The Curmudgeon


Thursday, July 19, 2018

Honourable Pairings

By one of those charming little accidents that seem so often to smooth the snouts and slick the trotters at the Parliamentary trough, a Conservative expenses claimant had a lapse of memory in a tight vote, and unintentionally if conveniently breached his agreement with a Deputy Conservative counterpart who was unable to attend the session. The squeals of righteous indignation might sound a little more convincing were it not for the Deputy Conservatives' own relaxed approach, even with regard to the sole party policy which they failed to stay in office long enough to abandon. Opposition to Brexit has now replaced proportional representation and tuition fees as the hill on which the Deputy Conservatives will surrender if thrown a red box in a minor government department; but that didn't stop two former party leaders having better things to do than make life more difficult for Tumbledown Tessie. George Osborne's former Minister for Mates' Rates had an Important Meeting, and the Reverend Tim Farron was delivering a sermon about the challenges of serving his Big Constituent, the great heterosexual sky-daddy, while posturing as a liberal politician. Still, it is reassuring that, despite five years on the receiving end of the Bullingdon Club's sniggering thugliness, the Deputy Conservatives are still capable of registering surprise, and even annoyance, when their fellow austerity fanatics toddle a cleated brogue or two casually over their faces.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

A Jolly Good Wheeze

British expendables are being detrimented in record numbers by increasingly severe and increasingly prevalent asthma, and this in the very midst of such brilliant incumbencies as those of Owen Patterson, Andrea Leadsom, Michael Gove and Jeremy C Hunt. Over the past decade, the annual number of deaths from asthma has risen by more than twenty-five per cent, despite the improving effects of all that talk about leading the world, to say nothing of all those efficiency savings at the NHS. Indeed, mere experts are already seeking to pin the blame on a combination of deteriorating public healthcare and Britain's proudly illegal levels of air pollution. Doubtless they hope thereby to resurrect the long-discredited, borderline-antisemitic idea that the Government bears some sort of responsibility for the health of the country's citizens, and that deserving and undeserving alike should be entitled to endless, economically unsustainable non-contributory privileges of respiration.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Plumbing Depths

Only a citizen of nowhere could fail to be moved by the undiluted Britishness of this: the water company which has just ordered a hosepipe ban in the Northern Poorhouse has the second-worst record in the country for leaking pipes; only Thames Water is more abject. United Utilities (a corporatonym on which even the founder of National Consolidated Solutions would be hard-put to improve) loses almost exactly as much water from leakage as it spares for its moisture consumption client base. The company takes the loss just seriously enough to meet the rigorous targets set by the Government, whose fondness for all things infrastructural is such that its own advisers have hinted at toddling towards some sort of leakage reduction thingy by about the middle of the century. Reduction has largely stalled in the past decade, despite the Conservatives being in office for most of the time; and the National Infrastructure Commission has demonstrated a commendable degree of realism by advising the Government to favour the taxpayers rather than the water companies with its constructive criticism, thereby keeping future directorships nice and dry for later.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Gove Talks Turkey

Although the plebs have only one will, which they exercised two years ago and for all eternity, there are certain special people who are allowed to change their minds. Among this élite is apparently the jabbering homunculus Michael Gove who, with the Government floundering and the Imperial Haystack returned to his chickenfeed, has been stroking what passes for his chin in what he presumably intends to pass for a display of intellectual adequacy. Specifically, the jabbering homunculus has been pontificating upon the errors of his wogs-out campaign, which with the benefit of hindsight he would now manage slightly differently; apparently because he believes that the country has become slightly more migrant-friendly and egalitarian as a result. Should the jabbering homunculus have his time over again, there would be slightly less squealing about an invasion from Turkey and perhaps a slight hint that, in the event of our remaining part of the EU, the resulting apocalyptic deluge of Islamic terrorists might number slightly less than seventy-seven million. Perhaps the jabbering homunculus would even prefer some slightly smaller echt-Nazi posters than his allies chose to display, depicting slightly fewer swarthy young males preparing slightly less ghastly fates for virtuous white women and Sarah Vine. It is all frightfully statesmanlike.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Bad Theology

Text for today: Matthew 6 i-iv

During the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus orders His disciples not to publicise their gifts to the needy, because their Father in Heaven will only reward them if their giving is done in secret and does not attract praise from other people.

Although Jesus advocated healing the sick and casting out devils as a useful means of announcing the coming of His kingdom, He did not consider helping one's fellow human beings a virtuous end in itself. His attitude towards the widow's gift amply demonstrates His satisfaction at the idea that those with very little should to no earthly purpose give away even what they have; and in any case He famously regarded the vast majority of the human race as merely chaff to be burned and forgotten when the Father imposes His régime of religious cleansing.

Human beings are essentially social and conformist: in a society where generosity was genuinely practised and praised, more generosity would probably be forthcoming, to the moral and practical benefit of everyone. However, Jesus had not the slightest interest in bettering conditions on earth, and arguably no real interest in bettering human behaviour. Given that those who are to be saved have been arbitrarily chosen by God, presumably since the beginning of time, there can hardly be much point in wasting time and energy trying to cure the tares of those faults which their Father has seen fit to bestow upon them.

Rather, Jesus required dedication at all costs to Himself and to His Father. Almsgiving in His view was merely a convenient way in which to purify one's life by divesting it of worldly wealth; in other words, giving to the poor was an act to be undertaken for the benefit of one's own soul and not for the good of the recipient. Accordingly, in the interests of focusing His disciples' attention on the things of God and not of humanity, where helping the poor is concerned Jesus forbids the elect to lead by example.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

As We Forgive Those That Trespass Against Others

Where survivors of abuse are spiritually unprepared to forgive their abusers, the Christian churches are commendably willing to step in and perform that holy office on their behalf. Catholic policy, before the scandal broke and the Vatican resorted to blaming Judaeo-leftist conspiracies of journalism, was to exact a religious penitence and then shunt the culprit into a new position where he could wrestle temptation anew. The Church of England, as befits its moral position as whining hypocrite to the Vatican's bargain-basement Machiavelli, takes a more nuanced approach, temporarily suspending those responsible for covering up the abuses and later inviting them back to officiate without, apparently a stain on their reputation. Such is the case with Lord Carey of Blathering-in-the-Dotage, who stepped down last year at the "request" of the Archbishop of Canterbury after criticism of his role in covering for a sexually abusive bishop. As with the Vatican's policy, it is possible that, left to itself over the Biblically-prescribed seventy times seven repetitions, this might bring about the most touching and penetrating results.

Friday, July 13, 2018

The Knell

No pleas for the pardon of those who were lost;
No hint of the lessons we learned at their cost;
No scorn for the fools who thought war was ended
While businessmen prudently had it suspended.
Instead let us march! Let us strut and parade
Past compassionate stone, in our hearts' image made:
With all jubilation and thanks let us plod
Our nation's salute to the Englishman, God.

Trenchard Clanger

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Not Quite Real People After All

Britain's patriotic rejoicing at the Britishness of the British divers involved in the rescue of the Wild Boars football team will be somewhat diluted by the revelation that the coach and three of the players are authentic citizens of nowhere. They come from an unsettled border region and are not recognised as Thai citizens; the authorities may condescend to exalt their status depending on that of their parents, but many who are eligible for Thai citizenship fail to obtain it thanks to the considerable Britishness of the system. If only Her Majesty's Government had been aware of the situation earlier, the dead-eyed warden's boot-boys would undoubtedly have made short work of the cave; most likely by declaring it a detention centre and the residents not trapped but "being processed". It would have saved everybody so much bother.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

It's Potty Time Again

Various uncharitable commentators, including your now duly chastened correspondent, have found it rather easy to mock at the latest flounce from the front bench by David Davis; however, it now appears that the squealing prima donna may have had the makings of that rare thing in the modern Conservative Party: a grievance that is more or less comprehensible to the average graduate from intermediate-level toilet-training and above. Paper, after all, is the one thing that defines the squealing prima donna's tenure as Minister for Britannic Independence, from the famous fictitious impact studies to the committee copy-and-pastes to what was arguably the apex of his career: that iconic portrait of Davis seated behind a paperless desk, facing down an axis of binder-toting Eurocrats with no more than an arf-arf grin. Yet, even with that record of statesmanship behind him, the first time he managed to hand something in before the deadline his nasty old headmistress not only failed to cough up the gold star, but refused even to regurgitate the jewels of his wisdom for the edification of the other infants. Fortunately, several of the noisier ones are indignant at their deprivation and have incontinently begun the usual protests from all the expectable orifices.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Certain Alienable Rights

One of the few aspects of their predecessor's legacy which the Trumpster and his hydrophobic head-tribble have not sought to vandalise is, unsurprisingly enough, the continued existence of the Guantánamo Bay prison camp. Used by Obama's chimpanzee predecessor as a human landfill for selected detritus of the War Agin Turr, the site doubtless holds some sentimental value for Obama's baboon successor as one more place where brown people can be arbitrarily kept from their families. Nevertheless, the forces of liberal snowflakery continue to undermine democracy with appeals to, of all things, laws instead of men: eleven inmates are to be allowed to submit a petition of habeas corpus to the Washington district court. In defence of America's greatness, the petitioners will not be allowed to hear the arguments at their hearing because the prison lacks a room large enough to chain them all up as required by local health and safety regulations.