May hem 122


Theresa May announced the security services have foiled forty major terrorist plots in the last decade. They also successfully prevented Rotherham FC from winning the Champions League and the sky from turning into plasticine.

We have had, on average, a major “anti-terrorism act” curtailing vital liberties every 20 months in that period, to the point where it is illegal for me to give a talk in Westminster (see last post). We have security theatre of the absurd, everywhere. Air travel is a misery due to the war on toothpaste, but I can carry two litres of extremely flammable duty free 50% spirit on board a plane. At Waverley Station in Edinburgh a taxi can no longer enter due to “terrorism”, but they can drop me outside and I can take my 60 kg of plastic explosive in two suitcases down the elevator.

The disaster of universities today is corporatism and managerialism. It is not an excess of freedom of speech. Academics dare say very little – they spend their entire time wracking their brains as to how to produce research that will attract finance, and thus meet cash targets and not lead to redundancies and departmental closures. Universities see themselves overwhelmingly as businesses, not as self governing academic communities and centres of intellectual inquiry. In Scotland, every University Principal is on over 300,000 a year and every University Secretary on over 200,000. There are no poets or philosophers on University Courts – bean counting is the only discipline deemed relevant to university governance. A tiny number of eccentric academics are devoted to their teaching, but there is no income stream of any kind dependent on teaching quality.

Now Theresa May is going to make doubly sure no student ever hears anything interesting or inspirational, by giving University administrations – who want nothing but a profitable business – a “duty to protect” students from extremist thought. This idea is so illiberal it makes me physically vomit. The net result will be a cumbersome system of vetting for every external speaker, having to submit texts for approval in advance, to be seen by the University administration. The result will be a firm intention to discourage external speakers from appearing at all, in order to avoid the cost of this bureaucracy.

I speak frequently in universities and certainly am not going to submit my talks for pre-vetting (I always speak off the cuff anyway). In fact, if this legislation goes through, I am going to undertake spontaneous guerrilla lectures in universities, just popping up and starting talking, with no prior approval at all. I hope others may join me. We need a flying squad to preserve the very notion of academic intercourse without political constraint.


122 thoughts on “May hem

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  • Ben the Inquisitor

    “Having brought about a social revolution that is both suicidal and insane, liberals of both the phony left and the phony conservative right now wish to impose extreme far-right-wing extremist limitations on the freedom of thought and expression.”

    Which puts you where..the Muddle? I salute your moderate stance. Safe, it is.

  • Fool

    I should have put a comma after taoist and before weightlifter. I don’t know any taoist weightlifters.

  • Fool

    It might be worthwhile studying the sources of funding at universities and in particular for departments studying terror etc. I heard some speculation a few years ago, which was interesting….

  • Ben the Inquisitor

    ” I don’t know any taoist weightlifters.”

    You haven’t met Brian fujisan, dojo expert with Scot heritage?

    He lifts and throws boulders because he can’t use his katana.

  • Fool

    Can Speccy has a point as to whether academics have the guts to stand up? Probably many do not, but if there is obvious censorship counter culture is likely to be come cool.*

    Even in something politically neutral like quatum physics there those who say that its very difficult to burst out of whatever is the approved norm, if the norm is string theory but you think its crap you had better keep your head down and just make sounds about string theory and let some loon try to drum up support for less popular idea until a well connected and trust funded loon tips the balance and the game changes.

    But doesn’t quatum physics suggest that some random event could tip the balance anyway so if you think its true go with it.

    * talking of which why doesn’t Craig do something with RES 104 FM.

  • Ishmael

    “I don’t know any taoist weightlifters.”

    Yea, Taoists don’t lift weights, the weights lift themselves.

  • sverdlov

    I lived in the soviets. Came to the UK thinking it was a free country. Everything, whatever is happening now in this country is a reminder of the soviets. Believe me. Steadily heading into that regime. I bet, in 1o years we will be dreaming in private circles about freedom of speech.

  • glenn_uk

    @CanSpeccy: “Just about everything a liberal believes in deeply today was considered “extremist thought” 50 years ago.

    In some ways, not in others. Gay marriage, discrimination against races deeply frowned upon, together with the closeting of sexist behaviour, and full rights for women – nobody would like to even talk about such things in polite, even liberal circles back then. Animal rights are a long way back still, I regret to say.

    But things have gone to the right end of the spectrum in a financial way, certainly. “Job creators” – as some stooge’s metaphor for the unbelievably greedy – would never have been countenanced. Any form of collectivism is regarded as just somewhat nasty. Tax burdens being radically shifted to the poverty-striken end of society, and food banks being reintroduced as a last resort (even though some unfortunates have actually starved to death due to their impoverishment).

    Nationalisation, the assets owned by the nation going to the future generations of that nation (rather than being liquidated as if in some fire-sale, and sold off on the cheap to the investor class) – those are ideas which would indicate a total lack of “seriousness” in any potential national party.

    So things have changed in 50 years, you’re right – but in unexpected directions, and quite contradictory ones too.

  • Fool

    Yes Ishael, or perhaps they train to lift the space in the hole in the weight, where the weight goes on the bar, not the weight.

    I don’t know nor not know any taoist weightlifters…

  • Ben the Inquisitor

    “I’m for thorough going reaction.”

    What you don’t say is more revealing than what you say. IOW’s what does that mean?

  • John Goss

    Bert and RoS

    I got information today indirectly from Jeremiah Adebolajo, brother of Michael Adebolajo, who says his brother was perpetually targeted by the MI5/6, as he was himself. Indeed MI5/6 were regualarly questioning Jeremiah at home and abroad. Recently they wanted to know why his brother could not be found on social media, and why he never had a regular phone number. Michael apparently had very little constant online presence and the secret services wanted to know why they could not keep up with him suggesting that Jeremiah keep an eye on him. Jeremiah believes, as several others including myself believe, the ISC report is being used to give greater powers to those who are monitoring us, to further alienate Muslim youth and the Muslim community in general. As he says, knowing the plans to be involved in more surveillance will not capture any potential ‘lone wolf’ event, because it is not going to be broadcast on the social media or by personal phone messages. (Source: Cage)

    Craig, you do great work against an increaingly sinister establishment.

  • CanSpeccy

    Gay marriage, discrimination against races deeply frowned upon, together with the closeting of sexist behaviour, and full rights for women – nobody would like to even talk about such things in polite, even liberal circles back then.

    People didn’t talk about gay marriage in the 50’s because it would have been considered an absurdity. Marriage was understood then as an institution for the reproduction of the human race, which is a very sensible point of view.

    Homosexuality was technically illegal, but very few people in those days wished to see homosexuals persecuted. The persecution of Alan Turing, for example, which led to his suicide, was I believe widely seen then to have been brutal and totally unwarranted. That is why the law was changed. A change in opinion had occurred in well in advance of the change in the law.

    There was no race discrimination in Britain in the 50’s because foreigners were so rare as to be exotic, which is how things should have remained.

    Women in the 50’s weren’t much discriminated against. Both my older sisters attended university. Both had professsional jobs. Among my own respected university teachers were a number of women. If women were less common in the professions and in politics, etc. it was because many people, both male and female, believed that a women was perfectly well occupied raising children and managing a home: those were the days before the Brits began to commit suicide by failing to achieve a replacement rate of reproduction.

    It is true that it may have been tougher for a women than for a man to succeed in a career. But at least then women with careers were competent, which is more than one can say for many today. It was a certain Charlotte Whitton, Mayor of the City of Ottawa who said: “For a woman to succeed in a man’s world, she must be twice as good as a man. Fortunately, that’s not difficult.”

    How refreshing it would be to hear more from women like that today.

  • Ishmael

    I feel quite positive about everything. We have loads of resources, potential. The net though useful I agree is overrated. For many an overused distraction. We have a whole history of lessons learned to draw from. Yes it’s a massive hill to climb, but better than sitting at the bottom looking up.

    I try to think of the younger generation, and feel they should have a chance. It’s really so unfair that they will likely suffer greatly if people don’t start taking some responsibility. It’s not (as many seem to think) that there safety is a given. And we cannot give in to despair, or I try not to. The more a look about the more I think i’m just being ignorant of the actual challenges, they are not all that great, comparatively. A lot of people made a lot of things possible in the past.

    We have a tiny proportion of the population who are not concerned about screwing over the rest. I think inside people do understand, especially if pushed, that the well-being of a society can’t be separated out. And this includes people from other countries. There seems to be this total failure to make the best of what actually is. To formulate false solutions to false problems, hiding, frankly, evil intentions imo.

    You only have to look closely at most modern politicians to see how unnatural and skittish they are. Reminds me of the Skeksis.

  • glenn_uk

    @CanSpeccy: It appears you know little about the era to which you nostalgically hark back. Of course discrimination against “coloureds” existed in the mid 1960s. Putting them at the butt end of sit-com humour was popular right into the 1980s. Signs declaring no blacks, Irish or suchlike were rather common. Did you know the lot of unmarried mothers, particularly those abandoned, was rather grim?

    “May have been tougher” for women? Very generous of you to say so! Women could not be employed at all without their husband’s blessing, could never get a bank to treat them as a person (for loans, mortgages, even a chequing account), were paid far less than men for equal work, almost never became anything but junior staff back then – come on, you simply cannot be serious.

    Next you’ll be telling me how country clubs in New York were competing with each other, to be the first to sign up a Jewish family that had just arrived in town.

    The only reason gay marriage was considered an absurdity back then, is the same reason some still think it is today – because of mindless bigotry, and an obsession with the behaviour of others (particularly sexual) rather than their rights.

    *

    So let me get this straight. Women had it all back in the 1960’s (including a totally free run in colleges and industry). Non-whites would have been baffled at the very notion of discrimination. Gays weren’t bothered most of the time, but they shouldn’t be gay anyway.

    And – of course – we’re all religious even if we don’t know it, and vegetarianism is “pure evil” (going back to an earlier thread).

    Some fascinating world view you have there, I must admit!

  • CanSpeccy

    Sverdlov: “Everything, whatever is happening now in this country is a reminder of the soviets.”

    The parallel with the Soviets is due to the structure of society. In the Soviets, a tiny, all powerful self-serving elite set the people to spy on one another, rewarding or punishing, according to the degree of obedience and groveling sycophancy displayed — the perfect environment for the rise of the psychopaths.

    That pretty well describes the West today. The result: demoralization, degradation, and near universal resentment.

    By the way, if I may ask a personal question, are you any relation of Jakob Sverdlov, or is Sverdlov your pen name?

  • CanSpeccy

    It appears you know little about the era to which you nostalgically hark back. Of course discrimination against “coloureds” existed in the mid 1960s. Putting them at the butt end of sit-com humour was popular right into the 1980s. Signs declaring no blacks, Irish or suchlike were rather common. Did you know the lot of unmarried mothers, particularly those abandoned, was rather grim?, etc. etc. ”

    Well, Glenn, I probably know as much about the era as you.

    Re coloureds: Putting them at the butt end of sit-com humour was popular right into the 1980s.

    You give no examples, which is rather telling. the sit-coms of the 1950’s and 60’s were immensely popular in britain. Which of them were racist. Perhaps you have some evidence?

    Signs declaring no blacks, Irish or suchlike were rather common.

    Well maybe in your primitive part of Wales. But I never saw a single sign of that description in England and I moved with relative left-wing people who would surely have commented if they were abundant.

    Did you know the lot of unmarried mothers, particularly those abandoned, was rather grim?

    Yeah, well one could say a lot about unmarried mothers, but I will confine myself to pointing out that the accounted for about one fifth of births in Britain during the 50’s and without them, the dears, the Brits would probably already have gone extinct by now.

    I have a theory that discrimination against unmarried motherhood, although rather cruel, served a valuable biological function. Girls knew when they took a risk with a boy that they were risking terrible consequences. As a result they tended not to take that risk except when moved by an irresistible impulse. Could explain the large number of exceptional bastards – they were fathered by pretty sharp lads.

    But today’s liberals are too stupid to consider the consequences of their actions, so they just fuck everything up.

  • Ishmael

    CanSpeccy

    26 Nov, 2014 – 12:26 am

    Wow, just read through that post, do you really believe all that stuff? wow…

  • glenn_uk

    @CanSpeccy: “What stuff? That liberals fuck everything up? Yes, I believe that fervently.

    No, I think he was talking about all the sexist, racist, and homophobic etc. denial & crap from you.

  • Ishmael

    “There was no race discrimination in Britain in the 50’s because foreigners were so rare as to be exotic, which is how things should have remained. ”

    Let’s just take this one.

    It does make the 50s attitude (if that’s what it was) sound an oppressive time. But I’d bet your just talking from narrow experience.

    If I recall, the Koran or some similar text what officially published or a translated version allowed, in England, for the Muslim population back then. So maybe the 1800s was better, but for some reason people started thinking we should not have ‘others’. But they used ‘others’ all the same.

    But obviosly your talking about fascism, I mean it was all the rage back then wasn’t it. Them was the days, ahhh.

  • CanSpeccy

    Ishmael I don’t know where you get your understanding of Britain of the 1950’s, but it is, I assure you, an entirely erroneous source.

    It is natural that in every age the majority believe that their own peculiar view of the world is more enlightened and morally superior to that of their ancestors. But history, of course, shows otherwise.

    However, there can have been no age before the present when there was greater complacent, moral self-satisfaction than in West today, a fact that can probably be attributed to the superior effectiveness of brainwashing achieved through state-controlled education and the mass media and entertainment industries, as compared with the influence of church and state in times past.

  • Ishmael

    I think, where is all the fucking liberalism that’s meant to be fucking everything up? Clearly it’s more race bigotry, division and ignoring human rights that does that. Sticking to a rigid class structure. What would be more unnatural and harmful. A country with one portion constantly attacking the freedoms and rights of the rest.

    It’s clear your version of fucking things up it diametrically opposed to mine, and any form of logic or reason I may add. Consider yourself in my troll list. Or crackpot list perhaps.

    I know, let’s all fight ‘the other’ that will really help us won’t it? Geez,, can’t belive people still feel ok to come out with that shit.

  • Ishmael

    ” I don’t know where you get your understanding of Britain of the 1950’s, but it is, I assure you, an entirely erroneous source.”

    So you don’t know, but you know…OOOOOOOOk then.

    This date is going bad.

  • CanSpeccy

    @ Ishmael

    But obviosly your talking about fascism, I mean it was all the rage back then wasn’t it.

    No, my dear boy, your knowledge of the 50’s is quite erroneous.

    Britain, then, had just ruined itself fighting fascists. It was a fairly big thing at the time, known as World War 2.

    My father, at heart a pacifist, served as a volunteer in the belief that fascism was even worse than war. That was, in fact, the general view of the populace at the time.

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