Tuesday, October 10, 2017

John Buchan casts light on the strange views of Pete North

The talk of Twitter today has been an extraordinary blog post by Pete North, who bills himself as "Editor @LeaveHQ - The Leave Alliance".

If you doubt me:
What I do expect to happen is a lot of engineering jobs to be axed since a lot of them are dependent on defence spending. It will kill off a number of parasitic resourcing firms and public sector suppliers. Basically it will wipe out the cosseted lower middle class and remind them that they are just as dispensable as the rest of us. 
We can the expect to see a major rationalisation of the NHS and what functions it will perform. It will be more of a skeleton service than ever. I expect they will have trouble staffing it. Economic conditions more than any immigration control will bring numbers down to a trickle. 
In every area of policy a lot of zombie projects will be culled and the things that survive on very slender justifications will fall. We can also expect banks to pull the plug in under-performing businesses. Unemployment will be back to where it was in the 80's. 
I'm of the view that in recent years people have become increasingly spoiled and self-indulgent, inventing psychological problems for themselves in the absence of any real challenges or imperatives to grow as people. I have always primarily thought Brexit would be a reboot on British politics and culture. In a lot of ways it will bring back much of what is missing. A little austerity might very well make us less frivolous. 
Didn't put that on the side of their bus, did they?

I have been trying to decide which other group this extreme Brexiteer puts me in mind of.

Many Greens used to be like this, spending decades telling us that we could not go on as we are. Austerity, they said, was inevitable - and quite possibly desirable too.

But these days the Green Party paints itself as austerity's greatest opponent.

Still anxious to understand the world we live in, I turned from Conrad's The Secret Agent to John Buchan. Greenmantle is set during the First World War and tells of a German attempt to raise the whole of Islam in support of Turkey, thus defeating Russia on the Eastern front and turning the course of the war.
I ended it by quoting Charles Moore's exegesis of Buchan's view of Islam:
One message of the book is the importance of understanding cultures different from our own. This produces a sympathy with Islam. Sandy, who knows "something of the soul of the East", explains that: "The Turk and the Arab came out of big spaces, and they have the desire of them in their bones. They settle down and stagnate, and by and by they degenerate into that appalling subtlety which is their ruling passion gone crooked. "  
And then comes a new revelation and a great simplifying. They want to live face to face with God without a screen of ritual and images and priestcraft ... It isn't inhuman. It's the humanity of one part of the human race.  
"The problem comes, Buchan/Arbuthnot says, when this longing for purity is perverted. The "simplicity of the ascetic" is usurped by "the simplicity of the madman that grinds down all the contrivances of civilisation".
Featured on Liberal Democrat VoiceI think that is a fair account of Pete North's blog post: "the simplicity of the madman that grinds down all the contrivances of civilisation."

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