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F-word or N-word?

Myself I do not think the state should be in the business of subsidising housing. But if it is in that business then I do not think it is tolerable for the state to pick and choose whom to subsidise on the basis of other than individual circumstance – not group belonging.

New Labour minister Margaret Hodge begs to differ. She writes in The Observer today:

We should look at policies where the legitimate sense of entitlement felt by the indigenous family overrides the legitimate need demonstrated by the new migrants. We must debate these difficult questions.

If you have an ounce of conscience or historical background the questions [sic] are not difficult at all. Someone’s sense of entitlement does not trump someone else’s need – by which she necessarily implies it should curtail the second person’s legal rights – because the first person is ‘indigenous’. We know where that leads.

I have often suggested that the New Labour programme is a ‘soft’ form of fascism. I wonder now whether I was rude enough.

29 comments to F-word or N-word?

  • Chris Harper (Counting Cats)

    Of course NuLab is fascist. That is beyond reasonable dispute.

    However, I certainly see an argument for only those who have previously contributed to be given the benefits of the welfare state. This would certainly reduce welfare immigration.

    Does this make me soft fascist as well?

  • beta

    In addition to what Chris has mentioned above, there’s another point to be made. Ethnic minorities already receive disproportionate welfare assistance, according to HRM’s gov’ts own stats. Even more blatantly, ethnic immigrants and recent immigrants are benefited through the affirmative action system, which penalises indigenous citizens based on the colour of their skin.

    So, New Labour have already enacted a system of ‘reverse fascism’ (state discrimination vs. the indigenous), and are now trying to take steps in the opposite direction in a bid to ward off the righteous backlash.

  • And as usual the problem is not immigration, it is the welfare state.

  • Chris Harper (Counting Cats)

    And as usual the problem is not immigration, it is the welfare state.

    Absolutely, I can hardly slag off immigration. I am an immigrant myself, an Australian who moved to London and took British citizenship.

    An immigrant from a nation of immigrants.

    The problem is not immigration, the problem is welfare, as Perry says.

  • Julian Taylor

    Margaret Hodge’s CV certainly indicates one who would relish a fascist Britian. As leader of the People’s Revolutionary Council of Islington, where she was known as ‘Enver Hodge’ after the Albanian leader Hoxha, her seemingly active defence of serial child abusers within that council, and her simpering sycophancy to the Blair family with the consequential, albeit now dimishing, apppointments as Minister for Children and lesser junior positions at the DTI and DWP she certainly has an alarming history of authoritarianism. Invariably she puts a foot wrong in just about every political appointment she is granted, whether telling newly redundant MG Rover workers that they would have no problem finding work in the new Tesco being built, while a Minister of State at Work & Pensions, or inspiring the Financial Times just last October to write that, as a consequence of her appointment at the DTI, that department “should not have responsibility for business”. We should also not omit her regular showing in the Privacy International awards for ‘worst public servant’ in the civil rights section (2004 winner for the national children database).

    Perhaps the most damning indictment of whether she is actually a fascist or not can be from the scrutiny of last years local elections in Barking, where her approach of indulging rather than confronting the BNP seriously backfired upon her and the New Labour Experiment as a whole. One famous quote from that election was where she stated that when she was elected in 1994 Barking,

    … was a predominantly white working class area. Now go through the middle of Barking and you could be in Camden or Brixton.

    Hodge then went on to blame various policies spearheaded by Margaret Thatcher for the depletion of the stock of rentable houses for people on low incomes but we should bear in mind that the immigration problem in that area is certainly not more than many other parts of the UK, and considerably less than areas which resoundly saw off the BNP in the same elections.

    My conclusion is that to call her a fascist is an insult to fascists everywhere. The woman is a clunky amateur rabble-rouser who uses the race and immigration issues whenever she is so inclined, despite her own Germano-Austrian Jewish refugee roots.

  • Pa Annoyed

    I think the problem here is that Margaret really doesn’t understand the reasons for people’s feelings about immigrants and so she misreads them. Ironically, this is a case of them going against their own principles to do what they perceive the people as wanting. It is not that she herself is a fascist, but that she believes that the people who don’t like the consequences of immigration are nationalists, and she is trying to pander to them.

    The problem is that ordinary people regard the welfare state as a reciprocal arrangement – you identify with the culture and follow the rules and pay your taxes, and in return the state looks after you. It’s a bit like insurance. As with all something-for-something deals, people instinctively dislike freeloaders. They think in some fuzzy way that the British people somehow own the British state, and that it was created for the benefit of the British – like a company is created for the benefit of its shareholders. Even if you inherited the shares, you still feel annoyed at the CEO giving away half the profits to non-shareholders.

    Margaret and her ilk on the other hand are dyed-in-the-wool socialists, and think of it in terms of mere need granting entitlement. She dimly recognises that the voters don’t agree, but doesn’t really understand – can’t understand – the contractarian basis on which that disagreement is based.

    I’m not necessarily saying the British people are right either, mind. But I don’t think this is really Labour’s idea.

  • 1327

    Its been interesting to see the political activity on a council housing estate near here. The estate was built just after WW2 by the council under the control of the Labour party mostly to house its supporters in the working class who returned the favour and always voted Labour. However over the last 20 years the original inhabitants have died out and have mostly been replaced by a younger underclass who don’t work and don’t vote either. At which point the council seemed to go out of their way to move recent immigrants onto the estate. Once there they were courted with election leaflets in their own languages and the politicians made promises to help them bring more family over if of course they voted the right way. Now the locals have been stirred up by the BNP the Labour party has changed course 180 degrees and wants the local vote to stop more immigrants arriving. The trouble is it will probably work.

  • Margaret and her ilk on the other hand are dyed-in-the-wool socialists, and think of it in terms of mere need granting entitlement. She dimly recognises that the voters don’t agree, but doesn’t really understand – can’t understand – the contractarian basis on which that disagreement is based.

    I’m not necessarily saying the British people are right either, mind. But I don’t think this is really Labour’s idea.

    I think we have the fixed wealth fallacy lurking in the background, actually. There is so much wealth and so many houses and so such, and it is the job of the government to divide it all up. THe idea that people actually create wealth through work and the natural order of things is to actually create your own wealth that you then live off (rather than asking the government for help) is missed. The fact that all political parties are now filled with career politicians who have never done an economically productive day’s work in their lives doesn’t help the situation.

    Let’s face it though. This kind of argument is an inevitable consequence of having a welfare state. You don’t need immigration to have it. Some other group of domestic origins will take the place of “immigrants” equally well.

  • Neil Barnes

    This is not just about welfare as (as in benefits):

    “Young families on low wages cannot afford to buy a home and the council house stock has shrunk with tenants exercising their right to buy. These young families enjoy few choices.”

    The issue of housing shortage looms over all of us in the UK, particularly in the south. I’m not sure any political group has yet 1) understood what a big deal this is and how bad things could get, or 2) has any real idea on how to improve matters.

    If there is enough “stuff” to go around, it is hard to begrudge the other guy a share. When there is shortage…

  • hovis

    My tuppence worth:

    The problem is the welfare state. – totally agreed

    As an aside I believe Beveridge never envisaged a non contributory Welfare State but once implemented as such by th 1946 Lab Govt it/we were doomed.

    As to the Fixed Wealth Fallacy lurking in the background -Id totally agree with Micheal Jennings’ point. But as devils advocate Id say in the short term (and especially with planning regs) the supply of housing is inelastic which can exacerbate problems and entrench attitudes.

  • 2) has any real idea on how to improve matters.

    For London, two steps.

    (1) Abolish planning restrictions
    (2) Abolish the Green Belt.

    Do this and the amount of housing stock in the South East will rise dramatically, and the cost of housing (and real estate in general) will drop dramatically. As a bonus, the price of almost everything else will drop dramatically as well (as the high cost of property filters through into the price of everything, via rent and labour costs). I would also say

    (3) Fix London’s transport system (so that the physical area from which one can practically commute will increase) but that one would be harder.

    Of course, these things are politically impossible to do.

  • Paul Marks

    Sorry but the “needs” of migrants are none of the government’s concern (or, rather, should not be the government’s concern).

    The idea that the needs of migrants are a concern of government is why immigration sometimes does not work.

    It is one thing to say to working people “you have to accept lower wages and worse conditions due to competition with migrants”(such is life, not much can be done about it – and it is possible that there might even be some economic gains for the working poor in the long run), but it is another to say “p.s. you have to pay more in taxes for the migrants as well”.

    One can win an election without the votes of the working poor, but the well off (the people who benefit from migrants) also pay taxes – so higher taxes hit them (indeed they hit them more). So I would have thought that one thing that rich and poor could agree on is that government should NOT meet any of the needs of migrants. No education, no health care, no housing, nothing – and if the migrants choose not to come (knowing they are not going to get anything) well that is just too bad.

    After all the media is full of stories about how the migrants are hardworking and just come to work (and that is true of some of them) – so why would they want their needs met by government? Clearly they will not mind if none of their needs are met.

    In the United States the average illegal migrant costs (net – i.e. after the taxes that they pay) the taxpayers (Federal, State and local taxes combined) about 19 thousand Dollars per year (Heritage Foundation – costs of such things as education of children, E.R. room medical treatment, prison costs [many of the migrants commit crimes - and this does not include immigration detention, it is a matter of real crimes] and so on) with legalization (as with the present bill before the Senate) these costs will get even higher.

    As with Britain many welfare schemes are concentrated on the working poor (and, yes, illegals get a lot of money from them already – just as many people born in the country never apply for them no matter how low paid they are). With legal status this cost will grow – and, to give one example, the Social Security costs (Medicare and pensions) will be many times more than the migrants will ever pay in social security taxes.

    No doubt it is much the same in Britain, it is just harder to get the stats here.

    It is sad to see the character of the country changed – with urbanization eating up the country and people seeing places they have lived all their lives changed so much that they feel like aliens in their own land. Even here in Kettering (far away from any of the big cities) there is lots of “development” for the expanding population which the local people hate (although nothing can be done about it – it is all part of the “plan” from national government).

    However, the nonaggression principle includes free migration – so I am willing to go along with it.

    But I will not go along with it if it involves the needs of migrants being met by government.

    There is nothing free market about government paying for housing, medical care, education (whatever) for migrants or their children.

    “Native people should not get these things either” – fair enough, but adding to the bill does not make the Welfare State better (it makes it worse).

    “But if there is a great influx the Welfare State will finally collapse and surely you would support that”.

    Actually I do not want a collapse – I want things to be reformed (reformed out of existence yes, but still reform not a sudden collapse). Although, I admit, reform is not likely.

    Also there is a question of what will the collapse be into?

    Will the collapse lead to a free society (as Cato Institute types hope) or will it lead to a Latin American type situation – with a vast population of people in poverty, due to the break down of the basic economy (via such things as hyper inflation to try and maintain the various entitlement programs).

    A mass of people ready to support whatever Chevez type comes along.

    That is the road to “Fascism”.

  • Neil Barnes

    “(1) Abolish planning restrictions”

    I agree with this in principle, but of course the devil is in the details.

    “(2) Abolish the Green Belt.”

    Not politically doable. Also that farming land may one day be needed for food or fuel.

    “(3) Fix London’s transport system (so that the physical area from which one can practically commute will increase) but that one would be harder.”

    Actually this might be practical, 250 mph trains would put most of England in the commuter belt.

    One more of my own:
    (4) Stop building low rise “social housing”. Encourage high rise developments. All council housing to be a minimum of 20 stories high, everything else auctioned off. (If you want to live in a cottage then you can pay for it yourself.)

  • The problem goes away when you get the state out of the land control business.

    For example London just need to grow and the solution will happen naturally without any need for damn the state: just pave Kent over and what is not paved gets turned into reservoirs.

    Result will be (much) cheaper property prices for everyone and London’s growth into the centre of the universe can continue in spite of Ken Livingston (and his ilk’s) best efforts to strangle it.

  • I also believe that welfarism is mainly to blame.

    I also think that Magaret Hodge is pretty much beyond understanding anything of consequence. She lives in a fantasyland. She spouts nonsense which is laughed at, often to her face, but because she says it and smiles she thinks everyone agrees with her. The woman is a stranger to reason.

    As to the specifics, the biggest problem in my view is the very concept of “entitlement” and this goes for indigenous and the migrants equally.

    Surely the issue is about providing a safety net, not a comfy hammock in which people are born, grow up and then give birth to the next generation, while steadily provided larger and larger accomodation? One big issue with “need” is it is based upon overcrowding. Of course if you permit people who are already dependent on the state to bring in their own “dependents” or procreate new ones and create more overcrowding, then what do you expect?

    For me, social housing should be rationed to a max per life, just like welfare, then on to market rates. Anyone would realise that paying market rates for council housing is a bad deal and so they will move. Why we are allowing migrants in that need social housing while paying people to remain unemployed I don’t know.

    Does Britain have a private or voluntarily run “sink estate”? I doubt it. Council property blights otherwise promising but rundown areas,often making it have little hope of being regenerated by individual effort and endeavour, rather it is a massive, overpriced totalitarian regeneration project.

    More Peabody, less busybody.

  • Dave

    Guy, are you really saying someone whos paid into the ‘system’ their whole life is no more deserving of support from the state in their hour of need than an economic migrant (failed asylum seeker) whos only been in the country 5 minutes and never paid a bean?

    -
    Micheal Jennings

    2) has any real idea on how to improve matters.

    For London, two steps.

    (1) Abolish planning restrictions
    (2) Abolish the Green Belt.

    I would agree and support the idea if the number of people in Britain was relatively stable, but there is no point doing that as things stand because as Paul Marks points out the government gives massive financial inducements to immigrants, so that extra space would be filled up in no time leaving us back where we started.
    It wouldn’t solve the problem.

    There is no solution to the housing shortage without stronger immigration control.

    -
    The problem might go away if the government gets out of the land contol business (and migrant subsidy business) but since defending territory is what the state is about thats never going to completely happen.

    As libertarians go, I like people like Paul Marks because I get the feeling he is talking about the real world, as opposed to others who appears to be talking about an ideal fanasty world that doesn’t exist and isn’t ever going to.

  • Paul Marks

    Oh I can talk about fantasy worlds to Dave.

    Catch me on the right day and you will get me assuming that everyone comming into the United States is like the attractive hispanic presenters I see on Fox News. Not like the people one would actually meet if one went to the wrong areas of, say, L.A. (“there are plenty of native born whites who are criminals and welfare collectors” – quite true, but adding millions more such people does not help matters).

    Ditto migrants in Britain as the attractive and intelligent people one can meet (for example) in wealthy areas of London – rather than (say) the people that my ex employer (Headmaster Gerald Smith) imported (with the best of humanitarian intentions) into Northampton – who I later encountered as a security guard (i.e. pimps and other trash). “The Albanians are being persecuted so we should get them to come here” was not best example of thinking I have come upon.

    I agree with the people above that it is the Welfare State (in all its faults) that is a root of a lot (although not all) of the problems.

    However, although my Mother’s family were the Powers “I would not start from here” is not really good enough.

    We have to start from where we are – both in the Britain and in the United States.

    Get rid of the government aid (ALL of it) and then I will support free migration (although getting rid of government aid would not solve all the problems) – but not till then.

    And certainly I will not go along with the radical libertarian line one sometimes hears “but if the system really is put under such a burden that it collapses we will get a free society……”

    I think it much more likely that we would get something very different.

    Oddly enough even the ultra theorectical Ron Paul agrees with this.

    Being a Texas Congressman and seeing the practical effects of mass immigration every day, it is difficult for him to hide behind theory in this case.

    On the other hand fantasy worlds sometimes come true.

    After all who would have thought (in the 1920′s or 1930′s) that a conservative Roman Catholic would ever be President of Mexico.

    And all those who say that reforming social security is impossible should note that the Mexican government has just done this (at least so I have been told).

    I know that the situation is still very bad (for example the “social justice” or “liberation theology” doctrine that poor people have a moral right to kidnap, and to rape and murder, rich people is still common in Mexico – for some reason sections of Hollywood have always found this doctrine attractive in the Mexican context, I wonder how they will react when it starts happening in L.A.) but there are signs of hope.

    As for the rest of Latin America – for all the endless wars and socialist promise-the-poor-everything politicians the situation is not without hope. After all (to give only one example) one of the best free market universities in the world is in Guatemala.

  • Nick M

    Well, that is the closest thing to outright racism I have heard from a “mainstream” UK politician for a long time.

    I suspect (for whatever reason) Ms Hodge (bit close to warden Hodges?) is rattled by the BNP. She sounds like the BNP.

    Is she not aware that “economic migration” is a two way street. Genuine economic migration is to fulfill a demand here in the UK. A Polish plummer or Tanzanian nurse contributes much more than some long term (though British) moocher.

    You know, I thought that’s why they called it “National Insurance“. That’s the whole point of insurance isn’t it? It covers you from the moment you sign up and start paying premiums. You prang the car the question is, is that prang covered, not how long have you paid your premium!

    She lives in a fantasyland. She spouts nonsense which is laughed at, often to her face, but because she says it and smiles she thinks everyone agrees with her. The woman is a stranger to reason

    TimC. Yup, absolutely. NuLab seem to have a monstrous regiment of such wimin. NuLab have promoted thick, brass-faced moos like Hazel Bleary, Patricia Spew-it, “Irritable” Jowel and Roof Kelly. They are like the worst kind of ineffectual school teachers. And with typical NuLab irony have, by their advancement, put back the position of women in politics by a generation.

  • guy herbert

    You know, I thought that’s why they called it “National Insurance”. That’s the whole point of insurance isn’t it?

    A lot of people are under that mistaken impression. But it hasn’t operated like the friendly society policies it mimicked when first introduced for decades. And when it did it was a fund for unemployment pay, not housing or healthcare. Any link with pensions has always been one way. The word “Insurance” in this context is a lie rather like the “collective” in “collective farm”.

  • guy herbert

    Dave,

    Guy, are you really saying someone whos paid into the ‘system’ their whole life is no more deserving of support from the state in their hour of need than an economic migrant (failed asylum seeker) whos only been in the country 5 minutes and never paid a bean?

    Yes. Regarding the system as a piggy bank where people are led to believe that they can get out what they put in, plus something that other people have put in, is one of our biggest problems. If you want state services, somebody has to pay, and whoever is paying is usually not getting good value for money.

  • Nick M

    guy,
    I’m not under any misapprehension on that score. I used to work for NICO.

    I suppose what I meant was something closer to your last comment. If NI or tax is treated like a piggy bank where nanny ensures you put in a large chunk of your pocket money every week and therefore everyone eventually wants to get back what they paid in to get their money’s worth is mad. It’s a typical tragedy of the commons.

    If I was to pay BUPA for health cover would I hope to get something really serious to “get my money’s worth” out of it? Wow, I’ve now paid enough over the years for a kidney transplant so break out the scalpel and retractors Doc!

    Public services (to the extent that we should have them) shouldn’t base their provision of services on how much someone has contributed. That is raving mad. I do not resent the NHS shelling out for tourists who fall under a bus or for sick kids, neither of whom have paid much into the system.

    That’s not a defence of the NHS or welfare state. I’m just saying that if we have such things then their only conceivable virtue is their complete freedom of availability to everyone who needs it. This is another example of NuLab failing not just by my standards or your standards but by their own standards in terms of what they claim they wanted to achieve. I am sick to the back teeth of NuLab measuring their performance by how much they spend rather than how much they achieve. Something, of course, they only do because they have achieved frig all.

    I may not particularly like the idea of living in a socialist wonderland but I really can’t stick the idea of living in a dysfunctional socialist wonderland.

    Which brings me to the Michael Moore thread. Why bring up the NHS. Is he bloody stupid? There are social healthcare systems which actually, to a certain extent work well. The NHS isn’t one of them.

  • Jeff

    Well, that is the closest thing to outright racism I have heard from a “mainstream” UK politician for a long time.

    And what specific race are we discriminating against when one makes a statement of this sort?

    Infact, it’s the most recent immigrants (those that have arrived here within the last 50 years) that disproportionately make up the unemployment stats.

    Trade them in for some productive Polish, that’s what I say.

  • guy herbert

    Public services (to the extent that we should have them) shouldn’t base their provision of services on how much someone has contributed. That is raving mad. I do not resent the NHS shelling out for tourists who fall under a bus or for sick kids, neither of whom have paid much into the system.

    I agree entirely. Unfortunately our increasingly national socialistic government doesn’t.

    Following your lead, I suspect Moore fetishises the NHS partly for the same reason our left does: it is fully ‘socialised’ and centrally-controlled, in a way that the systems in other western countries mostly aren’t, insurance being part of his target and scarcely relevant here – and partly because a documentary requiring research or filming in languages other than English would be just to too hard.

  • Paul Marks

    Guy is correct on “national insurance”.

    David Lloyd-George set it up (for some, not all workers) in 1911 – and it was con from the start (he meant it as a con). He expressed his love of the Friendly Socieities (which already covered more that 80% of industrial workers are were growing) whilst having the hope of their long term destruction (in the short term he got them involved in the administration of the very schemes he intended to destroy them).

    The idea was a simple one – get people dependent on government benefits so that they vote for the party that provides them. In this David Lloyd-George was no different from Bismark before him, or Mr Brown in our own day.

    No doubt the people who work for the system are not dishonest, but the person who set it up was.

    This is why in Australia and New Zealand they do not even pretend (so I have been told) that welfare is anything other than welfare – and fund it from general taxation.

    On race:

    I went to an historical reconstruction the other day, and I did find myself thinking that the tall, blond people who played Saxons and Vikings did look superior to me.

    Of course this does not give them the right to gas me – but there we are.

    I tend to feel that Slavs (as well as Germanic or Nordic types) tend to look superior to me and my kin (on my farher’s side) as well.

    I suppose that is a sort of racism.

  • Nick M

    Jeff,

    And what specific race are we discriminating against when one makes a statement of this sort?

    Does that matter. If I said I hate all non-whites I’m not being specifically against a single race am I? It doesn’t stop it being a racist statement.

    Trade them in for Poles? That displays a collectivist way of thinking. So… What you saying? That the right of individuals to make whatever living in the UK should be determined by their country of origin en-bloc? That because x have tended to be more successful (by whatever standard you choose to apply) than y all of y should be deported in favour of letting x in?

    Guy,
    Absolutely. I think your last point is especially insightful. It was easier for Moore to film in England. That’s his style. He goes for the cheapest easist shot. I wonder who provides Mr Moore’s healthcare?

  • hermes

    Housing. and HIPS.
    It continues the theme of education (a new ‘qualification’) as employment. It acts to curb house selling without raising interest rates. And it’s all about saving the environment from global warming. Yeh right!

    Global warming follows up global terrorism as a ‘threat’ which the state can use to justify almost any interference, surveillance, laws and taxes. Of course, when the state decides the ‘war’ on warming – or the ‘war’ on terrorism – has been won, it will return the taxes, laws, surveillance to what they were before the threat … won’t they? Won’t they?
    I wonder when that will be?

  • hermes

    Not politically doable. Also that farming land may one day be needed for food or fuel.

    Where have you been? The state’s attitude to country and country people is so resented by people in the countryside because the idea that British people might eat their own food, let alone need it one day has been dumped in favour of Theme Park Britain. Farmers are paid, not to farm, but to keep the countryside pretty.

    Two world wars showed us how important it is to be able to feed ourselves. Transport costs (oil) are in the headlines everywhere. Farmers grow food – and fuel. We don’t have to wait for the future; we need farmers, farms and farmland right now.

    Listen up Islington!

  • guy herbert

    Paul,

    the tall, blond people who played Saxons and Vikings did look superior to me

    I suspect it is the tall that does it more than the blond, though since blond is rare it adds to the attention. We are all programmed to defer to taller people, and the successful in all professions tend to be taller than average, blond or not. When they aren’t it gets remarked on, so much do we expect it.

    Perry,

    For example London just need to grow and the solution will happen naturally without any need for damn the state: just pave Kent over and what is not paved gets turned into reservoirs.

    Well, yes and no. Our beloved Government is already paving Kent and Essex with state-encouraged development. They’ve been pushing people east for decades. Thamesmead is an obsession. The trouble is why would anyone poor want to live in Kent when the work is miles away in London? They end up forced by rigged conditions into a commuting lifestyle that leaves them poorer in time and money, and enriches the planner’s favourites, the mass transport networks. The free solution wouldn’t in fact mean more countryside development, it would mean a denser London with some extensions to the west and north.

    Sure planning should be got rid of, but my intuition is that the big gains for the private supply of housing are there to be had from unspectacular policy changes. Let’s get rid of barriers that most people think are small and reasonable: the planning powers of local authorities regarding change of use and internal alterations, crowding-out by privileged local authority and para-statal housing, absurdly prescriptive building regulations, the difficulty of fair eviction, and the heavy-handed regulation of honest landlords over such things as furnishing, fire-doors, and heating appliances.

  • Paul Marks

    I must confess that I thought the children looked superior as well (and they were not taller than me) – perhaps you are right Guy and it was the rare blond factor. I remember thinking of the quote from the Pope (or Bishop of Rome) “not Angles but Angels”.

    There were the families sitting round the cooking pot preparing their stew – all very noble looking. And lots of handicrafts (by the men and women). All very impressive for a dyspraxic semi dead person like me.

    At least the S.S. men near by were ordinary looking people (and not producing anything). Which is fair enough (if they were supposed to be late S.S.) as in the late period of World War II more than half of the S.S. were not German (they were a truly Pan European military force). They had some friendly Alpine troops with them.

    The people dressed as Americans (whether Civil War, or 17th century Virginia militia) had expanded waist lines and acted as if they did not know what they were doing (although it was an act – if one looked closer, they did know what they were doing, they just liked playing games). It was difficult to resist joining in (I like the smell of black powder – even if it does make the mouth dry). The local people liked them best – because they had a cannon and horses (yes I liked the horses to).

    Still everyone was good. The Japanese, the Kights of St. John (black and white dressed Hospitalers – rather than the modern version with their med packs), and so on.

    It was on a small scale (unlike the Rockingham castle even the week before) but it reminded me that not all things are decaying in the world.

    “Planning”.

    End taxpayer subsidies (for roads and everything else) and then see how many of these “developments” happen (my guess – very few).

    The Daily Telegraph had an absurd editorial on “planning law” the other day – claiming that before planning law there were terrible developments in the towns and cities.

    Actually the “sack of Bath” and the other replacements of good buildings with bad buildings tended to happen AFTER the Town and Country Planning Act.

    It is not difficult to work out why. The sort of person who knows how to fill out a “planning application” and to play the “planning” system generally is a corporate type. And such people put up horrible boxes.

    Someone who would be likely to build something decent would not know how to play the planning system (indeed the whole process would disgust him) – and would not associate with people who did.