For English Eyes Only

This has been building up for a while now.

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Between the Devil and the Deep Red Irish Sea

“We made clear, and I made clear in the House a bit earlier that we will do nothing that will draw a customs border down the Red Sea… And we will – if I may – IRISH SEA” Irish sea!”
Dominic Raab at the Exiting the EU Committee

It’s easy to think of the new Foreign Secretrickster of being a buffoon: that he accidentally called the Irish Sea the Red Sea because he’s too stupid to immediately think the sea separating these islands from Ireland might have Irish in the name. After all, this is a man who has a history of making incredibly stupid statements.

But there comes a point where ignorance simply doesn’t add up anymore. There comes a point where someone seems to be too stupid – and for me, this is where I started to reassess Dominic Raab.

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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

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Don’t Sleep – The Clowns Will Eat Us All

When Julius Fučík composed Entrance of the Gladiators in 1897, he was no doubt thinking of the blood and thunder spectacle of the ancient Coliseum: mighty warriors from all across the Roman Empire thrust into brutal combat against slaves, beasts, and one another. The Thraex beats his wicked sica against his battered parmula; the Murmillo’s burnished manica glinting in the blazing Italian sun, his face obscured behind the grill of his cassius crista; the Retarius brandishes his mighty trident and man-catcher net. The crowd rocks the walls of the Coliseum with their acclaim for their heroes. The bombast & majesty of the piece made it ideal for ironic juxtaposition for circuses in the early 20th Century – it worked so well that this magnificent fanfare became forever linked to the slapstick & satire of the circus clown.

Of course, in the 20th Century, it’s come full circle – from the music being used to offset the silliness of clowns, nowadays the piece seems best served to ridicule people with rather high opinions of their competence.

In the 19th Century, it was the theme for gladiators.

In the 20th Century, it was the theme for clowns.

In the 21st Century, it’s the theme for politicians.

So what does this troupe have in store for Scotland?

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World of Fools

“It is sometimes the height of wisdom to feign stupidity.”
– Cato

Most of Scottish social media is abuzz with that Jeremy Vine thing. But there’s another Jeremy Vine thing which I’d like to share, because I think it’s very illustrative as to the tack the UK is taking us.

(If you haven’t read Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series – at least the original trilogy – and I highly recommend that you do, then consider yourself warned. I’m not generally bothered by spoilers, but others are, and this article discusses a really awesome twist).

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Facing Facebook

I use Facebook primarily to keep in touch with friends and family across the globe. I don’t spend much time scrolling or reading – in fact, sometimes I take far too long to respond even to comments & private messages.

A Wilderness of Peace usually involves politics, news, & other current affairs. For the most part, I’d like to say I’ve been fairly laid back, except in regards to matters I deem to be unjust or scandalous: in those cases I’ve been forthright & uncompromising. I know I’ve said some very strong words about very powerful people. But, I have never advocated violence, harassment, abuse, criminality, or anything that would – for example – breach Facebook’s Community Standards. Such actions are counterproductive to any of the causes I hold dear, and entirely out of my character.

Outside of polling days, I keep politics off my homepage: I set up a dedicated page to that blog for that reason. Every time I write a new post, I post a link on my blog. Yesterday, Facebook did not allow me to do this.

Other readers have contacted me, saying they could not post links either. After a bit of digging, I found some further information: a Facebook friend attempted to post a link, but their message was different from mine: “Your message couldn’t be sent because it includes content that other people on Facebook have reported as abusive.” I don’t understand why the message I received gave no information as to what was against Community Standards, but the message a reader received more specifically cited abusive content. What is going on?

To have your own website blocked with no explanation, let alone warning, on the grounds of something as serious as abuse is bad enough. But to not know why? With no opportunity to appeal, no route to identify the offending content & remove it, no way to make things right? I recognise that politics can be a tricky subject. But the idea Facebook’s solution to an abusive website (I have to think it’s a mistake, but how can I when I don’t know what specifically was being objected to?) is to simply lock it out without any attempt to contact the site in question?

The page for my Facebook is just called “A Wilderness of Peace.” It lists this blog’s address as the external website. You would think that there would be some method of contacting the page publisher with a short message explaining “this page has been found in violation of Community Standards,” and highlighting and quoting the offending content. That’s how other social media platforms work. Yet I’m completely at a loss as to not only who I’ve offended, but what I’ve written that was offensive – abusive, even.

To be clear: if I did write something abusive, I will not hesitate to remove it and apologise unreservedly. I invite the complainant to contact me via the comments to tell me exactly what they found objectionable, and I will see what could be done. It’s entirely possible that this is an automated service that misread the context of one of my posts – I do include quotations from some truly appalling sources without in any way endorsing them.

But if I don’t know what that abuse was, then what good can come of the situation at all?

Whoever Wins, We Lose

I could actually weep for some of the people in our country:

I genuinely don’t understand the logic of anyone whose view of Scottish independence is affected by who is or might be Prime Minister, or which party is in government. It very much suggests they haven’t understood the question.
– Some Numpty On Twitter Who Already Gets Too Much Attention

It is everything to do with the question – because “who is or might be Prime Minister/party of government” is never our choice. It is the choice of England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland together. One of those countries outnumbers the others 8 to 1.

More than that, it isn’t just who is Prime Minister now, or who may be Prime Minister in the future – it’s every single Prime Minister in my 35 years of existence on this planet.

My first Prime Minister was so beloved of my fellow Scots that the Number 1 song in Scotland on the week of her death was “Ding-Dong The Witch Is Dead.” My second Prime Minister (even if he is, in retrospect, far and away the best in my lifetime) led the UK to financial disaster and aggravated the forces which led the UK to where it is now through his sheer incompetence. My third Prime Minister is a war criminal who conspired to steal Scotland’s resources. My fourth Prime Minister sold even more of Scotland’s resources to mitigate his cataclysmic mishandling of another financial crisis. My fifth Prime Minister, who cannot be mentioned in the same breath as pigs in polite company, presided over cruelties, scandals, and catastrophes that would give my first Prime Minister pause. My sixth Prime Minister has become a punchline.

Six Prime Ministers in my lifetime, and arguments can be – and have been – made for each of those six being the Worst Ever.

At least until Seven.

So who will that be?

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