Colin Bartlett

Colin Bartlett


147 comments posted · 0 followers · following 22

1 day ago @ http://www.conservativ... - Joy Morrissey: From pe... · 1 reply · +1 points

I was indeed thinking of Gramsci and education - I have a vague recollection that in a comment on ConHome a year or so ago your mentioned his views on education.

18 weeks ago @ http://www.conservativ... - Unfit for office. But ... · 0 replies · +1 points

I'm posting very late to this because I was considering replying to a much more recent post you made, and sometimes before I reply to someone for the first time I look at a very short random sample of their posts. I suppose perhaps it's better to treat all posts on their own merits, but I sometimes I can't resist a quick trawl through. On this occasion I'm glad I didn't, otherwise I wouldn't have seen this, because it gives me a pretext to post a link to an important poem by a Jamaican poet, which I hope you will appreciate, and I'd be even more delighted if you already know it. (In 2018 I was in a hospital for two months, and when I went to a new ward the nurse who admitted me was Jamaican. I mentioned this poem to him, and was delighted when he said he knew it, although I shouldn't have been surprised.)

A few quick points: identity, including cultural indentity, is much more complex than some people seem to think; relations between different Native North American tribes weren't always sweetness and light (you didn't say they were), or to put it another way, with the exception of a some outliers at either ends of the spectrum, I believe there are subtantial underlying similarities between the ways people behave, but that the behaviours these manifest themselves in can apparently be quite different.

Your succinct post is one I agree with the thrust of, and all I'm going to say on that is what the world has on its hands in the Middle East is, for historical reasons, a mess, and that solutions to messy situations are likely to be messy, and unlikely to be easy or simple. I note you served in Northern Ireland, so you're likely to know much more about that than I do: with that strong caveat, my view on Northern Ireland was and is also that, again for historical reasons, for which none of the interested parties, including the British, is free from all culpability, any solution is likely to be messy.

So: "Back to Africa, Miss Mattie" by Louise Bennett. She's also known as Miss Lou, and amongst her accomplishments was I suspect being one of the first Black actors to study at RADA. I'll skip the story about how I came across this (some coincidences a long time apart), and just say the poem is written in Jamaican, is in my opinion saying something very important, and wouldn't be saying it nearly as well if was written in "standard" English (whatever that is).

On a completely separate topic, have you read any books by Terence O'Brien? If it's a topic that might interest you, he was an RAF pilot during WW2, including some time as an RAF liason officer with the Chindits. (What did he think of Orde Wingate? The short answer is not much, but there is a somewhat more nuanced version.) His three books are well written, and are from the point of view of someone who was not at the top, albeit being a Squadron Leader (his final rank) isn't exactly at the bottom of the hierarchy. If it might interest you, more information here:

18 weeks ago @ http://www.conservativ... - The question isn't whe... · 0 replies · +1 points

To be fair to the Government, given where they were they might not have had lot of time to model financial impacts or exit strategies. We can - and should - hold a *proper* inquiry when there's time, but I doubt that time is now.

18 weeks ago @ http://www.conservativ... - The question isn't whe... · 0 replies · +1 points

As you rightly say, in the case where a PM was replaced because of illness, a reasonable precedent is Macmillan replaced by Home. (It's amusing that Home didn't initially have a seat in the Commons, serving as PM for a few days as an earl in the Lords, then as PM without being either in the Lords or the Commons for about a month, then becoming an MP on election to a seat which had become available due to the earlier death of the sitting MP.)

There hasn't been a similar occurrence to a Labour PM, so we can only speculate as to what opinion article Boris Johnson might or might not have written in those hypothetical circumstances. But, as devonlad73 observed, for the case of a Labour PM in good health being replaced without a general election shortly afterwards we don't need to speculate: we can read the article. Within twelve years of that opinion piece not one, but two Conservative leaders replaced the previous in good heath PM without a general election following shortly afterwards, one of whom was Boris Johnson himself. As someone in older times might have remarked, on that 2007 article at least, the man's a humbug.

18 weeks ago @ http://www.conservativ... - The question isn't whe... · 0 replies · +1 points

It would be ironical if in that case the three Conservative Prime Ministerial successors to David Cameron were all the beneficiaries of not doing what Boris Johnson said back in 2007.

But your hypothetical situation, that is an illness incapacitating a PM, *is* a different case, which reduces this to two comparable cases, one of which was he himself.

Given what he wrote in 2007, Boris Johnson was a humbug if he supported Theresa May becoming PM without calling for a general election shortly afterwards, and he definitely was a humbug himself for not almost immediately himself calling for a general election. Moreover, before he wrote that 2007 opinion piece it might have been prudent for him to consider what had happened not all that many years earlier when John Major replaced Margaret Thatcher, and also what might happen in the future.

I suggest a distinct possibility is that in 2007 he didn't seriously believe what he was writing, despite it's vehemence and tone of outrage, but was merely "playing politics".

Note also that a Labour party politician making similar arguments about a new Conservative PM would be on dodgy ground because of what happened when Jim Callaghan replaced Harold Wilson, and when - the subject of so much synthetic outrage by Boris Johnson? - George Brown replaced Tony Blair.

Intriguingly, when Anthony Eden becoming PM on Winston Churchill's retirement in 1955 he did almost immediately call a general election. But when Harold Macmillan succeeded him in 1957 he waited until for over two years before calling the 1959 general election.

18 weeks ago @ http://www.conservativ... - The question isn't whe... · 1 reply · +1 points

He may have been forced into it by an irresponsible press, but if that's true - what's the evidence he wouldn't have done it but for the press? - then there's an amount of poetic justice for him (but not for us) that he was forced into it by an irresponsible press of which he was formerly such a prominent member.

And if he really wouldn't have done it but for the irresponsible press, what does that say about his talents as a leader of the country compared with, for example, Winston Churchill or Margaret Thatcher? Or even, may this interloper suggest, Clement Attlee?

18 weeks ago @ http://www.conservativ... - Daniel Hamilton: China... · 0 replies · +1 points

"It seems that nowadays a 'troll' is anyone you disagree with!"
--Alas, only too true.

I was going to observe that there are actually different forms of trolling, some bad, others actually an artform and potentially beneficial, but this post on Slashdot (a sort of technology website) says it much better than I was going to:
Why Trolls Win With Toxic Comments
from the bring-you-down-to-their-level-and-beat-you-with-experience dept.
comment by Penguinisto - March 16th, 2013

Ah, trolling. :)

Back in the days of USENET, it was (once) an art form. It served the purpose of getting a good giggle at the expense of blind ideologues (of any subject), and to force the lurking observers to mentally dig deeper - to more thoroughly examine their beliefs and what they thought they knew. It was an excellent way to explore concepts outside of orthodoxy, and challenged the status quo. At its highest expression, a good troll will spark further research into a subject (if only to win an argument), and served the noble purpose of everyone learning something new in the end.

Now? Bah - in most cases, it's become pedestrian at best, and often shows the low intelligence of the troll.

Interestingly enough, it is nowadays employed by corporate and political entities via mechanical turk - like astroturfing, but in reverse. For instance, take politics: Lurker sees a bucket of misspelled repugnant garbage posted in opposition to a particular viewpoint, and thinks that it represents nearly everyone else who opposes said viewpoint. Suddenly, that 'team' is tainted, swaying the lurker towards the troll's real viewpoint. It's an effective way to create discord in the ranks of those whom you want to diminish, and is employed quite often. It also provides "proof" that The Other Side is a bunch of racists/pedophiles/whatever, thus their motives are evil, wrong, etc.

Dishonest as hell, but hard to see through from the casual lurker's eye. And, well, TFA proves that a lot of it works.

So what was once a sport that some of us did long ago for a bit of intellectual fun, has now become either the epitome of lame-assed prose, or has become serious cash-money business to further (or retard) a cause.

18 weeks ago @ http://www.conservativ... - WATCH: Johnson - 'I'm ... · 1 reply · +1 points

South Korea is indeed impressive, but: you say it has a similar per capita GDP to the UK, and its GDP has leap-frogged past the UK. How is that possible when it has a smaller population ?
South Korea; UK
population millions: 51.8; 66.6
USD GDP trillions nominal: 1.6; 2.7
GDP trillions PPP: 2.3; 3.1
GDP per capita nominal: 31,400; 41,000
GDP per capita PPP: 44,700; 46,800

18 weeks ago @ http://www.conservativ... - Daniel Hamilton: China... · 6 replies · +1 points

Or, even better, Freedonia?

18 weeks ago @ http://www.conservativ... - Daniel Hamilton: China... · 2 replies · +1 points

Elaine may be a lot of things, and I frequently disagree with her posts, but to assert she's a troll seems bonkers to me. That may seem to be more somewhat impolite, for which I partly apologise, but Elaine has been posting on ConHome for so many years that it's improbable she's a troll.

As a general comment, there seems to me to be far too much on ConHome of posters asserting that other posters on ConHome are trolls without much evidence other than (i) a "troll" poster is making arguments which are not "Conservative", or (ii) a "troll" poster is making arguments which take "Conservative" arguments to such extremes that no "Conservative" would make them, so they must be being made by a troll. Two points on the latter: first satire is a legitimate form of argument, and if a policy being exaggerated is difficult to tell from one which is actually being advocated it might be worth thinking about whether the policy is desirable; second, I hate to have to be the one to break it to you, but the (far) left are not the only ones advocating ostensibly weird policies which they really do believe in, but there's also a bit of that about in parts of the Conservative Party.

(Before anyone suggests I'm a troll, my politics are roughly Scandinavian social democracy, or - if you prefer - centre-ish left, and while I don't go out of my way to publicise that - after all, I am an interloper on ConHome - nor do I try in anyway to hide it.)