Not Listening

I think this from MP Adam Holloway summed it up for me:

“If Britain’s future as an independent country is not a proper matter for a referendum, then I have absolutely no idea what is.”

Neither do I. People can draw their own conclusions.

I don’t have a TV, so if the Commons debate was being broadcast, I couldn’t have watched it. But I do have a radio, and I turned it on this afternoon for the first time in about a year. There was no mention of the debate, but I ended up listening to BBC Radio 4 or 5 anyway.

They were reverently interviewing some American who’d just brought out a new book or something. He was called Michael, and they were almost begging him to visit Britain. He seemed quite an affable guy, but after he said that the top 400 richest Americans earned more than the 150 million other Americans put together, I guessed that he was probably from the left side of the US political spectrum. And when he added, a bit later on, that Marx and Jesus believed pretty much the same things, I guessed he was from the pretty far left of that spectrum. And when he mentioned the town of Flint, Michigan, I finally realised that it was Michael Moore they were interviewing. He was the unshaven fat guy who made Bowling For Columbine some 7 years ago, back when I regarded myself as a bit left wing. I hadn’t listened to him for so long that I’d almost forgotten his name.

What makes someone flip from left to right, and has them stop listening to Michael Moore and start listening to Pat Buchanan? In my case it was the smoking ban. Nothing else. I didn’t really mind if doctors told people that smoking was bad for them, and they should quit. Doctors are entitled to their opinions. But everything changed the moment the doctors started demanding that smoking to be banned everywhere, and set out to try to force me to change my ways. They weren’t going to let me make my own choices, but were instead going to make them for me. Exactly like our elected representatives in Parliament have decided that they’re not going to let the British people decide whether to be in the EU or not, because they know better than we do what’s good for us. Freedom is something that maybe only becomes precious when it’s taken away. A bit like air.

Anyway, Michael Moore then recounted a story about the current bunch of Republican presidential wannabees. It seems that they were all asked whether they “believed in science” or not, and that only one of them raised his hand. Moore said that this just went to show where the Republicans were at. But when I asked myself whether I “believed in science”, I couldn’t help but think that “belief in science” entailed believing whatever scientists said, much like people once believed everything that popes and bishops and priests said. It was the same belief, but in science rather than religion. And these days if climate scientists say that the global climate is warming due to human carbon dioxide emissions, then the people who “believe in science” will believe them, because that’s what they believe. And that’s the whole problem with science these days: it’s become religion.

Then there was a programme about food, the gist of which was that it wasn’t the calorie content of food that caused people to get fat, but the kind of calories they were. Calories in high-calorie processed foods like biscuits were bad (fattening) calories, and calories in high-calorie foods like nuts were good (non-fattening). I started to get irritated at this point because the physics I’m familiar with doesn’t have good and bad calories. Finally after a few more minutes (when they started interviewing the woman bodybuilder, to be exact) I’d had enough, and switched off the radio, and went and dug out a packet of Rich Tea biscuits, and scoffed the lot. I’ve been doing this sort of thing for 50 years, and I can eat an entire pack of biscuits in an afternoon,  and falsify the bad-calories-make-you-fat hypothesis every time.  Freedom is maybe like air, but it’s even more like biscuits.

In this manner, I was given a sharp reminder of exactly why I don’t watch TV or listen to the radio any more: I just get too angry too quickly. I wondered what the chances were that I’d turn on the radio just once in an entire year and find the BBC interviewing Michael Moore. But then, since it’s the BBC, I wouldn’t be surprised if he has his own 4 hour long daily show. But I do know what the chances are of hearing a smoker saying how grim pubs are now that smoking has been banned: the chances of that happening are approximately zero.

I didn’t turn the radio back on again after that. So I never got to hear the debate, if it was being aired. Which is probably a good thing, because if I had I would have only got angry all over again. And anyway, why should I want to listen to people who don’t want to listen to me?

So I’ll go back to not listening.

About Frank Davis

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23 Responses to Not Listening

  1. Walt says:

    Well, that’s what you get for believing anything Michael Moore “reports.” As Mary McCarthy once said of Lillian Hellman (or was it the other way around?) “every word she says is a lie, including ‘and’ and ‘the.'” The actual question asked of the Republican candidates during a debate was whether they believed in man-made global warming. All but one (John Huntsman) said the evidence for it was shaky, that even if there was warming, there was credible evidence that man’s role in it was negligible if any, and that one doesn’t turn western civilization and its faltering economies upside down on such slim pickings. Only Huntsman, attempting to play the role of The Reasonable Man (to the likes of the liberal media) said that he, for one, believed in “science”– thus introducing the ideas that a) man-made global warming= “science,” b) that GW skeptics were thus (implicitly de facto) “anti-science.” and c) that the GW “science” was…well…Science.

    If that was all that was on US radio, I too would live in radio silence.

  2. “I don’t have a TV, so if the Commons debate was being broadcast, I couldn’t have watched it.”

    You have a computer though, I watched it all here..

    As for BBC Radio, they have a continuously rotated list of guests who are wheeled out for our entertainment. Lefties to a man and woman. Richard Bacon’s show is the pinnacle of such shows, with the Guardian being about the only news source ever quoted, and certain ‘facts’ (such as the tea partiers all being nuts) being touted as incontestable.

  3. George Speller says:

    Frank – something good did come out of the diet program. The speaker said she wanted to find out where the theory equating n calories to m grams of fat came from. Apparently the figures and concept quoted are fundamental to the “anti obesity” industry, including UK health department. It turned out nobody knew the source of this information, but everybody based their policy on it. She traced it back to a book written in – wait for it – 1918, and never questioned once in all those years. Does this have a familiar ring?

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Propaganda from the first progressive movement that gave us PROHIBITION!

      Recycled for the 2nd progressive movement in todays green world!

    • Frank Davis says:

      I think I did hear that. But I was puzzled when one of them said that a Calorie or kilocalorie was the amount of heat required to raise a litre of water by one degree. It turned out to be true (at least according to Wikipedia), but I’m still puzzled by it. The reason being that a calorie is a pre-metric unit which seems to be defined in metric units.

      • George Speller says:

        Frank – a little late, but you might see this – at school (in the 50s and 60s) we used a lot of mixed units but we were always told that scientific units were usualy metric and used them in preference. Your term “pre-metric|” usually refes to the forcing of that system on non scientific people against their will.

  4. Jax says:

    Well, I guess that if nothing else, this whole business over the referendum indicates that politicians are not, as they are often accused of, out of touch with public opinion – quite the opposite. But it indicates with glaring clarity that, aware of it though they may be, interested in it they most definitely are not. And that’s the bottom line, really, isn’t it?

    The whole of Parliament (small handful of rebels excepted) has given a massive two fingers to the electorate over this – even to the significant numbers of the public who actually agree with them on the EU, which indicates how far they have all moved from their democratic ideals into the realms of “appointed rulers” rather than “elected servants.” They view people who disagree with them as irrelevant complainers to be ignored, and those who agree with them as useful, but stupid, lackeys. Their complete contempt for all voters – both supportive and otherwise – is nothing short of utterly breathtaking. And the fearlessness with which these despicable people have allowed the true colours of their betrayal of the nation to show over this issue indicates how certain they are that, to all intents and purposes, they remain untouchable, regardless of their actions and of the decisions that they make.

    God, how I loathe them.

  5. harleyrider1978 says:

    That had to have been a RADIO FREE AMERICA rebroadcast from PBS/BBC

  6. Rose says:

    I’m left in a bit of a quandary, my local Conservative MP voted against the smoking ban amendment instead of abstaining, so as far I was concerned he was toast.

    This morning I find he is one of the 81 Conservative MPs who defied Cameron and the Whips.

    • Jax says:

      Rose,

      That’s a quandary which I, too, have considered. I’ve yet to see a list of those MP’s who rebelled, and I strongly suspect that mine won’t be on it (she voted for the ban and against the amendment to it, is very, very chummy with the Dreadful Arnott – so much so that questions have been asked as to whether her involvement with ASH is just a little too close for comfort – and is a career politician right down to her toes). But even if she did rebel, I’ve decided that to win my vote in the future, any MP has got to be demonstrably both anti-EU and anti-ban. To me, both issues are of equal importance, and a halfway-house just isn’t good enough, any more than an employee doing only half the job they’re paid for would be good enough. After all, I can’t give anyone half of my vote, and I don’t think that asking for support on just two issues is too much to expect (although, so far, I’ve been disappointed!) So, if in the unlikely event it transpires that my MP is one of the rebels, then my response will be, in the words of many a school end-of-term report: “Grade B-minus. Better than last term, but with just a little more effort, could do even better.”

  7. harleyrider1978 says:

    Largest ever EU rebellion rocks British PM

    David Cameron on Monday suffered his largest parliamentary rebellion since becoming prime minister as around 80 Conservative lawmakers defied their leader to vote in favour of holding a referendum on Britain’s EU membership.
    Cameron’s government, which is against holding a referendum, in the end won the House of Commons vote 483-111 due to support from the Liberal Democrats — the Conservatives’ euro-friendly junior coalition partners — and the main opposition Labour Party.

    But the eurosceptic wing of the Conservative Party delivered Cameron a blow by ignoring whip pressure to vote in favour of a referendum in the biggest show of internal party dissent since he took office in May 2010.

    George Young, the Conservative leader of the Commons, said he understood that 80 or 81 of the party’s 305 MPs had voted against the government, but official figures were not expected until Tuesday.

    It is also the most serious ever rebellion against a British prime minister on the issue of the EU.

    more here

    http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=CNG.a78af65cc128f522f558eaa64f38258c.461&show_article=1

    • Jax says:

      Interestingly, very little is being made in the media about the extra 20 or so other MPs who defied their own Party whips and voted for the referendum. Many of these must surely have been from the Labour camp, and maybe there were even a few Lib-Dems amongst them, too. And I think that, in many ways, those MPs – coming as they do from parties which openly declare their loved-up status with the EU on a regular basis – are an even more telling sign that the strong feelings of the electorate and fast-growing anti-EU sentiment is, finally, beginning to hit home.

    • Jax says:

      Blimey! Who’d want to be an Italian MP right now?? Quite apart from the present demands for reform and Berlusconi’s increasing unpopularity, coupled with his absolute refusal to quit in the face of countless allegations of corruption and sleaze, I heard on the news tonight that the EU have just demanded that they bring in a not-dissimilar set of austerity measures to Greece’s to try and shore up their knife-edge-balanced economy. And we all know how well those austerity measures have gone down in Greece, don’t we, boys and girls ….?!

  8. harleyrider1978 says:

    11,790.02
    -123.60 (-1.04%)
    Real-time: 11:51AM EDT
    INDEXDJX real-time data –

    http://www.google.com/finance?client=ob&q=INDEXDJX:DJI#

  9. Tony says:

    A real glimmer of hope from the USA. I think you’ll love this Frank.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/republicans/8847543/US-elections-2012-bizarre-Herman-Cain-advert-features-chief-of-staff-smoking.html
    Also reported here:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/richard-adams-blog/2011/oct/25/herman-cain-smoking-ad-video
    Where It states that:
    “The latest national opinion poll finds Cain leading the field of contenders with 25% of Republican voters, with Mitt Romney is second place with 21%.”

    • Frank Davis says:

      I think you’ll love this Frank.

      You can say that again. I’ll post it up tonight.

    • smokervoter says:

      Amazing advertisement! Go Herman Cain Go.

      Well it’s about time someone came right out and courted voters who smoke. I’ve been suggesting this for years. Especially a.) Republicans, who battle tax increases of which tobacco taxes are a highly visible example and b.) Herman Cain because the reverse of his 999 plan is 666 and fed-up smokers could amount to 30% of the magic number of 66 million votes he needs to win the White House.

      Here’s the political maths. If smokers turnout at 66.6% (roughly 30 million) and then go 66.6% for Cain(20.4 million) that is almost one-third of his base. What smart politician could resist these numbers.

      Mind you this still assumes that one-in-three guilt-ridden drone smokers will trot out and vote to continue to lose jobs, housing and pay through the nose for their legal product by voting Democrat.

    • Jax says:

      Interesting (though perhaps slightly predictable) to see the Telegraph jumping to the conclusion that Cain’s only reason for smoking in this ad is because he’s getting money from the tobacco industry. Even more interesting, though, is the fact that the Guardian haven’t levelled that accusation at him, too (although it inevitably raises its head in the comments section – yawn!). The glaringly obvious reason that he’s smoking in order to attract the few million smokers’ votes which are drifting about homeless at the moment simply doesn’t seem to have occurred to them. Maybe the penny just hasn’t dropped yet that he’s – err – a politician ….

  10. Pingback: Herman Cain Campaign Ad | Frank Davis

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