Thursday, 2 July 2009

Which British school has produced two Nobel Prize winners?

Kilmarnock Academy. Now a humble comprehensive in East Ayrshire; the former school of Alexander Fleming and John Boyd Orr. Needless to say, they were both educated at the school when it was selective. In Fleming's day, it was also fee-paying. My grandmother attended Kilmarnock Academy, when it was selective. That meant something. Not that her family was rich (they weren't), but that they believed in doing their best to achieve things. Nor does it mean that it turned out selfish snobs. Its most illustrious former pupils devoted their lives to improving the lot of their fellow man.

I know where I am going with this: it is probably obvious to you, dear reader. I shan't subject you to a rant about dumbing-down, effects of socialism, etc etc. I don't really need to, do I?

Johnnie Walker

Have you ever tasted Johnnie Walker whisky? I haven't and certainly won't now.

What do I have in common with the eponymous founder? John Walker died in Kilmarnock just months before one of my gggg grandfathers, William Cairns. They are buried in the same place, St Andrew's churchyard: John, as a successful grocer, in a more elaborate grave than my gggg grandfather's unmarked one. Still six feet under, and still just as dead, though.

I like to think that John Walker will be spinning in that grave, though. Forwhy? The despicable decision by the current owners, Diageo, to close the plant in Kilmarnock and throw nearly 900 people out of work. The Kilmarnock plant is just hundreds of yards from where Walker had his grocer's shop nearly 200 years ago, and Johnnie Walker has been by far the largest employer in the area for years. Kilmarnock was a massive success story of the industrial revolution: engineering, textiles, carpet manufacturing as well as whisky blending, employing many thousands of people and exporting across the world. Now that will shortly all have gone.

Now, Kilmarnock is finished. Huge unemployment, dependent on Government handouts. Predictably, Broon doesn't get it. Apparently, the Government is going to throw money at the problem, as per usual. Now, economics is not my strong point, but I can just about work out that:

Government spending has to be paid for, somewhere down the line, by private profit.
If you try to replace private sector jobs with public sector ones, you have to (a) forego the profit and tax that the private companies used to produce as well as (b) out of declining revenue, you have to find more money to pay for your subsidies. This means that you end up taxing more or you borrow more, which increases your debt, leading to, er, taxing more at some point in the future.

Socialism did not make Kilmarnock successful. It was not socialists who built the historic Kilmarnock to Troon railway line; BMK carpets; Johnnie Walker whisky; Glenfield Kennedy and dozens of other textile and engineering companies. Capitalism made Kilmarnock successful and it is ever since the town began electing socialist MPs (Labour since 1929) that the town has declined.

Not in my name, Dave. Stop apologising

Interesting report in the Daily Mail about David Cameron's latest 'apology'.

So far, Dave has apologised to the ANC because they used to be called 'terrorists'. Well, boo-bloody-hoo! How would Dave describe the sort of scum who would put hanging tyres around the necks of poor black people who dared to oppose them? All with the support of Saint Nelson's vile wife. 'Terrorist' is, if anything, too mild a word to describe such vermin.

He has apologised to Scotland for the Poll Tax.

Well, I am a Scotsman, and need no apology for that. Forcing bone idle people to get off their fat backsides and contribute to local services is not, in principle, a dreadful thing. It could have been made fairer, of course, by broader bands based on ability to pay. Take that to its conclusion and it is not a million miles from, er, the SNP's beloved local income tax. It's great listening to the Tartan Marxists using much the same arguments to support their flagship policy as the wicked Tories used 20 years ago in favour of the iniquitous Poll Tax. Of course, both are crap policies and the Council Tax is as good as we will get in the foreseeable future. But as a matter of principle, hmmm...

Now Dave apologises for Section 28. Well, as a teacher, let me set things straight:

1. I supported Section 28 (Section 2a according to the ludicrous Scottish Parliament)

2. Section 28 did not prevent teachers and schools treating homosexuality and homosexuals fairly

3. I have had homosexual students and colleagues, none of whom would feel that I was in any way 'homophobic'

4. Section 28 was introduced at a particular moment in history, to prevent Marxist extremists taking over loony left local authorities and then abusing their powers.
That was morally, ethically, legally and politically the right course of action

5. The notion that Section 28 was homophobic is a downright lie, peddled by loony left extremists for their own motives

6. Section 28 does not need apologised for

I think, actually, that politicians should be very, very cautious about apologising for any event which preceded their term of office. A couple of years ago, we had loonies falling over themselves to apologise for the slave trade. Do I feel guilty about the slave trade, or the fact that British people made fortunes on the back of other people's misery? Not in the least. Cerebrally challenged people, please note: I have not said that I support the slave trade. However, I have no control over events which happened centuries ago. Because, where do you stop? Do you condemn people living in Africa today, whose ancestors sold their fellow tribesmen into slavery? Undoubtedly they did, but it is not the fault of anyone alive today.

If you want to feel guilty about slavery, look at the labels of consumer good in your house. How many are made in China? Every time you buy something made in China, you are supporting a totalitarian state which puts its own citizens in concentration camps; censors their access to foreign media; brutally suppresses any opposition; condemns hundreds of millions to live in dire poverty to produce goods which they couldn't afford themselves so that fat, lazy westerners like me don't need to bother paying a fair price for the things we buy.

If you supported the ANC because you thought it was bad for black Africans to be oppressed, what are you doing for the Chinese who are treated even worse?

If you feel you need to feel guilty about slavery of 200 years ago, what the hell are you going to do about slavery in our own century, which you could do something about?

If you think that homosexuals are discriminated against here, what do you say to thousands of Chinese in concentration camps?

As Dave has discovered, it is easier to 'apologise' for something that never had anything to do with you than to address real issues and our real responsibilities. Feeble leadership, Dave. Zero per cent on this one.