In Praise of Palmerston 99


It is impossible to read this without warming to Palmerston.

94 Picadilly
Oct 31, 1857

Rt Hon Sir B Hall
[Commissioner for Public Works, a cabinet post]

My Dear Hall,

I cannot agree with you as to the principle on which you think the grass in the park should be treated. You seem to think it is a thing to be looked at by people who are to be confined to the gravel walks. I regard it as a thing to be walked upon freely and without restraint by the people, old and young, for whose enjoyment the parks are maintained; and your iron hurdles would turn the parks into so many Smithfields, and entirely prevent that enjoyment. As to people making paths across the grass, what does that signify? If the parks were to be deemed hay-fields, it might be necessary to prevent people from stopping the growth of the hay by walking over the grass; but as the parks must be deemed places for public enjoyment, the purpose for which the parks are kept up is marred and defeated when the use of them is confined to a number of straight gravel walks.

When I see the grass worn by foot traffic, I look on it as a proof that the park has answered its purpose, and has done its duty by the health, amusement and enjoyment of the people.

In the college courts of Cambridge a man is fined half a crown who walks over the grass plots, but that is not a precedent to be followed

Yours sincerely

PALMERSTON

It is impossible to imagine a Prime Minister writing like that today, or any politician in power coming down on the non-authoritarian side of any argument.

Palmerston would have been absolutely furious at the government’s new secret courts, regarding them as fundamentally un-British. And he would have been quite right. I absolutely cannot believe the “Liberal Democrats” are doing this.

In judging the character of people, it is essential to take into account the environment in which they develop. There is no more convinced anti-monarchist than me, but I did not join in some unkind comments on this blog about the Queen’s recent illness, because I have spent some time with her and think she is a good woman. It is not her fault she was born as she was, and had I been I may well have behaved worse.

I appreciate Palmerston was not a socialist anti-colonialist. But it would have been very strange if he was.


99 thoughts on “In Praise of Palmerston

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  • BrianFujisan

    Its a shame though , that some presences are paid to try and disrupt Threads for whatever political agenda.

    From a Troll Turned Whistle Blower, on such operations

    My task? “To support Israel and counter anti-Israeli, anti-Semitic posters.” Fine with me. I had no opinions one way or another about Israel, and who likes anti-Semites and Nazis? Not me, anyway. But I didn’t know too much about the topic. “That’s OK,” she said. “You’ll pick it up as you go along. For the most part, at first, you will be doing what we call “meme-patrol.” This is pretty easy. Later if you show promise, we’ll train you for more complex arguments, where more in-depth knowledge is necessary.”

    She ( Trainer ) handed me two binders with sheets enclosed in limp plastic. The first was labeled simply “Israel” in magic-marker on the cover, and it had two sections .The first section contained basic background info on the topic. I would have to read and memorize some of this, as time went on. It had internet links for further reading, essays and talking points, and excerpts from some history books. The second, and larger, section was called “Strat” (short for “strategy”) with long lists of “dialogue pairs.” These were specific responses to specific postings. If a poster wrote something close to “X,” we were supposed to respond with something close to “Y.” “You have to mix it up a bit, though,” said my trainer. “Otherwise it gets too obvious. Learn to use a thesaurus.” This section also contained a number of hints for de-railing conversations that went too far away from what we were attempting. These strategies included various forms of personal attacks, complaining to the forum moderators, smearing the characters of our opponents, using images and icons effectively, and even dragging the tone of the conversation down with sexual innuendo, links to pornography, or other such things. “Sometimes we have to fight dirty,” or trainer told us.
    our opponents don’t hesitate to, so we can’t either.”

    “Focus on the popular posters,” my trainer told me. “These are the influential ones. Each of these is worth 50 to 100 of the lesser known names.” Each popular poster was classified as “hostile,” “friendly,” or “indifferent” to my goal. We were supposed to cultivate friendship with the friendly posters as well as the mods (basically, by brown nosing and sucking up), and there were even notes on strategies for dealing with specific hostile posters. The info was pretty detailed, but not perfect in every case. “If you can convert one of the hostile posters from the enemy side to our side, you get a nice bonus. But this doesn’t happen too often, sadly. So mostly you’ll be attacking them and trying to smear them.”

    A few days ago I happened to be in the same neighborhood and on a whim thought I’d check out the old office. It turns out the operation is gone, having moved on. This, too, I understood, is part of their strategy: Don’t stay in the same place for too long, don’t keep the same name too long, move on after half a year or so.

  • Chris Jones

    What is it that you think i’m denying Crab? Since when did disagreeing and questioning become denying? Sounds like you you could have been one of the first holding a match whilst chasing Galilieo…

    Besides that you miss the point. To label anyone a denier of this subject would mean that the person making the accusation arrogantly believe that he or she should be the one framing the debate based on their own unquestionable truth. At least a more consistent argument would be for people who believed in man made global warming (now conveniently and quietly changed to climate change by the way) as sold by the (largely dicredited)IPCC to call themselves man made global warming believers according to their findings. Then at least they would have a place to label people who didn’t agree with their particular hypothesis ‘deniers’ or ‘Crab’s man made global warming hypothesis deniers’

    In short, consistency of argument and learnt lessons from Galileo would help

  • glenn_uk

    Chris Jones wrote (to Clark), “A bit like you coming trying to put down anyone who doesn’t agree with the global authoritarian take on man made global warming and tarnish them as ‘deniers’ ey Clark?

    Oh come on. That’s like accusing someone of “coming down on” those believing the world might yet be 6000 years old or thereabouts, and anyway – let’s talk about this “global authoritarian take on man made warming” of yours for a moment, if you will?

    For one thing, almost nothing at all is being done to mitigate the effects which are causing GCC. A pretty odd course of (non) action for a major, globally-led authoritarian all-encompassing movement, as you’d have it.

    A substantial proportion of the political and general population think it’s either nothing to worry about (being the greatest hoax ever, which they’ve cleverly rumbled), and useful idiots for the fossil-fuel lobby (like your good self) pop up every time the subject is aired. Even, in your case, when it has not even been aired. Not a single freshman US Republican/ teabagger senator or congressman will say they accept the science of GCC.

    Where is this “global authoritarian” movement of yours? Where are their enforcers, and how are they doing? Seeing many urban dwellings, even cities, being demolished to be replanted for newly grown forests? Has the practice of raising animals for food diminished? Oil consumption spluttering out, air transport and car use dwindling worldwide, and let’s cut to the chase – how far down are CO2 emissions now? Are they in reverse, maybe?

    Get serious for a change, Chris. Start by addressing the above, instead of getting all vague and wandering off, just to bring up the same crap next time around.

  • glenn_uk

    Chris Jones wrote, “man made global warming (now conveniently and quietly changed to climate change by the way)

    “Conveniently”, because so many half-witted morons were looking at snow and – burping, farting and snorting – yucked “Gah- funny – snow! Global warming – cold! Funny how it’s snowing then!” – being unable to distinguish between weather and climate, and that the whole thing is a lot more complex than a uniform rise in temperature everywhere at once.

    But that’s explaining, and – as every crowd-pleasing huckster knows – if you’re explaining, you’re losing the argument. A simple lie is vastly more powerful than a complex answer, no matter how precise and correct.

    Go GCC IS more convenient, because it gets around the snarks and snickers of idiots who think if it’s cold, GW must be a myth. A notion you’d be enthusiastically promoting, if the term GW was always retained (as you fully well know).

  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    “Conveniently”, because so many half-witted morons were looking at snow and – burping, farting and snorting – yucked “Gah- funny – snow! Global warming – cold! Funny how it’s snowing then!” – being unable to distinguish between weather and climate, and that the whole thing is a lot more complex than a uniform rise in temperature everywhere at once.”

    Perzactly !. *chuckle….Glenn; you have made me awaken from sleep, with this. Kindly refrain from rhetoric during nappytime.

  • glenn_uk

    Hey Ben.. remember to turn of your “new post notification” klaxon during naps or meditation sessions!

    This sort of weak crap (“Oh – oh – so it’s GCC instead of GW now? Gotcha! Phhssszztt!!” etc.) reminds me of the most facile arguments against meat-free diets, such as an earnest, “But… but what would happen to all the poor animals?” – hoping any audience is stupid enough to be taken in by such sham concern over a point which suddenly got turned on its head.

    While Chris Jones is not the worst for this sort of thing, quite, he does have a somewhat unfortunate habit of running away from the discussion he starts, ignoring everything explained and referenced, and then pretending they are all there afresh the next time. Not exactly the mark of the most intellectually honest individual. He’d dispute that – natch! – and anyone hearing Clark’s clear and precise dissection of GCC denying while Chris Jones nipped in & out of the discussion would know that. GCC deniers rely on ignorance in an audience – the more profound, the better they like it (particularly when it concerns their previous discussions on the same subject).

  • Chris Jones

    @Glenn_uk

    A great ad hominem respone Glenn. Mention of 6000 year old creationists – tick, mention of fossil fuel lobby – tick, mention of Republicans and teabaggers – tick. Remember to call persons with a different viewpoint idiots – tick. However none of that has anything to do with the point i was making about consistency and context of argument.

    However, i’ll go through some of your other points:

    “For one thing, almost nothing at all is being done to mitigate the effects which are causing GCC. A pretty odd course of (non) action for a major, globally-led authoritarian all-encompassing movement, as you’d have it”

    ….a good point – and your half right. Funny isnt it – not much is being done to stop heavy pollution from toxic industry (its all being shipped to China anyway) and mass illegal wars yet we will are increasingly taxed Carbon taxes on everything that we do

    “Where is this “global authoritarian” movement of yours? Where are their enforcers, and how are they doing? Seeing many urban dwellings, even cities, being demolished to be replanted for newly grown forests? Has the practice of raising animals for food diminished?”

    ….As i tried to explain to another ‘believer’ ,where isnt it being enforced? You’re obviously not aware of Agenda 21 and how man made climate change is mostly a cruel hoax which has conveniently led to global sustainable development – a lovely cuddly green excuse for tyranny and mass collectivism. That fairly nice house you’re probably living in – i’m afraid the state will need to take that from you – i’m sure you can understand – its for the good of the environment you see. Oh, and that CO2 you’re breathing out and which plants need to live – i’m afraid you’re going to have to stop that too, after we’ve taxed it of course

    “….So GCC IS more convenient, because it gets around the snarks and snickers of idiots who think if it’s cold, GW must be a myth”

    ..i see, yep that makes total sense Glenn – you’ve, like, totally convinced me

  • glenn_uk

    Chris: Shame you didn’t hear about that dodgy brown acid, but … it’s your head at the end of the day.

    Agenda 21 – once again, are you serious? A non-binding call to sustainable development, and this is a major problem for you? Alex Jones must be chortling with glee!

    Where is this “mass collectivism”? Where is any indication that this – gasp – state! – is going to take it from me? OMG! Where’s my gun? I’m gonna stop them, goddammit, see if Aiii don’t!

    Those “ticks” you refer to must be coming from your twitchy eye – they’re all legitimate, easily verified FACTS. Not some crazed “agenda-21” Alex Jones, Glen Beck paranoia. Take any one of them, any one, and discuss it. Gah, of course you won’t, I waste time on your brand of lunacy.

    Agenda-21. Give me a break. Get serious. Sober up. Or at least, just post on TheBlaze, where your absurd paranoia will be treated seriously.

    Your silly lot has been running around with this absurd paranoia about a UN-led takeover since the early 1990’s (since Clinton was elected, funnily enough!), and despite zero evidence, shows no signs of getting any less crazy,

    *

    Go on, just for a laugh… tell me when/ where/ how “the state” is going to take my house away. This should be good. 🙂

  • Mary

    I could not stay in bed listening to the anti Chavez poison coming out of the World Service this morning. Someone said recently that it is part funded by the US. This was very obvious this morning.

    Some of the nastiest comment came from this individual. He must have been known by the BBC for his views and called in for the appropriate purpose.

    Semester in Washington

    Bradley A. Blakeman, J.D.
    http://scs.georgetown.edu/departments/19/semester-in-washington/faculty-bio.cfm?a=a&fId=2025

    The outfit he set up. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom's_Watch See who was in it. Repellent.

    I sincerely hope that Maduro (a former bus driver we were helpfully told by BBC News just now by a female named Cordelia Meyer*) wins the election which will be called within the next month.

    *http://uk.linkedin.com/pub/cornelia-meyer/4/ab8/525 Get the picture?

  • Mary

    More of the same and a good example of what will be said and written by the right wing over the next few weeks and beyond.

    Nicolas Maduro: profile of Hugo Chavez’s vice-president and successor
    The former bus driver who became vice-president of Venezuela has built his entire career on loyalty and obedience to Chavez, writes David Blair.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/southamerica/venezuela/9780902/Nicolas-Maduro-profile-of-Hugo-Chavezs-vice-president-and-successor.html

    Bus driver bad. Can’t have the people represented by one of the 99%. Oh no. It has to be one of the 1%.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    If “Christian Louboutin” would let me get a word in (just kidding, Christian :)), I’d like to come back to a sentence posted by

    Dougie Scourge (yesterday at 20h08) :

    “Habbabkuk
    I see you have of late been trying to creep around Craig; not very becoming”

    Would Dougie consider that the following two sentences merit inclusion in his Shorter Guide to Creeping (Glasgow University Press, 2013, 2nd ed.)?

    1/. (from Herbie on 1 March, 22h23) “Great speech at Oxford, Craig. You’re a natural at extemporising whilst hiding the craft. Almost Joycean.”

    2/.(from Mary on 4 March, 17h24) “You {ie, Habbabkuk} even have had the nerve to cross question Craig.”

    Just wondering!

  • CE

    Mary,

    The ‘obviously US funded World Service’ that you refer to has precisely zero effect on editorial policy, but was in fact a grant from the State Department(low six figures, a drop in the ocean of the World Service Budget) to help combat jamming and blocking from countries with authoritarian governments.

    Attempting to provide people under the rule of such governments with as much information as possible is something I thought most reasonable people, even those afflicted by knee-jerk anti-americanism, would think is a positive move.

  • Herbie

    Habbakuk asks

    “is there evidence of societies which are free of a certain amount of ritual, pomp and circumstance and reverence?”

    Perhaps in the deepest recesses of anthropological inquiry, there may well be, but as you acknowledge yourself it’s all about how much, by whom and to what purpose.

    Wall to wall bread and circuses are certainly a feature of the decline of Rome, and many have pointed out that we’re at a similar juncture with the cheap food policy, and thoroughly saturated with entertainments.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    @ Herbie (09h17) :

    “Wall to wall bread and circuses (sic) are (sic) certainly a feature of the decline of Rome, and many have pointed out that we’re at a similar juncture with the cheap food policy, and thorougly saturated with entertainments”.

    Those pesky Caesars certainly have a lot to answer for, don’t they.

    But your post has certainly helped me to understand why the price of iPods and electonic games has been going down in real terms.

  • Herbie

    Habbakuk

    It’s hardly a phenomenon confined to Rome. Others have played the same game too, and it didn’t end well.

    Nor I imagine will the US/UKs version end well.

    You’re remarkably complacent for one whose brief is to keep an eye on the great game.

  • Vronsky

    “the amount of time spent reading each article seems to indicate most readers don’t read them either.”

    I read them all, one of the best information sources on the net. Well, almost all. Does Habba have shares in a company that makes scroll wheels?

  • Keith Crosby

    Can a person take the money and still be a “good woman”, knowing where it’s stolen from?

  • Ben Franklin -Machine Gun Preacher (unleaded version)

    A moderator! A moderator !

    My Kingdom for a moderator…..

  • Chris Jones

    @Glenn_uk

    You remind me of a joking teenager ignoring all the danger signs at the start of a bad horror film

    So global warming has now been changed to climate change to make it easier for people to understand, but global warming is still happening but they’ve stopped saying that because people don’t understand the concept of things getting warmer? Hmmmm, I see (Never mind that met office figures show there has been no warming for the last 15 years and that they predict it to get colder for the next 5 – maybe Alex Jones told them to lie )

    I consider myself an environmentalist and a lover of nature by the way. Climate change of course is a no brainer – we have always had climate change and hopefully always will. And mankind must also have some effect on his climate. If only we could trust the government paid scientists to be a bit more honest about these figures and trends ey?

    Of course the secret courts that were proposed and agreed this week are also an Alex Jones/teabagger conspiracy. Agenda 21 is just a cuddly little booklet. Nothing to do with the host of new new carbon tax laws including the new one to fine cyclists for breathing out C02 for example.

    http://www.examiner.com/article/state-legislator-seeks-a-new-carbon-tax-on-bicycle-riders

    – probably just Alex Jones making it all up again

    Seems that reality deniers are the problem

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    @ Ben Franklin, (15h36)

    “Polonium again? Correa, be alert”

    That is absolutely right. I can reveal that at this very moment a team, consisting of the CEOs of certain large corporations, the Pope-elect (yet to be chosen), PM Netanyahu’s niece, the Chief Rabbi and Richard Nixon (deceased) are preparing to fly westwards to do the deed. They’ll be on the way as soon as they’ve been to the pharmacy to buy the polonium. Rumour also has it that they that they’ll swing through the West Coast after succesfully concluding their mission in order to take care of Ben as well. Ben, it was nice reading you – hasta luego, amigito!

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella!)

    on reflection, that should have been “adios, amigo! ” 🙂

  • glenn_uk

    Hey Chris Jones: you said, “Never mind that met office figures show there has been no warming for the last 15 years…

    Didn’t I tell you before to beware of any comparison, which uses 1998 as it’s starting point? If not, my apologies – but somebody should have.

    1998 was a remarkably hot year, and weather – as you know – is not the same as climate. 1998 marked a huge spike in an generally upward trend. But the disingenuous, out to hoodwink decent people like yourself, will casually throw that in there as if it’s just any old random starting point.

    Next year, the argument will be, “In the last 16 years…”, “… for 17 years” in the year after that, and so on.

    But it’s simply incorrect to say there has been no warming for 15 years.

    If only we could trust the government paid scientists to be a bit more honest about these figures and trends ey?

    Indeed. Damnable cheats and liars, those climatologists are spending their entire careers knowingly working their falsehoods.

    How unlike your favoured truth-tellers, who just happen to work 1998 into their comparisons all the time. Did you know about this, btw? Are you one of the fooled, or trying to do the fooling?

    *

    You’ll have to take AJ less seriously – some nut of a legislator quotes flawed, junk science to suggest cyclists ought to pay a carbon tax, and you’re all bouncing off the walls again. Here’s news – some nut legislator (in the pockets of the fossil fuel industry) is coming up with idiocies like this on a daily basis. Breathe into a paper bag for a bit – calm down mate. Your old mate Ronnie Reagan said that trees were a cause of pollution, and his environment secretary James Watt firmly believed that the environment needed no concern, because Jaysus would be returning soon, making everything new again. Repugs are not scientists, and nearly all are stooges and/or idiots.

    And try not to lose any sleep about Agenda-21.

    You were about to tell me how my house was about to be sequestrated – could I have some details, please? I’d like a chance to empty the safe beforehand!

  • guano

    Mary

    At the time of your comment about the Privy council, Her Majesty bless her had just been having problems with a tummy bug. Puts a whole new meaning to the term Privy.

  • glenn_uk

    Guano: Interesting you should bring that up. “Privy” only meant bathroom functions back in that day of the writing of the US Constitution. It’s often put forward that the word “privacy” is not mentioned in it, therefore the Founders never intended for personal privacy (not a straw man – this is a major point contended by enforcement interests).

    Notwithstanding 4th Amendment rights to protection of your papers and effects, the only reference to “privacy” in the C18th was to excuse oneself to attend to biological imperatives.

    Curious, actually, that we still refer to such as “bathrooms” or -in the US – “restrooms”, being apparently afraid to refer to them by their actual function. One which all of us typically requires several times a day.

    Or maybe just once, if you’re made of as stern a stuff as Komodo.

  • Chris Jones

    @Glenn_uk

    I would recommend not making arguments that rely so heavily on irrelevant strawmen or on rather laboured attempts at discrediting. Labelling people who don’t agree with your viewpoint as either republicans, Ronald Regan lovers,Christians, idiots or nut jobs is not a very enlightened position from which to try and preach. Very eighties but not very enlightened or inclusive. Or liberal come to that. Framing the debate as an archaic partisan left / right one is also pointless – i’m sure you’re aware by now that there is only superficial differences between the two ping pong sides.

    You’ll need to take up your temperature points with the Met office though. They and the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia would i’m sure be happy to show you that statistically there has been no change in the average annual temperature of the globe since 1997, meaning that the standstill is actually now 16 years. The latest five-year average of Hadcrut3 and Hadcrut4 data even shows a decline for the first time. And four out of the last five winters have been colder than average but lets not start splitting hairs. Do you think though that this possibly might have something to do with why GW has been quietly changed to GCC?

    Again, who can doubt that climate change occurs and that man has an effect on it. I think that what i suggest we can agree on is that those naughty climatologists have been slightly overcooking the books, the facts and the figures for reasons which has previously been outlined. First appears a map showing a warmer mediveal period, then as if by magic it’s gone, only to be replaced by the completely different and gloriously flawd hocky stick graph. Then there was also all that climategate email scandal of course. Oh what fun and games they must be having.

    You have a safe!? Lucky you

  • glenn_uk

    Hey Chris… let’s get something straight. I’m trying to discredit the argument, not your good self. You seem to be a decent enough person, unfortunately I feel you’ve been duped. Pointing out the far-right’s tendency to ignore all concerns about the environment is very much to the point – they (along with big business interests generally) have a long track record of using distortion, denial, obfuscation and outright falsehoods, to attack anything that gets in their way.

    The very idea that we should reduce CO2 output, is something that gets in the way of business profits. Getting people to doubt the actual science of climate change is a great way to ensure that nothing gets done about it.

    We can certainly argue about this graph, or that set of data, but come on – we’re not climatologists. People who are, and who digest this sort of information for years, who are qualified to do so, have concluded that man-made GCC is taking place at an alarming, catastrophic pace. It’s a little silly to hand-pick some item and – context free – declare the climatologists are all wrong, and the whole thing is clearly a hoax.

    Taking of discrediting, it seems the work has gone well with you. “Climategate” again? Seriously? Didn’t we discuss this before, didn’t you discuss it with Clark?

    http://factcheck.org/2009/12/climategate/

    The above is a pretty good read for anyone wanting the truth about “Climategate”, and frankly it shows a shocking lack of integrity in anyone persisting with the slur. You now have the opportunity to learn the truth, and stop doing it.

    There have been seven (as I recall) commissions of inquiry into this – every one of them cleared East Anglia University of perpetrating a falsehood. It’s like Al Gore’s supposed claim to have invented the Internet – just keep repeating the slur over, and over and over.

    So – are you a person of integrity? Or are you going to carry on claiming that “Climategate” is anything except a misleading tactic by GCC-deniers? This one really is an either/or, I’m afraid.

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