Do you donk?

An extreme Donk car, with access ladder

For any item, from a house to a toaster to a shoe to a car, I have a simple design red line – form must always follow function.

This does not rule out elegance, but it does establish a hierarchy.  Nothing should be styled for style’s sake.  

First, your device or item should be functional.  As functional as possible.  If you manage that, like a Dieter Rams travel clock (Rams was the German design genius who was head of design at Braun during the period when they were German owned), it will have its own austere, functional beauty:

Braun clock-radio, 1977

I bought one like this next one below, but with a snap cover (travel version), when I first went to college, and I had it for decades. It accompanied me around the world, and never – not once – missed a beat. I lost it in a house move recently, and spent a miserable year or so, trying out modern alarm clocks (I prefer to switch off phones at night). It doesn’t matter how much you spend on an alarm clock nowadays folks, they’re all shite. They don’t fucking keep time, and most of them break down inside a few months. Eventually, I did what I should have done at the outset, tracked down an original 1970s Dieter Rams alarm clock in New York, and bought it. I’ve had it for over a year now, and it works flawlessly. Class is permanent.

Here is a Dieter Rams designed radio-record player, from 1956:

And here is a Dieter Rams Braun radio, from 1961. See what I mean about timeless:

In an echo of Lotus Cars founder, Colin Chapman’s famous dictum (“simplify, then add lightness“), Rams once explained his design approach in the phrase “Weniger, aber besser” (“less, but better“).

Either of which principles, sadly, are the exact opposite of the current lamentable asshole fashions in modern car design, where more definitely is more, regardless of whether it’s better, or not. “If in doubt, bling it up to fuck“, is the first commandment of modern car design.

Second, while you can of course seek to make your design elegant, it must never be at the expense of function.  Any styling enhancement should, at worst, be functionally neutral.  Ideally, it should enhance function. 

Er, that’s it. 

And the converse applies – anything which has no functional role is always ugly and always dumb.

This is why I hate stucco, for instance.  Especially interior Georgian stucco.  Teeth-grindingly awful. Useless, curly rubbish.  Adds nothing and does nothing:

Great, if you need your ceiling to look like an iced Christmas cake

And it’s why I detest big wheels on cars.  Note: by “big”, I mean large diameter – not width.  Wheels can be small and wide.  That’s OK – sometimes, as on a track, grip is needed.  It’s the metal wheel / rim with the large diameter that I find emetic.  They derive from a dumb, peacocking urban culture.  One where substance or function – including actual driving – is irrelevant and where being seen is everything.  You have no existence unless you’re externally validated.  That is, the external validation is not merely an adjunct – it’s integral.  It’s Sartrean bad-faith in 30-inch metal rims.   

Here’s why big wheels are dumb:

1. They cost much more.

2. They make your car accelerate more slowly.  Oh sure, you may think you look cool, but all you’ve done is paid a lot of money to make your car slower and less comfortable.  Josh Sadler, founder of Autofarm, Europe’s longest-established Porsche specialists since 1973, once told me that the biggest simple improvement you could make to an old air-cooled 911 was to “drop her onto 15s”.  1980s 911s were designed with 15″ rims; but fashion victims even then were insisting on larger wheels and so many were fitted with 16″ wheels in dealerships.  But if you want to accelerate more quickly (surely a key consideration in a sports car), the advice from those who know what they’re talking about is clear – get rid of the bigger wheels.  

3. By adding unsprung weight at each corner, they make your car less nimble.

4. In order to preserve your car’s gearing, the bigger the wheel, the shallower the side-wall on the tyre.  Every inch you add to the diameter of your wheel means you have to take an inch off the sidewall of your tyre.  And ultra-low profile tyres are little better than running on metal rims.  Your car now jiggles and crashes on ordinary roads; dropping a wheel into a pothole is a seismic experience and your tyres will puncture much, much more.

6. Lack of sidewall flex means that your car now gives you no warning when you’ve ran out of grip.  Modern cars are well insulated.  Say you’re bowling along, stereo on, yakking on the hands-free phone, say a bend tightens unexpectedly, everythings seems fine and then bang! you’re gone sideways, backways through a wall.

7. Conversely, the advantage of a smaller rim is that it allows you to run tyres with deeper sidewalls.  If you’re running out of grip, the car starts to squirm a bit under you and you know to back off. The fat sidewalls give you some warning.  And, of course, tyre and road noise is greatly reduced with taller, narrower tyres; steering accuracy and feel improves; and you waft over potholes in comfort.

The only reasons for big wheels are fashion, and mechanical ignorance. 

Look at this visual timeline of how wheels have become more stupid:

Original Issigonis 1960s Mini on 10” rims -have you ever driven one in anger? Probably the most fun car ever made; in its day, cleaned up on the European rally circuits, all on 10″ rims:

1970s Porsche 917 race car on 15” rims – in full race tune, it had 1,600 bhp (in 1971!), and was the most outrageously-dominant race car ever built – and all on 15″ rims:

2022 Porsche 917 replica with predictably idiot rims (even on a ruthlessly-pragmatic racing machine, not even Porsche nowadays can resist the temptation to add some unnecessary wheel bling, even when it does fuck-all) – the wheels look comically over-sized, and, naturally, there’s no clearance to speak of – but hey, da boyz in da hood would approve:

1980s Audi quattro rally car on 15” rims – the car that ripped up the world rally rulebook, all on 15″ rims:

Noughties Range Rover, goes carefully to supermarket, worrying about speed humps, on over-sized rims:

This next proud owner (below) is very taken with his new 22″ rims – why, he notes triumphantly, there’s “no rubbing“. Seemingly, wheels which manage to avoid fouling on the wheel arches are now something to brag about – what a tool:

Lambo SUV, with 23″ rims – Lambo intends this to be their “off-road” vehicle, lol:

Incidentally, just to debunk an oft-proffered justification from the big wheel idiots, no you do not need super-sized wheels to clear brake calipers either.  Get yourself a Wilwood brake kit if you need to. F1 cars have the best brakes in motorsport, and they use 13” rims, the same diameter as my little 1990s rally Micra.  Depressingly, F1 cars, the world’s fastest-accelerating cars, which until 2021 had always ran on 13” rims, will be moving to 18” rims from 2022.  Sheepishly, F1 admits this change has nothing to do with engineering – it’s entirely a fashion-led move, as technical director at Mercedes F1, James Allison, admits:

“All things being equal the bigger rims, low-profile rubber is always going to be a worse tyre than the sort of tyres that we have on our racing car today.  That sort of balloon-type tyre that you see on our cars today and have seen on racing cars for decades is a really good solution for going quickly. It allows the tyre to transmit the forces to the road really effectively, it’s light, it acts as a good suspending element so it gives the driver good ride quality, allows the forces to be taken at quite low inflation pressures, which means you get more grip, et cetera.  So from a lap time point of view the way we currently do it is definitely the right way. And the new tyres are going to be heavier, lower grip and worse for ride – all other things being equal. So they’re going to slow the cars down by somewhere between a second and two seconds, something like that.  Of course Pirelli are putting a lot of effort into to mitigate those losses and to bring an improved technology on the low-profile tyres. That means that they will still be good racing tyres. But all things being equal that sort of tyre is not a good thing.”

Allison said he isn’t convinced by some of the arguments for introducing the new tyres. “I guess if you are a 13-year-old boy or a fan of ‘Fast and Furious’ films you’d like the look of the tyre,” he said. “So aesthetically they appeal to some people.”

See <article>. 

But where is this bullshit fashion influence coming from?

Essentially, urban streets, especially LA.  Ever since the 1940s, Mexican Americans have been slamming cars to get the Lowrider look.  Since then, a variety of essentially urban car peacocking sub-cultures have turned car fashion away from its traditional obsessions with driving fun, and towards a new obsession with empty-headed suburban peacocking

The new car sub-cultures are not rally boys fitting gravel suspensions and twin-shocks to get you round a bad back road as quickly as possible.  Nor are they worried about improving their time around Laguna Seca.  In fact, these people have no interest in driving at all.  As with SLAB (“slow, loud and bangin”) cars, the idea is to drive as slowly as possible, all the better to be seen – check out these SLAB car owners from Texas – the idea is you pimp up the interior, fit an oversized sound system in the boot, fit “elbow” wheels (dangerously-protruding wire cages on your wheels), and drive, really, really, slowly, while weaving in and out. It has nothing to do with driving; it’s all about being seen:

I see a variant of this exact same asshole culture locally in Ireland. Whereas the country lads want nothing more than a deserted late-night or early morning back road to get the loud pedal down and go a bit slideways at speed without the Feds on your case, lots of urban youth in Ireland wait until a Friday or Saturday night and cruise around in heavy traffic(!), just to be seen. That is, crawling around in a perpetual traffic jam – the kind of environment that would be unbearable to a proper driving enthusiast.  And, in fairness, this is not just in Ireland – you get the exact same crap in Britain – I remember a few years ago, late one night in Manchester, a knob driving around in an orange Lamborghini, doing about 3.5mph, revving constantly, to make sure everyone was looking at him.  Of course, since it was Manchester, he got as ,much abuse as admiration, but the preening bollocks – he may have been a local pro millionaire footballer – was undeterred. 

And, with the Lowrider boys, the idea is to bounce up and down on the spot, while not actually making any progress at all.  You can spend up to $100k fitting your car out with a boot full of hydraulics to “achieve” a bullshit functionality like this: 

I well remember being on a bus in East London in the mid-1990s, when 2 dudes at a traffic light started their car bouncing up and down.  I marvelled at how solemn the 2 lads were, how proud – even though they looked like something out of a fucking circus.  The 2 old ladies sitting in front of me nearly fell out of their seat and wondered aloud if they needed to have their spectacles changed.   

Lowriders, and slab cars, they both popularised the idea that car accessorising could be legitimate even when it demonstrably makes cars much worse than standard.  There isn’t even a pretence at effecting any sort of functional or dynamic improvement – empty, peacocking idiocy becomes its own raison d’etre. 

However, the nadir of big wheels bullshit arrived with a spin-off of the Lowrider culture, namely “DONK”, or “Hi-riser” cars.  To DONK your car, you do this to it:

Check the low-profile tyres on this Donk:

Here’s another modern Donk:

And this is a forthcoming top of the range Audi A8 – you can see how it has been influenced by the culture typifed in the silly car above:

Note how much of the side panel is cut out to make the wheel arch on this new Audi – the cutting is now so extreme that the wheel arch practically extends up to the level of the bonnet. Unbelievably, this blinged up piece of fashion-victimery will be Audi’s top of the range, “executive” car. I don’t doubt it will be very well made, but fuck me. You’ll note how the new Audi typifies a global trend – by all car manufacturers – towards:

  1. Ever-bigger wheels; and
  2. Ever higher belt-lines, with their concomitant ever-slabbier / uglier side metal; and
  3. Ever shallower roof lines.

Very good article <here>, in Forbes, entitled “Design Disasters: Three Ways Cars Are Getting Worse“. That article is from 2011, folks; it hasn’t been getting any better since.

Essentially, mainstream manufacturers have all been DONKed. 

Unless you’re DONKed, you can’t sell to DOLTs … 

Why Gina Miller’s Brexit case was necessary

Another day, another unintelligent article by The Daily Telegraph. In this <article>, Camilla Tominey says that there was nothing “fair” about Gina Miller’s 2017 <Brexit case>.

It was of course an entirely fair case, and a very necessary intervention – that is, if you care about the principle of parliamentary sovereignty.  Miller saved British parliamentary sovereignty from a pitchfork attack by constitutionally illiterate Brexit populists.  As lawyer David Green noted:

But for those in government, even this wasn’t enough. They quickly appointed themselves as tribunes for this popular will and sought to remove any parliamentary control and supervision of it. Anything from MPs that would delay, frustrate or merely shape the form of Brexit was intolerable to ministers heady with their sense of popular empowerment. This was a profound if opportunistic power grab by the executive, which could have distorted the UK constitution for generations.”

Read his article <here>: 

A central Brexiter canard is that the Miller case was about “over-turning Brexit”.   It plays well to their default self-pity setting, and their Trump-ian cult myth-making. 

Miller’s case has absolutely nothing to do with “over-turning Brexit”, as so many choleric and poorly-read Brexiters like to feel.   From paragraph 3 in the case:

It is also worth emphasising that this case has nothing to do with issues such as the wisdom of the decision to withdraw from the European Union, the terms of withdrawal, the timetable or arrangements for withdrawal, or the details of any future relationship with the European Union. Those are all political issues which are matters for ministers and Parliament to resolve.”

The case was entirely about whether or not the British parliament had a right to be consulted on the terms of the Brexit deal. 

The Brexit position was that Brexit was purely a matter for the people (who had voted in a referendum) and the cabinet of the day.  Parliament could, and should, be sidelined.  Any attempt to let Parliament have a look at the terms was, in Brexiter land, “undemocratic.

Parliamentary sovereignty, something that previous generations of Brits had struggled to obtain, and which had been in place since the late 1600s, was now presented, by an hysterical and constitutionally-illiterate Brexiter rabble, as being “undemocratic”. 

The judges, who were merely upholding a fundamental British freedom in the teeth of right-wing mob hysteria, were publicly traduced as “enemies of the people”. 

And this dumb article perpetuates this sub-fascist nonsense.  I remember when the Daily Telegraph was a bastion of right-wing intelligence. I often disagreed with it, but I at least always respected it. Nowadays, tough times for papers, and a wider culture which seems to dumb down a few clicks every other month, has led it to pander to the worst, populist excesses of the febrile mob. 

It’s pretty obvious that Camilla Tominey either: (i) has not read the case; or (ii) if she has, she has failed to understand a word of it. 

New Taig cull programme

“If you look at the passing-out of the latest cohort of solicitors and barristers in Northern Ireland, the vast majority of them have been educated in what we would perceive to be Catholic grammar schools. It doesn’t necessarily follow they are nationalists, but obviously the vast bulk of nationalists are from the Catholic persuasion. It’s important we address that imbalance, because if that imbalance occurred in any other profession, the Equality Commission would be all over it, but because it’s the law it is quietly ignored.”
                                                                                                              – Jim Wells, DUP, 2022

Imagine living in a place where a prominent local politician counts the new lawyers annually. Does he keep a sectarian spreadsheet lol. He tries to work out how many of them are likely to vote in a way he disapproves of, and he thinks it’s “important” that “we address” this “imbalance”.

It’s difficult to know how best to resolve this “freckled voters” problem.  Perhaps, when admitting students, universities should prioritise imputed voting intentions over exam results?

Or maybe they could come up with a vaccine for it?  Or perhaps just triple the fees for anyone West of the Bann?

Or adapt a badger cull programme for the Taigs – a few snipers at the Europa bus station, taking out anyone with a GAA bag, for starters.

On being assured that I wasn’t making this apartheid mentality story up, the most charitable feedback I had from a few overseas lawyer acquaintances was a query whether the said “imbalance” might not be in Jim’s head.  

I said no, thousands vote for him precisely because he thinks like that. It’s the secret of his success.       

Anti-vaccine freedom fighters

The cool person’s passport

It’s hiding in plain sight.

The link between xenophobia, racism and the anti-vaccer mentality.

Novax Jokeovic, tennis player, and well-known anti-vaccer <hangs out with violent Serbian nationalists>. Remainers are <more likely to get a jab than leavers>.

The anti-vax movement has, in short, become a magnet for people engaged in anti-truth and anti-science politics, and an open conduit to the extreme right.” See <link>.

For many years, various countries have refused entry to travellers who cannot show proof of medication / vaccination for e.g., malaria, meningitis, yellow fever etc.

Did the covid freedom fighters miss those great injustices – or do they only get excited about covid vaccines?   

Selective / opportunistic outrage? Or, given how xenophobic and narrow-minded they tend to be, perhaps the banal truth is that most anti-vaccers have never travelled anywhere needing a jab in the first place.

A tale of 2 headlines:

Google search on “protocol”, 12 January 2022:

The DUP is a party with no discernible economic pulse, although it does contain members who <refuse to believe in dinosaurs>.

You can add your own quips folks.

Note though that poor Jeff is no longer attempting to run with the fiction that the Brexit protocol is a bad deal for the North of Ireland – his line now is that it’s constitutionally divisive for the UK.

His problem is he’s appealing to a bunch of English nationalists. The Tory party English Brexiters simply do not care about any union, EU or UK – their loyalty is to Brexit, and to England.

Of course they’ll still listen politely to him, for old time’s sake – they’re all old enough to have a common, residual hatred of Irish Republicanism, and old hatreds die hard.

But when UK pull comes to Brexit shove, the various Celtic pimples on the buccaneering English backside can fester all they like. That UK ship weighed anchor on 23 June 2016.

Truss to the rescue

You can get anything delivered these days (see below)

Obviously, the Brexit Protocol has no direct everyday or economic effect on GB.  Its only function in a GB context is as a handy flashpoint theoretical sovereignty issue which enables Ms. Truss to burnish her nationalist and anti-EU credentials for the purist Brexit peanut gallery. 

However, it does have a direct everyday, economic effect on the North of Ireland.  Apart from those who are paid out of the public purse (such as Baroness Hoey or loyalist activist Jamie Bryson et al), and who in consequence do not care about the N Irish economy, ordinary people in NI, businesses in NI, are <positive about the Protocol>. 

80% of manufacturers are protocol pragmatists,” said Stephen Kelly, CEO of Manufacturing NI.

They want the protocol to work, they recognise that there are opportunities here, they want to get on with business. They need the mitigations and the simplifications that we’re all aiming for.

“It’s very difficult for businesses to stick their head above the parapet and actually talk truth to power. That’s why organisations like us exist, so we can articulate their views and try to make sure the policy makers make the right choices.”

While some unionist politicians speak of the Northern Ireland Protocol as a constitutional and business wrecking ball, Mr Kelly said the vast majority of his members view it very differently.

He said they view it as an opportunity because it guarantees continued access to the European single market as well as Britain, giving them an advantage over competitors in England, Scotland and Wales.

“Having unfettered access from sales from Northern Ireland into GB and access to the EU market is absolutely critical for us grasp the opportunity that we have,” he explained.

That’s the view from businesses in the North of Ireland.  They like the Protocol.

Meantime, back on Planet Europhobe, regardless of what the inconveniently-positive NI business community may think, Liz Truss is determined to save NI from the nasty Protocol, even, or perhaps especially, if we neither want nor need such a dismally-calamitous “rescue”. 

Fingers firmly in her ears to all noises from NI (unless it’s noises off from her useful idiots in the dinosaur-denying DUP), Truss says it is her “absolute priority” to resolve the “unintended consequences” created by the protocol to “maintain peace in Northern Ireland”.

Spoiler alert – it is illogical and hypocritical for any Brexiter to cry crocodile tears about peace. Truss couldn’t care less about “peace in Northern Ireland“. Given the central role of the EU in providing an overarching framework within which Irish and British nationalities could (and did) co-exist harmoniously in the North, it is rank hypocrisy simultaneously to be pro-Brexit and pro-peace in the North. The 2 things are fundamentally at odds. Brexit was a careless English nationalist 2-fingers to the very idea of cross-community harmony in the North.

Leaving that fat lie to one side though, Truss also claims, vaguely, that the “issues” apparently created by the Protocol are “myriad and manifest”, referring to citing issues such as bureaucracy on sending parcels between Northern Ireland and Britain and problems procuring kosher food.”

Hmm.  Whenever I see phrases such as “myriad and manifest”, but with little by way of supporting detail, I become sceptical.

Let’s look at Truss’ “issues”:

1. “Difficulties importing kosher food from GB”.  Yes, there have been issues – but there is a simple solution – import the kosher food from the South of Ireland instead.  There are around 100 elderly Jewish people in N Ireland.  By contrast, there are several thousand Jewish people in S Ireland, and the numbers of S Irish Jewish people are growing.  Obviously, all S Irish people are continuing to have kosher food; exporting a small amount to NU is no big deal.  The issue up to now has been how Britain-oriented NI’s elderly Jewish Unionist community has been – up to now, unbelievably it has never occurred to them to liaise with the Irish Jewish community down the road from them in S Ireland.  As the <Jewish Telegraph Agency> noted:

“… supplies are being closely coordinated between Dublin and Belfast, and Belfast’s Jews are traveling down to Dublin to collect products like matzah for Passover.  “That dynamic is definitely playing out among the Jewish communities,” said Maurice Cohen, the head of Ireland’s Jewish Representative Council. “Before, we very seldom cooperated on much – if anything at all.”

Kosher food is kosher food, regardless of whether it comes from Britain or from S Ireland.  Problem solved.  There’s only a “problem” if, like Truss, you can’t think Southwards. 

2. “Bureaucracy on sending parcels between Northern Ireland and Britain”.  I’m in a good position to judge.  Unlike Ms. Truss, I actually live in N Ireland.  I checked my account just now, and I ordered nearly 100 items from GB suppliers during 2021.  Many were books, electrical equipment, and garments.  However, some were relatively unusual, such as a bale of straw, a vintage garage foot pump, a barometer, and even a custom motorbike. 

Every single one of these various and varied items arrived promptly, without a hitch.  No delays, no extra paperwork, no extra duties. 

If there is “bureaucracy” as alleged by Ms. Truss, frankly, I have completely failed to see any evidence of it whatsoever. 

So we’re left with “myriad and manifest”, which to me sounds like the kind of evasive piffle-paffle waffle resorted to by Mr. Johnson during his frequent bouts of filibustering extemporisation.

As far as I am aware, Truss has never even been to the North of Ireland.  She knows little about the place, and cares less.  All that’s happening here is that, in pursuit of personal power, and determined to curry favour from the English nationalist right in her party, the flip-flopping Truss is prepared to damage the North’s economic interests to achieve such ends.


Britain’s AG has a point to prove

Liberal whites tend to suffer from inverted racism. They assume that all black and Asian people must be right-on (or “woke”, as the incurably derivative would put it nowadays), and even lapse into disappointment when they’re not. This is often a very naive and patronising white assumption. I remember being at dinner in a Sri Lankan friend’s home in London, many years ago, and nearly choking on my (memorably delicious) turmeric rice when my friend’s immigrant Sri Lankan Mum gave me her opinion on how much she disliked “all these scrounger immigrants coming into London“. Shocked, I looked over at my friend for guidance as to what the hell to say to that particular conversational bombshell, but she was trying hard not to laugh at my obvious discomfiture, and just rolled her eyes, as if to say, “let it go”.

In that case, as a former tea plantation owner ousted in a military coup in Sri Lanka, the elderly woman was right wing herself, and had been so before coming to Britain, and saw no need to change. However, I often noticed how second-generation immigrants, born or mainly reared in a white country, would also align themselves with the racist white right wing in their adopted / new country. It derives from a desire to fit in, and, in Britain, from a desire to “prove their Britishness”. In so doing, ironically, such people only reveal how racist they are about whites, in that they assume that the most authentic form of white political culture is a racist white culture. That is, they assume that a liberal white is a semi-traitor, and certainly not someone worthy of being emulated.

As far as the UK’s Attorney General, Suella Braverman, is concerned, I’m with the bloke in <The Guardian>:

Look what Johnson’s gone and got himself: an attorney general who says he can do what the hell he likes! Johnson has chosen well. Braverman has been auditioning for the role of useful idiot for years and bears as much responsibility as Johnson does for our collapse into gormless authoritarianism … the attorney general is a deluded dogmatist who feeds the paranoia of the Tory party’s base while betraying her professional principles to please its dictatorial leaders.”

Trial by jury is a cornerstone of the rule of law and of the British judicial system.

The jury in a recent case in Bristol in England acquitted 4 people who had been charged with putting a statue of a slaver in the harbour.  

The pro-slavery brigade are very upset, obviously, but the rule of law has been upheld, and the system worked perfectly.  

Despite this, Tory ministers are fuming that the verdict “undermines the rule of law“.

It does nothing of the sort; the fact that a verdict so in defiance of the wishes of the government can be passed is a triumphant demonstration of the very opposite, namely that the rule of law is still alive and kicking.

This bears repeating – the rule of law is only dead when courts routinely start to deliver decisions that the government wants.  That’s how Russia operates; that’s how N Korea operates. 

And, while the bould Ms. Braverman knows she can’t go there, yet, not quite; you can see how her mind is working:

Trial by jury is an important guardian of liberty and must not be undermined. However, the decision in the Colston statue case is causing confusion.

Without affecting the result of this case, as attorney general, I am able to refer matters to the court of appeal so that senior judges have the opportunity to clarify the law for future cases. I am carefully considering whether to do so.

She can only do so if she considers that the judge erred in law. No doubt she’ll try to dredge something up.

She’s beneath contempt. The decision is crystal clear and is causing no “confusion” whatsoever. It’s pissing off the Tory right alright, but even they are not confused.

Braverman is too gutless to say what she really means, so let’s say it for her:

The government wants these statue vandals jailed. We’re very disappointed that the court has failed to do so. We’re very annoyed by the idiots on the jury who arrived at such a perverse and un-patriotic decision. It is the job of my office to find ways to correct any court decision that this government dislikes, and that’s what I’m now about to look into. We will of course in any event introduce new criminal laws to protect statues of notable historical figures (including slave traders); and I will also look at ways to rein in the powers of juries in such matters, as they clearly can no longer be relied on to arrive at the right decision. In matters such as this, the rule of law is best served by being subordinated to the wishes of the Tory party. You can take this jury stuff too far; we need in any event to ensure that people who are sympathetic to criminals, as this jury clearly was, are disbarred from jury service from the outset.”

No system needs to be tinkered with merely because you disagree with the outcome in a particular case. Unfortunately, we live in a era where the entire apparatus of democracy is a source of continual “disappoinments” for powerful “patriots“. And this latest disappointment is a perfect opportunity for the likes of Braverman to show that, in the social climbing stakes, no face whitening cream suceeds as well as a policy lifted from a UKIP manual.

The Great Brexit Immigration U-Turn: vote Brexit for more immigrants!

In the run-up to the 2016 Brexit vote, the Brexiters, realising that they were losing the economic argument badly, played the racist card heavily. It worked. Elderly people in my village asked me about “when the Turks were coming“:

The Turkey scare story, was, of course, a lie – Turkey is not a member of the EU

Farage’s infamous poster. The refugees depicted are Syrian, and have nothing to do with the EU, but that didn’t matter.
At the time, sharp-eyed observers noticed the similarites between Farage’s Brexit poster and Nazi anti-immigration propaganda from decades earlier.
Naturally, the immigrants pictured had nothing to do with the EU, being from Iraq and Kuwait.

I could fill 100 pages with such images – prior to the Brexit vote, the British “media” was a cess-pit of racist scaremongering.

It worked.

Meantime, now that Britain has taken back control, what’s the first thing it’s doing in order to wheedle a small trade deal out of India?

Why, offering to let in lots of Indian immigrants as part of the deal:

You could barely make this stuff up. Obviously, Britain’s Brexiter PR rags aka “media” are saying remarkably little about this latest Brexiter u-turn.

“A pint of lies, mate, whatever you’re having yourself”

A hero of Brexit, apparently

The pint is back!  The nasty pint-banning EU has been defeated, and all is well in Brexit land!  See the predictable headlines:

In 2013, an OECD Report found that, in Britain, literacy and numeracy was much higher in the 55-64 age group than it was in the 16-24 age group.  That may explain why so many credulous people believe that the EU banned the pint.  Even Remainers who scoff at the achievement of such a trivial prize nonetheless concede that it woz the EU wot done it etc.

Nobody checks facts; nobody reads anything.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that whoever is dishonest in little things will be dishonest in big things too.

Currently, as noted above, Brexiters are trumpeting the restoration of the pint measurement as a “key success” of Brexit.

In reality, the UK commenced its metrification process in 1862, pursuant to a Report of that year by the UK’s Select Committee on Weights and Measures recommending the adoption of the metric system. This was 111 years before the UK joined the EEC.  The UK’s 1897 Weights and Measures (Metric System) Act permitted the use of the metric system in the UK; and Britain unilaterally started its metrification programme in earnest in 1965.

Meantime, the EU, realising that the UK was in a complete muddle about which system of measurement to adopt, in 2009 quietly introduced EU legislation (EU directive 2009/3/EC) formally recognising the legal validity of Imperial measurements, forever.

As for the gradual disappearance of the Crown symbol on pint glasses, that was a result of the UK’s own decline in glass manufacturing – most British pint glasses had been sourced from the EU.

In short, Brexiters are blaming the EU for something the UK did, while congratulating themselves for something the EU did.

Regrettably, where Brexit is concerned, it seems that no fact, no matter how trivial, is too insignificant to be lied about.

The Cramps

An old fave

It’s relatively easy to find serious artists, or frivolous ones.

I appreciate art which holds both aspects in suspension, without becoming fully either.  That duality is very hard to find. Tom Waits has it, of course. 

However, posibly the foremost exponent of rock music which combined silliness and depth in that way was Ohio’s finest punkabilly merchants, the band fronted by the late and still-by-me-missed Mr. Lux Interior,  the very wonderful: The Cramps.  And as an aside, as well as being an utterly compelling guitarist, Lux’ long-time better half, Poison Ivy, always exemplified rock ‘n’ roll – that curled lip attitude she had – a coolness that will forever elude most simpering, populist performers.

They dealt with subject matters such as loss, obsession and uncertainty, but it always came presented in high-energy messing about:

– and never better than these next two early, grainy clips of the band playing a free gig at Napa State Mental Hospital in California, in 1978 (part 1 is the bottom clip, not that it makes much difference what order you view them in tbh). (Ignore the “1984” on the video btw, the gig took place in 1978.). It piqued my interest.  As a kid, I too played a gig at a local mental hospital.  Not just me, of course, our entire village variety troupe for some reason decided it would be a good idea to inflict us on already-disturbed people.   Being very young, and stuffed full of preconceived notions about being eaten alive by crazies, I was apprehensive at first, but it was a terrific concert, easily one of the most fun events I ever performed at. 

It’s worth watching. At the start, Lux says “we’ve driven 3,000 miles to see you“; and a woman shouts: “fuck you“. The depressed dudes seemed to love it though – check the hug Lux gets here below, just before another inmate picks up the mic and starts screaming into it – and it all fits 100% into the performance – in fact, initially, I hadn’t even realised it was someone other than Lux who was screaming : )

Throughout, a couple of inmates bop about, completely out of time. Very difficult thing to do, to be as consistently off the beat as that, and perhaps redolent of a life spent marching to a different beat.

This gig had the free-wheeling, crowd-on-stage-band-in-the-audience quality that all the best punk gigs had. It would never be allowed to happen today,