The consecration of the Grenfell Tower

When future historians look back on the collapse of Britain, they may devote an entire section to the Grenfell Tower. It started as a human disaster born of poor cladding, bad regulations, unaccountable management, and an obsession with green initiatives but quickly became a quasi-religious symbol erected atop a hill on which the ruling classes are prepared to die.

Most of the country thought it was a crying shame then moved on, but many believed it symbolised the utter corruption of British politicians who encouraged mass immigration, hosed foreigners with welfare payments, and ignored wholesale fraud. These feelings were reinforced when professional hustlers, many of whom appeared to be foreign, took up the disaster as a stick with which to beat the government, demanding yet more concessions. On top of that, the charred remains became the focus of possibly the most brazen acts of fraud in British history. For instance:

So as many saw the Grenfell Tower as a symbol of the government’s worst policies, the ruling classes realised their most cherished beliefs – mass immigration, generous welfare payments, and multiculturalism – were under attack. Their reaction was as predictable as the fraud: they attempted to shut down all dissent. The trouble is, while it’s possible to place people in protected classes and criminalise any criticism of their behaviour, it is rather more difficult to do so in the case of an incident like a fire. I can think of many cases of a person being off-limits for mockery and derision; I can think of several objects which must not be disrespected in various parts of the world; I can also think of several government policies and actions which may not be discussed, let alone criticised. But I cannot think of a single instance anywhere in the world when something like a domestic fire was elevated to the status of a holy relic, placed beyond criticism on pain of criminal prosecution. Yet this is what the British ruling classes have done:

In short, the day before thousands of Brits burn an effigy of a Catholic man in celebration of his trying to blow up the Houses of Parliament, someone made a cardboard replica of the Grenfell Tower complete with people hanging out of windows and chucked it on a fire. They then made a video which was passed around on social media. It’s in rather poor taste I admit, but hardly something to concern the police in a country populated by adults. And were this to have been something else, say an effigy of Jacob-Rees Mogg or a bus full of Brexiteers, they’d not have batted an eyelid. But the Grenfell Tower has become a holy relic, and blasphemy is a matter of national importance:

Theresa May tweeted: “To disrespect those who lost their lives at Grenfell Tower, as well as their families and loved ones, is utterly unacceptable.”

Unacceptable to whom? The sensibilities of the ruling classes, who know their entire catalogue of cherished beliefs is represented by that cardboard model?

Housing Secretary James Brokenshire said the group’s actions were “beneath contempt”.

Was there anyone who held them in esteem?

Commander Stuart Cundy, from the Met’s Grenfell Tower investigation team, said any offences committed would be “fully investigated”.

“I am frankly appalled by the callous nature of the video posted online. To mock that disaster in such a crude way is vile,” he said.

I suspect Commander Stuart Cundy cares as much about the Grenfell Tower victims as his comrades in Rotherham did about the underage girls who were systematically gang-raped with their full knowledge. All he’s doing here is signalling to his masters he’s on-message, and smoothing the waters for when he’s confronted by the mob at the next public meeting. Whatever the case, his personal opinions are irrelevant: if he wants to talk about his feelings, he is free to sign up to Instagram and befriend some teenagers.

Now I’ve written before about how Britain has adopted the Soviet approach of “show me the man and I’ll show you the crime”, and sure enough:

Five men have been arrested on suspicion of a public order offence in connection with a model of Grenfell Tower being burned on a bonfire.

The Metropolitan Police said the men – two aged 49 and the others aged 19, 46 and 55 – handed themselves in at a south London station on Monday night.

A public order offence?

The men have been arrested under section 4a of the Public Order Act 1986, which covers intentional “harassment, alarm or distress” caused via the use of “threatening, abusive or insulting” words or signs.

If this legislation can be used to prosecute those who circulate a video mocking an incident which happened over a year ago, it can be used to shut down speech of any kind. The only reason it’s being brought to bear now, as opposed to when everyone else is insulted, mocked, and derided in appallingly bad taste, is because the Grenfell Tower is a holy relic in the religion of the ruling class. And right on cue, here’s a high priest who’s come to preach to us about sin, blasphemy, and holy punishment:

Moyra Samuels, part of the Justice For Grenfell campaign group, told the BBC the video was “a disgusting attack on vulnerable people”.

She added: “We have no doubt that there are actually decent, generous people across Britain and this actual act doesn’t represent ordinary British people.

“But there is a worrying rise of racism in this country at the moment. And that is concerning, because it’s now starting to impact on us directly, which means that we actually need to be thinking what we do about this, and how we respond to this as a whole.”

Were we asked to sign up to this new religion, or were we simply born into it like with Islam? ‘Cos I’d rather not have to listen to this imbecile lecture me on racism every time someone does something her priestly caste doesn’t like.

Under the Public Order Act, racially or religiously aggravated offences carry a prison sentence of up to two years, a fine or both.

Religiously aggravated, eh? See what I mean?

I think future historians will find this interesting not only because it signifies abject desperation on the part of the ruling classes, but also their departure from reality. I get the impression a lot of people are rather incensed that the entire country is supposed to be in perpetual mourning because, apparently, something was upsetting for Londoners. But just as nobody outside Liverpool cares much about Hillsborough, few outside Aberdeen or who aren’t in the oil industry are still traumatised by Piper Alpha, and hardly anyone remembers the Bradford stadium fire, Grenfell Tower isn’t something which non-Londoners care about that much. They certainly don’t expect the incident to occupy the national government to the point they’re reinstating blasphemy laws. Was this video even made in London? Had the fire happened in a tower block in Newcastle, you can be sure the police wouldn’t be running around arresting people over videos and the Prime Minister blubbering on Twitter.

As they lose their grip on power, the ruling classes cannot see beyond the capital, and attempt to appease only the noisiest mob outside the palace gates. They’re not alone in this, either in historical or contemporary terms, but it won’t end well. The trouble with those who start new religions is they often end up burned at the stake, usually when they’ve overestimated their numbers and begun to annoy everyone else.

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The French and Brexit

The other day I read a story in The Sun, which was repeated in The Express, saying French President Emmanuel Macron was threatening to blockade the port of Calais once Britain leaves the EU. I was going to write something in response but found no evidence in either article that Macron had said any such thing: it was merely speculation by some remainer politicians ramping up project fear.

It was nonsense, of course:

French officials have rejected suggestions they could resort to a “go-slow” policy at the port of Calais if there is no Brexit deal.

The UK’s Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab warned on Thursday of major disruption in a “worse case scenario”, which might force firms to use other ports.

But Xavier Bertrand, president of the Hauts-de-France region, said ensuring “fluidity” of trade was essential.

Another official said closing Calais would be an “economic suicide mission”.

As most of my readers know, I’ve been living in France since before the Brexit vote. Here’s the aggregate view of the French from where I’m standing: we don’t care. Now some might think the decision was stupid, but the French are no strangers to making silly decisions in what they perceive to be their national interest, and so can perfectly understand why a majority might have voted to leave. They also share the view of many mainland Europeans that Britain’s heart was never really in the EU project, they were always moaning and asking for opt-outs, and so perhaps they’re better off leaving. The subject of Brexit rarely even comes up; unsurprisingly, the French have other things to concern them.

So even if French politicians decided to punish Britain for leaving by causing chaos at the ports, this would be unpopular with ordinary Frenchmen who already take an exceptionally dim view of Macron. The French might burn a lorry load of British sheep on the motorway or illegally ban imports of British beef in order to protect their own industries, but they don’t hate the British to the point they want them punished over Brexit, let alone ports blocked which would hurt them as much as us.

Last weekend I met a bunch of Frenchmen to play some music, all of them over fifty. During the break the subject turned to politics, and they expressed their dissatisfaction with the ruling classes in France and Europe generally. I understand the younger generation have grown up brainwashed on EU propaganda, but rather than resenting Britain, I think a lot of French and other Europeans have more in common with Brexiteers than we think. Not that you’d know this listening to politicians or the media: their view of Europe comes from people of exactly the same privileged social class as them, only sitting in a different capital city. That they’re seriously suggesting the French are going to blockade Calais shows how little they know about the countries they’re fighting to maintain their partnership with.

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All Mouth, No Trousers

I’ve written before about the Republicans and Obamacare:

If we are to believe the words that come out of their mouths, the Establishment Republicans were vehemently opposed to Obamacare and longed for the day they could repeal it. But if that were the case, they would have spent the necessary time and effort to come up with a viable alternative and presented that to the public loudly and often during those five or six years that they were in opposition and Obamacare was in force. Only they didn’t: for all their talk in the election about repealing Obamacare, when it came to the job of actually coming up with an alternative, they didn’t have a clue.

I suspect the Establishment Republicans are terrified at having to come up with a genuine alternative because it will involve hard work and taking on the enormously powerful vested interests that make providing healthcare in America almost impossible.

I compared the above with the Tories’ dithering over Brexit, but 18 months on the comparison is even more apt. Here’s an article in The Telegraph:

Every weekend it’s the same. Theresa May is on the brink. Tory Brexiteers are poised to strike. They’re just two letters away from a vote of no confidence. The end is only days away. Mrs May is doomed.

And then… nothing happens.

Every weekend. Every single weekend. Honestly. The Prime Minister’s backbench critics like to call her “weak”. Perhaps they could tell us: what word should we use to describe people who endlessly declare they’re about to depose her, but never go through with it?

A few weeks ago, Boris Johnson looked poised to launch a leadership bid, depose the hapless May, and sit down with the EU for some serious negotiations on Brexit. Instead, as the article says, nothing happened. The contribution to Brexit of Jacob Rees-Mogg, the man in whom many placed their highest hopes, is to moan about things on Twitter. Even his biggest fans are unable to contain their disappointment:

If Johnson, David Davis, Rees-Mogg, and all the others wanted to be taken seriously they would have drawn up a document of what they would present to the EU, publish it, and be on every television show and in every newspaper talking about it non-stop. That would give people something to vote for, instead of holding out hope over some vague rumours that one of them is going to grow some balls and usurp Theresa May. Hell, the backbenchers should have been doing this since the morning after the vote. What else were they doing? They’re no different from Paul Ryan’s Republicans, moaning incessantly about Obamacare but when asked to present their alternative, they don’t even want to try.

This is a colossal failure on the part of the Conservative party, who deserve to be consigned to the dustbin of history. It’s also a colossal failure of the Labour party, who should have capitalised on this long ago instead of playing teenage Trots with the magic grandpa. But I suppose if there were any serious leaders in either the Conservatives or Labour, Theresa May would never have become Prime Minister and we’d not be in this mess in the first place. It’s hard to imagine a time when the political landscape was so bereft of anyone with an ounce of competence or leadership skills. I suppose we ought to be fortunate that, with a few exceptions, the EU members states are in much the same boat.

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Special Farce

Given the modern British military is mainly an excuse to employ lots of middle class people in the MoD and do a bit of PR, they may as well do this:

Women will be able to apply for any British military role for the first time, the defence secretary has said.

Gavin Williamson announced that all combat roles were now open to women, including serving in special forces units such as the SAS.

He said for the first time the “armed forces will be determined by ability alone and not gender”.

A ban on women serving in close combat units in the British military was lifted in 2016.

As of now, women already serving in the Army are able to apply for the Royal Marines and the infantry. That will open the door for them to join special forces units such as the SAS after the necessary training.

Mr Williamson told BBC News: “We very much expect women to be joining the SAS and the Special Boat Service.

“The value that they’ll bring, the impact they’ll make will be phenomenal and all the services are looking forward to welcoming them.”

Williamson sounds like a bright-eyed head-office spokesman informing staff of a merger which everyone on the factory floor knows will be a disaster and cost half of them their jobs. What value will women bring to the SAS, exactly? What tasks are the SBS struggling to execute with their traditional, all-male teams?

Now this blog is fortunate enough to have ex-seaman Jason Lynch as a commenter, who often weighs in on the topic of women in the military. In the past he has said that, in damage repair drills, women can prove their worth by doing tasks which require small, nimble people rather than big, strapping lads. He also said women have been involved in actual damage repair operations and performed adequately. I have no doubt this is true, and I am not against women serving in military units if they can add overall value.

However, I am certain that for women to serve in the SAS, SBS, or even the Royal Marines physical standards will have to be lowered to the point of worthlessness. We’ve seen how these things go: first they say standards will not be lowered, then there are  complaints that no women are passing, then the instructors are told to cheat to allow women to pass, then the standards are abandoned altogether. I walk the Brecon Beacons along the SAS and SBS selection routes back in my early twenties when a few of my friends in the RMR were training for R-Troop (they passed). The difference was they were loaded down with monster bergens and I trotted along with a day-sack. I am also pretty good friends with this chap, who recreates SAS selection marches for civilians to test their mettle. The loads each man carries and the pace they move at is obscene: a common complaint among my friends was that 21 and 23 SAS only required 4km per hour, whereas R-Troop stuck with the regular SBS and 22 SAS pace of 5km per hour. Over the Brecon Beacons this is a blistering pace, and I knew blokes who practically ran the whole route. I was exhausted after a day’s hike with these guys, and I was carrying no weight and only did it for one day in good weather. I couldn’t even get my friend’s bergen on my back, and when someone helped me I found I couldn’t move. During selection, my friends were doing these hill routes day after day.

Unsurprisingly, some men picked up injuries, mostly knees and ankles but also backs. When my friends joined the regular forces and got a few years under their belt, a few of them tried out for regular Special Force selection (including the Royal Marines’ Mountain Leader’s course). The general advice was, if you fail the first one, you have to think very carefully about having another go because of the pounding your body takes. I know at least one guy who was talked out of going for SF selection because it would wreck his already suspect body, and he was a fit lad in his mid twenties.

The rest of the UK special forces selection process which follows “the hills” phase is also brutal: “officer’s week” and “the trees” (i.e. the jungle) are particularly appalling if my friends’ anecdotes are accurate. However, I don’t know whether these would present any great obstacle to women or not. What I am absolutely sure of is if women attempt the current SAS and SBS selection routes in the Elan Valley and Brecon Beacons they will pick up serious injuries at a rate which will later be considered criminally negligent. The course already extracts an awful toll on men at their peak fitness: about 10% pass the whole thing. I suspect the first time a woman attempts it she’ll fail so miserably the units will come under enormous pressure to get her through, which eventually they’ll succumb to.

The good news is once the last British jihadist in Syria is shot and we finally withdraw completely from Afghanistan, we’ll not be sending troops overseas any more, at least not for anything important we can’t leave to the Yanks. Give it another decade and our armed forces will be best known for mincing around a medical tent in a third-world disaster zone along with a bunch of Norwegians, Belgians, and Latvians in green clothes. That being so, why not let women serve in the SAS? After all, Williamson got one thing right:

the impact they’ll make will be phenomenal

Indeed.

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Racism spotted, close all airspace

This story is causing a lot of handwringing:

A Ryanair passenger who racially abused an elderly woman sitting next to him on a plane may “get away with it”, a shadow transport minister said.

The man was filmed calling the 77 year-old victim an “ugly black bastard” and shouting “don’t talk to me in a foreign language you stupid ugly cow”.

The video pretty much captures what happened. If a crime was committed, why can they not prosecute?

Labour MP Karl Turner, a qualified barrister who was once Labour’s shadow attorney general, said Ryanair had ”failed spectacularly”.

“Ryanair failure to deplane the alleged racist offender, handing him over to the Spanish authorities probably means that he isn’t now prosecuted.

Would the Spanish have been interested in prosecuting a British man for racially abusing a fellow passenger? Is that even a crime in Spain?

“Suspect the pressure to turn this aircraft around quickly and get it airborne meant that they have allowed this alleged offender to remain on the aircraft,” said Mr Turner. ”He may now get away with it.”

Apparently racially abusing someone is now a crime so heinous aircraft should be grounded while the police are called to investigate. Never mind the inconvenience to the rest of the passengers and the knock-on effect on other flights coming in and out of Barcelona.

Now the man in the video is likely a pr*ck of the highest order and if he said stuff like this without serious provocation, he needs a good thrashing. But the situation is a little more complicated than the media is letting on. Ryanair had an opportunity to call the Spanish police to say a passenger is being unruly, but what would they have said? One passenger is yelling at another? Unless he’s presenting a security threat, I’m not sure the Spaniards would have been interested. Better for them to let the plane depart taking these assh*le Brits with them. So they couldn’t have got him arrested for security offences in Barcelona even if they’d wanted to, and now everyone’s complaining he’s not been arrested for racism. But it happened in Spain, and:

“Unfortunately because Ryanair is registered in Dublin not in the UK the alleged offence could only be tried by UK authorities if it was ‘in flight’ to the UK. Section 92(1) Civil Aviation Act s.92(4) defines ‘in flight’.

“If this incident had have happened on an alternative airline under ‘British Control’ or it was already ‘in flight’ to the UK the prosecuting authorities could have prosecuted.”

So the outrage is really that the rest of the world isn’t as interested in prosecuting Brits for being racist as the British police are.

Essex Police said they believed the incident had taken place at Barcelona Airport.

“Essex Police takes prejudice-based crime seriously and we want all incidents to be reported,” a spokeswoman said.

“We are working closely with Ryanair and the Spanish authorities on the investigation.”

The sole justification for the involvement of Essex Police is that the plane landed in Stansted. But when racism is the issue, the entire world apparently comes under their jurisdiction. I suspect the authorities in Barcelona didn’t even answer the phone when they called.

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Mum’s Army

We recently learned teenage cannon-fodder taking selfies with Tommy Robinson at a motorway service station is beyond the pale according to the Army top brass, who wheeled out an Imam to scold everyone.

According to this paper (pdf), which is published by a Major Tim Towler in a branch of the military calling itself The Centre for Army Leadership, what is needed in the British Army is – you guessed it – more feminism:

Last year the Army was in the Times newspaper’s Top 50 Employers for Women and won a Workplace Gender Equality Award from Business in the Community.

Who knew the Army was eligible for Business in the Community awards?

And yet, a few weeks ago, I had an eye-opening, embarrassing, and worrying discussion on the challenges still being faced by women in the Army. Eye-opening, as I was not aware how unpleasant and discriminatory we can be; embarrassing, as I had naively hoped that our Army might be better; and, worrying, as we have a long way to go. The final remark, ‘there’s not much we can do’, irritated me, and spurred me to write this Insight. I felt ashamed, and I wholeheartedly disagreed.

I’m unsure of this chap’s regiment, so I’m going to go with the Royal Army Handwringing Corps.

One example of this opportunity is shared parental leave which was introduced in the UK in April 2015. Sadly, Morrissey highlights that ‘just 3,000 couples took shared leave in the first three months of 2016, compared with 155,000 mothers taking old-style maternity leave (and 52,000 fathers opting for shorter paternity leave)’. Men and women both want to play an active role in their children’s lives, but is taking parental leave for a few months seen as consistent with having a great career? How many women’s careers currently suffer from taking maternity leave? As leaders we can change this. But this goes beyond just career progression. UK childcare is the most expensive in the world.

When you have Army officers parroting The Guardian over maternity pay, we can safely assume the Army’s not what it was.

In 2010 Helena Morrissey founded The 30% Club, a UK business initiative aimed at achieving better gender-balanced company boards. Its goal was to reach 30% women on UK company boards. Ambitious noting that in 2008, ‘fewer than 12% of the directors at the UK’s top 100 listed companies were women.’ At the start, they struggled, acknowledging ‘that leaving those in the diverse or under-represented groups in charge of solving the problem of their own underrepresentation is an impossible task.’ They needed to ‘involve men with the ability to change things’.

What’s this got to do with the Army?

Noting that women make up 9.2% of our Army (and only 6.4% of the General Staff), men need to step forward.

I’ve noticed that, of the men who are always saying we need more women in senior positions, none are prepared to resign from their own posts to hand them the opportunity they deserve. What are you waiting for, major?

It is in our interest: greater diversity of thought, increased collaboration, greater personal and professional flexibility, and the encouragement to attain a better system that will enable us all to succeed both in and out of work.

Just don’t get caught taking selfies with Tommy Robinson. We don’t want that kind of diversity of thought.

The biggest short-term effect we can all have is through challenging everyday sexism.

Okay, that’s enough for today, I think. As I’m fond of saying, it’s quite obvious that the purpose of the modern British military is to further the socio-political aims of demented progressives. It sure as hell isn’t to fight and win wars or defend the nation against foreign aggression. If this paper is any guide, they might as well turn the Army over to the sociology department at the nearest poly.

And this amused:

The views expressed in Leadership Insights are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official thinking of the British Army or the Ministry of Defence.

No? Somehow I don’t think they’d publish an article which said feminism is the biggest threat to the British Army since the Third Reich.

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Supreme Courts 2, Political Activists 0

This is good news:

A Belfast bakery run by evangelical Christians was not obliged to make a cake emblazoned with the message “support gay marriage”, the supreme court has ruled, overturning a £500 damages award imposed on it.

Ashers had refused to produce the cake, featuring the Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie, in 2014 for Gareth Lee, who supports the campaign to legalise same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland. He wanted to take it to a private function marking International Day Against Homophobia.

Crucially the judgement, which was unanimous, was based on the fact that the baker wasn’t discriminating against Lee for being gay, but objected to the message being put on the cake:

“It is deeply humiliating, and an affront to human dignity, to deny someone a service because of that person’s race, gender, disability, sexual orientation or any of the other protected personal characteristics,” Hale said in the judgment.

“But that is not what happened in this case and it does the project of equal treatment no favours to seek to extend it beyond its proper scope.”

Freedom of expression, as guaranteed by article 10 of the European convention on human rights, includes the right “not to express an opinion which one does not hold”, Hale added. “This court has held that nobody should be forced to have or express a political opinion in which he does not believe,” she said.

“The bakers could not refuse to supply their goods to Mr Lee because he was a gay man or supported gay marriage, but that is quite different from obliging them to supply a cake iced with a message with which they profoundly disagreed.”

Quite so, and it was on this issue of compelled speech which the United States Supreme Court ruled in favour of the Colorado baker back in June. It is good to see the right to freedom of expression upheld by the highest courts on both sides of the Atlantic.

After the ruling, Lee said: “I’m very confused about what this actually means.

It means you cannot demand that a business or service provider promotes political messages with which they fundamentally disagree, even if you’re gay.

We need certainty when you go to a business.

Yeah? Try getting a delivery date from a sofa company.

I’m concerned that this has implications for myself and for every single person.

Indeed it does. It means everyone must now be fully aware business owners cannot be forced to express opinions via their work with which they do not agree. If this concerns you, perhaps take a look at your own behaviour.

The original decision to turn down his order had left him feeling like a “second-class citizen”, he said.

A little bit like how I feel whenever I try to open a bank account or buy a bed. But making people feel bad isn’t illegal.

Lee said he would be considering his options, which could involve appealing to the European court of human rights in Strasbourg.

So who’s paying for this? Ah:

Michael Wardlow, the head of the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, said it had spent £250,000 supporting Lee’s appeal. It will now have to pay costs.

The British taxpayer, that’s who’s paying. Little wonder Lee has pursued this with enthusiasm; if he was paying £250 an hour for lawyers from his own pocket he would probably have just gone to a different bakery.

He said: “We are very disappointed. This judgment leaves a lack of clarity in equality law. Our understanding of certainty of the law has been overturned.

On the contrary, it has provided some much-needed clarity. That your taxpayer-funded, government department decided it had won the culture wars, and erroneously though people could be forced by law into saying things they didn’t want to, is a consequence of your own arrogance.

The supreme court seems to see this as something that should be done on a case-by-case basis.

And you seem incapable of reading a judgement.

A spokesperson for the gay rights organisation Stonewall said: “This is a backward step for equality which needs to be urgently addressed. The decision that Ashers bakery were not discriminatory in the so-called ‘gay cake’ row is very concerning for anyone who cares about equality.”

But very uplifting for anyone who cares about liberty. Now I don’t like Peter Tatchell much, not least because he seems keen to force LGBQT madness on Russians, but he’s spot on here:

But the human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, said: “This verdict is a victory for freedom of expression. As well as meaning that Ashers cannot be legally forced to aid the promotion of same-sex marriage, it also means that gay bakers cannot be compelled by law to decorate cakes with anti-gay marriage slogans.

“Although I profoundly disagree with Ashers’ opposition to marriage equality, in a free society neither they nor anyone else should be forced to facilitate a political idea that they oppose. The ruling does not permit anyone to discriminate against LGBT people. Such discrimination rightly remains unlawful.”

Indeed.

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It’s Tommy this, and Tommy that

I’ve written before on here (1, 2, 3) about how western militaries no longer serve the purpose they’re thought to, and are instead merely vehicles with which to enact deranged progressive fantasies. Today, the Daily Mail brings us this story:

The Army is investigating after far-right activist Tommy Robinson posted a photograph of himself surrounded by soldiers.

The former English Defence League (EDL) leader, 35, shared a picture of himself posing with a group of grinning young men in camouflage fatigues.

He also posted a video of himself on Monday with a crowd of Army personnel-believed to be at the Watford Gap motorway services on the M1 – who started cheering and shouting his name.

Firstly, it’s amusing that all the papers ran this story without having a clue who the soldiers were. Not so long ago papers would have employed people who could recognise units by their headdress and insignia, but now they just run the story and ask any reader who knows who they are to get in touch pronto. For all I can tell, these young lads might be Army Cadets which would make the investigation rather amusing.

Secondly, there is a reason why soldiers may like Tommy Robinson in a way the chattering middle classes and secret barristers don’t. He is working class, patriotic, and appears to have the best interests of Britain’s native-born, working class population at heart. In other words, a lot of soldiers can relate to him. Ten or twenty years ago, a young Tommy Robinson would have been the exact profile recruiting sergeants would have been looking for to fill the ranks of the infantry. Nowadays, however:

The Army said it is aware of the photograph and footage and is ‘investigating the circumstances surrounding this’.

A spokeswoman said: ‘Far right ideology is completely at odds with the values and ethos of the Armed Forces.

Is posing for photos with Tommy Robinson at Watford Gap services evidence of having a far right ideology? It doesn’t matter: what is important is soldiers have been caught being friendly with someone the ruling class has deemed a wrongthinker, and this is unacceptable.

The Armed Forces have robust measures in place to ensure those exhibiting extremist views are neither tolerated nor permitted to serve.

And what, pray tell, constitutes “extremist views” in today’s modern army? Wanting to kill the nation’s enemies? So if patriotic, white working class soldiers are deemed problematic, who does the army prefer? Ah:

Imam Asim Hafiz, Islamic religious advisor to the Armed Forces, said that ‘any form of racism, discrimination or extremism is taken extremely seriously and will be dealt with accordingly’.

I find it highly amusing that an Imam is in the national press dictating what opinions British soldiers may hold.

‘The Armed Forces remain absolutely committed to welcoming individuals from across all faiths and cultures into its ranks,’ he added.

Unless they happen to be from a similar culture as Tommy Robinson, evidently. Give it a few months and there’ll be headlines complaining the Army can’t recruit enough soldiers.

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Learning to Share

Via Tim Worstall, this article in which the following complaint is made by a Wetherspoons barmaid:

When you earn less than £9 an hour, it’s impossible to afford a place of your own in Brighton, where I live. How can people like me live our best lives if we’re splitting bills with five flatmates and arguing over the shared bathroom?

When I was a student, it was absolutely normal to share a house with other people if you weren’t living in halls. The idea someone could afford to live on their own was literally unheard of, even among the poshos who came from money. In fact, at that age you don’t want to live on your own because it’s boring.

Similarly, it was normal for young professionals to share a house with one or two other people in a similar situation, which was a big step up from a shared student house. The place was usually nicer, people had to get up in the morning so didn’t play music until 3am, and a fire in the kitchen was no longer a laugh. People shared mainly because they couldn’t afford to rent on their own but also, again, it’s a bit boring living on your own at that age. I knew nobody who lived on their own when they took their first job, and bear in mind I’m talking about graduate engineers here. I was the exception when I briefly rented a place on my own in Liverpool which turned out to be a complete dump, so I high-tailed it back to my girlfriend’s house in Manchester which she shared with four other girls (there was one bathroom). If I remember correctly, my oldest brother shared a house in Slough when he was attempting to qualify as an accountant, and my other brother shared with his mate from back home for a few years. For people of my generation, they only started thinking of living on their own between 25-30 years of age when they either bought their first place or got into a serious relationship and they didn’t want their Friday night smooching on the sofa ruined by a housemate sitting on the armchair with his hands down his tracksuit bottoms. Quite a few people I know only stopped housesharing with friends when they moved in with a serious partner.

But in 2018 we have a barmaid who is almost certainly under 25 believing she is entitled to live on her own because, well, she wants to. Leaving aside the obvious suggestion that sharing is bad for her because she makes a rotten housemate, there is probably something deeper to all this, which I may have got a whiff of way back in 1996. The halls I stayed in during my first year at Manchester (Owens Park, as it happens; weirdos were put in Allen Hall) were fully catered, and it quickly became clear how each student had lived before starting university. I came from a boarding school and found the food to be two orders of magnitude improved from what I was used to: it was hot, there was a choice, it was actually cooked (instead of steam-heated) and there was plenty of it. Nobody who’d been to boarding school had a problem with the food at Owens Park, nor did most of the blokes. But there were a few people, mostly girls but boys as well, who weren’t used to eating collectively, even as a family. Having watched the behaviour of contemporary children, I can imagine these individuals whining and complaining they didn’t like this, that, and the other to the point they had their mother prepare their own special meal on demand for much of their childhoood. Little wonder they didn’t like canteen food when they turned up at Owens Park; I suspect the reason they didn’t go self-catered is because they didn’t know a saucepan from a rolling pin.

What this suggests to me is the university intake in 1996 came from families more wealthy than previous generations. I can’t believe too many people of my father’s generation would turn their nose up at Owens Park food, nor of anyone born much before 1975. Families would have eaten together, the menu would have been what the budget allowed for, and there would have been no choice. Mothers simply didn’t have the option to let their precious little snowflake push beef around the plate while scowling before caving in to demands for chicken nuggets and ice cream.

Similarly, most children of earlier generations would have been used to sharing a bedroom and living in a crowded house without much furniture or other comforts. I was lucky in that I had my own room for most of my teens, but the reason we had a big house was because it was plonked in the middle of a mass of fields in the extreme corner of west Wales. For many young men and women, the transition from a crowded terraced house full of kids and a tiny toilet to a shared student house would have been a big step up in terms of living conditions. Contributing to the housework would have been normal for these people since the age of 10 (not me, I was bone idle), and sharing bathrooms as normal as going to bed at night in the same room as one or two younger siblings.

However, those who are born between 1990 and 2000, as is probably the case with the Wetherspoons barmaid, have mostly grown up in what previous generations would have thought relative luxury. Almost all will have had their own bedroom, some their own bathroom, and the house will have been warm, comfortable, quiet, full of food, and with the Sky package on the 42″ TV paid for by someone else. Going from this to a shared house where slugs parade through the kitchen each night, the bathroom sink is permanently blocked, and everyone must pay for the heating is going to be a step down, without question. But moreover, anyone who’s grown up in a big house with one or two children is going to be less accustomed to communal living than someone who had three or four siblings and lived in a terrace. Add to that the sense of entitlement of a medieval lord and an overall unpleasant character, and it’s hardly surprising that some people can’t handle sharing a house. It’s another example of how a rather large number of today’s young adults seem utterly ill-equipped to deal with the world as it is. I blame state education and the parents.

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