Diversity Deaths

A reader directs me to an interesting article on the Boeing 737 Max problems, which I’ve written about before. Basically, Boeing wanted to fit larger and better engines onto an old airframe, and they could only do so in a way which changed the aerodynamic characteristics of the aircraft. This isn’t unusual, but with the 737 Max they changed beyond what is normally expected or allowed for a passenger jet:

An airplane approaching an aerodynamic stall cannot, under any circumstances, have a tendency to go further into the stall. This is called “dynamic instability,” and the only airplanes that exhibit that characteristic—fighter jets—are also fitted with ejection seats.

And:

It violated that most ancient of aviation canons and probably violated the certification criteria of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration. But instead of going back to the drawing board and getting the airframe hardware right (more on that below), Boeing relied on something called the “Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System,” or MCAS.

In other words, they kludged it. They chose to use a software fix rather than a hardware redesign for obvious reasons: cost. And we start to get an inkling of what’s gone wrong from there:

The flight management computer is a computer. What that means is that it’s not full of aluminum bits, cables, fuel lines, or all the other accoutrements of aviation. It’s full of lines of code. And that’s where things get dangerous.

Those lines of code were no doubt created by people at the direction of managers. Neither such coders nor their managers are as in touch with the particular culture and mores of the aviation world as much as the people who are down on the factory floor, riveting wings on, designing control yokes, and fitting landing gears. Those people have decades of institutional memory about what has worked in the past and what has not worked. Software people do not.

Hmmmm.

In the old days, the FAA had armies of aviation engineers in its employ. Those FAA employees worked side by side with the airplane manufacturers to determine that an airplane was safe and could be certified as airworthy.

As airplanes became more complex and the gulf between what the FAA could pay and what an aircraft manufacturer could pay grew larger, more and more of those engineers migrated from the public to the private sector. Soon the FAA had no in-house ability to determine if a particular airplane’s design and manufacture were safe. So the FAA said to the airplane manufacturers, “Why don’t you just have your people tell us if your designs are safe?”

Ah.

Thus was born the concept of the “Designated Engineering Representative,” or DER. DERs are people in the employ of the airplane manufacturers, the engine manufacturers, and the software developers who certify to the FAA that it’s all good.

So we’ve gone from the FAA employing people who know what they’re doing and make sure an aircraft is safe to one where…well, we know the pattern by now:

Former President Barack Obama’s administration implemented a plan to “transform” the FAA into “a more diverse and inclusive workplace,” FAA Administrator Michael Huerta announced in May 2013. The decision was backed by administration officials and labor unions.

True, this concerns air traffic controllers but as numerous examples featured on this blog have shown, the primary purpose of many modern organisations, especially those in the public sector, is to provide employment for middle class voting blocs. So the FAA turned itself useless and basically asked Boeing to mark its own homework.

Now this is not quite as sinister a conflict of interest as it sounds. It is in nobody’s interest that airplanes crash. The industry absolutely relies on the public trust, and every crash is an existential threat to the industry. No manufacturer is going to employ DERs that just pencil-whip the paperwork. On the other hand, though, after a long day and after the assurance of some software folks, they might just take their word that things will be okay.

That’s human nature kicking in, and an awful lot of effective management is getting people to work in structures which sometimes run contrary to human nature. Your normal, societal instincts would tell you to take someone you know and trust at their word that something is all right. A proper management system would insist a check is done and verified, ignoring the human relationship between the parties.

So Boeing produced a dynamically unstable airframe, the 737 Max. That is big strike No. 1. Boeing then tried to mask the 737’s dynamic instability with a software system. Big strike No. 2. Finally, the software relied on systems known for their propensity to fail (angle-of-attack indicators) and did not appear to include even rudimentary provisions to cross-check the outputs of the angle-of-attack sensor against other sensors, or even the other angle-of-attack sensor. Big strike No. 3.

None of the above should have passed muster. None of the above should have passed the “OK” pencil of the most junior engineering staff, much less a DER.

That’s not a big strike. That’s a political, social, economic, and technical sin.

I suspect what we’re seeing here is the result of decades of business school managerialism whereby the middle and upper management forget what the company exists to do – return value to shareholders by making planes which don’t crash – and instead believe their raison d’etre is something quite different. As I mentioned in my previous post, Boeing boasts on its corporate webpage that it has more than 40 diversity councils. How many councils does it have checking vital software is properly coded?

I had an interesting discussion with one of my professors yesterday, kicked off by this post on the hippy entrepreneurs who were selling environmentalism. Marketing started off selling products, and then sometime in the 1960s or ’70s switched to selling lifestyles. Now it’s changed again and it’s selling ideology, more often than not political ideology. It’s difficult to see which way the causation runs here, but this change has coincided with major corporations moving from returning value to shareholders by selling goods and services to trying to change mankind. Organisations obsessed with diversity, preaching morality, and endlessly droning on about some utopian future is not a business, it is a semi-religious movement. It’s one thing to say that this is just smart marketing, but are we certain those driving it are, behind the scenes, focusing on delivering a sound product and not wholly caught up in believing their own propaganda campaigns? The people running companies are drawn from the same sections of society and the same schools and universities as the political classes who genuinely believe the ignorant plebs need to be led by the nose to a bright utopian future of diversity, multiculturalism, and earth-worship. At this stage I think it’s rather charitable to think modern corporations are run by hardnosed business people who make a few progressive noises for PR purposes, and not by lunatics steeped in the dogma pumped out by the social science departments of American academia. Perhaps I’m wrong, but I don’t think anyone can dispute the direction of travel.

So our capabilities are dropping away. There was a time when Boeing would have known what systems and processes to put in place to ensure a plane is airworthy, and they’d have employed people with the knowledge, skills, and character to implement them. In parallel, the FAA would have employed competent, experienced people who could be trusted to sign off on an aircraft only if it was safe. But Boeing’s priorities changed along with those of the FAA, reordered to place social justice, inclusion, and diversity at the top as they proceed with their mission to remake the world according to their ideology. And now we have planes dropping out of the sky and killing hundreds of people in accidents due to colossal organisational failings from outfits that are preaching to us about morality.

I’m going to start calling these diversity deaths.

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The lowest house

As many people have said over the past couple of years, all the Democrats need to do to win back the presidency in 2020 is to not be insane. It appears to be proving easier said than done:

A US House of Representatives panel has voted to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for not releasing an unredacted copy of the report on Russian election meddling.

The judiciary committee took the rare step as tensions rose over Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s findings.

Meanwhile, the Senate Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed Donald Trump Jr, one of Mr Trump’s sons, to legally force him to testify. It is the first known legal summons issued to a member of the president’s family in connection with the investigation.

The Democrats placed a large bet on the ridiculous notion that Trump was an agent of Vladimir Putin, and it’s failed to come off. In fact, they probably knew it wasn’t true and the whole Mueller investigation was just the tool with which they hoped something would be dug up which could be used to impeach Trump, but despite his very best efforts, the special counsel came up with nothing of substance. Trump didn’t collude with the Russians to steal the 2016 presidential election, and the instances of obstruction of justice contained in the report consist of Trump shooting his mouth off like he normally does (while not following through) in the absence of any underlying crime.

What the Democrats should have done is put this catastrophe behind them and quickly move on. A large number of ordinary Americans were already weary of the Mueller probe and its hampering effect on Trump’s presidency, and in the wake of the report it’s hard to imagine anyone outside a tiny minority of anti-Trump fanatics have the stomach for another year of this pantomime. Unfortunately, rather a lot of Democrat politicians make up that minority, as do their media mouthpieces, and are determined to flog this dead horse right up until the 2020 election. For them, getting rid of Trump has become such an obsession they’ve forgotten the best way to do it is to not come across as fanatical, vindictive lunatics in the 18 months before an election. I suspect most Americans are severely unimpressed by what they’re seeing here.

The other problem the Democrats have is the likes of terrorist-supporting Ilhan Omar and Palestinian activist Rashida Tlaib are laying into Israel with little attempt to distinguish their criticism from bog-standard, anti-Jew hatred while the party leadership utters not a whisper of condemnation. That you or I may disagree over whether their remarks constitute antisemitism or legitimate criticism doesn’t matter when an awful lot of Democrat-voting American Jews are listening in horror, first at the comments themselves and then at the silence that follows. It is unlikely that these people will switch their allegiance to Republican but it might cause a lot of Jews to stay at home, unable to bring themselves to vote for a party which not only includes antisemites but actively promotes them. The 2020 election is likely to be a close-run thing, and both sides need every vote they can get.

Two and a half years into the Trump administration the Democrats should have a very strong hand, but they’ve dealt themselves a weak one. They’ve now decided to play it very badly.

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Jess Flips

The British police, in the course of acting as street muscle for their wet political masters, beclown themselves further:

Police are looking into remarks by UKIP candidate Carl Benjamin after Labour MP Jess Phillips accused him of malicious communications.

Mr Benjamin, who is standing in the European elections, tweeted that he “wouldn’t even rape” Ms Phillips.

He has refused to apologise for the remark made in 2016, arguing that “any subject can be the subject of a joke.”

I’m not going to defend the remark, but it is three years old. The reason Phillips is blubbering to the police now is because Benjamin is running for political office at the same time her own profile is increasing. Launching police investigations in order to sandbag anti-establishment political campaigns is nothing new, but they were previously confined to tinpot nations. Secondly, when is saying you wouldn’t commit a crime now a crime? Is it all in the context? Because when Count Dankula was found guilty, it was ruled that context doesn’t matter. Not for the first time are the British authorities demonstrating they’re happy to just make things up as they go in order to protect the ruling classes.

Ms Phillips told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme she “cried in the street” after hearing a video by him.

She said that until then she “had been putting a brave face on it and pretending that it was all fine and that I could cope”.

So the remark wasn’t even made to her face. To think, there are credulous fools out there who think this thick, weak, vulgar harridan who conforms to all the stereotypes foreigners have about British women is future prime minister material.

The Birmingham MP has called for people who “promote rape and sexual violence” to have a lifetime ban from running for elected office.

Frankly, I’d rather have an established Ministry of Raping, Pillaging, and Looting* than see citizens banned from running for office because they use unapproved words. Benjamin’s remark was distasteful in the extreme, but what Phillips is proposing here is something straight out of the worst dictatorships.

The MP for Birmingham Yardley told Victoria Derbyshire she did not fear for her physical safety, but worried for her mental health after thousands of messages from Twitter users attacking her in the last year alone.

“Sometimes I would rather someone punch me in the face than the constant degradation you suffer as a woman in the public eye,” she said. “It is constant, it constantly belittles you, it makes you blame yourself.”

It’s not because you’re a woman, it’s because you’re a nasty piece of work.

On Mr Benjamin, she said she could not understand how a person who wrote the comments online was allowed to run to be an MEP.

This itself should disqualify her from public office. When people talk about the decay of political morality in Britain, Carl Benjamin is probably a symptom. Jess Phillips and her ilk are very much the cause.

* We could just rename HMRC, I suppose.

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Pot-au-feu

I’m not surprised by this:

The ex-boss of France Telecom and six other former executives have gone on trial in Paris, accused of moral harassment linked to a spate of suicides among employees.

Didier Lombard and his fellow defendants deny their tough restructuring measures were to blame for the subsequent loss of life.

The company, since renamed Orange, is also on trial for the same offence.

Thirty-five staff took their lives between 2008 and 2009.

Some of them left messages blaming France Telecom and its managers.

At the time, the newly privatised company was in the throes of a major reorganisation. Mr Lombard was trying to cut 22,000 jobs and retrain at least 10,000 workers.

Some employees were transferred away from their families or left behind when offices were moved, or assigned demeaning jobs.

The French management style – or what passes for one – consists of appointing the best students from the grandes écoles to the top management positions regardless of industry experience. While these individuals are undoubtedly very bright, they often lack the emotional intelligence which genuine leaders have in abundance. They set up a top-down command-and-obey organisation in which absolute obedience from subordinates is demanded, or their careers abruptly ended. Promotion and advancement is based on the degree to which an individual has not fallen foul of the boss. It is probably as close to an Asian power model as can be found in Europe.

The problem is the French are not Asians, and the stress this puts on employees is immense. During France’s golden era of industrialisation this probably didn’t matter as the organisations were doing well, but as globalisation is forcing companies to adapt or die, French management has been found wanting time and again. Total, for example, is a company with operations in 131 countries yet retains French as its official working language for the convenience of those in headquarters and to preserve an outdated model of cultural identity. French management, in parallel with their political counterparts who are drawn from the same schools and with whom swapping positions is commonplace (see here again), are proving incapable of doing the job which is assigned to them. Their response is to take it out on the employees.

One might argue that France Telecom needed to lay those workers off, but they might have witnessed a decade of blithering managerial incompetence prior to that decision, making retrenchment a bitter pill to swallow. And if you’ve hung around French companies as long as I have, you’ll know these suicides don’t just happen in times of redundancies; we used to hear the stories filtering down at my last place of work. I also know at least one case where a complaint of harcèlement moral was brought to HR concerning a manager, and their response was to do whatever was necessary to protect the management. I suspect this is commonplace; little wonder French unions still enjoy high membership rates.

I suspect as the large French companies come under increasing competitive pressure from globalisation, the failings of their managerial cadres are going to get more pronounced. Sadly, it will be the ordinary workers who pay the price.

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Master and Apprentice

I don’t see what the problem is here, frankly:

Turkey’s electoral body has been condemned for ordering Istanbul’s local elections to be re-held after an opposition victory in March.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AK Party had claimed there were “irregularities and corruption” behind the opposition CHP’s slim win.

But CHP’s Ekrem Imamoglu, who was confirmed as Istanbul’s mayor in April, called the decision “treacherous”.

The vote, which will be held on 23 June, has sparked protests in the city.

Maybe the good citizens of Istanbul didn’t really know what they were voting for? Or perhaps the election was merely advisory? Maybe people were lied to (was there a bus involved)? As Erdogan says, there were “irregularities” and now everyone is better informed, isn’t it only right they go back for another vote “just to be sure”? After all, it’s a big decision and people have a right to change their mind. That’s what democracy is all about, isn’t it?

The European Parliament also said the decision to re-run the election would end the credibility of democratic elections in Turkey.

The EU has always encouraged Turkey to catch up with the rest of Europe. Maybe this is what they’re doing?

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Division

A couple of years ago I wrote a post which began as follows:

Pope Francis was greeted by crowds of hundreds of thousands as he made saints of two shepherd children at the Fatima shrine complex in Portugal.

Shepherd children?

It is 100 years since the two – and a third child – reported seeing the Virgin Mary while tending sheep.

The traditional skepticism of adults listening to tales of what children saw must have been set aside that day.

Two of the children – Jacinta and Francisco Marto – have been canonised for the miracles attributed to them. They died in the 1918-1919 European influenza pandemic.

I’m way outside my area of expertise here, but I thought saints had to perform miracles, not merely have visions.

The so-called three secrets of Fatima were written down by their cousin, Lucia dos Santos, who died in 2005 aged 97.

So we’re going off a secondhand account of what two kids say they saw?

They are prophecies written down by Lucia, years after the apparitions that the three said they had witnessed.

This is not helping.

This isn’t the only case like it. Reader Michael van der Riet emails me with the story of Bernadette Soubirous:

Soubirous was a sickly child and possibly due to this only measured 4 ft.7in. tall. She contracted cholera as a toddler and suffered severe asthma for the rest of her life.

Soubirous learned very little French, only studying French in school after age 13 due to being frequently ill and a poor learner. She could read and write very little due to her frequent illness.

So not the sharpest tool in the shed, then.

On 11 February 1858, Soubirous, then aged 14, was out gathering firewood with her sister Toinette and a friend near the grotto of Massabielle (Tuta de Massavielha) when she experienced her first vision. While the other girls crossed the little stream in front of the grotto and walked on, Soubirous stayed behind, looking for a place to cross where she wouldn’t get her stockings wet. She finally sat down to take her shoes off in order to cross the water and was lowering her stocking when she heard the sound of rushing wind, but nothing moved. A wild rose in a natural niche in the grotto, however, did move. From the niche, or rather the dark alcove behind it, “came a dazzling light, and a white figure”. This was the first of 18 visions of what she referred to as aquero (pronounced [aˈk(e)ɾɔ]), GasconOccitan for “that”. In later testimony, she called it “a small young lady” (uo petito damizelo). Her sister and her friend stated that they had seen nothing.

On 14 February, after Sunday Mass, Soubirous, with her sister Marie and some other girls, returned to the grotto. Soubirous knelt down immediately, saying she saw the apparition again and falling into a trance.[citation needed] When one of the girls threw holy water at the niche and another threw a rock from above that shattered on the ground, the apparition disappeared. On her next visit, 18 February, Soubirous said that “the vision” asked her to return to the grotto every day for a fortnight.

I expect many religions have children – always simple children and in many instances those who, if born in the modern era, would take the short bus to school – who claimed to experience visions and were venerated by adults and later sanctified by the prevailing holy order. I write about this now because:

According to her mother Malena Ernman (48), 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg can see CO2 with the naked eye. She writes that in the book ‘Scenes from the heart. Our life for the climate’, which she wrote with her family.
Greta was diagnosed as a child with obsessive-compulsive disorder and Asperger’s syndrome, just like her younger sister Beata. The activist also has a photographic memory. She knows all the capitals by heart and can list all the chemical elements of the periodic table within one minute. In addition, she has another gift according to her mother. “Greta is able to see what other people cannot see,” writes Malena Ernman in the book. “She can see carbon dioxide with the naked eye. She sees how it flows out of chimneys and changes the atmosphere in a landfill.”

I’ve said many times that environmentalism has replaced Christianity in the post-religious developed world. With its high priests, disciples, holy scriptures, heretics, and prophecies of doom it’s all there. Now it has its oddball children with holy visions. How long before it has its first saint?

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Sums of a Preacher Man

Yesterday I went to a startup hub – basically a building where budding entrepreneurs pay low rent to work and hang out – to watch about eight presentations by people looking for investment. Each entrepreneur had 6 minutes to make their pitch and a further 4 to answer questions, so it was a bit like Dragon’s Den only instead of multi-millionaire dragons they had a gaggle of students, professors, mates, and folk who came along for the free craft beer.

The first thing I noticed was out of the 70-odd people there, only two were in a suit and tie: me and one of my professors. The rest looked to have come from an office job where they don’t meet outsiders, or straight from the pub downstairs. Those pitching for investment – from between 100k-300k euros, so not trivial sums – dressed as though that’s where they were headed immediately afterwards. I watched a lot of episodes of Dragon’s Den, and one of the things which drove Peter Jones nuts was people wandering out in jeans and a t-shirt and asking him for a million quid. I raised this afterwards with a couple of people and was told young people just don’t dress up like that any more. Which I am sure is true, but do the young people get any investors to part with their cash? Last night they didn’t appear to have anyone reaching for their wallets, even to pay for drinks.

Their disheveled looks probably weren’t the main problem, though. That would be their general business sense and their ideas of how to make money. It took me two pitches to spot the problem. Climate change, environmentalism, and sustainability nowadays seemingly infests every area of business life, and nobody seems capable of shutting up about it. If someone is trying to sell you coffee, they speak for ten seconds about the quality of the coffee and for ten minutes on how much they care for the environment. Decades of incessant brainwashing has worked well, and environmentalism truly is the new religion. There are a couple of problems with this, however. Firstly, it assumes that their entire customer base consists of the western middle-classes who are rich and woke enough to run around fretting about a dolphin they saw on TV offshore Bora Bora with a biro stuck up its nostril. While the number of customers eagerly checking the fine print on the back of the packet to make sure there were no orangutans killed in the making of this particular batch of organic, freshly-squeezed kumquat juice is undoubtedly growing, most people still just want a cheap product that works and doesn’t contain arsenic. And there is a big difference between not wanting to turn pristine nature into Norilsk and worrying about whether a product’s carbon footprint is a little too large. Most customers are in the former category, whereas the latter are a wealthy niche.

Secondly, it assumes environmentalism is an end it itself, and not just another trade off between competing resources. Remember this post I wrote about reusable carrier bags, where I referenced a Danish study which showed they were worse for the environment that single-use bags? As I said at the time, very few people, particularly the dim middle classes who campaign for environmental legislation, understand that recycling is an industrial process like any other only with different inputs. So a lot of these business ideas I heard yesterday took an existing process:

Production  – Use – Landfill or Incineration

and turned it into:

Production – Use – Recycle – Production

And assumed that simply because it’s being recycled it must by definition be good for the environment. But this is only true if the resources consumed during the recycling are less than those consumed making the stuff using fresh inputs, and that the pollution generated during recycling is less than using a landfill or an incinerator. Otherwise, by definition, they’re making things worse. Did I see any such calculation and comparison? Did I hell. No, the assumption was that recycling must always by definition be better for the environment.

Several of the business ideas involved a recycling process which involved driving around collecting tens of thousands of objects, transporting them back to what can only be described as a large industrial facility guzzling power, water, and other raw materials. The objects are then processed using chemicals and a sizeable amount of human capital, with each person having to somehow get to work everyday. Nobody seemed to have understood the impact this will have on the environmental calculation, let alone the economics of the whole thing. It was just presented as “Recycling! Sustainable! Yay!”

So what we were dealing with wasn’t businessmen but ideologues. It looked more like a hippy commune than a startup incubator. At half-time a chap came on stage and said the world is headed for catastrophe if we don’t stop using resources at the current rate, because we’ll simply run out. That basic economics would tell us otherwise went unmentioned, as did the old trope that the stone age didn’t end because we ran out of stone. He said their task was to persuade everyone “we need to change our lives and our behaviours”, which sounded a lot more like the basis of an evangelical religion than a business. Maybe that explains the frequent appeal for angel investors? He then said the plan was to approach big business and persuade them of this need to change, and to embrace environmentalism and sustainability. At this point I wondered where he’d been living the past fifteen years. Since I have been working, big business has fully embraced environmentalism and sustainability, that’s all they go on about. They have whole departments devoted to haranguing their employees to turn off the lights, reduce emissions, cut down on waste, and spend millions on PR showing everyone how green they are. What does this chap think he’s going to find in a major corporation, top-hatted men opening oil wells into rivers for just for fun?

And that’s the problem. These lot were supposed to be startups promoting new business ideas, but instead they were selling old political ideology. The product was environmentalism, their business just the vehicle it was riding on. It probably wouldn’t surprise you that I later learned this startup hub received a chunk of its funding from the government. In other words, it’s another lefty middle class racket. Did I mention my wallet stayed in my pocket all evening?

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Who’s the new girl?

A reader alerts me to the existence of a listed company called Regeneration Rethought – U+I. Aside from having a name which makes ChangeUK The Independent Group sound catchy, we learn they are:

a property developer and investor focused on regeneration.

with:

a £9.5 billion+ portfolio of complex, mixed-use, community focused regeneration projects including a £145.7 million investment portfolio in the London City Region, Manchester and Dublin.

So they’re a multi-billion dollar property development outfit. Okay, fair enough. On 3rd April 2019, they appointed a new non-executive director, Professor Sadie Morgan. Here’s what the press release said:

The role will oversee delivery of U+I’s commitments to community engagement in PPP projects, as well as also oversee the establishment of a workforce advisory panel, in accordance with new governance regulations, to support employee engagement and membership of an internal design panel – all intended to reinforce U+I’s commitments to talent, creativity and community.

Ah, so this company is big into PPP – public-private partnerships – whereby the government gets capital expenditure off its books by signing dubious long-term contracts with favoured companies to provide government services.

Prof. Morgan is a founding director of dRMM Architects and Stirling prize winner. And she is Professor of professional practice at Westminster University. She chairs the Independent Design Panel for High Speed 2, reporting directly to the Secretary of State, and is one of ten commissioners for the National Infrastructure Commission. Prof. Morgan is also one of the Mayor’s Design Advocates for the Greater London Authority.

Ah yes, High Speed 2, that shining example of slick project execution and sound financial stewardship. And how handy that someone so close to government decision-makers in the fields of property development and planning should find themselves on the board of a large private property developer! So what will Prof. Morgan bring to the table in return for her undoubtedly hefty pay packet, aside from a direct line to the decision-makers in local government?

“I am delighted to be taking on this ground-breaking role. I was brought up in a co-operative community in Kent that had been set up by my grandfather, and so I grew up with a real sense of inclusion, purpose, community and responsibility. This appointment allows me to help U+I turn those beliefs and commitments into action involving what will, I am sure, be major schemes of huge importance to the communities involved.”

Paragraphs of leaden, jargon-filled corporate-speak which reads as though it were churned out by an algorithm created by someone who grew up in locked shed with a nothing but a pile of local government newsletters for entertainment. But it’s not all bad news: we don’t need to worry ourselves about human trafficking or slavery:

U+I believes that the detection and reporting of slavery and human trafficking is the responsibility of all employees. During the year all employees were required to undertake specific training with regards to Anti-Slavery and Human Trafficking. In addition, all new employees are required to complete this training as part of their induction process. Should any employee have a suspicion of slavery or human trafficking in any part of the business or supply chain they are encouraged to raise this at the earliest opportunity.

Why do I get the impression this is more serving the interests of those giving the training than anyone being enslaved or trafficked?

We are committed to ensuring that human trafficking and slavery play no part in any activities carried out by U+I or our supply chain.

That’s a relief, but why use slaves anyway when you have taxpayers?

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ScumOfUs

Yesterday I received yet another email (I get a lot of them these days) from one of the thousands of hard-left political campaign groups masquerading as a charity:

International consumer watchdog SumOfUs has filed a shareholder resolution proposing that Mastercard establish a committee on human rights, to address the threat posed by far-right extremists.

The resolution highlights that extremists like Tommy Robinson and known far-right hate groups use Mastercard, but none of the company’s existing board committees have responsibility for overseeing human rights issues. Shareholders argue that this leaves the company exposed to risk on human rights.

One would have thought a consumer watchdog looked out for the interests of consumers rather than attempt to silence political figures by forcing companies to withdraw services from them, but then Oxfam was supposed to help hungry people not organise gang-bangs with destitute teenagers in Haiti.

Eoin Dubsky, Campaign Manager at SumOfUs, said: “We know that Mastercard currently accepts credit card payments to several dangerous hate groups and extremists like Tommy Robinson. This proves that its executives cannot currently manage the human rights risks associated with the business.

“We were alarmed when the corporation mounted a legal challenge against our resolution. It would have done better to put the time and resources spent on fighting our proposal into addressing legitimate concerns that its consumers, employees and shareholders have about human rights. 

“As we’ve seen to such devastating effect in recent months, gone unchecked, hate speech has terrible consequences for innocent people. We look to all corporations to play their part in ensuring their services and products aren’t used to sow the seeds of discrimination, hatred and violence. It is essential that companies like Mastercard have the policies and processes in place to deal effectively with hate speech and human rights abuses.”

Under the guise of protecting human rights, this outfit wants to remove essential services from anyone who disagrees with their hard-left political viewpoint. Now Mastercard is one of the most woke corporations out there and, if the internet is to be believed, behind the deplatforming of several wrongthinkers from Patreon and PayPal. That they have swatted away the demands of this particular group of nutters suggests even they might be wondering where this is all heading. If Mastercard were to start withdrawing services from existing customers because of their political views, they might suddenly find 30,000 people maxing out their cards and refusing to pay their bills in an act of “political protest”. That’s going to be a bigger problem than a few edgelords complaining they’ve been kicked off PayPal.

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Law of rule

Britain is a country whose ruling classes believe barbaric jihadis who fought for ISIS should be rehabilitated back into society. They also believe people should be prosecuted for burning cardboard models of buildings in their back yards and videoing it:

A man accused of filming and posting a “grossly offensive” video of a burning Grenfell Tower effigy on WhatsApp has appeared in court to deny the offence.

Paul Bussetti also pleaded not guilty to causing footage of a “menacing character” to be uploaded on YouTube.

Mr Bussetti, 46, of South Norwood, London, has been charged under the Communications Act 2003 and appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court .

The video was shot at a bonfire party in south-east London.

The rule of law is rapidly slipping away in Britain. Sure there are lots of laws, but their application is wholly arbitrary and they’re written in such a way that something either is or isn’t a crime depending on what those in charge feel like.

When this lot are finally turfed out of office, I hope at least some of them are handed down lengthy prison sentences under laws they helped pass. I don’t even care if it’s done out of pure spite. What, exactly, will be the difference between then and now?

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