Wednesday, 28 February 2007

The Nonentities' Nonentity

A website (which I am unable to locate) has been launched by two failed and discredited Cabinet Ministers, one a minor toff, the other a major chav, and both utterly unrepentant old Marxists from the days when it mattered. Its purpose is to make life difficult for Gordon Brown, and to try and encourage the ridiculous David Miliband to stand for Leader of the Labour Party. It really has come to something when the BBC describes Alan Milburn as a "heavyweight", or suggests that Miliband is a credible candidate for Prime Minister. Nick Robinson might be a Tory, but even so!

However, credit where it is due: Milburn does at least make Miliband look like a substantial politician (and that is quite a feat), a favour done to Milburn, in turn, by this new website’s apparent media cheerleader-in-chief, Stephen Byers. And only one figure is so lightweight and ludicrous as to make even Byers look statesmanlike. I refer, of course, to the man surrounded by the eye-poppingly undistinguished collection made up of Byers, Milburn, Miliband, Peter Mandelson, Alastair Campbell, Patricia "Mary Poppins" Hewitt, Tessa "Carmela Soprano" Jowell, Harriet "Tin of Baked Beans" Harman, Hilary "Eva Braun" Armstrong, Michael Levy, Carole Caplan (although she is positively Churchillian compared to any of the rest of them), and so forth, with the cake iced by George Bush.

Step forward, the nonentities’ nonentity, the late Tony Blair.

The House of Lords and The Attlee Test

Writing in today’s Guardian, Jonathan Freedland returns to one of that newspaper’s favourite themes: "How dare there be an aristocracy other than Us!" This is closely related to "How dare political parties be funded in any way that some glorified committee of Us cannot control!" and "How dare there be an electoral system which does not give Us the final say in stitching up a coalition!"

Both with the aristocratic social conscience and with organised labour, respectively embodied by the hereditary peerage and by the Labour Party’s trade union links, Britain has been more blessed than any other country on earth. The argument against either is the argument against the other. And we are now seen exactly how Freedland’s and his ilk’s bourgeois triumphalism is causing each to be replaced with something immeasurably worse.

On constitutional questions, we should apply the Attlee Test: if Attlee could live with something and make it work, then Blair and Brown should certainly be able to, and should attend, as Attlee did, to more pressing matters. On that basis, there was no need to alter the House of Lords in 1997, nor is there any such need today. And there is certainly no need for the probable "elections" from closed party lists.

Ha Ha?

Tonight, if you are so minded, the people who gave you A Very Social Secretary (or Blind Man Has Sex Ha Ha) will give you Confessions of a Diary Secretary (or Fat Man Has Sex Ha Ha). 12 or 15 years ago, British satire was a nightly, primetime outpouring of the most hysterical abuse, directed towards the Major Government and all its works. It then stopped more or less entirely, immediately after the 1997 Election and the death of Princess Diana (its other favourite target). And now it seems to have come back as this. Will we ever have proper satire again? But then, did we ever really have it in the first place?

The Day Today

Natasha Kaplinsky informed us that “A cull of elephants is being planned in South Africa, to deal with that country’s increasing population of elephants.” That line would only have worked if delivered from the lips of Chris Morris, dear.

The Tories and Marriage

The Tories pro-marriage? Back in the real world, if any specific policy is ever formulated in this area, then it will doubtless propose payment in respect of any partnership that can be devised, no doubt even between those who are in fact legally married to other people entirely. For that matter, since the benefit system already pays out specifically for "polygamous partners", why imagine that any new allowance would be restricted to relationships of precisely two persons?

Incidentally, just as a matter of fact, the old Married Couple’s Tax Allowance was unrelated to having children, or not. Child Benefit is about supporting children. The Married Couples Tax Allowance was about supporting marriage.

Tuesday, 27 February 2007

Down On The Farm, The Best Place To Be

Though the farmers' demand that the supermarkets pay them properly is obviously welcome, they need to ask themselves why they have for so long remained attached to a party which, contrary to its own history, long ago embraced the "free" market so destructive of agriculture in this and numerous other countries. But, of course, what alternative have they had in recent years?

The farming interest in this country may be small, but it is very well-organised, and it is as conservative as it is social-democratic (whether or not it likes the term), as it is patriotic, as it is Christian, as it is independent-minded, as it is utterly non-metropolitan. It therefore deserves to be a major force in the coming replacement of the existing bankrupt, memberless, identically unpopular political parties. And the rest of us therefore need it to be just such a force.

Monday, 26 February 2007

So There

As the BBC puts it:

The UN's highest court has cleared Serbia of direct responsibility for genocide during the 1990s Bosnian war. But the International Court of Justice did rule that Belgrade had violated international law by failing to prevent the 1995 massacre at Srebrenica.

Bosnia brought the case and would have sought billions of dollars from Serbia in compensation if successful. The case is the first of a state being charged with genocide. Individuals have been convicted of genocide in Bosnia. The Bosnian Muslim leader expressed disappointment at the ruling, but a senior Bosnian Serb official hailed it.

At least 100,000 people died in the 1992-1995 war, triggered by the break-up of the former Yugoslavia. Bosnia's Muslims and Croats wanted to cut ties with Belgrade, a move opposed by Bosnian Serbs.

The case, Bosnia and Herzegovina versus Serbia and Montenegro, began a year ago and a panel of judges has been deliberating since hearings ended in May 2006. Bosnia argued that Belgrade incited ethnic hatred, armed Bosnian Serbs and was an active participant in the killings. Belgrade said the conflict was an internal war between Bosnia's ethnic groups and denied any state role in genocide.

In the ruling, the president of the court, Judge Rosalyn Higgins, said: "The court finds that the acts of genocide at Srebrenica cannot be attributed to the respondent's (Serbia) state organs."
However the court added that the leaders of Serbia failed to comply with its international obligation to prevent the killings and punish those responsible.

The court also rejected Bosnia's claim for reparations. "Financial compensation is not the appropriate form of reparation," the ruling said. The war crimes tribunal in The Hague has already found individuals guilty of genocide in Bosnia and established the Srebrenica massacre as genocide.

Under a 1995 peace accord, Bosnia remained a single state, but power was devolved to a Muslim-Croat federation and a Bosnian Serb Republic. The Bosnian Muslim member of the country's tripartite presidency, Haris Siladzic, told the BBC there was "disappointment" at the ruling among Bosnian Muslims. However he said he was pleased that the court had "ruled that Serbia and Montenegro had violated the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide by not preventing or punishing the perpetrators of the genocide". In the Serb Republic, Krstan Simic, a senior member of the governing ruling Union of Independent Social-Democrats, said he was pleased that the judges had taken "real facts " into account.

The ruling also comes with Serbia still facing challenges linked to the break-up of the former Yugoslavia. Admission talks with the European Union have been stalled over Belgrade's failure to hand over war crimes suspects for trial. It also faces final talks with the United Nations on the future of Kosovo, with the province heading towards near-statehood despite Serbian opposition.

So, what about the failure of Bosnia's loudest backers to prevent or punish the ongoing crime of genocide against, for example, the Chaldo-Assyrian Christians of Iraq? What about the crimes of genocide perpetrated by such neocon darlings as the Holocaust-denier who re-created in 1990s Europe the full panoply of 1930s Fascism (Franjo Tudjman), the Wahhabi rabble-rouser who had been a recruitment sergeant for the SS (Alija Izetbegovic), and the filially black-shirted Wahhabi traffickers of the Taliban's heroin into Europe (the Kosovo "Liberation" Army)? What about the KLA's transformation, on the UN's watch, of putatively independent Kosovo into a Mafia fiefdom? When is anyone going to challenge Clare Short and Private Eye about their new-found opposition to the neocon-Wahhabi alliance after they cheered it on at the tops of their voices in Yugoslavia? And why does anyone still employ Stephen Pollard, Oliver Kamm, Johann Hari, David Aaronovitch, or any of the rest of them?

About Time

Three cheers for Phil Woolas, the Race Relations Minister, who has drawn attention to the bien pensant derision and demonisation of the white working class in general and of its younger male members in particular. Not before time.

Democrats want Giuliani, all right

Of course, the Democrats would love to see the Republicans run Giuliani. But not (or at least, not exactly) for the reason usually given or assumed.

The Republicans would have to be out of their minds to pick a Wall-Street-loving (and loved) social libertarian, logically consistent though that position is in itself, after the Democrats won the midterms by returning to their party's socially conservative, economically populist, patriotic, Christian roots, inimical to neoconservatism on all four counts, and most numerously exemplified by African-Americans and by the electorally decisive group that is orthodox Catholics.

In any case, but especially if "Rudy" gets anything like a sniff of the Republican nomination, the Democrats should therefore be down on their knees begging Jim Webb, who clinched the Senate for them before demolishing Bush's State of the Union Address, to run. And they should be out finding him a socially conservative, economically populist, anti-war running mate who is either a churchgoing African-American or an orthodox Catholic (easy), and preferably both (also perfectly feasible).

Failing that, who? Clinton, merely because she happens to be a woman? Obama, merely because he happens to be black? Well, why not combine the two and draft Condoleeza Rice as the Democratic nominee for President of the United States? Or have I missed something?

Clinton is notable only for her husband is, and she failed to deliver health care reform. But that administration did give the American working class NAFTA and GATT, and it dismembered Yugoslavia in the interests of various Wahhabis and Holocaust-deniers. As for Obama, he is not an African-American, one of the descendants primarily of West African slaves (though also of their masters), with a highly distinctive culture which produced, among much else, the Civil Rights Movement. Obama might be black, but he is not black like Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton. And that is what makes him acceptable to the Democratic Party's grandees.

Meanwhile, John McCain, like the wounded and decorated Jacques Chirac, might look dreadful on television, but, in telling contrast to the draft-dodging Bill Clinton and George Bush, he is extremely unlikely to go shooting up the world. Even if, in common with Jim Webb, he does have the misfortune to be a white man. So, faced with either Clinton or Obama, why should economically populist, socially conservative, anti-war African-Americans or orthodox Catholics vote Democrat at all? There is only one possible reason why: if the Republican nominee were Rudolph Giuliani.

Sunday, 25 February 2007

The Rise of The Overclass

David Cameron has few uses, but at least his existence draws attention to the overclass, which emerged, in the 1980s and 1990s, as a result of the same processes as produced the underclass, and which is at least as cut off from life as it is normally lived, but which is much less numerous, is concentrated almost exclusively in one corner of the country, and is much more pernicious economically, socially, culturally and politically.

Although related to the old aristocracy, its members have no social conscience, rather regarding their enormous wealth as "merit", and as entitling them to behave in absolutely any way they see fit, not least with regard to drugs. (Cameron has now pulled off the same evil trick twice, first defining "a normal university experience" as necessarily including illegal drug use, and now doing the same thing with secondary schooling. What next? And when is someone going to take him on?)

Between 1688 at the latest and 1914 at the earliest, the political life of the United Kingdom and of her predecessors was defined by the struggle between the expanding middle and the top. There might have been dire consequences for the emerging working class, but the process eventually delivered it the means of redress. Yet the middle class has now been conned into believing, both that its own interests are identical to those of Cameron (demanding that Blair condemn calls for curbs on City bonuses) or of George Osborne (rushing to defend private equity funds), and that the skilled working class (so comparable in income, concerns, and often even tastes these days) is indistinguishable from the characters on Shameless. The actual median wage for full-time work is around £23,000: that is the real middle.

Cameron should not have seen the last of that Bullingdon Club photograph, nor should he have heard the last of everything that it represents. But he probably has, pretty much. So he will carry on selling himself, Blair-like, as just an ordinary (if vaguely upper-middle-class) husband and father in early middle age. No, he isn't.

Sir Menzies Campbell: So Much The Better

I carry no candle for the Eurofanatical, anti-family, pro-crime, pro-drugs Liberal Democrats, although they are at least honest enough to admit to holding such views, unlike the people who run both of the other parties, who pretend to believe in national sovereignty, family values, law and order, and the "war against drugs". But I feel that I must stick up for Sir Menzies Campbell, by some distance the most dignified and the most effective Party Leader at present; it is most unfortunate that that is not saying very much at all. He is routinely mocked as a decrepit and senile figure, but in fact he is only 66. And he was recently derided for suggesting exactly the sort of troop withdrawal from Iraq that is now to come to pass. He might not be a neocon with an Oxford degree, but so much the better when one looks at the people, including in his own party, who are.

And you are...?

This blog is ridiculed on, ostensibly by one of its two authors, known to me only as "Kittens James". The other such author, Simon Mollon, maintains that I have never met "Kittens James", whereas I know Simon (a twelfth year student who is now, in his fourth decade, celebrating his Silver Jubilee as a schoolboy) very well indeed, and consider that the post about me must therefore have been written by him.

It makes reference to the University of Durham, as if I should care: at the same time as people educated far beyond their intelligence (at necessarily vast expense, after the manner of Blair or Cameron) were subjecting me to daily ridicule, humiliation and exclusion in that God-forsaken hell-hole, the rather nobler, and rather brighter, inhabitants of the real world were electing me to a Council and appointing me to the Governing Bodies of two schools. Simon, of course, has never lived in the real world, and is not someone whom one could easily imagine in such capacities.

Furthermore, Simon has never actually set foot in the North-West Durham parliamentary constituency on which he now purports to be such an expert, still less has he lived here for 25 years or been politically active here for half his lifetime. He should be aware that the idea of my seeking the Labour nominaton here, or standing as an Independent if I did not secure it, was first suggested to me by a very senior local Labour figure at the count for the last General Election. Has anyone ever made a comparable sugestion to Simon? For that matter, has he ever attended the count for any proper, non-student election? He should also be aware that, at that Election, an Independent candidate (a leading Councillor) secured more votes than the reduction in the Labour majority on an Election Address largely based, often word-for-word, on my letters published the previous autumn in the local free newspaper. Has Simon ever had that sort of influence?

The removed Wikipedia material about how Hilary Armstrong is regarded in the Derwenstide part of her constituency is a matter of fact and of common knowledge. The former, at least, can also be said of my links to the Labour Leadership on Derwentside District Council and to the powerful Catholic Church in these parts. Quite what party or wider political links Simon has ever had, I cannot imagine.

There is also ridicule of the Working Families of America Political Action Committee, which Simon should address to the AFL-CIO, to Change To Win, to the Alliance for Marriage, and to The American Cause, all of which are in regular receipt of the relevant material. As are a number of other people... Not least among those other people are activists seeking to organise the 35% of American registered voters now identifying as Independents, a figure obviously comparable to the consistent 34%-37% of Britons who now have to be factored out of opinion polls because they say, not that they "Don't know", but that they are firmly resolved not to vote for any of the existing parties.

Like the America's Founding Peoples Political Action Committee (which I note that Simon is too spineless to mock, much as he undoubtedly wants to), the WFA-PAC will soon be handed over to entirely American leadership (I am merely doing the donkey work, so to speak), and has, in this electronic age, the potential to exercise considerable influence over the 2008 Elections (especially those to the House of Representatives). After all, they are both very much of a piece with the reclaiming of the Civil Rights Movement by the black churches (and vice versa), with the increasing recognition by the Democratic Party that it will never again go where it once went unless it becomes again what it once was, and so forth. Meanwhile, Simon Mollon's impact on those elections will be ... well, what, exactly?

I'm Still Not Scared, You Know

Just sent:

Dear Ms Antao,

Very many thanks, but I never suggested that you suspend any process in the run-up to an election date, and I am afraid that everything else in your message is wholly unsatisfactory. Merely to state that "The Standards Board for England is not guilty of political partiality in the way in which it assesses cases to decide whether or not they should be referred for investigation" does not make that the case.

In this instance, that partiality is not only blatant but clearly shameless and unrepentant. This case is being pursued at all only because the complainant (Neil Fleming) is on the staff of a Cabinet Minister (Hilary Armstrong), and it would not otherwise be detaining you. Further to my previous message, the following point has therefore been beyond reasonable doubt: that the Standards Board for England, as such, is acting, at public expense and in collusion with a member of Hilary Armstrong's publicly maintained staff, to discredit me in order to obstruct my future Independent candidacy for the North-West Durham parliamentary constituency, in order to strangle in the cradle a national network of parliamentary candidates (of all parties and none) offering the electorate the real political choice that it is currently being denied, and incidentally in order to prevent me from defending my seat on Lanchester Parish Council or from seeking election to Derwentside District Council. Journalists to whom this email has been copied might consider going in search of other cases of this sort of thing, from around the country. I might add that, since I am now in the process of helping to set up two (decidedly non-neoconservative) Political Action Committees in the United States, then the Standards Board for England, as such, is also now colluding with a member of a Cabinet Minister's staff, as such, in order to deny political choice to the American as well as to the British People.

I trust that Belinda Shaw, to whom this email has been copied further to her letter to me dated 20th February, will therefore appreciate that I object in the strongest possible terms to any further action, of any kind, in respect of this matter, and that I will not co-operate in any way therewith, since I do not recognise the moral, intellectual or political authority of anyone engaged therein where this case is concerned, nor do I recognsie the moral, intellectual or political capacity of the complainant under any circumstance whatever.

And I trust that those to whom this email has been blind carbon copied, and who represent views such as I am seeking to put on the national and parliamentary agenda despite the best efforts of you and yours, will once again consider peaceable direct action against you, against the Standards Board for England, against Neil Fleming, against Hilary Armstrong, and at the next and subsequent meetings of Lanchester Parish Council. None of which need happen if you simply call a halt, here and now, to this disgraceful, disgusting and despicable political vendetta at public expense, apologising to me unreservedly, and compensating me both for your hurt and defamation of me, and for the time that I have been obliged to devote to this matter.

This message will of course be posted on

Yours sincerely,

David Lindsay (Councillor)

Friday, 23 February 2007

I Knew That It Was Too Good To Be True

Troops out of Iraq, but even more troops to Afghanistan. To do what? What are we even fighting for in Afghanistan? What, exactly, would constitute victory, or defeat, there? Bring yourselves home, lads. And then bring down Blair.

While They May

David Miliband for Prime Minister? Pull the other one! Still, a bid for Labour Leader would be a bit of fun for him, Lammy, Purnell, and the rest of the absurd nonentities whom the Blair Court now keeps putting on radio or television because they will soon have no such opportunity, since Brown is going to give first their jobs and then their very seats to Scottish trade union officials in their fifties. Who will, of course, be a great deal better.

Creepier and Creepier

The Creepy Electoral Commission, the Blameronite enforcement agency that must approve both the Constitution (including the Aims and Objectives) and the Leader of any party that wants to have its name on ballot papers (did you know that?), is trying to close down the UK Independence Party, undoubtedly in order to save the Cameron Tories at the next General Election. The signs are increasingly obvious that, unless we secure the election of large numbers of our people (of any party or none) at that Election, then, thanks to the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act, it might well be the last Election that we ever have, and, thanks to the likes of the Creepy Electoral Commission, it will certainly be the last worth having.

"9/11": Worse Than A Conspiracy, Mr Meacher

Michael Meacher, although he is really only a spoiler to ensure that Gordon Brown gets in unopposed (when Meacher will be restored as Environment Secretary, that is the deal) , is nevertheless giving aid and succour to those who believe that the attacks of 11th September 2001 were an inside job. But if the world is a conspiracy, then it is a remarkably unsuccessful conspiracy.

And in this case, the truth is far worse than a mere inside job: 11th September 2001 was indeed the happiest day in the life of George Bush (at last, something that could be used to bring about his otherwise inconceivable second term as President), and also in the lives of the neocons whose unwitting (because witless) puppet he was and is (at last, an excuse to take out Iraq, Iran, Syria...). But this was not because of any sort of conspiracy. Rather, it was because, in their own terms, they had suddenly found themselves lucky beyond their wildest dreams.

Yes, it really was, and it really is, as bad as that. And, as with the alliance between neoconservatism and "militant Islam", I am going to carry on taking every opportunity to say so. Those who want me to stop, you know who you are. And so do I...

Under Occupation

Why are there still American troops in Britain at all, all these years after the end of the Cold War? What do they do? The answer is that they don’t do anything: they are. Specifically, they are the elephant in the British political drawing room, the permanent intimidation of the British Government and People by the mere presence of the occupying forces of a foreign power, forces that could be turned loose onto our streets at any time. If we want any relationship worth having with the United States, then those forces must be kicked out forthwith. Meanwhile, the Poles and the Czechs, who know a thing or two about this sort of thing, should tell the late George W Bush where to go. And why should ordinary Americans have to pay for this?

Douglas Murray: Who He?

Who is this person Douglas Murray, who suddenly seems to turn up so frequently on the BBC, even managing to pop up on Jeremy Vine’s Radio Two programme today to beat the drum of war against Iran? His most notable "achievement" is a book called Neoconservatism: Why we Need It, which manages to avoid entirely even the merest mention of Max Shachtman and the neocons’ Trotskyist roots! Why is the BBC, which has already turned The Moral Maze into Neocons’ Big Night Out, placating these people? And where does it even find them?

Thursday, 22 February 2007

Working Families of America Political Action Committee

Sent out to all the right people over there (and copied to much of the American media) last night:

My friends in the United States, although strongly supportive in principle, believe that what I am about to outline to you cannot be done there, even though I am in the process of doing something very like it here in the United Kingdom. I am convinced that they are wrong, and will be handing over this project to them as soon as you and I have proved this.

Anyway, this project is the Working Families of America Political Action Committee (WFA-PAC), which itself would be strictly independent, but which would support candidates who subscribed to at least six (including the top three) of the top 10 economic and budgetary policy priorities determined by the unions affiliated to either or both of the AFL-CIO and Change To Win (hence "Working"), of the top 10 social and cultural policy priorities determined by the individuals who were also members of the Board of Advisors of the Alliance for Marriage (hence "Families"), and of the top 10 foreign and defense policy priorities determined by The American Cause (hence "of America"). I repeat that it would be strictly independent.

Unions, you might think that you do not like the people who serve as advisors to the Alliance for Marriage (that remarkable example of inter-racial cooperation, so closely linked to the Civil Rights Movement through the black churches, and so forthright and articulate in attacking the effects of unbridled capitalism on family life), and you might think that you do not like paleoconservatives (anti-GATT, anti-NAFTA, anti-CAFTA, anti-war, ferociously opposed to the undercutting of American workers through the turning of a blind eye to illegal immigration). Supporters of the Alliance for Marriage, some of you might think that you do not like the unions, and perhaps that you do not like the paleoconservatives too much, either. And paleoconservatives, you might think that you have grave cause to distrust both the unions and the neoconservative network sometimes so close to the Alliance for Marriage.

But I ask you, as I am so often asking your British counterparts, do you want ANY of the unions' economic and budgetary policy priorities to be addressed (I mean in an effective, practical way not characteristic of the Democratic Party in these days before the WFA-PAC)? Do you want ANY of the churches' social and cultural policy priorities to be addressed (I mean in an effective, practical way not characteristic of the Republican Party in these days before the WFA-PAC)? Or do you want ANY paleoconservative foreign and defense policy priorities, often also so resonant on the Left, to be addressed (I mean in an effective, practical way not characteristic of either party in these days before the WFA-PAC)? Politics is of course about cooperation, coalition, and sometimes even compromise.

Is there any good reason why, even if not one red cent were involved, there could not be at least a candidate endorsed by the WFA-PAC (i.e., identified by email to supporters for circulation in unions, or churches, or whatever) for every seat in the House in 2008, as well as for every Senate seat being fought, and for the offices of President and Vice-President of the United States?

As stated above, this will be handed over to American leadership as soon as I have proved to the Americans in question that there is potential here. So do please get in touch:

America's Founding Peoples Political Action Committee

Sent out to all the right people over there (and copied to much of the American media) last night:

My friends in the United States, although strongly supportive in principle, believe that what I am about to outline to you cannot be done there, even though I am in the process of doing something very like it here in the United Kingdom. I am convinced that they are wrong, and will be handing over this project to them as soon as you and I have proved this.

That project will be the America's Founding Peoples Political Action Committee (AFP-PAC), which will identify and support candidates who uphold, defend and promote all three of:

1. The English, Scots, Welsh and Irish economic, social, cultural and political identity of these United States, including the strongest possible economic, social, cultural and political ties between these United States and each and all of the United Kingdom, the Irish Republic, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and any other country which, by freely choosing to have the same Head of State as any of these and to use the English language, freely chooses to identify as integral to her whole people's own the Christian heritage common to, and determinative of, American, British, Irish, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand identity;

2. The West African slave-descended economic, social, cultural and political identity of these United States, including the closest possible economic, social, cultural and political ties between these United States and each and all of the English-speaking countries of the Caribbean, together with any other country which, by freely choosing to have the same Head of State as any of these and to use the English language, freely chooses to identify as integral to her whole people's own the Christian heritage common to, and determinative of, both African-American (and thus of all American) and Afro-Caribbean (and thus of all Caribbean) identity; and

3. The closest possible economic, social, cultural and political cooperation, both within these United States and throughout the world, between the people of West African slave descent and the people of English, Scots, Welsh and Irish descent, on the basis of their shared economic, social, cultural and political Christian heritage, including their shared English language and their shared blood ties.

So, are you in? If so, then I respectfully request that the first two main recipients of this email in person, and either the same or a nominee (as appropriate) of each of the others, agree to become members of the PAC, which I repeat will immediately be handed over to entirely American administration. The networks thus represented will be the backbone of its work. It is greatly to be hoped that the Canadian, Australian and New Zealand Cc-es to this email will comprise an International Advisory Board, with me and with someone from the Irish Republic and from as many as possible of the English-speaking countries of the Caribbean.

Is there any good reason why, even if not one red cent were involved, there could not be at least a candidate endorsed by the AFP-PAC (i.e., identified by email to supporters for circulation in churches or whatever) for every seat in the House in 2008, as well as for every Senate seat being fought, and for the offices of President and Vice-President of the United States?

As stated above, this will be handed over to American leadership as soon as I have proved to the Americans in question that there is potential here. So do please get in touch:

As seen (though not any more) on Wikipedia

I don't understand how Wikipedia works, but I'm told that the following has been removed from Hilary Armstrong's entry in the last couple of days:

Armstrong has never been popular in the constituency's demographically predominant Consett area, which was only very briefly represented by her late father. Since her involvement in the serious downgrading of Shotley Bridge Hospital, just outside Consett, in the last days of the Major Government but with her active collusion, she has been hated there.

Combined with her pronounced divergence from the social-democratic views of traditional Labour supporters in this traditional Labour area, Armstrong's neglect of that greater part of her constituency which falls within Derwentside means that, at the next General Election, a very substantial section of the Constituency Labour Party is expected to adhere to the Independent candidacy of well-known local, national and international political activist David Lindsay of Lanchester.

Lindsay is a former Labour Party member who holds traditional pre-Blair, pre-Militant Labour views of the kind that dominate the North-East in general and County Durham in particular. He was actively involved in the campaign to save Shotley Bridge Hospital, and he has close links (despite his removal from the Labour Party, which is simply ignored in practice by his powerful friends still in it) to the ruling Labour faction on Derwentside District Council, as well as to the highly influential Catholic Church in the area.

Consequently, the Labour Party no longer regards this seat as safe, and is understood to be urging Armstrong to retire. Armstrong, however, has been criticised for using her staff, at public expense, to attempt to engage the Standards Board for England, at public expense, to intimidate Lindsay and his supporters into withdrawing from the race. The British National Party has undertaken to contest this seat against Lindsay but not against anyone else, by definition including Armstrong or any successor favoured by her. It is not known how much contact she has had with that party in order to have arrived at this arrangement, or why she might consider it necessary in terms of what she perceives to be the views of her constituents.

And also that the following has been removed from the entry on Derwentside Independents:

There is a very firm expectation that the party, or at least its members as individuals and as Councillors, will support the well-known local, national and international Independent political activist David Lindsay when he contests the 2009 or 2010 General Election. Lindsay's relative youth, combined with his socially conservative and strongly patriotic views, would make his Independent candidacy extremely attractive to the party's supporters.

Well, I have to say that I am rather touched, and that I very much hope that this is true, as also that what the first one says about support from traditional Labour supporters and from Catholics is true. I really am going to have to stand now, aren't I!

The rest of you, why wait?

The troop withdrawals from Iraq are obviously welcome, but what are those to be left behind waiting for? You're in an illegal and pointless war anyway, so just bring yourselves home. You'll be cheered through the streets as heroes, and Blair could find out from the television. After all, what's he going to do? You are the ones with the tanks and the guns, not to mention the public support if you did this.

Michael Meacher

There is no way that Michael Meacher and John McDonnell will get 44 nominations apiece: there is nothing like, nor has there ever been anything like, 88 Hard Left MPs. So Gordon gets in unopposed, and Meacher gets back his job as Environment Secretary. That, I submit, is the deal.

What, exactly, has been cast in bronze?

Now that Margaret Thatcher has a statue in the House of Commons even though she is officially still alive, we need to ask what, exactly, “Thatcherism” was? What did she ever actually do?

Well, she gave Britain the Single European Act, the Anglo-Irish Agreement, the Exchange Rate Mechanism, the Police and Criminal Evidence Act, the replacement of O-levels with GCSEs, and the destruction of patriarchal authority within working-class families and communities through the destruction of that authority’s economic basis in the stockades of working-class male employment.

No Prime Minister, ever, has done more in any one, never mind all, of the causes of European federalism, Irish Republicanism, sheer economic incompetence, Police inefficiency and ineffectiveness, collapsing educational standards, and everything that underlies or follows from the destruction of patriarchal authority.

Meanwhile (indeed, thereby), the middle classes were transformed from people like her father into people like her son. She told us that “there is no such thing as society”, in which case there cannot be any such thing as the society that is the family, or the society that is the nation. Correspondingly, she misdefined liberty as the “freedom” to behave in absolutely any way that one saw fit. All in all, she turned Britain into the country that Marxists had always said it was, even though, before her, it never actually had been.

Specifically, she sold off national assets at obscenely undervalued prices, while subjecting the rest of the public sector (forty per cent of the economy) to an unprecedented level of central government dirigisme. She presided over the rise of Political Correctness, that most 1980s of phenomena, and so much of piece with that decade’s massively increased welfare dependency and its moral chaos, both fully sponsored by the government, and especially by the Prime Minister, of the day.

Hers was the war against the unions, which cannot have had anything to do with monetarism, since the unions have never controlled the money supply. For good or ill, but against all her stated principles, hers was the refusal (thank goodness, but then I am no “Thatcherite”) to privatise the Post Office, as her ostensible ideology would have required.

And hers were the continuing public subsidies to fee-paying schools, to agriculture, to nuclear power, and to mortgage-holders. Without those public subsidies, the fourth would hardly have existed, and the other three (then as now) would not have existed at all. So much for “You can’t buck the market”. You can now, as you could then, and as she did then. You know this from experience if that experience extends to any one or more of fee-paying schools, agriculture (or, at least, land ownership), nuclear power, and mortgage holding. The issue is not whether these are good or bad things in themselves. It is whether “Thatcherism”, as ordinarily and noisily proclaimed (or derided), was compatible with their continuation by means of “market-bucking” public subsidies. It simply was not, as it simply is not.

Hers was the ludicrous pretence to have brought down the Soviet Union merely because she happened to be in office when that Union happened to collapse, as it would have done anyway, in accordance with the predictions of (among other people) Enoch Powell. But she did make a difference internationally where it was possible to do so, precisely by providing aid and succour to Pinochet’s Chile and to apartheid South Africa. I condemn the former as I condemn Castro, and I condemn the latter as I condemn Mugabe (or Ian Smith, for that matter). No doubt you do, too. But she did not, as she still does not.

And hers was what amounted to the open invitation to Argentina to invade the Falkland Islands, followed by the (starved) Royal Navy’s having to behave as if the hopelessly out-of-her-depth Prime Minister did not exist, a sort of coup without which those Islands would be Argentine to this day.

There are many other aspects of any “Thatcherism” properly so called, and they all present her in about as positive a light. None of them, nor any of the above, was unwitting, forced on her by any sort of bullying, or whatever else her apologists might insist was the case. Rather, they were exactly what she intended.

Other than the subsidies to agriculture (then as now) and to nuclear power (now, if not necessarily then), I deplore and despise every aspect of her above record and legacy, for unashamedly Old Labour reasons. Indeed, the definition of New Labour is to support and to celebrate that record and legacy, because it did exactly as it was intended to do, entrenching, in and through the economic sphere, the social revolution of the 1960s. You should not so support or celebrate unless you wish to be considered New Labour.

But then again, who cares these days? Or, rather, who really ought to care? When the next General Election is upon us, people will have the vote who were not born when she was removed from office in order to restore the public order that had broken down because of what, in her allegedly paradigmatic United States, would have been her unconstitutional Poll Tax. And by the time of the Election after that … well, you can finish that sentence for yourself.

Twenty Years On, as Alan Bennett might once have put it, we have an opportunity to consign her to the history books once and for all. That opportunity was denied in 1990, when her ejection by her own party turned her into a mythical figure. Such would not have been her lot if the Poll Tax had simply ensured her removal by the electorate, probably in 1991. But, better late than never, let us take our opportunity in 2007.

Tuesday, 20 February 2007

Cameron's "Poll Lead"

Don't believe a word of it. The aim of opinion polls is not to measure public opinion, but to influence it. In this case, it is to influence it in favour of making Labour feel compelled to choose an Oxonian Leader instead of Gordon Brown. PMs are allowed to have an Oxford degree, or no degree: that is The Rule. And Brown falls into neither category.

Anyone who really does think that polls are there to measure public opinion should have stopped paying attention to them 15 years ago, when they mis-predicted the 1992 General Election by more people than there were living in the United Kingdom at the time, or whatever it was.

This latest one, like all of them these days, has had to be recalculated to exclude the constant 34-37% that says, not that it "doesn't know", but rather that it is determined not to vote next time. What if, between now and then, a movement were to arise which was capable of taking even half of those missing votes?

And where was this polling actually conducted? No doubt in the South-East, where the Tories already hold most of the seats anyway, having re-captured most of their 1997 losses there. A fat lot of good that has done them. Meanwhile, they are in a worse state than ever in Scotland, Wales, the North and the Midlands, where their loss of first many and then most of their seats first nearly and then actually cost them office in 1992 and 1997 respectively; and in the West Country, where their battle against the Liberals makes the difference between a majority Government and a hung Parliament at every General Election. But will anyone have been polled in Scotland, Wales, the North, the Midlands or the West Country? No, of course not!

Sunday, 18 February 2007

Re-engaging The Electorate

As seen in the Observer, albeit cut so as to make the writing style more Sixth Form-ish (since the letter itself is critical of an Observer writer), and so as to remove the specifically public participation from the third suggestion (far too dangerous, I'm sure):

Further to Nick Cohen's call for greater democratic participation, how about the following, in the course of each Parliament?

First each constituency party to put its shortlist of two potential parliamentary candidates to a binding and independently-run ballot of the whole constituency electorate. Secondly, each national party to put its shortlist of two potential Leaders (i.e., putative Prime Ministers) to a binding and independently-run ballot of the whole electorate throughout the United Kingdom. And thirdly, each branch of each party (including branches of affiliated organisations in Labour's or its successor's case) to suggest up to three policies, with members at branch level to vote for one, with the three receiving the highest numbers of votes from each branch going forward, with the ten highest scorers nationwide then going out to a ballot of the whole electorate, with each voter entitled to vote for up to two, and with the top five then to be included in the subsequent General Election Manifesto.

Of course, this would spell the end of Mr Cohen's own neoconservatism in this country.

Before that, it must be said, the political-media elite has to admit that there is a problem. Or does it? Why do we have to wait for it to catch up with reality? If we want proper MPs again, then we need to be organising our own proper candidates, not least with a view to a possible General Election, on the current boundaries and to give Gordon Brown his own mandate, this autumn. Don't bet against it.

Well, are we?

Alas, this didn't make it into the Church Times, which has been discussing the absolute
incompatibility between a pluralist and a secular state, and the necessarily totalitarain character of the latter:

The Reverend Giles Walter should not be surprised that his experiences in the old Soviet Union are now mirrored in today's Britain.There is a widespread notion that the socially conservative, Keynsian, Beveridgite, patriotic and largely church-based Labour Movement drove out the Communists and Trotskyists who had infiltrated the unions and the Constituency Labour Parties respectively. But this is in fact the opposite of the case: Tony Blair is surrounded by utterly unrepentant old Communists and Trotskyists from the 1970s and 1980s. Likewise George Bush is also surrounded by those in the latter category, as Bill Clinton was, and as (God forbid!) another President Clinton would be.

Furthermore, all three British parties (what little remains of them) are in the grip of that Washington Beltway junta's neoconservatism, which is in fact utter Marxism, with only the ending changed so that the bourgeoisie wins. It remains Marxist in its dialectical materialism, Leninist in its vanguard elitism and in its use of various (not least, religious) interests as "Useful Idiots", Trotskyist in its entryism and in its belief in the permanent revolution, and yet also Stalinist in its desire to create the dictatorship of the victorious class in a superstate from which to export it (including by force of arms) throughout the world while vanguard elites owe allegiance to that superstate rather than to their own countries. The London-based vanguard elite already controls both main parties, and is on the brink of taking full control of the third party.

So those parties now could not be further removed from their own socially conservative, economically populist, and patriotic roots in orthodox Christianity, even though this (although the Christian character has become somewhat obscured in the popular mind) remains mainstream opinion in this country, and especially in the areas where General Elections are won and lost: Scotland, Wales, the North and the Midlands, in each of which the Conservatives lost scores of seats to Labour in 1997 and show no sign of ever regaining office by regaining them; and the West Country, where the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats fight for the difference between a majority government and a hung Parliament at every Election.

Consequently, the parties now have almost no members or money, and take pitiful, yet still decreasing, shares of the eligible vote. By the time of the 2013 Election, they simply will not exist.

But someone is going to have to contest elections 10, 20, 30 or 40 years from now. Or are we just going to leave that to the Trots, the Islamists and the BNP?

Well, are we?

Cut It Out

Yesterday's Guardian reported the death of a baby boy after ritual circumcision. How much longer must we wait before the law against the genital mutilation of infants is enforced so as to protect boys as well as girls?

Saturday, 17 February 2007

Of Gaudí and The Guardian

I hadn't expected Guardian Review to print this, so I'm not surprised that it didn't, but I know that I will get emails about it (or even comments here - go on) if I post it here, so here it is:

Robert Hughes spoils his otherwise excellent article on Barcelona by describing as "extreme" the Catholicism of the late nineteenth century, and especially the dogma of Papal Infallibility. In fact, Catholicism has always simply presupposed the infallibility of what have come to be called Papal Definitions ex cathedra (which are very rare), since it could not otherwise function. Opposition to that dogma's formal promulgation by the First Vatican Council was only on grounds of inopportunity in the prevailing liberal climate of the day, and even then there were only two votes against, followed only by a marginal schism on the part of then-modish Teutonic liberals who happened to be "ethnic Catholics", and whose Nationalist Modernism ended up in a very nasty place indeed.

As for the Syllabus of Errors, each error condemned therein means something specific within its historical context. Thus, for example, "Socialism" means at least a generic Marxism, and certainly not the universal and comprehensive Welfare State, and the strong statutory and other (including trade union) protection of workers, consumers, communities and the environment, the former paid for by progressive taxation, the whole underwriten by full employment, and all these good things delivered by the partnership between a strong Parliament and strong local government, all with a view to redressing the grievances caused by capitalism, not least precisely in order to prevent a Marxist (or other) revolution.

Indeed, Socialism, thus defined, is positively enjoined by continuous Catholic Social Teaching from Pope Leo XIII to the present day, and has therefore been strongly supported by Catholics throughout the English-speaking world (even, albeit watered down and without the S-word, in the United States), for exactly the same reasons as Catholics have supported the same principles and policies, though differently named, on the part of Gaullists and French monarchists, or of German Social Catholics, or of Italian Christian Democrats, to name but a few.

Such is the tradition of Chesterton and Belloc, as also, at least in part, of non-Catholics such as Ruskin, William Morris, and the arts and crafts movement. And such, of course, is the tradition of Gaudí, the tradition of resistance to capitalism, not least because capitalism is inseparable from decadent social libertinism and from cultural philistinism. Among much else, that resistant, and now vindicated, tradition produced both Modern English poetry's posthumous father (Gerard Manley Hopkins) and its greatest practitioner (T S Eliot).

David Cameron: Family Guy?

Oh well, my two hundredth post had Blair in it, so my three hundredth might as well have Cameron in it.

Has the penny finally dropped even for David Cameron, who makes Margaret Thatcher look like she had a coherent political philosophy (and that is quite a feat)? Far from being conservative, the "free" market corrodes to nought everything that conservatives exist in order to conserve, including family life, as well as national sovereignty, agriculture, manufacturing, small business, local variation, and so much else besides.

That the Conservative Party has for so long supported the "free" market, contrary to its own history, is because it has for so long been dominated by people who are not in fact conservatives at all, but rather Liberal Unionists, Liberal Imperialists, National Liberals, and so forth, exemplified in part by Alderman Alfred Roberts (who sat as an Independent while the Liberal Party collapsed around him, never joining the Conservative Party to his dying day), and thus above all by his daughter, Margaret Thatcher.

In fact, Toryism in its Disraelian classical form has far more in common with Labourism in its classical, also very Disraelian, form than either has with this Gladstonian Liberalism. Labourism agrees wholeheartedly both with the importance of defending the conservative values and with the "free" market's self-evidently destructive effects upon them, but goes further in proposing, specifically, the universal and comprehensive Welfare State (including, for example, farm subsidies) and the strong statutory and other (including trade union) protection of workers, consumers, communities and the environment, the former paid for by progressive taxation, the whole underwritten by full employment, and all these good things delivered by the partnership between a strong Parliament and strong local government. Albeit with differences as to detail, this was always been acceptable to Tories, but certainly not to Thatcher, since she she was not a Tory (i.e., a Disraelian), but a Gladstonian.

Furthermore, Gladstonians (such as Tony Blair), since they favour unregulated markets, therefore favour the use of armed force to secure this global state of affairs, which they see as necessary for the emergence and defence of democratic institutions. By contrast, we Disraelians (whether Tory or Labour) see such economic arrangements as subversive both of those institutions and of the values that, among other good things, sustain them; accordingly, we are immensely cautious about adventures abroad. The rising Chinese superpower confirms our belief that the "free" market not only subverts democratic institutions and their necessary underlying values, but prevents those institutions from developing where they do not already exist.

But not just because of Israel

Is America, by extension including America's closest allies (such as Britain), hated in the Arab world for supporting Israel? Well, up to a point. But only up to a point. Zionism is busily wiping itself of the map, exactly as advocated by the President of Iran (who has only ever called for the dismantlement of the Zionist, like the Soviet, system, and never for any people to be wiped off the map in the Levant any more than in the territory of the former Soviet Union), by appointing non-Jewish Arab citizens (over half of Israel's Jewish citizens being also Arabs) to the Supreme Court, to the Cabinet, and so forth.

By contrast, their is no sign whatever of the dismantlement or reform of the American-backed Gulf monarchies, or of the American-backed Mubarak regime in Egypt, under which live vastly more Arabs than live either in Israel or in the territories occupied in 1967. The Bush Administration has not in fact been especially pro-Israel at all, at least not by American standards. But its support for the ghastly Mubarak, the ghastly House of Saud, the ghastly House of Sabah and the rest has been, and remains, absolute.

A conspiracy? No, much worse than that

On Sunday evening, the BBC will screen a documentary giving voice to those who believe that the attacks of 11th September 2001 were an inside job. But if the world is a conspiracy, then it is a remarkably unsuccessful conspiracy.

And in this case, the truth is far worse than a mere inside job: 11th September 2001 was indeed the happiest day in the life of George Bush (at last, something that could be used to bring about his otherwise inconceivable second term as President), and also in the lives of the neocons whose unwitting (because witless) puppet he was and is (at last, an excuse to take out Iraq, Iran, Syria...). But this was not because of any sort of conspiracy. Rather, it was because, in their own terms, they had suddenly found themselves lucky beyond their wildest dreams.

Yes, it really was, and it really is, as bad as that.

The Navy Lark

Of course we need a proper Royal Navy. But not to stage neoconservative interventions abroad. That wasn't why we needed one in the past. And it isn't why we need one today.

Thursday, 15 February 2007

I hate to break the news to you, but I'm not scared

Just sent, with all the usual Cc-es and then some; feel free, dear reader, to take your own action against this attempt by the powers that be to intimidate out of existence any electoral alternative to Blameronism:

Dear Ms Antao,

I am writing to protest in the strongest possible terms at your own and the Standards Board for England's display of political partiality in an attempt to interfere in the electoral process, namely your letter to me dated 13th February 2007. I shall not bore those to whom this email has been copied with the trivial details, save to say that you quote directly from my private correspondence, obtained I know not how. Nor will I deal, at least at this point, with the complainant's history of verbal abuse towards me, which I have hitherto been willing to let go.

Were not that complainant (Neil Fleming) Hilary Armstrong's researcher and her preferred successor as MP for this seat of Durham North-West, then you would have binned this matter: you (both you personally, and the Standards Board for England) are giving him preferential treatment for that reason, and because, like him, you know that I am engaged in trying to create a national network of parliamentary candidates, of all parties and none, to give the electorate the real choice that is currently being denied them. Like him, you have decided to strangle that network in the cradle by going after me, incidentally thus making it impossible for me to contest my Lanchester Parish Council seat or a Derwentside District Council seat (with which I was not going to bother this time, until now) this year. In league with a member of a Cabinet Minister's staff, the Standards Board for England, as such, is engaged in a personal, ideological and publicly funded campaign to influence the electoral process unduly at Parish, Ward and parliamentary level, including against a named individual's candidacy.

This scandal will be proved beyond reasonable doubt if any further action is taken with regard to this matter, and/or if I do not receive, by 20th February 2007 (i.e., one week after your original letter), your full written apology, both in your personal capacity and on behalf of the Standards Board for England, and both for any distress caused to me and for attempting to perpetuate the disenfranchisement of great swathes of the people who pay your wages; together with some just compensation both for that distress and for the working day that I have had to devote to this disgraceful and ridiculous situation. I pass no comment, at least here or now, on your fitness or otherwise for your job.

Furthermore, please be aware that I have blind carbon copied this email to organisations with histories of picketing and other direct action, which campaign on issues that I am trying to put on the parliamentary and the wider national agenda, from which they have been excluded by politicians who happen to be ideologically acceptable to you personally or to the Standards Board for England, as such.

Those organisations might care to know that your work address is First Floor, Cottons Centre, Cottons Lane, London, SE1 2QG, direct line 020 7378 5102, fax 020 7378 5005, email They might care to know that Lanchester Parish Council next meets at 6:30pm on Tuesday 13th March 2007, at Park House, Lanchester, County Durham (next to the King's Head public house, right by the village green). They might care to know that Fleming's work address is North House, 17 North Road, Crook, County Durham, telephone 01388 767 065, fax 01388 767 923, email They might care to know that Fleming's home address is 11 Broadoak Drive, Lanchester, County Durham, telephone 01207 520 987, mobile 07968 791 272, email And they might feel free to pass on this information however they see fit.

Furthermore, please be aware that this email will be posted on, as will any further correspondence in relation to this matter. Object to that in any way, and all my points will be proved. Again.

Yours sincerely,

David Lindsay (Councillor)

Monument to Bush

This excellent piece is doing the rounds:

Dear Friends : I have the distinguished honor of being on the committee to raise $5,000,000 for a monument of George W. Bush. We originally wanted to put him on Mt. Rushmore until we discovered there was not enough room for two more faces. We then decided to erect a statue of George in the Washington, D.C. Hall Of Fame. We were in a quandary as to where the statue should be placed. It was not proper to place it beside the statue of George Washington, who never told a lie, or beside Richard Nixon, who never told the truth, since George could never tell the difference. We finally decided to place it beside Christopher Columbus, the greatest neo-conservative of them all. He left not knowing where he was going, and when he got there he did not know where he was. He returned not knowing where he had been, decimated the well-being of the majority of the population while he was there, and did it all on someone else's money. Thank you. George W. Bush Monument Committee

So, what about Blair?

Tuesday, 13 February 2007

The Newspaper of Record?

Neil Clark writes (

The Times, the oldest newspaper in the country, has long been regarded as a paper of record. Lies and misinformation in other newspapers should of course be rigorously challenged, but in the Times when a writer puts forward information which he or she either knows is false, or has no evidence to back up the assertion, it is arguably even more serious, given the paper's historical reputation. Stephen Pollard has done that today. In his bitter tirade against members of the British Jewish community who don't share his opinions, he twice referred to the late Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic as a 'genocidal butcher'.

Pollard has been asked to provide evidence to back up this claim on several occasions before and has failed to do so.

He needs to be held to account.

If like me, you feel strongly about this matter you can contact The Times editor, Robert Thomson either by email at, or at 1, Pennington Street, London E88 ITT. The Times comment editor, Daniel Finkelstein can also be contacted at that address and by email at You can also send a letter to you'd like to contact Pollard directly to ask him about his sources, then his email address is

Pollard must either produce evidence to show that Milosevic was a 'genocidal butcher',(Milosevic's four-year trial at The Hague certainly didn't come up with any) or else desist from making the claim in a public arena.

And unless Pollard can back up his allegation, The Times should print a retraction to say that their writer's claim was without foundation.


In four years, at a cost of sixty million dollars and resulting in a court transcript of a staggering fifty thousand pages, absolutely no such evidence was ever uncovered at Milosevic's trial, despite numerous procedural abuses designed to produce a guilty verdict, and thus to vindicate NATO's war to dismember independent, multi-ethnic Yugoslavia in the interests of global capital and of assorted Holocaust-denying re-creators of the full panoply of 1930s Fascism (Franjo Tudjman), Saudi-backed Wahhabi rabble-rousers and erstwhile recruitment sergeants for the SS (Alija Izetbegovic), and Wahhabi traffickers of the Taliban's heroin into Europe, who insisted on wearing black shirts in deference to their fathers and grandfathers, and who have turned their statelet into a Mafia fiefdom (the Kosovo "Liberation" Army).

The failure to identify anything racist ever uttered by Milosevic should be contrasted with Tudjman's declaration that he would never allow a Serb, Jew or gypsy to marry into his family, and with pretty much anything ever said by Izetbegovic or by anyone from the KLA. This alliance between neoconservatives (such as Mr Pollard) and militant Islam should be seen as of a piece with that alliance in Afghanistan in the 1980s, and in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Chechnya today, not to mention the neoconservatives' removal of one of the two principal Arab bulwarks against both Wahhabism and its Shi'ite twin (to which latter he was handed over to be lynched), and their current sabre-rattling against the other such bulwark (in Syria). And the heat needs to be turned up, and kept up, on those, such as Clare Short and Private Eye, who now purport to oppose the neocon-Wahhabi alliance having cheered it on at the tops of their voices in Yugoslavia.

Sunday, 11 February 2007


They have been determined to invade both Iraq and Iran ever since Bush became President, and without reference to any subsequent event; and They would also have done so if They had been able to run Bomber Clinton a third time, in which case he would have won. If his ghastly "Co-President" ever returned to the White House, then Their junta would once again transfer its parasitic existence to the Democratic Party, which several of Them have never formally ceased to infest.

But we all laughed out loud (not that it stopped Them) when They suggested that Iraq had nuclear weapons, even though a Ba'athist regime would have had no objection in principle to such an arsenal. So now, They seem to have stopped bothering to pretend that Iran's nuclear energy programme is in fact such a threat despite the Islamic scholarly consensus, which is as good as unanimous, against nuclear weapons. (The situation in Pakistan is very odd, like everything else about that, the strangest country in the world, even including North Korea.)

Instead, we are now told that Iran is arming the Iraqi "insurgents". Well, what if she is? Did not Britain arm French resistance to invasion and occupation by a hostile foreign power? None of this is the fault of British or American troops on the ground, any more than the earlier situation was the fault of teenage German conscripts.

And even having said all that, does anyone actually believe Them about these links, given Their record? No, I didn't think so.

"A Private Past"?

Does a politician's entitlement to "a private past" really extend to a spoilt little rich boy's use of illegal drugs produced, trafficked and dealt in every conceivable form of misery? While he was at school, perhaps (although even that is highly questionable). But certainly not once he was at university or beyond. As, frankly, is now as good as a matter of record in the case of David Cameron.


So, Viagra is to be available over the counter at Boot's, on the NHS. A government true to its timeless obligations would restrict the NHS provision of such drugs to married couples, and would at least seriously consider legislating so to restrict their availability regardless of who picked up the bill.

Bring Back Belloc!

On Radio Four's The Word This Weekend, the reporter covering the Portuguese referendum on abortion described it as a decison as to whether Portugal still considered herself a Catholic country, or whether she now preferred "a European identity".

Would not further comment be superfluous...?

Saturday, 10 February 2007

Neither Clinton nor Obama, but this

Clinton, merely because she happens to be a woman? Or Obama, merely because he happens to be black? Well, why not combine the two and draft Condoleeza Rice as the Democratic nominee for President of the United States? Or have I missed something?

Clinton failed to deliver health care reform. But that administration did give the American working class NAFTA and GATT, and it dismembered Yugoslavia in the interests of various Wahhabis and Holocaust-deniers.

As for Obama, he is not an African-American, one of the descendants primarily of West African slaves (though also of their masters), with a highly distinctive culture which produced, among much else, the Civil Rights Movement. Obama might be black, but he is not black like Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton. For that matter, he is not black like Alan Keyes, Clarence Thomas or Condoleeza Rice. And that is what makes Obama acceptable to the Democratic Party grandees.

The Democrats should instead be consolidating their electorally successful return to their party’s socially conservative, economically populist, patriotic, Christian roots, inimical to neoconservatism on all four counts, and most numerously exemplified by African-Americans and the electorally decisive group that is orthodox Catholics.

Specifically, the Democrats should be down on their knees begging Jim Webb to run. And they should be out finding him a socially conservative, economically populist, anti-war running mate who is either a churchgoing African-American or an orthodox Catholic (easy), and preferably both (also perfectly feasible).

Failing that, why vote Democrat at all? John McCain, like the wounded and decorated Jacques Chirac, might look dreadful on television. But, in telling contrast to the draft-dodging Bill Clinton and George Bush, he is extremely unlikely to go shooting up the world. Even if, in common with Jim Webb, he does have the misfortune to be a white man.

Friday, 9 February 2007

So that's all right, then...

It looks as if the cash-for-seats investigation, a practice which actually makes Britain the most corrupt country in the world (for where else do they sell seats in the very legislature on the open market?), is heading for a dead end. So that’s all right then. We all seriously believe that peerages are not traded for cash. Don’t we?

Scotland Yard’s own supply of "Ks and Big Ps" is certainly not going to be switched off any time soon. Arise, Sir John Yates. At least.

The House of Lords

Nothing has ever been able to become an Act of Parliament without the consent of the House of Commons, and since 1911 nothing has been able to be prevented from so becoming if that House insists upon it. Furthermore, whereas MPs has constituency responsibilities and are thoroughly territorial about them (rightly so), Peers are morally, even if not electorally, responsible to the nation as a whole, which people elected from regional lists would not and could not be.

All in all, Jack Straw’s considerable abilities would be better directed elsewhere, and the House of Commons should not only enjoy, but should once again avail itself of, the right to reject every proposal for the further ruination and despoilment of the House of Lords, which, if I may be Old Labour at this point, "does no harm, and may even do some good".

Harriet Harman: not just a laughing matter informs us:

Harperson has written to the Leader of Crewe & Nantwich Borough Council, Cllr. Brian Silvester, asking him to comment on her Local Government proposals and to support her bid to be Deputy Leader. Nothing wrong with that, you might think... apart from the fact that Silvester is a Tory and so is the Council!

Cllr. Silvester said "Ms Harman has not realised that the Borough Council is no longer a Labour run Council and has automatically thought that I must be a Labour Councillor. It does not say a lot for Ms Harman’s organising ability when she is asking for support from the Leader of a Conservative Group! Ms Harman has offered to come to speak to us in Crewe but I don’t think the offer will be taken up! I wish her well in her bid to be Deputy Leader of the Labour Party"

As do we all.

Speak for yourself, Iain! When Hattie and Pattie were running the old National Council for Civil Liberties, it was hand in glove with the old Paedophile Information Exchange. But now Hattie wants to be Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, while Patty has overall responsibility for every social worker in England.

"Sex Education"

Today’s Guardian includes an eye-popping report that teenagers, based on their levels of experience, are to be set (even if in purportedly extracurricular activities) for "sex education". Yes, you really did read that aright. Apparently, in the 13-16 age group, "some boys are still playing with Lego while others are already having sex." Well, either way, they shouldn’t be, and every effort should be made to compel them to stop. But it is at least good to see the existence of boys acknowledged at all, other than as spreaders of unwanted pregnancies and Sexually Transmitted Infections.

Speaking of which, do the "sex educators" ever wonder, when no one in this country over the age of seven or eight can now be in the slightest doubt as to where babies come from, and when condoms are now all but thrown at even very young children, the rates of underage pregnancies and STIs continue to rise exponentially? Probably not, because these are not really what concern them. If you do not have the necessary certification from the utterly fraudulent and depraved Kinsey Industry, then talking filth to children in order to soften them up for sex with adults is called "grooming", and is rightly punishable under the criminal law. But if you happen to be so certificated, then, even though the content is at least substantially and the purpose always exactly the same, it is called "sex education", and you will be paid public money to deliver it to captive audiences, even to humiliate teenagers in front of their peers with regard to their lack of sexual experience.

"Raunch Culture"

Remaining with today’s Guardian and sexual matters, if young women wish to arrest the rising respectability of pornography, lap-dancing and the like (and good luck to them if they do), then they are going to have to face the fact that feminism sold the pass on this half a generation ago, with the rise of male strippers at hen nights and the like. The argument that the "power dynamic", or what have you, is completely different is unsustainable: it is true that men currently out-earn women, have more political clout, and so on; but (albeit for reasons addressed in a previous post here, and no doubt in subsequent ones as well), girls now massively out-perform boys in school examinations, so who knows what the future situation might be?

When I was on supply in secondary schools a couple of years ago, the routine sexual harassment and even assault of boys by girls was astonishing, and would rightly have led to exclusions and even prosecutions if it had been in the other direction. This is very much of a piece with the jaw-dropping language, conversation and behaviour that many girls now think perfectly normal, and for which they apparently enjoy full impunity that boys certainly would not and do not. I understand that it was historically known as "girl power", but is now called "laddette culture" and "raunch culture". Heaven help us all!

Tuesday, 6 February 2007

More joy in heaven...

Apparently, Tony Blair is now questioning the interventionist foreign policy of the last decade. Well, since he's still at least pretending to be Prime Minister, he knows what he needs to do. Home by Easter, lads, if not before. Or, better still, just bring yourselves home, without further ado.

Secondary Moderns

We don't want to go back to them, do we? Well, at least they had the wit to teach some people (as it happened, girls) how to cook, and to teach some people (as it happened, boys) how to do odd jobs around the house. Both sexes could and should be taught these things. Furthermore, I have never met a former Secondary Modern pupil who was unable to understand the word "wedlock", or who imagined there to be a foreign country called "East Angular", or who wondered why Eskimos' eyes did not freeze over, or who was worried about being made an "escape goat".

Was It The Sun Wot Won It In 1997?

There was a very interesting programme on Radio Four yesterday morning, about the relationship between Tony Blair and Rupert Murdoch. It stuck, I regret to say, to the old line about Murdoch's political importance in Britain. In fact, despite (like the Sun) the de facto editorship of Alastair Campbell, not only do I doubt that many Times readers are Labour voters, but I suspect that most of them would buy the Daily Telegraph instead if they ever suspected that the Times were a Labour-supporting newspaper.

But that doesn't really matter: what matters is the only too successful transformation of Times readers into Blair-thinking people, even if they actually vote Tory and imagine themselves to despise Tony Blair. This has now had a very dramatic effect on exactly its intended target, namely the Conservative Party.

As for the Sun, half of its readers always did vote Labour, and most of the other half had resolved to do so a period of years before the Sun changed its own line (and a period of years before anyone other than political obsessives had ever heard of Tony Blair), which it probably only did in order to prevent a haemorrhage to the Daily Mirror if it had been daft enough to advocate the re-election of John Major in 1997.

Monday, 5 February 2007

Why does he still bother?

Any suggestions as to why Blair still bothers? What can he possibly still hope to achieve? What? Why?

Languages in schools

The proposal to teach Arabic and Mandarin in schools, instead of European languages, leaves me most uneasy. No key text of Western civilisation is in Arabic or Mandarin. If this really were about what "business" (the CBI) wanted or needed, then the teaching of modern languages would be discontinued entirely in this age of global Anglophonia. And the inclusion of Spanish in this category will do it no good at all: learning Spanish will be seen as about learning how to buy and sell timeshares, whereas learning French and (especially) German will be seen as properly academic. All in all, I am not impressed with this proposal. Is anyone else?

The BBC and cash for seats

I have been giving some thought to the BBC's reluctance to report the cash-for-seats scandal (and that is what this is: not "cash for honours", but cash for seats in Parliament). Like most of the media, the BBC has long been convinced that politics is "boring", and so has instead filled up all available space with football or (other) celebrity tittle-tattle. Therefore, now that this turns out to be anything but the case, poor old Auntie honestly doesn't know what to say.

All Hung Together

So, the new parliamentary boundaries will make a hung Parliament even more likely than it was anyway, which was already more likely than not? Jolly good. All the more reason to ensure that as many as possible of our people are elected next time, from whichever (if any) party.

A Double Blessing

Exactly how many people pay the voluntary political levy through their trade unions (merely a collection mechanism)? By contrast, exactly how many people have contributed to the recent change in the Tories' financial situation by buying thousand pound dinner tickets and such like? This enormous difference is the point.

In fact, Labour's trade union links and the hereditary peerage, both now under mortal threat, embody this country's double blessing: both very highly organised labour and a very highly developed aristocratic social conscience. Of course, this combination (unique in the world, at least in terms of degree), means that Britain is bourgeois-triumphalist neoconservatism's worst nightmare. Hence the determination, both to replace the former with state funding of political parties (and thus with state vetting of candidates through some ghastly glorified committee), and to replace the latter with a second chamber of persons "elected" from party lists for prolonged and non-renewable terms of office.

Saturday, 3 February 2007

This would be a start, anyway

Entirely predictably, the nasty old Communist Party enforcer and archetypal neocon who now disgraces the office of Home Secretary has used the latest "terror plot" noisily foiled by his private militia previously known as the Police (believe in it only when there are convictions, which on past form there is well over a ninety-nine per cent chance that there won't be) as an excuse to revive the concept of internment, no doubt in preparation for the point when people cotton on that the otherwise pointless deployment of yet more British troops to Afghanistan is in fact only so that they can more easily participate in an invasion of Iran.

We need an alternative programme to the otherwise never-ending theft of our liberty. So, with a deep breath, here it is: the restoration of the supremacy of British over EU law, the use of this to restore Britain's historic fishing rights, no EU law to apply in the United Kingdom without having gone through exactly the same parliamentary process as if it were a Bill which had originated in our own Parliament, the adoption of the show-stopping Empty Chair Policy until the Council of Ministers meets in public and publishes an Official Report akin to Hansard, the election of Britain's European Commissioner by the whole electorate from a shortlist of two submitted by a secret ballot of MPs, the disapplication in the United Kingdom of any ruling of the European Court of Justice by resolution of the House of Commons (giving this country the same level of independence as is rightly enjoyed by Germany through her Constitutional Court), and the non-application of any ruling under either the Human Rights Act or the European Convention on Human Rights unless and until ratified by such a resolution, repeal of the Civil Contingencies Act, repeal of the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act, restoration of the situation whereby a Bill which runs out of parliamentary time is lost at the end of that session, no identity cards, no control orders, repeal of existing erosions of trial by jury and of the right to silence, repeal of existing reversals of the burden of proof, abolition of majority verdicts (which, by definition, provide for conviction even where there is reasonable doubt), raising of the minimum age for jurors at least to 21, restoration of a minimum property and/or educational qualification for jurors, restoration of the pre-1968 committal powers of the magistracy, abolition of stipendiary magistrates, repeal of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act, repeal of the provision for Police confiscation of assets without a conviction, restoration of the pre-1985 prosecution powers of the Police (i.e., abolition of the Crown Prosecution Service), and a return to preventative policing based on foot patrols, with police forces at least no larger than at present, and subject to local democratic accountability (most obviously though Police Authorities, although with the mind by no means closed to the idea of elected sheriffs).


That would be a start, anyway.

Friday, 2 February 2007

Well Said

From this week's Church Times:

No room for gay rights at the adoption agency

The dispute over adoption exposes a wider debate about the morality of liberalism, Phillip Blond and Adrian Pabst argue

‘The sterile appeal to equality masks an agenda to elevate one minority over another’

The GOVERNMENT’S refusal to exempt Roman Catholic adoption agencies from anti-discrimination laws represents the latest liberal assault on religion. The Roman Catholic rejection of gay adoption is neither regressive nor reactionary.

First, it is by no means clear that the current attempt to impose equality legislation on the adoption process serves the best interests of the child. Second, it is equally uncertain that equality of rights ensures respect for difference. Third, it is far from self-evident that the secular liberal logic that is driving this issue is the only or indeed the best way of creating a diverse society.

Roman Catholicism seems to have a point. One suspects that, for most ordinary people, a heterosexual couple in a family environment represents the best way to bring up a child. The common preconception that children are better off when raised by two parents has a sound empirical and sociological basis. We now know from various longitudinal studies that one-parent families are strongly correlated with poverty, crime, and social exclusion.

Moreover — dysfunctional partners aside — few human beings would argue that one parent is as good as two. Few would disagree with someone who spoke of the absence of a mother or father as damaging to their mental and emotional well-being. Nobody doubts the heroism of the parent in one-parent families, but nobody would envy them or their children.

At first sight, same-sex couples offer two surrogate parents, but crucially they cannot offer both a mother and a father. The denial of this foundational experience is surely emotionally and socially damaging. Children need to encounter male and female parental love — both are vital for development. The lack of fathers as role-models and loving mentors is a self-evident factor in many delinquent youths and failed lives.

Why, then, so uncritically accept the assertion that same-sex couples are just as good as heterosexual couples at raising children? There is no solid evidence on which to make this claim. Yes, gay people have raised children for years, but usually in the context of a failed heterosexual relationship — a situation in which both mothers and fathers are still present.

The argument that, were it not for homosexual adoption, children would be abandoned in care homes is as peculiar as it is pernicious: it is not as if there are children that only gay people would adopt.

The raising of children by same-sex couples is so recent and so historically unprecedented that it is not unreasonable to adopt the precautionary principle, and wait before enforcement by law.

The ideology that is imposing the equality legislation, however, does not seem to be concerned
with the well-being of the child. If it were, serious questions would be asked. We would object to raising children by computers because, in part, they would be denied a mother and a father. Surely the right of a child to receive the love of a mother and a father is irrefutable. Same-sex couples, however good or well-meaning, cannot deliver this.

So why aggressively assert equality where none should pertain? It is hard to see what principle of justice or well-being is served by denying a child the love and recognition of a mother and a father.

To deprive children of this experience reveals a fundamental contradiction. On the one hand, homosexuals insist on their particularity. Like other minorities, they rightly demand tolerance and respect for their specificity.

On the other hand, homosexuals now want to be the same as heterosexuals. This goes beyond equality of rights, and extends to practices such as marriage and having children — constructions that arguably are particular to heterosexual couples. Curiously, in the name of equality, a group that is defined by difference seems to desire nothing so much as sameness.

Moreover, by enforcing equality legislation on all adoption agencies, a minority imposes its will and worldview on a majority. The contrast with religious groups could hardly be more marked: whereas the Roman Catholic Church seeks an exemption only for itself, those who support gay adoption insist on the application of the Equality Act across the board. Thus they deny precisely the sort of freedom of conscience that currently allows Roman Catholic doctors to refuse to perform an abortion.

In reality, the sterile appeal to equality masks an agenda to elevate the interests of one minority over those of another. A simple secular equality of rights ensures a permanent conflict between minorities and the destruction of the differences that a truly plural society would uphold.

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York were correct to support the Roman Catholic Church in its request for an exemption from this repressive legislation. But they should have gone much further.

Since contemporary secular liberalism values little more than human will and unconstrained choice, it conflicts with virtually every other human value system. The self-professed moral superiority of liberalism is a sham. It claims to defend diversity, but it enforces conformity with a secular code that it alone defines.

Liberal progressives cannot deliver a just and plural society co-operating around common values of tolerance and respect. Christians need to resist the current politics of uniformity and compliance. They should intercede with a critique of contemporary social mores and the alleged panaceas of our governing class.

Thursday, 1 February 2007

What Joe Biden might have meant

I suspect that there is something about Barack Obama which has yet to be mentioned, and might never quite be said out loud, but which will matter a very great deal: he is not in fact a member of the highly distinctive mixed-race, primarily West African slave-descended people that was concentrated heavily in the South until the middle of the twentieth century, and which then spread throughout the United States. In that technical sense, he is not an "African-American" at all.

Whether or not that was what an insider like Joe Biden meant when he implictly described Obama as more acceptable than past black contenders (Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, et al), nevertheless that is what a lot of people will have heard, and I suspect are going to keep on hearing.

Jim "How We Scotch-Irish Made America" Webb, where is your socially conservative, economically populist, anti-war African-American running mate? There are plenty of such people to choose from.

Neil Clark Spot On, Part One

I cannot put it better than does Neil Clark on

Daniel Finkelstein, writing in today's Times, takes issue with the thesis of pyschologist Oliver James that 'selfish capitalism' is to blame for Britain's current mental health problems.Finklestein puts forward an alternative explanation: that 'secular liberalism', and not selfish capitalism is the culprit. But it's not a case of either or. Far from being contradictory, secular liberalism and selfish capitalism in fact feed each other. If you operate a selfish capitalist system, you sooner or later get a secular liberal one: nothing destroys spiritual beliefs and 'family values' faster than rapacious capitalism- a process which many Thatcherites still fail to grasp. And conversely, if you opt for secular 'anything goes' social liberalism, sooner or later you get a selfish capitalist economic system. The real architect of 'selfish capitalism' in Britain is not Margaret Thatcher, but Roy Jenkins, whose social reforms of 1960s paved the way for equivalent reforms in the economic sphere two decades later.

Quite, except to add that of course precisely one global institution has always said all of this in a sytematic and coherent way, and that that institution is the Catholic Church.

Neil Clark Spot On, Part Two

I cannot put it better than does Neil Clark on

An excellent review by Anthony Daniels of ''Travesty', Dr John Laughland's new book on the show-trial of Slobodan Milosevic, appears in the new edition of the Spectator.

"No evidence worthy of the name was ever produced against Milosevic, despite huge expenditure and despite the arbitrary extensions of time the prosecution was granted in the hope that something really damning would turn up to prove its case. Nothing ever did. Does anyone doubt that, had there been knock-down evidence against Milosevic, it would not have been trumpeted around the world? In the event, many of the prosecution’s star witnesses gave evidence that exculpated Milosevic entirely."

Yet despite all of this, pro-war writers continue to talk of Milosevic's 'genocidal aggression'. Oliver Kamm, a man who will need no introduction to readers of [Neil's] blog, makes the claim regularly, while Nick Cohen, in his recently published pamphlet 'What's Left', berates sections of the left for siding with Milosevic's democratically elected Yugoslavian government instead of championing the cause of radical Islamic separatists linked to bin Laden.

It is time all those who continue to make unsubtantiated claims regarding Milosevic's 'crimes' either shut up or produce evidence . As Anthony Daniels says, after four years at The Hague, no evidence of any note was produced against Milosevic. If Messrs Kamm and Cohen do possess proof of Slobo's 'genocidal aggression', or his ordering of war crimes, then the very least they can do is to make it public.