Syntagma Digital
Editor, John Evans

DIARY: Curiosity Clegg, Annoyment, Lansley soap, Climate fate, Mystics, Swine flu blues

Chinese Sage I nodded off during Nick Clegg’s appearance on the Marr show this morning. It seemed preferable to listening to what he had to say … and how he said it.

I awoke with the distinct impression that he wants to import planeloads of African homosexuals and send them up to Scotland.

Why, I kept asking? Will they get a good reception in Glasgow’s Gorbals on a Saturday night? Have the fiercely nationalistic Scots asked for such bedfellows, especially as — Africa being Africa — most will be carrying the HIV virus? How will our bursting-at-the-seams hospitals cope?

It’s all very rum, if you ask me.

And then there’s his voice. It has a faintly hoarse piercing quality, without any light and shade for variation. He really should find a good Shakespearean actor to coach some depth into his delivery. With 270 minutes of the leaders’ debates coming up, watching even a short burst will be the short straw once you’ve thrown in Gordon Brown to boot.

Syntagma suggests Clegg make more use of that forever-boyish look, while developing a serene demeanour. He could also cultivate a long wispy beard, which would give him the appearance of a Chinese Taoist sage who has discovered the secret of eternal youth.

We might listen to him then.

* * * * *

The Conservatives promised us a furious fusillade of new policies during January. This week they have started to trickle through, topped by George Osborne’s welcome announcement that cuts in the deficit will begin soon after the election.

So, what about the NHS? Cuts in overmanning, perhaps? A new regime for the drugs companies? A major reorganization of management and unnecessary jobs? A determination to tackle the truculent trades unions?

None of the above, alas. Andrew Lansley has offered us a change in the way drinks are measured on bottle labels. Units of alcohol will be replaced by centilitres.

Is that the sound of general rejoicing I hear? Thank God for Lansley, I find myself muttering. [Heavy irony alert]. Give that man a drink!

Syntagma has a better idea. Why not boil Lansley down for soap, and distribute it free to hospitals?

* * * * *

Annoyment of the Week
A Gordon Brown Free Zone

This week has been a wretched one for British politics. All the main party leaders have performed badly and been made to look foolish and not up to the job.

It may be pre-election nerves, of course, but may also signal the truth. What if they are all dunces, destined to spend their careers on the naughty step? Gordon Brown has been on it for his entire premiership, let’s not forget.

Just look how quickly the saintly Obama has developed feet and legs of clay. How be it if no leader is capable of putting all our houses back in order?

Clegg wants more immigration because there are parts of the country where only sheep graze. Brown wants to go on playing with his toys in Number 10. Cameron has a political sushi policy where everything is sliced very thinly so it can be jettisoned without loss of face.

There are two very old traditions in Britain: “Cometh the hour, cometh the man” (or Margaret Thatcher); and the return of King Arthur to save the nation from dire peril.

It’s beginning to look as if the Arthurian option is the only one left.

* * * * *

Syntagma has been complaining about inaccurate official information since 2005 when we challenged the Met Office’s prediction that the approaching winter would be as bad as 1962/3. It was not, and we were much closer to the truth with our tongue-in-cheek forecast.

Now a weather presenter at the BBC is saying that the Met Office’s “supercomputer” has “a warm weather bias” and seems incapable of predicting cold snaps. Interestingly, the BBC’s Met Office contract runs out in April. The Sunday Times notes that it is looking very carefully at Metra, a private New Zealand forecaster that already provides it with TV weather graphics.

Much as I hate to see British institutions dumped in their own country, such is the general lack of confidence in the Exeter-based Met Office, it’s hard to see how it can survive as a serious predictor of our climate.

The BBC should not bottle this one, or move to protect another public body. The Beeb should be made to demonstrate it will not tolerate underperforming contributors.

Since the Met Office is the world’s principal progenitor of catastrophic, man-made global warming, what then will the politicians do with their hugely expensive projects for carbon reduction?

David Cameron could be the first to move against them. It would be popular among already hard-pressed taxpayers. It’s a good sign that prospective Tory candidate and eco-warrior, Zac Goldsmith, is currently sounding off bitterly at all politicians, even though he’s about to become one.

The berries are growing thick and fast on the holly bushes, as a Chinese sage might say.

* * * * *

Thank you to those who wrote to me about my book, The Eternal Quest for Immortality: Is it staring you in the face?. I’m delighted you found it “useful” — a word I particularly appreciate.

Readers may be interested to know that a follow-up volume is on the way. MYSTICS: The next step in human evolution?.

The Eternal Quest hinted at this strand of thought in references to “posthumans”, but didn’t go much beyond that as it was concerned solely with individuals.

It’s undoubtedly true that genuine mystics have expanded their consciousness beyond that of the vast bulk of humanity. My thesis in both books is that levels of consciousness determine evolutionary progress. It follows that mystics are the pioneers of the next step for mankind.

Humans are strangely incomplete beings, living largely in ignorance of their origins and future — neither gods nor creatures. Mystics point the way forward. They occupy a position mid-way between this world and the next, observing the passing pageant of life while knowing the seat of their own immortality.

While you are waiting, may I suggest you read The Eternal Quest as an opener, if you haven’t done so already.

Available at all good booksellers off- and online.

* * * * *

Swine flu is yet another case of government predictions crashing and costing us an estimated £1 billion, at the least.

It seems the drug companies have been behind the pandemic scare in recent months, prompting Gordon “any excuse to spend a billion or two” Brown to splurge our money on vast quantities of the vaccine … now useless.

Once again, he’s been shown to have made the wrong call. Is it also his idea to send this stuff to the “third world”? If the disease is not harmful, it makes you wonder what they are supposed to do with it.

Will UK.gov add dumping toxic waste in underdeveloped countries to its long list of socialist criminality?

John Evans

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