The unspeakable in full pursuit of the untenable

Stealing-Off-Gillray
Stealing off;—or—prudent Secesion by James Gillray, etching, 1798.
Image source: Wikipedia

OR

Unreasonable Withdrawal; –  A Brexit minister realizes that the EU Withdrawal Bill
is a mistake, 2017

The problem for a Government on the run screaming FAKE NEWS is the inherent danger of self-incrimination. As politics is all about presentation, using the FN plea is an admission of incompetence, at best.

In this meta-weary world, we have got used to the duality of Truth in the modern democratic State. The wonder of Trump is not that a lying, racist, pussy-grabbing bully was elected, but that so many people don’t care that the leader of western democracy is a lying, racist, pussy-grabbing bully.  The panto villain and the demagogue are indistinguishable.

The confusion in the UK over animal sentience confirms that Fake News, not Real News, is the radar for Zeitgeist – it reveals the conscious and unconscious fears of both the public and its rulers.

It is unreasonable to argue, as Zac Goldsmith did, that there is no need to integrate the EU’s specific recognition of animal sentience into English law on the grounds that “self-evidently animals are sentient”. Self-evident truths are not legally binding. Like unalienable human rights, they need protection in law.

The first indisputable fact is that MPs voted to exclude the clause regarding animal sentience from the EU Withdrawal Bill.

The second fact is that, for a couple of days, Leavers and Remainers, including Conservative voters, were united in believing that the Brexit Government was capable of denying that animals feel pain and emotion. We were shocked, but not surprised. That’s not a vote of confidence in either the Government or Brexit. We believed that we were seeing the unspeakable in full pursuit of the untenable.

Self-evidence is distressingly nebular, too often confused with subjective truth. It is not self-evident to everyone that Brexit, and specifically this Government, is against the national interest.

The problem for resolute Remainers is to prove the link between the Government’s incoherence and the sinister consequences of Brexit itself. Certain unalienable rights are already under threat. The damage to the economy and quality of life of the average working person is in plain sight.

We marvel at the desperation of asylum seekers risking their futures in unseaworthy boats – and that is exactly what the prosperous UK is doing by getting on board unfeasible Brexit. Self-evidently, leaving the EU is wasting money better spent on NHS, housing and education; it will not solve our deteriorating social problems, or strengthen workers’ rights, any more than it will improve animal welfare.

Géricault, The Raft of the Medusa 1818-1819 Musée du Louvre, Paris. Image source: WGA

In the Brexit shipwreck there are still absolute truths to cling to, but we are running out of time. The Referendum result is not binding. Article 50 is reversible.

We should be uniting against a Government that is betraying the ideals of Leavers, and surpassing the worst fears of Remainers, a Government so incompetent that it cannot control its own wrecking ball.

Truthfully, Brexit must be stopped, for the Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness of everyone in our country.

Ambrogio Lorenzetti Bad Government and the Effects of Bad Government on the City Life 1338-40
Fresco, Palazzo Pubblico, Siena. Image source: Wikipedia

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One man and his dog

Part five of Nothing

PeterLelyPrinceRupertoftheRhineGoogleArtProject

An older, grumpier, sadder Rupert, showing all the signs of disillusionment with the world of vanities.
Portrait by Lely, 1660 -70, oil on canvas. Collection: Yale Center for British Art. Image: Wikipedia

At last, Rupert was able to enjoy a peaceful retirement at Windsor Castle, mainly occupied in his scientific and artistic experiments. These were not mere hobbies of a retired man of action, or the pastimes of a dilettante royal; he had the enquiring mind of a true intellectual and practical grasp of advanced technology.

He was far more than a militarist who sought violent means to solve complex problems; he sought mathematical solutions, too.

He was an active member of the Royal Society, the oldest existing academy of science in the world, and a talented draughtsman and etcher who promoted mezzotint engraving.

He also happened to be one of the four best tennis players in England. He was an instinctively stylish dresser, he – but this was meant to be a short post, and already it is overstuffed with words, a chattering monkey’s post.

Rochester’s generation of dissolute courtiers, born during or after the Civil War, and gossipy professional bureaucrats like Samuel Pepys, thought Rupert was a crusty old joke and laughed at him behind his back. They were too scared to do so in his face. He thought they were idiots and didn’t hide it. Continue reading

…still distracted by love of a dead man…

Part four of Nothing

Rupert learned his lesson from the death of Boye, and never took a domesticated animal on campaign again, but once he moved back to England after the Restoration of the monarchy, there was always a dog waiting for him at home.

Like many of his family he genuinely loved animals – his mother, Elizabeth, Queen of Bohemia, was said by her youngest daughter to prefer her dogs and monkeys to her children. His cousin, Charles II, was hardly ever seen without his troop of pretty, spoilt spaniels, the only breed of dogs to have been royal permission to go to the Theatre Royal, Haymarket, and that, along with Nell Gwynn and her oranges, is still the popular image of the king we have today.

In late middle-age, even Prince Rupert was disarmed by an actress, the glamorous, dark-haired Margaret Hughes. They met in Tunbridge Wells, where fashionable society avoided smelly, plaguey London during the summer, which was more of a hot dating spot then than now.

Lely_margret_hughesMargaret Hughes (c 1630 – 1719), one of the first, if not the first, woman to appear professionally on the English stage after the Restoration, as Desdemona in the King’s Company production of Othello in December, 1660, in a portrait by Lely, c. 1670, with fashionable accessory of adoring spaniel. She became Rupert’s mistress after 1668, and continued her acting career spasmodically, in the lucky position of being able to choose her parts.

Peg Hughes was very extravagant, and in later life had a gambling addiction; she cost Rupert a lot of money to keep in a grand house bought specially for her. She insisted on her right to continue acting, and he let her – after all, he knew what being driven by professional commitment was like, and he had more in common with a self-made woman than the pampered women of his own class. Continue reading