The Guardian (for various reasons the paper this writer reads most often) is continually full of stories about people in poverty. There are more stories about food banks than there are stars in the sky. And “homeless” children (who it usually turns out are in fact being housed in a hostel at public expense). And people (this is one of their favourite story lines) “who have to choose between eating and heating”. And so on. Continue reading “The “austerity” crisis in the UK – it is not what it seems”
One feature of this election is how denunciations are replacing debate. Rather than say that your opponent is wrong and showing why his views are wrong by argument and (where relevant) evidence people – ordinary people, as well as politicians and the press, simply denounce the other person.
There is a strong movement in public discourse in the UK to only permit a single, approved, narrative on a wide range of questions. The unifying and ‘moral’ basis of the discourse seems to be something to do with victimhood.
It is not allowed to express contrary opinions. People who do are hung, drawn and quartered. Their views are so obviously bigoted and wrong that no one needs to actually present a reason why they are wrong. In expressing contrary opinions they are not seen as mistaken but as evil. If people make a public humiliating apology – and almost all do – they may be permitted to remain in the fold, on license. Otherwise they are exiled. Politicians must spent a lot of effort making sure they don’t transgress. It is obvious that many politicians express opinions which they don’t hold so as not to fall foul of the thought police.
Who is driving this discourse – which has arisen only in the last 10-20 years or so?
The first part of the judge-run inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire has been released. The Guardian reports that the London Fire Brigade comes in for some criticism – for example that they were not prepared for this kind of contingency. Sir Martin Moore-Bick also apparently comments that more people could have been saved if the order to evacuate had been given sooner. (That is long after the rationale for the stay-put policy had been rendered irrelevant by circumstances and long after the time when most people could have been gotten out safely). Continue reading “Apathy and complacency that even mass death cannot shake”
The London Fire Brigade Commissioner has explained that more research is needed into “buildings that fail”. This, apparently, is intended to be a credible response to the failings of the London Fire Brigade to evacuate a tower block when the whole building was in flames. Even by the ordinary standards of blasé dereliction of responsibility by British public officials this is outlandish. Continue reading “Grenfell Tower – a fatal case of institutional paralysis”
The under-occupancy Penalty was introduced by the 2012 Welfare Reform Act. It is known as the “bedroom tax” by agitators who want to misrepresent the penalty as a tax. It sounds better to be campaigning against a tax than against a penalty for under-occupying social housing. Continue reading “The Bedroom Tax and the Market”
The ‘progressive’ movement – the result of the left abandoning real politics in favour of a focus on rights, ‘sensitivity’ and ‘identities’ – has certain features. One of the main ones is a unique single-mindedness which cannot tolerate any kind of difference of opinions. There is a single truth and everyone must subscribe; or they are an an unspeakable bigot. Another feature is the absence of serious argument; ‘truths’ are bandied about as if incontrovertible, when, in reality they are a point of view in a discourse which is far from resolved. For adherents of this ideology their truth is the truth and everyone else is to be denounced and, ideally, eliminated from the social sphere altogether. This is very immature. People used to transition from being a student to being an adult. Now they don’t bother and public discourse takes place at the level one would expect from a meeting of the most facile of first-year undergraduates. Continue reading “Faked cries of ‘racism’”