their online incitements - violent people. They have hijacked the language itself to demonise all who oppose them, however gently and reasonably.

Toby Young has not been unfairly selective in the quotes he has chosen to illustrate his article. I have been following the #RallyAgainstDebt Twitter exchanges for days and;

Hopefully, it’ll all kick off in fairly violent style

is pretty typical. As for the BBC, that its "talent" should be tweeting that;

Its like Toby Young thought ‘I dont think enough people think I’m a c**t yet’

is no surprise. My first public spending cut (and it wouldn't hurt a single vulnerable person - Polly Toynbee is financially-independent and can blog her nonsense just as easily as publish it on dead trees) would be to deny The Guardian its advertising revenue by offering all government jobs online. The second would be to shut down the BBC, enemy of all freedom and enterprise and comfortable nest for all the vipers who hate us most.