Notre Dame and Lateral Thinking 413


France is a country which has spent hundreds of billions of euros on nuclear Weapons of Mass Destruction, and hundreds of billions of euros on other military capabilities. France possesses the technological capability to utterly flatten a city the size of Paris in minutes. Yet it does not possess the technological capability to prevent one of its greatest buildings from being destroyed by fire.

If the many trillions spent all around the world on the research, development and production of instruments of destruction had been devoted to peaceful purposes instead, what new technologies might we have now? It is not a huge step in lateral thinking to imagine that in such a world, more might have been available to save Notre Dame – and Grenfell – than too short ladders and hoses squirting water.

I posted this simple idea on twitter a couple of hours ago. As with all my twitter posts, right wing trolls came in to dispute my point very quickly. Their posts are worth reading because they so stunningly miss the point. They talk about standard lengths of firefighting ladders and about water pressure. They appear completely unable to even register, let alone extrapolate from, the notion that had the resources mankind has squandered on agents of destruction been better used, we might have different technologies.

John Stuart Mill once stated in parliament: “I did not mean that Conservatives are generally stupid; I meant, that stupid persons are generally conservative. I believe that to be so obvious and undeniable a fact that I hardly think any hon. Gentleman will question it.” I have always believed that right wing “thought” is a misnomer, and right wing views are rather characterised by absence of meaningful intellectual activity. Furthermore, those touted as right wing “thinkers”, such as Roger Scruton, Patrick Minford or David Starkey, if studied with any rigour, are the greatest proof of this. But it is seldom that you see such clear evidence as the responses to that little tweet. If I had devised that tweet as an experiment to demonstrate the hypothesis of the intellectual incapacity of the conservative mind, it could not have worked better.

My condolences to all for the loss of a great building. One day, perhaps mankind will learn that we do not in reality defend what we have by spending vast amounts of our available resources and capacity for communal activity in preparing to destroy as much as we are physically capable of destroying.


413 thoughts on “Notre Dame and Lateral Thinking

1 2 3 4 5
  • S

    I think those disagreeing with Craig’s tweet misunderstood. Somehow, they thought that he was saying that France should have bought some off-the-shelf extra-long hosepipe and forked out a bit more for a longer ladder.

      • Derrick

        That should give a nice boost to his ratings, such a pity that the French government hadn’t devoted more funds to its upkeep and maintenance prior to this event. Still, I suppose there won’t be any mention of the neglect now that he has to opportunity to claim the hero.

      • nevermind

        The contractors undertaking this ‘restoration’ of the roof, as well as the scaffold firm are most definitely insured, sharp ears. The problem with such a fire in an 850 year old building that was not well maintained is that tall these roof spaces are connected and once a fire is established, its vetry hard to put it out. Add to that the height of the cathedral and the very likelihood that there were certain wood preservatives, putty’s and other volatile liquids/compounds that would have been present in a long term restoration.

        The scaffold is useless and will have to be removed, never to be used as scaffold again as the heat has taken the strenght out of the steel. They say they want to rebuild this empty hull but I fear that parts of the stone work has also suffered from the fire. I am not sure what kind of stone its made off as many of the records are not available or lost. I expect it to be a hard limestone, and they can contain some residues of oil from the strata they originated from.

        Limestone that is ravaged by fire takes on a pinkish red hue and looses its structure and original hard make up, fire renders it useless. I expect that the thin walls (hence the thick long buttresses) will have to be rebuild.
        It would have been wise to keep volatile liquids in an outside storage, but I expect the daily grind to get it up there would have been a factor against pre caution.
        A calamitous event as such can easily bring the public out behind Micron, it will help him to argue against the actions of the yellow vests, a peculiar twist of human nature and psychology.

        • N_

          @Nevermind – “A calamitous event as such can easily bring the public out behind Micron, it will help him to argue against the actions of the yellow vests, a peculiar twist of human nature and psychology.”

          You may be able to discourse about steel and stone and volatile liquids and oil strata and contractors, and all that boring irrelevant crap, but you haven’t shown any understanding of the psychology of this. See my posts above for a starting place, including the links to an account of recent attacks on churches in France and to what Emmanuel Macron has actually said. Start with “It’s our history and it’s burning” and his reference to its being “France’s destiny” to rebuild the Cathedral. What’s happening here is WAY beyond the level of Macron “arguing against” the Yellow Vests.

          Meanwhile the Guardian has published a piece entitled “Notre Dame is a warning to Europe: don’t take what you value for granted”. The strapline? “The sight of the cathedral in flames is a heartbreaking reminder to white Christian Europeans to care for what they have in common”.

          • Northern

            Can you actually explain what you mean here? You’ve made several posts seeming to suggest darkly that this is some sort of conspiracy, but for those of us not quick enough to keep up, can you spell it out?

            I’m not arguing in support of any particular position, it just irritates me when people post with this nudge, nudge, wink, wink style and expect readers to pick between the lines to decipher what they’re getting at. If you have information, share it with us.

          • Rowan Berkeley

            I think the secret of MaRxIsT is that s/he is not a Marxist but a Rexist or an Axist or a Marist or something equally on the extreme hard right.

    • Edward Andrews

      Most Churches and the like if insured are only actually insured for a fraction of their rebuilding costs- the premiums would be prohibitive

    • John A

      The Twin Towers were doubly insured and the insured sum significantly increased not long before 9/11.

  • David Lear

    REVISED COMMENT:
    They did not value what they had, indeed they took it for granted but along the way they milked it like an age old everlasting cow.
    The funny thing is that most people who visited it did in fact appreciate what it was (presumably why they visited) and therein lay the seeds for its destruction, not that the ladders were shorties but as you rightly point out the French government simply didn’t invest in its own treasure and instead trotted around the globe as did thieving Spain, the UK and more recently the U.S.investing in tools of destruction, manipulation and theft.

    But there is also the interesting matter of pre-destruction activity just as was the case with Londons Alxandria Palace, Cutty Sark and Windsors Castle and now Notre Dame – THE BUILDERS WERE IN!!

    • nevermind

      Don’t worry Frazer, this will be used for a massive global fund raising campaign by the Vatican, I have no doubt.

    • Charles Bostock

      Do you expect him to react within 24 hours? Have a little patience, my boy 🙂

      • N_

        Yes – the Pope has got a big speech on on Sunday. No prizes for guessing what he might mention.

        Any journalists reading this? If you want a laugh, go and get a quote from Arlene Foster. (Clue: her types will see the fire as an act of divine retribution against the European Union Harlot of Rome.)

        • Vivian O'Blivion

          Aw, come on now, Snarlene is Church of Ireland and half way to being a Papist to some. A more entertaining quote would be forthcoming from his Lordship, “Boxcar” Willie McRae.

          https://images.app.goo.gl/B6LiwG4UWpVStNG48

          Vote Leave EU mural on a Belfast, gable end makes reference to Rev 18:4.
          fyi, Rev 18:4. Come out of her my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues.

  • Alyson

    THE BUILDERS WERE IN. Indeed. The National Library of Wales lost priceless documents when the roof caught fire – when the builders were replacing the roof….. But Notre Dame we experienced not just through the senses of sound, touch, light and history, but also through literature and art. It is a complex grieving

    • Godfree Roberts

      Precisely! They should have had at least one fire inspector patrolling the site 24×7 until a month after the job was finished. That’s just commonsense.

  • George

    “Warfare is socialist”? Really? All the way back? The Roman Empire was “socialist”? Or are you saying that warfare had to be socialist because it involves groups of people? Are all formation of groups “socialist”? Well – the answer is obvious: we must abandon all society (which our beloved Mrs Thatcher said didn’t exists anyway) so we can all exists as detached individuals floating around in a vacuum.

  • Peter

    “If the many trillions spent all around the world on the research, development and production of instruments of destruction had been devoted to peaceful purposes instead, what new technologies might we have now?”

    Indeed.

    And what better state might our planet and our society be in?

    The Americans alone have spent over one trillion dollars on death and destruction just in Iraq.

    Why instead couldn’t they have just sat down with Saddam and said, ‘look, we’ve got all this money here, let’s work something out’?

    Is that so difficult?

    • pretzelattack

      they didn’t want to work anything out with saddam, he wasn’t a threat in the first place.

  • Andyoldlabour

    I have always maintained, that with advances in knowledge and technology, there should be no person in the entire world living in poverty.
    Yet, as Craig has correctly pointed out, the money which is spent on weapons, death and destruction is obscene.
    Youi don’t have to just look at France, it applies to other, far poorer countries – India and Pakistan, where there is shocking inequality and poverty, yet they have nuclear weapons and even in the case of India, a space programme.
    It does surprise me though, given the number of historical sites in France, that they do not have an equivalent of our National Trust, and whilst it has the reputation (fairly in my opinion) of being a very bureaucratic country, it doesn’t seem to have any coherent planning with regard to the restoration and maintenance of historical buildings.
    Could it be, that France under the leadership of Hollande, now Macron, is going back to a pre revolution situation, where the ruling elites are divorced from reality, aloof to the needs of ordinary people and their problems?
    If I was a cynic, I would suggest that this fire at Notre Dame could have been started deliberately as a way for Macroon to showboat, and try to bring the people together, instead of rioting as they have been doing for months.

    • michael norton

      Agree.
      France has fifty working reactors, they are also building a new one at Flammanville, just across the water from the U.K.
      Yet they have not the slightest notion what to do with the nuclear waste.
      In Fukushima, only this week are they initiating a programme, to remove the spent fuel.
      If one of the French reactors or a spent fuel pile goes up, you can kiss the economy of France BYE-BYE.

  • Jenny

    “As with all my twitter posts, right wing trolls came in to dispute my point very quickly. Their posts are worth reading because they so stunningly miss the point. They talk about standard lengths of firefighting ladders and about water pressure. They appear completely unable to even register, let alone extrapolate from, the notion that had the resources mankind has squandered on agents of destruction been better used, we might have different technologies.

    John Stuart Mill once stated in parliament: “I did not mean that Conservatives are generally stupid; I meant, that stupid persons are generally conservative. I believe that to be so obvious and undeniable a fact that I hardly think any hon. Gentleman will question it.” I have always believed that right wing “thought” is a misnomer, and right wing views are rather characterised by absence of meaningful intellectual activity. Furthermore, those touted as right wing “thinkers”, such as Roger Scruton, Patrick Minford or David Starkey, if studied with any rigour, are the greatest proof of this. But it is seldom that you see such clear evidence as the responses to that little tweet. If I had devised that tweet as an experiment to demonstrate the hypothesis of the intellectual incapacity of the conservative mind, it could not have worked better.”

    ahha, so you class those who disagree with you/ want to broaden any debate as woefull right wingers – not very fair – you point is clever but you are easily offended yes/no? You cannot have it both ways.

    • iain

      I would guess Craig’s adversaries are as likely to identify as centre left-liberals as right wing conservatives. The two groups share the same perspective on many issues – particularly foreign policy – and both despise people who question too much.

  • Julia Clarke

    Couldn’t agree more with you, nor put it better than you have here, Craig Murray. Perhaps, one day, mankind will get its priorities right before it’s too late.

  • John Macadam

    Craig, this is a very fair point. As it happens, Notre Dame was not my favourite Parisian church, that is Saint Chapelle the loss of which would have grieved me. However, a recent trip to Dresden convinces me that in time all the physical damage can be undone. But tell me this, after all the loss of life in Paris, Christchurch, Palmyra and elsewhere – why do we grieve over buildings more than over people?

    • glenn_nl

      “why do we grieve over buildings more than over people?

      Probably because people are easily replaceable, particularly when we’d never heard of them before.

  • Chris Palmer

    One the major problems (among others) with the political and cultural Left is their tendancy to dismiss their opponents as stupid. Craig wonderfully sums up this attitude in his post. The consequence is that the Left do not take criticism seriously, dismiss it, and, if allowed the opportunity, have ended up murdering their opponents. What Craig wrote is, I am sure, an honest reflection of his view. That it should be his view is disturbing.

    • Adrian Parsons

      “One the major problems (among others) with the political and cultural Left is their tendancy to dismiss their opponents as stupid.”

      You’re not wrong. But the “Left” you talk of is, in fact, nothing of the sort: it is a sneering, ill-educated caricature of what a Socialist (let alone Communist) movement would look like. In America, it seeks the revocation of the 2nd Amendment, the part of the Constitution that, uniquely in the world, confers the right of the US working class to bear arms. That doesn’t sound “radical” or “progressive” to me. More generally, this “Left” characterises anything and anyone that it disagrees with as potentially, if not actually, “neo-fascist”, “racist”, “xenophobic” and all the rest of it, in much the same way as a primary school pupil might stamp his/her feet in infantile rage that another will not do their bidding.

      I look forward, in what must be only a matter of time, to the release of “learned” papers “proving” how, for example, Aristotle, Kant and Hegel were “retarded”.

    • Vivian O'Blivion

      The political and cultural Left is overly prone to dismiss the Right as stupid, but stupid covers a broad spectrum of activity. Take major Trump donor Robert Mercer as an example. A multi billionaire lacking inherited wealth, he is undoubtedly a very clever individual in his technical field, but his adherence to an Ayn Rand, “Deil tak the hindmost” philosophy is STUPID.
      It is reported that Property developers in America are marketing fortified compounds in the mid-west to billionaires seeking to wait out the “coming great upheaval” (climate change, social revolution fuelled by growing wealth iniquity, poisoned ecosphere, whatever). The problem that has been identified is how do you pay / retain the obedience of the small army of security operatives manning the walls of your compound when society breaks down and money no longer has value?
      Mercer and his ilk are really smart at short term thinking but really dumb at the medium and long term stuff.

      • Stonky

        The problem that has been identified is how do you pay / retain the obedience of the small army of security operatives manning the walls of your compound when society breaks down and money no longer has value?

        The solution to the problem is kind of obvious Vivian. When you get to that point, having weapons and hardware and being inside the wall give you a chance of survival a hundred times better than the guy outside the wall with no weapons or hardware. That’s going to be worth a lot more than any amount of money.

        • Vivian O'Blivion

          So you’re in the compound and armed to the teeth. Why take the orders of Mr Billionaire in return for board and lodging? Why not shoot the fucker and do whatever you want?

  • andic

    Very early in my career as a young process engineer a wonderful old boy told me: “If it can happen, it will. And if it can’t happen – it still might!”

    Wooden buildings burn the only way to avoid this flaw is to redesign with different materials, of course you cannot change the nature of an historical landmark so layers of protection must be put in – prevention, detection, mitigation etc.
    These things are already possible with current technology: electrical safety, coatings, gas blanketing, sprinklers, bloke with a torch and a bucket of water, smoke detectors, … All of these things are pretty low tech and though I agree with Craig’s point that a lot of money is wasted on war and war tech this may be a poor example to use.
    But the (demonstrable) absence of any effective fire protection system is a fundamental failing of the responsible parties – and I can well believe that they neglected their fundamental duty whilst concentration on something sexier – just as national governments would rather bomb and burn their way around the middle east than ensure any kind of social justice at home.

  • Rolf Norfolk

    For anyone with a religious bent, the modern WMD development and manufacture industry is an enormous sin. For the rest, an existential threat to us all.

  • Joe

    I think you may be assuming a little too much that your twitter respondents were “conservative”.

      • Chris Palmer

        Blairites are not “conservative”. As Peter Hitchens has repeatedly highlighted, they are gramscian euro-communists. They have nothing in common with conservatives from Edmund Burke through to Roger Scruton. They are of the radical Left. You can’t just use the term “conservative” as some kind of abusive label.

        • giyane

          Chris Palmer

          Google quote: “Gramsci and hegemony The idea of a ‘third face of power’, or ‘ invisible power’ has its roots partly, in Marxist thinking about the pervasive power of ideology, values and beliefs in reproducing class relations and concealing contradictions (Heywood, 1994: 100).”

          In other words you are taking the negative aspect of communism ( or any other ideology for that matter ), the application of rigid dogma . And then taking the negative aspect of synthesising a continent containing a variety of cultures into one Franco-German culture. And from that you paint a kind of double-negative insult to the Left, which actually cares about people instead of money.

          Tory logic asked why we burnt millions of tonnes of animal offal instead of feeding it to sheep. Garbage in garbage out. Your cheap jibe ignores the utterly repellent , illogical, inhuman, all-encompassing dogma of Conservatism.

          Soory if Craig kicked one of your Idols, Patrick Foaming Minford. Please feel free to armchair swipe whatever you like, but don’t kick the cat just because it miaows to go through the door unnecessarily. The poor and disabled are not miaowing for no reason like the cat.

          • Doug Scorgie

            I think you are quoting Mandelson there. And yes he is stupid for using an oxymoron. How can one be “intensely relaxed”? Dead maybe.

  • Observer

    Good ‘lateral’ thought, Craig, but not lateral enough. Organised religions remain a key root for human conflict and military spending. Organised religions are man-made and illegitimate. You cannot organise the truth. In fact, think about it, organised religions are not merely benign, they are a danger to man, individually and collectively.

    Psychologically speaking, most of humanity lives as members of a Flat Earth Society. We also spend billions of dollars in exploring space without realising we are out there, in Space. Our connection to, and place in, the Universe, maybe even Multiverse, is another matter, beyond lateral and has nothing to do with the fables of organised religions.

  • Tatyana

    I agree with you, Mr. Murray. I was thinking the same yesterday when the news came.
    Russian agency mentioned that Heritage Fund of France starts national campaine to gather money from people to repair Notre Dame. I think it’s “испанский стыд” as we say in Russia, meaning “feeling ashamed for someone’s action”.

    • Geoffrey

      Tatyana , I have also been watching it on Russian TV, Though I only understand a little. I am visiting the country and am having a fascinating trip.

      • Tatyana

        Wow, I’m excited to know about your journey, Geoffrey 🙂 would you share your impressions somewhere, maybe some social media? If so, please let me know, I’m interested.

        • Geoffrey

          I am not much of a writer I am afraid Tatyana. I have been here about 10 days.. Kazan then Volgagrad (awesome and had one of the best restaurants ever) Pyatigorsk, Rostov and about to go to Moscow. I have been here before and love it.
          I understand off topic.

          • Tatyana

            🙂 you are passing by Krasnodar, my city on your way from Pyatigorsk to Rostov (Rostov-on-Don, I think), it is “M4 Don” road.
            So, I imagine you are somewhere close to me 🙂
            I wish you a lot of good emotions in your journey!

        • John2o2o

          [ MOD: Caught in spam-filter ]

          Tatyana, I wondered if you were Russian. I am trying to learn the language … ето очень трудно за (или дла?) мне, Англичанин. ну, Я не знаю. Панимает?

          • Tatyana

            Yes, I’m russian, John 2o2o 🙂
            Да, я поняла, вам трудно учить руский язык, потому то вы англичанин.
            Our languages use different means of expression. We have a lot of flexions, which are clearly indicating grammar, e.g. future or past, male or female, etc.
            Yours is using roots of words with rare endings, sheer roots stringed into a clause! Mind you, many words are verbs and nouns at the same time 🙂 This was the hardest thing for me while studying roman-german languages.

        • Geoffrey

          Many thanks, Tatiana I am having a great journey. I have been on the train so no detours. My fellow passengers in my compartment mentioned “Salisbury” in a jokey way several times, but unfortunately we were unable to have much of a conversation. I will have to improve my Russian and next time I will visit Krasnovar !

  • Vivian O'Blivion

    There is no need to develop a technological capability to prevent the destruction of historic buildings, the technical knowledge has been in implementation for decades. The observation that these events occur when the builders are in (Windsor castle, Glasgow School of Art (2nd time), et al) is valid. The builders provide the Ignition source to the Fire triangle.
    In the last decades of the UK, deep coal mining industry, we had the safest deep pits in the world due to physical technology and the development of Hot work protocols. Power tools were prohibited / very closely controlled to remove ignition sources. Mechanical fitters would be dispatched to cut a H beam to size with a hack saw and a supply of spare blades. Cutting the beam would take hours of manual labour but it was (comparatively) safe.
    There is of course a cost to implementing Hot work protocols during the restoration of historic buildings, but if the building is unique and of sufficiently high cultural value then the costs can be absorbed.
    Significantly greater risk scenarios are managed in the Petrochemical sector by application of Hot work protocols.

    • Chris Palmer

      Well, it’s true that suitable technologies already exist to prevent buildings from burning. However, Craig is much like many other Leftists in believing that more money spent on a cause automatically leads to an improvement. However, it doesn’t really matter how much you spend on doing the wrong thing, it will ultimately be the wrong thing and not work or be effective. Take a look at Richard North and Christopher Booker’s analysis of the Grenfell Tower disaster. They highlight that EU regulatory standards which were driven by an obsession with man-made global warming, led directly to so many deaths.

      • Vivian O'Blivion

        I would advise you to remove the word “directly” from your final sentence. The severity of the Grenfell Tower fire can be attributed to a specific type of insulating material being applied. That is to say other, fire safe insulation material could have been used. The “evil EU empire” required an increased standard of thermal insulation be applied to buildings, it did not specify the type of insulation. The material applied at Grenfell passed UK fire safety tests because the tests do not reflect real word application. Many years ago I was working on a development job involving the material under discussion. In my presence, an engineer was tack welding next to a pile of said material and it went up like the fucking Hindenburg.

        • Dave Lawton

          Vivian O’Blivion
          April 16, 2019 at 11:48

          .Now the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire and if people really bother to investigate you will find that it was a top EU Bilderberger Klaus Kleinfeld who was CEO of Arconic and knew that the cladding was inflammable but went on to sell it.He is now being sued by shareholders because of loss of profits because of the fire.It seems he has now buggered off to Saudi Arabia.He has now given himself the title of Dr Klaus Kleinfeld and is advising on how to enhance the economic, technological and financial development of Saudi Arabia..

      • N_

        You seem to “think” in a world of surface and prejudice, @Chris.

        No, Tony Blair is not a communist, and no, Craig Murray does not believe that more money spent on a cause automatically leads to an improvement.

        All this “analysis”, you read, eh? I guessed you were a Brexiter maniac when you spelled “euro-communist” with a lower-case “e” above. I bet you do a really good if somewhat embarrassing party turn defining what “communism” is too. Something to do with damaging the heroic, right and proper institution of rich b*stards inheriting wealth, innit?

        • Chris Palmer

          I’ve written three comments on this thread, but you see fit to suggest I live think (in inverted commas too) in a world of surface and prejudice. What you mean is you don’t agree with me.

          Also, thanks for proving my point, yet again, that parts of the Left simply dismiss their opponents as stupid.

      • J

        You haven’t understood what Craig is musing about, that’s clear enough. But ‘gramscian euro-communists’ and ‘throwing money at’ reveals you don’t appear to understand your own musings.

        • Chris Palmer

          Gramscian euro-communists is Peter Hitchens’ label, though I happen to agree with him. I never wrote “throwing money at’. Perhaps it’s you who hasn’t understood what they were reading..?

          • J

            Sorry about that and thanks for the correction. I appear to have put words in your mouth (conflating another response with yours.)

            I understood that you quoted Hitchens. You said so in your post. I was refering to my sense that you agreed with it, which you’ve confirmed.

  • Ross

    Macron and his team are wasting no time in using Notre-Dame to whip up mawkish patriotic sentiment. If they could find a way to pin the blame on a yellow vest protester, then he’s be one step closer to becoming president Snow.

      • N_

        I can think of a third blame target which isn’t either the Yellow Vests or Russia, and this is what all the pronunciations on “our history” and “France’s destiny” and “we must rebuild” are playing to.

  • Jones

    and now millions will probably be spent on restoring the building, and as it is a state symbol i’m guessing it will be restored quicker than the housing here in the UK found to be covered in flammable material after the Grenfell fire.

  • Charles Bostock

    I think the politicisation of the fire, which is so evident from many of the posts in this very small corner of the media world, illustrates rather well why left wing parties are not doing too well world-wide. The fact is that left wingers – and especially far left-wingers – obsessively politicise everything (one of the effects of which is to breed conspiracy thinking). And when they do so, they just piss sensible, normal people off. You see, when you get twits immediately claiming that the fire will help Macron do this or that, or will be used by the Front national for this purpose or that, most normal people, who possess a large degree of plain common sense, just switch off. The left – and especially the far left – is its own worse enemy.

    • joel

      I see no comments politicizing it other than N’s and he/she is a Russiagater / corporate Democrat supporter. Hardly somebody upon whom to base sweeping generalizations about ‘the left’.

      • N_

        “Russiagater / corporate Democrat supporter”? It can be strange sometimes to encounter how one is perceived by others. Little has been further from my mind when thinking and writing about the psychopolitics of the Notre Dame fire than recent or ongoing political or political-legal conflicts in that new country across the Atlantic.

        Is there much difference between the Republican and Democratic leaderships where US foreign policy is concerned, towards France or any other country? They seem to have cooperated cordially in the CIA’s National Endowment for Democracy for nearly 40 years.

        More background:

        * church attendance in France will be sky high this Sunday, national feeling in the churches will be strong, and those whose outlook combines the Christian and the racist-nationalistic-political will be walking 10 feet high (“our civilisation”);

        * in the Christian religion, Sunday is all about reappearance, salvation;

        * the EU election in France will be held on 26 May, and campaigning has begun;

        * last time, in 2014, Emmanuel Macron’s “president’s party” En Marche, which gained an absolute majority in the national parliament in the first election it which it stood, shortly after its hero won the presidency, didn’t exist, and the party that won the most votes was the National Front, which will be campaigning on a white Christian Europe platform in all but name and may find that its traction with that ideology is firmer than Macron’s, but we shall soon find out

        • Laguerre

          Another one bigging up Le Pen’s former Front National. All those who insist on doing so are evidently looking forward to the success of the far right (but of course, the right says, there’s no fascism in Britain. ha bloody ha). Le Pen is doing very middlingly in fact, and far from positioned to sweep the boards.

    • giyane

      Charles Bostock

      A whole generation of us. not me, swallowed the Tory lies about the Market which crashed completely in 2007, exposing its inherent lies, corruption and nonsense. indeed a whole generation of nominal Muslims have recently adopted the nihilist doctrine of self-destruction but we’re allowed to talk about that.

      In your bonkers mind, the revers is the case. Those who speak the truth, that Thatcherism exploded like a space rocket, are somehow in your mind conspiracy theorists, while those who like you decided to borrow trillions of dollars pounds etc to re-fill the black hole of Thatcher,, I mean Corrupt Capitalist , debt, are the true, sane, enlightened believers in everlasting and unmutable truth.

      If all farmyard animals were banned tomorrow , and we all had to eat vegetables, still the Tories would manufacture more methane from their stupid ideas than the all animal kingdom and human kingdom digestive processes.

    • J

      If you’d read Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine you’d have some idea of the deep politicisation at the heart of the neo-liberal project. ‘Sensible, normal people’ are the grease in the gears.

      • glenn_nl

        Wikikettle : That was immediately blamed on the communists, and provided an excuse for a crackdown. France is not blaming anybody, let alone some country. Bit of a difference.

  • giyane

    Craig, I agree with what you say with every fibre of my being, I sometimes ask myself a rhetorical question whether in paradise we will be just sitting around and doing nothing. My whole being is dedicated to creativity of one sort or another and I do not believe anybody can make anything that actually works without shaping the whole of their intellectual process with truth.

    I suppose the logic of this is that those who set their faces against truth, are therefore intrinsically jealous of the beautiful creations that emanate from seeking after truth, whether they be medieval cathedrals, weapons, or anything else. personally, I will never start working on a project until I have back-of-envelope, or mentally seen it through to the end down to the las screw or bolt. That doesn’t mean it always turns out exactly to plan.

    But again I suppose the logic of those who for example decide to leave the EU, and who three years later stubbornly ignore the impossibility of making an international goods and people border in the middle of Ireland, must be that they are right…. whatever the appalling consequences of their opinions.
    This is the epitome of Tory stupidity. OK one could forgive them if they got half way through the project and conceded that their idea was flawed.

    But to get two and a half years into Brexit and fail to concede that their plan won’t work, and not be prepared to tell their millions of followers who do not normally follow politics that they were wrong , and their idea won’t work, definitely deserves a special place in hell. One million thanks to the author of that outstanding political comment .

    BTW that means political metaphor for all who lack irony and who are unable to encompass the intellect of the heart that communicates through visual and imaginative illustration and through association by metaphor
    Tories. I don’t think they had invented anything so awful as a Tory in the time of Jesus pbuh. But if they had, I’m positive he would have wept.

  • N_

    I didn’t previously know that the (a?) Crown of Thorns was kept at Notre Dame, but this sheds new light on former president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov of Kalmykia, who not only claims to have been contacted by aliens but who claims to have a received a “sign” of great importance in Notre Dame and who entitled his autobiography “The President’s Crown of Thorns”.

    • Ort

      Although I know that great cathedrals commonly harbor ostensibly sacred relics to attract the faithful and curious, and boost the cathedral’s spiritual bona fides, I wasn’t aware that Notre Dame possessed a “Crown of Thorns”.

      If this artifact is indeed lost, perhaps some enterprising cleric or devotee managed to capture and preserve some of the flames before they were all extinguished; they can be presented as a miraculous sample of the actual Fires of Hell.

  • Martinned

    Indeed. All they had to do is send in some firefighting planes. Any idiot could see that. But they had to go and waste that money on nukes instead…

  • remember kronstadt

    I had an unexpected sense of nausea when, princes of the church no doubt, appear to be outbidding each other with donations of millions of euros for repairs. This reaction may be a remnant of my CofE upbringing but wouldn’t one wait until the faithful had chipped in and then topped up the shortfall – thereby giving ownership to the church (ie the people of faith)?

    • Martinned

      Indeed…

      1 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
      2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
      3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:
      4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

      OTOH, setting an example might help to persuade more people to chip in…

      • remember kronstadt

        OTOH, people with few resources may feel their small contribution would be insignificant…so don’t donate?

      • giyane

        Martinned

        If more people digested the Gospel and acted on it, instead of vicariously lighting candles to fake saints, the world would be a better, and safer , place.

        • John A

          Yes, Giyane, how many fake Mueller candles (literally) were lit over the past couple of years?

  • MJ

    It could have been a lot, lot worse. It was only the relatively recent wooden roof that was destroyed. The original mediaeval superstructure remains intact. Built to survive any eventuality. That’s why these cathedrals last so well. Modern architects call it “excessive redundancy” but I call it common sense. No modern building with the correct amount of redundancy built in would have survived.

  • Martinned

    But seriously, there is substantial evidence that war – in addition to climate – is what allowed Europe to dominate the rest of the world and to become more prosperous than any other continent. In Europe, unlike for example China, there was never a central authority that could prevent the adoption of innovations. Anything that one of the states of Europe invented, be it gunpowder or better ships or democracy (= higher taxing power = stronger armies) had to be adopted by the others sooner or later.

    (Note that this advantage, too, is ultimately rooted in geography. The reason why Europe never had one emperor to rule them all is that Europe has lots of islands, peninsulas, inconveniently located mountain ranges, etc.)

    • remember kronstadt

      The Chinese undertook what I believe was the greatest war (fatalities) in history(relative per capita). Civil too!
      Did the Chinese practice usury?

      • Martinned

        They did, but then they didn’t develop it into anything very useful (either on the battlefield or in, say, mining) until well after the Europeans did.

        • Blue

          I guess they thought silk and paper were more useful and valuable to their civilization

          • Martinned

            I’m sure they did, but that doesn’t have very much to do with the example of gunpowder, which you raised.

            (And printing on paper is, of course, another example of something that never really caught on in China while the European rulers struggled to stop it.)

        • J

          Another way of looking at it:

          The Chinese invented gunpowder and their culture used it to make beautiful, colourful, exhilarating patterns in the night sky. Europeans discover China and invent ways to accelerate pieces of metal fast enough to shred skin and bone.

          Usefulness is a subjective judgement.

1 2 3 4 5

Comments are closed.