Bonfire Night is insufficiently glum. Something must be done.
An earlier Guardian poll - Should Fireworks be Banned on Environmental Grounds? - was a close-run thing, with a narrow majority willing to permit an evening of explosive hedonism. The Guardian’s Felicity Carus suggested a possible compromise in the form of “green fireworks,” a quieter, less colourful, less explosive alternative made from sawdust and rice chaff.
Some people weigh their activist credentials by the annoyance they arouse, often deliberately, while dismissing the irritation as symptomatic of exposure to the Daily Mail. The degree of inconvenience and subsequent hostility can then be taken as evidence of one’s own righteousness and a cause for satisfaction. As if on cue, Sunny Hundal tells us: “Environmental issues is one area where I don’t yield much, and frankly when people snort angrily about [anti-air travel activists] Plane Stupid, that gives me even more pleasure.” Though not, I suspect, quite as much pleasure as Mr Hundal’s own extensive air travel adventures, which were excitedly announced shortly before his declaration of support for Plane Stupid: “Honestly, I love these guys.” Now I’ve no objection at all to people flying halfway around the planet, twice, as Mr Hundal did, to India then California, but I’m not the one declaring my “hard-line” green credentials.
Margaret Jamison is a lesbian feminist who defines rape as “all penile intercourse” on grounds that, “there is something wrong with this notion that a woman’s ‘consent’ is what separates a rapist from a non-rapist.” When not insisting that “all heterosex is rape,” Jamison’s thoughts turn a little too readily to the subject of harming children: “I believe male infanticide to be a better option than the current circumstances. I think it’s better than what we’ve got.”
Meet Arun Smith, the ideal self-satisfied product of a leftist education.
Despite his extensive commentary on the subject, Arun Smith still hasn’t specified any actual remark that offended him sufficiently to vandalise the university’s free speech wall then boast about it online. However, he does tell us that expectations of free speech are “structurally oppressive.” Quizzed on his presumed entitlement to violence, Mr Smith replies, “You forget that writing can be violence. Resistance to violence is not violence.” And so he, being heroic, must resist and intervene to save some (again unspecified and exquisitely precious) potential victim. In this case, presumably, he’s saving them from the psychological hazard of passing by the statement “traditional marriage is awesome.” Four words that would obviously shatter the self-esteem of any vulnerable student already on the verge of weeping. Such are the dramas to be enacted in the modern Canadian university, one of the most indulgent and cossetting environments in the history of the world.
The Guardian’s fashion guru Charlie Porter has a bag that’s much too daring for Canary Wharf security.
“I heard someone behind me. I turned and saw a man in jeans and a plain top. ‘Security,’ he said quietly but firmly, showing me some ID. ‘Can I have a word?’ He asked to see my bag. ‘Is it yours?’ I said yes, incredulous. This felt like a parallel universe. ‘It’s just that we’ve had a lot of women’s handbag thefts. You can’t be too careful.’”
This is an extraordinarily, absolutely, uniquely cohesive political entity and society… I’ve been there. I’ve seen it up close and personal… They do have a satellite circling the Earth. They do have a cohesive, pristine, innocent culture. A culture that has not been penetrated by globalisation and by Western mores… I’m much more afraid of the United States of America and so are most people in the world.
Consider George Monbiot. These days he rails against austerity, especially of the Tory variety, saying it has “extended the crisis” and “hurt” ordinary people by propelling Britain into a double-dip recession. But wait – I thought he loved the idea of recession? In 2007 he wrote an article called Bring on the Recession, in which he argued that, as “unpleasant as it will be,” and yes, “some people [will] lose their jobs and homes,” a recession might at least help prevent “ecological disaster” by reining in pesky, polluting economic growth. Back then, in his book Heat, which was lapped up by leftists and praised to the hilt by that Queen of the Left, Naomi Klein, Monbiot proudly said radical environmentalism was a “campaign not for abundance but for austerity.” Got that? For austerity. He said that where the dumb, consumption-hooked masses have a tendency to “riot because they want more, not less,” it was incumbent upon enlightened radicals to “riot for less” and even to “riot for austerity.” Once again, for austerity.
Chris Snowdon has more on the subject, including one columnist’s belief that lowered living standards would be a “freeing” experience and result in a “more amiable atmosphere,” with the threat of poverty forcing shopkeepers and taxi drivers to be more polite:
When the full impact of the recession hit home a few months later, these columnists had the good sense to shut up about unemployment cleansing the soul for fear of being lynched by their readers… In part, it can be attributed the demands of being a contrarian newspaper columnist with space to fill, but there is no doubt that there are many people in well-paid jobs who believe that poverty is noble and empowering… It would be nice to think that some of these miserablists have learnt a lesson from the era of alleged austerity, but I suspect that it will only take a few quarters of economic growth for the attacks on GDP to return.
And of course we mustn’t forget the glorious visions of the New Economics Foundation, whose deep thinkers want to make us “better citizens” by taking away our stuff.
Most of the domestic policies Ken favours were last presented to the British public in Michael Foot’s 1983 general election manifesto, accurately described by former Labour minister Gerald Kaufman as “the longest suicide note in history.” Thirty years after that electoral catastrophe, the one reason to welcome this film is that it reveals more clearly than anything else the backward-looking, scarily obsessive, extreme political agenda of those who subsidise films in Britain — and, indeed, those who ‘criticise’ them, for I guarantee that this will receive the most respectful reviews of any release this week.