all right

Occasionally adding corroborative details to add verisimilitude to otherwise bald and unconvincing,
but veridicous accounts
with careful attention, indefatigable assiduity, and nice discrimination.

31 August, 2011

Principium Exitus

A Contest and a Question

The red queen often
demanded, “off with their heads!”
Her shouting fooled none.

Andrew Bolt returns
to his political posts.
Gillard is now done:

her days are numbered
in the low digits.  It’s all
over bar the fun

of estimating
who’ll next lead the ALP.
The betting’s begun

already, but some
of the smarter contestants
would rather not run.

After all, if you
were a Labor frontbencher,
would you be the one

to choose to lead such
nocturnal denizens for
a day in the sun? 

UPDATE I (3 September)The PM Protests

“I’m not going anywhere,” Gillard said,
for she’s “the best person to do this job,”
and she’ll “continue to do it; and what

this job is about:  leading the nation
to a better future.”  How great the red
leader was at yelling out “shut your gob,”
and “don’t talk crap,” but now the going’s hot
she can’t hide her maladministration.
Her Government now is as good as dead
and, however much she might shout or sob,
she’s doomed to leave in disgrace; but not
before time.  Soon comes the celebration.

UPDATE  II (18 September):  see Prof. Bunyip’s “The Hospice Vigil”.

UPDATE  III (27 April, 2013):  “her days are numbered in the low digits”, I own, was laughably wrong.

Voters continue
to support a lying crook
whom they ought to shun. 

29 August, 2011

Another Story You May Not Read

Here is what may or may not be an article by Glenn Milne which is—officially, at least—no longer available on-line, with some names changed to protect the possibly guilty:
The real import of the alleged brothel-creeping scandal surrounding Craig Tomcat has been missed, and it is this:  key factions and unions within the Labor movement are now openly indifferent to the fate of either Julia Lameduck or the federal government.  They simply don’t care any more.  Lameduck has now lost all authority within the broader Labor movement.  By their actions in the Tomcat saga they have signalled a judgment that she cannot win the next election.  Settling internal scores and power struggles is therefore now more important than whatever happens to a lame-duck Prime Nanny who can’t haul her primary voting numbers out of the pathetically fatal mid 20s.
The Mafia-style dirt-covered shovel—code for digging your own grave—dumped on Friday at 3.30am on the doorstop of Kathy Jocksan, the union official who had the courage to refer
Tomcat’s activities to the police, may as well have been delivered to the Lodge.  For Lameduck it is now that bad.  She is simply regarded as collateral damage and large sections in the Labor movement are uninterested about whether she be terminally wounded or not as they go about their internal bloodletting.  It is about to get worse as elements of the Australian Workers’ Union seek to settle up with Tomcat’s accusers by demonstrating that Lameduck herself was implicated, albeit unknowingly, in a major union fraud of her own before she entered parliament.
On Friday, Michael Smith of 2UE contacted me to check the veracity of material in a statutory declaration drawn up by Bob Kernehen, the former president of the AWU, and dealing with the relationship between
Lameduck and Bruce Wolsin, which I outline below.
On Saturday, Herald Sun and Daily Telegraph columnist Andrew Bolt wrote on his blog:  “On Monday, I’m tipping, a witness with a statutory declaration will come forward and implicate Julia
Lameduck directly in another scandal involving the misuse of union funds.  Lameduck herself is not accused of any misbehaviour at all.  I do not make that claim, and do not hold that belief, but her judgment—and that of at least one of her ministers—will come under severe question.  She will seem compromised.  It could be the last straw for Lameduck’s leadership.”
Big call.  I do, however, have a good deal of knowledge regarding Bolt’s claims.  On Sunday November 11, 2007, just days before the November 24 election, I interviewed
Lameduck, then deputy leader of the opposition, in my capacity as political editor for News Limited’s Sunday newspapers.  The interview concerned the embezzlement of union funds—not disputed—and later the subject of a court conviction by a former boyfriend of Lameduck, Bruce Wolsin.  I had researched the piece for months.  It was the most heavily lawyered article I have ever been involved in writing.  The story said that as a solicitor acting on instructions, she set up an association later used by her lover to defraud the AWU; but she has strenuously denied ever knowing wherefor the association’s bank accounts were used.  Lameduck, then in her early 30s, was a lawyer with Melbourne-based Labor firm Slutter & Goldon.  At the time of the fraud she acted for the AWU.  She met Wolsin, then the West Australian AWU secretary, while representing the union in the Industrial Relations Commission.  Wolsin later moved to Melbourne to become Victorian secretary of the union.
“These matters happened between 12 and 15 years ago,”
Lameduck told me. “I was young and naïve.  I was in a relationship, which I ended—I did, I tell you, I dumped him, he did not dump me, I dumped him, I really did, and if he told you he dumped me then he lied because I dumped him, honest—, and obviously it was all very distressing.  I am by no means the first person to find out that someone close turns out to be different to what you had believed them to be. It’s an ordinary human error.  I am, after all, human.  See, there’s a tear in my eye.  See?  Well, you might not be able to spot it, but there’s a tear in my eye and a catch in my throat.  Okay?
“Anyway, I was obviously hurt, when I was later falsely accused publicly of wrongdoing.  I didn’t do anything wrong and to have false allegations in the media was distressing.”
She added, wistfully, “I was but a wee, slim lass at the time—this was before my behind ballooned out like a dead beluga’s bloated bladder, obviously—, and I can’t be held accountable for the slight mistakes of my youth.”
What the lawyers would not allow to be reported was the fact that
Lameduck shared a home in Fitzroy bought by Wolsin using the embezzled funds.  (By “shared a home”, of course, we mean that, though they dwelt in separate houses, officially, they were really cohabiting.  Come on, we all know heaps of people who claim to reside at different addresses, in order to claim benefits, but who are really living together.)  There is or was no suggestion Lameduck knew about the origin of the money.  We now await the issue whereto Bolt refers.
If it come, and if it be as powerful as Bolt suggests, it will be further evidence that the Victorian right represented by the AWU is involved in a life and death struggle with the right as represented by the Health Services Union. 
Tomcat was a senior official of the HSU for 20 years before entering parliament via the seat of Dumbell.
The HSU split several years ago into two factions. 
Tomcat was supported by Jeff Jocksan, Kathy Jocksan’s former husband.  This so-called old guard was the support base for Victorian right-wing power boss, David Weeney.  Weeney is now looking for a parliamentary seat because Lameduck’s abysmal numbers have made his third Senate spot vulnerable.
A defeat for the old guard by way of a successful prosecution of
Tomcat by police, would leave Weeney powerless and without a base or a seat.
Jocksan himself has been accused of using union money on escorts with enemies of the Victorian HSU boss releasing bank statements showing payments to the same Sydney brothel where federal MP
Tomcat’s credit card was allegedly used.  Jocksan has denied the claims. Ultimately at issue here could be the succession to Lameduck, and I’ll explain why.
When Kathy Jocksan called in the wallopers, the stakes were high.  Because a federal defeat for
Tomcat and his allies would enhance the power base of Victoria’s two other factional king makers, Bill Sherton and Stephen Cuntroy who are both aligned with the new guard in the HSU—and we all know what Sherton’s ultimate ambition is.
What a tangled web will liars weave especially when you consider
Tomcat is married to Zoe Ornald, a former Transport Workers Union official and adviser to former NSW Health Minister Reba Maeghar.  Alex Williomsan, daughter of HSU national president Mike Williomsan, is an adviser to Lameduck; and, of course, as mentioned, Kathy Jocksan, who blew the whistle on Tomcat, was married to former Victorian state HSU secretary Jeff Jocksan.
Truly, the NSW Disease has arrived in Canberra.
Meanwhile, amid all this incestuous manoeuvring,
Lameduck attempts to adopt the high ground, attacking shadow attorney-general George Brandis for intervening in the course of justice.  On Thursday morning Lameduck attacked Brandis for speaking to NSW Police Minister Michael Gallacher at a time when the allegations against Lameduck were being assessed by NSW Police.  Unfortunately, she got her facts wrong because the NSW police only announced they were conducting an assessment four days after Brandis spoke to Gallacher and in fact only got Brandis’s dossier three days after he spoke to Gallacher.
A small point, but one that indicates the pressure is beginning to show on
Lameduck as she desperately searches for points of deflection.  During the same press conference she also vainly tried to defend Tomcat’s decision not to make a statement to the parliament on the facts.  We all know why; if he lie he’s finished as an MP and Lameduck is washed up as Prime Nanny.  Lameduck and Tomcat are shackled together just as surely as two First Fleet convicts.
Oh, and here’s a small postscript whereon to end.  On September 7 at the Wyong Christian School at 2pm there will be the opening of a new hall built with funds from
Lameduck’s time overseeing the Building the Education Revolution.  Tomcat is scheduled to attend as the local member.  My gut instinct is that both he and the Prime Nanny will be otherwise engaged.
UPDATE I (30 August):  for a story you may read, see Donations, deals and declarations:  how the HSU’s money flowed to Labor”, by Imre Salusinszky, of The Australian.  See also Nikki Savva’s “Whatever the problem, blame Abbott ”.  Tony Wright of The Age, in “Gillard calls; Murdoch paper sorry”, suggests that the PM—who is seldom troubled by the deceits, evasions, untruths, fibs, fabrications, deceptions, fictions, falsifications, dissemblings, prevarications, perjuries, falsehoods and lies either from her own lips or from those of her colleagues—was peeved by Milne’s article:
The Age understands Ms Gillard was furious not only because the column included a false claim, but because she had been led to believe by Mr Hartigan that News Ltd newspapers were not intending to pursue the decades-old story of her former conman lover.
UPDATE II (30 August):  see Prof. Bunyip’s From Retreat to Rout”.

UPDATE III (30 August):  see scanned pages of a Statutory Declaration by Robert Kernohan:




UPDATE IV (31 August):  Potemkin’s Village continues to be well worth visiting.

UPDATE V (31 August):  for those who insist on reading Milne’s original, poorly written article—which, we stress, is a badly punctuated work of fiction wherein any claim of wrongdoing is untrue in all respects—, you may read it hereMilne’s earlier article from 2007, “Gillard’s Stunning Confession”, is here.

UPDATE VI (3 September):  see Andrew Bolt’s “Protecting Gillard: ABC sacks Milne”.

UPDATE VII (4 September):  see Michael Bachelard’s “Union boss in Thomson probe has breakdown”, in The Age; and see Andrew Bolt here and here too. 

UPDATE VIII (4 September)the ABC still insists that Milne’s article was “false”—on the evidence, it seems, of the PM:

UPDATE IX (5 September): at Kangaroo Court of Australia, see Shane Dowling’s “Has Julia Gillard blackmailed the Media to cover up her corrupt past? the Fairfax Media and News Corp scandal”.

UPDATE X (5 September):  Paul Sheehan, of the Sydney Morning Herald, writes:
On [the issue of the Government’s incompetent policy and conduct on the “asylum seekers” (i.e., unlawful non-citizens seeking illegal entry)] alone, the Government would fall were an election held soon.
But it will cling on, indefinitely, thanks to Tony Windsor, Robert Oakeshott and Craig Thomson, of whom the Prime Minister said recently:  “I have complete confidence in the member for Dobell [and] look forward to him continuing to do that job for a very long, long, long time to come.”
On this moral foundation stands the Gillard government.
UPDATE XI (5 September):  Glenn Milne, from November, 2007, on “How [the] scam worked.”  (With thanks to spot_the_dog.)

UPDATE XII (6 September)If the PM had ever done anything wrong, she’d say so, wouldn’t she?  Jonathan Holmes, on “Media Watch”, apparently accepts all the pusillanimous Prime Minister’s feeble protestations of innocence:
Gillard has already explained herself in Glenn Milne’s 2007 article.  She’s denied any wrongdoing many times, going back to when the allegations were first raised in the Victorian Parliament in 1995 ...
She denied wrongdoing again in 2001, and in an interview for the ABC’s Australian Story in 2006 ... 
She must, therefore, be squeaky clean; and there’ll be no carbon dioxide tax under any government she leads.  Criminals might care to try that “persistently deny wrongdoing” defence next time they’re in court:
Court Officer:  How do you plead?
Defendant:  Not guilty!
Judge:  Really?  On all charges?
Defendant:  Yes, your honour, I am not guilty!
Judge:  Are you absolutely sure?  These charges seem to be pretty serious; and I note that there is quite a pile of evidence against you, with a long list of witnesses for the prosecution.
Defendant: I aint never done nothing.  I am, as I’ve said all along, absolutely innocent of all charges.  Not guilty!  Not guilty!  Not guilty!
Judge: Well, then, with such persistent denial of wrongdoing, I must—and I shall—dismiss all charges, wherefore you are free to go.  I shall, however, have some stern words to say to the prosecutor…
UPDATE XIII (6 September):  see Andrew Bolt’s “If this is old news, why have two journalists been silenced?”

UPDATE XIV (11 September):  quite rightly, the persistent Shane Dowling, at Kangaroo Court of Australia, continues to demand a response from our strangely censorious, seemingly corrupt, and manifestly incompetent, lying leader. 

UPDATE XV (17 September):  see “Knives out as Health Services Union breaks from Labor”, by Ean Higgins and Milanda Rout, in The Australian.

UPDATE  XVI (18 September):  see Prof. Bunyip’s “The Hospice Vigil”.

UPDATE  XVII (19 September):  at Kangaroo Court of Australia, see “The lies and deception of Media Watch and host Jonathan Holmes in defence of Julia Gillard” by Shane Dowling.

UPDATE  XVIII (19 September):  at Catallaxy Files, Judith Sloan asks “Is the HSU the tip of the iceberg?” 

UPDATE  XIX (26 September):  see Union boss Kathy Jackson steps up pursuit of Craig Thomson”, by Ean Higgin, in The Australian

UPDATE  XX (17 October):  it never ends; see “Julia Gillard appoints Bernard Murphy, her partner in crime from Slater and Gordon lawyers, as a Federal Court of Australia judge”, at Kangaroo Court of Australia.

UPDATE  XXI (17 December):  see Tim Blair’s “Maybe Someone Else Did It”, wherein he suggests that Craig Thomson’s parliamentary reports contained plagiarised material.  Finally, it is evident, we can put an end to the silly, defamatory claims that the honourable member (or someone with the same name) ever went to brothels soliciting sexual favours.  Clearly, Thomson (or someone of the same name)—aware that many brothels, sadly, tend to employ young lasses who are working their way through their tertiary studies—was merely seeking arts students to help him write his reports in a pious effort to provide them suitably meritorious, literary assignments rather than meretricious, venereal work.  That many arts students these days can’t compile a decent report without plagiarising from Wikipedia and the like is hardly his (or his namesake’s) fault. 

UPDATE  XXII (11 January, 2012):  Thomson still sticks around, like a particularly noisome stink; see “Craig Thomson Scandal Snub”, by Steve Lewis and Andrew Clennell.

UPDATE  XXIII (24 May):  see “Keep It Simple, Thomson”. 

UPDATE  XXIV (22 June)finally, these matters are being raised in Parliament—see Andrew Bolt’s “Gillard Confronted with the Scandal She Almost Buried”.

UPDATE  XXV (23 June)Larry Pickering comments here and here

UPDATE  XXVI (23 June)see “Julia Gillard’s corrupt past raised in parliament by ALP member Robert McClelland” at Kangaroo Court of Australia.

A Story You May Not Read

Young and Naïve

A paper today
bravely retracted a piece—
it was overawed

by lawyers—alleging
that Gillard’s moral sense
was like her arse: broad

and far from pretty.
Now you can’t read how Gillard
had assisted fraud. 

A Pattern?

One union leader
living large whilst his members
struggle?  That’s not news.

A prime minister
who—perhaps—had aided scams?
That we must excuse:

the poor naïve lass,
an industrial lawyer,
just could not refuse

another boyfriend
with working class credentials
and a lust to choose

any perquisite
whereon he set his greedy
eyes by ‘right’ or ruse.

See “Learned Friends, Baffled Readers”, by Prof. Bunyip, and “What’s Williamson so scared of?”, by Andrew Bolt, quoting Glenn Milne:
Gillard, then in her early 30s, was a lawyer with Melbourne-based Labor firm Slater & Gordon.  At the time of the fraud she acted for the AWU.  She met [former boyfriend and con-man, Bruce] Wilson, then the West Australian AWU secretary, while representing the union in the Industrial Relations Commission.  Wilson later moved to Melbourne to become Victorian secretary of the union.
“These matters happened between 12 and 15 years ago,” Gillard told me.   “I was young and naive.  I was in a relationship, which I ended, and obviously it was all very distressing.  I am by no means the first person to find out that someone close turns out to be different to what you had believed them to be.  It’s an ordinary human error.
Also of some relevance is “The Wisdom of Julia Gillard”, at The Friends of Carbon Dioxide, as well as “The Leader Has My Full Support”.
Remember:  listen  to “What Shall We Do with the Missing Data?”, by Mann and Jones et Al., here.

UPDATE I:  the above-mentioned article by Andrew Bolt is no longer available, nor is the article by Glenn Milne which he quoted; in the public interest, however, I provide an unauthorised, slightly edited in order to be absolutely non-defamatory, version of the latter: “Another Story You May Not Read”.

UPDATE II (30 August):  see the Right Side’s “The Stench of the Thomson Affair”, wherein John Citizen assesses that our widdiful, pitiful PM is “trapped in the middle of nowhere and slowly being buried under a giant, steaming pile of foamy raw sewage.”

UPDATE III (30 August):  another person now claiming the “young and naïve” defence, according to his own words on the ABC’s sympathetically supportive, exculpatory “Australian Story”, is the acclaimed (though barely literate) author David Hicks.  Hicks and Gillard—what a pair.

UPDATE IV (30 August):  as the PM nears her fiftieth birthday, she finally begins to shew a little fellow-feeling for the ordinary Australians whom she and her Government are bent on ruining: 

“I do really wonder what happens to an Australian, perhaps someone who lives in the Illawarra or one of the suburbs of our great cities who for whatever reason is caught up in a news story and has a false allegation made about them and no one’s bothered to contact them about it either.
“How do they actually get it fixed given they’re not in the same position as me
to make calls to the editor of The Australian newspaper?”
UPDATE V (31 August):  Andrew Bolt, after his ephemeral absence from political commentary, returns to his posts.  See “Principio Exitus”—the Beginning of the End.

UPDATE VI (31 August):  see Shane Dowling’s take at Kangaroo Court of Australia.

UPDATE VII (1 Sepember):  see TWAKI’s “Now illegal to criticise the government”: 

Gillard who claims as a lawyer she was too naïve to understand that setting up false accounts for her boyfriend to defraud a union whilst she lived with him (in the house paid for with defrauded funds) is now not naïve enough to threaten legal and political action against media outlets who scrutinise her past.  And naïvety seems a strange character trait of anyone who who in their mid 30s has worked in law for years and at the time held a responsible legal position that would require anything but naïvety.  It would be reasonable to think that such a person would be both well informed as to legal actions and consequences, particularly in the setting up of accounts.  Gillard would want us to think otherwise.  The naïve thing would be to not question why when over a million dollars of union funds went missing no one was prosecuted.  It would also appear there are a lot more questions to this matter than answers given.
 UPDATE VIII (4 September):   Bill Leak in The Australian:

UPDATE IX (19 September):  see “The lies and deception of Media Watch and host Jonathan Holmes in defence of Julia Gillard”, by Shane Dowling, at Kangaroo Court of Australia

UPDATE X (21 July, 2012)see ‘“Depart, I say, and Let Us Have Done with You”’.

27 August, 2011

Late Night Assonance

A Confession

I had never planned
to be a maker—it came
completely by chance:

an accident of time
and place—; but, I confess, I
respect the romance

of the whole shebang
that, with the cool weft of words,
comes the antic prance

of rich history
and tradition.  It appeals;
and, casting a glance

at posterity,
I detect hazy signs of
brief significance

and assume that the
world as it is never needs
any relevance

in nuance or sense
or in pontification
or continuance

for I never planned
to be a maker or a
publisher of rants.

What does that all mean?
Sometimes, meaning takes a break
to let the words dance.

UPDATE (7 September, 2013):  a critic, on Facebook, wrote that I ought not to “give away the daytime employment.”  I replied:

Give away my job?
You assume I do more than
write this sort of stuff.

Sorry to break it
to you but this is all I
do; and that’s enough.

The same critic then wrote a lengthy paragraph complaining of my “feathered opinion”; I responded:

I don’t know what a
feathered* opinion might be.
I apologise

for wasting your time.
It’s my fault; clearly I’m not
sufficiently wise,

but ephemera
on Facebook ought not to be
for harsh critics’ eyes.

* A peacock’s plumage
may be bright, a raven’s less
colourfully limned;

moreover, “feathered”
might refer to when a ’plane’s
airscrew’s blades are trimmed.

26 August, 2011

Faking Man-Made Global Warming

I have finally completed the production of a few mixes of a song—“What Shall We Do with the Missing Data?”—which I composed in November, 2009, shortly after the release of the “climate-gate” e-mails. 

What Shall We Do with the Missing Data?

How shall we deal with egregious errors?
How can we spread more alarmist terrors?
What could we fake to create a scare as
good as global warming?
     Faking man-made global warming.

Soon your power must be dearer;
Armageddon is much nearer;
evidence, we say, is clearer
for that global warming.

Now it seems the weather’s cooling;
numbers drop of those we’re fooling;
people whom we should be ruling
must fear global warming.

Dr. Jones is now quite shaken,
feeling that he’s cooked his bacon;
maybe he was just mistaken
over global warming.

What shall we do with the missing data?
How shall we hide all the graphs’ stigmata?
How shall we keep all our fees pro rata
while we fake world warming?
     Faking man-made global warming.

Oh, dear, no, the seas aren’t rising;
powercos though are downsizing;
stop those sceptics analysing
man-made global warming!

We must keep the mob from waking;
hide how much that we were taking;
Mann and Jones et Al. were faking
man-made global warming.

Quench the opposition fires;
all who disagree are liars;
we’ll defame those bad deniers
of our global warming.

What shall we do with the evil-doers?
What shall we do with the peer-reviewers?
What shall we do with corrupting CRUers
faking global warming?
     Faking man-made global warming.

UPDATE I (31 August):  see James Delingpole’s “‘Climate scepticism is the new racism’ says Gore”.  Albert “Götterdämmerung” Gore does indeed insist on defaming all heretical sceptics.

UPDATE II (31 January, 2012):  with the sad demise of, various mixes of this song are no longer available; I shall, I hope, upload the song to other sites eventually. 

UPDATE III (7 March):   one mix is now available at SoundCloud.

22 August, 2011

Apolitical? Running the Country?


public servants” are keeping
 “the country running”?* 

This must be a joke
(of sorts) on Gillard, with some
rather rude punning.

*  see Phillip Coorey’s “Angry mobs ready to face off as MPs take leave of trouble”, wherein he writes, “The only people who risk being inconvenienced [by the ‘Convoy of No Confidence’] are those who live in Canberra – the apolitical public servants who keep the country running [...].”  See also “On His Knees”, by Prof. Bunyip.
†  i.e., suggesting that the PM is running again.

19 August, 2011

The Aliens’ Plan to Destroy Evil Human Beings, II

Across the Vast Expanse of Space

What technology
is needed to traverse a
great galactic span?

NASA’s scientists
could calculate such figures
if anyone can.

Aliens, they yell,
may construct starships and come
to earth and kill man.

(Of course, those beings,
many centuries ago,
must have hatched their plan.)

they suggest, we could impose
a coal-burning ban;

then, from far away,
aliens would halt our doom
before it began.

The Aliens’ Plan to Destroy Evil Human Beings, I

A report in the Planetary Government Gazette:
The Planetary Government’s chief scientific adviser released his committee’s report, Dirty Energy Polluters and How They Must Be Stopped, yesterday, putting the case that the dominant, industrialising life-form of a planet in a remote solar system, in a distant galaxy, must be destroyed in order to protect the planet’s subordinate life-forms.  The scientific consensus, based on observing the component gases of the planet’s atmosphere over the last century, asserted that a rise in atmospheric CO2, from a very tiny percentage to a slightly less tiny percentage, was probably warming the plant by a further degree or two, possibly spelling almost certain doom to much of the planet’s life.  Accordingly, the Government’s only option was to build a design and construct of inter-galactic vehicles immediately, travel to the distant planet, identify the dominant industrialising life-form, exterminate them, and return home to be applauded by descendants who will have learnt in the hives and schools and history texts how their forebears, many generations in the past, had travelled to a distant galaxy in a noble cause—whilst bankrupting their posterity.
In a rowdy global government assembly, the opposition leader said:
I must oppose this interfering and needless expense, which is based on some unproven and untested computer-modelling and supported only by pseudoscientific theories from proselytising proponents of socio-political advocacy instead of true science based on empirical data, in order to fund an unnecessary and aggressive expedition to a distant solar system in order to impose our own, alien values on a planet which might be undergoing perfectly natural variations.  For aught I know, the dominant species, if there be one—for there is no evidence that the carbon dioxide levels may not be either natural or a deliberate policy of a federation of species in order to provide a better environment for life-forms which utilise carbon dioxide—if, as I say, there be just one dominant, technologically-advanced species, it might be acting with meritorious and kindly intent.  Anyway, who are we to interfere even if their over-industrialising ways endanger themselves?  Are we the galaxies’ nursemaid who must rush hither and thither all over the universe in order to rectify others’ mistakes?  Are there no problems in our own nests and hives that can’t be put right?  Can’t our government think of no other issue across our own solar system that needs some attention?  It makes my ichor boil and sends a shiver down my chiton to think of the communities at home who would love to have a tiny fraction of the billions which our Government plans to spend on this far-fetched expedition, all to be paid by a new and oppressive tax, over countless generations to come, which the Nanny-in-Chief promised before the last election she would not impose.
The Nanny-in-Chief responded last night that the opposition leader was a known denier, who did not accept scientific consensus, and that all right-thinking citizens would deplore his racist, extremist, anti-progress rhetoric.  She added that the proposal to wipe out any species which slightly increased the percentage of trace gases in its atmosphere was predicated on the sound ethical principle that any technologically advanced species which might adversely affect its own environment, if allowed to develop towards inter-galactic capability, could not be trusted not to attack the ecosystems of other planets elsewhere in the galaxy.  “By annihilating the entire society, we shall send a clear message which says, ‘don’t annihilate entire societies’,” she explained.
See Aliens may destroy humanity to protect other civilisations, say scientists”, by Ian Sample, a “science correspondent”, in The Guardian:
Watching from afar, extraterrestrial beings might view changes in Earth’s atmosphere as symptomatic of a civilisation growing out of control – and take drastic action to keep us from becoming a more serious threat, the researchers [from NASA!] explain.
See also WUWT and “Some important points of clarification” and “Part II”.

11 August, 2011

The Nature and Cause of the Culture of Rioters

I have been reading the articles of Theodore Dalrymple for more than twenty years, since his articles were first published in The Spectator, and, having read those articles, I was not astonished by the widespread rioting, disorder and looting in England; I was, on the contrary, expecting something of the sort.  In his “British Degeneracy on Parade”, Dalrymple explains:
The ferocious criminality exhibited by an uncomfortably large section of the English population during the current riots has not surprised me in the least. I have been writing about it, in its slightly less acute manifestations, for the past twenty years.  To have spotted it required no great perspicacity on my part; rather, it took a peculiar cowardly blindness, one regularly displayed by the British intelligentsia and political class, not to see it and not to realize its significance.  There is nothing that an intellectual less likes to change than his mind, or a politician his policy.
A comprehensive explanation of the nature and causes of the culture—for want of a better word—which led to the riots can be found in some collected articles by Dalrymple which were published in the book, Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass, which can also be read online, for free, at City Journal:

More essays are available at City Journal, and more still at New English Review, and see also The Sceptical Doctor.
(Life at the Bottom, of course, is also available from and
My thanks to Wintery Knight for the collation of the Life at the Bottom contents.
See also my post, “Is Now the Time for a Ruinous Tax?”, at The Friends of Carbon Dioxide.

UPDATE I (12 August):  In a comment titled, “Archbishop’s reflection on unrest”—unrest!—, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, opines:
In no imaginable sense does the violence we have seen help anyone; those who have been involved have achieved nothing except to intensify the cycle of deprivation and vulnerability.
So, “in no imaginable sense does the violence we have seen help anyone.”  Really?  No glazier will have increased custom?  No local protection racketeer foresee business growth?  No police officer who had until recently feared forced redundancy might now grimly smile upon the increased chance of maintaining employment in a time of austerity?  No corrupt “climate scientist” feel relief that his pseudo-scientific fictions remain unscrutinised because of the distracting mayhem?  No widdiful Jody McIntyre rejoice in the chance to tweet wicked suggestions to the masses to “rise up” in order to “beat the feds”?  I can imagine Marxist millenarians, gloating in the destruction both of capital and of the quiet but devastated hopes of the petite bourgeoisie with a sense of delight; I can imagine a quick sense of gloom which, wearied of feasting in shadows, feels that its time of triumph—or, at least, an ovation—has arrived; I can imagine a couple of locksmiths, congratulating themselves in a sense of relief, saying, “We’ll pay the mortgage this month, for sure.”  I can imagine also a loony archbishop murmuring to a coy curate, “We are relevant now!” 

UPDATE II (10 September):  see Jonathan Foreman’s “Underrated: Theodore Dalrymple” in  Standpoint:
Regular readers of Theodore Dalrymple will not have been surprised by the looting that spread through London and then to other English cities in early August.  Indeed, one of the fascinating and appalling aspects of these disturbances, beyond the gleeful contempt for the law shown by the looters, and the complacency of the police who allowed them to rampage, were the familiar explanations offered by the offenders for their behaviour. 
In interviews with reporters they sounded exactly like the amoral underclass interlocutors who have peopled Dalrymple’s writing for two decades.
UPDATE III (22 November):  thanks to the website of Louise, who comments below (and who provides a less complimentary assessment of Dr. Dalrymple, for example, here and here), I am reminded that Dalrymple took that pseudonym from an early short story by P.G. Wodehouse (from 1903) which is hard to find; here, then, is:

“The Dastardly Behaviour of Bashmead”
The cynical and unblushing baseness of Rupert Alexander Bashmead had formed a subject of conversation among his friends and acquaintances from his eighth birthday onwards.  At school his masters, drawing gloomy conclusions from the ingenious system of cribs for which the name of Bashmead is still a household word at St. Asterisk’s, were wont to observe that he would come to a bad end.  They gave him to understand that if—by some miscarriage of justice—his sentence were to be commuted to penal servitude for life, they would be wounded and disappointed.  At College it was an accepted axiom in his set that if there was only one comfortable chair in a room, Bashmead got it.  In fact, he was Bashmead.  There is no other word.
Among the friends he made at College—for even a man of his hideous moral blackness makes friends—was one James Prendergast.  To sum up James’s salient points, he was six-foot-two in height, frivolous in disposition, and boasted a skill amounting to genius in the art of tossing for drinks.  He had a theory that a man who wishes to leave the world a better place for his presence in it should choose a walk in life, and not rest until he has made himself pre-eminent in it.  James’s walk in life was tossing for drinks.
It did not escape the notice of his acquaintances that Rupert Alexander Bashmead was at considerable pains to cultivate James Prendergast.  To account for this phenomenon, they were divided into two schools of thought.  His enemies said, in their malicious way, that they supposed he must like James.  His friends generously ridiculed the idea.  It was absurd, they argued, to suppose that he would make a friend of a man unless he hoped to get something out of him.  He was trying to borrow money from James—that was it.
But they were wrong, and for this reason—James had no money.  If he had any, we have every reason to suppose that Rupert would have endeavoured to borrow it but as he had none another explanation becomes necessary.  Nor is it far to seek.  James had a sister, Muriel.  There was not much of her, but what there was was charming.  Brown hair and grey eyes.  Some people said she was clever.  Her friends said it was a pity, but she was not nearly so clever as she imagined herself to be.
It was shortly after his introduction to her that Rupert discovered, with no small astonishment, that there was someone in the world whom he cared for more than himself.  Matters speedily reached such a pitch that, after carefully diagnosing his symptoms, he came to the conclusion that he was madly in love.  At the time at which this story opens he had reached the last stage, where the patient habitually steals small articles, such as gloves and handkerchiefs, from the Object; treasures them simply because she has touched them, and resolves to lead a better life.
It was, therefore, with immense disgust that he found that he had a rival, a person of such innate nobility of character that, though his name was George Jobson, he was not ashamed of it.  Also he wore a made-up tie, and was not ashamed of that either.  Moral worth could go no further.
Muriel seemed to like his surety.  Nay, to judge by appearances, she preferred it to that of Rupert Alexander Bashmead.  Jobson’s strong suit was literature.  Under the pseudonym of “Theodore Dalrymple” he had once had a short poem published in a magazine.  It was not so much the fact that he had received two-and-eightpence for this effort that appealed to Muriel.  For the sordid gains of the pen she had little sympathy.  It was the fame that won her respect.  She, too, trod the thorny paths of Literature.  One of her stories, “The Love of Gabriel Undershaw” had been refused by some of the best periodicals in London.  This did not make her arrogant, but it gave her a certain feeling of superiority over those of more merely mortal clay, and on the strength of it she had called Rupert Alexander Bashmead—much to the delight of Jobson, who had been present at the outrage—vapid and irreflective, and had scouted the notion that he possessed a soul.  And what was left of Rupert had retired in bad order to his lonely rooms.  While he was sitting there, chewing a pipe and revolving thoughts of breaking into feverish verse on his own account, James appeared.
“You seem mouldy,” was James’s didactic utterance.  “I’ve got something here that’ll cheer you up.”
“Bet it won’t,” said Rupert, with gloom.
“I bet it does.  It nearly killed me.  I thought I should have broken something internally.  It’s a story of my sister’s.  I found it in the drawing-room.  Are you ready?”
Rupert had never been privileged to hear anything from Muriel’s pen before.
“I didn’t know your sister wrote comic things,” he said.
“Nor does she mean to,” replied James briefly.  “Now then.”
And, having announced the title, “Stolen Lips,” he embarked upon the story.
For the first two paragraphs the gloom of his listener’s countenance remained unshaken.  At the fourth his features relaxed.  At the seventh he gulped.  And, by the time the middle of the tale was reached, he was on the floor biting the carpet.
“More, more!” moaned the stricken Rupert as his friend finished.  “Read it again.”
He read it again.
And this is where the peculiar baseness of Rupert Alexander Bashmead begins to rear its serpent head.  I find the ink on my pen growing white with horror as I write of that scoundrel’s immoral doings.  Briefly, his shameful conduct was this.  He egged on his accomplice, the man Prendergast, to read “Stolen Lips” to him until its first freshness, and, so to speak, its suddenness, had worn off, and he could hear it administered to him without any violent upheaval.  Then he put into effect the inconceivably scandalous plot which his disgraceful mind had formed.  He called upon Miss Muriel Prendergast at a time when he knew that George Jobson would be there, and, by preconcerted arrangement, James, his misguided tool, entered the room.
“Oh, I say,” remarked James, extending a bundle of manuscript, “I’ve found that story you lost, Muriel.”
“Oh, I am glad!” said Muriel, clutching the recovered treasure.
“I wish,” observed the snake, Bashmead, “that you would read it to us.”
“Oh, please do!” cooed the unsuspecting Jobson.
“If you would really like it,” said Muriel.
“Oh, we should,” murmured Jobson.
“It is called,” said Muriel, “‘Stolen Lips.’”
James darted from the room, and she began to read.
“If,” said the unspeakable Bashmead, severely, three minutes later, “you cannot behave like a gentleman, Mr. Jobson, wouldn’t it be as well if you went?”
“Good-bye, Mr. Jobson,” said Muriel.  Her manner would have been noticeably chilly in a refrigerator.  Jobson left.
“A man,” said Bashmead, judicially, “who could find anything to laugh at in a beautiful story like ‘Stolen Lips’ is capable of anything.”
“Yes, isn’t he?” said Muriel.
“He is outside the pale; unworthy to associate with his fellow-man.  A fit companion for the brutes that perish.  In fine, a worm!”
“Yes, isn’t he?” said Muriel.
It is a painful story.  I have only to add that a wedding was arranged and shortly took place between Rupert Alexander Bashmead and Muriel, only daughter of the late Francis Prendergast; that the bride, who was given away by her uncle, Sir Theophilus Prendergast, looked charming in mousseline de soie, with heliotrope aiguillettes; and that the presents were both numerous and costly.  As for George Jobson, shortly before the wedding he joined an exploring expedition to darkest Clapham, and, as he never came back, it is only too probable that he fell a victim to the bores and other beasts which infest that desolate region.  Somewhere out in that trackless desert, the great Common, from which so few travellers return, lies a rapidly bleaching skeleton.  In happier days that skeleton was Jobson.