Not being a fan at all of religion, either neo-religion as in climate change alarmism or traditional religion as in the Catholic Church, I was not remotely expecting to enjoy the movie The Two Popes. I only started watching it at the suggestion of my darling Louise.
But much to my surprise, it was brilliant. The two somewhat ageing Welsh actors – Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce – were superb as the German Pope Benedict and the Argentinian Pope Francis.
It all just goes to show that with a really good screenplay, compelling acting, skilful music, costumes etc pretty much any old guff by way of plot is enough Continue reading
It will have escaped no one’s notice that the recent fires in Australia have been particularly widespread this year. Unhappily, a couple of dozen people have been killed, and although this number is much smaller than the many who have been killed by the anomalously cold weather in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan during the same period, it is a couple of dozen too many.
The fires are of course useful fuel for climate alarmists, who want to push the narrative that there is some sort of emergency whereby carbon dioxide emissions will cause us all to fry sometime soon. Thus, Greta Thunberg wrote in a tweet on 22nd December:
Not even catastrophes like these seem to bring any political action. How is this possible? Because we still fail to make the connection between the climate crisis and increased extreme weather events and nature disasters like the #AustraliaFires That’s what has to change. Now.
Likewise, Tim Flanney, a man with a formidable reputation for getting things wrong, says that it is “immoral not to connect the dots” in this way.
The evidence, however, is unremittingly against this analysis. New South Wales, where the fires first took a grip, has had a hot spell, for sure, but not exceptionally so Continue reading
It is New Year’s Day, 2020. The newspapers are replete with remarks about the way the last decade went. Few are unwise enough to make predictions about the way the coming decade will unfold. But hey ho. Someone has to do it.
Looking back at predictions that other people have made in the past, a couple of themes emerge. The first is that predictions of impending catastrophe almost always turn out to be groundless. There is obviously something about the human psyche which is attracted, in some way, to notions of terrible times ahead. And so if you are straining in your seats waiting for awful predictions, take a step backwards.
Secondly, even when predictions are more or less right, they tend to overestimate rates of change. By and large, things happen in the world pretty slowly, and probably rather more slowly than they did century or so ago.
Trying to keep these thoughts in mind, here is my brief time capsule, to be opened in 10 years’ time. It would be hopeless to expect that they will all be right.
My guess is that there will be Continue reading
On the radio, the BBC has been running a dramatisation of George Eliot’s Middlemarch. It is a long time since I last read the novel. Putting a story of everyday provincial life on the radio, with different actors playing each character, inevitably reminds one just a little of a 19th-century version of The Archers Omnibus. Hey ho.
And there is something else.
As the narrative descends from the sunny uplands of Jane Austen to the dreary back alleys of Zola, so George Eliot’s subtle wit is replaced by the whining drone of Continue reading
My eye was caught by this amusing bit of nonsense on Facebook:
Curious, I had a quick look at murder rates, and they confirm the popular belief that the murder rate in the United States has been, throughout the last hundred years or so, much higher than in other first world countries. The stats also show that murder rates in the United States have been Continue reading
One may safety say that Sir Oliver Letwin has brought the same world-wide regard for the dignity and respect of the UK as Sir Les Patterson brought to Australia.
Which is … Continue reading
This sounds good:
But not unhappily, not that good: Continue reading
This is quite seriously weird: I this see on Twitter from Pieter Cleppe @pietercleppe:
Incredible: Germany’s Upper House approved legislation that would impose a prison sentence of up to 3 years or a fine for defamation of the EU’s flag or hymn. What about freedom of speech?
And what about those who feel that Ode to Joy is a bit… well …cheesy?
Germany, and indeed some other countries, have also made holocaust denial a criminal offence. 5 years for that one.
For sure, denying the historical fact that the Germans, not so very long ago, did kill an awful lot of Jews is decidedly nutty – the evidence is really very clear. In the UK, the preferred route is not to lock nutters up, but instead to place them in the Houses of Parliament representing the minor parties. Prison costs the State £37,543 a year per prisoner, not to mention the cost of Continue reading
It has been remarked that there is some commonality between those who advocate for British independence from the EU (Brexit) and those who are sceptical about climate change alarmism. The point might equally be put the other way around: that the more likely someone is to believe in the UK’s continued partipation in the EU project, the more likely that person is to believe in impending disaster resulting from anthropogenic global warming.
What is the link between these concepts? It is an interesting question, and the answer is by no means obvious. Certainly, it is the case that a number of the sharpest minds in Britain today (Matt Ridley, Nigel Lawson, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Daniel Hannan to name a few) – let us call them the Gnostics – are in favour of Brexit, and are also sceptical about the beliefs of the climate change lobby. But then again, there are also Continue reading
What little Greta Thunberg had to say to the UN’s, is like her other utterances, complete tosh. Children are not being murdered by greedy industrialists. There are no entire ecosystems which are collapsing. We are not experiencing any mass extinction.
But here’s a question. Is she genuinely scared witless? Or is she a manipulative little vixen?
It might be a mixture of the two, of course. But it is hard not to believe that there might be a fair bit of the latter. Not all manipulative children suffer from Aspergers Syndrome, but it appears to be well documented that children suffering from Aspergers are particularly likely to indulge in manipulative behaviour. As noted by Continue reading