Saturday, 31 July 2010

Why "Leftists" Should Be "Pro-Israel"?

"The persecution of the Jewish race," said Disraeli, had deprived society "of an important conservative element and added to the destructive party an influential ally." In Marx, according to Sir Isaiah Berlin, "it is the centuries-long oppression of a people of pariahs, not of a recently risen class, that seems to be speaking."

Well, "Leftists" did found the State of Israel: anti-British Marxist terrorists of quite exceptional viciousness, whose legacy of bitterness and hostility towards this country is incomparable to almost, if almost, anything in the Commonwealth, although similar views are widely held in the United States.

They were given victory over Britain by the ultimate globalist institution, and they then proceeded to displace people who had lived there for many centuries, in order to bring in immigrants from the ends of the earth who had little or no common culture, a practice which has become more and more absurd as Jews in general and secular Ashkenazi nationalists in particular stubbornly refuse to procreate in Israel, or else will do anything for Israel except live there, increasingly even when they and their parents were born there.

But in the first generation of Israel's life, a social democracy was built there, and that within Israel's internationally recognised borders. The Labour Movement was a friend of Israel, and Israel was a friend of the Labour Movement. All of that, however, came to an end a long time ago. Before John Howard, before the Reagan Democrats, before Thatcherism, before anything else of that kind, there was the rise of Likud. It is the original and the archetypal neoconservative electoral force, complete with having been founded and led by old Marxists (in this case, by old Marxist anti-British terrorists) who had changed their views only insofar as they believed the bourgeoisie to have defeated the proletariat.

Today, not only is that party in government, as it usually has been during the last two generations. But it is in government, both with Shas - which, to be fair, is not without both a social conscience and quite a flexible approach to land issues, but which is still a party the presence of which around the Cabinet table raises very serious questions about the notion that Israel is an outpost of the West - but also, and much more disturbingly, with Avigdor Lieberman's lot.

"Leftists" may be able to support the Netanyahu-Lieberman Coalition, or to think much of the State that can produce it. In so doing, they call to mind the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the support for Imperial Japan by Marxist intellectuals and by Subhas Chandra Bose, the cheering on of George Bush by Christopher Hitchens, the present alliance between Trotskyists and Islamists in parts of urban Britain, the warm welcome being accorded to various defectors (Communist, SWP, Welsh separatist and Welsh-language supremacist, communalist of various kinds) by veterans of the 1980s Radical Right, the universally applauded carve-up between Sinn Féin and the DUP, and the relationship between the Euston Manifesto Group and the Henry Jackson Society. But we who, being Labourites, are without a party this side of electoral reform, cannot possibly do so.

That TIME Cover

A lot of good our presence in Afghanistan is doing, then, isn't it?

Future Imperfect

So, Dr Julian Lewis MP, if we cannot know what the threat will be in 2050, then how can we know that Trident will be of the slightest use against that threat? After all, it is of absolutely no use against anything now.

In fact, "our" nuclear weapons have never succeded in deterring anyone whose dispute was specifically with Britain: Nasser, Galtieri, the IRA, anyone. But then, they are nothing to do with any specifically British interest. Our only connection to them is that we not only host them, but have so little self-respect as to pay for that dubious privilege.

Whatever Happened To The Great Tradition?

Re-reading Maurice Cowling's Mill and Liberalism for a couple of things in the pipeline (the Introduction to the 1990 edition is an invaluable summary of what was once the New Right), I am struck by the description of Mill, together with Bertrand Russell and Matthew Arnold, as "the Great Tradition" of English atheism, as precious to atheists as the Great Tradition is to us, and comparable to anything on the Continent.

Well, that was 1963. Our Great Tradition has continued to grow. So has Continental atheism. But to whom do those who looked to Mill, Russell and Arnold now also look? Only Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens. I have too much regard for the latter's brother to go in with all guns blazing, and in any case he makes less noise than Dawkins, at least on this side of the Atlantic.

But Dawkins is a scientist only insofar as he is the holder of a forty-year-old doctorate. In the intervening period, he has repeatedly published essentially the same work of incompetent philosophy, theology and history. Long after his death, no one will be writing the books on him that they are still writing on Mill, Russell and Arnold.

In fact, what do serious atheist philosophers really think of Dawkins, whose adolescent readers must turn up from time to time in their seminars? A C Grayling, while also not always above cheap and crowd-pleasing shots of historical inaccuracy when writing for the Guardian, has certainly been a reader of this blog in the past. What says he, not so much about Dawkins personally, as about his work and its influence?

The Problem With This Government Is That It Is Blairite

John Harris writes:

To glimpse the sad state of Labour's soul as parliament breaks up for the summer, have a look at a modest YouTube hit, at the height of the controversy caused by the cancellation of new school buildings and Michael Gove's flawed lists: the Midlands MP and former Brownite consigliere Tom Watson fixes the schools secretary with a hateful look, surveys the great glasshouse around him, and calls Gove "a miserable pipsqueak of a man".

Such is a sound that may well echo into the autumn and beyond: Labour fury rendered comical because no one on the opposition benches is quite sure of the exact basis on which they're opposing the coalition's plans. The cuts, they insist, are savage, iniquitous and worse – but aside from vague talk of a rebalancing of tax rises and spending reductions from some of the leadership candidates, there is still little sense of any clear Labour alternative. Meanwhile, as the government readies us for supposed revolutions in health and education, something even more troubling eats away at Labour's being: might it have to take some of the blame?

In 2004, the Labour-aligned activist and writer Neal Lawson put flesh on the bones of the freshly formed pressure group Compass with a text entitled Dare More Democracy. As I flicked through it this week, one particularly prescient passage screamed from the page: "New Labour's gamble is … that the Tories will never get back into power – for if they do there will be no collectivist culture of institutions for the left to shield behind. The bleak years in opposition in the 1980s will feel like a picnic."

And here we are: the ramparts dividing public and private sectors long since weakened by the last government; the drive for "choice" and "contestability" ready to be taken to its logical conclusion. Also among my recent reading matter was Tony Blair's Labour conference speech of 2005, which captured him at his unhinged peak: "The NHS reforms, to break down the old monolith, bring in new providers, [and] allow patients choice, must continue. Money alone won't work … This autumn we will publish our education white paper. It will open up the system to new providers and new partners, allow greater parental choice, [and] expand foundation, academy and extended schools." Now think of plans lately laid out by Gove and Andrew Lansley, and feel a frisson of deja vu.

As the Guardian reported yesterday, the frantic pace of Gove's academies project may have been undermined by the yawning gap between the 1,000-plus schools initially said to want in, and the 153 who so far actually do. But this self-styled "born-again Blairite" will doubtless continue his drive to revive the vision Blair laid out five years ago, and cast off the qualifications that were reluctantly bolted on to the education bill of 2006 (only passed, let us not forget, thanks to Tory support; the Lib Dems, for what it's worth, were dead against). Following the story in some penthouse suite or departure lounge, the former prime minister must surely recognise his own legacy – and so it is with swaths of the coalition's plans. Yes, Gordon Brown and his allies may have slightly stymied what was once known as "eye-wateringly New Labour" policy, but they were too confused and introverted to decisively change direction, and the essential logic remained in place; now the Lib-Cons simply pick up the Blairite baton, and run like hell.

Simon Stevens, the "president of global health" at the US multinational UnitedHealth, offers more evidence of this grim continuity. In a giddy op-ed piece in the Financial Times, he recently saluted the coalition's plans for GP commissioning and a hugely expanded domestic healthcare market, and identified their pioneer: "The proposals come 10 years after Tony Blair … took the first steps down this path. What makes the coalition's proposals so radical is not that they tear up that earlier plan. It is that they move decisively towards fulfilling it – in a way that Mr Blair was blocked from doing by internal opposition within his own 'virtual coalition' government." Stevens should know: from 1997 to 2004 he was Blair's health policy adviser, before joining one of the corporations who stood to gain from where New Labour was heading.

And so to yet another social democratic institution punched and kicked by the last government, and under fresh attack. While defending his plans for schools, Gove has been taking refuge in uncharacteristically shrill claims of anti-government bias at the BBC; meanwhile, over at culture, Jeremy Hunt is preparing to hack the corporation down to size via an inexplicable cut in the licence fee, accusing it of "extraordinary and outrageous" waste, and promising "tough discussions". Again, continuity rules: the miserable bullying of the BBC circa 2004 paved the way for Ben Bradshaw – Labour's last culture secretary – to introduce the idea of a licence-fee cut and have a go at BBC management. Hunt can easily pass off his intentions as more of the same; Bradshaw should feel more than a pang of regret.

I recently went to a Labour leadership hustings where – contrary to the fashionable view that all is politesse and tedium – there was at least one really fascinating exchange. The coalition's plans for the NHS were raised, and out came pained admissions of Labour culpability: Ed Balls mentioned the Simon Stevens article; Ed Miliband said there had been times when New Labour seemed "indifferent about whether the NHS was in the public or private sector … it is a real problem for us". Those two candidates tend to talk about such subjects in slightly discomfited tones, presumably fearing that to question the Blair-Cameron-Clegg consensus is to be at loggerheads with a powerful part of the media class that would have us believe – erroneously – that privatising everything goes with the grain of public opinion. Way more salient are the logos of service companies that regularly adorn thinktank pamphlets, Westminster seminars and political booze-ups (the Fabian Society's summer party, it pains me to report, was sponsored by Serco) – but that's another story.

To oppose all this is not to lurch left, or to take the soft option; it does not preclude difficult debates about how to make public institutions more open and responsive. Indeed, one of the main arguments against Westminster and Whitehall's now standard model of "reform" is that it usually pushes things in the opposite direction. The main point is this: Labour has to open the page on an era when it laid the ground for the possible destruction of the few remaining bedrocks of what the leadership hopefuls call "Labour values" – with the obvious and frightening caveat that it may already be far, far too late.

An Open Scandal

My old friend, Matthew Partridge, writes:

A few days ago the BPP College of Professional Studies became the first private university college in Britain since 1976. David Willetts, the minister in charge of universities, evidently believes that competition in higher education, and the incentive of profits, will cut costs and drive up efficiency.

Willetts also believes that experience elsewhere shows that the for-profit sector "helps widen access, focuses attention on teaching quality and promotes innovative learning methods, such as web-based distance learning".

However, the entrance of the for-profit sector into higher education provision raises some questions, especially regarding standards. Supporters of private higher education, such as the University of Buckingham vice-chancellor, Terence Keeley, point out that many of the world's top private universities, such as Harvard and Princeton, have extremely high standards.

Indeed, as Geoffrey Alderman notes, the private University of Buckingham has several well-regarded departments. But Harvard and Princeton, like Buckingham, are run on a not-for-profit basis. This means they can maintain high academic standards, even if it reduces their income from student fees in the short term.

In contrast, the only concern that commercial providers have is for their bottom line. The BPP is currently well regarded by law students, but less scrupulous providers may be tempted in the future to dilute entry and course standards, in order to keep the maximum number of students on their books. Such lowering of standards risks reducing the overall reputation of British higher education, penalising more responsible institutions and their students. The problem will be compounded if, as Vince Cable has hinted, the for-profit sector is granted access to public funding and subsidies.

The high dropout rates and low quality of the education offered by some American commercial providers, much of it at public expense, is fast becoming an open scandal. At the University of Phoenix, the largest for-profit provider of higher education in the US, nearly 17 out of every 20 students fail to finish an undergraduate degree within six years. Indeed, some institutions are so desperate for students that they are offering to provide substantial academic credit for "life experience", enabling people to receive part, or the whole of a degree, without entering a lecture theatre, taking an exam or writing an essay.

As well as having low standards, the for-profit providers have managed to leech public funds away from other universities. Although they only educate one in 10 students, they account for 25% of subsidies allocated for low-income students. This low-quality, high-cost model has resulted increased in criticism from Congress and the Obama administration. However, disillusionment with their model has extended beyond the centre-left. The maverick financier, Steven Eisman, who was the first to spot the mortgage crisis, declared in March that for-profit higher education was "as socially destructive and morally bankrupt as the sub-prime mortgage industry".

There is nothing intrinsically wrong with institutional diversity in higher education. In fact, handled properly, competition from the private sector could help existing universities, students and taxpayers. However, the American experience demonstrates that the for-profit sector requires a higher degree of regulation than the traditional model of provision.

If Willetts and Cable believe that private universities are a way of delivering higher education on the cheap, then they are mistaken. Not only could it destroy one of the best-regarded higher education systems in the world, it could also end up becoming an expensive nightmare for students, employees and taxpayers alike.

Friday, 30 July 2010

At The Core

Might George Osborne be going back to his High Tory roots? His insistence that any like-for-like replacement of Trident be funded by the MoD rather than by the Treasury indicates an almost Cameronian or Haguesque aversion to vast financial profligacy, to subjugation to a foreign power, to vanity projects, to violations of classical theology (in this case, the just war doctrine), and to Liam Fox, whose position as of today is as untenable as Michael Gove's.

Seeing The Benefits

Iain Duncan Smith, good Social Catholic and therefore good Eurosceptic (the closer to those roots a party on the Continent has remained, the less happy it now is with what David Cameron casually calls "the secular EU"), is fundamentally sound.

The trick with the Conservatives is always to convince them that it was their idea. Cameron has opened the door to being so convinced of the need for the maximum multiple. And IDS has now blown it wide open to being so convinced of the need for a unified system of taxation, benefits, pensions, minimum wage legislation and student funding to ensure that no one's tax-free income ever falls below half national median earnings.

Over to you, Simon Hughes and Vince Cable?

Free To Say No

No one wants to become a "free" school.

What does Michael Gove have to do to be taken out? Wait for Liam Fox to have been so first, it seems. Well, then, for that as for so many other reasons, speed the day.

The Flaw In British Fascism

A certain sort of idea of Europe, or the West, or "the white race" provides a foundation for Fascism. A wildly unrealistic foundation, but so what?

A certain sort of idea of being English, or Scots, or Welsh, or Irish, or Ulster-Scots, or Celtic, or Anglo-Saxon, or Norse provides a foundation for Fascism. A wildly unrealistic foundation, but so what?

And these two foundations are wholly compatible with each other.

Neither, however, is remotely compatible with allegiance to the United Kingdom.

The limited appeal and ongoing collapse of the BNP are therefore entirely to be expected, and wholly in keeping with the history of such phenomena.

Last Night's Shock Revelation

That thing about whether or not one or other party really had or had not offered the Lib Dems the Alternative Vote with or without a referendum. Honestly, it was gripping stuff. I am still reeling from it.

Parliamentary Privilege

That of all the rest of them, most notably David Cameron, who have been let off.

Anywhere They Like

If United States Senators wish to make themselves quite beyond ridiculous by shipping up on these shores in the expectation that past and present Ministers of the Crown will therefore appear before them, then that will be their problem. They honestly do not seem to grasp the point. Why not?

Jenni Murray: Rhyming Slang?

If so, then for what, and why?

This morning, she managed to claim that the recent rioting in Belfast was a reaction to "the scandal in the Catholic Church".

Keep those license fees coming in.

Who, Whom

The same Facebook that has informed me that I am Dr Johnson and Pope Pius XI now adds Tony Benn to the list. The questions were very restrictive, so that you could never be, say, John Smith, or Peter Shore. But I can feel a little book coming on, containing an essay on each of the people whom Facebook says that I am, with a concluding piece synthesising them all as ... well, as David Lindsay, it seems.

Very Open Secrets

Ron Paul writes:

Recently the Washington Post ran an extensive report by Dana Priest and William M. Arkin on the bloated intelligence community. They found that an estimated 854,000 people hold top-secret security clearances. Just what are all these people up to? By my calculation this is about 11,000 intelligence workers per al Qaeda member in Afghanistan. This also begs the question – if close to 1 million people are authorized to know top secrets, how closely guarded are these secrets?

They also found that since the September 11 attacks, some 17 million square feet of building space has been built or is being built to accommodate the 250 percent expansion of intelligence organizations. Intelligence work is now done by some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private contracting companies in about 10,000 locations in the United States.

The former Director of National Intelligence, Adm. Dennis Blair, has asserted that US intelligence now has the authority to target American citizens for assassination without charge or trial. How many of these resources are being devoted to spying on American citizens for nefarious reasons at home rather than targeting foreign enemies abroad?

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Five Days?

My eight-thousandth post.

For which no subject could be better than the One-Party State of Britain on the basis of the extremist, unpopular "Centre Ground".

It looks increasingly as if, far from there having been "five days that changed Britain", the deal between Cameron and Clegg was done well before the Election. Cameron recognised, as this blog used to be pilloried for pointing out, that a Conservative overall majority was psephologically impossible, exactly as has turned out to have been the case.

In any event, he favoured and favours the latest in the long line, definitive of the Conservative Party, of Liberal takeovers from the Westminster Village of the age-old Tory machine in the country at large. The latest, and possibly the last: the overthrow and replacement of Toryism once and for all.

Falling Off The Bridge

First, this:

The Charity Commission, the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales, has published a regulatory case report on its investigation into the Atlantic Bridge Education and Research Scheme (“Atlantic Bridge”), (registered charity no. 1099513).

The investigation looked at whether Atlantic Bridge is properly established and registered as a charity, whether its activities are capable of advancing education for the public benefit and whether it has engaged in any inappropriate political activity.

The Commission concluded that, although Atlantic Bridge is a charity with exclusively charitable purposes and is capable of operating for the public benefit, its educational objects have not been advanced by its activities because of the way in which it has promoted the ‘Special Relationship’ between the US and the UK. The promotion of the Special Relationship is not the purpose of the charity and nor can it be. Although it is legitimate for a charity to study, research or educate the public about the ‘Special Relationship’, it is not permissible for a charity to promote a particular pre-determined point of view.

The Commission also concluded that the charity’s activities may lead members of the public to call into question its independence from party politics. The Commission has made clear to the trustees their legal and regulatory responsibilities and that the way that Atlantic Bridge currently carries out its activities must cease immediately. The full findings of the Commission’s investigation are set out in the report published today.

The Commission has provided the trustees with regulatory advice and guidance on their obligations under charity law. As a result of the Commission’s intervention, the trustees have committed to undertake a wide-ranging governance review over the next year and report back to the Commission within two months of its completion.

The Commission’s report also highlights issues for the wider sector. These include an explanation of the requirements in charity law for educational charities. This section also stresses that charities must remain independent from political parties at all times.

And now, this:

The US arm of a UK charity under investigation by the Charity Commission for links to the Conservative Party has been referred to the US Internal Revenue Service after its chief executive appeared to back David Cameron's election campaign.

Atlantic Bridge exists to promote close relations between the US and the UK and was founded by shadow defence secretary Liam Fox. It has branches on both sides of the Atlantic.

Amanda Bowman, chief executive of Atlantic Bridge Inc, the US-based organisation, wrote an article last week for Washington DC newspaper The Examiner, in which she said that Tory leader Cameron would be "much more amenable to shared US-UK foreign interests than Gordon Brown", and that the Conservative leader would be "good for America and better for the special relationship".

After Stephen Newton, a blogger on politics and culture, complained about Bowman's article, the Charity Commission told him it had notified the IRS, which determines the tax-exempt status of non-profits in the US.

Neither the IRS nor the Charity Commission would comment on the move.

Tax-exempt charities in the US - known as 501(c)(3) organisations - are prohibited from endorsing election candidates in the US or abroad. Wilful breaches result in revocation of their tax-exempt status.

One US-based lawyer specialising in non-profit law, who asked not to be named, said: "Political activity is an absolute prohibition. Endorsing candidates or taking a position vis a vis candidates is an absolute prohibition."

But he added that US charity executives were permitted to endorse candidates in a personal capacity.

"While it seems cut and dried, you could also see their lawyer arguing that she was speaking in an individual capacity, even though the article identifies her by her job title."

In a statement, Atlantic Bridge, said: "We are confident that no aspect of the recent op-ed in question is in violation of 501(c)(3) laws."

The Charity Commission opened a regulatory compliance case in August into the UK branch of Atlantic Bridge for alleged breaches of political neutrality. The inquiry is continuing.

The two charities share an advisory council, which includes seven Tory MPs and a Tory peer.

One of whom is Liam Fox.

Bringing us to Trey Barnes, now in London at the head of Global Policy Partners, "lobbyists" on behalf of Becatech, a "security firm" about which nothing more is known. Michael Fabricant MP has arranged for Barnes to have a House of Commons pass, giving him full access to the Palace of Westminster. Barnes is the Director of the Conservative Friends of America, set up by Fabricant and with GPP's Victoria Read as Deputy Director of the organisation, as well as Fox as a Patron. Barnes has also been a major donor to Hillary Clinton, among others...

This is all before we say the words "Luke Coffey".

Fox has been set up for a fall, that of the neocons at the far more traditionally Tory hands of David Cameron and William Hague. Can't be long now.

After Atlantic Bridge, how about those other neocon fake charities Policy Exchange (Michael Gove's forgers' den), the Centre for Social Cohesion (purely the person of Douglas Murray, too rich to need to work but still in need of a byline for televisual purposes), and the Henry Jackson Society?

To Think Again

No more free personal care for the elderly in Scotland. No more free prescriptions, or free eye an dental treatment. Not even any more free bus travel for the over-60s, which there is no plan to abolish in England. Oh, and a ten per cent cut in each public service's workforce.

Which should come first after all of that? The SNP's attempt to secure re-election? Or a referendum on further devolution?

After ASBOs

How about a return to proper preventative policing, to proper trials with proper standards of proof, and therefore to proper sentencing and prison regimes based on the restored ability to assume that those convicted really were guilty?

Of Immigration and India

We need both a cap and a points system.

We need to restore to citizens of countries retaining the monarchy or other constitutional ties (such as the right of appeal to the Privy Council) at least the same rights of entry and abode here as are enjoyed by EU citizens.

We need to go to the ideological root of the problem. There cannot be a “free” market generally but not in drugs, prostitution or pornography. There cannot be unrestricted global movement of goods, services or capital but not of labour. Requiring a union card is no different from requiring a British passport or a work permit. We cannot deliver the welfare provisions and the other public services that our people have rightly come to expect unless we know how many people there are in this country, unless we control immigration properly, and unless we insist that everyone use spoken and written English to the necessary level.

And we need to be realistic about India. Yes, there is a very special relationship. Yes, India is a coming superpower. Yes, India is a bastion of democracy, or at least tries very hard to be. But India is also, on the one hand, the land of the BJP, the RSS and others even worse whom we insist on indulging with our "Mumbai" and our "Chennai". And India is also, on the other hand, the land of the Stalinists of the Communist Party of India, of the Maoists of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and one of whom nearly became Prime Minister as recently as 1996, of the All India Forward Bloc founded by Subhas Chandra Bose of the Indian National Army that fought for Hirohito, and of the Revolutionary Socialist Party of India's half-digestion of Trotskyism by Bengal's pre-existing Anushilan movement of not just Hindu, but explicitly Brahmin, nationalists. Again, among others even worse. The Naxalites may be among the numerous disprovers of Marxism by reference to the fact that it never arises anywhere where it is supposed to in its terms. But that does not make them any better. And like the Shiv Sena and such like, they have fellow-travellers and full-blown allies at the very heart of India's political life.

Just as we cannot tolerate face-covering (not head-covering, but face-covering), or polygamy, or genital mutilation, or Sharia law, or Muslim schools, or non-Christian festivals as public holidays, or mosques with domes and minarets, so we cannot tolerate, most obviously, caste discrimination in general and untouchability in particular. Nor is Britain any place for Stalinism, Maoism, the ideas of Subhas Chandra Bose, or the marriage of Trotskyism and Brahmin nationalism. The country where these are all significant forces may be one dear both to our hearts and to our wallets, and may be a key ally in some specific causes. But it is not somewhere about which we should be anything less than rigorously realistic.

Total Politics Best Blog Awards

Act here by midnight on the 31st, to ensure that The Exile and Neil Clark stay in.

You Have To Laugh...

Lee Barnes "writes":

Every day now the leadership challenge within the BNP is dragging the party deeper and deeper into the gutter.

The supporters on all sides are waging a war against each other that is causing immeasurable harm to the party and the British Nationalist movement.

It appears that there are people in the BNP who now want to purge everyone who has supported one of the leadership challengers and that there are some people in the BNP who now want to flounce off and set up a new political party to stand against the BNP and split the nationalist vote.

A split or purge serves only the interests of the enemies of the BNP.

Those that are clamouring for a split or a purge in the BNP are working for the enemies of the BNP and the enemies of British Nationalism.

At the same time the BNP has shed many excellent activists over recent years due to the constant internecine warfare between various groups and factions and other fallouts and disagreements.

These people must be able to re-engage with the nationalist cause.

But the last thing the British Nationalist movement needs is another political party to stand against the BNP in local, general and european elections.

This must not happen.

But at the same time we must get back on board all those people who for one reason or the other feel they cannot stay in the BNP or who have left the BNP.

This is why I and others have decided to establish a new Pan-European and European Nationalist political movement and political party in order to ensure the BNP does not split, that people who have the left the BNP can re-enter politics and to address a serious strategic and tactical flaw in the ideological evolution of British nationalism and also nationalist politics all over Europe.

This new party, the European National Alliance, is a political party that will not stand in local elections or general elections and will only stand in European Elections against the establishment traitors in the mainstream parties.

We will not stand against any British Nationalist parties in european elections, such as the BNP and UKIP, and only stand candidates against the Labour Party, Greens, Liberal Democrats and the Tories.

The ENA does not want British Nationalists to leave their present political parties and join the European Nationalist struggle, we want those who are European Nationalists and who are not members of any present political party to join our ranks or those who want to work for the interests of both British Nationalism and European Nationalism.

The ENA is an essential development in the pantheon of British political parties.

As the ENA is a pro-European people and European cultural party, but anti the European Union, we will cater to an entirely different political demographic to that of traditional British Nationalism.

I want people to remain in and support the BNP in all its local and general elections and european elections.

I will remain as an officer of the BNP as well as helping run the ENA.

In areas where there are elected UKIP and BNP MEP's the ENA will not stand any candidates.

The ENA is an organisation that seeks support from those who have European Nationalist principles and who want to takeover the EU from inside and use its wealth and power to promote European Nationalist principles.

The ENA will seek to spread European Nationalist ideas into the wider consciousness of the British public.

British Nationalists parties like UKIP and the BNP are parties that want to withdraw from the EU and who are Euro-sceptic.

There has never been any political organisation in Britain or the EU that explictly promotes European Nationalist principles.

There must be no split in the BNP and no purge of activists from within the BNP.

There must be no new political party formed to stand against the BNP in local, general and european elections.

This is an opportunity for those nationalists who have left the BNP over the years to re-engage in the nationalist struggle in a way that doesnt harm the development and growth of British Nationalism.

A full statement of the principles of the ENA are on the ENA site here ;

A few facts on where we stand ;

A) Who are we ?

We are 21st Century Nationalists who are both Nationalists and European Nationalists.

B) What is European Nationalism ?

European Nationalism is a political movement that seeks to protect the indigenous cultures, heritage and indigenous peoples of Europe.

C) Aren't British Nationalism and European Nationalism opposed to each other ?


As a British Nationalist or a German Nationalist or a French Nationalist we all work within our own countries for the benefit of our own people, but we also understand that in order to defend European civilisation from globalism we must work together for the benefit of all our people and for Europe itself.

D) Do you support a European Army and political integration ?


A Free Europe depends on Free Nations, and a European Army would undermine our national freedoms.

Political integration is a usurpation of our national democracies and national sovereignty.

We stand for European co-operation not European integration.

E) Who can join the ENA ?

Anyone who agrees with our principles.

F) Will the ENA stand in local and general elections in the UK or elsewhere in Europe ?


The ENA is simply a European Nationalist organisation.

We have no interest in splitting the Nationalist vote in local and general elections or competing against Nationalist parties in such elections.

As we are a European Nationalist Party we will not be taking votes from Nationalist parties in the European Elections either, as all the Nationalist politicians such as the BNP and UKIP stand for immediate withdrawal from the EU and are Euro-sceptics.

We do not support withdrawing from the EU, rather we stand for taking over the EU from the inside and then using its vast amount of power and wealth for the promotion of our European Nationalist principles and objectives.

We will also not stand against Nationalist or Patriotic parties in European Elections such as the BNP and UKIP who already have elected representatives.

In those areas with established BNP and UKIP elected representatives we will not put forward any candidates so as to ensure those people can gain the entire Nationalist and European Nationalist vote for themselves and ensure their re-election.

We will stand only in areas with elected Labour Party MEP's, Conservative Party MEP's, Green Party MEP's and Liberal Democrat MEP's.

As the ENA is a European Nationalist party which is not anti-Europe, but only anti-European Union, and is not Euro-sceptic, as we wish to stay inside the EU and use the power and wealth of the EU to promote our European Nationalist principles, we are appealing to a completely different political demographic to the Nationalist parties such as the BNP and UKIP.

Therefore there will be no competition between the ENA and parties like UKIP and the BNP in European Elections.

We wish the BNP and UKIP all the best in their local, general and European elections and hope to see them prosper and grow as Nationalist parties.

G) Will the ENA accept party memberships ?


H) What is the difference between the European Nationalist Alliance and the Alliance of European Nationalist Movements ?

The AENM is a body composed of elected MEP's within the European Union and other anti-EU parties who do not have MEP's but who are also anti-EU and support withdrawal from the EU.

It intends to create a European political party that operates within the institution of the European Parliament, and it does not intend to create a Pan-European political party that operates across the entire European Union.

Each of the parties within the AENM are anti-EU and stand for withdrawal from the EU.

In the event of any of them winning power in a national election, those parties would unilaterally withdraw from the EU.

The AENM is in the perverse position that the more successful its constituent members are in their respective national elections, the weaker the AENM as a political bloc becomes within the EU.

If all the political parties in the AENM were to win power in their own countries they would all have to withdraw from the EU itself, and thereby weaken the position of the remaining Nationalist parties left inside the EU.

If all the political parties in the AENM were also to win power in their own countries and withdrew from the EU, then there would be no political parties left in the EU to articulate and promote European Nationalist interests.

Therefore a separate European Nationalist organisation, the ENA, is required in order to operate alongside the AENM in order to allow Nationalists and European Nationalists in those states that have withdrawn from the EU to cast their votes for a political party that represents European Nationalist principles.

The ENA will stay within the EU as a political bloc and act solely in the interests of European Nationalism, as opposed to the AENM which is comprised of political parties that have to represent the interests of their own internal party political constituencies and also in the national interest of their own respective nation states if they were elected into power.

The ENA acts solely for the principles of the ENA and European Nationalism itself.

This is why the ENA can work alongside the AENM on issues of mutual concern but will remain an independent European Nationalist movement inside the EU.

The ENA is a movement solely for the promotion of European Nationalist principles and hence must promote and act without pressure or coercion from Nationalist party leaders who have an internal Nationalist constituency within their own parties they must listen too and also, as elected leaders of a nation state, their own national interests to promote as well.

I) How do I get involved ?

If you are interested in supporting the ENA then e mail us at ;

Enjoy yourselves.

But the spirit of Mosley clearly lives on. He was an ardent European integrationist on this very basis (as was Churchill), on which he first developed the currently modish concept of a Union of the Mediterranean.

The BNP is finished. The only thing that keeps them going at all is how much they hate each other. All that we need now is AV to kill them off once and for all when even such supporters as they still have by 2015 (and their vote halved between 2009 and 2010) give their first preference votes to candidates universally eliminated in the first round, but express no second preferences, so that they may as well have stayed at home.

The Troubles I've Seen

Stuart Reid writes:

I was in the Sunday Telegraph offices in London's Docklands when, at a minute past 7 on the night of Feb. 9, 1996, the IRA detonated a 1,000-pound bomb in South Quay, a couple of hundred yards from where I was sitting. The bomb made a hellish noise. You could feel the thud in your guts. Behind me our news editor threw himself to the floor, and I did the same. Most of our colleagues, however, rushed to the windows to see what had happened. There was nothing to see: just a black void. It was very quiet.

The elevators were immediately shut down, and the staff of the Sunday Telegraph and its sister daily paper left the building by the emergency staircase. As we walked down the 13 floors, we talked excitedly and laughed. Once outside the building, a distinguished member of the staff was seen striding about in his camel-hair coat, back straight, chin thrust forward, seizing female members of the staff by the shoulders and kissing them on each cheek.

Two young men were killed in the blast—Inan Bashir, a Muslim, and John Jeffries. They ran a newsagent's shop in South Quay. I used to buy chocolate and licorice there and liked the two men, Bashir especially. He had a ready, slightly shy smile. He had no quarrel with the Irish or with anyone else, though I imagine that, if pressed, he would have confessed to having sympathies with the Republicans. His body was mutilated almost beyond recognition.

Eventually a man named James McArdle was convicted of conspiracy to cause explosions and sentenced to 25 years in prison. He was released in June 2000 under the terms of the Good Friday (Peace) Agreement of 1998. The agreement was the one great achievement of Tony Blair's premiership. The amnesty for IRA men was an essential part of that agreement. The only way forward was to call it quits.

I recall that crime now because of another crime, 24 years earlier, in Derry, on Jan. 30, 1972. On that Bloody Sunday, 27 unarmed civil-rights protesters were shot by soldiers from 1st Battalion, the Parachute Regiment. Thirteen were killed.

On June 15, the Saville inquiry into Bloody Sunday published its findings. It found that all those killed were unarmed and that paratroopers had lost control and opened fire without warning. Some of their victims had been trying to flee when they were hit.

In the House of Commons, Prime Minister David Cameron, said, "What happened on Bloody Sunday was both unjustified and unjustifiable. It was wrong. The government is ultimately responsible for the conduct of the Armed Forces. And for that, on behalf of the government—and indeed our country—I am deeply sorry."

The prime minister’s handsome apology reflects great credit on him. The Saville inquiry, on the other hand, reflects little credit on anyone. It was always intended, say Unionists, as a sop to the Republicans. It sat for 12 years, considered 30 million words of evidence, and cost taxpayers £-191 million, more than half of which went on legal fees. No one seriously disputes its findings, and indeed for many years now most Britons have believed that Bloody Sunday was a bloody crime. But it was a crime that has to be seen in the context of the Troubles and of the subsequent peace process that brought freedom to unrepentant IRA gunmen.

The cruelest and most persistent killers in Northern Ireland during the Troubles were the IRA. Of the 3,526 people who lost their lives between 1969 and 2001, 2,057 were killed by Republican terrorists, 1,019 were killed by Protestants, and 362 by the security forces (who themselves lost more than 500). The Saville report ought now to bring closure to a brutal and ugly chapter in British history.

But will it? The Irish have long memories. As military historian Max Hastings observed, "No nation on Earth possesses a talent for promoting its grievances to match that of the Irish. Bloody Sunday is cherished in the Republican pantheon as the foremost symbol of British oppression."

Max is right. I am not a Unionist. I am a Catholic of part Irish extraction. I believe that the Catholics in Northern Ireland had a just cause. Yet if the families of the men killed on Bloody Sunday do not move on, I may find my sympathies tested. Their loved ones were not the only innocent victims. Inan Bashir and John Jeffries are dead. An amnesty has been declared in the case of IRA men who planned and carried out cold-blooded murder in Ireland and on the mainland, and oceans of tears have been shed for the victims of British "brutality." But brutal British soldiers are people, too, and justice requires that an amnesty should be declared in the case of the young soldiers, now old men, who 38 years ago lost control.”

The Spy Who Returned To The Cold

Philip Giraldi writes:

For the first time since the cold war, the Central Intelligence Agency is conducting a high-level examination of how it recruits and runs its agents, referred to as tradecraft. The examination is taking place at the same time as a broader U.S. intelligence community damage-assessment related to the July 14th re-defection of Iranian scientist Shahram Amiri, whose information was used in a number of intelligence reports that went to the White House and other consumers. Amiri, who had no access to the actual Iranian nuclear program, was considered a low-level source who only was able to recount conversations with other scientists suggesting that there was no nuclear-weapons program, information that has been confirmed by other sources.

The CIA review will look into the way in which Amiri was acquired and handled as a source. In its eagerness to obtain an Iranian nuclear scientist, the CIA did not consider carefully enough the possible consequences of a staged defection in which key family members were left behind. Agency handlers quite simply failed to learn enough about Amiri and his personal circumstances prior to arranging his defection, leading to the sorry spectacle of his very public re-defection. In CIA training there was always an admonition against “falling in love” with one’s agent, a term meant to convey that getting too close emotionally to a source would mean developing a blind spot when he or she starts to perform poorly. In this case, senior Agency managers believe that the case officers handling Amiri were so detached that they made no effort to learn anything about him.

The recklessness is reminiscent of the lead-up to the December 2009 killing of seven CIA officers at Khost, Afghanistan by a Jordanian double agent, a major setback that was attributable a series of security failures driven by the desire to obtain an agent with access to al-Qaeda at any cost.

The CIA inquiry will also look at the acquisition of reporting sources and targeting information for drone attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan, which Agency insiders concede are often poorly directed, resulting in the deaths of many more civilians than militants. The poor targeting has been attributed to haphazard acquisition of Pakistani and Afghan so-called agents, many of whom are engaged in personal vendettas or are only working for the money and are fabricating information.

A significant number of these agents are provided by ostensibly friendly intelligence services, including Pakistan’s ISI, which has been accused of working both sides in the Afghan conflict. As CIA has few officers able to speak the local languages, such dependency is not surprising, but it has meant that case officers have relatively little substantive contact with many of the agents they are running.

As for the Iranian scientist Amiri, contrary to media reports suggesting that he was kidnapped, he was a walk-in volunteer — initially debriefed at the U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul — who became a CIA intelligence source, communicating electronically with his case officer in Washington. His defection was arranged by Washington due to concerns that he might be under scrutiny by the Iranian authorities, who were increasing security in response to aggressive attempts by CIA to contact Iranians working in the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program. The CIA is convinced that Amiri was a legitimate defector who provided accurate though extremely limited information on steps possibly being taken by the Iranians to conceal certain aspects of their nuclear research, as well as the largely anecdotal evidence that a weapons program does not currently exist.

Amiri was being resettled with a new identity when he heard through the local diaspora Iranian grapevine that his wife and child were in protective custody in Iran and were in danger — a message that was deliberately floated by the Iranian government with the expectation that he would receive it. Because he was a low-level source, he was not under guard by the CIA and was able to travel to Washington, where he contacted the Iranian interests section at the Pakistani Embassy. Relying on intercepted communications, U.S. intelligence has confirmed that the threats against Amiri originated with an Iranian official at the Pakistani Embassy in Washington.

When Amiri had defected while making the Hajj in Saudi Arabia, he abandoned his family in Iran. They were in fact held hostage by the Revolutionary Guards, Amiri’s former employer. Amiri’s decision to go back to Iran was not blocked by U.S. authorities, who believed that he had no more useful intelligence. Flown back to Tehran, he transited through the United Arab Emirates where he acquired an Iranian official as an escort. U.S. intelligence spokesmen took the unusual step of inaccurately praising Amiri’s great value — both to discredit and “burn” him with the Iranians. The $5 million he earned for his spying has been frozen in its account by the Department of the Treasury.

In an attempt to deflect any punishment, Amiri has publicly accepted and endorsed false Iranian claims that he had been kidnapped while in Saudi Arabia. Now he will put on show by Tehran and will likely remain unharmed for the short term, but previous returned defectors have been killed in supposed “accidents” after being milked of their propaganda value.

Taft-Hartley Revisited

David Macaray writes:

“The most effective anti-poverty program ever invented was the labor union.”
—George Meany

There are three important things that need to be remembered about the 1947 Labor-Management Relations Act—commonly known as the “Taft-Hartley Act,” after its congressional sponsors, Senator Robert Taft of Ohio, and House Representative Fred Hartley of New Jersey.

First, even though political pundits and social commentators continue to talk—60-odd years after the fact—about how Taft-Hartley was a necessary corrective, an antidote to runaway union excesses, a move that had to made to preserve the economic health of the nation, the legislation was far more toxic and insidious than these “reasonable response” accounts make it out to be. Taft-Hartley was the naked attempt to neutralize America’s unions by revoking key provisions of the landmark 1935 National Labor Relations Act (commonly known as the “Wagner Act,” after its sponsor, New York Senator Robert Wagner), the act that legitimized a union’s right to strike, engage in collective bargaining, and serve as the workers’ sole representative.

Make no mistake, the vitality of the post-World War II labor movement was staggering—so staggering, in fact, that the federal government and America’s leading corporations were in a state of panic. It’s no exaggeration to say that never in our history had organized labor come so close to becoming an equal partner in the national economy than in the years directly following the war. Not only were unions full of confidence and buoyed by the support of a sympathetic public, they were fearless. In 1946, the year before Taft-Hartley became law, five million people had taken part in strikes. Five million people had put down their tools or shut off their machines to hit the bricks, to protest the fortunes made by war profiteers, to protest the picayune wages being offered union members.

However, even though the working class was clearly on the ascendancy and the road ahead appeared wide-open, there were storm clouds gathering on the horizon. The realization that working men and women were now wielding genuine power—power that translated into independent political and economic clout—was scaring the wits out of the Establishment. It was that fear that precipitated the legislation.

Second, the Taft-Hartley Act did precisely what it set out to do. It crippled the labor movement. Among other things, it outlawed wildcat strikes, jurisdictional strikes, solidarity strikes, secondary boycotts and secondary picketing; and, in an odd footnote, it required union leaders to take an oath that they weren’t Communists (as if anyone who sided with the working class was a suspected Commie). Taft-Hartley prolonged the union certification process; it gave the federal government the right to issue strike injunctions; it expressly excluded supervisors from union membership and collective bargaining; and it severely weakened the union security clause (language under which joining a union was a condition of employment).

By lengthening the certification process, management could now stall; with injunction power, the feds could now squelch any large-scale strike; by excluding supervision, bosses could now reclassify workers as “supervisors,” thereby exempting them from union membership; and by de-fanging the security clause, 22 states now have right-to-work laws—five of which (Arkansas, Arizona, Oklahoma, Kansas and Florida) are embedded in state constitutions.

The third thing to remember about Taft-Hartley is that, while it became the law of the land despite the veto of President Harry Truman, it was congressional Democrats who assured its passage. Liberals and progressives like to place the blame on anti-union Republicans, but it was the Democrats themselves who pushed it across the finish line. Fact: A majority of the Democrats in congress voted to override Truman’s veto. While many were Southerners (“Dixiecrats”), many were not. Had the Democrats simply supported their president—had they provided working people with the economic equivalent of the same privileges guaranteed to citizens under the Bill of Rights—Taft-Hartley would not have become law.

All of which raises a question: If American voters were given the choice, how would they choose to be governed? Would they prefer that Big Business—with the blessings of a corporate-oriented government—dictated our domestic and foreign affairs? Or would they prefer giving working men and women an equal voice in determining policy?

We can argue all we like about the practicality of regular citizens making national policy, but one thing can’t be disputed: If regular citizens had been running the show, they never would have abandoned our manufacturing base. They never would have agreed to enrich international oligarchies at the expense of the American economy.

Taking the greatest manufacturing power in the history of the world and dismantling it—relegating it to the role of industrial “spectator”—is something that working people would never allow to happen. Never. Only the U.S. Congress would see the wisdom in pissing away something that took 150 years to build.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

The Trial of The Century

Kaing Guek Eav, commonly known as "Duch", may have been let off very lightly indeed. But we have still to call to account the last great monster of The Bloody Century, which began in 1914. He is worse than Bush, having started before 2001.

No, of course he is not as bad as Hitler, although if you do as people usually do and concentrate only on those victims of one particular Nazi crime among many who happened to belong to one category among many, then Blair's half a dozen entirely voluntary wars probably double the six million figure, and certainly come very close to doing so.

And no, of course he is not as bad as Stalin or Mao. But is that really supposed to be any sort of praise? If the numbers game is the game that we are playing, then he far, far surpasses numerous reviled figures who are now beyond reach: Idi Amin, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein (who would in any case have been dead by now). The remaining likes of Robert Mugabe and even Kim Jong-il barely register next to Blair's global reign of terror. The deaths at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, or in the Allied carpet-bombing of Hitler's Catholic and Social Democratic opponents, are as the tiniest drops to Blair's ocean of blood.

Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Amin and Pol Pot were never tried. Bush, Mugabe and Kim almost certainly never will be. Saddam's "trial" was unworthy of the name. For them, and for so many others besides, only one figure stands substitute, and very deservedly so. Blair has it coming, anyway. But there will be no harm in also requiring him to take it for the team. Only then and thus can we consign The Bloody Century to the history books.

United Services, Indeed

Time is running out for Trident. Now, where is the Taxpayers' Alliance when we need it? The same goes for Afghanistan.

Kicking With The Left Foot

There are many reasons why I wish that Andy Burnham were better than he is. Quite a good summary is provided by the fact that he has been nominated by the Labour Party in Northern Ireland (yes, it exists). He may be a liberal Catholic, and that may be all we need; give me an atheist, if those are the options. But he is clearly the man favoured by those who would cement the Union by having the more Catholic working-class Catholics, plus some Protestants, vote Labour while middle-class Protestants, and some Catholics, voted Conservative.

The Welfare State, workers’ rights, full employment, a strong Parliament, trade unions, co-operatives, credit unions, mutual guarantee societies, mutual building societies, and nationalised industries (often with the word “British” in their names) were historically successful in creating communities of interest among the several parts of the United Kingdom, including between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, thus safeguarding and strengthening the Union.

If you believe in these things, the fruits of Catholic Social Teaching, then you cannot be in favour of excluding people from them by means of incorporation into the Irish Republic, which could never afford them and in which the two indistinguishable parties - Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael - are, whatever else may be said about either or both of them, in no sense part of the Labour Movement. A key reason, among several more, why next to no one in the Republic really wants a United Ireland, and most of them never even think about it.

Role Call

102 Democrats and 12 Republicans voted against further funding of the war in Afghanistan.

When can we have some of that over here? When we have primaries, perhaps?

Basic and Obvious

Tony Hayward is one thing. But when it comes to the exercise of Ministerial responsibilities in this country, neither Jack Straw, nor Kenny McAskill, nor anyone else is answerable to the United States Senate. Its members are not stupid people. So why does anyone need to explain to them something quite this basic and obvious?

She Wasn't County

In one breath, Jacob Rees-Mogg defended the historic counties.

In the next, he praised to the skies a Prime Minister who not only never did the thing that he suggested (quite the reverse, in fact), but who sat without protest in the Cabinet that, among so many other things, abolished several historic counties and cut up several more.

As in relation to George Osborne's neoconservative foreign policy views, we expect better than Thatcherolatry from people who speak quite like Jacob Rees-Mogg. Or where is the point in having them?

Dig For Victory

Ian Lavery was valiantly stating the case for coal on the floor of the House yesterday. Is he still President of the NUM? I hope so, and I hope that he remains so. It has been far too long since the serving leader of a trade union was a sitting MP. Whereas it remains normal for MPs to take an interest in areas of policy in which they are owners or directors of companies. And why not? But sauce for the goose, and all that.

Take Back The Power

British Gas has just announced half-yearly profits of half a billion pounds. Certainly a good argument for public ownership. As is the fact that public ownership is British ownership, that it safeguards the Union, and that its means of defending both the sovereignty and the integrity of this nation frequently even had the word "British" in their names.

Moreover, remember that wildly inflated fuel prices, falling particularly hard on the poor (including very many of the old), are being enforced as part of the war against secure and skilled employment, against the paternal authority thus possessed of the necessary economic basis, against global economic development, against travel by us common people, and against our access to the meat that we are designed to eat.

In Control?

Of course those who were illegally subjected to control orders are entitled to compensation. The Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats have rightly always opposed control orders. They are unsafe. Terrorists should be convicted and imprisoned. A real one can easily remove a tag and vanish. Some controlees have already done so. The provision for control orders has to be renewed by Parliament each year. Let it not be renewed next time. And let the provision itself then be repealed.

In Order

You are no doubt as shocked as I am that the European Investigation Order has been accepted by the party of the Treaty of Rome, of Thatcher's Single European Act, of the Maastricht Treaty, and of 18 successive annual votes to approve the Common Agricultural and Fisheries Policies.

The party that would have taken Britain into the euro if the 1997 Election had not removed Ken Clarke as Chancellor and replaced him with Gordon Brown; had not removed it, and replaced it with the party of the Attlee Government's refusal to join the European Coal and Steel Community on the grounds that it was "the blueprint for a federal state" which "the Durham miners would never wear". Gaitskell's rejection of European federalism as "the end of a thousand years of history" and liable to destroy the Commonwealth. The votes of most Labour MPs against Heath's Treaty of Rome. The Parliamentary Labour Party's unanimous opposition to Thatcher's Single European Act. The 66 Labour MPs who voted against Maastricht, including, in Bryan Gould, the only resignation from either front bench in order to do so, and outnumbering Conservative opponents by three to one. And the votes of every Labour and Liberal Democrat MP, without exception, against the Common Agricultural and Fisheries Policies annually between 1979 and 1997.

The first of those parties is clearly still going strong. But the second? That will depend on whether or not the Brownite Miliband defeats the Blairite Miliband.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Nemo Me Impune Lacessit

Angus MacNeil, the SNP MP for the Western Isles, maintains that the Royal Yacht should never have been scrapped. He is of course quite right to bemoan that action of the last Conservative Government, to which John Redwood raised no objection at the time, but which was vigorously opposed by Peter Shore.

The anti-monarchist catcalling over the Queen's Hebridean holiday is being led by the Taxpayers' Alliance, as it calls itself. Well, of course. Monarchy embodies the principle of sheer good fortune, of Divine Providence conferring responsibilities upon the more fortunate towards the less fortunate. It therefore provides an excellent basis for social democracy, as has proved the case in the United Kingdom, in the Old Commonwealth, in Scandinavia and in the Benelux countries. Allegiance to a monarchy is allegiance to an institution embodied by a person, rather than to an ethnicity or an ideology as the basis of the State. As Bernie Grant understood, allegiance to this particular monarchy, with its role in the Commonwealth, is a particular inoculation against racialism; Diane Abbott is quite probably of the same view.

No wonder that the National Party abolished the monarchy in South Africa. No wonder that the Rhodesian regime followed suit, and removed the Union Flag from that of Rhodesia, something that not even the Boers' revenge republic ever did. No wonder that the BNP wants to abolish the monarchy here. And no wonder that Margaret Thatcher launched a sustained assault on the monarchy, since she scorned the Commonwealth, social cohesion, historical continuity and public Christianity, and called the Queen "the sort of person who votes for the SDP", arrogating to herself the properly monarchical and royal role on the national and international stages. The newspaper that was most vociferous in her support was also most vicious in subverting the position of the Royal Family.

Don't Fall Into The Quacks

No, of course homeopathy should not be funded by the NHS. Does anyone know of a specific philosophical-theological critique of “like cures like”? I can just tell that there has to be one. And in any case, how can there be any such thing as “complementary medicine” or “alternative medicine”? If it works, then it is just medicine. And it does work, doesn’t it?

The current popularity of these things is, like so much else, the result of our culture’s having moved away from the uniquely Christian rejection of humanity’s otherwise universal concepts of eternalism (that the universe has always existed and always will), animism (that the universe is a living thing, an animal), pantheism (that the universe is itself the ultimate reality, God), cyclicism (that everything which happens has already happened in exactly the same form, and will happen again in exactly the same form, an infinite number of times) and astrology (that events on earth are controlled by the movements of celestial bodies).

Science cannot prove that these closely interrelated things are not the case; it simply has to presuppose their falseness, first established in thirteenth-century Paris when their Aristotelian expression was condemned at the Sorbonne specifically by ecclesial authority, and specifically by reference to the Biblical Revelation.

This is why science as we now understand the term never originated anywhere other than in Medieval Europe. And it is why science did not last, or flower as it might have done, in the Islamic world: whereas Christianity sees the rationally investigable order in the universe as reflecting and expressing the rationality of the Creator, the Qur’an repeatedly depicts the will of Allah as capricious.

By turning away from ecclesial authority’s articulation and protection of the Biblical Revelation, and by turning away from the Biblical Revelation itself, the civilisation that these things called into being has turned away from science and towards eternalism, animism, pantheism, cyclicism and astrology, to the extent that a few years ago a Doctorate of Science was awarded to François Mitterand’s astrologer by, of all institutions, the Sorbonne.

And eternalism, animism, pantheism, cyclicism and astrology, inseparable from each other, underlie, among so very much else, each and every form of “alternative medicine” or “complementary medicine”, contradictions in terms that these are.

Still On Track


"Every single constituency is going to be abolished so that wholesale boundary changes can occur, while the Alternative Vote should, and probably will, be introduced. So everything is now up for grabs. David Lindsay is the sort of candidate who could easily expect huge numbers of second and subsequent preference votes. Start now, and we can certainly win him a new seat in 2015."

See also here.

Back On Track


We support the campaign to bring high speed train manufacturing back to the North East. Hitachi has expressed interest in building a manufacturing site in Newton Aycliffe which will generate hundreds of new local jobs as well as many more throughout the supply chain for other local firms.

We now need to encourage the Government to implement the procurement of rolling stock through the Intercity Express Programme. We have the skills, we have the history. Now we need your support.

This campaign has the backing of Phil Wilson MP, Unite the Union, the Northern TUC, the Leader of Durham County Council, the North East Chamber of Commerce and the Northern Echo.

Let's get North East manufacturing back on track and bring trains back to the North East. Please invite your friends to join this group and help spread the word!

No Prize Turkey

There are many bad things about this Government. But there are some good ones, too. Withdrawal from Afghanistan, restoration of the link between pensions and earnings, abandonment of identity cards, the prospect of electoral reform, an inquiry into the last lot's complicity in torture (that means you, David Miliband), dismantlement of the surveillance state, a renewed emphasis on a manufacturing-based economy diffused throughout the country, one coalition partner that really did oppose the Iraq War, and another that at least has the decency to pretend that it did so.

It is in foreign policy that the most promise is being shown. Bilateral ties are being pursued with Russia, with China, with Latin American countries, with the Arab world in general and the UAE in particular, with India, with Indonesia, with Japan, with the major Commonwealth countries of Africa, and through the Commonwealth generally. There will be more. One such, however, must not be with a country in which the only functioning political alternatives are secular, militarist ultranationalism and militant Islam, both of which glorify the destruction of Byzantium and the genocide of the Armenians. Any more than with a state which has no functioning political alternatives except secular, militarist ultranationalism and militant Judaism, both of which glorify the destruction of a largely Christian predecessor-society and the ongoing genocide of, perhaps above all, the Christian sections of that society.

Oh, and do not expect any long-term future for any alliance between Iran and a country divided between Persian-hating, Armenian-hating, Assyrian-hating ultranationalists on one side, and Sunni fundamentalists on the other. We all have an interest in halting the rush to war with Iran. So we should all be furthering that interest. Not least, we need a Leader of the Opposition who is committed to it, as much as to withdrawal from Afghanistan, to restoration of the link between pensions and earnings, to abandonment of identity cards, to electoral reform, to an inquiry into the previous Government's complicity in torture, to dismantlement of the surveillance state, to a renewed emphasis on a manufacturing-based economy diffused throughout the country, to recognition of the Iraq War as both illegal in itself and an unmitigated strategic disaster, and to the pursuit of bilateral ties with Russia, with China, with Latin American countries, with the Arab world in general and the UAE in particular, with India, with Indonesia, with Japan, with the major Commonwealth countries of Africa, and through the Commonwealth generally, among others.

We all know who that is not.

Leaps and Bounds

The plans for how to determine the new constituency boundaries have crept out, with rather more caveats than might have been expected, or than will please many in Cameron's increasingly discontented party. The Lib Dem interest certainly looks likely to be protected. "Fair votes"? Did someone say "fair votes"? However, the Lib Dems may very well find themselves with a mathematically necessary Berwick & Berwickshire seat straddling the Border. Good news for those of us who hold that the law should require seats to straddle the United Kingdom's internal borders wherever possible. Labour is going to be hammered, losing huge numbers of seats in the ex-industrial North, on Clydeside, and especially in South Wales.

Meanwhile, Conservative backbenchers, who would probably tell you that they were on the Right, are making trouble over AV. Why? Don't they want a provincial, rural, protectionist, church-based, conservative, mind-our-own-business party to be able to survive and thrive apart from the metropolitan, urban, capitalist, secular, libertarian, make-the-world-anew party? Or have they managed to convince themselves that the latter is the Tory position? Of course, it is no such thing.

Some backbench Labour resistance may come from the traditional Left, such as there still is. Economic Marxists have disappeared as cultural Marxists have taken over. But it may also come from the even fewer who still stand in the tradition that massively predominated among Labour MPs until the campus sectarian Left took over. And don't those brave survivors want a party in which an absolute commitment to the Welfare State, workers' rights, trade unionism, the co-operative movement, consumer protection, strong communities, conservation rather than environmentalism, fair taxation, full employment, public ownership, proper local government, a powerful Parliament, and a base of real property for every household to resist both over-mighty commercial interests and an over-mighty State, is precisely a no less absolute commitment to any or all of the monarchy, the organic Constitution, national sovereignty, civil liberties, the Union, the Commonwealth, the countryside, grammar schools, traditional moral and social values, controlled importation and immigration, and a realistic foreign policy? I do.

"The Centre" Versus The Middle

Over in The First Post, Neil Clark writes:

The following is the sort of story you'd expect to see on the front page of the Guardian or perhaps the Morning Star. In fact, it was published - under the headline 'Axe falls on NHS services' - in the Sunday Telegraph. Yes, that's right - the 'Sunday Torygraph'.

"NHS bosses have drawn up secret plans for sweeping cuts to services, with restrictions on the most basic treatments for the sick and injured," the report reads. "Dr Peter Carter, the head of the Royal College of Nursing, said he was 'incredibly worried' about the disclosures. 'Andrew Lansley keeps saying that the Government will protect the front line from cuts – but the reality appears to be quite the opposite'."

The most interesting thing about British politics at present is the way that the ruling coalition's extreme neo-liberalism has put it on a collision course not just with the 'old' left, but with conservative Middle England. Aside from the Morning Star, there has been no daily newspaper more unrelentingly critical of the new government than the Daily Mail - the authentic voice of the country's small 'c' conservatives. Last week, Tim Montgomerie, editor of the Conservative Home website, accused the Mail of throwing the kitchen sink at the coalition, after it had run 10 'attack pieces' on a single day.

But if Montgomerie wants the Mail's editor-in-chief Paul Dacre to give the coalition a break, he should be urging the government to drop its reforming radicalism and instead listen to small 'c' conservatives, who are nowhere near as enthusiastic about its 'reform' agenda as pro-privatisation Tory think-tanks would like us to believe. With the economic future so uncertain, Middle England wants security and reassurance, which they're certainly not getting from Cameron and Clegg. On the contrary, the coalition's ideological mission to privatise the British state, using as an excuse the need to cut the deficit, means four years of major upheavals. And it's the reforms to health care which are causing the most concern.

While multimillionaires will feel relaxed about health minister Andrew Lansley's radical plans - which amount to the abolition of the NHS in all but name - most Mail and Telegraph readers do not, and their newspapers are reflecting their great unease. Neo-liberals may loathe it, but the NHS is a 62-year-old institution much loved by British socialists, social democrats and conservatives, and most people understand that if the service is destroyed, they will be pay considerably more for their health care than they do at present. Privatised railways anyone?

Neither is Middle England likely to think much of the sell-off of the Royal Mail (in state hands since 1516) to foreign buyers, nor the hiving off, or closure, of local authority services which they cherish, such as libraries. Small 'c' conservatives are likely to be unhappy, too, over the possible merging of Britain's three armed services, as seems probable after the new Strategic Defence Review. And let's not even get into the government's plans to send fewer criminals to prison and allow private companies to run our jails.

A Britain without an NHS, the Royal Mail or the RAF would have been unthinkable a few years ago, but it could very easily happen over the next few years and all of it brought about by a Conservative-led government. The BBC, another great British institution, is also under threat. We know already that the coalition is likely to face fierce battles this winter with the 'old' left, represented by union leaders such as the RMT's Bob Crow, who has called for a "sustained campaign of generalised strikes" in protest over the government's cuts. But what it probably didn't expect was such fierce opposition from the 'old' right too. With his anti-statist agenda, David Cameron is certainly no 'One Nation' Tory à la Harold Macmillan, but it's clear that when it comes to political strategy, he's no Baroness Thatcher either.

Thatcher, the most successful Conservative leader of the last 30 years, managed to win three elections in a row because she was smart enough to balance her radical economic liberalism, which unsettled many people, with social conservatism, which reassured them. And despite her enthusiasm for privatisation, she also knew when to stop. She made no attempt to 'liberate' the NHS, nor sell off the Royal Mail. By contrast today's coalition government, in its rush to 'reform' everything, and in its embrace of both economic and social liberalism, seems determined to alienate as many people as it possibly can.

The government is no doubt confident that it can survive a winter of industrial discontent: the ministerial pronouncements accusing union leaders of being "wreckers who want to take Britain back to the 1970s" have probably already been written. But if the 'old' left and 'old' right opposition can link up on issues such as defending the NHS and the Royal Mail, saving public libraries and other threatened British institutions, then Nick and Dave could be in real trouble.

Though not, of course, if Labour is stupid enough to give its Leadership to David Miliband, the Downing Street policy wonk who invented each and every one of these schemes, all of which Tony Blair wanted to implement, but none of which he could get past Gordon Brown. Do you miss Brown yet? If not, then you very soon will.

Sharply Different

Peter Hitchens writes:

Henry Rand says: ‘Suez was a very big military success.’ Alas, it wasn't. There was much bravery, but a lot of mess, and key objectives were not taken when they should have been. Egyptian resistance was also often more effective than expected. This is a widespread myth we tell ourselves to compensate for the diplomatic disaster. I recommend everyone interested to read the account of the whole affair by Keith Kyle in his superb book ’Suez: Britain's End of Empire in the Middle East’.

But I really can't accept the views of some people who blame the Americans for what they did to the British Empire, or attribute this to some sort of personal anti-British prejudice on the part of FDR (which I never suggested). Nor do I in any way deny that lots of Americans like us British. It is just that the interests of the two countries are sharply different, and were most strongly different during the first 60 years of the 20th Century, when propaganda history - of the 'Finest Hour' sort - maintains we were close friends. On the contrary, we were rivals.

Admiral Mahan's great book on sea power is often taken as a compliment to the Royal Navy - and so it was, but it was rather more than that. Admiral Mahan, an Irish-American serving in the USN, also understood that the US, if it wished to emulate Britain and become a great power, needed a big Navy of its own. And who would be the greatest loser if another power dominated the oceans of the world?

Theodore Roosevelt's 'Great White Fleet' was the first stage in this. It still amazes me that most people know far more about Tirpitz's doomed and short-lived German High Sea Fleet, which failed in its idiotic purpose and was uselessly scuttled in the end. It was Teddy Roosevelt's big USN, and Woodrow Wilson's 1916 'Big Navy Act', which modernised Teddy Roosevelt's fleet and expanded it, that really threatened British sea power - as we would discover during the negotiations for the Washington Naval Treaty. This was, in a way, the equivalent of what Ronald Reagan did to Mikhail Gorbachev over 'Star Wars'. The Americans secured the treaty of limitation by simply threatening to outbuild us - and so bankrupt us - if we did not do as asked. Or rather as told. Financially ruined by the 1914-18 war, we dared not defy them.

By the way, the behaviour of the US 6th fleet during the Suez episode (alluded to in Keith Kyle's book) is one of the most fascinating episodes in the history of our two nations. British officers believed that the USN was deliberately harassing and obstructing them as they headed towards the invasion. This is as near as the two countries have come to an armed clash in the 20th century, but a misjudgement by either side could have been very problematic.

Monday, 26 July 2010

What Is It Good For?

There are no "Taliban" distinct from the Pashtun as a whole. So we are indeed at war with the schoolchildren, with the Police, with the wedding parties, with the pregnant women, with the deaf and dumb, with all of them. That is why we should not be at war at all in Afghanistan, a country wholly unrelated to the 9/11 attacks from Saudi Arabia.

Mind How You Go

The last time that this lot were in, they tried to turn Police Authorities into bodies of central government appointees with "business experience", whatever that had to do with the local scrutiny of the Police. But today, even they have excelled themselves. Everything a bit big is to be taken out of the hands of local forces and given over to an agency of central government, while everything else is to be made subject to some local demagogue.

I used to be vaguely sympathetic to the idea of elected sheriffs. But there is really no need for them. We already have our own system of local accountability, if we could be bothered to use it. It is called Police Authorities, which should be made up predominantly - I do not say "entirely" - of local councillors, and which should ordinarily meet in public.

That Eric Pickles will be allowing councils to resume the traditional committee system marks a welcome return to our own way of doing things, and we may hope that, at the very least, there will be no more elected mayors, with the existing ones phased out as rapidly as possible. But whatever happened to joined-up government?

Get over imported cop shows. Then we would no longer have the ridiculous spectacle of cars careering through our quiet countryside adorned with imitations of the giant badge of the NY or LAPD. Nor would we have to endure guff either about elected sheriffs or about "a British FBI".

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Election Spending Balls

Like Zac Goldsmith and Chris Huhne, Ed Balls overspent in securing his seat. Is it because there is one from each party that no one is reporting this story? Balls should have been out of the Labour Leadership contest, and Huhne out of the Cabinet, at least a week ago. What a spineless lot the media are.

Meanwhile, one for the "wouldn't it be lovely to have a Leader with a seat in the North East?" prattlers. A fat lot of good the last one did us, didn't he? But here is another one for you: who is going to be the Labour candidate at South Shields in 2015, when the vanquished David Miliband stands down? If you are not already, then start positioning yourselves. It should be very funny to watch.

Especially when you are all told to clear off because you have the wrong chromosomes and because you have shockingly ever exhibited the slightest interest in politics. And then there is the fact that all the boundaries are going to be different, as is the manner of counting the votes. Some of us have already cottoned on to that one. Have you?

No Respite


Some of the most common operations — including hip replacements and cataract surgery — will be rationed as part of attempts to save billions of pounds, despite government promises that front-line services would be protected.

Patients’ groups have described the measures as “astonishingly brutal”.

An investigation by The Sunday Telegraph has uncovered widespread cuts planned across the NHS, many of which have already been agreed by senior health service officials. They include:

* Restrictions on some of the most basic and common operations, including hip and knee replacements, cataract surgery and orthodontic procedures.
* Plans to cut hundreds of thousands of pounds from budgets for the terminally ill, with dying cancer patients to be told to manage their own symptoms if their condition worsens at evenings or weekends.
* The closure of nursing homes for the elderly.
* A reduction in acute hospital beds, including those for the mentally ill, with targets to discourage GPs from sending patients to hospitals and reduce the number of people using accident and emergency departments.
* Tighter rationing of NHS funding for IVF treatment [a good idea], and for surgery for obesity.
* Thousands of job losses at NHS hospitals, including 500 staff to go at a trust where cancer patients recently suffered delays in diagnosis and treatment because of staff shortages.
* Cost-cutting programmes in paediatric and maternity services, care of the elderly and services that provide respite breaks to long-term carers.

Dr Peter Carter, the head of the Royal College of Nursing, said he was “incredibly worried” about the disclosures.

Dr Carter said: “Andrew Lansley keeps saying that the Government will protect the front line from cuts – but the reality appears to be quite the opposite. We are seeing trusts making job cuts even when they have already admitted to being short staffed.

As Neil Clark puts it:

How disgusting. We have a government that is prepared to spend £4bn a year on an unwinnable war in Afghanistan, but not prepared to properly support the NHS.

On the contrary, they are actually planning for its destruction.

But while the vast majority of Britons will be adversely affected by the destruction of the NHS, we can be sure of one thing. That this government of multi-millionaires will never have to worry about their own health care needs.

Do you want an Opposition to this? Then you won't want a Leader of the Opposition who invented it all when he ran the Number 10 Policy Unit under a Prime Minister who longed with all his heart to destroy the NHS.

In The Shadows

Ed Balls could pull out in favour of David Miliband, but Milly could only make him Shadow Chancellor if he were elected to the Shadow Cabinet. There is no guarantee of that.

How priceless, if neither of them were to be elected to the list of those to whom Ed Miliband was to allocate portfolios. They would probably both announce that they were leaving Parliament at the next Election, as Tony Blair had been about to do until John Smith died.

As much as anything else, that would be one in the eye of the BBC, which has been campaigning for David Miliband ever since Blair announced that he was standing down.

Or Have You Ever Been?

David Aaronovitch has some front, I have to give him that. Half an hour of Radio Four on what everyone already knew about Soviet infiltration of post-War America.

But not a word on the fact that he has never been a member of any party except the Communist Party, to which he belonged from childhood until its collapse in the early 1990s, extremely soon before the creation of New Labour by him and other Communist Party hands (John Reid, Peter Mandelson), International Marxist Group stalwarts (Alistair Darling, Bob Ainsworth, plus Geoff Gallop, Tony Blair's mentor at Oxford), Trotskyists generally (Stephen Byers, Alan Milburn), IRA fundraisers (Tony McNulty), legal advisers to the Paedophile Information Exchange and Paedophile Action for Liberation (Harriet Harman, Patricia Hewitt), and others who had likewise followed academic Marxism from economic to social, cultural and constitutional means to entirely unchanged ends: the destruction of the family, of private property, and therefore of the State. No wonder that at the funerals of Donald Dewar and Robin Cook, they sang, not The Red Flag, but The Internationale.

One of Ralph Miliband's sons has been endorsed by Frank Field, and by John Smith's widow. But the other has not. Vote for any other candidate. Yes, including Diane Abbott, who is not remotely as many people imagine her to be. But do not, under any circumstances, give even your last preference vote to David Miliband. What with AV on top of everything else, the Labour Party is finished anyway. Parties are only ever means, not ends. However, Labour at least deserves to be in a position to give way gracefully to something better.

Who, Me?

Two extraordinary comments last night. First this one, submitted anonymously:

People dredging up the Martin Miller fantasy should be bloody careful. That made it into print once. On the day that Mr. Lindsay was undergoing one of his bouts of major surgery the people who wrote and published it were visited by both the police and the social services on two unrelated but extremely serious charges. Mr. Lindsay has some very powerful friends and they obviously act to protect him with [I assume that this means "without"] him having to ask them or being in any position to do so. Those were just kids by the way. Imagine what they would do to grownups. Don't go there. Mr. Lindsay is off limits.

Leading to this, by one "RON":

I am glad that someone is finally saying these things, Anon.

We seasoned Lindsay watchers have marvelled for years at the strangely stunted careers of people lined up for great things until they fell out with him and were shunted into obscure sidelines for years on end. For that to happen once or a few times would be understandable, but it is a real recurring theme across a quite wide range of fields. [Does it not occur to "RON" that that says something, not directly about me, but rather about the sort of people who "fall out with" me?] I hope the editor of the Northern Cross enjoys being nothing more than the editor of the Northern Cross until he retires. [What's wrong with that?]

There have been the positions handed to him on a plate at unnaturally early ages, less likely to happen now that he is getting on a bit but very remarkable in his youth. Two school governorships while still a student, that sort of thing. Distinguished people have been moved without explanation to make room for him and least one proper, day job career has never recovered. Collateral damage?

Then there is how rich and powerful institutions and organisations always make peace with him in the end. it is never the other way round, he never needs to make the move. They always do in the end, too. Somehow they feel compelled to. This will not apply to the Telegraph because both sides give every impression that relations are still more than cordial. [Whoever said otherwise?] As so often with David Lindsay, it is all very complicated but all entirely in his favour.

The student newspaper that crossed him is now being taken over by his protégés although he will deny all knowledge of a plot. He is probably telling the truth when he says that he does not read it but that is not the question. He has a long and ridiculous history of incredulously denying that he cultivates protégés but who else do you know who kept a court of them at all of 20?

You are right about how protective his friends are and how "uncompromising" some of the most protective are. One of my favourite David Lindsay stories (I did not hear this from him) concerns someone now in the House of Lords who once said to him "You don't only dress like the Mafia, do you?" [All right, that one really happened. I am naming no names. You would be very surprised...] That was when he was still at school! Within about four years he was a governor of that school [an institution wholly unconnected to this anecdote]. Plus another one.

I have always been immensely and intensely proud of my enemies...

Hard, Wise, Calculating

Peter Hitchens writes:

For those of you who say I never have a good word for David Cameron, here’s one. He’s pretty much right about 1940, even if it was by accident.

When a politician is accused of committing a ‘gaffe’, it almost always means he has told the truth.

And 1940 was in fact the year that Britain became America’s very junior partner, a sad role we have followed ever since. I know, I know, the USA didn’t enter the war against Germany until 1941 (and then only when Hitler declared war on them).

But Franklin Roosevelt took great advantage of our desperate position in 1940. As the Germans advanced through France in early summer that year, he offered one of the most unfair bargains in the history of diplomacy – 50 worn-out, ancient destroyers in return for nine rent-free US military bases in British colonies.

He had already insisted on hard cash for war supplies, which rapidly depleted Britain’s gold and currency reserves. And Britain only finished paying for ‘lend-lease’ wartime aid – down to the uttermost ?farthing, plus interest charged for late payment – on December 29, 2006.

Post-war loans and Marshall Aid came at the cost of pledges to relinquish what remained of the empire, not least the bits we had just fought so hard to get back from the Japanese, and to open up colonial markets to U.S. competition – plus unrelenting pressure to join the European Union, which still goes on.

These weren’t the acts of besotted friends, but of a hard, wise, calculating politician who wanted the best for his own country, not for ours.

It seems to me that we have sentimentalised this for far too long. I don’t blame the Americans for using our weakness and desperation to displace us as Top Nation. This is how great powers behave (and how we used to behave ourselves when we still could). And I think that, when China becomes the supreme world power, many people who now sneer at America will yearn for the happy days when the globe was run from Washington.

But every time I hear the words ‘Special Relationship’, I feel faintly sick. And I yearn for a British Prime Minister with the self-confidence of Charles de Gaulle, who could tell the Americans to get lost from time to time, especially when they want us to join in their crazier military ventures.

They would respect us more, and treat us better, if we weren’t constantly snuffling round their shoes with our tongues lolling out, like a pack of servile spaniels.

Although I disagree with him about whether the undoubted innocence in this case should have had any bearing on this executive decision (where would that end?), he goes on:

Can those who fuss about the release of alleged Pan-Am bomber Abdelbaset Al Megrahi at least mention the fact there is no evidence that he committed this crime?

Also that the U.S. government has been sucking up to Libya for years, in gratitude to Colonel Gaddafi for getting rid of ‘weapons of mass destruction’ that he never in fact had.

Anyone who actually knows what is going on in the world must find the current dim, sheep-like credulity of most of the Western media almost unbearable.

Still, as one of the last right-wing commentators, possibly the last of all, to be a thoroughgoing Unionist rather than an English nationalist, he will be pleased to see that this whole Lockerbie business has killed off once and for all any prospect of the slightest further concession to Scottish separatism. Even with what that tendency has already managed to obtain, it has turned David Cameron's ancestral home, and his actual home since he has a house there, into the world's most corrupt petro-statelet, where the man who is legally its worst ever mass murderer is released on wholly specious grounds because a multinational oil company commands it.

Now we just need to do something about Cameron's strange, repeatedly stated indifference as to the constitutional status of Wales, where his party has long commanded a much higher share of the vote than in Scotland, and where it is doing rather well at the moment, though with a credible UKIP threat to its natural core support. Whereas perhaps half of the Labour No vote to devolution in 1997 has since come round to it (though by no means necessarily to anything further), the almost entirely No-voting Conservative base from that year remains almost entirely as opposed as ever even to what there already is. With a UKIP MEP from Wales, something that the Lib Dems have never managed, it is not as if there is nowhere else for them to go. But Cameron seems not to notice any of this. Why not?