Friday, November 23, 2012

Thatcher: A Pre-Obituary

I reposted this after the Thatcher Day fiasco. (Sign the petition against it).


She isn't dead yet but this is in anticipation of all the praise the Iron Lady will receive when that blessed release finally does come.

I may be wrong, but I suspect even the worst of the official obituaries will be along the lines of the "well, I didn't agree with her politics but she was a great politician/she got things done" kind of sycophantic drivel that opposition politicians will come out with. I don't particularly care for a politician that simply "get things done". It has to be the right things. Things in which the consequences for everyone are at the very least taken into account.

Bollocks to those obituaries I say, but I can only hope people writing them remain true to the way they felt when she did hold power. The Milk Snatcher (as she was sometimes known) was almost certainly the worst thing to happen to this country since that other crazed daemon, Oliver Cromwell.

Mrs. Thatcher got us all caught up with creating yet more "record" profits for worldwide corporations that exist purely for their bottom lines. Yes, these corporations made some people rich but it wasn't the ones working ridiculous shifts.

And to do what? To stuff the faces of people who apparently have the desperate need for a burger at 1 in the morning. The belief that they need a burger is most probably fed by advertising and the alcohol they just consumed in a pub chain owned by another large corporation. A burger produced in what amounts to a factory in which animals go in one end and meat comes out the other, mirroring perfectly the consuming process by which meat goes in one end and ... well, you get the picture.

Of course, Mrs. Thatcher didn't introduce global corporates into Britain. That was happening anyway. But she taught people to love the mentality that the bottom line is what matters; that growth is what counts; that a bigger profit this year than last year is the only thing to aim for. Of course, what far more experienced people were telling her was that growth and inflation aren't really that different, especially if that growth isn't based on real commodities but on "added value". All added value means is I'm going to charge you an extortionate amount for this sandwich, but I'll smile when I'm handing it to you. The recent economic strife has taught us that rather harshly.

Mrs. T Used all the means at her disposal both legal and illegal to get her way. She disguised soldiers as policemen during the miner's strike. That was wrong and she knew it. Had she brought the army out against the people that would have been the end of her political career. The fact she disguised them as policeman tells me she was willing to ride roughshod over democracy because she thought, wrongly as it has turns out, that manual labourers were no longer needed and that we somehow needed to become a "service economy".

She was hypnotised by the utter nonsense idea, verging on a religion, known as reaganomics, that was circulating amongst decision makers at the time. It relies almost in it's entirety on something called trickle-down economics which suggests that if you reward the high earners in society by lowering their tax bills that, as if by magic, the extra money in the economy would find it's way into the pockets of the poor. Of course this is nonsense. The rich don't spend much more money on everyday things than anyone else, as it turns out. It also is completely amoral. It doesn't take any account of how the rich make that money. The fact they made it by reducing other's wages arguably had the reverse effect. Sadly the U.S. Still seems to enamoured of this idea.

And it wasn't just reaganomics that hypnotised her but the man Reagan himself. She worshipped him, as the notorious hand on coffin incident demonstrated. Yes, it was partly for show, but why did she have to show herself to be that close to Reagan in the first place? Her Infatuation with Reagan brought Britain into an embrace with the US which caused us to ignore relationships with other countries with whom we had much more in common. Firstly Europe. Imagine a Europe that had the full bodied support of a strong nation like the UK and the reputation of the pound behind it. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, the commonwealth. Imagine, in this Information Age, where distance is almost meaningless to many businesses if we had put the same amount of energy into our relationship with Australia with it's healthy economy and all the tie-ins to all the other emerging pacific nations that would have given us.

It's not that we shouldn't have a relationship with the U.S.A. A relatively young nation like the States needs the tempered hand of a more mature nation that has been where it now is. During the Thatcher years our foreign policy consisted almost entirely of our relationship with America and the Falkland incident. She Insisted on calling it a war but that was politically motivated hyperbole.

She Is not entirely to blame, of course. Blair entrenched the entire Thatcher economic model. Indeed, I could even say Thatcher was up-front about her economic goals. Blair smuggled the politics of the Iron Lady back into the country in a nice looking suit. An expensive Armani suit at that.

Unfortunately, Mrs T used our diversity against us. She played north against south, rich against poor, Scottish against English and her peak capped skeletal henchman Tebbit was even ocassionally wheeled out to play the race card. Tebbit (he's not dead yet either) was a particularly nasty piece of work that the Tory party seemed to have hanging like barnacles on it's putrifying underbelly during the 80s. I have a particularly horrible recollection of him tearing apart a woman from a homeless charity telling her "the homeless should look after themselves". There, sadly, doesn't appear to be a clip of it anywhere on the internet.

Milk Snatcher
Most significantly she set back women's rights by a generation. Being one of the first nations on earth to have a female leader should have been a fantastic moment for a country like the UK and the world as a whole. Instead we got this person who had all the bad elements of the male leaders that already existed with none of the good qualities that the best male leaders do have. She also had none of the qualities that a good female leader could have brought to the table. An ability to listen, an ability not to be driven by her penis (Thatcher was, of course) and an ability to fight for the optimal compromise in a situation rather than try to dominate.

Under her leadership this country lost it's way. Under her leadership the army was brought out against it's own people. The unions could have easily been sorted out with compromises but she felt she had to make a point. Under her leadership we saw the race riots, some of the worst in-fighting between Britons since the civil war. Under her leadership we saw billions of pounds spent on a "war" defending around 300 people who, for a 10th of the price could have be repatriated and given a house and a large trust fund each. Under her leadership the number of people for whom there was no work rose to 3 million, that's 3 million people who wanted to work but weren't able to. Under her leadership the seeds of our current economic failure were sown. How demoralising.

So no, don't believe any of the snivelling obituaries that will be out there. They are written by the very, very small number of people who had something to gain from riding on her coat tails.


After the opening ceremony of the London Olympics I felt that the genius Danny Boyle managed to sum up what Britain really could be like. We are indeed a mongrel nation. See my short blog post on the subject.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Obama vs Romney

Neil Kinnock, leader of the British Labour party during the 80s and 90s once made a speech about the the Tori leader Margaret Thatcher. This is widely regarded as his best speech and the following is possibly his most memorable quote ever. As it happens, Mrs Thatcher did win the election and his predictions started to come true.
"If Margaret Thatcher wins on Thursday, I warn you not to be ordinary. I warn you not to be young. I warn you not to fall ill. I warn you not to get old."
In my personal opinion  Obama would be perfectly able to use that line with regards to Romney and the US election tonight.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Equality of opportunity in the wider world.

This is my reply to another blog post by Crommunist entitled "Finding the faults" and located here:

" ...  I find this supposed ‘unity’ of the atheist cause to be nothing more than ridiculous wishful thinking. ... ".

Those us against Atheism Plus are, in fact, saying the opposite. Atheism has always been non-unified. The only thing any of us can guarantee to have in common is that we don't see enough evidence for gods or the supernatural.

Many atheists are completely for the aims of Atheism Plus (as am I), as long as you are fighting for equality of opportunity, but it is precisely because Atheism Plus are trying to create a unified group that we are against it.

I happily stand with christians/muslims etc... who are against racism/misogyny etc... In fact, I'd rather spend my time fighting these things in public with anyone who stands with me on these things rather than be a member of a group that claims inclusivity, but you can only be an atheist to join, even if you agree with all of our aims.

The issue of equality of opportunity for everyone is so important that having a specifically atheist group that is pro social justice is divisive (not to the atheist community, we are only a group in the loosest population dynamics sense) but to the wider community fighting for social justice.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Reply to Crommunist Manifesto on Atheism Plus

This was my reply to Crommunist Manifesto's blog post on Freethought Blogs.

His original post:

When it comes to feminism, I am perfectly happy to stand shoulder to shoulder with any christian (or muslim, or hindhu…) if they share my views that men and women should be treated equally.

When it comes to racism, I am perfectly happy to stand shoulder to shoulder with any christian (or muslim, or hindhu…) if they share my views that all races should be treated equally.

When it comes to sexuality, I am perfectly happy to stand shoulder to shoulder with any christian (or muslim, or hindhu…) if they share my views that people of all sexual orientation should be treated equally.

When it comes to church/state separation, I am perfectly happy to stand shoulder to shoulder with any christian (or muslim, or hindhu…) if they share my views that people of any religion or none should given any preference by the state.

See a pattern?

There are also atheists who don’t share my views on these things and I am perfectly happy to discuss with them our differences of opinion.

I am perfectly happy if humanism is not entirely atheistic. There is nothing about atheism that necessarily leads to any particular political viewpoint. There is also nothing about humanism that means it has to be entirely atheistic.

But that’s fine. I fight each issue on it’s own merits. Creating specific clubs that exactly match my viewpoint is not something I want to be part of. In fact, the opposite is true. I want to be challenged on my views.

I thought, perhaps naively, that when I started to meet other atheists and skeptics that having my views challenged would be the norm. In fact I was rather excited by it.

I hope that is still the case.

I thought I should post my reply as a blog post as it kind of sums up my views on Atheism Plus.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A tribute

"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars", "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few", "I have a dream".

"One small step for man ... One giant leap for mankind".

To be a military test pilot is probably the most challenging, thrilling and frightening job in the world. You must have the experience of a forty year old combined with the physical strength and mental dexterity of youth. You need to be brave enough to take calculated and sometimes uncalculated risks. You must have the ability to come up with novel solutions to problems in split seconds in life threatening situations and have the fortitude to say, "go for it".

Only the best test pilots, at their peak fitness are ever considered when deciding who should become an astronaut. To be chosen to be the commander of a lunar lander you must also have the utmost respect from, and for, the team of which you are in charge.

To be the first of them and to be chosen to be the human being that will place their foot on a surface not of this world, you must be someone who has the respect of an entire nation.

To do all that, and to land with one minute of fuel to spare, then come up with one of the most memorable lines in human history takes an exceptional human being. Only a few of which come along in a generation.

That man was Neil Armstrong.
1930 - 2012

Monday, August 13, 2012

Diversity breeds Adaptability

10,000 years ago small tribes of people crossed the land that is now covered by water and that we have called the English Channel. Ever since then, we have absorbed so many cultures.

The Flemish, The Celts, the Romans, the Vikings, the French, the Dutch, the Jewish, the Caribbeans, the Indians, the Pakistanis, the Polish and so many more.

A mongrel nation makes for a healthier nation. A more diverse nation. A nation that not only copes with the world, but adapts to it and makes the best of what is thrown at it.

If we can take anything from the last two weeks, perhaps it has shown us we had, just maybe, forgotten that.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Pastor Charles Worley - working the figures

So, this man, if such a moniker can be used for someone with such inhuman standards on how to treat others, has said all the lesbians and gays and should be rounded up and put into separate "pens" and left there until they die. (He did say he would feed them, although that's un-biblical, as he is showing mercy).

In case you missed it:

I thought I would do some stats on the things he said, so here goes:

Here is my basic assumptions.

  • He said 50-100km so I'll assume 100 to be generous
  • He made a vague circular motion when he said it so I'll assume a circle
  • He suggested a separate "pen" for gays and lesbians, so I've calculated for just one population (but the calculation is the same for both populations).
  • I have assumed 1% of the female U.S. population are lesbians, although it is almost certainly much larger (which just makes the figures even more inhuman).
  • I have taken the poulation of the U.S. from google to be around 312M 

It turns out that the "lesbian density" (good grief!) would be 2000 lesbians (or gays) per square kilometre! That's half a square metre per lesbian.

Given that the absolute minimum recommended for free range chickens is 2 square metres per chicken, that gives you an idea of just how inhuman this man's ideas are.

I know doing these calculations seems ridiculous, but you can bet that any leader of a nation that has concentration camps does precisely these same calcuations with the added inhumanity of a cost/benefit analysis.

Quite apart from the fact that most gays and lesbians come from heterosexual parents and there would always be new gay and lesbians born anyway.