A strange political graphic

Yesterday I voted, in the EUro-elections. You probably know which way I voted, but that isn’t my point here.

My point here is this extraordinary graphic, which the Labour Party and its supporters were plugging on social media, in the days before the vote:

The above graphic distorts the reality that although Tommy Robinson, Nigel Farage and Gerard Batten all favour Brexit, only one of them (Farage) is a member of the Brexit Party. They’re trying to lump them all together. Otherwise, why that distinctly Brexit Party turquoise colour? Why no reference to UKIP purple?

There was another one, featuring Brexit Party candidate Claire Fox, along with some rather distorting words about her belief in freedom of expression.

But the verbal trickery is not the biggest oddity of this and related graphics. It’s the pictures. A confident political party doesn’t fill the world with pictures of the people it opposes and fears. It proclaims the faces of its own leaders and heroes. I mean, I only discovered Batten’s actual christian name (I thought it was “Gerald”) while I was concocting this posting. It’s like they’re really trying to big up the very people they’re fearful of.

And a confident political party especially doesn’t proclaim the faces of the people it fears, while saying that it is against fear and wants fear to lose. This graphic is the politics of fear. I genuinely don’t get how they could have okayed this thing. Were they actually seduced by the triviality of “fear” rhyming with “here”? Was it that dopey?

Not that there is anything wrong with the politics of fear. I voted the way I did yesterday as much out of the fear of what I didn’t and don’t want, as I did because I am especially hopeful about what I did vote for.

“I also blamed Jewish people …”

Sara Gibbs:

When I was younger I also blamed Jewish people for all my problems and thought they were part of a conspiracy to control and ruin my life. Turns out they were just being good parents.

I got to this because I follow Stephen Pollard on Twitter. The more serious point is that Pollard tweets a lot about the anti-Semitism of Corbyn and his followers. Good for him.

Here‘s something I wrote about that last year, for Samizdata.

Quota gallery of Carnaby Union Jack photos

“Gallery” being the way I now do those little clutches of photos that I’m so fond of doing.

Here one I photoed (x4), in a place in London that now apparently calls itself “Carnaby”. Last I heard, which was about thirty years ago, there was only Carnaby Street. But now the name has spread, thanks to all the name recognition that has attached itself to “Carnaby”, over the years.

Sticking those four photos up here is about as complicated as sticking up just one photo on the old blog. Whereas on the old blog, this would take about a quarter of a day. So, I’m a happier blogger than I was. And that is bound to mean that all you massed ranks of readers of this blog will get happier, because happiness is contagious. And you will be happier for a more tangible reason, which is that you can now click on one of these photos, and then click on the arrows at the side to see all the others, with just three more clicks.

As for the sparkly Thing itself, well, I like it a lot. Ever since the Scottish Referendum, when it looked like the Union Jack could be about to die, I have admired the Union Jack itself. Actually, way before then, but especially from then on. It’s suck a distinctive thing, and will survive endless reworking and reinterpretation.

On this day

Madsen Pirie:

May 1st could be remembered for many things. It was on this day in 1707 that the Act of Union joining England and Wales with Scotland took effect, creating the United Kingdom. It was also on May 1st that the first adhesive postage stamp, the Penny Black, was issued, creating the UK popular mail service that was used so skillfully to disseminate leaflets by the Anti Corn-Law League.

It was also the date in 1851 that Queen Victoria opened the Great Exhibition, to demonstrate the UK’s achievements to the world, and to sell them. Another great opening on the day was in 1931, when the Empire State Building was dedicated in New York. So iconic was it that it featured two years later in the classic movie, King Kong.

To all of the above can be added that May 1st 2019 was the day that Brian Micklethwait’s New Blog was loosed upon the world. That’s certainly how I’m going to remember May 1st, from now on.

Pirie goes on to discuss how Mayday, in Britain, means celebrating workers, and the amount of revolutionary mischief they can be persuaded to inflict upon the world.

I prefer my version of this date. Although, I also liked what Pirie went on to say about the contrast between when the dates celebrating Labour happen in Britain and in America. It’s the difference, he says, between hope and experience, between failure and success, between socialism and capitalism.

Quimper Cathedral photos from a year ago

Earlier today, Patrick Crozier and I recorded another of our recorded conversations (by and by it will appear here). Patrick laid out the agenda which was Christianity, and how, although he could never believe in it, nenevertheless regrets the diminution of its influence on our world.

He mentioned the way the Western Roman Empire fell apart after it had been conquered by Christianity (echoing Gibbon, although I didn’t say that; he mentioned ecclesiastical architecture; he mentioned the intimate relationship between Christianity and secular power; and at one point we rather digressed, into the matter of French domestic architecture.

Here are four photos I photoed in Quimper, Brittany, exactly one year ago to the day, which illustrate these various talking points:

Photo 1.1 a history lesson inside Qumper Cathedral which covers the ground Patrick alluded to about the Roman Empire (protected by glass, hence the reflection of the stained glass window).. Photo 1.2 is a view of one of the towers of Quimper Cathedral, as seen from the other tower. Photo 2.1 is of an equestrian statue, from the same spot. And finally, 2.2, also from the same spot, is a photo looking out over the city of Quimper.

The weather could have been a lot brighter, but you are only allowed to the top of Quimper Cathedral on the one day each year, and April 29th 2018 was the day that it was

I will greatly miss Quimper and its Cathedral, now that my friends in France no longer live there. I won’t be going back on my own, just to see it but not them.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

A musical metaphor is developed

In this blog posting, someone called Judge Ellis is quoted saying, somewhere in America, some time recently or not so recently, in connection with something Trump-related, this:

“You don’t really care about Mr. Manafort’s bank fraud – what you really care about is what information Mr Manafort could give you that would reflect on Mr. Trump or lead to his prosecution or impeachment.

“This vernacular to ‘sing’ is what prosecutors use. What you’ve got to be careful of is that they may not only sing, they may compose.”

Good expression. Never heard it before, although it must have been around for decades.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

Capitalism and socialism in tweets

I like both of these.

This:

Capitalism works better than it sounds. Socialism sounds better than it works.

And this:

Capitalism is the only reason socialism has any money to redistribute.

I like them, as in: I like them as pithily expressed things to think about. Not sure the first one in particular is actually true. Socialism, when you actually spell out what socialists want and what they think should be done to dissenters, turns out to be ghastly, long before it actually happens.

And if capitalism sounds worse than it is, maybe you aren’t saying it right.

Yesterday there were four postings here. Mostly small, but still, four. The above stuff is Twitter, but this blog is not Twitter. This blog leaves you time to have a little read and a life.

So, this is your lot for today.

On the other hand, if you have forty minutes to spare on subjects like the above, try listening to this. It’s the IEA’s Kristian Niemietz talking about socialism. He too thinks that capitalism is “counter-intuitive”. His manner is a lot more low-key and considered than you would expect it to be if you only followed him on Twitter.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

Tulip approved

So tweets City AM’s Christian May.

Everybody is now bitching about this Thing, just like they did with the Eiffel Tower. Do “we need” it? Blah blah. Well guess what: I want it. And more to the point the people paying for it and wanting to build it want it.

Although, I did agree with the Dezeen commenter who said that maybe a Tulip is not the sort of thing you want in the middle of one of the world’s great financial districts.

LATER: Julia H-B:

Like all of London’s new skyscrapers, I’ll hate it.*

*Until I love it.

Precisely.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

New London

Matt Kilkoyne:

The growth of London’s Isle of Dogs is beautiful. More please.

What I like about this is the way the Big Things in the background are all blue-grey glass, while the little things in the foreground are all the same reddish brick. It’s almost as if they knew beforehand what plans would be allowed and what plans wouldn’t! These Big Things are totally unlike the City towers, in mostly being individually banal and un-“iconic”, yet they add up to something that is indeed, to me anyway, rather impressive. The bigger it all gets the more impressive it will be. London – this bit of it at least – has learned from New York.

This is all part of the relentless shift of London’s centre of gravity down river.

Down river towards London Gateway, about which the internet still has amazingly little to say. My take on that? There will be the grandmother of all grand openings, if only to accommodate all the reporters on that project who have been persuaded to say nothing about it for now. (Or: Do reporters truly not care? If so, more fool them.)

Street Art sells beer instead of political ruination – pro-political-ruination writer not happy

Christine Macdonald complains, in an article recently linked to by Arts and Letters Daily that:

Street Art Used To Be the Voice of the People. Now It’s the Voice of Advertisers.

Given what Ms MacDonald means by “the People” (the people who ruin all the places they get control of), this development is to be welcomed. Compared to ruination by a diverse array of people, all with the same ruinous opinions, advertisers trying only to sell you stuff are a breath of fresh air.

Here is an example of this process at work, spotted by me in Stoke Newington, the day before yesterday:

And here is another van from the same stable, which I spotted and photoed on the same day that I spotted and photoed these other exercises in profit seeking and actual people helping, nearer to the middle of London, while out and about a while back:

Vans like this are different, and thus attract attention. They certainly got mine. Many beer drinkers will surely have been persuaded to wonder what this particular beer tastes like. If it tastes like crap, advertising won’t save your product. But if the product is good but is being ignored, advertising is just what you want.

But, all you graffitists who have sold out or who would like to, be warned. Soon, this style will look rather ordinary, once lots of others have started doing it. At which point people like me won’t photo it any more, and commerce that is trying to attract attention will be on to the next aesthetic fad.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog