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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted -  11/01/2009  :  06:04
New Year, new topic. If you want to see the old one do a forum search for same title but 2008.


Stanley Challenger Graham




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belle
VIP Member


6502 Posts
Posted - 12/06/2011 : 00:21
Certainly there have been hints from the begining that Hammas is behind this unrest in the middle east..Gaddafffi used the word on tv when first interviewed about the unrest in his country ..before it became war. I don't think we wil know the truth till the dust settles but what I do know is all sides are out for gain..their own!

Edited by - belle on 12/06/2011 12:22:38 AM


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Bradders
Senior Member


1880 Posts
Posted - 12/06/2011 : 01:09
Hey ,take it easy  ....something will turn up .....It usually does !

(sorry to be "lightweight")

Good piece Stanley !


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 12/06/2011 : 05:30
Thanks Brad. Got an interesting critique from my mate Bob in St Louis in which he expanded on 'losing control of the narrative'. He quoted history and made a good case for the difference between a clash of cultures which means there never was a narrative and simply losing control of the media.

There is a suspicion that some outside organisation is supplying the Syrian anti-government forces with equipment which allows them to upload to Facebook and of course they are editing the footage.  So we are allowed to wonder who would want to do that?


Stanley Challenger Graham




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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 19/06/2011 : 09:06
Responding to Belle's post on the Politics topic about Philp Davies and his opinion that disabled people should be paid less than the minimum wage prompted me to go and look for the genesis of Remploy. What I found was that it was Ernie Bevin who founded the organisation in April 1945 and this got me to thinking about what I am sure many people see as one of my Old Fart prejudices.

I look at the cabinet and the shadow cabinet and almost without exception I see spud faced characterless men. Looking at their history I see no evidence that they have worked for a living, raised a sweat regularly or had any experience of what I call proper work. They didn't come into politics via experience with a desire to improve society, of course they will all deny this but the truth is that they came straight into politics as a career choice at university.

I look back at the track record and experience of politicians in the past. Of course many of them came from the upper echelons but a lot had served in the World Wars and been changed by the experience. Harold Macmillan was seen as a socialst by the right wing of his party and their supporting press. Many of the Labour politicians came into politics via a long struggle from work via the unions and eventually into the House. The reason why Churchill chose Bevin as his labour minister in the WW2 war coalition was because of his vast experience of the labour market at all levels. After the war, even a die-hard Tory like Churchill was unstinting of his praise for the job Bevin had done during the war.

There were many other politicians in all the parties who had the same track record and it showed in the policies and decisions made. It was out of this cohort that we got some of the most far-reaching and enlightened legislation after WW2 that the world has ever seen. We reap the benefits to this day.

Where is the evidence of this experience and compassion learned through struggle in early life existing in our legislators today? Is this deficiency the reason why so much of what we see coming out  the Westminster village these days more a product of tribal party politics rather than genuine considered governance. Is this the reason why we see so many of the ConDem 'initiatives' being policy made on the hoof driven by dogma and requiring the flood of U-turns? Does this apply to the economic policy as well?

I think that most of the Tory MPs would name Macmillan as one of the best PMs the party ever produced but how many have read his 1931 book 'The Middle Way' based on his experience in Stockton on Tees, his interest in the work of organisations like the Rowntree Trust who were laying bare the true roots of deprivationand his belief that the 19th century laisse faire model of unfettered private ownership and rampant capitalism were as wrong as the rabid left wing 'Communist' approach. I put 'Communist' in inverted commas because too often this was shorthand for anything left of centre. See US politics for the worst manifestations of this way of thinking. In the end of course Mac had to trim his sails to survive in the party but never lost his early convictions.

How many of the present Labour politicians have read the bigraphies of men like Bevan, Bevin et al? Do they realise that it was the TUC that formed the Labour Representation Committee that resulted in the foundation of the modern Labour Party?

There is a gross imbalance in the background of the politicians who govern us in all the parties. It may be that I am simply an old dinosaur who is completely out of touch with the modern world but at least I can point to improvements that came out of the old mix of privilege and grass roots experience and shaped our modern world. I see no evidence of this leaven of experience and recognition of basic principles in today's politics and I regret its absence.

If they were car salesmen would you buy a used car off any of the present incumbents?


Stanley Challenger Graham




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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 18/07/2011 : 08:43
I wrote this in2004. It came into mind today while listening to the latest shocks!

A SHOCK TO THE SYSTEM

I don’t know whether I am a more sensitive soul than I suspected but as I get older I begin to realise that some events have quite a serious effect on me. We all know about the biggies, hearing of the death of a friend, learning of a tragedy, realising that a fundamental freedom is threatened, all these can affect us to some degree or another. So nothing new there then. However, I learned something this morning that wouldn’t normally affect me and it started this train of thought.

We hear a lot nowadays about the peccadilloes of our masters, the latest being the Blunkett Affair. My first reaction to these is always ‘who cares?’ but then we get into the thorny question about what standards our masters ought to be expected to adhere to. Call me old-fashioned but my take on this is that if someone is going to set themselves up as an arbiter of the rules which control our lives they should make sure that their personal life is above reproach. We can all think of examples of the breaking of this rule. Given the normal rules of succession our next monarch could be at the same time head of the CofE and a philanderer to boot. Blunkett trumpeted the idea of protecting family life and at the same time was engaging in an affair which did anything but this.

But all this is old hat, we have become almost indifferent to the erosion of loyalty, fidelity and plain simple good manners. So what was it that blew my mind this morning? Quite simply this, Simon Hoggart, the parliamentary sketch writer in the Guardian has been named as the third man in the affair, he was having a ‘relationship’ with Mrs Quinn as well! The question is, why did this shock me so much?

I suppose that the fact that I have met his father and admire him and his work has coloured my view of the son. I trusted him and whilst not always agreeing with his opinions, enjoyed his column in the Guardian. This has all been changed, I shall always think of the man who related accounts of family holidays whilst playing away at the same time. On a much smaller and less important scale, I have a very loyal following for my articles in BET every week. My editor gives me the freedom to decide what I write about, he has never spiked or edited an article. I am arrogant enough to believe that this is because he trusts me. How would he feel, how would my readers feel, if they found that I had written espousing a point of view and done the opposite in my personal life. It’s called standards and principles, it builds reputation and once that is damaged you can never go back. To quote one of my friends; ‘You can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube’.

So, I cringed when I heard Blunkett making his farewell speech and talking about his reputation for honesty. I note that Hoggart initially denied the reports and then retracted. Where are the standards? What is left of the reputation? How can we trust anything these people say again?

So there you are, that was this morning’s shock to my system, a small thing and not really of great interest but underlying this is one of the most damaging facets of our modern lives. We are rapidly running out of men of reputation and probity. In the long run, the corrosive effects of this sort of uncertainty will do more damage to society than ‘terrorism’. In fact, this might be the ultimate subversion, the destruction of trust.

SCG/20 December 2004 
 


Stanley Challenger Graham




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cloghopper
Regular Member


88 Posts
Posted - 19/07/2011 : 17:30
ConfusedThe most shocking thing is that all this doesn't really shock us all that much. We've built up a sub-concious immune system to it all. More's the pity.

cheers,

cloggy 


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Tizer
VIP Member


5150 Posts
Posted - 19/07/2011 : 20:22
Cloggie, it's interesting you take that view but I notice a lot of people have been writing to the newspapers and complaining just the opposite - that here in the UK we all get far too shocked and excited at the slightest bit of scandal. I suspect you are right and they are the type of people who generate the scandals in the first place!

Stanley, thanks for bouncing up that `Shock to the system' story. I am with you all the way, especially on "the ultimate subversion, the destruction of trust". That's why I started the `Banks are out to get you' thread. As well as politicans and journalists, the big companies are losing whatever trust we once had in them. They will come to regret it. (By the way, RBS is now looking to buy up a `risky' lender - they never learn, do they.)


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 20/07/2011 : 06:18
Cloggy, I've no doubt that what you say is right about a lot of people, perhaps the same ones that don't vote 'Because they are all crooks'. For myself, I am shocked, I do care and I do not believe that one bad apple taints the whole barrel. There are good men and women out there and what is needed is a route to power that doesn't demand back-stabbing and insider dealing.

You're right Tiz, and this is what I'm trying to say to Cloggy, we have to be able to trust our institutions and in order for that to happen they have to earn it. The alternative is chaos.


Stanley Challenger Graham




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Tizer
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5150 Posts
Posted - 20/07/2011 : 09:44
It's interesting how Murdoch can get away with not knowing there were a few bad apples in the News of the World offices yet people get very critical when a few bad apples aren't detected among the NHS's 1.5 million employees.


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 21/07/2011 : 05:47
I suppose the degree of vigilance depends on the agenda behind the search. NowsCorp is only interested in profit no matter what they say about promoting ethical journalism.

What struck me was something a man called Geneen who was CEO of ITT once said when in a similar position to the Murdoch's. He wrote a book on management (which someone borrowed and never returned!) and he said he wasn't interested in the people who came to him with a list of all the things that had gone right, what he wanted was someone to come to him and say "You might want to have a look at this, there is potential for trouble". (I paraphrase) The princip[le is good and if Murdoch had followed it he wouldn't be in the trouble he has today.


Stanley Challenger Graham




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cloghopper
Regular Member


88 Posts
Posted - 21/07/2011 : 08:06
I can see of course that my view is probably influenced by not living in the UK; where I am a bit out of touch with the reality there. Even though I watch BBC world news, and read the online versions of newspapers (maybe I shouldn't!)

cheers,

cloggy 


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 22/07/2011 : 06:47
Cloggy, I listen to World Service on the radio every morning. The news is excellent, less biased by current shock events than the main R4 news. Far wider coverage and often has items about UK that don't appear in the main news.


Stanley Challenger Graham




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cloghopper
Regular Member


88 Posts
Posted - 23/07/2011 : 10:33
Frownwell International news isn't so good today. Never mind Greece, and EU, and bailouts, and Gaddafi. What has happened in Norway is really frightening. You don't expect this sort of news to come out of a pretty peaceful little country like Norway.

cheers,

cloggy 


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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 24/07/2011 : 05:36
I agree about the news Cloggy. I often wonder about all the good things that are going on out there which don't sell media. I think it was Arhur Mee that once tried to start a good news newspaper in the 1930s but it sank like a stone. The public wanted the shock and horror, not the good news.


Stanley Challenger Graham




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Stanley
Local Historian & Old Fart


36804 Posts
Posted - 07/08/2011 : 05:57
Thinking more about the economy and remembering my mate Steve's Inter War course. At the end of the course he asked us to boil down the year's work into one factoid. We decided that it was Distribution of Wealth. Thinking again about Bob's long held theory that the South won the Civil War because since 1960 policies have essentially been the same as the slave-owners it strikes me that he is right, we have the same thing only we call it the Establishment. The top 10% of capital owners using every ploy they can come up with to protect their position.

Problem is that as soon as you get into this area you are immediately tarred with the Marxist brush, the Establishment hate anything Left of Genghis Khan. Problem is that Marx could have been right in this respect, that monetarist capitalism and 19th century laissez-faire management contains, within itself, the seeds of its own destruction. I can't help wondering whether in this respect we might be seeing the start of the End Game.

We live in a world with enough resources for all, it's the distribution that's wrong. There are physical constraints of course and other problems like population and climate but properly managed things could be a lot more equitable than they are at present.

Going back to pure capitalism, is it the model that's wrong or the management? I tend to think that it's both. The Western economies, due to an accident of history have had 500 years of supremacy. During their tenure they have never found a way of running the system without incessant growth. Of course there has to be growth to keep pace with population and demand but I wonder whether we need so much. Could it be that the system is flawed and run by incompetent managers? Outside natural growth there is the growth stoked by increasing expectations and the modern concept that the only measure of worth is the capacity to consume. I look at the advertisements on TV and ask myself if we really need the anti-wrinkle creams, the miracle toothpastes and a new sofa every three years. The System would argue of course that this excess consumption is necessary to 'grow the economy'. Actually what they mean is to make more avenues to profit for the capital holders.

I'm out of my depth and I know it but I don't buy this model. Restraint in core values is a good thing, consumption is not all. God knows it isn't producing serenity from satisfaction. I hold that my activities in the shed, turning lumps of cast iron into working, and to me, beautiful artefacts, is a less destructive and more satisfying route to serenity. Would that this simplistic and no doubt naive view was translated to higher spheres.

 

I rest my case.....


Stanley Challenger Graham




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