End of the Canterbury tales

Posted by Guest Blogger on Thursday, 21 October 2004 17:32.

When I was an Episcopalian — that’s what we call Anglicans in America — it seemed to me the name summed up the core belief that held the church together: they believed in bishops. It was pleasant being a bishop, it should be pleasant being a bishop, and if you didn’t go along with that you didn’t belong and you should go someplace else. Of course, there was more to it than that. Episcopalians also believed in relationships. People should be nice to each other, and accept and affirm each other in their mutually affirming whateverness, so long of course as the various whatevernesses stayed mutually affirming.

The effect was that you could think and do whatever you wanted as long as you approved of everyone else thinking and doing whatever he wanted, and you otherwise didn’t make waves. The Episcopal Church was thus a religion formed on the model of the politically correct managerial consumer society. Everybody pleased himself by following his own pursuits, within a structure that ruled quite effectively without seeming to do so because nothing could ever become an issue. How could anything be an issue, after all, when everything was either private taste, amusement, happy talk about celebrating otherness, or arranged by higher-ups over whom there was very little control? The only real issue was how to redefine apparent issues as non-issues as smoothly as possible. To make anything else an issue was to show you weren’t really an Episcopalian, because you had violated “Anglican comprehensiveness.” And besides, it wasn’t nice.

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Joschka Fisher on European geopolitical ambitions and you and me.

Posted by Guessedworker on Thursday, 21 October 2004 06:39.

Apologies for being a day behind with this one.  But Jim Naugherty’s interview yesterday of German Foreign Minister, Joschka Fisher, is worth revisiting.  It vividly demonstrates the gulf between public discussion here about the meaning of Europe and the kind of thing that is said across the Channel.  We shouldn’t only blame Blair or Dennis McShane or, in their time, Peter Hain or Keith Vaz for this contemptuous and underhand treatment of the British public.  No one from any British political party has revealed as vividly as Fisher the driving preoccupations of the European political elite.

A while ago the always interesting if, perhaps rather client-centred George Freedman concluded an article on Iraq with the words, “geopolitics always trumps conspiracy.”  In terms of our EU debate we might well make that: geopolitics always trumps the need to explain anything to the common man.

One has the nasty suspicion that our political elite is convinced on the one hand of the absolute necessity to respond as a unified European entity to the redrawing of global power and influence beyond the reach of the nation state and, on the other, of the potential of the common man, if told of his marginalisation and impotence, to fuck it all up as fast as possible.  So we have a deeply asinine debate conducted by the elite with Straussian detachment and with the minimum ideological division.  The European project, meanwhile, just bowls along.  Oh Maggie, where art thou? 

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Shock findings: Pregnancy indicates presence of male.  Presence of male indicates abuse.

Posted by Guessedworker on Thursday, 21 October 2004 02:22.

In the piece I posted yesterday I displayed my ignorance - not in itself unusual, of course.  But in this case I was specifically unaware of our equality-driven government’s new initiative on violence against women.  No more.

The staggering thing is that neither Andrew Lansley nor, inexplicably, Ann Widdecombe rejected the idea wholesale or demanded to know what statistical evidence supports it.


It’s Wednesday.  It’s Society Guardian day.

Posted by Guessedworker on Wednesday, 20 October 2004 14:28.

Over the rich, indeed fabulously rich years since 1997 all the willing little helpers of the Blair-Mandelson Project have, like all large criminal enterprises, demonstrated that familiar, old habit of going legit.  The clashing, renegade clamour of the first, orange-haired Lesbian Outreach Officers and Directors of Asian Women’s Collectives has modulated to the smooth, machine-like hum of (if not sober-suited, at least no longer dungareed) public sector professionals.  The marxism is the same.  But these days Blair’s helpers –  those classes of being faultlessly assessed by Sean Gabb back in January 2001 - are infinitely more self-assured and certain in the permanence of their revolution.

And why not?  It’s not as if the argument ever risked being lost.  There was no argument, no public discussion at all.  Marxism has no need to win over public support.  It wins simply by seizing the manifold positions of power and unpacking its programme from there.  So, today, what tangible opposition do public sector “professionals” encounter in their daily round of service delivery to the indolent, the ineducable, the criminal, husbandless, queer or “vibrant”.  None from the ideologically moribund political right, that’s for sure.

In quiet moments, when the vibrancy calms down a bit, our new elite can reflect upon the killingly funny fact that The Project is entirely financed by the capitalist, middle-class - who can’t do a damned thing about it.  Meanwhile, the traditional, working class Labour supporters - who could - are simply too engrossed in footy and Corrie to notice that they, too, are the reactionary enemy now.  They simply carry on voting for their own cultural persecution, because it doesn’t hurt their pay packets.

But the greatest source of comfort to the Blairite public sector is surely of the spirit.  The Project bestows upon those who have yearned for equality all their lives the chance to make their dream come true.  The Project works, or so it appears.  The cultural and racial landscape of Britain is being changed, or so it appears.  A more egalitarian society – or, and this is no mere appearance, a more repressive one - is being engineered.

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Conservative Ladettes?

Posted by Guest Blogger on Wednesday, 20 October 2004 05:21.

A survey of 5000 young British women has yielded some interesting results. On the one hand, the survey confirms the “ladette” trend in female culture. More than half of the women admitted they got drunk at least once a week, 45% had taken drugs, 35% smoked and 73% had slept with someone they wished they hadn’t.

But some more conservative attitudes have survived behind the party girl exterior. A very large majority, 81%, hoped to give up work whilst looking after their young children, 86% wanted to get married and 96% believed they would be able to be faithful in marriage.

On issues of national identity, 70% wanted Britain to leave the EU and 80% rejected the Euro.

The moral of all this? Perhaps not to be too glum about liberalism controlling the beliefs and behaviour of young people. On some issues, at least, conservatism is still the majority view, even amongst young, modern, trendy party girls.


Debating the Wind

Posted by Guest Blogger on Tuesday, 19 October 2004 20:55.

Steven LaTulippe accurately presents the intellectual content of the Presidential debates:

Moderator: What will you do about problem X?

Candidate: Problem X is one of the most important issues of our time. Since I’ve been in government, I’ve passed 693 bills concerning problem X. Over the past ten years, I’ve increased spending on problem X by 4.3 trillion dollars and have created 28 new government agencies to address the issue. My opponent, on the other hand, could care less about problem X. He’s been ignoring it for his entire career, and probably wants problem X to get worse, since his friends and cronies benefit from problem X. Vote for me, and problem X is as good as solved. I have a wonderful new plan to deal with it. Just go to my website and read all about it!


Buchanan comes out for Bush

Posted by Guest Blogger on Tuesday, 19 October 2004 20:49.

Pat Buchanan endorses Bush:

If Bush loses, his conversion to neoconservatism, the Arian heresy of the American Right, will have killed his presidency. Yet, in the contest between Bush and Kerry, I am compelled to endorse the president of the United States. Why? Because, while Bush and Kerry are both wrong on Iraq, Sharon, NAFTA, the WTO, open borders, affirmative action, amnesty, free trade, foreign aid, and Big Government, Bush is right on taxes, judges, sovereignty, and values. Kerry is right on nothing.


The Bear’s lair: The sound economy of 1929

Posted by karlmagnus on Saturday, 16 October 2004 16:06.

The Bear’s Lair: The sound economy of 1929

by Martin Hutchinson

(to be published October 18 by United Press International)

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