We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

How long before we see “Deinsulate Britain” protestors?

“Insulation was supposed to save us money… but it ruined our homes: Millions crippling repair costs after botched green upgrades”,writes Chris Brooke in the Daily Mail:

Getting Britain’s homes insulated is the cornerstone of the Government’s green energy policy and an obsession for road-blocking eco-protesters.

But the scale of damp-related problems linked to cavity wall insulation is so serious that an MP is calling for an independent inquiry to improve protection for householders.

One expert has estimated that up to two million homes may have problems as a result of insulation being pumped into the cavity between outside and inside walls.

In some extreme cases, the resulting problems of damp and mould inside the house have rendered properties worthless and unsellable.

If the Lockdown Frolics of Downing Street had never been revealed to the public (I must admit to a twinge of admiration for the fact that they kept the secret for well over a year), I believe this issue would have brought Boris down eventually. The insulation issue is just one bomblet within the incoming political clusterbomb that also contains the energy price crisis, and the fact that forcing millions of people to pay thousands of pounds to replace gas boilers with heat pumps is about as welcome as Dominic Cummings popping up between Carrie’s designer sheets.

Net Zero will become so unpopular that the next election will be won by whichever political party promises to stop it. (Edit: Or gives the impression of being most likely to break their promise to keep it.) There is scope here for the Tory post-Johnson redemption arc, if they change course in time. I can see it. You can see it. Why can’t they?

Merry Christmas

Brian’s Friday – Zoom

The Life of Brian: A Reception to Celebrate the Life of Brian Micklethwait event at the Institute of Economic Affairs tomorrow will be available on Zoom for anyone who cannot attend. Link here.

Lawyers having a riot – in a hospital – some killed

I am surprised that this story from Pakistan – perhaps this is real ‘lawfare’? –

Three die as marauding Pakistan lawyers rampage through cardiac hospital

has not gained more attention, there is a paywall but there is other coverage. The gist of it is that after a dispute at a cardiac unit over priority for treatment, and insults being traded between physicians and lawyers, a riot of lawyers ensued that the Pakistani police could only contain with military assistance, and there are unconfirmed reports of patients dying after either being attacked by lawyers or deserted by medical staff.

Breitbart has the story too, with a death toll of around 12.

A mob of two hundred lawyers attacked the Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC) in Lahore, Pakistan, on Wednesday, causing at least 12 deaths, several of them critical care patients whose treatments were interrupted by the riot.

The swarm of lawyers was armed with firebombs and a number of handguns. Police cars were set ablaze during their confrontation with riot police, while the hospital suffered damage to windows, doors, and delicate equipment inside.

The genesis of the dispute is reported as being:

The bizarre rampage was touched off by a scuffle on Tuesday that sounds like a comedy skit gone horribly wrong: a lawyer demanded priority treatment at the hospital, the doctors said no, and the lawyer marched off to the local police station to demand they arrest the recalcitrant doctors on terrorism charges.

When the police said no, the infuriated lawyer returned to the hospital with some of his colleagues for a confrontation with the doctors, who filmed the ensuing confrontation and posted the video online with commentary mocking the lawyers. The following day, a mob of two hundred enraged lawyers descended upon the hospital and began trashing everything from parked cars to medical equipment.

So the good news is that Pakistan’s police have a firmer grasp of the concept of the rule of law than this gang of lawyers.

The hospital itself is the Punjab Institute of Cardiology, which provides free health care to almost 500,000 patients a year. Presumably it is State-funded, but there may be some religious charitable giving. It does accept donations for patient welfare, and provides private treatment in the evenings.

So why couldn’t the uppity lawyer who started this have waited till the evening and paid for some private care?

There may be more to this than meets the eye, the article alludes to long-running tensions between lawyers and doctors in Lahore (but no reason for them). A local lawyers’ rep. doesn’t seem to be particularly conciliatory:

The vice chair of the Pakistan Bar Council, Syed Amjad Shah, condemned the violence but described it as “the individual act of a few lawyers” while blaming the doctors for starting the fight by “misbehaving.”

Presumably the ‘lawyer’ pictured pointing a pistol in this local piece fully complies with the rules of professional conduct? In the USA, he might be simply vigorously demonstrating the Second Amendment.

What is the answer to this sort of behaviour, apart from rigorous law enforcement? It is, I suppose, a backhanded compliment to Pakistan’s hospitals that people will kill if denied priority treatment. Why doesn’t the NHS provoke such passions?

Cry God for Harry, England, and Saint George!

Much beer will flow today…

Leaving the EU – a Jersey jaunt and a Guernsey gallivant

Rightly not trusting our leaders to deliver on their statements (there were, IFUC, no promises about leaving the EU from Mrs May), the Sage of Kettering and I have left the EU in that recently, we have visited our nearest escape hole, the Channel Islands. A fleeting visit, one day in each, but we have seen a future, and it works, more or less. For our more distant readers, Jersey and Guernsey are ‘Crown Dependencies’, historically part of the Duchy of Normandy, owing allegiance to the British Crown but not part of the UK. The UK government has arrogated to itself the overlordship of the islands, holding responsibility for foreign affairs and defence (well, sort of, as we shall see), but the two Bailiwicks are otherwise independent jurisdictions with autonomy in most areas, crucially taxation, and are outside of the European Union, albeit within EU Customs arrangements, allowing them to trade with the EU. Here, they say, the Queen is the Duke of Normandy, although monuments refer to ‘la Reine’. She is the only Duke I can think of married to a Duke. Whether or not they can simply declare independence is constitutionally unclear, but with Labour dangerously close to power, they might be advised to make some plans.

→ Continue reading: Leaving the EU – a Jersey jaunt and a Guernsey gallivant

What are your rules for giving a good party?

It’s the party season, here in London and presumably all around Christendom. Speaking for myself, I attended a dinner party on Christmas Eve, had a quiet day on Christmas Day, but then held a party at my home on the 28th. I have just now got back from a party at the home of a fellow Samizdatista, and will be attending another get-together on New Year’s Eve, i.e. tomorrow evening.

All of which events, my own one in particular, make me wonder: How are such events best organised? Rather than elaborate on the imperfections of my own party (imperfections which – before, during and after – got me wondering yet again about this question), let me just ask the question, of anyone who is willing to oblige with an answer or answers. How do you go about laying on a good party? What particular and perhaps rather surprising or counter-intuitive rules or recipes do you find yourself needing to keep in mind? What things, in your preparations, matter the most? What other things that many would assume to be crucial do you consider not to matter nearly so much?

Also, and closely related: What makes a great party? What’s the greatest party that you personally have ever attended? What was so great about it?

I’m leaving all these question deliberately vague just because I am hoping to be delighted and surprised by the answers, as well as merely, as a future host, informed and improved.

There are few joys like the joy of choosing what you hope will be great company and then being delighted at how well your choice worked out. But how do you, or the hosts you most admire, contrive this particular kind of miracle? I hope that any parties you have recently attended or organised, or which you are about to attend or are in the process of organising, are a great success. And I’d be delighted to hear how you think that such joy is best contrived.

Being in somewhat of a rush to get this up this evening, before I stagger into bed, I am not including any links to www-places where questions like these are already persuasively discussed and answered, basically because I do not now know of any such places, that being because I have never until now even thought to look. But that need not stop commenters rectifying this omission.

A Lincoln Lark

The Sage of Kettering and I have been on another day trip, this time to Lincoln. We have also visited a mystery town I shall leave you to guess below, and also at Stow-by-Lindsey, a tiny village west of Lincoln, with a now incongruously large Minster, Anglo-Saxon in origin, having been added to over the years.

It also claims to have the earliest known Viking graffito in England, a carving of a long ship. It is not clear if this was a marauder or a merchant, but he presumably came up river to here, the Humber is not far away.

It also has a curious face on the font.

And an austere interior, perhaps barer than in its glory.

→ Continue reading: A Lincoln Lark

Victory

 

THE ARMISTICE DAY, NOVEMBER 1918 (Q 80135) Crowd cheering outside Buckingham Palace during the Armistice Day, 11 November 1918. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205324739

The Times 12 November 1918 p10. Right click for full page.


→ Continue reading: Victory

Rare literal example of ‘No True Scotsman’ Fallacy

Twitter urged to bring in ‘Verified Scottish’ status

A Scottish member of the European parliament has warned that fake Scots are taking to twitter and spreading fake news.

It is unclear what led natz MEP Alyn Smith to this appalling discovery. Some suggest he first became suspicious when he realised that tweets from an Aberdeenshire businessman named Donald were in fact coming from an IP address in Washington D.C. Others speculate that his scepticism was naturally aroused when an allegedly-Scottish comic expressed more liking for the English than for the natz, which Alyn found neither Scottish nor comical. Surely it cannot be that the very disciplined natz party suspects its former leader of having too close an association with a source of twitter bots?

Whatever it was alerted him to the problem, he knows the solution:

Alyn Smith urges Twitter to bring in ‘Verified Scottish’ status.

I hate to break it to my fellow Scot, but I’m not sure Jack Dorsey is going to be too interested in this. I’m also not sure how Jack would decide who is Scottish and who is not. Scots have a great love of their country from a distance: by one definition, there are said to be 5 or 6 times as many Scots around the world as there are in Scotland. Conversely, there are English people in Scotland, some of whom immigrated from south of the Tweed quite recently. Other recent immigrants come from a greater distance – the middle east, for example. Might Twitter think it wrong to withhold Scottishness from any who claim it? And how would they assess Alyn himself, who often tweets from Strasburg or Brussels?

I suppose Twitter could always apply the reasoning they appear to use in the US, but Mr Smith had better hope it gets adapted for the Scottish domain. The algorithm “Tweet account likes English – treat it as a bot” would no doubt suit him, but an automated “Tweet account likes ‘Donald’ – treat it as a bot” might rate some of his natz colleagues as ‘fake’ – and be all the more accurate for it. 🙂

(A description of the No True Scotsman fallacy is here.)

A Lusitanian* adventure

Last month, the Sage of Kettering and I went on another trip, this time to England’s oldest ally, Portugal. *It involved brief excursions into Spain over a raia (‘the stripe’ as it is called), one of Europe’s oldest borders, almost unchanged but still disputed many centuries after delineation in 1297, so it was an Iberian adventure. We focused on the north of Portugal, and then Lisbon.

We flew to Porto, with the least user-friendly tram system I have yet used, and made our way up north by noisy Diesel train through pleasant farmland, brushing the Atlantic coast on the way to our first stage, the fine fortress town of Valença on the Minho river, which here forms the border with Spain. Valença has a striking fortress citadel as its old town, with many layers of defences. The scale of the walls can be judged by the horses in the pictures. A drone video of the fortress, a 17th Century construction on an older 13th Century construction, is here.

→ Continue reading: A Lusitanian* adventure

A Suffolk sortie

The Sage of Kettering and I have been on another trip, not to some distant, warm, European setting, but a distinctly chilly Suffolk on a bright early Spring day. Here is my account of our trip to an oft-overlooked corner of England and a dip into the past, focusing on the damage done by the iconoclasts. I am indebted beyond measure to the wonderful Suffolk churches site for inspiration on what to see, and links to pictures.

The first stop was a quick look at a proper windmill, unfortunately under repair, the Post Mill at Saxtead. So much more attractive than the hideous electric-powered windmills that clutter the landscape, sucking up subsidies and slowing down the wind.


Next stop, the focus of our trip, Framlingham Castle, a series of towers with no inner keep, but it does contain an old Poorhouse. Noted as the place where Mary Tudor was when she was proclaimed Queen after the tumult of Edward VI’s death, and she then went on to make her mark with an unwise marriage and her trademark of barbecuing Bishops.

The walls of the castle are impressively high, with an excellent ditch.


Around the towers, there are Tudor chimneys, allowing some local heating.

The castle does not have a keep inside it, it is just a wall with a series of towers. The space inside was used to build a poorhouse.

And in the Poorhouse is a local museum, with a fine collection of curious, including this tribute to General Pershing and his Crusaders.

The Sage decided to try out the headgear, it might be useful with canvassing with local elections coming up.


→ Continue reading: A Suffolk sortie