This is the sun falling into the sea, photographed from Scapa Beach at 3:15 on Saturday afternoon, and this is a kite surfer, making landfall before the night pushed all the light away.
Orkney - best part of Scotland. Here's the waterfall, cascading from the fields around the Scapa Distillery into Scapa Flow.
Once you're north of Dundee, Scotland is utterly beautiful - it's a failed state, none the less. Under the control of the Scottish National Party since 2007, and of Nicola Sturgeon since November 2014, it has become a failed state - or would be, were it not for its big friend in the Union, England, which subsidises Scotland to the tune of £38 billion a year. The arrangement is that for every £100 per head that the UK Government spends in England, Scotland will be given around £129 per person. This is the result of the Barnett Formula, intended to reflect the additional costs of delivering public services in Scotland. The SNP is a nationalist, centre left, social democratic party which campaigns for Scottish independence. Should they ever succeed, England would be the richer and Scotland the poorer. This simple financial fact is continuously obscured by the SNP in all its publications and campaign polemics. Their continued political existence - their jobs - rest on convincing sufficient Scottish voters that independence would create a wealthier, happier, fairer and healthier country. All bollocks, of course - and the probability is that they know it is a con job that they don't themselves believe in, whilst in their privy closets they pray that independence is never achieved so that they can continue to campaign for it and never suffer the utter ruin and catastrophe that separation from the United Kingdom would visit most awfully upon pretty little Scotland. This week saw the decision of the Supreme Court ( all five Justices agreed), that the SNP cannot legally hold a referendum to ask Scottish voters if they would like to leave the United Kingdom without the consent of the Westminster Government. It is a reserved matter. God, you should have heard the outcry, the sulking, the outrage, the indignation.
And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boys!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
She chortled in her joy.
Not that easily slain, however. As if her job depended on it (it does), Gnasher Sturgeon has transitioned to Plan C - that the next election will be a de facto referendum, as the SNP will campaign on one issue only - the independence of Scotland. A very exasperated Martin Geissler cross examined Keith Brown, the Deputy Leader of the SNP, on The Sunday Show this morning.
What do you mean, you ridiculous over-dressed popinjay a de facto referendum? What the fuck are you talking about? Don't you always campaign on Scottish Independence? And are you going to be counting in Alba's votes and The Greens' votes? Do they know? Have you asked them? Look, pillock, if you want an election, you could do it tomorrow. Tomorrow. Why wait? I'll tell you why - because you'd lose. You need months and months to convince the turkeys to vote for Christmas. You're going to waste billions on the project. Meanwhile, NHS Scotland is crumbling - your think-tankers even discussing making the better-off diseased and injured pay for their treatment. And now you are fantasizing about a National Care Service. Which you can't pay for and can't staff. Ah, whisht, awa and boil yer 'eed.
Scotland has a massive demographic problem which is not being addressed. Easier to blame it on Westminster and whip up anti-English sentiment. 17% of people living in Scotland in 2011 were age 65 and over. 16% were aged 15 and under. In 2038, there will be 25% aged 65 and over, and 16% aged 15 and under. The working age population - the ones servicing both young and old, will constitute only 59% of the population in 2038. One in three women will die of dementia. There are 90,000 people in Scotland living with dementia. So, calloo, callay for long lives - but boo hiss for long lives with dementia - and all the other ills that flesh is heir to.
This is why the NHS and care services are falling apart. The present model simply doesn't work. Too many leaking and dribbling old gits, too few working age people to look after them, far too few babies being born to redress the situation going forward. It's a temporary problem - as the baby boomers pop their clogs, fall off the twig, shuffle off their mortal coils, presumably the young/old ratio will right itself. But it will be a while yet. And there's no European slaves to pick up the slack and do the (literally) shitty jobs. Which is one demographic reason that Scotland is so furious about Brexit.
NHS Scotland could just about work if there was a functioning care system to decant the leaking, dribbling and demented gits into. As there isn't, hospitals have been turned into de facto care homes - bed blocked by people who have no medical needs, but can't look after themselves, whose families don't want to look after them and don't want to pay for them to be looked after. It is not sustainable. There are some possible solutions. Take your pick:
By the way - Scotland today, the UK tomorrow - the demographic time bomb is just ticking a bit louder in bonny Scotland.
- Impose hotel charges for NHS bed blockers at the same rate as care home charges - thus reducing the incentive for families to leave their "loved ones" in hospital.
- Pay women to have babies and provide free child care so parents can care for someone else's parents on a paid basis.
- Accept Jeremy Cunt's plan to enter into a "Swiss-style arrangement" paying the EU for open borders and free movement of labour.
- Throw more money at the Care System - increase numbers of beds and increase wages of workers above inflation, effectively poaching them from better paid industries - that will, of course, move the problem on.
- Bring in the army.
- Deploy illegal migrants into care homes. Never mind the language barrier and the inherent racism of our elder population.
- Do something different. Deploy the huge resource of the advertising industry to persuade the population that multi-generational households are normal and desirable, all year round and not just for Christmas. If you live in Inverness and your old parents live in a Glasgae tenement, a burden on the State, then social opprobrium should be your lot.
Religion used to hold all this together and still does in poor Catholic countries, where the black clad nonnas look after the bambinis whilst boiling up vats of pasta. We know better in the potato-eating Protestant countries, where even the priests (particularly the priests?) have no belief whatsoever in the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, but do like dressing up and doing deep thinking. Like Junior Research Fellow, Joshua Heath, whose PhD
was supervised by the former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, better known in these columns as Archbishop Beard.
Josh seems to have looked at the Pieta with the Holy Trinity by Jean
Malouel, a 14th century devotional piece, and immediately seen a vagina on Christ's body. Look for yourself. What d'you mean, you can't see it? Obviously not thinking deeply enough. The Pietà is a specific form of the Lamentation of Christ in which Jesus is mourned by his mother, the Virgin Mary, after his death by crucifixion by the occupying Romans. His death was confirmed when a Roman soldier, wanting to move things along as a holiday was coming up, inserted a spear into Christ's side and water and blood were seen to flow from the wound. For believing and practicing Christians, this is miraculous and sacred. For Josh, who seems to be seeing vaginas everywhere, not so much. In his Sunday sermon to the devout at Trinity College Chapel, he claimed: 'In Christ's simultaneously masculine and feminine body in these works, if the
body of Christ as these works suggest the body of all bodies, then his body is
also the trans body,' The congregation was more than a bit upset by the suggestion that Christ had a transgender body, never mind the tangled syntax. The Dean of Trinity College, Dr Michael Banner, stepped in to support Josh, saying that it was legitimate to view Christ as transgender.
A Trinity College spokesman said: “The sermon explored the nature of religious art, in the spirit of thought-provoking academic inquiry, and in keeping with open debate and dialogue at the University of Cambridge.”
So where's the vagina? you may ask. It's the wound in Christ's side. Now I know mediaeval religious painters probably didn't have a comprehensive working familiarity with vaginas, but surely Josh has seen some and can see the difference between the Pieta and the miraculous portal from which all babies make their difficult and painful journey onto the shores of time.
And it isn't in the side.
Josh also called in aid Henri Maccheroni’s 1990 work 'Christs' - which seems distinctly blasphemous and a lot more like a vagina.
No wonder the congregation were in tears. One woman wrote to the Dean: 'I left the service in tears. You
offered to speak with me afterwards, but I was too distressed. I am
contemptuous of the idea that by cutting a hole in a man, through which he can
be penetrated, he can become a woman. I am especially contemptuous of such imagery when it is applied to our Lord,
from the pulpit, at Evensong. I am contemptuous of the notion that we should be
invited to contemplate the martyrdom of a ‘trans Christ’, a new heresy for our
I'm not a Christian, haven't been for decades, but I used to be, and I understand the depth of pain that this nonsense has caused people of faith who sat in a church with their embarrassed children and listened to blasphemy. The Moslems, who seem to have a far more robust faith, wouldn't put up with it for a moment. I can't imagine that the Russian Orthodox church would give it the time of day. March the perpetrators into a cellar and shoot them.
This pursuit of identitarian politics, this whole silly business of declaring the sun is the moon, an old lady a fair young maid, this Petruchio-led conspiracy to deny reality in the name of fairness and inclusivity - no wonder Putin considers the West to be decadent. Well, even if he doesn't, we've handed him an easy target.
mr ishmael,you will recall, also had robust views about organised religion. Here's a short piece I found in the drafts, so you won't have encountered it in this form. The state visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the United Kingdom was held from 16 to 19 September 2010, on the invitation of Gordon Brown, at a cost to the tax payer of £10 million, excluding policing costs.
ishmael smith 22/8/2010
Nervous, eh? poor Padraig. Not as nervous, I'll venture, as infants confronted by tumescent menbeasts in frocks; not as nervous as superstitious believers, threatened with excommunication and Satan's fiery Eternity, should they continue to protest the violation of their children's bottoms and mouths. Such are not events isolated, rare, confined to Ireland, this is pan-global, historical and current organised crime, involving, through commission or omission, all in this organisation, either actively and viciously lifetime noncing or wickedly turning a blind eye to protect, what is it, now, Holy Mother Church; how, in the name of God, can it have been otherwise?
Ratso, in the mid-nineties was JayPee2's consigliere, charged with burying this shit, making it all go away, so's il Papa might continue slobbering all over airport tarmac, delighting the believers and filling the front pages and screens of skymadeupnewsandfilth, Popes and Circuses, no business like show business. Ratso declined to bust - or defrock, as they call it, as if losing a job was adequate punishment - countless brutal career nonces - instead, shifting them to other parishes and dioceses - go away, my son, and sin elsewhere, suffer some other little children to accommodate your engorged Holy Ghost. Ratso it was, further, who advised dioceses confronted with massive compensation claims from hundreds of victims, to seek US Section 11 bankruptcy, protecting the Church's assets from legitimate, compensatory seizure. It was entirely predictable that qualities such as his would result in Ratso occupying the highest office, that of Vicar of Christ and Nonce-Protector General.
Dawkins is neither here nor there, he and religion are two cheeks of the same AlphaMale arse, both insist: Don't believe that other shit, just believe in what I tell you. And his TeeVee shows are a remorseless battering of elderly narcissism masquerading as scholarship. Vanity, thy name is Dawkins.
Large numbers of people are appalled by the imminent Papal visit, not on theological grounds, not as part of a sexual-orientation agenda, nor from a contempt for people who need a blessing from the Invisible, in order to deal with Life's ultimate, unavoidable betrayal. Lots of people just look at what is known, incontrovertibly, of the Papacy's part in organised crime and say to themselves:
Jesus fucking Wept.
Editor's note:Retired Pope Benedict XVI admitted to giving false testimony in a German sex abuse case. A report from law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl on sexual abuse in Germany’s Munich diocese criticizes the way the former pope, whose original name is Joseph Ratzinger, handled four cases of sexual abuse by priests in the 1970s and 1980s when he was archbishop there. The report was commissioned by the archdiocese to investigate sexual abuse between 1945-2019.
Thanks to editor mr. verge, there are now three books of the collected works of ishmael smith:
Honest Not Invent, Vent Stack and Ishmael’s
Blues all available from Lulu and Amazon. If
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The good old sun, Mrs I, and the waters. They will do.
The "christian church" is a mixed bag - there are the Anglican, Protestants, Catholics and the Russian Orthodox (who arguably have the strongest claim) to name but a few variants.
The question of sexuality has always been a problem, particularly for the catholics. Celibacy was/is always going to be a problem. I don't see much in the paintings of vaginas, but neither do I see cocks.
One of the most remarkable paintings I've ever seen was Leonardo Da Vinci's Last Supper - on the wall of an otherwise incongruous small monastery in suburban Milan. First the painting itself: only approx 20 people at a time are allowed into the climate controlled room which was the monk's refectory. My first inclination was to approach the large work to inspect the brushwork; but a guide advises the opposite and to retreat to the back which is when the incredible, even surreal, 3D quality of the painting is apparent (it is not apparent in photos). Its almost inconceivable that such a work was by a human hand.
The next thing that is apparent is that the greedy monks, so as to speed up the delivery of food from the kitchens to the refectory, had chopped off the legs of Jesus in order to enlarge the kitchen door.
But the most unbelievable aspect, literally, is when the guide (clearly a catholic) attempts to persuade the viewer that the figure to the right of Jesus (St Peter) although painted as a female IS St Peter because that was the style of painting in that day. My immediate reaction was that Leonardo was trying to tell us something.
What do you think?
The catholic church has always had a problem with sex. To confuse this with trendy tranification of Jesus misses the point.
PS the painting with the spear wound reminds me of an old joke (I won't repeat) but the punchline was: having a bit on the side.
I hadn't realised that the painting had been altered to accommodate a doorway. Every day a school day. A large reproduction of the Last Supper hung in my school, so I'm familiar with the work. The figure to Christ's right is usually thought to be St John the Divine, the gospel writer and the apostle whom Christ loved, who is swooning at Christ's announcement that one of them would betray him. St Peter, sitting next to him, has put his hand on John's shoulder - you can imagine him saying, eh up, lad, pull yourself together. Judas, who did, indeed report Christ to the Jewish authorities, allowing his arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, is sitting in front of Peter and John with his hand on a bag of money - either his fee from the Samhedrin authorities, or to pay for their dinner - he was the group's treasurer. There was speculation in the Da Vinci Code that John was Mary Magdalene, and that she was in the picture because Christ had secretly married her - and the figure is very feminine. However, all the other figures are identified with the 12 apostles, and if the John figure was Mary Magdalen, then he wasn't in the picture at all, which would have been very odd of Leonardo, as John was the disciple "who Christ loved". It seems that Leonardo rendered John as effeminate to suggest that John was a lady boy. Leonardo was himself homosexual, so perhaps that is the only Code being depicted here. He would never have committed the solecism of placing a woman at Christ's right hand.
I always feel sorry for Judas. Predestined to be the villain for as long as the Christian faith persists. What about free will? What if he'd said, nope, not me, I'm off home now, this is getting nasty.
There are, and have been, several religions based on killing and subsequently eating, a Chosen One. Got a Special Job for you - saving the human race/ crops/persuade the sun to return. How'm I going to do that, then? Easy - we'll kill you slowly, to create maximum blood to drip into the earth, then we'll eat you. Nah, I'll give that a miss - short-term contract, innit?
There is not much wrong with the Christian set of religions if you just ban the organisation of them, ban money being held by them, and localise the practice of it all. Thereby we have restored to us a person of local knowledge who knows the community - who knows who needs help, and who doesn't, knows who is a scally and who isn't. There. Fixed it for you.
Alas, the Tommies gave the game away when the Tudors decided on calling their new arrangement the Church of England. When you call something after your country, you can be sure that it is a wealth, political and power construct, and not a service to the people. (Compare and contrast - the Bank of England. Oh. Oops.)
It's a stab wound, son, the shape of a spear. That is all there is to say about it and trying to drag topical tranny nonsense into it has made you look a dick. A Trinity, Cambridge knob, I see. Once again a fine example of a stupid clever person. I have introduced this notion to the mongoslings over the years. All three of them have now reported similar tales: "But, Dad, he's a Professor at a University and he's...", "But, Dad, she's my Head of the Department. She went to Cambridge and she..." We have to appreciate, children, the diligence to have passed all those exams with super-duper grades and the ability to get on with key folk - even bastards and thieves - and to bow and scrape to them, and then to conspire with them and to squirm up the greasy pole of authority leaving a nasty trail. Like an slug! But you are mongoslings. You have other gifts but not these. And, trust your old dad, you'd have lost your soul by the time you'd got to thirty and it's a long, dull, and shabby way to grave from there.
When I was, oh, 11 or 12 or some such thing, mrs i, and about to be confirmed into the Good Lord's one true Holy Roman Apostolic Church, Father K - we shall leave it at that - decided that I was insufficiently versed in matters of faith and required "extra" instruction and that this should take place as a special arrangement for me after mass on a Sunday. "No, your mum, need not wait for you. I'll drop you home." Suffice to say that my young self multiplied out the number of times I had been to Mass, to Confession, to Benediction, and thees several thousand events over the years seemed to me to be quite "instruction" enough. Was I not even still an angelic chorister at school? Oddly, when the matter was disclosed to my father, a rather firm tin hat was nailed on the idea and it was never spoken of again. Ho hum.
Apologies, St John not St Peter. There are 12 figures + Jesus - the 12 apostles. But why paint St John as a woman? If it was Mary, and Leonardo hinting at some sexual relationship, then surely there would have been 13 figures? All the apostles were supposed to be at the last supper.
I think that Leonardo had form for depicting pretty young men in a very feminised way, mr mike, and women in those days were irrelevant to religion or the little Satans of every man's blackest desires Catholics, eh? You gotta love 'em. But you are right, "St John" looks every inch a lass to me. The biggest discovery of the day is that the monks smashed half of it away to make the door bigger.
And, yes, the perspective is v fine.
Leonardo is beyond doubt a master painter (Mona Lisa etc). But according to Wiki he only produced 8 major painted works (plus his many sketches). So the Last Supper, with St John painted as a woman, has to have some meaning, given he was so sparing with his paintbrush. As I remember it being explained when I visited, it was a commission by the monks of a minor monastery - so he wasn't doing it for money. Also I recall the local guide was quick to discount any connection with Mary, which sparked my interest.
I think that we have on our hands, mr mike, a scientist, a polymath, an artist, a leftie. One imagines that such people hold the rules, the expectations, the orthodoxy of belief just a tad less dearly to their bosom than do the rest of err, us. In those days, if your brain was big enough, it was possible to explore everything because everything was unexplored. Nowadays we plough narrower furrows, so very sadly so, and we plough them with our minds, some say necessarily (but not me), closed to the wider possibilities of understanding. This is why we have people who call themselves climate scientists - although there is no such thing. Back in the day, it was understood, for instance, that chemistry was a subset of physics. Jesus, everything scientific is a subset of physics.
Subset of mathematics, mr mongoose, but I concur.
If one wanted to make the trendy case that there was some hanky panky in Jesus' inner circle, then The Last Supper is more compelling evidence than the spear in the side painting, IMHO. Leonardo clearly was passing on a sexual metaphor - but it seems that it was John turning the other cheek, not Jesus.
What does this all mean? I'm buggered if I know.
Oh, mr mike! Maths isn't a science; maths is a language.
Shall we discuss? How long have you got?
Its the fundamental language, mr mongoose. No other real sciences would be possible without it. We dismiss, with prejudice, climate science, political science, social science, economics etc.. In fact, other branches of real science are just applied mathematics.
That's about it, mr mike.
The wonderful bit of science is when we have to put a number in because our understanding has broken down - g, c, h -if only I was starting again, I'd love to live to see a bit more.
That's a deep point you make, mr mongoose. I often say (to my kids) I wouldn't want to be just starting out now. I think we had the best of times in our youth, mr mongoose. Of course, we don't want it to end, but to go through all the bollocks of today starting on the bottom rung, given the experiences we have, I think would be difficult. If one could use those experiences and make very deliberate alternative choices, well that may be possible.
Every tyrant dies, mr mike. Today's tyrants will too.
I see that I entirely failed to engage you in the Scottish Question in this week's Sunday Ishmael, gentlemen. Perhaps you are bored with it. Understandably so - unless you live in Scotland, you can have no idea of the depth of anger and ill-usage daily expressed by your whoreson Scot against the Westminster government and the English - a term deployed in a similar manner to the Amish usage. I do believe that much of it is whipped up by BBC Scotland, or at the very least, given a platform through call-in programmes and vox pop, but the Scottish papers, also, never strive for objectivity and co-existence. I suppose they would say they are just reflecting popular opinion, not shaping it. Dissenting opinions are given short shrift. mr ishmael was an inveterate letter-writer to the local and national papers. Indignant responses to the editor were generally along the lines of if you don't like it here, fuck off back to England. The sense of a proud, unique culture in which things are done better than across the border is simply unsupported by the facts, but what do facts matter in the face of overwhelming grievance? Should Sturgeon and her nationalists get their way, the generous and tolerant nation that we grew up in will be destroyed forever.
It is true, mrs i, I am afraid, that the Blue-arsed Braveheart thumping of the drum has worn thin and dreary. An independent Scotland would be bankrupt the first week. That its brightest and best flee to England to make their living should be clue enough. Scots disproportionately dominate both the BBC and the Labour party but down here in Bonny England.
Scotland is a shit-hole BTW. A pretty one but a shit-hole. Step a mile from the New Town in Edinburgh and it is bleak, dank and joyless. Not a crumb of shortbread to be had. Yes, the land is pretty but then Zimbabwe is pretty, Venezuela is pretty, America is pretty - except where the poor people live and then all of those places are shit-holes made same by tin-pot half-wits such as Sturgeon.
And we don't care btw. The greater, wider tomfoolery wave starts to break. This winter will see what happens when rich parasites cause folks' oldies to die in squalor and energy poverty. The number of teenagers and twenty-somethings dying of heart problems becomes impossible to ignore. Invest your pennies in piano wire manufacturers.
If it is the right of the Scots to vote to break away from the United Kingdom, then surely the English have the same right, non? It would be a simple campaign. Question: do you want to continue paying a 29% extra payment to support dribbling and demented old gits in Scotland whose rainson d'etre is to hate you? Yes/No.
And it is only self-interest that makes me care about the Scottish Question. Never gave the place a thought before we moved here, it was just another pleasant holiday destination in the UK. Like Cornwall, Wales or the Lake District. I was genuinely shocked by the "Anyone but England" mantra. In the god slot this morning ont' wireless, the female vicar was preaching about inclusivity and tolerance and what it is to be Scottish. She declared that people are Scottish who have not been born in Scotland, but who moved to Scotland to "make a new identity". You see, nationalism is so deeply ingrained in your whoreson Scot - even the vicar types - that they are simply unable to accept that there is such a thing as a British identity, forged from the union of the kingdoms, and that people might move to Scotland not to be part of a separate nation, but because they choose to live in a different part of their own country. My patience is wearing thin, though.
Upon sober reflection, I say lets give Scotland to the Scots. Wish them well, and a bonny fuck off. Mind you, the way things are going they may get the best end of the deal.
Finally some good news. Ze Hermans beaten on a dodgy technicality. Schadenfreude, nein.
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