Saturday 13 November 2010

All those lives wasted.

Once a year, this country falls silent for two minutes. Two minutes. Once a year. It's not asking a lot. Considering that it is done to honour those who have fallen permanently silent while defending our country, it is asking nothing at all. Two minutes out of the 24/7 culture that has sprung up around us. Two minutes without a tweet or a phone or a keyboard or a voice. Once a year. Hardly an onerous request.

Remembrance Day, November 11th, is the most solemn - indeed, the only truly solemn ritual in this country. Christmas? We're mostly plastered and raucous and busy stuffing ourselves with calories for Christmas. We buy each other willie warmers and hideous sweaters and wine bottles locked into wooden puzzles you can only get into with a Dremel. Fortunately I have one.

Even Christians enjoy Christmas - it is the celebration of the birth of Christ, after all. Easter? Chocolate eggs and rabbits. The old pagan ways still persist even though it has officially become the date of Christ's crucifixion. Even so, it is not a solemn occasion, even for Christians, since Christianity believes Christ died for our sins and came back a few days later anyway. Again, it's about celebration, not morose introspection.

Saints' days, especially Saint Bank who gets more holidays than the rest of them put together, are not regarded as solemn days. New Year, Halloween, Bonfire Night, all of them are an excuse for a bit of R&R.

The only one we take seriously and solemnly is Remembrance Day, November 11th. It is the one occasion when nobody laughs or jokes. The only gifts given are wreaths for the dead. At 11 am, for two minutes, we are silent in honour of our fighting dead.

You can rename Christmas as 'Winterval' and we'll say 'tut'. You can ban celebration of Easter in case it upsets the Muslims and we'll say 'tsk'. When NHS Grampian tried that, a few years ago, the most vocal 'tsk' -ers were the local Muslim groups who had never asked for any such thing.

Tell us that Halloween is offensive because of its roots in the Pagan Samheim festival and we'll say 'Yeah, we know' and carry on with the toffee apples and the fake blood. Tell us that Guy Fawkes was a traitor who tried to blow up parliament and we'll cheer him harder. Harder still, these days.

But burn a poppy and shout 'English soldiers go to hell' during that two minutes of silence we observe once a year and you have crossed the line.

And yet, what happens? The Sun report persists in calling the EDL 'far right' and telling us that one of them was arrested on suspicion of having class A drugs, while their leader was arrested for assaulting a police officer. They also refer to 'alleged poppy burners' despite showing a photo of them burning the poppy. The fault is redirected to those who protest at having this country's most solemn day corrupted.

So what of these disgusting poppy-burners, those who seek to cast scorn and derision on the only truly serious and solemn thing the British people ever do? Is it okay in their law to deride the most important traditions of the host country? It seems not. It seems that, in fact, Hideous Harman's 'equality' laws are in full effect there - if someone claims you said something to offend, whether you really did or not, it's ropey necktie time.

We don't have the death sentence and I don't want it. I don't want to live in a country where the State can decide whether you live or die, no matter what you've done. No, not even for murder. The dissonance of 'You are a murderer, and murder is wrong, so we're going to murder you for it and it's not wrong when we do it, only when you do it,' is too much for me.

We do, however, have hate speech laws which are applied with such reckless disregard for common sense that really, would anyone trust our judiciary with a death sentence? It would be only a matter of time before the black cap appeared because someone was overheard telling one of those 'Englishman, Scotsman and Welshman' jokes. I would trust our current legal system about as far as I could spit a badger into a gale force headwind.

Yet, make a joke and you're in the dock. You're sneered at by Parliament, those angelic cherubs who have never done a thing wrong in their lives. You are a Thought Criminal and you must go off to Room 101 and face the rats.

Unless you are Lefty Student Wunderkind.

I agree with students protesting. I never did as a student, I was a science student and proper courses don't leave time for such frivolity. However, students protest, it's what they do.

Smashing up buildings is not protesting. It's vandalism. Stealing is not protesting. It's theft. You would think Tanzil Choudhury, the Masked Cricketer photographed with a stolen cricket bat and his name, course and university tagged to the photo (in which he is in a futile disguise) would have known these things. He is variously a law graduate or a law student, depending on which source you read. Good luck getting a law partnership to take you on, you self-confessed thieving vandal.

Arrested, prosecuted, censured, or will he still be a law student on Monday morning?

Then there is the university lecturer who wears the Batman logo on his head, who claims that the smashing time was planned, and that government buildings are legitimate targets.

Arrested, prosecuted, censured, or will he still be a lecturer on Monday morning?

If I had kids I wouldn't let them anywhere near these universities. They might get killed on one of the lecturer-organised day trips (bring your own hammer). This particular lecturer is part of a group called 'revolution' -

Revolution’s website states: ‘We are a group of young activists who are fed up with unemployment, war, poverty, cuts and capitalism. We want to bring down Cam and Clegg’s millionaire coalition and replace it with socialism.’

Now, I am aware that if these people were knives we'd only have to worry about papercuts, but even so. They have memories that goldfish could beat. The Coagulation have only been in power for five months. We had thirteen years of socialism in which we declared war on two countries who have never threatened us and the country is now in inescapable poverty for the foreseeable future. They want to replace what we have with the Gorgon and the Blur. Okay. Show me how it will be different because it hasn't changed yet, as far as I can see.

Oh, and Mr Lecturer? Under socialism, you would be paid the same as a sewer sweeper. So your university would be instantly irrelevant.

The youth who perhaps became the ‘face’ of the riots after he was pictured wearing a stolen Met cap and hurling a chair through the window of 30 Millbank was 17-year-old Lewis Evans, a sixth-form pupil at Hackney Community College.

He told the Mail on Wednesday: ‘I came here today with the intention of ****ing things up and hopefully we’ve succeeded.’

As far as your chances of getting into university next year are concerned, I suspect you have ****ed that up pretty comprehensively. Have a nice future, Lewis. Trolley collecting isn't so bad once you get used to it.

Look at the courses they are coming from. See any physicists, biologists, chemists or mathematicians in there? Any forensic scientists or business management students?

Law. Oriental and African Studies. Dance. DANCE! You can get a degree in that now? I suppose there's also a degree in policeman's hat-stealing (for which we taxpayers will fund replacements) and in hurling fire extinguishers into crowds. No doubt 'Chair through Window' will be the main attraction at the Tate next year.

Goldsmith's College London have declared their lefty definition of 'violence':

"We the undersigned wish to congratulate staff and students on the magnificent anti-cuts demonstration this afternoon," the lecturers said. "We wish to condemn and distance ourselves from the divisive and, in our view, counterproductive statements issued by NUS and [national] UCU concerning the occupation of the Conservative party HQ. The real violence in this situation relates not to a smashed window but to the destructive impact of the cuts."

And yet, make a joke on Twitter and the full force of the law will come down on you. Tear up a building and throw a fire extinguisher off a roof, declare that the violence was preplanned and that you'll do it again, and what happens? Oh, you're a real fucking hero. That's not violence. Pointing out that there is no money left is violence.

Two minutes silence for those who died so that these people might live in this country and spout their socialist and Islamic bile.

I bet their ghosts wish they hadn't bothered. They could all have sat at home and let the Bosch march in. How much worse could it really have been? In fact, how different would it really have been? At all?

We used to have a Conservative party. The Whigs used to mean something too. Socialism has always been a cancer, a sham, a pretext. It has never meant what it claimed to mean. We used to have a real government. Real leaders. They're all gone now. Lay a wreath for our new leaders alongside the others, but don't make it out of poppies.

Make it out of something yellow. With a white feather to set it off.


Bill Sticker said...

Maybe its time that funding was only given to core subjects such as Law, Engineering, Medicine, and the 'Hard' science subjects with a side curriculum for commercial of Business courses.

The world won't come to an end if stuff like PPE, or Political and Social 'Science' courses have to come out of students own pockets.

Caratacus said...

Bill, I was thinking the self-same thing today. Maths, Physics, Chemistry too. The hard stuff. I would be a rotten bastard and say 'no' to Law for that matter - too many of them end up as politicians!

PT Barnum said...

1. All financial subsidies are being withdrawn from Arts and Humanities subjects, which will include such things as PPE, Anthropology and Dance.
2. Monday morning, across the country, disciplinary proceedings will start being cranked up against both staff and students involved in the criminal elements of the protest. While the UCU and the NUS may think they were acting legitimately, they will find that their university managers take a very dim view of bringing their individual institutions into disrepute.
3. Staff who acquire a criminal conviction while acting in their professional role will be disciplined, up to and including dismissal.
4. Students who acquire a criminal conviction for violence or property damage, if they are not thrown out, are subject to a monitoring process throughout the rest of their degrees by the university's security staff.

By the by, I believe any academic who influenced or encouraged their students to act in a criminal manner should be sacked. And I used to be a university academic.

Matthew said...

Fantastic post LI.

Anonymous said...

There's a rather glaring nit here and I'm going to pick it. Your criticise the degree choices of the alleged riotors, yet you're seemingly oblivious to the fact that Goldsmiths is one the most prestigious institutions in the country, as is the SCHOOL OF Oriental and African Studies or SOAS. Meanwhile, I fear your plan to eliminate PPE from state sponsorship will meet alot of flack from David Cameron and the Tory party, seeing as PPE is by far and away the most popular degree studied by those in Westminster and Whitehall, and the Civil Service. In fact, your entire post smacks of a complete lack of knowledge of FE & HE in general - had you actually attended one of the more reputable institutions then you would, like this computer science graduate from one of the best programmes in the country, realise that there's absolute no connection between the degree that you study and political activism.

microdave said...

I bet none of them watched the Channel 4 programme "Britain's Trillion Pound Horror Story"

It might (just might) have shut them up....

Chris said...

Top stuff Leggy.

Unless you are Lefty Student Wunderkind.

Timewasters high on the over-inflated legend of the soixante-retards, but no threat to the powers that be...

Revolution’s website states: ‘We are a group of young activists who are fed up with unemployment, war, poverty, cuts and capitalism. We want to bring down Cam and Clegg’s millionaire coalition and replace it with socialism.’

What was that shorthand definition of insanity? Oh yes. Repeating actions and expecting a different result.

Anonymous said...

Looking at things from a rather wider perspective, I was concerned to hear on Jeremy Vine’s show on Radio 2 the day after the demo that a member of one of the lecturers’ associations who had stated his support for the riots (didn’t hear it from the start, so didn’t catch his name or the exact organisation) had been invited in to the show, not, as one might expect, to have questions put to him as to the reasons for the demo or even to try and defend the actions of the rioters (being as he had stated his support for it) but, to offer a defence for his reasons for supporting it at all. There’s a big difference between the two. Vine’s approach was that, as a member of a university lecturers’ organisation, this chap had a duty to be opposed to it totally and to disapprove of it.

Now, I personally think that the actions of the rioters were indeed disgraceful, and actually slightly embarrassing – a bunch of naïve teenagers trying to act like grown-up, politically-aware adults (and succeeding only in showing themselves up to be a bunch of, er, naïve teenagers), and I agree that any of them who have committed any kind of crime should be (a) brought to book about it and (b) slung off their university courses. So I don’t agree with this man for an instant. But surely one of the features of living in a so-called “free” country is for everyone to be able to hold their own opinions, even if they are in the minority and even if they are deeply unpopular, without having to defend themselves for doing so?

I just thought it was rather indicative of the whole approach these days that if you are in a certain position, then you are obliged to hold certain views without exception (e.g. if you are a doctor then you have to be anti-smoking; if you are a teacher you have to be anti-corporal punishment; if you are a social worker you have to be pro-same-sex parent arrangements etc etc). Worrying.

Leg-iron said...

Anon 11:53

In fact, your entire post smacks of a complete lack of knowledge of FE & HE in general

One B.Sc.
One stint as a research assistant.
One PhD.
Three postdoctoral positions in different universities.
Thirteen years as a lecturer and researcher before going self-employed. I've taught students at all levels from HND through to PhD.

I fear my lack of knowledge is not as complete as you might hope.

Robert the Biker said...

Aha, so you're one of those ivory tower accademics we hear about then.:-)

BSc in Engineering for me, which I found totally useless in my profession as a materials engineer in Petrochem; everything usefull I know I learned on the job.

Leg-iron said...

Anon 16:12 - You're describing Thoughtcrime.

Leg-iron said...

Robert the Biker - I'm out of the ivory tower. I just rent lab space in there now.

It's harder work but much more fun.

Anonymous said...

I'll likely be taking a Computer Science degree (I like to think that that's a real subject :P) next year, and I can't actually see the problem with raising tuition fees - but I can't see the point either.

The only reason we see these "John, 45, still has £silly of his student loan left" horror stories is simple - the loan is written off eventually, so nobody in their right mind will be paying it back in full.

How exactly does funding universities out of government-backed loans that will never be repaid in full help the nation's finances?

Personally, I think that degrees should be funded based on the employment rates of graduates.
Want to do medicine, dentistry, chemistry, engineering? Fees paid. Want to do media studies or history of art? Fucking pay for it yourself.

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