Wednesday, May 06, 2020

What's Happening

How many realise that the architect of the lockdown Neil Ferguson is an old boy of Llanidloes High School?  He's the same age as another OB, the actor who plays Ian Beale in the BBC soap Eastenders, perhaps they were contemporaries. Anyway, as in any mediocre soap, a blonde proved the downfall of Ferguson, while perhaps the country would have been better served if Mr Beale had been its chief advisor on matters pandemic.

The one reliable statistic amidst a deluge of facts and nonsense are excess deaths, the weekly comparison with this year's totals and those of previous years provided every Tuesday by the ONS. These show that up until week 13 of 2020 things were proceeding much as usual, there was a big jump in week 14 - but that was only marginally worse than the figure for week 2 of 2015.  For the last three weeks the figures have steamed ahead, peaking in week 16 (April 17) with a slight fall in week 17.  I'd expect them to fall again next week.

Of course these figures are time delayed by a week or so and the excess deaths  may also include victims of other diseases who avoided seeking prompt treatment for fear of contracting the virus. That said they do give an idea of the severity of the outbreak, serious but not overwhelmingly so, especially for the majority of the economically active.



Saturday, April 25, 2020

COVID-19

The virus, while serious, is not so dangerous that it has replaced the old normal in the minds of many.

Remainers hope that it will derail brexit, Labour see the possibility of escaping what seemed like an inevitable decade of Tory rule and Nationalists dream that it might prove a wedge between Wales and Westminster.   For the climate crisis crowd empty skies and travel restrictions are a glimpse of utopia while authoritarians revel in the new rules and limitations on freedom. You feel that the "old normal" would be far from their minds if they were truly worried about their own imminent mortality.

The real danger for the majority is not severe acute respiratory syndrome or even the economic consequences of a prolonged lockdown, rather it is the opportunity the pandemic affords the West's kleptocracy - let's call them the deep state - to progress a wishlist that makes a reality of what was previously the preserve of science fiction novels, from the cashless society to chipping.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Americana 2





Saturday, April 11, 2020

Americana




Tuesday, June 25, 2019

The Past is a Foreign Country

Spot the Welsh language poster in these film snippets of the Irish fascist party Ailtiri na hAiseirghe. There's an interesting book entitled Architects of the Resurrection detailing the activities of this group. Their policy basically saw the establishment of a Catholic, wholly Gaelic Ireland somewhat along the lines of Salazar's Portugal and the military conquest of the North. 


Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Music of the Russian Federation, 1

A Mari folk song. An ethnic group of 600k living on the banks of the Volga.


Friday, September 02, 2016

Musical Interlude

This is a great song.  Perhaps there should be something similar for elderly Welsh nationalists completely at odds with the current direction of the movement.


Monday, July 04, 2016

Post Referendum Blues

Class - do you remember the 20th century when class and/or nationalism dominated the discourse.  No wonder the elites encouraged us to concentrate on less dangerous causes such as gender or race. War was still fine of course, as long as the slaughter was aimed at the unpeople, those countries that didn't fall in with the globalist world view. Yet in the homelands, the US and the EU, "progressives" became obsessed with minorities of one kind or another, to ideas that posed no threat whatsoever to the elites.

This is why the Leave vote is a bit of a turn up, because suddenly those 20th century issues are back on the agenda. Look at this piece from the Spectator highlighting the class nature of the vote:

"The Brexiteer/Remainer divide splits almost perfectly, and beautifully, along class lines. Of local authorities that have a high number of manufacturing jobs, a whopping 86 per cent voted Leave. Of those bits of Britain with low manufacturing, only 42 per cent did so. Of local authorities with average house prices of less than £282,000, 79 per cent voted Leave; where house prices are above that figure, just 28 per cent did so. Of the 240 local authorities that have low education levels — i.e. more than a quarter of adults do not have five A to Cs at GCSE — 83 per cent voted Leave. Then there’s pay, the basic gauge of one’s place in the pecking order: 77 per cent of local authorities in which lots of people earn a low wage (of less than £23,000) voted Leave, compared with only 35 per cent of areas with decent pay packets."

How the "progressives" hate it.  People who haven't been to university deciding their future!

Wales - another 20th century discourse making something of a comeback after the Brexit vote is Welsh independence.  Not independence as might be understood by Americans or Icelanders or most other free peoples but "independence in Europe" by which is meant a desire to be on board the EU train, destination unknown.

Five local authorities in Wales voted to Remain, three following the British pattern (yes British not English vide East Renfrew etc.) of wealthier areas voting for the status quo - the Vale, Monmouth and Cardiff.  In Gwynedd and Ceredigion the Welsh language is said to have played a part, although I  do wonder about the influence of the university vote.

What is clear is that a segment of Welsh society we might characterise as the clerks voted strongly for Remain.  By this I mean people who work, directly or indirectly, for the state in non-manual occupations.  In their pique at being outvoted by the great unwashed we see elements of this clerkish class rallying to the cause of  Welsh independence, not as a worthwhile aim in itself but as a means of remaining inside a club which they see as protective of their economic interests.  I can't see this enthusiasm lasting very long.

Meanwhile the Leave majority are told they are stupid or racist or ungrateful for all that EU largese.  Seriously the clerks need to go on some sort of refresher course on engaging with folk who don't share their enthusiasms.

Scotland - according to the polls around a third of SNP voters opted for Leave.  Here's an interesting fact, the most pro-Remain councils were hardly hotbeds of separatism.  Edinburgh 74% Remain, 39% Indy; East Renfrew 74% Remain, 37% Indy and East Dunbarton 71% Remain, 39% Indy.

Now perhaps there will be enough Remainers who are so enamoured of the EU that they'll dump their unionism and help win a second Indy referendum. Maybe.  What then?  An independent Scotland will have to negotiate its membership of the club.  It will have to adopt the Euro and some of those Operation Fear scares might actually become real - tariffs on trade with the English market, a real border with customs and passport control.  Oh and its doubtful if Scotland would be allowed membership if it dumped Nato - so forget about closing Holy Loch as well.  Would an SNP government put EU membership to the vote?  Would they win?

My own view is if Brexit happens, still a big if of course, then both Scotland and Ireland would have to forget the EU and enter a free trade area with Wales and England, that's the economic and geographic reality.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Lads in their Hundreds




When my father had his stroke he would wonder why I couldn't smell the pine oil being extracted from the trees at Holly Barn, his childhood home. We would talk about his father's visit on leave from the Great War and how his older brother had run away rather than face saying goodbye. For him it had happened just the other day.  I try to imagine what it must have been like to have to return to the trenches after a brief spell at home.

There was no home leave in my father's war, he sailed from Glasgow in the Queen Mary to eventually arrive in Egypt and on to Italy. He didn't make it back until 1946. Before he left his grandfather, who lost three sons in the Great War, had shook his hand and said they'd likely not meet again.

There was no great European war for my generation and for that we are asked to thank the EU and show our gratitude by voting to remain inside the community. I'm not so sure. How do the people of Serbia or Libya or the Donbas feel about that? Why do so few see the dangers of war with Russia, provoked in part by the EU and especially by what might be termed its military wing - Nato?

I voted to leave in 1975 and will do so again. This means sharing a bed with Empire loyalists, British nationalists, 1950s nostalgists etc. but so what. Look at the company the decent folk on the pro side have to keep, the warmongers and neoliberal elites, it's a wonder the stench doesn't overpower them.

Of course Plaid Cymru think that they can reform the EU from inside, well good luck with that. I believe that there is a very faint chance of the Welsh nation surviving outside the EU and none at all within, although this may be moot given the West's eagerness for confrontation with the East.

Friday, February 19, 2016

The Irish Slave Myth

In 1968, presumably in a spirit of revolutionary fervour, I bought a hardback book entitled Celtic Nationalism.  It hardly lived up to the times, consisting of two pedestrian contributions from Gwynfor Evans and Hugh Macdiarmid while more than half the book was taken up with an academic essay on, mainly, 19C Irish nationalism by Owen Dudley Edwards.  One thing I did gather from the book was that there had been an element of pro-slavery, anti-black racism within Irish nationalism, especially in the writings of John Mitchel and Arthur Griffith

Fast forward  half a century and we find a Limerick historian, Liam Hogan, valiantly attempting to stem the myth of Irish slavery - a popular and growing meme, especially in the United States.  This meme, either through ignorance, me-too-victimhood or out and out dishonesty and anti-black racism, equates chattel slavery with indentured servitude.  You can read Hogan's ongoing debunking of the myth - in 5 parts, starting here or here.

The Growth in Social Media Mentions of the Irish Slave Myth - from Hogan


Not the least disservice performed by this pervasive myth is to cast a shadow over the very real historical sufferings of the Irish people while providing ammunition for her enemies.  Only last week there was a small example of a Scottish writer's reasonable comment on the Highland Clearances being equated by anti-SNP voices as if it were a Scottish appropriation of the slave myth.