Archive for the ‘Netherlands’ Category

David Hume’s Plan for an Ideal Commonwealth

January 12, 2023

David Hume is the Scottish philosopher best known for his attack on natural theology and the arguments for the Lord’s existence from nature. He was conservative in his political opinions, believing that the British constitution as it existed in his time was perfect and could not be improved. Nevertheless, he also indulged in utopian speculation himself in his ‘Idea for an Ideal Commonwealth’. John Plamenatz writes of it in his Man and Society From Montesquieu to the Early Socialists (Harlow: Longman 1992)

‘Of the actual scheme of government imagined by Hume, I need say very little. It owes more to Harrington’s Oceania than to any earlier model. It is elaborate, ingenious and moderate. Everyone with a moderate property has the vote, and there is therefore a large electorate: the voters elect one hundred separate county assemblies which between them have the legislative power; these assemblies elect the county magistrates and the national Senate, which has the executive power and appoints the Protector, the Secretaries of State and various councils; all proposals of law are debated in the Senate before they are referred to the county assemblies; the representatives or magistrates of any county may send a law to their senator for proposal to the Senate. Hume thinks that all free government should consist to two councils, a smaller and a larger; because the larger, which represents the people directly , would lack wisdom without the smaller (the Senate), and the smaller would lack honesty without the people. The people, through their representatives, must debate the laws and not merely vote on them. If they were to do this in only one large national assembly, there would be confusion. But divide them into many small assemblies, and they can be trusted, properly enlightened by the Senate, to act in the public interest. Hume’s scheme is one of checks and balances meant to give some power to all men of property, but much more to the rich and educated than to the rest. Its purpose, to use Hume’s words, is to ‘refine the democracy’, from the lower sort of people, who merely elect the county representatives, upwards through these representatives, to the Senate and the higher magistrates, who between them direct the business of the whole State as distinct from the business of the counties’. (P.86).

It’s a hierarchical political idea from a man of a much more hierarchical age. But it’s not too different from representative democracy, in which the people elect a class of governors to represent them, on the assumption that they are better able to do it than they are. As for the county assemblies electing the Senate, I think in the Netherlands the upper house is elected by the local authorities, which isn’t too far away from Harrington’s and Hume’s recommendation. I thought I’d put up a piece about here as Starmer has once again mooted reforming the House of Lords, and it’s interesting seeing the ideas previous ages had for the ideal consitution.

GB News’ Mark Steyn Coming Very Close to Pushing Fascist Conspiracy Theories about Covid Vaccine

January 5, 2023

GB News, the self-proclaimed alternative to the ‘wet, woke BBC’, is in this fortnight’s Private Eye. The broadcaster apparently has overtaken Sky News in ratings, and has taken to pushing stupid, and potentially dangerous conspiracy theories. These include myths that the vaccine doesn’t work, or is responsible for deaths, and that there’s no need for the lockdown. Pretty much staples of the wider right-wing anti-vaxxer fringe. But one of these conspiracy theories comes very close to fascism. Mark Steyn has apparently told his viewers that the coronavirus vaccine is the cause of the falling birthrate in the west of the ‘Aryans’, who built civilisation. Firstly, as the 19th century linguist, who used the term ‘Aryan’ for what are now termed the Indo-European languages, George Muller, it’s a linguist not racial term. A dark-skinned Indian, who speaks Hini or one of the other languages descended from Sanskrit, or an Urdu-speaking Pakistani can both be fairly described as Aryans, because their languages are derived from that introduced by the Aryans, who invaded Indian c. 3000 BC. But both would be targeted by the Nazis over here because of their race. Muller stated quite clearly that conflating Aryan with race was dangerous, and it’s a pity more people didn’t listen to him otherwise the carnage of the Third Reich might have been avoided.

He’s right that the birthrates in the developed west are falling along with the sperm count of western men. This is alarming, as there have been predictions by respectable magazines and newspapers that if it continues, by 2050 half of western men will be considered clinically infertile. No-one really knows the cause of this, but it’s been suggested since the 1990s that a type of plastic, phthallates, may be responsible. Other causes are probably the industrial pollution responsible for the reproductive deformities in amphibians, which Alex Jones notoriously declared were ‘turning the frickin’ frogs gay’. These chemicals are believed to mimic female hormones, hence their damage to those animals. I’ve also seen claims that it’s all due to female hormones from the reproductive pill getting into the biosphere, but I haven’t seen any scientist make this claim. In my opinion, it comes from that part of the right which is anti-feminist and so pro-life as to condemn contraception as well as abortion. I also got the impression that all western men were affected, including Blacks and Asians, and not just Whites.

Steyn’s claims resemble the conspiracy theories that were going around the Black communities in America and possibly apartheid South Africa back in the 90s. These claimed that the government was putting chemicals in Coca-Cola to sterilise young Black men. That was totally wrong, though it was understandable given the persecution of Blacks in both those countries. Steyn’s is a first-world, White version of this. It comes very close to all the stupid and murderous conspiracy theories about the machinations of the Jews to enslave and destroy the White race, although as far as I know Steyn isn’t an anti-Semite.

He is, however, an Islamophobe. About a decade ago he was a partner with late Reaganite bloviator Rush Limbaugh and his radio station out in New Hampshire. Much of the content Steyn put out on his blogs and columns on the internet were attacks on Islam, including some of the weirder rulings made by Iran’s late Supreme Leader, the Ayatollah Khomeini. He was one of those pushing the ‘Eurabia’ fear. This holds that Muslim birthrates are outstripping those of indigenous European Whites to such an extent that they will become the dominant race and religion and impose sharia law. A friend of mine told me he did some calculations, and that’s simply not going to happen. I don’t doubt that the Muslim population will expand immensely in the next decades, and this will present serious problems if the radicals and Islamists extend their influence over these communities, but it won’t lead to their population overtaking everyone else’s.

Steyn also tried to warn or scare people with the example of Feyenoord in the Netherlands. This is a majority Muslim town where some decades ago the Muslim dominated city council publicly invited the non-Muslim population to convert. I don’t know, but I think their attitude would be unremarkable, perhaps even ordinary in very pious, hardline Muslim countries like Pakistan, where non-Muslims can come under very intense pressure to convert. But obviously in the context of the non-Muslim, secular west, where religion is considered a matter for the individual’s private conscience, it’s totally unacceptable. The problem is, I don’t know how common such political moves by Muslim-controlled local authorities are. As far as I know, it only happened in Feyenoord, although I’m sure that non-Muslims living in solidly Muslim areas are under pressure to conform to their standards of behaviour.

Away from Steyn, the article describes how GB News, like Fox over in the US, threw in their lot with Donald Trump, talking him as US president until it became the ‘MAGA channel’. Their predictions of Trump’s eminent suitability for the Oval Office was definitely born out by the Orange Buffoons massive greed, incompetence and disastrous policies towards blue collar workers – more attacks on their rights, further decimation of their welfare provisions to enrich Trump’s friends and donors, and more outsourcing. As well as attempts to muzzle federal climate and environmental scientists for the benefit of the oil industry. And I could go on.

As for GB News’ attitudes over here, it’s solidly behind Farage and Brexit and resolutely against the welfare state and the NHS. If you’re a member of the working class, GB News is not your friend. But the stupid conspiracy theories about the coronavirus vaccine threaten to do real harm. We’ve already seen instances where people have refused the vaccine, then caught the virus and died. And Steyn’s story about birthrates and ‘Aryans’ threatens to encourage real Nazis and Fascists, who’ll target not just Muslims but Jews.

The Dutch Are Building Wildlife Bridges for Animals

January 3, 2023

I just caught a snippet on YouTube today about the Netherlands building bridges over their motorways for wildlife to use. It reminds me a little of the underpasses that were being built in some places in this country for hedgehogs to cross the road, except these are bigger. Much bigger. Here’s a picture of one I found online.

I think it’s a great Green initiative, and although it reminds me of the garden bridge over the Thames Johnson wasted £60 million on before it was dumped as unworkable. This, on the other hand, seems to be not just workable, but rather more aesthetically pleasing than the bare concrete of the usual motorway bridges. There is a trend to include vegetation and green spaces in architecture. A number of architects have designed high rise flats where the walls are covered with plants in ‘vertical gardens’. If these bridges are working, I’d like to see a few over here, but I’m sure we won’t get them under the Tories. Despite the lies about them supporting Green energy and the environment.

Video on Archaeology’s Challenge to Enlightenment Accounts of Origins of States and Inequality

December 8, 2022

This is a fascinating video I found on Novara Media’s channel the other day. In it, host Aaron Bastani talks to archaeologist David Wengrow about the origins of the state and the development of social inequality. Wengrow argues that the evidence from archaeology challenges assumptions that prehistoric and preliterate peoples were incapable of rationally deciding for themselves what kind of societies they wished to live in. He gives examples from prehistoric Europe and North and South America to show that ancient and indigenous peoples not only did decide on the kind of societies they wanted, but were perfectly capable of reversing trends in their societies towards authoritarianism. One of the examples of this, which I found truly jaw-dropping, was one of the city states the conquistador Hernan Cortes made alliance with against the Aztecs. Unlike the Aztec empire, that state city was a democratic republic. He also talks about the influence on Enlightenment critiques of western society of a Huron Indian chief in Canada, who was an intelligent conversationalist able to hold his own in conversations about the nature of society to such an extent that French, British and Dutch colonial authorities invited him to dinner to talk this matter over.

Wengrow starts off by stating that modern political theory about the origins of society, as taught in politics courses, is completely divorced from archaeological accounts. The theory is based on the speculations of foundational Enlightenment thinkers like Hobbes and Rousseau, who admitted that they were speculating. But these accounts are now taught as fact. Archaeological research, however, is overturning previous ideas about the origins of urban society. For example, it was believed that agriculture and urbanisation were linked and appeared together as part of the Neolithic Revolution. But this is not the case. Excavations of the ancient city of Catalhuyuk in Turkey show that while it was an urban centre, although Wengrow hesitates to call it a city, show that its people were still hunter-gatherers, living by foraging rather than agriculture. And the same is true of the settlement at Amesbury at the time Stonehenge was being built. The people then had given up agriculture, although they retained animal husbandry. It appears they had tried growing crops and then rejected it in favour of foraging.

He then goes on to talk about the Huron Amerindian chief. He inspired a colonist from New France, who had been expelled from the colony, to write a book based on the chief and his dinner conversation when the colonist was penniless in Amsterdam. This became a massive Enlightenment bestseller, and inspired other books by Voltaire and others in which Chinese, Tahitians and other outsiders criticise European society. Wengrow states that the Indian societies surprise western Europeans because they were much less hierarchical than they were, and contact with these societies and the indigenous critics of western civilisation did influence European political philosophy. We easily accept that Europe took over many material products from these nations, but are much less ready to accept the idea that they influenced our ideas, even though the Enlightenment philosophers said that they had.

He also talks about Cahokia, a great pyramid and city state in the Mississippi valley in America. This appears to be another example of a society, in which people rebelled or simply walked away from authority and hierarchy. It was also another indigenous monument that was ascribed to everyone else but the native peoples when it was first discovered, and is now disrespected by having a road driven through it. When it was constructed, the local society seems to have been hierarchical. At the top of the mound is a structure from which all of the city could be viewed. But sometime after its heyday it was abandoned. The traditional reasons are that the climate changed, but Wengrow finds that unconvincing. What seems to have happened instead is that people simply got tired of living in such a society and walked away.

Tenochtitlan, one of the great cities in ancient Mexico, is another example of a strongly hierarchical society that underwent profound social change and became more democratic. Wengrow states that it’s a massive state, and they owe a debt to the French scholar who produced detailed maps of it. When it first emerged, it was hierarchical but then the nature of society changed. People started living in high-quality, single-floor homes. These were so good they were originally thought to be palaces, but now it appears they were villas occupied by ordinary citizens. At some point, the people of Tenochtitlan decided that they wanted a more equal society, to the extent that some scholars believe that there was a revolution.

Then there is the case of the democratic city state Cortes encountered. This really was democratic, as there are accounts of the debates in its assembly. This astonished the conquistadors, as there was very little like it in Europe at the time, except some of the Florentine republics. This all challenges the notion that once society develops to a certain extent and becomes complex, inequality also emerges and is very difficult to challenge or remove. These cases show that indigenous peoples could and did. He also argues that the same may have been true of slavery. The only successful slave revolt that we know of is Toussant L’Ouverture in Haiti. But Wengrow suggests there could have been thousands of other successful slave revolts in prehistory of which we are unaware. Slavery came about, he argues, from the expense of laying out offerings for the dead. In order to leave food and drink for the dead, the bereaved had to have access to the foods themselves and so they became indebted and dependent on the people who owned those resources.

He also talks about the problems in describing some of these urban centres as cities. There are huge sites in the Ukraine, but archaeologists are hesitant about calling them cities with some preferring other terms such as ‘mega-sites’ because they aren’t centralised.

Bastani asks him at one point about the problem of pseudo-archaeology. I think this came up because Graham Hancock is currently fronting a series on Netflix claiming that way back in prehistory there was an advanced society, but that it was destroyed in a global cataclysm. Wengrow states that quite often pseudo-archaeology is based on old and discarded idea, such as Atlantis. The people involved tend not to be anyone who’s ever been on an archaeological dig, and view archaeologists as spending their lives trying to hide some momentous secret from everyone. But it can act as an entry for some people to archaeology, and he doesn’t really like the sneering attitude of some archaeologists towards it.

Wengrow himself is an interesting character. He didn’t want to be an archaeologist originally, but came to it from acting. He also worked in the BBC Arabic service. He decided at one point he wanted to get a degree, applied to the best university he could, Oxford, and sent reams of applications to its various colleges. They turned him down. Then he was told that he should apply for a place on a course that was just being set up. One of the colleges was just setting up an archaeology course, so he did. When it came to the interview, he told the interviewer that he had always wanted to be an archaeologist. At which point she held up all the previous letters he’d written. But they admitted him, and he has now had a career teaching and excavating in places like Egypt.

He states that sometimes the pseudoarchaeology about a period or culture misses the point about what’s really interesting about it. He talks about the idea that the Sphinx was constructed before the pyramids, and admits that it’s actually a reasonable question. But if you go back to the predynastic period a thousand years before the pyramids were built, you come to the burial sites of one of Egypt’s first kings. This is fascinating, although you wouldn’t know it from the dry way it has been discussed in conferences and museums like the Petrie Museum. Excellent though these are, they talk about highly specialised subjects like pot typography which is excruciatingly dull if you want to know the wider picture. The early king’s tomb is composed of room after room of the bodies of the people and occasionally the animals that were slaughtered to accompany the king into the afterlife.

The interview is based on a book Wengrow wrote with a colleague, The Dawn of Everything. Sadly, after spending a decade writing it, the co-author died just a few weeks after its completion. The book has been widely praised, and has even inspired artistic pieces. He talks about a French woman, who composed a piece of music based on it. He regrets he was unable to attend its performance thanks to jet lag coming back from somewhere, but later met the lady when she came to Britain.

I know a little about some of what he’s talking about to have no doubt that he’s absolutely right. One of the seminars in the archaeology department at Bristol, which I attended, was about how cities like Catalhuyuk were established before the appearance of agriculture. One of the huge Neolithic sites in the Ukraine is discussed in the La Rousse Encyclopedia of Archaeology. The great mound of Cahokia is also discussed in a book I bought years ago on North American Indian archaeology. I wasn’t aware that the people of Stonehenge had given up growing crops, nor of the democratic city states in South America and Mexico. This is fascinating stuff.

He’s right about archaeology contradicting the ideas of Enlightenment philosophers about the origins of society, though I’m not sure how much of a problem this is. The philosophers he discusses – Hobbes and Rousseau – were Social Contract theorists. Social Contract theory is the idea that the state and society were set up when men came together to select an authority under whom they would live, so that their lives and property would be protected. Thus the first kings. These princes are the representatives of the people, and so from the 17th century onwards the idea developed that sovereignty lay with the people, who could revoke the power they had delegated to the prince. This was the view of John Locke. However, subsequent philosophers showed that this was just conjecture, and that it could have happened like that as the people at the time were using concepts that only subsequently developed after the foundation of states and kingdoms. I thought Social Contract theory was dead, and he closest it had to a modern advocate was John Rawls in his Theory of Justice. Rawls argued that if people were just disembodied entities wishing to chose the kind of society in which they would care to live, they would choose one that had the maximum freedom and justice for everyone, as that would also include them. Away from centrist politics, the anarchists have been keenly interested in anthropology and those indigenous societies where there is no central authority.

I’m not sure how well some of this would go down with Sargon of Akkad and the Lotus Eaters. They’ve developed an interest in archaeology, recently posting a video discussing Homo Erectus, along with the Norman Conquest and ancient Rome. But Sargon is a huge fan of John Locke and describes himself as a classical liberal. I don’t know whether archaeology’s findings about the origin of early states would contradict his ideas or not.

Sketches of Pat Keysell, Tony Hart and Morph from Vision On

December 2, 2022

Vision On was another cult children’s television that ran from the 1960s to the mid-1970s, when it was succeeded by Take Hart, presented by Tony Hart, one of the preceding show’s presenters. Vision On was aimed at deaf children and so the jokes and action were primarily visual. Pat Keysell had originally been a secretary at the Beeb but got the job presenting as she knew sign language, and so appeared on the programme signing and interpreting the speech for the deaf children watching. Tony Hart was an artist, and art featured heavily in the programme with Hart creating a number of pictures each week. The programme also encouraged its viewers to make their own pictures and send them in to be displayed in their gallery. They were sorry they couldn’t return any, but there was a prize for each picture they showed. Alongside Keysell and Hart were a range of other performers. These included a young, slim Sylvester McCoy, playing a mad Professor decades before he became the seventh Dr Who. When I was watching the programme in the 1970s there was also Wilf Lunn, who looked a bit like the intergalactic showman in the John Pertwee Dr Who series ‘The Carnival of Monsters’. He was an inventor, who every week produced a little automaton. In addition to the real-life human presenters, the show also had a range of animated characters. This included a clumsy dinosaur that fell over its own tail, a tortoise, and the Burbles. These were disembodied entities that lived inside a clock, and who communicated in speech bubbles. But most memorably there was Morph, a small plasticine man with a mischievous sense of humour who lived in a wooden box. Morph could stretch and transform himself into different shapes, often transforming himself into a ball and rolling across the table Hart was working on at the time. Later on, he was joined by Chad, another plasticine man, but who was white rather than brown like Morph. And it wasn’t just confined to the studio. The Professor’s escapades took place in the open air. He even slept there, waking up from his bed, complete with bedside light, in a green area. Hart, meanwhile, could appear at the seaside to draw figures in the sand in anticipation of the great competitions in sand painting and sculpture that have now arisen.

The Beeb has been celebrating its centenary this year, and on one of its other channels it put on some of the favourite children’s programmes it has broadcast. Last weekend one of those was Vision On, and the episode selected show just how surreal the programme was. The programme’s theme was ‘Seaside’, and it featured the Professor losing a fight with a deckchair, Tony Hart drawing figures in the sand and Hart, Keysell and one of the other male presenters creating a picture in the studio of a series of fish eating progressively smaller fish in seaweed. At one point, Keysell and the other guy followed Hart to the seaside through a mirror. And once there, as they had gone through a looking glass, they naturally did everything backwards. The show ended when Keysell lost her ring in a fish tank, so she and one of the other presenters jumped it. They did find it, but emerged with an anchor, which they pulled and hauled in a ship into the studio. But for all the frenetic action, it was also strangely calming. Because it was mainly visual, speech was kept to a minimum and so there was no shouting or screaming. There was also much use of music, with the gallery having its own theme. And sometimes there were just images for the viewer to contemplate, such as in a sequence of footage of the seaside, with people wading in the sea and the waves washing over sand and rocks.

The show is fondly remembered, and references to it occasionally turn up in other programmes. For example, one sketch in the comedy show, Dead Ringers, started off outside 10 Downing Street before becoming an impression of Vision On’s gallery, as the character said, ‘We are sorry we can’t return any, but there is a prize for each one we show.’ Vision On was also the birthplace of Nick Parkes’ Aardman Animations, who went on to create Wallace and Gromit. Parkes was one of the team that created the animated sequences for the show. Aardman took its name from an anti-superhero they created for Vision On. Vison On ended forty years ago, as did Take Hart, but watching it the other night I wished they’d repeat it, so that some of us adult fans could revisit some of the magic it brought us as children,

Pat Keysell and Tony Hart

Morph

Here’s a video I found on TVtestcard’s channel on YouTube of the programme’s title sequence and its theme music, Accroche-ti, Caroline, which gives a good idea of how surreal the show was.

And here’s the gallery theme from the 45RPMsinglesbyMike Evans channel on YouTube. Its real name is ‘Left Bank Two’, and it was performed by a Dutch jazz group, the Noveltones.

New Advert for British Rail Nationalisation Shows Europeans Laughing at Britain for Allowing Them to Buy It Up

August 19, 2022

The Mirror has published a very incisive piece about an advert calling for the renationalisation of the railways, in which Europeans laughs at us for allowing their state owned railways to buy up ours. The article by Mike Boyd, ‘Europe mercilessly mocks UK government for allowing British rail to fund their rail systems’ begins

‘The British rail system has been mocked by Europeans appearing in an advert pushing for the network to be made public.

In the viral video produced by the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) – whose members are striking across the UK today – the franchised structure of the UK’s rail network is mercilessly ridiculed.

In the clip representatives of “the people” of France, Netherlands and Germany “thank the British people” allowing their “publicly owned rail networks” to “buy up your rail network”.

In one brutal moment the cast explain: “So when you buy a ticket on Thameslink, Gatwick Express, Grand Central, Chiltern Railways, Merseyside Rail, Scotrail, Greater Anglia, London Midland, DLR, Northern Rail, London Overground, Cross Country, Southern and South Eastern, the profits go to making our railways cheaper.”

They add: “In 2012 we got £3million just from Greater Anglia. Not only that, the British taxpayers pay our franchises massive subsidies, without which we could never make a profit.

“So even if you never catch a train, you’re still sending us money. But before you say, ‘ah, we’ve left the EU’, that doesn’t make a difference.

“In fact, the Tory government want to privatise even more, which means we can take over even more.

“So to the British people we want to say, thank you.”‘

The advert, the article says, was first made in 2017, and has resurfaced as the rail workers launch industrial action.

See: https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/uknews/europe-mercilessly-mocks-uk-government-for-allowing-british-rail-to-fund-their-rail-systems/ar-AA10Nk81?ocid=msedgdhp&pc=U531&cvid=9fa61476fe6f474a9295c590d336f5f1

This is precisely correct, and there was criticism a few years ago of the Dutch railway company’s management of one of the rail franchises a few years ago, though the company responded with a statement that they were actually investing millions into it. But this problem isn’t just confined to the railway networks – it’s also in the electricity and water companies. I’ve got a feeling that the local water company for Bristol is owned by the Indonesians, and at least one of the electricity companies owned by the French. This is all a product of Thatcher’s privatisation. These companies have no interest in giving the privatised utilities the investment they need, only in using the profits to give dividends to their shareholders and bonuses to their chief executives. There are state owned electricity companies in the US, and I understand that those that aren’t owned by the state are protected by law from foreign companies owning a controlling stake in them. The same is true of the press, which is why Dirty Rupe Murdoch abandoned Australia to become an American citizen.

The railways, electricity and water need to be renationalised now. However much the Heil, Torygraph, Financial Times and GB News may scream against it.

Pro-Paedophile Group K13 Marches in Cologne 2022 Pride Parade

August 11, 2022

This is deeply worrying, and should never have been allowed to happen. But before I start, just in case people get the wrong impression, I want to make it very clear: I am not trying demonise gays or transpeople with this post. The only people I wish to demonise are the individuals, gay or straight, who wish to legalise child abuse.

The feminist writer and campaigner Genevieve Gluck has written a piece in the feminist magazine, Reduxx, about the inclusion of the pro-paedophile group Krumme 13, or K13, in the 2022 Cologne Pride march. Krumme is German for ‘Crooked’, so perhaps it’s the German colloquial equivalent of the English word ‘bent’ in the sense of gay. K13 is a nasty organisation that campaigns for the legalisation of paedophilia as a protected sexual identity, because banning it is ‘Fascistic’. No, banning paedophilia has zilch to do with Fascism and everything to do with common decency and protecting kids from evil predators. And if you want to talk about child abusers and Fascism, there are any number of them within Fascist organisations. One of the Mussolini’s squadristi, Starace, was a massive drug dealer and child abuser. And a year or so ago one of the British Nazis was packed off to the slammer for his vicious anti-Semitism and paedophilia. Gluck’s article talks about the way the groups subdivides into various categories the various forms of sexual attraction for underage children of different ages. She talks about the organisation’s leaders’ arguments for legalisation child abuse, how the majority of pro-paedophile organisations seem to be in the Netherlands – oh, if the Dutch could be just a little less tolerant in this regard! – the views of respectable sexologists condemning K-13’s leader. She also discusses the infamous Kentler experiment, in which I think the West Berlin social services handed orphaned kids over to child molesters for adoption in order to stop them growing up into Nazis. It seems to me that doing that to children would result in the absolute reverse: that the abused kids would develop a justifiably very bitter hatred of the left. And also extremely worrying is the support for the legalisation of paedophilia in the German Green Party. She also describes how there were moves to legalise it in Germany in the 1970s, which were only fought by the journos and activists of the feminist magazine, Emma.

See: https://reduxx.info/pro-pedophilia-activists-marched-for-equal-rights-at-2022-cologne-pride/

This is very much what the critics of the gay and trans movement are afraid of, and have been using in their propaganda against the left in general. The Lotus Eaters put up a piece about supposed support for legalising child abuse in the left, noting that one senior female member of the British Labour party was a member of the Council for Civil Liberties in the ’70s when it supported its legalisation. They also included in this the infamous German experiment, all presented as indicative of how the Left supported paedophilia as part of supporting the gay and trans movements.

Except that the mass of Labour supporters don’t. I can’t think of anyone in the Labour party who would support the legalisation of child abuse. And from what I gather, the gay rights movement was able to make such spectacular progress over here in the 1980s because they purged the paedophiles and made a clear distinction between themselves and paedophile groups like PIE, the Paedophile Information Exchange. And the article states clearly that the majority of paedophiles are heterosexual, but the gay child abusers are being used to spearhead the campaign for legalisation because their gayness already makes them a member of protected category that has suffered abuse and persecution.

Unfortunately, there are academics outside Germany who want to see it legalised. One of these, a lecturer in Queer Studies or something similar at an American university, was put on gardening leave and the subject of student protests after he advocated legalising it, speaking online with the leader of a pro-paedophile organisation. And then there’s the popular outrage at Drag Queen Story Hour and the way young children have been taken to gay clubs for sexually explicit drag performances, supposedly as part of promoting tolerance towards trans people.

The great commenters on this blog have pointed out that the vast majority of ordinary trans people just want to lead a normal, quiet life, free of abuse and vilification. I am sure they’re right. Just as I am sure the great majority of ordinary gay people are revolted by paedophilia and any campaign to legalise it.

But it does seem that there is a tiny minority of people who are trying to use the hard-won tolerance and acceptance given to gay and trans people to promote their vile sexual inclinations. We have to vigilant here, whether we’re gay, straight, trans or whatever, to guard against these people and they way they’re attempts to legalise paedophilia are being used by the right to smear the left as a whole.

Liz Truss Member of Pro-Privatisation Organisation against the NHS

August 10, 2022

Bog-eyed, pork and cheese promoting Brexiteer Liz Truss is this fortnight’s issue of Private Eye, dated 12th-25th of August 2022. And as any fule kno, that ain’t good. The satirical magazine has revealed she’s a member of a bonkers free trade organisation which wishes to have the NHS privatised and its funding replaced by social insurance, like what they have on the continent. The snippet about this, on page 9 of Ian Hislop’s mighty organ, runs

Health Threat

Would-be leader Liz Truss has offered little on how she would fix the crixix in the NHS, beyond soundbites on cutting management and installing a “strong” health secretary and withdrawing plans to “level down” health workers’ pay in regional rates.

Nor has she mentioned to the Tory faithful that she is on a six-strong board of parliamentary supporters for the obscure think-tank, 1828. Its mission? To “champion freedom and make the case for free markets and limited government.

1828’s advisory board includes Eurosceptic Julian Knight, climate “luke-warmer” Matt Ridley and other assorted right-wingers, including former Ukipper Douglas Carswell. In 2019 it published a “Neoliberal Manifesto for a freer and more prosperous Britain”. But for whom? Its health chapter condemns the NHS record as “deplorable” while ignoring years of Tory government underfundiing, and calls for “far-reaching reforms” – ie a new social health insurance scheme, ,similar to that used in “Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Israel, among others”.

In 2020 Truss said: “1828 is huge part of what’s happening to the right of politics, where a lot of new ideas are coming to fruition. There will always be a need to fight for the forces of freedom.” Is an expansion of NHS plc on her not-so-hidden agenda?’

It certainly looks like it, which is why she, nor Sunak nor indeed any other Tory should be allowed anywhere near the NHS.

Tories very definitely out!

Academic Historian Gad Heuman on Post-War Caribbean Emigration to Europe

August 8, 2022

I found this paragraph on Caribbean emigration to Britain and other Europeans countries after World War II in Gad Heuman’s The Caribbean: A Brief History, 2nd Edition (London: Bloomsbury 2014):

‘In the period after the Second World War, migration patterns chanted: large numbers of Caribbean men and women migrated to the metropole. In labour-starved post-war Britain, for example, hospitals and transport services organized massive recruitment schemes to bring in workers from the Anglophone Caribbean. The first West Indian immigrants arrived from Jamaica on board the Empire Windrush in 1948, and one estimate put the total of migrants to Britain in the decade after 1951 at roughly 250,000. Concerned about the effects of this immigration, however, Britain passed the Commonwealth Immigration Act in 1962, severely restricting the flow of future migrants. Elsewhere in Europe, France received about 200,000 migrants from Guadeloupe, Martinique and French Guiana, and the Netherlands in 1980 had roughly the same number of immigrants from its former colonies in the Caribbean. The Netherlands has had a particularly large number of migrants from Suriname. When Suriname became independent in 1975m roughly 40,000 Surinamese, mostly of Indian and Javanese descent, fled the country, fearing discrimination by the new regime.’ (p. 184).

After another paragraph about Caribbean migration to the US, which is measured in millions, Heuman talks about the effect of emigration on the Caribbean on the next page. He writes

‘Migration has inevitably had significant effects in the Caribbean itself. It has created problems in that it has deprived the Caribbean of some of its most productive people. Since a large proportion of emigrants are relatively young, it has meant that the demography of some parts of the region have been badly skewed, leaving behind an unbalanced population of generally older people. At the same time, the remittances of of Caribbean migrants have been a very significant element in many Caribbean economies. As an example of the impact of remittance money, Bonham Richardson reported that Carriacou, a small island in the Grenadines with a population of around 6,000 people, received over $500,000 in remittances in one year in 1970. Remittances, then, are a major contribution to the GNP of most Caribbean countries. Moreover, without emigration, much of the Caribbean would now be overpopulated, creating unsustainable social and economic tensions in those societies.’ (p. 185).

It’s struck me that the importance of remittance money and the problem of overpopulation has been one of the factors driving emigration from the Developing World, not just the Caribbean but also Africa and India. Modi made a speech a little while ago stating that India would continue producing top-class technicians for the rest of the world. Apart from the graduates employed in call centres owned by western firms, it struck me that this was a policy designed to send highly educated Indians abroad because there wasn’t the work for them available in India and that the country also depended on them for their remittance money.

Trailer for Historical Epic about African Queen and Her Female Warriors’ Resistance to European Conquest

July 7, 2022

I found this video for the forthcoming movie, The Woman King on YouTube yesterday. It seems to be about an African queen who trains her people and sets up an army of female warriors to fight back against the Europeans conquering Africa. I have a feeling that it might be based on real African history. There have been powerful queens, including one who seized power and ruled as a king. And the king of Dahomey had a regiment of female warriors, the famous amazons. There, I think, the relation to real history ends.

This film appears to be set in the 18th century from the European’s style of dress. The Europeans weren’t conquering and colonising Africa at this point in history. They couldn’t. Before the discovery of quinine as a treatment for malaria, Europeans were prevented from travelling further inland by the coastal swamps. Africa was also seen as too distant to be valuable as a colonial possession. There was some colonisation, such as by the Portuguese in what is now Mozambique and by the Dutch on the Cape of Good Hope, but that was about it. Sierra Leone was established by the Spanish, but later in the 18th century the British acquired it as a colony for freed slaves. But mostly Europeans were confined to ghetto-like enclaves in African towns and prevented from going any further into the continent and conquering it by powerful African kingdoms. Europeans wanted slaves and other African goods, like ivory, but they got these through trade with the Africans themselves. By and large Europeans didn’t go raiding for slaves. African chiefs, like King Guezo of Dahomey and others did. As for the amazons, they were also involved in slave raiding. A Black female historian, who presented a programme on them on the Beeb, said that the amazons couldn’t be regarded as feminist heroines. But this doesn’t seem to have stopped the makers of this movie.

This clearly follows the pattern set by Marvel’s Black Panther, which was about a Black superhero fighting for Black rights and against his evil rivals. This character was the king of the technologically advanced African kingdom of Wakanda. It was a piece of Afrofuturism, Black SF. Critically acclaimed and a success at the box office, this seems to have encouraged film makers to look for similar material. In this movie’s case, they found it in African history.

This is the type of film and TV production that annoys Simon Webb of History Debunked, who posts videos about the way such films and TV programmes falsify history to promote Blacks. He doesn’t seem to have noticed this one yet, but no doubt he will. But Hollywood and the media generally aren’t factually accurate. The constraints of writing a dramatic narrative work against that, whatever genre you’re pursuing. And so many of the great folk heroes celebrated in song, literature, film and TV series were in real life brutal thugs. A good example is Dick Turpin, who was actually a nasty piece of work far removed from the gallant, romantic hero of the myth. Will the film be a success? I don’t know. It’ll be popular in Africa, certainly, and among some Black Americans, but it might be too woke for a mainstream western audience. Only time will tell.