The Curmudgeon


Friday, April 03, 2020

Creeping Dictatorship

Although expecting the market to preserve their natural habitats would be sinful and blasphemous beyond compare and reason, there is every possibility, now that they are dying out, that insects might be bred as food for human beings, This expedient was suggested by a Belgian ecologist some years ago, leading to encouraging speculation about the prospects of at least one natural pest; but only now are the beastly Euro-wogs preparing to bureaucratise the matter with their fiendishly-woven mosquito nets of strangulating red tape. No response has yet been forthcoming from the heartlands of true Britishness, but there will certainly be protests from the country sports lobby. They may (possibly) not yet be hunting insects on horseback with dogs; but where is the pleasure in swatting, or even pulling wings off, when eating the victim has been pronounced legitimate by Brussels?

Thursday, April 02, 2020

Journal of the Plague Year

continued, by a Gentleman

While out to-day at the Taylor's having my ſecond-beſt Cummerbund re-guſsetted, I heard from a moſt reliable Seamſtreſs, that the very Helmsman of the ſhip of State hath fallen victim to the General Tribulation. The Prime Minſter himſelf is ſtruck down by the Peſtilence, and hath diſpatched an Array of fops and ſycophants in his place to deliver the daily Announcements, which retain a comforting Unanimitie in blaming the Alchemiſts and Apothecaries for changing the Science, and in demanding that the People unite to ſave our Democracy from the Dictatorſhip of Aſclapius.

This is what comes of an exceſs Flexibility in the diſpenſing of publick Offices. Mr Wyde-Wyndpype at the Bloater and Blueſtocking Coffee-houſe, who in his Cups tends towards the Hiſtoriographical, doth aſsure me that all was very different in that Golden Age before the Power and Luxuriance of Empire corrupted the Britiſh Spirit and ſoftened the ſinews of the Yeomanrie. In thoſe times the Serfs knew their place, and Engliſh Juſtice being enforced by more forthright Methods than our puny ſentimental Drawings and Quarterings, was by no means the meek and rotten Friend of Criminality which it is today. And a Gentleman of good Family could with the greateſt of Eaſe gain Employment ſuited to the Dignitie of his Name, and might without ſtooping to mere Competence command a veritable Army of Expendables in honourable Battle againſt the Beastlie Foreign.

Mr Wyde-Wyndpype is of the Opinion, that the Blacke Death was the Beginning of the End, as it led to a ſhortage of Labour and hence to a lack of motivating ſtarvation among the Peaſants. Given today's exorbitant Price for a ſimple re-guſsetting of a ſecond-beſt Cummerbund, all ſane men muſt pray God our preſent Trouble ſhall have no ſimilar Conſequence.

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Wings on Welfare

Never mind those uppity NHS workers who are too busy saving inessential lives to buy their own protective equipment; never mind, if you please, those infected expendables who lack the British pluck and gumption to go on breathing until Dyson can re-purpose its old hand-driers as ventilators; the pandemic's real victims are, as ever, the wealth creators who have responded, as ever, by squealing for a bung from the taxpayer. In particularly parlous straits are the airlines, which fought to base their targets under the Paris climate agreement on emissions levels from 2019-20, only to find that this year's emissions are likely to fall somewhat below the expected shareholder-friendly stage of ecocide. As ever, society's most vulnerable citizens have been targeted by tree-hugging do-gooders and Euro-wogs with funny names, who seem to think the inevitable bailout should have conditions attached, as though the people responsible for jetting the one-per-centers upon their vital business were somehow morally equivalent to benefits claimants.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Prefects and New Bugs

Among the natural characteristics of the conservative mindset is a tendency for old habits to die hard; and this trait has a tendency to particular dominance among persons whose intellectual capacities strain towards the insectile, or even the amoebic. Hence the obvious inability among the various sclerotic schoolboys in Her Majesty's Government to rein in their long-unleashed enthusiasm for bamboozling the public. Although his colleagues Michael Green and Sebastian Fox may be as yet on-message, the Graybeing wannabe Grant Shapps has incurred a rebuke from Big School for treating the voters like first-year squits and telling them whoppers about the rules on tuck. In a similar vein, the jabbering homunculus Michael "Ripped" Gove decided to come over all expert about fitness, prescribing walking and jogging routines for all the world as if he once wrote a leader on the subject for the Murdoch press. Following the ministerial example, police forces are strong-arming in all directions, ordering Bozza's Britons to abstain from rest during exercise and to give up Easter eggs for Lent. Even during a merely global emergency, there might be a case for asking British public figures to act like grown-ups; it remains as yet unclear whether Her Majesty's Government will countenance so flagrant a breach with the Conservative Party's famous libertarian traditions.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Journal of the Plague Year

continued, by a Gentleman

There are Rumours among the ſervants that the Peſtilence hath ſo far forgot itſelf as to aſsault the Prince of Wales. Upon ſetting out for my Morning Jaunt I overheard one of the Maids goſsiping with a Coſtermonger's Apprentice and making reference to a Poore old Farte, and having had the Litter ſet down I impoſed a ſummary Sentence of an extra Brace of Turns with the Riding-crop, whereupon ſhe offered in Mitigation that ſhe was referring not to her revered Maſter but only to the Heir Apparent of the Imperial Throne. Exerciſing much Forbearance I explained to the Benighted Wench that this repreſented no diminution of her Sin, that a Prince of the Realm is ſurely ſafe from any Complaint of Vagrants and Foreigners, and that I hope to acquaint myſelf with the Prince by and by once appropriately ensconſed in the Offices of Her Majeſty's Government. To facilitate her Underſtanding I increaſed the penaltie to five extra Turns with the Riding-crop. Too late I thought better of it, for this Maid is a ſtrapping ſort, which meant in the Event that I had to call in one of the Footmen to help complete the Sentence. It is moſt inconvenient when using the Litter, as to-day the Footman can barely ſtand while I can barely ſit, ſuch is the State of our reſpective Buttocks, but above all elſe the Houſehold of an Engliſh Gentleman must have Diſcipline.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Bad Theology

Text for today: Acts of the Apostles 1 xv-xxvi

After the resurrected Jesus ascends to Heaven, a hundred and twenty disciples gather to settle the burning question of who will occupy the celestial throne initially promised to Judas Iscariot. Peter points out that Judas has fulfilled the Scriptures and has been rewarded with disembowelment and the everlasting disapproval of the righteous, and since the Saviour proclaimed that twelve thrones are waiting it would be a pity to let one go to waste. The disciples choose two candidates and cast lots to determine which of them shall inherit the property, having first petitioned the Father to guide their dice as He is apparently suffering from a temporary inability to inspire them directly. The winner, one Matthias, is so brilliant a choice that he is never mentioned again.

Peter begins by putting Judas posthumously in his place, invoking the Scriptures and then, rock-like, thinking better of it. If Judas betrayed Jesus according to the will of God, then he did not turn aside of his own accord, but was turned aside by the Father's grace. If Judas betrayed Jesus against the will of God, then the crucifixion, the Resurrection and the Ascension, which resulted from Judas' actions, are necessarily against the will of God also. Therefore, having admitted at the outset that Judas was acting in fulfilment of the Scriptures, Peter understandably denies this truth by stating that Judas turned aside from his ministry to go to his own place.

Being thoroughly schooled in the vindictive and arbitrary ways of their Father, none of those present asks why Jesus promised thrones to all twelve apostles when He and His Father must both have been aware of the Father's intention to have one apostle forfeit his place. With equally commendable prudence, the disciples also refrain from asking, in light of Judas' fate, what the Saviour's other promises might be worth.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Bit of a Thingy on the Home Front

After ten years as a price worth paying for some people's prosperity, homelessness has suddenly become a problem so urgent as to motivate an acolyte of the Reverend Blair. A former tsar in the Tony firmament has been hastily appointed to do something or other about rough sleeping, and has responded as England would expect, with a medley of pseudo-Churchillian rah-rah ("these are unusual times, so I’m asking for an unusual effort") and the bleeding obvious ("as you know, this is a public health emergency"). The rhetoric duly prioritised, a junior minister was delegated to the minor matter of doing the above-mentioned something or other, and responded by ordering all the local authorities in England to do something or other about the homeless, which is of course the sort of no-nonsense approach to getting things done which characterises the People's Haystack himself. Equally typical was the total lack of any indication as to how accommodation is to be provided or whether the spad at the Treasury will find room for this great work among his spreadsheets. Still, it's an encouraging sign that, while the Cummings administration may be floundering face-down in its ideological mud-puddle, it does have just enough foresight and regard for political tradition to try and splatter any future blame onto the local authorities.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Masked Efficiency

Even before the coronavirus concentrated their minds, it was fashionable among former NHS-bashers to reinvent themselves as champions of the NHS once they were safely out of office. The interregnum that followed Margaret Thatcher, whose introduction of the "internal market" was among the more blatant signals of the Conservatives' final solution to the public health problem, was a particularly egregious example. Still, even John Major's oracular whines about the Bullingdon Club may be rivalled by Jeremy C Hunt's attempts to reinvent himself as a champion of the nurses his administration forced into dependence on food banks, and the doctors on whom he declared war. Evidently seeing the pandemic as a chance to flaunt his charisma from the back-benches, Hunt called for better equipment for the frontline staff who, doubtless as a result of Hunt's cleansing influence, have conveniently given up their idle weekend murder habits and been re-born as heroes risking their lives to save others. Astoundingly enough, it now turns out that Hunt's régime blithely contributed to present shortages against the recommendations of its own advisers, who were probably nothing more than mere experts. When it was suggested that guidelines might be updated in line with, of all things, current evidence, Hunt's minions sniffed that "This work is not considered a priority at this time and will be deferred for consideration at a future time." Still, it is encouraging to see that Hunt, like his Cabinet colleagues among the Deputy Conservative Party, has been so much improved by not being in office; and it is to be hoped that the improvement will be allowed to continue for a long time to come.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Journal of the Plague Year

continued, by a Gentleman

Although deaths from the Peſtilence are numbered minimal in the conſidered Opinion of Her Majeſty's Government, it is reckoned by many that more Perſons are dying than the publick Record ſtates, owing to the economical Practice of recording only a ſmall Number among thoſe deaths which occur. This ſeems a fair Compromiſe between the immediate need to prevent Panick among the Rabble and the continuing Neceſsitie for the exceſs Population to be rapidly and efficiently exciſed from our great Britiſh Herd. The Archbiſhop of Canterbury hath expreſsed his ſatisfaction that the Buſineſs of recording Paſsage to the next World is not reduced to a mere Function of ſecular Scribes and Scriveners, which would tally Souls into Heaven as if counting out ſo many Beans.

A certain Mr Kamu hath ſayed to me, while diſporting himself in the Bloater & Blueſtocking Coffee-houſe, that the preſent Peſtilence could not be the Blacke Death, as that infirmity was ſpread by Fleas from Rattes, the ſaid Fleas having infected the Rattes to their Doom and then leapt from the bloated and twitching rodent Corſes on to unſuſpecting Humanity. He then ſpoke moſt fancifully of ſmall noiſome Bodies with which the Fleas corrupted the Blood and which thereby cauſed the Plague to ſpread.

I find this Theory moſt cumberſome and unworthy, and I have no knowledge of its approval by any Scientific or Medical Authority in Her Majeſty's Government, which continues ſtoutly to uphold the Doctrine that diſeaſes are spread by Foreigners with their dirty Habits and aſsorted culinary Perverſities. I ſuppose that it is poſsible English Blood in the Fourteenth Century was a leſs pure and Reſilient Concoction than during our Glorious Preſent-day; but Mr Kamu is by all accounts a French-ſpeaking Savage from a Turkiſh city in the Jungles of Northern Africa, and holds many ſtrange and ſuperſtitious ideas with which he hath doubleſs been infected thanks to the hideous Barbarities of Mohammedaniſm. I am reſolved to ſpeak to him further and gain Material towards a Denunciation to help me towards some elevated Station in the Government, which hath recently advertiſed its need for the ſervice of unpleaſant Eccentrics.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Our Precious NHS A Prey to Ruthless Opportunists

Extreme situations frequently lead people, and even Government ministers, to react with extreme countermeasures; and this in turn can place the ship of state on a slippery slope towards the precipice of extremism, while the champagne bottle of sensible moderation bounces fruitlessly off the hull. The coronavirus pandemic has caused the Minister for Profitable Healthcare to attempt some sort of show at being concerned about public health, and unfortunately there are those who would seek to utilise this extraordinary situation to their own fiendish foreign ends. Refugee doctors, against whom the Parliamentary Brexit Party and its little orange fags have spent a decade protecting the public, are urging that Her Majesty's Government accelerate the process of their accreditation as opportune essentials in the carbolic-washed wards of Albion. Doubtless the cunning devils were emboldened by the news that the virus has reached the very household of the Queen Gawblesser; although their meagre grasp of British culture has evidently not enabled them to penetrate the subtleties of just how expendable the Prince of Wales can be. Patriotic Britons will certainly react with unease at the potential for creeping encroachment upon their inalienable rights of summary deportation as guaranteed in Magna Carta.