UKC

INTERVIEW: Reading Between the Lines - Andy Kirkpatrick

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 UKC Articles 24 Jan 2017
Inventive gear on Sea of Dreams, 5 kbTales of climbing and mountaineering adventures have long been written, read and shared. In this new series of interviews, we talk to prominent climbing writers about their reading habits between - or even during - routes and expeditions: focussing not only on the growing realm of mountain literature, but also on books in other genres that have informed their thinking and writing.

A big-wall connoisseur with a penchant for suffering, Andy Kirkpatrick was an obvious choice for a first interviewee. Having spent over 200 nights on El Capitan, many of which were spent alone, Andy's self-confessed introspective nature has always guided him in his reading and writing; both on and off the wall. Here's what he had to say...



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 tjoliver 24 Jan 2017
In reply to UKC Articles:

Great interview. Anyone know if it's possible to find the Victor Saunders article on the Eiger that Andy references?
 Albert Tatlock 24 Jan 2017
In reply to tjoliver:

Mountain Review Edition 9 July /Aug 1994
 tjoliver 24 Jan 2017
In reply to Albert Tatlock:

Thanks
In reply to UKC Articles:

I enjoyed the interview, Andy is good value as ever but I'm never really sure what it is that he's getting at. What at first seemed like self deprecation now reads like false modesty, his apparent need to be seen as iconoclastic and contrary feels like a lack of focus. He's rejected cliches of left wing liberalism only to adopt those of the right, either way those are still other people's ideas and not his own.

Still, I like his stories and he makes me laugh, so there's that.
4
 Sean Kelly 24 Jan 2017
In reply to UKC Articles:

A thought provoking interview which I did enjoy. You might say, 'Warts and all!' Someone's reading material or bookshelf can reveal a lot more about the individual that any questioning can illicit.

As a former teacher of art I would sometimes encounter some very able children (in terms of their art ability) who were in the remedial group at school, and would inform other staff that so and so was very bright. One boy in particular who I taught from the age of 11 to 16 only did one 'O' level (Art grade A!) but was a natural climber and later had a very successful career in retail. He was probably dyslexic but this was in the 1970's and not much was known about this then. If his problem had be resolved earlier he would certainly have kick-started his learning in all subjects.

As for the comment about his fellow students on his Art foundation course not being interested in other artists, well that is utter tripe. We are all influenced by what is around or what we observe, be it other artist's work or ideas. We don't live in a vacuum, cut off from all influence. But then again it is probably some misplaced student thinking, that thinks it's smart to be like this. We would still be swinging from trees. As Newton said '.........standing on the shoulders of giants!'
andy kirkpatrick 24 Jan 2017
In reply to Sean Kelly:

"As for the comment about his fellow students on his Art foundation course not being interested in other artists, well that is utter tripe"

It is tripe, but that's what 18 year old art students think and say, but of course it's not true. My point was that you will always be influenced, it's impossible not to be, but that if it really becomes 'art' what you produce is out of your hands (you're in the flow or trance state). Anything less is just imitation.
In reply to andy kirkpatrick:
How refreshing to see the writer of a feature on UKC reply to comments - someone who cares about what others think of their contribution and wants to engage in a dialogue. Great article as well Andy.
 JayPee630 24 Jan 2017
In reply to andy kirkpatrick:

Really enjoying your training blog btw, thanks! It's like a Steve House blog for actual real humans - and I mean that in the best way!
 Coel Hellier 24 Jan 2017
In reply to UKC Articles:

Very thought-provoking interview. Thanks!

Typos:

" ... and it’s so start and clinical and downright odd, like it’s been written by an alien." Stark, not start?

" that our better selves our our children, and their children." => "are our"?
8
andy kirkpatrick 24 Jan 2017
In reply to planetmarshall:

Just because these were not your words, or the words you'd use, please don't assume they're not my own, some stealthy but common slander. Consider instead, from your place of slavish certainty that I do have the intelligence to filter the 'left' and 'right' in order to find some balance of the workable truth. Cliche is what happens when you tell the truth, just put down your thoughts there and then, in an email, to some questions about climbing books. What you take as unfocused I'd called honesty, I leave it up to adult minds to sift for what's worth taking. But like I said, it's the little things that betray the truth, so maybe consider, question and decode just what you wrote in that single response to a daft rambling piece on books. Ask yourself if any of your words belong to you?

'But never sure what he's getting at'
'what at first'
'reads as false modesty'
'his apparent'
'seen as'
'icononclastic'
'contrary
'lack of focus'
rejected'
'cliches'
'left wing'
'liberalism'
'right'
'other people's ideas'
'not his own'

Dead words and dead ideas. Consider what they mean and why they appeared from your fingertips as they did.

(BTW If your trade is in words, then you should defend them like your children : )

Strength and honour!



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andy kirkpatrick 24 Jan 2017
In reply to keith-ratcliffe: I've given up porn for 2017, so there's only NPR and UKC left!

In reply to Coel Hellier:

I also thought about "reading Extreme Ownership by Joko Willik (ex-self-help/business book by ex-US Navy SEAL) at the breakfast table" a few times. Is the first "ex-" just a typo or is "ex-self help" a thing I'm not aware of?

It's an interesting article. Reading Andy on Twitter and his blog, his 'political change of perspective', for the want of a better term, has been rather obvious - the story about his kids' school is some interesting context to that I hadn't heard before, although like Planetmarshall said above, I'm not sure if it's so much a radical deconstruction of previous beliefs leaving nothing but a healthy cynicism instead, as the replacement of one set of views with another set. Isn't that what we all do as grow and change a bit? I like though that Andy is really willing to debate and argue, on twitter, on his blog, here etc.
In reply to andy kirkpatrick:
> so there's only NPR and UKC left!

Do you ever read Slate or listen to their podcasts? Hanna Rosin who has done the Slate XX podcast for donkey's years wrote an article "the End of Men" a few years back now http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/07/the-end-of-men/308135/?single_page=true that she elongated into a book. Haven't read the book but I quite like her on the podcast, so might be worth a read alongside Christina Hoff Sommers. A lot of that debate seems very US-focused, but in the UK the sociologist Tony Sewell has been writing about "the feminisation of education" for over a decade now - basically boys have very few male role models at school, particularly primary. Sewell has looked particularly at black boys and the effect it has on them, as a disproportionate number of black kids come from single parent families - i.e. mums - so again Sewell thinks they lack male role models.
Post edited at 22:21
In reply to andy kirkpatrick:

It's the ideas more than the words, no one would deny that you have a way with the latter - though some revealing usages creep through. Your adoption of derogatory terms like 'Social Justice Warrior' from one of your recent blogs for example - some not so stealthy slander, indeed.

Anyway, this is supposed to be about climbing. As a forum for debating sociology it leaves something to be desired, though if I am allowed to leave on a flippant note, may I suggest that should you need expert advice on, say, medical matters, that you consult a Doctor and not a Taxi Driver.

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andy kirkpatrick 24 Jan 2017
In reply to TobyA:

Yes I read End of Men when it came out, but I think at the time I was too manly to consider it as being true : ) I think having a son has made me think more on it. The problem is the second you even try and talk about this everyone jumps on you, that you're harking for the 1970's again, but there's been much of the past, built up over centuries, that got left behind in the mad rush to modernity!
andy kirkpatrick 24 Jan 2017
In reply to planetmarshall:

I always tell my kids that they need to get into more arguments, as it's the back and forward of ideas where the truth lies. It's always good to be slapped around the head when using cliches (like SJW or 'working class' or 'Suddenly!'), plus there's that part of me - that Hull part - that is always reminded of Ed Douglas saying 'the problem with Andy is that he's cleverer than people think', in that there's that defensive side of me that wonders if he's wrong. As it says on my Twitter profile, I'm a man of 'notions', which is an easy disclaimer for anything I say or do. I guess if I actually took the time to really clean out the dead words that I use then maybe my arguments would be more focused and effective... but who's got the time!
 bouldery bits 24 Jan 2017
In reply to andy kirkpatrick:

Hi Andy,

In the interview (and some of your other writing) you seem quite down on formal schooling.

What would you recommend as an alternative for children?

Loving the training blog BTW - making me feel guilty for staying in and rating toblerone instead of getting down the wall!

Cheers,

BB

1
In reply to andy kirkpatrick:

> I always tell my kids that they need to get into more arguments, as it's the back and forward of ideas where the truth lies.

There's little to disagree with there (ironically). We do tend to surround ourselves with people who think as we do, and social media is not helpful in this regard. Being a healthy skeptic involves pissing a few people off and, unfortunately, maybe even losing a few friends along the way.

> there's that part of me - that Hull part - that is always reminded of Ed Douglas saying 'the problem with Andy is that he's cleverer than people think', in that there's that defensive side of me that wonders if he's wrong.

If it's any consolation I have no idea what you're going on about much of the time (apart from your published writings which are great), which could equally have been said about James Joyce, so you are in good company.
2
In reply to andy kirkpatrick:

Personally I've not seen this "everyone jumps on you" thing in the way you write about it. When I used to write about the "Counter-Jihad" movement (this was before Breivik made those bloggers really famous) I used to have some (and only some) discussions with people within that movement, but I also got a lot insults, accusations of being a traitor to 'my people', and some vaguely threatening sort of comments of the doxing type. If you pointed out the link between a populist right political party and often quite extremist anti-Muslim bloggers, you could expect to get 'jumped on' (fortunately only metaphorically). Now I work in education, there is loads of discussion on why are boys failing. No one seems to have found a policy magic bullet to resolve it, but there is definitely no "jumping on" anyone who points out that British boys get 6-7% lower A*-C 5 GCSEs than girls and have done for 20 odd years now. Rather lots of people are trying to work out why it happens and what schools can do to try equalise the achievement of boys.

Did the case of the head teacher who got forced out make national or regional papers? I'd like to read up on what happened.
In reply to TobyA:

> Did the case of the head teacher who got forced out make national or regional papers? I'd like to read up on what happened.

There was the major scandal in Birmingham surrounding 'Operation Trojan Horse', I don't know if that's what Andy is referring to.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Trojan_Horse

 Misha 25 Jan 2017
In reply to andy kirkpatrick:
Really interesting first part of the interview about dealing with dyslexia.

Totally agree it's good to challenge your own beliefs and those of people who surround you but you have to be careful not to end up quite confused and end up holding irrational beliefs through some twisted logic.

The other thing is to stick to what you do best , which is climbing and writing and talking about climbing. Your talks and books are brilliant and people love them. Obviously you can write whatever you like on a blog or a website about politics or some other 'serious' issue and that may be important to you personally, which is fair enough. Some people might agree with, some might take issue with it but the reality is that most simply won't care... Climbing is escapism in many ways and that's what a lot of people are really after.
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 Misha 25 Jan 2017
In reply to planetmarshall:
I think that was something quite different.
andy kirkpatrick 25 Jan 2017
In reply to bouldery bits:

"In the interview (and some of your other writing) you seem quite down on formal schooling.
"
My views are based on a 1970/80s childhood, and having a son and a daughter going through the school system (one having been 'diagnosed' as having ADS). I would really recommend reading "Weapons of mass instruction" (written by an ex-award winning teacher) as it makes many good points (I need to point out I was married to a teacher and I'm about to marry a second, and my sister is a teacher in a special unit in Hull and so know the limits of what teaching can be). I guess the mistake we make (some) is that school can create the adults we want our children to be, but it can't (and perhaps it was designed what other people once wanted, but not anymore). Taking my daughter up El Cap, kayaking across Scotland, all sorts of adventurers, and a LOT of talking and arguing was me trying (maybe failing) to add that extra ballast to who they will be, to make them lift above the small things teenagers get enslaved too. To be adults I guess.
 Mick Ward 25 Jan 2017
In reply to andy kirkpatrick:

> I guess if I actually took the time to really clean out the dead words that I use then maybe my arguments would be more focused and effective... but who's got the time!

If you care enough about your arguments, then you'll make the time.

Mick
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andy kirkpatrick 25 Jan 2017
In reply to Misha:

"quite confused and end up holding irrational beliefs"

The church said the very same about those that rejected dogma (did you know "If you don't believe in something then you'll fall for anything" comes from a church newsletter?), and personally I feel that anyone who's not grasping for answers is the real fool (take Syria for example). I find that most people are conformists, only that comformity has been made to feel like free thought. Things have been aranged so that to point out how manipulated we are is to invite the charge of paranoia and conspiracy, but I ask you why when I click on the BBC news I see a 'letter to Trump' from a child. Is this Newsround? We have been made to think and act and react like children, to view the world through disney eyes, to disengage from deeper adult questioning - to just go climbing. I know full well the damage I do to myself by not being what people want, to shed a tear for Obama as he leaves etc, but as I said in my piece I cannot be one of those 'fair trade' thinkers. Someone once told my mum that she was too poor to have principles, to which she replied "No ones that poor" and I guess I live by that. I'm an adult, and I may write adult things, and if people feel some strange feeling in their heads when they come across something they do not like, then that's a weakness that's being tested.

I don't feel that I'm confused or irrational.
In reply to andy kirkpatrick:

> I find that most people are conformists, only that comformity has been made to feel like free thought.

I find that most people like to think that they are non-conformists, play the underdog, that they can see through the dogma and that everyone else has swallowed the kool-aid ( from your interview above "I was an ignorant drone, a supplicant, bound tight with chains of self-pity, envy and self-hate. I was like most people" ). We reinforce this by convincing ourselves that our opinions are controversial, that everyone's against us - but the self pity is still there - ( My work as speaker in schools and colleges and business kind of disappeared overnight, after all teachers and HR departments tend to be wired a certain way). A common theme I see in your writing recently are several examples of the fallacy of relative privation, or more colloquially, 'whataboutery'. I don't think we should stop seeking to improve ourselves, or the way that we treat others, simply because we have it better than previous generations, or in less developed parts of the world. The observation that Christian Fundamentalism is a problem does not become less so because Muslim fundamentalism also exists. The crimes of Nazism are not lessened by the crimes of Stalin or Mao.


 psychomansam 25 Jan 2017

Quoting Misha:
"Totally agree it's good to challenge your own beliefs and those of people who surround you but you have to be careful not to end up quite confused and end up holding irrational beliefs through some twisted logic.

The other thing is to stick to what you do best , which is climbing and writing and talking about climbing. Your talks and books are brilliant and people love them. Obviously you can write whatever you like on a blog or a website about politics or some other 'serious' issue and that may be important to you personally, which is fair enough. Some people might agree with, some might take issue with it but the reality is that most simply won't care... Climbing is escapism in many ways and that's what a lot of people are really after."

Dear Andy,

I think you're mistaken on a large number of things. I think some of your views can be de-contextualised and be very harmful. I think carrying on along the path you're going down could be costly to yourself, divisive, and disturbing for others.

Good. That's true of most ideas. People have a fear of stepping outside the comfort zone of the status quo. This is part of why we have the current crap system of government and corporate power - because it's just about comfortable enough that people would rather Keep Calm And Carry On. Our moral blindspots are bigger than our vision and we live in a vastly immoral and oppressive society.

Everything you ever do, say or think is derivative. 'Originality' is a confused egoistic belief. 'Flow' is
just a preferable form of mimicry. Learn everything you can from others, and learn from the misformed fumbled strivings of art students that everything we do is connected to others. Be your own special, unique, snowflake-flowery understudy. Be derivative in whatever way works, because that's the best we can do with our lives.

And be suspicious of everyone who wants to line children up for a morning assembly. It's always about power and mind control, for better or for worse. Perhaps part of the reason people don't want to object to a Muslim assembly, is because they're, consciously or subconsciously, aware of the hypocrisy.

Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,
The little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head.
The stars in the bright sky looked down where he lay,
The little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.

The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes,
But little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes.
I love thee, Lord Jesus! look down from the sky,
And stay by my cradle till morning is nigh.

Be near me, Lord Jesus; I ask thee to stay
Close by me forever, and love me I pray.
Bless all the dear children in thy tender care,
And take us to heaven to live with thee there.

Sam
Post edited at 10:18
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 NigeR 25 Jan 2017
In reply to andy kirkpatrick:

> "quite confused and end up holding irrational beliefs"

> The church said the very same about those that rejected dogma (did you know "If you don't believe in something then you'll fall for anything" comes from a church newsletter?), and personally I feel that anyone who's not grasping for answers is the real fool (take Syria for example). I find that most people are conformists, only that comformity has been made to feel like free thought. Things have been aranged so that to point out how manipulated we are is to invite the charge of paranoia and conspiracy, but I ask you why when I click on the BBC news I see a 'letter to Trump' from a child. Is this Newsround? We have been made to think and act and react like children, to view the world through disney eyes, to disengage from deeper adult questioning - to just go climbing. I know full well the damage I do to myself by not being what people want, to shed a tear for Obama as he leaves etc, but as I said in my piece I cannot be one of those 'fair trade' thinkers. Someone once told my mum that she was too poor to have principles, to which she replied "No ones that poor" and I guess I live by that. I'm an adult, and I may write adult things, and if people feel some strange feeling in their heads when they come across something they do not like, then that's a weakness that's being tested.

> I don't feel that I'm confused or irrational.

It's much easier to spend a few seconds expressing 'Facebook Empathy' Andy, or arms length involvement on a forum, than actually getting involved in the heavy duty dark shit that actually effects change.

The Internet and social media hasn't enabled individuals to think and act more as individuals, it's just put the herd mentality on steroids.
 JJL 25 Jan 2017
In reply to UKC Articles:

Oh dear. A very nice chap with some good climbing stories to tell is gradually becoming a John redhead soundalike. And, no, that's not praise.
Sorry.
It's cold here, so by all means flame away!
1
andy kirkpatrick 25 Jan 2017
In reply to NigeR:

I agree. Million's of people marching last week does absolutely nothing, in fact it does less than nothing, all that energy and action (and great signage!) nothing more than a buzz, a day out, more pics for your Instagram account. People feel they did something worthwhile, something to tell the kids, that 'I was there', as they're mums and dad's did about marching to stop Iraq war... but here we are. I find it funny how people are so quick to dismiss anything that does not fit within their confined views, Corbyn and Trump both the same in many ways, attached by the establishment and us their allies, who BBC think.

The world I'm interested in is the world seen by the police, paramedics, social workers, the military, the naked reality, not some utopian dreamland thought up by the comfortable or the bitter. I may risk sounding like I'm up my own arse, or adrift sometimes, but the dark shit that concerns me is what will actually make thing better - free of ideology or dogma - for me, my kids, my comunity.
13
andy kirkpatrick 25 Jan 2017
In reply to JJL:

I believe - rightly or wrongly - that you should never be a slave to popularity. It worked out well so far.
1
 NigeR 25 Jan 2017
In reply to andy kirkpatrick:

> I agree. Million's of people marching last week does absolutely nothing, in fact it does less than nothing, all that energy and action (and great signage!) nothing more than a buzz, a day out, more pics for your Instagram account. People feel they did something worthwhile, something to tell the kids, that 'I was there', as they're mums and dad's did about marching to stop Iraq war... but here we are. I find it funny how people are so quick to dismiss anything that does not fit within their confined views, Corbyn and Trump both the same in many ways, attached by the establishment and us their allies, who BBC think.

> The world I'm interested in is the world seen by the police, paramedics, social workers, the military, the naked reality, not some utopian dreamland thought up by the comfortable or the bitter. I may risk sounding like I'm up my own arse, or adrift sometimes, but the dark shit that concerns me is what will actually make thing better - free of ideology or dogma - for me, my kids, my comunity.

Exactly. Maybe if all these people had done this protest three months ago, when Trump - a modern day Caligula - was coming out with these abhorrent comments, they might have created serious change to the point he might not now be sitting in the Oval Office.

Protesting the day after his inauguration, is like donating fire extinguishers to a burnt down factory. It might have made people feel good about themselves, but it was ultimately nothing more than a mass gathering to close the door of an empty stable.

I remember going to Live Aid, and whilst it was a huge experience, like many others, I was probably there for all the wrong reasons.
1
andy kirkpatrick 25 Jan 2017
In reply to psychomansam:

Thanks for the advice and the warning (you're not the first to say this, but that stubborn side of me sees sailing back to the safe harbour just too much like intimidation).

As an aside, perhaps it has something to do with my background, but I can't help finding suggested 'course corrections' by others deeply patronising (I get about two a week), as if I'm a child, or just need 're-educating', or to 'get in the war'.

I often wonder if people just imagine I read some books and came up with this odd world view, or watched too much Youtube or RT? But I would wager that the breadth of my life experience is broader than most, that I've hung out with the homeless one day, and the masters of the universe the next, I've been married, divorced, married again, had kids, had it all and lost it all, run two successful business that employed people, worked my ass off and sat playing Xbox for months at end. I've lost my mind, not been able to leave the house, and found my way back, I've faced death many many times (more than most people who are still alive), and have known death and suicide and madness. I've been on benefits, minimal wage, zero hour contracts, cash in hand, paid what was once a year's wages in tax (note: you've never been as poor as the times you're making a ton of money). I've been locked in prison cells, had my DNA taken, held by immigration (I am currently an immigrant) and let into number 10 Downing street, ate out of bins and at the Ahwahnee hotel. I know - ouch - that's some defensive shit right there, but I have somehow made a life from very little, that old cliche the 'self-made man'. But I somehow took a human being defined as retarded and won film and writing awards around the world, that child's words and thoughts to be read in Polish and Korean and Italian, made a life where I make a living standing on stages talking to tens of thousands of people every year. And then there's all the climbing stuff. I think my views are valuable to those who take the time to set aside their certainty, and yes I can now 100% understand why a Muslim parent wants a separate assembly, as I can someone who kills an abortion doctor or why an Isreali soldier shoots an unarmed man - empathy and mirroring a very different to acceptance, but to do that I had to leave the safe spaces.

Everything boils down to human nature, that's what I write about, that's why I said Trump would win over a year ago, that we treat such people as clowns at our cost. I don't think we really know what we are anymore, one reason why mental health is such an issue, and will continue to be. We slander, sideline or plain reject what we are - perhaps because that really is some dark shit!

When I write I'm 100% honest, and so understand that people will reject what I say, but I will defend against the idea I don't know what I'm talking about.

Right - back to work!

5
In reply to andy kirkpatrick:
> I would wager that the breadth of my life experience is broader than most...

Broader than your audience I should think, certainly broader than mine, but if you think that your experiences add up to much in the grand scheme of things then I think you're lacking a sense of perspective - something you've definitely accused others of.

It's patronising to suggest that you don't know what you're talking about, or that you need 're-education', but you commit the same sin when you accuse others of being infantile, or conformist. You don't know that we haven't arrived at our own view of the world through struggle, through hardship, through loss and pain and madness, and arrived at a different place to you.
Post edited at 12:37
2
 SenzuBean 25 Jan 2017
In reply to andy kirkpatrick:

> I agree. Million's of people marching last week does absolutely nothing, in fact it does less than nothing, all that energy and action (and great signage!) nothing more than a buzz, a day out, more pics for your Instagram account. People feel they did something worthwhile, something to tell the kids, that 'I was there', as they're mums and dad's did about marching to stop Iraq war...

I'm unsure how that same logic couldn't be applied to protest marches such as those during the independence of India? Protests are increasingly necessary in a world where communication channels (as you have all but said yourself) are increasingly compromised by corporate interests. A recent example - were it not for people protesting at Standing Rock, the DAPL would've passed unhindered, and the media would never have mentioned it. The act of protesting forced the media to become involved - and this allowed it to be temporarily stopped.
Secondly it's a false dichotomy to say that people can protest or invest in "dark shit". You can do both.

Anyway I really enjoyed your article. It is very brave to put your thoughts out on the table like so.
1
In reply to UKC Articles:

Andy, I'm intrigued as to why you want to be Bear Grylls, and am interested to know how you describe yourself politically now (eg. left/right wing etc.). Thanks in advance
 simonharpham 25 Jan 2017

> I also think it’s vital that writers and publishers take risks, and that readers keep buying books!

OK, so when's the follow-up to Cold Wars coming out?
And what size book would one want to take up Sea of Dreams in order to fit the cam placement in the photo?
Also - what's the largest size cam you've ever got in your mouth in one go?
Post edited at 14:00
 JayPee630 25 Jan 2017
In reply to Toerag:
He has a bit of the non-dogmatic anarchist about him methinks. In a good way.
Post edited at 13:43
 simonharpham 25 Jan 2017
In reply to JayPee630:

Like Alan Moore but without the hair and the (possibly sarcastic) belief in the Roman snake god Glycon.
 JJL 25 Jan 2017
In reply to andy kirkpatrick:

> I believe - rightly or wrongly - that you should never be a slave to popularity. It worked out well so far.

And I agree with that - you're not, and it has. But some of the article sounded a little affected and self conscious - I'm sure it wasn't intended, but that's how it arrived.

Feedback is a gift and all that...
1
andy kirkpatrick 25 Jan 2017
In reply to JJL:

I've yet to master the art of faked sincerity, and reading it back (I wrote it sat in a coffee shop) it does sound affected (perhaps I was angry when I wrote it?), but if as a result something worthwhile appeared that would have been held back, then looking like a six-form dick is worth the risk (you soon learn when you're standing on a stage in front of a thousand people that they know you don't know what you're going to say next, and that's why they come : )
1
andy kirkpatrick 25 Jan 2017
In reply to simonharpham:

Compared to Alan Moore! I'll take that!
andy kirkpatrick 25 Jan 2017
In reply to Toerag:

I guess I'm the anti-Bear Grylls (I actually met him a while back... I should blog about it). How would I describe myself? I guess I'd like to think I'm at the centre of things (like David Bowie!), but such a statement only means something if you know where the edges are. I think everyone has good ideas, and I see value in Corbyn and Trump, Putin and Obama, Tommy Robinson and Owen Jones, but to even consider that Robinson or Trump have some value or insight is to be Alt right I guess (Bush was derided for his statement "you're either with us or against us" but it seems that too many hold the same opinion). Don't laugh but I try and live by the teachings of stoicism (it's important to have some road map to life), which means I try not to be a slave to anyone elses ideas or even my own!
2
 Mike Stretford 25 Jan 2017
In reply to andy kirkpatrick:
> I've yet to master the art of faked sincerity,

I don't think you need to be, I just don't think you particularly need to talk about your politics.* We've got characters like Johnson and Farage and countless journalists to rant about the issues you highlighted. They can't tell us what it's like to be alone on a big wall in very testing conditions though.

*For what it's worth I agree that in some respects New Labour's political philosophy became too dogmatic in the noughties. However, the backlash is well under way, it certainly isn't just you. I do feel the pendulum might swing too far in the other direction.
Post edited at 14:35
andy kirkpatrick 25 Jan 2017
In reply to SenzuBean:

Such things are always up for debate, and I do hate to sound defeatist, but for example revolutions tend to preempt a coming change (revolutions tend to come too soon, and so are often usurped by darker forces, see Russia, Libya, Syria). Most big changes come about through economics, Indian independence more about a bankrupted and shattered British economy then Gandhi and marches (the economic story makes a pretty dull film though, or historical narrative). The Amerian civil war was not about slavery, as again within a generation it would have ended due to economics. There is the Disney version, and then the boring number crunching version (one reason why the idea that government control anything is to not see that they're captains of ships crashing down the rapids). If every single woman on that march stopped buying cheap crap (£1 t-shirts etc) for a year they would destroy the economies of states they see as 'exploiting' their workers (but who would be laid off in their millions, lowering the price of labour further). We like the idea that a million people marching can change things, but it's a way of keeping us in-check, a valve. Have those people overrun parliament and kill everyone, kill all the police, now that would be a short term change, but I guarantee things would be worse. I'm for the slow drip of real change, rather than the flood (but who doesn't enjoy watching a good flood!)
1
In reply to andy kirkpatrick:
> Million's of people marching last week does absolutely nothing, in fact it does less than nothing,

Pretty mindless, reactionary and wrong stuff this, Andy. Stick to what you know, or rather feel free to blather about what you don't know but please stop setting yourself up as superior to the mindless drones that are the rest of us. Millions of people marching is a significant element of popular power, mobilising, reinforcing, showing that you are not alone, encouraging others. Mass demonstrations can be transformative and can put a chill up the spine of even nasty thuggish rulers.
Post edited at 15:05
11
 JayPee630 25 Jan 2017
In reply to ericinbristol:

In theory, except they don't really. Iraq War?

What scares the powers is rioting, long term political organising, and the threat of a loss of control, not well meaning liberals walking politely through streets.
5
 seankenny 25 Jan 2017
In reply to UKC Articles:

So Andy, when you tweet a link to a right wing shock jock who says, essentially, that the problem with some modern TV programmes and films is that they have too many black and Asian people in them - what exactly is going on there? Are you trying to shock us with some outrageous opinion, which of course is mainly tedious to those of us who've seen Alf Garnett but remains dangerous to people who aren't white? Is the almost, almost neutral comment about it just a whetting of the lips as you put the dogwhistle to your mouth?

We all know these crazy people are out there and it's easy enough to find their output - so why do you feel the need to publicise their opinions? You claim you're trying to make us think, but think what exactly? That there are indeed too many black people on the TV?
1
In reply to andy kirkpatrick:

> ...why when I click on the BBC news I see a 'letter to Trump' from a child. Is this Newsround? We have been made to think and act and react like children, to view the world through disney eyes, to disengage from deeper adult questioning.

The infantilization of culture has been a hot topic for years, but you're being a bit disingenuous with this example from the BBC, assuming you read beyond the headline.

The girl in question is Bana Alabed, a seven year old girl from Aleppo who has witnessed things no seven year old girl should have to see. So if she wants to write an open letter to Trump, and have it covered by an international news outlet, I think she's probably earned it.

 nb 25 Jan 2017
In reply to andy kirkpatrick:

Was the assembly at your kids' school religious? I'm assuming it was for Muslim parents to ask for a different one for their kids, but y'know, never assume!
 Iain Smith 25 Jan 2017
In reply to andy kirkpatrick:
Thanks, Andy

I thoroughly refreshing read. Orwell was against cliché and hackneyed use of language, and I liked how he wrote. He challenged the commissars and the Soviet system in the 1930's when it was fashionable to believe in some socialist utopia. It is a challenge for all of us to word our thoughts in an original and nuanced way that projects how we want to transmit what we really feel and believe.

Personally, I climb because of the challenges, and I like that you write in such a way also. There is too much tokenism in much writing and too many dreary platitudes peddled as journalism. We may not have had the instance of injustice against the headmistress that you mention, if people (myself included) had stepped back and valued others actions how they would hope to be treated themselves. Such injustices continue to the present day - for example, just go to Sparkhill in Birmingham and talk to the people there. Being in a particularly unfashionable part of society their voices are little heard. Of course, such injustice is not limited to a single section of society, so it should be incumbent on all members of society to question. That should be part of any thriving democracy. Open debate, should show the flaws or strength in any argument. Question everything and leave no stone unturned.
Post edited at 18:21
 Michael Gordon 25 Jan 2017
In reply to nb:

> Was the assembly at your kids' school religious? I'm assuming it was for Muslim parents to ask for a different one for their kids, but y'know, never assume!

You would think so. Mine was, though not to any great degree of religious fervor. Those of other religions were allowed to miss it. They didn't require their own assembly; I remember they just sat in a classroom playing games.
In reply to Michael Gordon:

It is still the law that schools are required to have a daily act of communal worship! Quite a few schools just seem to ignore this, others do very perfunctory prayers in assembly, perhaps on the theme of that assembly: "bow your heads children. Oh lord, we ask you for the wisdom to not get involved in cyber-bullying and to know that sending private photos of ourselves to to others is a really bad idea and police may well end up involved." Two birds with one stone I guess.

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2011/09/06/bbc-survey-daily-collecti_n_949965.html
andy kirkpatrick 25 Jan 2017
In reply to ericinbristol:

"Pretty mindless, reactionary and wrong stuff this"

Are my personal views and convictions a threat? I was asked to talk about my views and I did, and beneath the surface these are very mainstream thoughts, and to find that an odd notion then I expect you're one of the people who are easily shocked when the world does not turn out as you'd expected . I'm sure you think people who read the Sun are mindless drones and that you're superior to them, that their strings are pulled by power, while your's are your own? Some of the most bigoted people I know are people who think themselves as a little better, more qualified to judge what's right and wrong, who get the Sunday papers, but know more about Game of Thrones than real history, people who are insulated from real life, who are tourists to poverty and want, people who'd not sent their kids to a good university because it's 'too white' or rail against private education and grammar schools, yet move house to be in the rich area, who rail against the 1% when they're in the .5% (£27k a year get's you in that rich category). These people are my friends, people like you, who marched this week (I can see their pictures all over FB) but when asked why their answers are as revealing as a Sun headline.
13
andy kirkpatrick 25 Jan 2017
In reply to seankenny:

Nice Troll (now you know why you're blocked, which is a shame). But...

When Idris Elba becomes James Bond no matter how good he is for the role (and he would be amazing), he has somehow been robbed of the true merit of the part, the same for a black oscar. The reason is the clunky and totally counter productive push for equality. Black people are dehumanised by the people who have set themselves up to protect them, with no mention of anything that could rob their cause of status, such as the rapidly growing black middle class (who do not like such people speaking on their behalf), or that one of the most successful groups in the US are African Nigerians. No, better to push a narrative of pity and anger. Such people - like yourself - have no interest in real positive human outcomes, as if you did you'd not go picking fights with me. Take your anger to another level.
14
andy kirkpatrick 25 Jan 2017
In reply to Iain Smith:

I think I said above that I think real argument, like face to face, is really missing, maybe due to our having so separate lives, in fact to even argue feel's kind of painful, like you've had a fight. But in the arguing you sort of modify your opinions, hopefully moving a bit closer to each other's side. I always tell my kids how the Wright brothers would argue then swap sides and argue again, something that's a good exercise. For example arranged marriages and honour killings are seen as morally wrong in the West, but if you meet someone who's been married in such a way (but not killed!) and the explain how it is two families joining, not two people, it makes total sense (in a culture where for a family to break apart could well mean destitution or death for many of its members). To be able to argue the merits of such marriages and its associated intimidation would be to sound as if you're a proponent of it, just as it is when I write about understanding Trump supporters. What it's about is grasping the human element, the very few people are bad, or feel they are morally wrong, even Stalin and Hitler, Obama and Trump all feel they're doing what's right. Thanks for not shooting me down BTW!
1
andy kirkpatrick 25 Jan 2017
In reply to nb:

It was a bog standard primary school. Some of what went on is here in the Guardian

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2009/feb/10/secondaryschools-schools
1
andy kirkpatrick 25 Jan 2017
In reply to planetmarshall:

I did read below the fold, and my response is the same, she is a child living in Turkey who is aligned with the opposition. Such emotional leverage of soft hearts is why people supported such an atrocity. The game has been played like this for a hundred years, from babies cut in half by the Hun to babies removed from incubators. War and its avoidance should be an adult affair.
4
 NigeR 25 Jan 2017
In reply to andy kirkpatrick:

My dad tried to pass on his wisdom to me often, and more often than not, the arrogance of youth ignored it, however one thing he taught me hopefully stood.

Always try and understand where the other person(s) perspective, beliefs and opinions are coming from, even if you disagree vehemently with them, because if you don't, you'll never begin to either see or understand the bigger picture, and you'll never find a workable solution.

 nb 25 Jan 2017
In reply to andy kirkpatrick:

Sorry Andy, I haven't lived in the UK for many years so I don't know what happens in 'bog-standard' primary schools anymore. I grew up in Northern Ireland in the 70s where assemblies were most definitely religious and you could get shot for drinking in the wrong pub, but I'm sure times have changed.

So did the head-teacher expect Muslim kids to attend a Christian ceremony or be excluded from that part of school life? Makes a big difference to my understanding of your story.
andy kirkpatrick 25 Jan 2017
In reply to nb:

It was non-denominational and any religiosity would have been as low-key as can be (the area is known as the Musli belt as to be openly Christian would single you out as being 'strange'). As an aside, there is a school less than a mile away that is predominantly Muslim (so much for integration!). I can see it from both points of view, but the head did nothing but stop all faith-based education until she knew how to proceed. Of course being a liberal person I try and wear the white hat, but after 'Operation Trojan Horse' I questioned how being liberal could be used as a weapon by the illiberal.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Trojan_Horse

I live in Ireland these days, and it's made me consider a lot of beliefs that were hardwired into me (to be unshakable in your opposition to anything is to be as dogmatic as the ideas you oppose).
andy kirkpatrick 25 Jan 2017
In reply to NigeR:

I think if kids were tough how to debate they'd be much more capable in the real world, especially of they're forced to defend what they're opposed to. I really think we have a generation of kids who more than any other are suffering from a crisis of identity (maybe because they feel that they're entitled to a fully functioning one at 16!)
1
andy kirkpatrick 25 Jan 2017
In reply to UKC Articles:

Right - that's me signing off from this debate, and thanks to everyone who took the time to agree or disagree. Non of your words went unread or unconsidered.

Andy
1
In reply to andy kirkpatrick:

> (the area is known as the Musli belt as to be openly Christian would single you out as being 'strange').

Oddly the Guardian article says "The school has predominantly white Christian pupils, but about a fifth of children are Muslim." I guess white Christian might well really just mean "white" though.

I live really close to there - that school was on our application list when we moved here, although our kids got places in a slightly closer one - and I wouldn't say its a particular ethnically diverse area. As you say Lowfields Primary just down the road is majority Muslim, and that area around Sheffield mosque has clearly attracted lots of Muslim families, but Meersbrook seems more hippy and hipster overflow from Heeley (although I have seen the sponsored car of one prominent climber parked a few streets from that school on a few occasions!).
 seankenny 25 Jan 2017
In reply to andy kirkpatrick:

> Nice Troll (now you know why you're blocked, which is a shame). But...

But Andy, I'm not trolling you, am I? I'm merely asking questions, which you say is to be encouraged. I'm looking for debate, which you say you applaude. I'm not blocking anyone on Twitter or anywhere else. I'm looking for answers - as you claim to be doing. But when I ask you questions, you answer by trying to shut me down. Just like the liberals you despise.


> When Idris Elba becomes James Bond no matter how good he is for the role (and he would be amazing), he has somehow been robbed of the true merit of the part, the same for a black oscar. The reason is the clunky and totally counter productive push for equality. Black people are dehumanised by the people who have set themselves up to protect them, with no mention of anything that could rob their cause of status, such as the rapidly growing black middle class (who do not like such people speaking on their behalf), or that one of the most successful groups in the US are African Nigerians. No, better to push a narrative of pity and anger. Such people - like yourself - have no interest in real positive human outcomes, as if you did you'd not go picking fights with me. Take your anger to another level.

Given that you don't know me or my character, or how I live my life, all this aggression comes across as being a bit, well, I dunno, kinda sad. You'd rather play the man than the ball.

So let's get back to the beginning. You happily shared a link on Twitter to a clip in which a shock jock said the problem with Black Mirror and Rogue One was that they had too many black and Asian people in them.
Here it is: youtube.com/watch?v=McJfTpAGXK0&

Do you agree with that? If you didn't agree with it, what was the purpose of the link?

In case you feel that "such people" don't want me speaking for them - then that's fair enough. Why don't you arrange to meet me in a pub in London, I'll invite some brown folk along and you can explain to them why there shouldn't be too many of them on TV, and hear their views for yourself.

I await your reply with interest.
 nb 25 Jan 2017
In reply to andy kirkpatrick:

> It was non-denominational and any religiosity would have been as low-key as can be

In the article you posted it says hymns were sung in a multi-faith assembly. That's not very low-key in my book. My kids go to school in France and the idea of schools promoting a religion in the 21st century seems very alien to me now. Having experienced one system as a kid and the opposite one as a parent, I have a pretty good idea where my preference lies.
In reply to UKC Articles:

Some thread... To paraphrase the Fawlty Towers Psychiatrist sketch "... there's enough material here for an entire conference."
In reply to andy kirkpatrick:

You're certainly a man of contradictions, and I remain unsure how much of your rhetoric you actually believe and how much just satisfies some need to be contrarian.

You say you're interested in the naked realities of paramedics and police officers, then offer us a description of your life experience with its book awards, public speaking and payment of taxes. We should debate like adults and understand the other side, but you're not above childish name calling and personal abuse (like in your replies to Eric and Sean). We shouldn't make assumptions about Sun readers, but you're free to make assumptions of your own ("I expect you're one of those people... I'm sure you think etc...").

You're certainly an intelligent guy, Andy, that much is clear. But you make the mistake of assuming everyone else is a moron.
andy kirkpatrick 26 Jan 2017
In reply to planetmarshall:

I wasn't meaning to respond anymore, but we both know that contradictions and hypocrisy is unavoidable, in fact the more the better, as your failings are out in the open for all to see. I'm not trying to convince anyone of anything, but more and more people are coming face to face with a new reality, that they're the target of very dangerous mainstream ideas that are destroying minds and lives. I am 100% convinced I am a good person, an honest person, who pays his way and tries to make a difference, taking the least I can from this world. I think most people who follow me know this, but sometimes it's hard to see that man through words on a screen.

If we bump into each other we should carry on this conversation face to face - it's always better.

1
In reply to andy kirkpatrick:

> I am 100% convinced I am a good person...

Haha, well, isn't everyone?

> If we bump into each other we should carry on this conversation face to face - it's always better.

Till then.

Andrew.

2
 psychomansam 26 Jan 2017
In reply to UKC Articles:
One doesn't want to trust to the accuracy, depth and balance of an article in the press, but the guardian does rather make it look like the head, perhaps inadvertantly, ended up forcing christianity on muslim kids. That sounds like a total failure of leadership. She might have been lovely, but she screwed up massively.

I feel quite disturbed by the idea that any school would try to force any religion on my child, and even more so if it was done in a nonchalant way, simply because it's the Normal thing to do. And I very much include prayers to Jesus to remind us not to jump the dinner queue in that category. It's a beautifully and revoltingly transparent use of widespread religion as a tool to control the masses, and is done in the expectation that they won't have the intelligence to question the way they're being manipulated. And if you don't think that's a mirror to wider society, then you're not living in the UK. I'll point out that not only does the playing of the national anthem in school assemblies make me feel equally nauseous, but it also points again to that bridge from school to government.

As to the situation in the school before the head tried to combine everyone into one assembly, I'd say it was far from ideal, but was at least better. Kids could at least choose between two possible control systems, on more of an equal footing. That opportunity and equality is itself disempowering to extremism. Moving to restriction and suppression of a belief system doesn't tend to be an improvment, particularly if that belief system is a resilient one. Religions with 4 digits in their age don't lack resilience.

Why not move to entirely non-religious assemblies, with lunch time religious groups for those who want them? Perhaps because the friendly vicar down the road is ever so helpful at taking assemblies? Or because a little bit of head bowing prayer is the tradition?

OFSTED do require all kids to have a religious element to their schooling. This could involve admiring positive elements in a wide range of belief systems. You can have a religion of the month and learn about it with the odd quote or story. You can cover 'spiritual' development by admiring the beauty of nature with the kids and explaining that some people think that beauty is a reflection of our human nature as part of a scientific world, and some people think god made it all, perhaps just for us.

Religious dogma and enforced religious participation in UK schools operates at the level of the schools and the boards that run them. It doesn't need to exist. It isn't required by OFSTED. In fact their last major national review of provision for religious education repeatedly criticised schools for not including enough education on non-religious beliefs.
Post edited at 08:59
1
In reply to keith-ratcliffe:

> How refreshing to see the writer of a feature on UKC reply to comments.

Hmm, it's hard to understand why this doesn't happen more often!
 Iain Smith 26 Jan 2017
In reply to psychomansam:
Well, then don't trust the media, but do read the Govt report commissioned by a cross party committee. Most of your points are addressed therein. A useful summary is included from p.95 of the report.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/340526/HC_576_accessible_-...

Tolerance of intolerance opens the door for reactionary extreme politics - so called, right and left, and religious. I believe that what Andrew espouses is robust, open and self-critical debate and argument. The point is not to be offended, but to learn to cherish debate however uncomfortable this can sometimes seem.
Post edited at 10:09
In reply to andy kirkpatrick:
That reply is pretty close to gibberish and so I see little point in responding but I will give it a brief go. Your assertion that mass demos do nothing or less than nothing was mindless (i.e. not thought through), reactionary (fits with the perspective of those opposed to positive social change and also more simply a reaction) and wrong (plenty of empirical evidence to the contrary if you bothered to look for it). I critiqued your position and you respond with pathetic ad hominem miles away from who I am, my background, what I think or what I do in the world. Pretty tedious and childish rather than addressing my substantive points but there you go, becoming even more stereotypically reactionary.
Post edited at 10:47
2
 psychomansam 26 Jan 2017
In reply to Iain Smith:

There appears to be some good stuff in there, though it's largely down to common sense from what I can see. My point, in part, was the necessity of realising that UK primary schools in general are habitually programming kids to follow christianity and the queen. This doesn't mean we should allow others to bring extremism into schools, but it does perhaps mean that schools need to either compromise and become multi-faith, or quit the religious crap altogether. If schools attempt to force christianity down people's throats there will be numerous negative consequences, including more compliant drones in some cases, and an unpleasant backlash in others.

And here I'm talking about secular state schools. On top of that you have the fact that around a third of state funded schools are in fact overtly religious. Often where these religious schools exist, they operate in part by selecting more middle class and/or higher achieving students, and thus producing better outcomes. Which means you either send your kid to learn about Wonderful White Jesus or you risk the consequences of a less academic social group and worse grades. Utter madness, state-funded institutionalised discrimination.

If you want to work as an RE teacher in this country (supposedly an academic subject), you are excluded from 1/3 state schools unless you are able to demonstrate appropriate false beliefs in magical fairies and sign a disclaimer agreeing to teach these beliefs in your lessons, rather than follow the national framework. This is a state funded, putatively academic job. Praise be to Jesus, who drives away darkness, weeds out those dirty goats, and washes us white as snow.
1
 Iain Smith 26 Jan 2017
In reply to psychomansam:

Common sense needs to be enforced to prevent abuse of the tolerant majority of the population in whatever form.

Whether you believe or not in religious education (BTW I would personally prefer to not have religious education), we have to accept that our current society has values built through history and like it or not (for liberals, myself included) religion does provide a moral compass in many ways that we struggle to cope with otherwise. I am an atheist who has kids who go to a religious school. I have positively changed my opinion on religious education (for most, if not all points), because it has been more positive than my secular upbringing. Of course, I express that belief in God is barmy, but then tell my kids to believe in Santa and be good or no presents this Crimbo. As per Andy's argument, self analysis and critique has been positive for me in this regard. Long may I wrestle through life to find a better way - God know's (ahem....) how I'm going to deal with the Santa conundrum this year!

I held similar views to the ones you expressed until I had kids and put then through education. No religion or thought should be beyond question, but we have values based on our experience which (believe it or not) work better than most. I have lived in Asia (Muslim) country and worked Worldwide and I now cherish more the values we have in the UK. We should defend those values and adopt others that are better - most people agree with this, but some influential agenda driven people do not. We should not regress and should question and challenge. When we do not question and challenge without fear of abuse or false accusation, we can have, for example, 'Trojan' horses in any form. The current spate of these problems and other legal actions against one group or religion is now accepted to be due to a lack of open questioning and resistance to regressive elements of cultures. This was accepted in the Govt report to be due to either self-censorship or targeted undermining of values we have built over centuries e.g. democracy, emancipation of women, adherence to a rule of law etc.



 nb 26 Jan 2017
In reply to andy kirkpatrick:

>after 'Operation Trojan Horse' I questioned how being liberal could be used as a weapon by the illiberal

Seems to me that the best way of preventing the above is to completely dissociate religion and education. Then you have nothing to infiltrate.

It seems likely that Christianity being forced onto children of other faiths was what inspired the whole Trojan Horse affair in the first place. Religion and state do not mix well. So many examples past and present.

 Mick Ward 26 Jan 2017
In reply to planetmarshall:

'I am 100% convinced I am a good person...' (AK)

> Haha, well, isn't everyone?

Well yes... but let's raise the bar a little.

'The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.' (Edmund Burke)

When the shit hits the fan, far too many good people do... nothing. (High Noon beautifully if fictionally illustrated this.)

As with many on here, I struggle to follow AK and, in my case, it's almost certainly limitation. But if confronted by evil, do I think he'd do nothing? Never!!! Like he says in the article, '...one percent will take a bullet; it's in their DNA.'

In my view, he's in that one (or five?) percent - no question.

Mick

P.S. Of late I seem to be disagreeing with you rather a lot. It's not in any way personal. I've always valued your contributions and regard such disagreement as very minor in terms of your oeuvre.







 seankenny 26 Jan 2017
In reply to Iain Smith:

> I believe that what Andrew espouses is robust, open and self-critical debate and argument.

I wish this were true, but my experiences with Andy (both here and elsewhere) lead me to believe it really isn't. I have tried to debate with Andy and have either been ignored or received personal abuse.

It turns out that he's brave enough to solo El Cap but too much of a coward to explain his ideas about race to non-white people.



3
In reply to Iain Smith:

> I believe that what Andrew espouses is robust, open and self-critical debate and argument.

Maybe some of the time but his response to my disagreement with one of his claims was to launch a personal attack on me (and a rather bizarre one considering he knows me not at all)

1
In reply to Mick Ward:

> As with many on here, I struggle to follow AK and, in my case, it's almost certainly limitation. But if confronted by evil, do I think he'd do nothing? Never!!! Like he says in the article, '...one percent will take a bullet; it's in their DNA.'

> In my view, he's in that one (or five?) percent - no question.

For the record, it was a bit of a throwaway remark and no reflection on Andy. As is pretty clear, we disagree on rather a lot but I wouldn't want to imply that there's any more to it than that. I don't know him personally.

> Mick

> P.S. Of late I seem to be disagreeing with you rather a lot. It's not in any way personal. I've always valued your contributions and regard such disagreement as very minor in terms of your oeuvre.

Charming as ever, Mick.

 psychomansam 26 Jan 2017
In reply to Iain Smith:

While I understand and even agree with some of your points, I really can't connect with certain sentiments in what you're saying:

"we have to accept that our current society has values built through history and like it or not (for liberals, myself included) religion does provide a moral compass in many ways that we struggle to cope with otherwise."

Do we? Who are we? Are you talking to a nationality? You certainly can't be talking to me! I have no intention of accepting a load of values just because they've been handed down by the last set of fools. I despise nationalism. Religion is no compass for me. These things are also true of those close to me, and largley of the communities I inhabit. If people want that bunk, they can have it. That's no excuse to force it on others. Yuck.

"I now cherish more the values we have in the UK. We should defend those values and adopt others that are better - most people agree with this, but some influential agenda driven people do not."

Again, I very much doubt I'm a part of your nationalistic and thus partenalistic 'we'. I don't cherish values as static abstracts, but am pleased by the prevalence of some moral beliefs, while being dismayed by the prevalence of others. I'm certainly for advancing some over others. There will always be disagreements here. I'm not sure who your 'influential agenda driven people' are, but you seem to be implying that they are promoting the tolerance of extremism. I can only say that not only does this appear false, but indeed those in power appear to be increasingly driving intolerance of departures from tradition and the status quo.
There is a balance to be found here, as the ideal is to be neither too tolerant nor too intolerant of intolerance - not an easy balance to find, I'll grant.

I'm actually a big supporter of RE in schools, as long as it's delivered in a balanced and fair way - as is the case in the majority of secular secondaries in the UK. If e.g. kids learn what a powerful and positive idea jihad really is, then they'd be less inclined to believe the bile spouted in the media. As mentioned above, there does need to be more focus on non-religious beliefs and outlooks - and a move further towards philosophy would be a huge improvement. The french get some things right here, as do programs like P4C which take philosophy into primary schools.

Teach kids to think more fully, question, debate, and delve deeper into what knowledge and beliefs are really all about and you'll have better people as well as better students.
In reply to psychomansam:

> If you want to work as an RE teacher in this country (supposedly an academic subject), you are excluded from 1/3 state schools unless you are able to demonstrate appropriate false beliefs in magical fairies and sign a disclaimer agreeing to teach these beliefs in your lessons,

It can't be anywhere close to a third because this is only true in Catholics schools (and maybe the tiny number of Jewish and Muslim schools).

> rather than follow the national framework.

No national framework for RE/RS, curriculums are all locally decided by the SACREs.

 john arran 26 Jan 2017
In reply to TobyA:

> No national framework for RE/RS, curriculums are all locally decided by the SACREs.

You sure they aren't locally decided by the SACREd?

1
In reply to john arran:

Definitely an acronym invented by someone with too much time on their hands I reckon!
 psychomansam 26 Jan 2017
In reply to TobyA:

It's true of C of E schools too. I speak from experience.

There is a national framework for RE as opposed to a national curriculum. The local SACRE, made up of representatives of the local faiths, then decides what religions should be focussed on. In the case of secondary schools at least, the SACRE tends to be largely ignored. To be fair, if a teacher & department don't have the common sense to ensure that those religions represented in the local community are included in the curriculum, then they shouldn't be in the job. And intervention from faith leaders isn't necessarily conducive to an academically sound experience. Either way, that's basically the current best case scenario, which applies in 2/3 cases.

In 1/3 cases, the school does whatever the hell it likes, as long as it can appear sufficiently non-barmy for OFSTED.

Amusingly enough, a load of independent christian (extremist) schools recently fell below even that bar.
In reply to psychomansam:

> It's true of C of E schools too. I speak from experience.

But there are 200 CofE secondary schools nationally, so 200 out of 3,268 secondary schools in England. So it still can't be anywhere close to 1/3. I teach RS and interestingly only kids have ever asked me what I believe! There is a shortage of specialist RE teachers nationally so I guess it might get harder for schools who do ask for teachers to be of some faith simply to find appropriately qualified staff.

The national framework is not statutory in any way though its it?

 Coel Hellier 26 Jan 2017
In reply to TobyA:

> But there are 200 CofE secondary schools nationally, so 200 out of 3,268 secondary schools in England. So it still can't be anywhere close to 1/3.

"In 2011, about one third of the 20,000 state funded schools in England were faith schools, approximately 7,000 in total, of which 68% were Church of England schools and 30% were Roman Catholic. There were 42 Jewish, 12 Muslim, 3 Sikh and 1 Hindu faith schools."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faith_school

(Yes, that's not specifically *secondary* schools, but I still doubt your numbers.)
In reply to Coel Hellier:

"There are 4,500 CofE Primary schools and over 200 CofE Secondary schools."
https://www.churchofengland.org/education/church-schools-academies.aspx
Additionally they sponsor some academies but that's different.

The total number of state funded secondary schools was a 2013 figure, but this https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/552342/SFR20_2016_Main_Tex... puts the 2016 figure at 3,401.

The primary sector remains much much more linked to the CofE, but I think that reflects that academisation hasn't affected primary schools to anything like the same degree.
 Steve Bell 26 Jan 2017
In reply to UKC Articles:

Andy, thanks for your thought-provoking insights. Your parting shot about the erosion of masculinity -

'I’m very interested in how western society has eroded masculinity and the nature of the male of the species; the very concept of ‘being a man’ as valid now as the term ‘common sense’. I think this has created incalculable damage to men and boys’ self-identity, the feminising of men (and vice-versa) doing no one any real long term good.'

- is well taken and writing that covers this issue is perhaps the modern incarnation of what Gertrude Stein described as 'inaccrochable' (as a well read author, you hopefully know what the hell I'm talking about!). My recent contribution to climbing writing's 'renaissance' gropes around this nether region and getting it out there has been as scary as the Eiger's Exit Cracks, except that once something is print, there is no exit.

Climbers are risk takers. To be true their craft, climbing writers should be too. You epitomise both, so keep it coming Andy.
 Michael Gordon 27 Jan 2017
In reply to Steve Bell:

I couldn't work out if he meant the terms 'being a man' and 'common sense' had eroded or not, and indeed whether that was a good thing or not.. In my experience the latter certainly hasn't gone away in it's usage, but it definitely deserves to! It may have been another thread but it has been pointed out that some aspects of 'being a man' are potentially as harmful as others are to be valued, e.g. tight upper lip - the reluctance to discuss problems and feelings. The concept of 'being a man' has in the past probably helped perpetuate the stereotype of men as breadwinners (hunter-gatherers) and women as being best left running the home.
 BrendanO 27 Jan 2017
In reply to TobyA:

> It is still the law that schools are required to have a daily act of communal worship!

Not UK law, so I am guessing may be England and Wales. In Scottish Primaries, schools now required to have six religious assemblies a year (Christian, called religious "observance" as opposed to "education"). That'll generally be Xmas, Easter, Harvest plus 3 more. Families can opt-out of Observance...but importantly not Education. It's not perfect, but maybe not bad, given the history of Scottish schools (started by the Christian church so folk could read the Bible). Schools often have speakers from other world religions too, and increasingly Humanists (Scotland is one of I think 6 countries in world where Humanist wedding is legal, no need to go to registry after, indeed it's a burgeoning tourist industry! Wanna get married on Ben Nevis, without a Minister? Yes you can!).

What a thread. Still in bed at half nine on a weekday (no agency work) after an hour here!
 Iain Smith 27 Jan 2017
In reply to psychomansam:
Please, read my post properly.

'Values' - in my post I advocated adopting values better than ours or defending the ones we have if worse ones are trying to be imposed. That is not static. History, as I mentioned, develops values. Those values are therefore not static, but they are tested and adopted.They can also be adapted when something better comes along - a very sensible approach don't you agree? You also adhere to the values of those 'old fools' as part of our democracy. I note that our parliament still makes laws, for example, so they are hardly static.

'Nationalistic/nationalism' - I fear that you are unwittingly (or deliberately) using 'doublespeak' and 'doublethink' or both here. i.e. you contradict my statement, agree with it in other words and throw out some clichéd 'label' - very similar to USSR or maybe INGSOC. Personally, I would adopt the values of any race/creed or nation that is better than my current one. There are many such good examples across many races and creeds. Family and community cohesion, for example, amongst many Asian cultures. However, I do have personal and legal (court/police) experience in India, Malaysia and China where I experienced values that were certainly worse than ours e.g. marginalisation and suppression of women, abortion of girl babies, select education based on tribe/caste/sex etc. There are many reasons for having such agendas; money, religion, cultural practices etc. Would you adopt worse practices than you currently have - I doubt it? So why should anyone in this country accept worse values than they are already have? They should not, but many people do have poorer values thrust upon them in many parts of this country. Many women from Asia are reduced to second class citizens, because we do not force people to adhere to our values and become English speaking. FMG? See Guardian link

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/jul/21/england-fgm-cases-recorded-2015-2016

Andy made another good point about the white lower (in)working class (without a voice) having to 'put-up' with such values. If these injustices are not addressed, then in a democracy, they can be manifest in other ways when people do find a 'voice'. Did you miss Brexit or fragmentation of party politics (e.g UKIP, Respect, English Democrats and the rise of nationalist groups)?

Your following statement is so naïve:

- "I'm not sure who your 'influential agenda driven people' are, but you seem to be implying that they are promoting the tolerance of extremism. I can only say that not only does this appear false, but indeed those in power appear to be increasingly driving intolerance of departures from tradition and the status quo."

Did you bother to read the Govt report and do you understand it? BTW. Status Quo is static by definition - another contradiction in your post.

The Guardian also published an article of the positive impact of tackling intolerance. Maybe you'd believe them rather than a Govt report. Doing nothing is complicity for intolerance and thereby accepts that everyone in this country (UK) should not have the highest values we can bestow. To me that is unacceptable.

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2016/apr/14/ofsted-hails-trojan-horse-schools-remarkable-progr...
Post edited at 14:39
 nb 27 Jan 2017
In reply to Iain Smith:

"Would you adopt worse practices than you currently have - I doubt it? So why should anyone in this country accept worse values than they are already have?"

The problem with this argument is that people's values are shaped by the society they grew up in. So the English value not grumbling; Algerians value hospitality; the French value protest; Americans, individuality; Saudis, patriarchy; the Japanese, community; Islamists, devoutness to Islam; Bhutanese, devoutness to monarchy... need I go on. It's perfectly normal that we regard 'our' values as being 'better' because we've been living with them from birth - doesn't mean they are and it's important to realise this.

ps I know these are all stereotypes

pps I felt obliged to put in the above sentence because of my society's norms
 Iain Smith 27 Jan 2017
In reply to nb:

I think that some of your list are more like character traits not necessarily values. Values are defined as the best way to do or what rules to live by. By a societies definition, values are regarded as good or bad on a sliding scale between the two. Some societies build discrimination into their values to reflect a patriarchal skew - you mentioned Saudi Arabia. This would be unacceptable in the UK to the extent that it is in Saudi Arabia.

Equality, Access to Education, Justice etc are values that most people (when you ask both sexes) aspire to. Ensuring these values are represented is how a society defines its laws. We took along time to get the vote for ordinary men, then even longer to get the vote for women. For example, any backward or regressive step in sexual equality would be regarded as a lowering of values in this country, especially as many people don't believe that women have true equality now. We still fight sexism and racism daily and know that both still exist in our society, but we strive for constant improvement.
 nb 29 Jan 2017
In reply to andy kirkpatrick:

Hi Andy
What do you think of the crowds of people protesting at JFK airport as Muslims are being detained inside? Useful, or a waste of time?
Interested to hear your opinion.
Neil
1
In reply to nb:

> Hi Andy

> What do you think of the crowds of people protesting at JFK airport as Muslims are being detained inside? Useful, or a waste of time?

> Interested to hear your opinion.

> Neil

Me too, particulalry in light of the comment about the passivity of people; 'It only takes an aggressive minority to oppress a weak and supplicant majority who just turn a blind eye to it'. Presumably the people 'nb' mentions are not turning a blind eye. But you [Andy K] say 'campaigns' are a waste of time in the article. So, what to do?
andy kirkpatrick 30 Jan 2017
In reply to nb:

I'm only dipping into this as it sucks the life out of a busy day. How many protesters or millions who are up in arms know the detail of what's going, who made that list, how long a ban would be in force, if any religion is mentioned in said ban. I can guarantee most have very few details, or are driven by facts that are perfunctory, misleading, or designed not to help those in need, but only for one side to win. I would ask people to look deep into their hearts and ask when they see 'six Canadian Muslims shot dead' do they not feel some little jump of confirmation they are right? That they'll feel let down when they find it's Muslim on Muslim attack (as happened in NY last year), or when a black church ends up not being burnt by white nazis but a black member of that church. This goes on on all sides, when 130 people are killed in Paris, that then those who wish to win make a big deal of it, that it's proof, while those who do not want to lose try and explain it away, very often the media being complicit (see control over media in Sweden and Germany) . The people standing at airports are football supporters, they don't win any match, but it fills the news and helps one side feel it is winning, that the more people share and comment the greater the victory. Where are the voices of 65 million who supported this on the BBC, who may now feel they will lose if 'their man' folds? It's a game, a series of false realities created for each side, nothing but a film designed to draw you in and manipulate people through fear, anger, hope and love. A clever man would not be led by either side, would check their pockets as soon as they feel stirred, and instead dig down into the raw data of what's going on (which requires reading both the charges and defence). Truth is not binary. It won't fit on a placard. In 140 characters, but I actually think people don't really care what truth is anymore, only about being on a winning team.
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andy kirkpatrick 30 Jan 2017
In reply to mac fae stirling:

When campaigns composed of good people are created by 'bad people' then that proves my point. Consider who has the most to lose from Trump? Muslims or Wall Street? Who funded Obama and Clinton? Who is the antithesis of everything these protestors hate, Trump of corp America? I'm not a conspiracy nut, but I don't have to be, the truth is all around.

All that energy may topple a Hitler, but the next Stalin's only waiting to take his place.

(if you feel this is a defence of Trump then that's just your programming kicking in).

Anyway I decided to not write about this crap anymore, people are free to think what they want (or what other people want!) as long as they don't find what I think as a threat!
12
In reply to andy kirkpatrick:

> When campaigns composed of good people are created by 'bad people' then that proves my point. Consider who has the most to lose from Trump? Muslims or Wall Street? Who funded Obama and Clinton? Who is the antithesis of everything these protestors hate, Trump of corp America? I'm not a conspiracy nut, but I don't have to be, the truth is all around.

> All that energy may topple a Hitler, but the next Stalin's only waiting to take his place.

> (if you feel this is a defence of Trump then that's just your programming kicking in).

> Anyway I decided to not write about this crap anymore, people are free to think what they want (or what other people want!) as long as they don't find what I think as a threat!

OK, to be honest I don't really a scoobie what you are on about but all the best to you anyway.
1
 nb 30 Jan 2017
In reply to andy kirkpatrick:

> people are free to think what they want... as long as they don't find what I think as a threat!

No comment



1
In reply to UKC Articles:
Great interview. Provocative stuff! Some of it true! Watch out for Ezra Pound.
 C Witter 18 Mar 2017
In reply to UKC Articles:
What a bore Andy Kirkpatrick has become. Spouting barely coherent right-wing bullcrap, and then making out that it somehow makes him heroic - not only tiring, but so needy, so egotistical, and so pathetic. But, we're all vulnerable, no? Even the big wall men. So, really I guess the only thing that remains is to feel sorry for him.
Post edited at 22:23
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In reply to UKC Articles:

I think you are right andy k... *burp* I think we need to stop those moo-slims coming into our Schools and taking over. We need our headteachers to learn them some G-sus. Strap them down, show them the Christ! A

I've been eating out of bins too *burp*, gotta get to mac donalds before they throw out the mc nuggits, mmm I love me some mc nuggits! I hear like 30% is real chicken nowadays. Anyway what was I sayin'? Oh yeah, that obama bin, err, is a kenyan lama lama, so boring, the boringest, I was talking to a bus driver who told me the trump was gonna win, he musta bin like that octopuss from the world cup predicting things and shit.

I'm a self-made man too, been in the premier seats at cineworld twice, but I also get the bare shits after eating a bad curry. I've lived man, *burp*, none of these experts live like I do, bloody left snowflake warriors never eaten mc nuggits out of a bin in their lives, mc nuggits!
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