Saturday, 27 August 2016


"Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie' until you can find a rock."
Will Rogers

*  Diplomacy: the art of restraining power.
- Henry A. Kissinger

* All war represents a failure of diplomacy.
Tony Benn

* In The World Of Diplomacy, Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid.

*  To say nothing, especially when speaking, is half the art of diplomacy.
Will Durant

* Part Of Diplomacy Is To Open Different Definitions Of Self Interest

Hillary Clinton

*  The principle of give and take is the principle of diplomacy — give one and take ten
Mark Twain

*   "Speak softly and carry a big stick"
Teddy Roosevelt
 (Big Stick Diplomacy - Roosevelt's foreign policy)

 'Diplomacy is the art of telling people to go to hell in such a way that they ask for directions.'  
Winston S. Churchill

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

The Kandinsky Effect ( ART)

 The Kandinsky Effect  

David Lloyd George attacks the vested interests of landowners and landlords.

 “Their day of reckoning is at hand”
David Lloyd George's speech,1909.
David Lloyd George attacks the vested interests of landowners and landlords.
(  From left: Dame Margaret Lloyd George, Prime Minister David Lloyd George, Sir Winston Churchill (The war time PM) and Sir William Henry Clark on budget day, 1908.) 

A few months ago a meeting was held not far from this hall in the heart of the City of London, demanding that the Government should launch into enormous expenditure on the Navy. That meeting ended up with a resolution promising that those who passed the resolution would give financial support to the Government in their undertaking. There have been two or three meetings held in the City of London since, attended by the same class of people but not ending up with a resolution promising to pay. On the contrary, we are spending the money, but they wont pay. What has happened since to alter their tone? Simply that we have sent in the bill. We started our four Dreadnoughts. They cost eight millions of money. We promised them four more. They cost another eight millions.

Somebody has got to pay; and then these gentlemen say: Perfectly true; somebody has got to pay but we would rather that somebody were somebody else. We started building; we wanted money to pay for the building; so we sent the hat round. We sent it round amongst the workmen and winders of Derbyshire and Yorkshire, the weavers of High Peak and the Scotsmen of Dumfries who, like all their countrymen, know the value of money. They all dropped in their coppers. We went round Belgravia; and there has been such a howl ever since that it has completely deafened us.

Taxes that will bring forth fruit

But they say 'It is not so much the Dreadnoughts we object to; it is Pensions'. If they objected to Pensions, why did they promise them? They won elections on the strength of their promises. It is true they never carried them out. Deception is always a pretty contemptible vice, but to deceive the poor is the meanest of all. But they say, 'When we promised Pensions, we meant Pensions at the expense of people for whom they were provided. We simply meant to bring in a Bill to compel workmen to contribute to their own Pensions'. If that is what they meant why did they not say so? The Budget, as your Chairman has already so well reminded you, is introduced not merely for the purpose of raising barren taxes, but taxes that are fertile, taxes that will bring forth fruit - the security of the country, which is paramount in the minds of all. The provision for the aged and deserving poor - it was time it was done. It is rather a shame for a rich country like ours - probably the richest in the world, if not the richest the world has ever seen, that it should allow those who have toiled all their days to end in penury and possibly starvation. It is rather hard that an old workman should have to find his way to the gates of the tomb, bleeding and footsore, through the brambles and thorns of poverty. We cut a new path for him, an easier one, a pleasanter one, through fields of waving corn. We are raising money to pay for the new road, aye, and to widen it, so that 200,000 paupers shall be able to join in the march. There are so many in the country blessed by Providence with great wealth, and if there are amongst them men who grudge out of their riches a fair contribution towards the less fortunate of their fellow-countrymen they are very shabby rich men. We propose to do more by means of the Budget. We are raising money to provide against the evils and the sufferings that follow from unemployment. We are raising money for the purpose of assisting our great friendly societies to provide for the sick and the widows and orphans. We are providing money to enable us to develop the resources of our own land. I do not believe any fair-minded man would challenge the justice and the fairness of the objects which we have in view in raising this money.

But there are some of them who say, 'The taxes themselves are unjust, unfair, unequal, oppressive notably so the land taxes'. They are engaged, not merely in the House of Commons, but outside the House of Commons, in assailing these taxes with a concentrated and sustained ferocity which will not allow even a comma to escape with its life. Now, are these taxes really so wicked? Let us examine them; because it is perfectly clear that the one part of the Budget that attracts all the hostility and animosity is that part which deals with the taxation of land. Well, now let us examine it. I do not want you to consider merely abstract principles. I want to invite your attention to a number of concrete cases; fair samples to show you how in these concrete illustrations our Budget proposals work. Now let us take them. Let us take first of all the tax on undeveloped land and on increment.

The fraud of the few and the folly of the many

Not far from here, not so many years ago, between the Lea and the Thames you had hundreds of acres of land which was not very useful even for agricultural purposes. In the main it was a sodden marsh. The commerce and the trade of London increased under Free Trade, the tonnage of your shipping went up by hundreds of thousands of tons and by millions; labour was attracted from all parts of the country to cope with all this trade and business which was done here. What happened? There was no housing accommodation. This Port of London became overcrowded, and the population overflowed. That was the opportunity of the owners of the marsh. All that land became valuable building land, and land which used to be rented at £2 or £3 an acre has been selling within the last few years at £2,000 an acre, £3,000 an acre, £6,000 an acre, £8,000 an acre. Who created that increment? Who made that golden swamp? Was it the landlord? Was it his energy? Was it his brains - a very bad look out for the place if it were - his forethought? It was purely the combined efforts of all the people engaged in the trade and commerce of the Port of London - trader, merchant, shipowner, dock labourer, workman, everybody except the landlord. Now, you follow that transaction. Land worth £2 or £3 an acre running up to thousands.

During the time it was ripening the landlord was paying his rates and taxes, not on £2 or £3 an acre. It was agricultural land, and because it was agricultural land a munificent Tory Government voted a sum of two millions to pay half the rates of those poor distressed landlords, and you and I had to pay taxes in order to enable those landlords to pay half their rates on agricultural land, while it was going up every year by hundreds of pounds through your efforts and the efforts of your neighbours. Well, now, that is coming to an end. On the walls of Mr Balfour's meeting last Friday were the words: 'We protect against fraud and folly. So do I. These things I am gong to tell you of have only been possible up to the present through the fraud of the few and the folly of the many'.

We mean to value all the land in the kingdom

Now, what is going to happen in the future? In future those landlords will have to contribute to the taxation of the country on the basis of the real value - only one halfpenny in the pound! Only a halfpenny! And that is what all the howling is about. But there is another little tax called the increment tax. For the future what will happen? We mean to value all the land in the kingdom. And here you can draw no distinction between agricultural land and other land, for the simple reason that East and West Ham was agricultural land a few years ago! And if land goes up in the future by hundreds and thousands an acre through the efforts of the community, the community will get 20 per cent. of that increment. Ah! What a misfortune it is that there was not a Chancellor of the Exchequer who did this thirty years ago. Only thirty years ago, and we should now be enjoying an abundant revenue from this source.

Now I have given you West Ham. Let me give you a few more cases. Take cases like Golders Green and other cases of similar kind where the value of land has gone up in the course, perhaps, of a couple of years through a new tramway or a new railway being opened. Golders Green is a case in point. A few years ago there was a plot of land there which was sold at £160. Last year I went and opened a Tube railway there.

What was the result? This year that very piece of land has been sold for £2,100 - £160 before the railway was opened - before I was there - £2,100 now. I am entitled to 20 per cent. Now there are many cases where landlords take advantage of the exigencies of commerce and of industry - take advantage of the needs of municipalities and even of national needs and of the monopoly which they have got in land in a particular neighbourhood in order to demand extortionate prices. Take the very well known case of the Duke of Northumberland when a County Council wanted to buy a small plot of land as a site for a school to train the children, who in due course would become the men labouring on his property. The rent was quite an insignificant thing.

His contribution to the rates - I forget - I think it was on the basis of 30s. an acre. What did he demand for it for a school? £900 an acre. All we say is this - Mr Buxton and I say - if it is worth £900, let him pay taxes on £900.

There are several of these cases that I want to give to you. Take the town of Bootle, a town created very much in the same way as these towns in the East of London - purely by the commerce of Liverpool. In 1879, the rates of Bootle were £9,000 a year - the ground rents were £10,000 - so that the landlord was receiving more from the industry of the community than all the rates derived by the municipality for the benefit of the town.

In 1898 the rates had gone up to £94,000 a year - for improving the place, constructing roads, laying out parks and extending lighting and opening up the place. But the ground landlord was receiving in ground rents £100,000. It is time that he should pay for this value. A case was given me from Richmond which is very interesting. The Town Council of Richmond recently built some workmen's cottages under a housing scheme. The land appeared on the rate-book as of the value of £4, and being agricultural the landlord paid only half the rates, and you and I paid the rest for him. It is situated on the extreme edge of the borough, therefore not very accessible, and the Town Council naturally thought they would get it cheap. But they did not know their landlord. They had to pay £2,000 an acre for it. The result is that instead of having a good housing scheme with plenty of gardens and open space, plenty of breathing space, plenty of room for the workmen at the end of their days, forty cottages had to be crowded on two acres. Now if the land had been valued at its true value, the landlord would have been at any rate contributing his fair share of the public revenue, and it is just conceivable that he might have been driven to sell at a more reasonable price.

I do not want to weary you with these cases. But I could give you many. I am a member of a Welsh County Council, and landlords even in Wales are not more reasonable. The police committee the other day wanted a site for a police station. Well, you might have imagined that if a landlord sold land cheaply for anything it would have been for a police station. The housing of the working classes that is a different matter. But a police station means security for property.

Not at all. The total population of Carnarvonshire is not as much - I am not sure it is as great - as the population of Limehouse alone. It is a scattered area; no great crowded populations there. And yet they demanded for a piece of land which was contributing 2s. a year to the rates, £2,500 an acre! All we say is, If their land is as valuable as all that, let it have the same value in the assessment book as it seems to possess in the auction-room. There are no end of these cases.

There was case from Greenock the other day. The Admiralty wanted a torpedo range. Here was an opportunity for patriotism! These are the men who want an efficient Navy to protect our shores, and the Admiralty state that one element in efficiency is straight shooting, and say: We want a range for practice for torpedoes on the coast of Scotland. There was a piece of land there. It was rated at something like £11 10s. a year. They went to the landlord - they had to pay for it - well now, just you guess, whilst I am finding it out. It had a rating value of £11 2s., and it was sold to the nation for £27,225. And these are the gentlemen who accuse us of robbery and spoliation! Now all we say is this: In future you must pay one halfpenny in the pound on the real value of your land.

In addition to that, if the value goes up - not owing to your efforts - if you spend money on improving it we will give you credit for it - but if it goes up owing to the industry and the energy of the people living in that locality, one-fifth of that increment shall in future be taken as a toll by the State. They say: Why should you tax this increment on landlords and not on other classes of the community? They say: You are taxing the landlord because the value of his property is going up through the growth of population, through the increased prosperity for the community. Does not the value of a doctor's business go up in the same way?

The landlord is a gentleman who does not earn his wealth

Ah, fancy their comparing themselves for a moment! What is the landlord's increment?

Who is the landlord? The landlord is a gentleman - I have not a word to say about him in his personal capacity - the landlord is a gentleman who does not earn his wealth. He does not even take the trouble to receive his wealth. He has a host of agents and clerks to receive it for him. He does not even take the trouble to spend his wealth. He has a host of people around him to do the actual spending for him. He never sees it until he comes to enjoy it. His sole function, his chief pride, is stately consumption of wealth produced by others. What about the doctor's income? How does the doctor earn his income? The doctor is a man who visits our homes when they are darkened with the shadow of death: who, by his skill, his trained courage, his genius, wrings hope out of the grip of despair, wins life out of the fangs of the Great Destroyer. All blessings upon him and his divine art of healing that mends bruised bodies and anxious hearts. To compare the reward which he gets for that labour with the wealth which pours into the pockets of the landlord purely owing to the possession of his monopoly is a piece - if they will forgive me for saying so - of insolence which no intelligent man would tolerate. Now that is the halfpenny tax on unearned increment.

This system is not business, it is blackmail

Now I come to the reversion tax. What is the reversion tax? You have got a system in the country which is not tolerated in any other country of the world, except, I believe, Turkey; the system whereby landlords take advantage of the fact that they have got complete control over the land to let it for a term of years, spend money upon it in building, in developing it. You improve the building, and year by year the value passes into the pockets of the landlord, and at the end of sixty, seventy, eighty or ninety years the whole of it passes away to the pockets of a man who never spent a penny upon it. In Scotland they have a system of nine hundred and ninety-nine years lease. The Scotsmen have a very shrewd idea that at the end of nine hundred and ninety-nine years there will probably be a better land system in existence, and they are prepared to take their chance of the millennium coming round by that time. But in this country we have sixty years leases. I know districts - quarry districts in Wales where a little bit of barren rock where you could not feed a goat, where the landlord could not get a shilling an acre for agricultural rent, is let to quarrymen for the purpose of building houses, where 30s or £2 a house is charged for ground rent. The quarryman builds his house. He goes to a building society to borrow money. He pays out of his hard-earned weekly wage contributions to the building society for ten, twenty or thirty years. By the time he becomes an old man he has cleared off the mortgage, and more than half the value of the house has passed into the pockets of the landlord.

You have got cases in London here. There is the famous Gorringe case. In that case advantage was taken of the fact that a man has built up a great business, and they say: Here you are, you have built up a great business, you cannot take it away; you cannot move to other premises because your trade and goodwill are here; your lease is coming to an end, and we decline to renew it except on the most oppressive terms.

The Gorringe case is a very famous case. It was the case of the Duke of Westminster. Oh, these dukes, how they harass us! Mr Gorringe had got a lease of the premises at a few hundred pounds a year ground rent. He built up a great business there. He was a very able business man, and when the end of the lease came he went to the Duke of Westminster, and he said: Will you renew my lease? I want to carry on my business here. He said: Oh yes, I will; but I will do it on condition than the few hundreds a year you pay for ground rent shall in the future be £4,000 a year. In addition to that he had to pay a fine - a fine, mind you! - of £50,000, and he had to build up huge premises at enormous expense according to plans submitted to the Duke of Westminster. All I can say to this - if it is confiscation and robbery for us to say to that duke, being in need of money for public purposes, we will take 10 per cent. of all you have got, for that purpose, what would you call his taking nine-tenths from Mr Gorringe?

These are the cases we have got to deal with. Look at all this leasehold system. This system - it is the system I am attacking, not individuals - is not business, it is blackmail. I have no doubt some of you have taken the trouble to peruse some of these leases, and they are really worth reading, and I will guarantee that if you circulate copies of some of these building and mining leases at Tariff Reform meetings, and if you can get workmen at those meetings and the business men to read them, they will come away sadder but much wiser men. What are they? Ground rent is a part of it - fines, fees; you are to make no alteration without somebody's consent. Who is that somebody? It is the agent of the landlord. A fee to him. You must submit the plans to the landlords architect and get his consent. There is a fee to him. There is a fee to the surveyor; and then, of course, you cannot keep the lawyer out - he always comes in. And a fee to him. Well, that is the system, and the landlords come to us in the House of Commons and they say: If you go on taxing reversions we will grant no more leases? Is not that horrible? No more leases! No more kindly landlords with all their retinue of good fairies - agents, surveyors, lawyers - ready always to receive ground rents, fees, premiums, fines, reversions - no more, never again! They will not do it. We cannot persuade them. They wont have it. The landlord has threatened us that if we proceed with the Budget he will take his sack clean away from the hopper, and the grain which we are all grinding our best to fill his sack will go into our own. Oh, I cannot believe it.

There is a limit even to the wrath of outraged landlords. We must really appease them; we must offer up some sacrifice to them. Suppose we offer the House of Lords to them? Well, you seem rather to agree with that. I will make the suggestion to them.

I say their day of reckoning is at hand

Now, unless I am wearying you, I have just one other land tax, and that is a tax on royalties. The landlords are receiving eight millions a year by way of royalties.

What for? They never deposited the coal there. It was not they who planted these great granite rocks in Wales, who laid the foundations of the mountains.

Was it the landlord? And yet he, by some divine right, demands as his toll - for merely the right for men to risk their lives in hewing these rocks - eight millions a year. Take any coalfield. I went down to a coalfield the other day, and they pointed out to me many collieries there. They said: 'You see that colliery there. The first man who went there spent a quarter of a million in sinking shafts, in driving mains and levels. He never got coal, and he lost his quarter of a million. The second man who came spent 100,000 - and he failed. The third man came along, and he got the coal'. What was the landlord doing in the meantime. The first man failed; but the landlord got his royalty, the landlord got his dead-rent - and a very good name for it. The second man failed, but the landlord got his royalty.

These capitalists put their money in, and I said: 'When the cash failed what did the landlord put in?' He simply put in the bailiffs. The capitalist risks, at any rate, the whole of his money; the engineer puts his brains in; the miner risks his life.

I was telling you I went down a coalmine the other day. We sank into a pit half a mile deep. We then walked underneath the mountain, and we did about three-quarters of a mile with rock and shale above us. The earth seemed to be straining - around us and above us - to crush us in.

You could see the pit-props bent and twisted and sundered until you saw their fibres split in resisting the pressure. Sometimes they give way, and then there is mutilation and death. Often a spark ignites, the whole pit is deluged in fire, and the breath of life is scorched out of hundreds of breasts by the consuming flame. In the very next colliery to the one I descended just a few years ago three hundred people lost their lives in that way. And yet when the Prime Minister and I knock at the door of these great landlords, and say to them: 'Here, you know these poor fellows who have been digging up royalties at the risk of their lives, some of them are old, they have survived the perils of their trade, they are broken, they can earn no more. Wont you give them something towards keeping them out of the workhouse?' they scowl at us, and we say: 'Only a hapenny, just a copper'. They say: 'You thieves!' and they turn their dogs on to us, and you can hear their bark every morning. If this is an indication of the view taken by these great landlords of their responsibility to the people who at the risk of life create their wealth, then I say their day of reckoning is at hand.

The other day at the great Tory meeting held at the Cannon Street Hotel they had blazoned on the walls, 'We protest against the Budget in the name of democracy, liberty and justice'. Where does the democracy come in in this landed system? Where is the liberty in our leasehold system? Where is the seat of justice in all these transactions?

The ownership of land is not merely an enjoyment, it is a stewardship

I claim that the tax we impose on land is fair, is just and is moderate. They go on threatening that if we proceed, they will cut down their benefactions and discharge labour. What kind of labour? What is the labour they are going to choose for dismissal? Are they going to threaten to devastate rural England by feeding and dressing themselves? Are they going to reduce their gamekeepers? Ah, that would be sad! The agricultural labourer and the farmer might then have some part of the game which they fatten with their labour. But what would happen to you in the season? No week-end shooting with the Duke of Norfolk or anyone.

But that is not the kind of labour they are going to cut down. They are going to cut down productive labour - their builders and their gardeners - and they are going to ruin their property so that it shall not be taxed.

All I can say is this - the ownership of land is not merely an enjoyment, it is a stewardship. It has been reckoned as such in the past; and if they cease to discharge their functions, the security and defence of the country, looking after the broken in their villages and in their neighbourhoods then these functions which are part of the traditional duties attached to the ownership of land, and which have given to it its title - if they cease to discharge those functions, the time will come to reconsider the conditions under which the land is held in this country.

No country, however rich, can permanently afford to have quartered upon its revenue a class which declines to do the duty which it was called upon to perform since the beginning. And, therefore, it is one of the prime duties of statesmanship to investigate those conditions. But I do not believe it. They have threatened and menaced like that before. They have seen it is not to their interest to carry out these futile menaces. They are not protesting against paying their fair share of taxation of the land, and they are doing so by saying: 'You are burdening industry; you are putting burdens upon the people which they cannot bear'. Ah! They are not thinking of themselves. Noble souls! It is not the great dukes they are feeling for, it is the market gardener, it is the builder; and it was, until recently, the smallholder. In every debate in the House of Commons they said: 'We are not worrying for ourselves. We can afford it without broad acres; but just think of the little man who has only got a few acres'. And we were so very impressed with this tearful appeal that at last we said: We will leave him out. And I almost expected to see Mr Pretyman jump over the table when I said it, fall on my neck and embrace me. Instead of that he stiffened up, his face wreathed with anger, and he said: 'The Budget is more unjust than ever'.

We are placing burdens on the broadest shoulders. Why should I put burdens on the people? I am one of the children of the people. I was brought up amongst them. I know their trials; and God forbid that I should add one grain of trouble to the anxieties which they bear with such patience and fortitude. When the Prime Minister did me the honour of inviting me to take charge of the National Exchequer at a time of great difficulty, I made up my mind, in framing the Budget which was in front of me, that at any rate no cupboard should be barer, no lot would be harder. By that test I challenge them to judge the Budget.

Lessons of European Union; The Costs and Benefits of Leaving ( K. S)

Sunday, 21 August 2016

‘Freedom of Speech’ and ‘Freedom of the Press’.

 CHARLES JAMES FOX; on ‘Freedom of Speech’ and ‘Freedom of the Press’.

Our government is valuable, because it is free.  What, I beg gentlemen to ask themselves, are the fundamental parts of a free government?  I know there is a difference of opinion upon this subject.  My own opinion is, that freedom does not depend upon the executive government, nor upon the administration of justice, nor upon any one particular or distinct part, nor even upon forms so much as it does on the general freedom of speech and of writing.  With regard to freedom of speech, the bill before the House is a direct attack upon that freedom.
No man dreads the use of a universal proposition more than I do myself.  I must nevertheless say, that speech ought to be completely free, without any restraint whatever, in any government pretending to be free.  By being completely free, I do not mean that a person should not be liable to punishment for abusing that freedom, but I mean freedom in the first instance.  The press is so at present, and I rejoice it is so;  what I mean is, that any man may write and print what he pleases, although he is liable to be punished, if he abuses that freedom; this I call perfect freedom in the first instance.  If this is necessary with regard to the press, it is still more so with regard to speech.  An imprimatur has been talked of, and it will be dreadful enough; but a dictator will be still more horrible.  No man has been daring enough to say, that the press should not be free:  but the bill before them does not, indeed, punish a man for speaking, it prevents him from speaking.  For my own part, I never heard of any danger arising to a free state from the freedom of the press, or freedom of speech; so far from it, I am perfectly clear that a free state cannot exist without both.  The honourable and learned gentleman has said, will we not preserve the remainder by giving up this liberty?  I admit that, by passing of the bill, the people will have lost a great deal.

A great deal!  Aye,all that is worth preserving.  For you will have lost the spirit, the fire, the freedom, the boldness, the energy of the British character, and with them its best virtue.  I say, it is not the written law of the constitution of England, it is not the law that is to be found in books, that has constituted the true principle of freedom in any country, at any time.  no!  it is the energy, the boldness of a man’s mind, which prompts him to speak, not in private, but in large and popular assemblies, that constitutes, that creates, in a state, the spirit of freedom.  This is the principle that gives life to freedom; without, the human character is a stranger to freedom. If you suffer the liberty of speech to be wrested from you, you will then have lost the freedom, the energy, the boldness of the British character.  It has been said, that the right honourable gentleman rose to his present eminence by the influence of the popular favour, and that he is now kicking away the ladder by which he mounted to power.  Whether such was the mode by which the right honourable gentleman attained his present situation I am a little inclined to question; but I can have no doubt that if the bill shall pass, England herself will have thrown away the ladder, by which she as risen to wealth (but that is the last consideration), to honour, to happiness, and to fame.  Along with enrgy of thinking and liberty of speech, she will forfeit the comforts of her situation, and the dignity of her character, those blessings which they have secured to her at home, and the rank by which she has been distinguished among the nations.  These were the sources of her splendour, and the foundation of her greatness–

…Sic fortis Etruria crevit, Scilicet et rerum facta est pulcherrima Roma.

(translation:  ‘Thus Etruria grew strong, and Rome became the most glorious thing on earth’)

We need only appeal to the example of that great city whose prosperity the poet has thus recorded.  in Rome, when the liberty of speech was gone, along with it vanished all that had constituted her the mistress of the world.  I doubt not but in the days of Augustus that were persons who perceived no symptoms of decay, who exulted even in their fancied prosperity, when they contemplated the increasing opulence and splendid edifices of that grand metropolis, and who even deemed that they possessed their ancient liberty, because they still retained those titles of offices which had existed under the republic.  What fine panegyrics were then pronounced on the prosperity of the empire! –Tum tutus bos prata perambulat (translation:  ‘For safe the herds range field and fen’)

This was flattery to Augustus: to that great destroyer of the liberties of mankind, as much and enemy of freedom, as any of the detestable tyrants who succeeded him.  So with us, we are to be flattered with an account of the form of our government, by King, Lords, and Commons – Eadem magistratum vocabula(translation: ‘At home all was quiet; the titles of the magistrates were unchanged.’)

There were some then, as there are now, who said that the energy of Rome was not gone; while they felt their vanity gratified in viewing their city; which had been converted from brick into marble.  They did not reflect that they had lost that spirit of manly independence which animated the Romans of better times, and that the beauty and splendour of their city served only to conceal the symptoms of rottenness and decay.  So if this bill passes you may for a time retain your institution of juries and the forms of your free Constitution, but the substance is gone, the foundation is undermined; –your fall is certain and your destruction inevitable.  As a tree that is injured at the root and the bark taken off, the branches may live for a while, some sort of blossom may still remain; but it will soon wither, decay, and perish: so take away the freedom of speech or of writing, and the foundation of all your freedom is gone.  You will then fall, and be degraded and despised by all the world for your weakness and your folly, in not taking care of that which conducted you to all your fame, your greatness, your opulence, and prosperity.  but before this happens, let the people once more be tried.  I am a friend to taking the sense of the people, and therefore a friend to this motion.  i wish for every delay that is possible in this important and alarming business.  I wish for this adjournment – Spatium requiemque furor (translation: ‘My prayer is for a transient grace, to give this madness breathing space.’)

Let us put a stop to the madness of this bill; for if you pass it, you will take away the foundation of the liberty of the people of England, and then farewell to any happiness in this country!

Friday, 19 August 2016

My friend and I :)))

My friend and I and the Moto :)))

This is not a love song! OK? :((( -;)))))))

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

The letter of the seer by Arthur Rimbaud

 Letters of the Seer; From Arthur Rimbaud to Georges Izambard. 
(Charleville, 13 May 1871)

Cher Monsieur!

You are a teacher again. You have told me we owe a duty to Society. You belong to the teaching body: you move along in the right track. I also follow the principle: cynically I am having myself kept. I dig up old imbeciles from school: I serve them with whatever I can invent that is stupid, filthy, mean in acts and words. They pay me in beer and liquor.  . — My duty is to Society, that is true–and I am right. — You too are right, for now. In reality, all you see in your principle is subjective poetry: your obstinacy in reaching the university through–excuse me–proves this. But you will always end up a self-satisfied man who has done nothing because he wanted to do nothing. Not to mention that your subjective poetry will always be horribly insipid. One day, I hope–many others hope the same thing–I will see objective poetry according to your principle, I will see it more sincerely than you would! I will be a worker: this idea holds me back when mad anger drives me toward the battle of Paris–where so many workers are dying as I write to you! Work now?–never, never, I am on strike.

Now, I am degrading myself as much as possible. Why? I want to be a poet, and I am working to make myself a seer: you will not understand this, and I don’t know how to explain it to you. It is a questioning of reaching the unknown by the derangement of all the senses. The sufferings are enormous, but one has to be strong, one has to be born a poet, and I know I am a poet. This is not at all my fault. It is wrong to say: I think. One ought to say: people think me. Pardon the pun.

I is someone else. It is too bad for the wood which finds itself a violin and scorn for the heedless who argue over what they are totally ignorant of!

You are not a teacher for me. I give you this: is it satire, as you would say? Is it poetry? Is it fantasy, always. — But I beg you, do not underline it with your pencil or too much with your thought:

Warm greetings,

Letters of the Seer; From Arthur Rimbaud to Paul Demeny. 
 (Charleville, 15 mai 1871)

‘Romanticism has never been properly judged. Who could judge it? The Critics! The Romantics! Who prove so clearly that the singer is so seldom the work, that’s to say the idea sung and intended by the singer.

For I is another. If the brass wakes the trumpet, it’s not its fault. That’s obvious to me: I witness the unfolding of my own thought: I watch it, I hear it: I make a stroke with the bow: the symphony begins in the depths, or springs with a bound onto the stage.

If the old imbeciles hadn’t discovered only the false significance of Self, we wouldn’t have to now sweep away those millions of skeletons which have been piling up the products of their one-eyed intellect since time immemorial, and claiming themselves to be their authors!

In Greece, as I say, verse and lyre took rhythm from Action. Afterwards, music and rhyme are a game, a pastime. The study of the past charms the curious: many of them delight in reviving these antiquities: – that’s up to them. The universal intelligence has always thrown out its ideas naturally: men gathered a part of these fruits of the mind: they acted them out, they wrote books by means of them: so it progressed, men not working on themselves, either not being awake, or not yet in the fullness of the great dream. Civil-servants – writers: author; creator, poet: that man has never existed!

The first study for the man that wants to be a poet is true complete knowledge of himself: he looks for his soul; examines it, tests it, learns it. As soon as he knows it, he must develop it! That seems simple: a natural development takes place in every brain: so many egoists proclaim themselves authors: there are plenty of others who attribute their intellectual progress to themselves! – But the soul must be made monstrous: after the fashion of the comprachicos, yes! Imagine a man planting and cultivating warts on his face.

I say one must be a seer, make oneself a seer.

The Poet makes himself a seer by a long, rational and immense disordering of all the senses. All forms of love, suffering, madness: he searches himself; he consumes all the poisons in himself, to keep only their quintessence. Unspeakable torture, where he needs all his faith, every superhuman strength, during which he becomes the great patient, the great criminal, the great accursed – and the supreme Knower, among men! – Because he arrives at the unknown! Because he has cultivated his soul, already rich, more than others! He arrives at the unknown, and when, maddened, he ends up by losing the knowledge of his visions: he has still seen them! Let him die charging among those unutterable, unnameable things: other fearful workers will come: they’ll start from the horizons where the first have fallen! ...............

I’ll go on:

So the poet is truly the thief of fire, then.

He is responsible for humanity, even for the animals: he must make his inventions smelt, felt, heard: if what he brings back from down there has form, he grants form: if it’s formless he grants formlessness. To find a language – for that matter, all words being ideas, the age of a universal language will come! It is necessary to be an academic – deader than a fossil – to perfect a dictionary of any language at all. The weak-minded thinking about the first letter of the alphabet would soon rush into madness!

This language will be of the soul for the soul, containing everything, scents, sounds, colours, thought attaching to thought and pulling. The poet would define the quantity of the unknown, awakening in the universal soul in his time: he would give more than the formulation of his thought, the measurement of his march towards progress! An enormity become the norm, absorbed by all, he would truly be an enhancer of progress!

This future will be materialistic, you see. – Always filled with Number and Harmony, these poems will be made to last. – At heart, it will be a little like Greek poetry again.

Eternal art will have its function, since poets are citizens. Poetry will no longer take its rhythm from action: it will be ahead of it!

These poets will exist! When woman’s endless servitude is broken, when she lives for and through herself, when man – previously abominable – has granted her freedom, she too will be a poet! Women will discover the unknown! Will her world of ideas differ from ours? – She will discover strange things, unfathomable; repulsive, delicious: we will take them to us, we will understand them.

Meanwhile, let us demand new things from the poets - ideas and forms. All the clever ones will think they can easily satisfy this demand: that’s not so! ....

A Season in Hell, by Arthur Rimbaud

A Season in Hell is an extended poem in prose written in 1873 by Arthur Rimbaud.

* * *
Once, if my memory serves me well, my life was a banquet where every heart revealed itself, where every wine flowed.

One evening I took Beauty in my arms - and I thought her bitter - and I insulted her.

I steeled myself against justice.

I fled. O witches, O misery, O hate, my treasure was left in your care!

I have withered within me all human hope. With the silent leap of a sullen beast, I have downed and strangled every joy.

I have called for executioners; I want to perish chewing on their gun butts. I have called for plagues, to suffocate in sand and blood. Unhappiness has been my god. I have lain down in the mud, and dried myself off in the crime-infested air. I have played the fool to the point of madness.

And springtime brought me the frightful laugh of an idiot.

Now recently, when I found myself ready to croak! I thought to seek the key to the banquet of old, where I might find an appetite again.

That key is Charity. - This idea proves I was dreaming!

"You will stay a hyena, etc...," shouts the demon who once crowned me with such pretty poppies. "Seek death with all your desires, and all selfishness, and all the Seven Deadly Sins."

Ah! I've taken too much of that: - still, dear Satan, don't look so annoyed, I beg you! And while waiting for a few belated cowardices, since you value in a writer all lack of descriptive or didactic flair, I pass you these few foul pages from the diary of a Damned Soul.

(Photos; Leonardo DiCaprio in Total Eclipse as Arthur Rimbaud)

Saturday, 6 August 2016

The Statue of John Stuart Mill Photo by K. Shiuka)

The Statue of the British liberal philosopher John Stuart Mill, at Victoria Embankment Gardens, London.  Photo by K. Shiuka
3 August 2016
 “Over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.” 
                   John Stuart Mill 
  Mill was a British philosopher and feminist.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

The Daydreaming With Stanley Kubrick (03/08/16)

The Daydreaming With Stanley Kubrick exhibition at Somerset House, London.
3 August 2016
Photo by K. S