Tuesday, 8 June 2010

How serious is the debate about gauge?

 It seems to me that we can find enemies wherever we look. Or. alternately allies.

I do not, ridiclous at it might seem to others, see nationalism as exclusiive, rather the contrary.

There is a Gaelic word for Spanish, which I can't find right now. The story goes that after the Armada was beaten by the weather, they ended up, some of them, wrecked in the Outer Hebrides. They married, or summat like that, and their decendants are still seen as Spanish.

That tells you quite a lot about the political landscape of the day, and what these, probably exclusively, men had to offer. Ooh Err.........

I dunno, it just seems worth investing some DNA research in. Are they or aren't they? Maybe not. Who cares?

Still, the principle of  assimilating folk seems to go back a long way. We are not concerned about it. It seems to me that people change, over time. It might take a generation or two, but I expect that folk will have similar difficulties in identifying Asian Scots from, err, what?


And who are we, exactly? We are who we say we are. And that includes all of us.

Which is an attempt to explain :

What I am trying to say, perhaps badly, is that nationality is not that important. It is a bit of a contrary indicator, much like folk whose religion is Muslim and who can’t see outside that box either. No-one needs to define themselves in a one dimensional manner.
You do not need to define yourself. You are not just ‘English’ when a World Cup arrives, you are wrestling with a dilemma that ought to exercise you quite a lot.
Whilst I hate American foreign policy – I think it is generally a pretendy imperialism – I have extremely good internet relationships with Americans. It took me quite a while to disentangle the good that they are, from the bad that they think they need to support. I think, once you try to address their ‘issues’ , on reasonable sites, they are persuadable. The point being that defining yourself by nationality is subject to, winnable, challenges.
It is a point that China Mielville made in an article once. He read specialist magazines, not for their content, but for the range of human emotions that are expressed in them.
There is a ‘gauge’ issue for model railways. They believe, most of them, that 4mm equals a foot. Heretics model in other scales to the foot.
For those concerned, track gauge, the measure of the 4′8″ ( and a half, I can’t seem to work out how to do that) becomes a debate in it’s own right. There are those that believe in OO, there are those that believe in EM and there are perfectionists that believe in P4. We are talking millimetres here.
There is that, albeit small, group of folk that consider that to be an important issue in their lives. Why are they wrong and why are they concerned?
I am not mocking these people. I am just pointing out that a debate will rage unto eternity about the relative merits.
I would assume that none of the participants in that debate see it as defining of themselves. What they do see it as, is important.
To them.
Perhaps because it matters to them. But what matters to you, and them, ought to be subject to review. If you become ’stuck’ on a belief then you are no better, or worse, than a person that wants to build a model railway. For the criteria of difference, the criteria of exceptionalism is there to behold.
Which is, perhaps, an analogy for the attempts here to ‘rule the roost’ on what we should ‘take’ from the immigration debate. I think their are folk that come here that have an agenda I could not agree with, call them the OO folk.
We categorise ourselves at some risk to independent thought.
(Personally, I’d sponsor a Pakistani P4 follower, but the OO person would get short shrift. You can divide the world up any way you like. Respect to ‘Model Railway Journal’ by the way.)

You might find this enlightening. 

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

I fought the Law and the Law won

It seems to me that Israel was completely in the legal right in murdering folk delivering supplies to Gaza, which, let us not forget is being encouraged by the Knesset to become completely self sufficient. In the sense that imports are banned.. Y'know, dangerous materiels such as cement and stuff. Allegedly wheelchairs too. But that can't be right, surely?

Y'know a separate jurisdiction applying it's rules to another? Why not? The Knesset is obviously the arbiter of what the Palestinians should do.

Is that not an obvious choice for a muscular liberal?

Well, yes, indeedy it is.

Why, I ask you, would anyone see an attempt to break that embargo as wrong?

Well, the contested true story of the good ship 'Exodus' suggests another narrative, one where breaking an embargo was seen as heroic.

Quite how muscular liberals reconcile that remains to be seen.

Given the ability to apologise for anything, I suspect that the brain dead zombies that co-habit 'Harry's Place' will get their legal shit on.

For that is how bereft these poor children are. Kill folk and say it was legitimate.

What pathetic fools these people are!

Late to the Party - The 'Exodus' Analogy

It had occurred to me that there were parallels between Leon Uris's 'Exodus' story and what has happened to the 'Peace Flotilla'. Googling around gave me this link:


Which makes the following point, amongst others:

"The tougher Israel is, the more the flotilla’s narrative takes hold. As the Zionists knew in 1947 and the Palestinians are learning, controlling public opinion requires subtlety, a selective narrative and cynicism. As they also knew, losing the battle can be catastrophic. It cost Britain the Mandate and allowed Israel to survive. Israel’s enemies are now turning the tables. This maneuver was far more effective than suicide bombings or the Intifada in challenging Israel’s public perception and therefore its geopolitical position (though if the Palestinians return to some of their more distasteful tactics like suicide bombing, the Turkish strategy of portraying Israel as the instigator of violence will be undermined)."

So, it is clear that others can see the analogy, or perhaps the derivative nature of the tactic. Here is a pretty reasonable summary of the PR battle that is going to surround this incident.

One highlight is this, referring to the original model for the latest atrocity:

"Captain Ahronovitch was 23 when he took the helm of the Exodus. On July 11, 1947, he picked up the refugees at Sète, in southern France. On July 18, as the ship neared the coast of Palestine, the British Navy intercepted it. Captain Ahronovitch tried to break through, but two British destroyers rammed the ship.
Several hours of fighting followed, with the ship’s passengers spraying fuel oil and throwing smoke bombs, life rafts and whatever else came to hand, down on the British sailors trying to board, The Times reported at the time. Soon the British opened fire. Two immigrants and a crewman on the Exodus were killed; scores more were wounded, many seriously. The ship was towed to Haifa, and from there its passengers were deported, first to France and eventually to Germany, where they were placed in camps near Lübeck."

Plus ca change? and all that.

Seems to me that this has been an enormous misjudgement on the part of Israel.

If you prefer your tea with a dash of whisky, I'd thoroughly recommend the Flying Rodent approach. Which includes the quite incredibly pithy summary:

"Shorter – there really is an urgent and perilous threat to Israel. It’s called “the Israeli government”."
Update:  It is difficult to feel much sympathy for this post in today's Telegraph.