Sunday, 13 March 2016

Paying Attention To What's Really Going On

The noisy promoters of a ‘New Cold War’ rage and shriek at the wrongdoings of Russia’s Vladimir Putin, even though Russia has no designs on us and poses less of a threat to this country’s freedom and autonomy than Jean-Claude Juncker or Angela Merkel.

How odd that these people seldom if ever say anything about Turkey’s swollen and increasingly dangerous despot, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

President Erdogan, who rules his spectacularly corrupt country from a gigantic new palace, kills his own people by thuggishly suppressing peaceful demonstrations.

He hates criticism. His political opponents are arrested at dawn and tried on absurd charges. He throws journalists into prison and seizes control of newspapers that attack him.

He has been one of the keenest promoters of the disastrous Syrian war, which has turned millions into refugees and hundreds of thousands into corpses.

He is an intolerant religious fanatic, and curiously unwilling to deploy his large armed forces against Islamic State.

And now he seeks to blackmail Western Europe into allowing his country into the EU and dropping visa restrictions on Turks, not to mention demanding trainloads of money. 

If we do not give him these things, then he will continue to do little or nothing about the multitudes of migrants who use Turkey as a bridge into the prosperous West. 

And yet for years he has been falsely described as a ‘moderate’ by Western media flatterers, and his country has been allowed to remain in Nato, supposedly an alliance of free democracies.

He is a direct threat to us. Yet the anti-Putin chorus never mention him. Is it because they cannot pronounce his name?

Or is it because they have a silly phobia about Russia, left over from the real Cold War, and aren’t paying attention to what’s really going on?


A year ago we were all fascinated by the horrible crash of a Germanwings A320 jet, brought about by its suicidal pilot.

But now that the likely explanation has come out, there’s almost total silence.

Could this be because that pilot, Andreas Lubitz, turns out to have been taking a gigantic dose of ‘antidepressant’ pills, among whose known side effects are terrifying dreams, suicidal behaviour and ‘severe thoughts of suicide’?

Just as nobody pays any attention to the presence of benzodiazepines and amphetamines in the flat of the San Bernardino mass murderers, or the use of ‘antidepressants’ by at least one of the Columbine school killers (the other shooter’s medical records, absurdly, are sealed), nobody wants to know about this either. 

Time we did.


Hurrah for the MPs who halted the nasty plan to make Sunday even more commercial. People need a common day of rest, when families can gather.

Germany, which seems to have a far more successful economy than we do, still maintains a near-total ban on Sunday shopping. People somehow manage.

All of which is far better than his main piece today, which repeats the old canard about how the Queen cannot simultaneously be both an EU citizen and the Sovereign of this Realm, despite the obvious fact that she is. 

Whenever Britain has one of its admittedly rare moments of profound reflection, then the question of the sheer foreignness of the monarchy is always one of those which present themselves.

There is no good reason why citizens of Pakistan or Lesotho should have the vote in elections to the House of Commons and in the forthcoming referendum on EU membership, while citizens of Latvia or Portugal do not.

But citizens of Pakistan and Lesotho can even become MPs. Since their countries are in the Commonwealth. Headed by the Queen. It was taken as a given that the recent changes to the Law of Succession had to be approved by at least 15 other "sovereign" states.

In fact, since Britain has never claimed the right to stop any Commonwealth country from abolishing the monarchy altogether, they all enjoy a sovereignty that apparently Britain does not.

This is now actively compounded by the monarchy's relationship with the Church of England.

The Duchess of Cambridge had to be confirmed days before her wedding, and Prince George's bride may very well have to be baptised days before hers.

Or some kind of princess will be flown in from what are already the Anglican heartlands that stretch from Nigeria and Ghana to Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

By the standards of the 1950s, the Church of England in the 1950s was a very liberal body indeed. 20 years ago, its attitude to homosexuality, in particular, was broadly that of popular culture today, which was certainly not that of popular culture in the 1990s.

But then came the Lambeth Conference of 1998.

The means of electronic communication are such that the enormous Anglican churches in the developing world, and supremely in Africa, now exercise a kind of reverse colonial control over the Church of England.

As a result, it now has its most conservative body of bishops in living memory, even though its clergy returned barely any avowed opponents of same-sex marriage to the General Synod last year.

If the Church of England were still a self-governing National Church (and it has arguably never been one, since it was openly run by the State before it came to be semi-openly run by the Anglican Communion), then it would have been performing same-sex marriages since before even registry offices were doing so.

The Church of England can be a self-governing National Church, or it can be a bastion of traditional, or at least of mid-twentieth-century conventional, sexual morality, something that it was not in the middle of the twentieth century. It cannot be both.

And the United Kingdom can be absolutely sovereign, independent and self-governing. Or it can remain a Kingdom at all. It cannot do both.

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