14 Jul 2016

The Dawn of the European Superstate is our Doom

If you are a world supremacist wannabe looking to build a superstate, look no further than the European Union for inspiration. In order to construct the European Union behemoth, warts et al, you have to deconstruct each and every country that is a component of the so-called unity. To achieve this, you need to deconstruct national sovereignty in order to construct the so-called European sovereignty, an unelected sovereignty deeply entrenched into the Agenda 21 principles. Welcome to the globalist dystopia that is being put in place!

'Athena', fantasy art by Cynthia Sheppard

First off, in order to deconstruct national sovereignty you need to tone down national identity. Then amalgamate national pride and patriotism with fascism and racism, which has been going on in France and elsewhere stealthily for the last 35 years. This is key to undermining the strength of a nation. Once national pride has been cleverly associated with fascism, it is put down, and the orchestrated erosion of national values triggers an open-door policy for imports (goods, services and investments, hence cash-flow). The same applies to people (mass immigration), ethics, views and politics that get unified under a fake right/ left, right/ wrong, rich/ poor, black/ white paradigm. Alongside this, in order to construct a European unity, you need to deconstruct unity at its cellular level (family unity, race unity, national unity, etc.).

For European unity to exist under the globalist model, expect no elevation of spirits and values and quality of life. Expect no flourishing prospects in terms of wealth and prosperity, education, employment, trade, industry or philosophy. Expect the exact opposite. Any sensible individual capable of reflecting upon current affairs, will have realised by now that each of the countries that make up Europe is in serious trouble. I acquiesce to this with all my while, having lived in the thick of the 'Union' all of my life, and long enough to realise that things are not adding up in favour of growth, but in favour of ungrowth. We Europeans live its absurdities with every breath we take. You will therefore have to excuse our dulling joie de vivre...

'Momentum' by ibid.

Distractions might take the unguarded off course, as for instance with the Anti-Brexit millennials who took to the streets of Britain on the aftermath of the referendum berating the 'old white people' that they wish would die, including - I imagine - their grandparents? But let's not be fazed; Paul Joseph Watson got it debunked for us in less time than it takes for a pop song to play.

Socialism, otherwise known as the Liberal left, the Democrats - or in more gauche terms as Tony Blair's New Labour - have made Europe their hotbed. And wherever socialism goes, ungrowth follows, all under this forced collectivism and communitarianism, multi-culturalism and other '-isms' and chasms that the individual is forced to surrender to... Here are a few examples:-

  • Private liberties are being eroded.
  • Political correctness paralyses free speech and makes us all potential suspects; it prevents politicians and other people in the public eye from expressing themselves without having to justify a word in lengthy ways.
  • Burdening through over-taxation, over-bureaucratic nonsense, over-politicisation of public and private life with our puppet governments at work dismantling the democratic values of the Republic, so we are falling each day further down into state-controlled economy, which itself is at the mercy of global elites like the divine (deviant) George Soros.
  • Biased media and institutions bought out by the corporate elite.
  • The over-interference of the state into our everyday lives through all sorts of crazy legislation is meant to break our spirits and especially spirit of enterprise and financial independence.
  • Debt-ridden nations, directly or indirectly selling off their 'family jewels'. (Examples in France: Toulouse airport, PSG football club, Alstom Energy, Peugeot cars, Hôtel de Crillon (Paris), Gevrey-Chambertin château and vineyard). Our heritage is being sold off!
  • Meanwhile rampant unemployment, with our shipyards, foundries and traditional manufacturing industries relocated to the Far East.
  • Open-border policy for a tsunami of unregulated uncontrolled migration that pours into every nook and cranny of Europe, tipping the balance further for costly unproductivity to replace ROI productivity to channel passive consumerism! 
  • Wahey, it looks like we are truly being snookered!

'Libra' by ibid.

The European Union is a socio-economic lab, a model in the making that is being used to be carbon-copied to other select parts of the world, namely Western economies, in order to collapse them and therefore rewrite history.

What is happening to Europe is a cautionary tale for the USA. Other there, you need look no further than your current President as a living exemple busy undoing the moral values and work ethics of the working classes in order to feed the Welfare State, tentacular federal agency aid programmes and an increasing federal policing of regular tax-paying citizens, through sophisticated centralised surveillance systems (by whichever invasion of privacy they might operate under, down to smart meters and biotechs) and other ways of interference. At this point, it is offensive to turn a blind eye to what is really going on in the West right now.

"The goal of socialism is communism." - Vladimir Lenin
"Socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy. Its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery." - Winston Churchill
"Shattering the myth that poverty is the fault of the poor and a generous benefit system, [...] show that the blame lies with the massive social and economic upheaval that has shifted power from the workforce to corporations and swelled the ranks of the working poor, a group increasingly at the mercy of low-pay, zero-hour contracts and downward social mobility." - Breadline Britain: The Rise of Mass Poverty (review)

Further Resources:

9 Jul 2016

Shirley Baker: Snapping the Ordinary to Write Local History

Of my 16 years living and working in Manchester, England, my biggest regret is to have taken hardly any photos of the city itself, so caught up was I in my own life, and whenever I had a moment to snap away, it would be outside the city boundaries, down the scenic coast, up the Lakes, a nature preserve or a quaint photogenic Peak District village. Manchester didn't come to mind because I lived there, and I was of the opinion back then that photography had to be escapism from everyday life.

'Two Girls Swing on a Lamp Post', Hulme, 1965, photography by Shirley Baker, via The Photographers' Gallery

Thankfully some talented - yet unsung - individuals like Shirley Baker (1932-2014) have meticulously reported back from the nitty-gritty of the frontline. For it would be a great loss to local historians if the photography-enclined had all overlooked Manchester the way I did because then the fast-changing socio-economic fabric of this industrious mill city and its industrial demise followed by its reinvention as a service- and leisure-driven metropolis wouldn't have been captured and immortalised in this poignant visual exactitude that words fail to transcribe.

"If I could say it in words there would be no reason to paint." - Edward Hopper

Shirley Baker got late recognition in life for her work as a street photographer and photojournalist of the mundane, snapping street scenes, capturing life as it occurs, spontaneously, lived by the ordinary folks, not the celebs, not the royals, not the captains of industry. She was her own Robert Doisneau and Henri-Cartier Bresson, the latter she admired. She made it to the broadsheets (The Guardian and The Telegraph) obituaries when she sadly passed away, which is - I guess - a form of posthumous recognition of her art and talent.

'Women and Young girls out in the Street', Hulme, July 1965, ibid.

Meanwhile I am looking up to the Mancunians (the inhabitants of Manchester), who since the inception of the Industrial Revolution, from the rising of Cottonopolis to the post-industrial cultural errances of Madchester and beyond, have had to adapt to an ever-changing physical, social and financial landscape and show resilience, acceptance and adaptability to conditions forced upon them, and ultimately turn away from despondency, and turn adversity into opportunity in order to survive the transformation and earn a living within a reconfigured, unrecognisable city. I would sum it up this way: -

Manchester is - despite itself - a fascinating social laboratory and an architectural experiment that has explored - and keeps exploring - the good, the bad and the ugly. 

One of my personal observations that resulted into my 202-page University research paper about land planning management programmes in post-WWII Manchester, is how historically the northern city has been treating history: ruthlessly. This was accomplished along the years in a series of high-profile public, private and mixed land grabs and compulsory purchases repurposed as redevelopments, some of which badly needed (the slum clearances) and others of a more questionable nature. Redevelopments were/ are not solely limited to Manchester, for the blueprint was/ is applied to other major cities and their satellite towns.

As unconventional as I may sound, I  believe this is the way that Britain as a socio-economic collective deals with the past, and how this ruthlessness helps it move on. The nation refuses to dwell on the past too long for it refuses to become complacent and dictated to by nostalgia. It does however boast 500,000 Grade I and Grade II listed buildings, fondly and meticulously preserve traditions and memories (through, for instance, extensively-documented WWI and WWII commemorations, and lavish Royal protocoles), painstakingly curate ancient artefacts into museum collections, and document the past via specialist research and education institutes.

'Young Girls playing in the Street', Hulme, 1965, ibid.

Yet at the same time the nation's history shows how quick it is at making a clean slate out of, not just a couple of old buildings at a time, but large swathes of land, several streets at a time, that have been deemed ripe for redevelopment by a clique of office suits removed from life on the front line.

These drastic changes occur at the expense of the local communities that keep getting fractured, both externally and then internally, and lose their cohesion and identity, as the wards face their redundancy and economic fragility head on and their weakened state attracts social underdogs and castaways (drop-outs, thugs, drug dealers), who drag the wards down further through a climate of fear, before the bulldozers move in. The clearance of old housing stock started in the 1930s and resumed after WWII. Between 1955 and 1975, some 1.3 million homes were demolished nationwide to make way for modern accommodation with comfort and sanitation. However those came at a cost:-

"(...) many of the people lived in dreadful conditions and their houses had to be pulled down. Then of course, when they built up the new stuff, it wasn’t very long before they pulled all that down too.”- Shirley Baker

Let's bear in mind that Britain has been ruthlessly quick at wiping out its heavy industry and traditional manufacturing base over the last sixty years, leaving only a few traces here and there of its industrial past. And then the socio-economics that are linked to those sectors of employment have too been obliterated. In this 'sink or swim' environment, unless the locals move away altogether or retrain and relearn (which is not always possible), they become casualties, and long-term unemployment a fatality. Alvin Toffler's Future Shock springs to mind.

'Cycle Salesman', Hulme, 1965, via BBC

By making that clean slate, government officials, financiers, investors, economists, land planners, property developers, each contribute in effect, to directly or indirectly wipe out the architecture, culture, social fabric, heritage, legacy that root in the communities. The blue-collar workers, or what is left of them, are the social demographic most likely to be displaced within the city: the now-redundant factory workers and miners and their families, now either essentially workless and put under the patronage of the State through total Welfare dependency programmes for subsistence, or they take that post-industrial leap into unskilled low-paid service jobs, joining the ranks of the working poor.

"I cannot claim that my photographs represent anything other than a few wisps teased from some of the countless threads that form the intricate tapestry of our lives.” - Shirley Baker

On my last visit to Manchester 21 months ago with my mum, we drove through parts of East Manchester (namely Ancoats, Ardwick, Beswick, Gorton, Openshaw and Denton) and blimey, did I struggle to recognise anything! The last time I had driven down those areas had only been five years prior, in 2009... It seemed that what was left of the old industry-related (Victorian mills, depots, warehouses, sheds, traditional two-up two-down terraced houses and their end-terrace corner shops, workers clubs, stores, picture houses, small pubs, local banking institutions, etc.) had made way for sprawling housing estates, modernist tower blocks, supermarkets, shopping precincts, leisure centres, brand new roads and tram lines. I did not spot one major factory building still standing, apart fom the iconic Daisy Mill (now too due to be demolished!). The odd Victorian pub at a corner of Ashton Old Road or Ashton New Road would stand out as both the only tangible, significant landmark and witness of a bygone era. Everything else had been flattened out, reworked and retuned in a tabula rasa exercise that has been radically transforming those areas since the 1950s, first off as part of the extensive post-war slum clearance programme.

As an aside, I must point out that the reworked cityscape looks bland and non-descript, like one long stretch of identikit suburbia, punctuated with tower blocks, mile upon mile, and the end result looks - dare I say - un-British. Indeed it has lost its Britishness. These areas, where locals were once involved in the making of the nation's wealth through their hard relentless unrewarded labour, had remained poor. Yet 50 years ago, the locals were still able to hold a job that helped them raise a family and have a roof above their heads, no matter how humble the abode, without the charity of the State, and making do without resorting to detbt. They owed society nothing and their pride and self-esteem were theirs.

'Ice Cream Van on Terraced Street', July 1965, photography by Shirley Baker, via The Guardian

Nowadays, as contribution to the nation's wealth has been robbed from these people, these former workers' wards/ districts have become wards/ districts of passive - i.e. unproductive - consumerism. This model is replicated throughout our Western societies and this passive consumerism, detached from production and purpose, is the sign of a fractured society. Because having a purpose in life drives you. Having no purpose other than wait for the cheque from the social, while the world is passing you by, is no driver in itself.
Meanwhile Shirley's photographic legacy reminds us that there are no rose-tinted ways of viewing poverty, only compassion, through the respectful, non-intrusive intimacy which her eye and lens share with her subjects. It is a social documentary with a heart, the photographic labour of love about a labour force caught in the midst of times achanging.

Looking Back to Look Forward should have been a motto for Council chiefs, private sector entrepreneurs and their acolytes to apply to Manchester for its successful transition into the future, while taking into account the best elements from the past (including values) and the expectations of four generations of the population (from cradle to the grave, if you pardon me the phrase), with the design fitting their lives rather than the other way around. I believe in integrated sensible redevelopment, based on brand-new builds based on classical design, and renovations of designated buildings. I do not believe that redevelopment should require the utter obliteration of the wards.

Further Resources:

Further Reading List - about today's working poor in Britain:
Further Manchester Photography: 
The Manchester City Council website is an excellent starting point. The following two resources it lists will provide subsequent photographic information and much more:-

7 Jul 2016

Inspire Aspire - Looking Back to Look Forward

What's in a tagline? More than meets the eye when it conveys a powerful motto that strings two phrasal verbs that together convey past, present and future harmoniously like three peas in a pod. The tagline is a pep talk all to itself!

Brought to you by Primus Hotel Sydney

The context of the Looking Back to Look Forward tagline is in relation to a newly-opened 5-star hotel in Sydney, Australia, set in a 1939 heritage-listed Art Deco edifice that used to be home to the Sydney Water Board. The $2 billion refit was a two-year labour of love that not only integrated but also totally revived the old, to which was added that light touch of present modernity - just enough to take the Art Deco into the 21st century and beyond, with no compromise on either period elegance or modern comfort.

This called for equilibrium between the old and the new, a balancing act, a synergy that only a sensible, measured, concerted, thoughtful upgrade could create. That meant not ripping up the period features, as sadly we tend to witness elsewhere when architects and con artists are let loose in the 'now for the now' vibration, with no clear instructions or simply no intention to preserve original features. Here the original design stays centrestage, and the future of this building of character is written with its history and period features in mind. The PR tagline had to translate this fluidity, the flow of the past into the future via the 'renov-action' of the now.

A grandiose foyer set to rival New York's Waldorf Astoria! (AFR)

Looking Back to Look Forward is to draw on the past in order to build a lasting future. Rooting, anchoring the future in the solid, tried-and-tested foundations of the past applies to sensible architectural renovations like we would like to witness them more often. The tagline is smart, neat and to the point, and it has a certain familiarity to it, as experience teaches us that a past needs a future and a future needs a past, and how successful the integration of both into the present occurs relies upon our skill to interpret the values of the past and be able to carry them forward. This is what we call heritage and we need it bad, because heritage is history and history allows us to face the future.

This is a tagline that is relevant not just for architectural design but also for the way we design our lives. For life experience teaches us that as we stand in the present we should draw the lessons from the past and remember and honour our elders legacy, in order to create a strong, meaningful and (g)rounded future to pass on to our children. 

Cocktail functions in the lobby area

Meanwhile as the world is moving faster and the planned obsolescence of models and beliefs is getting shorter, society is being engineered to get stuck in the now of their needs and wants to their very consumerist levels, and entertained by their time-consuming social media hobbies. We witness the obliteration of our heritage by the governing and financial elites which are busy rewriting elements of our past to suit their agenda and ulterior motives, and disenfranchising us from the past. It remains therefore urgent for us to take that step back, acknowledge and own that past back in order to be able to move forward whole and empowered into a future filled with scope and perspective.

The only way is up!

Primus Hotel Sydney, 339 Pitt Street, Sydney, Australia, 2000.