Archive for the 'Religion' Category

Photogogy

Imagine you’re a journalist at a reputable newspaper writing an article on how pupils of a Spanish primary school (after some slanted pedagogy, one guesses) sent pro-Palestinian postcards – some of which trespass into anti-Semitism – to the Israeli embassy in Spain. Also suppose you need to illustrate the story with a photo. Presumably, you would choose, if possible, a picture of the postcards in question. Failing that, you might pick an image of the school, of the embassy or of the ambassador making the complaints. At the very least you could go for the “middle-east conflict map” in which Israel is one colour, bordering Arab states another and the Palestinian territories an intermediate shade.

What you would not choose, I would have thought, is an image of a Palestinian woman standing in the remains of her home after it’s been destroyed by an Israeli airstrike, nor caption said photo as if you were drawing a comparison between the destruction of Palestinian homes and the sending of the postcards.

A-Palestinian-woman-surve-001

A Palestinian woman outside her destroyed house after an Israeli air strike in Jabalya in northern Gaza. The Israeli embassy in Madrid has complained of antisemitic postcards from Spanish schoolchildren.

You wouldn’t do that as it would suggest you are partial, editorialising and sneering at the seemingly-legitimate complainant. It’s possible I’ve loaded this thought experiment by using the term “a reputable newspaper”, but that, anyway, is what the Guardian chose to do.

(Via Normblog)

The Logic Police: Wilson vs. Hitchens

After having been made aware of this film — containing an extensive debate between Christopher Hitchens and Douglas Wilson — I found the internet correspondence which prompted its recording. The issue concerns the question of whether Christianity is, in Wilson’s words, “good for the world”. The internet communication contains a number of arguments and counters which will be broken down and presented by my particularly analytically skilled, and as I’m continually informed, small head… Ok, maybe it’s just small.

Hitchens’ first argument:

Although Christianity is often credited (or credits itself) with spreading moral precepts such as “Love thy neighbor”, I know of no evidence that such precepts derive from Christianity. To take one instance from each Testament, I cannot believe that the followers of Moses had been indifferent to murder and theft and perjury until they arrived at Sinai, and I notice that the parable of the good Samaritan is told of someone who by definition cannot have been a Christian.

To these obvious points, I add that the “Golden Rule” is much older than any monotheism, and that no human society would have been possible or even thinkable without elementary solidarity (which also allows for self-interest) between its members. Though it is not strictly relevant to the ethical dimension, I would further say that neither the fable of Moses nor the wildly discrepant Gospel accounts of Jesus of Nazareth may claim the virtue of being historically true. I am aware that many Christians also doubt the literal truth of the tales but this seems to me to be a problem for them rather than a difficulty for me. Even if I accepted that Jesus—like almost every other prophet on record—was born of a virgin, I cannot think that this proves the divinity of his father or the truth of his teachings. The same would be true if I accepted that he had been resurrected. There are too many resurrections in the New Testament for me to put my trust in any one of them, let alone to employ them as a basis for something as integral to me as my morality.

The Logic Police’s Reconstruction:

  • P1. If moral behaviour predates Christianity then Christianity is not a necessary condition for moral goodness.
  • P2. Moral behaviour predates Christianity.
  • Conclusion. Christianity is a not a necessary condition for moral goodness.

Hitchens is also making the claim that:

  • P3. The existence of a Human Society is a sufficient condition for the existence of some moral goodness.

This is good news for Hitchens since if Conclusion and P3 are true he has denied Wilson the possibility of claiming that Christianity is a necessary condition for moral goodness.

Wilson’s first counter:

Your first point was that the Christian faith cannot credit itself for all that “Love your neighbor” stuff, not to mention the Golden Rule, and the reason for this is that such moral precepts have been self-evident to everybody throughout history who wanted to have a stable society. You then move on to the second point, which contains the idea that the teachings of Christianity are “incredibly immoral.” In your book, you make the same point about other religions. Apparently, basic morality is not all that self-evident. So my first question is: Which way do you want to argue this? Do all human societies have a grasp of basic morality, which is the theme of your first point, or has religion poisoned everything, which is the thesis of your book?

The second thing to observe in this regard is that Christians actually do not claim that the gospel has made the world better by bringing us turbo-charged ethical information. There have been ethical advances that are due to the propagation of the faith, but that is not where the action is. Christians believe—as C. S. Lewis argued in The Abolition of Man—that nonbelievers do understand the basics of morality. Paul the apostle refers to the Gentiles, who did not have the law but who nevertheless knew by nature some of the tenets of the law (Rom. 2:14). But the world is not made better because people can understand the ways in which they are being bad. It has to be made better by Good News—we must receive the gift of forgiveness and the resultant ability to live more in conformity to a standard we already knew (but were necessarily failing to meet). So the gospel does not consist of new and improved law. The gospel makes the world better through Good News, not through guilt trips or good advice.

The Logic Police’s Reconstruction:

Notice that although Wilson alludes to Hitchens’ first argument he does not, at first, address it directly. Wilson avoids doing so because he believes that two of Hitchens’ premises are in logical contradiction:

  • P3 (Wilson’s altered version). The existence of a Human Society is a sufficient condition for the existence of moral goodness.
  • P4. Many Human Societies are incredibly immoral.

By accusing Hitchens of believing both these premises, Wilson makes it seem as if Hitchens is claiming that a society’s existence guarantees its moral goodness, which, in turn, rules out the possibility of it being ‘incredibly immoral’. Since this involves a contradiction, either P3 or P4 must be false and Hitchens must decide which to abandon.

However, and here is the logical sleight of hand, Wilson can only make this accusation after removing Hitchens’ existential quantifier in Premise 3 — the word ‘some’. Without doing so P3 and P4 are not in direct logical tension since an ‘incredibly immoral’ society may contain some moral goodness. Of course, this is precisely what Hitchens believes. In removing the requisite quantifier Wilson has violated the principle of charity and either intentionally misrepresented Hitchens’ argument or committed a relatively shabby logical error. The contradiction is spurious and, as a consequence, provides no legitimate challenge to Hitchens’ original argument.

Wilson then goes on to concede Hitchens argument, the conclusion of which being that Christianity is not a necessary condition for moral behaviour. The theist has no need for despair, however, since Wilson’s second paragraph provides us with a counter argument:

  • P1. A necessary condition for the world being a good place is belief and conformity with the Christian Gospel.
  • P2. A pre-Christian world cannot, by definition, believe and conform with the Christian Gospel.
  • P3. A world in which there is belief and conformity with the Christian Gospel is better than a world in which the Christian Gospel does not exist.
  • Conclusion. The post-Christian world is a better place than the pre-Christian world.

Unfortunately for Wilson P1 and P3 are both question begging. That is, they take for granted the idea that the world is a better place because of the Good News contained within the Christian Gospel. This, however,  is precisely what needs to be proved. As a consequence Wilson has failed to deliver a rebuttal to Hitchens’ original argument.

 As it stands the score is as follows:

  • Hitchens: 1   Wilson: 0

Make sure you check back for the Logic Police’s second instalment of the Wilson Vs. Hitchens debate!

Kindergarten Con

A gaudy crucified Jesus, painted blood flowing down his wilted body, stared down at me in the silent classroom. My Italian classmates, also staring at me, sat around a circle of dilapidated desks that looked to be built out of detritus reclaimed from one of Mussolini’s tanks. The teacher was waiting for my reply. Under pressure to defend my doubts about the existence of God, I was trying to translate something my father had once challenged me with:

If God is omnipotent, can he create a stone so large he cannot move it?

I scratched my head. What was this? It sounded like a trick; maybe he was trying to make me look stupid.  If God could create such an object he was not omnipotent, and if he couldn’t, he had the same problem. I thought it through again. The answer confirmed my suspicions. It was a trick, the old smug bastard. Maybe this was part of the ruse though… Maybe he was still going to come out on top? I stayed silent. He took the fag out of his mouth and looked over at me, “Well?”

I explained my problem with the question. “What does that tell you about God then?” he asked. I still didn’t get it. Best keep quiet. “It shows that there is a problem with the idea of omnipotence.” It was slow to dawn on me but I finally got it… there was a problem there! Furthermore, it was one without an immediate solution. Well, at least one that a dull eight year old could think of.

Anticlimactically, however, delivering the Problem of Omnipotence had no discernible epistemological effect on my Roman Catholic teacher and comrades. There was no problem, they replied, God can do whatever the blue fuck he likes, whenever he likes. I tried to explain that that was precisely the problem. But it was no good; they’d grown up in a tiny village in the mountains with catholic parents, teachers and priests. Some of them believed that clouds were made out of cotton wool and that metal teaspoons would float in water.

Of course, this is the problem with children: they’ll believe any old shit. Unfortunately, however, this is not a feature particular to children. The Revd Jan Ainsworth, the Church of England’s chief education officer, believes that parents have a right to raise their children in any philosophical or political framework they wish. Here she is on the issue:

If parents wish their children to be brought up as Christians, or, for that matter, atheists, what right do others have to stop them?

And again:

It is surely central to the role of a parent, whether committed to a religious faith or not, to want to pass on to their child the things they value most, the beliefs and world view that shape how they live. It is also consistent with that role to want to have those beliefs and world view acknowledged and affirmed as part of their children’s education.

First off, it is worth noticing Ainsworth’s rhetorical ploy in her first quote. The inclusion of Christians and atheists in the same question is a deployment of the same tired old rhetoric that there is no relevant epistemological difference between these positions: both are fundamentally faith based. However, as I’ve argued before, this is false:

To have faith is to detach belief from any evidential issue; belief becomes evidentially invariant. That is to say, no change in evidence brings about a change in belief. Atheism, by indexing belief on the evidence, does exactly the opposite.

Atheism, the probabilistic doubt in the existence of God, is a straightforward consequence of our knowledge gathering processes. The same processes would return a higher probability of his existence were there any good evidence. If God, in his infinite mercy, decided to unequivocally reveal himself to all of us miserable unbelievers tomorrow there would be none of us left by dinner time. However, as we already know, God works in mysterious ways. So mysterious, in fact, that he’s convinced a large fraction of the world’s population to not believe in his existence. Funny that. The salient point here though is that raising children as Christians is fundamentally different from the atheistic equivalent. Whereas the former requires threats of everlasting violence, manipulation and dogma to establish its primary ontological belief, the latter does not  –  as far as I can remember, I have never been threatened with even a mild kicking for a failure to believe in the non-existence of God.

The second, and perhaps more relevant, point is Ainsworth’s claim that no one has the right to interfere with what parents teach their children.  Does she really believe, however, that Ku Klux Clan parents should be permitted to “pass on to their child the things they value most, the beliefs and world view that shape how they live”? Is she of the opinion that many conspiracy theorists’ demented belief that our governments are run by a shape-shifting reptile bourgeoisie from the constellation Draco should be ‘acknowledged and affirmed as a part of their children’s education’? Of course not. None of us, apart from those in the grip of these delusions, think such things should be taught to our children. Why? Precisely because there is no good reason to believe them in the first place. If you want others to believe claims about the existence of gods, vampires, perpetual motion machines, shape shifting lizards or anything else for that matter, then you are shouldering the burden of proof.

The Dawkinsian point is that raising children in a religious framework, one based on faith and often other surreptitious methods of inducing belief, is taking advantage of a child’s cognitive vulnerabilities. Apart from the inherent dishonesty, Dawkins goes on to say that:

…the mental abuse constituted by an unsubstantiated threat of violence and terrible pain, if sincerely believed by the child, could easily be more damaging than the physical actuality of sexual abuse. An extreme threat of violence and pain is precisely what the doctrine of hell is. And there is no doubt at all that many children sincerely believe it, often continuing right through adulthood and old age until death finally releases them.

Making a child believe there is a hell where the misbehaved are forever castigated is a merciful and necessary favour if true. If it is false, however, and if there is no good reason to believe it, the theist has done the child a serious harm.

Offence Trumps Reality, Again

From Drama over Casualty plot as BBC bans terror script in today’s Guardian:

The BBC has abandoned plans to screen a fictional terrorist attack by Muslim suicide bombers in the primetime drama Casualty after internal clashes over whether the highly sensitive subject matter would cause offence.

BBC drama executives were keen to push the storyline and may even have started filming, a source close to the production told The Observer. But they were overruled by the corporation’s editorial guidelines department, which ordered that the episode be changed so that the Muslim characters were replaced by animal rights extremists

Well, what a good idea. The BBC should be doing everything it can to shield religious people from potential offence – even if that means shielding them (and, as a corollary, the rest of us) from reality. The decision, of course, is a pathetically snivelling one, but it’s also flatly insulting for two reasons: Firstly, it’s insufferably patronising towards the large section of moderate British Muslims who acknowledge that Islamic terrorism both exists and is an undeniable part of the current zeitgeist. Secondly, it serves to scapegoat animal right activists as the indiscriminate bombers of public transport. However, these are small concessions to make if they go some way to appeasing rage boy and his ilk, I suppose.

Update:

According to this article in the Guardian, it turns out that the decision to replace the Islamic terrorists with animal right activists was actually made by the writer. So, my apologies to the BBC!

[T]he series editor of BBC1’s Casualty, commenting on newspaper reports that the editorial policy unit had insisted that two Islamist terrorists in a script were changed to animal rights activists, insisted that the switch had been made by the writer, who apparently feared inviting a reaction from extremists.

I’ve learned my lesson, so I won’t try to speculate over whether “inviting a reaction” were the Guardian’s words or those of the writer, but they’re rather depressing either way.

Thanks to Matthew in the comments section for the update.

Special Privilege for Religious Values

There’s a feature on religion by Stuart Jeffries in the Guardian today. It’s positively riddled with things that piss me off.

“We are witnessing a social phenomenon that is about fundamentalism,” says Colin Slee, the Dean of Southwark. “Atheists like the Richard Dawkins of this world are just as fundamentalist as the people setting off bombs on the tube, the hardline settlers on the West Bank and the anti-gay bigots of the Church of England. Most of them would regard each other as destined to fry in hell.

Is it appropriate to describe Dawkins as a fundamentalist? I suppose it depends entirely on how you’re defining the term. Well, whatever, for the sake or argument let’s assume it is. But there’s fundamentalism and there’s fundamentalism. There are some things it’s not quite so bad to be an extremist about as it is others. For instance, being absolutely adamant about needing evidence for belief is very different from being absolutely adamant about needing to kill everyone who doesn’t worship the right God. Even if Dawkins is as much of a fundamentalist as the bigots and the jihadis, then he’s certainly not fundamentalist about the same sorts of things or in the same ways as they are. That’s quite an important distinction. It’s precisely the reason you don’t see people like Dawkins and Harris committing mass murder in the name of their beliefs. Slee looks to be evoking a variation of the epistemological equivalence tack that Jim posted on. It’s a crock. But there’s more of it from John Gray:

Gray, professor of European Thought at the London School of Economics, whose book Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia will be published later this year, detects parallels between dogmatic believers and dogmatic unbelievers such as Hitchens and Dawkins. “It is not just in the rigidity of their unbelief that atheists mimic dogmatic believers. It is in their fixation on belief itself.”

As far as I’m aware both Hitchens and Dawkins are unbelievers because, in short, they have seen no evidence to warrant belief. Their unbelief is not fixed; it’s evidence dependent. So, unless they’ve been exposed to decisive evidence for the existence of God and yet they stubbornly refuse to believe, it’s hard to see how they’re epistemologically equivalent to believers.

Neuberger is to take on Hitchens, Dawkins and Grayling when she speaks at a debate against the motion We’d Be Better Off Without Religion next month. The debate has been moved to a bigger venue. “What I find really distasteful is not just the tone of their rhetoric, but their lack of doubt,” she says. “No scientific method says that there is no doubt. If you don’t accept there’s doubt in all things, you’re being intellectually dishonest.” This is a thought taken up by Azzim Tamimi, director of the Institute of Islamic Political Thought. “I refer to secular fundamentalism. The problem is that these people believe that they have the absolute truth. That means you have no room to talk to others so you end up having a physical fight. They want to close the door and ignore religion, but this will provoke a violent religiosity. If someone seeks to deny my existence, I will fight to assert it.”

So, “if you don’t accept there’s doubt in all things, you’re being intellectually dishonest.” Apart from when you don’t accept there’s doubt in that sentiment, presumably. You could be forgiven for thinking a Rabbi would be on very thin ice with a statement like that. If, where their beliefs that we’d be better off without religion are concerned, Hitchens, Dawkins and Grayling are simply dogmatic then, presumably, at least one of the following has to be true:Either: They have stated directly that whatever the evidence they will continue to believe that we’d be better off without religion. Or: They have been exposed to decisive evidence that we’re better off with religion yet continue to believe we’re not. Now, I’m pretty sure the first is false, and to suggest the second would be to beg a central question. It would presuppose such evidence exists.

If someone seeks to deny your existence, I suppose you may want to fight to assert it. But is Azzim Tamimi’s ontological status really being disputed? Denying the very existence of the faithful is hardly a corollary of arguing that religion is pestiferous and its manifestation in the public sphere inappropriate. Who knows though? That fact may not prevent Tamimi or some of his acolytes from expressing their “violent religiosity” regardless.

The refrain of Christians like [Nick] Spencer is that unless religion is a part of public-policy debates, then society will be impoverished. Last November the Archbishop of Canterbury gave a lecture in which he distinguished between programmatic and procedural secularism. The former meant that in the public domain, everybody had to silence their fundamental convictions and debate in a value-free atmosphere of public neutrality. For Williams, this was a hopeless way of carrying on public discourse in a bewildering society that embraced not only many faiths but many anti-faith positions, and in which real disputes over very different values needed to take place. Better was procedural secularism, which promised that different groups could at least converse with each other in public discussions over sensitive questions of value and policy. This would involve, said Williams, “a crowded and argumentative public square that acknowledges the authority of a legal mediator or broker whose job it is to balance and manage real difference”.

It is an idea similar to one set out by Yahya Birt, research fellow at The Islamic Foundation. “One form of secularism suggests that religion should be kept in the private sphere. That’s Dawkins’ position. Another…, is to do with establishing a modus vivendi. It accepts that you come to the public debate with baggage that will inform your arguments. In this, the government tries to find common ground and the best possible consensus, which can only work if we share enough to behave civilly. Of course, there will be real clashes over issues such as gay adoption, but it’s not clear to me that that’s a problem per se.”

Argues Spencer: “We should be more willing to treat other value systems as coherent, reasonable and even valuable rather than as primitive or grotesque mutations of liberal humanism to which every sane person adheres.”

I’m not sure we should accept that religious people will “come to the public debate with baggage that will inform [their] arguments.” They may well come with baggage that will motivate their arguments, but not inform them. Furthermore, I’d have thought that the only time we should feel obligated to “treat other value systems as coherent, reasonable and even valuable” is when those value systems are, indeed, coherent, reasonable and even valuable. Not at any other time nor for any other reason. Not, for example, because they’re religious values. Religious values that might not actually be coherent, reasonable and valuable but instead deranged, irrational and disgusting. Moreover, how could this proposed public mediation even work? Yahya Birt doesn’t think it’ll be “a problem per se”. Oddly enough though, he doesn’t feel the need to go into detail. Without engagement on the foundations, however, it looks somewhat intractable. If one side, for instance, is arguing that homosexuals should enjoy freedom from discrimination and the other that they should be executed because their God says so then how does one mediate such a thing? And how about when two faith positions themselves are in direct opposition? You can embellish the matter with woolly terms like “common ground”, “mediation” and “the best possible consensus” all you want. But the idea that we should exempt certain values from being judged purely on their merits by granting them special privileges on religious grounds seems, putting it mildly, unsettling.

P.S. David Thompson, Ophelia Benson, Jim Denham, Caspar Melville, Ben at Religion is Bullshit and the peculiarly monikered “Shuggy” also have a go. The Guardian has also posted some letters in response to the piece.

Unite and Conquer

Here’s Terry Eagleton (the one who thinks suicide bombers are “tragic heroes”) with a typically fuzzy piece in the Guardian. Apparently, the reason those in power criticise multiculturalism is because it threatens their abilities to invoke “materially divisive policies”. I don’t know whether that’s their reason or not, but it certainly isn’t the only reason they might have.

There is an insuperable problem about introducing immigrants to British values. There are no British values. Nor are there any Serbian or Peruvian values. No nation has a monopoly on fairness and decency, justice and humanity.

There’s that “British values” term again. This sort of thing is part of the reason I don’t like it. Bringing nationality into it is counterproductive, equivocal and offers this kind of easy-out. Either way though, I don’t understand his point. Evidently, Terry Eagleton values writing vague articles in the Guardian. But he doesn’t have a monopoly on it. Not by a long shot. But that doesn’t mean writing vague articles in the Guardian is not an Eagletonian value or that, because all his values may overlap with those of others, Eagletonian values don’t exist. Anyway, it’s more the liberal, egalitarian, modern and progressive values themselves that are important. If they’re the ones being proclaimed to be, conceptually speaking, “British” then fine. It’s secondary who else holds them. Maybe it’s the fact that some seem to be transgressing these values – and others allowing them to do so – in the name of cultural plurality that’s prompting concern.

It is easy to see why a diversity of cultures should confront power with a problem. If culture is about plurality, power is about unity. How can it sell itself simultaneously to a whole range of life forms without being fatally diluted? Multiculturalism is not a threat because it might breed suicide bombers. It is a threat because the kind of political state we have depends upon a tight cultural consensus in order to implant its materially divisive policies.

So, if it’s a threat to those in power in because it challenges a “tight cultural consensus” (whatever that means and even though we’ve been given no reason to think it, but let’s just assume that’s true for a moment) then it can’t be a threat because it might breed suicide bombers (or misogynists or homophobes or archaic theocrats)? And this is because things can only be threats for one reason? Or because being a threat to a “tight cultural consensus” necessarily excludes being a threat for more legitimate reasons? Perhaps it’s none of the above and these are just two unrelated and unsupported assertions. And perhaps Eagleton just writes for the sake of writing.

Incidentally, David Thompson, Ophelia Benson and Rosie Bell all beefed Eagleton rather more articulately than I just did.

Criticising Multiculturalism? You’re a Racist!

Martin Jacques is in the Guardian suggesting, amongst other things, that anyone who blames aspects of multiculturalism for the non-integration of elements of the Muslim population is merely a racist trying to invoke god-only-knows-what through the back door. Here’s the gist:

And what is to blame for this failure to integrate? Prejudice, perhaps? Discrimination? Racism? No, according to David Cameron, Ruth Kelly and many others, the cause would appear to be multiculturalism. Pause for a moment and spot the slippage in the argument. It is no longer only about Muslims but all our ethnic minorities.

What is? What is about all our ethnic minorities?

For enshrined in the principle of multiculturalism is the idea that the white community does not insist on the assimilation of ethnic minorities but recognises the importance of pluralism. It is not about separatism but a respect for difference – from colour and dress to customs and religion. The attack on multiculturalism is the thin end of the racism wedge. It seeks to narrow the acceptable boundaries of difference at a time when Britain is becoming ever more diverse and heterogeneous.

I’d have said that multiculturalism was more the idea that the no one cultural group should insist on the assimilation of any other rather than simply a safeguard against the cultural despotism Jacques implies is inherent in white people. But anyway, apparently, blaming the current model of multiculturalism for any of its perceived shortcomings means rejecting and opposing everything multiculturalism is about. There’s just no middle-ground; it’s simply not possible to criticise or blame it for anything without being an out-and-out bigot with a hidden yet unmistakably racist agenda. There he was waxing lyrical about rhetoric as well. And no, multiculturalism is not about “respect” for alternative customs and religions, it’s about toleration of them; but it’s not as if even that’s inherently a good thing. It would depend entirely upon the customs and forms of religion one is being inclined to tolerate. There are customs and certain elements of religion that simply don’t warrant much accommodation. Some of them, for instance, don’t much value equality; some aren’t very keen on democracy, science or progress and some teach adherents to distrust or to emphatically despise anyone different from them. In fact, some don’t think all that highly of respect for difference in customs and religion themselves. And perhaps the current model of multiculturalism affords these sorts of ideas too much shelter under the umbrella of well-intentioned acceptance and pluralism. So, it’s perfectly possible, despite what Jacques might imply, to criticise multiculturalism for what you perceive to be wrong with it and to lament what you perceive to be its regrettable side-effects without instantly metamorphing into a goose-stepping Nick Griffin.

[W]hile British foreign policy so profoundly discriminates against the Muslim world, and New Labour remains in denial about the connection between domestic Muslim attitudes and its foreign policy, there seems little prospect of making a new start.

Presumably Jacques must be referring to something of a selective account of British foreign policy. Perhaps the most vocal proponent of the NATO intervention in Kosovo was one Tony Blair. It was that intervention that prevented Serbian forces from continuing their genocide and displacement of the Muslim Albanian population. It’s hard to see how something like that could be considered profoundly discriminatory against the Muslim world.

Parts of item reminded me of Žižek’s Orwellian proclamations from last September and there’s much more to bemoan besides. But I can’t be bothered to address it all. He’s a wanker.