Monthly Archives: November 2010

The rich have never had it so good

Nutory Boy’s absurdly titled “enterprise czar”, Lord Young of Graffham, managed to put not one but two feet inextricably in the political mire with his “people have never had it so good”  fantasy vouchsafed to a Telegraph journalist to the sounds of cutlery clacking and glasses clinking in what was doubtless a very decent Westminster watering hole.

Young based his extraordinary claim on the idea that those with mortgages were enjoying a bonanza because of  exceptionally low interest rates. The first hole in his proposition is that one third of British residents live in rented accommodation  (67.9pc of all households, down from 70.9pc in 2003 either own a house outright or have a mortgage – .That means around 7 million households have not benefitted from low mortgage re-payments.

The second hole is that  of the 14.6 million owner-occupiers a majority will either own their property outright or have modest mortgages and, consequently,  will  have gained little  from low mortgage repayments

The third hole is the fact that only those with tracker mortgages – a minority of a minority – will have madereally substantial  gains.

The fourth hole comes from the decline in property values since 2007, falls  which have probably wiped out even the gains made by those with large tracker mortgages.  

The fifth hole appears because by keeping interest rates down and printing £180 billion of money through quantitative easing  the government has ensured that inflation has remained high.  This means the savings made on reduced mortgage repayments have rapidly lost their value and the drop in house values is even worse than the face value figure shows.  (If a house was worth £200,000 in 2007 and is now valued at £160,000 but inflation since 2007 has reduced the value of the pound by 10% then that 10% has to be taken of the new face valuation. Inflation eats away at the mortgage repayment cost, but the gain in present circumstances is  much less than the loss from  asset depreciation ).

Buying a property has become impossible for  the vast majority of first time buyers as the supply of mortgages has shrunk and  no deposit mortgages have been replaced by demands for deposits of 15-25%.   For those who have not been able to get on the property ladder the position is increasing bleak as the pressure on rented accommodation becomes ever greater as more and more require it.  Social housing cannot be got for love nor money in most parts of the country and private rental property is expensive and getting more so. (A report on 17 November 2011 found that renting a property was more expensive than  paying the average mortgage in 80% of British towns.

The dirty secret of the housing  slump is that those in rented accommodation who have been forced by the government to subsidize those with property. By keeping interest rates low and introducing measures designed to encourage mortgage providers not to re-possess at the first opportunity,  owner-occupiers, although they have seen the value of their properties fall, have been protected from much greater falls in property values (the Republic of Ireland has seen property prices halve) and many have retained their properties incircumstancs which would have  seen them repossessed in earlier times. Not only that, had interest rates been set at a level to keep inflation under control, very large numbers of property owners would have lost their homes because an increase of a few per cent  in their  mortage rate would have pushed them over the financial cliff. That of course would have depressed property values much further as large numbers of properties came onto the market.

On the income side, unemployment has soared to around 2,500,000 officially (and is probably much higher) and will probably rise substantially when the 100,000 public sector jobs go. Those in employment have suffered short time working and wage freezes which mean in effect significant  wage reductions as inflation continues.  (The number of part-time workers  has risen to record numbers and the headline employment figures are fudged because they do not distinguish between full and part time workers). At the same time the government has changed the inflation yardstick by which  benefits and publuic sector pensions are uprated from the Retail Price Index (which includes housing costs) to the Consumer Price Index (which excludes housing costs). The CPI being normally significantly below that of the RPI, there is effectively a  loss in the future. This change will be followed by private pension funds.

Bank Rate at half a per cent has meant minimal returns for savers, which amounts to a loss because inflation exceeds the interest.  The cost of living for those on fixed incomes such as pensioners  has risen substantially above the official  inflation figures because people  on small incomes spend their income on a much narrower range of goods and services such as food, housing, clothes and heating than do the better off. Those essentials have risen more rapidly than the general price indices in the past few years.  

In the future people,  know for the next few years at best,  they are facing reduced pensions, a higher state retirement age, university education priced beyond the means of many, reduced wages, reduced benefits, reduced public services, higher rents, higher mortgages  and continuing uncertainty about their jobs.  There is also the looming problem of the gigantic public debt already built up and the seemingly unending problems with the banks both at home and abroad.  It is probable that  either taxes will have to be raised even further  or public services cut even deeper. It is also by no means certain that the recession is over and a double dip will not occur or the EU be sent into turmoil by the collapse of the Euro.

Those are the bare materials bones of our economic condition.  What they do not tell you is the mental anguish which comes from losing your job or fearing you will lose it; having to go onto short time working; not having a secure home in which to bring up your children.  People like Young, who comes from a comfortable middleclass  home, simply have no conception of such a plight. That is what makes his comments so obnoxious. He put his first foot in the mire by being factually wrong; the second foot followed as he adopted not only words but  a manner which made clear that he thinks those who complain are merely the rotten apples of society. This he did with his telling comments about people who thought the taxpayer owed them a living, this from a man who has never known what it is to be poor.

The truth is that, as with the Great Depression,  the only people who have never had it so good have been the rich, for their cost of living has reduced as asset prices drop and wages fall as people get desperate for work.

Taking Liberties

  • Production year: 2007
  • Country: UK
  • Cert (UK): 12A
  • Runtime: 105 mins
  • Directors: Chris Atkins
  • Chris Atkins’  film  is not without its merits. It  efficiently catalogues the frightening nature and scope of the many  authoritarian laws passed by the Blair Government and shows a varied selection of  the behaviour of those legally entitled to enforce them, behaviour which
    ranged from the obnoxiously officious – “Go away or  I will nick  you for XY or Z” was a common police  response – to severe embarrassment at having to enforce such sinister Acts.

    Film of the octogenarian Labour supporter from the Labour Party Conference was particularly telling  both because of the speed with which the stewards acted and the amount of force they used to expel both the initial protester and a  man who attempted to intervene, as was the
    aftermath when the police in their cheery way attempted to use Terrorism legislation against the octogenarian.

    Sadly, the police  can now  arrest people at will because the concept of an arrestable offence is now effectively a dead letter and the police have so many new and old laws at their disposal that they  can always find a law to threaten you with – one person trying to deliver a court injunction to a copper was  told he would be arrested for littering if he did not take the injunction away.

    Being arrested is no longer a straightforward matter. The police now have the right to fingerprint you, photograph you  and take your DNA which they can store for ever on a database even if you are not charged with an offence let alone convicted of one. This is no small matter because as soon as you are on the database you are at a  serious disadvantage compared with someone who is not.

    The mere fact of being on  the police database  will make you a suspicious person in the eyes of officialdom.  Your DNA  could be planted at a crime scene by a  private individual. Imagine a burglar collecting items such as a cigarette stub left by someone else and leaving them during a burglary to mislead the police.   You will also be at risk of  false matches. In addition, the police are investigating on the basis of close matches. Suppose  a close relative commits a crime and his or her  DNA is not on the police database but yours is. The police are likely to approach you even if the match is not exact.

    The problem with Atkins is that he is rigid with political correctness. The consequence of this is that  the film  fails to address any authoritarian act directed at those who fall outside the groups protected by political correctness. Two examples of this neglect are the failures to mention the Countryside march and the prosecution of  the BNP leader Nick Griffin  for allegedly inciting racial hatred.

    The Countryside march merited his attention both  because it was the largest public protest in Britain in  modern times and probably the largest ever in Britain  and because of the gratuitously violent behaviour of the police when they attacked marchers in Parliament Square in a most cavalier manner despite the fact that the demonstration was remarkably well behaved generally.

    Atkins did not ignore the Countryside march because he thinks  that the Government’s ignoring of  massive public protests or police violence are unimportant. This is shown by his use of the Government’s response to the march against the Iraq invasion  and the grotesquely heavy handed police response to Brian Haws’  permanent demonstration in Parliament Square when vast numbers of Her Majesty’s finest arrived in the night to
    curtail his activities.

    The failure to address the issues surrounding the prosecution of Griffin had more complexity attached to it. The prime issue was the prosecution of someone who  heads a political party which plays by the democratic rules. If it could happen to one party it could happen to any.
    Moreover, the prosecutions  had political involvement – the attorney-general, a member of the Government,  had to sanction the prosecutions. Yet Atkins not only failed to address this vitally important issue through the Griffin case, he did not raise it either as a general difficulty nor address through other prosecutions such as those of Muslims prosecuted for inciting racial hatred .the question of laws which  restrict free expression

    What we had throughout the film was a parade of   greens, anti-nuclear activists, peace-protesters, and civil rights supporters (who invariably supported politically correct clients such as Muslims under control orders). Nothing wrong with their inclusion: everything wrong with the one-sidedness of the evidence presented.

    Those appearing in the film

    Rachel North – Writer & 7/7 Survivor

    Tony Benn – Former Labour MP & Cabinet Minister

    Walter Wolfgang

    Toby Rhodes – Splash Clothing

    Henry Porter – Novelist & Observer Columnist

    Maya Evans – Justice Not Vengeance Co-ordinator

    Milan Rai – Justice Not Vengeance Co-ordinator

    Mark Thomas – Comedian & Activist

    Sylvia & Helen – Peace Campaigners

    Malcolm Carroll – Baptist Minister

    Ellen & Rose Rickford – Students

    Frances – Ellen & Rose’s Mum

    Brendan – Ellen & Rose’s Dad

    Richard – Peace Campaigner

    John & Linda Catt

    Stephanie Harrison – Barrister

    Chris – Peace Campaigner

    Timothy Lawson-Cruttenden – Solicitor for EDO MBM

    Lydia D’Agostino – Solicitor

    Chief Superintendent Barry Norman – Founder of Forward Intelligence Team (F.I.T.)

    Shami Chakrabarti – Director of Liberty (Human Rights Organisation)

    Boris Johnson – Conservative MP

    Kenneth Clarke – Conservative MP

    Phil Booth – NO2ID National Co-ordinator

    Ross Anderson – Cambridge University

    Clare Short – Former Labour Cabinet Minister

    Michael Mansfield QC

    John Tulloch

    Jennifer & Des – Retired Headmistresses

    Mouloud Sihali

    David Bermingham – Natwest 3

    Clive Stafford Smith – Lawyer for Guantanamo Detainees

    Moazzam Begg – Former Guantanamo Detainee

    Kate Allen – Director, Amnesty Internartional

    Philippe Sands QC – Author of “Lawless World”

    Dr. David Nicholl – Human Rights Campaigner

    Amani Deghayes – Omar’s Sister

    Zohra Zewawi – Omar’s Mother

    Baroness Sarah Ludford – Liberal Democrat MEP

    Stephen Grey – Author of “Ghost Plane”

    Michael Scheuer – Former Chief of CIA Bin Laden Unit

    Riz Ahmed

    Jane Laporte – Fairford Coach Campaigner

    IQ and life in more complex societies

     The more complex a society the greater the need for high IQ. As the number of humans living in social proximity increases more sophisticated social structures are required. A settled way of life amplifies this need further. The variety of occupations increases and, most importantly, the amount of stored knowledge becomes both larger and, once writing is available, more stable. Social organisation becomes looser and informal social support lessens. In place of a single world view competing ideologies vie for supremacy. Change and innovation become much more probable. There is so much more to potentially think about and learn, although any individual may actually have to know less than the hunter-gatherer to survive because of division of labour.

     The individual in such a society is required to both learn more complex and less immediately obviously practical skills and knowledge and to deal with a greater range of human personalities and ideas. A man’s life contains less physical activity. As he works with his brain rather than his hands, his focus of attention changes. Knowledge becomes obsolete through innovation and consequently the need to learn throughout life increases. There is less certainty and fewer simple cultural mooring posts. The individual has to make more intellectually demanding decisions.

    To live in a more complex society requires a qualitative change in mental abilities. There is an ever increasing shift from learning that which is concrete to that which is abstract, both in terms of understanding the whys and hows of the natural world at a level beyond mere surface observation, for example, the extraction of metal from ores, and in contemplating the organisational problems posed by larger associations of human beings. Much of what is to be learnt has no connection with the natural world and consequently no innate interest for Man who has to persuade himself intellectually that such things should be learnt because they lead to useful outcomes.

    The existence of writing enhances such behaviours but it does more than that. The storing of information in a stable form means that information can be disseminated more widely and more certainly. Oral traditions inevitably result in variation. So of course do written records but they are far less prone to change, especially where moveable type printing exists. Moreover, a written record is a permanent statement of what was thought or claimed at one time. It can be compared with later written or oral accounts of the same subject in a way that a society with a purely oral tradition can never compare past and present accounts. In addition, written documentation allows not only a vast increase in what can be handed down from generation to generation but also much more complex information. It also greatly extends the time over which information may be transmitted. According to Plato, Socrates lamented the use of written records because he believed they stifled the intellect, but what would we know of Socrates today if no written records had been made of his thought? The answer is nothing.

    As societies become more complex the way in which people learn changes. Instead of invariably learning by personal instruction and example, human beings often have to learn without direct human assistance, for example by reading, or by listening to the spoken words of others without any practical demonstration. This is because in modern industrialised societies the number of people who really understand the technology which is in general use is seriously inadequate. This means that people are routinely expected to use technology without a proper understanding of it because there is no one to instruct them in its use.

    The Government’s EU referendum lock: giving the key to parliament and voters?

    Open Europe Debate

    The Government’s EU referendum lock: giving the key to parliament and voters?

    Tuesday 16 November 12.30pm – 2pm

    St. Stephen’s Club, 34 Queen Anne’s Gate, London SW1H 9AB


    David Lidington MP,  Minister of State for Europe

    Kate Hoey MP, Labour MP for Vauxhall

    David Rennie,  Political Editor and Bagehot columnist, The Economist

    Mats Persson, Director, Open Europe

    Chair: James Forsyth, Political Editor, The Spectator

    David Lidington

    Liddington said that the Bill would:

    1. provide for referenda on  any important future transfers of sovereignty.  He admitted that the question of deciding what constituted an important transfer of sovereignty was problematic , but pointed out that Parliament could insist on a referendum even if the executive decided there would not be one.

    2. require parliamentary scrutiny and an Act of Parliament for  any change to treaties however minor.

    3. put into statutory form the Common Law position on Parliamentary sovereignty, namely, that any law or executive action arising from the EU by a British government would be simply a consequence of a parliament agreeing to its implementation and that the continued implementation  of any law or executive action was at the will of Parliament, this to include the UK’s membership of the EU.

    4. not affect the convention that no parliament could bind its successors.

    Liddington  also stated that:

    5. the coalition had made clear that they would not countenance any new Treaty or changes to existing treaties  which involved further loss of sovereignty in this Parliament. (This could mean that the referendum lock was not tested until after 2015). However, he qualified the “no new treaties”  by dismissing the impending Croatian accessing treaty as not involving a loss of sovereignty. This is casuistry, because any change to EU membership affects both qualified majority voting and introduces new potential large scale migration from the new member to the rest of the EU, especially the richest EU states. Both are further breaches of sovereignty.

    6. the Tories had been determined to hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty if they had achieved a majority at the General Election. To this end William Hague had  been in touch with the relevant civil servants to rescind such law as had already been passed and to prepare for a referendum bill. This I found insupportable because of Hague’s  refusal of a  referendum in November 2009 –

    During the question and answer session Declan Ganlan,  the promoter of the RoI NO campaign during the two RoI referenda on the Lisbon Treaty, said that the Czech president  Václav Klaus had told him personally that he (Klaus) would not have signed the treaty if Cameron had promised him personally to hold a referendum on Lisbon, but that  Cameron had failed  to make such a  promise.

    David Rennie

    Rennie favoured the Bill because it:

    1.  contains a list of  56 circumstances  (decided by the law officers of the government – the attorney-general etc) which would constitute a serious transfer of sovereignty.

    2. would constitute a serious political barrier to any government wanting to sign up to future transfers of power because they would have to risk a parliamentary rebellion if a referendum was not offered by the government.

    3. would provide a potent bargaining tool for British ministers in the council of ministers,  for  they could argue that if a measure was passed they would have to hold a referendum and that this would knock down unwanted proposals because  the EU elite is terrified of referenda as they believe (rightly) that they would lose almost every time. Rennie said that he believes a referendum on leaving the EU would produce a NO vote  because the major British parties and most of the media would be against Britain’s departure,  but that any other EU related proposition put to a referendum in Britain would be rejected by voters.

    Mats Persson

    Perrson gave a cautious welcome to the Bill which he saw as a significant check on governments, but was concerned about:

    1. the scope for ministers to decide what is and what  is not something worth either a referendum or an Act of Parliament.  He pointed out the wording of the Bill on this point was very vague.

    2. unlike any serious transfer of powers, there is no list of circumstances which would constitute insignificant change.  Persson was concerned about this because of the propensity of  EU ministers to start with seemingly innocuous proposals and then expand them greatly by fanciful interpretation, for example,  the  use of the clause in the Lisbon Treaty designed to provide assistance  to EU states in emergencies, a clause clearly meant to deal with things such as natural disasters,  which was used to justify the introduction of a stabilisation fund to allow Euro members to provide assistance to those in economic difficulties.  This is of particular interest to the UK because ,despite not being a Euro member,  the Brown  government signed the UK up to underwriting the fund.  The referendum lock would not apply to such instances and therefore radical extensions of EU law and authority could be made using existing EU treaties, for example, extensions of EU  justice and home affairs powers using the Lisbon Treaty.

    Kate Hoey

    Hoey was introduced as a Eurosceptic but bridled at this, insisting she was a Eurorealist.  She had little confidence in the proposed Bill because of the habit  of British Governments to be spineless  when dealing with Brussels.  She said she wanted:

    1. a referendum on whether the UK should remain in  the EU.

    2. the UK government to refuse to agree to any increase in the EU budget for the coming year and to refuse to pay any fine which resulted.

    3. the UK  Government to be generally less supine to prevent the incessant introduction of small changes which eventually added up to significant alteration in the relationship between the UK and the EU. .  

    Hoey got into an argument with Liddington about whether UK ambassadors had been instructed to fly the EU flag.  She said she  had met ambassadors who had told her they had been ordered to fly the EU flag. Liddington denied this and said it was at the ambassadors’ discretion and it should never be instead of the Union flag or be flown above the Union flag.


    The Question and Answer session

    These important points were made or raised:

    1.  The Act, if passed,  would simply be an ordinary Act of Parliament which could be amended or repealed at any time.

    2. The Bill contained no voter initiation of referenda powers, a clear indication of the determination of the framers of the Bill to ensure the decision about referenda would be kept firmly in the hands of politicians, especially the hands of ministers.

    3. The question of judicial review of a refusal by a minister to  grant a referendum was raised but no clear answer was given.  Liddington  thought it would be,  but various voices pointed out that judges had been reluctant to intervene  where judicial review was thought top be a political matter. Clearly  that could apply in this case.

    4. Declan Ganlan detailed his experiences in the RoI referenda and described the proposed lock as no more than window dressing because of the mentality of the Euro elites who simply would not play fair on referenda.  

    The mood of the meeting. 

    This I judged to be broadly  hostile to the EU and sceptical of the ability or the willingness of the our politicians to prevent further incursions into British sovereignty. My own opinio,  as ever, is that nothing short of withdrawal from the EU will have the slightest effect on the inexorable movement towards a USE.

    The most depressing part of the meeting was the concentration on economic considerations when it came to staying in or leaving rather than the implications for democracy and national cultures of the EU.

    The more primitive the society the less it relies on high IQ related skills

    The evidence of palaeontology (the scarcity of hominid remains), of archaeology (the absence of evidence of large scale human settlement anywhere before about 7,000 BC), of anthropology (studies of extant hunter gatherers), extrapolations from non-human primate behaviour and the practical implications of being a very large animal, (Man is within the top 5 per cent of land animals by size.) make it certain that Man’s roots lie in small groups of hunter gatherers. Man’s natural group “in the wild” is that of the small band of perhaps 25-100 people.

    Hunter gatherer societies are based primarily on knowledge not reasoning. To survive the individual members have to know a great deal about the world about them but they are not often called upon to solve absolutely novel problems. They live in a world which remains broadly stable. Once something is learned it will normally remain useful throughout an individual’s life, for example, the behaviour of an animal species will remain the same in its general aspects. That is not to say life in such societies is undemanding – as Stephen Pinker puts it in his “How the mind works”, being a hunter gatherer is akin to enduring a lifelong camping trip without mod cons or rescue services – but the demands made are different from those arising from other forms of human society.

    Survival in such circumstances requires a detailed knowledge of the animals and plants in the habitat – their appearance, behaviour, locale and uses, including the medicinal and the usefully toxic such as curare. Close familiarity with the terrain within the group’s range is a must, as is knowledge of the weather and the seasons. To be an efficient member of the group the male hunter-gatherer will need to learn to stalk game and have the courage and ferocity to deal with dangerous animals and other hostile groups of humans. To aid direction finding, some knowledge of the stars will probably be acquired.

    That is just the start. The hunter-gatherer will also need a number of manual skills ranging from those needed for hunting – spear throwing, arrow shooting, trap setting, the making of fire and so on – and for the manufacture of all artefacts which cannot be found in nature – clothes, bows and arrows, spears, fish-hooks, baskets and suchlike.

    The female members of the tribe, in addition to needing many of the skills required of the men, will have to deal with the problems arising from childbirth and maternal care.

    To be fully integrated into his group the hunter-gatherer will need a deep knowledge of the accumulated customs, ceremonies and beliefs of his tribe or band and also knowledge of other neighbouring groups to be able to participate in the resolution of inter-tribe disputes within the confines of the belief system of the tribe.

    This might seem a tremendously demanding catalogue of learning, but it is not onerous in reality because the information and expertise is acquired over a long time and under the most propitious circumstances. The child learns in the easiest way by directly observing how others do it and by tuition which is either one-to-one or given within a small group.

    Nor is the required knowledge very intellectually demanding. It is almost all concrete information. Even knowledge of the group’s myths can be no more than the acquiring of concrete data because the myths can be treated as a set of narrative stories which are simply passed down from generation to generation without causing intellectual enquiry. Indeed, questioning of the myths will almost certainly be seen as mortally dangerous and be discouraged by severe punishment because it will be deemed to risk angering either a god or gods or cause some other form of cosmic disturbance such as creating bad karma.

    Of course, building up such a suite of skills and knowledge means that an individual has, or a group of people have, at some point originated the acquisition of the various skills and elements of knowledge, but the large majority of those skills and knowledge can plausibly be ascribed to the normal process of finding solutions to immediate problems raised by the environment rather than to individuals looking beyond the obvious. It is the difference between devising a simple trap to catch an animal based on observation of the animal’s behaviour – which gives the basic information needed to devise the trap, for example, dig a pit here – and working out that fibre can be gathered from an animal and converted into cloth, a process which requires an act of imagination beyond the information supplied by observation.

    Regardless of the origin of the skills and knowledge of the hunter-gatherer, the individual will be able to acquire them simply as learned skills. There will be no necessity to change things. Indeed, as mentioned above, it will probably be dangerous for the individual member to try to innovate because the tribe as a whole will view any deviation from tried and tested ways as dangerous. Such a brake on innovation is almost certainly a valuable attribute at the level of the hunter-gatherer tribe which is necessarily very reliant on social cohesion.

    The nearest the hunter-gatherer gets to an intellectual life is in the creation of tribal myth, especially the explanation of the tribe and the world’s origin and the assignment of animate qualities to the inanimate, spirits in volcanoes, the sky, rivers and so on. That Man should create myths is natural for a self-conscious being will necessarily wonder about such things as mortality and existence. Of course, the creation of myths is an exercise of the imagination, but it is difficult to see that it makes any heavy intellectual demands. There is a world of difference between a creation myth which simply asserts that this or that happened (for example, Genesis) and the theological/philosophical consideration of what existence entails (for example, Aquinas’ attempts at a proof of God). The former is simply storytelling to provide an answer, the latter an attempt to use reason to provide an answer from the observed and necessary facts of existence.

    Change generally will tend to be seen as dangerous. What is known to work through long usage is safe; that which is novel is potentially dangerous. To that may be added the fact that it is simply psychologically easier to do what you already know. Learning new things is mentally demanding.

    The fact that Man spent hundreds of thousands of years (including most of his “modern Man” period of the past 200,000 years or so) with precious little cultural change is powerful circumstantial evidence of the very strong innate reluctance of human beings to depart from customary ways. Even in historical times we know that change has often been extraordinarily slow in societies which were the most advanced at the time, for example, the stereotypical artefacts of ancient Egypt which change very little over several millennia or the dress of the Chinese which was much the same in 1,800 AD as it was in 1,000 AD. Even those living lives in advanced societies today show a strong reluctance to alter their ways, although their ability to resist change is increasingly limited (see appendix B).

    The concentration on concrete thinking probably underpins a reluctance to change because the understanding and acceptance of radical change requires abstract thought. The individual has to think through the consequences, construct a mental model of what will happen. Someone may stumble by accident on a simple new behaviour which advances Man’s ability to control his environment, for example, that a prey animal is attracted by a particular bait or that a plant has medicinal effects. But no complex advance, for example, the invention of the wheel, is going to occur by simple observation and copying because it requires someone to go beyond copying and visualise something which does not exist.

    The physical senses of people living as hunter gatherers are much heightened compared with those living in modern industrialised urban societies. This is scarcely surprising because the hunter-gatherer has to concern themselves with the natural world in the same way that an animal in the wild does: both must be on constant guard against predators or other forms of danger and be alive to the opportunities for obtaining food and other materials. The heightened senses and the need to concentrate on the present may effect how people think by either training the mind in that direction or by selecting individuals with such innate traits. Perhaps it is impossible for a mind to efficiently perform radically different functions such as a concentration on the immediate and concrete and deal with abstractions. If so, this could either be a consequence of innate difference or a difference in experience which programs the mind.

    The fact that the life of a hunter-gatherer is very physically demanding, both in terms of simply surviving and in the manual skills which must be routinely exercised, may have an effect on intellectual development. Perhaps a concentration on physical activity may dull the intellectual processes even if the brain is equipped to potentially do far more intellectually, or to put it another way, the brain is programmed to do manual work by the demands of the society in which the hunter-gatherer lives and has less inclination for intellectual activity because of that programming. The hunter-gatherer will also have his concentration on potential dangers from predators and other bands of men, just as a prey animal will be constantly looking out for danger.

    In summary, the hunter-gatherer has a large suite of skills and knowledge which allow him to deal with circumstances as they arise, but there is little or nothing which requires high level reasoning or invention. The knowledge of the group is passed from generation to generation with little change.

    What is required in such a society is a very strong memory, especially as such societies are pre-literate (it has long been noted that people in pre-literate societies frequently have extraordinarily powerful memories and good powers of recall), and the ability to readily access and apply the knowledge.

    The implication of all this is that a hunter-gatherer society will require a substantially smaller aggregate intelligence than more complex societies. Alternatively it could be argued that a lesser aggregate intelligence is what is actually required in less complex societies, that is, it is optimum state for the ecological niche into which they naturally fit. Increase the average IQ of the group and the society will have the potential to develop different behaviours, for example, it may become less socially cohesive because there are more individuals who require less social support to cope or whose greater intelligence leads them to innovate. That could reduce the fitness of the hunter-gatherer group because higher IQ behaviours are inappropriate.

    None of this means a simple society is biologically unfit per se. They fill their niche in the Natural world successfully, indeed, have filled it for most of the vast stretch of hominid existence. In parts of the world they fill it to this day. Their evolutionary fitness is only called into question when they meet more complex societies with which they cannot compete. When they do, this can have the most traumatic effects. Take the case of the Australian Aboriginals who have long experience of living in state-sponsored reservations. The amount of aboriginal self-determination has varied over the years, with the general trend being towards ever more self-governance. This trend is now being reconsidered because of its ill-consequences, viz:

    ‘Releasing a new report into the nation’s health, Mr Abbott [Tony Abbott, the  Australian health minister] said the  system  of self-governing  Aboriginal communities created  “appalling  living conditions” where problems such as petrol-sniffing, domestic violence and child sexual abuse were rife…

    ‘The report said Aboriginal health was declining at a time when that of the rest of community was markedly improving. Death rates for indigenous infants are three times higher than for the general population.

    ‘Mr Abbot’s audacious plan proposes giving administrators wide-ranging powers to organise basic services such as water, transport and sewerage –  and  reverse  what  he  calls  the  pervading  “culture  of directionlessness” in remote Aboriginal settlements.’ (Daily Telegraph 22/06/2006).

    A plausible explanation for this state of affairs is that the Aborigines are being asked to live a life for which they are not equipped. and that at least part of that unfitness is down to Nature. The nurturist will of course argue that the present state of Aborigines is simply a consequence of the destruction of their traditional way of life, which in one sense is true. What the nurturist does not and cannot explain is why populations adapt to meeting more sophisticated cultures with differing degrees of ease. It is never an easy or pleasant thing to put aside old ways which are comfortable, but the experience of white and Asian societies in adapting to new, more intellectually demanding circumstances is utterly at odds with that of peoples such as the Aborigines. Europe and its colonial offshoots such as the USA industrialised quite rapidly when shown the way by Britain; Japan took up the industrial banner in the 19th century and China almost certainly would have done if it had not been emasculated by foreign powers. Korea and China itself have shown since the Second World War how readily they can create an industrial society. Most tellingly whites and Asians adapt to more intellectually demanding circumstances regardless of where they are. This is almost certainly because of their superior IQ distribution.

    Speciation by culture – an analogy with computers

    In assessing what Man is, an analogy with computers can be made. As hardware, a particular model of computer is practically identical to every other computer which is classified as the same model. But the software available to every computer of the same model is not identical. They may run different operating systems, either completely different or different versions of the same program. The software which runs under the operating system is different with different versions of the same program being used. The data which is input to the computer varies and this in turn affects the capabilities of the computer.

    It clearly makes no sense to say every computer of the same model is the same even if the computer is loaded with the same software. But of course not all computers are of the same model. They vary tremendously in their power. The same software will run at very different rates because of this. Storage and memory size also vary tremendously. Some computers cannot run programmes because the programmes are too large. We may call all computers computers , but that is to say little more than that all animals are animals, for computers range from the immensely powerful super computers – the homo sapiens of the computer world as it were – to the amoeba of the simple chip which controls lights being put on or off in a room depending on whether someone is in it.

    Are the circumstances of computers not akin to those of Man? Do not the racially based differences in IQ correspond to the differences in power of older and newer computers? Do not different languages represent different operating systems? For example, think how different must be the mentality of a native Chinese speaker (using a language which is entirely monosyllabic)to that of a native English speaker (using a polysyllabic language)simply because of the profound difference in the structure of the language. A language will not merely impose limits on what may be expressed it will effect the entire mentality of the individual, from aesthetic appreciation to social expression. Is not the experiential input analogous to the holding of different data?

    Race – the most potent of human behavioural triggers

    The most potent of human behavioural triggers are racial differences for they exercise the strongest control over the group in a territory where different racial groups exist. Race trumps ethnicity where the ethnic clash is one of people of the same race but different ethnicities. Place a significant population of a different race into a territory where previously ethnicity rather than race was the cause of unrest and the ethnic factions of the same race will tend to unite against those of a different race.

    Nothing demonstrates the natural tendency of human beings to remain racially distinct than the remarkably low rate of inter-racial breeding even in circumstances where there is every opportunity for it, most particularly in the great cities of Western Europe and North America, where the populations are increasingly varied and the prevailing elite ideology positively encouraging of such liaisons.

    Even  societies which have had very racially mixed populations for a long time display a remarkable ability to maintain retain racial distinctions over very long periods of time – Brazil is an excellent example of this, with social class being very much graded by skin colour. To argue that racial difference is not important to the choice of a mate is as absurd as arguing that the attractiveness of a person is irrelevant to the choice of a mate.

    In Freakonomics Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner cite a study made of a US dating site (the full story is on pp 80-84). The site is one of the largest in the US and the data examined covered 30,000 people equally divided between San Diego and Boston. Most were white but there was a substantial minority of non-white subjects.

    The questionnaire the would-be daters had to fill in included a question choice on race as “same as mine” and “doesn’t matter”. The study compared the responses by white would-be daters (those from non-white were not analysed) to these questions with the race of the emails actually sent soliciting a date. The result in Levitt and Dubner’s words was:

    “Roughly half of the white women on the site and 80 percent of the white men declared that race didn’t matter to them. But the response data tell a different story The white men who said that race didn’t matter sent 90 percent of their e-mail queries to white women. The white women who said race didn’t matter sent about 97 percent of their e-mail queries to white men.

    “Is it possible that race really didn’t matter for these white women and men and that they simply never happened to browse a non-white date that interested them?”

    Or, more likely, did they say that race didn’t matter because they wanted to come across especially to potential mates of their own race as open-minded?” In short, around 99% of all the women and 94% of all men in the sample were not willing to seek a date of a different race. How much stronger will be the tendency to refuse to breed with a mate of a different race?

    Another way of testing the desire to remain racially separate is to look at social class and inter-racial breeding. The higher up the social scale a person is the less likely they are to have a partner of a different race – if you doubt this try to find examples of the rich and powerful who have a partner of a different race. Those who have the most choice overwhelmingly choose members of their own racial type, despite the fact that they have the protection of their wealth and position to shield their spouses and children from the effects of racial discrimination.

    The experience of imperial Rome nicely demonstrates racial exclusiveness as a historical phenomenon. Despite the racially mixed population, all the evidence we have suggests that Romans of higher social status (the only Romans we have any substantial knowledge of as individuals) rarely took non-white mates (the same applies today: in white-majority countries the higher the status of whites, the less likely they are to have a non-white partner.) Even the Bible has the story of Moses choosing a black wife and meeting with resistance on the part of his people. (Numbers chapter 12)

    If sexual desire will not commonly override the natural disinclination to remain racially separate nothing will.

    The fact that humans have external racial differences which are sufficiently distinct to allow people throughout the world to broadly categorise an individual into categories such as white and black is in itself indicative of the innate human tendency to breed with those who are racially similar, even though for several thousands of years large human populations of different racial types have existed in close proximity. If human beings did not have an innate preference for those who racially resemble themselves, humanity would have bred itself into something approaching a uniform racial type, at least in those parts of the world which were not very isolated – different races have had regular and numerous contact with each other for at least three thousand years. The alternative explanation to an innate tendency is the truly fantastic one that Man everywhere spontaneously developed cultural barriers to breeding which had nothing to do with any innate tendency. If anything is a social construct it is not race but the liberal idea that Man is a single species.

    Race is much stronger as a mediator of who to mate with than ethnic (cultural) difference – think of the very high proportion of those in Britain who have Irish/Welsh?/Scottish/English mixed ancestry. Nonetheless, ethnic differences are culturally potent amongst racially similar populations. For example, on either side of the England/Scotland border, the inhabitants born and raised close to the border retain Scots and English accents even though they may have lived their entire lives only a few miles apart.

    Because the tendency to mate with those of a similar race is so strong and universal, both in place and time, it is reasonable to conclude that the behaviour is innate and that cultures necessarily include the requirement for a member of the society to be of a certain racial type. The consequence of this is that someone of a different racial type is effectively precluded from full integration because one of the criteria for belonging has not been met. That is not to say, of course, that many of the habits of mind of an alien culture may not be adopted by someone of a different race. What is withheld is the instinctive acceptance of the alien and his or her descendants as members of the society. Just as no human being can decide for themselves that they are a member of this or that group, no individual can decide that they belong to this or that nation because it is a two-way process: the other members of the group they wish to join have to accept them as a true member of the group. (Stephen Frears the English film director once wryly remarked that he had known the actor Daniel Day-Lewis “before he was Irish”).

    There are also other plausible reasons why inter-racial breeding is rare. There is a widespread biological behaviour known as assortative mating. Members of sexually reproducing animals select mates by certain criteria. In that much loved laboratory animal, the fruit fly drosophila, this may be the number of sternopleural bristles; in Man it includes many criteria including racial type. Other human prime assortative criteria are size, intelligence, education and class. Some of these criteria such as education and class are more clearly linked to nurture than Nature, but even they can be direct or indirect expressions of  qualities which are at least largely innate such as intelligence. I say direct or indirect because the beneficial qualities may not be in the individual, for those with superior education and high social class may lack the innate qualities of their parents or earlier ancestors and their privileged position may simply be a residue of the superior innate abilities of their parents or other ancestors.

    For the purposes of inter-racial mating, size, intelligence, education and class all come into play. There are clear average differences of size between the three major races: blacks largest, whites in the middle and Asians smallest. This would mean that on average members of one racial group would be less likely to choose another member of another racial group. The differences in IQ would have the same effect, with blacks being far less likely to mate with the other two races because their IQ is further removed from them than they are from each other. Differences in IQ will also be reflected, directly or indirectly in educational achievement and social class and hence in mating, for example, if a minority population of blacks amidst a majority white population have proportionately more people of low education and low social class than the white majority, something which should happen other things being equal because of their inferior IQ distribution, they are less likely to mate with members of the white majority simply on the grounds of education and class.

    What about genetic diversity the reader may be asking themselves, should not the great benefits of that drive people of different races to mate whenever they can? This widespread view is unsurprising because as far as the layman is concerned one of the great “truths” of modern biology is that diversity is good because genetic diversity within a species reputably protects the species from the effects of harmful recessive genes by reducing the chance of both partners in a successful mating having a particular recessive gene, while general organic diversity in an environment is supposed to ensure the stability and endurance of the environment.

    One does not need to have any deep grasp of genetics to see there is a logical problem with the idea that genetic diversity within a species is a sine qua non of evolutionary success. The genetic relatedness of breeding pairs in many species must of necessity be close because the opportunities to breed are limited. In the case of Homo sapiens this has been true of most human beings throughout history. Man in his primitive state lived in small nomadic bands which were sparsely spread across the landscape Tribal peoples commonly exchange members (normally women) between tribes, but again that is a local exchange. Even in more advanced societies most people have lived in small settled communities and have mated with people who come from the same locality. Very closely related human beings are substantially more prone to genetic disaster if they mate, but the level of genetic diversity required to reduce the number of genetic disasters to a level in which they are not seriously harmful to the group is clearly not vast.

    A small gene pool may even have advantages. Ashkenazi Jews come from what was originally a small population group (some estimates put it as low as 500) which married almost entirely within the group and continued to do so down the generations. They have an abnormally high average IQ – six times as many Ashkenazim as Europeans have IQs of 140+. In June 2005 the Journal of Biosocial Science carried a paper by a team at the University of Utah which put forward the theory that their exceptionally high average IQ exists because of natural selection. They argued that Ashkenazi Jews had had been selected them for high IQ because historically Jews in Europe were denied many opportunities for employment and they were driven into high IQ occupations such as banking. Rushton Revisted

    That racial type should be a requirement for inclusion within a “tribe” is unsurprising. All social animals have to have boundaries to know where the group begins and ends. This is because a social animal must operate within a hierarchy and a hierarchy can only exist where there are boundaries. No boundaries, no hierarchy, because no individual could ever know what the dominance/submission situation was within their species or at least within those members of the species with whom they interact.

    Where does “must operate within a hierarchy” come from? First the observed facts: all social animals do produce hierarchies – although these vary considerably in form – and human beings always produce hierarchies, whether they are hunter-gatherers or people populating a great modern city.

    Why do social animals always form hierarchies? For animals other than Man the answer is I think simple enough: only by forming hierarchies can social groups cohere. This is most probably because animals vary considerably in their physical and mental qualities. Observe any animal, even the simplest single cell organism, and differences between individuals within the species will become apparent. Some are more vigorous than others, some larger, some, more adventurous and so on. Individuals will also vary by age and, in sexually reproducing species, sex.

    In a solitary animal the practical consequences of differences between individuals will be decided by direct competition, most commonly by the formation of territories and the attempted monopoly of mates and food within the territory, with the best endowed animals on average being more successful.

    When an animal is social, differences in individual quality have to be resolved by something other than the methods used by solitary animals such as scent marking of territory boundaries and serious fighting because the animals have to live in close proximity. Competition for desirable goods still occurs, most notably competition for mates, but normally within behaviours which are not fatal to other members of the group or behaviours which are so disruptive as to threaten the survival of the group. The upshot of this social accommodation is the formation of different social niches into which individuals fit.

    Group behaviour is a compromise between the immediate advantage of the individual and the diffuse advantages derived from group activity. The compromise is given structure by hierarchies, whether that be a fixed biological distinction by sex or caste (for example, social bees) or a transient one due to the age of an animal. Hierarchies are built on the differences between individuals and the more rigid the hierarchical structure the greater will be the selective pressures to produce individuals in the right proportions to fill the various social niches within the group.

    Consider what would happen if hierarchies did not exist. There would be constant conflict within the group because no individual would have cause to defer to another except from fear of physical harm and such fear is a blunt and very limited instrument of social control, whether it be of humans or animals. It is a strategy more suited to the solitary animal than the social one.

    Hierarchies also make sense in terms of the development of social animals. Social animals are ultimately descended from asocial animals. The movement from asocial to social animal is presumably akin to the evolutionary process whereby a parasite is converted to a symbiotic partner. It is a process of gradual behavioural accommodation.

    Social animals on the bottom rung of the social animal ladder may do little more than associate together at certain times. The next rung up and the animal frequently associates with others of its kind. One more step and the animal forms more or less permanent groupings. And so on until we reach the ultimate social animal: Man.

    The gradual evolution of social behaviour of itself points to the need for hierarchy, because at each stage of the evolution the natural overtly selfish behaviour of the original solitary animal has to be modified. That modification will only come through natural selection working on behavioural traits which favour more complete socialisation.

    What about human beings? Are they not capable of breaking the biological bounds which capture animals? Does not their immense intelligence and possession of language place them in another category of being? Could Man not simply decide not to behave in a non-hierarchical manner? The fact that human beings have never done so is of itself sufficient evidence for all but the most ideologically committed nurturist to decide that human beings cannot do it and to conclude that the forming of hierarchies is part of the human template. However, to that fact can be added another, the dominance/submission behaviour which every person witnesses daily not merely in positions of formal dominance and subordination such as the workplace, but in every aspect of social life.

    The cuts which are beyond the Pale for Britain’s political elite

    We are incessantly told by the Coalition government that massive cuts must be made to British public spending.  They say this  will mean large cuts in public servants, reduced legal aid, fewer courts, higher fares on trains and buses as public subsidies are lowered, pensions,  both taxpayer funded and private,  reduced by moving from the Retail Price Index  to the Consumer Price Index  for annual inflation uprating, massive hikes in student fees, severe reductions in benefits and a re-shaping of our armed forces in a time of war which not only leaves Britain  seriously deficient in the means to defend herself or meet her existing commitments, but has made her a laughing stock by  the proposal  to have two new aircraft carriers, one of which will never have any British aircraft on it and the other which will have to wait until 2020 before their planes arrive.  

    But while cuts are being made to almost all of the  public services which Britons most need, plenty of money is being found for things which the majority of the population  do not wish to fund.   Let’s have a look at them:

    –          £15 billion in higher Treasury per capita  payments to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland  


     –          Foreign Aid £6.3 billion  (rising to £9.4 billion by 2013)


    –          UK Gross gross contribution to EU  £14 billion ( rising to  £19 billion 2015).

                (net contribution £6.4 billion rising to £10.3 billion in 2015)


    Much of the EU contribution which is returned to Britain is spent on things Britain would not choose to fund if the decision was made by Westminster. But  even if the net EU contribution is taken, these three items alone come to more than £27 billion this year. Take the gross EU  contribution and it is £35 billion.

     Those figures are solid. There are others which obviously involve large sums but which are difficult to tie down exactly.

     –          The cost of the war in Afghanistan in 2009/10 is estimated at   £4,200m.


    This does not include the pay of service personnel or the long term costs of providing for the wounded and dependents of those killed, but includes some foreign Aid. The absence of the wages is reasonable in that the armed services would probably be as large even if we were not in Afghanistan.  However, those on active service receive enhanced payments which would defray the Aid expenditure.   WE could probably save £5 billion a year if we left Afghanistan.

     –   Spending on politically correct initiatives. In 2006 the Metropolitan Police spent  £187 million – six per cent of their  budget – on equality and diversity issues.  


    This type of expenditure will almost certainly be repeated throughout public service both at national and local level, because the last Labour government institutionalised political correctness within public service by placing a legal obligation on all public bodies and private companies and not-for-profit  corporations such as charities to demonstrate that they were not discriminating on the grounds of race, gender or sexual inclination.  The potential sum to be saved if such an obligation was removed  would certainly be billions.

     Removing politically correct expenditure would not only save the money spent but improve efficiency by allowing staff to concentrate on their work without the distraction of having to be politically correct. It would also improve morale amongst the large majority of public employees who presently live in fear of being accused of a pc “crime”  which would mean a very real risk of losing their jobs.

     – Leaving the EU – Apart from saving our contribution, it would also save Britain considerable amounts by allowing her to remove many  legal and bureaucratic  costs. In their “The Great European Rip-Off”  David Craig and Matthew Elliott estimate that our membership costs Britain £118 billion a year between such costs and  our contribution to the EU budget.  (

    Leaving the EU would save other substantial amounts. Having regained control over our own borders we would no longer have to allow any person legally resident in the EU to come to Britain and be treated as a British citizen. This would allow us to end mass migration which would have three  major effects. The first would be a freeing up of jobs taken by immigrants  for Britons which would reduce our unemployment and benefit rolls. The second would be the removal of the legal requirement to treat EU migrants to Britain as if they were Britons for the purposes of state funded services such as health, education and council housing. That would both reduce public expenditure and reduce pressure on  public services. Third, fewer immigrants in Britain would generally reduce competition for goods and services especially housing.  

    Withdrawing from the EU would also have beneficial effects on our relations with the rest of the world. We should be freed of the European Court of Justice, which in practice implements the  European Convention on  Human Rights when making judgements. Britain would still be a signatory to the Convention and the European Court of Human Rights could still pass judgements which in theory Britain would be bound to follow, but in practice such judgements could be ignored because, unlike the European Court of Justice,  there  would be no legal sanction the court could enforce.  Moreover, outside of the EU Britain could repudiate the Convention in whole or part.   Other benefits would be Britain negotiating all treaties on her own behalf, something particularly important when it comes to trade, rather than leaving this to the EU and the end of much of the foreign Aid from Britain being funnelled through Brussels.  Generally, our departure from the EU would lead to a culture  change whereby our political elite had to ask through force of circumstances,  not what is good for the cause of liberal internationalism but what is best for Britain.

    Why is the entire British political elite keeping quiet about such savings? Why do they prefer to impoverish their own people and leave them without the means to defend their country?  Because they are all wedded to the liberal internationalist fantasy, the desired end of which is a world bereft of national boundaries and loyalties.   Our political elite  are Quislings in the service of globalism.

    Speciation by culture

    If the argument for Man’s special place in Nature is moved to the ground of culture, Man’s position as an organism with unique qualities which differentiate him from all other organisms undoubtedly becomes stronger, but at the cost of threatening his position as a species as traditionally defined.

    Objections have been raised to the conclusions of Everett and Gordon, primarily in terms of their interpretation of their observations, but assuming there is a fair degree of objective truth about their data, it is reasonable to ask are the Pirana teetering on the edge of what counts as fully human if behaviour is the defining criterion? It is the wrong question to ask. The right question to ask is can Homo sapiens be meaningfully designated a species as a species is defined for every other organism?

    Because Man is differentiated profoundly by culture, the widely accepted definition of a species – a population of freely interbreeding organisms sharing a common gene pool – is unsatisfactory, for clearly Man is more than an animal responding to simple biological triggers. When behavioural differences are perceived as belonging to a particular group by that group as differentiating members of the group from other men, they perform the same role as organic differences for they divide Man into cultural species.

    It is worth adding that the traditional concept of a species is far from secure. It is a man-made classification which is often found wanting. For example, the North American Ruddy Duck and the European White-Headed Duck are classified as separate species. The introduction of the Ruddy Duck to Europe has resulted in widespread interbreeding between the supposedly separate species to the extent that conservationists now fear for the survival of the White Headed Duck. It is also true that a growing amount of traditional taxonomic classification is being overturned by DNA analysis.

    Another interesting trait is that members of a species will have different breeding propensities across its distribution, that is, members of the supposedly single species will breed differentially with different parts of the total species population. For example, take an animal which is common to Europe and bring individuals from different geographical parts of the continent together and it may be that those found in the East of the distribution will be less likely or refuse altogether to mate with the those in the West. These barriers to breeding are clearly not purely due to major differences in physical biology. Probably there is an element of behavioural difference which reduces the propensity to breed.

    Animals use various triggers to breed: aural, chemical, condition of feathers and so on. These are seemingly automatic processes whereby one individual responds to another without conscious thought. Even behavioural triggers such as mating rituals can be viewed in the same light. Man, although not divorced entirely from such triggers, adds conscious thought to the process of mate selection. Does that not put Man in an entirely separate category to all other organisms, namely, the one organism who can potentially breed freely across the entire species population? Potentially yes, but in practice no for Man’s capacity for conscious thought and decision making does not mean his breeding is not constrained by the triggers which control other organisms, especially behavioural. For example, most people choose mates who are of the same race as themselves even when they have ample opportunity to do otherwise.

    Even at the level of biology I wonder if Man is quite as discrete as he imagines. To the best of my knowledge no one has tried to create a cross between a human and a chimpanzee or a bonobo – I sincerely hope no one ever does. But putting aside any natural revulsion, would it be so surprising if such a cross was possible? Would it be any more of a intra-species leap than say the production of a mule or a liger (lion/tiger) through the mating of different species? I would not wish to bet against it. REsearch into intra species breeding has been moving on apace, viz:

     “The experiment: Cross-breed a human with a chimpanzee.

    “The premise: The biologist Stephen Jay Gould called it “the  most potentially interesting and ethically unacceptable experiment I can imagine”. The idea? Mating a human with a chimp. His interest grew out of his  work with snails, where related species can display wide variation in shell architecture. Gould attributed this diversity to a few master genes which turn on and off the shared genes responsible for constructing the shells. Perhaps, he  speculated, the differences between humans and apes were also a factor of developmental timing: after all, adult humans have physical traits, such as  larger craniums and wide-set eyes, that resemble infant chimpanzees. This  phenomenon is known as neoteny – the retention of juvenile traits in adults of  later generations. Gould theorised that over the course of evolution, a tendency  toward neoteny might have given rise to human beings. By watching the development of a half-human, half-chimp, researchers could explore this theory  in detail.

    “How it works: It would be frighteningly easy: the same  techniques used for in vitro fertilisation would likely yield a viable hybrid human-chimp embryo. Researchers have already spanned a comparable genetic gap  between a baboon and a rhesus monkey, and even though chimps have 24 pairs of chromosomes, and we have 23, this is not an insuperable barrier (although the  hybrid would likely have an odd number of chromosomes, and be unable to reproduce). As for the gestation and birth, it could be done the natural way.
    Chimpanzees are born slightly smaller than humans, so it would make sense to grow the embryo in a human uterus.

    “The payoff: Gould’s idea about neoteny remains controversial, to say the least. This experiment would help to resolve the debate – and, more broadly, illuminate how two species with such similar genomes could be so different. Its outcome would give biologists insights into the origin of our own species. Let’s hope they can find a less disturbing route to
    get there. Jerry Adler “(

    As for the future, genetic engineering may break down distinctions between species, for example, by genes from one species being implanted into another. Lastly, genetics and/or cybernetics may lead to modifications of human beings so substantial to create what are to all intents and purposes unambiguously separate species of Man with vastly differing abilities. There may come a point where the concept of a species becomes redundant.

    Here’s a funny joke about stoning

    Here’s a funny joke about stoning. In the Life of Brian Terry Jones (who plays Brian’s mother) and Graham Chapman  (who plays Brian) go to a stoning.  At the site of the stoning there is a wayside vendor selling stones  to throw at the person to be killed. Terry Jones goes up to the vendor and says “Two small  rocks and a packet of gravel, please”.  (Think about it).

    On 11 November 2010 a Birmingham Tory  councillor  Gareth Compton ventured a joke about stoning.  Having heard the journalist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown pouring out her usual poison against Britain on the BBC R5 9.00 am phone-in programme – she  placed  Britain and the West in general  on a moral par with the likes of Iran and China when it comes  to human rights by saying  they had no right to lecture countries such as Iran and China because of the West’s  own breaches of such rights – Mr Compton used twitter to share this with the world:  “Can someone please stone Yasmin Alibhai-Brown? I shan’t tell Amnesty if you don’t.  It would be a blessing , really.”  Not a very good joke I must admit, although I suspect that a sizeable number of Britons suddenly conjured up a pleasant fantasy of a world untroubled by the ubiquitous public utterings of the woman.

    Ms Brown-Alibi,  as I cannot help myself thinking of her because of her incessant excuses for all the ethnic mayhem to which we are treated these days, then decided her life was in danger and made a complaint to the police alleging that it was not only an incitement to kill her but a racially incited one, something guaranteed to get the modern British policeman decidedly over excited.   She need not have bothered because Her Majesty’s Finest were already on the case for someone else had complained.  Mr Compton was then arrested for having breached the Communications Act,  doubtless had his DNA and fingerprints taken, before being bailed.

    To any normal person, which of course excludes Ms  Brown-Alibi, Mr Compton’s tweet would be seen for what it was, a joke. Brown-Alibi  was  morally equating Britain with Iran, a state which uses stoning, a comparison  which even after 13 years of NuLabour ‘s depredations on civil liberties will strike most as a trifle strong.  Mr Compton clearly made a joke which suggested  that Ms Brown-Alibi might care to experience the tender mercies of such a state.

    Mr Compton’s case is both sinister and absurd, but it is simply a high profile example of what has become a common occurrence in Britain: the use of the police to intimidate anyone who breaches the narrow range of  opinion allowed by political correctness.  Frequently  no charges are brought,  quite often because the police are acting without legal authority because no crime has been committed,  but the desired effect on the general public is achieved by creating an atmosphere of fear that nothing is safe to say if it is deemed to be politically incorrect.  Worse, like all totalitarian ideologies, political correctness is constantly expanding its remit so no one can ever be certain  that what was accepted yesterday is still permissible today.

    I dare say there will be readers who cavil at the idea that political correctness is a totalitarian ideology. Let them consider this:  the ideology intrudes into every aspect of life because the discrimination mania can be applied to anything; the ideology claims there is only one permissible view, that of the ideology and those who do not subscribe to the ideology  leave themselves open to punishment both by the law and  non-legal punishments such as media harassment and the loss of employment. 

    The extent to which it has a grip on British life can be seen on the case of Phil Woolas,  until recently the minister responsible for immigration in the Brown Government. Not only did a court find that an election result should be put aside because another candidate in the election claimed Woolas had defamed him, but the Labour Party summarily expelled him even though he was attempting to mount an appeal against the court judgement, the expulsion being motivated  most plausibly because the defamation concerned claims that the other candidate was soft on Islamic extremism.   Can anyone honestly imagine a court deciding in favour of, say, a BNP candidate who challenged the election of a Labour candidate  on the grounds that he had been falsely accused of Holocaust denial or the Labour Party expelling the person if the court, miraculously, found for the BNP complainant?

    The police, like all of British public service, has had political correctness legally built into its  structure.  This began with the Macpherson Report on the investigation of the death of  Stephen Lawrence in the 1990s which not only labelled the Metropolitan Police as “institutionally racist”,  but also resulted in a crime being labelled as racist if the alleged victim deemed it to be racist, a most dangerous development in itself made much more potent because  the Blair Government brought in a law which caused  any crime deemed to be racially motivated  by a court to attract a more severe sentence than if the crime had been undertaken  for any other motive.  This also introduced a new concept into English law, namely, that motive had relevance to a sentence.

    The upshot of this is that police in the UK became desperately  anxious to show how politically correct they were. This was not simply a question of  worshipping the prime god of political correctness, “racial equality”, but also the rest of the pc canon, especially sexual orientation and gender issues.  The extent to which this has impacted on police efficiency can be seen from a  Daily Mail report that the Metropolitan Police (the London police)  spent  6 per cent of their budget on equality and diversity issues. (

    This use of the police to intimidate dissenters from political correctness is censorship pure and simple. That is damaging enough. But there is a second issue to worry about, namely the equal application of the law. Try getting a crime listed as racially motivated if it concerns those outside the protection of political correctness. Try getting any incitement to racial hatred against the native population of Britain prosecuted. I did the latter  to see what would happen by making formal complaints of racial incitement against a Welsh Nationalist politician who described the English in Wales as “a virus” and Greg Dyke who when BBC Director-General described the BBC as “hideously white”.  The Metropolitan police refused to even record then complaints let alone investigate them.  The police and  courts have also been very eager to classify crimes committed by whites on non-whites as racist and  extraordinarily reluctant to do the same with crimes committed by non-whites against whites.  A good example of this reluctance concerns Chris Yates, a white man murdered by Asians in Essex 2002.  Despite evidence that one of the attackers had been unambiguously racist in a post-killing shout of triumph –  The court heard that after the attack Zulfiqar shouted, in Urdu: “We have killed the white man. That will teach an Englishman to interfere in Paki business.” (  – the judge ruled there was no racial motivation.

    Free expression is like being pregnant, all or nothing. You can’t be a bit pregnant and you can’t have a bit of free expression. You either have free expression or a range of permitted opinion.  In Britain, we have the latter and an ever narrowing range it is.  Free expression is essential to democracy. Remove it and democracy dies. The point at which people begin to think political violence is  legitimate is the point at which people are excluded from democratic action.  Censorship does just that in the most profound way.

    Milton had the answer to censors: “          ‘And though all the winds of doctrine were let loose upon the     earth,  so truth be in the field [and] we do  injuriously  by  licensing and prohibiting is to doubt her strength.  Let  her  and falsehood grapple;  who ever knew truth put to the worse,  in a free and open encounter…’ [Milton – Areogapitica].

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