David Hume, new Corn Laws and BP

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates

The National Library of Scotland has announced that it will be addressing the “silences" in its collection by placing place people such as David Hume, Adam Smith and Robert Burns, in the “context” of their day.  John Scally, the national librarian, is quoted in the Times as saying: “We had changed our collections policy to be more open about those parts that need to be explained in the context of slavery and in the context of the Scottish Enlightenment and all the rest of it.  [BLM] allowed us to have a wider conversation."  The Times then quoted the sensible Edinburgh academic Lindsay Patterson:

Hume argued that slavery was iniquitous.  At the same time he was able to write a footnote that was racist.  The educational purpose of a historical exhibition should be to encourage understanding of how, in the context of his times, someone of such intellectual distinction could hold views that we now regard as contradictory.  I hope the National Library will encourage this subtlety of judgment in all its exhibitions, and avoid easy political gestures of the kind that led to the renaming of the David Hume Tower by Edinburgh University management.”


Meanwhile, from another part of our chequered history, a billionaire hereditary peer, Lord Granchester [ the family seat is Lower House Farm ] spoke for all poor and downtrodden peoples (actually, the Labour Party) when he successful moved a motion in the House of Lords to the effect that any future free-trade agreement — think with the USA here — should prevent the import of food produced by cheaper methods than our own.  The arrogance of it: assuming that all British farming sits on a pedestal of virtue; well, tell that to the zillions of chickens that end up priced at around £2 / kg.  More than 95% of the the chickens bought in UK supermarkets are from battery farms, many of which are no better than they ought to be.  Most UK chickens are now from breeds developed to increase weight by up to 95 g / day  and be slaughtered in 35 days.  The Times says that fifty scientists, including professors of veterinary science at Edinburgh, Bristol and Surrey, have written to supermarkets urging them to sign the “better chicken commitment”, which sets minimum welfare standards.  The Times article includes undercover footage of birds in distressing conditions.  Issues of motes and beams here, I think, and a new set of corn laws in the offing.


BP (Beyond Politics aka Burning Pink) is a new political party that has arisen out of the ashes of Extinction Rebellion.  It recently reached out to NGOs by emptying pots of pink paint in their offices demanding they call out the government for their inaction on the climate crisis.  They'd sent a letter to 50 NGOs stating that as "the social contract with those in power is broken and so they should appeal to all their members to rise up against the government".  BP ( a confusing initialism, you'd think) demands the creation of citizens’ assemblies to hand power to ordinary people (I think they probably really mean climate activists).  Greenpeace, Amnesty, Christian Aid and Friends of the Earth were targeted.  Beyond politics?  Beyond satire more like.

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates


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