Sunday, 17 June 2018

Rees-Mogg Letter 17/6/18

Sir,

In connection with Slicker’s article in issue 1472 Jacob Rees-Mogg has insisted that the reason for the recent opening of a Dublin office of his Somerset Global Emerging Markets Investment Management Company is that current and prospective clients requested ‘domiciled access’ to Somerset’s products and that the warnings about Brexit turbulence in their prospectus are simply judicious legalese insisted on by Somerset’s lawyers. He also insists that it would be improper for Somerset to be run according to his politics. This is why he has sensibly ‘recused’ himself from that company’s day to day management and decisions while he is an MP. 

In spite of this Slicker exhibits an urgent compulsion to discredit Rees-Mogg on a charge of rank hypocrisy. One feels Slicker is on a mission to discredit him at all costs even though we all, of course agree, don't we, that he 
is a derisory twerp stuck in the 18th century with little influence on political matters who can safely be ignored.

Let’s assume that Slicker’s implication that Somerset have, in fact, sneakily set up in Dublin to circumvent possible ‘passporting’ difficulties that may obtain in the new EU dispensation after we leave. That being the case, what Slicker requires of Rees-Mogg, if he is to escape condemnation on the charge of hypocrisy, is the following it seems. He (or anyone or any British business presumably) who wishes to leave the EU may not seek to trade with the EU (who may put obstacles in the way of that trade) on terms which give his business the best advantage in the new world post-Brexit. He may not judiciously plan ahead for the new dispensation as many UK businesses are saying they wish to. His global business may not take advantage of opportunities in the global range of jurisdictions that will be available. He may not diverge from the caricature of a dense and unimaginative Brexiteer Little Englander that Slicker subscribes to by showing flexibility and ingenuity. In fact he will only avoid the charge if he behaves in ways that will guarantee that Brexit is unsuccessful and thus prove Slicker’s, presumably Remainer, instincts right. Perhaps that’s what this is all about. Brexiteers have to be strapped inside a moral straitjacket by the pious Slicker in case they inadvertently commit the sin of proving their cause to be right.

Guy Walker

Rees-Mogg letter 6/11/7

Sir,

Saturday, 2 June 2018

Wherein Lies the Interest in an Individual Person? - The Battle Lines are Drawn

You can believe a person consists solely of the accidents of birth that they inherited due to race, geography, gender, biology, sexuality etc and that that is their main and even only interest or you can believe that that interest resides in how the unique moral being inside these inheritances (and which has nothing to do with them) responds to them and to the world in general. This is the battle that is being fought - whether a human is a free moral agent who can rise above the determined and accidental contingencies that make him or her. Our culture used to believe we could and that this is where our dignity and potential nobility also reside. We are playing with throwing all of that away.

You can only Debate an Issue which is 'Debatable'

It's impossible to debate with an adversary if they enter that debate without truly accepting that an issue is 'debatable' rather than already settled. If they - or we - have the latter belief (that it's already settled at the outset), then, entering the debate at all was futile and done in bad faith. Really entering a debate in good faith takes confidence.

Sunday, 27 May 2018

No Action which isn't Stickin' it to da Man

The least action or engagement in anything is now framed in most public discourse in terms of personal heroism in resistance against a perceived tyranny. Often that tyranny is seen as a wicked benighted past which is in opposition to a bright and heroic future (because "Things are always getting better!"). In Portsmouth we have two music festivals called 'VICTORIOUS' AND 'MUTINY' (the latter cancelled today after two kids died from some bad shit) which confers the idea that one isn't just dancing around on a patch of grass while swilling cider and listening to some badass hipsters. No, one is being brave and defiant! Now it's all empowered women bravely freeing themselves, oppressed gays standing and taking no prisoners, downtrodden black people etc etc. The word 'feisty' is used a lot. Every narrative is framed this way. I guess it goes back to the sixties when people started seeing things like that. Ironically it was the older generation who had just really been brave and guaranteed them such freedoms. Guess it causes our hearts to flutter as we flatter ourselves that we are being courageous in the most mundane and insignificant things we do and advertisers know that we like being flattered that way.

The Irish Referendum 2018 - "My body, my Choice"


In Ireland this year there has been a referendum which has overturned the Irish Republic’s constitutional ban on abortion. This is probably a good thing as it brings Ireland into line with the predominant secular spirit of the age. While religious people will have voted against the change it is unrealistic, politically, to think that their views should be imposed on the secular majority. My view is that abortion should not be banned but neither should it be undertaken lightly and should only be used as a very sad and regrettable last resort. My interest is in one of the arguments commonly employed by feminists in this debate. This is the argument that can loosely be characterised in the phrase – “My body, my choice.”

 A woman is a woman through and through. Every cell in her body is female. The same is true of men and their maleness. In that sense, then, both are visibly separate entities. There is, though, because of the dictates of biology, a sort of woman who is not a woman through and through and that is, precisely, a pregnant woman. In order to be pregnant her body must contain a minuscule piece of a man’s body and that is, in a sense, the very definition of pregnancy. Without this piece of a man’s body inside her body a woman cannot be pregnant. This may seem to be to state the obvious but, as it has slipped form view, it needs restating. It is a necessary truth which cannot but flow from the fact that, somewhere in heaven or in the blind halls of evolution it was decreed that homo sapiens should reproduce sexually. This means that the human race is not a man and is not a woman but requires both, and both in relation to each other, to represent it accurately. On the whole, although they are physically separate, few men or women exist, psychologically, outside a relation to their opposite gender for this reason.

It is common, these days, for women, when the abortion debate is raised, to insist that, when it comes to decisions on aborting foetuses that the decision is entirely theirs as it is their body which bears the child and their body is a visibly separate entity. The problem is that, as I have described above, the only kind of woman who is not a pure, separate woman, is a pregnant one as the definition of pregnancy is, precisely, that the woman’s body is ‘tainted’ by a small part of a man’s body. In addition to this, because pregnancy is, again by definition, about starting new life and new life has a strange propensity to grow, that tiny portion of a man’s body will, by unstoppable cell division, increase to form 50% of the child in question inside the body of the woman. This means that, while a pregnant woman is, to all appearances, still a separate entity, she, in fact, now combines the male and female in her body and this combination represents a new relation to the male who impregnated her.

Because of this the insistence that a woman who is pregnant exists in some kind of total separation from the male half of the species and, therefore, has total autonomy in the decision regarding abortion is a spurious one. It is the pregnant woman, uniquely, who has lost her complete purity as a female in becoming pregnant. In this sense no pregnant woman is an island entire unto herself, a truth which is not decreed by men or the patriarchy but by biology which one can trace back to a creator or to evolution as one pleases. In the world outside the New Testament there is no such thing as an ‘Immaculate Conception’ which leaves the woman with utter purity of autonomy and no moral ties to any other human.

In saying this I am not trying to insist on a new patriarchal right to decide what the woman does regarding aborting or carrying a child to term. I am simply offering a corrective to the extreme view of “My body, my choice” where the choice is, militantly, the woman’s alone. I am saying that the condition of pregnancy, perhaps more than any other, implies, by definition, a physical and moral relation to another significant human being of the opposite gender, a realtion which can’t simply be swept under the carpet or ignored. This means, in practice, in my view, that although it is true that a pregnant woman cannot be prevented, ultimately, from walking into a clinic and undergoing an abortion one could suggest, morally (not with legal force), that she should, at least, seek to find out the opinion on the procedure of the male who impregnated her (clearly I am not speaking here of males who may have impregnated women without their proper consent). To simply cut the male out of the equation, even though the woman may disagree with him and, later act against his professed preferences, seems an untenable moral position given the nature of human biology and the relation it unavoidably puts us in.


I do understand that, in the final analysis, biology also decrees that the woman gives birth and, usually has the initial nursing are of the child and that some men will abandon that woman and child. If it transpires that there is a strong likelihood that that might be the case the men in question certainly forfeit the right to have their opinion on the matter heard. 

Saturday, 19 May 2018

The Royal Wedding - Until We See Them

We (which, of course, includes me) are all too modern and sophisticated to be duped by the deceiving attractions of the institution of marriage, religion, architecture, music, ceremony, military pageantry and Royalty. And then we see them and find ourselves gawping and weeping because they touch the most profound instincts. I'd rather trust those instincts (often driven by the visual and the auditory) than the superior and purely intellectual notions that tempt us to despise them.