From Today’s Papers

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A few items of interest from today’s British newspapers:

The lead story in the Sunday Telegraph reports that a majority of people in both England and Scotland want independence from each other. But I don’t think it will happen, because it is against the vested interests of politicians and bureaucrats.

Also in the Telegraph, an article on the future of the Jewish community in Britain.

In the Sunday Times, a sensible article by Simon Jenkins on drugs policy. Of course, he is not quite right to say that the end of alcohol prohibition put Al Capone out of business: apart from the detail of whether Capone had already been busted for tax evasion, the end of Prohibition just meant that the crime organisations it had created turned to other sources of income, notably from drugs. But the principle is sound: legal prohibition of widely popular activities such as drugs, prostitution, or gambling is the raison d’etre of organised crime.

Added: The lead story in The Observer is a report that Tony Blair intends to make a sort-of-apology – expressing ‘deep sorrow’ – for Britain’s involvement in the slave trade before abolishing it 200 years ago.

Enough with the apologies, already. Apart from the usual selectivity of such gestures – when are the French going to apologise for the Norman Conquest, I’d like to know – and the way they reinforce the tendency to victimology, the fundamental objection is to the idea of vicarious guilt for the actions of others. And I don’t want that creeping Jesus Blair apologising on my behalf, let alone my distant ancestors’.

Also in the Observer, Jasper Gerard has some nice comments on the difficulty of finding ‘moderate’ Muslim spokespersons:

Like a famous Belgian, a moderate Muslim is devilishly elusive… Every time we anoint some cove the ‘voice of moderation’ he turns out quietly to favour female genital mutilation or a spot of light bombing.

Gerard also has a comment on Kate Moss’s comedy turn for charity with Matt Lucas last week. But there seems to be a conflict of reports on the wording of Kate’s best line. Some say it was ‘I’ll do anything for a bag of Quavers’ (a popular snack), and others ‘I’m anybody’s for a bag of Quavers’. But Gerard has it as ‘I’ll give you a gob job for a bag of Quavers’. This has the ring of authenticity, but does anyone know the truth? Anyway, expect the sales of Quavers to rocket.

PS: in case anyone is wondering if I’ll ever write anything about genes again, I have a series of posts about Sewall Wright in gestation, but these things take time.

22 Comments

  1. David: The lead story in the Sunday Telegraph reports that a majority of people in both England and Scotland want independence from each other. But I don’t think it will happen, because it is against the vested interests of politicians and bureaucrats. 
    It would also be against the interests of said majority of people in both England and Scotland, in my opinion. The Scottish Nationalists are playing a dangerous political game. If for every action there is an opposite (but not necessarily equal) reaction, in this case the reaction will be to wake the sleeping giant of English Nationalism. The Runes suggest that Chancellor Gordon Brown (a Scot) and his ambitions to be Prime Minister of Great Britain will be a casualty. And perhaps, in part, that is why the SNP are following this tack. 
     
    Incidentally I learned today (is this true?) that the only Gaelic/Scottish University is in Nova Scotia, Canada. 
     
    Also of interest today is Tony Blair’s expression of “deep sorrow” for Britain’s role in the slave trade, as is his choice of the New Nation newspaper (to show he is still in touch with the people…)  
    Paul

  2. Thanks – before reading your comment, I added a piece about the Observer report. 
     
    I can see that separation of England and Scotland would be against the interests of Scotland, but I’m not so sure about England. It would shift the centre of political gravity (at Westminster) slightly to the right, to reflect the balance of opinion in England. 
     
    Of course, I can see that there would be many disadantages and complications, not least, what to do about Northern Ireland. I don’t see why that should be an exclusively English responsibility. After all, the place is full of Scottish Presbyterians.

  3. Audrey Hepburn is a famous Belgian. At least, she was born there…. 
     
    …and don’t count on the apologies stopping. Maybe it’s insane, but I’m beginning to wonder whether or not ice people really AREN’T genetically altruistic as a result of all that natural selection during successive ice ages, and therefore judge sun people by their standards. (If I apologise, you reciprocate.) They don’t understand that sun people just take an apology as a sign of weakness and their interpretation of burying the hatchet is to bury it in your back. 
     
    Yes, I’m beginning to wonder.

  4. May I just apologise on behalf of my Irish ancestors for all their slave raids on Britain?

  5. My Irish father said, in every dealing that involves murder and money, you would always find an Englishman behind it. If its a con job, an Italian. 
     
    Just like a true Christian, kill them first, then apologize so your soul would be saved. Alleluia.

  6. If you think that guilt is the sole province of liberals, think again. Here is Ralph Peters practicing a bizarro form of neocon guilt: 
     
    http://www.nypost.com/seven/11262006/postopinion/opedcolumnists/the_eurabia_myth_opedcolumnists_ralph_peters.htm?page=0 
     
    Note how he conjectures a role for the American military…. 
     
    (About ethnic cleansing, I wonder if that dodo Peters ever heard of what happened to the pieds noirs? A million Europeans ethnically cleansed in a few months! And what did it accomplish? The paradise of modern Algeria!)

  7. PaulRC:Incidentally I learned today (is this true?) that the only Gaelic/Scottish University is in Nova Scotia, Canada. 
     
    No. http://www.smo.uhi.ac.uk/

  8. Alex, thanks for the correction. 
     
    I think the person concerned may have been referring to the Gaelic College of Celtic Arts and Crafts in Cape Breton. (There is also an offshoot in Vermont.) 
     
    I found the following statement from their web site quite interesting. 
     
    It has been suggested that many aspects of the Highlander?s culture – it?s music and dance – is more authentic today in Cape Breton than in Scotland. The settlers came to this isolated island with their music and dance and were largely insulated from outside influences. In Scotland the influence of the English was substantial and traditions were lost. 
     
    Paul

  9. From the Daily Telegraph article (my emphasis): 
     
    For Anglo-Jewry to survive, Rabbi Romain agrees that it must be prepared to adapt. “We need to recognise that Jewish identity is cultural rather than religious. Jews have changed. It is possible to be Jewish and an atheist at the same time. They might not be sure about God, but feel at home in the Jewish community. We should be putting people before ideology, whether they are gay or in a mixed marriage.”

  10. i think the new david b ‘mixing i up.’

  11. DavidB; 
    Like a famous Belgian, a moderate Muslim is devilishly elusive… Every time we anoint some cove the ‘voice of moderation’ he turns out quietly to favour female genital mutilation or a spot of light bombing. 
    well…they cant favour fgm any more. 
    =)

  12. PaulRC:  
     
    Halacha does not understand Jewishness as a “faith” and therefore does not consider one’s atheism determinant of Jewishness. 
     
    If your mother is a Jew, you are a Jew. Period. Now, if you are an atheist or a Christian, you cannot expect to be received with open arms in a halachic community, of course (and with such lousy yicchus you can kiss off making any decent match for your children), but that does not mean you are not a Jew. Whenever you turn away from your atheistic or Christian foolishness and return to the fold, you will not be required to convert back to Judaism since you have always been Jewish. 
     
    Its like Islam: once a Jew always a Jew. The only difference is that Jews historically shun apostates and eject them from communal life, they don’t behead them.

  13. Yeah, it’s a bit unkind on the Belgians. Audrey Hepburn, Dirk Bogarde, and of course Jacques Brel come to mind. And a lot of great Flemish painters, if you go back far enough.

  14. I will never understand that double standard. Seems taht some ethnies are allowed being concerned about their survival and traditions, whereas others are not. 
     
    His comments are borne out by the decline in the outward expressions of Judaism, from weddings to synagogue attendance, and the disappearance of its cultural heritage, with Jewish architecture said to be more at risk than ever before. 
     
    Well, what they are complaining about? Isn’t an outward expression of Christianity also declining and the decline applauded as a sign of modern thinking? 
     
    It is the continual rise in the number of Jews marrying gentiles that poses the biggest challenge facing the community.  
     
    I wonder, what outrage would be caused by someone stating in the mainstream media, that the rise in the number of whites marrying other races poses the biggest challenge or that whites are having too few babies.

  15. EW, I think you have to take into account the fact that Jews are a miniscule minority on the planet – about a quarter of one percent of the world population – whereas white people constitute about 20% of the world population. Also, the outmarriage rate of Jews cannot even be compared to the rate of interracial marriage among whites.

  16. What do they mean “No famous Belgians”? Have they forgotten the Mussels from Brussels, Jean-Claude van Damme?

  17. Benoit Mandelbrot and Ilya Pigogine were Belgian. 
     
    Things like Scottish independence make more sense as the nation-state becomes dissolved in free trade zones. Holland, Belgium, and Luxumberg haven’t functioned autonomously for half a century and probably much more. Splitting Belgium into Flemish and Walloon nations would have no real meaning. Belgium is already a rump state, and independent Flanders and Wallonia would just be smaller and rumpier. 
     
    Independent Scotland would be another rump, but no worse off than the majority of the EU members.  
     
    All this is fine with me. I’m mildly hostile to sovereignty and the nation-state.

  18. If not in anything else, Belgians are world leaders is water technology. Their products are very good, less expensive than German products.

  19. Diana– 
    If you think that guilt is the sole province of liberals, think again. 
     
     
    I think most ?liberal guilt?, even though it might on it?s face APPEAR to be being taken on as some great but voluntary burden by the speaker, is really an exercise in assigning guilt to someone else, usually your group rival or enemy. 
     
    Liberal whites express great sorrow about slavery in America, but what they?re really saying is that because me and my kind are so quick to call the moral wrong and apologize for it, we?re not the sort of people who could ever have supported slavery, so don?t blame us. Blame the conservates and Republicans.  
     
    In other words, great displays of liberal guilt are really moral attacks on conservatives who allegedly show less of it, or at the very least, are thereby forced into competitive Politically Correct displays in conformity with Leftist dogma.  
     
    It?s done so much because upon experimentation in the 60?s, it was found to work so well.  
     
    Variations on this are, well slavery was terrible but my people hadn?t come to America yet in any numbers worth talking about, so don?t blame us. Or, slavery was awful, but my people were from the north fought a war to end it down South long after we?d ended what little we had in the North around the time we ratified the Constitution.

  20. John Emerson 
    Independent Scotland would be another rump, but no worse off than the majority of the EU members.  
     
    All of which depends on Pax American to continue to be viable. Not only re: against land invasion of Europe, but also to keep the sea and air trade lanes open. 
     
    We seem to be receiving rather thin tribute for this service. The Brits at least had the eastern Empire army supported by taxes in India, and other forms of Empire net revenue (at least until the twilight years).

  21. Well, if we are going to talk not about individuals but about technologies we must not forget the overwhelming superiority of the Belgians in beer. 
     
    If memory serves Michael Jackson (the British beer writer) has the Belgians with hundreds of the highest quality beers. Next come the Germans and British, with tens. 
     
    I was in Leuven recently. You walk down the street and pass restaurant after restaurant with hundreds of beers on offer, including tens from the town itself.

  22. Damn right about the beer. Hoegaarden and Leffe are among my favourites. Duvel is good if you have time for a nap afterwards. 
     
    Not sure if Ilya Prigogine counts as Belgian. He was born in Russia to Russian parents (in 1917) but educated in Belgium, so I guess he was part of the White Russian diaspora.

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