Condemning a Murderous Arsonist for Jaywalking

One of Cummings’s Vote Leave fraternity said: “We need him. We took three years to get the gang in there. We can’t throw that away now.” When one of his acolytes was asked what would happen if Cummings shot someone dead in the street, the reply came: “It would depend whether anyone saw him do it.”

The Times

You may have noticed a dearth of posts lately. This is because every time I tried to write this one, I had to stop before I defenestrated my computer.

Continue reading

All in This Together… Except When We’re Not

I presume most readers are aware of Hans Christian Anderson’s classic tale, “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” An emperor rather obsessed with fashion is always on the lookout for the most flamboyant and outrageous garments. Two con-men catch wind of this, and hatch a scheme: they claim they can weave delicate fabrics so fine and sheer that they would appear invisible to the unworthy and stupid. The credulous emperor commissions them forthwith, and the two “weavers” set to “work,” pantomime weaving & sewing these nonexistent garments. Obviously the Emperor, his ministers, and his officials cannot see a thing – yet rather than speak & be thought unworthy or stupid, they went along with the con. Once finished (and several bags of gold heavier) the “weavers” pantomime dressing the nude Emperor up for the big parade. As with the ministers, officials, and the Emperor himself, the townsfolk also go along with the con, loudly commenting on his finery as he passed. This farce continued until a little child – who, being a child, is not yet susceptible to pluralistic ignorance – loudly comments “the emperor has no clothes on!” His understandably mortified parents attempt to save face, but once the truth is elucidated, it’s hard to suppress. Whispers became murmurs, hubbub became commotion, until eventually all the crowd were exclaiming the same as the child – “the emperor has no clothes on!” And the emperor, vain and proud to the end, realises that he’s been had… but still marches on, while his sycophantic nobles continue holding his nonexistent train aloft.

Imagine if, at the end of the story, rather than point and laugh, breaking the spell, the adults keep up the pretense. They continue to compliment the Emperor on his finery; they still treat the Emperor as a wise and intelligent ruler; they perpetuate the illusion even when explicitly pointed out to them. Because, to those people, it is less frightening to continue the illusion than face the facts – they were ruled by an idiot who was swindled by a con-man.

Such an alternate ending is sounding darkly familiar.

Continue reading

Quick Question for Democrats

So the new clarion call is “if the SNP win a majority in the 2021 Scottish Parliament elections, then we’ll recognise the mandate that we’ve refused to recognise no less than four times since 2015.” (Unless you’re Lisa Nandy, Willie Rennie, or Alister Jack.)

Here’s the thing, which it amazes me hardly anyone brings up – by every reasonable measure except the number of seats (in a system designed explicitly to prevent any party gaining a majority) & regional vote share, the SNP have a stronger mandate for an independence referendum in 2016 than they did in 2014.

  • In 2011, 45.4% voted SNP on the constituency list: in 2016, that rose to 46.5%
  • In 2011, 876,421 voted SNP on the constituency list: in 2016, that rose to 1,059,897
  • In 2011, 53 of 73 constituency seats – as in, the First Past the Post system used in UK General Elections – went to the SNP: in 2016, that rose to 59

It is only because of the method used to elect members to the regional list that the SNP lost their overall majority despite increasing their vote share, the number of voters, & the number of constituency seats – which tend to be all that matter in First Past the Post systems such as the UK’s ancient regime. (And this isn’t taking into account that the SNP went into the first independence referendum with a mere 6 MPs and 19.9%, etc.)

So this poses an interesting question.

Continue reading

The War Among The Vampires

He is in great fear, not knowing what mighty one may suddenly appear, wielding the Ring, and assailing him with war, seeking to cast him down and take his place. That we should wish to cast him down and have no one in his place is not a thought that occurs to his mind. That we should try to destroy the Ring itself has not yet entered into his darkest dream.
The Lord of the Rings, Book I, Chapter V, “The White Rider”

A while back I speculated that the EU Referendum was being used as a proxy war between two different factions within The Establishment.

On one side, you had the Nativists: these are people who have – or at least believe they have – genuine pride and concern for the United Kingdom, a belief in their nation, and a willingness to put party-politics aside for what they perceive as the greater good. Despite their selfishness & arrogance, for whatever reason, they really do care about the UK’s international reputation, its territorial integrity, and its wealth. This is exemplified by the likes of David Cameron, Theresa May, John Major, and other pro-EU figures in the UK Government Party.

On the other side, you had the Conmen. These people might talk a big talk about the United Kingdom and Great Britain, or even let the mask slip & talk about England – but in truth, it’s all lip service to their voting base. They don’t care about the UK, its people, its borders, or even its wealth, even in a nominal sense: all they care about is themselves and their own coffers. This is clear to see in the likes of Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Nigel Farage, and all the other squillionaires who look set to make themselves even more rich in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

So what does this mean for Scottish Independence? I have a bold theory.

Continue reading

Things That Aren’t Countries

See when people say this, this is what they sound like to me:

Now, the difference between country music artist Kellie Pickler and anyone who seriously suggests that an independent Scotland would be “replacing” London with Brussels is that Ms Pickler is at least genuine in her ignorance. She freely admitted it, acknowledging that it might be “stupid,” and so there’s an honesty about it. She isn’t pretending that she knows what she’s talking about. She isn’t trying to fool people with sophistry. She isn’t someone trying to score political points by completely misrepresenting the relationships between Scotland, the UK, and the EU. In fact, in knowing she may be wrong, Ms Pickler is displaying greater wisdom & self-awareness than any of the idiots pictured above.

But then, perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised that people who talk about the United Kingdom as “the country” would somehow pretend that the EU is a country too. Otherwise we wouldn’t have them presenting such utter mince as the idea of Scotland being a country within a country within a country. What is going on here? Are Scotland, the UK, and the EU all countries, or only some of them? Did the UK stop being a country when it joined the EEC, or just when it changed from the EEC to the EU? If Europe is a country, but the UK will only be a “sovereign independent coastal state” after it leaves, does that mean every other country from Germany to Malta isn’t independent at all? That’s the point: it’s designed to be mince. It’s stupid, meandering, meaningless guff that sounds like it makes sense until you realise that if you’re presenting the idea of the EU as a “country” and that Scotland is only a “region” of the UK, then do you believe the UK isn’t a country?

And look what’s happened: the fools have me actually arguing with them about a stupid, idiotic notion that doesn’t even bear scrutiny after the slightest poking. It’s like a real palaeontologist wasting time on Brian J. Ford’s witterings, or anyone arguing with proven discredited scientific frauds as if they were somehow not proven to be discredited scientific frauds. As Mark Twain said: “never argue with a fool; onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.”

So you know what? I’m going to have to use the Socratic approach. If faced with a statement or argument so mind-bendingly stupid I cannot actually argue with it… then I won’t. After all, some things cannot be argued for the simple reason that they are not reasonable, serious, or legitimate arguments in the first place. There’s a reason we have logical and argumentative fallacies: if we’re to have a genuine debate, then how can we possibly expect to learn anything at all?

The SNP just want to exchange London rule with Brussels rule!

Well, I can’t argue with that – because the UK and the EU are two different things.

An independent Scotland would have a billion-pound-black hole!

Well, I can’t argue with that either – because an independent Scotland’s finances would be different from the UK by the very fact of its independence.

The Scottish Independence Movement is just an excuse for anti-Englishness!

Would you look at that, I can’t argue with that one either – because it just doesn’t make sense for thousands and thousands of English Scots to support a movement that doesn’t like them.

Why would Scotland give up its biggest trading partner?

By Jove, I can’t argue with that at all – because right now Scotland is part of the UK Internal Market, & has no control over international trade, so you cannot call the rUK it’s “partner,” ergo, how can it “give up” a “trading partner” it does not actually have?

Why would an independent Scotland take back all the powers from the EU just to hand them back?

What an amazing thing, I can’t argue with that in the slightest – because you seem to be arguing that an independent Scotland not only would see no change in its relationship with the EU (which is impossible given the very nature of independence), but that wouldn’t get any of the powers currently controlled by the UK, as well as much more confidence that the UK will let Scotland keep those powers against all evidence to the contrary.

I’m sure there are reasonable, decent, genuine arguments in the Scottish-UK-EU conundrum, but pretending that Brussels has been the capital of the UK for forty years sure isn’t one of them.

Send in the Clowns

Please do not interpret the music choice as a slur on the wonderful Glen Michael or the magnificent Paladin, who would both make better Prime Ministers than any in my lifetime.

Last time on the Clown Cavalcade, we learned about…

  • a International Trade Secretrickster who made her Scottish colleagues the butt of a Jocksploitation joke
  • a Health & Social Care Secretrickster who blamed the Scottish Government for not doing his job
  • a Environment Secretrickster who wants the number of MSPs and MLAs to be reduced
  • a Education Secretrickster who was kicked out of the last cabinet for leaking state secrets two months ago
  • a Culture Secretrickster who wanted to make the ability for Scotland to become independent even more difficult
  • a Business Secretrickster who got a full house on English Myths About Scotland Bingo
  • a Housing & Communities Secretrickster who didn’t get the memo about Scotland’s “declining” Oil & Gas Industry

There’s still more to come. Dare you enter this circus of ciplinarians?

Continue reading

Killer Klowns from Outwood, Surrey

Please stop misusing the word ‘clown’

With regard to your recent article and headline (Our elders are supposed to be older and wiser. But not these Brexit clowns, theguardian.com, 21 December), I am a prize-winning international musical clown, part of an honourable profession, and am deeply offended by the misuse and misrepresentation of “clown” in connection with parliamentary or other forms of chaotic behaviour.

The constant use of the word “circus” in the press to denote a mess or bad behaviour is also distasteful. Unlike the comparison the press constantly draws, a clown or indeed a circus must be orderly and efficient to work properly. And in the case of a circus, it takes teamwork – which is the opposite of the impression the press gives.

Please could the fourth estate find other words to describe political behaviour.
David Konyot
Tilney St Lawrence, Norfolk

With the greatest of respect to Mr Konyot, I am being very specific in my reference to the current cabinet as clowns. While I would be loth to presume to tell you all about your profession, my impression is that the work of a clown is to present the semblance of chaos and pandemonium with highly trained and practised routine by experienced and disciplined performers. In other words, it’s all an act. That’s what I’m saying. It is not (always) incompetence: it is deliberate and concerted actions designed to provoke a reaction and set certain responses in motion. The question is, are these charlatans truly as incompetent as they appear, or is it a masterful act of deception that would make Keyser Soze proud?

Last time, we catalogued…

  • a Prime Moronster who says a town in England is worth more than the most populated region of Scotland
  • a Clowncellor who said Scotland having any control over its own affairs was “constitutional vandalism”
  • a Home Secretrickster who couldn’t wait to cut Scotland’s funding
  • a Foreign Secretrickster who passionately advocated for full-fiscal autonomy for Scotland before voting against it every chance he got
  • a Brexit Secretrickster who said Scottish people should be disenfranchised following a Yes vote even if they were still part of the UK when a General Election was held,
  • a Clowncellor of the Duchy of Lancaster who seems to resent Scots more than most of his own party
  • a Defense Secretrickster who immediately claimed a No vote as a victory for his party

So who else is there? Doo-doo-doodle-oodle-ood-doo-doo-doo

Continue reading