History

What is this bird whingeing about?

Abaleful silence attends one of the most talked-about figures in British history. You may enthuse endlessly about Winston Churchill “single-handedly” defeating Hitler. But mention his views on race or his colonial policies, and you’ll be instantly drowned in ferocious and orchestrated vitriol.

Err, the general view – absent his grandson, Nicholas Soames – is that he was a man of his times. Or even, held views which even in them were more than a little archaic. Possibly not archaic enough for British India would almost certainly have been vastly better if the Memsahibs, the Fishing Fleet, had never been able to turn up and the Company Men had remained with their concubines.

But silence isn’t the right word to describe it all.

What is this bird whingeing about?

Abaleful silence attends one of the most talked-about figures in British history. You may enthuse endlessly about Winston Churchill “single-handedly” defeating Hitler. But mention his views on race or his colonial policies, and you’ll be instantly drowned in ferocious and orchestrated vitriol.

Err, the general view – absent his grandson, Nicholas Soames – is that he was a man of his times. Or even, held views which even in them were more than a little archaic. Possibly not archaic enough for British India would almost certainly have been vastly better if the Memsahibs, the Fishing Fleet, had never been able to turn up and the Company Men had remained with their concubines.

But silence isn’t the right word to describe it all.

What is this bird whingeing about?

Abaleful silence attends one of the most talked-about figures in British history. You may enthuse endlessly about Winston Churchill “single-handedly” defeating Hitler. But mention his views on race or his colonial policies, and you’ll be instantly drowned in ferocious and orchestrated vitriol.

Err, the general view – absent his grandson, Nicholas Soames – is that he was a man of his times. Or even, held views which even in them were more than a little archaic. Possibly not archaic enough for British India would almost certainly have been vastly better if the Memsahibs, the Fishing Fleet, had never been able to turn up and the Company Men had remained with their concubines.

But silence isn’t the right word to describe it all.

That’s an awful lot of strikes against her

Rachel Boyle is head of interdisciplinary studies at the Carnegie School of Education, Leeds Beckett University, and researches racism and ethnicity

Teaching nothing very much in the education department of the Leeds Mechanics Institute. It’s the equivalent of Wilt and his Meat Two classes but for the trainee primary school teachers who got in with a double E at A level.

However, racism would not end with abolition: it was far too valuable. Racism became the handmaiden to the empire. The mythology of race, and white superiority, would become a major ingredient in the establishment of British imperialism.

Well, no, not really. It wasn’t in fact about race as it is understood today – black, skin colour, that sort of thing. The English were convinced they were superior to everyone else of every skin colour. In fact, you wouldn’t have to dig that deep to find those insistent that the Hindoo or other Darkie was superior to a Frenchie. And obviously so of a Dago.

Not, I think, quite true

Built into overgrown hillsides all over this rugged island are crumbling chapels with medieval frescoes, saints with their eyes gouged out by Ottoman iconoclasts.

Yes, variations of Islam insist upon no representation of the human image. And yet iconoclast is more normally used for the variations of Christianity that insist upon the same thing, no?

Or is that just me?

Bloody socialists

Elena Gorolová was 21 when she gave birth to her second son. “The doctor told me I would need to deliver via a C-section otherwise I would be risking the health of me and the baby.”

In the delivery room, a nurse gave her papers to sign. “I was in so much pain … I was in no state to think about what I was signing,” says the social workerfrom the Czech Republic. She had unknowingly signed an agreement to be sterilised.

Until now, the Czech government has not officially acknowledged or compensated Roma women such as Gorolová for a government-led eugenics agenda from the early 1970s until it was officially abolished in 1993.

You know what word doesn’t appear in the Guardian’s report? Socialism. Nor Soviet, People’s Republic or any of that.

Odd really…..

Pig Dogs!

The National Trust has stopped public visits to a medieval manor house to focus on renting it as holiday accommodation full-time, as access to properties is quietly limited under cost-cutting measures.

Volunteers at four Devon properties have been warned that sites face reduced opening, a booking-only model, repurposing or closure as the Trust tries to reduce operating costs after losing £200 million since the start of the pandemic.

With no public announcement, the heritage charity told staff that visiting access to 14th century manor house Shute Barton will be stopped and the site will “operate solely as a holiday cottage”.

The Shute Parochial Church Council has claimed that only a “select few… with means” could stay in the roughly £2,000 per week suites, and by shutting out visitors to focus on revenue the Trust was “blatantly ignoring its raison d’etre”.

The Trust will also move Overbeck’s, A La Ronde,

My sister was rather put out when her mother in law sold that last to the NT. To find that access is now restricted….it’s an exceedingly fine location even if slightly odd as a house…..

Sure it had an effect

There was no single moment when I began to sense the long shadow that Cecil John Rhodes has cast over my life, or over the university where I am a professor, or over the ways of seeing the world shared by so many of us still living in the ruins of the British empire. But, looking back, it is clear that long before I arrived at Oxford as a student, long before I helped found the university’s Rhodes Must Fall movement, long before I even left Zimbabwe as a teenager, this man and everything he embodied had shaped the worlds through which I moved.

You speak English, Zimbabwe was at least a relatively rich country for the area, Zimbabwe did at least have the rule of law, an education system and all that.

What else was it you wanted to talk about concerning Rhodes and colonialism?

How wonderfully the world has changed since 1945

The juxtaposition of this gave me a jolt:

“It’s hard to explain why people elsewhere are being vaccinated more quickly with an excellent vaccine developed in Germany. Time is crucial. If Israel, the US, or the UK are far ahead of us with jabs, they’ll also gain economically.”

Israel has vaccinated more than a million people with the German jab.

I might be primed by having been reading some Simon Schama.

But think back to 1945 and the incredulity with which Jews lining up for German injections would be greeted. Voluntarily lining up that is.

The place still ain’t perfect, definitely still some cleaning up in the corners to be done, but hasn’t the world got better since then?

But it wasn’t a real revolution

So, first Ms. Malik tells us that revolutions screw up:

And yet, when we look across the Arab world today, it is hard to believe this happened. Only the “Tunisian revolution” remains intact. Every other country affected has either collapsed into chaos and civil war, as in Libya and Syria – or, like Egypt, has entered a new era of dictatorship, darker and more oppressive than ever before. What has come to pass looks like a fulfilment of the warnings that were issued against the protests from the start: this will only lead to even more political instability.

Some people have made this point before, that evolution not revolution might be the way to go. But apparently revolutions are as with socialism, it wasn’t real revolution:

The problem was the absence of enough of the forces necessary to the success of a revolution rather than the presence of too many counter-currents against it.

Not enough revolution, d’ye see?

It can happen. It has happened before. Now we know what it looks like. And next time, we will know what is required of us.

So, let’s have more revolution!

The same logic that led Lenin to shoot a few more peasants when the crops failed.

Sigh.

Are these people really this ignorant?

The American Revolution itself was not merely a reaction against certain types of control—such as the British East India Company’s monopoly on commerce.

Sure, John Company got to sell tea from the Far East. But monopoly upon commerce in the Americas? Or even the Atlantic?

Lad’s insane

In economic matters since 1945, it is not so much that the US either forged or ruptured a rules-based order, but rather that it pivoted from one set of rules to a radically new one. For decades after the second world war, the system allowed other governments considerable room for manoeuvre in their economic policies. But then the US helped to impose a draconian neoliberal order that persists to the present day, including through international financial institutions it dominated.

The Bretton Woods system, where exchange rates were fixed and monitored by the IMF, offered more freedom of economic action to nation states than the floating rate FX system which succeeded it?

Crippled JC on a pogo stick that’s an idiot assertion.

Samuel Moyn is a professor of law and history at Yale and the author of Not Enough: Human Rights in an Unequal World

There’s nothing so stupid American academia won’t believe it.

Umm, what?

If approved, the move could pave the way for other rail and underground stations to be reviewed, with stops such as East India and Canning Town also highlighted for its past associations with the slave trade.

East India Company slavery did of course exist. To whatever extent the Moghul etc entities had slavery before the EIC arrival. As to Canning Town, umm, what’s the supposed connection? Named, apparently, after a Viceroy of India that’s got very little to do with slavery. Indeed, it didn’t really exist – being marshland – before the end of slavery.

So, what are they talking about?

Quite remarkable

So, bloke writes about grandfather, Polish Jew who fought in the Red Army. And uses it as a base from which to muse about remembrance and just war and so on. Fair enough:

But, as the historian Sheila Fitzpatrick noted in a recent essay in the London Review of Books, such views aren’t uncommon. “Many Polish Jews … who found themselves in the Soviet Union during the war, deportees as well as refugees, retained affectionate memories of the place and its people, whom they experienced as not antisemitic and generous in sharing the little they had with strangers,” she writes.

The remarkable bit is rather brushing over that attempt to exterminate Poland as a nation. You know, by Stalin?

Hmm, well…..

the statue is one of the hopelessly few reminders we have of one of Britain’s greatest emigres.

That’s about Engels. And emigre has a definite tint of “from” rather than “to”.

We might say he was a Prussian emigre, a Rhineland emigre, even a German emigre. But not really a British one – for here he’s an imigre……

The British colour bar

Ms. Gopal again and her knowledge of history:

In the postwar period, the colour bar in hotels and other public spaces was challenged by people like the famous cricketer Learie Constantine, who won a landmark judgment.

Britain never did have a colour bar. This wasn’t Jim Crow, you know, that was some other group of wipipo. As was apartheid some other group. Sure, we all look the same but really, you should be able to distinguish.

Constantine booked into a hotel, having been assured that his colour was not a problem. Then the actual management of the hotel on the spot insisted it was. After remonstration etc he moved to another hotel owned by the same company.

So, clearly not a bar in law nor by the hotel chain. Racism, yes, clearly. The case was breach of contract, having taken his booking and not supplying the room. He won.

This is many things including a righteous biff on the nose to racism. It’s also not proof of a colour bar having existed.