The Curmudgeon


Sunday, November 18, 2018

Bad Theology

Text for today: Matthew 5 xiii; Luke 14 xxxiv-xxxv

On two occasions Jesus compares His disciples with salt. According to Matthew's gospel, He makes the comparison near the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount, immediately after commanding His disciples to rejoice when they are persecuted. According to Luke's gospel, He rounds on a crowd of hangers-on and, with His usual humility, warns that they must give up everything for His sake and count the cost before they do so. On the first occasion He explicitly calls His disciples the salt of the earth; on both occasions he notes that salt which has lost its flavour cannot be re-salted and is therefore entirely worthless.

As many theologians have noted, Jesus made exemplary use of homely and practical metaphor; and never more vividly than in this case. By comparing His disciples and followers with salt, Jesus combines flattery with the standard blood-and-thunder warnings against straying from His doctrine. As God's chosen, the disciples constitute something of rare and useful substance; but even God's chosen only get a single chance. Persecution is no excuse for backsliding: if they lose their usefulness, their loving Father will neither protect them from temptation nor deliver them from evil, but will trample them into the earth along with those who have disregarded His Son's preaching, or even failed to hear it altogether.

The primary use of salt was as a preservative; hence the Saviour's metaphor piquantly emphasises the disciples' function in the world. They are commanded to prolong the life of flesh that would otherwise rot and become food for God's humbler creatures. Their office is that of kitchen drudges, keeping the world's meat fresh for the approaching fire.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Impartial Benevolence

Benign Britain basks in balmy BBC blush

Temperatures across Britain turned from bleak to balmy today as the annual cosy cloud of middle-class smugness rose to cover the country in a warm fog of self-conscious virtue.

Mere days since the BBC showed its impartiality by reporting the diatribes of some Australian along with the Government's rebuttal before moving on to more immediate matters, the organisation's annual Children in Need appeal raised a record sum for Britain's foundering self-esteem.

Children in Need epitomises the private charity which it is believed will replace the Stalinist state in looking after 21st-century Britain's deserving poor.

The BBC's news programmes are noted for impartially facilitating democratic debate between the Conservative government and the Farage Falange, which constitutes the officially acceptable opposition.

In the interests of impartiality, no comment was made on claims of an alleged link between child poverty and depriving people of money in order to fund vital tax cuts, even when the day was further warmed by the appointment of Amber Rudd, former minister for deportations, to the ministry for starvation and induced suicide.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Always Read the Label First

Is no deal better than a bad deal if it harms sick old ladies, no matter how vile their character? Tumbledown Tessie has been indulging her talent for connecting with the public by defending her proposed Brexit deal on a radio show. Amid the usual guff, including some wild fantasies about NHS funding which exceeded Boris Johnson's great bus fib by £44 million, the dead-eyed warden noted that the insulin she uses to treat her diabetes is manufactured in Denmark. Her sudden interest in making peace with Brussels, even at the cost of losing statesmen of the calibre of David Davis and Dominic Raab, suddenly makes more sense. If only she had been curious enough to examine the text on her insulin packaging a year or two ago, the whole grisly mess might well have been avoided.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Sajid Seizes the Day

Whatever else may be said about the present Minister for Wog Control, no-one could accuse him of lacking opportunism. With ministers resigning right and further right, and the dead-eyed warden maniacally clattering the gears of a leopard-printed JCB in order to dig herself a deeper hole, the compliant Sajid Javid has risen above the frenzied excavations and seen nothing more ominous than the chance to bury bad news. As might be expected, the news in question is simply that his department continues to be as efficient as ever: having blithely deported or detained an unknown number of Britons, the Home Office has now admitted that its efforts to determine that number have been somewhat compromised by the equally blithe classification of innocent people as criminals. A few of the victims have also had the bad sportsmanship to die in exile, thereby putting themselves beyond the reach even of the Ministry's most heartless deadheads, though predictably few citizens of nowhere seem very happy on their behalf. At the time of writing, the Government has lost the whining bully Dominic Raab and the Minister for Starvation and Incentivised Suicide, Esther McVey, along with a handful of still lesser organisms; should the jabbering homunculus Michael Gove receive instructions from Rupert to abandon the foundering plague-ship that is Tumbledown Tessie's cabinet, no doubt we may expect yet further compliant revelations.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

At Last, Someone Thinks of the Children

Brazil's president-elect has made a fine start at dragging public healthcare provision to the sort of level a civilised and responsible government would consider sustainable: he has barked orders at some foreigners and now blames them for the consequences. Thousands of Cuban doctors working in poor and remote parts of the country will be removed because Bolsonaro has unilaterally withdrawn from an international agreement whereby the said doctors, quite aside from being foreign, connive financially in the un-American atrocity that is Cuba's free public healthcare system. Interestingly enough, his tactics were a mirror image of those used by Tin-Pot Tessie and Jeremy Rhymes-with-Hunt: rather than proudly depriving the migrant medics of their pay and families, Bolsonaro claims to be acting out of concern for mothers separated from their children and doctors who have to send most of their pay back to Cuba: a concern so sincere and profound that it persists even in the face of his doubtless equally sincere and profound scepticism about their medical qualifications. Fortunately, as with most of these battles of principle, it is mainly the poor who will suffer.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Gone South

Some disagreement has arisen between environmental scientists and the Inuit people in the Canadian Arctic. Increasingly frequent and dangerous contact with polar bears has led the Inuit to conclude that the animals' numbers are increasing, while the scientists say that the problems result from a shrinking population of bears being forced into close proximity with human beings because their habitat is disappearing even faster than they are. Some Inuit are sceptical of this argument, perhaps because they fail to appreciate their progress from being oppressed and ignored to being consulted and then ignored. In any case, the question is of course academic, since no measures will ever be taken to preserve the Arctic in anything like its present state. All that remains unclear is whether the policy adopted will be a Trumpster one, with Inuit and bears alike conscripted into filling the Arctic Sea with oil rigs and submarines; or a more moderate British version, with the Inuit deported to Mauritius and the Arctic declared a nature reserve which can be exploited only by reputable and responsible friends of the Crown, such as BP, Cuadrilla and the head-chopping House of Saud.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Black Operations

Those with nothing to hide have nothing to fear; which presumably explains why Her Majesty's Government's plans to employ the National Health Service as an informer for the Ministry of Wog Control were sneaked into agreement between the Government and NHS Digital and have only been suspended because of a merely legal appeal to some enemies of the people. The understanding between two Whitehall departments and the NHS would have enabled the guardians of Britain's racial purity to use medical data in the furtherance of their crusade against the Windrush generation and those wogs who have the impertinence to marry Britons without being rich enough. Doubtless the data would have been valuable in ensuring that those dutiful G4S people were not unduly endangered through manhandling persons in an excessive state of health; but thanks to the legalistic quibbling, the full modernisation of the NHS into a surveillance and detention database has had to be postponed until a later stage of the dismantling.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

A Richer Dust

You've tidied up the wounds, cut down the pain
To prove we dug not, nor were mown, in vain.
A century's a handy clot of years
For soil and saccharine to soak up tears:
A decent shroud for grief, to bury it
In settled sediment of native grit.
Long thrilled and spilled, our opiated blood
Blooms black-red glory now our brains are mud:
Two hundred minutes, generously lent
To sell our ghosts, that more flesh may be spent.
You grateful nations, noble monarchs, gods
Who made of us such useful, silly sods;
Our patriotic, hero-moulding bosses:
We thank you for the clean and pretty crosses.

Clay Marter

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Slow to Chide

As the most senior Catholic cleric in England prepares for examination by the secular arm over his church's various little indiscretions with suffering children, it is encouraging to observe a belated note of penitence in the rhetoric. Archbishop Vincent Nichols recently published a letter in which he took personal responsibility for the abuses; although he did commit the gaffe of invoking the family, one of the few social institutions with a worse record of child abuse than the Church. Still, it cannot be denied that there has been some improvement in his Grace's attempts to protect his employers' taxpayer-funded temples of learning: a decade ago his initial response to the revelation of priestly pleasures in Ireland was to extol the courage of the abusers.

Friday, November 09, 2018

Uncle Tom Javid

Since there is nothing much going on at the Home Office, it appears the Minister for Wog Control has spent the past three weeks thinking up a justification for emphasising the ethnic background of a paedophile grooming gang. As one would expect from the compliant Sajid Javid, the result - most paedophile gangs are Pakis and it stands to reason - does not really justify the effort involved. Aside from the usual posturing - "not on my watch" - Javid apparently feels that the Conservative Party, in which racism, Islamophobia and Soros-baiting antisemitism are so blatant that even Lady Warsi has noticed, has been too politically correct and overly considerate of the snowflake sensibilities of melanin-flaunting potential deportees. He is also, of course, thinking of the approaching post-Brexit environment when, amid such relatively trivial issues as economic collapse, permanent political crisis and escalating social misery, the moment will at last arrive to stick the knife in Tumbledown Tessie. If he is to have any chance at the supreme leadership of the Recrudescent Imperium of Westminster, Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands, Javid knows he will have to overcome his own racial handicap and, morally speaking at least, pass for gammon.

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Small Change

If further proof were needed that austerity is at an end, grateful plebs need look no further than the Government's crusade against rogue landlords. Property owners who have been ruled unfit to let accommodation are still collecting rents, often at the taxpayer's expense, so it's easy to see why the Conservatives might have a soft spot for them; nevertheless, the Government has in the past couple of months set up a database to which, after some prompting, it condescended to allow tenants access. In all honesty, this was a pledge which even the dead-eyed warden could make in good conscience as, presumably thanks to Whitehall's famous level of aptitude with electrical computing machines, the database is empty anyway. This month, however, comes the red meat: local authorities are to be allocated a whopping two million pounds to ramp up action against the nation's ten and a half thousand rogue landlords. It works out to something less than £6000 per local authority, or £190.48 per landlord. Fortunately, many Conservative members and donors also happen to be landlords, so doubtless the compassionate and law-abiding majority will hasten to impose some form of additional voluntary regulation that will, as always, prove far more effective than any crypto-Stalinist interference from the nanny state.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

More Drugs, Better Bugs

More than ninety thousand real people and up to two and a half million lesser breeds could die over the next thirty years from infections which resist antibiotics. The extensive use of antibiotic drugs, which is preferred over preventive hygiene as the healthier policy for pharmaceutical companies, has brought about an evolutionary spurt among the pathogens, doubtless thanks to the same intelligent designer who thought up polio, bubonic plague and Iain Duncan Smith. The anticipated excess death toll of three thousand Britons a year will be slightly less than the bag from the Conservative Party's clean air policy, and like the Johnson Doctrine on pollution it is expected mainly to affect the expendable orders, always assuming that heat exhaustion, flooding, starvation and social unrest don't thin out the seething masses in advance.

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Thrift Builds Resilience

Junior Britons attempting to get by on what the Chancellor so charmingly refers to as "little extras" will be reassured to know that Her Majesty's Government is even less interested in the welfare of foreign infantine resources than it is in theirs. Some meddling persons from the charitable sector, which seems to have chronic difficulty understanding the foreign aid business plan, are complaining because only a small fraction of the UK's international aid budget is being spent on protecting children from violence. Even in Iraq, where British decency has been in particularly effulgent evidence for most of the present century, the UK has allocated no dedicated funding, though doubtless the Reverend Blair does his part. Still, given the degree of concern which the UK has shown over its native small shirkers and the job-stealers of tomorrow from Libya to Calais, to say nothing of the humanitarian miracle in Yemen, one would have thought that even a charity might be able to take the hint.

Monday, November 05, 2018

Available Now

Some years ago I wrote a novella called The Foundations of the Twenty-First Century, an alternate-history ghost story which was generously reviewed by a connoisseur of the obscure and underappreciated in science fiction literature. More recently I perpetrated I, Mengele, a work of alternate-history film criticism set in the same world twenty-five years later, which also received very charitable notices, not only from J Sewell McEvoy but also from a film critic resident in the present reality, as well as from a couple of kind gentlemen who posted reviews on the Lulu site. Since the idea of Nazis in London seems relevant these days, though goodness knows why, my latest is, like The Foundations, a ghost story set on an important anniversary. (In fact, I started it on 3 September, the anniversary of Britain's declaration of war, and had to resist considerable temptation to publish it, for reasons of poppy-oriented spite, on 11 November.) The killing which starts the story is based on the murder of Bruno Schulz, the great Polish visionary who was shot by his protector's rival in the spirit of a malicious neighbour poisoning next door's dog. I made up everything else.

The Last of Glasseye is available in paperback and, if you must, as a PDF ebook, and should be read, rated and reviewed with all possible alacrity; otherwise, I fear I cannot be answerable for the consequences.

Sunday, November 04, 2018

Bad Theology

Text for today: John 5 xx-xxiii; John 12 xxxvi-xlix

Jesus claims the authority to give life to whomever He wishes, and also to execute judgement upon them. Later, Jesus states that He has not come to judge the world but to save it. On both occasions He emphasises that He speaks not of His own accord but with the authority of His Father.

On the first occasion, Jesus is addressing the Jews, who are indignant because He has healed a man on the Sabbath. In a resounding example of His characteristic humility, Jesus boasts of His ability to resurrect whomever He pleases, and then proclaims that the Father has committed all power of judgement to Him. He then demands that everyone should honour Him as they would honour God.

On the second occasion Jesus is chastened, if not exactly humbled: He speaks from hiding, whence He has fled because God has made the people sceptical of His authority in order to fulfil a prophecy of Isaiah. Many people, even among the powerful, nevertheless believe in Jesus and are thereby presumably defying both Isaiah and God. However, they are keeping quiet about it for fear of the Pharisees, and also doubtless from respect for Isaiah's reputation. Although He was fond of quoting Isaiah when it suited him, an irritated Jesus repeats that anyone who does not believe in Him does not believe in God.

Having once more asserted that He is one with the Father, Jesus asserts with virtually His next breath that He has not, after all, come to judge the world. Instead, those who fail to receive His message will be judged on the last day by His words, which are spoken on the Father's authority. Thus, having proclaimed His identity with the Father, Jesus claims the difference between Himself and the Father as a means of escaping His own moral responsibility for the agony and death which He has spent His ministry gleefully predicting will result from the Father's judgement.

Saturday, November 03, 2018

Creaky Danglers

It would, as we know, be grossly unfair to imagine that the only things to find favour in the Conservative moral code are poor-bashing, cripple-kicking and wog-bombing. The Conservative moral code is nothing if not expandable, and has always included a large and comfortable space for hanging and flogging as well. Accordingly, one of the party's expenses claimants has written to the Ministry for Profitable Incarceration suggesting that the Government might perhaps compensate the courts for the loss of all that Legal Aid by giving them the option of an occasional stringing-up. Fortunately, the expenses claimant in question is the ridiculous John Hayes, who once decided to overrule his bosses in the coalition on the grounds that British energy policy was too renewable; hence the Ministry extruded a flunkey to brush the matter off with the usual statement that Her Majesty's Government "opposes the use of the death penalty in all circumstances" except by its chums in the head-chopping House of Saud and some good Christian folk in America and whenever the Home Secretary feels inclined, and has no more plans to reintroduce the rope than it has plans for anything else.

Friday, November 02, 2018

Virtue Betrayed

Ah, what a thankless task to rule!
To make oneself Britannia's tool
With duty, loyalty and love
For anyone who ranks above,
Attain at last one's proper fate
Heading a Ministry of State
And then kick out with due dispatch
Whomever the boot-boys can catch!
Ensure for lady, child and gent
A nastier environment;
Deport them to some random spot -
Who cares if they are Brits or not?
They'll never vote the Party in
And so their place is in the bin.
You chuck out wogs for Land and Crown,
And then the servants let you down.

Blanche Albion

Thursday, November 01, 2018

Wipers Vipers

As might be expected from a country which has the effrontery to claim Brussels as its capital, Belgium's latest commemoration of Britain's victory in the Great War appears somewhat lacking in rah-rah. It consists of six hundred thousand individual clay sculptures, one for every person killed on Belgian soil; half the funding went to charities in Africa, including Congo to which King Leopold's brave boys had brought so much in the way of civilised values. Weeds are allowed to grow around the sculptures as a symbol of the battlefield's return to nature; and at the centre is a giant egg representing the new world from which would hatch, within a generation, the superb Britishness of Dunkirk, the Battle of Britain and the Norway Campaign. Contrary to the healthy precedent set by recent British displays, however, no effort whatever has been made to distinguish between the worthy and the unworthy dead. In Art, as in History and Gratitude, the Euro-wogs of Flanders clearly have much to learn.