Harp, flute and orchestra:
I was in Canada, the land of cultural relativism, where the most important value is tolerance. Criticizing any other country or culture is a breach of the now distorted policy of multiculturalism.
Two or three paragraphs into the article, I’ll be upfront and thought nah, I can’t post on this story – it’s a Jewish author who was called names at a lecture and he called the Palestinians [who called him a f—–g Jew] “animals in a zoo”.
Both as bad as each other.
Then I read the transcripts of the ensuing litigation and my opinion changed. This now became something far more sinister than a couple of Palestinians disrupting a Jewish man’s lecture. It wouldn’t be too hard to guess what the lecture was about – it would be the Jewish side to the Middle-East question and my post here has nothing to do with the whys and wherefores of that issue.
It has a lot to do with what happened to him.
Abridged version – he was in a bookstore chain’s outlet giving a lecture on his new book and presumably signing copies. Two Palestinians interrupted the lecture and one called him a f—–g Jew. He repeated what they’d said, apoplectic and made some comment and it is that comment which is the subject of litigation.
The bookchain, Chapters, gave him no protection from that moment to his getting into his car, his publisher, Mantua, issued a press statement about how badly he’d been treated and all hell broke loose at Chapters. Some woman, the Chapters rep, called and said from what she’d heard, he’d said all Muslims were terrorists and that he was as bad as them.
At this stage, I’m still thinking he must have said something they could get him on – people who claim they’re innocent quite often aren’t quite as innocent as they make out. Perhaps the book had some provocative language in it.
Then I came to the affidavits. The book store employee Chapters used as a witness said the lecturer had used racist slurs – that “all Muslims were terrorists”.
Under pressure, that affidavit was downgraded to “all Middle-Easterners were terrorists”. Later, it was downgraded a third time to “I cannot say with certainty that my written statement contained a completely verbatim transcription of Mr. Rotberg’s comment, which he would have made in the heat of the moment. I wrote down my belief and understanding of what I thought I heard him say.”
There was litigation to clear his name and here was the court’s verdict:
While the Court found that the guest author “presented as an intelligent man with a passion for civic and community involvement”, with “many commendable civic and community activities”, the Court found that the guest author, in yelling out that he would not be called a “f*****g Jew” was as blameworthy as those who called him a “f*****g Jew” and stopped his right to lecture at a location where he had been invited to speak.
He was not found guilty of having uttered any racist comments other than “I will not be called a f*****g Jew.”
Yet all the way through the saga, he was subject to what can only be seen as shoddy practice on the part of the bookchain, the police at the time and in the failure of the Palestinians to be pursued and charged.
Martin Kelly‘s piece on Orwell
This is an abrupt change of tack but Martin goes into Newspeak and Doublethink:
Anyone who has had dealings with the Department of Work and Pensions in the recent past will appreciate the same disquiet at being described as a customer when one is both a citizen and claimant. The increasing use of the word ‘customer’ to describe very different kind of relationships is classic Newspeak in action, making it impossible to imagine the user of a service having any kind of relationship with those who provide the service, any service, other than as a customer. Attempts to reduce all interactions to commercial transactions are attempts to reduce ways of thinking. This is ‘1984’ in action.
The concept of doublethink, the ability to hold two simultaneously conflicting views, is critical to all that the book describes. In recent years, we have been governed by a Labour Party which has been fanatical in its implementation of a ‘flexible labour market’. Its only tangible result has been growing disparity between the rich and the poor. The guys who cooked up the Speenhamland Act had nothing on Tony Blair, CEO of Reds Inc.
For a party to simultaneously believe in both the redistribution of wealth and in the benefits of a flexible labour market is classic doublethink. We should perhaps have seen that one coming.
By the same token, the desire of the UK’s two-and-a-half main political parties to rule Britain while advancing European integrationism at the same time is, again, classic doublethink. Do they wish to rule, or not?
Martin’s piece might be classic prose but you’re entitled to ask what it has to do with an elderly Jew who suffers a double standard from people who shout tolerance and acceptance but only if it is for the favoured groups. Jews need not apply nor expect that the law will extend to them the hand of protective friendship.
I think you see the threads I’m attempting to draw together here.
We are on the brink of and maybe we have even entered, the world of the State as the provider, cradle-to-grave educator and the setter of the moral compass, finding willing support on the less clear-thinking side of politics and consigning the outmoded, family oriented, socially conservative patriot to some sort of Outlands.
That incident of the Jews is not unlike the way the BBC pushes an anti-Zionist line whilst not in the least understanding the concept of Zionism, itself not a long way from the events of the 30s in Europe. The game is to play the Muslim card, neutralize the Christians, spread hatred for the Jews and then eliminate them, thereby removing all obstacles to the State as the new deity, the new oligarchy.
For those who might be wondering, I’m a male WASP of a certain age, CofE, Eurosceptic Tory and lover of single malts and a good red. I’m one of the newly oppressed in this nation.
Neither Le Figaro nor Le Monde are running the story, which suggests that the Telegraph‘s story on Air Sarko One is hearsay about a left wing beat-up but the gist was that the public are angry that he is getting a new jet.
There’s much to take Sarkozy to task about and his actions on the EU and in the internal scandals are something France will have to make its own decision about. However, a Head of State requires a plane which is going to fly and is not an ageing rust-bucket.
Would you expect him to turn up in a Piper Cherokee or a thirty year old Boeing? Planes cost money and it’s unfortunate that the need has come at this time, particularly as over here, MP’s expenses are such a big issue.
Ye the needs a plane new enough and safe enough which befits the elected leader of one of the world’s major nations. He needn’t compete with Obama’s sheer extravagance but he does need something halfway decent.
185 million euros is a not a huge price for the plane and all its security and embellishments.
It appears he’s now underway:
Il est absolument inadmissible que le président de la République s’octroie 187 millions simplement pour se déplacer”, lance Patricia Adam. “Démagogie”, répondent les députés UMP, mais l’argument sera repris en juillet 2010, lorsque Ségolène Royal somme Nicolas Sarkozy de “sacrifier son avion de luxe”, dans cette période de crise “où l’on voit tant de misère”.
What a hypocrite – she would have had one if she could have and why shouldn’t a head of a major country have one anyway?
Mark Wadsworth maintains:
Barely ten per cent of England by surface area is developed, and the proportion of leafy Surrey that is developed is not much higher. And it’s not “forced construction”; there’s a demand for housing so developers try and meet supply. You might as well argue that by not placing a limit on the number of hairdressers who can operate in the UK, the government is “forcing people to have their hair cut”. And it’s funny how home-owners never consider the “vaste swathes of the greenbelt” that must have been destroyed in the past to enable their homes to be built.
Your last point is weak – there was no such thing as a green belt when my house was built.
I was going to say it and Dearieme did – that not all construction was in greenbelt areas and around some towns, the greenbelt is all that is left before the next town. Conurbations are not universally loved, Mark.
Well, 85% of us live in suburbia, but 15% don’t. So let’s allow more construction in the countryside for those who want to live in the countryside, more construction near the seaside for those who want to live near the seaside and more construction around towns for those who’d like to live near a town.
Issues as I see them
While the current planning regulations in most parts of the UK are, IMHO, draconian and unnecessary, designed to fill the coffers and in line with the love of bureaucracy for more bureaucracy, rather than effect any love for the environment – while that might be so and one would like to see much greater freeing up of where people can or cannot build, there is this niggling question of “beauty”, of untrammeled countryside.
Mark answers this:
Don’t forget that only ten per cent of England is developed, if we built five million new homes, it would still only use up one per cent of undeveloped land.
I don’t think it’s a question of total percentages. Look at the pic above and imagine someone building in that field, then another one further over and that you have indiscriminate building all over the place.
So whilst, in total percentages, not a lot has been built on, there are these factors:
1. The lowest common denominator of builders who build the cheapest and most minimal, especially if it is going to be mass accommodation, the designs are going to be something as fitting as an airport or caravan park and the dire drabness of one part of Britain will extend out over the whole country.
2. There is infrastructure. Mark Wadsworth’s contention is that the further out you go, the less infrastructure one can expect and hence the lower the prices, therefore more incentive to move out until a balance is met where people live “some distance out” and thus Land Value Tax is applied accordingly.
It seems to me that people in outlying areas will want all sorts of infrastructure plus living far from the madding crowd. Now we get back to the old classic liberal question of how far a government can force people to go where they don’t want or have what they don’t want.
How would this be any different from Brown’s socialism?
On the other hand, indiscriminate building of all sorts of support services, just because someone wanted to plonk a house on a hill would lead to the spaghetti planning which besets Britain today, especially England.
Where is the happy medium?
The Economic Voice offers this solution:
In an attempt to add gravitas to the late night slot, it’s time to rate three of the Doctors. Unfortunately, I’m not really the one to do it because I only saw the second half of Jon Pertwee, went through all of Tom Baker and saw the beginning of Peter Davison.
That’s why the post by The Appalling Strangeness was interesting because it filled me in on the others. Hartnell I never saw but I did see a bit of Troughton because of Zoe, the best Doctor’s girl ever in my book and though it was a quirky and irascible performance by Troughton, it was quite good and I read that Wendy Padbury admired him greatly.
TAS isn’t wrong in saying that Tom Baker was the definitive Doc – in a way, he was not unlike the Roger Moore Bond, with one difference – he had excellent scripts to work with and good offsiders. Both went for so long and almost redefined the role.
Don’t forget The Master as well.
If Connery was the one who originally defined Bond, then Pertwee was the one who defined the Doc in my book. What with the Brigadier and the dark overtones, missing from the Davison portrayal, there was a cold, windswept desolation to Pertwee’s Doc – maybe it was the nature of the stories. And why did they make Lis Sladen into such a moaning minnie?
This is one of the nicest takes on Jon Pertwee’s Doctor:
The 3rd Doctor took the best of the stoic patriarchal behavior of the 1st Doctor and the humor of the 2nd Doctor and blended them together to form a truly great vision of what the Doctor should be.
He introduced us to some of the truly great episodes of Doctor Who, along with some new villians and companions that have stayed with us to this day. He took us from black and white to color, and to Gallifrey and all over the galaxy.
He was the first one to bring his past incarnations together in one episode! He was also the first Doctor to get his own tricked out car, and to finally have some serious fashion sense! He truly made Doctor Who a great sci-fi show.
Having said that, Tom Baker was excellent and Pyramids of Mars had to have been the best of the lot and was not far off being acceptable as a good drama in its own right. The inability of Scarman’s brother to see that Scarman had been transformed was one of the great moments. Not to mention he who must not be named:
‘You pit your puny will against mine? In my presence, you are an ant, a termite. Abase yourself you grovelling insect!’ Pyramids of Mars features one of the series’ most chilling enemies. There is a fascinating discussion between the Doctor and Laurence about being able to ‘choose the future’, and a seeming explanation of the Doctor’s motivation: that he is a prisoner of moral obligation, unable to leave anywhere without attempting to ‘do his duty’.