Archive for the ‘Resistance Is Futile, Miscellaneous’ Category

It’s A Long, Long Way To Missolonghi

In the days of Byron, you had to be a romantic, or indeed one of the first Romantics, to find anything praiseworthy in mountain bandits. Anyone who believed in a settled civilisation, on the other hand, was obliged to root for the Ottomans. Any residual Hellenophilia has long since succumbed to the Greek debt crisis, […]

The Brains To Run A Whelk Stall

The idiom of someone not having the brains and ability to run a whelk stall dates to 1894, and as far as I can see was then used of the aristocracy by an early Labourite. But I have later heard it deployed against Labour people by Tories. This is odd, since running whelk stalls was […]

Winner Takes All

We in the West think that we are the only ones who know what “democracy” means; indeed, we are indignant when someone like General Musharraf says that there are many kinds of democracy, not only because it is him saying it (a case of the fox defining the henhouse), but because we think it outrageous […]

Wag The Serb

The great Western cliché, trotted out whenever political violence erupts anywhere east or south of Vienna, is “ancient hatreds”. Journalists season the stew with a few rapidly googled factoids about medieval battles, but otherwise take one another’s word for it. No one ever asks why Kosovo Polje should engender such hatreds while Crécy and Solforino […]

My Enemy’s Enemy

It sometimes seems as if the maxim, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend,” is hard-wired into human beings, even though it is not invariably good advice. It is all the more strange, therefore, that some people seem unable to get their heads around the possibility that, if we are fighting another country, then […]

Selling The Snake Oil Outside The Palace Gates

In these days when spare and collateral royals are being encouraged to occupy themselves in gainful employment as if they were commoners, it is well to remember why the device of the princely appanage was invented in the first place. The intention was precisely to keep princes out of the normal economy, to prevent them […]

After You

American liberals are horrified at the Muslim penalty for apostasy, theoretically death. When, however, the same American liberals affirm that the sovereign individual may choose to quit any association into which he has entered, or into which he had the misfortune to be born, a right that in most of the world is called “self-determination” […]

Westwards The Course Of Double Standards Takes Its Way

Western concern with human rights in China is nothing new. In Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White, written in 1859, the idealistic character pontificates: “The Chinese authorities kill thousands of innocent people, on the most horribly frivolous pretexts. We, in England, are free from all guilt of that kind – we commit no such dreadful […]

But What Do They DO All Day?

I am reading in the newspaper about a crime wave in the little Welsh town of Denbigh. There is an establishment of six police officers, they say, but in practice the station is mostly unmanned. Yes indeed, and we know of similar situations elsewhere. The public sector sometimes seems like a machine that has no […]

Tugging The Forelock And Losing Your Shirt

The Americans are quite wrong to consider British titles to be empty dignity and flummery. They have a very important function, namely to assist with consumer and investment fraud. If a scam has a peer on its Board, people will be more willing to invest in it, lend it money and generally give it the […]