I Have A First Class Sign

I bought it at York Railway Museum in 1995 – really I did. I did not prise it from a British Rail carriage with a pen knife. Not because of my well-known sense of honesty and scruples – because all the signs were already removed long before I boarded the trains. I had to content myself with cutting out squares of the upholstery.

Rail travel is generally wonderful if you are allowed to sit in a First Class seat – you may have noticed this as well with airplane flights. If you turn left upon entering the cabin door most of your worries and discomforts can be made to disappear – though it must be said that they do not go away cheaply. They take a good deal of your cash with them.

But back to the rails. The British are a classified society and make no bones about it. They’ll analyse you in a second by your clothing and in a nanosecond by your accent and shunt you instantly into a niche in their behavioural structure. You should not be upset by this – it is not discriminatory – they do it to everyone and to themselves. And for the foreigner ( even a Commonwealth foreigner ) there can be some advantages to this. We are given a leeway in appearance and behaviour that they do not allow themselves. We are not expected to come up to their standards ( or down to them, as the case may be ) and we can be left alone to do our own colonial thing most of the time. Thus an Australian in a British Rail first class seat will be tolerated by the other passengers to an extent that a similarly dressed local could not hope for.

If we slum it down to the second-class seats it just feels like the Armadale line on a Saturday night, so there is nothing too strange about that. Actually the clothing on the passengers is pretty similar…they might be the same people.

The nice thing about the First Class seats – compartment or aisle – is that a little man or woman wheels a refreshments trolley through at intervals and you can purchase things. There is no ice for the drinks, but the tea and coffee are cold enough as it is. It’s not exactly a Bunnings sausage sizzle either, as far as food goes, but there is a certain mdf-boardiness about British Rail sandwiches anyway. I think the best analogy is the Bunbury Shell cafe after they have turned off the cabinet heaters…

Do you get there faster in First Class? No, of course not – the train arrives all together. Do you get extra comfort? Marginally. Do you get to feel like a member of the upper classes? Only if you exercise a great deal of imagination.

But it is all worth it.

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Is My Black Shirt Ironed, Dear?

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Well, I am proud of myself. I read a genuine fascist book last night and did not throw it into the fire, though I was tempted. I must be maturing.

The book – ” the Battle of London ” – was apparently printed in 1923 in Great Britain by a firm called Herbert Jenkins. The back of the book lists some of their other publications and a mixed lot they are, too. They range from 7/6 novels to 3/6 poplars. One of the latter is P. G. Wodehouse’s * ” The Inimitable Jeeves “. You can even get down to 2/6 potboilers. I would imagine the difference in the prices is, to some extent, due to bindings and paper.

” The Battle Of London ” is cheap enough in itself – the sort of light card and cloth binding that signals the era – a book to be found on the shelves of a boarding house in a seaside resort. In my case I found it in a secondhand bookstore in Margaret River – odd enough location for any reader but a surprising treasure trove.

Well, to put it simply, the author called himself Hugh Addison but was really Harry Collison Owen – a sometime British Army officer and editor of a soldier’s paper in the Balkans in the 14/18. Couldn’t tell you what Mr. Owen liked, but I can tell you what he disliked; communism, labour unions, soviet Russia, and postwar Germany. He also disliked Bolsheviks, Jews, Asiatics, and Germans.

Rather surprisingly he liked Italian fascists and possibly Americans, though that might be a misreading of one of his characters.

The novel told of a communist plot to take over England in the 1920’s and the battle to stop it – centred chiefly around London. I suspect Mr Owen was enamoured of the German freikorps of the time as well, though he came to mentioning them and similar paramilitary groups on the continent only as introduction to his own invention – the ” Liberty League ” and the ” Iron Division “. British freikorps.

He set the plot going, then spun it out in the most melodramatic of boy’s adventure scenes. He let the forces of Red Terror advance and succeed and then beat them back with his own heroes. In the end he latched onto the interwar fear of aerial bombing and destroyed Westminster and Berlin with German and British triplanes respectively. All it took was one air raid on each city – I suspect Owen either could not think how to conduct an air war or just ran out of paper.

The most illuminating part of the book was the way Owen wrote about Asiatics and Jews – I’ll not repeat the insults and epithets, the slurs and calumnies. He was contemptuous of Germans and Russians to start with but settled that shortly by saying they were misled by ” other races”.  He did write an American character into the story and managed to attach a general racist attitude to him, but it was chiefly to sew together the English-speaking nations against those he considered lesser breeds.

Well, it was just a book, and a cheap one at that – I cannot see this having got over the 3/6 mark. And it was a long time ago and events have long since proved it to be false, but it was still a damnable thing. I wonder if it, and others like it, were the food that nourished Mosley. Did it fuel hatreds in other people?

Still, I read it through, and that is saying something. I’ll lend it to a friend with a warning, but I don’t suppose it will do him any harm. I would not lend it to susceptible people, however, any more than I would press the Protocols of Zion or Mein Kampf on them. I have no desire to start them out on freikorps re-enactment in 2019…no need for New Guards.

  • P.G Wodehouse. Now there was a staunch Englishman who would never have fascist sympathies………………..

The Backstabbers Guild Position On Britain And The European Union

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This is not  ” How To Vote ” advice.

It is not ” How We Think You Should Have Voted ” advice.

Because it is none of our damn business. The Backstabbers Guild of Australia has it’s own garden to tend to and it takes all our time to weed out loyal and honourable people from our midst. We merely wish to remind England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and the Channel islands that the sun still rises in the east and sets in the west. Life goes on.

You beat the German army and navy last century. You beat the French army and navy two centuries ago. You ALWAYS beat the Spanish*.

You need not fear their wrath. No more than you need fear the piping indignation of the Spanish or French Netherlands. Or the Holy Roman Empire.

Courage. Your own empire may have severed itself some while ago but the invisible ties are still strong. Don’t pluck those strings, but don’t discount them, either. Treat the former colonies with respect and kindness and rein in your aristocratic hooray henries and all may yet be well.

Just don’t ask us for another Gallipoli or Dieppe. And put the idea of Breed’s Hill right out of your minds.

  • To be fair – the Spanish always beat the Spanish too…

Sustaining The Rage – A Guide To Spitting Indignation

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Or ” How To Win Facebook “.

The referendum in the United Kingdom on remaining subject to continental law has been held. The decision to withdraw the national neck from the European halter has been taken, and the rest of the world will watch keenly to see how well it fails or how badly it succeeds. All the people who are British in Britain had their say, and we might think that ends the matter…but I suspect it won’t. Everyone else everywhere else will now second and third guess it to suit their own agendas.

For the people here who did not get what they wanted there, it will be a trying time. But they must look upon the bright side – it will give them valuable training in how to cope with the upcoming Federal elections and the November elections in the United States. If they can learn what to do now, they can dominate the social media for these far-more-important polls.

Note: I leave aside the question of what happens if the people who are entitled to vote in Australia do so – and are fortunate enough to have the candidate or party they favour win office. I’m afraid I have no idea what they should do then. At least we have something in common – they have no idea what they should do then, either…

Facebook, Twitter, Scream, and Qvetch and Moan are the most popular social media sites in Australia. They provide endless opportunities for subscribers to peer over the shoulders of other people’s lives and point out that the red three should go on the black four or otherwise you are a racist. As the internet is truly international except in China and North Korea, they can kibbitz globally, and generally without having to pay for any of the drinks.

So our local FB’ers will be able to complain bitterly if anyone wins anything here and if Donald Trump wins anything there. Mrs. Clinton has a pass – if she wins something all our locals will just simper and preen  – at least for a short period of time. Then the good old prejudices will re-surface and they will blame one of the Bushes for stuff.

One good thing – the political meme factories will be in full production for most of the year. This will give the other firms that supply kitten pictures a chance to get in a new batch of animals and dress them up in costumes. They can restock the picture libraries and get a line of merchandise items ready for sale.