Will this be the first election to see a “shy Labour” factor? How many voters are embarrassed to admit that their hostility to Brexit, or their tribal anti-Toryism, trumps their concern for their Jewish fellow citizens?
Scary times, for every political obsessive in Britain. Because every political obsessive, me included, is terrified that their preferred tribe will lose.
Okay, no silly games, this is Disneyland London. They have in mind to construct this during the next few years, out east, on the south bank, on that bit of land that sticks upwards into the beginnings of the Estuary (“Swanscombe Peninsula”), just this side of Tilbury.
The details don’t interest me. I’m pretty sure I’ll never go, not to the finished object. I don’t know when or even if they’ll build this.
What does interest me is that this huge project, even if it never gets beyond being thought about and puffed in the media, illustrates how the centre of gravity of London is moving inexorably downstream. The only other Thing as big as this in that part of London is London Gateway, the big container port now being built on the north side of the Estuary, a long walk beyond Tilbury.
It’s Bryan Caplan (the guy who gave this lecture that I recently attended), talking to Darren Grimes of the IEA. Caplan disagrees with most voters, but in an ingratiating way. As he himself says towards the end of the conversation, if you have disagreeable things to say, say them agreeably and people will be more likely to listen.
I spent my blogging time today concocting a posting about the opinions and discoveries of Anton Howes, and in particular this piece. My posting will be ready and up at Samizdata Real Soon Now. In the course of doing this I encountered this podcast which an American guy did with Howes. I’m now half way through this. So far: recommended.
I love the City of London Boundary Dragons, and I am pretty sure that the photo below is my favourite City of London Boundary Dragon photo that I have ever photoed:
That is one of the two Dragons on the south end of London Bridge. I photoed this photo on August 12th 2008.
When a strong shadow and weirdness are involved, the Thing itself is usually clear, but the shadow is weird. But in the above photo, the Thing is weird. And the shadow makes everything clear again. Which is an effect that I especially like. And I think we can tell from the framing that I noticed this at the time. This was not a fluke, except in the sense that this effect was there to be noticed and I had the luck to notice it. What I mean is: I did notice it at the time. It didn’t just happen to show up in a photo that I photoed for other reasons, or for no reason.
And what of that building reflected in the window? I rather think that may now have been obliterated, to make way for The Boomerang. Memo to self: go back and do the same photo again, preferably at the same time of day. On August 12th 2020 perhaps? But even without the shadow, a different (or maybe the same) reflection would be worth a go.
This evening I happened upon episode 1 of Trains That Changed The World on Yesterday TV, the show which has Steve Davies in it. This was the episode I missed the first time around, so I am very happy about this.
For the first half of the show, we were in Britain, covering the Stephensons and the transformation that trains wrought, as you’d expect, upon Britain. But then we crossed the Atlantic, and learned how trains put the U in USA. Which all the talking heads, including Davies, agreed that they did.
In particular I learned about this loco:
On the left, an Old Photo of what I take to be, more or less, the original. And on the right, painted in totally implausible paints of many colours, and also photoed in full colour, a Reproduction produced in the 1970s. And looking like it’s just got the part of its lifetime in Back to the Future 3.
This is the 4-4-0, the Model T of the railroad track. The big thing I learned about the 4-4-0 (which gets its name from its wheels) is that it burns wood rather than coal, on account of America being made of trees rather than coal; and that the big bulge on its chimney is to stop solid bits of burning wood pouring out and setting fire to America. I did not know this.
Photo 1: I got there very early, hence all the empty seats.
The Official Photographer was Jean-Luc Picard. Not really, but photo 3 makes him look a bit like the noted space voyager.
Photo 4: The (large) room fills up.
Photo 5: Celeb sighting. Dominic Frisby. And is that his dad Terence he’s talking with? I think it just might be.
Photo 6: Syed Kamall, a recent IEA appointment. He gave someone a prize.
Photo 7: IEA boss Mark Littlewood does the intro.
Photos 8 and 9: Professor Bryan Caplan gives the lecture.
Photo 10: The first questioner was Vera Kichanova, one of the very few people in the audience whom I recognised.
Photo 11: Someone else photoing from the audience.
So, what did Caplan say? Briefly: poor country governments are often to blame for their bad economic policies, rich countries are often to blame for their bad immigration policies, and poor people, especially poor people in rich countries, are often to blame because they make bad decisions, especially bad decisions which hurt their children. That last one is the one you aren’t allowed to say, but most people still think this. When questioned about this, Caplan pointed out that refusing ever to blame poor people for their poverty is often a cause of bad policies. Instead of doing nothing (because it should be up to many poor people to help themselves), governments often do bad things. To “help”.
Another interesting thing about this lecture was that big multi-national enterprises came out of the story very well, basically for doing very well in poor countries, thereby proving that lots of people in poor and otherwise badly governed and badly managed countries could be doing far better, if they got the chance. That being why restrictive immigration policies do so much harm. They are keeping people who could do far better out of well governed countries.
There was also a guy videoing everything, so you won’t have to rely for ever on me to learn what Caplan said.