Sunday 5 May 2019

How I discovered Fascism

The 1960s were all about 'THE WAR'.  All our parents had been 'In The War', and our teachers, and uncles, and grandparents. And they never stopped telling us about it.

The 'Toy Spitfire Generation'

Which was all very puzzling to an eleven-year-old, just beginning to try to make sense of the world. I was told  that The War was a very bad thing indeed, but also a very glorious thing indeed. The Good People (that's us) had been attacked by the Bad People with their Bad Army, but we had fought them off with our Good Army and won. We had won because we are the Good People, and they are the Bad People, fated by nature to be Bad forever. Which sort of made sense.

Or rather, it made sense until I discovered that some of Our People supported the Bad Army and the Bad People. Which did not make sense
British Union of Fascists, "Rally for Peace", London 1939

So I went to Horwich library and tried to find out what had happened, which led me to Oswald Mosley and the British Union of Fascists.

Sir Oswald Ernald Mosley, 6th Baronet, of Ancoats, (1896–1980), sometime Tory, sometime Labour, sometime European Unionist, founded what became the 'British Party' in 1932, inspired by the Italian fascist ideals of Benito Mussolini. He got the fascists some 60,000 members, half the size of today's Conservative Party, and the vociferous support of leading newspapers and intellectuals. What on earth did he have to say to inspire so many to Go Wrong? It must have been powerful and ingenious stuff. We are, after all the clever and intelligent people, not like the stupid 'Them', his arguments must have been brilliant. So I got out his speeches and read them.

Which is where it got even more puzzling. Mosley's speeches - and there are a lot, lot, lot of them - tend to go like this:
"We count it a privilege to live in an age when England demands that great things shall be done, a privilege to be of this generation which learns to say, 'What can we give?', rather than, 'What can we take?' For thus our generation learns there are greater things than slothful ease, greater things than safety, and more terrible things than death.
This shall be the epic generation which scales again the the heights of time and history to see once more the immortal lights -- the lights of sacrifice and high endeavour summoning through ordeal the soul of humanity to the sublime and the eternal. The alternatives of our age are heroism or oblivion. There are no lesser paths in the history of great nations. Can we, therefore, doubt which path to choose?..." (24 March 1935, Albert Hall)
And so they go on, and on. What does this mean? How do you tease 'this is what we are going to do' out of this stuff? It doesn't mean anything at all, does it? Just a load of glorious sounding phrases with words like 'privileged' and 'sacrifice' and 'endeavour' vaguely strung together into sentences.

Only now have I come to realise that this is how the politics of Right work. They don't, for the most part, need to actually promise anything at all. It's like what the psychologist Paul Meehl called the "Barnum effect" - statements which look powerful and personal, but are so vague and general that people can read what they want into them. You can 'dog-whistle-hint' at your preferred ideas, of course, but the ruse of promising absolutely nothing means you get your 'marks' to invent their own politic, which, of course, they heartily agree with.

There are always people whose lives are not going as well as they might have hoped, so you start by telling them how decent and noble they are. Then go on to sympathise with their struggle, how faithful and decent they've been. But, above all, give them the chance to blame their misfortunes on someone else, so give them an enemy.

Choosing the right enemy is critical. Pick an enemy they don't know, so you can decide what is bad about them. And it mustn't be anyone or anything which might 'come round' to your side, because then followers might waste their time proselytising, or even meet the enemy and see humane matches of themselves there. Then you'd have no enemy, and you'd be screwed. So foreigners and homosexuals are a popular choice, or vague out-groups, or distant barely-understood organisations, or even invented chimera - devils, ghosts or witches. Imaginary enemies work better.

The Jews, of course, are a popular choice of enemy. That Austrian bloke actually said (it's in Mein Kampf) that "In the Jew I still saw only a man.. I was against the idea that he should be attacked because he had a different faith" but then again, we need to give the people "one common enemy against whom they have to fight... intensifies their belief in the justice of their own cause" because "The masses are not in a position to discern where the enemy's fault ends and where our own begins". Trouble is, of course, you have to carry thorough, and we know where that ends.

So, if you want to control people, to get them to laud you, praise you, follow you and (let's be honest) give you money, I'll let you have this one for free. You just need to pop your preferred enemy into the 'them' spaces and you'll be well on the way to leading the chants at your mass rallies and making the trains run on time. Any guesses where I got it?
We are a patient and long-suffering people. But we have been too generous, too open, too honest for too long.
Our country is in serious trouble. And you don't need to look far to see where the problem lies. Life for many of our long-suffering people is hard. Prices have risen, jobs are hard to find. Funny that certain people and assorted hangers-on always seem to do all right for themselves? This must change.
The globalist political class, and international corporations, have been working hand in glove to stifle the free speech of those who dare to disagree. But they cannot silence us any more. We are the only people in this world who truly respect freedom. The fake 'freedom' they talk about is just another word for doing what you're told to do. We won't fall for that.  Do we feel sorry for the ‘bad’ way they say they've been treated? No. Because we know how they lie, cheat and push this silly, false, made-up story of victimhood. We are, and always have been, the peacemakers. The real intimidation and threats of violence come from others. They invented political terrorism. Even when you tell their supporters the truth, they can't understand it. They don't have the capacity to understand real truth.
We are unique in the world in our commitment to peace, despite all their efforts. We are not a warlike people, the world knows that. But when we are forced into war, we can fight like no others, and they should know that too.

Saturday 22 September 2018

Respect for GREAT Britain

If you are a European you will probably be puzzled as to why the British are so very much better than you. Listen to the collected words of today's leading British statesmen and you'll learn ...


Britain is not like other countries (1). Britain has always treated Europe with respect. It is time Europe showed the same respect for Britain (23). Britain is the one country which has forever kept alight the torch of Freedom (2). Britain has always supported, sustained and preserved Europe (3), but its neighbour has offered little other than hate in return, so that, sadly, now it is time for Britain to abandon the vast pantomime horse (16) that is the European Union to its fate. We must show them them that we are not their slaves.(38)

First, know that Britain is a proven friend of Europe, and anyone who suggest otherwise needs only to study history (4). Real history, not those versions of the past designed to belittle Britain (10). Most of Europe's States have shameful histories, but Britain is the only country with no need to apologise for its past (5). It is the oldest, most stable, most successful country on earth (6).

How is it that a small island, an oasis in the desert of the earth, became the true leader of the entire world (7) ?

The British are the inheritors of the great philosophical tradition of empiricism. It holds that all knowledge must be based on solid facts. Europeans have followed lesser philosophers like Hegel, Kant and Plato into believing that ideas matter more than experience. The British place value on honesty, decency, accuracy and care for community, unlike the Europeans who are much less worried by rule-breaking. (8) Even the Chinese are sufficiently cultivated as to look with admiration upon the superior intelligence and moral excellence of the English (9)

The English not only gave Europe its democracy, but the English remain the only true democrats in the world, the only nation of men who are really capable of governing themselves (9). Britain has no common political culture with Europe, no common sense of humour or awareness of each other’s politics, so 'democracy' with Europe is impossible (16). Britain’s history has showed the world what a free people can achieve when they are allowed to govern themselves (10).

What has England achieved? We have suffered a lot, through jolly little wars against barbarous peoples (34) with their strong aboriginal propensity to kill (34) yet our pure stock has always triumphed and we built an Empire like no other. That was the glorious work which God seems to have laid on the English race - to protect the earth and subdue it (11). British rule has been the purest in intention, and the most beneficent ever known to mankind (12) The British Empire has been the greatest instrument for good that the world has ever seen (13), the widest system of organised human freedom which has ever existed in all history (14). We gave these sullen people "half devil and half child (15) " the benefit of our law, railways, roads, health care and education, so that, in due time, they came to understand for themselves the value of freedom. If, having chosen that freedom, they are nowadays defined by violence, racism and division, the fault, as our Foreign Minister has said, is not that we were once in charge, but that we are not in charge any more (16).

Europe has little to offer by comparison, a conglomeration of petty and unimportant lands (is 'Slovenia' a real place? Is Belgium a real country? (17) ) As our Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain famously taught us, why should we care about far-away nations like the Czechs, filled with people of whom we know nothing (18)? Look at the only vaguely worthwhile European country - France - and see instantly that the English are a much greater people than these – more like one of the chosen people of history, appointed to do a great work for all mankind (19).

Why are The English the best breed in the world? The absence of a too enervating climate, too unclouded skies, and a too luxurious nature has rendered us so superior. (20) It has made us the greatest governing race the world has ever seen, so proud, tenacious, self-confident and determined, the race which neither climate nor change can degenerate, which will infallibly be the predominant force of future history and universal civilization. (21)

England has given Europe everything she has. It was England, alone and unaided, who stood up to the Germans in the 1940s, while the French, Belgians, Dutch and all the other petty powers meekly surrendered to the Nazis. England saved Europe from the Kaiser in the 1900s, from the ludicrous little Corsican corporal in the 1800s and from Russian expansionism. Even now Europe needs the UK as the bulwark of its defence, the rest of the Europe are non-starters in military terms (22). The only other army in Europe is the Nazi Vichy of France (16). No European country has contributed more to the security of the continent than we have, sacrificing some 2 million lives in the past century (3).

What has Europe given us in return? Instead of thanks, instead of respect (23), Europe has flooded us with low-grade people (24), Spaniards, Greeks, Italians, Romanians - who would want to live next door to them (17) ? Many are of low intelligence and little education so that even our very human stock is threatened with degeneration (25). Europeans have brought ruin to our education system and our hospitals.

We must remind Europe that its little protectionist racket (26) is barely fifty years old and has not yet learned that Government is servant, and not master, of the people (25). When England was induced to join in 1972 it was on the promise of an 'equal partnership'. But it has proved far from equal. No country pays more money in - nor gets less out (4) Consider European institutions - Britain has been 'granted' just three, and Europe has kept thirty-nine for itself. Three to thirty-nine, is that equality? Britain has offered to share import quotas 50:50 with Europe, but even that offer of equality has been rejected. Britain has become a mere vassal state of the New Germany, a humiliated rules-taker (16 ) in a Soviet-style prison (27). Being forced to come to agreements with foreigners demeans all the traditions of British identity (10)

Worse, we are not a free-trading nation any more. The easy success and prosperity which Europe has brought has made British companies fat and lazy (7) more fond of the golf-course than of working hard. We need to toughen-up. Outside Europe, Britain holds all the cards (10) because, simply, Europe needs Britain but we don't need them. Getting out can be quick and easy (5), we can have a far better deal with Europe than we have now (32), one of the most easily arranged deals in all human history (7), something done in an afternoon (32).

Free from European blackmail (22) the British people can have their own passports (28), we can tell Europe to 'go whistle' (4) for the money they are trying to steal from us. We can deal freely with the entire world (24), become a truly global player, with world-beating economic competitiveness and broad horizons (29). We can take back control of our fair share of Europe's art and wine (30). As we enter our new age of greatness (31), there is no 'down side' to leaving Europe, only a huge 'upside' (4). Europe always looks to Britain, we can shape Europe from outside (37)

Europe is the past, a backward-looking project (13), it is, after all, just the project of the Nazis (32). Europe is merely the latest empire to threaten our shores, and like all the others, it will fail. (33) And fail it must. The European Union needs to be wholly torn down, it is an obstacle to world peace and is incompatible with a free society (34). Any British person who supports Europe and the European ideal is a traitor to his nation and deserves death (35)

In the end, Europe is weak, and Britain is strong (36). If it means war, so be it. Britain is accustomed to win wars (5)

(I did not write this little essay by myself. It has been constructed entirely out of recent statements by today's mainstream British political leaders including Theresa May (Prime Minister), David Davis (Brexit Secretary), John Redwood, Michael Gove (Justice Minister), Penny Mordaunt, Edward Leigh, Boris Johnson (Foreign Minister), Nigel Farage and Gerard Batten (leaders of the UK in the European Parliament), Liam Fox (Trade Minister), Jeremy Hunt (Foreign Secretary), Jacob Rees Mogg (Trade Minister), Iain Duncan Smith (Work and Pensions Minister), Sir Gerald Howarth (Minister for International Security), Andrea Jenkyns MP, Sir Keith Joseph, Steve Baker, David Campbell Bannerman, and leading commentators like Peter Osborne and Simon Heffer, previous Prime Ministers including Winston Churchill and Neville Chamberlain, plus earlier politicians including Lord Curzon, Jan Smuts, John Stuart Mill, Charles Adderley and Joseph Chamberlain. And some historians and poets including Thomas Williams, Charles Kingsley, Rudyard Kipling and the man behind educating most leading British politicians, Thomas Arnold)

1 David Davis, Brexit Secretary, 2016/17
2 Winston Churchill MP, Prime Minister
3 Sir Gerald Howarth, Minister for International Security Strategy
4 David Davis, MP 2017/18
5 John Redwood, MP 2017/18
6 Penny Mordaunt MP, 2018
7 Liam Fox, MP, Trade Secretary, 2017
8 Peter Osborne, the Daily Telegraph, 2017
9 Thomas Williams, 19th Century historian, from his "The Present Geographical Movement And Future Geographical Distribution Of The Race Of Men", much used in British schools
10 Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Justice 2016/17
11 Charles Kingsley, early 20th Century author and historian
12 John Stuart Mill, 19th Century Philosopher, author of 'On Liberty', still a standard textbook in British politics
13 Lord Curzon, Foreign Secretary, 1904
14 Jan Smuts Prime Minister of South Africa 1948
15 Rudyard Kipling 1865-1936 'England's Poet', Nobel laureate
16 Boris Johnson MP, Foreign Secretary, 2018
17 Nigel Farage, leader of the UK in the European Parliament
18 Neville Chamberlain, Prime Minister 1937-1940
19 1839, Thomas Arnold, educationalist, pioneer of the 'Public School' principles which have educated almost all UK prime-ministers
20 Charles Adderley, 1st Baron Norton, MP, President of the Board of Trade, c1815
21 Joseph Chamberlain, MP, Cabinet Minister
22 Jacob Rees Mogg, 2018
23 Theresa May MP, Prime Minister 2018
24 Iain Duncan Smith, MP, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
25 Sir Keith Joseph, MP, 1977
26 Daniel Kawczynski, MP
27 Jeremy Hunt MP, Foreign Secretary
28 Andrew Rosindell, MP
29 Dominic Raab MP, Brexit Minister
30 Edward Leigh MP
31 Andrea Jenkyns MP
32 Gerard Batten MEP, UK leader in the European Parliament 2018
33 2016
34 Steve Baker MP, Brexit Minister, 2010/2017
35 David Campbell Bannerman MEP, 24/7/2018
36 Simon Heffer, English historian. Daily Telegraph 1/7/18
37 Rory Stewart MP, 2019
38 Ann Widdecombe MEP 2019

Saturday 30 June 2018

How the NHS does treatments for nothing...

Me, or at least someone very like me,  in 1974

Dear American friends,

You keep asking me how the British National Health Service works. Well, it probably isn't what you think...

If you live in a country like the USA where you - or your insurance company - pays for health treatments, you'll know that each treatment comes with a price, and that price is high. In the UK there is no cost for treatments. Which sounds impossible - surely good health care is expensive and someone has to pay? So how do we Brits manage to get health care that's drastically better for half the cost? Let me explain...

I worked for years as an, albeit very junior, nurse in the British NHS. I've also, more recently, been (1) very successfully treated by the NHS for lung and colorectal cancer, and (2) been involved in management-level funding and economics, so I hope I can help explain how we pull of the magical trick of top-class health care for not much money.

The British public don't pay for health treatments, they pay for a health service. That is, they, all together, for about £1600.00 per person per year, through taxes, collectively pay for some hospital buildings, and some gardeners, and some surgeons, and nurses, and electricians and pharmacists and everything you need to run a health system. Once they're in place, those experts are all left to provide health services as they think best. They're audited, of course, to check they're doing things right, but, ultimately, every health manager, every General Practitioner, every surgeon and every midwife is free to act as they think best.

And, left to use their own skills in their own way, and patients free to go to the health professional they think best seems to work rather well. Nobody is going to get paid more by doing unnecessary stuff, and nobody needs bother about 'entitlement'.

We don't pay for health treatments, we pay for a health service

I remember while working in Accident and Emergency (that's ER to you) I treated a patient - an American visitor - who really was supposed to pay for treatment, and was happy to pay. But the department didn't have either any system for calculating how much the treatment cost, or any system for billing the 'customer', or any system for collecting the money, or for a system to pursue them if they didn't pay. So they didn't get billed. Which, surprisingly, is good thing. Because the cost of all the accountants and insurers and well-paid wotnots to do that billing and pursuing and deciding who must pay actually costs more than the health care.

Amazingly, it is vastly cheaper to just treat everyone, without limit, for anything, than it is to run a system of complicated checking into who's entitled to what. That's all. And this is the result...

On the other hand, the USA system does have the advantage, at least in some eyes, of (1) making lots of money for the rich , and (2) killing niggers, so, I suppose that's some sort of win-win for some bits of America.

Sunday 18 June 2017

New Deal for Europe

Over the past few years I've been studying how human's brains make decisions for them. And what have I found out? Well, I've come to the rather depressing conclusion that, even if love does conquer all in the end, it is hate which makes us sit up, take notice and go out with sharpened pichforks to actually do stuff.

I was staring around wondering how to put my new-found theory to the test, when, suddenly, along came Brexit. There it was laid out in front of me - the power of pure hate and the Harmsworth Principle directed, not at a person or group, but, ingeniously, at an institution. An institution which won't sue for defamation and about which the devotees know nothing, so of which the would-be commander-of-men can say or claim any absolute made-up crap they like.

Flushed with an inflated sense of my own ingenuity, I wrote out this plan for what I expect to happen to the UK and the EU. Now, a year on, I think it is time to make it public and see whether I really do know how brains make decisions...

THE BRITISH PEOPLE did not vote last week to leave the EU. They voted to leave an imaginary version of the EU invented by a small coterie of profit-hungry men. A bit like the day when the BBC accidentally interviewed the wrong guy called Guy.

The EU is not something external which 'we' joined forty odd years ago. It is the cumulation and assemblage of seven hundred years of European trade and interchange at least since the Treaty of Windsor in 1373. Leaving, at least without fundamental restructuring over decades, is not possible.

The continuous uneventful success of EU membership in a world of media devoted to conflict has mean that the EU rarely makes headlines, so few UK voters understand what it is or does, making easy prey for those who would manipulate them for fear of an imagined 'enemy'. They voted to leave an EU of unelected bureaucrats who cost us a fortune and force ruinous laws on long-suffering Britain. But you can't leave that, because it doesn't exist.

As Nikita Khrushchev (possibly) said, "If the people believe there’s an imaginary river out there, you don’t tell them there’s no river. You build an imaginary bridge over the imaginary river." How?

This is how I expect it to play out...

There are only three ways - by argument, by authority or by demonstration.

Argument and facts aren't going to work on Leavers. Opinions not based on facts will not be corrected by facts.

An appeal from authority by way of an honest and open admission of error would work. But all experience is that the Blonde Beasts are unencumbered by remorse. They aren't going to apologise.

So, it is going to have to be an ostensive demonstration. People will have to discover for themselves what life on a lone island is like. They will 'come round'.

It should be understood that it is generally impossible to get people to openly admit a change of opinion once entrenched. But it IS possible to provide a corrective opinion, if it is presented as completely new, not a revision, in different words.

It will be necessary to set up an 'Exit Commission'. It should be led by the leading Brexit enthusiasts, absolutely irrespective of their competence. Indeed, as it necessarily follows that the most ardent 'exiters' must be the worst informed and laziest thinkers, they must be put in charge of their own.

The pretence must be absolute. All HMG parties will have to present a very vigorous 'leave' agenda. Any suggestion of compromise will be treated as betrayal by the Right and will give them an excuse to stand back from any responsibility for the consequences, it will stoke the fires of division and dissent on both sides. The Leave agenda must be promoted to the point where almost everyone actually believes it to be inevitable. It would be wise if leading Ministers refrain from promising 'Leave', but use less specific language along the lines of 'the British people have spoken' 'we expect success' 'Brexit is it' etc.

There is good evidence that simply bringing-up ideas they oppose actually strengthens false beliefs .'. discussion of the EU and the method of leaving must be kept to a minimum. Confusion and complexity will abound. The focus must always be on the intended outcome.

UKIP are an enmity party, they have no interest in leaving the EU. If UKIP were really interested in leaving the EU they'd be helping put together plans, bringing forward their economists, accountants, engineers and lawyers and working hard to help make it happen. But, they won't. They'll just carry on doing what they do - complaining. There are always people dissatisfied with their lot, and those who can offer someone to blame will always get followers. In a sense UKIP were clever to pick the EU as an enemy - pretty much none of their followers know what it is or does, so any set of lies can be told to build up the hate. But with the object of their hate gone they have nothing and will collapse - unless, of course, they discover a new set of people to hate. Jews and Muslims - watch out.

Although this plan risks becoming a self-defeating prophecy if the sham is revealed, it might be necessary to outline the broad principle to, for instance, major industrialists who might otherwise choose a self-protective route which would have severe negative impact on the economy. Highest degree of cooperation / confidentiality needed.

It is possible that press etc. may note the lack of plans for new customs facilities, extra civil servants, new research institutes and inspectors and suspect that there is no intention to Leave. It may be necessary to (vaguely) propose some such plans.

Those who have been persuaded to vote Leave have largely believed that they are voting for a  protectionist, almost Juche, 'keep foreigners out' society, whereas the 'donkeys' running Brexit - UHNW's like Rotheremere, Desmond, Odey, Mercer, Hargreaves, Mellon etc. - want the exact opposite, laissez-faire libertarianism. The two are irreconcilable.

It should be remembered that for its promoters Brexit presents both a 'carrot' of potentially vast profit from forex and market instability and a 'stick' in an actual existential threat from the EU's egalitarian tendency and its closing-in on tax avoidance and corporate greed. They will not give up easily.

Nonetheless, the 'decision' was made by the voters, who vastly outnumber the donkeys, whose correction will be final and who must be offered a congenial way out.

The easily-manipulated terror of outsiders, among people with little experience, has caused the problem. Note that, irrespective of the actual level of migration, even during long periods of 0 net inward migration, about 65% of UK voters always believe there are too many immigrants. Actual immigration is well established as making no difference whatever to that opinion. Explaining the value of free movement the absolute necessity of migrant labour or altering actual immigration levels is .'. pointless, instead, it is necessary to alter the view of immigration control.

Some in the UK seem to think the EU is a sort of government, as if Britain were the Parish Council and if it could just throw off the County Council then all would be lovely in the village.
But the EU isn't a government. It is where the countries of Europe meet to agree the rules necessary for the good running of our continent. They're all fiercely independent and proud of their sovereignty, so they're damn well never going to let any central authority tell them what to do.

So, 'The EU' can't 'negotiate' in the sense of "we'll do this, if you do that". All 'it' can do is reiterate the rules. To change the rules needs the full agreement of every EU country, which is why EU agreements take so long, and why even the most vehement 'leaver' can't find any fault with them.
If an autarkic UK wants different rules, it'll have to answer the question; "what's in it for Slovakia?"

During the 'debate' phase, the following will become apparent:
  • 1. No real negotiation is possible. In any case the UK cannot put forward any meaningful proposals as it has no advantage of substance to offer. The Ministers likely to be involved in exit negotiations will lack skills, they will, by definition, be people who do not understand what the EU is or how trade works. I'll repeat; the EU is not a government, nor a sovereign body nor a body corporate - it is a body of agreed rules, which will not and cannot be changed to accommodate just one errant nation. Ministers will be unable to publicly promise anything as they are likely to look foolish when their demands fail. It is vastly too complex.
  • 2. By absenting itself from European decision making, the UK loses influence over the laws which will govern its trade, not only with the Mainland, but substantially worldwide and will have no choice but to acquiesce to a European Parliament to which it has not shown goodwill.
  • 3. For Free Trade, the EU will require the UK give up its independent control of migration. The EEA/Liechtenstein option requires completely open borders and acquiescence to EU rules, it is opposed to both the 'Juche' & 'Libertarian' demands.
  • 4. The cost of Brexit in human and financial terms, is vast and will begin to hit pockets. There may be a quick response caused by £ falling, but the worst effects will take some time to be apparent to ordinary voters

A change in 'Animal Spirits' will occur. 2½ years? Mid-2019? It will have to be a matter for the judgment of the PM when to initiate a corrective referendum. I would suggest that when public opinion reaches about 70:30 pro-EU would suffice. To wait for 90:10 would take three or four years and could, by then, have caused considerable damage.

Bringing about the correction will need great care. It would help if it were to appear to be  
1: (reluctantly) forced on the UK, possibly by a motion of the EU Parliament, or, more likely, because alteration to nature of the Irish border per the the 1998 Agreement or the CTA would (s19A of the Irish Constitution) require a referendum in Ireland. It would seem odd to UK if RoI had a vote on UK/EU, but UK didn't.
2: Not a re-run of the referendum, but a proper, entirely separate, vote on the next step.
3: Without any option to return to the status of the UK pre-referendum. Though it might present a 'new dispensation'.

The relationship between the UK and Ireland will be central.

It has been commonly, and falsely, assumed, even by enthusiasts for the EU that membership means that the UK has no control of its borders. This is not the case. The borders of the UK and RoI are jointly preserved, separately from the Mainland, through the Common Travel Agreement CTA), confirmed by international agreement in the Treaty of Amsterdam.

A revised and formalised CTA, preferably ratified by the EU Parliament, and described as something like 'The Complete Control of Borders Act' can be made central to presenting 'a completely new dispensation in Europe' where the UK is 'with' the EU but 'now' has - at last! - complete control of its own borders. This is likely to satisfy most Leave voters.

It is essential that the New Dispensation is offered in new words. Voters will be told that there is NO option to remain in the EU on present terms, and that the options - put in full on the ballot paper - are along the lines of:
  1. British Have-it-All Option: UK to be with the the EU for social, commercial and educational purposes, BUT now with absolute UK veto over all EU security matters and a full part in all EU lawmaking. UK entirely separate from mainland free-travel area, a new Anglo-Irish Travel Treaty gives the UK and Ireland independent control of their borders. 
  2. Lichtenstein Option: UK not part of the EU, but will accept all existing and all future EU law, but with no veto and no say in the making of them. There will be free trade and full cooperation. The UK will join the Schengen Area - unrestricted free movement.
  3.  Juche Option: UK to adopt all EU laws into UK law with the option to change them later. The UK government will control all trade, there will be absolute border controls, import and export duties. Government permission will be required to enter, leave or remain in the UK. Hard RoI border

Options (2) and (3) are not attractive. Although option (1) will appear to the less informed voter to be the demanded self-control, the more informed voter will note that it is 'remain' in every detail, apart from a (long overdue anyway) revised and formalised CTA.

It is extremely unlikely that many 'Leave' enthusiast will observe that the 'new' dispensation is precisely the same one we had all along, because pointing that out is admitting that they had lied. Those that do are likely to refuse to vote on the grounds that a confirmatory vote is 'betrayal'.

Option (1) will win, allowing even the most ardent leavers to claim:
  • Look how clever we are! We've finally left the EU of free-and-open borders and got back complete control of our borders. But we've still got all the advantages of the EU.
  • "That's what we wanted all along. I haven't changed my opinion. This has always been what we needed.. a new deal for Britain … this was the only way to do it".
  • "There - we've solved it! We can pretend to stay in the EU to keep the silly 'remainers' quiet, but we're out really, with control of our own borders at last"

The happy result of all this could be be the end of any idea of British Exceptionalism and the destruction of the silly right as a political force.

The phrase 'Empire on which the sun never sets' was first coined of the Spanish Empire. Countries of Europe, from Greece to Portugal, Germany, Macedonia, France and Italy have each had their day in the sun when they believed they ruled the world. One by one they've discovered that they don't, and have settled back to a sounder, simpler and more honest life. Britain, at last, can join them.

Look what happens if you describe precisely what existing membership of the EU means, but do so in 'new deal', nationalistic, terms...

Sunday 5 February 2017

The Science of Value

'Value', it strikes me, is one of the most important things worth trying to understand. How can it be that this thing, or this action, is judged by humans to be worth more than, or less than, or the same as, that other thing? Make sense of that, any I'll make sense of much about how the world works,

This, I suppose, is the study they call 'economics', and I'd like to understand it. I'd like to understand it for the same reason I like to understand other things - so that I'll end up with a sort-of model in my head which lets me predict what's going to happen next. That way life will have fewer mistakes, more safety and greater comfort. I'll get more out for less in.

But I'm reluctant to go to Economists for the answers - I'm afraid they've demonstrated rather too often that they're pretty incompetent at prediction.

So, just as I've tried to do for the science of human understanding broadly called 'philosophy' I'll have a go at doing it all by myself. I might get somewhere, I more probably won't. But I will stand a good chance of finding out some new ways of thinking.

Value is an entirely human construct.
Value is a measure of the extent to which one human will go into debt to another to obtain advantage.

Value is measured in terms of Wealth, Money and Cash.
Wealth, Money and Cash are different things.

There IS no such thing as a Free Market
All markets are manipulated. It just depends on - who?  Very often "I want a free market" means "I want to manipulate the market my way"

That's as far as I've got.

Tuesday 17 January 2017

The Harmsworth Principle

Alfred Harmsworth, Viscount Rothermere
Yes, I've deliberately picked a picture of him looking nasty, silly and pompous, as a nice example of just the sort of attack-politic technique he pioneered.

Is your life not going quite as you hoped? Your cleverly-laid plans not quite working out? Don't worry, it isn't your fault. It is the fault of the Enemy People. Join us in the great fight for freedom from The Enemy people, and you can only win, win win!

The 'Harmwsorth Principle' is the idea, said to have been invented by Alfred Harmsworth, founder of the Daily Mail newspaper, that, if you want to get people to laud and follow you, you must first give them something to hate and fear, "give them something new to hate every day". The principle is probably older than that, but it remains the same - if your constituency are frightened and angry, they'll follow the one who offers to explain or protect them from the supposed evil.


It is broadly the same principle as that explained by the jailed Nazi Hermann Göring; "the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

The real power of the principle seems to have become apparent after Harmsworth commissioned a series of articles 'The Invasion of 1910' for his Daily Mail outlining a possible German attack on Britain. This, entirely fictional account, was accompanied by fake posters warning the public of the foul Germans and even salesmen dressed as German soldiers parading through central London. At the time there was not the slightest argument between Britain and Germany, but by 1914, they were at war, leading to the accusation that "Other than the Kaiser nothing has done more to bring about the war than the Daily Mail". The 'Invasion' stories, and the subsequent war, were hugely successful for Harmsworth's sales and brought him immense wealth.

From then on, The Mail has carried on a vigorous and ever-changing campaign against some supposed enemy or other; Jews, Italians and foreigners in general. It has often been characterised as the 'Daily Hate'. In the 1920s it turned on supposed communists and in 1924 the Daily Mail produced the entirely fake 'Zinoviev letter', which suggested that British Communists were planning violent revolution. This is generally seen as a significant factor in the defeat of Ramsay MacDonald's mildly socialist Labour Party in the general election, held four days later.

The Principle seems to work because humans are fiercely attuned to spot danger, while commonplace safety and security are almost always ignored. Terrors terrify and make us spring to action, while everyday comforts pass by unnoticed. This seems odd, yet the mechanism in the brain which causes it to construct the mind this way seems to be surprisingly easily explained.

At the same time, many people have aspects of their lives which are not at all satisfactory. So, to offer an explanation for their ills by blaming them on some, almost always imaginary, enemy is highly appealing. In this way, the would-be Harmsworth doesn't actually need any followers to get started – create the hate, and they'll come to you.

The Daily Mail could be pro-Europe when they could make an enemy of the French Government, then anti-Europe when they could make an enemy of the European Union
You'd think the easiest enemy to set up would be some sort of bad people. Like robbers and murderers. But that won't do, because everyone hates them, so you aren't going to get any special following by adding your name to the list. Anyway, criminals have knives and guns and anger, so are not necessary the best people to get on the wrong side of.

In fact, the enemy pretty much has to be imaginary.

A real enemy would be someone your followers could meet, and then discover that they are quite nice, really. Even worse, the enemy might come round to your way of thinking. Either way, then you wouldn't have an enemy at all, and then you'd be screwed. The enemy has to be an outsider, of course. But foreigners, for instance, aren't by any means necessarily enemies, so you need imaginary, nasty, foreigners as enemies. Not, you know, like the nice Mr Chevalier down the road, but those dirty foreigners from, erm, somewhere else. And not the elderly Daisy and Dot, but the Bad homosexuals. The evil Jews, not nice Dr Goldberg.

Who's next?

Wednesday 6 July 2016

The Analects ...

By Glyn Hughes

Some aphorisms...

It is always the things you don't understand which seem the more important.

Wars are begun all for the same one reason only; for the self-aggrandizement of Princes.

The best way to get rich, is to make all the people around you rich.

The function of all Science is to serve Art.

You'd think that by now God would have worked out how to write a holy book that can't be misinterpreted. After all, He's had enough practice.

There are only two political positions - the one that says "In the end, we're all in this together" and the one which says "In the end, it's everyone for themselves". The trouble is, they're both right.

Nobody ever got rich by working hard. You get rich by persuading other people to work hard, and you keep their money.

All far-right parties are a homage to one person and hate for one other. When either is gone, they're gone.

Europe knows only too well that when the monsters arrive they arrive as silly boys shouting about the nasty people in the other playground. They wrap themselves in the flag and promise heaven on earth. And Europe knows from bitter experience what happens when they discover they can't bring down heaven, they bring up hell.

Wednesday 15 June 2016

Nuts and Bolts of Europe...

Why European Rules are fluffy clouds of joy which make your life safer, simpler and better. 

Me in front of a Punch-Press machine made in Finland by a Swedish company and operated by a Lithuanian technician, pressing-out parts to be assembled by a Polish team for low-emissions incinerators developed in the UK and the Netherlands for sale in France and Germany in a factory in Lancashire owned by an Irish family. (OK, the picture is dummied, but every detail of the scenario, including me being in it, is factual.)

Down the lane by our house is Whitworth Park and the Whitworth Memorial, next to the Whitworth Centre the Whitworth tea-rooms and just over the road from the Whitworth Hospital. Mr Whitworth, clearly, was not a nobody. Indeed, because Mr Whitworth was the bloke who invented European Standards.

Joseph Whitworth (1803-1887) was an engineer, a 'nuts and bolts man'. In his day, every workshop made their own nuts and their own bolts. If you lost, say, the screw from your Boulton and Watt epicyclic gear, no use going to Stephenson's for a new one, it wouldn't fit.

Joseph Whitworth and a screw-cutting lathe

Whitworth came up with the idea of a simple, printed, set of rules anyone could follow so that their screws fitted to the other bloke's cart. Now, you could have the oh-so-clever Fischer Bearings on your steam engine, and Ransome's blades on your lawnmower. Engineers could pick the best of the best and put them together, not have to make their own. So stuff all got better. And cheaper. Whitworth Screws became B.S.W – British Standard Whitworth, the nuts and bolts on which the sun never set. And Mr. Whitworth became, they say, the richest industrialist, not just in Darley Dale, or even in Matlock, but in the world.

Wonderful idea! So other countries did the same. Which was fine until people from the other countries started getting together. Like around 1940 when the Polish Air Force had to make that quick exit to Britain, and it became distressingly apparent that British Standard screws couldn't be used to repair Polish Standard aeroplanes. Or American Standard Jeeps either.

You see, Standards only work if everyone does it together. You can't do 'your own Standards'. Now we've got the EU, and the European 'M' series screws. The nut you buy in Bolton will now fit the washing machine, not just in Krakow, but in Rio or Beijing too. Standardization isn't about making everybody the same. It's about making everybody's stuff work with everyone else's stuff.

Couldn't we just go back to writing our own rules? Really? So you've forgotten all those toys with spikes in their eyes, the poisoned paint, the electrocuting toasters the watery beer and the Austin Allegro? They've all gone. They've gone because we've got European Standards.

The Allegro had a magnetic effect on women, especially the bonnet, but real men drove Saabs.
When nations try to set their own Standards, makers want an easy ride and competitive advantage. Our test labs want the most complicated procedures and the highest possible fees. And joy of joys, paying for 'approval' or 'certification' from the lawmaker's and their (ahem) 'consultants', means you can effectively 'sell' responsibility for your product to someone else. When the grieving relatives turn up to point out that your product wasn't so great, you can show them a little plaque.

But when 27 countries argue - usually for years - about a common Standard, nobody is willing to drop their quality, and nobody is willing to pay for the other bloke's bureaucrats. And ... (ahem) nobody is willing to explain their clever system of corruption. Then, the public and even those elected twits are allowed to have a say. Everybody has to agree. Yes, everyone, it is not a majority-vote thing. So you're forced to devise a way of guaranteeing the best of stuff with the least of trouble. When everyone has to implement better quality, nobody is at a disadvantage. Seems to work every time.

British BSI Standards were never much, nor for that matter were Norme Francaise or the Russian GOST. The German DIN Rules, though, were much admired. Indeed one or two of them – for instance for paint – have been kept. But then they had the same problem making them - lots of individual States had to come together, and you'll only get Schleswig-Holstein to agree to the same things as Lower Saxony by being very clever indeed. Same with the old Nordic Standards - you have to get ex-Vikings to play nice.

Remember when we just used to sort-of take it as read that British products were a bit crap? Remember? You might have to put up with an Austin or a Hillman, but really you wanted a Volvo or a Mercedes. And you could possibly play your Tom Petty tapes on a Ferguson, but why would you if could get your hands on a Grundig or a Bang and Olufsen?
FUEL POVERTY - A national scandal caused by National Standards
UK product Standards used to tell you how to make things. That's why all our gas fires, cookers, irons and wontnot were more-or-less the same. And, of course, they were written by the people with deep pockets and the right connections.
Which is why we had Standards for heating equipment with no requirement for efficiency. You could perfectly legally make, say, a gas fire which was designed to deliberately waste 90% of its heat - so it'd cost 10x as much to run - which made oddles of cash for the National fuel suppliers. Who cares if a few pensioners freeze, eh?
Freedom to compete across Europe means we need shared Standards. But how to do that when different countries have different ideas about what's best?
So, we've got the Eco Design Directive which doesn't tell you how to make stuff, instead it makes you openly tell the public how well your gas fire, or whatever, performs.  Which has led to an explosion of new ideas and a truly giant improvement in heating efficiency. It has also led to a number of UK heating manufacturers, unaccustomed to the idea of innovation or quality, being well and truly fucked. Good. The reason people complain about the Trans-Atlantic Trade thing (apart from those who just have complaining as a hobby) is largely because they fear having shoddy US Standards forced on us. Go and have a look at American kettles.

The thing on the left is called a 'gas explosion with collapse' (Ronan Point, only 7 dead, nobody prosecuted - they had certificates) the middle thing is Watney's Red Barrel (a form of beer substitute) and the thing on the right is a Hillman Imp. All used to be common in Britain. Thanks to EU Regulations, none of these exist any more.
Unless you're in the habit of reading the very small print at the end of instruction manuals you won't have heard of me, Glyn Hughes. I design products for you to buy. Which means I work all day every day with manufacturers, importers, exporters, distributors, retailers across Europe and the globe. I'm the man who has to implement Euro rules and Standards. I have never, ever, heard anyone involved, anywhere, ever, complain about them. Ever. They are models of clarity and simplicity which even countries like Canada and China, who get no real say in the making of them, are happy to adopt. They've swept away bureaucracy, simplified manufacture, made better things and us safer. I hear that Mr Johnson, the verpus maximus* of International Wisdom, complain, but he can never seem to quite put his finger on any examples, and has, doubtless reluctantly, had to resort to making-things-up about bananas and vacuum cleaners.

So let me give you a real example. Do you remember how truly awful building Standards were in Britain? Do you remember the gas explosions, 'concrete cancer' and Barratt Houses? They've all gone. The European Construction Products Directive swept away something like 1,200 national rules  (No, I haven't actually counted) and buckets of payments and busloads of inspectors and acres of forms and replaced all and everything with one single paragraph of undiluted genius. It says that girders and wotnot have to be strong enough and so on, but it also says that the actual real Big Boss of the firm who supplies them has to sign a public affidavit to tell you how to get in touch with him and that he takes complete personal responsibility for his girders. Complete responsibility. Not only does Mr Girder not have to pay the civil servants' (ahem, again) chums to 'approve' his stuff, he's not allowed to. Down to you, mate.

Course, for all this to work, Mr Girder (and Mrs Bicycle and Ms Toaster etc) have to be subject, ultimately, to the same courts as you and me who buy the stuff. That's why we have to have EU Courts. OK? And that is why the TV isn't full of "look how this shower tray exploded" consumer programs any more.
DID YOU KNOW: You can't buy Chinese manufactured products in Europe. Let me explain... Euro Norms work because the real person who takes responsibility has to be a European, so they're subject to the same law (and the same courts) as the customer and you can get at then if you need to. That means that Chinese products which are subject to critical Standards aren't allowed to be sold in Europe - they can be imported, but they have to be sold, and certified, by a European manufacturer. Not just a man at a desk, not just a boxes-in-boxes-out warehouse, but a real someone who really takes real responsibility. Clever eh?

My goodness does it work! I should know. About seventeen thousand things go out each year with MY signature and my home address next to that European 'CE' mark. Do I make sure there's no problems? Too bloody right I do. Does anyone ring up? Yes, occasionally they do. Someone emailed yesterday about paint peeling off a corner of their Tiger™ woodstove. And I jump on the factory and sort it out, so I can go back to doing what engineering designers do best - sitting in the garden with beer and oh, trying to get inspiration from staring at clouds, or something.

Anyway, I know you like graphs, so here's a graph. It is based on data from RoSPA. This one is for death and injuries from domestic electrical equipment, but the graph for toys is much the same...

Spotted that? Since the 1920s there have been ever more and more horrible accidents. So British governments invented ever more rules, more inspectors and more payments and more forms to fill in and it just made things worse. In came Euro Standards - stricter quality, simpler enforcement, and bureaucracy eliminated. See?

There is one teetsy problem here, though. A very British problem. Nice, simple Euro Standards arrive in UK, with an agreement to get rid of the old complexities, and our jolly bureaucrats like to ignore that bit and add the old paid-for (Ahem, again. Sorry, about the cough. Seem to have something stuck in my craw.) 'independent' bureaucracy on top of them. So you've got the likes of British Agrément Board and AEA and HETAS and BSI and The British Electrotechnical Approvals Board, which should long ago have been swept away, still filling forms in and collecting money for absolutely nothing. No other country does this. And if you complain, the Man from the Ministry will tell you that it absolutely isn't their fault. It is Europe. You know, with their complicated European rules. Oh if only we could escape!

But I'd rather you didn't take my word for any of this. I'd like you to go and have a look at some Euro Standards for yourself. But I'm afraid the British Standards Institute would like £112.00 off you to look at, say, all 8 pages of EN1929 on Methods of Testing Child Safety Seats on Shopping Trolleys. I think you should be able to read it for free, and so does the European Parliament and the European Commission. But someone voted against that. Guess who. Go on, guess.

(*Verpus maximus could mean 'Great Vital Force' or it could possibly mean 'Giant Dickhead'. I presume you are fluent, and can decide for yourself.)