A blog by Patrick Crozier

November 28, 2003

Random thoughts on Michael Howard - Part II
Patrick Crozier

Actually, not so random. This is mostly based on the party political broadcast (sort of political commercial) that the Conservatives put out last night. He actually talked about Tax Freedom Day. Yes, that's the idea first put out by those nutters at the Adam Smith Institute.

That takes balls. Frankly, since taking over as Conservative Party, Howard has played a blinder. He's sorting out policy, he's sorting out the organisation and he's even giving Tony Blair a run for his money in debate.

Politics is getting very interesting.

November 24, 2003

Arsenal's disciplinary record
Patrick Crozier

I had often wondered whether oft-repeated remarks like: "Arsenal have had X number [where X is a big number] of red cards since Arsene Wenger took over." were a statement of truth or just a sign of sour grapes but the truth comes to us via the Times. In terms of games per red card, Arsenal do indeed have a bad record, one far, far worse than any other side in the Premiership.

November 23, 2003

The shops of the future
Patrick Crozier

A thing occurred to me after reading what I'd written over on Transport Blog. What I'd done was see something in W H Smith but it had never occurred to me that I'd ever do anything other than buy it on Amazon. I presume this sort of thinking applies to rather a lot of people. If so, then it would seem that the shop as we know it is doomed. But if that is the case then how are we to encounter those products that we want to see in the flesh before we buy? Could the shop of the future turn out to be a Tupperware party?

The lurch to the right
Patrick Crozier

Peter Cuthbertson says:

As Rupert Darwall has said, the political spectrum is not symmetrical. Socialism doesn't work; free markets do. Liberalism on criminality fails; toughness works. Going against the grain of human responsibilities and nature's incentives ensures mayhem; going with the grain means order. Ordinary voters are possessive of a lot more common sense than conservatives are often prone to give them credit, and they can see many of these things. That is why just about every time power has changed hands in the last four decades, Labour has entered government by moving to the right, and the Tories have entered government by moving to the ... right.
November 18, 2003

CrozierVision welcomes President and Mrs Bush to the United Kingdom
Patrick Crozier



We hope you have a super time.

November 05, 2003

Charles Murray does it again
Patrick Crozier

Charles Murray (of Bell Curve fame) has written a new book. Richard Morrison reviews it in the Times:

His target this time is the overwhelming consensus among liberal intellectuals that “the West” — or, more specifically, a time-honoured canon of “great works” by Dead White European Males — has dominated educational curriculums and cultural programming for far too long, and that it is time for all the world’s major cultures to be given equal attention. Wrong, wrong, wrong, says Murray. We should continue to lavish most of our scholarly energies on Dead White Males because they were responsible for “97 per cent” of all human progress.

He is marginally less sweeping in his generalisations about the arts, but even here his assertions are jolting. The West, he says, has produced “834 significant literary figures”, compared with “82, 83, 43 and 85 from the Arab world, China, India and Japan respectively”. And when he says “the West”, what he really means is Western Europe. He maintains that 72 per cent of all “significant figures” in the arts and sciences betweeen 1400 and 1950 came from four countries, what we now know as Britain, France, Germany and Italy.

It's about time someone came out and said it. But it's not all good news:

“European culture as we know it will exist by the turn of the century”. Our trouble, he contends, is that we have lost faith — literally. Christianity was what made Europe tick intellectually.

After this Morrison's review descends into trivialities. The crux (to me) is what Murray says about Christianity. You see, I am an atheist. I simply cannot believe in a God. But I do believe in the greatness of Western civilization. But what if one begat the other - then what? It hardly bears thinking about.

November 04, 2003

How much do you need to “know” when you can google?
Patrick Crozier

The Catallarchy crowd pick up on a quote (from of all places, Crooked Timber).

November 03, 2003

CrozierVision Quote of the Day
Patrick Crozier

"People on the Left had an apoplectic, animalistic hatred of Margaret Thatcher. Look at the way the first woman prime minister was denied an honorary degree by a pack of Left-wing laboratory assistants and other riff-raff from the grovelling bowels of Oxford University."

Paul Johnson in the Telegraph.

November 02, 2003

Random thoughts on Michael Howard - Part I
Patrick Crozier

The apparent elevation by acclamation of Michael Howard to the leadership of the Conservative Party is thought provoking to say the least. At present these thoughts (at least to me) are coming thick and fast but not necessarily in any particular order - so this post, and the ones that follow (if indeed they do) may seem a bit like a stream of conciousness.

Framing the question. The questions that matter are: will he win the next general election; if he does, will he be any good, and, if he doesn't, will he be any good for the Conservative Party?

Playing to the public. I find him grating. My mum thinks he's fantastic. This is probably good news (for him). I am amazed he's still around. I thought that he was finished after the Paxman interview (the one in which he was asked the same question 14 times). The thing that really struck me about that interview was how he allowed himself to be stitched up so easily. But the man's got staying power. Ken Clarke was elected to Parliament in 1970. It took Howard another 13 years and 40 rejections.

He's clean. Anyone who can be in high office through the Major years and not be caught up in a scandal ought to be a candidate for cannonization.

He's not particularly ideological. Which I think is bad news. For years I have felt that what the Conservative Party desperately needs is to define itself. What it is and what it isn't. Maybe I'm wrong.

Unity in the Conservative Party? Amazing.

The return of the Magic Circle. Up until the 1960s for as long as anyone could remember the leader of the Conservative Party was selected by "the Magic Circle" - an informal collection of high-ups who, through a process of late night chats and horse-trading eventually came up with a name. The wider party was very definitely not part of the process. For the last 40 years the Conservative Party has experimented with a variety of more democratic alternatives. Now it finally seems to have reverted to what it knows best.

Oh the irony. Hacks will remember how in 1997 Howard was on the verge of cutting a deal with William Hague in which he [Howard] would become leader. At the last minute Hague backed out and stood himself. If only it had been the other way round...

Brian was right. I'm pretty sure that Brian Micklethwait has said what he said on Samizdata before ie that once the Conservative Party sniffed Labour blood then they would unite and get themselves a decent leader.

The curious disappearance of the Tory left. In the 1990 leadership election all the candidates were from the left. Where are they in 2003? It is quite astonishing how the European issue has ceased to be devisive. I really thought that it would only ever be resolved by a bloodbath. What happened?

Don't trust statistics. In the Telegraph today, Howard is making much of the 18% reduction in crime which took place while he was Home Secretary. Unfortunately, he's missing the point. As with so many other things, crime is what you feel. I don't remember feeling that much safer in 1997 than I had in 1993. It's the feeling that counts.