Thursday, 26 September 2013

Popper's theses on gov't (1): state a necessary evil

(1)The state is a necessary evil; its powers are not to be multiplied beyond what is necessary.

It sounds libertarian, but is actually the first of Karl Popper’s "liberal principles" concerning the state in his 1956 essay Public Opinion and Liberal Principles, which is in his 1963 collection Conjectures and Refutations. Since modern democracy owes its existence to the (small-l) liberal melting-pot of Enlightenment thought, I’ve called them his Principles of Government.

Popper’s first principle is a sociological reworking of Occam’s Razor, often rendered as "do not multiply entities unnecessarily". The state has steadily accrued functions since the eve of the First World War when, AJP Taylor noted, "a sensible, law-abiding Englishman could pass through life and hardly notice the existence of the state, beyond the post office and the policeman…The state intervened to prevent the citizens from eating adulterated foods or contracting certain infectious diseases."

Arguments perennially rage over state roles such as landlord, healthcare provider and surrogate parent. What I think Popper was thinking of with this principle, however, is the criminalisation of dissent by the state, the prime examples of which in our time were provided by fascist governments such as those of Soviet Russia or Nazi Germany.

Until, that is, 2005, when an incident in Britain highlighted the state’s sinister take on dissent when Walter Wolfgang – tellingly, an escapee from the Nazis – was manhandled from the Labour Party Conference and charged under terrorism legislation by police for shouting "rubbish!" when then Home Secretary Jack Straw was speaking.

Now you are apparently a "fascist" if you voice misgivings on certain matters that are dear to the massive unelected establishment surrounding government, to the extent that you can have children taken from you if you support UKIP or the English Defence League, with "anti-fascist" rhetoric spreading to the badger cull and climate issues.

Time, it seems, to robustly prune the state before our prisons hold not criminals but dissidents and our town squares echo to jackboots stamping.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words

This series:

Popper's theses on gov't (1): state a necessary evil

Popper's theses on gov't (2): democratic government can be got rid of without bloodshed

Popper's theses on gov't (3): democracy confers no benefit on citizens

Popper's theses on gov't (4): we're not democrats because the majority is always right

Popper's theses on gov't (5): institutions are insufficient without traditions

Popper's theses on gov't (6): Utopia is an impossibility

Popper's theses on gov't (7) - liberalism is evolutionary, not revolutionary


Conjectures and Refutations - 300 words

Occam’s Razor -

Ken Minogue: resisted the relentless march of state control - Peter Oborne, - contains AJP Taylor quote

[Walter] Wolfgang highlights deeper disquiet -

Taking Liberties -

UKIP couple have foster children removed from care -

Why try to take baby from EDL mother but not from ‘terrorists’? -

Monday, 23 September 2013

sex: My British Job - the misery of immigration and prostitution

click to watch Sex: My British Job

"It is estimated that there are 4,000 brothels in London, 80% of which employ immigrants, most of whom are illegals."

The words are those of Hsiao-Hung Pai (right), an incredibly brave woman and (legal) immigrant herself, who investigated a brothel using illegal immigrants from China for Channel 4’s Sex: My British Job. Women under pressure to pay their debt to people-traffickers are again pressured by the madame, Mary, to perform sexual services – as is Pai, who poses as an illegal hired as a housekeeper. She is continually bullied by Mary, who was trafficked herself and now owns three villas, to become a sex-worker. The bullying leaves Pai describing herself as "suicidal" and illustrates the complex issues surrounding consent in cases of people-trafficking

Advocates of open-door immigration, if they have any humanity, will be holding their heads in their hands tonight and saying "it wasn’t supposed to be this way". In fairness, they were sold the best of all possible worlds: a society in which different cultures would mingle and share freely what was best about each one. The sentiment now seems something that wouldn’t have sounded out of place had Voltaire put it in the mouth of Doctor Pangloss.

But at ground-level we need to help the women trafficked here into sex-work and stuck there because politicians living in the real world have stiffened immigration laws.

click to watch Sex: My British Job
The first thing we need to do is put real measures in place to stop people-trafficking, and not just give those trafficked advice to attend their local police station. Then we need to make an example of owners (I volunteer Mary and her partner-in-crime Mustapha (left)), followed by a time-limited amnesty on brothel-owners employing illegals who shut up shop. The case for putting rehabilitation schemes in place for trafficked sex-workers is unassailable, but will only provide false hope while next to nothing is done by statutory agencies to stop the trafficking.

Forget the politics: anything less fails vulnerable people who are being abused right now.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words


Watch Sex;My British Job on 4oD

Channel 4 homepage for Sex: My British Job

Channel 4 support pages:

Rape, abuse, domestic violence

Sexual health

Immigration and language

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

towards a "Patriots' Pound" campaign?

click for Selfridges homepage

For every EDL member I know, I know countless more who support its aims but do not feel they wish to go on marches. Could numbers (and therefore business) have been on Selfridge’s managers’ minds when they gave English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson a free steak dinner to apologise after a member of staff told him to "f**k off"?

Many of us have had similar experiences – I was verbally abused by a bus-driver on the way to a demo in Luton and learnt this was commonplace.

Well-heeled socialists might despise us for our working-class backgrounds, but we – and all those who support our multicultural agenda – represent a lot of spending power. Perhaps it’s time to realise the power of our our patriots’ pounds?

Many of us do already – for example, non-stunning slaughter leaves me cold, so I don’t buy Cadbury or other brands that use ingredients from meat that might be non-stunned if I can help it.

Sometimes we just have to buy where we have to buy. But occasionally, say, might it be possible to buy produce from traditional shops more likely to have been compassionately produced? Or to raise our voices at meetings when service providers with abusive staff are applying to renew their tenders?

Just as the Pink Pound campaign had broad-based popular support, focussed spending power could have wide appeal, perhaps even to integrated Muslims who are trying to put clear water between themselves and Jihadis who want to obscure their daughters’ identities with veils. It could even be an opportunity for vendors of Halal meat from pre-stunned animals (eg Waitrose) to set out their stall in a compassionate, multicultural marketplace.

Tommy's tweet on the incident

It mustn’t be a campaign against people – as Tommy tweeted, he didn’t want the eejit to lose his job, just an apology. It has the potential, however, to be a campaign for dignity, for animal welfare and for meaningful community cohesion.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words


No action after EDL leader's friend refused Selfridges service -

Selfridges Criticised For Giving EDL's Tommy Robinson Free Steak Dinner (POLL, PICTURES) - Huffington Post

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Britain's Broken Families

After watching the BBC’s Britain’s Broken Families follow the progress of Newcastle’s Family Intervention Project, I wondered which was more broken: the families or the system?

One of the two cases caught my attention in particular. Sharon, who has mental health problems, is mother to Sian, a 14-year-old girl who has not attended school for a year. She is in a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old boy, one of several teenagers who come regularly to the flat and cause chaos for Sharon’s neighbours.

Where to start? When education heroine Malala Yousefzai rightly spoke to the UN about the value of education accompanied by Gordon Brown, did Brown inform her about educational non-uptake in the UK? Would she not agree that denial of education is child abuse?

Who are these teenagers infesting Sian’s room? Is Sian being pressured to provide more than floor-space?

Towards the end of the program, we find that the plans starting to bear fruit for Sian are thrown up in the air because she is pregnant, presumably by the 16-year-old. She is now awaiting to see if a social-worker will allow her to keep the baby.

click to view Fraser guidelines
Take a bow Lord Fraser, of the eponymous guidelines; these laid down that children can make their own decisions about medical treatment. His guidelines were specifically introduced after Victoria Gillick (right) stood up for parents’ rights and duties regarding child protection, specifically in sexual matters, and was rounded upon by the entire liberal-socialist Establishment.

Another worker voiced the wish that children not go into care. I understand that: the care system has for some time been infiltrated both by child-abusers and by managers who seem not to believe that child-abuse is always wrong.

And caught in the infernal web of liberal intentions are Sian, her mother, and now her baby.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words


Click here to watch Britain's Broken Families on i-player until 23 September 2013

Britain's Broken Families webpage

Gordon Brown: Malala's UN speech is just the beginning -

Fraser Guidelines - GP notebook

1983: mother loses contraception test case - BBC on this day

Friday, 13 September 2013

Conjectures and Refutations

click for reviews on amazon

That Karl Popper was a man who lived by convictions is shown by his views on God, that agnosticism was the most justifiable position because belief in God was irrational. As he explains in Conjectures and Refutations, an irrational – or "metaphysical" – statement may well be true, it just can’t be treated as scientific because there is no prospect of testing it.

Popper considers selected philosophers to show that unless you try to understand the central problems motivating people’s search for truth you end up with doxography, or a list of the opinions they held. (This was brought into focus recently when Norman Tebbit demanded proof the English Defence League was "far-right", complaining all he’d been given was lists of people who’d expressed that opinion.)

click to go to the Karl Popper Web
Having fled Vienna to escape Naziism guarantees he’s anti-fascist, but one can see in his political philosophy throughout these essays that fascism is not a matter of which side of a political seesaw one inhabits, but rather is synonymous with tyranny, that being a system of government unremovable by non-violent means.

He opposes dialectic, which he sees as a misreading by both Fichte and Hegel, and therefore by Marx, of Kant’s triadic organisation of his categories. Kant’s problem was his rude awakening from dogmatic slumber by the philosophy of David Hume, his response trying to identify how moral action is possible in a world in which reality, as things-in-themselves, is denied to our sense perception and therefore to our understanding.

But the main target of his politely-expressed ire is Wittgenstein, whose assertion that problems in philosophy boiled down to misunderstandings of language threatened to destroy the links that have always existed between advances in philosophical thought and scientific (and political) progress. And, as this collection of essays shows again and again, progress towards a free society is what powered Popper.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Juvenal and the internet: Fear and Loathing Online

If Old Holborn’s been trolling to the extent stated by Jonathan Maitland in ITV’s Tonight program, his Twitter feed shows he’s been behaving himself recently; but he knew the program was coming out.

Juvenal: read more at Angela's SAS blog
The Libertarian Alliance compared OH to Juvenal (left, who admittedly railed bitterly against those who he saw as his lessers), but ignored the dearth of literacy and materials in ancient Rome relative to today. And also satire’s traditional targets, as Maitland pointed out: not “the weak and vulnerable” but public figures, especially those in power.

Old Holborn didn’t help himself, coming across as something of a psychopath:

It isn’t my responsibility what other people find offensive. If you don’t like it, turn off.

But it’s not always possible to turn off. Even the act of looking at a computer screen increases cerebral arousal and can create a compulsion to look further.

That’s maybe why some people can’t look away, most notably 14-year-old Hannah Smith, who killed herself after trolls – anonymous hyper-offensive posters – ground her down so much on living didn’t appear an option.

Maitland traced a troll, "Jamie Card", who posted offensive comments about a woman’s 2-year-old child with Down’s Syndrome. However, under present laws, he has to be caught “with his hands on the keyboard”.

Robert Ambridge: read more at Daily Mail
Old Holborn (Robert Ambridge - masked, right) defended himself as a championing free speech. But, as one victim pointed out, trolls curtail the free speech of their victims. The internet becomes a lawless expanse where only the brave or the abusive dare tread, and where both statutory authorities and social-media operators fail in their duty to enact Tim Berners-Lee’s principle that they must "prevent the Web from being abused by destructive forces to an extent that the overall pain is greater than the gain".

Given that the Internet enables communication and organisation like nothing before, is Establishment inaction in the face of these abusers totally coincidental?

Charles Bond
300 words


How to deal with an Internet Troll -

Fear and Loathing Online - ITV player, until 11 october 2013

Fear and Loathing Online Homepage - scroll to bottom of page for sites to help you if you are a victim of trolling

Old Holborn's Twitter feed

Old Holborn: a Juvenal for our times - Libertarian Alliance blog

Facebook troll ["Jamie Card"] hijacked woman's account and pretended to give her child away

Tim Berners-Lee's internet archeology principles: filtering

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

September 11 2013

This day seems to come about more quickly every year. 9/11 is by no means the only atrocity committed against Western freedoms, but it remains the wake-up call that we enjoy those freedoms - and others aspire to them - only because of the sacrifices made by armed forces and victims of terrorism. For me it's best put by Karl Popper in his 1956 essay The History of our Time: an Optimist's View, in his collection Conjectures and Refutations:
In spite of our great and serious troubles, and in spite of the fact that ours is not the best possible society, I assert that our own free world is by far the best society which has come into existence during the course of human existence.
Let's whisper a prayer today for all who have died in the name of our precious freedoms; including, most recently in my country, Drummer Lee Rigby.

Gerry Dorrian

click for National 9/11 Memorial website

Click for National 9/11 Memorial Website

Monday, 9 September 2013


watch blackout on 4oD

Pace Cloverfield and Paranormal Activity, Channel 4’s Blackout is the best found-footage film I’ve seen, and all the more scary because of its feasibility.

The last blackouts to affect Great Britain were in 1972, during the Miners’ Strike. They were only in the evenings, but memories were still strong enough to see Edward Heath’s government voted out when he called an election over the strikes in 1974.

In Blackout the outage lasts for a week, literally 24/7, and by day 2 social order is breaking down. For me the central character is a DIY enthusiast who borders on what in the US would be called a "prepper", an individual who stocks food and supplies in case of an emergency entailing social breakdown. What our man seems to have overlooked is a stock of what across the Pond would be common sense: in such a breakdown you don’t just need supplies, you need the wherewithal to protect them.

Danse Macabre: clikc for reviews
In his non-fiction book Danse Macabre, horrormeister Stephen King concludes that horror films – and Blackout was very chilling – reflect the preoccupations of society at that time. Thus Them and the Godzilla movies reflected fears around nuclear warfare, while The Exorcist and The Omen came out at times of anxieties caused by youth uprisings.

I think King’s take on Blackout would be that it reflects, pretty obviously, fears about the fragility of our social fabric. However, King would also look at other meanings of the title: information blackout, say, as in the dearth of knowledge we have about how many people are actually in our country and how our money is really being spent at home and abroad; and blackout of consciousness, whereby our unelected establishment chooses not to be mindful of the abuses perpetrated by its favoured communities.

Watch Blackout – and be scared.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words


Watch Blackout on 4oD

Go to the Channel 4 homepage for Blackout

Sunday, 8 September 2013

open letter to Feministe moderators

Dear Feministe moderators,

you have decided that "Gerry is definitely not welcome to throw around such bigoted stereotypes" on the Feministe blog.

A post was followed by a discussion that was fractious from all sides; I stated my belief that there’s no such thing as race, misogynist societies abet rape, and also wondered why we spent decades tackling our home-grown institutionalised misogyny before throwing it away by importing and proceeding to institutionalise other cultures’ misogyny.

Then I realised: you believe I am being "passive-aggressive" by linking to my blog (a standard practice) when commenting.

So what posts on my blog might you have objected to? The ones questioning "what’s the entertainment value in rape" and "since when was rape a freedom of speech issue"? Or maybe my investigation into porn and lads’ mags freely visible in newsagents in a Cambridge (England) major street?

It appears you object to the minority of posts on my blog that deal with Islamism and Jihad.

That’s your prerogative.

But I’d like to point out that opposing Islamism isn’t the same as opposing Muslims; for example, anti-Islamism appears throughout Benazir Bhutto’s autobiography, Daughter of the East. Muslims in the UK are increasingly finding their anti-Islamist voice, most noticeably when Ipswich Muslims took the initiative to join the English Defence League in processing to the town’s war memorial in remembrance of murdered soldier Drummer Lee Rigby.

I’m sad to see that you seem to subscribe to an anti-humanist view prevalent in some sectors of society, whereby you agitate for the freedoms of expression that allow you to make your point to be denied to those with whom you disagree. In the UK this is leaking outside the Islamism debate: now people who support fracking or badger culling are also being labelled "fascist".

I won’t darken your virtual door again. Have a good life.

Yours faithfully
Gerry Dorrian
300 words

Saturday, 7 September 2013

musicians oppose bullies, but they have strong friends

click to go to Kerrang! website

The last time I bought Kerrang!, New Wave of Heavy Metal pioneers Iron Maiden and Saxon were were regulars; Helloween and older hands like Ozzy Osbourne and Gary Moore, of blessed memory, were frequent flyers in its pages.

So when I bought a copy for old times’ sake the first thing I felt was a vague sadness that I wasn’t familiar with any of the bands mentioned. Then I noticed a special feature on bullying.

Black Veil Brides are part of an army of rock bands participating in MOB – Musicians Opposed to Bullying – and a line of their song Unbroken (which featured in Avengers Assemble) has been used on T-shirts funding a film, The Bully Project.

I was very interested in what Bride founder and vocalist Andy Biersack had to say. He was bullied because his hair was longer than the norm. When I went to school blokes with long hair were the cool ones, but tempus mutat mores, as we were always saying in the East End of Glasgow.

click to watch government film
Then he said he was a bit chubbier than the rest. Unfortunately fat(ter) kids have always been punished by their peers, but don’g always get better treatment from adults. A 2007 Telegraph article reported authors were "making fat children bully targets", but I’m thinking about real life. In the British government’s first "Change for Life ad, we see a kid sitting playing video games then the huge word "fat". Then we have school uniforms: chain stores are only stocking uniforms for stick insects, while one Surrey newspaper’s story on shops that did stock uniforms for fat kids was headlined "our shame". Welcome to nudging.

It’s good that bullying is being dealt with by rock musicians. But while governments and their friends effectively encourage bullying to further their agendas (eg on health), the problem will infest all sectors.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words


Government Change for Life video

Unbroken by Black Veil Brides

Click to watch The Bullying Project full movie

Authors making fat children bully targets - The Telegraph

Our XXXXL shame: Oversize Sussex school uniforms puts spotlight on child obesity - The Argus

Friday, 6 September 2013

Littoral Conversatives' Framework Manifesto?

Littoral Coversatives?


I'm not sure if this is lunacy, or an inspired piece of political philosophy.

Take a look, if you have the time:

Littoral Conversatives' Framework Manifesto by John S Waintaft

Charles Bond

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

porn and "lads' mags" displays in Cambridge's Mill Road newsagents

'modesty' star?
A campaign called Lose the Lads’ Mags is calling – very reasonably, in my view – for “Lads’ Mags” like Zoo, Nuts, etc to be put on newsagents’ top shelves and have modesty covers, arguing that they "promote sexist attitudes and behaviours" and "normalise the idea that it’s acceptable to treat women like sex objects".

So I decided to take a walk down Cambridge’s Mill Road from the town end to the top and look at how its newsagents store both Lads’ and porn mags. "Unedited" shots refer to covers featuring pictures of topless models where nipples aren’t obscured by stars.

Nip In Express

Top shelf occupied by porn magazines, many with whole front page displayed, no modesty covers on any. One lads’ mag – FHM – on display at child’s-eye level in contravention of National Federation of Retail Newsagents’ Guidelines on Diplaying Adult/Top Shelf Titles, no modesty covers.

R.B. Stores/Mace

Top row occupied by porn mags, no modesty covers. One – Whips’n’Chains – had unedited cover picture. One lads’ mag – FHM – on top shelf.

Lally’s Newsagents

Top two rows occupied by lads’ mags, no modesty covers, often whole front pages visible, several of these with unedited shots. No lads’ mags visible.


No porn mags. Lads’ mags on top shelf: Nuts, no modesty cover; Zoo with modesty board on front.


Top shelf occupied by porn mags. Two had modesty covers, the rest had edited shots. Two lads’ mags – Zoo and Nuts – at childs’ eye height.

The Co-op

No porn mags. FHM and Nuts on top shelf, no modesty covers.


Top shelf occupied by porn mags, many obscured by the mag in front. But some whole front pages visible, some of which had unedited shots. DVD covers – Strap on Dildos and XXX Lesbians – visible, with unedited shots. This surprised me, as Spar's homepage says it supports the NSPCC, which recently criticised how girls feel they have to look and behave like porn stars.

Personally, I have no problem with consenting adults buying magazines containing pictures of consenting adults. But putting such images on covers which are then prominently displayed is skewing the way both genders, especially young people, view women. Change in the way these magazines are stocked and displayed is needed.

Gerry Dorrian


Lose the Lads Mags homepage

NFRN Guidance on Displaying Adult/Top Shelf Titles