September 28, 2005

Help for Stupid People


In case we needed proof that the human race is doomed through stupidity, here are some real instruction labels, found on real consumer goods:


  • On a Sears hairdryer – “Do not use while sleeping.”
    [When else would I find time to work on my hair?]
  • On a bag of Fritos – “You could be a winner! No purchase necessary. Details inside.”
    [The shoplifter special.]
  • On a bar of Dial soap -- "Directions: Use like regular soap."
    [And that would be....]
  • On some Swanson frozen dinners - "Serving suggestion: Defrost."
    [But, it's only a suggestion.]
  • On Tesco's Tiramisu dessert - printed on bottom -- "Do not turn upside down."
    [Should have told me sooner.]
  • On Marks &Spencer Bread Pudding - "Product will be hot after heating."
    [And you thought...]
  • On packaging for a Rowenta iron - "Do not iron clothes on body."
    [But wouldn't this save time?]
  • On Boot's Children Cough Medicine -- "Do not drive a car or operate machinery after taking this medication."
    [We could do a lot to reduce the rate of construction site accidents if we could just get those 5 year-olds with head-colds off those bulldozers.]
  • On Nytol Sleep Aid -- "Warning: May cause drowsiness."
    [I'm taking this because....]
  • On most brands of Christmas lights -- "For indoor or outdoor use only."
    [As opposed to…]
  • On a Japanese food processor -- "Not to be used for the other use."
    [Ah, somebody help me out here...]
  • On Sainsbury's peanuts - "Warning: contains nuts."
    [Thanks for the news flash.]
  • On an American Airlines packet of nuts -- "Instructions: Open packet, eat nuts."
    [Step 3: say what?]
  • On a child's Superman costume -- "Wearing of this garment does not enable you to fly."
    [Who should we blame for this?]
  • On a Swedish chainsaw -- "Do not attempt to stop chain with your hands or genitals."
    [Okay, there can only be one reason why this had to be posted as a warning.]

September 25, 2005

Near and Present Idiots

The terrorist apologists are still amongst us, albeit, taking it several leaps further by ignoring acts of terrorism and focusing on the concept of beliefs, and, after due analysis and consideration, dismissing the notion that a belief system can possibly pose a near and present danger. So, nothing to worry about folks.

Journalist and senior editor at The Age, Warwick McFadyen, jumps out of his usual jurisdiction of music reviews and page layouts to take a trot through history and reassures us that extreme beliefs are not a danger to society. How so, you wonder?

Well, it would seem that terrorists don’t want to transform our society with, or because of, their beliefs, they merely want to annihilate us, therefore, according to McFadyen, they are not a danger. Beliefs cannot harm us, and, very importantly, McFadyen, appropriating and abusing legal concepts, insists that beliefs as harm-engendering cannot be proven “beyond reasonable doubt”.

Paradoxically, McFadyen’s article is graced by a picture of the Twin Towers, grey plumes of smoke billowing. [hardcopy, newspaper]

McFadyen tries hard to speak in sophistries, but misses by a country mile, since his arguments aren’t exactly plausible. He backs up his take on the benign and nebulous nature of beliefs by taking us on a on quick tour of Ireland, the Bolshevik Revolution, the Salem “witch” trials, communism, and, of course, Nazi Germany, demonstrating very little, before he concludes:

“The difference with latter-day terrorist is they do not seek transformation of their targets….A target is simply there to be hurt.

It’s this nihilism wrapped in hatred that has made the term “clear and present danger” a weapon in itself. Critics of the US Patriot Act and the increased powers given to security agencies in Britain and Australia say civil liberties are being sacrificed on the alter of this nebulous justification.

Islamic hardliners bear the brunt of this attention, but are their utterances a constituent of a clear and present danger to the society in which we live? It’s a line of casualty nigh impossible to prove beyond reasonable doubt.

And we are a reasonable society, are we not?”

Yes Warwick, yes we are. Now if only you can convince us that blowing up civilians is a nebulous act and no threat to the societies in which it occurs, you might just be on to something. In the meantime, your own utterances have a direct line of causality to something closely resembling stupidity.

In addition to that small hick-up, it would seem that McFadyen doesn’t have time to keep up with politics, as he has ignored the brand new and very best political party in this country. The Best Party of Allah in Australia.

Let’s quickly review some of The Best Party's non-transforming and nebulous thoughts for the future Australia:

We would like Australia and Australians to have the best laws and the best economy.

We would like to remind people about Allah - the Creator of the whole universe.

We are Australians and we are here to stay and no one can tell us to go away.

Allah says that we are the best and we take responsibility in accepting that without hesitation

We encourage Australians to become the best people in the world (even though some of their ancestors came here as criminals)

We are not arrogant - we are taking up the challenge to elect the best leaders Australia will ever have.”

No, doesn’t sound as though they have aspirations to take their beliefs and influence our political system or our society - no, goodness me no, not at all.

Meanwhile, Australia is to give special “free speech” dispensation to preachers of hate and violence, but the new law seems to have only been offered as appeasement to the Muslim community, not to the rest of us.

As reported in The Weekend Australian, 24-25 Sept 2005:

“Islamic clerics accused of preaching hate under new terror laws will be able to claim the defence of “legitimate criticism” as part of a series of safeguards promised to the Muslim community.

Attorney-General Philip Ruddock has included the defence for those charged with advocating violence as a measure to protect “free speech".

Those charged under a tough new sedition offence will have to prove that the comments were not only legitimate criticism but were made in “good faith.”

Warwick McFadyen will be pleased: can’t have advocates of violence against us being silenced for their beliefs, particularly when they believe, in good faith, that we should convert to their beliefs - or die.

Some days, a middle-to-leftie just doesn’t know which way to turn. Big sigh.

September 23, 2005

Crumbs, Crumbs, Crumbs


Another week and not enough time to write a dozen considered pieces on a dozen very important local and international topics. So instead I offer up a tiny trail of crumbs, just crumbs, and thence we will at least all find our way safely home.


Terrorism's Noisy Partner

A recent study into the effects of terrorism on the economy, and into the value of the free marketing provided by news reporting on terrorist activities, was, alas, confined to data from Israel. Professor Melnick basically found that terrorists invest very little, but they reap a spectacularly large bang for their buck, unlike most other small investors.

Non-fatal terrorist attacks have an immediate, but temporary effect on the stock market (hell, I’d never even thought of Israel and Palestine having a stock market!), while fatal attacks have a permanent effect on the market.

Intriguingly, Professor Melnick calculated the dollar value of the free advertising and marketing provided by news outlets to terrorists. Looking at a single year – 2002 - and not forgetting that he was only looking at a single country - his team calculated that the media in Israel had provided terrorists with about $US11 billion, or $14.3 billion, in Aussie dollars, of free PR. Yep, you just can’t buy advertising like that!

Commenting on his findings, the Prof bizarrely concluded that “The media acts like a silent partner to terrorism. The media benefits from terrorism – more newspapers are sold."

Silent? SILENT? SILENT? Just imagine the damage that all the journalists in all the MSM outlets of the world could do if they decided to make noise. Doesn’t bare thinking about, does it.

Dibber Dobbers

Meanwhile a local journalist was surprised that the Department of Immigration’s web site has an “illegals/dob-in-line”. Her main beef seems to be that this was not a professional manner in which to describe the service, with alternatives such as “report” or “alert” illegals being “correct” terms.

Lowbrow" and "whistleblower” were two of the words used in the headline, to help us peons understand that “dobbing” is not okay, but apparently “reporting” on someone has an air of authority, responsibility and exemplary citizenship about it – a bit like journalism really, now that I think of it.

Only secondarily did she note that “traditionally” Australians hate a dobber, and then bemoaned the bureaucratic encouragement of such.

Obviously she hasn’t paid much attention for the last few decades, since we long ago become a nation of dibber dobbers, a veritable bunch of little Cindys, each with a personal set of curly pigtails. There are so many dob-in lines that dobbing could keep a person busy from dawn to dusk.

Dob in water wasters, welfare cheats, suspicious people and packages, litter bugs, bad parents, smoky car exhausts, drug dealers, perverts, dirty restaurants, tax evaders, insider traders, illegal workers, terrorists, and so it goes. Pick your poison, and there’s a dob in line near you. Telling tales, real or imagined, real or revenge, has been quietly inserted and set like jelly into our everyday culture.

Stupidly, the journo in question cited the Rau and Solon cases as somehow being examples of the innocents who can fall foul of these dob-in crusades, obviously overlooking that fact that the only dobbing-in of either of those women occurred when both of their families dobbed them into a missing persons database.

Now, how about a dob-in-a-journo line, for all journo’s who can’t quite grasp simple facts. Then we can start adding menu selections, but don’t forget we can’t have more than 9 options on the dob-in-a journo line – some tough decisions will have to be made!

September 19, 2005

Tassie and other Tidbits

A few diversions from the maelstrom that is Mark Latham, not to mention Julia Gillard’s new “do” to match her oozing compassion and ‘next Prime Minister of Australia aspirations’. Yes, there really are far more interesting and even more trivial things going on in our country.

Bits of Tassie go missing, for a princely sum

The Tasmania Government paid $71 million to Forestry Tasmania for the surrendered rights to nearly 200,000 hectares of Crown land. “Nice change if you can get it”, you may be thinking. But it’s even better than that, you see, the Auditor-General’s (AG) office can’t find the land, and Forestry Tasmania can’t tell the AG where the land is hiding, because, well, you know, they sold it back to the Tassie Gov’t, so they didn’t bother to undertake any surveys to locate the land.

The AG, meanwhile, has given up looking because, well, you know, there may have been “loose ends but it depends on how much time you want to spend digging around. It would have taken years…I was happy with as far as we went.”

How far was that, exactly? The corner store, round the block, to the basement? They didn’t go so far as to actually find any of the 200,000 hectares, for which the Government handed over a cool $71 mill, but hey, that’s okay, the AG feels very satisfied with the great effort put into not making any progress in finding a couple of big slabs of Tassie. All 'round, tax payers money well spent; wonderful value!

Now, if only I can convince the Victorian Government to buy back that enormous bit of Victoria that I have tucked away somewhere - can’t quite, remember where I put it, but I remember it had lots of trees. For the right price, the Government can have the land and the trees back, and I’ll just leave it up to them to work out where I left them. Won’t be too hard to find: it was a huge bit of land, really, and it had a squiggly, irrecular kind of shape to it, and I’m even happy to sell at a loss – say, $25 mill. If someone from the Government could just drops me a note, I’ll let you know where to send the cheque.

Upsizing, just for the hell of it

You know how people have “eyes bigger than their stomach” (well, okay, these days that’s becoming a tad unusual); it would seem that people now have iPods bigger than their ears, so to speak.

With iPods having a capacity of up to 10,000 songs, more than half the people with iPods have fewer than 100 songs stored, with an average figure of a still very puny 375 tracks. In other words, about 30 to 40 ten track albums, which in the old currency would have been a modest record collection. And only one fifth of the surveyed iPod users had ever paid for a track online. So, the problem is: given that no-one is using anywhere close to the iPod capacity, why are they prepared to pay so much for something when they only use a teeny bit? It’s like buying a ten bedroom house when it’s just you and your cat, and furnishing the two front rooms is all you’ll ever be able to manage.

Research is a bit iffy

A new piece of research confirms what we already knew: any given piece of research is less than 50% likely to be “completely true”. What this means, in real language, is that a least half of all published research will eventually be shown to be wrong, because or bias or flaws in the assumptions underpinning the research.

Naturally, this finding has a less than 50% probability of being true.

September 14, 2005

Who’s afraid of the big bad blog?

On September 11, somewhere in America, in an obscure local newspaper, an unknown journalist had nothing more important on his mind than the threat posed to his paltry skills by the exponentially exploding activity of blogging.

Perhaps his condescending, snide little opinion is a watershed of sorts, maybe even putting voice to the quivering fear of most, but not all, journalists, whose existence as arbiters and setters of the public agenda for news, entertainment, politics, trivia, science, medicine, and social matters is being challenged by anyone with access to a keyboard and the Internet.

Having an opinion, sharing a hobby, or detailing the mundane happenings of the day is no longer the sole province of journalists, who, lets face it, have too long had a monopoly on sharing their unoriginal and uninteresting thoughts, and a monopoly on regaling readers, for the umpteenth time, with an “endearing” story about what their cat / child / wife ate for breakfast on Wednesday last week.

No, the flood gates are open, and journalists don’t even have a monopoly on deciding what is newsworthy or entertaining anymore. The fact is, anyone could give up listening to, looking at, or reading mainstream media, in lieu of using blogs and online pseudo-blogs as their sole source of information and entertainment, and they would never be out of the loop with what’s going on in the big wide world. They would, in other words, be well served by blogs, with the key difference that they would be exposed to an extraordinarily vast number of opinions and an infinite number of subjects they barely knew existed. As for gossip and frivolity, well, plenty of that to go around as well.

But let’s get back to the non-entity who is so threatened by blogs that this was his burning choice of topic on September 11. [NO - I will not dignify this prat with a link to his article.]

How threatened is that particular journalist? Plently. Big Time. Let’s look at a few of the snarky things he had to say.

His headline and his first sentence:

“Bloggers live for response to their lives”

“There are millions of bloggers out there, typing away on their keyboards, living for that glorious day of recognition when someone finally comments on their blogs.”

Meow.

[Note: he should have had a semicolon after the word "keyboard"; alternatively, he could have made use of that handy little joining word “and” after the comma.]

Looking at the content of most blogs, it’s obvious that bloggers are, more often than not, deeply and passionately engaged in the world and have very full, if not always gleefully happy or trouble free lives, and they want to share those passions, interests, and thoughts, whether serious, or seriously trivial.

I think it’s safe to say that, by writing his derogatory piece about bloggers, the journalist was begging for “responses”, and equally safe to say that he will get more responses to this one brief piece than he has, or will get, to anything he writes in his entire life. The power of the bloggers, hey?

He goes on:

“…For the uninformed, a blog is any thought posted on a Web site that is not good enough to be printed in a newspaper.”

And there we have it - the “money shot”. There we have all his terror wrapped up in one neat, grammatically correct sentence. If it’s not in a good old fashioned newspaper, it has no legitimacy. If it’s not written by someone who gets paid by the word, it can’t possibly be a work of any quality. If it’s not written by a journalist, it can’t possibly have any authority. Oh, how wrong can one little journalist be?

Perhaps newspapers are rapidly heading toward a time when their non-advertising content will consist of writing that no self respecting person would let loose on the world, unless they are being generously paid to do so. With the quality and validity of mainstream media rapidly plummeting into a dark abyss, perhaps we are heading toward a time when the information and thoughts of most value to us will be those that are shared, for free and for the love of it.

But let us keep going, because it gets worse.

The journalist under examination takes a single sentence from a popular political blog (Bulldog Manifesto many of our American and O/S friends will be familiar with him), and then offers an example of how the identical point would have been made in The New York Times. Both sentences do make the same point, that is: Bush isn’t doing a great job, but the proffered “professional” and “legitimate” sentence is restrained, somewhat circumspect (albeit, elegantly written), rather than direct and unambiguous, which characterises the sentence taken from the blog.

In case you’re wondering why the journalist offered-up just one tiny contrasting example; just one sentence out of billions of sentences published on blogs: it was to make one devastatingly stupid point. The following is his educated conclusion, his analysis, his opinion; after showing us dumb readers how a sentence would appear in The New York Times, versus the less polished version on a blog:

“You need yourself one of those Ivy League educations to write like that.”
He says, triumphantly, and with, we can surmise, a big slimy smirk.

No you twit of a man. You need a job on The New York Times, and the help of a battalion of editors, to be able to learn to write like a New York Times journalist - not an "Ivy League" education. Besides, it turns out that Bulldog has degrees in both English and Business. Not too shabby qualifications for an inarticulate amateur with a blog and an opinion on everything.

The journalist then proceeds to ramp up his sarcasm and belittling of the skills, opinions and thoughts of bloggers everywhere by instructing those “who attended SEC schools” to follow his instructions on how to set up a blog. And that's it. That's all he has to say.

Now let’s set the record straight by looking at what blogs have to offer - so that we can undertand exactly why the little journalist somewhere in America is so worried about his job that he feels the need to denigrate tens of millions of bloggers:

  • Coverage of breaking news – check.
  • Analysis – check.
  • Opinion – check.
  • Balanced amount of material from all political, religious and social sides – check.
  • Photograph of pecan pie baked last Sunday – check.
  • Women writing about life as a “singleton” – check.
  • Mental health matters – check.
  • Raising families – check.
  • Stories about / pictures of pets - check.
  • Teenage angst – check.
  • Lengthy ruminations about mundane everyday stuff – check.
  • Entertainment and gossip – check.
  • Book and film reviews – check.
  • Synopsis and critique of entire television series’ – check.
  • Information gathering - surveys / questionnaires – check.
  • Humour and frivolity – check.
  • Travel and holiday pictures – check.
  • Navel-gazing crap – check.
  • Cartoons – check.
  • Editorial comment – check.
  • Hobbies / special interests – check.
  • Reviews of new technology – check.
  • Memorial & remembrance – check.
  • Poetry – check.
  • Short stories – check.
  • Access to free novels – check.
  • Collection of vapid ramblings because could not come up with anything to write about – check.
  • Replicable pieces about not being able to think about anything to write about for “this weeks column”; therefore, writing about how hilarious it is to not be able to think about anything to write about, and to write about that, and to actually get paid for writing this shit…………oops, sorry, that’s newspapers; haven’t seen that topic covered in any blogs yet.

Yep. The amateurs are not only giving mainstream media a run for their money, those amateurs are also showing that everyone has an opinion and tens of millions of people are quite capable of writing with a compelling passion about whatever the hell they feel like writing about.

Do they care if their writing is grammatically perfect? No. Does it make any difference to the reader's understanding if the writing is sometimes inelegant? No. Do they "live for" getting “comments”? No, otherwise everyone would stop blogging after two weeks.

It’s mostly news forums, usually set up by journalists - the ones who do not feel threatened by the Internet, and who do not feel threatened by articulate and opinionated amateurs - that receive lots of “comments”; with their sites designed specifically for the purpose of active debate and interaction, an option not readily open to the overwhelming majority of bloggers. Some of those news-blog-forums work well; most don’t. Just like normal, off-the-shelf blogs; some are fabulous, some aren’t.

What have we learnt from the belligerent little journalist in America? I think his brief and nasty opinion piece shows that the formal battle lines have been drawn. Perhaps he will go down in infamy as having written the “jump the shark” episode of journalism, or even giving us the defining “jumping the couch” moment for mainstream media.

Blogs provide us with the full gamut of online news, views, entertainment, and fluff; largely run by independent writers. Professional journalistsno longer have dibs on the provision of public content; no longer have a monopoly; no longer have automatic credibility and authority; no longer have authenticity and immediacy; no longer have the only opinions worth reading; they no longer get to be the only wearers of the legitimacy tag.

So, a mainstream media journalist writes a scathing opinion piece about bloggers in his mainstream media newspaper in order to bolster his authority and legitimacy as a journalist and writer. I’d say his days of authority and legitimacy are numbered. There are tens of millions of people in blog-land with ample qualifications, talent and opinions to replace him. Easy peazy.

September 11, 2005

Research 101 – found the eggs!


The Weekend Australian (Sept 10-11, 2005), has reported on the findings of a soon to be released study into the attitudes held by men and women toward IVF.

Among other things, the research found that 69% of childless men say they would try IVF if they were having trouble conceiving.

By comparison, “only” 52% of childless women in their 30s who want children say they would be willing to try IVF.

It isn't possible to know whether to blame the journalist or the researchers for the following explanation of the significant difference between men’s and women’s preparedness to undergo IVF treatments.

“The IVF procedure – which involves the extraction of eggs from ovaries – is more invasive, uncomfortable and painful for women than it is for men.”

Phew! Glad they cleared up that mystery!

Now, if only they can figure out where to find the sperm, how much pain it will cause, and to whom, then they’ll really be on a roll. Nobel prize is surely beckoning.

September 9, 2005

Inventing everyday catastrophe

Aside from the rabidly-left insisting that George W Bush is officially the Antichrist, the aftermath of hurricane Katrina has highlighted at least a few deeply disturbing conundrums.

Firstly, the irrational opinion and thought processes that passes for public debate.

Secondly, who is permitted to help in a crisis, and who is ridiculed for helping, and why?

Thirdly, the continuing downward spiral of media coverage of all news, no matter the topic.

Note I say “coverage”, rather than “reporting”. Reporting factually on any news is no longer the part of the journalistic repertoire, with the result being that public discourse is dominated by unfathomable hidden agendas, nonsense, fabrication, extreme distortions, personal bias and, far too often, lies.

But let’s back track to the first conundrum, before I get carried away with the third point.

[Special note to our overseas friends – in Australia, politics is primarily divided between the left and the right, or in American parlance, the liberals and the conservatives. Just to confuse things, in Australia the Liberal Party (the right of politics) is the equivalent of your Republican, or conservative politics. While the Labor Party (the left of politics) is the equivalent of your Democrats, or liberal politics. We also have a very small Democrats Party, and they are vaguely in the middle, plus we have some greenies and the odd christian.]

There now appears to be an entrenched and almost hysterical agenda of division: them and us, good and evil, right and wrong, extreme neo-right and extreme neo-left, continually being shoved into our battered little consciousnesses by all arms of the mainstream media, all under the guise of the public good. Because, of course, the “public” – that’s you and me – couldn’t possibly know what’s good for us.

Anyone suggesting that the alternative media, namely Internet blogs, or the thousands of online news forums offer anything radically different would be wrong. The key difference is often only in the extreme vitriol and blind ideology or fundamentalism, which is tossed about with a much higher degree of wanton abandon on the Internet. (Notwithstanding the many creative, funny, thoughtful, and beautifully executed blogs and news sites floating out there in the ether – and there are lots of them – but I’m not talking about those blogs or forums.)

The divide and conquer mentality is the only real pandemic we have at the moment, and there are no vaccination stores stashed away by the World Health Organization.

Oddly, this approach to social and political commentary seems to be defeating itself rather than achieving its unstated, but obvious, goal of dividing and conquering anything. It’s not even a cannibalistic spectacle, with each side eating each other; rather, the extremes in all things seem to eat themselves up before anyone else has time to reach for the cutlery and condiments.

All sides are becoming more virulent, which seems, to me, to stem from extreme anger and frustration at the failure of their ineffectual blathering to take hold, to change anything, to cause some ground swell revolution, or mass conversions to their cause, or, indeed, to make a difference to anything at all. The less sway they have in setting, leading and achieving their own agenda, the greater the anger and the more irrational and hyperbolic their positioning becomes.

The end is nigh. The sky is falling. You are with us or against us. The day to day creation of some shattering crisis has become a constant. You would think there are more than enough real catastrophes in the world without having to make up stories.

Yet, the invented crisis never comes to fruition; the basic fabric of society is not permanently torn asunder, the political world as we know it does not tumble down around our ankles every other minute of the day, and the fact that it doesn’t appears to be a festering source of fury – for some.

We could almost believe that some people want to see their prophecies of doom come to a gloriously Technicolor wide screen television near you, purely because they want to be proven correct and visionary and clever, and in the hope of having the opportunity to inflict their untried, unsound and simplistic solutions onto an unwitting and unwilling public. They want their revolution, they want their world domination, and they want it now, consequences, or an ability to deliver something better, be damned.

Why do they yearn for the economy to collapse, for the environment to swallow us whole, for wars to be lost, for people to be killed instead of rescued, for a political revolution beyond the dreams of the worst dictator? It’s the wish of darkness, crisis, and catastrophe, the pleading for every ugly nightmare to become real, to take hold and spread across the globe at faster than the speed of light.

They even believe they will ride in as saviors to clean up the mess, to build new and better ways of living, working, governing. All without so much as five minutes practice run in their own backyard, or a PowerPoint pack to establish their credentials and their long term viability as savior.

This is true of all sides of politics and social opinion, and it’s true in most countries with some modicum of freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

The left, it’s true, have turned zealotry and idolatry of graven and false images to new levels of hysteria and indulgent fantasy, but the fact is, the conservatives only appear to be slightly better because they so dominate the political landscape across the globe at present that they can afford to be a touch magnanimous and can afford to indulge in occasional outbursts of polite behaviour – not a lot, but enough to appear slightly less psychotic and desperate for power than the left, or even the centre, of politics. No surprise in that really, since those holding power, mostly, but not always, wear the mantle with much apparent natural courtesy and superiority. Albeit, a mantle that slips from time to time to display a hideous ugly nakedness, along with gross displays of contempt for the great mass of people they govern, or wish to govern.

The left, the greens, even the centre, often harbour, within their more hysterical outbursts, a belief that they are the forbearers and the forerunners and the owners of a new paradigm as they hammer down the runway to force their “paradigm” upon the world.

There is no recognition that they misinterpret the concept of paradigm, and that forcing a paradigm on anyone is something of an oxymoron. It is illusory and self-aggrandising, not to mention unbearably condescending and arrogant.

They believe their own clap-trap, and then wonder why the punters, the voters – of whom they ridicule and abuse for not agreeing with their more absurd and flaky ideas – refuse to become followers, refuse to play ball, refuse to buy into this perpetual “catastrophising”, refuse to agree that society as we know it is permanently perched on the edge of a precipice, refuse to believe that we are all tumbling over the edge at every tick of the clock.

More next time….