Friday, June 28, 2013

Vegetation and Infestation, the big Idea today is 154 Free Trade versus Protectionism

Hope the pigeons don't get it!
More Strawberries
It's surprising how quickly things (horticultural) grow at this time of the year, as well as Strawberries yesterday I collected baby courgettes and broad beans and more peas are definitely on the way.
The Broad Beans (and Artichokes) have a bit of Blackfly (actually Aphids) which I understand can be minimised by the application of household detergent - will try this and look at other alternatives as well.
Garlic is now ready to pick and dry out  with onions to follow soon.
Also planted out around 10 Pak Choi plants  which should go great in  Chinese stir fries I have started Perpetual Spinach Beet in a seed tray (although I understand that it is neither perpetual nor Spinach).

Free Trade versus Protectionism

In a 'Free Trade World' there are no artificial barriers to trading with other nations, that is there are no additional charges, taxes, subsidies or quotas on goods or services from another country.
This is the not the way in the moderns world and most countries choose to enter agreements with some nations (generally a trading block) where barriers are low and erect barriers against trade with other nations.
Protectionism may not always be in a countries interest forcing it to produced goods that it is not naturally suited to or is not able to develop on a sufficient scale to enjoy economies of scale.
A historic battle in fighting Protectionism and reducing trade barriers was The Corn Laws repeal (1846), the corn laws had limited importation of foreign corn to the UK allowing UK farmers to benefit from a restricted market  which meant that UK consumers paid a higher price than otherwise would be the case.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Cutting Council Costs & Big Idea 153 is Labour

Great to see a company with a sense of humour
The Chancellor George Osborne has today made a statement on the next round of Government  department cuts, sad to see that the DCMS and Local Government are again going to suffer. I've been waiting for my residents parking permit to arrive and it looks like it'll be with us after the deadline, although it was sent of on the 10th June it didn't arrive (they say) until the 18th and it can take 10 working days to be processed I don't think a private company would get away with this level of prevarication and be un-contactable to answer a query as well. It seems that Councils have different rules (well Ealing Council anyway), having said that morale is low with public service workers and the ending of incremental rises that helped boost pay levels is unlikely to help motivate  this bunch of employees.

Labour is a big Idea (in this case an economic one)

David Ricardo

In case you were thinking that the capitalists had it all there own way there was of course resistance.
 David Ricardo (1772 to 1823) who was effectively dis-inherited by his Jewish family when he married outside his faith  developed  the Labour Theory of Value which was used later by Karl Marx in creating the concept of ' Surplus Labour'. (Don't worry David did well as a businessman amassing quite a fortune and became an MP).
 Historically workers started to get together in Guilds and  Trade unions to try to make sure that they
were able to avoid being undercut by other workers willing to work for less pay.
These collective organisations were able to negotiate with employers in the hope that they could arrive at just and fair agreements.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Printmaking Workshop (Lino printing) and Big Idea 152 is The market

Lino Printing

Today was the second session in the Printmaking Workshop at OPEN Ealing and Lino printing was the topic handled.
 Lino printing offers considerably more scope than Mono-printing, with this type of printing multiple copies can be produced and more than one colour used.
The basic technique is cutting into lino and one of the challenges is working in reverse (like mirror writing for example), areas removed will remain the colour of the paper.
If you're interested this site gives you a shopping list for what you need, it's great for making personalised cards and here are some examples of  what the technique can create.
Here's a video that runs through how it's done (cut away from yourself and don't forget that the blades are sharp), you can use the same technique with wood blocks too.

The Market is Big Idea 152

In Capitalist societies the market is where  goods and resources are traded for competition to take place (one of the requirements for a market to operate efficiently) there should be more than one trader as well as hopefully several customers. With these elements we can see the law of supply and demand in action. If you imagine your in a large vegetable market you can see how the 'Market
operates' - you walk the length of the market studying the goods for sale and comparing the prices and quality - if one stall is offering very good oranges at a low price they will make many trades and may sell out - if this happens customers may have to purchase more expensive oranges or those of inferior quality - they might even decide to have apples instead. A street market is often a good example of a market - the barriers to entry are low (cost of a pitch and some stock) and competition is visible and dynamic.
Generally more sophisticated markets can be more complex with government taking an interest (making sure that competition is 'fair' for example).
One of the characteristics of the command economies that operated in the Soviet Block was that there were shortages and black markets as consumer demand was not satisfied and prices were controlled externally (by the politicians)  rather than by supply and demand.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Windows scam and Idea 151 Supply and demand

This morning I got a call from an Indian gentleman purporting to be from 'Windows' he was calling to fix a PC problem, I asked for his address (269 Banbury Road I think he said) he gave me a phone number 0703 749212 but  was unable to tell me his e-mail address at which point he decided to call
This seems to be quite a regular scam I don't know if it is successful but after having done some research  I have a grudging respect for the operation and the patience of those conducting it - having said that best not to get drawn in and give a polite 'thanks but no thanks'.

Big Idea 151 from Crofton is Supply and Demand

Adam Smith bequeathed to Economists the term 'the invisible hand' it denotes the forces around Supply and Demand.
Supply and Demand along with elasticity were the first serious concepts I encountered when I studied Economics at school ('O' Level many years ago) - to summarise, Good A is produced and  sold at Price P as the supply increases to meet the demand of the market an equilibrium is reached where all
A classic supply and demand curve
the product is sold, if there is an over supply (more product than the market demands) the price will drop if there is more demand than product the price will increase as more purchasers compete to buy.
Products such as Salt have a fairly inelastic demand curve - that is the price changes do not affect demand heavily as people buy salt for a purpose and generally only as much as they need (unless they're speculating and that's a whole different story).

I suppose we can apply this law of supply and demand to many things (performers leave their audience wanting more).

Sunday, June 23, 2013

More cultivation and Idea 150 is Capitalism

Watering the Butternut Squash
Strawberry Fields
The last week or so I've been adding a few more rows of vegetables including the Vegetable Butternut Squash shown, next week I hope to plant out Pak Choi and perhaps some more Asparagus. Today I harvested a few Strawberries and am hoping to pick some Peas next week, Courgettes are now flowering and Broad Beans are getting bigger by the day.

Big Idea 150 is Capitalism

Capitalism is a product of the industrial society, the concept relies on the creation of  surplus wealth which is invested by capitalists to create further wealth from the labour of their employees. A natural tendency of this system is the formation of monopolies, modern economies have laws which govern the creation of these  monopolies either to limit them or to restrict the profit they generate.
Government can also create and administer monopolies.
Here's an explanation of Capitalism

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Walking to the Saatchi and Idea 149 is Property

Part of the Saatchi Paper Exhibition
On Wednesday I met a friend who I had worked with at Euronews (in France), it is something of a mild phobia of mine that with the passing of time people will have changed such that I do not immediately recognise them- this worry has yet to be fulfilled.
Strangely much of our conversation was around the subject of memory and for me it brought into focus the importance of personal and collective memory/memories.
In many ways now we have collectively 'dumped' our responsibilities of memory first to the  printed libraries and then to recorded voice and media ahead of the digitization which has put so much in the cloud (ort is that just a marketing term?)
So it was for me that even in the 60s the requirement to memoriser large chunks of anything (poems, speeches historical data) had all but gone - is this a loss? Is the brain a muscle that requires exercising and flexing?
And what are we that sets us apart from animals and computers other than  the sum of memories individual and collective ?
Hang Feng's Floating City
During my time with my former colleague we walked some distance through west London from Exhibition Road to Covent Garden - I was surprised to see the return  of the 1980s phenomenon  of rough sleepers by various bridges and embankments and to see too that The Punch and Judy pub in Covent garden remains largely unchanged.
One good thing we were able to enjoy (along with an acceptable meal at Carluccio's) was a free Science Museum and the Saatchi gallery where you are pleasingly not met by calls for contributions.

The Saatchi is a great Gallery where work is refreshed regularly and the displays are uncluttered and challenging - currently there's a display around the theme of Paper and we were also able to marvel at a work I'd not engaged with before Richard Wilson's Site Specific Oil Installation (I don't believe it).

Idea 149 has been nicked.. oh no here it is it's Property

Although Marx is quoted as saying that  it is theft it very much falls into one of the big idfeas in the Lexicon of Economics.
While communists doubt the integrity of the concept those on the right see it as essential for freedom and individualism without which we'd all be part of the collective.
Locke is a big believer in Property but the case for the (present) ruling classes having appropriated  as robber barons what belongs to all is a difficult one to dispute - at least I have the rights to an allotment.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Michael Woodford and idea 148 is Economic Systems

Sandwich snub
Last night following an invite from SunZu (who they? ) I went to listen to Michael Woodford formerly CEO with Japanese Olympus the Camera and Medical equipment giant. His talk was as they say a rollercoaster a rip roaring ride through some serious Japanese gangsta style corruption.
Michael has written a book, Exposure which could be worth a read.
What was revelatory was the fact that when someone who was blowing the whistle on such an enormous fraud the method his colleagues chose to use to humiliate him was giving him a grotty sandwich as opposed to a delicious Sushi.
Addressing  the event held at the Central London  Emmanuel Centre Michael was a one man master-class in oratory, animated and engaging there was no powerpoint or notes to divert attention from his skills as a speaker.

Idea 148 is Economic Systems

In many developed and developing countries the government is a key player in driving the economy using the levers of growth and investment to help it meet strategic goals. In countries with a more free market philosophy Supply and Demand are left to the vagaries of the 'free economy' typically at times of economic crisis and war more tinkering by the state can be anticipated and the economy is described as a Siege or Command economy.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Monoprinting and Big Idea 147 is Economics

One by Tracey
Now although I've been taking an interest in Art (particularly Modern Art) for a number of years it's a long time since I've attended art classes (with art teacher Tom Davies at Braintree High School) so I was unable to resist the opportunity to join a printmaking workshop (at OPEN Ealing).
The first session was one of the simplest types of printing called Monoprinting
Monoprinting has a number of exponents including Tracey Emin.

In fact it is illuminating to realise that even some fairly simple stuff does require technique and a modicum of talent and preparation.


Idea 147 is Economics

Having followed Ian Crofton's Big Ideas around Politics it's quite exciting to get to the topic of Economics (known by Thomas Carlyle as the 'Dismal Science') - the subject has been somewhat colonized by the Scots with Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations one of the stand-out tomes.

In fact Economics is pretty much tied up with political questions, For example - how much should government do to direct the economy? How Should it intervene to meet fiscal targets?

Economics has two big categories Microeconomics (Individual people and companies)  and Macroeconomics (National Scale).

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Getting the Cauliflowers out and Big Idea #146 is Multilateralism and Unilateralism

Robin keeps an eye out for a tasty worm
Cauliflower under net.
With the extra plot I've been turning over the soil and planting as I go today I added  Cauliflowers out to the Peppers and Tomatoes I've already planted out.
The cauliflowers are under netting as I know pigeons enjoy feasting on them, have also scattered Slug pellets to meet the challenge of snails and slugs.
 I have also put in a few extra Leeks in the ground. As well as other plot-holders I'm often joined by a Robin they are sociable birds and like nothing better than a garden tool handle to perch on while they look out for worms.

Big Idea146 is Multilateralism and Unilateralism

CND fought against Nuclear Proliferation
During the Cold War where the then two Superpowers (USSR and USA) fought a phony war by
proxy and propaganda there were calls for them (and other countries) to reduce or even remove their Nuclear arms. If one side decides to give up arms without a corresponding reduction by 'the other side' this is Unilateralism, where both sides negotiate reductions this is Multilateralism
The threat of all out Nuclear war has somewhat dissipated and the general feeling is that terrorists are now the more dangerous element.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Patrick Caulfield at Tate Britian and Idea 145 is Exceptionalism

Yesterday I visited the Tate Britain to  see what all the fuss is about regarding Patrick Caulfield (1936-2005), I was very pleasantly surprised at his paintings - several things I liked about his work, one of which is the scale, the pictures are big and bold, the second thing is the subject matter it is all about contemporary urban Britain/the British and although only one of the pictures in the exhibition could be described (loosely) as portraiture they do have a tangible human warmth to them (in my opinion).

Other things I was fascinated by were the  use of a very limited colour palate and the lack of shade/shading - in some ways this can be 2 dimensional but not always Entrance to me felt like I could almost walk into it.

The pictures are (of course) better when experienced directly but here are a couple of samples my favourites included Stereophonic Record Player (1968) and Entrance (1975).

I was less sure about the exhibition that accompanies it featuring the work of YBA- (Young British Artists)  Gary Hume -very odd work Beautiful (2002) which is Kate Moss with Michael Jackson's nose.  Hume works with aluminium to create some striking images

Idea 145 is Exceptionalism

Exceptionalism  is all about my country is better/different  than yours - largely a North American phenomenon, but also something that's prevalent now in Israel and was seen in the England of  18th and 19th Century Imperialists.
Here's Bill Maher talking on the subject (perhaps rather negatively?)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Clear roads ahead and Idea #144 is Civil Liberties

Okay it was some months ago that I noted the policies and action around 'Residents Parking' now it's actually due to come into force on our road on July 1st.
Looking up the road
... and down
You can see how a London road looks with a plethora of parked cars, this is not a result of residents parking as such- the contractors need the road clear so they can do the marking.
We've requested our permits and it is interesting to know that at £50 per car  we're on a more reasonable rate than many (I'm told that one north London borough is more than double but is adjusted according to your car engine size).

Idea 144 Civil Liberties

Following on from Rights we've got Liberties (not Liberty the famous London Shop).
The idea of Civil Liberties is tied up with the analysis of John Locke (philosopher) who postulated that the electorate trades their 'natural rights' for Civil Liberties with  the government. (perhaps some parts of Turkey are getting close to this ?)
The arrangement holds good in so far as the populace may withdraw their consent to be governed if the government fails in their part of the bargain.
The 18th century revolutions in France and America enshrined Liberties and generally they are widely encountered in modern democracies but it is important to many who support these rights that they are not eroded by the state using arguments for ensuring security.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

OPEN Ealing and Abstraction along with Animal Rights as Idea 143

This week  the subject matter at OPEN Ealing's Modern Art lecture was the early Abstracts...

E H Gombrich in his influential book The Story of Art appears to consider the influence of Cubism as more Radical and important than the Abstract work which followed it.
Kandinsky's Transverse Line (1923)
For me  there is a great deal of  note and challenge  in the canon  of work that is created under this umbrella.

The two artists that were considered were Kandinsky and Mondrian.

Kandinsky (1866-1944)  was a Russian working in Germany who had worked in a variety of styles including being a part of the Fauves.
He was interested in the spiritual (was a Theosophist) and wanted a form of pictorial art that chimed with music (he was also a musician).


Mondrian (1872 -1944) was a Dutch artist who worked in Paris he was heavily Influenced by Cubism and had at some times a rather Hitler -esque   moustache (not uncommon and not political)

Here's a rather nice video showing the artist's work from his representational early work to the Boogie-woogie near the end of his career

Both Kandinsky and Mondrian (who coincidentally both died in 1944)  were versed in Theosophy which seems to be quite a well meaning school of philosophy.


Big  Idea 143 is Animal Rights.

As the work of Charles Darwin (On the origin of species) had indicated that Humans and Animals were related it was felt that there should be an accommodation for some rights for animals. In the 19th century there was in some countries legislation that sought to provide some guidance on how animals were treated.
In the 20th Century there were some Animal rights campaigners who felt that Animals should be more heavily protected and who fought (sometimes breaking the law) in their efforts to see the conditions of animals improved.
For many though this 'extremism' is a problematic for a cause where we perhaps need to consider the humans above animals for example some creatures like locusts can cause much destruction if left uncontrolled.
Currently in the news is the argument over Badger culling to protect bovines on the farm.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Allotment work and Idea 142 is Human Rights

Keep those cherries
Second cage
Yesterday although the weather wasn't great I spent a bit of time on the allotment, tidying, weeding and clearing as well as putting the second fruit cage up, this and the netting on the Cherry tree (number 1) will ensure that we get some fruit at least.
The cage is another one purchased from Amazon and  produced by Gardenskill Ltd
Getting clear
Birds of course love to take nice ripe fruit and I'm not alone in battling with them (not physically) I anticipate losing some fruit but would be nice to enjoy home grown cherries.
Luciano who was the previous tenant of the other half of my plot has now removed some of his decomposing leaf mould he's a big fan of adding the leaves to aid warmth and soil composition. I'm now starting to turn over some of the soil and remove weeds although it is hard work I've got a got of plants without  homes and this new area is going to be useful as it has a fine aspect for the sun.

Idea 142 is Human Rights

Looking at the idea of Human Rights feels timely in a world where governments are warning that there are limits to the amount of privacy that citizens can expect while security forces battle to keep safe the populace and the amount of Government surveillance is being discussed following the whistle-blowing of Danny Ellsberg.
Crofton notes in his book that there is to a certain extent an expectation of  basic 'Human Rights'.
Much of the thinking around Human Rights  comes from the changes made after the American and French Revolutions.
Human Rights are even expected to be observed during war and Geneva conventions are an attempt to document this.
The UN's declaration of Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights are significant in ensuring the worst excesses are constrained.
Here's the story ...

Sunday, June 09, 2013

The joy of bonfires and idea 141 is Justice

I had forgotten what fun it is to have a bonfire, yesterday as I started to clear my extra allocation of   land  it came back to me - surprisingly hot as it burnt.

Big Idea 141 is justice

Justice can be considered as the  fairness of a situation and is linked to  fair treatment another view: 'Justice' (ideally) is the action, or course, that will restore equilibrium to a situation. It's often confused, or conflated, with punishment; but that is really the idea that two wrongs make a right - 'An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.' which is in the realms of 'Divine Justice' ( the moral standard by which God judges human conduct - oh dear).

The article in how stuff works is also illuminating- do we practice justice? Probably not we all have prejudices, but recognising this can be  empowering.

The idea of Justice is fundamental to the way that free and fair societies operate, if you think about children crying 'it's not fair' you'll realise how basic an expectation of justice is to most of us.
Why has she got more than me?
So Plato's capturing of 'Just deserts' in The republic epitomises the concept, Justice has two forms:
1) The Justice delivered by the legal system - where people are judged fairly and Justice is handed out in a consistent and even manner.
2) The Justice of a fair society, this has a more political dimension and brings with it ideas of equality and treating people equally.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

More OPEN Ealing Art (Cubism) and Idea 140 Equality

Cubism is (I think) where the disjoint between 'modern' art and representational work occurs, it was great to have a look at it with the Modern Art course I attend.
Before Perspective
What I've taken on-board so far from the course is that (I suppose obviously) is that paintings are an abstraction the idea of representing 3 dimensional objects in a 2 dimensional medium is always going to be a challenge - if you look at paintings (for example) from the 15th Century it is clear that   there is no 'perspective'.
Early perspective
With the rules of perspective anew grammar for the world of art arrived but it is worth thinking about this, it is a series of conventions an rules that we are taught and learn, other times and other cultures have a different grammar  and history of representation.

'Picasso's Factory, Horta de Ebbo'
So Cubism came along and blasted a whole in what was the 'fourth wall' of visual grammar  -in a world where photography could replicate the 2 dimensional it tried to tell us more about the objects, it may not always be visually pleasing but as Nick Pearson tells us repeatedly works of art look to solve the problems artists perceive.
Here's a wild guy talking about Cubism (interesting stuff about his name)-

Idea 140 Equality

Like many of the political ideas Equality is a work in progress, it is easy to be smug and consider that each step we take is the last that needs to be taken, like our earlier consideration of  'Liberty'  the US constitution  thought that it would deliver equality but it took sometime before race and gender issues were addressed and some issues remain. Equality may impinge on 'rights' and it is a negotiated area that must take account of public acceptance.
Here's a young man talking about sexual equality (from a  perhaps religious point of view).


Thursday, June 06, 2013

Pinta Art Show and Idea 139 is Toleration

As I signed up with the Saatchi gallery when I visited I get a few emails and one of these included a complimentary entrance to the Pinta show at Earls Court, if you get the same offer I'd urge you to visit.
Where the Pinta show is
Not sure the exact story around the cause/reason for the people exhibiting, seems to be something to do with the Iberian influenced world Spain, South America and Miami cropped up amongst the galleries represented.
It is a very eclectic event and for me the works were shown in a very comfortably  put together space without too many people or distractions -  the downside was the sensation overload caused by so much stuff from Op art to some fantastic photography  pretty much all by people new to me.

One curiosity (of many) were what seemed to be a proto Gilbert and George characters working in tapestry and including images of their dachshund dog!
Highlights of Pinta were 'finding' the artists:
By Álvaro Barrios

Jesus Soto Optical and Kinetic artist
Luis Tomasello - great works between 2 and 3 dimensions.
Mathias Goeritz - was a well-known Mexican painter and sculptor of German origin with (for me) a touch of the Mondrians.
What was great for me was a painting by the Colombian Álvaro Barrios which made me want to see more of his work.
On the subject of perception - I like this site

Big Idea 139 is Toleration

Toleration as it is now practiced in much of the 'developed' world has not arrived overnight.
Toleration is in fact pretty much a gift of the enlightenment - The French philosopher and  author  Voltaire (François Marie Arouet - 1694–1778), . coined the phrase that is actually something like

..what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write.” but is misquoted as ( in this form often used by my grand-dad Tom Beesley)

 I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

Toleration is of course a mediated condition and requires a somewhat civilised atmosphere to have it practiced effectively.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

More Plotting and the Big Idea 138 is Liberty

The right side of the 202a plot
Getting full on 202b
It's fun on the allotment we had our first (admittedly only 6) broad
beans at the weekend and there are peas are beginning to form as I write.
Recently Plot 202b has been getting increasingly congested with major diversions necessary to get from my compost heap to my broad beans (not to mention the railway sleepers that were intended for a raised bed), fortunately (I think it's fortunate) my borders have widened.

The other side of 202a

Plot 202a has been vacated and I've now been granted the old plot which has doubled my area and once I've cleared some of the weeds and accumulated baths and odds and ends I'll be able to start planting Tomatoes, Peppers, Cabbages and Cauliflowers in a home of their own - this will also I hope give me a chance to plan a little more efficiently and try a rudimentary rotational programme.
The plot has even more sun than my existing one and some of it has been cultivated quite recently so with a bit of weeding a bonfire and perhaps some rotted compost it will be productive

Big Idea 138  is Liberty

A symbol of Liberty
In the political lexicon Liberty is often tied to Freedom and Crofton points out that the two terms are sometimes hijacked for questionable causes. The USA's fight for independence might be celebrated as a campaign for liberty but at the time it provided little in the form of liberation for Women and Slaves.
In terms of defining Liberty The Declaration of Arbroath (1320) is a historic statement that iterates
the Scottish claim for Freedom from the English .
The modern concept of liberty held by 'liberals' may not always mean small government but can be more about the enabling people to progress with their aims hopefully without encroaching on other people's liberties.

Monday, June 03, 2013

William Burrell and big idea 137 is 'Progress'

One of the virtues of the BBC iPlayer is the ability it provides for watching out of region TV shows (e.g. Programmes made for showing in BBC Scotland become available).
Last week I watched a thoroughly fascinating documentary on William Burrell and the collection he bestowed on Scotland.
Kirsty Wark is almost a guarantee of quality in the TV shows she fronts and this was certainly the case here where the programme balanced the themes of the man and what he left behind.
Burrell was not a showy philanthropist but he was great collector with a curiosity that fuelled his esoteric accumulation of artefacts. In the age of Hearst and Carnegie he showed that philanthropy was not a solely North American phenomenon.
Glasgow home of the Burrell collection

big idea 137 is 'Progress'

Progress is a value that generally has associations with the left and is based on belief's that humans can improve themselves and the society they live in.
Progress probably assumes some sort basic shared values, the fact is that people are now living longer healthier lives, more people have freedoms (like for example in the UK  choosing their religion or choosing to have no religion)  than they did 100 years ago.
How we measure progress could be problematic and in some cases their is a price to progress- for example those with a 'green' agenda would say that the exploitation of the planet  to provide us with comfortable air conditioned offices is causing the ice caps to melt.
Progress does not always proceed linearly and conditions can cause temporary reversions.
Here's  Ronald Wright  who has written 'A Short History of Progress' answering questions on the topic on TV.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

60 years ago revisited and Big Idea 136 is Authority and Authoritarianism

It was easy to forget that it was 60 years since the Coronation of Elizabeth II but I noticed in a side road of Ealing that the event was being commemorated - wouldn't be too surprised to find Coronation Chicken on the menu at this street party. If you have a look at the ingredients I think you'll be curious as to how the dish was arrived at by Constance Spry/Rosemary Hume and in fact is a version of an earlier  regal dish (George V 's Jubilee Chicken).


Authority and Authoritarianism

This topic is associated with the traditional political right. Following what some considered the anarchy of the French Revolution a body of thinkers to sing the praises of order  and traditional authority as embodied in Church, State and Family.
Joseph de Maistre (1753-1821) was a big figure in this philosophy having been a magistrate he turned to satire to critique the effects of the French revolution.
Edmund Burke was also critical of the anarchy of these times believing that culture was preserved under  Authoritarian rule and the loss of authority would lead to chaos with a counter reaction which would  ultimately lead to a dictatorship.
During the Cold War a distinction was made between Totalitarian regimes (often of the left) and those merely considered Authoritarian (like Greece's general) which were more acceptable to the USA.
Burke was an MP and his thoughts/works are a lodestone for the right (see below)

Saturday, June 01, 2013

A great Pub, Ealing's Village Inn and Idea number 135 is Hierarchy

Nice Pub
Many years ago one of the first pubs I knew to get a radical makeover was The Grange on Ealing Common, it had been a cross between the bat cave and a gothic bikers hangout but it became a victim of gentrification and got comfy chairs and bookcases thanks to a Mr Duffy (the manager at the time).
After a while Tom Duffy moved onto his own place in  Pitshanger  Lane ( rather appropriately known as Duffy's (a great Pub too) after a while Tom Moved on to Northfields Avenue and got another pub T J Duffy's near the Underground station.

Well to cut to the chase, today we went to a Pub  now called The Village Inn which is what the first Duffy's has become and it's a great little Pub, nice sandwiches, good selection of beer and wine and various modern accoutrements that are expected   by the 231st century pub goer (like Wi-Fi).
If you're in the area and have some time to chill I'd recommend it.


Big Idea 135 is  Hierarchy.

The man for the job
Crofton says that Hierarchy (and inheritance to privileged status)  are generally associated with the political  right  (and North Korea) and are used to protect the status quo and hereditary principle.
Conservatives can use arguments about being born for power certainly the case can be made that Queen Elizabeth II's son Charles has spent his life being prepared to take the throne.
In times gone by  it was often the case that the elite ruled via blood lines and the systems of peerage in the UK is a classic example. Against this the argument of hierarchy is that  it  has been used to instil discrimination (including favouring the male offspring) and even atrocities when elites have fought to protect their 'god given' place at the top.