This made me laugh:
These expensive professionals seem to be very fragile creatures; the smallest hack, which no Public School boy would think of noticing, is enough to send them to earth in a well-acted, but supremely ridiculous, agony of pain, whereupon the referee blows his hard-worked whistle and hurries to soothe the injured spot with a sympathetic paw.
As you can probably tell from the language it’s from a while ago. 1913 to be exact and it’s from The Times’s report of that year’s FA Cup final. Yes, people then were making exactly the same complaints about footballers that they do now. At least they weren’t trying to eat one another.
What is really astonishing is the size of the crowd. 120,000 (the second highest ever) at Crystal Palace, of all places. I googled and found this photo from 1905:
What a mess! But as the article I linked to points out most of the crowd had no idea what was going on. Not only that but it was clearly a dangerous place to be:
Many of the railings designed to render the crowd of standing spectators less fluid and mobile collapsed with a crash, and there must have been scores of minor casualties.
Read the whole thing as they used to say.
Voting to leave Brussels will cause your wife to have bigger breasts and increase your chances of owning a BMW M3.
- Boris Johnson, leader of the Conservative Party during the EU referendum of 2017 (as imagined by David Charter in Au Revoir, Europe: What if Britain left the EU?)
It is to do with urbanisation. Quite simply, the more people who live in cities the greater the amount of gun control.
It’s not just Britain and America. Switzerland, largely rural, has very little gun control, while America’s cities, as I understand it, tend to have plenty. I suspect one of the reasons for this is that in the cities you can have a reasonably effective police force. OK there’s the quip about “When seconds count the cops are only minutes away.” but better minutes than hours.
Also, I suspect politicians themselves are affected by this. In a city a politician finds himself surrounded by potential assassins, all of whom are nearby. “Best to disarm them”, he thinks. In less populated areas this is far less the case. It is perhaps no accident that high-rise New York City had gun control well before anywhere in the UK.
A pistol. A 1907 Dreyse to be exact.
The Times, Tuesday, Feb 25, 1913; pg. 10. Click to enlarge
Many months ago I recorded a BBC documentary called “Health before the NHS”. Not having much of a stomach for statist propaganda I had been putting off watching it. The other night I finally got round to doing so.
Now, you will be shocked (shocked I tell you!) to hear, that the conclusion they reached was that the creation of the NHS was a very wonderful thing indeed. The problem was that if you actually looked at the evidence they presented – without making allowances for cherry picking – you’d have to reach precisely the opposite conclusion. This is what the BBC thought counted as evidence:
- There have always been state hospitals.
- They have always been awful. Dirty, miserable, useless.
- Before 1900 most operations were carried out at home
- Almost all developments in medicine in the first half of the 20th Century were pioneered by voluntary hospitals (ie private hospitals).
- It was voluntary hospitals that pioneered the idea that you might have an operation in a hospital and not at home.
- Voluntary hospitals were able to survive on charity until taxation in the 1920s got so high that this became increasingly difficult.
Something they did not cover was the introduction of a state general practitioner service in 1912. This was the real beginning of the NHS. At the time, I assume, no one in government thought voluntary hospitals particularly important, so they were ignored and, of course, they went on to transform healthcare. It really is amazing what a little freedom can do. It was only in 1948 that the government realised its “mistake” and nationalised the voluntary hospitals as well.
The BBC even opined that the NHS “integrated” healthcare (whatever that might mean) and managed to give the impression that it brought forth infinite resources for its activities. You have to admire their chutzpah.
Hospital subscribers in 1916. For further info see here.
In an ideal world we wouldn’t have states. But we don’t live in an ideal world and so we do have states and the borders that exist between them.
In the run up to the First World War state power was on the rise. For reasons I don’t entirely understand but I suspect are related, nationalist movements were springing up all over the world. Irish nationalism was one of them.
In 1912 the British government, which was dependent on Irish nationalist support began its third attempt to grant Home Rule to Ireland. This would have given Ireland a similar status to the one Scotland enjoys today – autonomy but not independence. Unionists objected.
On 1 January 1913 Edward Carson, the leader of Irish unionism, moved an amendment to exclude Ulster. This can’t have been easy for a man who as MP for Dublin University represented a non-Ulster constituency. It is significant because it marks the moment when Unionists accepted that Home Rule in some form was going to happen. What they were trying to do was to salvage something – as they would have seen it – from the wreckage.
The Times of 2 January 1913 explained the situation:
Ireland is a geographical expression. Statesmen have to deal with things as they are, not with the names of things, if they wish their work to stand. Politically, socially, and economically there are two distinct communities inside the geographical area we call Ireland. These two are not merely different, but sharply opposed in their ways, their ideals, their character, and their material conditions.
This is something that was recently echoed by Ruth Dudley-Edwards:
As a Dubliner from Catholic, nationalist stock (albeit by then an atheist), the biggest problem I faced when I began to cover Northern Ireland as a journalist two decades ago was that I couldn’t understand the thought-processes of most Protestant unionists. It took me a while to grasp that one of the biggest differences between the two tribes is that Catholics are naturally hierarchical, and Protestants aren’t.
John Redmond (leader of the nationalists) thought exclusion was absurd.
The proposal for the exclusion of the four counties of Ulster had some characteristics which enabled men to use more or less plausible arguments in its favour. But, if they were to give Unionist representation to these four counties, why not also give representation to the Nationalist minorities in Belfast?
Frankly I rather wish he’d been taken up on his suggestion. But anyway, the disturbing part is that he didn’t accept Ulster’s exclusion. Why not? Was it really so difficult to accept that there are two nations in Ireland and still are? Was it really so difficult to accept that if the Irish had a right to independence from Britain then the Ulster British had a right to independence from Ireland? Had Redmond accepted it he would have saved us all a lot of trouble. There would have been no Rising in 1916, no martyrs, no IRA campaign and no subsequent myth that the IRA were responsible for Ireland’s independence.
So, why the resistance to Ulster’s exclusion? Money may have been a factor. Then, as now, Ulster was much richer than the rest of the island. Revenge may have been another. This would have been revenge for lands nationalists felt they had lost three hundred years previously, although one dreads to think quite what form this revenge might have taken.
One of the baffling aspects of what was going on was the utter refusal of the British government to take note of the strength of opinion in Ulster. Half a million people signed the Ulster Covenant committing themselves to resisting Home Rule. The following 18 months would see large-scale gun-running, the foundation of an Ulster militia and an army “mutiny”.
Bringing this all up to date a recent poll suggested that only 7% of Northern Ireland’s population want unification with the Republic immediately and only 32% in 20 years’ time. It does rather beg the question why 45% or so vote for explicitly nationalist parties.
By the way I couldn’t help noticing that this historic parliamentary debate took place on New Year’s Day. In 2013, the politicians didn’t turn up until the 7th.
Not only that but feminist plays. In France, it is only fair to point out:
The Times, 23 December 1912 p8
In La Femme Seule he discusses the position of a well-educated young girl who is forced by financial ruin and the lukewarmness of her betrothed to earn her own living.
Threrese, the heroine… finds employment as a manageress of women workers in her uncle’s factory. Here it is the economic selfishness of man that drives her from her work. The men in the factory object to female competition and strike.
Not that that doesn’t present itself with an opportunity for some cross-Channel point scoring:
The play served to show how slow France has been to respond to the feminist movement.
In comparison to England, that is. Which I find surprising. I know there has been a revolution when it comes to women in the workforce over the last 40 years, but a century ago? But if it was the case that women were entering the workforce and they were paying the newly-introduced income tax could that explain the demand for female suffrage?
By the way, the latest suffragist tactic is to pour acid into pillar boxes.
Correction 15/1/13 Income tax (in the UK) was not introduced just before 1912. It was introduced (on a permanent basis) by Peel in 1842.
I’ve been reading about both recently. For those unfamiliar with it, the Dreyfus Affair of the 1890s involved the wrongful conviction of a French officer for treason.
So, the similarities:
In the Dreyfus case, the authorities faked the evidence. In the Climate Wars the authorities sought to “hide the decline”.
In the Dreyfus case, an officer who raised doubts was removed and posted to the desert. In the Climate Wars, anyone raising doubts will find himself in the academic equivalent.
In the Dreyfus case, the authorities were aided by a tide of anti-semitism. In the Climate Wars the authorities are helped by a tide of environmentalism.
In the Dreyfus case, the author Emile Zola was sued for libel. In the Climate Wars, the author Mark Steyn is being sued for libel.
In the Dreyfus case the authorities withheld evidence that would have exonerated Dreyfus. In the Climate Wars the “scientists” refuse to publish their data.
In the Dreyfus case the authorities felt it was all right to lie because the truth was on their side. In the Climate Wars some warmists, convinced that the truth is on their side, are happy to lie.
In the Dreyfus case, Dreyfus was exiled to Devil’s Island. In the Climate Wars it’s the truth that is far, far away and under guard day and night.
In the Dreyfus case, and after many years, justice was eventually done. In the Climate Wars…well, we’ll see.
Alfred Dreyfus begins to regret challenging the global warming orthodoxy
While perusing the Times from 1912 I came across an article that mentioned Austrian mobilisation. This got my attention for two reasons. The first reason was that it’s big stuff. Mobilisation is as close as you can get to going to war with actually doing so. Things must have come close to the brink. As Eric Sass explains (in a wonderful series, by the way) they had:
On November 22, 1912, Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm II had promised Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the Austrian and Hungarian thrones, that Germany would back up Austria-Hungary in a war, and on November 17, the French premier Raymond Poincare assured the Russian ambassador that France would back up Russia. The stage was set for a conflagration.
He goes on:
Fortunately, internal divisions in St. Petersburg helped avert further escalation. The Council of Ministers, furious that Nicholas II had bypassed them in ordering mobilization, demanded that he cancel the orders. At the same time, France, Germany, and Britain were scrambling to arrange a diplomatic meeting that would allow them to iron out the complicated situation in the Balkans; the Conference of London, which first met in December 1912, ended up preventing Serbia from expanding to the sea, satisfying Austro-Hungarian demands.
I love the use of the word “fortunately”.
The Austrians even issued a commemorative medal:
The second reason it grabbed my attention was that it completely undermines the argument (put forward by Harry Elmer Barnes) that the Entente was just as much to blame for the First World War as the Germans. The claim rests on the idea that mobilisation meant war. In other words, Russia’s partial mobilisation in 1914 was just as aggressive as Germany’s subsequent declaration of war. The fact that a mobilisation happened and war did not follow only a couple of years previously would appear to blow that argument out of the water.
From: The Times, 11 December 1912 p5
Libel actions. They’re things that only really, really rich people can indulge in aren’t they? At least, they are nowadays. But what about a hundred years ago? Here’s an example involving a building surveyor suing an architect.
Now, reading the article, it doesn’t sound as if the surveyor is exactly loaded. Yet he brings his case and (amazingly) wins it. By the way, the damages are about £10,000 in today’s money if you convert to and from gold.
This is not an uncommon occurrence. Another example I found a few months ago was a small school bringing a case against a disgruntled parent. And I have spotted others. These are cases of not particularly well-heeled people – although, to be fair, not exactly poor people either – finding no great difficulty in suing for libel.
Two questions. One, have I got my facts right? Two, if I have, what has changed?
“And when the Brits initially kept their distance, Led Zeppelin grabbed America from the opening chord.”
- Barack Obama.
So, is it true that the people responsible for launching the careers of The Beatles, The Who, The Kinks, The Small Faces, Pink Floyd and Jimi Hendrix kept their distance from Led Zeppelin? The only test I can think of is to see how well their records performed in the charts. In this, Wikipedia is your friend. And it shows that all of Led Zeppelin’s studio albums did at least as well in the UK as in the US and that Led Zep I (the one with that opening chord) did better.