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.

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413 thoughts on “Notre Dame and Lateral Thinking

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  • Athanasius

    Perhaps, Craig, you found in the responses to your tweet what you expected to find. That happens a lot on the left. Those of us on the right start from the assumption that man is a fallen creature and proceed on the basis of minimizing the potential damage. On the left, they assume the perfectability of man, and they’ll build that mountain of skulls however high they need to in order to get him to the earthly utopia. Thanks, but I think I prefer right wing stupidity.

    • Bill Thomson

      There was me thinking, the left assumed the irrelevancy of man and the malleability of men. Pretty much the same outcome though.

    • J

      Remarkably, there are fewer assumptions in the OT than in your response to it. It would take all day to work through them, but even before we arrive at the subject, the first and most obvious set of assumptions is that your description of ‘right’ is shared among your peers.

      • giyane


        blessings yummee thanks.
        You are not factoring into your statement “perfection, but nobody’s ever achieved it and no one ever will” the infinite mercy of God. I think one might have more chance of winning it , if one strived for it, rather than ignoring the consequences of one’s actions like the jihadists, and saying that people dying is irrelevant, they’re going to die one day anyway.

        We might be able to get away with pretending dumb with people. oh I didn’t know Brexit would lead to civil war in Ireland for example, But with God who is omniscient , the Tory deliberate destruction of the Good Friday Agreement might not wash. It didn’t wash with Donald Tusk.
        It might not wash with the electorate if we get a second referendum. That re-lighting of the war in Ireland might in turn ignite a civil war between remainers and leavers in England.
        Don’t know was made to know. The hard way is always best to avoid IMHO

  • SA

    Even in this blog post I fear the point has been diluted and lost, some arguing about stones, wood and inflammable material, crown of thorns, Macron, yellow vests, the pope, Gramsci Eurocommunists and so on. It is like asking a group of blind people to describe what an elephant is.
    The point of Craig’s post as I understand is merely to use this a symbol of man’s folly in finding endless sums of money for progressing instruments of death and destruction even of our biosphere, than in progress that benefits the whole of mankind. The fact that the fire has been used as an example is neither here nor there, it is the underlying principle that matters.

    • Athanasius

      We don’t know what progress will benefit the whole of mankind. A number of people throughout history have, intermittently, believed that THEY knew. How’d that work out?

    • Sarge

      I think the larger point of his post is the intellectual incapacity of the conservative mind, exemplified in the responses to that particular tweet.

  • Misbah

    Good post Craig. The French Government will have to be very careful about how they go about announcing financing for the restoration for Notre Dame as this would really add insult to injury to the yellow vests current complaints.

    Hopefully they will be stupid enough to announce a flat tax. Should bring the current Government down.

    • John2o2o

      Rather a broad generalisation Squeeth. Notre Dame Cathedral is one of the most important and famous building in the world. It’s near destruction is a terrible tragedy for France.

      And you may be indifferent to people being burned, but the vast majority of people are not and to insinuate that they are is offensive.

      I understand you were trying to be clever here. Respectfully, I suggest you try again.

      • Charles Bostock

        ^^^ Seconded. But Squeeth has a certain point. € 800 million already raised for the rebuilding (can that really be right) when famine appeals and suchlike fail to raise one tenth of that sum.

  • Sharp Ears

    Billionaires and millionaires are piling in with their donations. For instance Arnault/LVMH is giving 100m euros. Pinault similarly owns a ‘luxury’ fashion group.

    French billionaires donate hundreds of millions to rebuild Notre-Dame
    François-Henri Pinault and Bernard Arnault will donate €300m between them to reconstruct the cathedral following the blaze.

    Any arms manufacturers amongst them?

    • Ross

      The optics of France’s plutocratic elite throwing money at the restoration fund are terrible. I mean, you have people who have undoubtedly fiddled the state out of many billion in taxes, now being lauded for giving a small percentage back to restore a symbol of power and wealth.

    • N_

      Oréal is among the donors. They have a background supporting the monarchist fascist terrorist organisation “The Cagoule”.

      It has been announced that most donations will be tax free. In other words when billionaires front up some cash for the resurrection of White Christian France restoration of Notre Dame, the state will put up lots of money too.

      Where will it get the money from? Will it cut welfare? That is going to go down great in the banlieues!

      If the left can’t make these points, it will get whacked in the EU elections in France next month.

      • Charles Bostock

        The Cagoule was in the 1930s. That’s about 80 years ago. Oréal supported the Cagoule at the same time as that egregious Marxist Joseph Stalin was liquidating millions of his fellow citizens.

          • Charles Bostock

            You merit the following answer. When the late, great Robert Conquest wrote the second edition of his masterpiece on the Great Purge (in the light of Soviet archives opened after the fall of the Evil Empire), his friend the late, great Sir Kingsley Amis suggested he should re-title it as “I told you so, you fucking fools”. I hope you understand.

            (BTW, I include the Ukrainian victims of the Holodomor in those millions).

          • pete

            Re Stalin liquidations: Good point, what about the evidence, Grover Furr looks at Timothy Snyder’s Bloodlands and argues that every acusation against Stalin was false:
            I guess, without concrete evidence, it’s what version of history you prefer to believe, an ideological choice rather than a factual one.

          • N_

            What on earth has Stalin got to do with this? The “side” that manifested in France as the Cagoule and other factions in the 1930s has manifested in other forms since.

            There’s the interesting question of what figure we might get for deaths from famine in the United States during the 1930s if we apply the same counting methodology as many apply to the holodomor in the Ukraine.

          • John A

            The so-called Holomodor was pure western propaganda against Stalin. Yes there was a famine due to crop failure, but it was not some sort of deliberate plot to kill millions. There had been several famines over the previous decades, due to weather-related crop failures. Due to the measures implemented by Stalin, the so-called Holomodor was actually the last great famine of that era. The western yellow press made up the story that it was a deliberate political famine.

            But as Pete says, if you want to believe propaganda, then nobody is stopping you.

          • Charles Bostock

            This mini-exchange reveals very clearly that there are still people around who deny, in the face of all the evidence, both the Stalinist terror and the Ukrainian Holomodor terror. It is truly astonishing. I see people like that as flies trapped in amber, relics of a horrible past, similar to unrepentant Nazis.

          • Tony

            Stalin certainly did kill a lot of people. Soviet archives make that clear.
            The real figures are shocking but not necessarily too out of line with western atrocities. I think it unlikely that the famine in the Ukraine was a deliberate attempt to starve people to death.
            It is difficult to see a motive for that. You cannot exploit people who are dead.
            More likely that it was the result of dogma—the grain must exist. It is being hidden.

            Similar dogma is in evidence with regard to the German invasion of 1941. The invasion was expected but it was definitely going to be in 1942. The possibility of it occurring earlier does not seem to have been seriously considered.

            It would now appear that Stalin was more of a collective leader than we previously thought:


  • giyane

    So why, in your opinion, did the prophet Jesus pbuh command his followers to be ” perfect ” if God had not provide the wherewithal to strive for that. in the end Christianity has been changed from what Jesus pbuh him to an intellectual dumbness involving just sticking Godstoppers one after the other into one’s metaphorical mouth.
    Your choice, but maybe the Cathedral of Notre Dame might one day be redundant except as a museum, and people actually build a beautiful mosque for worship. Tory ideas are the logical end product of the sum total of ignoring the ideas of the Christian gospels. Mrs Thatcher actually said from a pulpit that being personally responsible on the day of judgement, meant you should buy your own house. Is that rain. if so , why is it salty?

    Mods getting stroppy again. But not as stroppy as someone who left the ” Church “. Is the topic not the destruction of a church? At least if it’s salty it won’t snow.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ giyane April 16, 2019 at 13:33
      He also asked: ‘Why do you call me good? Only God is good’. Like the Koran, the New Testament is sometimes contradictory (to say nothing of the Torah and Talmud!

  • Harry Law

    Trump rang Jimmy Carter and asked why China is ahead of the US in many things ……
    Carter pointed out that while China was building thousands of miles of high-speed rail, the US “wasted, I think, $3 trillion” on defence spending. “It’s more than you can imagine. China has not wasted a single penny on war, and that’s why they’re ahead of us. In almost every conceivable way,” the former president stressed.

    “If you take $3 trillion and put it in American infrastructure, you’d probably have $2 trillion left over. We’d have high-speed railroad. We’d have bridges that aren’t collapsing. We’d have roads that are maintained properly. Our education system would be as good as that of, say, South Korea or Hong Kong,” Carter estimated.
    The Royal Liverpool University Hospital Built in 1978 costing over £400 million is due to be replaced soon, that has water sprinkling systems in place, for a building with such a short life 40 years [building defects etc] it beggars belief that such an historic building like Notre dame should have nothing.

  • Bill Thomson

    War is very under rated. War has got civilization to where it is today. When the money supply exceeds requirements through too much printing, war destroys pseudo wealth stores by unproductive consumption and wanton destruction. The only alternative would be to go around smashing windows or destroying works of art. You could set fire to your house instead of moving.
    If we run out of space for our peasants, invade Russia, et voila 3 million fewer peasants. Beats sacrificing your offspring and goats.
    Not enough opium, no problem, need more tantalum, lithium, gold, diamonds, bananas or oil, no problem. Start a proxy war and install a kleptocracy.
    Too much pork? Try economic war, dump subsidised pork into Eastern Europe, bankrupt their farmers and ship them west to collect benefits, pork problem solved.
    A moderate consumption utopia just wouldn’t be cricket. In any event Utopia would need defending more than most places so over production, over consumption and war it has to be.

  • mark golding

    Intuitive reasoning requires a certain type of meditation or thought that is devoid in the minds of neo-con sub-humans and others; those with enormous egos lacking spirit and empathy. I mean the type of mind that religiously supports the terrorist state of Israel that has always attempted control by murder, theft, lies and deceit as exposed by assassinations, theft of nuclear bomb technology, passports, disorder and chaos. Israel controls America, subverts thought by intimidation and undermines Russian influence, particularly in Syria. Yet many of these ‘zombies’ or exanimate self servers constantly condemn Russia despite enormous sacrifices made to defeat Nazism and more recently support in Syria to crush CIA thugs.

    Yet as Craig tirelessly drives to galvanize repugnance and movement, the majority moderate as armchair warriors assuming some magic bullet will realize settlement and peace. Not a chance.

      • mark golding

        War is not funded by taxes. The Iraq war cost £trillions. Bandar Bush knew the fed would print money to cover the cost. Politicians maintain the fiat money system for the bankers, the elite, thus they are apathetic towards war and devise fake systems such as ‘austerity’ to induce credence for the Establishment. Balderdash! Hogwash! are words that describe this political ambience.

        Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency, a form of electronic cash. It is a decentralized digital currency without a central bank or single administrator that can be sent from user to user on the peer-to-peer bitcoin network without the need for intermediaries.

        So download a bitcoin wallet, Send small amounts to each other. Let the banksters know we rule not the elite. Do it now.

    • N_

      If Trump stuck his finger in his cheeseburger rather than using it to send tweets from his smartphone, this kind of moronic statement by wouldn’t get out. Perhaps the sh*tclown could say stuff inside next time? That’s if he knows the difference between saying something inside and saying it to other people. Is there a difference for somebody like him? He’s wasted French officials’ time by causing them to have to reply to him.

      • Charles Bostock

        I suspect that the French officials who replied weren’t the same public services who were actually putting out the fire, so you should calm down.

          • Charles Bostock

            Good point, but what makes you think they had to reply? After all, one doesn’t have to reply to every silliness, does one (God knows that I don’t, on here 🙂 )

      • John2o2o

        To a layperson it sounded like a good idea. I sometimes think that there is after all brain inside that skull of his.

        • N_

          @John2o2o – Sure it sounds like quite a good idea, but if there were a proper brain inside Trump’s skull, first he wouldn’t post in public whatever comes into his head, and second he would realise that French firefighters may not be completely ignorant in the field of firefighting. Most of what Trump knows about big buildings is how to do “deals” allowing his name to be put up on them, and even in that area he’s such a rubbish commander that the layout of the lettering gets to be wrong.

  • N_

    A piece in the Guardian’s CIF by Giles Fraser: “Resurrection is inescapable in Holy Week. Notre Dame will rise again. The destruction of a church building can reanimate the people who love it to think again in terms of death and rebirth.”

    A case of Make White Christian Europe Great Again?

    • Laguerre

      Notre Dame is more a symbol of France, than of Christianity. The Christ-wallahs evidently want to make it out as a religious symbol, but it is more national. The Catholic church is very weak now, with very few priests to “man” (sic) the churches.

      • Herbie

        “Notre Dame is more a symbol of France, than of Christianity. The Christ-wallahs evidently want to make it out as a religious symbol, but it is more national.”

        It’s obviously a building to God, not to a Republic.

        It’s kinda written all over it.

        Anyway, don’t you lot have your pyramids, cubes and squares to be getting on with.

    • Sharp Ears

      I have no time for Fraser. He will not support the BDS campaign but does support Zionist Israel.

      ‘But, as I explained in Ramallah, I am also a committed Zionist, and I believe that the state of Israel – as founded in 1948 – has a right to exist and, if a right to exist, then also a right to protect itself. As far as I am concerned Israel can have walls a hundred feet high so long as they strictly pass along the border of their country and not, as they do now, cut though the territory of others. It’s simple: I am a 1948 Zionist. And this is entirely consistent with a preparedness to campaign against an Israeli occupying presence on land taken during the Six Day War in 1967.’

      He refers to meeting Omar Barghouti in Ramallah in the piece. He should know that Barghouti was prevented from leaving Israel by plane the other day to go to America on a speaking tour. He has all the necessary visas and paperwork.

      • Charles Bostock

        The majority of normal people don’t support BDS, so Fraser’s not alone.

        As for Barghouti, so what – and so what if he had all his papers? The US, as every other country, is entitled to admit or to refuse to admit aliens.

  • Gary

    I couldn’t agree more, if half as much was spent on preserving life as was in ending it then we would all be living well into our eighties.

    But the OTHER point missed when Notre Dame’s fire is reported is that we have an opportunity NOW to do something productive. Notre Dame was built with donations from those who wanted to ‘buy their way in’ to heaven. But ultimately Notre Dame is just a building, yes a historic building, but JUST a building nevertheless.

    Maybe the church could consider building something modern and cheap with the rest of the money being funnelled into helping those in poverty? I realise that the church has much ‘legacy’ property but as Christians espouse their ideology of helping others maybe THIS is the time to prove it. Personally I would rather donate to charities helping children in poverty than to rebuild an expensive building that’s nice to look at, no matter HOW NICE it is to look at…

    • John2o2o

      I’m not sure it’s entirely in the hands of the church now. The French government might want 12 million visitors to come again to it’s iconic centrepiece. After all they bring money into the French economy … which can be put to uses other than building WMDs.

      • jake

        How many visitors has it had over the last 800 years? How much money has been fleeced from them in that time, rich and poor alike?

  • Tony

    “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?”

    Oh dear!
    I do not think that the moral bankrupts at the GMB union would approve of such talk.

  • Laguerre

    It’s very difficult fire-proofing ancient buildings. I’m not sure reinvesting from useless nuclear weapons in new technology is the point. What are you going to do – throw out the 14th century wooden beams of the roof because they’re a fire hazard? It’s possible that they were employing cheap companies for the work, we’ll have to see, but world class restorers of medieval cathedrals do exist in France. To the extent, the French are frequently contracted to work on English cathedrals. My friend used to work for their guild association, so I heard about it.

    In any case, the whole point of nuclear weapons in the old days was always that they were much cheaper than massive conventional forces. The problem is war, not the weapons, but I don’t see our rulers ready to drop their faked grievances and to stop resorting to war every couple of minutes. The US and UK going to war on what amounts to a whim is far too common. It’s particularly bizarre that Craig has taken against an institution that has worked well for the suppression of war in Europe, that is, the European Union. The freedom and openness without boundaries is a wonderful thing, and Craig is against the institution which created it. Just because it followed its long-held and well-defined policy to support its member states. I have no hesitation in criticising Craig on this issue.

    • Jay

      With so much wood, you’d have thought a sprinkler system would have been installed as a matter of course. Or a national priority, if it really does have the overwhelming significance now being imputed to it.

      • Mary Pau!

        Most of the National Trust buildings in the UK do not have sprinkler systems. And when Clandon Park in Surrey burned down recently, it emerged afterwards the Fire Brigade ran out of water part way through fighting the fire.

        • Jay

          St Patrick’s in NY and the National Cathedral in DC have comprehensive sprinkler systems despite being made of stone. Notre Dame was in large part made of wood and is supposedly the heart and soul of France (even W Europe according to some of the hysteria.) Certainly more significance being assigned to it than I have heard given to Clandon Park in Surrey.

          • Mary Pau!

            I was pointing out that many old buildings here as well as in France, do not have sprinkler systems due to the difficulty and disruption of installing them. I gather this was the case in Notre Dame. Where a building is made primarily from wood, it burns very fast and there can also be problems even today, and I gave Clandon Park as an example in the UK. of getting sufficient water to the site in a timely manner.

    • N_

      the whole point of nuclear weapons in the old days was always that they were much cheaper than massive conventional forces

      The point of strategic nuclear weapons is to obliterate entire cities (a crime against humanity), to an extent that for centuries has not been among any state’s aims using conventional weapons.

  • Ian Tisdale

    I didn’t see your Tweet, Craig, but this was my response after being astounded by the sight of the pitiful resource of Paris’s poor firefighters …all 500 of them, and no adequate equipment or plan: “Plainly, there’ll inevitably be a tsunami of people being wise after the event, with a wide spectrum of knowledge and experience from expertise to none, but I’m already struck by how often, after these architectural treasures suffer total loss or major damage, I’m left wondering why there seems to have been a staggering absence of risk assessment and precaution. Something built more than eight centuries ago needs and deserves the best systems available, and any fire service all the equipment that might be needed to deal with whatever is the most challenging potential scenario in its territory. It was heartbreaking to see, what, just three high-level jets fruitlessly misting the top of the blaze? None of their water will have got anywhere near the fire base before being boiled off, and the monitors were much to far away to deliver a concentrated targeted stream. Wonderful news that the three best rose windows and most of the masonry has somehow survived, even though the stone had been declared unstable years ago, but will any lessons be learned? Glasgow Art School was totally destroyed just as its reinstatement was being completed after the first fire, and Hampton Court suffered huge damage as a result of a senile grace & favour resident being allowed to use candles unsupervised. Windsor Castle burned due to a contractor’s floodlight being close to fabrics …it often seems to me that the greater the cultural value the more unprofessional the risk management…”

    …and subsequently added: “Possibly York Minster’s another disaster that supports my point …caused by a lightning strike, so how comprehensive was the provision of conductors? I always notice in Germany the far greater presence of lightning conductors on most buildings …just look out of the window when next in a German hotel. Picking up on Martin’s point, though… In fairness, I believe the French approach to the nation’s architectural heritage is to fund it independently of the religious orders? They are everyone’s treasures and I believe central government supports their maintenance …and although I share what I judge to be Martin’s religious scepticism, why should the ‘faithful’ be burdened with trying to keep built history maintained when you can organise religious celebration in a Portakabin?”

    Keep up the good work, btw!

    • Laguerre

      “the pitiful resource of Paris’s poor firefighters …all 500 of them”

      just one click: Brigade de sapeurs-pompiers de Paris. Effectif : 8 700.

      If that’s the standard of your knowledge, we might question some of your other claims. Fire brigades just don’t have equipment for tackling a fire at height from the outside, as we found at Grenfell, and Notre Dame is very high. Ancient cathedrals are a very difficult subject to defend, as you can’t just renew the fabric.

      “None of their water will have got anywhere near the fire base before being boiled off,”
      Actually they were quite near the fire base, as it turns out the stone vaulted ceiling of the nave didn’t fall in for the most part, so the fire was mostly above the ceiling and below the roof. (I was wrong about that, I initially thought the fire went down into the nave, but it didn’t). I have no doubt the survival of the vaulted ceiling, although holed, was the factor which made the fire a less than complete disaster.

      • Charles Bostock

        And let’s not forget that firefighters fall under the competence of the Mayor of Paris. The current Mayor of Paris is a Socialist.

        • Sharp Ears

          Siuch an illogical temark. What breed is the Mayor’s dog?

          Btw the current Mayor of London is a socialist. Is that why Grenfell caught fire?

          • Charles Bostock

            She has a cat, not a dog. I shall try to find out what breed (if any) report back.

            Meanwhile, what breed (if any) is your dog, SE ?

          • Sharp Ears

            Not like me to follow you with typos is it?

            No dog. My dear Lily was put to sleep six weeks ago, aged 14. She had been a loyal friend and especially through my thyroid cancer surgery and treatment 2014/5 which you probably recall.

          • glenn_nl

            Sorry to hear about your dog, SE. Sounds like it lived a fairly long life, though, and I’m pretty sure you were a great owner to her.

          • Charles Bostock

            I am sorry to hear about your dog as well. It is hard to lose a loved pet. Are you going to get another one?

          • Jo1

            Rightly so Crispa. There was a report earlier that the whole place was within 15/30 minutes of being lost. Firemen apparently formed a line inside and shot jets upwards to form a wall of water to protect the belltowers.

  • Humbaba

    Accidents do happen. To relate the fire at Notre Dame with the cost of the force de frappe is odd to say the least. I’m all in favor of disarmament, but the French determination of independence is the only thing that can defend Europe from US imperialism.

    • John2o2o

      Accidents do happen … but how do you know it was an accident? That would be my guess, but the cause has not yet been established has it?

      I don’t know if Craig’s point was made with the expectation that France would unilaterally disarm.

      I think that rather it may have been a lament at the fact that humans are more preoccupied with devising ever more sophisticated means of effecting death and destruction rather than ever more effective means of promoting life and preservation.

      • Ken Kenn

        It is a shame that this historic building has burnt down but all the ‘ experts ‘ I’ve read in the media ( one French commentator said she was ” angry at the flames” is patent nonsense and Yvette Coopers comments aree motional garbage relative to dead bodies across the world in real tregedies

        The building is made of wood – wood burns quick therefore the building should have been surrounded by hydrants. It’s historic and a very intreesting and complex building – a testamant to man’s imagination and artistry.

        The Gilets – jaunes have been prevented by the police and military from going anywhere near the French version of Oxford Street by water cannon etc etc – The Bourgois French Haut Classe are crapping themselves that the G/J don’t attempt to burn down THEIR history which is not the same as the ordinary French people’s history. The revolutionaries burnt it down and looted it as far as I remember.

        It will be rebuilt and good luck to everyone but never forget that the Babylonian relics were sacked after the invasion of Iraq and rich people now have these items stashed somewhere for their own perusal.

        One is genuinely ancient and the latter is not.

        Yvette doesn’t know this and saving Africa for instance only means that she can’t go on an African Tourist holiday if they f disappear. 5k a pop.

        Everybody say – Awww……….

        As deep as a pool of spit.

  • Mark

    Craig – I have to disagree with your post on multiple levels.
    1. The technology to put out fires already exists. No further amount of spending technology is required. The absence of a sprinkler system in a building of such historic importance will in part be due the flawed thinking along the lines of “it’s never happened before and therefore won’t happen in the future” and greed; as retrofitting a sprinkler system in a big old historic building, in a manner that is unobtrusive and architecturally sympathetic, would be very expensive.
    2. Whilst I agree that the current level of military spending by US and NATO is utterly absurd, the reality is that the modern world – which we take for granted – is a direct result of US military spending in pursuit of hegemony . Key examples include the internet, GPS, cell-phones, commercial satellites, the entire electronics industry from the transistor through to the microprocessor, and the rudimentary software that gave rise to home computers, smart phones and social media.
    3. For virtually all other technology that is commercially available, if it were not for individuals or corporations developing their products for financial gain (i.e. Conservative and right-wing dogma) these would not be available either .
    4. Your swipe at conservatives (with a small C) is too broad and misplaced. But it would be fair (in my opinion) if you were to parody the JSL quote to attribute stupidity to the woefully inept politicians that represent the UK Conservative party. Ordinary people, however, who are conservative and resistant to change, and espouse right-wing view-points as a consequence, may have opinions you disagree with but are not necessary stupid. In all likelihood many of these viewpoints are borne out of fear or anxiety of the unknown. The dismissal of such viewpoints as stupid and without thought – without attempting to persuade them towards an alternate in rational debate – only creates further entrenchment of their opinions.

    • John2o2o

      I don’t think Craig’s point was made with the expectation that France would unilaterally disarm.

      I think that rather it may have been a lament at the fact that humans (and Americans) are more preoccupied with devising ever more sophisticated means of effecting death and destruction rather than ever more effective means of promoting life and preservation.

  • Alex

    Stupid people are right wing are they? Therefore left wingers, who support socialist/communist policies are clever then? The same socialist/communist policies that have led to the deaths of hundreds of millions of people and the impoverishment of hundreds of millions more in the last 100 years. Yes very clever. Clearly anyone that isn’t a fan of central planning and big government is an imbecile.

    • John A

      Churchill was one of the biggest criminals of the 20th century and responsible for hundreds of millions of deaths. Not sure he would classify as a left winger.

      • Charles Bostock

        And you are one of the most eloquent bloggers of the 21st century and will be responsible for thousands of excruciatingly silly posts like that one. Not sure you would classify as a sane person.

        • John A

          LOL Bostick, by the standard of your posts, I doubt you are in any position to classify anyone’s sanity, least of all your own.

          • Charles Bostock

            I can prove you’re insane. Your reference to Churchill being responsible for “hundreds of millions” of death ???

      • Herbie

        He’d be considered a Right winger an imperialist and so on.

        But just because he was responsible for many deaths doesn’t mean that Communists weren’t responsible for many deaths.

        Both Right and Left have been responsible for many deaths.

        It’s about the only thing they agree on.

        Time to vote Lib Dem again, I suppose.

  • Tom

    I was sad to see the pictures of Notre Dame burning but at the same time, as you say, no one has died. The overreaction does make me wonder whether something more sinister is going on than an accidental fire – but perhaps that is me being too cynical.

    • Shatnersrug

      That’s you being too cynical. The place has been a near death trap for 50 years, owned by the state, “leased” for free to the Church both claim it’s the others job to repair it, so it has remained unrepaired and uncared for for well…. how long?

      What is telling is how the French Plutocrats just throw some money at it. “Oh well we can replace it we have lots of money” the history doesn’t mean anything

    • John2o2o

      You may never know for sure then … I suggest that you wait until the authorities have completed their investigation into the cause of the fire.
      Of course even that may not convince you. For me, I think it’s okay to trust sometimes.

    • Herbie

      “I was sad to see the pictures of Notre Dame burning but at the same time, as you say, no one has died. The overreaction does make me wonder whether something more sinister is going on than an accidental fire – but perhaps that is me being too cynical.”

      I don’t think there was an overreaction.

      You were sad.

      Everyone was sad.

      No overreaction.

      I wonder would there be more or less sadness were the Arc de Triomphe to collapse to rubble.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    There is nothing more or less intelligent about right wing or left wing thought. It really comes down to what motivates you ultimately.

    Traditional Conservatism upheld God, King and Country. I agree that this does not always take a lot of thinking, it requires the concepts of loyalty and subservience to take centre stage. When Kings looted and pillaged, in general their lieutenants acquired some of the loot: most Hereditary Peerages were gained through gallivanting off with some marauding king or other. The Pope was a King of different ilk, but most unwise to get on the wrong side of him either. Henry VIII was really the only one who got away with it, effectively merging God and King into one Institution in the country he ruled over.

    Once the killing started calming down a bit, right wing thinking needed to evolve to embrace theories of trade, wealth generation and more abstract political principles. Those already sitting on loot usually fancy free trade if they can buy out or overcome less rich competitors, they embrace cartels otherwise. Adam Smith is a useful diversion into microeconomics and stops most thinking too carefully about whether Adam Smith principles work as industries consolidate (I sincerely hope no one has been granted a pass in any school economics exams if they suggest that they do): they work at local vegetable markets, they do not work at Tescos.

    Right wingers also like Central Banks to rig gold prices, as they contend gold is the only true store of value (less likely to be true as people appreciate more deeply what money actually is). Rigging prices is a Traditional British Ruling Class practice and has of course continued as Rotschilds built their fortunes across Europe.

    The concept of hereditary intelligence also appeals to right wingers as they wish to retain stable oligarchies. The concept that key intelligences have different values in different generations is unspoken. 40 years ago, footballers struggled along post 35 and often sold trinkets to fund retirement. The current generation are multimillionaires. Values changed, wealth shifted….

    Whether left wingers’ thoughts are any more practical is up in the air. The key assumption is that altruism will be rewarded, something I know for a fact is not true in real life. Left wing thought emerged from industrial workers seeking fairer conditions. It needs to evolve as industrial employment declines. There is no evidence that internet billionaires are any more humane than Carnegie, the Rockefellers etc etc. They sell their souls to Deep States and howl in outrage when they are caught at it.

    The continual unchanging questions concerns centralisation vs distributed networks. Central planners are usually OCD control freaks, a good trait in mission-critical engineering projects, less useful in trying to create societies embracing individual freedom of choice.

    The real challenge for left wingers is accepting that you simply cannot do everything, all the time, without going bankrupt. Prioritisation is the key challenge for left-leaning thinkers.

    I do not consider myself left wing because I oppose warmongering, military-industrial-complexes and the like. That is simply being a peaceful soul. You can be a peaceful entrepreneur who fancies low taxes, after all.

    But I do agree that we in the West spend far too much on killing technology and far too little on enhancing peaceful existences.

    • Crispa

      Yes, I think it is important to note that antisemitism in this country in any active sense also took hold in right wing circles with, for example , the Imperial Fascist League pushing the idea of King, Country and the British Empire post WW1. Mosley coming at least from the left ,in terms of his ideas if not personal heritage, only appropriated antisemitic ideas to promote his version of fascism and his vision of being the Leader, but still serving King and Country. The links between conservative thought and antisemitism remain strong, which is why one continues to be sceptical about the current attacks on the Labour Party, and Jeremy Corbyn in particular,as coming from other than from conservative sources.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    The fire started in the Notre Dame’s attic, and was only discovered over an hour after all the workers had gone home!

    Some accident! What, an act of God?

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Trowbridge H. Ford April 16, 2019 at 17:54
      In that case it could well have been a delayed-action incendiary device.

          • Paul Barbara

            @ John2o2o April 16, 2019 at 20:19
            Perfectly possible. Not everyone supports Christianity, and of those not everyone supports the Catholic Church. There have been a spate of attacks on churches in France.
            What could be more of a spectacular, and so simple and virtually untraceable, than a worker to place an incendiary before clocking off for the day? Remember, Daesh destroy churches, and Christians, with gay abandon, not to forget every other ‘ism’ or pressure group who sees an opportunity to further their cause in some fashion.
            And ‘coincidence’ grants us a simultaneous fire in the al Aqsa Mosque/Dome of the Rock.
            Coincidences do occur, but so do conspiracies. And conspiracies occur far more frequently then ‘coincidences’.

          • Herbie

            The thing is.

            It’s a lot of real estate in a very special area, doin nuthin, not making the big bucks it could make.

            There are elites who just can’t abide imbalances like that. Like an itch. The unscratched itch.

            I’d imagine the monies offered for rebuilding shall to some extent compromise the space.

            I mean, it’s the French govt owns the building, so they can go where they want to go, legally, every way.

            Have Republican rituals in it, everything.

            I can see franchises operating within the Cathedral, coffees, McDs, Cafe Rouge, etc and Parisien style alcoholic refreshments.

            There’ll be jugglers and clowns.

            And it’ll be brilliant.

  • Shatnersrug

    Oh dear Fenbisti,

    There’s an old adage;

    Better to remain silent and be thought a fool then to speak up and remove all doubt.

  • Paul Barbara

    Mods, I did put it on the previous thread, but because it was live I thought it important folks got the opportunity to watch it. Too late now, as it’s finished.

  • Willie

    At least the French don’t have the honour of a national icon burning down twice.

    That honour goes to Glasgow and the MacIntosh School of Art.

    Moreover, whilst the French have announced an enquiry into the cause of the fire Scotland still awaits the results of the enquiry into the tragic fire that killed two at Cameron House on Loch Lomond, whilst still awaiting a response on why the Mack burnt down.

    But hey, at least commercial interest has prevailed with permission granted to rebuild Cameron House even though there is no answer to why it burned down in the first place.

    Shoddy standards, surely not First Minister.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    I thought that Edinburgh had the honor with its fire at the Old Town sometime during November 1824, and it resulted in a great victory with the building of Parliament Square and the New Law Courts.

    Glasgow seems to come in second most the then time

  • Formerly T-Bear

    Beautiful this: *…have always believed that right wing “thought” is a misnomer, …*. Certainly is that, like a slightly irregular version of the verb sink, sank, sunk is the verb think, thought, thunk. With this parallelism, the full accuracy the meaning of ‘think tank’ becomes better illuminated – Thunk Tank – a paid enterprise to confirm some agenda or opinion that could not be sustained by either argument or experience. When seen, such reference to recommendation by a ‘think tank’, the substitution “Thunk Tank” should pertain.

    Was not aware of John Stewart Mill’s opinion before; something of substance that. No wonder the reputation of great economist adheres despite current attempts by Thunk Tank MBA economists to slander and demean his works.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    ISiS is celebrating the Notre Dame fire, and in effect, claiming responsibility for it. It says that it is punishment and revenge for what has happened to it, but French investigators are too gutless to admit it, claiming that is was the result of some mysterious accident.

        • Sharp Ears

          Stop dropping your gobbets of poison. They are appearing throughout the comments. You should be banned from here. In no way do you support Craig’s work.

          • Jo1

            Sorry but I agree with Charles’ initial response to Trowbridge. It really isn’t sensible to be claiming knowledge of what happened to the cathedral when even the authorities don’t know yet. As it happens I heard on the teatime news that the French Authorities have said arson wasn’t involved. Then, coming up for 8pm, Trowbridge announces here that ISIS did it. Those sort of comments really need to be challenged.

          • Paul Barbara

            @ Jo1 April 16, 2019 at 21:37
            Very sloppy and inaccurate writing.
            ‘…Trowbridge announces here that ISIS did it….’ – but Trowbridge did not claim ISIS did it, he simply reported ISIS had claimed responsibility.
            ‘…As it happens I heard on the teatime news that the French Authorities have said arson wasn’t involved…’ – to my knowledge the French Authorities have not said arson was not involved, but that they ‘do not currently suspect terrorism or arson.’ They would be extremely foolish at this early stage to rule out arson.

          • Jo1

            @ Paul Barbara

            It is not “sloppy” or “inaccurate” writing and it is completely unnecessary to be so arrogant and rude in your response.

            Trowbridge wrote that ISIS were “in effect claiming responsibility” for the Notre Dame fire.

            Celebrating what happened does not make them responsible. There are groups who will always welcome appalling misfortunes that befall enemies. That doesn’t mean they carried them out.

            Please do not tell me what I heard on a news programme in my own home. It may have been phrased differently elsewhere but what I heard said was that arson had been ruled out.

          • Paul Barbara

            @ Jo1 April 17, 2019 at 12:53
            I stand by my post.
            You wrote: ‘…Trowbridge announces here that ISIS did it….’ – but Trowbridge did not claim ISIS did it, he simply reported ISIS had claimed responsibility.
            To me, that is very sloppy and inaccurate writing. Saying some group claimed responsibility is not the same as claiming they did it. Can’t you see that?
            As for the radio report you mentioned, I did not say you reported it inaccurately, but just stated that reports I was aware of only claimed terrorism or arson was not suspected at present, and I pointed out that it would be extremely foolish to rule it out at this early stage.
            Knowing the MSM will print or broadcast baloney, you may well have heard a claim that arson was not responsible.

      • Trowbridge H. Ford

        Just go ballistic, Bostock as you usually do. I would not waste my time tall\king to French intelligence people who are up to their necks in covering up mysteries, like the German Wings plane. piloted by drugged Andreas Lubitz who knew too much about how the Mediterranean Dialogue was being implemented, anda crashed into the French Alps after its transponder had been taken over by the French Air Force for NATO to make sure the the EU never created its own army. Then there was the problem of making out that that DFench soldier Mohammad, forgot his last name, in Toulouse was a dangerous jihadist.

        • Paul Barbara

          @ Trowbridge H. Ford April 16, 2019 at 20:53
          CB hasn’t even replied to a simple question put to him earlier about whether he believes Operation Gladio was a ‘conspiracy theory’!
          The French are just as proficient at setting up ‘False Flag’ attacks as the US or UK, and have proven it in recent years.

    • Jo1

      You are seriously bonkers coming out with this nonsense. What on earth do you mean by IS, “in effect, claiming responsibility”? What irresponsible claims on your part when, as yet, we know nothing about the investigation.

      Please calm yourself and settle down. Your imaginings are simply that and anything but helpful.

    • glenn_nl

      Trowbridge – ISIS is, as has been well demonstrated, a bunch of filthy terrorists, murderers, torturers, rapists and vandals.

      Do you really think telling lies is beyond them?

      • Trowbridge H. Ford

        No, but I don’t also think that they can’t tell the truth too. And in this case I think French officials, and the media certainly aren’t. Truths are where the facts in any case lead you.

    • Vivian O'Blivion

      Yeh, malignant narcissistic feels empathy for dead animals and other people’s injured kiddies just don’t pass the smell test.

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