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Saturday 28 October 2017

Blood and Force are no answer to Catalunya

There can be little I can write about Catalonia that has not already been said by every quality paper, every informed columnist and every intelligent journalist - that we are headed into a tragedy, that it's gone too far, that it never should have happened. And also that neither side, both so pig-headedly stupid, so intransigent, so puffed with ferocious virtue, will move. 

Blood and force will not solve the crisis, will not diminish the urge for self-determination. Civil war is not yet possible - unlike the former Jugoslavia, both sides are not in possession of military hardware. Catalonia's leaders will be consigned for the rest of their lives to grim Spanish prisons. Terrorism instead will emerge; taxes will be unpaid, ministers spat at, Civil Guards on patrol will be slaughtered, government buildings bombed, aircraft flown into the Cortes, the King assassinated, innocent lives destroyed. Eventually, after both sides are utterly sick of the bloodshed, Catalonia will regain a measure of self-government. 

Can we ever realise that we can avoid all the blood, the agony, the grief, the lost years, the economic turmoil and cut straight to the deal? Where in God's name is a Statesman or Stateswoman of stature who can halt this descent into Hell and bang both their stupid heads together? 

You cannot, you simply cannot, hold an entire people captive, subjugated, against their will. The right of self determination is inconvenient but unavoidable. That's why we agreed with Scotland's wish for a plebiscite in 2014, in which they voted No, a result (despite what the SNP may think) that both nations agree binds us for generations. We must also face the reality that Catholics in Northern Ireland will outnumber Protestants possibly within my lifetime, and if that rebalance results in a plebiscite that approves rejoining the Province to the Republic then we must learn to live with it. That's what an advanced and mature democracy does. 

For Catalonia, I pray that both sides will pull back, agree to restore the status quo ante, release the Catalonian hostages from Spanish prisons, and above all agree to a binding referendum on independence when heads are cooler, say in 2022, to allow the necessary changes to the Spanish constitution.  

Friday 27 October 2017

Decolonising Academia


Please see the important communication below sent today by the Vice-Chancellor from an important academic conference in Val d'Isère

Sam Duggs
Faculty Administrator 

The faculty of Steeple Bumstead University have considered the many representations made by our BAME, LGBTQQIP2SAA and Identity Fluid students on the matter of decolonising our various undergraduate degree courses. We accept that our teaching, based on the canons of western thought, the First and Second Enlightenment, a Judaeo-Christian historical framework and a Eurocentric cultural bias, will disadvantage many students for whom these components are not endogenous. We have therefore made the following changes:-
- A new Chair, the Hegelian Professor of Rap, has been created and we are looking across the Atlantic for suitable candidates. Tunky Dog's Ass, JXee and Nickel Cap Head have unfortunately been appointed to academic posts with tenure at Harvard, Yale and MIT respectively, so will not be available.

- The University library has been decommissioned and converted to a multi-faith Mosque in which adherents of all faiths may worship as long as they accept Islamic restrictions on their beliefs. To promote Wimmin's Rights, we have secured separate facilities for female undergraduates to keep them apart from the men. Wimmin are also encouraged to wear the veil on campus to prevent inherent and unconscious academic bias that may occur if their faces were visible and they could be individually identified.

- We are introducing a number of new texts written in English. These include  "Busted! My crack whore years" by Snaggs Turdish (123pp, large text version with illustrations) "My poetry doesn't rhyme or scan" by Inca Pointless (both sides of the A4 sheet) and "Bollocks to God" by the Bishop of Woolwich (Gay Rainbow press, 422pp, 4to).

- However, the boldest change we're making is in changing the university's use of the English language in all teaching, seminars and tutorials. English is the very symbol of a colonialist mindset, and just hearing the language used triggers many of our more sensitive students. From next term, the University will use exclusively Khoe, the most prevalent of the Khoisan click languages used in Africa, for all lectures, seminars and tutorials, and for all written assignments. With a total vocabulary of barely a thousand words, we expect this to make any writing that students are required to do much simpler. However, as it will take rather longer to explain difficult concepts, it also means cutting large parts of course content to fit the available vocabulary. We will use the Isolate syntax (|gáro = ostrich, !nábe = giraffe, kx'âa = to drink). 
Academic staff will attend crash Khoisan courses over the holiday and students are recommended to purchase the Khoe primer for the discounted price of £89.99 from the University bookshop.

I myself am attending an important academic conference in the Maldives for much of next term but will return to see the final stages of the conversion of the old earl of Bumstead's seat at Palladian Hall into the Vice Chancellor's new residence. I wish you all the very best at this exciting time of change - and  ts'ókwàna ɦatʃ'pitʃ'i as they say in Mogadishu!

Tarquin Bevan
Vice Chancellor

Tuesday 24 October 2017

Billy the Fish on groping charges

I could tell from the way my after-work drinking chum necked his first beer that he'd had a tough day. He'd spent another hour being lectured by a locally prominent Union boss on his management shortcomings. These verbal assaults would be delivered regularly by the little man - barely 5'6", well into his 60s and who dyed his hair black and slicked it with Brylcream. Hence the nickname of Billy the Fish (after the Viz character). He would taunt managers to lamp him, or at least lose their cool and rant back at him - the only way to cope was to keep quiet, endure it and give him and his professional witness no excuse. 

Imagine the rejoicing when a case came to the Tribunal brought by two of the ladies who had resigned from the Union office because Billy the Fish was a serial groper. Others who had left previously gave evidence. One had caught him in an Onanistic act in the office. Billy the Fish was a broken man. The local paper carried full and explicit reports. Everyone took the piss out of him. Any attempts at bluster were met by grinning managers making groping moves or worse with their hands. He was destroyed, abandoned by the small pond of the local Labour Party and by his own Union.

Their own hypocrisy has delivered two Labour scalps in the past few days. Clive Lewis for shouting out "On yo' knees, bitch" and the vile Jared O'Mara for a series of even more vile homophobic expressions. The latter, until yesterday, sat on the Equalities select committee. The former was pulled up for blatent lying on election literature. Even more MPs are fearful of disclosures to come as women politicians scrape their recall to recount every inappropriate touch, every invitation 'for a drink', every hot breath in the lift. They all want to be a part of #MeToo #bandwagon. 

And, oh frabjous move, female staff in the European Parliament for whom being groped must have seemed an essential employment requirement are now starting to speak out - not to internal EU processes that buy their silence but to the press. Unelected officials are rapidly working out how to hush it all up. 

Let me be clear; I do find this both satisfying and amusing, but also deadly serious. No-one, man or woman, should have to endure unwanted sexual behaviour in the workplace. I'm not talking about workplace banter or healthy flirtatious behaviour but dark, unpleasant episodes. 

When I was young chap in my 20s I worked in a temp job for a blue-rinsed female supervisor with a full set of dentures. It took me a week to work out why the other guys in the office had arranged their desks so their backs were hard against the walls. The first time she leaned over me from behind pressing her withered dugs into my shoulders I thought it was a mistake. By week two I would dread her approach and cringed and leaned sideways to try to avoid the loathsome rubbing. No it's not funny. It was deeply unpleasant and I still feel the full unpleasantness. There you are. #MeToo.     

Sunday 22 October 2017

Spanish State revives the Garrotte

I remember the 1970s very well. I was taking my 'O' levels and impatient for an end to the war in Vietnam; cheap air travel was just starting, though there was a certain hesitation about Spain as a holiday destination because the Fascist dictator there was still butchering his political opponents - Jake Wallis Simons in the Speccie;
Under Franco, Catalan language and culture were banned, and aspirations of independence repressed. Franco maintained this stance up until his death. Just eight months before the dictator shuffled off his mortal coil, a young Catalan revolutionary anarchist, Salvador Puig Antich, had his coil shuffled off for him by a State executioner armed with a garrotte. The killing took place at the notorious La Model prison, which was located about a mile from where those thugs were Sieg Heiling on Sunday. Rajoy has no more desire to see Catalonia break away than had Franco.

If anyone can tell me why the Catalan people don't qualify as a separate people under UN guidelines, and deserving of the proper choice of self-determination, legally overseen by the EU and the UN, I'd be interested to know. 

One can't rely on the Spanish courts - the WEF rates them as corrupt as the ECJ, less independent than courts in Botswana, Azerbaijan, China, Chile and Bhutan. The courts there still do what the Spanish fascists tell them to. Thay will stand by whilst Rajoy garrottes democracy. There's no justice to be had within Spain. In fact the rule of law everywhere in the EU except the UK is so piss-poor that Roland Freisler must be dancing in the flames.