Wednesday, 31 December 2008

British Israel

At least between the inauguration of Obama and the Likud victory in Israel, Britain will have the most Zionist government in the world, headed by a Dispensationalist and with an expatriate Israeli (and purchaser of babies over the Internet) as at least the nominal Foreign Secretary (of Milly and the former UN Deputy Secretary-General who holds his hand at Cabinet, I think we all know who is the foreign policy expert in the room, and who is not).

The people who elected Obama are not pro-Israeli. Nor are they pro-Palestinian. They are pro-American. They know that they are paying for every bomb being dropped on Gaza. And they know that they do not currently have that money to spare.

Facing Brown and Miliband is David Cameron, who labours under the strange misapprehension that there is some strand in Toryism that believes profoundly in Israel, and who has surrounded himself with like-minded head-bangers such as Osborne, Gove and Vaizey. In fact, the only such strand in Toryism, Labourism or Liberalism is the one that believes profoundly in Britain. All else is strictly secondary and conditional.

When are we going to get a government, or the chance of a government, that so accords with the instincts and interests of this nation?


Just how much are those who charge hospital parking fees paying towards New Labour, its key figures’ offices and pet think tanks, and so forth?

Or is this government (with, as was also the case with New Labour in 1997, a health policy significantly to the right of that of the Tories) simply so obsessive in its Howard Hughes-like fear and hatred of the “dirty” public sector, that it will do this sort of thing for free?

Hutton, Purnell, Mandelson, the Milibands, all that trash – they will not rest until Tony Blair’s legacy is complete, with the NHS abolished, with workers’ rights scrapped, with everything that they can lay their hands on privatised in the interests of their own paymasters, with school vouchers on the basis that even state schools will be free to charge anything they like even far in excess of the value of the vouchers, the lot.

They know that the people who would suffer most as a result hardly vote as it is, and that neither the Tories nor the Lib Dems would oppose these policies at the ballot box anyway.

We, The Jury

I do not hold with the cause of those who have been acquitted by a jury because their concerns about the environment were held to be legitimate. But the right of juries to do this sort of thing is a key democratic freedom. The case for juries (and magistrates) is the case for Parliament and for local councils. And any argument against juries (or magistrates) is an argument against Parliament and against local councils. The reverse also holds, in either case.

That Illinois Senate Seat

It will apparently be difficult for Senate Democrats to object to the person appointed to their number by the, shall we say, outgoing Governor of Illinois, because that person is “widely respected” and because he is black.

As to being “widely respected”, not any more, he isn’t. And as to being black, the hunt is now on for a widely respected black Democrat in Illinois who can help to bridge the widening divide between Obama and the economically populist, morally and socially conservative foreign policy realists who put him in, who have already denied the Democrats a seat in Georgia (and thus the possibility of a filibuster-proof majority) because of his unacceptable appointments, and who can put him right back out again in 2012.

Right Democrat would love to hear from you –

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

The Present Dispensation

This blog is not enamoured of David Miliband, and was aghast at Gordon Brown's failure to sack him for his treachery over the summer.

Milly, lest we forget, had a birthright place at Oxford because he was Ralph Miliband's son (the only thing for which he is remotely notable), yet nevertheless also availed himself, from one of those pseudo-comprehensives which are in fact socio-economically the most exclusive schools in the country, of an ILEA special access scheme, also effectively controlled by his father. Silly, yes. But also very, very nasty.

However, just as both Labour and Tory former Cabinet Ministers are among those who have told me to my face not to blog, even in jest, about any scheme to conscript our least accomplished 16-year-old boys directly into the Israeli Defence Force ("If the wrong person reads that, then it will happen" - and they were not joking), so both Labour and Tory former Cabinet Ministers are among those who have told me to my face that, yes, "everyone" knows that David Miliband is a joint British-Israeli citizen.

Well, under the current circumstances, that might not be such a bad thing. Having an Israeli - a classic secular Ashkenazi nationalist who has a Marxist background - as Foreign Secretary might be just the balance that we need to a Prime Minister (although I must get in a good word about his reiteration today of his opposition to assisted suicide) who appears to be a Dispensationalist.

That is not as improbable as it sounds: if anything, it is "Christian Zionism" among the more-or-less Pentecostal that is bizarre; J N Darby came out of the Calvinistic wing of the Church of Ireland, and C I Scofield was a Congregationalist.

Up to a point, you can negotiate with a classic secular Ashkenazi nationalist who has a Marxist background. But you cannot negotiate at all with a Dispensationalist, who in any case only wants all the Jews to be gathered together in one place so that they can be destroyed.

Fifty Years On, Fifty Years Hence

After Castro, what of Cuba? It is easy to mock Fidel's desire for Cubans to play cricket in order to emphasise that they are West Indians and distinct from the United States. However, he has a point, and good luck to him.

But something else unites the nine West Indian countries among the 16 independent Commonwealth Realms (Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines), and the six among the 10 permanently inhabited British Overseas Territories (Anguilla, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Montserrat, and the Turks and Caicos Islands), namely their shared monarchy, which also distinguishes them from the United States.

The monarchy unites them to each other and to all the other Commonwealth Realms (including Britain) and British Overseas Territories (including Saint Helena, where I was born). All of these 26 countries around the world fought in both World Wars from Day One of each, while the Commonwealth Realms retain the Crown entirely by choice, and the British Overseas Territories remain British entirely by choice.

It is high time that citizens of all of them enjoyed at least the same rights of access to this country as are enjoyed by EU citizens, who might have been SS officers or, as late as 1989, high-ranking Soviet officials in Latvia, Lithuania or Estonia. Furthermore, their respective National Days ought to be observed in some way in our public institutions, especially schools.

If Cuba wants to emphasise that she is West Indian and not American, then, in addition to playing cricket, she ought to provide for the current Castro to be succeeded upon his death by the Westminster model of parliamentary democracy, capped and safeguarded by the Crown.

Or, at the very least, she ought to find a place for herself in an expanded or alternative Commonwealth, still headed by the British monarch with all that that entails, but open to anywhere having no dispute with any of the Queen's (or her successor's) Realms and Territories, and desiring to take a (basically and ultimately Christian) stand against globalisation, American military-industrial hegemony, European federalism, Islam, and the rise of China, all of which are closely related.

Gentlemen and Thugs

As part of his guest editing of this morning's Today programme, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor explored to what extent rugby was still "a thug's game played by gentlemen" rather than, like football, "a gentlemen's game played by thugs".

I have always been baffled that the FA considers it at least impractical, if not actually undesirable, to prohibit the use of foul language on the field of play. It works perfectly well in rugby. And I mean both codes, so this isn't about class or what have you. So why wouldn't it work in football?

Meanwhile, why does the Welsh working class so love the game of those who gave it its martyrs at Tonypandy? Other than cricket (arguably), rugby is quite the least likely game for such implacable foes of the ruling class of yesteryear.

For that matter, why do the Boers, of all people, love rugby, of all sports? Mind you, the Tories managed to love the Boers and their anti-British revenge republic, which was just as improbable.

I understand that rugby was, and to an extent still is, a way of expressing a Basque or Catalan identity in south-western France, distinct from the football-loving French.

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

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

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

There's a book in here somewhere.

Women Bishops

The Church of England’s admission of women to its episcopate would be catastrophic for witness within our national life to the classical Christianity that is, as much as anything else, the basis of all three political traditions.

Independent research has found very large proportions of the women among the Church of England’s clergy to be doubters of or disbelievers in absolutely key points of doctrine, with two thirds denying “that Jesus Christ was born of a Virgin”, and, astonishingly, fully one quarter denying the existence “of God the Father Who created the world”.

The radical feminist Establishment not only wants women to become bishops, but also wants to require that the episcopal “team” in each diocese include both sexes. So, of those with privileged access to the media and other organs of national life as the voice of the Christianity professed by seventy-two per cent of Britons at the last census, at least one eighth will be agnostics or atheists.

There is a most urgent need for parliamentarians who will uphold Parliament’s constitutional duty to preserve the Church of England’s witness to historic, classical, mainstream Christianity, by neither speaking nor voting in favour of any ecclesiastical legislation not supported both by the Catholic Church and by the Evangelical Alliance.

And there is a most urgent need for parliamentarians who will uphold the Church of England’s place at the heart of the Anglican Communion, a body embracing huge numbers of Commonwealth citizens, of English-speaking people, and of British-descended people, and binding them and others, through the Church of England (which must be constantly re-earning its position among, in fact, Scottish and Irish Nationalists, descendants of signatories to the American Declaration of Independence, people whose spiritual fathers were extreme Anglo-Catholics or Evangelicals who deliberately moved as far from England as they could, and so forth), to the Crown in Parliament.

On either of these counts, women bishops are unconscionable.

But with diocesan bishops in direct talks with Vatican officials at the very highest levels, others threatening not to retire at 70 and then to fight under age discrimination legislation any attempt to make them go, six hundred incumbents threatening to resign and then sue for constructive dismissal, and much else besides, this one is going to run, and run, and run.

Ron Paul and Israel

From Left Conservative:

Press TV: There has been a lot of speculation that Israel may act on its own and conduct an independent air strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Do you think that’s possible?

Paul: I don’t think there is such a thing as an independent Israel doing anything, because I think no matter what they do it’s our money, it’s our weapons, and they’re not going to do it without us approving it and if they get into trouble we’re going to bail them out, so there is no separation between the two.

I grabbed this excerpt from the new (and excellent) Young Americans For Liberty blog.

Though comments like these would be seen as impolite at worst in any other context, the state of Israel was discussed semi-critically, so one can be sure that Congressman Paul will be accused of "anti-semitism" yet again. The "misuse and abuse" of that term has a long history in American political life, but attaching it to the name of Ron Paul is nothing short of a disgrace.

For years now there have been conflicting views on Israel, with one group arguing that Israel and its lobby wields an undue influence over U.S. policy in the Middle East and the other side arguing that the tiny Jewish state is essentialy the latest colonial outpost in the American Empire. The truth of that matter is that both are technically correct, with the point expressed by Congressman Paul being the particularly important one. Though the Israel lobby does in fact wield disproportionate influence in Washington, Israel itself is a state entirely beholden to U.S. money and power politics for its survival.

As someone generally predisposed to the notion that states don't have any rights and international institutions are criminal cartels, it is especially annoying to me to see a country of sixty years, that owes its existence to the UN, constantly invoking its "right to exist" as a welfare dependent of American taxpayers. The unwillingness of America's political class to cut off the spigots is partially related to campaign contributions, partially related to our hyper-PC culture of victimization, and partially related to cultural and religious identity politics. Still, regardless of why it happens, this endless flow of weapons and money is the reason Israel survives.

Ron Paul is correct. Israel is not an independent nation and ultimately this is to the detriment of its citizens. If Israel cannot protect itself or its people it ought not exist. The same can (and should) be said of any other country on the planet.

Back in 1981 when the Israelis attacked a nuclear reactor in Iraq nearly every member of the U.S. legislative branch condemned the assault. Not Ron Paul. In fact he took the floor to defend Israel's right to act independently in the arena of foreign policy.

Leftists might point to this as evidence that Paul has flip-flopped on interventionism and preemption; they would be wrong. The lessons then are the same as they are now. To the Israelis, sink or swim. To the US, "America First, Second and Third."

BNP Defeated

In Bangladesh, but it's a start.

Here, by contrast, the BNP is being lined up on purpose for at least nine, and possibly 12, Strasbourg seats, in order to keep certain issues off the agenda ("You sound like the BNP"), and in order to justify the further repression of the English-speaking white working class.

A bunch of Security "Service" stooges? I am beginning to suspect so.

Monday, 29 December 2008

Or What You Will

Peter Hitchens is on fine form with his rallying cry to counter the secularist war against Christmas with a campaign against the pointless celebration of a mere change in the date a week later, a celebration centred around a song to which most people do not know the words and which is not in fact about the New Year at all.

It is urgently necessary that Saint George’s Day, Saint Andrew’s Day, Saint David’s Day and Saint Patrick’s Day be made public holidays throughout the United Kingdom. In place, like them, of our ridiculous celebrations of the mere fact that the banks are on holiday, the real Whit Monday should be restored, and Ascension Day made a public holiday along with it.

Christmas Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday and Boxing Day should be retained, and Commonwealth Day (not Trafalgar Day, for who wants to sit in the wind and rain marking an inconclusive battle at which our admiral died?) added to them. Giving eleven, concentrated in our islands’ glorious spring and early summer.

But eleven is an odd number in more than one sense. How to arrive at a nice, round dozen? Well, if the Epiphany were restored as a public holiday, then so could be the ancient, yet really quite recently practised, observances of Twelfth Night, secure in the knowledge that there would be no work the next day.

No, the world would not simply shut down from lunchtime on Christmas Eve until the morning of 7th January, as it very largely does from lunchtime on Christmas Eve until the morning of 2nd January at the moment; the length of time would be too long for that. This way, there would be a real gap between the holidays. As, of course, there was historically, unless anyone really imagines that even subsistence farmers ever stopped work for twelve days on the trot. And the holidays themselves would mean something.

As much as anything else, the erection of Ascension Day and the Epiphany as public holidays would force the “Catholic” Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales to reverse its petulant lashing out against the election of an orthodox Catholic as Pope, namely its transfer of those holy days to the following Sundays, so that (unless we can attend thin-on-the-ground Latin Masses) we no longer get to celebrate them on the same day as the Holy Father, even though members of the Church of England and the Church in Wales do.

That The Adversary May Be Ashamed

The five Anglican bishops are right, of course. But why is none of three main parties saying the same thing? Why has none of them (historically, it could have been any one, and should really have been all three) always been saying it? If you continue to put up with this as if there were no alternative, then you have only yourselves to blame.

Great Russia, Indeed

That Stalin nearly won the Greatest Russian poll says a very great deal. The supporters of Georgia in her war to exterminate the Russian citizenry of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, natural and historic parts of Russia annexed to Georgia by Stalin (a Georgian), should certainly think on.

As should, insofar as they are different people, the enemies of the present Russian Government. Only Putin and Medvedev stand between, on the one hand, a UN Security Council seat and a nuclear arsenal, and, on the other hand, the totally unreconstructed Communist Party of the Russian Federation.

That is the real world, and I almost wish that Stalin had won, in order to bring certain people into that world. Others, of course, are beyond hope.

Of Pinter And Pétain

Utterly predictable rubbish from the usual suspects about Harold Pinter’s temerity in opposing the creation of a Wahhabi-Nazi state in Bosnia, the creation of a Wahhabi-Nazi-Maoist state in Kosovo, and the removal of one of the Arab world’s two principal bulwarks against Islamic fundamentalism.

Perhaps most telling is Nick Cohen’s effort in The Observer, in which he compares Pinter to Claudel, whom Cohen falsely claims is largely an ignored figure just because he himself only knows other frothing-at-the-mouth atheists to whom any literature informed by Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular (Chaucer, Hopkins, Eliot, Waugh, Greene, anything you like) is minor by definition.

In Cohen’s and such people’s world of perpetual adolescence, and early adolescence at that, there are only Goodies and Baddies.

So Milosevic’s ghastly Wahhabi, Nazi and Maoist enemies must have been, and must still be, good, because they were and are the enemies of Milosovic. The Maoist, genocidally racist enemies of the former Hutu government in Rwanda must have been, and must still be, good, because they were and are the enemies of the Hutu as an ethnic group.

The “Northern Alliance” must have been, and must still be, good, because they were and are the enemies of “the Taliban” (strongly Islamist Pashtun nationalists, the same sort of people that Cohen et al have always backed to the hilt in Yugoslavia) and “al-Qaeda” (which does not exist at all).

And the assorted Islamists, Stalinists and other such savoury characters who agitated for the overthrow of Saddam must have been, and must still be, good, because they were and are the enemies of Saddam. Sheer unpleasantness is deemed a sufficient reason to go to war, entirely regardless of what would thus be brought about instead.

And so to Claudel, or at least to his support for Pétain. The Vichy regime’s enactment of, in particular, anti-Semitic legislation unbidden by the Germans can only be deplored, as can its decision to fight with the Axis rather than simply to withdraw from the War. But when it comes down to the Armistice itself, what else were the French supposed to do in 1940?

In Cohen’s Eustonworld, there might have been some sort of third way. But in the real world, there was not. There was the option of doing what they did. Or there was the option of France’s incorporation into the Third Reich, which would thus have acquired the French Empire on every continent. Which would have been preferable? Clearly, the option taken.

To the end of the War and beyond, many of the French regarded Pétain as fighting Hitler from Vichy as surely as de Gaulle was fighting Hitler from London. That view may not have been entirely right, but it was certainly not entirely wrong.

Pétain’s name was never abominated like that of Laval, who really did want France to be run from Berlin. Thanks both to Pétain (who instead wanted to restore the monarchy, an institution always reviled in practice by Fascists) and to de Gaulle (who was also later to consider most seriously such a restoration), Laval never got his wish.

Leaving aside the question of whether Hitler ever had the slightest intention of invading Britain (and if he did then he inexplicably ignored the open goal in 1943), imagine if such an invasion had in fact taken place and then been, as it certainly would have been, successful at least to the extent of capturing London, which is geographically peripheral within its country just as Paris is.

Churchill or whoever might have fled to somewhere or other, although heaven knows where – if Britain had fallen, then America would immediately and understandably have reached the most cordial terms with Germany, with which she was not at war when any such possibility existed.

But if he had ever come back in triumph to a country still legally independent and possessed of her Empire, then that would have been thanks to those who had stayed on and secured that state of affairs, not least against the Laval-like domestic elements that would have wanted incorporation into, and thus also the surrender of the Empire to, the Reich.

It was only thanks to Pétain that there was still a France, as such, for de Gaulle or anyone else to liberate. Had much the same circumstances ever arisen here, then to have done much the same thing would have been infinitely preferable to the only alternative available, not in an ideal world, but in the real world.

There would have been no question of fighting with the Axis, since the War would have been over (the Soviet Union would have come to terms perfectly easily, having started the War as part of the Axis anyway).

Nor would legislation mining the rich seam of French anti-Semitism have been enacted here, since the new government would have been a bulwark against those who wanted it as surely as against those who wanted to go to war against Stalin.

It would have been only thanks to say, Chamberlain, that there would still have been a Britain, as such, for Churchill or anyone else to liberate.

Such things are lost on the Nick Cohens of the world, of course. If they were not, then they would not hold the views that they do on Yugoslavia, or Rwanda, or Afghanistan, or Iraq, or so very many other places and subjects.

But grown-ups have no excuse.

Dutch Courage

The Dutch are now in a state of open revolt about the transformation of their country into the drugs and prostitution centre of the North Atlantic, a transformation about which they were never asked, and which they have never wanted.

Drug-addled, vice-ridden Britain should take note.



It is good news that President Obama intends to loosen the restrictions on Americans’ travel to Cuba, the country to which I would move if I really did want a government that persecuted those who engaged in homosexual acts.

Obama should life the entire blockade, which only attracts sympathy to this regime that does not deserve it, perhaps most notable as the model for Britain’s impregnable pseudo-comprehensive schools by means of which the real, but vigorously self-denying, ruling class perpetuates itself from generation to generation.

Caste Out

The rise of Magawati, with her eye on a hung Parliament and thus on the Indian Premiership, focuses attention (even if not necessarily very well) on the Dalits.

The Christians, and especially Catholics, being persecuted in India are overwhelmingly Dalits. Globalisation and its multiculturalism have brought the caste system to our own shores.

And those doing the persecuting, whether in India or here, are exactly the same people who insist that there were recently terrorist attacks in “Mumbai”, and that the England cricket team was recently playing in “Chennai”.

Magawati or no Magawati, unless you approve of the persecution of the Dalits, Christian and non-Christian, in India and in Britain, then you must maintain that those cities are in fact called Bombay and Madras respectively.

Be Yourselves

The octogenarian and nonagenarian residents of the Pilgrim Home in Brighton, stripped of their annual grant of one hundred thousand pounds from the Council because they refuse to answer intrusive questions about their “sexual orientation”, should simply tick whichever Other or None Of The Above box is available.

The terms “lesbian”, “gay” and so forth make sense only in terms of the theory, invented well into the middle age of the Pilgrim Home residents, that engagement in homosexual acts, or an inclination towards such engagement, constitutes an individual and collective economic, social, cultural and political identity.

That theory is scientifically, historically and cross-culturally baseless and illiterate. And its invention was by pederasts. No one (including those who happen to engage in homosexual acts, or to be inclined towards such engagement) who is not a scientific, historical or cross-cultural illiterate, nor anyone who is not a pederast, should have any truck whatever with it.

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Radical Orthodoxy, 1926

Keep in mind the fact that the Son of Man, the Christ who lived and was executed by the government of His day, was a great leader, and leader of the common people. It was his great message of Love and Brotherhood which brought him to his death. He knew the poor of the earth were oppressed by the rich and wealthy, and in scathing terms denounced the money changers and all those who defiled the Temple and brought suffering to starving humanity.

George Lansbury, no liberal he, but a devout Anglo-Catholic in that movement's golden age, before it became riven between those who define themselves by their opposition to the ordination of women on grounds of high-camp and highly promiscuous homosexuality, and those who define themselves by their support for the ordination of women on grounds of high-camp and highly promiscuous homosexuality.

Rate This

I am instinctively in favour of website age ratings, although I cannot for the life of me see how they could be enforced.

But this Government has its own agenda, as, being a government, it will and must have. Specifically, it wants to restrict political comment to its tame hired help in the old mainstream media, the people with whom it shared seminar rooms, bars, houses, joints (as they were then called) and beds back in their halcyon days.

So do as they never did, and just say no.

Why There Won't Be An Election In 2009

At least, not if Gordon Brown has any sense.

It would annoy no end the very many Labour MPs who are planning to retire, but whose successors have not yet been selected.

A Tale of Two Westminsters

There is a firm expectation that the See of Westminster will be filled very early in the New Year, and a persistent rumour that it will be filled by one of the Holy Father's closest allies, Fr Aidan Nichols OP.

Well, don't hold your breath. It was, after all, the then Cardinal Ratzinger who described Episcopal appointments in England as "a golden circle that we cannot break". But, like all German intellectuals and unlike his predecessor, he is genuinely interested in this country. So you never know.

It is a commonplace that there is no Christian Democratic party, as such, in Britain. But that is quite mistaken. Rather, well into living memory, there used to be three. Out of three. And then, without the slightest reference to the electorate at large, there was none.

The last hope of that tradition within the Bloc Parties was the pro-life social democrat, John Smith. Can you imagine him waging the Iraq War? Can you imagine him legalising human-animal crossbreeding, the production of babies as spare parts, or the listing of two women as the parents on a birth certificate? Of course not.

Now that, except where very unusual individual candidates are concerned, it has become a mortal sin to vote for any of them in a parliamentary election, a decent appointment to Westminster really could make a very significant difference. Fr Nichols's last book, The Realm, was scathingly and brilliantly critical of all three parties, by name.

Cardinal Nichols, or a Cardinal very like him, is just what we need to put out the message, not least in Scotland where the hierarchy has been absorbed into the Nationalist nomenklatura and in Northern Ireland where its main focus is understandably the Republic, that only pro-life, pro-family, pro-worker and anti-war candidates are morally acceptable, and that where the parties fail to provide them, then the congregations of the churches (by no means only the Catholic Church) should simply do so instead.

That was how all three of the old parties were started, after all.

Taking Leave

There were many hostile reactions to my suggestion, apparently an expression of mainstream feminism (not something of which I am often accused), that a father should be able to take paternity leave at any point up until the child is 18, rather than necessarily in the child's early infancy. And I think I know why.

Yes, there is the fact that this would kill off a good skive. Just what is he doing while, in particular, the child is still being breastfed? I mean, apart from being paid?

And yes, there is the fact that this is a challenge to one of the flagships or totems of New Labour smugness, namely paternity leave as presently arranged. They are terribly, terribly proud of having introduced it, and they simply assume, as is their wont, that everyone agrees with them.

But there are two rather deeper reasons for my interlocutors' ire.

One is that I want the ability to sit around watching the television and feeling self-satisfied while the wife changes nappies to be replaced with an ability, and thus a firm expectation, that proper paternal authority will be exercised, not least in adolescence.

And the other is that that authority requires an economic basis, namely high-wage, high-skilled, high-status jobs such as only the State can ever guarantee, and such as very often only the State can actually deliver.

One China

If Taiwan or Tibet can be independent, then so can Northumbria, Mercia, Wessex and Kent. Except, of course, that a very long time ago Northumbria, Mercia, Wessex and Kent. Neither Taiwan nor Tibet ever has been. Each has simply always been part of China. Neither the de facto Taiwanese Government nor the Dalai Lama, for all the many faults of either, is in favour of independence, which would not be recognised by anywhere else on earth, and certainly not by the United States.

The sheer scale of the population transfers that would be necessary to partition multiethnic China into a Tibetan homeland and a Han homeland, plus at least 54 others, are practically impossible to imagine. The whole thing would make the partition of India look like the resolution of a Parish Council boundary dispute.

But even that would only be an enlarged version of the Kosovo situation, the template (as America knows full well) for any UDI by predominantly Hispanic border areas with Mexico.

Taiwan, on the other hand, although a small number of aborigines of Indonesian origin do exist (and are recognised as one of the 56 ethnic groups of China), the term "Taiwanese" as an ethnicity is usually used merely to refer to those who had migrated to Taiwan from mainland China, either from Guangdong (Kwangtung) before the nineteenth century, or from Fujian in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, as distinct from those who took refuge there, also from mainland China, after the War. But that is it. That is the sum total of the difference.

So, if Taiwan can be independent, then so could be any United State of America that happened to feel like it. Which is why it never will be, so far an anywhere else at all is concerned.

Reunion is inevitable. It always has been. The only question is as to the terms.

What The Pope Did, And Did Not, Say

As explained by Red Maria:

I suppose I must. Hurl myself into the mêlée of infuriated condemnation and denunciation which followed Pope Benedict's end of year speech to the Curia that is. First thing's first, it's worth taking a look at what the Holy Father did actually say, as opposed to what he didn't.

What he did say:

“[The Church] must defend not only the earth, water and air as gifts of creation that belong to all. It must also defend the human person against its own destruction. What’s needed is something like a ‘human ecology,’ understood in the right sense. It’s not simply an outdated metaphysics if the church speaks of the nature of the human person as man and woman, and asks that this order of creation be respected.”

“Here it’s a question of faith in creation, in listening to the language of creation, disregard of which would mean self-destruction of the human person and hence destruction of the very work of God. That which is often expressed and understood by the term ‘gender’ in the end amounts to the self-emancipation of the human person from creation and from the Creator. Human beings want to do everything by themselves, and to control exclusively everything that regards them. But in this way, the human person lives against the truth, against the Creator Spirit.

“Great Scholastic theologians defined marriage, meaning the lifetime bond between a man and a woman, as a sacrament of creation, which the Creator instituted and which Christ – without changing the message of creation – then welcomed into the story of his covenant with humanity. This witness in favor of the Creator Spirit, present in the nature of this bond and in a special way in the nature of the human person, is also part of the proclamation which the church must offer. Starting from this perspective, it’s important to re-read the encyclical Humanae Vitae: the intention of Pope Paul VI was to defend love against treating sexuality as a kind of consumption, the future against the exclusive demands of the present, and the nature of the human being against manipulation."

What he didn't say:

All gay people are destined for damnation.
Gay people should be exterminated/expelled from Christendom/forced to wear pink badges in public.
Gay people spread disease/poison public water supplies/are a blight on civilisation.
Gay people are paedophiles.
Transexuals should be burnt at the stake.
God-fearing heterosexuals should be protected from gay people.

He said none of that. As Damian Thompson and Andrew Brown who both know what they're talking about noted, he merely reiterated the Church's teaching on sexuality. Pope revealed to be Catholic, shock. He also did something more interesting than that. In rejecting the gender theories most associated with radical feminism, he implicitly argued that they pointed the way to the ancient but quintessentially modern heresy of Pelagianism.

But all that was unapparent to the swarm of angry commentators lining up to register their outrage at what they imagined the Pope had said in increasingly excitable terms. The Rev Sharon Ferguson of the LGCM described the Pope's remarks as "totally irresponsible and unacceptable in any shape or form." Sweetly oblivious to her own preposterousness she continued, "It is more the case that we need to be saved from his comments. It is comments like that that justify homophobic bullying that goes on in schools and it is comments like that that justify gay bashing".

Rentagob revisionist Anglican cleric, Rev Giles Fraser wrote something or other not worth the trouble reading. Philip Hensher expostulated, Ruth Gledhill wrote one of her typically sexed up pieces. The normally unflappable Iain Dale wondered why the Pope didn't just join the BNP and have done with it.

Brett Lock of Harry's Place took up the theme, declaring that the leader of the world's 1.1 billion Roman Catholics was a "hate mongering lunatic" and that "the Catholic Church is fast becoming to sexuality what the BNP is to race." David T who came as near as damn it to admitting that he didn't know what Benedict actually said, opined, "What the Pope appears to have done - depending on the interpretation one gives to his words - is to put himself fully behind a political agenda that has successfully provoked the systematic persecution of gay people throughout the world. He has preached a gospel of hatred and denigration." And on and on.

You wouldn't guess from any of this that in two recently issued statements the Vatican argued that homosexuality should be legal and gay people protected from all forms of physical violence. Of course you wouldn't. Popes aren't judged on what they say but what people imagine that they say; reason has long since departed the place where faith and sexuality are discussed.

Nationalising The New Universities?

Martin Meenagh has several good posts at the moment, including this one:

In the nineteen eighties, Britain chartered more and more universities. These became lucrative. They attracted so many students that lecturing became a business, research became a government tickbox-driven necessity, classes expanded, and students were forced into borrowing to pay for courses which were devalued as more and more people passed at a lower standard.

The pretensions of an academic class that didn’t actually think or teach independent thought were favoured with titles but less and less pay and fewer tenures. This in itself has effectively flooded the urban areas of England with people who are not so much over educated--I don't think you can be, frankly--as thwarted, and alienated from communities their talents might have been directed towards.

In the meantime, people were discouraged from becoming carpenters, plumbers and electricians. These jobs became associated with programmes that sought to save the flotsam of devastated former industrial communities, and bad students, from prison. Numbers were made up by the mass importation of immigrants from poorer but more disciplined countries.

Now, students are waking up to the fact that one can have titles and pass courses and be worked to death on management trainee programmes to the hearts’ content of employers; but true understanding, and the happiness that people ask for from the life of the mind or from the understanding of a proper trade are not evident in their lives.

It is also obvious to the dogs in the street that not all degrees are equal. Soon, the funds for new students, and their incentives, are going to dry up. Some of these new universities, already shorn of science or language departments, are going to approach bankruptcy.

When they do, why not establish a state university system? Instead of getting universities to buy each other, or letting them disappear, why not introduce a National University of England? Each campus could be ‘topped up’ by local funds from slimmed-down councils or commissioners made up of elected representatives and people elected from the universities.

Examinations could be national, with scope for a little local variation, and job-related or professional development could be retired to professional bodies, with money coming from the new professional associations. Public money would not, at first instance, be spent on educating people for the service of the state or the pseudo-state.

Those Universities (almost certainly the British ‘Ivy League’ or Russell group) that did not want to be part of the system could be given endowments and allowed to float away. They would be free to set their own fees, syllabi and standards, and to disburse monies as private foundations.

We won’t get to such a system immediately. But why not start planning for a new England of national colleges, specialist institutions, and private bodies? This would also require a rethinking of sixth-form, pre-university education, and perhaps the case for school vouchers for post-sixteen education.

The temples of a false and money-driven system assembled like an abomination from the combination of late sixties philosophies, eighties economic cults and unsustainable credit are crashing down. We should start thinking about what we are going to do with the rubble.

However, it must be said that not all the new universities are as bad as the products of the older ones tend to assume. And not all the older universities are anything like as good as they think they are.

Friday, 26 December 2008

Not Least Among The Princes Of Judah

Israel is preparing to invade the Gaza Strip, and nobody seems to mind. But then, why would they? Who is there to mind?

The Arab governments, including Fatah in the West Bank, regard Hamas as riffraff (the view of many in the Arabian Peninsula where all Levantine Arabs are concerned), and will welcome not only the putting down of Hamas, but also any sympathetic uprising on their own streets, an excuse to do at home what the Israelis are doing in Gaza.

Behind the scenes, relations with Israel have long been more than cordial. Indeed, Israel and the Gulf monarchies have a history of running joint candidates for President of the United States. The latest has been made Secretary of State as her prize for coming third out of two.

The real bother would come if Israel ever felt the need to go into the West Bank against Fatah, although there is not much chance of that. And the real bother will come when Israel feels the need to go in against the Judean People’s Front or the People’s Front of Judea, her financial dependants who nevertheless despise her to the extent of raising against their hands against the teenage conscripts of her Defence Force, which they themselves refuse to join.

The Judean People’s Front and the People’s Front of Judea have noticed that, if it makes enough of a fuss, any sufficiently, even if not terribly, large and distinctive group gets its own statelet, carved out of what has been one of the most multiethnic places on earth since everlasting (if you don’t believe me, then read the Bible). Well, they want some of that. And who can blame them for expecting it? After all, Fatah has been given the West Bank, regardless of who else lives or used to live there. Hamas has, at least at the time of writing, been given Gaza, regardless of who else lives or used to live there.

And the secular Ashkenazi nationalists and their allies were given the land inside the pre-1967 borders.

Regardless of who else lived or used to live there.

What goes around, comes around.

The Huntsman Blows His Bugle Horn

And so another Boxing Day comes round.

The hunting ban has never commannded popular support. Most people 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. 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, that they haven’t been, and that nor should they be.


No, not a film review. I saw it in the schedules, but it’s not really my sort of thing. The actual place, however, is one of a few that seem to turn up in my thoughts rather a lot despite my never having been anywhere near them (Portugal is another one).

Not only might I have some family connection through the Jacobite involvement in the admittedly unsuccessful Swedish attempt to found a colony there, but the Pacific features and language there, a part of the British rather than the French Empire until as late as 1870, very probably go a great way to explaining the Pacific features of many of my own relatives from Saint Helena.

Neither of these things can be proved. But the former is perfectly likely. And the latter strikes me as practically certain, since unlike the African, Indian or Chinese ancestors written (with Europeans) on my relatives’ faces, Pacific Islanders were never slaves, indentured labourers or coolies.

(The settlement of Madagascar is completely astonishing: people speaking a language in which ninety per cent of basic vocabulary is shared with one spoken all the way over in Borneo presumably just kept on sailing until they hit dry land. Breathtaking.)

We have lately seen the death of Lord Lauderdale. I am, of course, quite partial to such people as former Presidents of the Church Union and former Guardians of the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, provided that they are either as old as he was or actually dead. I can come close to forgiving them even for having been Monday Club MPs in the Sixties, and even for having sired Olga Maitland. And in Lord Lauderdale’s case, I can forgive pretty much anything, because of his role in that thing so very ahead of its time, the Expanding Commonwealth Group.

It is time to revisit the possibility of some sort of relationship with every country or people having no dispute with any of the Queen’s Realms and Territories, and desiring to take a Christian stand against globalisation, American military-industrial hegemony, European federalism, Islam, and the rise of China, all of which are closely related.

There are many places where we might start. Once again, there is our dear old friend, Portugal, which like us had endured government by unrepentant Hard Leftists whose tactics (but only tactics) have turned to cultural decadence, pro-Bush warmongering, and the EU. And with Portugal comes her own little family of former colonies.

But we could also do a lot worse than to start in the old Jacobite émigré stomping ground from which we helped to people at least one of our remaining Overseas Territories. That is not least among the reasons why we need to reopen our embassy there, and to resume overseas aid to Madagascar. After all, don’t we need the friendship of one of the largest islands in the world, and that quite heavily populated, right in the midst of the battle against Indian Ocean piracy?

Adeste, Fideles

This Latin original of Oh Come, All Ye Faithful was written to celebrate the birth of the future Bonnie Prince Charlie, and contains many coded addresses to the Jacobite “faithful” in England (“Bethlehem”, with Pope Saint Gregory the Great’s Angles/Angels pun repeated and so forth), so that its singing neatly balances that at Easter of Thine Be The Glory, the tune to which is See The Conquering Hero Comes, from Judas Maccabaeus, Handel’s oratorio in celebration of the Hanoverian victory at Culloden.

Who are the fideles today?

They are all those who identify with the tradition of those Catholics, High Churchmen (subsequently including first Methodists and then also Anglo-Catholics), Congregationalists, Baptists, Quakers and others who, never having been convinced of the full legitimacy of Hanoverian Britain, of her Empire, and that of Empire’s capitalist ideology, created the American Republic, fought against slavery both there and in the British Empire, transformed the United Kingdom into a parliamentary democracy, founded the Labour Movement, and opposed the Boer and First World Wars.

And they are those who identify with largely subterranean ties binding these islands, and thus also the Commonwealth (to which all these islands properly belong), through the vast Jacobite diaspora, to the all those touched by the financial centres of the Continent, by the trading ports circling Europe, by the Russian Navy, by the Swedish East India and Madagascar Companies, and by so many other things besides.

Adeste, indeed.

Why "Turkey"?

No, not “Why do we eat it at Christmas?”, although the suggestion that this was “traditional” always baffled my father, who after 1967 spent no Christmas in this country until 1981. He was adamant that it had become the custom here, rather than in America, only in the intervening years, and that the traditional Christmas dish here was goose.

No, my question is why we call this bird a turkey, why the French word for it is dinde (i.e., d’Inde, from India) and why (although I’d have to check) the word in other Romance languages is presumably similar, when everyone has always known that turkeys came originally from the Americas? Any ideas?

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

A Very Merry Christmas

And A Happy New Year.

Not back before Boxing Night at the very earliest.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

The Man Who Was Thursday on The Man Who Saved Christmas

In The Catholic Revival in English Literature, 1845-1961, Fr Ian Ker proposes "a new way of looking at Chesterton’s literary achievement which has gone by default." He sees the author of the Father Brown stories, and even of The Man Who Was Thursday, as "a fairly slight figure". But Chesterton the non-fiction writer is "a successor of the great Victorian "sages" or "prophets", who was indeed compared to Dr Johnson in his own lifetime, and who can be mentioned without exaggeration in the same breath as Carlyle, Ruskin, Arnold and especially, of course, Newman."

Fr Ker identifies Charles Dickens (1906) both as Chesterton’s best work and as the key to understanding his Catholicism. "It is a typically Chestertonian paradox that while Dickens was nothing if not ignorant of and prejudiced against Catholicism as well as the Middle Ages, it is his unconsciously Catholic and Mediaeval ethos that is the heart of Chesterton’s critical study."

First, Chesterton’s Dickens celebrated the ordinary, and rejoiced in sheer living and even sheer being. He was originally a "higher optimist" whose "joy is in inverse proportion to the grounds for so rejoicing," because he simply "falls in love with" the universe, and "those love her with most intensity who love her with least cause." Hence the exaggeration of Dickens’s caricatures, expressing both the heights of the highs and the depths of the lows in the life of one who looks at the world in this way.

For, secondly, Dickens created "holy fools": Toots in Dombey and Son, Miss Podsnap in Our Mutual Friend, the Misses Pecksniff in Martin Chuzzlewit, to name but a few. Dickens also "created a personal devil in every one of his books," figures with the "atrocious hilarity" of gargoyles. In either case, since the everyday world is so utterly extraordinary and extraordinary things so much a part of the everyday, so the absurd is utterly real and the real is utterly absurd. Postmodern, or what? Read Dickens, then read Chesterton on Dickens, and then re-read Dickens: who needs wilful French obscurantism in the name of ‘irony’?

And thirdly, then, Dickens was the true successor of Merry England, unlike his "pallid" contemporaries, the Pre-Raphaelites and "Gothicists", whose "subtlety and sadness" was in fact "the spirit of the present day" after all. It was Dickens who "had the things of Chaucer": "the love of large jokes and long stories and brown ale and all the white roads of England"; "story within story, every man telling a tale"; and "something openly comic in men’s motley trades".

Dickens’s defence of Christmas was therefore a fight "for the old European festival, Pagan and Christian", i.e., for "that trinity of eating, drinking and praying that to moderns appears irreverent", unused as the modern mind is to "the holy day which is really a holiday."

Dear reader, may you eat, drink and pray most merrily.

As, indeed, will I.


The message could not be clearer. The reunion of China is coming. And, since today's Taiwan is indigestible by today's China, change is coming to mainland China before, during and after that reunion.

On This Rock

Until the very last sentence, you need hold no supernatural belief to accept that the story of the Wise Men happened exactly as recorded by Saint Matthew. They first follow the natural world (the Star), which leads them to the Bible (the Prophets referred to by Herod’s advisors), which leads in turn to the Christ Child.

And so to the Pope. The gender theory lot are half right. Sex is not just what is between your legs. But nor is it just what is between your ears, either. Rather, it is written into every cell of the body. You can cut up the tissue any way you like. The chromosomes themselves cannot change. People seeking this surgery obviously do need help. But that surgery itself cannot be the help that they really need. That is the Pope’s point. He is right. Most people know that he is right. They look at the world and see it: they follow the Star. Well, the Star leads to the Prophets, and the Prophets lead to the Christ Child.

And what of the Pope and homosexuality? What was he attacking? The idea that it is people, rather than acts, that are homosexual. That idea is not yet forty years old. It post-dates by several years our own humane and necessary decriminalisation of male homosexual acts between consenting adults in private. It is historically and cross-culturally illiterate, as well as totally unscientific. And it was invented by and for pederasts (many also engaged in “transgender” activities) in a network of bars – such as the Stonewall Inn, a major centre of the abuse of boys – in the urban, coastal America of the early 1970s.

Weakened by the liberal hijacking of the name of Vatican II, we all know what happened next in the Catholic Church. She is only just beginning to recover. But the Pope has made it very obvious today that She is recovering. Deo gratias.

Christianity and Judaism

Not least because I promised in a comment over on Harry’s Place that I would do this nearer to Christmas, herewith a little of the reams that could be, have been and are being written about the Christian impact on the development of Judaism.

The seminal text here is very much Rabbi Michael Hilton’s The Christian Effect on Jewish Life (London: SCM Press, 1994). As Rabbi Hilton puts it, “it is hardly surprising that Jewish communities living for centuries in Christian society should be influenced by the surrounding culture”.

There is a most seasonal example. As is well known, the modern celebration of Chanukah is modelled on Christmas. In fact, one might add, it is only thanks to the Church that Chanukah happens at all, the earliest reference to it being II Maccabees (10:1-8), cut out of the Canon by the rabbis because, like a number of other works, it was rightly deemed likely to lead people into Christianity. (The early Protestants then erroneously followed suit, on the mistaken ground that the polemically anti-Christian Canon of Judaism was somehow “the Bible of Jesus”.)

There are many, many, many other examples that could be cited. These range from the Mediaeval adoption for Jewish funeral use of the Psalm numbered 23 in Jewish and Protestant editions, to the new centrality within Judaism that the rise of Christianity gave to Messianic expectations (the Sadducees, for example, had not believed in the Messiah at all) or to the purification of women after childbirth, to the identification in later parts of the Zohar of four senses of Scripture technically different from but effectively very similar to those of Catholicism, to Mediaeval rabbis’ explicit and unembarrassed use of Christian stories in their sermons.

Many a midrash – such as “to you the Sabbath is handed over, but you are not handed over to the Sabbath” – is easily late enough to be an example of the direct influence of Christianity, yet Jewish and Christian scholars alike tend to announce an unidentified common, usually Pharisaic, root, although they rarely go off on any wild goose chase to find that root. I think we all know why not.

But the real point is something far deeper, arising from the definition of the Jewish Canon in explicitly anti-Christian terms, and from the anti-Christian polemic in the Talmud. Judaism hardly uses the Hebrew Bible directly rather than its own, defining and anti-Christian, commentaries on it and on each other. Jews doubting this should ask themselves when they last heard of an animal sacrifice, or which of their relatives is a polygamist.

Judaism is not some sort of mother-religion. Rather, it is a reaction against Christianity, specifically (like Islam) a Semitic reaction against the recapitulation in Christ and His Church of all three of the Old Israel, Hellenism and the Roman Empire; there are also, of course, culturally European reactions against that recapitulation by reference to Classical sources, as there always have been, although Boris Johnson’s recent television series indicates that they are increasingly allied to Islam, not least because that programme was presented by Boris Johnson.

Thus constructed, Judaism became, and remains, an organising principle (again like Classically-based reactions) for all sorts of people discontented for whatever reason by the rise of Christianity in general and the Christianisation of the Roman Empire in particular (including all the historical consequences of that up to the present day), without any realistic suggestion of a common ethnic background. Have Sephardim just been out in the sun longer than Ethiopian Jews, but not as long as Ashkenazim?

Above all, Judaism’s unresolved Messianic hope and expectation has issued in all sorts of earthly utopianisms: Freudian, Marxist (and then Trotskyist, and then Shachtmanite), monetarist, Zionist, Straussian, neoconservative by reference to all of these, and so forth. They are all expressions of Judaism’s repudiation of Original Sin, Christianity’s great bulwark against the rationally and empirically falsifiable notions of inevitable historical progress and of the perfectibility of human nature in this life alone and by human efforts alone.

It is Christianity that refers constantly to the Biblical text. It is Christianity in general, and Catholicism in particular, that has a Temple (Jesus Christ, Who prophesied both the destruction of the Temple and its replacement in His own Person), a Priesthood, and a Sacrifice (the Mass). It is Christianity in general, and Catholicism in particular, that is the religion of the Hebrew Scriptures.

Monday, 22 December 2008

Cut To The Quick

So great is the "terrorist threat", for the sake of which we must abandon every liberty, that those employed to police it have the time, not only to pursue Damian Green of all people, but also to run a wedding car hire business from the boss's house. It puts me in mind of the stories that I have heard of yesteryear, when Councillors got their extensions built by Council workmen, on Council time and from Council materials.

Oh, well, Bob Quick has interfered (not for the first time) in politics. He has only himself to blame.

Weasel Words

Note how no one responded that the very suggestion was absurd, namely that James Purnell was to charge the interest threatened on Social Fund loans to the very poor. Why would they? This horrific little weasel, quite the most despicable front line British politician since the Thirties at the latest, has built his entire career on kicking the sick, the disabled and the elderly. And remember, he is guaranteed his current job regardless of who wins the next General Election.


Have you got that?

Ownership or control by a foreign state (it doesn't matter which one), as such, is totally unacceptable.

Together with clean coal, nuclear power offers to secure high-wage, high-skilled, high-status jobs for the working class, and independence from Arab oil and Russian gas. Among many other good things, this would contribute significantly to reversing Thatcher's destruction of the economic base of paternal authority, initially in working-class families and communities, but then very rapidly throughout society as a whole.

How could any conservative object to that? Unless, of course, the nuclear power (or the clean coal) were owned by a foreign state.

So we need public ownership, which is British ownership, since nothing else can deliver what is necessary on the scale that is necessary.

Something In The Air These Days

As Neil Clark wrote a few weeks ago:

Across the political spectrum there is widespread agreement that Britain's airports, with their long queues, lack of seats and tacky, shopping mall atmosphere, are a national disgrace. But the solution is not to break up BAA's monopoly and introduce 'more competition' as some have suggested. The answer is to simply take BAA back into public ownership.

Sir Terence Conran, who designed Terminal One at Heathrow and the North Terminal in the 1960s, has contrasted the brief he received from the owners of the airports back then - the British state - with the instructions Lord (Richard) Rogers, the architect of Terminal 5, got from BAA.

Conran was told to put in as many seats as possible, with the priority being to make passengers 'relax and feel at ease'. At Terminal One there were only three shops.

The privatised BAA told Rogers to put in as few seats as possible: there will be only 700 seats for a terminal handling an average of 80,000 passengers a day when it opens in March 2008. BAA wants people to pay to sit down at the terminal's expensive cafes and restaurants - not sit down for free, eating their own sandwiches.

The approach perfectly illustrates the difference in ethos between a publicly-owned company, for whom profit is not the be all and end all, and a privatised one.

We can't blame BAA for treating every square foot at Heathrow as a profit centre: it's a private company which wants to maximise returns for its shareholders. But we can blame the politicians foolish enough to sell off BAA in the first place.

Allowing other profit-hungry plcs to compete to run our airports would only mean more of the same.

If we really want Heathrow and our other airports to be comfortable and reasonably easy to negotiate, we need to change the whole philosophy under which they operate. And that means returning them to their most appropriate owners: the British public.

By far Britain's most satisfactory major airport is Manchester, the only one still in public ownership.

Father, Dear Father

I am all in favour of paternity leave, currently the subject of a Downing Street petition. But I cannot see why it should only be available so early in the child’s life. Especially if the child is still breast-feeding, what, with the best will in the world, is the father actually doing all day?

Whereas a teenager, in particular, might very well benefit enormously if his or her father were in a position to say, “That’s it, I’m taking that bit of paternity leave I’ve been owed all these years, and since I’m either back at work the following Monday morning or I lose my job, then this will be sorted out by that Sunday night at the latest, oh yes it will be!”

So let him be able to take it at any point up until the child is 18. And let there be a legal presumption of equal parenting, the restoration of the tax allowance to fathers for so long as Child Benefit is being paid to mothers, and the restoration of the requirement that the providers of fertility treatment take into account the child’s need for a father.

Ron Kirk

Congressional Democrats, just say no.

Yours is the country that long led the world in protecting high-wage, high-skilled, high-status jobs both against the exportation of that labour to un-unionised, child-exploiting sweatshops, and against the importation of those sweatshops themselves. And yours is the country that could until very recently say that she led the world in that she “[did] not seek for monsters to destroy”.

For yours is the country of big municipal government, of strong unions whose every red cent in political donations buys something specific, of very high levels of co-operative membership, of housing co-operatives even for the upper middle classes, of small farmers who own their own land, and of the pioneering of Keynesianism in practice.

Huge numbers voted Democrat this year because that country is their country, and they want it back. The name of that country is America. At the same time, they made it clear at exactly the same polls that (in Florida and California) they want back the country where marriage only ever means one man and one woman, that (in Colorado) they want back the country that does not permit legal discrimination against working-class white men, and (in Missouri and Ohio) that they want to preserve the country where gambling is not deregulated. The name of that country is America.

Their betrayal by Obama where appointments are concerned has already cost the Democrats a Senate seat in Georgia, and thus a filibuster-proof Senate majority. And now Ron Kirk, a man who, like Bill Clinton of old, will not rest until every good on American shelves has been produced in un-unionised, child-exploiting sweatshop, whether in America or somewhere else. Midterm meltdown awaits.

Congressional Democrats, just say no.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Lockerbie: Twenty Years On

He didn’t do it.

Everyone knows that.

We needed Syria on side in the first Gulf War, so we blamed Libya instead. Libya later needed us (or, at least, the Americans) on side, so Gaddafi played ball and handed over this innocent man, just as he later did and pretended to have dismantled a WMD programme which had never existed in the first place.

Alliance with Libya, run by the Gaddafis and where at least a third of the population subscribes to the Sanusi synthesis of Wahhabism and popular Sufism, is either irrelevant or positively pernicious, depending on how you look at it.

Whereas alliance with Syria – run by an erstwhile London doctor and with a huge, very well-integrated Christian population – is an urgent priority.

However, there can be no alliance with Syria while this great wrong remains unrighted.

Though not for that reason alone, that righting cannot possibly come too soon.

Blythly Does It

Why has Michael Martin, of all people, convened the specific Speaker’s Conference that he has done? The terms of its remit are such that it can only ever produce a majority report setting out devices for favouring the privately schooled daughter of an Asian doctor over the state schooled son of a white bus driver and a white shop assistant.

But minority reports are another matter. Even one member can write a minority report. And one member is Ronnie Campbell, who up to the moment of becoming MP for Blyth Valley was signing on because his pit had been closed. He should draft a report saying in no uncertain terms that neither sex, nor ethnicity, nor disability (on which the record of British professional politics is relatively good) is the real issue, and instead setting out proposals to address that which is.

The trade unions should identify ten “dream” policies and ten “nightmare” policies, with ten per cent funding to any candidate (regardless of party, if any) for subscription to each of the former, minus ten per cent for failure to rule out each of the latter. The unions and others should fund the development and delivery of a qualification for “non-graduates” with life and work experience who aspire to become MPs.

In the course of each Parliament, each party should submit to a binding ballot of the whole constituency electorate its shortlist of two for Prospective Parliamentary Candidate, and should submit to a binding ballot of the whole national electorate its shortlist of two for Leader. The parachuting in of upper-middle-class apparatchiki, even if they happen to be either or both of female and non-white, would then be impossible.

There should be submitted to such a national ballot the ten policies proposed by the most of each party’s branches (including those of affiliated organisations, where applicable), with each voter entitled to vote for up to two, and with the top seven guaranteed inclusion in the subsequent General Election manifesto.

There should be a ballot line system, such that voters would be able to indicate that they were voting for a given candidate specifically as endorsed by a smaller party or other campaigning organisation (for example, Left parties, trade unions, co-operatives, peace and disarmament movements, civil liberties groups, and of course very many others), with the number of votes by ballot line recorded and published separately.

And all political funding should be by resolution of membership organisations, with parliamentarians’ staff appointed from lists maintained by such organisations in return for payment of at least half of those staff’s salaries, thereby requiring politicians to have links to wider civil society, not least including trade unions and co-operatives.

That would be a start, anyway.

Goodbye, Christmas Friend

To Croat children, he is Dred Božinjak, Father Christmas. To Serb children, he is Božik Bata, Christmas Friend. And to Bosnian Muslim children, he has been, for the last fifty years, Deda Mraz, Grandfather Frost, who comes round to schools and distributes presents.

But no more.

Or, at least, not in the state schools of Sarajevo for this white-bearded figure in a garb clearly modelled on that of an Orthodox bishop, although apparently he was invented by the Croats. And his clothes are red and white, leading one to question the veracity of the claim that the obviously related figure in Anglophonia, though certainly green at one time, was only turned red by Coca Cola.

I have had fierce debates here and elsewhere because I have never tired of pointing out the strongly Islamist character of Bosnian secessionism. Well, how much more proof do you need? Indeed, reports relating to this story now take it for granted, as well they might and should.

The present Bosnian entity is the creation, and the living continuation of the personality, of a Saudi-funded Wahhabi rabble-rouser who, moreover, had been typical of his people in his Nazi activities in the Forties. These two strands, which were related both in the Forties and in the Nineties, come together in the erosion of Christmas, which the Nazis also tried to do in Germany, even if without any success.

Expect these schools, and other public institutions, to enforce Islamic dress codes, dietary laws and so forth in the very near future.

The Republika Srpska will declare independence sooner rather than later, and will deserve every support when she does. The Bosnian Croats are also coming round. The West backed the wrong side in Bosnia, as also in Kosovo, where the Wahhabism and the Nazi nostalgia are mixed in with heroin-trafficking, prostitution and Maoism (which seems to be all over the place under Western patronage – Kosovo, Nepal, Rwanda, lately running Portugal and now running the European Commission).

Studies In Crime

It comes as no surprise to me that there is growing resentment against the totally different ways in which certain patterns of behaviour are regarded when engaged in, on the one hand, by undergraduates and, on the other hand, by their non-university peers.

It baffles me, and it always has done, that universities are treated as entirely exempt from the drug laws, when absolutely no such exemption exists. Not that it is only drugs, you understand. It is more or less anything. And it has ever been thus.

Consider, for example, what would happen if a group of boys on a council estate, the same age as Oxford undergraduates, formed themselves into an organisation - complete with a name, a uniform, officers and a membership list - specifically for the purpose of becoming drunk and disorderly before committing criminal damage and even assault.

They would rightly be sent to prison.

Whereas the Bullingdon Boys go on to become, simultaneously, an aspirant Prime Minister, an aspirant Chancellor of the Exchequer, and an actual Mayor of London.

Living in rural England, as I have done most of my life and which is a very different matter from merely owning great swathes of it while living in Knightsbridge or Notting Hill, I suspect that the publicans of Oxfordshire are not without connections in the local constabulary and magistracy.

One of those publicans should simply tell the Bullingdon Club to stick the money that they offered them at the end of one of their "events", because he would be seeing them in court. How would it look for Cameron and Osborne if the Bully Boys were to be locked up for just long enough to have themselves sent down?

Leyland Daft No More

“We don’t want to back to British Leyland, do we?”

Speak for yourself.

British Leyland, previously owned by the British People, is now part of Leyland Daf, which is owned by Oleg Deripaska.

Whether in Britain, in America, in Canada, or anywhere else, there must be no subsidy without equity, and there can be no sovereignty without that equity.

Interesting Times

China stands ready to bail out (i.e., to reincorporate de facto, having always included de jure) the renegade island of Taiwan.

And Her Majesty’s Dominion of Canada is preparing to rescue the totemic car industry of the rebel colonies to the south…

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Say No To Obamastan

This blog does not do mania. It came late to Obama, and then only after the elimination of several better candidates: John Edwards on economic policy, Dennis Kucinich on economic policy and foreign policy, Mike Huckabee on economic policy (based on his record, not his rhetoric) and social policy, Ron Paul on social policy and foreign policy. None of those was perfect. But they were all far, far better than – heaven help us – John McCain or Hillary Clinton. And they were all better than Barack Obama.

Obama is very, very wrong about Afghanistan, and must be told so by British, other European, and other Old Commonwealth leaders. No more forces must be sent to that pointless, unwinnable conflict. Instead, those already there should be brought home forthwith, or else bring themselves home without further ado. Making the world anew at the barrel of a gun is not what they signed up for, not what they are paid for, not what they are sworn to do. Quite the reverse, in fact.

There are no “Taliban” distinct from the Pashtuns generally, and they have no desire to run anywhere beyond Afghanistan (or even only the Pashtun parts of Afghanistan) and the Pashtun parts of Pakistan. There is no “al-Qaeda” at all. Iran is not our enemy (and could not conceivably be allied to a Wahhabi, Salafi or Deobandi movement even if she were). Nor is Russia. And nor is Venezuela.

Our enemies are those who launched the attacks on 11th September 2001. They are busily buying up great swathes of our economies. They are in the Gulf. Above all, they are in Saudi Arabia.

But they are the paymasters of the Bushes.

And of the Clintons.

Fire Sale

From The Independent:

The Treasury is considering privatising other state assets in what critics have called a recession "fire sale". These include:

*Ordnance Survey
*The Met Office
*The Forestry Commission
*The Queen Elizabeth II conference centre in Westminster
*The Covent Garden Market Authority
*The Royal Mint
*The Tote
*Buildings owned by British Waterways
*British Nuclear Fuel's stake in uranium enrichment company Urenco
*The Oil & Pipeline Agency, which manages the UK's underground network of fuel distribution pipelines.

Yes, that really does say "The Royal Mint". Just when banknote-issuing HBOS and RBS have been nationalised.

And then there is the Post Office.

Traverse Afar

Professor Tom O’Loughlin, of the University of Wales (Lampeter), is a Catholic priest. Yet in Ian Hislop’s excellent Radio Four programme on the Three Wise Men this morning, he went out of his way to dismiss the suggestion, not only that they fulfilled the Old Testament prophecy that the Church has always held them to have fulfilled, but that they ever really existed at all.

It fell to Dr Rowan Williams to explain that astrologically minded people with partly Jewish backgrounds on the Roman Empire’s fringes generally, and in Persia in particular, certainly did exist, and might perfectly easily have done exactly as described.

We encounter God as they did, first in the material world created through the Word (the Star), then in the written Word (the Prophets, whose writings are consulted by Herod’s advisors), and finally in and as the Word Incarnate, before Whom we “fall down and worship” as King (gold), God (frankincense) and Sacrifice (myrrh). It matters utterly that they really did this as an historical event, our template within actually existing time and space. And there is no reason whatever to think that they did not.

Did Father O’Loughlin say this? No? (Nor did Dr Williams, but that is not my problem.) Well, then, why not?

The Common Good, Indeed

The latest edition of The Common Good, periodical of the Christian Socialist Movement, is very largely given over to saying that “We can’t think of any reason to remain affiliated to the Labour Party, but we are going to anyway”.

The party of those Catholic and other Labour MPs who fought tooth and nail against abortion and easier divorce. The party of those Methodist and other Labour MPs who fought tooth and nail against deregulated drinking and gambling. The party of those Labour MPs who were organised by USDAW to save from Thatcher and Major the special status of Sunday and of Christmas Day. That party does still exist.


And nowhere else.

Britain: A Nuclear Non-Power

The sale to an American company of the last British Government stake in Aldermaston should come as no surprise to anyone. Far from representing or effecting national pride or independence, our nuclear weapons programme has only ever represented and effected the wholesale subjugation of Britain's defence capability to a foreign power. That power maintains at least no less friendly relations with numerous other countries, almost none of which have nuclear weapons.

Nuclear weapons (like radiological, chemical and biological weapons) are morally repugnant simply in themselves. They offer not the slightest defence against a range of loosely-knit, if at all connected, terrorist organisations pursuing a range of loosely-knit, if at all connected, aims in relation to a range of countries while actually governing no state. Where would any such organisation keep nuclear weapons in the first place?

Furthermore, the possession of nuclear weapons serves to convey to terrorists and their supporters that Britain wishes to "play with the big boys", thereby contributing to making Britain a target for the terrorist activity against which such weapons are defensively useless. It is high time for Britain to grow up.

Britain's permanent seat on the UN Security Council could not be taken away without British consent, and so does not depend in any way on her possession of nuclear weapons; on the contrary, the world needs and deserves a non-nuclear permanent member of that Council.

Most European countries do not have nuclear weapons, and nor does Canada, Australia or New Zealand. Are these therefore in greater danger? On the contrary, the London bombings of 7th July 2005 were attacks on a country with nuclear weapons, while the attacks of 11th September 2001 were against the country with by far the largest nuclear arsenal in the world. The only "nuclear power" in the Middle East is Israel. Is Israel the most secure state in the Middle East?

It is mind-boggling to hear people go on about Iran, whose President is in any case many years away from acquiring a nuclear weapon, and in any case only wants one (if he does) to use against the only Middle Eastern country that already has them. What does any of this have to do with us?

The Campaign for Democratic Socialism explicitly supported the unilateral renunciation of Britain's nuclear weapons, and the document Policy for Peace, on which Gaitskell eventually won his battle at the 1961 Labour Conference, stated: "Britain should cease the attempt to remain an independent nuclear power, since that neither strengthens the alliance, nor is it now a sensible use of our limited resources."

Unilateral nuclear disarmament did not cause the secession of the SDP, since it did not become Labour Party policy until two years and a General Election after that direct intervention in the British electoral process by a President of the European Commission as such, a true betrayal of Gaitskell, Bevan, Bevin, Attlee, the lot.

For that matter, numerous Tories with relevant experience – Anthony Head, Peter Thorneycroft, Nigel Birch, Aubrey Jones – were sceptical about, or downright hostile towards, British nuclear weapons in the Fifties and Sixties. In March 1964, while First Lord of the Admiralty and thus responsible for Polaris, George Jellicoe suggested that Britain might pool her nuclear deterrent with the rest of NATO. Enoch Powell denounced the whole thing as not just anything but independent in practice, but also immoral in principle.

Diverting enormous sums of money towards public services, and towards the relief of poverty at home and abroad, precisely by reasserting control over our own defence capability, would represent a most significant step towards One Nation politics, with an equal emphasis on the One and on the Nation.

Celebrate Recovery

White Evangelicals were the hardest constituency for Obama to reach.

But he was nevertheless elected, because of his economic populism (of which there is a very rich tradition among white Evangelicals) and because of his foreign policy realism (likewise, and indeed increasingly), by the same people who reaffirmed traditional marriage in California and Florida, who abolished legal discrimination against working-class white men in Colorado, and who declined to liberalise gambling in Missouri or Ohio. The clear majority of Catholics, and practically the entire black church, voted for Obama.

However, Obama has since alienated that constituency of economically populist, morally and socially conservative foreign policy realists, most obviously by nominating Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State. The astonishing run-off ballot for the Senate seat in Georgia has therefore been lost, and with it the possibility of a filibuster-proof majority.

Set against this background, the decision to invite Pastor Rick Warren to give the invocation at President Obama's inauguration is inspired, even brilliant. For all the bluster to the contrary from certain quarters, Obama's support for civil partnerships but opposition to same-sex "marriage", specifically on religious grounds, is practically indistinguishable from Warren's own position.

And traditional marriage has historically been a condition of admission to the Union: Utah could not become a state until the Mormons gave up polygamy. Judges in California should bear that in mind when deciding whether or not to annul the same-sex "marriages" contracted before the success of Proposition Eight. Failure to do so would be perilously close to secession.

Friday, 19 December 2008

Guantánamo Bay To Close

Yet hardly a word.

Why not?

Classroom Credit Crunch

People who would have sent their children to private schools are now not bothering, apparently. But so few children go to private schools anyway that it is difficult to see why this should pose any sort of problem to the state sector, which has been wrestling with the problem of falling rolls, leading to amalgamations and what have you, for years.

And nobody ever asks whether private schools are really all that good. They are prominent among the critics of the gravely deficient and defective examination system. Yet their own appeal is based on being exceptionally good within that system.

If the exams are educationally questionable, then being good at putting people through them cannot be said to prove that a school is a centre of academic excellence. If anything, it would seem to suggest the opposite. And one does have to question whether the people making these sales pitches are really very intelligent at all.

Where are the articles and documentaries about private schools and their bullying? Or the highly variable quality of their teaching? Or their Head Teachers who are in fact proprietors? Or their entrance exams for five-year-olds? Or their decidedly questionable employment practices? Or the cosy relationships of a few of them with Oxbridge admissions tutors? (Although who really cares about Oxbridge, anyway?) Or the fact that the rest are selling a pup?

RIP - Conor Cruise O'Brien

Not without his faults, but probably the only Unionist ever elected to the Dail, so elected on a Labour ticket, known for letting out a mellifluous flow of Irish when asked a difficult parliamentary question (secure in the knowledge that his ardently Republican interlocutors would not understand a word of it), and very much missed for two specific reasons today.

The trial of a gang of "dissident Republicans" has collapsed, and who is there to point out that if they really were "dissident Republicans" then the "non-dissident Republicans" would have taken them out all on their own?

And it is proposed that vacated Strasbourg seats in Northern Ireland, where STV rather than a party list system is employed, be filled by fiat of the relevant Party Leader, without any need of a by-election.

Senator Schlossberg?

When she hasn't even voted in the half the elections since she registered there?

Come on, New York, get your act together.

Thursday, 18 December 2008


Are they the People’s Front of Judea, or the Judean People’s Front?

Either way, if the secular Ashkenazim and their allies can have the pre-1967 bit no matter how many Arabs might live or have lived there, then why can’t Fatah have the West Bank no matter how many Jews or Hamas supporters (effectively a different ethnic group, as ultra-Orthodox Jews are among Israelis) might live or have lived there, then why can’t the Judean People’s Front or the People’s Front of Judea have their little bit, too?

Those are people who regard the godless Zionist State as wholly illegitimate, yet are perfectly happy to live on its largesse (so that they do nothing except study, a very far cry indeed from the integration of scholarship and more conventional labour by their very recent ancestors, an integration usually held up as a glory of Judaism) while not only refusing to serve in that State’s Defence Force, but even raising their hands against the teenage conscripts who do.

But when it was decided to give the Jews (or some of them, anyway) a separate portion of what has been one of the most multiethnic places on earth since the Year Dot, then this potentially never-ending chain of events was set off. There is no love lost between the Judean People’s Front and the People’s Front of Judea.

Drawing as they do on traditions mediated by, in, through and as ethnically different groups of Jews (so much for “all one people”), each of the ultra-Orthodox parties in Israel has its own school system and what have you, in addition to the exemption from military service and the lavish welfare spending on them. But they are not satisfied. Given the history, how can they be? If you can show that you are sufficiently (even if not terribly) different, then you get your own little statelet, however dangerously, unjustly or absurdly drawn or constituted.

What with the Ethiopian Jews, the Russians Christians, the Russian Nazis, the East Africans with their religion based on the Old Testament brought by Christian missionaries, the Peruvian Indians “converted to Judaism”, and all the rest, this will never end.

Or, at least, it will never end until a line is drawn under Zionism, the population (and thus the character) of Israel and Palestine is declared to be exactly as it is, the Law of Return is duly repealed, and any wildly impractical Palestinian demand for a corresponding right of return is blown out of the water.

Nothing less will do.

"The Return"? If Only

The Iraqi Ba’ath Party was multiethnic and secular. It had not been founded by Saddam Hussein, and his was a constant battle to keep control of it. To ban its erstwhile members from office is to ban anyone who has ever run anything, and amounts to a blanket ban on Sunni Arabs and on Christians. And to have destroyed it is almost certainly already to have destroyed the only body that would have been capable of producing a multiethnic, secular democracy in Iraq when the old man died, as he would have done soon enough.

Heart of Darkness

“Genocide” is a slipperier concept than you might think. In 1993, the former Bolivian President, García Meza Tejada, was convicted of “genocide” for the deaths of fully eight people. Those may or may not have been the only people whom he killed. But they were the only victims of his “genocide”.

And so to Rwanda.

Or, rather, to a kangaroo court in Tanzania, set up by a UN Security Council resolution with no authority to do so, and specifically empowered (again, on no proper authority whatever) to try only members of the former (devoutly Catholic) regime, and not of that which overthrew it, namely a direct extension, by means of a Ugandan invasion of Rwanda in 1990, of the only-too-successful Maoist insurrection in Uganda.

Théoneste Bagosora has finally been convicted (well, of course he has been – this sort of thing never, ever acquits anyone) eighteen months after the prosecution’s final submission, and fully twelve years after his arrest, even though his trial had started almost immediately.

This is entirely typical, as is the use of European and American activists as “expert witnesses” even though they witnessed absolutely nothing and were in fact thousands of miles away at the time alleged. As is the heavy reliance on anonymous prosecution witnesses (even though it is in fact six defence witnesses before this “Tribunal” who have been murdered soon after giving evidence), universally known to be paid liars.

As is the routine holding of session in camera. As is the admission of hearsay evidence. As are the rulings that no corroboration is necessary to convict a man of rape even he has pleaded not guilty, and that it matters not one jot if a prosecution witness’s written statement differs markedly from his testimony in court. As is the astonishing principle that a prosecution witness’s inconstancies are proof of trauma, and therefore of the guilt of the accused. And as are the farcical translation problems.

The remit of this “Tribunal” is frankly racist, providing only for the trial of Hutus (the overwhelmingly predominant ethnic group) for crimes against Tutsis (the historically royal and aristocratic minority). Crimes by Hutus against Tutsis undoubtedly happened. But so did crimes by Tutsis against Hutus. Neither Maoist guerrillas nor embittered, dispossessed aristocrats are characteristically restrained in these matters; that these should have been the same people is a theme to which I will return when I write about Marxism more generally, as I will be doing some time in the New Year.

No one knows how many people were killed, often with machetes. The usual figure cited is eight hundred thousand. Perhaps that is correct, perhaps it is not. But what is undoubtedly the case is that not all the perpetrators were Hutus (although many were), and that not all the victims were Tutsis (although many were). What is undoubtedly the case is that no Tutsi has ever been tried, because none can be: that whole people has been declared innocent in advance, and another whole people declared guilty in advance.

What is undoubtedly the case is that an invasion of a sovereign state by a larger neighbour at exactly the same time as the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait has been backed up to the hilt by the West in general and the United States, so that the Americans are now where first the Germans and then the Belgians once were: running Rwanda through a tiny clique drawn exclusively from the Tutsi minority.

And what is undoubtedly the case is that that clique is Maoist, whereas the majority-derived government that it overthrew was headed by a daily communicant (Jean Kambanda) whom it subsequently tortured into confession while illegally detaining him, and whom it denied the lawyer of his choice.

Fish, Not Foul

There is no point tinkering at the edges, as is happening again today.

The Common Fisheries Policy must be abolished.

The United Kingdom could effectively do this by restoring the supremacy of British over EU law, and by legislating that this shall include the restoration of our historic, and internationally lawful, fishing rights: two hundred miles or to the median line.

You know what you have to do.

After all, there is no other option.

Every year between 1979 and 1997, every Labour MP without exception voted against the CFP (occasionally joined in the very last days of the Major Government by a tiny handful of Tories). But then they won a General Election, and we all know what happened next.

Restoring our fishing rights was even an old Major hand like Michael Howard’s nominal concession to Euroscepticism. But even that has been abandoned by Michael Heseltine’s mini-me, David “European People’s Party” Cameron.

And it really is very high time indeed that the Lib Dems were called, not only on their illiberal and undemocratic Eurofederalism generally, but specifically on their domination of fishing areas from every seat in Cornwall, via North Norfolk, Berwick, North East Fife and elsewhere, all the way up Orkney & Shetland.

Oh, yes, you know what you have to do.

Not Angels, But Anglicans

This blog is resolute in its antidisestablishmentarianism.

The sheer objectionable nature of a church whose doctrine was whatever the Crown, and so eventually the Crown in Parliament, said it was at the given time, has been an enormous force for the creation of a pluralistic society, and thus by necessity a representative democratic political system, in this country.

Without it, there would have been neither the Nonconformist Conscience (because there would have been no Nonconformists) nor Catholic Emancipation (because Rome really was a long way away in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, so some accommodation really would have been reached by those who still felt themselves Catholics, as if feelings mattered here, and who would consequently have had no need of Emancipation in 1829).

From the Crucifix between the Speaker’s Chair and the Royal Coat of Arms in Quebec, to the Lord’s Prayer at the beginning each day in the Australian House of Representatives, every public role of Christianity throughout the world is to be defended without compromise.

I did not hear Rowan Williams’s interview on Today, but I very much doubt that he used the term “the separation of Church and State”. I most profoundly hope not. But the alleged link between, on the one hand, the ritualised Deism and antinomianism of places like public school chapels, and, on the other hand, something supposedly definitive about English culture (it isn’t, but of that another time), will in any case be lost on a Welsh Nonconformist convert to Anglo-Catholicism.

It is a strange feature of the Church of England that neither of its Archbishops is currently an Englishman, nor even, I believe it is correct to say, a native speaker of English (although all Welsh-speakers in Wales rather than in Patagonia might as well be). Both Dr Williams and Dr Sentamu are really figures of the Anglican Communion rather than of the Church of England. And the Anglican Communion was overwhelmingly created by people who did not like the Church of England.

Most were either hardline Anglo-Catholics or hardline Evangelicals, and had deliberately gone to the ends of the earth (by no means only within the British Empire) in order to escape from the Church of England and start again from scratch, keeping in touch for purposes of spiritual and material support only with parishes whose clergy were, and are, seldom or never made bishops in England.

The Episcopal Church in the United States is a product of the American Revolution, deriving its name and orders from the Episcopal Church in Scotland, which then had a recent history of armed insurrection against the Hanoverian monarchy, and which remains heavily concentrated in the area where the SNP is also strongest. The Church of Ireland has provided two Presidents of the Irish Republic (including the first), both in the days when that Republic’s Constitution still laid claim to “the whole island of Ireland”.

And so on, and on, and on.

It is no wonder that there is such bafflement at the smug English oligarchic suggestion that Anglican identity consists in unity with whoever some Muslim or atheist Prime Minister of the United Kingdom chooses to give a seat in the British Parliament. It is not so much that most Anglicans have, say, moved away from that sort of thinking. It is that they had never, ever heard of it in the first place.