Skip to content

Archive for

Quote of the Day

Janet Daley over at the Telegraph may think it worthwhile to analyse the Miranda affair, and her employers may feel justified in paying her to do so, but the truth is as simple as it was 240 years ago when Uncle Jack wrote:

“The ministry are not ashamed of doing the thing in private; they are only afraid of the publication.”

The North Briton, No. 45, April 23 1763.

¡Que viván los piratas ingleses!

Fans of infantile machismo and hysterical self-righteousness should consider following the Hispanophone coverage of the Gibraltar and Falklands disputes, a particularly intriguing feature of which is how often the British are denounced as ‘pirates’. This is a fairly typical example, but any Google search for ‘piratas Gibraltar’ or ‘piratas Malvinas’ will give you an idea of how deeply embedded in the Hispanosphere is the notion that conflicts of interest with Britain, anywhere in the world, are stories of organised criminality against innocent Spaniards. To be sure, they need a framework which turns their enemies into non-people in terms of democratic self-determination, but far more interesting are the divergent cultural narratives which have attached themselves to the Golden Age of Piracy.

True, the conquistadores were the primary victims when Britons like Henry Morgan burned and plundered their way along the Spanish Main, but it was Woodes Rogers and the British government who did the most to stamp out the Brethren of the Coast after their depredations on British islands and shipping, and finally put an end to them on forests of gallows. To us, however, they became jolly rascals, rum-swigging Robin Hoods, while to them the very word pirate still apparently symbolises an evil scourge at odds with justice and civilisation. Far from a superficial difference, it reminds us of our fundamentally different assumptions about liberty and order, society and state, legitimacy and justice. Read more

Quote of the Day

In a surprise move, instead of requesting accession to Gibraltar as one might expect, Spain apparently is taking measures to try to make Gibraltar accede to Spain. The mind boggles. Nihil sub sole novum, of course. As Uncle Jack once observed:

“Worse than the infamous Capadocians of old, [they] not only refused the liberty they might enjoy themselves, but endeavoured to entail their vassalage and slavery on the whole island.”

The North Briton, No. 2, June 12 1762.

So when you said “fashion police”…

“Beauty,” wrote Oscar Wilde, “is a form of Genius – is higher, indeed, than Genius, as it needs no explanation. It is one of the great facts of the world, like sunlight, or springtime…It makes princes of those who have it.” This may have been the view of Primitive Man before the advent of human rights, but no longer, as recently discovered by Abercrombie and Fitch, a purveyor of expensive cotton t-shirts with advertising on them popular with parentally-funded undergraduates. Some bureaucrats were outraged to discover that the company has been trying to sell clothes by hiring attractive people to wear them, and have started an investigation by the human rights watchdog.

This may prove to be good news for us, since an appearance suggesting some of the less prepossessing creatures in Star Wars will no longer be an impediment to landing a job at Abercrombie, thus marginally improving our employment prospects. On the other hand, we are less pleased to discover that we live in a society in which the physical allure of t-shirt sellers is an issue for politicians, bureaucrats and the courts, reminding us once again that the Whig-Liberal model of society and the state is sunk like Avalon. Read more