Monday, September 07, 2015
Jeremy Corbyn: Another middle class Marxist
The Bolsheviks were middle class too. In good Leftist projective style, their standard line was that the Fascists were middle class. But the biggest Nazi grouping, the SA, were in fact overwhelmingly working class. Getting it ass-backwards is very Leftist, however. The Left are so middle class these days that they rarely repeat their old line that they stand for the worker. They in fact despise the workers. Welfare recipients and minorities are now the major Leftist groupings outside the middle class
Swinging hockey sticks at a ball while pedalling furiously around the lawn of a country house, five privileged boys were revelling in an impromptu game of bicycle polo.
This was a typical summer scene at Lilleshall Hall, the family retreat completed in 1831 for the Duke of Sutherland, whose peerage was created by William IV. For the boys would gather to play the game as often as possible.
Of course, bicycle polo is nowhere like as grand as proper polo, the sport so beloved of Prince Charles and his sons William and Harry. But these games were clearly enjoyed by the group of boys in the opulent setting in the Shropshire countryside.
What a delicious irony that the noisiest lad back then in 1955 was a six-year-old Jeremy Corbyn, who now, many decades on from that bucolic childhood, has become the Hard Left class warrior who'd like Britain to become a republic and who has petitioned for the Royal Family to be moved from Buckingham Palace into a 'more modest' dwelling.
But then, of course, Comrade Corbyn is like so many other Left-wingers who have enjoyed a privileged background themselves only to deny it to others by pulling up the ladder to social mobility by, for example, sabotaging grammar schools. For these hypocrites, it seems it has always been a case of 'Do what I say — don't do what I do'.
So, what is the truth about the posh childhood of Jeremy Bernard Corbyn?
Born in Chippenham, Wiltshire, he spent his first five years in a five-bedroom detached house in half an acre of land in the picturesque village of Kington St Michael. The property was recently put on the market for £610,000.
The family moved to Shropshire when Corbyn's father, David, a brilliant electrical engineer, changed jobs. They settled into Yew Tree Manor, a seven-bedroom house that was once part of the Duke of Sutherland's Lilleshall estate. The house had two acres of land, outbuildings and a paddock.
Though Corbyn's parents — his mother Norma was a scientist who retrained as a maths teacher — were long-standing members of the Labour Party, rather than send Jeremy (who had three older brothers, Edward, Andrew and Piers) to the local state school, they enrolled him in private school Castle House, where fees today cost more than £7,000 a year.
The school's independent status was at odds with his parents' staunch Socialist beliefs, and this might explain why Corbyn omits it from his CV.
For the Hard left Labour leadership favourite is a vehement opponent of private and selective education. Indeed, he wants to abolish the charitable status of fee-paying schools such as Castle House.
The family home, Yew Tree Manor, is now worth around £1.2 million and is near a lake where young Corbyn and his friends often went fishing.
One of those boys with whom he played bicycle polo was David Mann. Now 66, the former Army officer who runs a string of sports centres, says: 'Jeremy was my best friend from the age of six until I was ten. I used to go to his house every Saturday and Sunday, and every day during the summer holidays.
'I have fond memories of playing bicycle polo with Jeremy and his brothers. He loved the game. We used hockey sticks rather than mallets and Jeremy played to win.'
Mr Mann, who lived in a modest bungalow half a mile from Corbyn, can still recall his friend's home. 'It seemed huge, almost manorial, with big reception rooms and a large fireplace.
'Jeremy's mum was the first woman our family knew who had been to university. The house was a bit chaotic and very bohemian. There were books everywhere.'
Amusingly, Corbyn's parents called their youngest son 'Jelly' — a nickname that stayed with him throughout his schooldays.
When they were not playing bicycle polo, Mr Mann recalls that the boys used a forge in the Corbyns' garden to make things. 'Jeremy was very mechanical. We built wooden go-karts, which we pushed from behind, and set up a race track in the garden,' he says.
While David Mann attended the local state school, St Nicholas's, Jeremy and his brother Piers (now a leading independent weather forecaster) went to Castle House, which had been founded in 1944.
It was known locally as 'Miss Pitchford's School' after the headmistress Zellah Pitchford. She was a formidable character who retired in 1983.
According to David Mann: 'Castle House pupils wore smart blue uniforms. We were too young to be aware of a class thing, but everyone knew Castle House was a cut above the rest.'
At the age of nine, David Mann took the 11-plus and got a place at Adams Grammar School in Newport, where he was joined by Jeremy Corbyn and his three brothers.
'Jeremy never struck me as the brain of Britain, but he was doggedly determined,' says Mr Mann today.
Just like Ed and David Miliband, Corbyn had middle-class parents who reared him on a diet of Socialism.
They had met in the Thirties in London at a committee meeting for supporters of Spain's Republicans in the fight against Franco's fascists. His father, the son of a solicitor, grew up in East London, where he worked as an engineer during the war.
When his own children were growing up, there were regular political soirees and the Corbyn boys were expected to take part. Piers has said: 'Politics was a constant topic around the family dinner table.'
Adams Grammar School, which dates back to 1656, still upholds standards of education excellence. Jeremy made a name for himself as a Left-wing firebrand taking part in mock election debates as the Labour candidate.
Meanwhile, his brothers prospered. Edward became a test engineer on Concorde; Andrew, the second brother, went on to be a geologist, but later died from high blood pressure in Papua New Guinea; and Piers constructed devices to study the solar system before setting up WeatherAction, which studies reports of weather and related solar activity.
Jeremy was the least bright academically, leaving school with two E-grade A-levels. He went on to a degree course at North London Polytechnic but left before finishing.
In a recent interview with the Shropshire Star, Corbyn admitted he was 'not a very good student'. He said: 'The headteacher's parting comments to me were: 'You will never make anything of yourself.' '
Adams Grammar, which had the pretensions of a minor public school, was anxious to foster a military ethos, despite National Service ending in 1960, and had a thriving combined cadet force. However, Jeremy Corbyn, already a supporter of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, refused to take part.
'We were all supposed to join the cadet force at 15 and prance around in uniform every Wednesday,' he said. 'The big thing was to visit an Army camp. I was again in a minority and refused to join this thing. I was put on gardening duties.' Half a century on, Corbyn's view of the military has not mellowed.
He wants to withdraw Britain from Nato, scrap the Trident nuclear weapon programme and slash the size of the Armed Forces. The Islington North MP says: 'Why do we have to have planes, transport aircraft, aircraft carriers and everything else to get anywhere in the world. Why?'
The fact that he attended a private and a grammar school — despite his adamantine opposition to such establishments — has impinged on his personal life.
Three times married, he has been dubbed 'The Sexpot Trot' and, despite his dishevelled appearance — with a white vest protruding under his open-necked shirt — some women on the Mumsnet website have cooed over his 'world-weary sea dog look'.
However, his second marriage infamously fell foul of his strong opinions about education and class.
He had met wife No 2 Claudia Bracchitta, an exiled Chilean designer, in the Eighties when they were in the audience for a speech by Ken Livingstone, then leader of Greater London Council. The pair also had links through Corbyn's involvement in Amnesty International's campaign against Chilean President Augusto Pinochet.
The couple had three sons, but broke up in 1999 after she wanted to send one of the boys to a top grammar school. Corbyn opposed her as he despised selective teaching and wouldn't back down. Claudia refused to send their son to an inner-city comprehensive and the marriage couldn't stand the strain.
She won the day, with their son going to Queen Elizabeth's grammar school in Barnet — nine miles from their home in Islington.
At the time, she complained Corbyn was 'first the politician and second the parent'. She explained: 'My children's education is my absolute priority.
'The decision [to send our son to grammar school] was made by myself alone and without the consent of my husband. The difficulties of making decisions under these circumstances have played an important role in bringing about a regrettable marital break-up.
'I could not compromise my son's future for my husband's career. I regret it is going to be difficult for Jeremy, but it was an impossible decision. Nobody really is a winner.'
His fixation with politics also caused the collapse of his first marriage to the academic Jane Chapman. They were councillors in North London but split in 1979 after she tired of coming second to his politics.
'He's a genuinely nice guy. The problem is that his politics are to the exclusion of other kinds of human activities, such as going out for a meal, to the cinema or buying clothes,' she said.
They did not have children. 'I guess there's an issue of how you spend your time,' she added.
Two years ago, Corbyn married Laura Alvarez, 46, in her native Mexico. She shares his zeal for Left-wing politics and imports Fairtrade coffee from her homeland.
If he becomes Labour leader, will the third Mrs Corbyn follow in the tradition of previous leaders' wives and join him on the stage after his keynote speech at the annual party conference in Brighton this autumn?
A committed feminist, the signs are she will not. Similarly, it is thought that if he ever becomes prime minister, the Corbyns would eschew Downing Street and continue to live in Finsbury Park, North London.
Despite being on his third marriage, as a youngster, Corbyn showed little interest in girls. According to David Mann: 'Cars were more important to him.'
That's another irony about Comrade Corbyn, now a vegetarian, eco-zealot who does not have a car, preferring trains and his trusty bicycle (but these days without a hockey stick polo mallet in tow).
Something worse than the IRS awaits greedy televangelists
Fire and brimstone? Is Jeff Jacoby a believer? He is Jewish but you don't have to believe anything in particular to be a Jew. You just have to keep Halacha law
by Jeff Jacoby
The fourth circle of Hell, as envisioned by Dante Alighieri in The Divine Comedy, is reserved for the avaricious and the profligate. It is where those whose lust for getting and spending knew no bounds in life are punished in the afterlife by being battered endlessly with heavy weights. Notable among the souls damned for their greed, Dante wrote, "were clergymen and popes and cardinals, within whom avarice works its excess."
What disgusted the great poet in 14th-century Florence – money-grubbing hucksters masquerading as men of God – is just as disgusting in 21st-century America.
Comedian John Oliver is no Dante, but on his HBO program "Last Week Tonight" he recently ripped into the "prosperity gospel" of television preachers like Robert Tilton and Creflo Dollar, who aggressively solicit donations to finance lavish lifestyles. These sleazy televangelists, Oliver said, assure followers that "wealth is a sign of God's favor, and donations will result in wealth coming back to you." They call it "seed faith" — the belief "that donations are seeds that you will one day get to harvest." And the more believers "seed," the more God will reward them with riches and miracles.
The conviction that charity returns blessings to the giver has been a pillar of Judeo-Christian teaching for millennia, of course. The Hebrew prophet Malachi urged people to put God to the test by tithing unstintingly. Be generous in giving to the poor, he quotes God as saying, "and see if I do not open the floodgates of heaven for you, and pour down upon you blessing without measure." In the Sermon on the Plain, Jesus exhorts his followers: "Do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great. . . . Give, and it will be given to you."
Religious faith inspires extraordinary levels of charitable giving. As Oliver acknowledged, there are hundreds of thousands of congregations in the United States. Many are citadels of heartfelt goodness, genuinely devoted to feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, and loving the stranger. By contrast, the "prosperity gospel" televangelists Oliver takes down are genuinely devoted mostly to themselves. Creflo Dollar, for example, flaunts his Rolls-Royces and encourages his flock to send him money so he can buy himself a $65 million Gulfstream jet. Kenneth Copeland lives in a $6.3 million palatial lakeside villa.
How can anyone not be appalled by such swindlers? They pervert what is most beautiful and ennobling about religion to prey on the weak and gullible, and in so doing bring God's name into contempt.
What seems to most infuriate Oliver, however, is that these television "ministries" are tax-exempt. He rails against the IRS for treating them as legitimate, and mocks the agency's disclaimer that it "makes no attempt to evaluate the content of whatever doctrine a particular organization claims is religious," as long as the beliefs are "sincerely held." To prove how meaningless a standard that is, Oliver even set up his own "church" — Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption — and invited viewers to send him tax-deductible donations. Obviously, he isn't the first person to discover some shepherds are interested only in fleecing their flock. The Senate Finance Committee investigated six leading televangelists in 2007. The Dallas-based Trinity Foundation has been investigating religious fraud since the 1970s. Scandals involving TV ministries have often drawn media coverage.
But federal law purposely makes it difficult for the IRS to investigate churches. This is not because Congress wants to encourage charlatans who exploit people's faith to line their own pockets, but because of the longstanding American aversion to giving government the authority to pick and choose among faiths, or to distinguish sincere religious beliefs from insincere scams. In a report last month, the General Accountability Office concluded that the IRS lacked the internal controls to guard against the temptation to "select organizations for examination in an unfair manner — for example, based on an organization's religious, educational, political, or other views."
Perhaps such controls could be devised, though the long history of the IRS being used to harass ideological or partisan targets isn't encouraging. To be sure, there are clear lines that ministries may not cross, such as a minister's personal use of church assets or the endorsement of political candidates. And fraud is a crime, no matter who commits it.
But that still leaves a broad gray area that comes down to belief vs. baloney. "Prosperity gospel" may amount to contemptible nonsense, but many would say the same of Scientology or Christian Science or Santeria. Or, for that matter, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Should government be empowered to sort it out?
It is a bedrock principle of American life that discerning religious truth is no job for the state. Sleazeball televangelists deserve to be mocked and exposed and warned against — but not by the IRS. As the First Amendment secures John Oliver's right to excoriate Creflo Dollar, it secures Dollar's freedom to preach his gospel of greed. That's a reasonable tradeoff in this imperfect world. As for the world to come, consult Dante.
Study: Sex Hormones May Account for ‘Genuine Difference’ Between Male, Female Brains
A recent study by researchers at the European College Of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP) suggests that sex hormones create a “genuine difference” in brain structure between men and women.
After comparing brain images of 18 female-to-male transsexuals before and after they received testosterone therapy, researchers found that they exhibited significant differences in brain structure after receiving high-dose hormone therapy as part of their sexual reassignment treatment.
Professor Rupert Lanzenberger explained: “What we see is a real quantitative difference in brain structure after prolonged exposure to testosterone.”
“These findings may suggest that the genuine difference between the brains of women and men is substantially attributable to the effects of circulating sex hormones,” Lanzenberger said. “Moreover, the hormonal influence on human brain structure goes beyond early development phases and is still present in adulthood.”
Recent media coverage of transgenderism and transsexualism have raised questions about whether one’s gender can be changed.
In May of 2014, Time Magazine published a cover story dubbing transgenderism “America’s next civil right’s frontier.” In June of this year, former Olympian Bruce Jenner appeared on the cover of Vanity Fair with the request: “Call me Caitlyn.”
As the political support for transgenderism grows, some are even calling for the use of gender-neutral pronouns.
But this study, which points to innate biological differences between the sexes, calls into question the idea that gender is malleable and independent of biological influences.
According to ECNP Communications Committee member Kamilla Miskowiak, one of the major differences between men and women can be seen in their language processing abilities. The study found that “prolonged exposure to testosterone” affected regions of the brain involved in language and speech.
“This intriguing neuroimaging study of transsexuals before and after their female-to-male gender reassignment suggests that even adult men and women differ in brain structure within regions involved in language and speech,” Dr. Miskowiak explained.
“Female-to-male gender reassignment resulted in local brain matter decrease within language processing regions, which may explain why verbal abilities are often stronger in women,” she said.
Because researchers studied the influence of testosterone on transsexuals receiving hormone therapy, they were able to study the effect of hormones more directly.
Lanzenberger added: “This would have been impossible to understand without looking at a transsexual population.”
A Liberal-made Dark Age
This is from a year ago but is still up to date
We have slipped into an age of un-enlightenment where you fall in line behind the mob or face the consequences.
How ironic that the persecutors this time around are the so-called intellectuals. They claim to be liberal while behaving as anything but. The touchstone of liberalism is tolerance of differing ideas. Yet this mob exists to enforce conformity of thought and to delegitimize any dissent from its sanctioned worldview. Intolerance is its calling card.
Each week seems to bring another incident. Last week it was David and Jason Benham, whose pending HGTV show was canceled after the mob unearthed old remarks the brothers made about their Christian beliefs on homosexuality. People can't have a house-flipping show unless they believe and say the "right" things in their life off the set? In this world, the conservative Tom Selleck never would have been Magnum, P.I.
This week, a trail-blazing woman was felled in the new tradition of commencement shaming. International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde withdrew from delivering the commencement speech at Smith College following protests from students and faculty who hate the IMF. According to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, this trend is growing. In the 21 years leading up to 2009, there were 21 incidents of an invited guest not speaking because of protests. Yet, in the past five-and-a-half years, there have been 39 cancellations.
Don't bother trying to make sense of what beliefs are permitted and which ones will get you strung up in the town square. Our ideological overlords have created a minefield of inconsistency. While criticizing Islam is intolerant, insulting Christianity is sport. Ayaan Hirsi Ali is persona non grata at Brandeis University for attacking the prophet Mohammed. But Richard Dawkins describes the Old Testament God as "a misogynistic … sadomasochistic … malevolent bully" and the mob yawns. Bill Maher calls the same God a "psychotic mass murderer" and there are no boycott demands of the high-profile liberals who traffic his HBO show.
The self-serving capriciousness is crazy. In March, University of California-Santa Barbara women's studies professor Mireille Miller-Young attacked a 16-year-old holding an anti-abortion sign in the campus' "free speech zone" (formerly known as America). Though she was charged with theft, battery and vandalism, Miller-Young remains unrepentant and still has her job. But Mozilla's Brendan Eich gave a private donation to an anti-gay marriage initiative six years ago and was ordered to recant his beliefs. When he wouldn't, he was forced to resign from the company he helped found.
Got that? A college educator with the right opinions can attack a high school student and keep her job. A corporate executive with the wrong opinions loses his for making a campaign donation. Something is very wrong here.
As the mob gleefully destroys people's lives, its members haven't stopped to ask themselves a basic question: What happens when they come for me? If history is any guide, that's how these things usually end
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.