Saturday, August 18, 2007

Nathalie Rothschild escapes Climate Camp

As an antidote to most of the media's fawning love-in with the protesters, good old-fashioned Express hippy-rage aside, Nathalie Rothschild's account of her visit to the Climate Camp is superb. I was going to cut some sections out but the whole article is so worth reading I won't. Go read it.

The difference between honour killing and a conservative view of family

Gracchi discusses the position of women:

"At one end of that extreme lies the emerging problem in the UK of honour killings, at the other more benign end you have a character like Dennis Prager who informed his readers in 2003 that women going to see male strippers were betraying their true nature,

"It has told them that equality means acting the same as men. That is how you have the utterly false spectacle of women acting thrilled to have anonymous men strip and rub themselves on them."

Mr Prager ought to remember that women are quite capable of working out their sexuality without his help and that furthermore their sexuality will vary."

Prager is clearly generalising to some extent but I think his claim seems at least somewhat plausible. There is good reason, in evolutionary biology terms, to expect that a woman's sexuality will function somewhat differently to that of a man. After all, in a primitive situation anonymous sex would have worked well for a man (who could have created a child without putting in the effort to bring it up) but exceptionally poorly for a woman (who would face bearing a child without support).

The argument that Prager is patronising women is plausible if you just read the section of the text Gracchi has quoted. However, the evidence Prager uses to back up his argument is the testimony, from calls to his radio show, of young women. He asked women to work out their own sexuality just as Gracchi recommends.

Finally, Prager's conclusion doesn't seem at all demeaning to women. I think that it casts them in a rather good light. As more emotionally intelligent compared to men who are too often at the mercy of their hormones.

"Mr Prager's real concern though in stating this difference is his idea that women are the basis and buttress of the family unit- and consequently can't behave in the way that he perceives them behaving- in that sense like the honour killer he sees the world as one where women are men's property, in mourning what he calls the "death of femininity" what Mr Prager mourns is the period in which a woman's sex life was a way of signifying the virtue of the community in which she lived in."

This is the part of Gracchi's post that really troubles me.

Firstly, Gracchi has entirely assumed Prager's 'real concern'. There is no mention of family values in Prager's piece.

Secondly, the view that women are a basis and buttress of the family unit does not imply the view that they are somebody's property. I think I'd see women as a basis and buttress of the family unit. I'd say the same for men and, indeed, for children. That does not imply that any member of the family is the property of any other. This is just an attempt to fit the square peg of the family relationship into the round hole of the Left's power narrative.

Finally, the idea that Prager is mourning "the period in which a woman's sex life was a way of signifying the virtue of the community in which she lived in." is entirely unsubstantiated. The difference between Prager and the honour killer would be obvious to any less hyperbolic treatment of Prager's piece as his discussion is based upon the question "what kind of relationship with men is most fulfilling, both emotionally and sexually, for women?" The honour killer would see that question as almost entirely irrelevant.

Gracchi is drawing continuities that don't exist. There is no similarity between the entirely caring, decent and respectful perspective of most social conservatives and the sick, twisted worldview of the honour killer.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Stop aggregating Britain

This article by Fraser Nelson for the Business is a brilliant elaboration of a theme this blog has noted before. It is increasingly impossible to understand trends in Britain in terms of aggregate movements.

I know regional divides are not unique to the UK. However, few countries have divides quite as stark as Britain's. Few countries have such a huge divide between the Hong Kong capitalism of the City and other such areas, that exists thanks to things like the non-domiciled rules, and the quasi-Communist North. As I mentioned in the earlier blog there is some indication that we have the greatest regional income inequality in Europe. Nelson's article establishes that there is a similar inequality in terms of numbers on benefits.

Looking at aggregate statistics in income, unemployment and statism for the UK is almost entirely a superficial exercise. There is no significant central tendency. When we compare our record on productivity, income or unemployment (to name just three economic statistics - the same is true for others like life expectancy) to that of other countries we are comparing an entirely hypothetical Britain. The reality will often be that, for example on income, the South is just about the richest region in Europe and the poorer regions are just about the poorest.

I'm not sure our notoriously centralised politics can deal with this. We are used to having national debates (although whenever someone calls for a "national debate" I die a little inside) and those tend to be based upon aggregate statistics. It will take a fundamental shift in our national consciousness to understand that for many policy questions (such as "has the minimum wage seriously depressed unemployment?") no useful answer can be given for the United Kingdom as a whole. If we can't make that shift we're going to keep missing the point on a whole spectrum of issues.

American political organisation in 1972

This is fascinating:

I'm pretty sure that with over three decades of rapidly expanding computing power and declining cost the British parties now have a rather more sophisticated operation than the Republicans in 1972. Still, this video clip hints at how grand the organisational effort behind American elections is and I don't think either British party has the broad-based financing that the Republicans were clearly working on even back then.

Video via RealClearPolitics.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Getting "answers"

Today I forced my first response from a Minister (and in the Metro too but that isn't online).

Not only that; the response is also clearly wrong.

"I learned the names of your cities, what more do you want!"

An Obama campaign video for Iowa:

Less than inspiring.

Video via RealClearPolitics.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Aspirational Rochdale

Tim Aker posts on the TaxPayers' Alliance blog:

"If anyone needs convincing that Regional Development Agencies are a waste of time, space and money, one should look at the Rochdale Development Agency. The Times reports this morning that the Rochdale Development Agency has been advertising Rochdale by using pictures of Manchester.

Yes. They advertised Rochdale by showing pictures of a completely different area fifteen miles away. Why? The development agency said it was to “reflect the aspirations of Rochdale’s citizens”."

I think its probably quite an accurate reflection of the aspirations of Rochdale's citizens. To leave.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The new logo

Maybe I'm just being childish but has anyone else noticed a rather unfortunate consequence of the new variant of the oak tree logo?
It looks like Cameron is smoking something intense.