Next post for 15-01-2017
While our leader is away in London I am again acting Editor, helped at the New Year time by my friend Françoise, who teaches about English business from a safe distance, in Paris (la future capitale financière of Europe, thanks to Brexit she says). I will take the chance while Editor is away, and do something for him he should do for himself, because his serious pieces are so often right before many other people (what my acquaintance in London told me.) I will put in the final position some of what our Editor wrote about poor M.Hollande five years ago. But the first piece is what our Editor wrote the night before he went to the ferry. The rest of what is here today is from pieces in the pedal bin with little changes from Françoise and from myself, and two small pieces we wrote ourselves. Karela Hangshaw
Late addition: when Françoise was checking that final piece about Editor’s warnings she found in the office archive a beautiful warning about election fraud with voting machines, published from this same office (in Esmond Maguire : isbn 9786169047612, first publ. 2009: p. 25)
Monty has sent the office as a ‘Yuletide gift’, A Child’s First Book of Sociopolitical Theorems. An accompanying card says it is the book from which he taught himself to read at the age of 5 (under the bedclothes after lights-out). Karela and I do not believe him. An extract:
A century or two after economics lurched into unsteady action as an academic subject some economists pointed out that the long-term effect of a free market would be (or rather, was and is) to transfer the greater proportion of resources from the relatively poor to the relatively rich, given that the latter have initially, and at all ordinary stages thereafter, better access to information and a wider freedom of action. (This happens quite independently of whether the resources available to the population are laid waste by natural disaster or warfare, or they increase through eager exploitation of all exploitable environments on the planet. In a constrained market the same thing happens but more quickly.) Given the toxic mix of characteristics in the human character, it is inevitable that on the whole the relatively rich and privileged will (a) take a leading part in plotting the future course of the government, either doing it themselves or getting their pals in the political ranks to do it and (b) will not give equal treatment, let alone compensating special treatment, to those who for one reason or another are not enjoying successful lives, and therefore need at least the former. (The nominal form of government is entirely irrelevant.) This leads sooner or later to (c) discontent among the unsuccessful, and eventually when the unsuccessful notice what is happening, to (d) rebellion. There are two types of rebellion, first the failure, known as a Peasants’ Revolt, which sets the stage for a re-run of the whole process, but with the rich even more advantaged to start with, and members of the unsuccessful even worse off, if alive. The second type is known as a Revolution, which not by co-incidence also sets the stage for a re-run of the whole process but with the previously rich and privileged exiled, guillotined, or thrown from castle battlements and replaced by a different bunch of rich and privileged. There are lecture halls where the continuous process leading from (a) to (d) (a vicious circle known as the UNIcycle – Unjustifiable National Inequity) is still presented as a contentious hypothetical, but realistic observers and thinkers will smile politely and find other uses for their time. Naturally the time scale over which the cycle can extend is very variable. Occasionally, epidemics of national morality can delay its completion substantially. On the other hand it can be accelerated by interaction with a similar cycle which in the really long-term may be even more disastrous for the future of the species, namely the transfer of resources from the relatively stupid to the relatively clever, with a similar disbalancing effect. How the resulting eventual crisis when phase (d) is reached the next time, now that so many societies have a prolific supply of small arms, large extremist parties, and a lot more volatile life-threatening materials than ordinary citizens find they have any ordinary need for is a question with of course more than one answer. (But none of them are pleasant.)
Rumour It is said (mainly by western biologists jealous of the huge amounts of research cash that are not going their way) that literally dozens of projects are now secretly running in Eastern Asia to clone wealthy businessmen, to produce synthetic offspring (or perhaps better ‘sidespring’). But recently there has been talk of a particularly unusual case. This allegedly involves a tycoon establishing a team charged with research which could ultimately arrange for him to produce clones of the other sex, for friendship with a view to marriage, as the saying goes.
Future news As nanosensing of DNA progresses it achieves astounding success. Young experts now gaze round-eyed in wonder at old-timers of 30 or 35 telling of their pride back in the dark ages of tissue analysis at being able to identify who had been drinking in a bar by examining samples of DNA left on the glass. Almost unimaginable by modern standards. Nowadays it is possible to tell which currently respectable and indeed prominent member of society is the one who was holding the camera that filmed a particularly spectacular piece of social deviance some thirty or more years ago. But even these successes are, the government hopes, to be outdone in the near future, thanks to a combination of these techniques with megadata from the cameras, microphones, and motion sensors attached to tiny, silent drones or affixed, ‘at random’, to cars parked in ‘areas of special concern’, so as to further advance social order and to be soon making the country safe for the police to patrol, armed with tasers and other ‘non-lethal’ devices ‘for the protection of the community’, everywhere from leafy suburbs to the darkened doorways of back alleys in red-light districts. The government is re-allocating funds from unspecified other areas and believes it will soon be possible for authorised officials, with, of course, a warrant supplied by a magistrate who will, of course, have scrutinised each application with scrupulous care, to search any house in the country and from infinitesimal traces in the air determine not merely who has been in any room in that house within the preceding twenty-four hours, but what substances they consumed while there, what country those substances came from, and how long ago, and most useful of all to give a reliable estimate of when the same people will be in the room again.
In the interests of gender equality BBC news programmes are in future to accord equal amounts of time to reports on female and male typhoons and tropical storms.
Overheard (at Paddington railway station, powerfully built woman mid-forties.) “No good blaming television for the decline of British standards. ’F you ask me, I’d say it was democracy. For centuries the British were more or less willing to be deferential to their social superiors but somewhere about 1950 they became unsure who their social superiors were.”
From Berthold, a note: Just on a matter of interest – no, let me rephrase that; just on a matter of abominable ill-discipline, poor training, and highly questionable selection techniques, not to even touch on incomprehensible judicial processes, may I ask how many black policemen in America in the past, say, fifty years have been involved in any incident which led to them shooting an unarmed white man.
Warnings ignored Our Editor is angry because Monty got a gold card for their big conference, but he only has a red one, so no entry to E or ‘Skua’ briefings. I hope he will be glad we are posting an example of his good analysis achieved many months or years before others. This piece is put together from parts of four postings within the first three months of Hollande as President in 2012. Only very little changes to punctuation and making sentences a little part shorter. (KH)
It is now many years since I regularly played Monopoly (and won) against young Nikki Sarkozy, at that time still clad in grey serge shorts, while my grandfather presided over a dinner table with presidents and prime ministers sitting jowl by elbow (some of them were indeed awfully uncouth in their table manners). We later lost touch, but were I myself host to such occasions now, then Nicolas might well be on the guest list. Certainly not his successor. It remains a deep mystery of current European politics that the French were offered Hollande to vote for rather than the intelligent competence of Martine Aubry, as a way of ousting the incumbent. This journal can claim no public credit for its private doubts about Hollande before his election, but within a week of his victory we gave our plain opinion that he was not up to the job – poor chap; one should not expect a man fitted to manage the stores in an army camp to direct the nation’s war effort with mastery if he is suddenly handed the baton of the commander-in-chief. He never previously held any ministerial office, though between 2001 and 2008 he was mayor of Tulle, a town of some 15,000 known for the production of accordions. Did you ever see a man whose face and movements tried so hard – and let him down so badly – in the attempt to hide inner uncertainty and lack of command? Many have commented on the new French leader’s shabby treatment of Mme Aubry after his victory, which could very easily be seen as a case of a man not liking to have a woman around who is cleverer and more competent than himself. And so it may be, but that can still leave us wondering how such a lacklustre fellow won the election to be president of France. One of the clearest marks of his political inexperience is that he has been trying to keep his campaign promises. As one instance, the increased special allowance for children of school age is already being paid. However, it is obvious that there is no point in making a campaign promise which you intend to keep, because you will only intend to keep it if your people have found that it can be kept; in which case the opposition or at least its more intelligent components will already have done precisely the same. The only campaign promises worth making are those that you do not intend to keep (provided, of course, that they look glamorous in the eyes of the electorate.)