Older readers may recall the trials of Cliff Thorburn, a market trader in Sunderland, who was fined for selling produce to the public in pounds and ounces rather than the EU-imposed kilograms.
One of those who supported this result was the late Geoffrey Howe QC who had been an effective chancellor and had a witty and mild manner. But he was obsessed with supporting the EU at any price – hence the result.
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His biggest mistake was to fail to accept that the use of language is private and intensely important. The only advantage of his lumpen stance was to recruit thousands to the Brexit cause.
I first learnt in the formal sense about this feature of human life more than forty years ago when I read George Steiner’s The Tower of Babel. George was a Cambridge don who specialised in studying the nature of language. A central point he made was that since the beginning of recorded time no less than fifteen thousand entirely
different languages had been devised of which only five thousand remained. All others had disappeared. This tells the intelligent man to be cautious about imposing uniformity rules on the use of language even though the result is seemingly desirable – which of course it might be if it were possible. However, it is not: see Cliff Thorburn above.
Time and the will of the users can impose uniformity, but the choice is theirs and not that of undemocratically chosen administrators. The EU is incapable of understanding this.
Alliances in war can accelerate uniformity but not before conflict is seemingly on the way. Talk about the human condition.
Stalin did not mess around. He specialised in seeing lies devised for dissemination in the cause of Stalin.
Dame Margaret Hodge used to go in for this sort of rot quite a lot. Had she been challenged her moral justification would have been the promotion of the Labour Party.
Several years later the unpleasant Corbyn has been hard at anti-Zionist rot. He argues that the Zionists are responsible for the troubles in Israel and that by implication Jews in the UK should be challenged. This is anti-semitism however one looks at it. From JC’s point of view he recruits Muslims to the Labour Party’s cause in the UK. Put another way he justifies anti-Semitism on moral grounds.
The difficulty here is that this particular lie promotes the disease that is anti-semitism. As far as I am aware this disease is unique in that it is hard to eradicate and is also highly contagious.
Dame Margaret Hodge, herself a Jew, now has plenty of time to reflect on her past mendacity and its consequences. There is no cure for JC: he is irredeemably mentally addled.
The drawback with Tiger Woods’s success is that it might induce Tony Blair successfully to try again. That would be scary.