Saturday, 8 August 2009

Alliterative multisyllabisms and other remarkable rhetoric

I see that Clameur de Haro is back in sparkling form, and attempting to out-do Stuart Syvret with excruciating invective.

First, lets have the competition. From one of Stuart's postings comes this wonderful rhetorical flourish:

It couldn't be, could it, that you both are, in fact, just a pair of solipsistic, monomaniac egotists; blinkered fanatics, and hypocritical thugs - ready to adduce whatever inchoate proschemata suit your purposes that day - quite regardless of whether the same standards capture either of you?

But now, joining him in the purple prose, Clameur is fast catching up:

How depressing too, to see that the vast majority of the local politics blogs remain firmly anchored at the left-green end of the spectrum: some still obsessing, ostrich-like, with conspiracy theories about cover-ups or justice-denial to the exclusion of all else (and goodness knows, there's no shortage of other things to get worked up about in this mis-governed island), while others continue to proselytize pernicious eco-authoritarian greenery.

A few comments:

1) Isn't it interesting how two dimensional models tend to be the norm? So we have a "spectrum", which is after all, to us mathematicians, very similar to the number line, with negative numbers one end, zero in the middle, and positive numbers the other end. So we have at different ends of spectra, left or right. Wouldn't at least a three dimensional model be better?

2) And as regards "cover ups" and "conspiracy theories", Clameur has some catching up to do, not least with "Operation Blast", which was a covert operation set up by someone, and with some police operatives working covertly, and by all accounts, the entire affair was not widely known, apart from Special Branch, certainly Graham Power, and according to Graham Powers' leaked report, Frank Walker and Bill Ogley. Frank Walker denies his part, and Bill Ogley, according to CTV, "had nothing to do with ordering Operation Blast, the covert police investigation into States Members private lives", which if you look at the precise wording, does not say he was not aware of it.

Of course as far as conspiracies go, "Operation Blast" seems to have had very little of major importance in it, although it is curious that David Warcup refused to let States members see their own details (even a photocopy of the pages could have ensured they were not privy to other members' information). But it certainly was secret, covert and someone must have been involved in setting it up and manning it.

3) Regarding justice denial, I think one significant example was Karen Hutchet's shabby treatment with a long term suspension, being given no details of the complaints against her, and being summarily sacked without any proper enquiry. She may yet get justice, because the tribunal which looks at cases of unfair dismissal (well worth a read - it's on the States website each year) has the powers to obtain statements from witnesses and presents it in public (despite a few lawyers trying to get secrecy for their clients). It is the public face of justice.

4) Regarding "pernicious eco-authoritarian greenery", it should be noted that Daniel Wimberley wanted to detach environmental measures from environmental taxes, and I would have thought that bringing in taxes was the authoritarian element, not recycling schemes. Of course, any extra taxes, loosely linked to environmental measures, will probably be on the way, but they will be coming from departments wanted to balance budgets, get extra income from stealth taxes - it will be the political opportunists not the idealists who will do this. A good example would be Michael Jackson's mooting a "sewage charge", which will both be "user pays" (but don't our taxes already pay?) and environmental ("paying for waste").

I think the reason people want to be environmental skeptics has more to do with a kind of moral laziness - if this can be disproved, then I can carry on the way I want to - using up fossil fuels, tearing up the rainforests etc. The most notable scientific skeptic on Global Warming is Dr David Bellamy, and he is often quoted as saying that "Global warming - at least the modern nightmare vision - is a myth.". It is a pity that this is selectively repeated, and his other views regarding environmental matters are ignored, with the same pick-n-mix ease that fundamentalists use when they take bible verses out of context to bolster their views:

"We should stop burning fossil fuels. Yes, we should stop draining peat bogs, destroying soil and natural and semi-natural vegetation. Yes, we should stop overfishing and overgrazing the planet. That is why I am still working an 18-hour day helping groups which are trying to reverse this trend, as I have been doing for the past 40 years. " (Dr David Bellamy)


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