O’Sullivan’s Law

All organizations that are not actually right-wing will over time become left-wing.

This “law” was first defined in 1989. Thirty years later it seems far more prescient than anyone at the time might have imagined.

For example, this would be funny if it were satire:

181 CEOs of major corporations redefine the purpose of a company. No, really they did.

While we’re in a mood for favourite quotations, here’s good one from G. K. Chesterton:

….let us say, for the sake of simplicity, a fence or gate erected across a road. The more modern type of reformer goes gaily up to it and says, “I don’t see the use of this; let us clear it away.” To which the more intelligent type of reformer will do well to answer: “If you don’t see the use of it, I certainly won’t let you clear it away. Go away and think. Then, when you can come back and tell me that you do see the use of it, I may allow you to destroy it.

Back to our social justice warrior CEOs. One wonders whether the concept of Chesterton’s Fence ever crossed their minds when they happily redefined the purpose of privately-owned companies, given the almost 400-year history behind such things?

I once briefly worked for a large banking and finance company and read with interest an interview with the CEO where he claimed to be “driving innovation in the insurance industry”. It’s a pretty hubristic and arrogant claim to be a “disrupter” of a centuries-old business model where risk remedies are described on paper, exchanged for money and then re-issued to multiple parties to distribute potential impact. It’s not quite as simple a business idea as “bake bread, sell bread”, but it’s not far off.

Of course, he wasn’t driving innovation at all; the company had simply launched a flaky and quite rubbish mobile phone app and meanwhile he’d taken his focus off the core business in all his excitement. He was unemployed within a year of that interview after a particularly damning set of end-of year accounts.

So, our coalition of the woke have decided their shareholders aren’t their first priority, eh? Well, let’s hope they’ve employed a good speech-writer for the next shareholder’s meeting, as things might become a little warm, particularly if the annual report isn’t stellar.

Bill’s Opinion

It’s great that the 181 CEOs have helpfully signalled to the market that they care less about shareholder value than being “good corporate citizens”, however that nebulous statement is defined.

Perhaps we might continue to invest our pension funds into their company stock, perhaps we might not, but our decision is more informed now than it was prior to their virtue signalling press release.

In related news, Brian Hartzer is rapidly completing his application form to join The Business Roundtable.

King Merdeus

…everything he touches turns to shit.

There is a pattern that can be observed occasionally and, as long as you’re not exposed to the consequences, can be quite amusing once you’ve seen it.

Firstly, a British example:

Many years ago, a chap by the name of Derek Wanless was the Chief Executive of Natwest Bank for 7 years during the 1990s. At the commencement of his stewardship, Natwest was one of the four largest “high street” (i.e. retail) banks and was a solid performer, taking customer deposits and issuing mortgages.

Wanless’ entire experience, from leaving school, was in the retail sector, having come up through the ranks of the branches. So, he put this expertise gained in just one sub-sector of banking to another, opening up an investment arm and taking the bank into the USA (a market already awash with investment banking services, one presumes).

Guess what happened next?

Huge losses for Natwest which resulted in his defenestration by the board…with just a 7 figure payout to comfort him. Not long after, the bank was bought in a hostile and hugely embarrassing takeover by a far smaller rival, the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Hot on the heels of this success, he was asked by the then Chancellor of the Exchequer (i.e. the UK’s Treasurer), Gordon Brown, to review the National Health Service. Ponder that for a moment; his previous experience was, to put it as kindly as possible, to destroy a profitable bank and drive it into the arms of a smaller rival so, obviously, he would have been the perfect candidate to look at the profligate and failing health service. To be fair to Wanless, this wasn’t Gordon Brown’s first or indeed last major failure of judgement, have a look at his record on the UK’s gold reserves to understand what a disaster his tenure was.

Finally, Wanless made a return to banking as an executive director to Northern Rock, overseeing the first UK retail bank to experience a bank run since the Great Depression.

Wanless died 5 years later, fortunately without having accepted any further positions in public life.

What’s the point I’m trying to make here? That Wanless was in “The Club”.

It’s a club you and I aren’t allowed to join. The rules of The Club are varied and changeable, but one rule remains constant; once you’re in The Club, there are very few occasions when consequences will ever catch up with you.

There are many examples of the Australian chapter of the The Club but today’s goes by the name of Peter Beattie.

I first learned of Peter during the 2013 Federal Election when he was parachuted into a seat by another member of The Club, Kevin Rudd. Some basic research unearths a disaster zone of a curriculum vitae, not unlike that of Derek Wanless. From a child protection scandal to a health service crisis, through to tying his colours to the mast of a desperate narcissist’s attempt to remain politically-relevant in the federal election, Peter has an enviable track record of mediocrity.

He also seems to either edit his own Wikipedia entry or have a sycophant do it on his behalf. We really must chuckle at the unintentional irony of a statement such as, “As was his style, Beattie faced the crisis head on”, which is then followed by a list of all the ministers who fell on their swords while he survived. As befitting a full member of The Club, the buck stopped just short of Beattie.

The latest chapter in the Peter Beattie show is a forthcoming defenestration from his role as Chairman of Australia’s Rugby League sporting code. The details of his golden parachute have yet to be disclosed but nobody would be surprised to learn of another 7 figure payout as a reward for mediocrity. After all, he’s in The Club.

Bill’s Opinion

I’m not a conspiracy theorist, I don’t really believe The Club exists.

It is far more likely that, once you’re in the circle of people who appoint and are appointed to senior positions on company boards and in government, as long as you can glad-hand the right people and you don’t wipe your snot on your shirt sleeves, you’re in The Club.

Why? You might be completely incompetent and a total narcissist but you’re a known, albeit a bit useless, quantity. Nobody is going to take a risk on someone they don’t know, are they?

Like China in your hand

History doesn’t repeat itself but often rhymes…..

Here’s a little potted history lesson for those who are too young to remember:


Once upon a time, there was a large superpower that was, in many ways, the antithesis of what the western democracies stood for, or at least claimed to stand for. The west claimed to stand for values such as the rule of law, property rights, freedom of speech, restricted government powers, open and free elections, free men to be judged in a court of law by their peers, non-coerced contracts, etc.

The west and this superpower weren’t at a state of official war but interaction, particularly trade, was extremely limited. A company in the UK, for example, could import or export goods with this hostile superpower and its representatives could travel to and from its territory but there were caveats and restrictions to this.

At a minimum, the traveller would have a safety briefing. In some cases, the security services might give a briefing and require a post-trip debriefing to glean valuable information.

At the extreme, travellers might be wise to follow an informal form of “Moscow Rules”, even if they weren’t spooks themselves.

Why? Because the hostile superpower was a) hostile, and b) open in its disregard for those values we listed in the paragraph above. If you are visiting a country with a total disregard for the rights of the individual, you’d be a fool to wander around blithely assuming you weren’t always in danger.

That country was Russia and its associated satellite states, of course.

In 2019, we have exponentially more trade with a country that shows a similar disregard for the rule of law, property rights, etc., yet we hop on flights to Shanghai and Beijing without a second thought as to the personal, corporate or national risk we are taking. Why? Because, for most cases, we have not had reason to think they are hostile.

Sure, we know they have “re-education camps” where they have sent thousands of their own citizens in internal exile. Yes, we see the increasing use of “social credit” to bully their citizens into silence and conformity. We watch with interest as man-made islands are created in the South China Sea to secure and expand the country’s maritime territories. We witness the implementation of the One Belt and Road trading route with land purchases and infrastructure. We see huge areas of Africa being bought by Chinese government corporations. We point at strange sights such as Chinese Police-branded cars driving around the streets of Australian cities. Finally, this year we can watch on live-streaming feeds, the protests by residents of Hong Kong against changes to the legal system being met with increasingly authoritarian means, in direct violation of the international treaty promising not to do so.


The evidence is compelling that, whatever you might call the Chinese state; Communist, “post-Communist”, mercantilist, or some other suitable noun, it is far from being a free society as a citizen of a western democracy would know the term.

And yet…. corporations and governments have increased the level of trade and interaction on our behalf with the Chinese state without seemingly any commensurate increase in vigilance or precautions.

Why might that be?

Why might a country, say, Australia, be unwilling to publicly criticise any one of the nefarious activities (and more) described above, particularly in the case of clear hostile activities on Australian soil?

Bill’s Opinion

Much is written about cultural differences and how people in the west should treat other cultures respectfully. The classic is example revolves around the concept of Asian cultures setting a higher value on “face” than we in the west might.


Here’s an idea; that is a truly racist attitude. Why? Because the Chinese are an intelligent people with personal and national “agency”. They can observe our culture as much as we observe theirs. In fact, they do, and they choose to still act the way they do.

Pretending the Chinese leaders are delicate flowers whose feelings might be hurt if we publicly and regularly told them to rein in their activities and act in accordance with international law is the ultimate in weakness.

And that’s another cultural observation; the Chinese don’t respect weakness.

Why would we, therefore, constantly offer this as our response?

Of course, the elephant in the room for Australia is the economic master/servant relationship. China could ruin Australia’s economy for a generation simply by deliberately reducing the Chinese GDP by one or two percentage points and pivoting to African countries to satisfy its demand for minerals and resources. In fact, the land grabs in Africa are presumably part of a strategy to reduce reliance on pesky western economies and their annoying conversations about human rights.

Perhaps it won’t be long before our one reason for not standing up (diplomatically, I’m not suggesting warfare) to China is removed by China anyway?


At which point, we will be simply a weak parody of Neville Chamberlain.

Australian B Cricket team to be renamed “Women’s”

No, really. That’s the logical direction this announcement takes the sport, surely:

Transgender players allowed in the female national cricket team.

(There are three balls in the above photograph

 

The guidelines are here. There’s a large volume of text to be parsed but I have helpfully summarised it all for you. A man can play cricket for the female national team if he;

  1. Says he’s a woman, and
  2. Has taken hormone treatment long enough to keep his testosterone below a defined level.

That’s it.

Of course, these rules infer a “female” can wander around the shower room with his “female penis” intact because he’s a female according to Cricket Australia’s highly-scientific definition.

It’s worth having a read of the guidelines, particularly the clauses under section 6 – Expert Panel, where someone at Cricket Australia has clearly had massive doubts about the long-term sustainability of this ideological direction and tried to leave a loophole to be used to enable common-sense back in if things go too far.

The clauses in this section give power to a panel of experts to overrule a decision to allow a man to play in the elite women’s teams if they feel he has an unfair advantage. The evidence they can assess include biomechanical analysis. One assumes this might include such tests as whether a male fast bowler is sending blocks of wood wrapped in leather (cricket balls) at the heads of women faster than any woman can.

Using this example, we could compare the fastest female bowler on record, Cathryn Lorraine Fitzpatrick, who has managed to bowl at 125kmph, with every fast bowler in the current men’s team who are all consistently over the 140kmph mark. 

The next level down from the national team is the Sheffield Shield. An upcoming bowler in that competition is Chadd Sayers, who has been overlooked for the national team several times because he doesn’t bowl fast enough. Chadd’s average bowling speed? Oh, just a sedate 130kmph, or 5kmph faster than the fastest female bowler in history.

Oh, that’s awkward.

The definitions section is good for a chuckle too as it tries to define in legalistic terms such nouns as sex, gender and LGBTQI+.

It’ll be fun to review how that stood the test of time in a few years.

Bill’s Opinion

Firstly, this is another excellent example of O’Sullivan’s Law, which states, “any organisation or enterprise that is not expressly right wing will become left wing over time“.

Cricket Australia has clearly been hijacked by activists and have responded by producing a policy that, ironically, is neither one thing or another.

It claims to provide an unambiguous pathway for transgender cricketers to play in elite teams but it has a large loophole which allows for a panel of “experts” (defined how? Appointed by whom?) to judge the player to have too great a physical advantage to play for the women’s team. 

The interesting point, however, is to look for the dog that isn’t barking, that is, what isn’t being reported or described in the policy?

There is no mention of what qualifying steps and proof a female to male transitioning cricket player would have to undertake to play in the men’s elite team. If anyone can think of a credible reason why they’ve left this detail out, please send a postcard with your answer to:

Cricket Australia

60 Jolimont Street,

Jolimont,

Victoria 3002,

Australia

There are really only three ways this policy change can go over time:

  1. One or more men with the unique combination of chutzpah and cricketing ability will use these rules to claim a place on the national women’s team and will be refused, will sue for damages and drag the sport into its own version of the Israel Folau debacle, or
  2. Cricket Australia will accept those men into the national women’s team and the ensuing public and international backlash will drag the sport into its own version of the Israel Folau debacle, or
  3. No man with enough cricketing ability will ever be stupid enough to claim female status.

It’s a tricky one to predict, but my suspicion is (2) is most likely as there are currently enough men who are autogynephilic that one of them is bound to try to push the envelope further. The result will be a destruction of the restricted group competition we call women’s cricket in Australia. 

It’s all about you

A useful golden rule when observing current affairs is to keep your counsel for a solid 48 hours. This is particularly true in the case of breaking news about violence and potential terrorism attacks.

The incentive structure in today’s digital age is diametrically-opposed to this rule of sober and prudent analysis, however.

Hence, depending on the source from which you consume your news you may have believed the city of Sydney endured a white supremacist attack, a radical Islamic attack or deadly violence from a mentally-unwell man.

Confusingly for narrative-obsessed journalists (but I repeat myself), the knife-wielder apparently had a USB drive with details of the recent Christchurch and El Paso racially-motivated attacks but also shouted the well-known catchphrase, “Alan’s Snackbar” at the police who arrested him.

Several possibilities suggest themselves here. It could be possible the attacker was:

  • Racially-motivated, or
  • A Jihadi, or
  • One of the two above whilst pretending to be the other in some elaborate hoax, and/or
  • Mentally ill

In a move that should surprise nobody, Lucy Cormack of the Sydney Morning Herald, clearly disappointed the attack wasn’t a good fit for the “white supremacy is everywhere” narrative, pivots and manages to make the attack seem as if it’s part of a war by men on women.

Bill’s Opinion

I think a suitable time has passed since the attack to confidently state, regardless of what he might have said or read, the prime reason the attacker committed the murder and an attempted murder was because he was suffering severe mental illness. It’s unfortunate but no matter how well we work to catch these in advance, there will always be a number of such tragedies in any society.

Claiming this is part of some wider problem of patriarchal and systemic male violence against women is like claiming the attacks on New York on September 11th were motivated by a hatred of open plan offices and elevators. 

“Completely mystified”

The responses below the tweet are priceless, but before you click the link, let’s look at the supporting article.

Apparently, the most likely explanation to the phenomenon of lowering costs for some expenses yet rising costs for others is something I’d not previously heard of; Baumol Cost Disease.

From Bloomberg’s helpful description:

The theory of Baumol cost disease, developed in the 1960s by economist William Baumol, states that some things rise in price even as productivity goes up. When society gets better at making cars, electronics, food and clothing, wages go up. But as wages go up, industries that don’t find ways to use less labor to produce the same service — for example, a string quartet — rise in price as well.

Which, prima facie, sounds reasonable and rational.

However, I would caveat that feeling of reasonableness with the statement that Malthusianism also sounds reasonable and rational when it’s first described, possibly for similar reasons.

What Malthus has been wrong about for the last 291 years is the Industrial Revolution. Or, more specifically, human inventiveness. Oscar Wilde touched on the solution we found to Malthus’ problem with this pithy quote;

Civilization requires slaves. Human slavery is wrong, insecure and demoralizing. On mechanical slavery, on the slavery of the machine, the future of the world depends.

As the wags and wits on Twitter were fast to point out, the costs that have experienced the most price inflation are, in a suspicious coincidence, the things that have most benefited from government “help” in terms of regulation and subsidies.

Correlation isn’t causation but there’s clearly something worth further enquiry here.

Bill’s Opinion

The most interesting part of the Baumol description is this:

….industries that don’t find ways to use less labor to produce the same service….

The obvious question that prompts is, “why don’t they find ways to use less labour?”.

Perhaps the range of possible answers are as simple as these two:

  1. Because the work involved is impossible to automate or make any more efficient, and/or
  2. There isn’t a great enough incentive to automate or make more efficient.

Anyone who has ever spent any time working in a government or quasi-government department and the private sector will recognise the critical difference immediately; there is no personal reward for for a manager to find a way to deliver the government service with fewer or with lower-skilled employees.

It is extremely rare for a government minister’s stated desire for improved efficiency to be translated into meaningful incentives down the organisation to a level where they will have any material effect.

As Ronald Reagan so eloquently put it:

Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.

Or, as an anonymous quote (no, it wasn’t Milton Friedman) goes:

If you put government in charge of the Sahara desert there will be a shortage of sand in five years.

But remember, “economists are completely mystified“.

News articles about transgenders confuse me

I am privileged enough to have benefited from an excellent education in English comprehension, some of which stuck in my sub-standard brain, but newspaper articles about transgender folk in 2019 always require re-reading.

Am I alone in this? Is this just me?

This one, for example, needed three passes before I worked out what was going on;

Zach Barack honoured to be Marvel’s first openly transgender star

The 23-year-old gushed about the role during an interview with Variety at the movie’s Los Angeles premiere on Wednesday. And reflecting on his casting, the star admitted his Hollywood debut still hasn’t sunk in.

“I’m kind of losing my mind a little bit, but I’m acting like I’m not. I don’t know that it fully has (sunk in),” he confessed. “I don’t quite have the capacity to explain how meaningful it is to me.”

Referencing comics as an “important” part of his childhood, Zach went on to explain that there’s “something very inherently trans about those stories”, where a character has to balance life as a teenager and their secret self.

Did you work it out? “Zach” is a woman who thinks she’s a man.

The pictures often help, to be fair. If you find your inner voice saying something along the lines of, “Christ, that’s an ugly man/woman“, it’ll be because they aren’t.

It turns out millions of years of evolution have resulted in the ability to rapidly sort other humans into potential mate/not potential mate categories before we are even consciously aware of the process occurring.

In “Zach’s” words;

“Especially being a transmasculine person, because sometimes there’s a pressure to be a different way than I feel naturally inclined to do because I want to fit in, and I have to actively fight that instinct,” he reflected.

Fighting one’s instinct to “fit in”? That’s a road to happiness and mental well-being, I’m sure.

“The fact of the matter is, being in this movie is so beyond incredibly meaningful, and I hope that it means something to other people.”

Well done, you got a job. It’s probably only meaningful to you and a couple of other people…. like your landlord and bank manager.

Here’s another example:

A transgender man who is fighting to have his child be the first in the UK to legally not have a mother made a documentary showing his child’s face whilst arguing that his family needed court anonymity to protect them from harm.

This being the UK’s Daily Telegraph, one of the last to get the “woke” memo, they give the game away early:

Freddy McConnell, who was born a woman, launched a High Court battle against the Government earlier this year after the General Registrar Office (GRO) refused to register him as the “father” on his child’s birth certificate.

Ok, it’s a woman who’s convinced herself that she’s a man… but not enough to stop her from going to a sperm donor and subsequently pushing a baby through the birth canal and out of her “male vagina” 9 months later.

As an aside, can you imagine the linguistic contortions the midwifery team had to put themselves through to avoid stepping on “Freddie’s” offence eggshells? One has to have some sympathy.

Selective acceptance of inconvenient facts seems to be a theme in “Freddie’s” world:

Mr McConnell was accused of being in “serious breach of his duty of candour to the Court” by failing to disclose the existence of a documentary called Seahorse, which he began filming three years ago. 

Throughout the documentary – which premiered at the trendy New York film festival Tribeca in April – Mr McConnell openly shares personal details including his attempts to get pregnant, giving birth and footage of his child’s face.  

The court heard how Mr McConnell completed his gender transition several years ago and was able to access a sperm donor 10 days after legally becoming a man. As a result, he became pregnant and later gave birth to YY.

Ah, nothing channels Marlene Dietrich’s “I vont to be alone” like being the star of your own BBC documentary. That takes living off the grid to a new level, eh?

The evidence prompted Sir Andrew <McFarlane, president of the Family Division of the High Court> to raise concerns about transgender men’s ability to access fertility treatment in the UK, as he called on the government to review the current legislation. 

Ya think?

Not least of the concerns should be that it’s highly unlikely “Freddie” paid for the treatment out of their own bank account but received it from the UK’s publicly-funded National Health Service.

As a slight digression, if “Freddie” was the recipient of thousands of pounds’ worth of IVF treatment on the NHS, let’s spare a thought for the minimum wage earning taxpayers stacking supermarket shelves on the night shift to pay for it.

But how did I make the leap of faith to assume “Freddie” didn’t get the IVF privately?

Because she/he isn’t on a high salary. We know that because the article helpfully tells us the name of her/his employer.

In April, two months after the initial court hearing, he gave an interview to The Guardian – where he works as a digital journalist – revealing his own full name, where they live and specific medical details of his transition process. 

So, an alternate headline for the story about Freddie and his male vagina could have been:

BBC makes documentary about transgender Guardian journalist.

Echo chamber much?

Bill’s Opinion

Confusing media reports of transgender folk fall into two categories; those that refer to their “new” gender in a sympathetic attempt to not further the subject’s psychological pain, and those that are deliberate in their attempt to obfuscate and change the meaning of previously universally understood nouns.

There’s possibly a third, supplemental reason for these misleading exercises in English comprehension; digital media is paid for by clicks and time spent on pages. If I have to page back and forth up an article until I’ve understood what’s being presented to me, it registers as a positive statistic to the advertising industry. There’s value in the confusion.

Or as the old sales cliché goes (borrowed from Sun Tzu), “where there’s chaos, there’s margin“.

The result of the confluence of these three reasons to change the meaning of millenia-old nouns is a change to our method of assessing the words presented to us. No woman of child-bearing age is going to look at “Zach” and unconsciously register “him” as a potential father of her future children. The lizard brain has got there first and already deselected “him” out.

There’s a solid scientific study simply waiting to be had to confirm this hypothesis. Good luck ever working again if you undertake it though.

So we unconsciously learn to associate “transgender” with the word “not“. As in “transgender woman” equals “not woman“. I somehow doubt this was the desired outcome of those who seek to change our language.

The cultural Marxists are generally not slow to spot failures of strategy though, so I predict there will be a concerted effort to no longer use transgender as a prefix in future, to be replaced with something else with less linguistic baggage.

We will know sanity has completely lost the culture war when we are told we should not (and later, cannot) use a prefix at all to describe transgender people.

UPDATE

I was unlucky enough to have to accompany some small children to the Spider-Man movie this weekend.

Firstly, the script writers need to be taken outside and shot as it surely cannot be difficult to to write an action movie that actually has action in the first half hour rather than trying to channel 1980s teen movies.

Secondly, one hopes “Zach” was paid commensurately to zher screen time and scripted lines… which amounted to 15 seconds and 6 words. Still, good payoff of publicity in the woke press….

Never apologise, never explain

….is a quote by Canadian feminist (back when that wasn’t a label of insanity), Nellie McClung. Possibly.

Then again, it may have been Gertrude Stein. Or it might have been Benjamin Jowett.

PG Wodehouse was more verbose but does give us a clue as to why we should never show contrition (highlighting, mine);

It is a good rule in life never to apologise. The right sort of people do not want apologies, and the wrong sort of people take a mean advantage of them.

The fact many people may have said something similar about the value of apologies, particularly public ones, might be a clue to a universal truth we might be seeing playing out frequently in “woke” 2019.

Let’s draw a distinction here between being sorry and saying sorry.

An example; “I’m sorry it was discovered that I did cocaine in my youth and then went on to be vehemently anti-drugs when I became Home Secretary (the UK’s minister for crime)” is not the same as, “I’m sorry I did cocaine in my youth”.

The latter is an expression of personal regret. The former is, in effect, offering oneself up for the judgement of the world.

Socialists have long known the difference. They understand the vast power of the public apology and have used it to great effect to further their causes.

The Moscow Trials in the 1930s were simply powerful propaganda pour encourager les autres. If the defendants refused to cooperate in the charade, they were executed anyway.

These are lessons we seem to have to learn the hard way every generation.

Twitter is awash with people who have had to show public contrition for some speech or thought crime from decades earlier as righteous offence archaeologists dig up ancient wrongdoing and present it, in the public interest natch, and sit back smugly as the mob is whipped up and baying for blood.

The Parkland Shooting survivor, Kyle Kashuv, has recently learned how little value there is to showing public remorse. Similarly, Milo Yiannopoulos made an apology he has since come to regret. There are countless examples to be found and, if you can’t be bothered to look for them, wait a few days and the next one will come along.

Two people seem to have found a method of surviving this problem; Donald Trump and, recently, Boris Johnson. Both have lots of reasons to say sorry in public but generally wave it away as if the burden of someone else.

Depending on your personal animus, this could be taken as a proof they are of poor character and borderline sociopathic.

However, given the left have made it clear there is absolutely no redemption available, regardless of whether or not one shows contrition, it could be argued theirs is the only logical response to a call for sorrow.

The ancient Athenians looked at this unintended consequence following the Mytilenean revolt on the island of Lesbos. During the Mytilenean Debate, an earlier decision to send a boat with orders to execute all men and enslave everyone else was reversed and another boat was sent the following day to halt the implementation of the first order. One of the most compelling reasons offered in support of the reversal was that it would incentivise future revolts to fight to the death, as they would otherwise have nothing to lose.

Science has caught up with what Donald, Boris and the ancient Athenians already knew; academic paper confirms public apologies are, at best, not helpful to the individual and possibly even worse for them

Bill’s Opinion

If you mean it, say sorry to the specific individual you wronged. At the point the apology goes wider than just people you could name from memory, forget it and move on; they weren’t actually hurt and it’s not going to help you in the slightest.

Oh, and to the person who hosted the party I attended in an apartment in Hong Kong’s Wan Chai in August 1997; it was me who threw up on your bathroom floor and for that I am deeply sorry. 

Why Khan’t you just shut up and do your damn job?

At last, chance to chat about something unrelated to religious rugby players…..

People sometimes ask me why we moved from London to Sydney? Reasons they are correct in assuming played a factor include the weather, the beaches, sailing and the chance to work in the vanguard, nay, the cutting edge of business and industry.

Ok, nobody seriously suggests the latter; if you think Sydney is leading the world in anything commercial, you’ve not been paying attention. It’s not even leading Australia in making good coffee; that’s Melbourne. Sydney sniffily looks down on it’s northern neighbour, Brisbane, as being backward but at least Brisbane has the humility to rarely pretend to be anything other than an oversized country town where everyone is related.

The main reason we moved out of London is that we didn’t fancy burying one or more of our children after they’d bled out on a London street.

Don’t get me wrong, London is absolutely still my favourite city in the world. If you’re earning a decent wedge of cash and enjoy good food, drink, music, arts and great value travel options, London is the place to live. If you’ve got kids of high school age, however, it’s really a holiday destination only.

We could see the trend years ago with a general and pervasive atmosphere of danger increasing over the years. I lived there for most of my adult life and had a great time but this was partly due to the fact that I was, (1) able to afford to live in one of the nicer areas, and (2) physically confident in most conflict situations (thank you Mr. Hamilton, my junior school teacher who introduced me to rugby).

Even with those mitigating factors, there were still a few occasions where the danger crept into our lives. My significant other still berates me for the time when we were travelling home on a bus one afternoon after I’d been playing rugby and I foolishly prevented a young man from attempting to get on through the rear doors (to avoid paying his fare) and he and two mates jumped me. Two factors were in my favour that day; I was in significantly better physical condition relative to the youths and, most importantly, they didn’t have any weapons. Thanks to that second factor and the help from another bloke on the bus, I was unhurt and they left with bruises. It was still stupid of me, however.

One doesn’t just arrive at being financially independent and handy in a fight though, you must survive adolescence and the initial phase of your working life first. High school age children are at a disadvantage, therefore.

Since we left, for reasons unclear to us, Londoners elected (and subsequently re-elected) a mayor who seems uninterested in delivering the most basic of requirements of his job description; i.e. keeping the population alive and physically safe.

Sadiq Khan has overseen the most rapid escalation in knife crime and other forms of serious violence that the capital has experienced since before Robert Peel thought about getting some hairy-arsed blokes together to calm things down a little.

How bad is it? 30 deaths from stabbings since the start of the year.

From that article;

How many stabbings were there in London in 2018?

Figures from London’s Metropolitan police showed that knife crime surged by 16 per cent in the capital year-on-year in 2018, as Britain’s crime epidemic continues.

There were 1,299 stabbings in London up to the end of April, according to official statistics from the Met Police.

In 2017-18, there were 137 knife offences for every 100,000 people in the capital.

2018 was London’s bloodiest year in almost a decade as the murder toll reached 134.

These statistics are appalling but they also tend to obfuscate even worse realisations. For example, how young those 30 murder victims are.

The reason I used The Sun’s article above rather than a more “respectable” mainstream media outlet is because it lists each of this year’s fatalities and gives their ages. Take a moment and scan down the list. Most of those murdered were 25 years old or younger.

When one looks at the probability of being stabbed in London, the “137 in 100,000” is not relevant if you are, say, an 18 year old. Clearly the risk is far greater for you and nearly everything an 18 year old would consider as being fun is likely to contribute to worsening that probability, such as going to a party, drinking in a bar, attending a music festival, walking home from a friend’s house at night, etc.

Bill’s Opinion

Things are likely to get far worse before London improves. The good news is that crime epidemics can be reversed in large global cities like London. New York in the 80s and 90s is the precedent for this.

However, it’s clear that the leadership is where the change starts. If your mayor is more interested at ranting on Twitter about his distaste for the President of the United States than, say, increasing visible policing, targeted stop and search, curfews for school age children, enforcing truancy laws, and generally being bothered about the rule of law, then don’t expect knife crime and other violence to reduce in a hurry.  

Alistair Williams has a good perspective on this;

Giving no quarter

This is a curious little report.

The United States has rejected more than 300 refugees under the Australia-US refugee deal, leaving the men in Australia’s offshore processing centres on Manus Island and Nauru.

That’s fair enough; I suppose, their borders, their border entry requirements.

What sort of percentage of these previously slam dunk new American residents were rejected?

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said the target of resettling 1250 refugees was not going to be met, hampering the Coalition’s goal of closing down the detention centres.

Crikey, that’s nearly a 25% rejection rate.

“I don’t think we’ll get there,” he said. “There’s been over 300 that have been rejected by the United States for various reasons. They will make decisions about who they will bring under their migration program.”

Various reasons“.

Any chance we, the taxpayer who funds these rejected applicants, could learn what those reasons might be?

Mr Dutton said there were 95 people who have either withdrawn from consideration or rejected an offer, 295 who were in the pipeline for approval and 531 who had been re-settled.

Withdrawn or rejected an offer of resettlement to the USA…. after an expensive and perilous journey across 2 continents and half an ocean followed by several years on an island in the middle of nowhere?

Is anyone else wondering why? A quick scan of the rest of the article would suggest that nobody else is interested in the details.

This is interesting though:

Under the deal, Australia would reportedly accept dozens of Central American refugees in exchange for those in the Australian offshore detention centres, but Mr Dutton said only two Rwandans accused of mass murder by the US had been re-settled in Australia. 

The pair were taken to the US more than a decade ago and charged with murdering eight people in a brutal 1999 machete attack in Uganda.

Wait, what?

“We don’t have plans to bring any others from America at this stage,” Mr Dutton told ABC’s Insiders on Sunday.

Oh, that’s ok then. Just the two accused of genocide then. Could someone please let me know what postcode they were relocated to?

He said the historical perspective and circumstances of the allegations needed to be taken into account as well as what has happened in the intervening period.

What does that even mean, do we think?

Because Australia doesn’t have many Tutsi these two accused murderers are not so likely to repeat their actions?

Or, over time, a mass murder event becomes less serious?

If you’re confused by Dutton’s statement, you’re not alone.

“That’s a different situation from someone who just sexually assaulted a girl on Manus in the last 12 months,” he said.”We aren’t bringing in people posing a risk.”

Excuse me if I’m unconvinced by that word salad.

In fact, I’m sure I read something similar from the Argentinian authorities in 1960 after Albert Eichman was captured.

Mr Dutton said the Australian Federal Police, Australian Security Intelligence Organisation and international partners would continue to vet asylum seekers and Australians returning from war-zones in Syria.

“They’re complex cases. We’ll look at them compassionately but realistically,” he said.

Right, but back to the arrangement with the USA; it would seem something came up in their vetting that didn’t in ours. Comparatively quickly too, given that these asylum seekers were on Nauru and Manus, under Australian Federal care for 4 or 5 years.

There’s more from Mr. Dutton:

“If we’re bringing teenagers back, for example, who may have been listening to the propaganda rhetoric, having watched horrific circumstances, bodies being mutilated, over a long period of time, what threat those individuals may pose to our country if they’re returned”

What, as opposed to two people accused of doing the killing?

Anyway, these two potential mass murderers aside, what about the nearly 25% rejected applicants? Why might the USA quickly deem them to be not the type of person to be admitted to their country?

Here’s another data point you might not be aware of or have forgotten, certainly the news report seems to have omitted it; the deal wasn’t contingent on the applicants being genuine asylum seekers under the UN definition, they only had to pass a basic safety vetting.

Bill’s Opinion

Why might someone sitting for years on Nauru or Manus withdraw from a chance to be relocated in America?

The Guardian suggests it’s because America is horrid to Muslims, because that’s what several of the asylum seekers told them. More horrid than half a decade on an isolated Pacific Island?

We seem to be missing quite a lot of relevant information here.

Why would the USA be able to determine someone isn’t suitable to be relocated in their country when Australia has been happy to keep that person housed, fed and Xbox’d to their heart’s content for years?

Again, we seem to be missing quite a lot of relevant information.

Incentives matter. The urgency to investigate and adjudicate on an asylum seeker’s case when they are living outside of the country to which they are applying is not as great as when they are potentially about to arrive on your shores.

As for withdrawing an apparently slam dunk application to America because of “Islamophobia“? Our razor suggests that’s unlikely to be the real reason; an explanation requiring fewer assumptions to be correct is that there is something in one’s past that, if or perhaps when discovered by the American authorities, would require you to answer a bunch of difficult questions.