Friday, 14 October 2022

Extinction Rebellion: The Modern Doomsday Cult

I went on a lot of the marches in London that were protesting against the huge government overreach regarding COVID19 and vaccines. I even made the front page of the Telegraph – not my photograph sadly, but I was in the photo, outside Downing Street. Captioned as an “anti-vaxxer”, which is interesting because I’ve never considered myself as such, and I believe the majority of people with me were protesting the grievous injustice of vaccine mandates.

Anyway. I went on those marches. Along with a hell of a lot of other people. The first one was probably heading towards the million people mark. (Which makes it all the more impressive that the media managed to pretend that it didn’t happen.) On the marches that went past Downing Street, it took several hours for the entire protest to move through. There really were a lot of people.

Purely by accident I stumbled straight into an Extinction Rebellion protest today. I had been wanting to cycle up Whitehall to Soho, but the road was blocked at Parliament Square by police. I walked through, and found a cluster of maybe a thousand people (I’m perhaps being rather generous there) clustered around the entrance to Downing Street. They had some drums and were making some noise, but it really was quite a modest little gathering of people. There were probably more people at the infamous Downing Street parties.

My own feelings are that Extinction Rebellion is a useful puppet. I’m not sure if XR’s members have noticed, but the government has already committed to doing basically everything they want, and in a very short timescale. Therefore, I find it quite inexplicable that they were all waving banners decrying the “criminal government” etc. However, XR give the illusion that there is popular support and demand for these Malthusian policies.

The thing is, I agree that humans generally treat the environment very shabbily. From companies causing vast amounts of harmful pollution through to the selfish idiots who think nothing of throwing their McDonalds litter on the ground (it’s always junk food – which to me says a lot about the kind of people who eat that rubbish). Humans treat their environment with very little regard on the whole, and that’s very sad.

What I – and large numbers of other rational, decent people – disagree with XR on is that we are in a “climate emergency” and that said emergency is being caused primarily by carbon dioxide emissions.

Climate has been changing ceaselessly ever since there was a climate to change. Stasis is not what nature does. Rather, nature is an unimaginably complex collection of interconnected systems that are in constant flux. And nature has never put a foot wrong. It always finds its correct balance if left to its own devices. And on a planet wide scale, human activity probably has little to no impact on climate. Certainly not “carbon emissions”, which any genuine science will point out is actually rather vital to life on earth.

And anyway: nature doesn’t care whether we find any changes to our liking. Nature is certainly not there to serve our desires or maintain our current status quo. Since our ancestors first wandered out of Africa 100,000 years ago, we have adapted successfully to the constantly changing climate. (Indeed, the history of human migration around the planet from Africa is one that is told concurrent with the history of climate change. Just read the fascinating book, Guns, Germs and Steel.)

Sadly, modern humans think they know better than nature, and can use technology to supersede nature. However, human meddling in natural systems is at best futile and hubristic, and at worst deeply dangerous. That should be obvious to any sane person from the pointless yet massively destructive NPIs and vaccines deployed to “fight” COVID19 – as if a virus was something that humanity could choose to vanquish. COVID19 had its useful idiots who espoused that “Zero Covid” was the moral choice – and lo, the fact that these aims coincided exactly with massive pharmaceutical companies’ balance sheets was pure coincidence!

“Zero Covid” and “Net Zero” are both equally insane policies, and XR are some of the latter’s useful idiots. Is it a coincidence that the business of sustainable energy and lowering carbon emissions has become exceedingly profitable in recent years? I even noticed that my old company seems to have got in on the act, and I can guarantee that they wouldn’t be doing so unless it was very lucrative in the short term.

Sustainable and clean energy is actually a truly vital aim for humanity. Nobody should be arguing that fossil fuels are beneficial or even neutral for the environment: they all emit pollutants (carbon dioxide not being one of them) and cause harm to both the environment and human health. But the hugely rash and premature rush to abandon fossil fuels for the mirage of sustainable energy will cause economic devastation, and devastate lives and health and wellbeing for billions. The West has for decades adopted an energy policy of closing its eyes and hoping a miracle came along. Well, it hasn’t, and our crumbling energy production and supply infrastructure is now close to collapse. (Well done those forward thinking people who have already removed themselves from grid reliance…)

Until we get our act together and knock together a Dyson Sphere (go and read about them), fusion power is the hopefully achievable goal that the world should be aiming for. Just think of the research and development that could have been achieved with the tens of trillions of dollars that have been squandered on COVID19 nonsense and a proxy war against Russia.

Instead, we are where we are right now, and it’s really not looking good for the future.

I get the feeling that the XR crowd I saw today are all fairly affluent, predominantly Home Counties types. Lots of ex hippies, and general do-gooders. They probably aren’t struggling to pay their bills even with the serious price increases in the last year. I wonder what they might think when further decades go by without the constantly promised environmental Armageddon, but instead they and their children become increasingly cold and poor as our society judders to a halt due to their ridiculous Doomsday cult ideology. We are heading back to the Dark Ages, in more than one way.

I don’t doubt that the majority of people I saw today have good intentions. The problem is, the road to hell is paved with them. And we’re barreling along it at speed.

The (Anti) Science

Taken from the Naked Emperor's Substack:

  1. Insinuating that the lab leak hypothesis is a racist conspiracy theory is anti-science;
  2. Closing international borders to keep a virus out when the virus is already established in-country is anti-science;
  3. Panicked killing of Danish mink was anti-science. Public health apologizing for the mistake is pro-science;
  4. Redefining herd immunity to exclude immunity conferred by disease recovery is anti-science;
  5. Sending covid infected patients back to nursing homes to keep hospital beds empty was anti-science;
  6. Lockdowns and other trickle down epidemiology are anti-science;
  7. Science bureaucrats using their power to smear scientists who disagree with them is anti-science;
  8. Instituting lockdowns & restrictions on the basis of overly-simplistic covid models is anti-science;
  9. Pretending there is a scientific consensus on lockdown and so much else when there is not a scientific consensus (Especially while censoring sceptical voices) is anti-science;
  10. Arbitrarily dividing society into essential and non-essential is anti-science;
  11. Ignoring the obvious and devastating economic costs of policy is anti-science;
  12. Censorship of scientific debate is anti-science. Literally.
  13. Zoom school is anti-science;
  14. Politically partisan public health is anti-science;
  15. Not permitting healthy people to leave home for more than an hour, even for exercise, is anti-science;
  16. Jumping off the sidewalk to avoid the breath of an unmasked person walking by is anti-science;
  17. Shutting down kids’ sports is anti-science;
  18. Public health shaming people for not following public health diktats is anti-science;
  19. Forcing school kids to eat six feet apart from each other, outdoors and in silence was anti-science;
  20. Redefining health to be synonymous with the avoidance of a single infectious disease is anti-science;
  21. Six-foot social distancing is anti-science;
  22. Not letting family members visit dying relatives is anti-science;
  23. Contact tracing to contain a highly infectious and aerosolized respiratory virus is anti-science;
  24. Zero covid is anti-science;
  25. Mask mandates are anti-science;
  26. White washing the harm done to children by school closures by glibly asserting that ‘kids are resilient’ is anti-science;
  27. Institutionalized hypochondria is anti-science;
  28. Masking toddlers is anti-science;
  29. Requiring waiters to mask to serve unmasked patrons is anti-science;
  30. Noble lies are bad public health practice and anti-science;
  31. Pharmaceutical company funding of on-air news media and professional medical organizations is anti-science;
  32. Policing private doctor patient communication for non-CDC approved content is anti-science;
  33. Science & medicine are the common inheritance of all, regardless of party. Medical and scientific professional societies officially endorsing political candidates and thereby alienating half the population is anti-science;
  34. Not rapidly running randomized trials to evaluate off-patent early treatment options and denigrating doctors and patients who tried them (“horse paste”) when better options were not available is anti-science;
  35. Ignoring age-stratification in risk in determining pandemic policy and vaccine recommendations is anti-science;
  36. Vaccine discrimination is socially divisive and is anti-science;
  37. Public health experts have an obligation to speak respectfully with everyone, including people who oppose their recommendations (such as on vaccines). Guilt-by-association attacks on experts who fulfil this obligation are anti-science;
  38. Asserting that a vaccine stops transmission when it does not stop transmission is anti-science;
  39. Ignoring immunity after covid recovery is anti-science;
  40. Vaccine mandates have demolished public trust and are anti-science;
  41. Pausing childhood vaccination programs and tuberculosis treatment in poor countries because of fear of covid led to many unnecessary deaths and is anti-science;
  42. Ignoring legitimate vaccine injury is anti-science;
  43. Declaring oneself to be The Science itself is anti-science;

And some of Bob Moran's wonderful cartoons:

Friday, 30 September 2022

The depression that led to the rabbits

I can't disagree with this article outlining why we’re heading towards another major global depression. Honestly, I’ve been saying that for nearly ten years.

The causes are long and varied. I am certainly not going to downplay the importance of government responses to SARSCOV2, or the Ukraine conflict. And now, the pipeline sabotage, which for some reason the world seems to want to blame on Russia, despite Russia not having a single motivation for doing so. (Who does have motive? And capability, thanks to the UK? Oh yes, Ukraine. With the war mongering fraud Zelensky in charge…)

But SARSCOV2 and Ukraine have merely been the final straw. The real causes are long and varied and have been in motion pretty much since my birth. Since the late 1970s, outsourcing and offshoring has been the economic name of the game. It brought higher profits for companies once they didn’t need to pay the high labour costs in Western countries. Over the last several decades, nearly every single part of Western economic activity has been outsourced and offshored. Manufacturing and many service sector industries have vanished. We are left with the civil service, health and social care provision, education, and retail. All of which are quite obviously dead and dying themselves. (And finance. But special mention of that in a bit…) Small scale, sustainable agriculture seems to be positioned to fail, and be superseded entirely by big agri-business.

What exactly did people expect the long term consequences of removing all meaningful economic activity would be for the Western world?

Documentary filmmaker Michael Moore's "Roger and Me" is well worth watching. Made in 1989, Moore was an early commentator on the effects that this shift would have. He was an early commentator because the film is about his home town, Flint (MI), and what happened to it after the main local employer, General Motors, decided to relocate its manufacturing to Mexico. It’s not pretty, even in 1989. There's a memorable scene of a woman with some rabbits that she manages to survive from.

The city is, by all accounts, even less pretty today. (At least, what is left of it - large parts of it have been flattened.)

This is a key point, touched on in the article in the Critic. While economists have often pointed to a cyclical nature of boom/bust in capitalist economies (and they are not wrong to do so), we have been steadily reaching a point where this received wisdom is no longer applicable. At different rates for different geographical areas and sectors of the economy, there comes a point of no return - after which it is just bust after bust. For Flint that was quite early on in this narrative, back in the 1980s. The rest of the Western world is catching up, however. And slowly but surely, sacrificing parts of itself to sustain the elites for a little while longer in the lifestyle to which they are accustomed.

So we come to finance. I know a bit about finance. Having worked in it - at a hedge fund, in a position that did allow me to get a good overview of its aims, methods, and ethics. I can say very clearly that financial services, as an entire industry, is a vulture over the carcass of what used to be an economy and society. At best, a lot of the financial services industry is just there to shift money around to make a bit of money for somebody - and at best, that can have benefits to ordinary investors and pension funds, etc, but more often than not it is (very) high net worth individuals who make the lion’s share. But this is all achieved by analysts making dispassionate decisions based on the application of formulae that have profound negative impacts for normal people’s lives. And then going home to their comfortable Wimbledon, Putney or Ealing homes. Like military drone operators flying missions over distant countries, killing people, and then going home to barbecue in their Las Vegas home.

Most people doing such things don’t seem to realise the impact they have on the world. Let alone on their own souls. Their physical wellbeing may yet still be intact - why worry about the future?

What is the future? The future belongs to those parts of the world that haven’t outsourced and offshored, that still have domestic manufacturing and energy production capability. Most of the “developed” Western world has sold off those vital assets, for short term profits and a deluded (and corporatized) approach to environmentalism. The West has spent 40 years digging the very ground from under its feet.

I don't think anything can stop the downwards plummet now. Braking measures put in post 2008 have worn through, and now it's freefall. Amazingly, ordinary people are still in denial about it. People still clamour for the materialistic dream, with their five bed houses with jacuzzis and three luxury German cars on the driveway. When if they had any sense they'd be looking for a bit of land to put solar, a wind turbine, a wood stove, a water supply, and a food supply on.

The Western world lost its way many decades ago, with greed, selfishness and short-termism taking ascendancy. For better or worse (perhaps a bit of both), it is clearly time for the West to fade into history and a new world order to take its place.

In the meantime, at least I've got a plentiful supply of rabbits.

Wednesday, 7 September 2022

The Salem Witch Trials

I no longer recognise the world. It feels like I have stayed relatively static in most regards, and the world’s tectonic plates have fractured and shifted violently below me - and most people haven’t even noticed that this fundamental restructuring of the globe has taken place.

I can only conclude that we are living through an era of collective derangement. What some people have very accurately called mass psychosis.

I was under the spell of some of these derangements. One of the biggest: anthropogenic climate change. It is rather hubristic to believe that human activity has any great effect on global climate. Instead, many people might have noticed an occasional large ball of fire in the sky, whose natural fluctuations are far more likely to be behind the fairly regular changes in climate that have occurred over the several hundred thousand years that we have clear data for. The comings and goings of ice ages is just something that happens from time to time, based on fluctuations in the sun’s power output. Where I live was under sheet ice and glaciers 10,000 years ago, and will be again at some point. Possibly fairly soon (geologically speaking), if you look at the patterns of the last few hundred thousand years.

“Carbon emissions” cause all climate change? I don’t think so. A harmless gas that is absolutely essential to all plant life. But now, to express scepticism about the totally unproven theory of anthropogenic climate change means that the sceptic clearly hates the environment and wants us all to be living in one big happy oil spill. Speaking only for myself, I care about the environment, and I think it is disgraceful that the extremely convenient con of “carbon emissions” is distracting attention from all the destruction wreaked on the environment by companies with their pollution, waste, and ecosystem destruction. Personally, I believe in living a modest, frugal life, with low consumption and wastage, and treating the environment with as much respect as possible. It seems a very unfashionable lifestyle these days… even among those who like to think they are saving the planet by using the phrase “carbon emissions” as frequently as possible.

COVID19. I have written other blog posts about this. My views are clear. And unlike the huge numbers of politicians and journalists now busy doing a collective reverse ferret, my views have remained vocal and unchanged since spring 2020. It was (and still is) collective hysteria over a mild illness that affected nobody but the very old and very fat. “Lockdown” was a crime against humanity, perpetrated by people who knew that it was both totally unnecessary and far more damaging than SARS-COV-2 itself. The vaccines are far, far from being “safe and effective”, and the worship of corrupt pharmaceutical companies by people who should know better is pathetic. The silencing of dissent and the ongoing censorship (about COVID and other issues) is deeply disturbing. And now the chickens are slowly trickling in to roost, don’t forget that some of us told you so, and you told us we were mad conspiracy theorists. If you are one of those feeble minded people still fearing for their lives (now 38 months on from when SARS-COV-2 likely started circling the globe in summer 2019), then put yourself on some scales. If you are overweight (and a disturbingly large number of people are disturbingly large), then just remember that your COVID19 outcome was highly correlated with your level of excess fat. Eat less, fatty. (Your “health at any size” is just pure nonsense.)

And the blue and yellow country with the Let’s Blame Everything on Putin game. Which feels like it was the coup de grace in the derangement of Western society, with people literally flying the flag of a deeply corrupt eastern Europe nation with a horribly corrupt and manipulative leader, demanding that we spend hundreds of billions sending weapons to them to be used in a war where the only sane outcome is immediate negotiated settlement (preferably back in February). But senile old Biden (or rather, his handlers) would rather fight the Russians to the last Ukrainian, so onwards the Pyrrhic war machine rumbles. It is disgraceful, and I feel sorry for the people dying on both sides, given that it was an utterly pointless and avoidable conflict. But don’t worry, arms manufacturers are getting both rich and a free live trial of their latest equipment, on real live human test dummies. At least there’s that! And a great peg to hang the crippling stupidity of decades of energy policy and now rampant profiteering by energy companies - it's all Putin's fault, innit!

Just a side point here. I voted Remain. I didn’t do so for wishy-washy idealistic ideological reasons. I did so because being part of the world’s largest trading bloc was important for the UK’s prosperity. That ship has now sailed. I am no fan of globalism in general, and while the EU did have some non-economic benefits, I am now glad that we are separated from what has clearly become a corrupt institution. Is it total coincidence that Ursula von der Leyen’s family were able to benefit hugely from COVID19 and the disgraceful implementation of vaccine passes and vaccine mandates within the EU? I don’t think so. The EU began life as a laudable effort to promote European cooperation. The last few years have shown how deeply it has become perverted.

Then we have “wokery”. Which has many tentacles hard at work in its mission to undermine Western society, culture, and history. The trans issue and critical race theory are two of the most dangerous and pernicious ones. I’m embarrassed to say now that I actually attended a BLM rally. And why not? I consider myself a decent person, and supporting Black Lives Matter is what decent people were encouraged to do (heaven forbid you forgot to put a black square on your Instagram feed!). However… As with anything, it really isn’t that simple. I believe that black lives matter. As I believe that all lives matter, equally. However, Black Lives Matter the organisation is thoroughly corrupt, has caused massive divisions in society, and hugely enriched its founders. Critical race theory in general is undoing all the positive work in eliminating racism in society over the last fifty years. Under CRT’s racialist tenets, Martin Luther King’s views would be labelled racist, given that he believed people should treat each other equally regardless of any arbitrary characteristic such as skin melanin. Colour blind equality is very unfashionable now, with CRT demanding that skin colour is effectively the only thing about a person that matters. Well it’s not, and I resist both “positive discrimination”, as well as the anti-white racism that is now being employed by institutions, companies, and generally by large sections of society. Here’s a little experiment to do: if what somebody is saying would be considered racist and beyond the pale if the words “black” and “white” were transposed, that’s because it is indeed racist and beyond the pale. Resist it. It is not progressive. It is deeply regressive and illiberal, and harmful for everybody. Resist division and neo-segregation. (I wanted Kemi Badenoch for PM, seeing as how you ask.)

Trans. Where does one start? I didn’t perhaps realise the genuine threat this movement poses until fairly recently. Not trans people themselves, you understand. As far as I am concerned they can live their lives with the same rights (no more, no less) as the rest of us, and best of luck to them. I have a feeling that most of them are actually just confused homosexuals - many of them autistic - that have been severely let down by a medical establishment keen to sell them expensive lifelong drug dependencies and life altering surgery. Which is all very sad. But instead, it’s the activism that is really frightening. A requirement for believers to forget everything they know about biology and objective truth and reality. And the hugely disturbing fact that trans activism, just like critical race theory, has infiltrated institutions and companies throughout the Western world. Ireland recently jailed a teacher for refusing to call a boy a girl. This is where we have come to.

And where have we come to? We are in the middle of the Salem witch trials. And it’s all a bit ironic that despite Arthur Miller’s The Crucible being a set text in British schools, its message has clearly not been remembered by many who read it. (The same could be said for Animal Farm and 1984, both also set texts, and which have become disturbingly factual in recent years…)

The Salem witch trials were mass psychosis. People disregarding the evidence of their senses, as well as rational thought. We are in a similarly accusatory age. Not with a Christian flavour, but having a definite Puritanical, inquisitorial, quasi-religious aroma, where anybody who dares to express any scepticism is burned as a witch. Not literally of course, but social and professional immolation.

(At least, not literally so far.)

Resisting the narrative on any of these topics does not make you a bad person. Rather, it makes you a person unwilling to outsource their thinking to an extremely biased mainstream media, and the madness of crowds.

This is not a photograph, obviously. It is one of Bob Moran’s cartoons. Bob very bravely stood up for his principles and lost his job at the Telegraph - yet another media outlet that sold its soul and ethics to the devil (known to them as the Global Health Security Team).

One day, I hope the world will have regained some sanity. Until then, it can go fuck itself.

Wednesday, 17 August 2022

My gratitude to those who have apologised...

I read this wryly amusing piece this morning:

"I’d like to send a special note of thanks to all those friends and family members who, after sniggering behind my back that I had gone off my rocker, or had suddenly become an unthinking and selfish Trumpite, sent their sincere apologies for what they said about me, and how I had fallen into mindlessly and obsessively repeating Q-Anon memes. 

I am especially grateful for the words of regret I’ve received from those among this same group that brought the logics of medieval witch-shunning and apartheid to family gatherings and friendships. It’s so nice to see that you now realize the fire you were playing with and have all made solemn and quite public pledges to apologize to those you ostracized on the basis of institutionalized superstitions and to never go down that sad and divisive road again. 

Most of all, I’d like to thank you for the way you have all graciously admitted that the truth of what I told you repeatedly from the beginning based on my reading of the FDA’s own briefing reports on the vaccines (that there was never any scientific evidence that the injections would stop infection or transmission) as well as what has been clear since the leaking in 2021 of the numerous contracts between Pfizer and sovereign governments: there was no available science to back the repeated Government claims that the vaccines were “safe and effective.” 

I’d like to send a special shout-out to my doctor friends who apparently never took the time to read any of the multiple scientific studies on the efficacy of masks and proven vaccine capabilities that I sent them over the past 30 months and who preferred to respond, on the few times when they did at all, with mocking one-liners and admonitions like “Stay in your lane Tom.” 

The way each and every one of them has now personally acknowledged the truth of these things as well as the fact that the PCR tests were wildly unreliable, that the idea of massive asymptomatic transmission was a chimera, that social distancing was useless, and that the vaccines have done nothing to stop infection and may, in fact, be promoting it, has been heartwarming."

Sadly, the truth is that the brainwashed masses who signed up for all of the madness from the outset are never going to apologise or admit any wrongdoing, no matter the fact that their castle of sand has collapsed around them with the entirely predictable tide.

Even if they don't want to admit the causes, perhaps some of those people might admit that we're heading into pretty harsh economic territory. Not all of it caused by COVID19 restrictions, of course: the crash of 2008 was never really allowed to fully materialise, what with vast amounts of fiscal propping done by central banks, allowing large parts of the economy to soldier on as if nothing had really happened. What had actually happened was that the soldier had been given a fairly grievous injury but with the injecting of enough morphine he was able to stagger on.

Central banks can't do that any longer. The printing of money on a fairly unprecedented scale for entirely useless purposes since 2020 means they are out of options. The morphine that had kept the economy on its feet since 2008 has run out, and from 2020 onwards it had plenty more bullets pumped into it. It is now a terminal case.

Hundreds of millions of people - if not billions - over the next decade are going to descend into poverty. All around the world, including places where people probably still feel they are immune to such things. Places such as the one you likely live in.

I've said before that The Wire is by far my favourite television show. Fundamentally it's a portrait of institutional failure, and what happens to a place when multiple institutions fail all at once. Well, our institutions have failed. The education system, business, the regulators of business, the media, academia, the healthcare system, the civil service, politics. They have all failed. And perhaps as a result of their failure, society as an institution is destined to fail too. The economic, social and cultural bonds that help create a functioning and cohesive society have been rejected in favour of what can only be described as a modern, Western version of the Cultural Revolution.

One of my favourite horror stories of the Cultural Revolution is the "Four Pests campaign". In 1958, the Chinese authorities had identified four "pests" that they felt that if they were exterminated would greatly improve their country. One of these was the humble sparrow, which they decided to kill to increase grain yields. Chinese people were encouraged to go out and kill as many sparrows as they could. This they did, and shortly the sparrow was all but extinct in China. Without the sparrows to help control their numbers, locusts ate all the crops. Millions starved to death.

If you can't see the parallels with the last few years and the important message it has for our current world, then you have my pity and disdain. The author of this excellent article on the technocratic hubris of recent years sums it up very well:

"To me, the “war” on Covid-19 has been characterized by a destructive set of attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors that appear to be deeply engrained in our political and economic institutions, and which form a pattern that should be recognizable to conservationists and ecologists.
  • Aggressive intervention in complex natural processes using new, poorly understood technologies designed to achieve narrowly defined short-term goals, with disregard for the potential long-term ramifications;
  • Profiteering by private interests that own the technologies, enabled by government entities and “experts” that have been financially captured by those interests; 
  • Followed by a cascade of unintended consequences."

Unintended consequences? Perhaps. But certainly not unforeseen. Inconvenient deplorables like myself were pointing them out right from the start.

Sunday, 22 May 2022

Photography is dead.

I’d go so far to say that photography is dead both as a career as well as an artistic pursuit.

As a career it’s obvious why. Those that actually succeed and manage to make an annual living at something beyond minimum wage levels (I actually aspire to minimum wage levels…) do so because they know people, or because they have worked out how to game the system. There is very little correlation between ability and success. Those of us simply with a bit of artistic and technical ability and the desire to do an honest job for an honest fee are very unfashionable now. I make less now from photography than I did when I was a pretend professional photographer ten years ago. And the number of people wanting photographs for nothing has steadily climbed. How many industries is it considered acceptable (normal even) to ask people to work for free?

Photography has become entirely devalued. "Everybody is a photographer", now that everybody has a camera in their pocket at all times.

I’m embarrassed now by the things that I have produced. Perhaps chief among them the “Dalesfolk” book. I don’t even own a copy (not least because it’s so expensive to print). What I had hoped would be a celebration of modern rural life was utterly ignored by publishers and the media. Though what did I expect? Even the Yorkshire Dales National Park, who gave some meager funding towards the project, didn’t want to buy a copy for their archive. Now I look back and see nearly a year of my time wasted, meeting people who mostly turned out to be as banal, rude, deceitful and stupid as everybody else. I’d rather it was all forgotten about. Though, it has to be said, I was quite pleased when Dalesman magazine had it as their book of the month, ahead of narcissist supremo Amanda Owen's latest brainvomit. Though, it also has to be said that Dalesman pronounced it their book of the month without ever even seeing a copy...

It's over for me, anyhow. My customers were mostly through word of mouth. The insanity since 2020 severed that chain. Now I don't have the will to start again. And even if I did, we're heading into a severe and prolonged economic downturn that will have repercussions for individuals and businesses. Fripperies can wait.

I used to think that photography in general, and hopefully in particular my photography, would be some sort of record for the future, of particular places and people in particular times. I’ve always known however that the digital era is the most ephemeral and fragile era in all of human history, when it comes to the records we leave behind. A hard drive full of thousands of inaccessible JPGs is worth less to historians of the future than one printed photograph. Historians of the future will know less of the digital era of humans than we know of the Vikings. We will leave nothing behind.

One day, Google will switch off their blogspot  servers. It might be ten years from now. It might be fifty. This will all vanish. I will leave nothing behind.

Tuesday, 8 March 2022

Dr Zelensky: Or, how I learned to stop thinking and love the moral outrage.

I don’t use social media any longer. It’s fantastic. I do recommend it. No longer being witness to the staggering ignorance, gullibility and moral hypocrisy of most people makes my days just that little bit more bearable.

My girlfriend still uses it, sort of. The other day she showed me a meme shared by an acquaintance of hers. Paraphrasing, it went as follows: “Thank god all my friends who were experts in virology are now also experts in eastern European politics.”

To me, the unspoken message behind such a thing is that most people are content to be told what to think. I am not an expert in virology or eastern European politics, but I have a functioning brain and the ability to read disparate sources of information and come to my own reasoned conclusions.

I have always been a bit of a sceptic and cynic, but the last two years have crystallised those traits, and it is fair to say that I am unlikely to trust anything said by a politician or the media ever again. Everybody has an agenda, and burrowing down through the layers of lies to find something like the truth is difficult to the point of impossible, even in (or perhaps because of) our brave new world of information coursing around the world.

The situation in Ukraine is complicated. It is far more complicated than any politicians or media are painting it as. It certainly isn’t black and white with clear cut “heroes” and “villains”, despite most people now seemingly infantilised to the degree that this is their worldview (thanks Hollywood).

Ukraine is also not some bastion of liberal democracy that should be defended at ruinous cost (potentially to the entire world). Ukraine is and has been for decades one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Probably everybody has seen an image in the press in recent days of the plucky and defiant mayor of Odessa doing his best Jason Statham impression, staring moodily into the lens while holding a pistol. Well, mayor Gennadiy Trukhanov is literally a gangster, involved for decades with smuggling people and drugs. Liberal democratic freedom fighter he is not.

President Zelensky, for all the talk of him being an inspirational war leader like Churchill, was named in the Panama Papers leak, and has probably embezzled a personal fortune of nearly $2 billion, with tens of millions of dollars in property in the US. He has been a useful pro-US puppet to prod the Russian bear and bring the new cold war that has been brewing for over a decade to a boil.

Prior to the “Euromaidan” of 2014, Ukraine had a democratically elected (though no doubt equally corrupt) government that favoured cooperation with Russia. The Euromaidan revolution in 2014 was in all likelihood a US backed covert regime change to steer Ukraine away from Russia. This was when the civil war in eastern Ukraine erupted, which has smouldered on since then - with some abatement during Trump’s term, as he was avowedly against NATO and further NATO expansion.

I have read lots of editorials all saying the same basic thing: Russia has to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty, and if Ukraine wishes to join NATO (and the EU) and align itself closer to the West, that’s Ukraine’s business and Ukraine’s business alone. This view is hopelessly naïve - not to mention deeply hypocritical if any person holding this view has supported almost any US-led interventionism since the end of WWII (Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan…). It is naivety to believe that Russia would tolerate a large country on their border forming a military alliance with a bloc that was explicitly set up to contain Russia. It would be entirely the same as China forming a military alliance with Canada, Mexico, or Cuba. And I believe there might be some historical evidence showing how little tolerance the US would have for that - and the cooler and more rational heads in the US government in October 1962 fortunately helped the world navigate away from potentially apocalyptic territory.

I am not an expert on eastern European politics. But actually I do have a degree in international politics and economics, and one of the first concepts described to me was the distinction between idealism and realism in geopolitics. I have since come to the conclusion that it is good to think idealistically, but to act realistically. In an ideal world Ukraine would be a sovereign state like any other and should be allowed to follow their desired path. Ukraine’s reality however is that they are bordering a very large nuclear armed autocracy with whom they have a long and complicated relationship.

None of this has been the fault of the Ukrainian people suffering death and destruction - while their “heroic” president calls for yet more of other people's sacrifices, in a situation that at best (and this is a long shot) may result in temporary tactical victory for the Ukrainians, by forcing Russia’s demoralised conscript army to retreat. Even that would be a Pyrrhic victory however, as one way or the other, Russia will get what it wants: a neutral Ukraine, not a member of NATO or the EU, with guaranteed rights for its very large ethnic/linguistic Russian population. This will include the official recognising of Crimea as Russian territory, and likely the declaration of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent territories.

Arriving at this foregone conclusion without the Russian military flattening the rest of the country would really be in every normal person’s best interests, in Ukraine and beyond.

This is not appeasement. This is geopolitical reality. For anybody unsure on this concept, please go and read about the Cuban missile crisis. Fortunately for the world, what the Cuban missile crisis lacked was Tiktok and Instagram, where corrupt politicians could directly tug on the ignorant heartstrings of the world while calling for actions that could lead to the deaths of billions. Unfortunately, the pandora’s box of social media cannot be closed, so now we have millions of people calling for aid and assistance for the yellow and blue country they probably couldn’t even locate on a map just two months ago.

Learn some history. Learn about the people involved, and their personal and political motives. Let go of the outrage and moral hysteria of social media’s distorted realities and come back blinking into the light of the real world.

Sunday, 6 February 2022

"If you can keep your head..."

“If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you…”

The narrative is collapsing. You know it’s collapsing when the White House Press Secretary is now distancing the current president from any association with “lockdown” policies, and heaping blame solely on the previous president. Who can blame her, when studies are saying that only 0.2% of deaths were likely saved by the hugely damaging “lockdowns”? (And that is no doubt before you strip out the majority of deaths that were “with” COVID, rather than “from”, which in the UK at least means you end up with only about 10% of the number that the mainstream media always bandies around. For those still unaware that this was happening, yes, there were "COVID deaths" literally from getting hit by a bus...)

What actually needs to happen now?

There need to be criminal trials. First and foremost these need to target Fauci, Collins, Farrar and Daszak. Let’s be honest at this point: the SARS-COV-2 virus clearly emerged from a lab in Wuhan, and many highly respected scientists believe it was probably engineered. Nobody - at this point - is accusing anybody of malicious intent in that engineering, or that it was released maliciously. Merely rank stupidity and carelessness. But let’s be really clear: those aforementioned people knew all this and covered it up, and are continuing to deny any knowledge. They need punishment.

On the UK only side of things I also suggest putting our public health officials on criminal trial. Whitty, Vallance, Van Tam and Harries. They may have been in on the conspiracy to conceal its origins. I don’t really care. Even if they didn’t their decisions were criminally negligent.

And of course, we can’t leave good old Neil Ferguson out of the fun. Reserve a place in solitary confinement for him, for the entirety of his whole life sentence. Nobody else in the world would be more deserving than that charlatan. Though of course shame on any fool who believed the fool, when the fool had been well and truly debunked even prior to 2020.

The narrative is collapsing. But I can see that huge numbers of COVID cultists are still clinging on. Lockdowns, masks, vaccines, vaccine mandates. None of it has worked, and yet so many people are still clinging on to it all.

I have always found psychology both a fascinating and terrifying subject. It explains so much of the less desirable attributes of our brains. Human intellect has achieved things that have elevated homo sapiens above any other animal (though I’m now willing to argue whether that is necessarily a good thing) - and yet we clearly have a brain that is, at its core, no different to any reptile acting purely out of primal instincts. In particular: fear.

So I’m going to leave you with three things to read. The first two, here and here, are a superb summary of where we are, psychologically speaking, and how we got here, and how we might be able to get out of this ridiculous situation.

The last is a good summary of the censorship that made this so possible. Dissenting voices were needed in the last two years more than ever, but in a hugely ironic twist, the modern internet, supposedly a bastion of freedom of expression, did not want to tolerate free expression. We are all impoverished because of that, and the newfound enthusiasm among many people for censorship and the crushing of dissent has dark portent for our future. A newfound enthusiasm for the Faustian (Faucian?) deal to trade liberty for perceived safety will take us to dark places.

I am proud to have kept my head. Right from the start. Those who didn’t were no better than these people, rushing madly in to panic buy toilet paper. I will not forget or forgive those who lost their minds - and told me I had lost mine.


Wednesday, 2 February 2022

Graveyard Spiral

Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, is my MP. I recently wrote to my MP. I’ve never done that before, because I’ve never been under the delusion that writing to your MP is an effective means of activism. (Especially when your MP is Rishi Sunak, who is highly unlikely to read such correspondence himself.)

However, I decided to write a very quick email to him after Christmas as it was quite clear that he (and a few other cabinet colleagues) were managing to restrain the mad dog Johnson from plunging the country into yet another destructive and pointless lockdown. All I said was thank you for doing his best to keep a little rational thought going in government and that I didn’t want a reply, particularly not a template press release reply.

Unfortunately, his office sent a reply.

Kind of.

I mean, they got my name (entirely) wrong. And my address wrong. (I was given the letter because the people at the address it was sent to didn’t know who it might be for, so showed it to me, and I suspected that it actually had been intended for me.)

But anyway. Basic office staff incompetency aside, it was indeed one whole A4 side of meaningless template press release

Sorry. But just fuck off.

I didn’t vote for Sunak. I will never vote for Sunak. But given his background, I have realised since the start of 2020 that he would be one of the few people in Parliament willing and capable of analysing the situation for himself and coming to rational conclusions. No doubt he did - and privately I imagine he has been trying to counter the insane doom mongers throughout - while trying intensely to not put his own political career in jeopardy. (A shame then about the hugely misjudged furlough scheme, without which COVID19 would have been over and done with after three weeks after people realised that they couldn’t sit at home getting paid while pretending mortal fear of a common cold.)

During 2020 and 2021 I made sure to visit the high streets of anywhere I happened to be. In many places they are increasingly beginning to look like 1980s Beirut. Back when I still had social media I would irritatingly tag in Sunak so his social media flunky could sigh again at the crazy person randomly tagging in the Chancellor of the Exchequer to photos of streets full of empty buildings in Barrow in Furness, or Great Yarmouth, or Halifax, or central London, or wherever I happened to be at the time.

I’m also not under the delusion that the last two years are solely responsible for the economic meltdown we’re facing - but they have been the shotgun blast to the face that finished off the victim. And to those who say that “things are looking up again!”, I think you’re stupid and naïve and incredibly shortsighted. Personally I have always felt that the economy has been artificially buoyed since 2008, with money printing and a smoke and mirrors property market delaying the inevitable collapse of a structurally unsound and unsustainable system. 2020 and 2021 saw those two delaying measures cranked up to 11. I believe it is now impossible to maintain the fiction for much longer, though no doubt those with rose tinted welding goggles still clamped to their faces will dispute.

Anyway. This country is fucked. Enjoy.

(All photos taken in 2021.)

From Wikipedia: "In aviation, a graveyard spiral is a type of dangerous spiral dive entered into accidentally by a pilot who is not trained or not proficient in flying in instrument meteorological conditions. Other names for this phenomenon include suicide spiral, deadly spiral, death spiral and vicious spiral."