30 January, 2009


After the recession

I am typing this post on a Samsung Q45 laptop. There is nothing on the case to say where it was assembled and where its components were manufactured, but it would be a pretty fair bet to suggest that it wasn't the UK. I am connecting to the Blogger site via a mobile broadband modem made in China, using infrastructure owned by a German telco. The lightbulb which illuminates the room so that I actually can see the lappy's sexy black keyboard in January's watery daylight was made in Germany. The rather spiffy glass plate off which I ate breakfast was made in France, the cutlery in Korea.

The promotional mug I am drinking my coffee out of was actually made in England. Good Lord! (Incidentally, what prompts a company to hand out mugs celebrating the roll-out of a single sign-on mechanism for all its internal systems? Somebody's got some unspent budget. Nice mug, though.)

Yesterday, in a public house in bootiful "Maritime" Greenwich, I found a child's wax crayon. Like everything these days it was sheathed in a paper label explaining such vital matters as the crayon's colour (!), the inadvisability of ingesting it, assorted kitemarks, and the dreaded words "Made in China".

The other week I had problems with my mobile phone data service. My service provider, which is, according to industry sources, busily outsourcing and offshoring stuff, had a bit of a software glitchette, due to which prepaid data transmission was being additionally and incorrectly charged on a per-packet basis, at a "roaming" rate which might just about be justifiable for interstellar traffic. (Didn't Vernor Vinge's novel A Fire upon the Deep feature something like galactic newsgroups?) Anyway, I spoke to a nice lady with an almost impenetrable Indian accent who assured me that everything was under control.

So, Herr Braun. We no longer manufacturer much of anything. Our service industries are increasingly offshored. Where activities cannot be offshored, we are importing labour to do the work for us here; labour which exports its profits in the form of remittances to the folk back home. The oh-so-crucial finance industry has been exposed as a scam. If it recovers, it will do so in a much subdued form. The glorified Ponzi scheme which was consumer credit has been busted. This is a little awkward, since finance scams and unsecured consumer credit have between them more or less driven the entire economy for the past 20 years.

So Herr Braun, when and if we recover from this wee downturn, what productive revenue-earning activities are going to repay all the money you are desperately borrowing to prop up our collapsing system?


Obamamania knows no bounds

Yea verily the reach of the Anointed One extendeth even unto the kernels of our operating systems. Follow the link if you wish, but the title of this piece in the on-line Linux Magazine
President Obama: Good for Open Source?

is probably sufficient unto itself.

22 January, 2009


Tales from the Multiculture: Woolwich

The DLR began running trains through to Woolwich Arsenal on Saturday 10 January. I found this out through a combination of accident and rumour. TfL and the DLR have been remarkably cagey about the exact opening date of the Woolwich extension. Originally scheduled for opening in late February, this DLR extension project was completed (once again) ahead of schedule; I imagine the powers that be were happy to open early but didn't want to commit themselves to an overambitious date and then fail to meet it.

The DLR is a serendipitous unintended by-product of Thatcherism. When the London Docklands were redeveloped, the free-market fundamentalists of the Thatcher regime were deeply reluctant to provide more than the most grudging public finance for the necessary public transport infrastructure improvements. So we ended up with a cut-price light-railway, in its original one-car form little more than a glorified bendy bus on rails.

As was obvious from the outset, the DLR could never meet the transport requirements of the finished Docklands project, and eventually a proper railway - the Jubilee Line extension - had to be built to serve the "merchant bankers" of Canary Wharf. This left us with the DLR, which would not otherwise have been built, as a successful and hugely effective suburban railway which now has two river crossings reaching into South East London and is actively eyeing other expansion possibilities.

I hadn't set out to "celebrate" the opening of Woolwich Arsenal DLR. I had travelled to Woolwich that Saturday morning for the mundane purpose of visiting Sainsbury's. But having got there, I decided to take a quick dekko. A fairly token celebration was in progress around the Green's End entrance to the new station. There was the mandatory trad jazz band perched on a float: the standard line-up of middle-aged White geezers and a blonde lady of similar vintage on vocals. Curiously out of synch with the local demographic, but pleasant enough. There were some complimentary balloons, in green or blue, and a few trailers and stalls organized by Greenwich council, these latter apparently devoted to telling us what a wonderful place Woolwich is and how committed the local authority is to equality and diversity and stuff. Bit of a lost cause really; if you visit the page on the DLR website devoted to the attractions of Woolwich, most of it seems to be devoted to advice on how to travel on to somewhere else. Apparently the band of the Royal Artillery was supposed to put in an appearance at the festivities but presumably they'd been and gone by the time I got there.

So I wandered off along the pedestrianized Powis Street, taking in the sight of the pound shops, dodging a couple of twats in Victorian costume who were riding around on penny-farthings tooting at pedestrians. I assume this was intended to be part of the entertainments. I drank in the exotic and vibrant diversity of Woolwich. Actually there isn't much diversity: it's overwhelmingly Black. I suppose it's diverse if you count the Somalis, Nigerians and West Indians separately.

Suddenly, I found the place too depressing to deal with and abandoned my shopping trip in favour of taking a ride on the new railway. And jolly fine it is too. Like, apparently, Boris, who took part in the official opening ceremony on the following Monday, I had never visited the eastern end of the Docklands before. The area is oddly reminiscent of Germany, the small towns of the post-war reconstruction, with modest but decent housing interspersed with light-industrial buildings. This being the UK, of course, the "industrial" buildings are devoted to warehousing and distribution of imported goods rather than to primary manufacture.

On the following day, Sunday 11th, I had occasion to use the new railway again. I needed to go up to London, but my National Rail line had decided to take the day off, as it does from time to time, to allow chappies from Network Rail to polish the rails and wash the ballast, or whatever it is they do on these occasions. So I took the bus down to Woolwich to catch the DLR into town.

I was a bit better prepared for the culture shock this time. I visit Woolwich regularly, but solely for the purpose of visiting the Sainsbury's supermarket there. It happens to be, logistically, the most convenient supermarket outlet for me as a non-driver, although this is something I have, as they say, "under review". Otherwise I avoid Woolwich like the proverbial plague.

What I had forgotten the day before is that I have learnt to deal with Woolwich by tuning it out. Get in, get to the supermarket, get out. Possibly a stop off at the Earl of Chatham for a quiet pint. I had dropped my guard and seen the place in all its horror.

I recall Woolwich 30 years ago, when I first settled in this area. It was a slightly run-down working class "embedded" suburban town. The shops were prosperous, the open market sold the sort of things you expect open markets to sell. These was some local employment. The population was largely, but not exclusively, White.

Over the years, and particularly in the past ten years, it has become a truly Third World place. The employment has largely gone, there is a rash of pound shops along Powis Street replacing the former more upmarket businesses, both standalone and chain. The former shopping area down towards the ferry has been largely taken over by Greenwich council outlets catering to the demands of the indigent, in more languages than you can shake a stick at, and fatuous taxpayer-funded diversity "projects". There isn't a branch of the Lee Jasper Memorial Drop-In Centre for Disabled Black Lesbian Single Mothers down there yet, but it's only a matter of time.

The population is overwhelmingly African. The shops are being replaced by Nigerian-run general stores, each one offering a money-transfer service. There are Afro hairdressers by the dozen. Even the local Co-op funeral office emphasizes the multi-faith range of its services. To provide a little diversity, there is the usual sprinkling of South Asians and Chinese running assorted ethnic eateries and the like. A large halal butcher's and a an equally large seemingly Muslim-run fishmongers front onto the semi-derelict General Gordon Square, next to an instant-loan emporium ("just leave your car log book with us as a hostage") and some kind of council office. The token Marks and Spencer seems to have given up and now sells only food. The sprinkling of other national chains seem rather sad.

Visiting on the Sunday, I took the opportunity to look at a part of the town I have not taken much notice of for some years. The African Cash-and-Carry was doing a roaring trade, hopefully not in bushmeat. (It will come!) Phone stalls were everywhere, operating on little stalls set up in the doorways of seemingly closed or semifunctioning shops and other buildings. These sell international calling cards, SIMs and SIM-unlocking services. The pub, actually no great loss, seems to be an improvised Afro hairdresser. Money remittance services are everywhere. I don't know what the "GDP" of Woolwich might be, but I suspect little of it remains in this country for long.

The residual White population in downtown Woolwich - apart from a few still employed, probably in the public sector, who presumably commute into the Occupied Territories from England - seems to consist largely of the dirt-poor and the elderly.

Whether the arrival of the DLR will revitalize this crumbling Third World shithole remains to be seen. I am not sanguine.


Tales from the Broadcast Multiculture

Through the "wonders of modern technology" (™), I have broadcast television running in one window of my laptop as I surf the jolly old Interweb in another. Pretty impressive, huh? Well it certainly is for an old fart like me who first laid hands on a grown-up computer nearly 43 years ago. This contraption, including its peripherals, would occupy a space perhaps 5×4 metres. You talked to it using a frightening electromechanical teleprinter (the infamous ASR33) which looked and sounded as if it would explode at any moment and could get up to the precipitous speed of 10 (ten) char/sec. For bulk input you used rolls of punched paper tape, prepared off-line on another electromechanical monster. Punching errors were corrected by sticking slivers of green sticky tape over the offending character and repunching the correct pattern of holes using a hand tool. Very much to be avoided! Bulk output was on fanfold paper from huge mechanical lineprinters. CPU cycles were measured in milliseconds and core storage (RAM to you kids) was the equivalent of 96K. By core storage I mean quite literally planes of individually threaded miniature magnetic rings, threaded, I am assured, by hand by the nimble fingers of specially selected virgins. (Which is why the British computer hardware industry collapsed, of course. It was due to the national virgin shortage of the sleazy '70s, not because those devious foreign Johnnies were more efficient.)

Yet by judicious use of macro-assembler, you could do some useful stuff with these primitive beasts. Anyway, I digress, and I nearly caught myself launching into a head-shaking homily of the "Kids today don't known they're born" (also ™) variety. Must be my age you know, senility setting in, mind wandering and all that.

What I was going to remark on was that an advert for the motor insurers Churchill has just been aired, in which the irritating eponymous nodding dog mascot ("Ho Yes!") and a companion are sharing a meal in a Balti restaurant. Given that most "Indian" restaurants in the UK are run, or at least manned, by Bangladeshis, shouldn't some imam somewhere be leaping up and down about this piece of cultural insensitivity. I was under the impression that dogs were haram in Islam, and most certainly not be seated at table as a guest. Expect a baying horde of The Offended chanting and threatening outside Churchill's HQ soon.


Tales from the Multiculture: Bexleyheath

I was wandering round beautiful downtown Bexleyheath the other afternoon. It was about 15:30 and the local schools had not long chucked out. Groups of schoolchildren were milling around the pedestrianized area of the Broadway, chatting, looking in the shop windows, waiting for buses home.

Two things were noticeable to the jaundiced eye of this ageing racist thug.

The first was the demographic difference between the generations. Bexleyheath, towards the South-Eastern edge of the London conurbation, is still a decidely White place, although the African presence is growing apace. Admittedly the people out and about in the shopping centre on a weekday afternoon are visibly skewed towards the elderly, but the visible adult population, shoppers and shopworkers, is over 90% White.

With the schoolkids, the demographic shift is stark. At a very rough guess I'd say they were 50% Black, 40% White and 10% other. This of course confirms the repeated reports of the demographic make-up of London's schools. What is interesting is that this observation was made at the outer edge of London, not in one of the inner boroughs.

What will Bexleyheath Broadway look like in ten years' time, I wonder.

The second interesting observation was the extent to which the kids stuck together in single-race groups. This was quite striking: groups of six-to-eight Black kids marching about, groups of three-to-four White girls discussing the displays in shop windows. The smaller numbers of Indian and Chinese children also stuck together in their respective tribes. That is not to say that there was no interaction at all between ethnicities, but it was very much at the margins and largely one-to-one. I got the impression that the kids were friendly enough with children of other races, but they would retreat into their own tribal groups for solidarity and support.

Merely a casual observation, but it seems to give the lie to the assertions of diversity-mongers like Trevor Phillips that today's kids are increasingly "colour-blind". They are certainly familiar with a diversity of racial groups, but anything but socially colour-blind. We are often told that an increasingly "diverse" population (ie lots more Black and Brown people, please) will lead to greater cohesion through familiarity. I suspect, and my own casual observations over the years tend to reinforce this view, that as the non-indigenous component of the population relentlessly increases in number, the various ethnic groups reach critical mass and begin to look inwards, leading to a balkanized multiculture of many tribes in an uneasy and unstable peace with each other and not the vibrant enriching, happily diverse utopia we have been led to expect.

21 January, 2009


A little light relief

Over at CiF, the egregious and truly wonderful Mr Rent-a-Cause himself, Peter Tatchell, argues, in essence, that the Monarchy is racist 'cos the Queen isn't Black like that nice Mr Barry O'Barmy.

15 January, 2009


Pakigate revisited

Over on CiF, Haroon Siddique tells us just how deeply he is offended by Prince Harry's off-the-cuff remark. 300+ comments follow. Unless you have nothing better to occupy your time, I wouldn't recommend wading through the article or the comments. Here's a summary. Most of the usual suspects participate and rehearse their usual positions, talking as ever over each others' shoulders. Final score: 80% "Who gives a shit?", 20% "This is the most deeply offensive thing ever to have happened in the history of the world; disband the royal family; shoot all White people".

As mego ("my eyes glaze over") was beginning to set in, I happened on this comment:

12 Jan 09, 6:31pm

Football against racism has made a positive contribution to this subject in our society.

My local office football team are racing through the leagues at the moment. At a recent match an Asian lad playing for the opposition was fouled. Whilst he was laid out on the floor in some pain the white goalkeeper of our team shouted so everyone could hear "get off the floor you fucking paki". The referee reported the incident the punishment meted out was either drop the player permanently from the team or the team had to disband.

Ridding our country of racism has a civilising effect on it. Reducing thuggery and engendering respect for other people.

Obviously we don't know the context and backstory here. Did the goalkeeper have extensive "previous" on the abuse front? Was this particular remark motivated by general exasperation, with the phrase "fucking Paki" being merely an identifying term of abuse without specific racist intent, much as someone might call me a "fucking four-eyed cunt" without specifically intending to mock my mild visual disability? Was it a genuinely racist remark because the goalkeeper just "didn't like darkies"? Or was it a more directed abusive criticism: perhaps the goalkeeper thought the other player was faking injury in an attempt to get his opponent booked?

We don't know, so let's just take the post at face value, as "Mr Stewpot" posted it. A player makes an abusive comment about another player. Because of the particular form of words used, the referee reports the incident to the governing body who, because of this one remark, insist that the offending player be permanently excluded. Not rebuked, fined or even excluded from say, one subsequent match, but fired outright.

Do we not think that this is just a little disproportionate? Mutual abuse on the football pitch is certainly something to be discouraged and where appropriate punished, but throwing someone out of the game permanently for an off-colour comment? Again I offer a comparison with a different scenario. Had the fallen player been of short stature and the goalkeeper had called out "Get off the floor (floor?) you short-arsed cunt!", would the punishment have quite so draconian? I suspect not.

This heavy-handed reaction "[reduces] thuggery and [engenders] respect for other people", claims Mr Stewpot. I wonder. It seems more likely to engender an unwillingness to get involved with non-Whites at all. This guy's behaviour was clearly out-of-order, but it seems you never know when you're going to inadvertently cross some unseen line of offence and have your epaulettes of membership of polite society torn ritually from your shoulders before being cast into the outer darkness. Best not to chance it, perhaps.

There seems to be a hysteria, a mounting hysteria, about race relations in the UK. Each negative incident, however trivial, is parlayed by the Liberal Establishment, the liberal media and the professionally offended of the race industry into a shock-horror front-page crisis. The guilty are promptly taken away and hanged. I wouldn't be surprised to see soon the erection of a new gallows at Tyburn for the public execution of racists, pour encourager les autres. One almost gets the feeling that "They" are desperately trying to keep the lid on something, cracking down firmly on every development that might permit the White population to begin to express its concerns openly.

Frequently, insult is added to injury by actually stifling legitimate if "inappropriately" expressed criticism. Remember Big Ron and Marcel Desailly? Atkinson, believing himself to be off-air, referred to Desailly as "what is known in some schools as a fucking lazy thick nigger". A few people took issue with the "thick", indignantly reminding us how many languages Desailly could speak (an ironically unwitting reference to the Monty Python travel agent sketch, but let that pass). But the Great and the Good went suitably apeshit over the use of "nigger", and Big Ron was hounded out of employment. And yet behind the clumsy language, what was it all about? Desailly was due to retire from premiership football at the end of the season and Atkinson believed the player was slacking, no longer pulling his weight, to the detriment of his team, which behaviour Atkinson regarded as unprofessional and despicable. You know, I can't help wondering, even if Big Ron had not been caught using the N word, would he have got away with criticizing a Black man? Perhaps he should have asked somebody like Ian Wright to voice the criticism for him; that would have been safer.

Recall the current prosecution and shaming of fans for "racial and homophobic abuse" of Sol Campbell? Abusive and uncalled-for, yes, but what was it about? It was about Spurs fans barracking Campbell, himself an ex-Spurs player now playing for the "enemy" Portsmouth team. They were having a go at him for being a turncoat, not for being a Black man. A fairly typical fan reaction, I would have thought.

Do these two cases matter? Yes they do because they simply serve to stoke up White resentment, the sense that non-Whites, whatever they may do, however badly they may behave, are beyond criticism.

No, if the Establishment it thinks it can continue indefinitely to bully us into compliance by draconian overreaction and show trials, it may be mistaken. Every little Pakigate, every little Sootygate: read the newspaper reader-comment threads, talk to White people in the shops and the pubs, people are getting very very fed up of this stuff. I only hope it doesn't explode too messily.

Perhaps I ought to rename this blog, "It will all end in tears".

12 January, 2009


A storm in a silver spoon

So that tireless guardian of public morality, The News of the Screws, gets its grubby hands on a spur-of-the-moment home movie shot by HRH Prince "Nice but Dim" Harry in which the Carrot-topped One refers to his comrade-in-arms Ahmed as a "Paki" — and lo the Meeja goes apeshit.

Some earnest unshaven young Wog called Mohammed Shafiq, seemingly a spokesman for the National Forum of Perpetually Offended Young Muslims, is interviewed respectfully as he warns us how even more Deeply Offended he and all the other unshaven young Wogs now are. Call-Me-Dave is wheeled out to reassure us that the Tories are not the bunch of racists we all secretly hope they are and that "this sort of thing" must be rooted out mercilessly. The CEHR stirs menacingly in its lair and threatens unspecified legal consequences if the required acts of penance, self-flagellation and sincere contrition are not performed entirely to its satisfaction. The MoD harumphs vaguely, wishing the whole thing would go away. And smug left-wing bloggers and forum-posters throughout the land seize the opportunity to call for the royal family to be stripped of its remaining privileges and forcibly exiled to the Islamic Republic of Dewsbury.

Do get a grip!

If young Hal's fellow trainee soldier had been, shall we say, a White Englishman of below-average stature and our witty young prince had referred to him as a shortarse or, displaying an unwonted euphemistic wit, as "Our very good friend Cornet Shorthouse", then oh how the massed hacks of the popular prints would have chuckled loyally and indulgently, reassuring the fretting plebs that the future of the monarchy was in safe hands.

But unfortunately the target of Harry's feeble wit was a Smoked Irishman, and therefore holy. The mortal and blasphemous sin of Racism has been committed and the sinner must be punished, preferably along with the entire indigenous population who the authorities suspect, probably correctly, of secretly sympathizing with the young prince.

Meanwhile, across the land, gathered for daily worship in the temples of St Tim Martin, the remaining indigenous population rolls its collective eyes, turns away from the Sky News silently playing on the giant telescreen, and applies itself to the serious matter of supping its 99p pints of Greene King IPA.

A storm in a silver spoon, indeed!

I leave you with a question directed towards Uncle Trevor of the CEHR. The next time some nasty Spectaclist and Regionalist Paki scumbag calls me a Four-Eyed Northern Git, will you take action if I complain nicely? Us persecuted minorities look to you for protection, innit?

UPDATE Su 18 Jan 2009

This post seems to have upset some of the good folk at Pickled Politics who took umbrage at my use of the word "wog" above, and consequently called me all manner of unpleasant things. One commenter complained that the post had contaminated her browser. Well, love, if you're of a sensitive nature and plan to browse the Web, it's advisable to get yourself a washable browser.

So why did I refer to Mohammed Shafiq as an "unshaven wog"? Well, Mr Shafiq is a Professional Offended Muslim, although on this occasion he seems to be assuming the more general role of of Professional Offended Non-White. He, like the Bungler-Wallah, Darcus and the Yazzmonster — who sound uncannily like creatures created by the fertile imagination of Maurice Sendak — are the particularly pernicious public variant of the Race-Card Artiste, ie those members of Approved Persecuted Minorites who deliberately manipulate and exploit the fear, nay terror, which has been inculcated into White people of being accused of racism, in order to further their own or their group's ends.

I despise such behaviour. Mr Shafiq's behaviour is no better than that of an employee who deliberately threatens to deploy "the race card" to get his own way at work. And yes, I have seen that happen on numerous occasions. Worse indeed, as Mr Shafiq acts in the public arena and potentially affects the lives of many.

In short, I called Mr Shafiq by the derogatory word "wog" because he behaves like one. "Unshaven" was just a bit of supplementary gratuitous abuse, inspired by the fashion for young men of UK-born Pakistani heritage for spiky hair and a 5-day shadow.

I was minded to add this update after I came across Mr Shafiq's apology, available here on his very own blog. It seems that Mr Shafiq realizes that he has overstepped the mark, or more likely perhaps that his outburst has not gone down too well and might adversely impact his career profile. Well, Mo, on behalf of the White (dare one say, "indigenous") population, I will give your supplication due consideration.

Oh and before someone starts on my use of the phrase "Paki scumbag" at the end of my original post, do read it in context. If a person of South Asian heritage were to abuse me using a phrase like "four-eyed Northern git", then I would feel perfectly entitled to respond in any terms I choose.

That is the point I am trying to get across in this and similar posts: the asymmetry of the social and linguistic rules established and promoted by "political correctness" is unjust and unacceptable. Perhaps we ought to appoint some Professional Offended White rent-a-spokesmen to come on the telly and complain every time Anjem Choudary opens his fatuous gob.

You show me respect, guys, and I'll show you respect.

04 January, 2009


Link du jour

From the man who had the guts to write this — the great Kevin Myers is spot on as ever.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?