Wednesday, December 08, 2010

It's all Kant ... Or...

In these trying days for MPs beset by judges, parliamentary functionaries and journalists (whose own expenses are above reproach) let us hear it for the heroes and heroines of Hansard who last night had to report and transcribe the German pronunciation of the word Kant. As the Commons loses its fun and fearlessness there can be an occasional moment of cheer and light especially from the Hansard team so well trained in the school of Jim Naughtie!

EU Referendum Bill Debate Hansard 7 December 2010

Mr Denis MacShane (Rotherham) (Lab): We have had a menagerie-type debate: Pandora's boxes have been opening, Trojan horses have been jumping out of them and there have been mice of different sizes to contemplate. But there is a broad division-between Labour Members, along with the hon. Member for Westmorland and Lonsdale (Tim Farron), and most of the speakers on the Government Benches. They have a rather Hobbesian view of Europe, in which there is an undeclared war of all against all. I take the view that Immanuel Kant-or, as it should be pronounced properly in German, "Immanuel Kunt"-put forward in his perpetual peace argument. He argued that Europe needs a construct of rule of law, a Lockean Europe, in which we can live together in perpetual peace, as he thought. It has taken perhaps 200 years to get that far, but that is my version of Europe rather than the permanently negative one where it is Britain contra mundum, about which we hear so much from the Government Benches.
Austin Mitchell: As my right hon. Friend is representing his views as those of this side of the House-I do not think that they are-may I ask whether his own constituents are Kantians or Lockeans?
Mr MacShane: Perhaps I shall leave the reply to my old friend, Jim Naughtie.

14 comments:

Alasdair said...

Hrm. Denis obviously isn't a student of German, as the closest phonetic English transliteration of Immanuel Kant's name is, in fact 'Kant'.

Mind you, he may be thinking of the spurs supporters who habitually abuse a referee by referencing the 18th Century philosopher: "The ref's a facking Kant!"

Alan Douglas said...

German pronunciation is quite precise - your take, from Hansard, is false, it would be rather as the well-spoken person's "can't".

I suspect you are joking, but I doubt McShame was !

Alan Douglas

Nigel said...

For an ardent europhile, McShane seems to have some strange ideas about German pronunciation.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:IPA_for_German

Demetrius said...

Are we paying them to do this?

Tapestry said...

He's getting muddled up with the German word for art - kunst. Just as he is muddled about Kant, who pointed out that no two democracies ever made war on each other.

The EU, by eliminating democracies, is eliminating Kant's optimistic scenario, and replacing it with a superstate where war will be easy for the powerful to bring about.

Scary Biscuits said...

The other great way of working 'cunt' into polite conversation is to start talking about naval knots, or bends and hitches.

A cunt in this context is the space you get if you take a rope and unscrew it so that the three main cords that make up the rope seperate. A cunt-splice, therefore, is a knot where the joining rope is woven (or more properly, bent) into this space.

Like many other expressions, this is also possibly the derivation of the more common contemporary usage, as worn out ropes are wonderfully soft and on a big 12" diameter rope (that might have been used to hold up a mast) the cunt, possibly lubricated with wax, may have been used by sailors away at sea for a long time who needed to relieve themselves.

Fenrir said...

Not sure if it is your mistake or Hansard, but I thought Macshane was no longer a Labour MP since they slung him out for his expenses claims which are under investigation by the police I believe.

PJH said...

In these trying days for MPs beset by judges, parliamentary functionaries and journalists (whose own expenses are above reproach)

Journalists' expenses are "above reproach," because journalists' expenses are paid by the paper that employs them. (Or their shareholders or the people who *choose* to buy those papers if you really want to get anal about it.)

MP's are employed directly through our taxes. The expenses they incur are likewise rebated directly out of our taxes.

Stop it with this tired old line. Please?

You're comparing apples with stepladders. When we start electing journalists and paying them out of the public purse then maybe you may have a gripe with it.

Oh - and there's the BBC.

trevorsden said...

Crikey Mr Biscuits - are you saying that a sailor could piss through a small hole in a knot - on a rolling ship? They go up in my estimation.

The French and Spanish had no chance at Trafalgar, I bet they could not piss up a bulkhead at two paces.

After this the actual point of the intervention seems to be rather an anti, er, climax. But peace since 1945 has nothing to do with the EU and everything to do with NATO

hightory.com said...

There is an old joke that Kant is a load of cant. Another Philosopher who might have something to say would be Nietzsche: he certainly would not approve of the idolisation of John Lennon. I have written a Nietzschean criticism of Lenin's (sorry, Lennon's) Imagine here: http://hightory.com/2010/12/08/imagine-theres-no-lennon/

Richard Baron said...

Philosophers have been mentioned in Hansard before. In a Finance Bill Committee in 2006, Ed Balls went on about Donald Davidson. His memory of the intricacies of Davidson's thought was not, however, as perfect as it might have been.

Elby the Beserk said...

I thought the hideous MacShane had been suspended from the Labour Party? If so, is he really allowed to speak in the House?

Overtiredandemotional said...

This sort of thing is the glory of Britain - serious and reasonably bright people having an unavoidable weakness for school boy humour. So long as that obtains, there is hope.

Now, where are the words to the Philosophers' Song? "Immanuel Kant was a real pissant, he could drink you under the table...............

Jimmy said...

"I thought the hideous MacShane had been suspended from the Labour Party? If so, is he really allowed to speak in the House?"

Sadly it is not yet a requirement for participants in parliamentary proceedings to be members of the Labour Party but your proposal is certainly one to consider.