Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Give and Take

I overestimated the number of Brexiteers on the Conservative benches. I suggested that they might approach the two dozen or so Conservatives who opposed Maastricht, and include some of the same individuals.

But it turns out that there is precisely one, Philip Davies, who did not enter Parliament until 2005, since, almost unbelievably, he is only five years older than I am. The likes of Iain Duncan Smith queued up to agree with Ken Clarke and Anna Soubry.

There are half a dozen times that many Brexiteers on the Labour benches, just as there were three times as many anti-Maastricht Labour MPs as anti-Maastricht Conservatives. In any case, all Labour MPs will vote against "Canada Plus Plus Plus".

By contrast, even the DUP is now signed up to a deal that is even worse than staying in the Single Market and the Customs Union would have been. But then, had the old man been dead a couple more years, then the DUP would have campaigned for Remain.

The entire Tory and Murdoch press has also rallied behind the white flag of Theresa May and David Davis. With The Guardian about to axe Giles Fraser's column, Leavers are left with only the Morning Star. And The Word, of course. This could be the making of that. I very much hope that large numbers of Leavers will become regular readers of both.

They might then realise that the election of a Corbyn Government was the only way to keep the economic and foreign policy debates open, whether or not you agree with Corbyn in any way on economic policy, in particular. Unless you want a return to "the centre ground" of the 20 years BC, Before Corbyn, then you must vote Labour at the next General Election, no matter what.

Happy Holidays?

Hanukkah is a strange one. After the emergence of Judaism, set out below, Hanukkah was historically a very minor festival until almost into living memory, and in much of the Jewish world it still is. But it does provide an opportunity to pre-empt this year’s round of lazy claims that Christmas is a taking over of some pagan winter festival. 

There is of course a universal need for winter festivals. But the dating of Christmas derives from Hanukkah, not from the pagan Saturnalia or anything else. No British or Irish Christmas custom derives from paganism. There is little, if any, fokloric pagan continuation in these islands, and little, if anything, is known about pre-Christian religion here. Most, if not all, allegations to the contrary derive from Protestant polemic against practices originating in the Middle Ages, and usually the Late Middle Ages at that. The modern religion known as Paganism is an invention from scratch, the very earliest roots of which are in the late nineteenth century. 

Furthermore, the dating of Christmas from that of Hanukkah raises serious questions for Protestants, who mistakenly exclude the two Books of Maccabees from the Canon because, along with various other works, they were allegedly not considered canonical at the time of Jesus and the Apostles. But in fact, the rabbis only excluded those books specifically because they were likely to lead people into Christianity, and they are repeatedly quoted or cited in the New Testament, as they were by Jewish writers up to their rabbinical exclusion. Even thereafter, a point is made by the continued celebration of Hanukkah, a celebration thanks to books to which Jews only really had access because Christians had preserved them, since the rabbis wanted them destroyed.

Indeed, far from being the mother-religion that it is often assumed to be, a very great deal of Judaism is actually a reaction against Christianity, although this is by no means the entirety of the relationship, with key aspects of kabbalah in fact deriving from Christianity, with numerous other examples set out in Rabbi Michael Hilton’s The Christian Effect on Jewish Life (London: SCM Press, 1994), and so on.

Hanukkah bushes, and the giving and receiving of presents at Hanukkah, stand in a tradition of two-way interaction both as old as Christianity and about as old as anything that could reasonably be described as Judaism. As Rabbi Hilton puts it, “It is hardly surprising that Jewish communities living for centuries in Christian society should be influenced by the surrounding culture.” There are many, many, many other examples that could be cited.

These range from the Medieval adoption for Jewish funeral use of the Psalm numbered 23 in Jewish and Protestant editions; to the new centrality within Judaism that the rise of Christianity gave to Messianic expectations (the Sadducees, for example, had not believed in the Messiah at all) or to the purification of women after childbirth; to the identification in later parts of the Zohar of four senses of Scripture technically different from, but effectively very similar to, those of Catholicism; to Medieval rabbis’ explicit and unembarrassed use of Christian stories in their sermons.

Many a midrash – such as “to you the Sabbath is handed over, but you are not handed over to the Sabbath” – is easily late enough to be an example of the direct influence of Christianity, yet Jewish and Christian scholars alike tend to announce an unidentified common, usually Pharisaic, root, although they rarely go off on any wild goose chase to find that root. I think that we all know why not. 

But the real point is something far deeper, arising from the definition of the Jewish Canon in explicitly anti-Christian terms, and from the anti-Christian polemic in the Talmud. Judaism hardly uses the Hebrew Bible directly rather than its own, defining and anti-Christian, commentaries on it and on each other. Jews doubting this should ask themselves when they last heard of an animal sacrifice, or which of their relatives was a polygamist. 

Judaism, I say again, is not some sort of mother-religion. Rather, I say again that it is a reaction against Christianity, and specifically, like Islam, a Semitic reaction against the recapitulation in Christ and His Church of all three of the Old Israel, Hellenism and the Roman Empire; there are also, of course, culturally European reactions against that recapitulation by reference to Classical sources, as there always have been, although they are increasingly allied to Islam.

Thus constructed, Judaism became, and remains, an organising principle, again like Classically-based reactions, for all sorts of people discontented for whatever reason with the rise of Christianity in general and with the Christianisation of the Roman Empire in particular, including all the historical consequences of that up to the present day, without any realistic suggestion of a common ethnic background.

Above all, Judaism’s unresolved Messianic hope and expectation has issued in all sorts of earthly utopianisms: Freudian, Marxist (and then Trotskyist, and then Shachtmanite), monetarist, Zionist, Straussian, neoconservative by reference to all of these, and so forth. They are all expressions of Judaism’s repudiation of Original Sin, Christianity’s great bulwark against the rationally and empirically falsifiable notions of inevitable historical progress and of the perfectibility of human nature in this life alone and by human efforts alone.

It is Christianity that refers constantly to the Biblical text. It is Christianity in general, and Catholicism in particular, that has a Temple, Jesus Christ, Who prophesied both the destruction of the Temple and its replacement in His own Person. It is Christianity in general, and Catholicism in particular, that has a Priesthood. It is Christianity in general, and Catholicism in particular, that has a Sacrifice, the Mass.

And it is Christianity in general, and Catholicism in particular, that is the religion of the Hebrew Scriptures. Including the two Books of Maccabees, the origin of Hanukkah. The true form of which, as of so much else, is Christmas.

Monday, 11 December 2017


Apparently, Theresa May is giving some speech on Brexit, or she has been. But who cares? Keith Chegwin is dead. And that is the news. Well, of course it is.

Also today, Ed Sheeran, the biggest pop star in the world (for good or ill) and the darling of Middle England's youth, at least, surprises no one by coming out as a very strong Corbyn supporter.

His best mate is another huge star in Britain, but with a rather more working-class and ethnic minority audience, and is himself the link man between Jeremy Corbyn and Prince William. That's right. Prince William.

The dull-as-dishwater Tories just do not come into it. If this is the popular culture, then what can they get done even in the office that, if this is the popular culture, they cannot expect to hold for very much longer?

Even those of the Royals who have any real pull or clout these days prefer people who prefer Corbyn. This is what hegemony looks like.

The First Casualty

Nothing about Jeremy Corbyn's Séan MacBride Peace Prize, his second major international peace award. But the claim by The Times that Vladimir Putin has tried to use RT to stir up a class war in response to Grenfell Tower.

Neil Clark On Tour

Taking the fight to Oliver Kamm in 2018.

Gulf Strait Talking

We are all supposed to be terribly pleased that our self-appointed, thick-as-mince but nasty-as-hell Defence Secretary is selling 24 Eurofighter Typhoon jets to Qatar, which is already a constitutionally Wahhabi state even before the backsliding rulers are overthrown. When those jets are turned on us, then you will see that the bleeding hearts were right all along. Getting out of both the Gulf and the arms trade is nothing other than good strategic sense.

Meanwhile, from across the Gulf, back comes Boris Johnson, having proved exactly as useful as he has ever been. With Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's trial having been delayed, there is ample time for someone capable of doing the job to fly to Tehran and simply refuse to leave without her. It does not much matter who, with a sufficiently high profile, does this. Foreign policy hawks who fail to do it, as they all will just as they all applaud the arming of Qatar (never mind Saudi Arabia) to the teeth, are particularly worthy of contempt. But Jeremy Corbyn, over to you.

Officially More Dangerous Than George Galloway

Next season's programme for the Gala Theatre, Durham arrives with a message from Ossie Johnson. Ossie needs to consider that the County Council's savage cuts to bus services, not least affecting his own ward (where a bus stop is named after his house), have largely excluded from cultural life many of us disabled people who used to participate in it.

Those responsible for that exclusion would have lost control of the Council if those with the power to deliver that result had listened to me, instead of listening to the political advice of a man who is now the Political Advisor to the Member of Parliament whose constituency contains Ossie's ward, where she now resides.

As a result of the fact that certain people took that advice instead of mine, 472 Teaching Assistants are still on course to lose 23 per cent of their pay. But then, can anyone name a specific austerity measure against which that MP, Laura Pidcock, ever voted during her time on Northumberland County Council?

That question might usefully be asked at a meeting of her Constituency Labour Party, which I am aghast to discover still exists, despite the ruling of the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party that no one in North West Durham was capable of being a parliamentary candidate. Anyone not sharing that assessment might consider that there is a world elsewhere.

I do hope that George Galloway, who with Alex Watson remains one of my Campaign Patrons, is successful in his quest for readmission to the Labour Party. Unless I am very much mistaken, then that would leave me as the only person alive who remained subject to a lifetime ban. Being officially more dangerous than George Galloway would be too delicious for words.

But I intend to vote Labour at the next General Election. And I wish Laura no ill. I assert that the following is an accurate summary of her view: "It is blatantly obvious that David Lindsay is innocent, that there is absolutely no evidence against him, that the charge against him should be dropped, that the complaint against him should be withdrawn, and that any and all Police files on him should be closed." She is free to deny that that is an accurate summary of her view. Until that time, however, it stands as such. And why, therefore, would I stand against her?

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Brexit Breakdown

If you want negotiation done properly, then you need trade unionists to do it. The Government's claim to want something like CETA, only even more so, will unite the Labour Party like nothing in years. There are people in Labour who want Brexit, and there are people who do not. But none of them wants this. 

Meanwhile, the wholesale capitulation of Theresa May and of John Major's erstwhile Europe Minister, David Davis, is being hailed as a triumph by the supposed Brexiteers on the Conservative benches. Those truly of that mind number barely the couple of dozen that opposed Maastricht, several of them are the same individuals, and none of them stands any more chance of becoming Leader than Tony Marlow ever did.

The Gathering Stormzy

Stormzy is one of the cleverest people in this country, and if he is not already one of the most powerful, then he very soon will be. Not only is he best mates with the biggest pop star in the world, but he is gym buddies with Prince William (who is a brave 35-year-old, to work out with a man of 24), and he is so close to Jeremy Corbyn that he appears on entirely serious lists of Britain's most influential left-wingers.

No one does self-preservation like the Royal Family, and no one understands better that real power, perhaps especially in Britain, lies in controlling popular culture. That was how they more than survived the United Kingdom's nearest thing to a republican Government, New Labour. And now, with Corbyn's having ruled out any attempt to give effect to his republicanism while little things like poverty and war were still to be addressed, the new Court Party is taking shape nicely.

Indeed, it is already winning. The late-middle-aged, middle-middle-class voices and faces of the semi-suburban Home Counties can release Industrial Strategies if they please, only to be upstaged by Royal Engagements announced on the same day. Those voices and faces fail to induce, as they fail to attain, even Tolstoy's definition of boredom as "the desire for desires".

But elsewhere, beautifully and brilliantly elsewhere, there are pop stars, and princes, and Jeremy Corbyn.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

A 2018 General Election?

I know that I said a few days ago that it was unlikely. But never bet against anything these days. My trial has been delayed until 11th April, a year after the so-called conclusive evidence supposedly turned up, while they purport to be looking for that or any other evidence against me. They have yet to find any. Really, though, this is so that my trial will either be after a General Election that I would therefore find it difficult to contest, or else so close to one as effectively to preclude my candidacy.

I wish that I had stood this year. I would not have won. But I would have taken enough votes to ensure that Laura Pidcock was elected with fewer than 50 per cent of the total. That might have restrained her a little, which would have been good for all concerned. The Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats might also have felt emboldened to challenge the fact that she had clearly given an false address on the paperwork. Whatever the outcome of that, then it, too, might have cooled her  head a little, and stayed her tongue. Most people now expect this to be a Conservative seat within three electoral cycles. Ho, hum, I shall be well over 50 by then.

This seat could do with an MP from the Left who was capable of political co-operation and personal friendship with people of all political allegiances and none, who was unsullied by any connection to the present Leadership of Durham County Council, and whom it was impossible to imagine describing the third or more of this constituency that voted Conservative in 2017 as "the enemy". That phrase recalls Margaret Thatcher's attitude to the miners.

But I wish Laura no ill. I intend to vote Labour at the next General Election. I assert that the following is an accurate summary of her view: "It is blatantly obvious that David Lindsay is innocent, that there is absolutely no evidence against him, that the charge against him should be dropped, that the complaint against him should be withdrawn, and that any and all Police files on him should be closed." She is free to deny that that is an accurate summary of her view. Until that time, however, it stands as such. And why, therefore, would I stand against her?


Feel free to give this disabled person a hand up, Philip Hammond. Or, indeed, anyone else.

Out of Turkey by Christmas

Why are there still American nuclear weapons in Turkey? I loathe the regime there, but it could at least walk the walk of which it talks. The Trump Administration must face the geopolitical consequences of its clod-hopping into Jerusalem.

The Speech of The Year

Heard around the world. Well, except in BBC Land, obviously. Today's main news here in the non-call-up of a cricketer. In December.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Weak and Stable

And so Theresa May gives the EU everything that it had wanted, in one case on the say-so of the DUP, in the other cases, well, just anyway. But it has taken her eight months to do it. And we are in for another four and a half years of this style of government, if “government” be the word.

But there is still room for co-operation with people of all parties and none, in order to implement Theresa May’s original Prime Ministerial agenda of workers’ and consumers’ representation in corporate governance, of shareholders’ control over executive pay, of restrictions on pay differentials within companies, of an investment-based Industrial Strategy and infrastructure programme, of greatly increased housebuilding, of action against tax avoidance, of a ban on public contracts for tax-avoiding companies, of a cap on energy prices, of banning or greatly restricting foreign takeovers, of a ban on unpaid internships, and of an inquiry into Orgreave, while returning to her world-leading record of work against human trafficking and modern slavery, now that slavery has returned to Libya.

Meanwhile, we need the negotiation of Brexit in the Welsh, Northern and working-class interests that delivered the result in its favour, including the extra £350 million per week for the National Health Service, something that needs to be written into the Statute Law.

All the while rejoicing that the workers, and not the liberal bourgeoisie, were now the key swing voters who deserved direct representation on local public bodies, on national public bodies, in the media, and at the intersection of the public and media sectors in the Parliamentary Lobby, in the BBC, in any future structure of the Channel Four Television Corporation, in any arrangement that made possible Rupert Murdoch’s acquisition of the whole of Sky News, and so on.

Make it happen.

Sipping Away My Last Gold Star?

With the blocks to one side,
The beach on the other,
And the trees and the leaves

As Michael Portillo, a strong supporter of Israel over many decades, said on last night's This Week, the far larger, modern, coastal Tel Aviv, with its major international airport, is simply a far better capital for the modern State of Israel than Jerusalem is.

Jerusalem was "the eternal capital of the Jewish people" long before there was a State of Israel, it would have been even if there had never been any such State, and it will be after that State has gone the way of them all. That is the thing about being eternal. Something that States are not, and they cannot be run as if they were.

Flying Into Downing Street On A Persian Carpet?

Good luck to Boris Johnson in Iran. He ought to refuse to leave without Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe. But he is only doing this so that he can launch his bid for the Leadership of the Conservative Party on the tarmac upon his return. Otherwise, either he or Theresa May would have done it weeks ago. As Jeremy Corbyn ought also to have done. As someone certainly ought to have done. Had I been a Member of Parliament, then I would have done this during the recent parliamentary recess. Why did none of them do that? They cannot all have children to consider.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Keeping Up Momentum

In the face of a planned picket, and not one of your middle-class kind, the National Coal Mining Museum for England has confirmed that it will not be hosting a Conservative Party event.

That would have been perfectly scandalous before there had been an inquiry into Orgreave. That inquiry was promised by Theresa May when she became Prime Minister. Come on, then. It is time for justice.

And there are still plenty of places to picket. Top of the list at the moment is 3 Bunhill Row, London, EC1Y 8YZ, which is the seat of the Electoral Commission. The homes addresses of the Commissioners, and of the Executive and Management Team, ought not to be too hard to find, either.

Invisibly Reassembling

Boris Johnson tells us that Islamist terrorism ought not to be considered an existential threat to Britain, the biggest shift in policy in at least 16 years. Meanwhile, however, Gavin Williamson has been torn to shreds on the law by Ken Macdonald and on security by Pauline Neville-Jones. Willamson is a barely half-educated foghorn down the pub. But he knows the truth about sexual harassment. So he is the Secretary of State for Defence. Heaven help us all.

The other of Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse's Self Righteous Brothers is John Woodcock, who wishes to extend detention without charge (not trial, but charge) beyond even the 14 day that are already seven times longer than in Donald Trump's America, and more than three times longer than in Vladimir Putin's Russia. Woodcock owes his parliamentary seat to Theresa May, whose decision to call a General Election this year delayed his deselection. But he is now merely detained without charge.

No doubt Woodcock applauds the decision to move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. He probably thought that it was already there. But while a tiny handful of tiny states may follow suit, even that is unlikely. This marks the bitter end of American leadership in the world.  America is now in a position comparable to that of those who oppose the One China Policy. It also has to choose between its actual allies, however repulsive, in Turkey, Egypt and the Gulf, and Israel, which is not in point of fact an American ally at all, but whose meddling in American politics has now endangered every American citizen in the world.

Momentum Stalled?

If there are any charges, or even if there are not, then remember that they never charged numerous people from the 2015 General Election who freely admitted to having overspent such as to have made the difference between a hung Parliament and an overall majority. I have it on impeccable authority that Momentum only has £10,000. But it also has Twitter, Facebook, and enthusiasm.

Both the Conservatives and the Blairites were so convinced that a three-figure Conservative majority would be the end of Jeremy Corbyn that they are convinced that the eventual result, which some of us predicted, must have been the result of cheating. In fact, though, that was the result in 2015, as no one denies, but which the Crown Prosecution Service sees as not a matter of public interest.

"We rely on hundreds of thousands of dedicated council workers who go the extra mile in keeping our children safe," declares a letter bearing the name of Simon Henig, among many other shameless characters terrified for their positions now that there is a Labour Party.

I am told that there is now little chance that a figure of the extreme right-wing Labour machine on Durham County Council could expect the Labour nomination at North Durham when Kevan Jones retired, and in fact more chance that Kevan might be leaving sooner than he had anticipated. But Carl Marshall needs to know this: if he does not want me to contest every election that he did for the rest of his life or mine, whichever ended sooner, then he knows what he has to do.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

April Shower

I knew that I would not be spending Christmas in prison. I now know that I shall not be spending Easter in prison, either. My trial has been put back to 11th April next year. I was charged on 13th April this year, having been arrested on 14th March. The judge was no happier than I was, but the Crown Prosecution Service is still insisting on two or three days to try no evidence whatever, including further no evidence whatever that they profess to need another four months, over and above the eight months that they have already had and the ninth month that the Police had before that, in order to uncover.

Certain public figures received one of those unhinged communications which they receive very regularly, and a highly ambitious councillor, whose identity is common knowledge in these parts, took the opportunity to curry favour with those in a position to arrange the Labour nomination for a certain safe seat when the sitting MP retires, by using that communication to seek to remove an outspoken and, though I say so myself, an energetic opponent of the local municipal Labour machine. 

But this has now gone on for an outrageous length of time, entirely at public expense, and there are now, unlike in the first instance, credible threats to the safety of numerous people, including me, but more to the point including teenagers. Those threats have not been not been posted once, from Durham or thereabouts, and referring to a local dispute. They have been posted at least twice, from thousands of miles away, from a country that I have never visited, and referring to major international conflicts. This needs to end. That councillor needs to withdraw the complaint. Or, frankly, expect to face me at the polls when that opportunity next presents itself.

More broadly, we need reversal of the erosion of trial by jury and of the right to silence, reversal of the existing reversals of the burden of proof, abolition of conviction by majority verdict (which, by definition, provides for conviction even where there is reasonable doubt), extension throughout the United Kingdom of the Scots Law requirement for corroborating evidence, requirement that the prosecution present its case within three months of charge or else that case be dismissed, abolition of the admission of anonymous evidence other than from undercover Police Officers, exclusion of the possibility of conviction on anonymous evidence alone, restoration of the provision that no acquitted person should ever have to stand trial again for the same offence (the previous change to this having now done its job in the Stephen Lawrence case), a return to preventative policing based on foot patrols, Police Forces at least no larger than at present, restoration of the pre-1968 committal powers of the magistracy, restoration of the pre-1985 prosecution powers of the Police, restoration of the network of police stations and police houses placing the Police at the very heart of their communities, and disbandment of MI5 in favour Police Officers who, while highly specialised, were nevertheless part of accountable community policing. Among very much else besides. Make it happen.

Impact Assessment

It is not difficult to assess the impact of the unfolding shambles and fiasco that is David Davis and all his works, or lack of them. He could have been one of the great campaigning backbenchers. But he should never have been a Minister. Meanwhile, Boris Johnson is writing articles for The Sun attacking online campaigns against The Sun, because, as the Foreign Secretary with responsibility neither for Brexit nor for International Trade, he has nothing else to do.

Nor is it difficult to assess the impact on the electorate of the realisation that the Prime Minister can now be called to heel like a dog, and publicly humiliated on the international stage, by the DUP. That party ought to stand candidates anywhere, and I do mean anywhere at all, in England, Scotland or Wales, purely in order to see the results.

Are most of the DUP's voters even in favour of Brexit, an issue that has little or nothing to do with how people vote in parliamentary elections? Just as the majority opinion in Scotland is to remain both in the United Kingdom and in the European Union, yet the only party of that mind has all of four seats out of 59, so the majority opinion in Northern Ireland is the same, yet is represented by precisely one out of 18 MPs, and Sylvia Hermon is an Independent.

For two years now, we have been told that the country was crying out for a pro-EU party of the liberal "centre". This year, such a party contested every seat in Great Britain. It won 12 out of 650 seats, with 7.4 per cent of the vote.

For far longer, we have been told that the country was crying out for a populist party to the right of the Conservatives. This year, such a party contested every seat in Great Britain. It won none of the 650 seats, not even the one that it had already held following the defection of the Conservative incumbent, and it took a whopping 1.8 per cent of the vote. Its 594,068 votes in the entire country were not even three times the attendance at the Durham Miners' Gala a few weeks later.

UKIP's was a populism without that most vital of ingredients, popularity. Meanwhile, the Conservatives toyed with bringing back grammar schools and foxhunting, and they duly lost their overall majority. That toying was the impact, and that loss was the assessment.

Olympic Games

None of this would be happening if Hillary Clinton had won. We are on the brink of all-out wars because of her petulance and that of her spoilt, over-entitled supporters. But I do hope that President Putin will not prevent Russian athletes from competing in the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. Sporting boycotts seem cruel to very young people whose chance to compete at a certain level may come only once or twice in a lifetime.

If I Forget Thee, O Jerusalem

Having your embassy in a different city from everyone else's would be just plain daft. But in any case, Jerusalem will never be the capital of anywhere, except perhaps of itself. The final status agreement will put the Palestinian capital at Ramallah, and the Israeli capital at Tel Aviv, with Jerusalem as an undivided city under some kind of UN authority, as if it had not already suffered enough. Thus would it be everyone's, and thus in turn would it be no one's, with untrammelled access to all of the holy sites for anyone who wanted to visit them.

For yes, Jerusalem is, among other things, "the eternal capital of the Jewish people". But there is no argument that it ought therefore to be the capital of the modern State of Israel. To suggest so would amount to the greatest annexation of them all, the annexation of every Jew in the world, past, present and future. But just as one fifth of Israeli citizens are not Jewish, predominating in half of the territory within the pre-1967 borders and growing at a very high rate, so well under half of the world's Jews are Israeli. And that is before counting the Jews who died before 1948, and who were very much part of the eternal Jewish people.