Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Clouds of Witness Ch 7 cont

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                “So that's how the matter stands, you see, Lord Peter,” said the Chief of Scotland Yard, rising from his desk with a friendly gesture of dismissal. “The man was undoubtedly seen at Marylebone on the Friday morning, and, though we have unfortunately lost him again for the moment, I have no doubt whatever that we shall lay hands on him before long. The delay has been due to the unfortunate illness of the porter Morrison, whose evidence has been so material. But we are wasting no time now.”
                “I'm sure I may leave it to you with every confidence, Sir Andrew,” replied Wimsey, cordially shaking hands. “I'm diggin' away too; between us we ought to get somethin'—you in your small corner and I in mine, as the hymn says—or is it a hymn? I remember readin' it in a book about missionaries when I was small. Did you want to be a missionary in your youth? I did. I think most kids do some time or another, which is odd, seein' how unsatisfactory most of us turn out.”
                “Meanwhile,” said Sir Andrew Mackenzie, “if you run across the man yourself, let us know. I would never deny your extraordinary good fortune, or it may be good judgment, in running across the criminals we may be wanting.”
                “If I catch the bloke,” said Lord Peter, “I'll come and shriek under your windows till you let me in, if it's the middle of the night and you in your little night-shirt. And talking of night-shirts reminds me that we hope to see you down at Denver one of these days, as soon as this business is over. Mother sends kind regards, of course.”
                “Thanks very much,” replied Sir Andrew. “I hope you feel that all is going well. I had Parker in here this morning to report, and he seemed a little dissatisfied.”
                “He's been doing a lot of ungrateful routine work,” said Wimsey, “and being altogether the fine, sound man he always is. He's been a damn good friend to me, Sir Andrew, and it's a real privilege to be allowed to work with him. Well, so long, Chief.”
                He found that his interview with Sir Andrew Mackenzie had taken up a couple of hours, and that it was nearly eight o'clock. He was just trying to make up his mind where to dine when he was accosted by a cheerful young woman with bobbed red hair, dressed in a short checked skirt, brilliant jumper, corduroy jacket, and a rakish green velvet tam-o'-shanter.
                “Surely,” said the young woman, extending a shapely, ungloved hand, “it's Lord Peter Wimsey. How're you? And how's Mary?”
                “B'Jove!” said Wimsey gallantly, “it's Miss Tarrant. How perfectly rippin' to see you again. Absolutely delightful. Thanks, Mary ain't as fit as she might be—worryin' about this murder business, y'know. You've heard that we're what the poor so kindly and tactfully call 'in trouble,' I expect, what?”
                “Yes, of course,” replied Miss Tarrant eagerly, “and, of course, as a good socialist, I can't help rejoicing rather when a peer gets taken up, because it does make him look so silly, you know, and the House of Lords is silly, isn't it?

Socialism is an economic system characterised by social ownership of the means of production and co-operative management of the economy, and a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to cooperative enterprises, common ownership, state ownership, or citizen ownership of equity. There are many varieties of socialism and there is no single definition encapsulating all of them. They differ in the type of social ownership they advocate, the degree to which they rely on markets or planning, how management is to be organised within productive institutions, and the role of the state in constructing socialism.

A socialist economic system would consist of a system of production and distribution organized to directly satisfy economic demands and human needs, so that goods and services would be produced directly for use instead of for private profit driven by the accumulation of capital. Accounting would be based on physical quantities, a common physical magnitude, or a direct measure of labour-time in place of financial calculation.Distribution of output would be based on the principle of individual contribution.

As a political movement, socialism includes a diverse array of political philosophies, ranging from reformism to revolutionary socialism. Proponents of state socialism advocate the nationalisation of the means of production, distribution and exchange as a strategy for implementing socialism. In contrast, libertarian socialism proposes the traditional view of direct worker's control of the means of production and opposes the use of state power to achieve such an arrangement, opposing both parliamentary politics and state ownership over the means of production. Democratic socialism seeks to establish socialism through democratic processes and propagate its ideals within the context of a democratic system.

Modern socialism originated from an 18th-century intellectual and working class political movement that criticised the effects of industrialisation and private property on society. In the early 19th-century, "socialism" referred to any concern for the social problems of capitalism irrespective of the solutions to those problems. However, by the late 19th-century, "socialism" had come to signify opposition to capitalism and advocacy for an alternative system based on some form of social ownership.
Orthodox Marxists later considered scientific assessment and democratic planning to be critical elements of socialism. In the late 20th century, the term "socialist" has also been used by Third way social democrats to refer to an ethical political doctrine focusing on a common set of values emphasizing social cooperation, universal welfare, and equality. It is used in this way by Third Way proponent Anthony Giddens, who rejects conventional definitions and implementations of socialism.

The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster.

The House of Lords is independent from, and complements the work of, the House of Commons; the Lords share responsibility for making laws and checking government action. Bills can be introduced into either the House of Lords or the House of Commons and members of the Lords may also take on roles as Government Ministers. The House of Lords has its own support services, separate from the Commons, including the House of Lords Library.

Unlike the elected House of Commons, most new members of the House of Lords are appointed. Membership of the House of Lords is made up of Lords Spiritual and Lords Temporal. There are currently 26 Lords Spiritual who sit in the Lords by virtue of their ecclesiastical role in the established Church of England. The Lords Temporal make up the rest of the membership; of these, the majority are life peers who are appointed by the Monarch on the advice of the Prime Minister, or on the advice of the House of Lords Appointments Commission.

Membership was once a right of birth to hereditary peers but, following a series of reforms, only 92 members (as of 1 July 2011) sitting by virtue of a hereditary peerage remain. The number of members is not fixed; as of 11 June 2012 the House of Lords has 775 members (not including 28 who are on leave of absence or are otherwise disqualified from sitting), unlike the House of Commons, which has a 650-seat fixed membership.

The House of Lords provides expertise and scrutinises bills that have been approved by the House of Commons. It regularly reviews and amends bills from the Commons. While the House of Lords is unable unilaterally to prevent bills passing into law (except in certain limited circumstances), its members can severely delay bills that they believe to be misguided and thereby force the government, the Commons, and the general public to reconsider their decisions. In this capacity, the Lords acts as constitutional safeguard that is independent from the electoral process and that can challenge the will of the people when the majority’s desires threaten key constitutional principles, human rights or rules of law. In other countries this role would often be performed by a Constitutional or Supreme Court, but the UK system's emphasis on parliamentary sovereignty—rather than judicial review—means that this function cannot be properly accomplished by the British court system as all judicial rulings can be overruled by parliament.

The Speech from the throne, often known as the Queen's Speech, is delivered from the House of Lords during the State Opening of Parliament. The House also has a minor Church of England role in that through the Lords Spiritual Church Measures must be tabled within the House.

                But, really, I'd rather it was anybody else's brother. Mary and I were such great friends, you know, and, of course, you do investigate things, don't you, not just live on your estates in the country and shoot birds? So I suppose that makes a difference.”
                “That's very kind of you,” said Peter. “If you can prevail upon yourself to overlook the misfortune of my birth and my other deficiencies, p'raps you would honor me by comin' along and havin' a bit of dinner somewhere, what?”
                “Oh, I'd have loved to,” cried Miss Tarrant, with enormous energy, “but I've promised to be at the club to-night. There's a meeting at nine. Mr. Coke—the Labour leader, you know—is going to make a speech about converting the Army and Navy to Communism.

The Labour Party is a centre-left political party in the United Kingdom, and one of the two main British political parties along with the Conservative Party. The Labour Party was founded in 1900 and overtook the Liberal Party in general elections during the early 1920s, forming minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and 1929–1931. The party was in a wartime coalition from 1940 to 1945, after which it formed a majority government under Clement Attlee. Labour was also in government from 1964 to 1970 under Harold Wilson and from 1974 to 1979, first under Wilson and then James Callaghan.

The Labour Party was last in national government between 1997 and 2010 under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, beginning with a majority of 179, reduced to 167 in 2001 and 66 in 2005. Having won 258 seats in the 2010 general election, the party currently forms the Official Opposition in the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Labour has a minority government in the Welsh Assembly, is the main opposition party in the Scottish Parliament and has 13 MEPs in the European Parliament, sitting in the Socialists and Democrats group. The Labour Party is a member of the Socialist International and Party of European Socialists.

The Leader of the Labour Party is the most senior politician within the Labour Party in the United Kingdom.

The post of Leader of the Labour Party was officially created in 1922. Before this time, between when Labour MPs were first elected in 1906 and the election in 1922, when substantial gains were made, the post was known as Chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party.

Unlike other British political party leaders, the Labour Leader does not have the power to dismiss or appoint their Deputy. Both the Leader and Deputy Leader are elected by an Alternative Vote system in an electoral college, with a third of the votes allocated to the Party's MPs and MEPs, a third to individual members of the Labour Party, and a third to individual members of all affiliated organisations, including socialist societies and trade unions.

When the Labour Party is in Opposition, as it currently is, the Leader of the Labour Party usually acts as the Leader of the Opposition, and chairs the Shadow Cabinet. Concordantly, when the Party is in Government, the Leader would usually become the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, First Lord of the Treasury and Minister for the Civil Service, as well as appointing the Cabinet.

In 1921, John Robert Clynes became the first Leader of the Labour Party to be born in England; prior to this, all Leaders had been born in Scotland. In 1924, Ramsay MacDonald became the first ever Labour Prime Minister, leading a minority administration. Clement Attlee would become the first Leader to lead a majority government in 1945. The first to be born in Wales was Neil Kinnock, who was elected in 1983. The most electorally successful Labour Leader to date is Tony Blair, who won three in 1997, 2001, both landslide victories, and 2005.

                We expect to be raided, and there's going to be a grand hunt for spies before we begin. But look here, do come along and dine with me there, and, if you like, I'll try to smuggle you in to the meeting, and you'll be seized and turned out. I suppose I oughtn't to have told you anything about it, because you ought to be a deadly enemy, but I can't really believe you're dangerous.”
                “I'm just an ordinary capitalist, I expect,” said Lord Peter, “highly obnoxious.”
                “Well, come to dinner, anyhow. I do so want to hear all the news.”
                Peter reflected that the dinner at the Soviet Club would be worse than execrable, and was just preparing an excuse when it occurred to him that Miss Tarrant might be able to tell him a good many of the things that he didn't know, and really ought to know, about his own sister.

The Soviet Club is an invention of Miss Sayers

                Accordingly, he altered his polite refusal into a polite acceptance, and, plunging after Miss Tarrant, was led at a reckless pace and by a series of grimy short cuts into Gerrard Street, where an orange door, flanked by windows with magenta curtains, sufficiently indicated the Soviet Club.
                The Soviet Club, being founded to accommodate free thinking rather than high living, had that curious amateur air which pervades all worldly institutions planned by unworldly people. Exactly why it made Lord Peter instantly think of mission teas he could not say, unless it was that all the members looked as though they cherished a purpose in life, and that the staff seemed rather sketchily trained and strongly in evidence.

I couldn’t find an exact definition for this, but presumably it has to do with missionaries,  holding teas as fund raisers.

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