The Curmudgeon


Saturday, March 31, 2018

Unconventional Gas

Like many a purple-faced hard-right chancer, Britain's late Head Boy is not the sort of chap to let his personal self-interest be polluted by such outmoded fripperies as pledges, promises and words of honour. The late Head Boy promised to prioritise the NHS, and then handed the NHS over to Andrew Lansley and some Turkey Twizzler salesmen. The late Head Boy promised to look after the vulnerable, and then presided over a precipitate fall in living standards. The late Head Boy promised to implement the findings of the Leveson inquiry, and then decided instead to prioritise the wishes of Rupert Murdoch and the Rothermere Daily Stürmer. The late Head Boy promised to fix the economy and stop his party banging on about Europe, and here we are. Having called the EU referendum, the late Head Boy promised to stay on and see things through no matter what the result, and then biffed off in a huff when the result failed to go his way. Having resigned the office of prime minister, the late Head Boy promised to see out the parliament and work for his constituents, but became bored within a week or two and decided that the voters were unworthy of his talents.

Now the late Head Boy has emerged from his humble garden shed to lament the mistreatment of fracking companies by those fixated on green crap. "I passionately believe that there is big potential for fracking and unconventional gas in Britain, which has some shale reserves that could make a real difference," burbled the late Head Boy and sometime pledger of the greenest government ever, to the well-known British environmental group American Fuel and Petrochemicals Manufacturers this week. It is certainly to be hoped that the late Head Boy hasn't rashly promised something, not to harried dupes like the British electorate or blithering cretins like the British Conservative Party, but to people who can actually hold him to account. One would hate to think of all the unplumbed hogsheads should his disappointed creditors deprive him of the wrong ounce of flesh.

Friday, March 30, 2018

The Man Who Hated Holland

In evil time, in peril grave,
How many should one try to save?

He asked "Why twelve, and not thirteen?"
Who manifestly had not seen,
All mailed in godly righteousness,
The free, crusading British press.

For then, like any proper hero,
He could have asked, "Why twelve, not zero?"

Paul van Drubbadubs

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Childish Things

Those who refuse the tediously literalistic historical interpretation of Jesus, which views Him as a violently reactionary apocalyptic preacher who blamed the free and easy tolerance that characterised the Mosaic law upon the hardness of people's hearts, tend rather to see Him as a kind of moral revolutionary: someone who sought to overturn outmoded traditions in favour of a new and more favourable contract with a rebooted, loving and forgiving God. This latter is certainly the view of the heirs of St Peter, the latest of whom has refused to apologise to Canadian native Americans for setting brother against brother, for putting new wine into new bottles, and for providing the indigenous peoples of Canada with ample opportunity to gain favour in Heaven's eyes by forgiving those who tormented them on Heaven's authority. Given that the Saviour Himself threatened the direst punishments for those who led children astray, and given that the spiritual harm of non-conversion would far outweigh any physical or psychological collateral damage in the war to conquer new souls, it would indeed be surprising if any true believer felt the slightest need to apologise for such noble and pious undertakings.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Food, Govious Food

Since there is no immediate prospect of any realistic routes out of poverty in the world's sixth-largest and ever more shrinkable economy, a food redistribution charity has pointed out to the Government that Britain produces plenty of waste food which might equally well serve as shirker-fodder. Minions of the jabbering homunculus Michael Gove are understood to have held "informal discussions", doubtless in a suitably charitable and ascetic atmosphere, about the possibility of financial incentives for food producers to feed the undeserving, given that it would be an unpardonable heresy to consider paying the undeserving enough to feed themselves. At the moment, only about six per cent of surplus food is redistributed to charities, rather than to landfill or to the more quadrupedal of the country's beasts of burden; but of course the problem is complicated by the possible consequences of permitting the undeserving an excess of license not to starve. Charity is all very well; but without the threat of famine what would happen to their motivational gumption?

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Helping Them to Harm Themselves

Although violence has reached record heights while staffing and budgets have attained an entirely coincidental low, Britain's prison system continues heroically to retain its all-important element of punishment. Ministers have always shied away from rehabilitation, education and suchlike namby-pamby concerns, for fear of being seen as soft on crimes other than the war and financial variety; and the advent of the Bullingdon Club and its little yellow enablers, who dropped all pretence of being concerned with anything other than shrinking the state and kicking the vulnerable, has simply accelerated this eminently British trend. One single prison for young offenders has achieved more than five hundred incidents of self-harm in six months, prompting indignation from the Trotskyite ideologues at the inspectorate of prisons and a gush of pious rhetoric from the chief executive of Her Majesty's Prison and Probation Service; and this despite the obvious fact that letting offenders take the initiative and harm themselves is even cheaper and easier than hiring boot-boys of the calibre of those charming G4S people to do the job for them.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Diagnostic Tools

One of the great attractions of our approaching independence from the ghastly Euro-wogs has always been the chance to put experts in their place; and the Not Awfully Bright Party's representative for Bosworth has continued the patriotic crusade by asking the Minister for Profitable Healthcare for an assurance that the post-Brexit NHS will be safe from the dictatorial interference of the merely qualified. Doubtless the Minister agrees entirely with the idea that homeopathic remedies, being both inexpensive and ineffective, are a perfectly economic solution for prole diseases; but even Jeremy C Hunt knew better than to agree with his astrologically-inclined honourable friend that "traditional medicine" is the answer to the antibiotics crisis. Hunt did let slip that the ghastly Euro-wogs have so far relaxed their Nazi-style straitjacket as to permit discussions with health ministers among the Heathen Chinee; but the efficacy against the Britishness disorder of sovereignty in homeopathic doses remains sadly unproven.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Bad Theology

Text for today: Matthew 16 i-xii

At the Sea of Galilee, the Pharisees and Sadducees ask Jesus for a sign from heaven; He replies that since they can forecast the weather from the sky they should be able to interpret the signs of the times. He denies them any demonstration of His divine authority and sets sail with His disciples for the opposite shore. Once there, the disciples notice that they have no bread, and Jesus warns them against the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees. When this parable proves too subtle for them, Jesus impatiently reminds them of His earlier miracles with loaves and makes clear that He was warning them against the teaching of His rivals.

Although Jesus was never shy of proclaiming His miracles as signs of His authority, it appears that the sales pitch "Ask and it shall be given you" is subject to one or two conditions. Jesus is prepared to cure the occasional paralytic in order to prove His authority to forgive sins; but He is not prepared to prove His divine credentials for the sake of making peace with His enemies while He is in the way with them. Rather, He believes that the truth of His teaching should be as self-evident to the Pharisees and Sadducees as the signs of tomorrow's weather in the heavens. Possibly He intends to draw their attention to those parts of Scripture which supposedly anticipate His teaching and prophesy His actions; it does not seem to have occurred to Him that the Pharisees and Sadducees might be trying to weed out false prophets who use Scripture for their own nefarious purposes. The insult of being asked to prove Himself evidently gnaws at Jesus all the way across the Sea of Galilee, a distance of at least seven miles.

Jesus' use of leaven as a parable for sophisticated corruption makes a symbolic contrast with the unleavened bread of the approaching Last Supper. This of course was to be a Passover meal, celebrating that holy occasion on which His Father massacred the first-born of every non-Hebrew in the land of Egypt, even unto the child of the maidservant behind the mill and all the first-born of beasts, while saving the Egyptian army for some rather vulgar special effects at the Red Sea. Fittingly for a true Son of His Father, wrath and pride were always the Saviour's two besetting sins; and the combination of scolding and boasting in His words to His dunderheaded followers cannot help but evoke His eager anticipation of that still holier massacre of the unworthy which, in accordance with the new covenant, even most Jews will have no hope of escaping.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Insidious Insularity

In a blatantly provocatorial action clearly designed to jab a sharp stick up the ever-peaceable John Bolton, the Heathen Chinee have expressed annoyance at the US Navy for sailing close to the aptly-named Mischief Reef while Washington starts a trade war. As the British Empire's greatest ally, the United States is naturally heir to the Freedom of the Seas, with all the rights of exploration, exploitation and enforcement accruing thereunto, hithertofore and in perpetuity and without regard to greatness-limiting laws, prosperity-sapping treaties or the pettifogging requirements of international diplomacy. Meanwhile, the Heathen Chinee are building all manner of artificial islands in the South China Sea, doubtless in order to promote and intensify their climate change hoax; while the measured and statesmanlike responses of the Trumpster and his hydrophobic head-tribble have somehow failed to elicit the grateful and instantaneous co-operation they demand.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Paschal Lump

As the Christian calendar approaches its holy crux, there is cause for rejoicing in Paraguay, where a fourteen-year-old rape victim has given up her soul to God while squeezing out a new soul for Jesus and the Virgin. The rapist is in custody, where his sins are presumably being forgiven. According to health ministry figures, almost nine hundred girls between the ages of ten and fourteen gave birth in Paraguay in 2015, including one ten-year-old rape victim who, like certain residents of Grenfell Tower, survived to enjoy the dubious fruits of a government pledge on accommodation. Danger to the mother is grounds for abortion in Paraguay, so in cases involving transfiguration and ascension Mother Church is no doubt eager to bestow all due credit upon the fallibilities of the secular arm.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Nationalist Health Service

Almost sixty thousand people could be caught up in the Government's latest purge of potential health tourists: an environmental hostility which requires hospitals to perform background checks on patients in order to ensure that their blood is pure enough to bother keeping in circulation. Migrants who have cunningly lived and paid taxes here for decades, having somehow acquired the impression that Britain is global and cosmopolitan, are being charged for NHS treatments, imprisoned and threatened with deportation. Asked about the issue in Parliament last week, the dead-eyed warden has responded with all the warm-hearted sympathy one would expect. Though clinicians are notoriously hopeless at organising their shifts, a task best left to the likes of Jeremy Hunt, the semi-stable agglomeration of cold tea and sawdust has allowed that when it comes to the ever-expanding business of wog control, medical personnel do have their uses.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Moral Exports

British values have well and truly become the opiate of the Heathen Chinee, who are undertaking a major social cleansing programme to get the plebs out of the suburbs. Unlike our own more advanced and humane planners, the Heathen Chinee do not regard gentrification as an end in itself, and the government is using urban overcrowding as the pretext; but already the results for the housing market have been salutary, so it should be only a matter of time before a local equivalent of the Rothermere Daily Stürmer complains that present measures don't go far enough and urges immediate and compulsory use of vagrancy deterrents such as spikes for the homeless and on-the-spot fines for the indigent. The whole business has caused Dr Yan Song, director of the University of North Carolina's programme on Chinese cities, to recommend full communism: "if there is overcrowding or a shortage of services, why don’t you expand public services? Provide more education, opportunities, healthcare, hospitals - that’s something the government could do, rather than putting effort into pushing away the migrant population." Doubtless the dead-eyed warden of HM Prison UK will be having a quiet word with the Trumpster about how to deal with mere experts who try to subvert great empires onto the road to serfdom.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Tessie's Numbers Racket

Putinistic evidence-fetishists at the UK Statistics Office have had the temerity to rebuke the dead-eyed warden of HM Prison UK for, of all things, saying the thing that is not about police funding. Tumbledown Tessie, whose career of rampant truth-telling includes the one about the immigrant and his cat, the one about giving workers a place in company boardrooms and, not least, one or two hints about strength and stability, has been throwing £450 million in largely fictitious currency at the national police budget. The dead-eyed warden's claims were repeated by the Home Office and by the reliably gormless Andrea Leadsom, which should have been hint enough for anyone; but in the view of the UK Statistics Office the joke was still too subtle for the British sense of humour, and mere experts, with their characteristic addiction to pettifogging factuality, have placed their North Korean loyalty to the Labour Party above their duty to Queen and country. Given the likely effect on police morale, it is to be hoped that Tumbledown Tessie's favourite boot-boys, those honest folk at Serco and G4S, can be on hand to beat the more recalcitrant figures into shape.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Britannia Slinks Back to Port

Another of the Recrudescent Imperium's phoney wars has ended in an armistice, yet again with the phoneys rather obviously on the losing side, in that the jabbering homunculus Michael Gove, who had promised to take back control of Britain's fisheries, has emerged from the business looking about as honest and intelligent as he usually does. Although fishing is a relatively small part of what remains of the economy, it is highly significant for feelings, which of course are all that counts. For the jabbering homunculus himself, the quest for piscine autarky is nothing less than a personal crusade: apparently he blames the ghastly Euro-wogs for sending his father's fish processing business to the wall, thereby forcing the jabbering homunculus into his present dead-end job just to pay the bills. Nor should one underestimate the likely traumatic effect upon the senior Gove when a cruel Fate rubbed salt in his wounds by causing him to spawn a scion with the facial and intellectual endowments of an orgasmic turbot. Still, ministers are just about beginning to understand the need for economic stability if any directorships worth having are to be salvaged from the ghastly mess; so the jabbering homunculus has graciously fallen in behind whoever is operating the blithering prima donna David Davis at the moment, with doubtless a Dolchstoßlegende or several already nicely on the boil.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Bad Theology

Text for today: Mark 12 xxviii-xxxi; Matthew 5 xliii-xlviii

Although He much preferred calling down fire and brimstone upon the heads of all who could not hear Him, Jesus did occasionally spare a few words for the comparatively minor subject of love. We may quickly dispense with His final exhortation that His disciples should love one another: what teacher or prophet, aside from Friedrich Nietzsche, has ever required that their followers be divided?

Earlier in His ministry, Jesus was questioned by a scribe as to the most important commandment of all. He replied that it was for the Jews to love God with all their heart, all their soul, all their mind and all their strength; and also that they should love their neighbours as themselves, presumably using the leftovers. But unless we are to take Hear, O Israel as a synecdoche for Hear, O Heathen Gentiles and Goyim, these commandments were intended for the Jews alone.

More interesting is the commandment to love one's enemies. Our thoughts on this injunction should in no way be prejudiced by the fact that Jesus Himself made no attempt to live by it, abusing His detractors in fish-wife language while promising unlimited rewards to friends and dire punishments to everyone else like any other beloved son of a totalitarian génocidaire. A virtue is no less a virtue for being disingenuously recommended by One whose ways are not our ways.

Why, then, should we love our enemies? Jesus gives two reasons, one worldly and the other spiritual. The worldly reason is that we will feel superior to the heathen, who are always good for a snigger in the Saviour's social circle. More importantly for our moral growth, Jesus suggests that in treating our enemies no differently from anyone else we may become like God Himself, who sends His death and disaster to engulf both the just and the unjust, and who sits back in His Heaven to observe, with a beatific smile, the grief and suffering of Jew and Gentile, of weak and strong, of righteous and unrighteous alike.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Nostalgia Time Again

Just as the late Head Boy was never less convincing than in his Daveybloke, Popinjay of the People persona, so the dead-eyed warden of HM Prison UK has never quite managed to inhabit the mask of vicious populism cosily enough to hide her basic vicious authoritarianism. Nevertheless, it seems she will be using the latest party rah-and-blah to revisit one of her least plausible lines, namely that she has some sort of problem with citizens of nowhere and Putinite stooges calling the Conservatives the nasty party. She will also pump a bit of stale air into the semi-liquescent corpse of the New Labour-vintage excuse that everything which goes wrong is simply the result of everything going wonderfully and the population being too thick-headed to see it. Various postmortem farting noises are likely to ensue, along with corresponding olfactory effects; so at least we should all thank the Conservatives for holding their rah-and-blah during the cold weather and not making summer's perfume even higher.

Friday, March 16, 2018

A Peace the World Might Rest In

Advocates of Mutual Assured Destruction will rejoice to hear that the charming Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, of the head-chopping House of Saud, has expressed an interest in helping to keep the peace in the Middle East by acquiring weapons of mass destruction. It was, of course, the presence of such weapons (specifically those of Britain and her greatest ally, in that order) which kept the peace in Europe after the Second World War. Certainly the peace was entirely unrelated to anything so vicious and genocidal as a lot of silly trade agreements and Nazi-style punishment treaties based in Brussels. Since the Trumpster has been commanded by his rabid orange head-tribble to tear up the deal with Iran, the head-chopping House of Saud now sees an opportunity to start a regional nuclear arms race: a prospect which should please advocates of deterrence, whose logic dictates that the more nuclear powers there are, and the more unpredictable their response to perceived threats, the more peaceful the world will become.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Appearances Deceive

After a bit of a flop in the old Dunkirk spirit on the part of the perfidious French, who still seem to think mere evidence has a place in criminal investigations, various Euro-wogs have joined their amusingly-accented voices to Britain's in condemning Russia over the Salisbury nerve gas attack. Macron apparently changed his mind after a personal phone call from the dead-eyed warden of HM Prison UK; doubtless she told him she wasn't making it up, and one can certainly sympathise with his need to get her off the line as expeditiously as possible. Much the same must apply to the Lithuanian foreign minister, who staggered out of a meeting with the Imperial Haystack blaming Russia unequivocally, but also indulging in crypto-Corbynite deviationism with the implication that Britain looks weak thanks to, of all things, Brexit. Clearly the Lithuanian foreign minister has failed, just as Vladimir Putin has failed, to appreciate the diabolical Great Game subtlety of screaming "Nazi!" at one's trading partners and then caving in, only to withdraw the cave-in a a little later in the popular press, so that the poor foreign fools will never find out until it's far too late. With this sort of soft power revving beneath our bonnets, it is hardly surprising that fatalities from the Salisbury WMD remain somewhat fewer than those from even a mildly meritorious drone attack.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Safety Isn't Safe

The perils of safety regulations as taught by mere experts have been demonstrated once again in a California classroom, where a teacher trained in weapons use accidentally fired into the ceiling and inadvertently pacified three students. Even in California, teachers are not supposed to carry guns into classrooms without explicit authorisation, and it appears that in this case the authorisation had not been given. Hence, besides displaying the futility of experts, the incident also shows yet again the futility of having rules, since someone with a gun will inevitably break them. On the other hand, if the entire population of the school had been armed to the teeth, the odds would have been greatly in favour of at least one student being quick enough on the draw to neutralise the teacher before he wounded three classmates and the ceiling. Equally, had the teacher not been strenuously trained and qualified in weapons use, he might have been more tentative about the ejaculatory readiness of the weapon he was holding. Guns don't hurt people; what hurts people is knowing stuff.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

More Malcontents

Like a filthy foreign jackboot laced with red tape, yet another subversive nest of traitors and enemies of the people has come goose-stepping into the sunny, cake-strewn uplands of Brexit. This time the infiltrators have taken over the Office for Budget Responsibility, drowning the soulful saccharine of sovereignty in a cold, cruel gruel of mere economic calculations. Rather than rejoicing in the astute diplomacy of David Davis and the foxy free trade of the vole-brained former Minister for Werritty, the OBR predicts that we will gain precisely nothing from leaving the EU. Thanks to a degree of Brusso-Strasbourgian bullying which even the limericks of Boris Johnson have been unable to mitigate in full, the process of settling our financial obligations while compensating for lost EU funding will alone cost the country as much as staying in; and, thanks to our global standing and our kicking out all those wogs, the prospect of a handy economic boom to help matters along appears, to say the least, a bit elusive. Fortunately, as with so many other inconvenient sectors of the populace, the whole problem can be rapidly and efficiently solved by privatising the Office for Budget Responsibility and outsourcing its staff to Poundland.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Sensible Britishness for a Happier Jihad

As the Crown Prince of the head-chopping House of Saud continues to charm Her Majesty's Government with his automotive feminism and appetite for British wog-bombing wherewithal, Tin-Pot Tessie and her mean little God will doubtless be gratified at the latest demonstration that British values are still finding favour among Britain's best-beloved Islamic fundamentalists. Besides showing Yemen the benefits of British arms and training, the head-chopping House of Saud is deporting Yemeni workers from Saudi Arabia into the war zone, in a manner that would do credit to the British Home Office. Since many of the workers have families in Yemen who depend on the wages they send back, the deportations will mean even less money to go round. There are even rumours among the uneducated and unenlightened that the head-chopping House of Saud is somehow in cahoots with Britain, the USA and Israel, rather than with Allah as generally advertised; so there will be no immediate shortage of angry young men to keep all those British toys from being wasted.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Bad Theology

Text for today: Matthew 25 i-xiii, Mark 2 xvii-xx

Jesus tells a parable comparing the kingdom of heaven to ten young women waiting with their lamps to attend a marriage feast. Despite his omnipotence, the bridegroom is unavoidably detained until midnight, and the girls become drowsy and fall asleep. When the bridegroom finally appears, the five who have taken no thought for the morrow are running low on oil for their lamps, while the five who are destined for the kingdom of heaven virtuously refuse to share. Those who are short of oil have to go and buy more; when they return the bridegroom disowns them and they are barred from the feast.

Jesus explicitly identifies Himself as a bridegroom in the gospel of Mark, when He is asked why His disciples are not fasting like the Pharisees and the disciples of John the Baptist. Jesus responds by comparing His disciples to wedding guests feasting in the bridegroom's presence, and says that their feasting will end once the bridegroom has left. He continues with the famous analogy of new wine in old wineskins, proclaiming the rupture of accepted custom in the face of His Father's imminent and joyful bonfire of the sinners.

Marriage in Biblical society was essentially a business arrangement between families, and the bridegroom's relationship with the bride was one of legal ownership. The law of Moses (Exodus 20 xvii) lists the wife as an item of property alongside the house, the slaves, the beasts of burden and any other thing that may belong to a neighbour. One cannot covet a neighbour's parents, brother or son, let alone husband; anyone worthy of being loved as oneself is by definition male, heterosexual, and an owner of property whose possessions include his bride. In accordance with the arbitrarily punitive kingdom implied by His parable of the ten young women, the Saviour's identification of Himself as a bridegroom is not the declaration of a lover's commitment, but the assertion of a slave-holder's rights.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

The Sweetest Gift

Given all the recent planks in the eye of Mother Church concerning the welfare of children in Ireland, one might imagine that a period of reflective silence and penitence on the part of local divines would not go amiss. Such is not the view of the bishops, who have intervened to pluck the mote of women's rights to autonomy and health from the eye of a straying State. Irish Catholics are encouraged to oppose the repeal of the eighth amendment to the Irish constitution, which gives equal status to the rights of women and the rights of blastocysts and uterine worms; abortion is permitted only when the mother's life is at risk, and doubtless even this reeks of secular liberalism in more than a few Mariolatrous nostrils. Nevertheless, there are grounds for reassurance in the bishops' invocation of "equality, fairness and compassion for all" while promoting poverty and pain in the name of an all-male hierarchy ruled from Mussolini's pet theocratic city-state: whatever else she may be lacking, Mother Church still has her sense of humour.

Friday, March 09, 2018

Our Moral Advantage

It is a Russian weapons lab;
Its walls are nasty, squat and drab:
A building scrawny-treed and drear
And daubed with beige for extra fear.
Here evil boffins cooked up lots
Of cunning, fiendish Kremlin plots.
The last, though technically unproved,
Has left us all most deeply moved.

Though gassing of barbaric hordes
By decent British overlords
Was thought by Britain's greatest son
To be a jolly bit of fun,
The sainted Churchill never would
Condone as ethical or good
A foreign chemical attack
On anyone who wasn't black.

Therefore this dread and horrid place,
As moral blemish, vile disgrace,
Perversion of the name of science
And den of anti-West defiance,
Its infamy quite unallayed
By beige in execrable shade,
Is worthy of our sternest frown
And not at all like Porton Down.

Huck Larding

Thursday, March 08, 2018

The Acceptable Face of Islam

Traitors, enemies of the people and haters of British values were being their usual humourless selves today as a vicious religious bigot and rabid opponent of human rights prepared to entertain the Crown Prince of the head-chopping House of Saud. Though he shares with the modern Conservative Party a steadfast and unshakeable faith in hereditary privilege and flagellation, Mohammed bin Salman has been accused of funding extremism in the UK, abusing human rights in Saudi Arabia and breaching humanitarian law in Yemen; and the dead-eyed warden of HM Prison UK has doubtless put him in his place. Since Britain is selling him his weapons and training his thugs, perhaps he will agree to deploy them a bit more graciously in future. Nevertheless, it remains as yet unclear how much scolding over extremism the prince will be prepared to take from the self-appointed cash cow to the creationist gay-baiters of the DUP, or how far criticism of his human rights record will convince when it originates with the enthusiastic employer of G4S boot-boys at Yarl's Wood and elsewhere.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Due Precautions

If there's one thing that annoys good honest corporate citizens, particularly those with nothing to hide, it's when a bunch of dirty little protesters try to prevent it going about its lawful business, no matter how squeaky-clean and upstanding that business may be. Hence the attempt by UK Oil and Gas to obtain an injunction against anyone organising protests at three sites in south-eastern England where the company plans a few fairly harmless environmental adjustments. Doubtless Her Majesty's Government, that inexhaustible repository of gas and grease whose ambitions for solar and wind power begin and end with the Murdoch Sun and the oratorical flatulations of the Imperial Haystack, will be watching the case carefully for enemies of the people. It is certainly absurd that the insignificant and undeserving should attempt to incentivise profit-oriented corporations by affecting their profits; so UKOG is seeking to prevent interference with its "economic interests" - a term which which, interpreted with sufficient generosity and the law-abiding assistance of the Metropolitan Police, should eventually mean that the company can sue potential protesters for the legal fees which the company has spent in order to keep them from protesting, before anyone has even got as far as assembling a placard.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

The Bigger Threat

Even the most irrational and authoritarian leaders have occasional moments of peaceability, and the notorious nuclear-armed world-threatening man-baby with the silly hair has emitted a few encouraging grunts about the prospect of peace on the Korean peninsula. The North and South have engaged in dialogue to ease tensions, and Kim Jong-un himself has condescended to meet the South's national security chief and personally host a dinner for his delegation. Although the world-threatening man-baby responded with a few not entirely threatening exclamation marks on Twitter, there is still a long way to go: "Words alone won’t be enough to impress people in Washington," said one think-tanker, and if the examples of Iraq and Iran are anything to go by, giving up nuclear weapons won't do much to impress them either. North Korea, after all, has during its entire history faced only a single quasi-genocidal assault by the United States and its friends; while the USA has spent most of the last half-century in constant existential peril from the world-bestriding empires of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua.

Monday, March 05, 2018

A Very Long Red Line

Fresh from treating the ghastly Euro-wogs to yet another list of demands in plain English, the dead-eyed warden of HM Prison UK has turned her compassionate gaze upon the Irish Question. Despite the Imperial Haystack's having so efficiently cleared up the matter by comparing the Irish border to the boundaries of boroughs in London, it appears that certain malcontents and citizens of nowhere still remain unsatisfied. Fortunately, a strong and stable solution is at hand: Tin-Pot Tessie has unilaterally deemed the border between Canada and the USA an object of her squaloid scrutiny, apparently as an example of how the Recrudescent Imperium might care to assert its rights against the Fenian menace. The Canada-USA border does, after all, have colonies on both sides, such as the suggestively-named British Columbia and New England; the fact that these territories are separated by the entire width of North America is but a bagatelle to their no doubt bustling mutual trade in chlorinated Marmite. Then again, perhaps the border itself was what appealed to her party instincts: tediously simple and straight for the most part, with some fiddly kinks on the far right.

Sunday, March 04, 2018

Bad Theology

Text for today: Matthew 15 xxi-xxviii

Jesus encounters a Canaanite woman who asks Him to help her devil-vexed daughter. He refuses to speak a word to her, but her persistence annoys the disciples so much that they ask Him to send her away. He responds that He is sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. The woman worships Jesus and again asks His aid. He says that it is wrong to throw the children's food to the dogs, and she replies that the dogs can eat crumbs from the master's table. Jesus acknowledges her faith and her daughter is cured.

As a Canaanite, the woman is a leftover from the genocidal conquest perpetrated at God's command: a native of Tyre and Sidon (whose successful resistance is noted in Judges 1 xxxi) and thus a despised yet fearsome racial enemy. The Jews' own humiliation by the Romans evidently did little to increase their compassion towards the remaining Canaanites; perhaps because the Roman conquest lacked the sanctifying fanaticism of Joshua and the Judges. Accordingly, Jesus displays to the full His credentials as His Father's Son by treating the woman with utter contempt until she propitiates Him. He does not respond at all when she calls him Lord, son of David, which implies that an earthly king holds seniority over Him; He condescends to speak to her only when she grovels and calls Him Lord only.

Such is the Saviour's disdain for the woman that He initially refuses to address her directly even for the purpose of sending her away and sparing His disciples the inconvenience of her petitions. The pretext for His refusal is that His words are meant only for the chosen race and would be wasted on lesser breeds. Being well acquainted with Scripture, Jesus would have fully understood and intended His implication that the Canaanite woman and her daughter are the kind of animals which ate the flesh of their fellow Sidonian, Queen Jezebel (I Kings 16 xxxi; II Kings 9 xxxvi). A more degrading dismissal would be hard to imagine; but having delivered this vicious insult Jesus changes His mind in the face of the woman's witty and flattering response.

As theologians, we are not permitted the assumption that Jesus lied about His ministry's jurisdiction; therefore we may take it that this incident was at least partly what prompted Him to expand His ambitions beyond the lost sheep of Israel and across the whole barking world. The idea that a person of faith could be an eater of human flesh may even have fed into His later invention of the Eucharist.

Saturday, March 03, 2018

The Lure (Córki dancingu)

Agnieszka Smoczyńska 2015

Although I have no great liking for musicals, when it comes to Polish mermaid horror musicals one must make the odd exception. The Lure ("Daughters of Dance" in the original) opens with an animated prologue by Aleksandra Waliszewska, whose paintings are the kind one might expect from a love-child of Snow White's stepmother and Roland Topor, and concludes as a demented deconstruction of Hans Christian Andersen, with an admixture of the sharp-edged Warsaw siren.

When the story begins, two mermaid sisters (Marta Mazurek and Michalina Olszańska) emerge from the sea during a family beach party and sing an alluring melody promising that of course nobody who joins them will be eaten. As it turns out, the family runs a Warsaw nightclub (the boss is played by Zygmunt Malanowicz, the husband from Polanski's Knife in the Water) and, once the shock of the girls' six-foot fish-tails has worn off, they quickly graduate to performing on stage. The tails handily turn into legs when dry, although certain anatomical differences remain; which causes trouble when one of the sisters starts to fall for a guitarist.

Though subject to rules much like those which afflict Andersen's mermaid, the adolescent heroines of The Lure are less lonely and more carnivorous. They make a decent living at the nightclub and dream of swimming to America; they rattle away to each other in dolphin-like clicks; they make acquaintance with a fellow immigrant, who proudly displays the scars from his amputated horns and brings them up to date on the perils of playing around with human males; and they do occasionally eat people.

Filmed in flares of neon twilight and depths of submarine murk, the story incorporates family comedy, sexual awakening and (the natural child of both) body horror. The climax twists the end of Andersen's tale, turning foamy dissolution into a far messier and funnier business than the mawkish original could possibly conceive.

Friday, March 02, 2018

Fair Play and the Rule of Law

Since Britain is a free country unless one happens to be a traitor, a migrant, a shirker or a pornographer, the security services must naturally have sufficient liberty to protect that freedom and enforce all necessary hostile environments. After seven months of legal wrangling, doubtless using funds which taxpayers would otherwise merely have blown on beer and tattoos, the Government has now officially admitted that security personnel are permitted to engage in criminal activities: a fact which had previously been obvious only to those followers of current affairs who habitually neglect to close their eyes, block their ears and suspend their higher brain functions. It remains as yet unclear whether security personnel are customarily permitted the same degree of leeway as corporate suits, ministers of the Crown and editors of the scumbag press.

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Spreading Our Global Goodness

As might be expected in a massacre at which Her Majesty's Government has so enthusiastically connived, a Saudi aid plan for Yemen seems to have more than a touch of Britishness about it. Our allies in the head-chopping House of Saud have promised to open key ports so that supplies can be brought in; naturally, in merely real-world terms this means something less than actually opening the ports. A United Nations plan is already in existence, but the head-chopping House of Saud has suggested that the UN's energies might be better concentrated on rooting out weapons supplied by Iran, which are so much less humanitarian than those supplied by Britain. Meanwhile, Her Majesty's Government has maintained its usual level of constructive and decisive action by trying to point the UN security council finger at Iran and being vetoed by the beastly Russians.