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Cluster index: Michael Blackburn

Transnational buffoonery.

Michael Blackburn: ‘In south Wales the road signs are bilingual even though few few people there use Welsh (different, I know, in north Wales) and it annoys the hell out of me whenever I visit. It’s another form of virtue signalling but with racist overtones (but acceptably racist in PC terms).’

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Trigger Nanny.

Michael Blackburn: ‘It’s enough to drive you to your safe space for a cuddle with your teddy bear and a suck of your thumb. What’s funniest is when they warn us about the strong language just before a foreign language film. Unless they translate the original Swedish, say, into something a bit more fulsome in English, most of us are not going to realise whether a character is effing and blinding or reciting lines of poetry by Tomas Transtromer.’

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Muckety-mucks and fashy cuts.

Michael Blackburn: ‘If you’re going to be a fascist you can at least signal your naziness more openly and not look like a graphic designer from Shoreditch. The muckety-mucks in the States are now getting quivery about it, although it has to be said their home-grown nazis appear to cling to the regular clean-shaven look. As The Washington Post says, “When these groups look and dress like everyone else, it is easier for their extremism to look outwardly normal.” And we can’t have these folks looking normal, can we?’

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Staying home to watch the riots.

Michael Blackburn: ‘Maybe I’m being romantic and nostalgic but those were the days when a riot was a real riot and the police got stuck in good and proper, especially when they brought the cavalry along. The cops then didn’t have all this armoured paramilitary gear they have now. They usually just had their old-fashioned helmets and truncheons. That didn’t stop them from putting it about and getting bloodied in the process. Now they just seem to hang about a while, occasionally making a half-hearted waddling advance followed by a swift retreat.’

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A little philosophy.

Michael Blackburn: ‘I don’t think many, apart from politicians and intellectuals, believe in some grander vision of hope, any more than of progress, which is another concept discussed by Bauman. Hope for most of us is a belief that we will get through the next day, week, month or year without having anything painful to contend with, and that constitutes a working idea of the future.’

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‘The sun is God.’

Michael Blackburn: ‘It was all to get my haircut, because I prefer to travel twelve miles through this landscape there and back, however long the wait at the other end, rather than making the less attractive journey into town. This particular morning I’d seen familiar sights briefly transformed in singular ways, ways that created a sense of enchantment. Enchantment may seem an oddly old-fashioned idea but we all crave it in one form or another, and the enchantment of place is one of the most enduring we can experience. ‘

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The joy of mindfulness.

Michael Blackburn: ‘The drama of listening to recondite legal precedents and proposals is lost on me, though it is faintly amusing to hear the learned ones trying to work out whether the documents under discussion are labelled as volume three or part three or have a separate nomenclature when provided in an electronic pack. Whatever the supporters of this legal challenge say about democracy and the sovereignty of parliament, however, is hypocrisy. We know the challenge was launched to sabotage the Brexit process either by stopping it from happening or by causing damaging delays.’

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Boredom busters.

Michael Blackburn: ‘Before I get too blasé about all this, it’s worth having a laugh at a couple of figures who will go down in political history as fluff-brained lightweights compared with El Commandante (as those of us who never met the great Fidel like to call him).’

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Insulting the stupid natives.

Michael Blackburn: ‘You can see why the outcome of the referendum is such an annoyance to the Europhiles and mandarins. It’s the triumph of the gullible, the uneducated, the ill-informed. Look at how they were misled, Kerr says, about immigration (repeating one of the numerous cliches of the remain side) — some of the areas with the largest vote to leave were those with the smallest amount of immigration!’

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The Vicars of Bray at their Rubicon.

Michael Blackburn: ‘This is not politics as normal. It is not the same as promising to build more houses then failing to do so, or promising not to raise taxes and then raising them. This is not the kind of promise that can be fudged or dumped. It’s too big for that. Whether we have politicians big enough to understand this and act upon it properly we’ll have to see. But if they want to keep their seats and the trust of the electorate they will have to be our Vicars of Bray and cross the Rubicon, because there’s no turning back.’

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Hijab Jibber Jabber.

Michael Blackburn: ‘One thing we do know as viewers is that those in the media know better than us: we’ve proved ourselves to be racist, xenophobic Islamophobes, and it’s their job to make sure we get a face full of multicultural correctness as often as possible.’

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Charmed and privileged hypocrites.

Michael Blackburn: ‘Chakrabarti could not clear herself of the charge of being a hypocrite — because it is not possible. If you are a leftist you live in a permanent state of cognitive dissonance. You know you can’t pontificate about a non-selective, one-size fits all comprehensive-style education for everyone else at the same time as you are sending your own child to a selective school, private or not. But you will do it all the same.’

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Mr Dylan Cannot Be Found.

Michael Blackburn: ‘After Dylan there seems little point in writing a poem in any traditional manner. The expression of emotion, the exploration of human behaviour, the search for meaning in the world, the use of narrative, all are done as well in popular song, more memorably and reaching a greater number of people than they are in contemporary poetry. ‘

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The History of Art is now history.

Michael Blackburn: ‘If I had my way there would be more classical art and music on the curriculum than there is at the moment. What is truly lacking in modern education is a sense of culture.’

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Tea and visions for jihadis.

Michael Blackburn: ‘ The Church of England has enthusiastically thrown in its lot with the progressives who attack all of the traditional values of the nation. Conceding legal and religious ground to your opponent is a form of capitulation.’

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