Tag Archives: Books

Road trips

Currently trying to ignore the discomfort from my old back injuries and doing the odd road trip around the Wilder West of Ireland, from Sligo and Galway down through Clare and Limerick into Kerry and Cork. I’ve just finished reading ‘The Road to Wigan Pier’, Orwell’s chronicle of his journey through working class Britain in the 1920’s and 30’s following on from his personal tales of poverty documented in ‘Down and out in Paris and London‘ .

Chapter 9 is particularly telling as it is easy to draw parallels between the fear and loathing of the petit-bourgeois middle classes of the working class during the 1920’s and 30’s. Attitudes which are still pretty common in the early 21st century.

From what Orwell writes, one can see very similar social forces at work sans-Interweb prior to World War Two emanating from very similar sources. The same predilection for totalitarianism loosely wrapped in a muddle of semi-digested Socialism. Chapter 9 is particularly telling in it’s examples of class and race-hatred that can be still seen to exist when compared to Orwell’s highly incisive first person mid-20th century perspective.

Likewise, 21st Century ‘Woke’ culture can likewise be viewed as an example of middle class hatred and fear of the working class despite protestations to the contrary. “No!”, claim the lefty elitists, “We really luurve the proletariat! We only want what’s best for them!” but even the most cursory evaluation exposes this as a scorpion love with a nasty control freak sting in the tail. And it is endemic throughout the Western political spectrum. From the Champagne Socialists of Islington to much of the metropolitan Conservative party. Or the Democrats in the USA to much of the Urban RINO Republicans. It is why they all have so much in common. Their social racism is firmly encoded in their DNA.

Belief in the pseudosciences, like in the 1920’s and 30’s, is also widespread, and any serious challenge from the ‘lower orders’ such as the election of Trump or the BREXIT referendum sparks a massive counter reaction. Questioning the ‘science’ of SARS/COV-2 and ‘man made climate change’ likewise. These are canon to the ‘sophisticated’ urban middle classes and any gainsaying, no matter how well founded, is seen as overt defiance against the middle class wannabe rulers and are to be silenced for their wrongthink. “How could they not believe as we do?” is the quavering cry. Like in the 1930’s, these are predominantly class based belief systems.

Anything that allows easy social mobility is likewise attacked by measures designed to make everyone an employee, and thus controllable, like IR35. Yet at the same time being in favour of importing large populations that do not share the basic values of the country they are being invited into. Mainly to keep wages down and property values up. Both of which disadvantage the native working and young person in the early stages of their career.

By way of a deconstruction of the kind of propaganda we have been bombarded with, to keep those pesky peons in their place; Ivor Cummins runs the numbers and calculates the real risk factors for SARS/COV-2 in the video below. All using approved official sources. Yet the terrified middle orders still pressurise government to keep the restrictions in place, no matter that their ‘sceance’ is patently flawed.

Anyway, that’s enough now. I shall shortly be posting some of the ‘on the road’ footage I’ve taken on our road trips online, just to show my reader what it’s like pootling down secondary Western Irish R roads. See you shortly. Pubs and outdoor dining is opening next week and Jaysus but I’ve got a powerful thirst on me.

About an Orwell quote

Have now completed my Orwell collection with ‘Down and out in Paris and London’ and ; ‘The road to Wigan Pier‘. Have also found a copy of Solzhenitsyn’s ‘Cancer Ward

I keep on seeing this supposed quote by George Orwell:

“There are some ideas so absurd that only an intellectual could believe them.”

It is not a genuine quotation.

The real quotation is: One has to belong to the intelligentsia to believe things like that: no ordinary man could be such a fool. and comes from the paragraph below, in context, taken from his famous essay “Notes on Nationalism”

All of these facts are grossly obvious if one’s emotions do not happen to be involved: but to the kind of person named in each case they are also intolerable, and so they have to be denied, and false theories constructed upon their denial. I come back to the astonishing failure of military prediction in the present war. It is, I think, true to say that the intelligentsia have been more wrong about the progress of the war than the common people, and that they were more swayed by partisan feelings. The average intellectual of the Left believed, for instance, that the war was lost in 1940, that the Germans were bound to overrun Egypt in 1942, that the Japanese would never be driven out of the lands they had conquered, and that the Anglo-American bombing offensive was making no impression on Germany. He could believe these things because his hatred for the British ruling class forbade him to admit that British plans could succeed. There is no limit to the follies that can be swallowed if one is under the influence of feelings of this kind. I have heard it confidently stated, for instance, that the American troops had been brought to Europe not to fight the Germans but to crush an English revolution. One has to belong to the intelligentsia to believe things like that: no ordinary man could be such a fool. When Hitler invaded Russia, the officials of the M.O.I. issued ‘as background’ a warning that Russia might be expected to collapse in six weeks. On the other hand the Communists regarded every phase of the war as a Russian victory, even when the Russians were driven back almost to the Caspian Sea and had lost several million prisoners. There is no need to multiply instances. The point is that as soon as fear, hatred, jealousy and power worship are involved, the sense of reality becomes unhinged. And, as I have pointed out already, the sense of right and wrong becomes unhinged also. There is no crime, absolutely none, that cannot be condoned when ‘our’ side commits it. Even if one does not deny that the crime has happened, even if one knows that it is exactly the same crime as one has condemned in some other case, even if one admits in an intellectual sense that it is unjustified – still one cannot feel that it is wrong. Loyalty is involved, and so pity ceases to function.

Solzhenitsyn also nailed it in his 1978 address to a crowd at Harvard University. Yes I know it’s over an hour long, but tell me if his words don’t have the same ring of truth from over forty years ago.

Hope this helps. Best wishes.

Bill.

Some holiday reading

Back home and unpacking now. Our little deck garden has survived our absence and the Lemon tree seedlings are doing very well indeed. The biggest issue we face having returned to BC is where to get half way authentic French bread in our locale. We’ve tried some of our local outlets, but their output is too dense and not crusty enough. Good French bread is a simple thing but so hard to get right without the correct T55 or T65 grade flour. Which is very difficult to get over here in BC, Canadian import restrictions being what they are.

While we have been traversing the byways and higher ways around Western Europe, I’ve been using a couple of books to pass the time in various airport lounges and flights. The first is a Penguin edition of Orwell’s ‘Why I write’, the second, Christopher Hitchens’ commentary ‘Why Orwell Matters’. Finished ‘Why I write’ on the flight to Marseille and ‘Hitchens on Orwell’ on the flight back to BC.

Conclusion; like another of my favourite writers, Rudyard Kipling, Orwell was a man of his time shaped by conscience and experience. To me Orwell was right as an opposer of totalitarianism, which is a doctrine which always assumes that others should dictate how you live your life, wrong regarding Democratic Socialism, which puts power in the hands of some supposedly benign, unbiased authority. Which as the Communist and every other form of Socialist regime have found and are finding, is a path that leads only to mass graves. Because the tighter the definition of what is mandated by these supposedly beneficent individuals, the less becomes allowed and the more ‘outliers’ there are across the general population who won’t fit.

Think of it this way, we’ve all got enough going on without having some eternal parent figure supervising and regulating our every waking thought. Running people’s lives through fiat and diktat is a bad idea because Government or religious rules set up to tightly govern irrational, greedy, selfish humans are set up and often enforced by, guess who? Irrational, greedy and selfish humans. Possibly more so than in private institutions. If you’ve ever worked in the public sector anywhere, you will know this to be true. The majority of people who work in them are not fit to rule themselves, let alone others, which is an excellent reason to minimise Government power wherever possible. The same goes for cartels and monopolies, like Alphabet inc (Google, YouTube et al) Facebook or Twitter.

Perhaps Orwell, had he lived long enough, would have wholeheartedly agreed. He’d probably have been horrified by the wholesale banning of InfoWars too because someone like him would have been first on their list for no-platforming. Especially when Facebook are sniffing around the US banks after people’s transaction data.

What would happen to someone like George if Facebook etc got that access and enforced their will on his personal life? “Sorry Mr Orwell, but we don’t like your opinions so we’re going to stop you getting a credit card or having a bank account.”

Which makes me look at my LinkedIn and Instagram accounts and think about deleting those as well. That and a word to the banks I’m a shareholder of, telling them that should they enter negotiations with the axis of evil (Alphabet Inc, Facebook and Twitter), I will be voicing serious concerns about security and voting against any board Director who wants to go in that direction.

Update: I see that Instagram have deleted the ‘realtommyrobinson’ page.  Well, he can join another social media platform and take all his followers with him.  Instagram’s loss.

We have germination

Three of my Lemon seeds have actually germinated and have sprouted little rootlets, with which I am quite delighted. My Avocado likewise looks promising with a couple of cracks beginning in the base as incipient roots start pushing their way out. Out on the deck, our Hybrid Tea rose has ten buds a-burgeoning and everything else is popping up like nobody’s business. I keep on walking into the kitchen to be greeted by Mrs S standing on the threshold, admiring the new growth. She hears me approach, turns and the smile on her face, as always, buoys my heart. “Looking good.” She says and I nod my agreement. By the time June arrives we should have a fine show of blossoms gracing our little deck garden.

Other new arrivals include a copy of the George Orwell Omnibus which does not contain all his novels, but which leaves only ‘The Road to Wigan Pier’, ‘Homage to Catalonia’ and ‘Down and Out in Paris and London’ outstanding. When obtained, these will complete my hardback collection of Orwell’s works already sitting in our bookcases, including his ‘Lost writings’.

Something else of interest has popped up in the wake of reporting restrictions on the Tommy Robinson conviction being lifted. Allegedly, video footage has emerged of Geoffrey Marson QC (The Judge responsible for sentencing Robinson – a Blair era appointee) looking out of a window at Robinson’s arrest. Now if true, his presiding over Robinson’s case is in clear breach of accepted judicial practice, both of the 2013 Judicial guidelines and Bangalore principles governing a Judges behaviour. The rule is, so I am reliably informed, that a sitting Judge may not appear as witness or complainant in a case he is called to make judgement upon because then he cannot be impartial. Not sure of case law here, but if it can be shown that Geoffrey Marson QC sentenced Robinson shortly after witnessing the arrest, then said conviction could easily be ruled as ‘unsafe’ and immediately quashed. Also, if the Judge was the initial complainant who called, or directly caused the Police be called to arrest Robinson, the guidelines indicate that this particular Judge should have recused himself and asked a colleague to step in, rather than try the case for breach of the peace and pass sentence himself as he did. By doing so he’s left himself and the case wide open. Foot, bang, ouch!

While I’m not a fan of Robinson’s, I still have this old fashioned notion that the law is the law and in order to be effective, those responsible for upholding it must be held to the highest standards. Notwithstanding, also still think the thirteen months was a bit steep. Even if the guy is a bit of a one note symphony.

In most instances where the conditions of being bound over are breached (Even if it was a bit of a reach), the original sentence and only that imposed at the time should be applied and trial for additional offences should be dealt with later, not summarily. That and I don’t see what the Judge was hoping to achieve. At the time of Robinson’s arrest, the defendants in the case he was reporting on had already been found guilty and were going in for sentencing. So the claim that what Robinson was doing was prejudicial to the defendants’ case is a bit flimsy. So if the powers that be wanted all Robinson’s fuss to just go away, they’re sadly misguided. The best they can do is shunt him to a low security unit and quietly drop the extra ten months with time off for good behaviour.

Anyway, that’s all for the lawyers and politicians to sort out. I shall be watching from this side of the Pacific rim with great interest as events develop. Rather like our deck garden, things are germinating.

Waiting…

Mrs S; “Lovely day.” (She turns, advances to front door.) “Inspiring prospects. Time to go out” (She turns to William.) “Let’s go.”
Bill Sticker: “We can’t.”
Mrs S: “Why ever not?”
Bill Sticker: “We’re waiting for Canada Post.”

Excuse me channelling Samuel Beckett, but I’m still waiting for my book order to arrive when the official delivery date was 25th July. Now the gaping void on my bookshelves sings a siren lament every time I pass, achingly begging for fulfilment. It pulls at me like a gravitational singularity, pulling my gaze first to the gap, thence to the void on our front doorstep. A promised space stares at me accusingly. I feel its hunger like a gape in my belly. So potent it’s almost sexual. An unfilled bookshelf is a terrible thing. It haunts, accuses, points and says; “Fill me!” with the urgency of a lover in heat. Thwart it at your peril.

Another victim of Canada Post Will the postman eventually leave my package on the doorstep while we’re out, or one of those faux-cheery accusatory little cards saying; “We tried to deliver your package, but you were out. Pick it up at your local postal depot next week.” Next week! No, no! I wasn’t out, I was here, waiting. I’ve been good. Honestly. Eagerly anticipating my orders arrival with an acid sense of anticipation, ears pricked. Listening for the faintest thump on the doorstep which will announce my books arrival. Afraid to go out less I miss the slightest clue. Hoping against hope that my package has not been delivered to another household, where my precious purchases will be treated with contempt by someone else who is not capable of appreciating their contents, or horror beyond measure, callously left out in the rain, wrapping soaked and wood pulp pages beginning to rot, for my package to be picked up by the delivery person next time they pass for redelivery. If they ever do.

I’m driving my wife nuts.

Update 5th August 2016 12:48pm: All ten books have arrived.  My bookshelf is now whole.

Maps and books

We’re busy buying books and maps at present, as our old stuff is way out of date, and when you’ve got a map of Europe blu-tacked to the kitchen wall with some brightly coloured bookmarks tags on, it’s easier to build up a mental picture of the route in your head and get an idea of the physical distances between places. Okay, the satnag might tell you it’s a three hour run down the Autobahn, but what about that interesting road over there leading off to who knows where? Does it loop back towards Magdeburg or Kiel? How far is it, and how fast can we do it without grinding the top off the sidestand or occasioning fits of hysterics from my pillion passenger and collecting speeding tickets? What do those squiggles tell you? Apart from that particular road has a lot of sharp bends.

Anyway, the maps and physical map books arrived arrived today, and are being deployed ready for the next phase, which is deciding precisely what is doable in terms of side trips and what is simply a bit of a slog just to tick off a place name. Google maps is all very well, but doesn’t take to having sticky labels put all over the screen and not getting them mixed up with other people’s stuff. Besides, where’s the adventure in that? As I’ve said before, we’re taking the roads less travelled and finding stuff which may not be on the main tourist trails.

Yay! Phone call from the Motorcycle store over at Esquimalt. Our helmets and jackets have arrived for trial fittings before I go visit the local Triumph dealership and rent one of their big bikes for a two day up-island trip in August. I’m also plugging the gaps in my Terry Pratchett book collection, including copies of his very underrated Johnny Maxwell trilogy. Which were scheduled to arrive today, but they’re coming in from the UK so when they actually turn up is anybody’s guess. The sun is shining and for the moment we’re on top of our work and courses. So far so good. Or as we used to say; “It’s a very nice day. Now watch some complete tit try and ruin it.”

Upgrading my book collection

New Books againAustralian sister in law is visiting at the moment, I was let off the leash while she and Mrs S shared some sistahood girly time downtown. So I disappeared into a bookshop and ended up with the following to shore up my P.J.O’Rourke collection:
Bachelor Home Companion
Modern Manners
On the Wealth of Nations

I also found a copy of ‘Evil Plans‘ by Hugh McLeod, which I bought on impulse, because I’m fresh out of Evil and Cunning Plans at the moment and feel in need of a little inspiration. More on this at another juncture.

Considerably bigger bookshelvesLooks like we’re going to need considerably bigger bookshelves…..