Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Harry's Place: An Apology

In recent days, I have described the website Harry's Place (which has close ties to the Euston Manifesto and to which I refuse to link) as, like neoconservatism generally, "Trotskyism gone Fascist". I wish to make it clear that its roots are in fact within the Straight Left faction of the old Communist Party of Great Britain, which emerged in resistance to that party's leading lights' opposition to the Soviet invasions of Czechoslovakia and Afghanistan. Harry's Place is therefore accurately described as "Stalinism gone Fascist". I apologise for the error.

Reid, Clark, Mandelson, Aaronovitch, Cohen: you can at least understand old Trots like Milburn and Byers going neocon, but these people do not have the excuse that Trotskyists have never actually run anywhere, and so have no blood on their hands (not true - the future neocons were a significant disruptive element within the American Left during the Vietnam War, which they supported provided that they did not actually have to go there). Rather, they were rigidly pro-Soviet right when it mattered most. And does anyone on the Eustonite pro-war "Left" not have either a Stalinist or a Trotskyist background? Why ever are they so coy about it all?

What The Unions Should Do Instead With Their Money

Gordon Brown despises the unions. He would rather have a single non-domicile fund his General Election campaign, and he would rather give Ministerial office to Digby Jones.

So the unions should return the compliment. They should tell New Labour where to get off, and instead identify 10 "dream" policies and 10 "nightmare" policies, with ten per cent funding of any candidate (regardless of party, if any) for subscription to each of the former, minus ten per cent for failure to rule out each of the latter.

Union money should also at least help to fund the development and delivery of a qualification for "non-graduates" with life and work experience who aspire to become MPs.

The party advocating these things would welcome the unions' financial and other support with real respect.

Country Matters

The radio reports that some committee or other thinks we need even more supermarkets. Who pays for these committees? Who pays their members once this particular work is done?

The supermarkets should be made to fund investment in agriculture and small business (investment to be determined in close consultation with the National Farmers’ Union and the Federation of Small Businesses) by means of a windfall tax, to be followed if necessary by a permanently higher flat rate of corporation tax. In either case, strict regulation must ensure that the costs of this are not passed on to suppliers, workers, consumers, communities or the environment.

Real agriculture is the mainstay of strong communities, environmental responsibility and animal welfare (leading to safe, healthy and inexpensive food), as against American-style ‘factory farming’. It is closely connected to the defence of the remaining field sports, and it calls for a free vote in government time on repeal of the ban on hunting with dogs.

Overarching all of this is the need to defend rural services, and in particular for the systematic reversal of bus route and (where possible) rail line closures going back to the 1950s, as well as of the erosion of local schools, medical facilities, Post Offices, and so on. A national network of public transport, free at the point of use, is required.

As is a new and powerful second chamber elected on the basis of the English ceremonial counties, Scottish lieutenancy areas, Welsh preserved counties, and Northern Irish counties, with each of those 99 units having equal representation.

There is now a party advocating all of this. Be part of it.

Children Of Our Times (And Places)

The lead story on last night's Newsnight, taking up something like a third of the entire programme, was about the cotton industry in Uzbekistan. The stuff on how poorly the farmers are paid, and on the general poverty there, was good. But we were expected to be utterly outraged that the schools were shut "for two and a half months of the year" (imagine!), so that the children could bring in the harvest. This is exactly the reason for our own schools' long summer holidays.

The schools existed. We were actually shown them. It was just that they were closed during the harvest season, just like ours, for all that we have since the (extremely industrialised) late nineteenth century tried to tell ourselves, for no apparent reason, that that season is in fact in October.

For most of our history, it has been normal for children to work. In most of the world, it still is. If our fabulously rich society believes (as it might) that this gets in the way of education, then it should make schools open longer, it should drastically reduce school holidays, and it should find some way in which all of those children's families could share in the general prosperity, thereby removing the need for their offspring to work.

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Let The Train Take The Strain

This, by Peter Hitchens, is so good that I hope he won't mind my reprinting it in full here:

Here's a brief thought on a question that continues to baffle me. Transport, as it is unexcitingly called, is one of the most important responsibilities of government. Run well, it can make a whole country more civilised and more enjoyable. Visit Switzerland if you want to see what I mean. The Zurich trams are so good, reliable, clean, safe, comfortable and swift that businessmen leave their Mercedes at home. Clean, regular, reasonably-priced trains hurry from everywhere to everywhere punctually and at satisfying speeds. Result, pleasanter, cleaner, more spacious cities and a more unspoiled countryside, happier people, more efficient business, plus a general feeling of sociability, missing where everyone is in a private box.

Run badly, it can make the simplest task into a misery, blight whole hours of the day, discourage sociability, and drive millions into bad-tempered rage which all-too-frequently gets taken out on those around them. It can add needless hours to an already long working day. I find it quite amazing that Britain, a rich, compact country, which invented passenger railways and which has been so blessed with superb engineers and builders, should have made such a mess of its roads and railways - and, as a result, of its cities and countryside.

First of all, let us consider the wild frenzy of rail closures that followed Sir Richard Beeching's deeply mistaken report, published in March 1963.

The report was so destructive that even the British government - always a sucker for bad ideas - in the end balked at putting it all into effect. But it withdrew railway services from a huge part of the country, on the daft grounds that smaller, less busy lines were not profitable and were therefore not worth keeping open. Here are a few examples of its results known in detail, personally, to me, because I used long ago to use the lines involved. One is the old LSWR main line from Exeter to Plymouth, a great feat of engineering that curved round the northern edge of Dartmoor. This was closed in the mid-1960s, and is now greatly missed - especially when the sea washes away or swamps the other line to Plymouth, which runs along the coast at Dawlish. The part of the line east of Exeter is still in existence, but is only a single line, so cannot be used to take extra trains when engineering works (which seem to be amazingly frequent) close down the line at Taunton. This line would also come in very handy during the summer months, when the existing services to the South West are so crowded that reservations are compulsory.

Then there is the line between Oxford and Cambridge, one of the very few East-West rail routes in the country, also destroyed in the 1960s. This is not only a loss to the two university cities, which now have no civilised connection between them, only an interminable bus service, a long and unpleasant car journey, or a lengthy rail voyage via London involving a tangle with the Circle Line of the London Tube, a service so unreliable and nebulous that I find it quite hard to believe in at all. It also means that useful goods and passenger link between the old Great Western main line (to Wales, Birmingham and the South West) and the old LMS main line (to the North-West and the West of Scotland) and the old LNER main line (to the North East and the East of Scotland) has been lost. I am sure there are plenty of other examples of such foolish closures known to other readers. These on their own are evidence of the unreasonable and myopic policies of the 1960s, when everyone imagined that the car was king and railways were doomed. Near where I live there are now several substantial towns - Abingdon, Wantage, Cirencester, Farringdon, Witney, Wallingford, Thame - which have no rail service at all. These are not little villages, but proper places, where you now have to have, or use, a car to join the national transport system.

Now, just imagine if somebody (let us call him Dr Richard Botching) was asked to study the profitability of Britain's roads. What would he find? Thousands of suburban Acacia avenues simply don't justify the cost of maintaining them. Hundreds of rural B-roads, not to mention unclassified country roads, likewise make a colossal loss. (Actually, he would find that every inch of road in the country was run at an enormous loss and subsidised heavily by the taxpayer, but let that pass for the moment, I'll get back to it). And then say Dr Botching issued a report recommending that these 'unprofitable' routes were shut, and that people would just have to find their own way to centres where they could join the remaining, truncated road network. Dr Botching would not become Sir Richard Botching, let alone Lord Botching. He would probably be given Care in the Community, and his report hurled into the nearest bin. And yet Dr Botching's logic is exactly the same as Dr Beeching's.

And, as a result of this brilliant businessman's unhinged review of our railway system, the sixties saw the deliberate ripping up of thousands of miles of irreplaceable track - some of it actually built with great foresight so as to link up with a future Channel Tunnel, and carry the wider trains used on the continent. They destroyed hundreds of bridges and tunnels, built at great cost in money, effort and often lives, untold numbers of cuttings and embankments, dug out in Victorian times with enormous effort. Take a country walk in most parts of southern England and you will come upon the relics of this grand absurdity, the grass growing over what could by now be modern, reliable transport links, friendly to the environment and saving who knows how much space, who knows how much noise, who knows how much fuel imported from unstable despotisms.

They threw away land which had been carefully assembled - at a time of much lower land prices - to provide efficient and sensible routes between and through towns and cities. It was amazing how swiftly crucial pieces of such land were sold off and built upon, how rapidly bridges were demolished, so that there was no hope of putting back what had been lost except at unthinkable expense. All this irreplaceable national wealth was trashed in a brief, unreasoning frenzy - in the short time before the world became aware that it could not depend forever on cheap oil and petrol, and before we in this country realised that the American transport solution of more and more, wider and wider superhighways was both impractical and unaffordable in our much smaller landscape. Not that it worked in the USA either.

Now, people are often short-sighted in politics and business, and this doesn't make them left or right wing. But once it is clear that a major mistake has been made, it is up to conservatives to point out that it would have been better to leave things alone, and that what has been destroyed should, where possible, be replaced and repaired. But the role of the Tory Party in this vandalism was to cheer it on at the time, to do nothing effective to reverse or mitigate it, and to make it even worse though rail privatisation. Lady Thatcher spoke at one time of a 'Great Car Economy' and was noted for rarely if ever travelling by train, even when it would have made much more sense to do so. But she had more sense than to privatise British Railways. John Major, a competitor for worst Prime Minister in History on so many grounds, ignored all warnings (and there were many) against his privatisation scheme, which had the effect of making the railways more expensive and worse, and in destroying any central direction which might (for instance) plan a new system of high-speed trains, electrify a major main line or reopen strategic links lost in the 1960s. The taxpayer also has the worst of all possible worlds, paying fat subsidies to the railways but with almost no say in how they are run.

In what way is this policy conservative? In what way, come to that, does it serve the free market? Tories often seem to assume that the road network, without which every car in the country would be less useful for transport purposes than an electric lawnmower, just exists. But it doesn't. It is the result of huge amounts of spending by national and local taxpayers, a colossal unacknowledged nationalised industry which would collapse in six months without its subsidies. The Left claim to be pro-railway - it was a left-wing author, David Hare who, in his powerful play 'The Permanent Way' rightly excoriated the idiots who brought us to the low point at the turn of the century, when there seemed to be a crash every few months. But in fact Left-wing governments, in the 1960s, 1970s and now have done little that is imaginative or bold to restore or encourage Britain's railway system. Perhaps it's fear of public opinion. Perhaps they are as devoted to the road lobby as the Tories seem to be, or perhaps they just listen to the Transport Department (which seems to think it is the Department for Motorways). Likewise, in the USA, supposedly the home of free market conservatism, it was a Republican President, Dwight Eisenhower, who wrecked the (unsubsidised) passenger railroads. How? By pretending that the Interstate Highway network (America's motorway system) was necessary for evacuating the cities in the event of a nuclear war, and so securing federal funds for it. Everywhere a taxpayer subsidised motorway was built, passenger rail services rapidly declined. The USA now badly needs high-speed rail services in many areas, but has only one proper fast passenger line, between Boston and Washington DC. The rest of the system is constantly on the edge of closure, despite some very dedicated attempts by the passenger railroad system, Amtrak, to stay alive. But the argument that subsidising railways is somehow unfair and wrong, whereas roads are the land of the free, simply doesn't stand up.

Railways are conservative, in Britain especially, because we invented them and they are ideally suited to our landscape. They are conservative because they help to conserve countryside, and because they are, when well run, a disciplined service requiring loyalty and dedication from their workers, not unlike the armed forces. They are conservative because they can be made to rely on national sources of energy, since electricity can be produced by nuclear reactors, coal or even waves. They are conservative because, by giving a centre to towns and cities, they promote cohesion and discourage shapeless ribbon development and the atomisation of society which follows when everyone relies on the car for transport.

Cars, on the other hand, encourage globalism in culture and economics, force us into dependency on oil states and therefore influence our foreign policy in unconservative directions, radically reshape cities and countryside, marginalise the old who cannot afford to run them, break up established communities by their greed for land and by the way in which modern roads act as impassable barriers.

And I won't even go into the problems of air travel, and the way in which this is subsidised and encouraged at the expense of railways.

The Right's Prize Turkey And The Left's Prize Turkey

Not only the Spectator, but the New Statesman as well. What is the world coming to? Do we need a new magazine after all?

There are several flourishing Armenian churches in Tehran, by the way.

Save The Male

Eight points is nothing, of course. Nor is a fifty per cent rating in the South East anything for the Tories to crow about, since the South East simply is not where they need to win seats.

But men are turning against Labour? Now that is a real story. If only men had had the vote, then Labour would have won every General Election since the War. Labour simply cannot afford to lose the votes of those with both these economic interests and these social interests. But, it almost goes without saying, New Labour is doing exactly that.

And why should any man vote for a party with a totally unreconstructed 1970s anti-male fanatic as its Deputy Leader? Now, of course, he has someone else to vote for.

Still Carrying On Up The Junta?

Put together this and this, and you get pretty much the complete list. Barely a generation ago, these people were nothing more than the weird Trotskyist sect of Max Shachtman and the obscure academic cult of Leo Strauss (figures of whom most Americans have still never heard). Yet this junta is now into its fourth consecutive Presidential term of being able simply to order purely aggressive wars against countries entirely of its own choosing. And it is looking forward to at least the third consecutive Presidential Election that it cannot lose, this time between two socially ultra-liberal, geopolitically ultra-hawkish dependents of the military-industrial complex. There is no way of voting for anyone even very slightly at variance with the junta: the coup is complete at last.

And not just in America. See here and here for most (though not quite all) of the members of our own junta, which, under the close direction of the American one, has staged a coup in Britain, also in slow motion, but also now nearing completion. They crowned their previously almost unheard of puppet, Tony Blair, as Leader of the Labour Party within minutes of John Smith's death, and then proceeded to airbrush from history the fact that Labour was by then several years into being guaranteed victory in the following General Election, the first of three one-horse races, to have "won" which is absolutely no achievement whatever.

Then they wafted David Cameron into the Leadership of the Conservative Party, a body now unrecognisable as a political vehicle for anyone who believes in British independence, the Union, real education, the countryside, agriculture and small business, law and order, family values, energy independence, co-operation with Russia on the basis of shared values deriving from Classics and the Bible, a grown-up relationship with America on the basis of our common heritage, or treating Israel neither any worse nor any better than any other friendly state. Coverage was lavished on Cameron, and in any case far more people voted for him than could possibly have been entitled to do so. Who were they, where were they, and where had they been for the previous dozen or more years?

And then they removed Charles Kennedy as Leader of the Liberal Democrats, ostensibly for a level of alcohol consumption entirely normal among British politicians, but in fact for opposing their agenda of never-ending war against countries chosen almost at random. They did not quite get their favoured Chris Huhne in instead, despite the carefully arranged bias of the print and broadcast media, which would have been shocking had it not been for the Blair and Cameron precedents. But they did get someone who was at best ambivalent about his party's anti-war stance, and far more in the tradition of their old cheerleader, Paddy Ashdown. Having tired of him, they have simply ousted him, and, having transferred their affections away from Huhne, are busily installing from their point of view the unimpeachable Nick Clegg.

Then there will be no way of voting for anyone even very slightly at variance with the junta: the coup will be complete at last.

Won't it?

Monday, 29 October 2007

Getting Things In Proportion

I loathe the idea of Stalinists, Trotskyists, neo-Fascists, neo-Nazis and so forth in Parliament, just as I loathe being subject to the legislative will of such people through the (secret) EU Council of Ministers and the European Parliament. It has always baffled and angered me that Eurofederalism, and support for electoral systems such as throw up these people, are regarded as centrist causes. It seems to work by a sort of tautology, defining as "the centre" those who support those causes.

Nor am I any fan of the abolition of any effective representation of rural areas, by means of ludicrously over-large constituencies and wards. Nor of party lists. Nor of mountains of spoiled papers. Nor of the mind-boggling system in the Irish Republic whereby most people who lose their seats lose them to members of the same party as themselves. Nor of governments emerging from around London's very best dinner tables weeks, or even months, after elections.

But it would be good to see the Jacksonite-Eustonite Junta have to put up under its own banner instead of under that of the two (soon to be three) pretendedly distinct and rival parties that it has stolen, and be royally thrashed accordingly, because it has no popular support whatever (and, of course, believes that that is exactly as things should be). The looks on their ghastly faces would be the stuff of calendars and commemorative mugs for many years to come.

In a second chamber to which each area having a Lord Lieutenant returned five members, with each elector voting for one candidate and with the top five being declared elected, we could reasonably expect a full set of 99 Senators, and to be the only party in that position. A neocon party would, of course, get none, both because of what it stood for, and because any residency requirement in order to prevent parachuting in would make it impossible for any such candidate to stand outside London. (There would be separate provision to ensure Cross Benchers, and voices of moral and spiritual values. At a real push, the Axis might just manage a couple of the former, although I very much doubt it.)

Both for the Senate and for the House of Commons, in the course of each Parliament, each party should, in the course of each Parliament, put to a binding ballot of the whole electorate in the constituency the two putative Parliamentary Candidates to have received the most nominations from its branches (including those of affiliates). So no chance of Evil Empire entryism there. The Commons would never have approved the Iraq War if this system had been in place, because every MP, no matter how safe his or her seat, would rightly have expected a ninety per cent vote for an anti-war challenger.

At national level, each party should elect its Leader in the same manner, again in the course of each Parliament. Blair would have been gone years ago, Cameron would never have arrived (and thanks to the above, he would never have been an MP at all), and neither Clegg nor Huhne would be about to arrive.

And each party should also put the 10 policy proposals with support from the most branches to a binding ballot of the whole national electorate. We could each vote for up to two, and the seven highest scorers would be guaranteed inclusion in the subsequent General Election manifesto. Not likely to be policies dreamt up by the current Political Class, are they?

Not Odd At All

An anonymous comment on a previous post reads:

I notice that the Guardian has never removed your comment of Kamm's last Comment is Free article, saying that [Oliver] Kamm was going to prison, that the NUJ at the Guardian should strike if it employed him again, and that all public sector workers should strike if their employers' advertised in the Guardian once it had employed him again. Very odd that they should have left that in place.

It's not odd at all. In fact, it says it all about the regard in which Kamm is held by his peers.

And it's not that everyone at Oxbridge went to schools with longstanding ties to either or both; but when you see or read a lot of Oxbridge graduates who did go to such schools, then you do have to think how lucky they were that those ties were in place, because such people would not otherwise have gone to university at all. Yes, dear Eustonites and Jacksonites, that means you.

The 498 Beatified Martyrs Of The Spanish Civil War

And why not?

Not that the Church was "pro-Franco", as is often alleged. Several times, for example, Franco nearly banned Opus Dei, which was split straight down the middle between his supporters and his opponents, the latter considerably younger than the former. It has retained that sort of profile. Ruth Kelly is the most prominent Opus Dei politician in the world today. The President of the Socialist International, António Guterres, has a long history in Opus Dei. Its ranks also include Squire Lance, Antonio Fontán, Paola Binetti, Llúis Foix, Mario Maiolo and Xavi Casajuana (if we count Catalan nationalism as part of the Left; it is certainly a very long way from Franco), among others.

Most of the Chilean "Chicago Boys" were not members of Opus Dei. Pinochet himself never had any affiliation with it. Of six right-wing Opus Dei politicians listed on Wikipedia, four are dead (one since 1966), whereas the three broad left-wingers listed (including two women) are all still alive. So, insofar as it has a political orientation, Opus Dei’s would seem to be towards the Left, if anything. Much like the Catholic Church Herself, in fact. And not just now, but also then.

But there is the Left and there is the Left: there are social democrats (whether or not they use the term), often very heavily influenced by Catholic Social Teaching, and always wittingly or unwittingly close to it in many ways; and then there are Marxists. Likewise, there is today's real Left (often Catholic, always knowingly or unknowingly philo-Catholic in many ways), and then there are the Marxists of various stripes, including those Trotskyists and (more rarely) Stalinists who have come to express those positions in, through and as neoconservatism such as that of the Euston Manifesto.

We need to face the fact that we had no dog in the fight that was the Spanish Civil War, a war between those who entirely predictably went on to back the Axis while officially neutral, and those who wanted to turn Spain into a satellite of, initially, a de facto member of the Axis, as Spain would also have been if the Republicans had won.

Indeed, she would have been so even more than she was under Franco, since the Soviet Army actually fought alongside that of Nazi Germany, notably staging a joint victory parade through the streets of Brest-Litovsk. If Hitler had also had such a relationship with a Soviet-dominated Spain, then he would probably never have reneged on the Nazi-Soviet Pact, and therefore might very well have won the War.

The Spanish Civil War has always split Old Labour into its constituent subcultures. It did at the time. The Hard Left is as ardently pro-Republican as ever, because of its myopia (even now) about Stalinism, because of its anti-Catholicism, and because of the overrating of George Orwell, to which I know that I keep promising to return in a future post. Meanwhile, Catholics, at least if pushed or if they know anything at all about it (as almost no younger Spaniards do, either), will still back the Falangists, at least on balance. No one else will have much, if any, view on the matter.

But we need to get real. Even if Franco was no Hitler, neither side deserves our historical sympathy.

When I last published something in this vein, I knew that the ageing polishers of rescued busts of Stalin thrown out in the Krushchev years would be on here and in my inbox as soon as I criticised the Spanish Republic. And I certainly was not disappointed...

Since Soviet archives were opened up, all sorts of information has come to light. The entire Republican cause was Comintern-directed, and the Soviet intervention was in no sense parasitic as has traditionally been supposed or asserted. For example, far from being commanded by a Canadian volunteer, the International Brigade was in fact commanded by Manfred Stern, a Soviet Commissar.

But then, there never was an anti-Soviet Left in Spain in the Thirties; that myth has been astonishingly long-lasting considering its compete and utter baselessness. Take, for example, Francisco Largo Cabellero, Socialist Party Leader and Popular Front Prime Minister. Entirely typically of his party, he defined it as a revolutionary force wholly distinct from British Labour or the French Socialists, and differing "only in words" from the Communists.

The Socialist Party's 10-point programme of 1934 was wholly Leninist in form and substance, calling, among other things, for the replacement of the Army and the Civil Guard with a workers' militia, and for the dissolution of the religious orders and the expropriation of their property.

And so one could go on, and on, and on.

Stalin only loosened his grip once the Civil War was clearly lost, long after the Republicans themselves had given up what little commitment to democracy that they might ever have had. So the best that can be said about the Spanish Civil War is that the not-quite-so-bad bad guys won.

Had the even-worse bad guys (the Republicans) won, then Spain would actually have fought with the Axis just as the Soviet Union did, the Nazi-Soviet Pact would probably never have collapsed, and Hitler might therefore very well have won the War.

The Dogs Bark

The print and broadcast media seem to be in uproar at the arrival of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia on these shores. Don't we know what the House of Saud is like? Indeed we do. And supporters of the cadet House of Bush are in no position to comment. Yes, Johann Hari (whose Independent front page I have just seen), that includes you: you supported the invasion of Iraq.

Furthermore, Saudi Arabia is one of neoconservatism's many past and present sites of alliance with militant Islam, with the others including 1980s Afghanistan, 1990s Bosnia, and today's Turkey, Pakistan, Kosovo and Chechnya.

In Bosnia and Kosovo, that is also an alliance with the linear continuations of Nazism, just as neoconservatism has in Flanders, in Denmark, and in its support for the continuation of the Israeli Law of Return, which is now flooding Israel with Russian Nazis.

Sunday, 28 October 2007


I have tried to work out quite what it is about us that so riles a Strasserist website (to which I would not dream of linking) primarily devoted to the adoration of Oliver Kamm. Beyond, that is, the obvious facts that they are unused to being disagreed with and that they do not like a challenge to their coup (which really will be complete, some 15 years after it started, when Nick Clegg becomes Leader of the Lib Dems). And I think that I have found the answer.

For the record, Durham was my first choice of university. I did not apply to Oxford or Cambridge, and if they are full of thick hoorays like Blair, Cameron, Kamm and those on that site, who think that having been there makes them intellectuals rather than merely the children of parents who could afford to send them to the feeder schools, then I am very glad that I did not apply to either of them. Mercifully, I suspect that such people are untypical of Oxbridge graduates.

Anyway, to be attacked from such a quarter does make it easy to identify the offending passages:

Restoration of grammar schools, but on the German Gymnasium model, thus avoiding the 11-plus while working to overcome this country's crippling cultural division between arts and sciences, and between academic and technical education. Restoration of O-levels in place of Thatcher’s GCSEs.


Union and other money to fund development and delivery of a qualification for "non-graduates" with life and work experience who aspire to become MPs.

They really don't like either of those among the Kammissar's Red-Browns.

Dhimmi, Dhimmi, Dhimmi

Christopher Hitchens has let the cat out of the bag. The neocons desire for themselves the privileged dhimmitude of Moorish Spain. That is why they promote economic policies such as can only flood the West with Muslims. That is why they want Turkey in the EU as well as in NATO. And that is why they support Islam at its most militant not just in Turkey, but also in Kosovo, Chechnya and elsewhere.

Father, Dear Father

I know "Father Richard", as George Bush calls him, very, very slightly. And I am highly familiar with his work. This article about him, and the one to which it links in the body of its text, are spot on about the hoodwinking and hijacking of the American pro-life movement by the Republican Party, which is not in principle any more pro-life than the Democrats, and is in practice rather less so because of the consequences of its economic policies, not to mention, of course, its record of warmongering and convict-killing even worse than that of the Democrats (which is quite a feat).

A key strand in neoconservatism, at least in America, is made up of Catholics who agree with the Pope and his predecessor about sex but not about economics, seem immune to the enormous amount of work that they have done and still do in explaining how these things are connected, and manage to present themselves, quite falsely, as somehow more orthodox than those who, with similar disregard, agree with the Popes about economics but not about sex. But alike, they are in fact inheritors of the misappropriation of the name of the Second Vatican Council. And alike, they hark back to the nineteenth-century Americanist heresy, which conceived of an oxymoronic American Catholic Church autonomous from Rome.

Alas, for all his gifts, Father Neuhaus has been a key figure in the sex-but-not-economics camp, and a leader in its support for the neoconservative war agenda. Might he now be shifting? I hope and pray so. And after (or alongside) him, who? Catholics of this hue are electorally indispensable to the neocons, just as Catholic opponents of abortion are electorally key to the actually pro-abortion Republican Party. If this shift is finally happening, then praise God!

On Not Being Anti-American Or Anti-Israeli

I cannot imagine anything more anti-American than being a supporter of the present Administration and of the evil junta behind it, comprised of the signatories to the Project for the New American Century and the American Patrons of the Henry Jackson Society. Like all such Patrons, regardless of nationality, these people should at least be subject to Exclusion Orders from the United Kingdom.

America has two founding peoples. One of them has given her an English, Scots, Welsh and Irish economic, social, cultural and political identity, by definition including the strongest possible economic, social, cultural and political ties with 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.

The other founding people has given America a West African slave-descended economic, social, cultural and political identity of these United States, including the closest possible economic, social, cultural and political ties to 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 this dual heritage gives America a particular role in promoting the closest possible economic, social, cultural and political cooperation, both within her borders 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.

If America lived up to all of this, then I'd be as pro-American as it was possible to be. But she is not doing so, so, most regretfully, I am not, because I cannot be.

Nor can I imagine anything more anti-Israeli than support for the continuation of the Law of Return, the essence of Zionism, even now that it is flooding Israel with Russian Nazis. Israel must now either repeal the Law of Return, save herself from that fate, and accept instead her increasing re-incorporation into a wider, historically rather Jew-friendly, Levantine Arab society with its de facto capital at Damascus, or she can stick stubbornly with Zionism and end up a Russian Nazi state with all that that entails for Jews. That is now the choice, and I know which choice it is both the anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish to advocate.

Furthermore, so long as Israel is a friendly state, then she should be treated like any other friendly state. No worse. And no better. Look out for what should be that statement of the obvious in the coming battle for, among other things, the High Tory vote...

Every Child A Wanted Child?

Some ghastly personage with a pecuniary interest in abortion was on the radio last night saying that there should be even more abortions. Well, of course. There are still poor people. There are still working-class people. There are still people with disabilities. And those who could have stopped them from being born (and doesn't everyone want that?) are still struggling to get by on upwards of half a million pounds per annum.

Every child a wanted child? I ask you! Two hundred thousand abortions every year, a third of them on women who have already had one or more before, abortion now the single most common surgical procedure in Britain (i.e., more common than having a tooth pulled), and we still have eye-watering levels of child abuse and neglect, even before you add in the state of many schools. Every child a wanted child? How, exactly would we treat unwanted children, in that case?

We have long now rather imported everything than produce anything, and now we would even rather import people than produce them. Before very long at all, the whole of the South East, in particular, will be some vast conurbation unrecognisable as belonging to this or any other particular country. Public services will have collapsed, as will wages and working conditions. No one will be able to get by who cannot converse every day in half a dozen or more languages, and anyone who cannot will be on the scrap heap. All because of an initial shortage of labour. Yet we have two hundred thousand abortions every year.

An English Grand Committee, Anyone?

No, I didn't think so. Still, at least it wouldn't actually involve any more politicians, as of course an English Parliament would.

The Parliament of the United Kingdom can still legislate in any policy area it likes with effect in any part of the United Kingdom it likes. Sir Malcolm Rifkind speaks of a "convention" that it does not do so, and proposes that his Grand Committee have a similar "conventional" authority, thus providing "balance".

But the devolved bodies have not existed for anything like long enough for there to be any such "convention", so it does not need to be "balanced", because it does not exist. Parliament should simply exercise its rights, written into the devolution legislation itself. Nobody beyond the thoroughly dispossessed fundamentalist wing of the SNP (where is your referendum?) would object unless they simply happened to object to the legislation in question, in which case they, like anyone else, could just be told to change the legislators. And as for the SNP fundamentalists, did they vote against devolution, either in the referendum or (where applicable) on the floor of the House of Commons? I bet they didn't. So they wouldn't have a leg to stand on.

There should also be a second chamber with equal representation from each of the areas having a Lord Lieutenant: one for one candidate, with the requisite number declared elected at the end. (Calls for equal representation for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland suggest that there exist in the United Kingdom a state other than the United Kingdom, or a nation other than the British nation. There does not, simply in point of fact, whether or not anyone might want there to.) That chamber should have exactly the same revising powers in relation to the devolved bodies as in relation to the House of Commons.

The SNP's Curate's Egg

Lest anyone object that this in an un-Scottish title, I am sure I saw an Episcopalian bishop in the audience at the SNP Conference, and the SNP is strong in the North East of Scotland, with its unusually high level of Episcopalianism (and cricket-playing). My late father was in the 1960s an SNP Councillor while Rector of Bo'ness and Linlithgow in the Episcopal Church (that was how he knew Tam Dalyell...).

Anyway, to business. I claim no credit for having secured the SNP's commitment to oppose the EU Constitreaty because of its failure to abolish the Common Fisheries Policy, but this bog has been asking whether that would in fact be the case, and I obviously welcome the fact that it will be.

It is good to see that someone in Parliament refuses to play David Cameron's silly and self-serving little referendum game, instead recognising and stating that the problem is the Constitreaty itself, to be opposed simply as such, without any need for a referendum. Michael Heseltine's mini-me knows a referendum not going to happen; his demand for one is just his way of getting himself off the hook with his own party and with its sometime media allies. The SNP is having none of this, and nor should anyone else. An amendment simply opposing Constitreaty without mentioning a referendum needs to be tabled, and voted on. Over to you, Alex Salmond? If not, why not?

A shame, then that the SNP has adopted one of the tell-tale signs of the politically unserious and called for the voting age to be lowered to 16. Rather more tellingly, delegates had to reiterate from the floor their desire for a referendum on independence. Told hold your breath. Really, don't. It looks as if the SNP is about to become the Westminster standard-bearer of British nationalism. Arise, Sir Alex Salmond.

Like Any Other Part Of The United Kingdom

The DUP-Sinn Fein Axis (which calls to mind both the Nazi-Soviet Pact of old and the Neocon-Islamist Alliance of the present age) is refusing to block a grant of £1.2 million of your money and mine to the ghoulish "Ulster Defence Association", one of several notably undisbanded mobs of paramilitary gangsters on its patch.

Northern Ireland is now governed by a most unholy alliance between those who want their own little statelet but think that they are Unionists merely because they want its bills to be picked up by the British taxpayer, and those who act in full accord with their view that the Provisional Army Council of the IRA (a Council of which several of them are members) is the sovereign body throughout Ireland, yet who also still want you and me to pay for them and for their antics. We are all supposed to be delighted at this state of affairs, which results in decisions such as the one above.

The people of Northern Ireland, like those of any other part of the United Kingdom, need, want and deserve better than this. And now they will have it, not least including the very large number of Catholics in favour of the Union in principle and in tune with what might be called the post-Nationalist mood in the Republic today (but who have previously had to "choose" between the UUP with its affiliated Orange Lodges, and the militantly secular-liberal Alliance Party), and very large number who recognise that the social democracy they support and depend upon is only possible within the United Kingdom (and who have previously had to "choose" between the admittedly only High Tory UUP and the soundly Old Labour except staunchly Nationalist SDLP). Those Hobson's Choices are no more.

Saturday, 27 October 2007

Iran, Russia and China

It is impossible to overstate the calamity that would be an attack on Iran, even though it is politically inconceivable that Britain would now participate in such an enterprise. Russia and China should now declare that any attack on Iran would be an attack on each and both of them, so that they would each and both be at war with any and every country that took part in it.


Absolutely essential reading.

Is the Spectator going paleo again? If so, then I might even renew my subscription.

The Anti-Smacking Lot

Beating children is already illegal. So I'm sorry, but I just don't understand.

Except, of course, that I do: they want to destroy parental authority because they want to destroy the family, and with it private property and (eventually) the State.

Friday, 26 October 2007

No Respect

George Galloway's pro-family record is a bit ropey, but as a pro-life, pro-worker and anti-war figure he has been outstanding. True to his Catholic roots, he has never been a Marxist, for all that he was a Campaign Group member (is Austin Mitchell a Marxist?). And he has voted against all EU integration since he became an MP.

Yet on last night's Question Time, he called for a referendum on whether Britain is "a European country" or an American satellite. Well, she is a European country simply as a matter of fact, like Norway or Switzerland. That has nothing to do with the EU. Galloway must be going soft on the EU because he sees it as somehow a bulwark against American hegemony.

He should try telling that to the Euston Manifesto Group, nothing if not honest about the fact that the Eurofederalist aspiration includes, and has always included, overall American control. Or to the Henry Jackson Society, nothing if not honest about the fact that submission to global American hegemony includes, and has always included, submission to the Eurofederalist project within and under it.

Galloway's formation of Respect took him into league with Stalinists (the Communist Party of Britain), Trotskyists (the Socialist Workers' Party, most of whose members have never done a day's work in their lives, not least because people tend to leave it on leaving university) and Islamists (the Muslim Association of Britain).

So perhaps it is no wonder that he is suddenly so sympathetic towards being legislated for by a body which meets in secret and publishes no Official Report, routinely containing, and always subject (if at all) to the rubber stamp of, Stalinists, Trotskyists, neo-Fascists, neo-Nazis, members of Eastern Europe's kleptomaniac nomenklatura, people who believe the Provisional Army Council of the IRA to be the sovereign body throughout Ireland, and a rising tide of neoconservatives (Trotskyists gone Fascist, who have stolen other people's parties because that is just what they do), the last soon to be joined by their ever-dependable Islamist allies (from, in this case, the resurgent Caliphate of Turkey).

By associating either with Trotskyists or with Islamists, Galloway is placing himself at only one degree's remove from the neoconservatives, the disciples of Max Shachtman who cheered or cheer on the Islamists in 1980s Afghanistan, 1990s Bosnia, and today's Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Chechnya and Kosovo, as well as making life a million times easier for them in Iraq, and threatening to do the same in Syria. What is actually Galloway's or Respect's position on, say, the black-shirted, Holocaust-denying, heroin-trafficking, neocon-backed Kosovo "Liberation" Army?

Whereas there is no doubt about ours.

If You Ask Me

It's still nowhere near enough. And where are these people? If they are in the South East, where the Tories already hold most of the seats anyway, then who cares?

Who reading this has ever been polled? I never have been, and nor has anyone else whom I have ever asked this question. Furthermore, most opinion polls are now conducted over the phone, so the pollsters know whom they are polling.

All in all, it seems clear that the aim of these things is not to measure public opinion, but to influence it. In this case, to make the unwary think that the super-posh, super-liberal Heir To Blair can win, and that most people want him to.

Not that Brown is an any more attractive prospect, but neither of these things is in fact the case.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Afghanistan Is Lost

When even Paddy Ashdown has woken up and smelt the coffee about a neocon war, then no one else has any excuse whatever.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Welcome To The Non-Golden Age

After this, is anyone still disputing that the "free" market is utterly anti-conservative, or that the EU and globalisation are but one threat to national self-government (among so much else)?

"Of these three strands of golden-share logic – security, protectionism, patriotic sentiment – the last two really have to be set aside in a globalised economy." Priceless.

“Lift your hands, God’s children, bless our kind fatherland”

My old friend Neill Harvey-Smith is crowing about the Polish Election result, and above all about the removal from Parliament of the League of Polish Families (LPR), which got its big break in 2001 by advocating the following 10 points, kindly set out by NHS (as everyone calls him):

1) defence of Polish sovereignty; 2) defence of national production, trade and services; 3) reduction of bureaucracy; 4) improving the administration of justice through electing judges; 5) limiting the inflow of foreign capital; 6) creating a dozen national concerns forming the “commanding heights” of the economy; 7) making it easier for small businesses to flourish; 8) changing agreements with the EU to ensure balanced trade; 9) diversion of national currency reserves into structural investments; 10) introduction of anti-dumping duty on foreign food imports.

10 points of dementure, obviously...

So instead, the Civic Platform, rabidly neoliberal economically and (as if the old Law and Justice lot were not bad enough on this score) neoconservative geopolitically, is to go into coalition with the re-named, tellingly pro-EU, old Communist Party and a glorified pressure group for EU farm subsidies, effectively an EU-bankrolled party.

Which is much better.

Isn't it?

An Afterthought No More

The voters of Scotland were "treated as an afterthought", according to the enquiry into the farcical implementation for local councils there of a confusing and anti-democratic electoral system much advocated on the pseudo-Left. Well, aren't we all so treated? But not any more.


The refusal of John "Banana" Yates, bent and yellow, to confirm the existence of the blatantly obvious trade in seats in our very legislature constitutes a contempt of Parliament, and should be pursued as such. Which MP will do so?

As for his petulant insistence that the media had not been tipped off about arrests, were they psychic? That, too, was a contempt.

More Joy In Heaven?

See here.

Meanwhile, marvel at this scandalous abuse of Parliament for monetary gain by the very interests that once most opposed the 1967 Act, insisting, from their professional knowledge of dealing with what would have been the consequences, that the evil it was designed to remedy was as rare as hen's teeth. But, of course, it was never really about that. It was about money. And look who is now raking in the money.

Everyone, and I mean absolutely everyone, should read my friend Ann Farmer's Prophets and Priests: The Hidden Face of the Birth Control Movement (London: The Saint Austin Press, 2002; ISBN 1 901157 62 8). Ann is yet another of us homeless asylum-seekers from New Labour. Well, until now, I hope.

The war against fertility is, and has always been, the war against the working class, the war against the poor at home and abroad, the war against the electoral base of the Left, the war against the social provisions for which the Left exists, and, above all, the war against women.

Furthermore (this bit is Lindsay, not Farmer - but I'm sure that she would agree with it), the idea of fertility as a medicable condition, requiring powerful drugs or even surgical interventions to prevent a woman's body from doing exactly what it does naturally, is basically and ultimately the idea that femaleness itself is such a condition, a sort of XX Syndrome.

I can think of nothing that is actually more misogynistic than that, although some things are equally so, notably the view that the preborn child is simultaneously insentient and a part of the woman's body. Is it the whole of a woman's body that is insentient, or only the parts most directly connected with reproduction?

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Giuliani In London: The American Conservative View

Deeply unimpressed.

As unimpressed as this, in fact. It is always good to read a denunciation of "Wall Street Journal conservatism: a disastrous and unnecessary war; a preferential option for the rich; open-borders immigration; a free-trade fanaticism that is denuding America of manufacturing jobs, sinking the dollar, and growing our dependence on foreign goods and foreign loans." Not just the Wall Street Journal, Pat. And not just America.

Over there, over to you, Jim Webb. And over here, over to us.

Iraq, Iran and Israel

For Bush or Blair (or Brown) to have believed that Iraq was a threat to Isreal, he would have to have believed that the WMDs really existed. Of course, he never believed any such thing.

So those who think that they are being anti-war by banging on about Israel should shut up. As, for that matter, should those who bang on about the "anti-Semitism" of the war's opponents.

All of this also applies to Iran.

Tony Blair Ordering Murder

No, not of David Kelly (although he might have done). I mean in Afghanistan and Iraq, not least of our service personnel. No reasonable doubt there. So why is he still at large?

Free Prescriptions And School Meals In Scotland

Quite right, too. Introduce these nationwide and deduct the cost from the block grant to a body which, after all, has fiscal powers of its own, but has never used them. Do the same for student feees, for free personal care for the elderly, and for whatever else might come up. Easy.

Stinking Fish?

Red herring, more like it.

But which way would the SNP vote in a parliamentary division on the Treaty itself, without mention of a referendum? The Treaty not only leaves the Common Fisheries Policy intact, but makes it even harder to abolish.

Monday, 22 October 2007

Now Here's A Thought

In response to a previous post came the following anonymous comment:

He [i.e., I] should tell this nasty East German Block Party operation [the Electoral Commission] where to go. In fact as many people as possible should set up mass parties like this through the media and the blogosphere and refuse to have anything to do with this "Commission". Like the Liberal who got rid of ID cards after the War. A "Commission" to decide which political parties are and aren't allowed to exist? Has Britain really come to this?

In reply to which, one Bob wrote:

Not registering things like this is what the Electoral Commission was set up for. It can cope with joke parties and politically fringe parties. But a serious, mainstream alternative to the Establishment cartel parties is exactly what it was invented to prevent. Look at its persecution of UKIP, for a start. And that's just a glorified golf club. It would have a field day with the BPA.

Anonymous 2:35 PM is right, people who want proper parties should just set them up anyway, with enough publicity that the Electoral Commission would be visibly interfering in the electoral process by insisting on "registration" (State/Political Class approval).

Of course that is the whole point of it. But it can't really be seen to be, can it?

Quite. But we were actually going to register this with the Electoral Commission, or at least try to. And we might yet.

However, I really am beginning to wonder. If enough people who insisted on proper parties set them up and secured enough support to make themselves well-known at least locally, then the Electoral Commission would stand exposed for what it really is if it tried to keep their names of the ballot paper because the necessary "State/Political Class approval" had not been received, not only for those names (obscenity, libel and so forth were already covered by the law), but also, let the reader understand, for the Constitution (including the Aims and Objectives) and the Party Leader. All of these things currently require "State/Political Class approval". For a fee!

Away with it all! We must refuse, point blank, to stand by and let Britain descend into something like the old East Germany, never the worst Eastern Bloc country (not that that's saying much), but still ghastly, and kept that way largely because ostensibly separate parties which merely appeared to embody different political traditions (liberal, Christian Democratic, even ex-Nazi, as well as Marxist), and which certainly appealed to different sections of society accordingly, contested sham elections which were incapable of changing anything because all of those parties were really exactly the same, and were even being run as a single organisation.

A device like the Electoral Commission belongs to that sort of country, not to the Britain that we know, love, and are utterly determined to preserve and restore. Should we therefore refuse to have anything to do with it, dare it to do its worst, and encourage others (right across the political spectrum) to do likewise? Or should we, albeit regretfully, accept that that would get in the way of fighting the bigger battles? What do people think?

Incitement To Racial Hatred

As a half-Scot, I am no longer linking to Iain Dale, who describes the mere suggestion of Scottishness as "a pathetic smear". I encourage all other bloggers to do likewise, and I encourage everyone to email the likes of the Telegraph and Comment is Free in the same vein whenever they publish him. Feel free to copy such emails to

David Cameron lives on the Isle of Jura. And his name is Cameron. Is that "a pathetic smear"? Or is it just a fact?

Melanie Phillips Joins The Spectator


Phillips is superb on drugs and various other social policy issues, of course. I actually cheered when she told some pro-drugs philosopher on The Moral Maze that we should ignore him because his brain was so addled by the substances he advocated. She has also condemned the evisceration of civil society under the Tories.

But can we now look forward to articles about neoconservatism's links in 1980s Afghanistan, 1990s Bosnia, and today's Kosovo, Chechnya, Turkey, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, as well as the no end of good that it has done in that same cause in Iraq, and is threatening to do in Syria?

For that matter, will the scourge of Jew-hatred be telling us all about the neocons' Nazi connections in Bosnia (the same people as the Islamists), Kosovo (ditto), Denmark, Flanders, and indeed Israel, which the continuation of the Law of Return is flooding with Russian Nazis?

I'm not holding my breath.

And I'm afraid that the addition of Phillips throws into even sharper relief than before the neoconservative takeover of The Spectator. Meanwhile the New Statesman is in thrall to the anti-life, anti-family and anti-British opinions of the pseudo-Left.

We have a new party, with several more to follow, I trust. We also need a new magazine.

Oliver Kamm: Just What Does He Have To Do?

Why is the Guardian giving a platform to this jailbird in waiting?
Who is it going to pay next? The whole Guardian contingent of the NUJ should strike, as should all trade unionists whose employeers advertise in the Guardian.

The One Nation Politician's One Nation Politician

With an equal emphasis on the One and on the Nation.

And no, he wasn't some sort of Welsh separatist. Insofar as he ever had any such leanings, he grew out of them early on. Thank God.

The Trouble With Christoph Blocher

He's a globalist with factories as far afield as China. So he is compromised in his fight for the common cause of small business, trade unionists and those who work the land, against the endlessly interrelated forces of globalisation (by definition including unlimited immigration), American hegemony (with all its wars) and European federalism. That is the trouble with Christoph Blocher.

And of course, if the neocons get their way and bring about the Nazi-led dismemberment of one Latin-Teutonic union in the service of those forces, then the other such union will undoubtedly be next on their hit list. So someone like Blocher is urgently needed. It's just a shame about Blocher himself.

Poles Apart

The Law and Justice Party in Poland did enormous harm by supporting the neoconservative war agenda, but at least stopped short of endorsing the neocons' beloved cause of Turkish membership of the EU, which would subject us all to laws made by members of the Islamist AKP, sister-party of the Tories as an associate member (and full member in waiting) of the European People's Party.

But the Civic Platform is even worse, wishing to privatise absolutely everything, even including the Health Service, and so turn Poland into a replica of rabidly neoliberal and therefore increasingly famine-stricken Hungary. It is the sort of party for which the embittered old Blairite whingers could vote without batting an eyelid. No wonder that the Eustonite pseudo-Left is going bananas with glee at the Civic Platform's victory. Says it all, really.

The pro-life, pro-family, pro-worker and anti-war League of Polish Families might be outspoken by the standards to which we are used, but that can be a good thing, not least in the face of neoliberal economics, the corresponding neoconservative warmongering geopolitics, and their two-pronged assault on life and the family. And I can see no other hope for Poland. If anyone can, then do please let me know.

Neil Clark

To those who have been trying to pretend that Neil Clark is not in fact the British People's Alliance candidate at Wantage, a comment of mine has been published on his blog which concludes:

Britain does also have a peace party. See my blog. I'm in it. Neil is in it. So, dear reader, are you in it? If not, why not?

Nice try.

Sunday, 21 October 2007

If They Really Are Either Liberal Or Democratic

Nick Clegg and Chris Huhne have both ruled out supporting a referendum on the EU Constitreaty. Well, then, how about just saying no to the wretched thing, without any need for a referendum? It is a transfer of power to a secret legislature routinely containing, and always subject (if at all) to the rubber stamp of, many decidedly illiberal and undemocratic elements.

If an amendment to that effect were put down, then how would Michael Heseltine's mini-me vote and instruct his followers to vote? Merely calling for a referendum which is not going to happen is letting him and them off the hook. They should be made to vote on an amendment which does not mention a referendum, but which simply rejects the Constitreaty itself on principle.

Over to you, Nick Clegg and Chris Huhne?

Just as well that there is now a serious party of liberal democracy.

Wilkinson, Hamilton, Cameron

Never any realistic chance of winning, but they have to report something, and gallant losers always deserve Enid Blyton-esque credit for being plucky. Don't they?

Of course, there is a difference: it would actually have been quite nice if England had won the rugby, or if Lewis Hamilton had won his grand prix. Whereas a (psephologically impossible) Cameron victory would keep things in precisely their present baleful condition.

Murdoch: Who Cares?

Who cares whether the Murdoch Press is about to opt for what remains of the Tories? Like Margaret Thatcher, Rupert Murdoch is massively overrated.

Most Times and Sunday Times readers have no idea that they are buying Labour-supporting papers, and would switch to the Telegraph if they ever cottoned on. However good Sky News might be, hardly anybody watches it. No one ever bought the News of the World for the politics.

And as for the Sun, half of its readers always did vote Labour, while most of the other half had already decided to do so a period of years before it followed suit (or, indeed, before anyone other than political anoraks had ever heard of Tony Blair) in order to preserve its privileged access to Ministers.

Cocooned in Wapping, Murdoch's London operation might sincerely believe that Cameron has a following outside the area where his party already holds most of the seats anyway. But he hasn't. So let them transfer their allegiance to him, as they long ago transferred their affections.

There are all sorts of reasons to want Gordon Brown to lose the next Election, but they all depend on the existence of a better alternative, which the Tories simply are not: they are neither better nor, in any politically meaningful sense, an alternative. And the constituency map is such that they cannot possibly win, no matter what, ever again.

So, if it must be Brown, then let it be Brown in the teeth of Murdoch, killing once and for all the Murdoch Myth in Britain. And once it has fallen in one country, in how many others might it collapse rapidly thereafter?

Saturday, 20 October 2007

The Nightmare Ticket Is Formed

Told you so.

Every poll at the start of the 1975 referendum campaign suggested a No vote. Then on came Tony Benn and Enoch Powell. We know what happened next. And here is Benn again, on a website firmly in the Powellite tradition.

Who needs a referendum? The European Commission and the BBC, that's who. MPs and Peers should just say No to the Constitreaty itself. Some people would.

Where Is The Peace Party Candidate?

Who now remembers that it was Dwight D Eisenhower, in his farewell address from the White House, who first warned of "the military-industrial complex"? Today, that complex is a full-blown political party, the War Party, effectively the One Party in the One Party States of America.

And Hillary Clinton is giving that War Party what it wants most: an election which it cannot lose. So it is giving her what she wants most: the money to win that election.

Instead, the Democrats should draft Jim Webb, or he should stand as an Independent. And win. Failing that, the Republicans should nominate Ron Paul, for all his faults economically. And if they don't and Webb doesn't stand either, then he should stand as an Independent. And win.

Here in Britain, we have long had two pretendedly distinct manifestations of the War Party, and the third party removed its Leader in order to make way for one who had wanted to support the Iraq War (like the previous Leader, who had cheered on the War Party's dismemberment of Yugoslavia and been rewarded with the absolute monarchy of Bosnia-Herzegovina for a time).

Now he too, has been removed, and the contest to succeed him is between two War Party stalwarts from among the economic neoliberals and, correspondingly, geopolitical neoconservatives who are the coming force among the Liberal Democrats. So that's three War Parties. Out of three?

No, because Britain does also have a Peace Party. Are you in it? If not, why not?

Friday, 19 October 2007

Parliament Must Now Do Its Duty

Gordon Brown has been derelict in his responsibilities by signing the EU Constitreaty. However, what is now needed is not a referendum on that document. Such a referendum would deliver a Yes vote. In 1975, the federalists managed to convince two thirds of the electorate that they were merely voting for "a free trade area" called "the Common Market", even though the first clause of the European Communities Act was, and is, a textbook definition of a federal state.

That was achieved by persistently putting up Tony Benn and Enoch Powell to state the case for a No vote. Most people voted instead for the position espoused by politicians with whom they felt more comfortable. The same thing would happen again. Powell's place would be filled by that nasty fringe which holds his economic views untempered by his romantic Toryism. Such would be the sole No campaigners on at least two out of every three, and quite possibly three out of every four, programmes. The rest of the time, Benn would be back.

Even fewer people would identify with Benn now than in 1975. And do even tribal Tories, never mind anybody else, believe in unrestricted immigration to feed unbridled capitalism? Or in the total deregulation of alcohol, gambling and pornography? Or in the legalisation of drugs and prostitution? Or in the wholesale privatisation of health, education and pensions? Or in the abolition of farm subsidies? "Well, then," the federalists would say, "what makes you think that you agree with these people about this, and this alone? Their position is coherent. It all fits together. And your views don't fit into it at all. Vote Yes, if only because they want you to Vote No." And people would.

Instead, Parliament should do its duty by throwing out the Constitreaty without any need for a referendum. Not least, the unions should be refusing to fund any MP who did not vote in Parliament both against the Constitreaty and in favour of securing workers' rights (among other things) through the Parliament of the United Kingdom, and should instead be undertaking to fund alternative parliamentary candidates who will do both of those things.

For we do not need the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. We need a proper party dedicated to securing workers' rights (among other things) through the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

And now, we have just such a party.

Of Independence And The Independent

Much consternation that the Independent has simply run a Government press release on the EU Constitreaty as a report, without comment or attribution.

Well, to make up for this, the Independent should do one of its often quite good front pages on neglected corners of the world, specifically on the number of MEPs and members of the Council of Ministers (including the fact that that Council meets in secret and publishes no Official Report) who are Stalinists, Trotskyists, neo-Fascists, neo-Nazis, members of Eastern Europe's kleptomaniac nomenklatura, or supporters of the theory that the the Provisional Army Council of the IRA is the sovereign body throughout Ireland.

The rise of neoconservatism in those fora (headed by the erstwhile Maoist - yes, Maoist!- who went on to be the ardently "free"-marketeering and pro-Bush Prime Minister of Portugal before being wafted into the the Presidency of the European Commission), and of its redoutable Islamist ally (now there's a whole series in itself) in the Turkish Caliphate, could also do with an airing, taking in the strong Eurofederalism, under overall American control, of the British neocons organised in and as the Henry Jackson Society.

It has always baffled me that support for the cession of power to these people, and for the sorts of electoral system that throw them up, are presented as centrist causes. They could not be further from such.

So, over to the Independent?

Believe It Or Not

Swedish church schools are to be banned by law from teaching doctrine. They probably got the idea fom this country's own Catholic Education Service and the Catholic RE mafia associated with it, who don't even need to be coerced by the State. Anyway, are Swedish universites going to stop employing Marxist (including neoconservative) historians and social scientists? After all, we know for a fact that they are wrong.

Taki and Belgium

Alas, this letter of mine did not make it into the Spectator, but then nor did Taki's own (spiked) column a couple of weeks ago:

It is most disappointing to see Taki siding with the neocons in backing a Flemish secessionist movement with deep Nazi roots (like the neocons' friends in Bosnia, Kosovo and Denmark), which, in the cause of the anti-conservative "free" market and in order to destroy a social democracy based squarely on Catholic Social Teaching, wishes to destroy a state closely resembling the United Kingdom, historically our principal ally and trading partner on the Continent, and headed by a monarch of the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.

Britain now has a party which will fight against this latest in the long line of neocon-Nazi alliances, and against the many more that there will no doubt be; a party which will fight for social democracies, for multi-ethnic states, for Britain's old friends, and for those with whom we share ties through the monarchy.

That party is the British People's Alliance. Your readers may feel free to contact me about it:,

As, indeed, may anyone else.

In the meantime, an idea which I have had for some time is for a magazine in which a rota of writers such as, say, Peter Hitchens wrote articles with responses from a rota of writers such as, say, Neil Clark, and vice versa, with the rotas running in reverse for that latter purpose. I have similar ideas for radio and television programmes. Anyone out there with a bit of cash, do please get in touch.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Just Say No, Gordon

Just say no. What would Cameron say then? And you'd have done the right thing, the thing that you really want to do anyway, and the thing that MPs of all stripes are desperate for you to do, both on principle and in order to avoid a vote on the floor of the House. Just say no, Gordon. Just say no.

Till The Day I Die

The Leader of the Tories in the Welsh Assembly is in favour of further devolution on the Scottish model, and the Tories' Shadow Welsh Secretary (an Englishwoman sitting for an English seat) says that the Tories might campaign for a Yes vote in any referendum on the subject, depending on the specific proposal.

If the SNP made an effort, then it could take every Lib Dem Westminster seat in Scotland, and every Lib Dem seat at Holyrood except Shetland. As much as anything else, the Eurofederalist, anti-family, pro-crime and pro-drugs policies of the Lib Dems do not remotely represent the views of people in the Highlands, Islands and Borders, any more than they represent the views of people in the West Country, Mid-Wales, or the old Liberal pockets elsewhere.

Will no one fight for the United Kingdom, my country, which no one has the right to take away from me? Yes, someone will.

Whither The BBC?

The BBC could never be privatised. As with the railways, the only deal that would ever be politically acceptable would be one in which the profits of one or more supposedly private companies were guaranteed by public subsidies. That's not privatisation. Is it? The railways should never have been subjected to this, and nor should the BBC be.

Instead, elect the Trustees. In Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and each of the nine English regions (I know, I know - but what other unit could you reasonably suggest?), licence-payers should each vote for up to one candidate, with the top two elected to serve a four-year term. There would also be a Chairman, appointed by the Secretary of State with the approval of the House of Commons.

The Trustees would meet in public under any circumstance when a local council would do so. And the candidates would be sufficiently independent to qualify in principle for the Remuneration Panels of their local authorities.

I don't think there'd be too much F*** Off, I'm A Hairy Woman then, would there?

This pattern should also be applied, with everyone having a vote, to Ofcom, to the Press Complaints Commission, and to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, just for a start.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Gentlemen and Thugs

Why do the Boers, of all people, love rugby, of all sports? Other than cricket (arguably), it is quite the least likely game for such implacable foes of the British ruling class of yesteryear. Still, the Tories managed to love the Boers and their revenge republic, which was just as improbable.

For that matter, why do the Welsh of the Old Labour persuasion so love the game of those who gave them their martyrs at Tonypandy? I understand that rugby was, and to an extent still is, a way of expressing a Basque or Catalan identity in south-western France, distinct from the football-loving French.

In Argentina and Chile, it is a way of expressing longstanding ties with Britain (there were far more British subjects living in Argentina than on the Falkland Islands at the time of the Falklands War, for example), and in Portugal of expressing very longstanding ties with England specifically, although it is a small minority pursuit in those countries. In Australia and New Zealand, the link is obvious. In Italy, I just don't know, although I'd be fascinated to find out.

But in South Africa, in Wales, in the Scottish Borders - isn't it just a bit English, and posh English at that, for them? So what's the story?

But then, look at the cricket-playing (and the Episcopalianism) in the Scottish North East, in no sense an Anglicised area, but rather one where the SNP does well electorally. For that matter, look at the popularity (real or otherwise) of football among the English middle classes since 1990, even though England has not won an international football tournament since 1966 (at home), when football was pretty much a working-class peculiarity.

There's a book in here somewhere.

Cameron and Clegg

What does the Tory Right now owe David Cameron? What did it ever? Nothing. Whereas Nick Clegg is posh enough and right-wing enough to stop the shift in support from the Lib Dems to the Tories, and he's posh enough and right-wing enough to alienate those who have in recent years shifted to the Lib Dems from Labour. To counter him, the Tories won't find anyone posher than Cameron, simply because no one possibly could be. But they'd have no trouble finding someone more right-wing. Cameron is finished.

Bottles and Dummies

The Election was not "cancelled", as the BBC insists. Gordon Brown did not "bottle" anything. The media were just told that they couldn't simply demand an Election and then bang on until they got one. So they have spat out their dummies. Diddums.

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Just Say No, Gordon

Could anyone be in favour of legislation by a body which met in secret and published no Official Report, rubber-stamped by an assortment of Stalinists, Trotskyists, neo-Fascists, neo-Nazis, members of Eastern Europe's kleptomaniac nomenklatura, and people who believed the Provisional Army Council of the IRA to be the sovereign body throughout Ireland? Even if, at any given time, several such people sat in the secret legislature itself?

Well, Ted Heath, Margaret Thatcher and John Major were all in favour of this. Nuff said.

Of course Brown should veto any further transfer of power to this thing. If he doesn't, then Parliament should throw it out. And if they don't, then we should throw out the MPs. In fact, we should do that last bit anyway.

The Hand That Feeds

In corners of the blogosphere, even the hardest of thinking are finally admitting that the Tories actually cannot win the next General Election, because of the constituency boundaries. Progress of a sort, perhaps...

However, they are still oblivious to the fact that Scotland, Wales, the North and the Midlands - "Brown's client state" - are (with the West Country) where any successor-party would have to win seats in order to win office.

Nor has the penny dropped, either just how much of the private sector is now by definition dependent on either or both of public sector contracts and the spending power of public sector workers, or, therefore, just how dependent thereon the Conservative Party now is and any successor-party would be.

Do you want money from, say, a building contractor in Wales, or a supermarket chain with branches across the North? Well, there you are then.

It Is All Very Strange...

Can anyone explain why Hilary Armstrong, whose seat is so safe that she actually inherited it from her father, and who is probably going to retire at the next Election anyway, is now putting out "communications" to every household in her constituency?

She is also posing as a campaigner to save what little remains of a hospital the destruction of which has been her life's work hitherto.

It is all very strange...

Filling The Gap

There is now (indeed, there has long been) a gap in the market for a party which genuinely represents the views of people in places like the North of Scotland, the South of Scotland, Mid-Wales, the West Country, and such pockets elsewhere as Berwick, and North Norfolk.

The Eurofederalist, anti-family, pro-crime and pro-drugs Lib Dems were never that party, any more than the Eurofederalist, anti-family, pro-crime and pro-drugs Cameroons (including the Blairobite insurrectionists within New Labour) could ever be that party.

And isn't it grand how the two frontrunners to succeed Ming both went to the same public school?

Monday, 15 October 2007

One Of The Brains Of The Operation

With articles like this, Phillip Blond is providing vital intellectual firepower for this. Will he come on board officially as things take shape? After all, where else is he going to go?

Sunday, 14 October 2007

The First Blairobite Rebellion: Certainly Not The Last

How I have been excoriated here in the past for pointing out the simple fact that Tony Blair and his allies hate Gordon Brown, regard his government as illegitimate, see David Cameron as the rightful heir, therefore wish Cameron to beat Brown (which he actually cannot do, because the constituency boundaries have been used to rig the Election; but never mind), and will go to absolutely any lengths to bring this about. Does anyone still doubt it today?

Get used to this sort of thing, because there is going to be a lot more of it...

A Light In The South

The world will soon be rid of John Howard. Rejoice!

The incoming Australian Government will no doubt hold another referendum on abolishing the monarchy (any party has to appease certain interests), but will no doubt endure another No vote.

After all, by rejecting Howard, Australians will have rejected every anti-monarchist argument, not least "meritocracy" (that those with wealth and paper qualifications should determine merit, on the basis of wealth and paper qualifications), globalisation (with its erosion of national and local differences), and, within that, enforced conformity to the culture (in a horribly debased form) and to the geopolitical interests of the United States.

Nothing could better encapsulate that rejection than another vote to retain the institution that, across so many Realms and Territories, stands for and embodies something so much better, so much nobler, so much more humane. God Save The Queen!

And where is the Australian People's Alliance?

An Emergency Indeed

Many trends illustrate the decline of the working class, with its considerable intellectual and cultural (not to say political) achievements, into the pathologically non-working class, without any such. But none does so better than the loss of the ability to cook, and even of the desire to eat, food such as might sustain both the body and the brain.

Instead, foul concoctions, to which the word "food" does not properly apply, are consumed as some sort of badge of honour. Children are passed these things through school gates, or permitted to take them in place of school meals, on the grounds that that is what they prefer. What if they preferred vodka, or cigarettes, or heroin? Would we tolerate, and sometimes even encourage, that?

It will take a long time and a very great deal of effort to restore a society properly and worthily continuous with that of the miners' lodge libraries, the brass and silver bands, the pitmen poets and painters, and the late, lamented Labour Party. But that restoration, the basis of which is full employment with proper wages and civilised working conditions, must be done.

And we now see why in the starkest terms: the failure to do so is producing, where once that society flourished and where it must flourish again, a generation of children so ill-fed by parents so unconcerned by that fact, that those children will die before those parents.

You Must Be Joking, O King

Today's Observer Music Monthly contains an interview with Oona King about dance music. It makes repeated reference to her status as a former MP, and is even illustrated with a new photograph of her outside the Palace of Westminster, the workplace from which she was sacked, and that some time ago now.

I carry no particular candle for George Galloway, who would be one of us were it not for his penchant for doing silly things like appearing on Big Brother, and who has nothing in common with the Trots and Islamists with whom he has nevertheless freely chosen to associate himself. But the fact is that it was he, and not Oona King, whom the voters chose.

Plenty of MPs lost their seats last time, and plenty of Labour MPs in particular, several whom had previously done rather better than never so much as making PPS or Assistant Whip despite having voted for the Iraq War, the privatisation of public services, the destruction of civil liberties, the lot. (To be fair, Blair was very given to bringing in women and ethnic minorities at the lowest level and then leaving them there. At least Brown is honest - he won't have them at all.)

But they certainly do not enjoy Ms King's media profile. What is going on?

Saturday, 13 October 2007

Public-Private Partnership

Quite apart from the fact that public sector pay is taxed (do the Tories' media outriders know this?), now that public spending accounts for such a huge percentage, sometimes the majority, of economic activity in great swathes of the country, that makes the private sector in those areas dependent on the public sector. And these days, much, even most, of that private sector belongs to national or multinational companies, such as the supermarket chains.

Just how dependent are now those chains, or those of gastropubs, or the fast food outlets, or the car dealerships, or even the banks, or so many other companies besides, on the spending power of public sector workers? For that matter, just how so dependent are the Sun and the Daily Mail?

A Bucket Of Warm Spit

If Al Gore really is going to stand for President, then who should be his running mate? After all, the Democratic Party would hardly now tolerate, nor would it befit a Nobel Peace Laureate to be seen with, Joe Lieberman, enthusiast for the Iraq War, cheerleader for the nuking of Iran, and long-standing friend of the black-shirted Wahhabi heroin traffickers of Kosovo. So who should it be, and why?

Friday, 12 October 2007

People In Glass Houses Of Lords

I deplore the activities of Lord Ashcroft, but Labour has a standing offer to fund its entire General Election campaign from Lord Paul, who has the money to spare, since he is a non-domicile. Isn't democracy grand?


What exactly has Al Gore ever done for peace? That is the question. Not whether or not global warming exists, or what causes it, or anything like that. Simply, what has Al Gore ever done for peace? On the contrary, he supported and supports the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and he was Vice-President during the dismemberment of Yugoslavia.

On Target

The British People's Alliance will contest every seat in the United Kingdom at any and every General Election from 2009 onwards. We therefore welcome enquiries from potential candidates in any constituency.

Within that, we are keen and determined to secure proper representation for the following and other marginalised areas and groups:

- The North and South of Scotland;
- The black and white English-speaking working class (broadly defined) in Wales, London, the South East, the Midlands and the North;
- Pro-Union Catholics and social democrats in Northern Ireland;
- The North East, Merseyside, the Midlands, the West Country, the South Coast, and East Anglia;
- Traditionally Liberal areas of the West Country, rural Scotland, Mid-Wales and elsewhere, which are not represented by the Eurofederalist, anti-family, pro-crime and pro-drugs policies of the Liberal Democrats;
- Communities in which the influence of certain institutions has ensured that our pro-life, pro-family, pro-worker and anti-war position constitutes mainstream or majority opinion;
- Anyone who can say that "the United Kingdom is my country, which no one has the right to take away from me";
- Those with strong personal, family or other ties to Realms or Territories (including the British Overseas Territories) with which the United Kingdom shares a Head of State;
- Those who identify with one or more of the Gaelic-Irish, Anglo-Irish and Scots-Irish traditions, recognising that the closest ties across the Irish Sea are inherent in all three of them, that neither the Union nor the Commonwealth is properly so called without a strong Irish dimension, that any such dimension must by definition include all three of those traditions, and that one vitally important way of expressing these facts would be for the Irish Republic to accede to the Commonwealth, ending once and for all the Cold War in these islands; and
- Trade unionists, small businesses, and those who work the land, in their common struggle against the erosion of national self-government, local variation, family life, close-knit communities, historical consciousness, social justice and environmental responsibility by transnational capital and by its hired help in the Political Class.

Not least in that last vein, we are also keen and determined to remove from Parliament, or to prevent the election to Parliament of, signatories to either or both of the Henry Jackson Society and the Euston Manifesto. Currently (with Prospective Parliamentary Candidates in italics), those concerned are:

Michael Ancram (Devizes)
Nicholas Boles (Grantham and Stamford)
Damian Collins (Folkestone and Hythe)

Michael Gove (Surrey Heath)
Fabian Hamilton (Leeds North East)
Stephen Hammond (Wimbledon)
Denis MacShane (Rotherham)
Greg Pope (Hyndburn)
David Ruffley (Bury St Edmunds, Stowmarket and Needham Market)
Gisela Stuart (Birmingham Edgbaston)
Edward Vaizey (Wantage, where we already have an excellent candidate in Neil Clark)
David Willetts (Havant)

Should any other MP become such a signatory, or should any other such signatory become a Prospective Parliamentary Candidate, then the same would apply.

It must be emphasised that the British People's Alliance will be contesting every seat in the United Kingdom at any and every General Election from 2009 onwards, and that we therefore welcome enquiries from potential candidates in any constituency. Of course, we are also most anxious to hear from any potential source of funding.

And we invite all MPs, MEPs, Peers, Prospective Parliamentary Candidates and others who subscribe to our Statement of Principles and to the documents that accompany it, to come and join the British People's Alliance. Those who share our views and values have no future in any other party.

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Making The North And South Of Scotland Count

From the material put out to launch the British People's Alliance, the following may be of particular interest in the neglected North and South of Scotland:

"Restoration of the supremacy of British over EU law. Use of this to restore Britain’s historic fishing rights."

"A real voice for everyone who is determined to remain British on the basis that the United Kingdom is our country, which no one has the right to take away from us. The Parliament of the United Kingdom to enact legislation in all policy areas for all parts of the United Kingdom, as set out in the devolution legislation, so no need for a costly English Parliament. A new elected second chamber to have the same revising powers in relation to the devolved bodies as in relation to the House of Commons. A real voice for the North and South of Scotland, and for North, Mid and West Wales."

"British Standard English to be the only official language except in any municipal area where one fifth or more of the population is comprised of native speakers of another language indigenous to these islands, in which case that other language to have parity with British Standard English."
[This would be done at Area Panel level where applicable, thus protecting both strongly Gaelic-speaking and, such as in Caithness, strongly English-speaking areas.]

"Defence of rural services, leading in particular to the systematic reversal of bus route and (where possible) rail line closures going back to the 1950s, as well as of the erosion of local schools, medical facilities, Post Offices, and so on. A national network of public transport free at the point of use."

"Real agriculture as the mainstay of strong communities, environmental responsibility and animal welfare (leading to safe, healthy and inexpensive food), as against American-style ‘factory farming’. Defence of the remaining field sports. A free vote in government time on repeal of the ban on hunting with dogs."

"A new and powerful second chamber elected on the basis of the English ceremonial counties, Scottish lieutenancy areas, Welsh preserved counties, and Northern Irish counties, with each of those 99 units having equal representation."

"The supermarkets to be made to fund investment in agriculture and small business (investment to be determined in close consultation with the National Farmers’ Union and the Federation of Small Businesses) by means of a windfall tax, to be followed if necessary by a permanently higher flat rate of corporation tax. In either case, strict regulation to ensure that the costs of this are not passed on to suppliers, workers, consumers, communities or the environment."

Like many people throughout the United Kingdom, those in the North and South of Scotland are not represented by any of the current parties. New Labour pretends that they do not exist. The SNP is founded on a cause which, if realised, would consign their economic and political interests to oblivion even while trading on a patronising mockery of their culture, so often the fate of rural Scotland at least since 1745. The Tories now have nothing to offer them. And the Eurofederalist, anti-family, pro-crime, pro-drugs policies of the Liberal Democrats constitute an utter betrayal of their loyal supporters in these areas just as in several parts of England and Wales.

The British People's Alliance will certainly contest every seat in the United Kingdom at any General Election from 2009 onwards, if we can find the candidates. Where are they, not least from the North and South of Scotland? -