amccoll.com is only a few months old and I’m already writing an apology for not posting updates. But this is not to give excuses or ‘manage expectations’. Writing a blog is doing everything I hoped it would. It’s made me more thoughtful and reflective, given me a creative outlet, improved my typing and web design, been a space to focus on myself and my place in the world and given me a sense of concrete achievement. I have no intention to stop now. It is simply that in the past month I’ve only found the time to escape other duties, sit down and put in several hours writing on a couple of occasions.
There have been two news stories in the past fortnight on the same subject, house prices, but it’s been framed in two different ways, for two different political ends. In this post I want to address the substance of both announcements, consider their utility, and address the white elephant they both show a determined effort to ignore.
- China is a communist country.
The Communist Manifesto calls for “Abolition of property in land” and the Chinese constitution states that “Socialist public property is sacred and inviolable”.
- Home ownership is a core cultural norm.
Husbands are, by and large, expected to at least have a deposit down on an apartment before asking a girl’s hand in marriage. Preferably the property is already owned outright. I only know one person over the age of 28 who is renting, and that’s because she was recently divorced.
Clearly there is a serious tension between these two principles.
Barrack Obama is truly a frustrating character to me. In seemingly equal parts he appears to:
- Be unwilling to do or say very much on important issues – such as black rights in America;
- Say some deeply profound things and reveal the extent to which he’s been completely roadblocked in his ambitions – such as his 20,000 word interview in The Atlantic;
- Rail against corporate interests and structural disadvantage – as in most of his campaign for the White House in 2008;
- Support the very worst of American foreign policy – big business first asymmetric trade deals like ACTA, TPP, TTIP, and clandestine drone and assassination operations.
And so, just as I was beginning again to warm to this reflective, increasingly outspoken Obama in his last year in power I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised to find myself confronted by his other side. His remarks about the British European Union referendum in June are completely inappropriate.
I am, for the vast majority of the time, a quiet person. As I’ve written before I’m vexed by internal doubt and so very slow to make up my mind, and slow to judge others. Privately I often rail and seethe, but take small pride in my insistence to let people and ideas have their say.
Yes the UK finished watching The Night Manager, in all it’s Le Carré glory, three weeks ago now, but I only just did, and American viewers won’t begin until Tuesday April 19th, so bare with me.
If you haven’t watched or finished watching it yet, don’t read further.
You were warned.
I have disabled Cloudflare and enabled Let’s Encrypt on amccoll.com.
It’s free, open source, and backed by every big player on the Internet. Big thanks to my host, SiteGround, for implementing a two-click installer so quickly.
I have also loaded a WordPress plugin to enforce https, so as you browse and use my site, make sure you’ve got a little padlock icon like this in the top left corner of your browser at all times.
First read the editorial “Powerful force is behind Panama Papers”
It must be hard being a journalist in China. And getting harder.
Or all the intellectually robust candidates have long since changed careers.
Regardless, all discourses must be critically interrogated, in the pursuit of something like justice/truth/progress (delete as applicable to leave one you believe in).
I am a great believer in Voltaire’s proclamation that “Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is an absurd one.” Most all of my thoughts and beliefs are subject not only to the continual external criticism and scepticism life throws at us all but also internally, from myself. It is, I think, all part of a continual project of self-improvement or perhaps more accurately, self-actualisation.