May 2022

Long suffering Ericle readers will have noted my occasional references to The Slog, (see: here), a long-running blog written by a former agency colleague of mine. The Slog’s strapline describes its author as being a cognitive dissident; which, IMHO, proscribes the strength and the weakness of the author’s proposition. Being ‘cognitive’ is laudatory but being an entitled (sic!) ‘dissident’ is, I’d suggest, not such a good thing; as it is an act of putting oneself in predetermined perpetual opposition to everything. I hugely enjoy The Slog’s counter-cultural musings, which always contain much that is worthy of consideration, but do feel that the Slogger often fails by dint of wishing to uncover a Theory Of Everything, which very often undermines his direction of travel. Example: in one of his recent outpourings The Slogger wrote this:

Everything I’ve fought for on Our Side is now turning in on itself.

I’m no longer on Our Side. Our side is on the wrong side of history.

I’m defecting to the Other Side.

Clever stuff, very funny. As a fellow Septuagenarian, the sentiment expressed – that many of the values one held dearly don’t seem to be working any more – certainly struck a chord with me. I also have sympathy with the thought, evoked by an analysis of the war in Ukraine, that up to the point of invasion the West was not as much on the right side of history, as it choses to present itself. However, once Putin invaded, the claim that we are on the wrong side is perverse. In the interests of fairness and full disclosure, The Slog, chose to clarify his position with this:

I do not retreat an inch from that decision; but I do need people to understand precisely what I mean. I am not and never will be a traitor to British values and a lost way of life that always made me proud to be a Briton. I mean purely that the EUNATO “line” (from which escape seems impossible) is now unashamedly censorious, mendacious, cynical and totalitarian. I will not stay on “the same side” as those with genocidal, anti-libertarian, top-down diktats as a default approach. I shall work in my own tiny way to encourage a more balanced, multi-polar and genuinely communitarian planet where the goal returns to being maximisation of the individual’s potential to do good …. I’m not against the US, the UK or the citizens of the EU. I am against those who have stolen good intentions in their search for malign advantage.

Well, that’s The Slog for you: some very good thinking undermined by a tendency to see the world through a prism that only reflects black and white; which, surely, is The Big Fail of the world we currently live in. The Road To Hell is to see the world in terms of ‘my’ and ‘other’ sides which – if you are like The Slog – will place you in a position of perpetual dissidence, cognitive or otherwise. This is what worries me about the amount of propaganda, (for that, IMHO, is much of what it is), that abounds in the coverage we receive on Ukraine. I can’t see where this can lead us. This is exactly the point made by Max Hastings in today’s Times:

“Too much political and media attention focuses on gloating over Russian battlefield humiliations. (This will not bring about) what matters to the Ukrainian people (which is) how the shooting can be stopped, and their lives start again. An absolute Ukrainian military ‘victory’, with Russia condemned to the permanent pariah status, is unattainable”.

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On other fronts, my leading contender for Headline Of The Year appeared on the day after the UK local elections

Well done, to all concerned at The Times for coming up with a headline, with accompanying imagery, which would have done Private Eye proud!

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Finally, from The Cycledrome, here are this month’s metrics:

Cycled in APRIL : 9 Rides/197.25 miles

TOTAL MILES : 738.85 miles. (Ahead of target by 74.08 miles).

Number of Days cycled: 50. Average Distance per Ride: 14.78 miles.

MILES TO GO: 1283.15

Money Raised for Macmillan Cancer so far: £1423.00. (Donations Page: here)

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