I'll be joining Sean Hannity tonight, coast to coast on Fox News at 10pm Eastern/7pm Pacific. Hope you'll swing by and check us out.
~Brendan O'Neill writes of the remorseless Scottish Endarkenment:
If you had to guess which country in the world recently sent a young man to jail for the crime of singing an offensive song, I'm guessing most of you would plumb for Putin's Russia or maybe Saudi Arabia. Nope, it's Scotland.
Last month, a 24-year-old fan of Rangers, the largely Protestant soccer team, was banged up for four months for singing "The Billy Boys," an old anti-Catholic ditty that Rangers fans have been singing for years, mainly to annoy fans of Celtic, the largely Catholic soccer team. He was belting it out as he walked along a street to a game. He was arrested, found guilty of songcrimesâ€”something even Orwell failed to foreseeâ€”and sent down.
It's all thanks to the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act, which, yes, is as scary as it sounds. Introduced in 2012 by the Scottish National Party, the largest party in Scotland the Brave New World and author of most of its new nanny-state laws, the Act sums up everything that is rotten in the head of this sceptred isle.
The SNP has helpfully explained that even singing "God Save The Queen" - the national anthem - is a potential crime at a Scottish footie match if, say, an Irish Catholic of republican bent chances to be in earshot. The songcrime law criminalizes anything "a reasonable person would be likely to find offensive", so don't even think of singing anything from my new album.
~From Scotland to Canada: In my own deranged Dominion, today is the annual Day of Pink, "the international day against bullying, discrimination, homophobia and transphobia" - for which everyone is supposed to wear pink. The Toronto Police Service has gamely painted one of its cruisers pink, which is pretty exciting: If the next G7 summit falls in April, will they all wear pink riot gear and body armor? Pink lemonade-flavored water cannon?
Don't know how big it is in Yemen or Waziristan, but the Minister of Education for the Northwest Territories is on board, and the Ontario MPP Peggy Nash has issued her own video greeting for the day, just like the Queen's Christmas message: "Today's the day we can unite in celebrating diversity and in raising awareness â€¦"
So it's just like every other bloody boring day in the Ontario school system then?
Meanwhile, Cable 14 in Hamilton, Ont., has been Tweeting up a storm: "National Day of Pink/Anti-Bullying Day is tomorrow. What will you be wearing?"
Er, I don't think I have a lot of choice on that front, do I?
"For schools holding Anti-Bullying events in April, you still have time to order shirts at a discount."
That's great news! Nothing says "celebrate diversity" like forcing everyone to dress exactly the same, like a bunch of Maoists who threw their workers' garb in the washer but forgot to take the red flag out. If you're thinking, "Hang on. Day of Pink? Didn't we just have that?" No, that was Pink Shirt Day, the last Wednesday in February. This is Day of Pink, second Wednesday in April. Like the King streetcar, there'll be another one along in a minute, enthusiastically sponsored by Scotiabank, Royal Bank, ViaRail and all the other corporate bigwigs.
If you're thinking, "Hang on. Pink awareness-raising? Isn't that something to do with breast cancer?" No, that's pink ribbons. Unfortunately, all the hues for awareness-raising ribbons are taken: not just white for bone cancer and yellow for adenosarcoma, but also (my current favourite) periwinkle for acid reflux. We need to raise awareness of how all the awareness-raising ribbons have been taken, so anti-bullying groups have been obliged to move on from ribbons to shirts.
If this sounds vaguely familiar, it is. P.G. Wodehouse, The Code Of The Woosters (1938):
"Don't you ever read the papers? Roderick Spode is the founder and head of the Saviours of Britain, a Fascist organization better known as the Black Shorts â€¦"
"By the way, when you say 'shorts', you mean 'shirts', of course."
"No. By the time Spode formed his association, there were no shirts left. He and his adherents wear black shorts."
"Footer bags, you mean?"
Pink Shorts Day is the second Wednesday in October in the Northwest Territories...
When you shrink from punishing the bullies (as our schools do), when you pursue phantom enemies (as our "human rights" nomenklatura do), when you use the victims as a pretext for ideological advancement (as the Ontario government is doing), all that's left is the creepy, soft totalitarian, collectivized, state-enforced, glassy-eyed homogeneity of "uniting to celebrate diversity" (in Peggy Nash's words). So Canada will have GSAs from Niagara to Nunavut; and for the lonely and unsocial, the lumpy and awkward, real bullying will proceed undisturbed in the shadows; and ideologically-compliant faux-bullying will explode, as a generation of children is conscripted into a youth corps of eternal victimhood, alert to every slight, however footling. In New York, where children are bullied with gay abandon, the school board recently proposed banning from its tests 50 hurtful, discriminatory words such as "religious holidays," "birthdays" and "cigarettes." From such an environment come a cowed, pliant herd and a cadre of professional grievance-mongers, but not a lot of functioning, freeborn citizens.
"Awareness-raising"? I think we need to raise awareness that, unless you've got the T-shirt concession, all these Pink Days are worthless crap that do nothing for the problem they claim to be addressing. If you've chanced to see me in person, you'll know I often wear a pink shirt. Like the country song says, "I Was Pink Shirt When Pink Shirt Wasn't Cool â€” Er, Mandatory." But, on Pink Shirt Day, I would wear mauve or turquoise or chartreuse or anything but pink, because, when the state is committed to coercing a ruthless conformity, that's the time to show that a flickering flame of the contrarian, iconoclastic spirit still flickers in the Canadian schoolhouse. You may get bullied for not wearing pink on the Day of Pink, but you'll feel better for it.
That's from a section of my book called "Last Laughs" - about a world in which the state polices jokes. There aren't going to be a lot of laughs in the future, nor, at least in Scotland, music.
~From Scotland to Canada to America: President Obama has decided to reposition "climate change" as a "health issue". So insisting that the planet is gonna fry and that two decades of non-warming is proof that global warming is rampaging out of control is going to be reclassified as a mental illness? Great! Oh, wait. That's not what he means:
Debates on climate change can break down fairly fast. There are those who believe that mankind's activities are changing the planet's climate, and those who don't.
But a new way to talk about climate change is emerging, which shifts focus from impersonal discussions about greenhouse gas emissions and power plants to a very personal one: your health.
It's easy to brush aside debates involving major international corporations, but who wouldn't stop to think -- and perhaps do something -- about their own health, or the health of their children?
This new way of talking about climate change -- and linking it to public health issues -- was part of a roundtable discussion Tuesday at Howard University's College of Medicine. President Barack Obama joined U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy for a roundtable discussion on the topic as part of National Public Health Week...
Ah, right. I think that decodes to: Just hyperregulating American life via the EPA doesn't quite do the trick, but, if we drag in HHS, maybe we can get the IRS to fine you if your health insurance is non-climate-compliant and sluice the proceeds to some organic window-treatment start-up that's a big Democrat bundler.
Do please consider picking up a copy of Climate Change: The Facts before it's banned as a breach of health-&-safety regulations. The zippy new book featuring yours truly and a bunch of the planet's eminent scientists can be picked up in paperback from the SteynOnline bookstore, and I'll be happy to autograph it for you personally. But, if you can't wait that long and you need it within the next five minutes it's available in eBook via Kindle, Nook or Kobo.
Or why not buy it together with The [Un]documented Mark Steyn and get climate change and civilizational collapse in one breezy fun package? You'll also be helping to prop up my end of the upcoming Mann vs Steyn trial of the century, and thus, in an age of state-enforced songcrimes and state-coerced dress codes, keeping one lonely light of free speech just about flickering.
~The English-speaking peoples are losing the habits of liberty. After attending a gathering of what he regarded as very quiescent mineworkers, George Orwell complained that "there is no turbulence left in England." There is no turbulence left in Scotland, nor Canada, nor even, as I noted yesterday, in America. We need to recover it.