Wednesday, 31 August 2011
You see, he’s not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy.
Nb K&C Council, stop throwing (our) good money after bad on expensive consultants. Game over.
So – guess what? They blocked up the peephole in the hoarding.
Saturday, 13 August 2011
A lot of trite and self-righteous nonsense and lazy sophistry has emerged over the past week (see previous blog). First we had ‘sun-lounger’ expressions of confidence in the police, followed by quite shocking vilification of our depleted and exhausted forces in parliament as politicians played the blame game.
We have heard politicians, community leaders and media commentators discussing the ‘culture of entitlement’ that allegedly has made a generation believe their mere existence entitles them to free money in the form of benefits, flatscreen tvs and Nike Air trainers.
Why? Well, because you can.
When the Queen evades her taxes then tries to claim winter fuel allowance for Buckingham Palace (this happened people), and you count the number of her useless children who do eff all but live on the public purse (let’s count Prince Charles’ massive tax evasion while he postures with various charities), not to mention the work-shy scroungers living in Kensington Palace, yes, there is a culture of entitlement, no less distasteful at the ‘top’ than at the ‘bottom’ of society.
Of course there is a world of difference between claiming for something you are entitled to but don’t really need, and picking trainers out of a window someone else has smashed; one is ‘merely’ opportunistic, the other is a criminal act. But the perfectly legitimate claim by a large family for Housing Benefit on a house in Kensington last year was treated with shock and disgust by the media, and the family vilified. How much worse is this than the £6k/month mortgage the public purse is paying to keep the PM’s North Kensington home empty? He has Downing Street, he has Chequers, he has his grand Witney house, he has his £145k/year pocket money, why are we paying for a fourth home?
Perhaps we need a new term for this; perhaps we can call it –
My next blog will focus on the genuinely selfless and positive actions by countless ordinary citizens, who will give their time and energy, and even put themselves in danger if necessary, to protect their neighbours and neighbourhoods and everything they hold dear.
In the meantime, the PM is under pressure. Tick-tock.
Monday, 8 August 2011
The government’s response to world economic crisis and riots in Tottenham has been, more or less, resounding silence. Cameron has made the ‘difficult decision in difficult times’ to have less Restylane in his forehead so he can pose with a more convincing concern, but is more worried about whether the ‘scouts camping in his garden’ story (which was allegedly for charity, but how much did the security cost?) was big enough to drown out the ‘non-tipping of waitress’ story.
Osborne was sufficiently stirred from his sun lounger in Hollywood to make the ‘tough but fair’ decision to order a flunky to answer the constantly ringing phone.
But don’t worry, everything’s fine. William Hague (who evidently is Acting Deputy PM) can drawl on about virtually anything he knows nothing about, as evidenced every morning on Radio 4 news. Hague says the violence in Tottenham is ‘unacceptable’ - tough words for tough times.
So, once again we are faced with unprecedented levels of ignorance and stupidity in response to mind-blowingly serious situations. We have a government led by a Cabinet of little men in big jobs, existing in a mutual admiration bubble which is contributing to the downward spiral of the economic and social meltdown they have created.
Which brings us very neatly to parallels in the stupidity/power index in K&C which I am constantly searching to unpick and understand.
A current holiday read discusses conceptual engineering which offers some insight. Some of us are wired very differently than others. Some people will believe that if b) succeeds a), then a) is the cause and b) the effect; this is simplistic. Fatalists believe everything is determined, human life is organised in hierarchies, those with higher status benefit, those lower down get what they deserve (which is less). They believe everyone is selfish and are out for themselves, in competition with others – homo economicus - and worse still, there is nothing we can do, that’s just the way it is.
This standpoint is based on a philosophical mistake and a physiological misunderstanding. Intelligent thought sets us above pure animal instincts and dog-eats-dog competition. Human nature is ‘by nature’ cooperative; the message is false.
So those of us who, however imperfect, are willing to go forward with ideals, with the insecurity of indeterminism, with optimism that human nature is essentially good and will, or at least may prevail, have the advantage. We may be disappointed, but we go forward with such hope and (on good days), enthusiasm, that people including ourselves are more inclined to live up to, not down to, our expectations.
So, next time I hear unspeakably ignorant judgments from those whose expensive education has ill-equipped them for a normal life, I will respond, very serenely, ‘Those are your beliefs based on your experience, which is very different to mine’.
Though the words might come out a bit different.