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Friday, 17 August 2012

Toynbee's road to Auschwitz

In Toynbee's beloved Scandinavia, they were still compulsorily sterilising the educational subnormal in the early 1970s. It was, we hoped, the last shudder of the left's inhumane obsession with Eugenics, Euthanasia and breeding a more perfect and rational socialist Uberman; an obsession particularly at home in Britain's Fabians. Shaw wanted a 'humane lethal gas' to be used to remove undesirables from society, and Virginia Woolf, on seeing a queue of the mentally ill, remarked "Imbeciles - every one of them a miserable, ineffective, shuffling, idiotic creature. It was perfectly horrible. They should certainly be killed." Nye Bevan, one of the most evil hypocrites ever to sit in Parliament, defended the Soviet regime on the floor of the Commons long after he knew the facts of the Holodomor, presumably on the grounds that the rise of Socialism was more important than the lives of a few millions of Ukrainians. In the years before the war, the left found nothing at all wrong with Germany's T4 Euthanasia programme, in which the severely mentally and physically disabled were 'humanely' killed; it was only at Nuremberg that we learned that many who went on to manage the extermination camps had graduated from the Fabian-approved T4 programme. 

Today they're back again. In the Telegraph this morning, a report supporting the destruction of human embryos that carry 'undesirable' genes; the doctor (and it's always a doctor) promoting the idea says 'we should actively give parents the choice to screen out personality flaws in their children as it meant they were then less likely to harm themselves and others'. Killing children in the womb is probably aesthetically more acceptable to the left these days than using Shaw's humane gas, I guess. And Toynbee writes in support of Euthanasia; the Guardian presents this as reason, but we have seen the sort of ratcheting and escalation that Toynbee's thinking leads to in the past. It starts with 'voluntary' Euthanasia, then progresses to Euthanasia at the family's request for individuals deemed incapable of making a rational choice, then Euthanasia at the State's behest. Even Germany's murderous T4 programme needed the signatures of two doctors - all very proper and correct. 

Toynbee unashamedly dangles the plight of Tony Nicklinson before us in an act of emotional blackmail. But hard cases make bad law; to open the legal door to the left to Euthanise our fellow citizens on whatever grounds cannot be allowed. If Toynbee is truly personally committed to procuring Tony's death, she can easily acquire over the internet the chemicals used by the US States to execute the condemned. 

Thursday, 16 August 2012

..and cyclists think it's bad here?

Sorry for two cycling-related posts in one day, but I've neglected to tell you about the latest Polish fad - Borisbikes. Not the Barclays ones, of course, but the same principle. The Polish ones are operated by BikeOne - which charges about £3 per week plus 60p an hour. But be careful - Polish police have a zero-tolerance approach to drinking and cycling; over 4,500 Poles are currently banged-up in jail for being caught over the limit a second time, with 51,000 convicted every year. A first offence will earn a heavy fine and a suspended sentence, activated on a second offence. About 8 months is the average, with release on licence after 4 months, though the incapably drunk cyclist may get up to ten years. 

Cycling Poles are not happy. "Against a European background, Poland is like Saudi Arabia" complained one to Polish daily Gazeta. The UK and Scandinavia have no drink limits for cyclists. Arrest numbers for suspected drunk cycling of 73,000 in 2011 against 110,000 car drivers arrested shows just how seriously the Polish police treat this offence. Cyclists protest that in the period 2006 - 2011 only a single fatality was caused by a drunken cyclist, that Polish police hide in the bushes on lakeside paths where only walkers and cyclists have access, and that they hide outside the 24hr Alkohol skleps. 

Tadeusz laughs as he tells Gazeta of  his British experience "I lived in England for about seven years. About three years ago (OK maybe I shouldn't brag) I was riding drunk on the pavement; very drunk, with a can in my hand. I was detained by a policeman also riding a bike, who lectured me on drunk riding and made me throw my can in a waste bin. I was really upset and gave him some verbal - and all he could do was give me an £80 ticket for no brakes!"

Andrew's experience in Poland was somewhat different. He was first caught in 2010 cycling home from watching a soccer match when he was stopped by police - paying a hefty fine and being banned from owning a bike for a year, as well as a suspended prison sentence. In 2011, his ban up, he bought another bike - but got only 12m from the bike shop when he was stopped; this time he got six months in prison and a two year ban on having a bike.

And cyclists think they've got it hard here?

Yes to rail price rises?

Every cloud has a silver lining, and from a purely selfish point of view the above-inflation rail fare increases announced yesterday are not all bad. As fares shrink the radius of the commuter belt the knock-on effect of house price pressures on Suffolk are lessened, keeping the cost of my next home low. Conversely, inflationary pressures on London house prices are increased, maintaining the value to be released from my main asset. Fare increases also assist construction demand within the M25 - a win - and reduce construction demand in our prettiest Suffolk villages - also a win. Within London, the modal shift from train to cycle will increase, reducing overcrowding on existing services. That cyclists will then be exposed to Europe's highest levels of roadside carcinogenic PAHs from which those of us on trains are free is also a useful counter to their infuriating smugness. 

All in all, I think it's a plus.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

A suitable job for a Bercow?

In my construction role of Employer's Agent I've long learned that the key to a successful scheme is getting the right make-up of the client team; lead designer, engineers of various sorts, cost consultant, CDM co-ordinator, all working to the EA's brief but without stifling the ability of each to exercise professional excellence and shine. These days, if ever I find a Bercow on the team I don't hesitate - a call to the consultancy firm's directors to replace him or her within 72 hours. I have learned from bitter experience that giving a Bercow the benefit of the doubt and leaving them on the team is a recipe for disaster. They're incapable of being team players. They needle constantly, create divisions, offend others, sabotage negotiations, obstruct collective solutions and carry an arrogance so maddening that there will not be a single member of the client team that isn't either longing to deck 'em or to see someone else do it. They polarise working relations between the client and contractor sides and critically can increase the cost of a scheme significantly - in some cases into seven figures - solely due to their disruptive effect. 

I've seen an old and experienced site manager, normally so imperturbable that he ran 100 guys on a crowded site with the calm of a Buddha, so provoked by one final, spiteful, cutting remark from a Bercow that for the first time in his career he took a swing, sadly missing the short-arsed miscreant and hitting the structural engineer in error. He had to be dismissed immediately, of course, and as I watched him clear his site office the expression on his face was 'It's not fair'. And indeed it wasn't. 

And so I have great sympathy for MPs enraged at the behaviour of the little sociopath in the Speaker's chair; you'd imagine that a modicum of interpersonal skills would be a pre-requisite for the office, but from a Rotten Parliament mired in its own filth and as a replacement to the deeply stupid and avaricious Gorbals Mick such an oversight is not unexpected.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Neither Scylla nor Charybdis

Coalition has been hard on the LibDems. Their national membership is down to about 48k from 60k, their major private donor is now serving a seven-stretch and in government they've lost £1.79m a year in 'Short' money and a further £0.24m in Cranborne money. To all practical purposes, the party is bust and broke. 

Benedict Brogan suggests in the Telegraph that Cameron is tempted to use the inducement of State funding for incumbent parties to cut a deal that would gain him LibDem support for constituency reform, avoiding the rocks of Scylla only to plunge into the whirlpool of Charybdis. A Statesman, of course, rather than a mere jobbing opportunist playing politics, would steer a course that avoids both.

I still don't think politicians realise quite how vehemently the idea of State funding for the big three parties is loathed at the grass roots; It's the one issue, for example, warranted to bring me out onto the streets and spend my savings campaigning against it. All Cameron would achieve would be the exodus of the last of the CP's members to UKIP. 

The Boy's a damn fool.

Monday, 13 August 2012

School disco ends sports day

The Headmaster writes:-

"I would like to thank all of you who made the school disco last night such a memorable event. At the end of a sports day that saw pupils win success on track, field and rifle range, our own Physics Master, Mr Gavin, took charge of the vinyl and the decks for the disco in Founders' Hall. 

We are obliged to Msr Bricoleur and the Art Department for costuming the Lower VIth in orange origami representations of the HIV virus and choreographed their singing of show tunes on their cycles; Matron for her sterling performance as Jessie James, and Mr Hanratty who returned to the school for the evening from his retirement home to deliver some well-known popular ballads with great panache. Mr Stockhausen from the music department presented his new composition performed by the 2nd XI on bat and pad, accompanied by the massed bugles of the CCF (Pennyworth and Littlejohn Minor) to great acclaim, and I am pleased that the Deputy Head Mr Johnson joined in the spirit of the thing with a display of Kazakh folk dance. Finally, Horace de Vere Clinthorne, who made such a fine Yum Yum in last term's Mikado, led a small group from the Theatre Club dressed as the Beverley Sisters as they performed 'I will survive'. All a credit to the school and our ethos, as I'm sure you will agree.

I'd also like to thank Mrs Worral-Thompson and the kitchen ladies for the evening's splendid and constant supply of amuses-bouches around the theme of 'fifty-seven varieties of cheese', a line that Mr Gecko from the local Albion Mercury promised he would use in his review in next week's edition. 

Finally, the evening did uncover a few shortcomings, particularly with Mr Gavin's Peavey loudspeaker, which is now thirty years old and apparently only goes up to ten, and the school glitterball. None of which dampened the spirits of the evening, but this seems like a good opportunity to launch an appeal for some more state-of-art disco equipment, and I shall be writing to parents shortly.

As we lay-up the school banner in the chapel for another year, you can all be proud of a day that has shown the best of our school and of our nation."