Saturday, 29 December 2007

The Upside Of A Recession

There is a recession coming. Everybody now says so. Of course, they could all be wrong. But I very much doubt it.

The Tories, and such activists and core voters as they still have, are too rich to notice. Labour, and such activists and core voters as they still have, are employed by the extraction of money on pain of imprisonment, and so are likewise pretty much impervious.

Perhaps these facts, and everything that the mass realisation of them would bring about, will finally become apparent to the electorate at large when the recession bites.

The Train Not Departing

I am not sure that really should have been a 58-hour shutdown of the public transport network "over Christmas" (Christmas is in fact still going on, for 12 days), although it is worth noting that such a thing would be inconceivable in the secular country that Britain is routinely alleged to be, that the apparent lack of demand for public transport on Boxing Day even in Scotland (where it is not a public holiday) feeds the mounting perception that in practice the Scots now take all the English public holidays along with their own, and that the public transport network (especially the trains) long ago stopped going anywhere where there were many people who could not afford cars. Ponder these things.

John Edwards?

He's the best of the bunch on the Democratic side. But that is not necessarily saying very much, considering that one of that field is Her, the vicar on earth of Mr NAFTA, Mr GATT, Mr Triangulation, Mr Bomber Of Belgrade. And just how much of an economic populist is Edwards, really? Just how much of a moral and social conservative, really? Just how clearly an opponent as much of coercive utopianism and world government as of isolationism and laissez faire, and vice versa, really? The answers to these questions add up to the answer to the big question: is he really the man for 2012?

Boys With Toys

Should small boys play with toy guns or plastic swords? Well, look at the people objecting to the suggestion that they should. They are the last people to wish to discuss the proven roots (as if anyone really needed to prove them) of violent behaviour in poverty, fatherlessness, violence in the home, and exposure to violent media. The measures necessary to tackle these things would challenge the presently guaranteed pre-eminence of their own offspring as what is now a wholly self-perpetuating, very largely taxpayer-funded ruling class. Oh no, it's all about toy guns and plastic swords. Isn't it?

Friday, 28 December 2007


Benazir Bhutto may have been very beautiful and stylish, and she may have held degrees from Harvard and Oxford. But her superb English was in fact the mere speaking of her first language; she had little Urdu and even less Sindhi, despite Sindh’s being her (dynastic) political heartland. She was, at the end of the day, a corrupt and ineffective Prime Minister.

And Pakistan was a bad idea in the first place.

A handful of cranks and semi-schismatic priests were able to force the partition the United Kingdom against the wishes of the Gaelic-Irish working class on both sides of the Irish Sea, and of the Catholic hierarchy no less than Protestant leaders. A handful of cranks and outer-fringe rabbis were able to force the re-creation of Wilhelmine or Weimar Germany in the Levant against the wishes of almost every Jewish religious authority on earth at the time, and of the territory in question’s Jewish Arab no less than its Christian Arab, Muslim Arab and Druze Arab inhabitants.

And a handful of cranks and mad mullahs (of questionable qualifications) were able to force the establishment, against the wishes of the Indian Muslim working class and of India’s Islamic scholars, of the only country on earth where the case for an Islamic State is permanently unanswerable, since the country itself has no other reason to exist.

Quite what most Muslims in what was then India made of this is clear from the fact that post-partition India is the second-largest Muslim country on earth, even though Muslims are a minority there, and contains more Muslims than the entire population of Pakistan.

Pakistan is engaged in a nuclear arms race with its southern neighbour, but the all-powerful generals will not allow any politician anywhere near the nuclear codes, and moreover maintain a permanent unit to stage a coup whenever they feel that this is necessary, as they do with remarkable frequency.

Meanwhile, the creation of Pakistan massively boosted those who wanted Hindutva in all its caste-conscious ghastliness, in principle throughout what they see as Bharat, but in practice throughout the territory that they might be able to control, namely India. (Such people are by no means confined to the RSS and the BJP, important though those and the associated organisations are as the leading edge.)

Hence the Indian side of the nuclear arms race. And hence the fact that hundreds of millions of people in India were probably better off under the Moghuls, and certainly better off under the British.

Yet still the Muslim hundreds of millions do not jump out of the frying pan that is India and into the fire that is Pakistan.

“Altruism, Neighbourliness, the Fruits of the Spirit”

David Starkey, whom I had always previously assumed to be the bad type of Tory, concluded his epic study of the monarchy with a splendid attack on the Thatcherite-cum-New-Labour privatisation of public services (he was a bit nostalgic for the private charity that preceded the Welfare State, but should consider that the latter would never have been deemed necessary if the former had worked), leading into the suggestion that the monarchy should embody the resistance to this in the name of “altruism, neighbourliness, the fruits of the spirit”. Quite right, too.

Wednesday, 26 December 2007

From Kabul To Kosovo

If a British UN official and an Irish EU official have been “talking to the Taliban”, then there is no change to report. The people called “tribal elders” when, for whatever reason, we need their help are exactly the same individuals who are called “the Taliban” when, for whatever reason, we want to keep them out of the way.

Why are we in Afghanistan? What for? It has nothing to do with the heroin trade (not remotely the reason why we went in, of course), since we now grow opium poppies instead of oil seed rape in the fields of Oxfordshire. For medical use. Of course.

For that matter, we are about to recognise a nest of heroin-trafficking Wahhabi (or Taliban, if you will) as a sovereign state in Europe, to be welcomed into NATO and the EU sooner rather than later.

Country Life

Last night’s one-off return of To The Manor Born was sublime. And it was also very timely, in that it gave attention to the normally taboo subject of the rift between the transnational big business interests that fund and run the Conservative Party (and the other two as well these days), and the agricultural interest that continues to give the very staunchest electoral support to the Tories (although that is a very recent phenomenon on the part of smallholders and farm labourers, bizarrely paralleling almost exactly the rise to monolithic status within that party of an ideology utterly opposed to the existence of British agriculture).

To my delighted astonishment, the programme ended with the former’s contrite capitulation to the latter. Would that that ever happened in real life.

For the fact is that one cannot believe both in agriculture and in the “free” market, nor can one believe in national sovereignty and be anything other than incandescent about the importation of the bulk of our very sustenance. And one must believe both in agriculture and in national sovereignty in order to be a conservative. The Tories simply are not conservatives, whereas the British People is overwhelmingly conservative.

That is why it favours the State action necessary in order to conserve all those things that define conservatism. In other words, because it is conservative, the British People favours social democracy, including, for example, farm subsidies, though (as for their first thirty years) at national rather than supranational level.

Whereas, just as the Tories no longer support social democracy (with or without using the term) because they are no longer conservatives, so New Labour, because it is not conservative as Old Labour was (with or without using the word), does not support social democracy.

What is the British People to do? This.

The Huntsman Blows His Bugle Horn

Here in Lanchester, we are seen across the nation and the world, with BBC News 24 covering the Braes of Derwent Hunt this Boxing Day.

But the Beeb couldn’t resist parroting the anti-hunting line that the ban “still” commanded overwhelming popular support. It doesn’t, and it never has done. Most people “still” couldn’t care less. And among those who could (massively concentrated, on both sides, in rural communities), opinion is “still” overwhelmingly opposed to the ban, i.e., in favour of the safety of the sheep and poultry whom must anti-hunt types still want to eat, and in favour of killing far fewer foxes, by far more humane methods, than the ban compels.

Wealth inequality in Britain is now greater than at any other time since records began. Social mobility has not only ceased, but gone dramatically into reverse. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq drone on. Seventy-two billion pounds are about to be wasted on yet more pointless nuclear weapons. Yet we can’t even pay the Police properly. And so on, and on, and on.

But never mind. At least the red-coated toffs have been knocked off their horses, so high a priority for Attlee, Bevin, Morrison, Bevan and Gaitskell.

Except, of course, that it wasn’t, and that they haven’t been.

1997 All Over Again?

Now that the BBC has simply stopped scrutinising the Tories, making no mention whatever either of the illegal donations to David Cameron’s constituency party or of Cameron’s dispute with John Redwood, who will do so? Sky News? ITN? I only ask. For, if no one steps up this plate, then we risk going into a General Election with absolutely no discussion of the policies, or lack of them, of the admittedly rather nominal Opposition. That was what happened in 1997. And look how that ended up.

Get Your Act Together, Girlies

Suzanne Moore’s column in the Mail on Sunday was very interesting, taking the trouble to castigate lap-dancing as “a form of prostitution”, and showing no more mercy towards the wannabe WAGs rounded up for the Manchester United Christmas party, only one of whom is even alleged to have been coerced into anything, and even then only once she was already in attendance at this event most easily distinguishable from a tea dance.

We mere males seldom witness the means by which middle-aged and older women exercise authority over younger women. But when we do, it scares the life out of us, not because of the raised voices or the physical violence (whether actual, or explicitly or implicitly threatened), but rather precisely because of the exact nature of their absence. I am convinced that it is this, more than anything else, which has historically made most women far better behaved than men – fear of other women.

Our society is now crying out for this on a larger scale. Where are the middle-aged and older women who will draft and sign some sort of “Get your act together, girlies” document for publication over their names, having circulated it to every female member of either House of Parliament, to every woman who writes regularly for Fleet Street, to the presenters of Woman’s Hour, and to everyone who appeared on Grumpy Old Women, just for a start?

If You Wouldn't Want To Be Policed By The Army, Then Don't Arm The Police

I for one am delighted that ever fewer Police Officers wish to have anything to do with firearms. More armed Police would by definition mean more guns on our streets. And the legal and cultural differences between this country and the United States (which has always been the model for the arm-the-Police lobby) are such that a Police gun would far more often than not be the only gun present.

(Incidentally, I tend to be quite sympathetic towards Second Amendment defenders in the totally different American context, since their enemies are so clearly motivated by snobbery and by a sort of WASP or Irish self-loathing based on the wish that their own backgrounds were more exotic and Politically Correct.)

Going about tooled up does not befit civilians employed to do full-time what we should all do, and be entitled to do, for free if the necessary circumstances arose. And the copying of American policing methods directly from the television screen has done immense damage over the last fifty years, removing the Police from their proper business of preventing crime by patrolling the streets on foot, and instead making them the merely reactive occupants of enormous, gaudily-adorned motor vehicles with blaring sirens and blazing lights.

Such vehicles would rarely or never be seen in suburban or (especially) rural America, but are increasing the only visible Police presence at all in suburban or (especially) rural Britain.

Don't Just Drink, Think

In the new year, there is apparently to be a “review” of 24-hour drinking, due to the shocking suspicion on the part of our lords and masters that it might not, after all, have resulted in a “Continental-style café culture”. Well, that culture itself is an overstatement.

But more to the point, what did anyone expect? Part of the United Kingdom has always had much looser licensing laws. Has Scotland a Continental-style café culture? Yet she has a much stricter culture of Lord’s Day observance, despite never having had the tighter laws that apply in England.

A notional free-for-all, more or less, on Sunday trading did not make the Scots any less disinclined towards the practice (whatever else might have done so in very recent years, and in some parts of Scotland but certainly not in others). And a notional free-for-all, more or less, on alcohol purchase has not made, nor could it ever make, the English any less inclined towards pouring down their necks as much booze as possible in as short a time as possible.

The law in England needs to minimise the inconvenience to other people from those manifesting this very ancient cultural phenomenon. And perhaps the law in Scotland does, too.

Monday, 24 December 2007

Mary Christ Mass

And A Happy New Year.

Hopes and Fears for 2008

Tell me (and each other) yours.

My main fear is President Giuliani or President Romney, because only one morally and socially liberal Democrat has ever won the Presidency, and even he spoke with a Deep Southern accent and quoted from the Bible as often as possible. His wife (for she is notable as nothing else) has no such attractions. And nor has Barack Obama.

No, Of Course Britain Is Not Yet A Catholic Country

The triumphalism of the last 48 hours could not conceivably be more misplaced. The difference between the Catholic and Anglican figures is negligible, and even put together they do not add up to any very large section of society.

Yet seventy-two per cent of Britons profess to be Christians and are just waiting to be reached. And the only really promising way of doing this is also the only really significant alternative to Islam: the full-blooded Catholicism of structured daily prayer, of setting aside one day in seven, of fasting, of almsgiving, of pilgrimage, of the global community of faith as the primary focus of personal allegiance and locus of personal identity, of the lesser outward and greater inward struggle, of the need for a comprehensive and coherent critique both of capitalism and of Marxism, of the coherence between faith and reason, of a consequent integrated view of art and science, of Sacred Tradition, of the Petrine Office, and of mysticism and monasticism.

And the restoration of that full-blooded Catholicism to this land can be done only by both the hierarchic-charismatic ecclesial apostolates (the "new movements") either arising out of or anticipating the actual texts of the documents of Vatican II, and those attached to the Immemorial Roman Rite recently set free at last by Pope Benedict XVI.

As for the Act of Settlement, it is good for us, because it reminds us that we are different, and because it does us the courtesy of taking our beliefs seriously by identifying them as a real challenge. One really does have to question the viability of a Catholic community which devotes any great energy to the question of ascending the throne while the born sleep in cardboard boxes on the streets and the pre-born are ripped from their mothers’ wombs to be discarded as surgical waste. And far from being a term of abuse, the word "Papist" is in fact the name under which the English Martyrs gave their lives, and expresses the cause for which they did so, making it a badge of honour, to be worn with pride.

Put Pen To Paper Instead

Another computer crisis for this Government. Did these things really need to be computerised at all? If so, why? I smell spivs selling IT to bamboozled politicians and senior civil servants.

The Ugly Game, The Pretty People

Premiership "footballers" can't like football very much, since they hardly play it, including when actually on the field of play. But that doesn't matter one jot, because football long ago ceased to be the point of the Premiership (if it ever really was - wasn't the Premiership set up specifically for everything except footballing reason?).

So why do they keep up even what little pretence that they do? They could just live for ever off the interest on the vast wealth of their "clubs", with transfers and new additions just as at present, and with the tabloid/Hello/Heat circus carrying on regardless. No one would be able to tell the difference.

Meanwhile, the focus of specifically football-related interest could shift to wear it belongs: the Championship.

Wot No Nick Cohen?

No sign of him in yesterday's Observer. Alas, he is probably just on holiday. But here's to 2008 as the year when the Observer finally tells him and his ilk to sling their hooks to the Times where they belong.

Peter Hitchens: Voice of Old Labour

"The European Union, now the true government of the territories formerly known as Britain, is utterly dedicated to what it calls 'free movement'.

This, in fact, means unfettered immigration, a vast human reservoir of cheap, exploitable labour ready to rush wherever it is needed, to keep wages low, regardless of the effects this may have on human happiness, on settled communities or on those who are sent trudging hither and thither from sweatshop to fruit farm, living in overcrowded slums and separated from their homes and families."

I've always said that he was Old Labour really.

Why The Democrats Are Blue

Below is the the Introduction to Why The Democrats Are Blue, by Mark Stricherz:

The Democrats limped out of Chicago divided and discouraged, the latest casualties in a culture war that went beyond differences over Vietnam. It would reshape and realign American politics for the rest of the century and beyond, and frustrate most efforts to focus the electorate on the issues that most affect their lives and livelihoods, as opposed to their psyches. The kids and their supporters saw the mayor and the cops as authoritarian, ignorant, violent bigots. The mayor and his largely blue-collar ethnic police force saw the kids as foul-mouthed, immoral, unpatriotic, soft, upper class kids who were too spoiled to respect authority, too selfish to appreciate what it takes to hold a society together, too cowardly to serve in Vietnam … Much of my public life was spent trying to bridge the cultural and psychological divide that had widened into a chasm in Chicago.
— Bill Clinton, My Life: The Early Years

With the race for the 2008 election underway, it’s tempting to conclude that the Democratic Party’s presidential candidates can ignore former President Clinton’s warning about the culture war. There is a rough consensus that the Democrats are favored to take back the White House; that Democrats, as they did in the 2006 midterms, will do so by riding voter disenchantment with President Bush’s handling of the Iraq War; and that the party’s candidates, as Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama already have done rhetorically, will reach out to culturally conservative religious and blue-collar voters.

The conventional wisdom is reasonable enough. If Iraq continues to haunt the Republicans, the economy nosedives, or the Democratic presidential nominee makes a major concession to social conservatives, the Democrats probably will win the White House. There will be joy in Berkeley and Oakland, Evanston and Chicago, Cambridge and Boston.

But the conventional wisdom is short sighted. Should the bad news from Iraq recede, the economy stay strong, and the Republicans nominate a cultural conservative, more voters are likely to make abortion and homosexuality voting issues. In the past five presidential elections, the percentage of Americans who vote on social issues has swung between one-seventh and more than one-fifth of all voters. Given that the vast majority of “values voters” vote for the more culturally conservative candidate, the Democrats might well lose the presidency.

Again.The “Social Issue” has played a major role in keeping a Democrat out of the White House in six of the last nine elections. When Ben Wattenberg and Richard Scammon coined the term in their 1970 classic The Real Majority, the Social Issue comprised race, crime, and values. Although President Clinton helped diminish the importance of the first two, Democrats continue to stumble over values issues. As David Carlin, former Democratic majority leader in the Rhode Island state senate, has argued,

As the Civil War approached, the Democrats took the wrong position on slavery, and they found themselves, except for a few episodes of prosperity, America’s minority party from the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860 until the election of Franklin Roosevelt in 1932. At the time of the Great Depression of the 1930s, the Republicans took the wrong position on the social and economic welfare responsibilities of the federal government, and they remained America’s number-two party until the coming of Ronald Reagan and Newt Gingrich in the 1980s and ‘90s. Today the Democrats are taking the wrong position on morality and religion, which may doom them to remain America’s minority until well into the twenty-first century.

The wrong position that national Democratic leaders have taken is that of secular liberalism. They oppose extending any legal protections to an unprotected class of human beings — unborn infants. And they favor granting public benefits for homosexual couples. Considering that the national party was known as “the party of the little guy” and led by Catholic big-city and state bosses, the post-1968 party’s support for secular liberalism qualifies as a revolution, not an evolution.

So why did the national Democratic Party side with secular liberals (“the kids and their supporters”) rather than religious traditionalists (“the mayor and his largely blue-collar ethnic police force”)? The question is of more than historical interest. To political observers, it should affect how they evaluate the Democratic presidential candidates. To those disgruntled with the national Democratic leadership, it should affect how they seek to reform the party.

I got a chance recently to pose this question to Bill Clinton, when he attended a funeral service at the National Cathedral in Washington for Eugene McCarthy. Clinton had delivered a eulogy for the former Minnesota senator, who in his 1968 campaign ran against the "immoral" Vietnam War and "autocratic" Democratic bosses like Mayor Daley. After the service, Clinton ambled over to the southeastern part of the Cathedral, pausing to smile, laugh, chat, and take pictures with those in the crowd. Spotting a lull in his repartee, I asked the former president if he thought whether the McCarthy movement was the transition between the old party, which was formed into the New Deal or Roosevelt coalition, and the current party. He paused for seven or eight seconds, looked away briefly, and pursed his lips.

"Yes and no," Clinton said plainly. "I think that he reflected the beliefs that Democrats had in the '60s. He didn't want to give up the old members of the party, the blue-collar workers. He was someone who, as you heard today, had grown up in a small town. He didn't think that because blue-collar workers favored the war, they would leave the party. And I think he would have been appalled at the massive cultural change that took place between the two parties. A lot of the things that happened in '68 caused that.”

When I tried to ask a follow-up question, he tapped me on the wrists with his large left hand. "I'm fixin’ to say something," he said. "I lived through that time, and I loved Bobby Kennedy, but if you look at what he was doing to get the support of blue-collar workers, he was making very emotional appeals and speeches. See, what McCarthy was trying to do was to get them off the farms. I think they understood that he was from Minnesota and had worked a combine. So they could oppose the war just like the kids were. He tried to talk to them in more of a calm tone [than did Kennedy].” Clinton then got around to addressing the culture wars: "I think he would have been repulsed — I think it would have made him sad — that urban, rural, and suburban voters were voting on guns, gays, and whatever. It all started in the late '60s.”

Clinton is right to focus on the McCarthy movement and the culture war. When political observers discuss the revolution in the national Democratic Party, they focus on the defection of the South in response to the passage of civil rights legislation in the 1960s. Their explanation isn't crazy, but it's only half the story. Like them, Clinton failed to identify the real reason that the national Democratic Party sided with secular liberals instead of religious traditionalists. It’s ironic because in the summer of 1969 Clinton visited a friend in Washington who was interning for the McGovern Commission and made the acquaintance of a commission member.

Officially known as the Commission on Party Structure and Delegate Selection, the commission was approved at the very gathering that Clinton deplored, the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. The 28-member panel is best known for creating the modern presidential nominating system, in which primary and caucus voters rather than big-city and state bosses choose the party’s presidential nominee. It is also known for its first chairman, Senator George McGovern, who won the party’s nomination in 1972.

Otherwise, the McGovern Commission has been ignored, an obscure panel whose notoriety is not even one-one hundredth of that of the Warren Commission or 9/11 Commission. This is understandable. The McGovern Commission was overlooked during its existence from 1969 to 1972 and sank into obscurity afterwards. It has not been re-examined by journalists and historians since the early 1980s. This book is the first account of the McGovern Commission in a generation. It draws on interviews with nearly all of the active participants. The book is also based on extensive archival material, featuring memos, personal notes, and oral history interviews from the collections of Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Hubert Humphrey, Lyndon Johnson, George McGovern, and Jimmy Carter.

The most significant consequence of the McGovern Commission is that the Democratic Party’s coalition changed and shrank. The New Deal or Roosevelt coalition had included white Southerners, Catholics, union members, blacks, and intellectuals. Under this coalition, the national party was a majority party, and its presidential candidates won seven of the ten elections from 1932 to 1968.

The McGovern Commission destroyed this old electoral alliance and replaced it with a Social Change coalition led by secular liberals. The Commission pushed through a rules change that required informal delegate quotas for women and young people. The proposal had three major consequences. First, while the Democratic coalition added feminists and secular professionals, it drove away blue-collar workers and Catholics, many of who became Reagan Democrats. Second, it broke the Democratic Party’s longstanding alliance with the Roman Catholic Church. Third, it reduced the number of Democratic constituents. According to party strategists William Galston and Elaine Kamarck, only 21 percent of the electorate identifies as liberal, while 34 percent identifies as conservative.

The fourth consequence of the McGovern Commission is that the Democratic Party’s nominating system reduced the clout of traditional Democrats. Under the old boss system, big-city and state politicians chose the nominee based on the candidate’s perceived ability to help the local ticket back home. While the boss system was undemocratic as a procedure, it was democratic in substance, nominating candidates from every wing of the party between 1932 and 1968.

Demolishing this system was a top goal of several commission aides. The aides created a nomination process that would ensure the nomination in 1972 of a candidate committed to ending the Vietnam War. Under the new system, college-educated and upscale Democratic voters and activists vote for the nominee based on the candidate’s ability to win and conform to their ideological preferences. To be fair, the activist system is more democratic as a procedure than the boss system. But the activist system is also internally undemocratic. It relies on gender and racial quotas for the party’s presidential delegates: those who attend the national convention. The activist system is also less democratic in substance. Not since 1972 has a major Democratic presidential candidate ran as a social conservative.

The fifth consequence of the McGovern Commission is that secular, college-educated professionals hijacked control of the party machinery and imposed their own secular, college-educated agenda. The old presidential or national wing of the Democratic Party had been in the hands of Northern Catholic bosses. Although an elite group, they delivered regularly for their cross-racial, working-class constituents, helping make possible the legislation of the Fair Deal, the New Frontier, and the Great Society. In contrast, the party’s new presidential wing has decreased the likelihood of American troops fighting overseas and stopped the GOP from repealing most federal social programs. However, it has not passed any major domestic initiatives, allowed Republicans to advance their economic agenda of turbo capitalism (e.g. lowering of the capital gains tax and taxes on the wealthiest Americans), and excluded socially conservative Democrats from the national stage.

To millions of Americans devoted to the old Democratic Party, the story of the McGovern Commission and its legacy is a tragedy — a classic tale of understandable but impure motives, an ends-justify-the-mean mindset, hypocrisy, rationalization, and hubris.

The first chapter explores the moral and cultural alienation of many Catholic and blue-collar workers from the Democratic Party. Focusing on several voters in one county in western Pennsylvania, it tells the stories of these “Caseycrats,” who favor liberal or populist economic policies and conservative cultural ones. They once favored Democrats based on economic issues, but they oppose the national party’s secular liberalism. The opposition of such voters has cost Democratic presidential candidates the last two elections, as the party’s own pollsters confirm. Although the national party's commitment to cultural liberalism attracts upscale voters, it also repels downscale voters, who represent nearly three in five of all voters in presidential elections. Why did the national party repel such voters? The standard answers are appealing but fail to explain the magnitude of the change.

The second chapter examines the overriding virtue of the boss nomination system: It was democratic in substance. David L. Lawrence, as mayor of Pittsburgh and governor of Pennsylvania, was known as “Mr. Democrat” in western Pennsylvania. Lawrence not only sought to extend legal protection to an unprotected class of human beings, black Americans, by playing a key role in passing the civil rights plank at the 1948 Democratic convention. He also played a key role in choosing every presidential nominee from Truman to Johnson. Lawrence, Mayor Richard J. Daley of Chicago, and John M. Bailey, boss of the Connecticut state party, exemplified the strengths of the boss nomination system. They were more ethical and less sectarian than their predecessors; still retained patronage, which kept them close to voters; delivered for their cross-racial, working-class constituents; went beyond their base to choose the party’s presidential nominees; and had no litmus test other than the candidate’s perceived ability to win.

The third chapter examines the main defect of the boss nomination system: It was undemocratic as a process. The Lawrence Commission (1965-68) did make the boss system more democratic. However, antiwar Democrats were marginalized in 1968. Consequently, young aides to Gene McCarthy’s campaign succeeded in passing a minority report at the Chicago convention that sought to democratize the nomination process.

The fourth chapter explores how secular activists overthrew the party bosses: by acting like old-style bosses. Young McCarthy aide Eli Segal feared that his efforts in 1968 to reform the party’s nomination system would fail. Although party officials appointed a successor to the Lawrence Commission, which became known as the McGovern Commission, Segal believed that party regulars would undercut the commission. Consequently, Segal created a small executive committee within the McGovern Commission to control the commission’s agenda. Rather than making the executive committee broadly representative of the party, he stacked it with supporters of the New Politics. While Segal and other former McCarthy aides were drawing up their preferred rules changes, they gave off the appearance of having consulted with the other wings of the party. In truth, they flew ideologically sympathetic commissioners in for key votes, coached Representative Allard Lowenstein of New York before a commission hearing about his testimony, and misleadingly claimed that Democrats endorsed their version of party reform.

The fifth chapter reveals the true motives of the activists in wresting control of the party machinery. It focuses on Fred Dutton, the chief designer and builder of the post-1960s Democratic Party. While serving on the Board of Regents at the University of California in the 1960s, Dutton believed that baby-boomers and college students were the future of American politics. Unlike the founders of the Democratic Party and Robert F. Kennedy, whose 1968 campaign Dutton managed, Dutton wanted to reduce the party’s ties with working class whites. Like theoreticians of the New Left and New Politics, Dutton believed that the cultural agenda of students should outweigh that of blue-collar workers. The chapter also shows how Segal, Anne Wexler, and Ken Bode sought to scrap the boss system in favor of a new activist system, which would be based on participatory democracy, in which voters discussed the candidates. Segal, Wexler, and Bode were motivated by their opposition to the Vietnam War specifically and the military-industrial complex in general. Bode proposed informal quotas as presidential delegates for women and young people, the two groups most likely to oppose the war.

The sixth chapter examines the first result of the McGovern Commission’s rules changes: Liberation feminists entered the Democratic coalition. In November 1971, leaders of the National Women’s Political Caucus, a newly formed nonpartisan group, met with DNC officials in Washington. The women demanded that they enforce the quotas passed by the McGovern Commission. DNC officials complied. At the time, it was unclear whether the emerging feminist movement would side with the Republicans, Democrats, or form a third party. An upper class and secular group, the feminists immediately sought to remove legal protection for a class of human beings, lobbying on behalf of an abortion plank at the 1972 Democratic convention.

The seventh chapter examines the second result of the commission’s rules changes: McGovern won the party’s presidential nomination in 1972. McGovern faced long odds in his bid. He had thin or frayed relations with union leaders, Catholics, and blacks; and his main issue, opposition to the war, was losing steam politically. But McGovern recognized that the party’s new nomination system had been revolutionized. So he became the candidate of liberal activists; used his chairmanship of the McGovern Commission to tell party leaders that he would not form a third- or fourth political party; and ran on Dutton’s Social Change coalition. His strategy worked, sort of. On the one hand, McGovern won the party’s nomination. On the other hand, Catholics and white working-class voters defected to the Republican Party in November.

The eighth chapter details the third result of the commission’s rules changes: secular liberals completed their takeover of the national party. No individual Democrat could stop them. DNC Chairman Robert Strauss, a staunch party regular, in the early-to-mid-1970s was unable to release their grip on the party machinery. Jimmy Carter, as both a presidential candidate and president, was unable to prevent secular feminists from controlling the party platform in 1980. And Bill Clinton, as a presidential candidate in 1992, was unable to prevent feminists from denying a speaking slot at the 1992 convention to Governor Robert Casey of Pennsylvania. As a result of this takeover, support for a once-great national party has dwindled to “blue” states on the coasts and Great Lakes region.

The afterword argues that the Democratic Party can return to being a People’s Party. To do so, party officials will have to shift power to the people. State caucuses and conventions, which reward highly motivated activists rather than ordinary voters, should be abolished. Independent voters, rather than Republican voters, should be allowed to participate in state primaries. Demographic quotas for delegates should be repealed. Super-delegates should be eliminated. And swing states should hold the first primaries in the nation. Enacting this package of reforms would dilute the power of party activists, but it could revive a once-great party.

The latest in the long line of effects can be read about here. And the British parallels are, of course, obvious.

Sunday, 23 December 2007

The Confession and Profession of Tony Blair

A warm welcome to Tony Blair, whatever the wildly untypical clique of pseudo-aristocratic pseudo-Tories (because neocons are not really Tories at all) might say from the platform given to them by their public school and Oxbridge mates in the BBC. How orthodox were they when they cheered on the Iraq War? How orthodox are they now, when they continue to defend it?

Having made the Profession of Faith, Blair has a compendium of everything to which he has now publicly assented. It is the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the promulgation of which was as clear an expression as there has ever been of the charism of infallibility given by God to the Episcopal College throughout the world in union with, and by definition including, the Roman Pontiff. Every word of the Catechism is absolutely binding for all time, to no one’s realistic surprise.

It is to every one of those words that one assents by making the Profession of Faith, as Blair has now done. So, by making that Profession, he has in fact recanted his former support for abortion, doctor-assisted suicide, stem cell “research” (on which scientists have now pretty much given up anyway), forcing Catholic adoption agencies out of existence, the Iraq War, and economic policies of exactly the kind that Catholic Social Teaching has been developed in order to prevent and counteract. Hasn’t he?

Saturday, 22 December 2007

Census Alert

We must act now to stop the 2011 census being handed over to Lockheed Martin, which would be legally obliged in its own country (the United States) to hand over all details to the government there, a government with which that arms company has close links.

Why are we even considering a foreign company to do the work of the British State? For that matter, why are we even considering any private company, British or foreign, to do the work of the British State?

This might be the point at which true conservatism finally begins to re-assert itself by demanding that the State (without which neither the family nor private property can exist, just as they cannot exist without each other, and just as the State cannot exist without both of them) carry out the census, and then return to doing so much else besides, for itself, without reference to the “free” market, which is the archenemy of the family, of private property, of the State, of everything that conservatives exist in order to conserve.

Civil Rights, Civil Wrongs

Two years on from the much-trumpeted Civil Partnerships Act, and how many are there? The first dissolutions are under way. And the whole thing remains restricted to unrelated persons of the same sex. Unrelated persons of opposite sexes have of course the option of civil marriage. But related persons sharing a home have no option at all, even though a civil partnership does not need to be consummated, presumably because nobody could work out what might or might not qualify for this purpose. Yet related persons are extremely unlikely to seek a dissolution. When will this injustice be dealt with?

Friday, 21 December 2007

It Will Be Snowing From Estonia To Portugal

Congratulations to all the latest countries to join the Schengen Agreement. Since you all also have the Euro, you will now enjoy effortless drug-trafficking, people-trafficking and gun-running from the Mediterranean to the Baltic, and from the Atlantic to within the borders of the former Soviet Union. Won't that be grand?

Not Only Against Islam

Apparently, caste discrimination is endemic among British Hindus "despite being banned in India" (ha, ha). It is not only against Islam that we must be on our guard.

No Light From The East Here

The official organs of the Catholic Church in this country have long been out of step with opinion in the pews, and doubtless in the presbyteries once their doors are closed, about immigration. Of course, it can sometimes be necessary for them to be out of step. But it certainly isn't in this case.

So one hopes that the Polish Mission's recent bewailing of the lapsation rate among Polish immigrants to Britain (only one in ten of whom is a regular Mass-goer, compared to eight out of ten people in Poland) might get the message through: many of the Poles are not coming here in order to "enrich" or "renew" the Church, but precisely in order to get away from Her.

Three Months To Save Belgium

The new Belgian Government now has three months to defeat a neocon-backed 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.

Meanwhile, 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.


Diana died because her driver was drunk. Everybody knows this now, and indeed everybody knew it at the time. If Fayed wants to pursue his conspiracy theories any further, then he should be made to do so at his own expense, not ours.

How many people must there be who have lost loved ones in circumstances that they feel have never been properly explained, and which very well might not have been? And how many of them have been refused naturalisation in this country, but nevertheless granted endless inquests at the British taxpayer's expense?

Why would anyone have wanted to murder Diana, anyway? Following her divorce, she was a peripheral figure of no importance whatever except to followers of celebrity tittle-tattle. By now, she would have been just another has-been swanning around California.

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Thoroughly Modern George?

A rift between Cameron and Osborne, eh?

With no Election until 2010, how could a very Noughties foreign policy be "more modern" than one which eschews such decidedly unconservative concepts as coercive utopianism, world government, and the use of "realist" as a term of abuse, and which instead takes into account the re-emergence of multipolarity and multilateralism from Moscow, to Tehran, to Caracas, with several more to follow in the near future?

Even George Bush now accepts these as the facts of life, and is behaving accordingly. So Osborne is a throwback even now, never mind in 2010 and beyond. By then, he won't even be dangerous. He'll just be ridiculous. Indeed, he already is.


By all means let it be made a criminal offence for any person above the age of consent (which should be raised to 18) to buy, or attempt to buy, sex. And let it also be made be made a criminal offence, with an equal sentence, for any person above that age to sell, or attempt to sell, sex. Since the former are usually men and the latter usually women, are women morally and intellectually equal to men, or not?

Where There's Muck, There's Votes

The supermarkets are not now going to pay the farmers until a whopping ninety days, and even then are going to charge a fee to be deducted from the invoice. A fee for condescending to pay for goods received on commercial terms!

The “free” market, with its big business that behaves like this, destroys everything that conservatives exist in order to conserve, including agriculture and small business. Yet somehow, even the post-Thatcher Tories (not that the other two are any better) have managed to present themselves as the ancestral political voice of the countryside, contrary to the plain facts of history.

Well, no more. The cause of the working and lower middle classes created by the Industrial Revolution is, and has always been, the cause of the farm labourers and the smallholders (or even many quite largeholders) as well. And now, that cause has a party, linked to below.

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.

Vladimir Putin: Person of the Year

So says Time. And so say I.

From Moscow, to Tehran, to Caracas, multipolarity and multilateralism are not only back, but back through the ballot box.

Doing God, Doing Drugs

At least Nick Clegg is honest. Far more honest than, say, those who even now treat the culturally Methodist agnosticism of Margaret “Christians believe in life after death and I am a Christian” Thatcher as the essence of devotion, but the culturally Methodist agnosticism of Neil “Jesus did not die on the Cross” Kinnock as atheism foaming at the mouth.

I have never taken any illegal drug. Nor should you. And I have nothing but contempt for any politician who fails to answer this very important question. Nor should you have.

Hand To Mouth

The Ten O’Clock News reported how Scottish langoustine was being shipped to Thailand in order to turn it into the hand-prepared scampi rightly favoured in Britain. Apparently, this is environmentally equivalent to preparing the scampi by hand in Britain.

Well, have British workers no hands? If they were permitted to use them, then there would be neither the environmental costs (real or otherwise) of machine preparation, nor those of transport to Thailand. There might, however, be those of proper wages and working conditions. I think that we have spotted the problem.

The problem, specifically, is a State in dereliction of its moral responsibilities by permitting produce to be exported for treatment by workers enjoying fewer rights and benefits than our own, in order that that produce might thence be re-exported to this country.

Mike Huckabee

Mike Huckabee may be no Ron Paul, but his Southern economic populism, and his insistence that it is not America’s mission to export democracy around the world, make him the next best thing on offer. So what if he doesn’t believe in evolution? Who was the last candidate of either party who openly did?

If Huckabee does well, and certainly if he wins the Republican nomination or even the Presidency itself, then the Democrats in 2012 will need to find a morally and socially conservative economic populist and foreign policy realist who was demonstrably even more of a populist and realist than Huckabee. Such a candidate would win, and would deserve to win.

Like it or not, the Republican base sets the American agenda. Well, largely made up as it is of people who were Democrats until Roe v Wade and who really should be still, let it set agenda like these.

Taking The Auto Out Of Automobile

An extra thousand pounds on the price of a car? Good for the Germans, fighting tooth and nail against this, so as to protect the high-wage, high-skilled, high-status jobs of the German working class.

But good luck to them, because they are going to need it. What matters is that such jobs be destroyed and made impossible to restore, as well as that we lower orders be prevented from travelling (not least by being priced out of car ownership), and the poor world be precluded from using its natural resources to develop as we used ours to develop.

We must be kept in our place. Literally.

School's Out For Newsnight

Newsnight treated us to an engaging little follow-up of some of its biggest stories of 2007, but is still going on about the Iraqi “interpreters” without bothering to ask why these people are in any danger whatever of they really have been, as it was put it this time round, “serving the international community”.

Nor can Newsnight leave Uzbekistan alone, but not because of the ghastly Western-backed regime there, except insofar as it is “forcing out of school and into labour” children during the long summer holiday, when the schools are closed anyway.

Uzbek schools have this long holiday so that the children can help bring in the harvest. And British schools have it for exactly the same reason. Is the BBC too metropolitan to understand this, or just too posh?

And why don’t we actually put youths to work in the fields during that holiday? Now there’s a thought...

Britain Becomes Lapland

I am poorer than Manchester United players, older than most of them, and uglier than quite a few. Yet I have never felt the slightest need to go to a lap-dancing club.

The proliferation of these vile establishments is one of the great social developments of our time. The surprise that so many of these women come from abroad is not shared by me. Who would want to display herself thus to her local community, when through the door at any time might walk, say, her neighbours, or her daytime workmates, or her brother, or her father?

Mercifully, the lap-dancing club in Durham is not now to go ahead after all. But the one in Consett has just been granted an extension to five o’clock because the District Council, to its great distress, was unable to find any legal ground for refusing the application. One of the conditions is increased security, including female security, since the worst trouble is on the “ladies’ nights” featuring male dancers. Some ladies!

Have these male dancers also come from abroad? Or is each of them perfectly happy to display himself thus to his local community, when through the door at any time might walk, say, his neighbours, or his daytime workmates, or his sister, or his mother?

And why on God’s green earth would any person, male or female, wish to look at strippers at five o’clock in the morning?

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Great Estates, Council Estates, and Estates of the Realm

Sir Peregrine Worsthorne writes:

Undoubtedly the rich and poor still have good reasons to fight. Today's capitalist triumphalism has seen to that. But the aristocracy – and the House of Lords in particular – is no longer part of that war. Indeed, if allowed to do so, they would gladly stand shoulder to shoulder with the plebs against the monstrous menace of new moneymen.

Trouble is, there are now very few aristocrats in the House of Lords, or indeed in the House of Commons, where there also used to be lots of them. Likewise, the very few remaining old trade union hands in the Commons are coming up to retirement (often to be replaced with people who have only ever been trade union officials, but who have never worked in the industries in question), while those in the Lords are dying out.

Both the great estates and the council estates have been banished from the Estates of this Realm; both the aristocratic social conscience and organised labour have been removed as brakes on a bourgeoisie now utterly convinced that it owes its hegemony to "merit".

The End of A-Levels


Of course, A-levels will still be required in order to gain admission to certain universities, and will therefore still be delivered by certain schools. Guess which universities. And guess which schools.

They Still Can't Get Arrested

Three weeks on from confessing on television, and they still haven't so much as been arrested. What do they have to do? Like cash for honours (but much more quickly) this one just seems to have been made to go away. Perhaps the Police are hoping that that will help them in their pay dispute.

The Health of Nations

Why are the Tories so keen on the obvious beginnings of an EU Health Service? Simply because it will never work, just as a US Health Service would never work: only national sovereignty can restore social democracy to Europe, just as only states' rights, as advocated by Ron Paul, can bring it to America, state by state, spreading rapidly by example.

Choose Life

Congratulations to New Jersey on abolishing the death penalty (even if only symbolically), and congratulations to the UN on calling for a moratorium by a margin far too large to be put down to mere Western cultural imperialism. Far fewer countries have the death penalty than is generally supposed, anyway.

As the late Pope John Paul the Great tirelessly pointed out, the State has no more right to take a morally innocent human life (i.e., that of a wrongly convicted person) on the basis of mere judicial guilt than on the basis of, say, disability, or old age, or terminal illness, or still being in the womb.

So, when can we expect liberal America and the UN to act against those evils, too?

What Tony Did Next

In the Daily Express, Patrick O'Flynn writes:

His cack-handedness in the property market used to be a national joke but within six months of leaving Downing Street, Tony Blair is already a millionaire several times over. He is estimated to be earning up to £1million every month, mainly through lucrative after-dinner speeches in North America. He has also secured a £5million deal for his memoirs.

While Mr Blair has done very well out of his relationship with America, the awkward fact is that there are many who have not.

The botched invasion of Iraq has been the biggest foreign policy disaster for decades. Its impact has made the world a more dangerous place. It has so far cost the lives of 174 British service personnel. Thousands more have been injured.

The compensation they have received has been scant. Life?time awards for those maimed in battle range from just £1,000 to a maximum of £285,000 for those with permanent and multiple debilitating injuries – that’s a couple of nights’ work for Mr Blair these days.

As Britain prepares for its final, inglorious withdrawal from southern Iraq in circumstances that fall far short of victory or vindi?cation, the sight of Mr Blair hitting the jackpot must leave a sour taste for thousands of forces’ families.

So it must. And just wait for the directorships of Halliburton and the like.

I remain baffled at Blair's book advance. Whom does the publisher imagine is going to buy Blair's memoirs? Only academic libraries, and even then only so as to laugh at his fibs and fantasies.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Thank God When John Pilger Could Be Peter Hitchens, Or Vice Versa

Well worth reprinting in full here:

The former Murdoch retainer Andrew Neil has described James Murdoch, the heir apparent, as a "social liberal". What strikes me is his casual use of "liberal" for the new ruler of an empire devoted to the promotion of war, conquest and human division. Neil's view is not unusual. In the murdochracy that Britain has largely become, once noble terms such as democracy, reform, even freedom itself, have long been emptied of their meaning. In the years leading to Tony Blair's election, liberal commentators vied in their Tonier-than-thou obeisance to such a paragon of "reborn liberalism". In these pages in 1995, Henry Porter celebrated an almost mystical politician who "presents himself as a harmoniser for all the opposing interests in British life, a conciliator of class differences and tribal antipathies, a synthesiser of opposing beliefs". Blair was, of course, the diametric opposite.

As events have demonstrated, Blair and the cult of New Labour have destroyed the very liberalism millions of Britons thought they were voting for. This truth is like a taboo and was missing almost entirely from last week's Guardian debate about civil liberties. Gone is the bourgeoisie that in good times would extend a few rungs of the ladder to those below. From Blair's pseudo-moralising assault on single parents a decade ago to Peter Hain's recent attacks on the disabled, the "project" has completed the work of Thatcher and all but abolished the premises of tolerance and decency, however amorphous, on which much of British public life was based. The trade-off has been mostly superficial "social liberalism" and the highest personal indebtedness on earth. In 2007, reported the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the United Kingdom faced the highest levels of inequality for 40 years, with the rich getting richer and the poor poorer and more and more segregated from society. The International Monetary Fund has designated Britain a tax haven, and corruption and fraud in British business are almost twice the global average, while Unicef reports that British children are the most neglected and unhappiest in the "rich" world.

Abroad, behind a facade of liberal concern for the world's "disadvantaged", such as waffle about millennium goals and anti-poverty stunts with the likes of Google and Vodafone, the Brown government, together with its EU partners, is demanding vicious and punitive free-trade agreements that will devastate the economies of scores of impoverished African, Caribbean and Pacific nations. In Iraq, the blood-letting of a "liberal intervention" may well have surpassed that of the Rwanda genocide, while the British occupiers have made no real attempt to help the victims of their lawlessness. And putting out more flags will not cover the shame. "The mortality of children in Basra has increased by nearly 30% compared to the Saddam Hussein era," says Dr Haydar Salah, a paediatrician at Basra children's hospital. In January nearly 100 leading British doctors wrote to Hilary Benn, then international development secretary, describing how children were dying because Britain had not fulfilled its obligations under UN security resolution 1483. He refused to see them.

Even if a contortion of intellect and morality allows the interventionists to justify these actions, the same cannot be said for liberties eroded at home. These are too much part of the myth that individual freedom was handed down by eminent liberal gentlemen instead of being fought for at the bottom. Yet rights of habeas corpus, of free speech and assembly, and dissent and tolerance, are slipping away, undefended. Whole British communities now live in fear of the police. The British are distinguished as one of the most spied upon people in the world. A grey surveillance van with satellite tracking sits outside my local Sainsbury's. On the pop radio station Kiss 100, the security service MI5 advertises for ordinary people to spy on each other. These are normal now, along with the tracking of our intimate lives and a system of secretive justice that imposes 18-hour curfews on people who have not been charged with any crime and are denied the "evidence". Hundreds of terrified Iraqi refugees are sent back to the infinite dangers of the country "we" have destroyed. Meanwhile, the cause of any real civil threat to Britons has been identified and confirmed repeatedly by the intelligence services. It is "our" continuing military presence in other people's countries and collusion with a Washington cabal described by the late Norman Mailer as "pre-fascist". When famous liberal columnists wring their hands about the domestic consequences, let them look to their own early support for such epic faraway crimes.

In broadcasting, a prime source of liberalism and most of our information, the unthinkable has been normalised. The murderous chaos in Iraq is merely internecine. Indeed, Bush's "surge" is "working". The holocaust there has nothing to do with "us". There are honourable exceptions, of course, as there are in those great liberal storehouses of knowledge, Britain's universities; but they, too, are normalised and left to natter about "failed states" and "crisis management" - when the cause of the crisis is on their doorstep. As Terry Eagleton has pointed out, for the first time in two centuries almost no eminent British poet, playwright or novelist is prepared to question the foundations of western actions, let alone interrupt, as DJ Taylor once put it, all those "demure ironies and mannered perceptions, their focus on the gyrations of a bunch of emotional poseurs ... to the reader infinitely reassuring ... and infinitely useless". Harold Pinter and Ronan Bennett are exceptions.

Britain is now a centralised single-ideology state, as secure in the grip of a superpower as any former eastern bloc country. The Whitehall executive has prerogative powers as effective as politburo decrees. Unlike Venezuela, critical issues such as the EU constitution or treaty are denied a referendum, regardless of Blair's "solemn pledge". Thanks largely to a parliament in which a majority of the members cannot bring themselves to denounce the crime in Iraq or even vote for an inquiry, New Labour has added to the statutes a record 3,000 criminal offences: an apparatus of control that undermines the Human Rights Act. In 1977, at the height of the cold war, I interviewed the Charter 77 dissidents in Czechoslovakia. They warned that complacency and silence could destroy liberty and democracy as effectively as tanks. "We're actually better off than you in the west," said a writer, measuring his irony. "Unlike you, we have no illusions."

For those people who still celebrate the virtues and triumphs of liberalism - anti-slavery, women's suffrage, the defence of individual conscience and the right to express it and act upon it - the time for direct action is now. It is time to support those of courage who defy rotten laws to read out in Parliament Square the names of the current, mounting, war dead, and those who identify their government's complicity in "rendition" and its torture, and those who have followed the paper and blood trail of Britain's piratical arms companies. It is time to support the NHS workers who up and down the country are trying to alert us to the destruction of a Labour government's greatest achievement. The list of people stirring is reassuring. The awakening of the rest of us is urgent.

Nick Clegg

First the Tories pick a Blair clone, and now the Lib Dems pick a clone of that. Does anyone in the Political Class realise that Blair was, shall we say, not quite universally loved?

Watch the figures for dedicated abstainers (factored out for headline purposes by the polling companies) shoot up after this, and possibly approach fifty per cent by the time that the Election comes. That's a hell of a lot of votes just waiting to be picked up. But will anyone bother?


New Charges For Visiting The United Kingdom

But not for EU nationals. Obviously. Yet for Her Majesty's other subjects. Of course.

Help Me, Rhondda

The accession of the singularly preposterous Chris Bryant MP to the Henry Jackson Society adds Rhondda to our list of particularly urgent priority seats, although we intend to contest every seat, and now have until early 2010 to find our candidates.

Once upon a time, you know, Labour used to expel entryists, even if they were sitting MPs.

Hungarian Uprising

Not before time, in that increasingly famine-stricken victim of neoliberal economics and neoconservative geopolitics, where the nominally Socialist governing party now enjoys only thirteen per cent support, and its at least honestly Thatcherite ally a mere two per cent.

The Santiago Test

As I sometimes have cause to tell people, if I wanted a government which persecuted those who engage in homosexual acts, then I'd move to Cuba. The American blockade has won the Cuban regime the sympathy of huge numbers of people who should know better.

Since there is both a Santiago de Chile and a Santiago de Cuba, I propose the Santiago Test: however you reacted to the death of Pinochet, then that is how you should react to the clearly impending death of Castro. Watch out for the people who don't pass the Santiago Test.


Just as well that I didn't pick 2007 to learn to drive at last. (Anyone who doesn't suffer from it cannot possibly understand the terror of sitting behind the wheel of a car which some of us experience. We willingly more than double the time that it takes us to get anywhere. Never mind the vagaries of public transport here in rural areas. But I will learn to drive one day. It is my Everest.)

So the details of all our learner-drivers were on a disc in Iowa, which has now gone missing? I cannot tell which is the more glorious contribution to efficiency and competence: globalisation, or the contracting out of public services. Can you?

ID Cards: Well, They Have To Do Something

Identity cards will almost certainly not now go ahead. But the very suggestion of them was indicative of government's search for something with which to occupy its time when it has refused to exercise its proper role in the tradition that has come down through the Liberals Keynes and Beveridge from the ultraconservatives Colbert and Bismarck.

Instead of protecting jobs (and thus the tax base for public services) by protecting markets in goods, services, capital and labour, and instead of acting both preventatively and remedially against want, idleness, ignorance, squalor and ill health, government erodes the very liberties and other conservative values that its proper social-democratic activities would protect both against capitalism itself and against the Jacobinism, Marxism, anarchism or Fascism into which that system drives its despairing victims by the billion.

Now that one of the greatest ever such erosions of liberty looks like it is not going to go ahead, government should re-focus its attentions on its proper role.

Northern Lights

Outside the EU, not only has Norway the highest per capita income in the world, and not only has Norway a thriving social democracy, but Norway is also a major player in the Middle East, not just diplomatically (which no EU member-state will ever be if the Constitreaty comes into force), but now also financially.

In order to safeguard Arabism (which is of Christian origin, and is in principle inclusive of the Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Druze and secular traditions among the Arabs, above all in its Levantine heartland) against Islamism in Palestine, Norway is in a position to contribute almost as much money as Britain, and more than Spain, France, Sweden or Germany. That sort of cash buys clout, as it deserves to.

But we couldn't survive outside the EU. Could we?

More Honoured In The Breach?

"Conservative" Saudi websites are apparently accusing the King of breaching the rules of Islam in order to appease its Western critics, by pardoning a rape victim sentenced to the lash for being alone with a man in the first place.

But they are only partly right: the King has indeed breached what are indeed the rules of Islam; but the Western critics refuse, with very rare exceptions, to be critics of Islam itself, and instead insist, like Gillian Gibbons, that Islam is really "peaceful and tolerant", deserving to be imported en masse into our cities and towns, and deserving of its own states in the Balkans (for a start, anyway).

No, it is not.

Of Balance And The Palace

Olive from On The Buses was doing her occasional turn as Aunt Sal, Peggy Mitchell's sister on EastEnders. Then I could have sworn that it was her, restored to her 1970s condition, dragging her aged mother and young son around after the Queen, of whom she has apparently caught over five hundred glimpses, all over the world, during the last twenty years.

This stalker is presumably the BBC's idea of a committed monarchist, since it is now known to be on the look out for people to say bad things about the Queen, to be recorded for broadcast on the night of Her Majesty's death. Isn't balance wonderful? Almost as wonderful as public service broadcasting.

Monday, 17 December 2007

The Iraq War Is Over

And Britain has lost.

Cameron's Coalition

David Cameron still wishes to be considered a serious politician despite having been rebuffed by the Lib Dems and the Greens. His "alliance" with them would have become an electoral pact, which would have become a merger.

Cameron clearly sees the Eurofanatical, anti-family, pro-crime, pro-drugs Lib Dems, never mind the Green exponents of zero economic growth and general hippiedom, as his natural allies. And he is right. Yet even they have much more sense than to want anything to do with him.

Of course, it doesn't stop there. Cameron also wants to include the utterly unrepentant old Stalinists and Trotskyists who make up the Blairite rump within the Labour Party. Should Cameron ever become Prime Minister, then expect key roles for Lords Mandelson, Reid, Byers, Milburn, Clarke and the rest.

Indeed, Blair himself might very well make some sort of comeback. After all, Cameron's whole strategy is to go on about how much happier we all were under Blair. Weren't we?

I'm Dreaming Of A Black Christmas

Trevor Phillips is right, of course: Jesus is the reason for the season; and ethnic minorities have no desire to stop traditional Christmas celebrations, but rather the very opposite (although we must be on our guard).

Not least, there are ethnic minorities and ethnic minorities. The most observantly Christian communities in Britain today are of African or Afro-Caribbean origin: doctrinally and morally traditional, politically Old Labour (not least in their staunch Commonwealth monarchism), and now with someone to vote for .

So, where is the candidate for Mayor of London to unite the English-speaking, Christian, monarchist, social-democratic working class (as broadly defined as possible), black and white? Do get in touch -

Not That, But This

There is no need for this.

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.

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.

Hills of the North, Rejoice?

This looks a bit desperate, I'm afraid. As one comment puts it:

The Conservatives need to concentrate on the industrial towns around the big northern cities - places like Bolton, Hyndburn, Bury, Worsley, Wallasey, Halifax, Wakefield, Dewsbury, Keighley, Sunderland Central, Stockton, Penistone, Don Valley, Bassetlaw. These areas know that Labour has failed but have not yet been given a reason to vote Conservative. The skilled northern working class is there for the taking - we just need the right policies.

I get the feeling though that these places aren't regarded as 'fashionable' enough by the party leadership.

There are twice as many potential Conservative gains in West Yorkshire alone as in the whole of Scotland yet I suspect Scotland is regarded as more important by the party leadership.

Well, if the Tories think that Sunderland, the largest city between Leeds and Edinburgh, is "an industrial town around a big Northern city", then they certainly do have a problem.

In Bolton, Hyndburn, Bury, Worsley, Wallasey, Halifax, Wakefield, Dewsbury, Keighley, Sunderland Central, Stockton, Penistone, Don Valley, Bassetlaw, and everyhwere else where you know that Labour has failed but have not yet been given a reason to vote Conservative, you do now have someone to vote for. So, where are our candidates? Do get in touch -

Lieberman Endorses McCain

No surprise here, of course. Is he looking for another shot at the Vice-Presidency?

Clinton and Giuliani should be each other's running mates; there is absolutely no political reason why not, and it would clear the space for real alternatives. I'm not suggesting that it's going to happen, but I can't see the slightest reason why it shouldn't. Like the Tory/Lib Dem/Green/rump-Blairite merger being proposed by Cameron.

Americans, please vote for Ron Paul. Only states' rights (the racist implications of which have been killed off by universal suffrage in the South) can bring social democracy to America, just as only national sovereignty can restore social democracy to Europe.

And a strong Paul (or, failing that, Huckabee) showing, with or without the Republican nomination, would force the Democrats to find an economically populist, morally and socially conservative, genuinely patriotic (i.e., anti-neoconservative) candidate in 2012.

If only Paul were more populist economically. And if only Huckabee were anti-war.

An Opportunity, Even If Not For Me

During the last 48 hours, several Labour figures in these parts have committed the expulsionable act of asking me to stand as an Independent for the new County Durham Unitary Authority, so strong are their fraternal feelings towards each other. (I myself was expelled from the Labour Party for wanting to leave it - W S Gilbert will never die.)

Anyway, I expect a strong field of candidates in this Ward, so probably won't be bothering; I keep my options open if that strong field fails to materialise. There will be no Parish Election on the same day, so the name recognition trick won't be necessary. (I remain astonished that something like that is unknown to the sort of people about to be imposed as the successors to Hilary Armstrong, Chris Mullin, Bill Etherington, David Clelland, Ronnie Campbell and Frank Cook, in the North East alone.)

But the fact that each of the existing County Wards will now elect two Councillors does present an opportunity for Gordon Brown. Will he allow us to vote for one candidate and have the top two declared elected at the end? What is he afraid of? Is he a giver away of power to the People? Or is he a control freak? This is his chance to show us.

Lifestyles of the Bizarre and Despicable

See here.

Sunday, 16 December 2007

Museum Pieces

The new Museum of British History should include as many items as possible pertaining to the Conservative Party, the Labour Party, and the Liberal Democrats, all of which are now phenomena of purely historical interest.

Iraq: WHY?

Amusing though it was to see William Shawcross billed as an "author and broadcaster on the Middle East", rather than just as "his father's son" or "the (yet unpublished) official biographer of the Queen Mother", this evening's BBC Parliament debate on Iraq left the main question unaddressed: why?

It can't have been because of WMDs, since no one making any decisions ever believed that there were any. Therefore, it can't have been because of Israel (which has nuclear weapons, anyway). Nor can it have been about oil, which Saddam Hussein was perfectly happy to sell to us.

And it certainly wasn't either about Islamist terrorism (against which Saddam was a bulwark), or about making life better for Iraqis (who were better off under Saddam), or about containing Iran (which has never been stronger, her enemies both to the west and to the east having been removed), nor about preventing an Islamist takeover (which, entirely predictably and indeed as widely predicted, has come to pass both in a Shi'ite form in the south and in a Wahhabi form in the centre).

So why did we ever go to war in Iraq? And why are we still there?

Think On This

Five hundred jobs lost in Spennymoor, because Electrolux is moving to Poland. Yes, Poland. Where all those people here have come from in order to find work.

Think on.

Public Service Broadcasting?

I hope so. The license fee is unrelated to means, and almost every household in this country has a television set, while the million or so people who do not are very rarely found within the working class. Coverage of the number of young white women turning to Islam is long overdue, as is that of the labour shortages now afflicting Poland. And above all, it is high time that someone stood up to the trend whereby the white working class is the last category of people not protected by normal standards of anti-racism.

Transatlantic Trends

Muslim emigration to Europe (and to America - watch that space) is being actively encouraged in order to stoke up resentments such as might be used to support repression at home and wars abroad. Islamic states are being created in Europe to that same end.

A new and compliant working class is being imported here. The English-speaking working class (black and white) is being increasingly oppressed by means of state multilingualism.

And ill feeling is being engendered by the import of goods from Asia, and thus by the export of jobs thereto, i.e., to countries where workers' rights are often minimal or non-existent.

Likewise, Hispanic emigration to the United States is being actively encouraged in order to stoke up resentments such as might be used to support repression at home and wars abroad (beginning in Venezuela, but certainly not ending there). Hispanic statelets are starting to emerge in the US to that same end.

A new and compliant working class is being imported there. The English-speaking working class (black and white) is being increasingly oppressed by means of state bilingualism.

And ill feeling is being engendered by the import of goods both from Latin America (most lately by means of the extension of the NAFTA arrangements to Peru) and from Asia, and thus by the export of jobs thereto, i.e., to countries where workers' rights are often minimal or non-existent.

Take Back The Trains

MPs are of course right to call for the renationalisation of First Great Western.

The railways were only ever privatised on the monstrous understanding that the profitability of the private rail companies would be guaranteed for ever by means of public subsidies.

So the shareholders have already been more than compensated enough: in this unique circumstance, renationalisation should be without (further) compensation.

A Question

I was going to complain that that Douglas Murray had been on Any Questions again this week. But at least they didn't mention his imaginary think tank (in fact, he's just too rich to need to work). And I suspect that, following Newsnight's glorious exposure of Policy Exchange, the dear old Beeb (like the Guardian in at least one case) is now just having the neocons on for a laugh while it still can, before they all flee to America or Israel in order to escape imprisonment.

But I do have a question for Any Questions, and also for Question Time: why do they bother touring the country if they are always going to have London-based panellists? This week, Any Questions came from Birmingham. But only one of the panellists did. She was a Respect councillor, and so good that they'll probably never allow her on again. (In particular, only the Tory Right is permitted to express Euroscepticism on the BBC.) And it certainly was not as if the others were so distinguished that some sort of favour was being done to the provincial audience by enabling it to hear them.

At the very least, Any Questions, since it is on a broadcast live on a Friday evening, could feature well-known local MPs who have gone to their constituencies for the weekend. I thought that that was why it moved around. Isn't it?

"How Can This Be?"

"I no more believe that Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary than I believe that Krishna was born of the virgin Devaka, Horus was born of the virgin Isis, Mercury was born of the virgin Maia, or Romulus was born was born of the virgin Rhea Sylvia," Christopher Hitchens informs The Spectator.

But no one has ever suggested that Devaka, Isis, Maia or Rhea Sylvia was a virgin. These are all cases of a very common mythological theme: the impregnation of women by gods, by means of sexual intercourse, so that the women were by definition not virgins when they became pregnant, even if they were right up until that act.

Except in Mormonism, this has never been suggested with regard to Mary's conception of Jesus. Sexual intercourse is exactly what does not occur in this case, so that there is no parallel whatever with any other story, immensely numerous though such stories certainly are.

A C Grayling also makes the point that it is not clear that the prophecy is Isaiah actually refers to a virgin. Well, it certainly does in the Septuagint, and, contrary to what used to be asserted, first century Palestine is now acknowledged to have been profoundly Hellenised. So either the Septuagint prophecy is indeed being fulfilled explicitly, or else there was no expectation that the Messiah would be virgin-born, and thus no reason to make up that Jesus had been.

It is worth pointing out that absolutely no early opponent of Christianity, whether Jewish or pagan, ever suggested that Jesus was the son of Joseph. Instead, they claimed that he was illegitimate, a charge at which there are more than hints even in the Gospels themselves.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Policy Exchange

Following its exposure on last night's Newsnight, Neil Clark has the lowdown on this nasty little neocon outfit, whose Research Director's arrogant, petulant outburst was one of the funniest things on television for a very long time.

There are, of course, several other nasty little neocon outfits, also run by arrogant, petulant, crooked apparatchiki. Let's see them all exposed, and even I might start writing nice things about the BBC. Now, that's what I really would call "public service broadcasting".

Neil writes that Policy Exchange "very clearly has an agenda: to stir up tensions between Britain's Muslim and non-Muslim communities in order to maintain the fiction of a 'clash of civilisations' which can only be won by launching more wars and more military interventions."

Quite so. But, of course, such tensions are only possible if there are huge numbers of Muslims here in the first place, and are greatly exacerbated by the creation of Islamic states in Europe, as in Bosnia and putatively in Kosovo.

Just Say No

I make no apology for returning to this vitally important point, now or in the future. Parliament should vote down the newly signed EU Constitreaty simply because of its content, without the need for a referendum.

Imagine an amendment simply rejecting the further transfer of legislative power to a body which meets in secret and publishes no Official Report, and the failure to restore British fishing rights in accordance with international law. How could any Scottish, Northern Irish, East Coast or West Country MP, just for a start, vote against the latter point? And how could any Conservative, Liberal or Labourite vote against the former point? How?

So, where is that amendment? There is no need even to mention a referendum.

Social Mobility

The Pope is a Catholic, and I think we all know where bears go to the lavatory.

Grammar schools. That's all I'm saying.

Our Lords And Masters

The central banks of Britain, the US, Canada, the EU and Switzerland yesterday demonstrated that the "free" market of globalisation has massively eroded national sovereignty and democracy, and that the unelected, unaccountable central bankers now rule the world.

Gordon Brown is particularly culpable here, having placed our own central bank beyond democratic political control, thereby reversing one of Labour's greatest democratising achievements.

A Bitter Pill

I was going to post about the decision to make the Pill (an immensely powerful drug and in no sense medicine, since it is designed precisely to stop the body from functioning healthily) available over the counter, including to girls below the age of consent. But that decision is tragically unsurprising. See here.

By contrast, the coverage of it on The World At One, where the only debate was over whether pubescent girls should be supplied this toxin by a doctor or by a pharmacist in order to aid and abet criminal behaviour, was jaw-dropping, and demonstrated that Martha Kearney still imagines herself to presenting Woman's Hour, which, where such matters are concerned, has long been exempt from even the BBC's laughable standards of balance.

John Redwood: Voice of Old Labour

How many Labour MPs must long to be able to say this? I could name several, although they are all likely or certain to retire either next time or the time after that.

Reducing CO2 emissions has a long history as a solution in search of a problem. At one time, it was allegedly the solution to global cooling. And its attractions are clear: the prevention of everyone except the likes of Al Gore and George Monbiot from travelling, the preclusion of people in the poor world from using their natural resources to develop as we did, and the destruction of the high-wage, high-skilled, high-status jobs of the working class.

I believe in nuclear power both in order to restore such jobs, and in order to secure independence from Middle Eastern oil and former Soviet gas. If the Government believed in those things, then it would be building many new nuclear power stations. As it would be doing if it believed in man-made global warming. Indeed, if it so believed, then it would also be reducing or eradicating its huge fleet of cars, and reducing dramatically its members' air travel.

Clearly, then, the Government does not believe in man-made nuclear power. It just believes in the prevention of everyone except the likes Al Gore and George Monbiot from travelling, in the preclusion of people in the poor world from using their natural resources to develop as we did, and in the destruction of the high-wage, high-skilled, high-status jobs of the working class. As, apparently, does the Nobel Committee.

Über Alles?

If either Kosovo or Flanders becomes independent, then the continuing SS tradition across several countries will have secured an enormous victory, for such are the explicit and unashamed roots of the secessionist movements in both areas. Will we heed the warning?

A Class Act

I have had a very interesting email today from an extremely disillusioned Old Labour media type, asking what I (and, it must be said, a number of others) thought might be done to increase working-class representation in Parliament, considering that exceedingly few (rather elderly) people from that background are likely to be returned next time, and quite probably none at all the time after that.

(As part of New Labour's efforts to persuade the unions to accept signing into, rather than out of, the political levy, and to accept a cap on further donations, a substantial number of working-class MPs will be ennobled just before the next Election, so that their seats may be given to people who have been full-time trade union officials since taking their Politics degrees, and who have never actually worked in the industries that they organise and represent.)

Well, I happily throw open the topic here, beginning with this, and also with the extension of the same principles to local government: let each Council contain an equal number of Councillors and Aldermen (an excuse to revive that venerable old term). The former elected as here, the latter would be elected for the same areas by those in the (admittedly imperfect) AB, C1C2, and DE social groups: vote for one candidate, and the top two per group would be elected at the end. Candidates for each election by each group would have to be drawn from that group.

Every major decision would require the approval both of the majority of Councillors and of the majority of Aldermen. Each would enjoy equal representation within a properly restored committee system. And the powers of local government would be restored across the board, with the requirement that nominations to bodies dealing with health, education, transport and so forth also include equal numbers of people from the three social groups.

Any thoughts?

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Still The Heir To Blair

Cameron's tactic at PMQs was quite clear, and is now the Tories' strategy of choice in general: "Weren't things so much better under dear old Tony Blair, whom we gave a standing ovation on the floor of the House of Commons, and whose clone is our own Leader, David Cameron?"

If you weren't that slavishly pro-Blair, never mind if you weren't pro-Blair at all, then why on earth would you vote Tory? Not, of course, that you still have to.

And if you were that slavishly pro-Blair, or even pro-Blair at all, then why on earth would you not vote Tory? Blair himself is certainly going to.

Well, What Else Did Anyone Expect?

If not this? No wonder Brown had no answer for Vince Cable this afternoon: this, and who knows how much more to come in the same vein, is Brown's and Blair's fault.

Meanwhile, if the invasion of Iraq was a "liberation", then why did these people ever seek asylum here in the first place? Why are they not hailed in their homeland as national heroes?

This Could Be The End Of David Cameron

The next Lib Dem Leader will certainly be English, so if Brown really is replaced with either an unambiguously English caretaker (Straw, Johnson) or an unambiguously English full-blown successor (Balls, one of the Milibands), then it really will be the end of the line for Cameron, whose English public school, Oxbridge degree, marriage into the English baronetage, and safe Tory seat in (these days) the Home Counties are all part and parcel of his being a classic posh Scot complete with one house in London and another in rural Scotland (on the Isle of Jura).

Do Alan Johnson and David Davis have adjacent constituencies, as had Tony Blair and William Hague? Just a thought.

Russia And The British Council

Cultural exchange between Russia and Britain goes back a very long way indeed, and the Russians would ordinarily welcome the British Council with open arms.

That they are no longer doing so is because our Political Class has sided with the American neoconservatives, who despise the Biblical-Classical synthesis of which Russia is the greatest bulwark against both Islamic and Far Eastern threats, and whose own allies are indeed the separatist forces of "militant Islam" (the only kind that there can be) in Kosovo and Chechnya.

That Class must be cleared out so that we can can re-establish our ties with Russia on the basis of that synthesis and of Russia's key role in defending it.

So let's get on with doing so.

Putin: The New Sobieski

Spain, Romania, Slovakia, Greece and Cyprus are adamant that they will not recognise the independence of Kosovo, the first thus illustrating that the spirit of Ferdinand and Isabella is alive and well.

Shame on those Teutons and Slavs in the EU who have still not given the same undertaking even though the Turks are once more at the gates of Vienna.

Beyond the EU, thank God, a harder line prevails. The UN has annulled past UDIs in Kosovo, and nothing has changed.

A Proper Labour Rebellion Over Europe

Will this re-ignite the never wholly extinguished fire of Euroscepticism on the Labour Soft Left?

Well, it might do. But what really should is the EU Constitreaty, as it certainly will if someone (SNP? DUP?) puts down an amendment which does not mention a referendum, but rather simply rejects the thing itself on principle.

What on earth would Michael Heseltine's mini-me do then, with no diversionary tactic of calling for a referendum which he knows isn't going to happen? Vote against the Constitreaty itself? Hardly! So save it on the floor of the House, then, since it would certainly be lost there otherwise?

Come on Salmond and Paisley, you're still being paid as MPs, so you might as well earn it for a change.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Words Fail Me

As some of us are wont to say:

There cannot be a “free” market generally, but not in alcohol, gambling, drugs, prostitution or pornography; therefore, there must not be a “free” market generally.

But even we never expected the Adam Smith Institute to call for public subsidies for pornography and for violent video games!

I honestly couldn't think of a title for this post. Any suggestions?

Putin Will Still Be Running Russia

Jolly good.

Plenty of nuclear power stations will not only restore high-wage, high-skill, high-status jobs to our working class, but also make us independent of Russian gas (and Arab oil).

We can then get on with cultivating Russia on the basis of our shared values deriving from Classics and the Bible, the synthesis of which Russia is the historic protector both against Islamic and against Far Eastern domination, a role shared (especially in relation to Islam) with all the Slavs, and not least with Russia's, and historically our, allies, the Serbs.

We all know about the Islamic threat, but what of that from the Far East? A country's sovereignty, liberty, democracy and identity are all eroded at least as much by that country's heavy reliance on imported goods, rather than on a domestic manufacturing base, as by any other factor.

The same is true if a country is heavily dependent on imports in order to feed her people, instead of maintaining a thriving agricultural sector, itself characteristically a bastion of strong family ties, and therefore also of strong community spirit.

And the same is true if much of a country's agriculture, industry or commerce is owned or controlled by persons who are either not her citizens or not resident within her borders for tax purposes.

Our country's sovereignty, liberty, democracy and identity have been, and are still being, so eroded, an erosion which we are determined to expose, to halt, and to reverse, with Russia as a key ally in our doing so.