Category Archives: Culture

Barbarous History

Captain_walter_croker_horror_stricken_at_algiers_1815The Black Lives Matter movement does cause us to take another look at the issue of slavery, and one thing that is all too apparent is that the popular picture of white Europeans enslaving black Africans is massively distorted. Less than 10% of the slavery we know about falls in that category. As regards modern slavery, Wikipedia notes:

The number of people currently enslaved around the world is far greater than the number of slaves during the historical Atlantic slave trade.[1]

All slavery is detestable, and it is much to the credit of the British government that the British largely led the abolition of slavery around the world. Slavery has been more or less unknown in England for over a thousand years, and was formally declared illegal in England in the 18th century and throughout the British Empire early in the 19th century. Other countries – United States and Brazil for example – retained slavery for decades after that.

What is frequently overlooked these days is that one of the most prevalent slave trades in relatively recent times was the slave trade perpetrated by Africans, who enslaved not only other Africans, but also large numbers of Europeans. These slavers known variously as the Barbary Pirates or the Corsairs, carried out

raids on European coastal towns and villages, mainly in Italy, France, Spain, and Portugal, but also in the British Isles,[1] the Netherlands, and Iceland.[2]

The numbers were not small. Again, according to Wikipedia:

Between 1580 and 1680 corsairs were said to have captured about 850,000 people as slaves and from 1530 to 1780 as many as 1,250,000 people were enslaved.[1]

It didn’t stop there; they continued capturing white slaves, typically Continue reading


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The Lighter Side of Rioting, Pillaging and Looting I

The world is going through a troubled time at the moment, for sure. And part of the problem is the somewhat abrupt, not to say discourteous, nature of exchanges between offenders and the police in the United States. Things, it seems, go rather along the following lines:

POLICE: Freeze!



The statistics on this topic, which are somewhat shaky, suggest that the police in the United States more frequently kill unarmed white suspects than unarmed black suspects, but we do want to upset people who already frothing with moral outrage, and so we are not going there. Instead, let’s look across the pond, where a different sort of regime applies. policeIn the above circumstances, the police in the UK are unlikely to shoot the suspect dead, but instead the suspect is, more or less willingly, brought to the police station, where something like the following ensues, as it might be Continue reading

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Woken up


It is been a hell of a week. But at least I have woken up to some things I didn’t know before, thanks to some brave campaigners.

10 downing

Thanks to these guys, protesting at Downing Street in London, I’ve woken up to the realisation that it was Boris Johnson who got a sadistic American policeman to kneel on the neck of an Afro-American suspect long enough to kill him. Until now, I had naïvely thought it was really nothing to do with the UK government at all. Continue reading

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The Fight against Censorship

TobyToby Young’s contribution to the the lockdown debate has been censored by YouTube. They say it offends their “guidelines”.

So here it is on another platform: Judge for yourselves.

As it happens, I agree with Toby Young, and indeed Lord Sumption (a great lawyer, who makes Baroness Hale look like an annoying feminist student), on this issue. But more to the point, legitimate commentary should not be consored. Not by YouTube. Not by Twitter. Not by the BBC or the ABC. Not by the State. Oh no. We are not Continue reading

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Filed under Coronavirus, Culture, Legal, Politics, scandal, Uncategorized


moneyheistBeing locked down has meant that I can’t fly interstate or internationally for work. And I have had a nasty virus. I have been practising my lockdown skills.

I.e. watching Netflix.

I can’t watch Outlander any more. It is wholly unrealistic. In the real world, someone would have drowned the ghastly, whingeing Brianna ages ago.

And so I have been watching Money Heist, also known in its original Spanish as La Casa de Papel. It is refreshing to see something stylish from Spain, instead of the usual Hollywood pap.

But it comes with a problem. It has been dubbed into English. Well. Actually it is worse than that. It has been dubbed into American English. Multo queso, as they say in Spain.[1]

But for advanced Netflix users, there is a solution. It is possible to set the language to “European”. Which means Spanish in this case, it seems. And if your Spanish is a bit oxidada[2], you can turn on the subtitles. Much Continue reading

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The White Cat


White cat“All happy families are alike. But each unhappy family is unhappy in its own particular way”.

So wrote Leo Tolstoy. But in Russian, obviously.

Similarly, all who hope that Dominic Cummins will ride out the current storm are alike in thinking that he is that rare example of someone pulling the levers of power who is clever, imaginative and determined, and who is not trying to turn the United Kingdom into a sludge of pallid subservience. And, it turns out, someone who is prepared to do something brave and useful to protect his wife and child.

In contrast, what an awe-inspiring and colourful array of spite and vindictiveness we see from those trying to pull him down! Here are a few attitudes:

Greta Thunberg; Climate change activist

The cost of his trip to Durham is that people are DYING! Whole communities are being WIPED OUT! All he can do is to give EXPLANATIONS! In WORDS! How dare he? How DARE he?

Lord Adonis; Remainer

He had it coming. We told people how to vote in the EU referendum, and he conspired to encourage people to think for themselves. The little shit!

Baroness Hale, Judge

Off with his head. (Blah blah blah). For the foregoing reasons, we find that the defendant, in looking after his wife and child, had failed to observe the human rights of other members of the European Community, who have a legitimate interest in the United Kingdom placing itself in a comparative economic disadvantage. Accordingly, he and everything he has done is a nullity.

Steve Baker, Conservative MP Continue reading


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Two-Tone Steps to Fascism?

Early in the last century, there was a regrettable passion for two-tone shoes. Rightly derided by the discerning, they nevertheless insinuated themselves into 20thcentury culture.

And what was the result? I will tell you what the result was. It was totalitarianism, and the rise of the National Socialist Party in Germany. Which was a bad thing. You might remark that another result was the rise of communism, but if you will forgive the exercise of the vulgar expression, these are but different ends of the same turd.

SHIRTAnd now it’s back. We see it in shirts, where there is a fashion for the insides of collars and cuffs to be made from a fabric different from the main body of the shirt. And in two-tone socks. And in those suits where the buttonholes are made with red fabric, like miniature swastikas. So should we expect the same results over again?

There are signs of it. Millions of people have become willing, like sheep, to submit to the will of governments and NGOs who increasingly want to dictate what we may think, what we may say, and where we may go (if anywhere). Do not tell me, if you please, that Continue reading


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Derring Don’t

I have said, umpteen times, to those in my vicinity, that one of the most objectionable parts of the “lockdown” throughout the Western world is that it deprives people of sunlight, and there is quite a lot of evidence that sunlight is a surprisingly effective weapon against the coronavirus, Covid-9.

Part of this evidence is from the homeless, in Los Angeles and other places, where extensive random testing has demonstrated that a significant proportion of these people, who spend all of their time out of doors, have been infected by the virus, but they have shown few if any symptoms. It is similar to, more scientifically rigourous, evidence from Ireland.

If this be right (and I’m not suggesting it is for certain – merely that it is more probable than the absurd notion of governmental policy about “beating” the virus) then locking people who live in cities down into their apartments is the very worst thing you can do, since making people stay indoors deprives them of the vitamin D that they would otherwise get from sunshine. It is hardly surprising that the countries who have locked down their people most firmly are the countries which have suffered the worst from this quasi-flu.

Normally, government is distorted. Instead of doing what the people want, government tends to do Continue reading

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Heaven’s Gate, but hopefully Not Quite Yet

In self isolation right now, pending the results from yesterday’s swab tests. I am fully expecting that they will tell me that I do not have COVID-19, but just a nasty bout of flu. So seriously annoying, but unlikely to be fatal.

One of the more annoying things is that my brain continues to be complete mush. I can manage a movie, or a bit of social media.  But legal work on something really complicated? Oh no.

Heaven's GateI thought I might revisit Heaven’s Gate. It’s not easy to get hold of a Blu-ray for less than about $60 around here, but rather to my surprise, I found that I could rent it in High Definition on iTunes under my nose for just Continue reading

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Apropos of Hachette’s Disgraceful Conduct

Cafe Society Photocall - Cannes Film Festival 2016I do not ordinarily buy books according to who the publisher is. Indeed, if I ever take note of who the publisher is, it is after I have already bought the book.

But if I did, I would blacklist Hachette, who recently backed out of a deal to publish Woody Allen’s book Apropos of Nothing.

Happily, but ironically (we are just about to come to that) I was able to buy the e-book from Amazon and read it on my Kindle[1]. It is an excellent read, particularly if, like me, you rather enjoy Jewish New York humour. Unsurprisingly, Woody Allen is self-deprecating and funny. Also, it turns out, he is remarkably generous about many of the people that he has worked with in the movie business.

The first half of the book is Continue reading

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