Friday, September 28, 2012

John Terry

Everyone knew that John Terry didn't stand an earthly at the FA Tribunal. The finding was utterly predictable, which is why Terry was right to resign as an international beforehand. Terry's real crime was that he reminds the football authorities, and the liberal media come to that, of what the archetypal football is like - ignorant, violent and prone to outbursts of racism, sexism, homophobia and the rest. Despite his millions, John Terry still comes across as a member of the only minority group it's OK to despise: the white working class.

Inevitably there have been anguished discussions about the 'racism in football', as though the game is awash with racist hate and violence. People who believe this to be true have no sense of recent history whatsoever.

As a teenager I had to stop going to Stamford Bridge in the late 70s and early 80s because a person of my colour was likely to be attacked by fellow Chelsea supporters. The big football firms were explicitly aligned with the National Front and British Movement (despite the fact that leading Chelsea hooligan Babs was half black). Large numbers of fans were switching from being casuals to being skinheads. This was a time when Chelsea fans unfurled banners with SS symbols on them. The lone attempt of anti-fascist Chelsea fans to organise was ended when one of them was almost stabbed to death at an away game in Prague by members of a fascist Chelsea gang.

But Chelsea were not the only club to suffer Nazi fans - most of the football firms were attracted to fascism because of the violence, because it was identified with them by the media and, just as importantly, it was a kick in the face to the liberal establishment.

That was then. And now? Football, and the fans, have moved on. It's not that racism doesn't exist. But it's down to individual vices, not an endemic and organised force. As well as the black faces on the field, there are more black faces in the crowd too.

But in the eyes of the media and the FA, John Terry reminds them too much of the Chelsea fan of old, and he's being punished now for the sins that the FA failed to tackle back then.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Retoxifying The Tory Brand

It's good to see that the antics of Andrew Mitchell are helping to retoxify the Tory brand. He's part of a growing trend of Tories working, wittingly or unwittingly, to undo all of the hard work that David Cameron put into making the Conservatives electable again.

But it's not just the oafish antics of Mitchell, the real story that most of the mainstream press is resolutely ignoring, is the return of Tory sleaze. Lord Deben and Tim Yeo are just two of the most prominent at milking the system of environmental subsidies to the hilt. And let's not forget that David Cameron has a family interest in windfarm subsidies too.

In any case, a retoxified Tory brand is definitely on the cards. Inevitably the downside of this is the probability that disgust with the Tories will out-do the memory of Gordon Brown and Tony Blair...

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Permanent State of Emergency

It is a common feature of authoritarian regimes to institute a permanent state of emergency as the normal situation. Sometimes the state of emergency is linked to the coming to power of the regime, for example after a military coup or in response to invasion or civil war. At other times it's a response of a nominally civilian government responding to mass unrest, a collapsing economy, the threat of external invasion and so on. Of course for these regimes the state of emergency has lots of benefits - constitutions can be suspended or re-written, dissent clamped down, the power of the state massively increased. The permanent state of emergency is the beneficial crisis magnified and extended forever.

And so it is with the Euro crisis. This is the permanent state of emergency in response to a real crisis, but it has become the normal situation now. There are still the external trappings of the emergency - regular summit meetings, dire pronouncements from all and sundry, plans announced and discarded, disaster is always on the horizon.

In those countries were the government really has formally declared a state of emergency, once the initial shock has passed the population adapts to the new environment. Life goes on, eventually. People might disappear from the streets, newspapers might disappear from the news shelves, the public sphere shrinks back. But people can't cope with the exhaustion of living life permanently on edge.

And so it is with us. The Euro crisis has all but disappeared from view. We're back to focusing on the more important issues of the day, like royal breasts bared in foreign climes. Those still focused on the issue, like the admirable Richard North of EUReferendom, has an iron constitution and keeps up with what's going on. But people like him are the exceptions. For the rest of us, even those of us interested in politics and who passionately hate the EU, the permanent crisis has taken it's toll. It's exhausting, even though we know that the EU will never let a good crisis go to waste.

The markets too are suffering from this exhaustion. What the permanent state of emergency does is take away that element of uncertainty. You know that tomorrow will be much like today - perched on the edge of a disaster that always looms large but never quite happens.

Tomorrow we'll wake up to a stronger EU state. Citizens will watch from the side lines as political union progresses further and further. But for most people, attention will stay tuned to royal breasts, sports, celebrities and the minor pantomime that passes for national politics these days.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Still No Mainstrream Mention Of Peter Lilley's Report on Stern

A quick check on Google News confirms that there has been almost no coverage of Peter Lilley's demolition job on the Stern report, published by the GWPF. The GWPF is generally accepted to be the most successful anti-warmist organisation in the UK. It's founded by Nigel Lawson, a man well-known to the public and the media. If anyone should be able to pierce the protective shell of warmist orthodoxy in the media it should be the GWPF. And, according to climate alarmists, the GWPF is astoundingly successful in getting the skeptic message across.

But the reality is that apart from the usual suspects - Delingpole in the Telegraph, The Register - this major report of national and international significance has been pretty much ignored.

This is par for the course. No matter the steady stream of journal papers that punch holes in the alarmist narrative, no matter the increasingly skeptical public, the media and the politicians they are in bed with do not deviate from the published script. Things can only ever get worse. There are only warmist scientists. Everyone is agreed that CO2 is the great Satan..

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Organic Food - No Surprise There Then

It's a good few years since I asked the question, on this blog, as to whether organic food had any real nutritional advantages over non-organic: Organic Food - Where's the Evidence?

That was back in April 2006, and at the time my conclusion was plain enough - there was plenty of bluster and dissembling but no hard evidence in the peer reviewed literature that I could find. So it's no surprise to see the headlines today after Stanford University researchers published a review that came to pretty much the same conclusion - there's no evidence of health benefit.

The usual suspects will mutter darkly about vested interests, the agro-industrial complex and all the rest, but like CO2 causing climate catastrophe, the science just doesn't stack up.

Peter Lilley Demolishes Stern Review

The big story of the day, at least when it comes to environmental news, is Peter Lilley's total demolition of the Stern Review:

Peter Lilley isn't the first to trash the Review, which really ought to have no credibility left considering the thrashing it's had at the hands of many economists, but this ought to be the highest profile and most detailed response so far. Will this make it to the BBC? One does wonder, so far there's no mention of it on the website, but it's possible that it might get a mention. Obviously if Lilley was saying the reverse, or better yet saying that Stern hadn't gone far enough it would be front-page on the BBC, even without the odious Richard Black in the picture...

Monday, September 03, 2012

Green Partyism

Tim Worstall, who seems to be much vexed by the Scandanavian Paradox (successful economies with high levels of welfare statism) these days, has a snippet on the Green Party seeking a new leader who is more 'working class'. In this case more working class equates a university educated college lecturer.

Whatever next for the Greens? Not content with wanting to make the party less 'white and middle class', they'll be wanting to make themselves 'relevant' next. It's the slippery slope to LibDemism, so I suppose it makes sense in the great scheme of things. To all intents and purposes is there any difference between the Simon Hughes wing of the LibDems and the Green Party?

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Busy, busy, busy...

The recent paucity of posts here isn't just down to laziness... The fact is that I've been incredibly busy recently, partly down to working on two papers for peer-reviewed journals. One of these in a completely new field for me - molecular oncology. Looking forward to the day when both papers are finally published...