Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Put Up Or Shut Up, Tony Blair

It ought to be funny that Tony Blair has issued a New Year's Message. Norma Desmond, and all that. But 2020 is the year in which he is determined to claw his way back to influence.

Well, if he still wants a role, then his party will now be requiring a parliamentary candidate at Sedgefield. Put up or shut up, Blair. Put up, or shut up.

Meanwhile, I will be standing for Parliament again here at North West Durham next time, so please give generously. In any event, please email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com. Very many thanks.

Thrown Out With The Ba'ath Water

If the United States wants its embassy in Baghdad to be respected as sovereign American territory, then it ought to have respected Iraq as sovereign Iraqi territory in 2003, and it ought to do so now.

Only Saddam Hussein and the Ba'ath Party prevented the Iranian-allied Iraq that the Shia majority there would favour, although, like Saddam Hussein and the Ba'ath Party, that would not in principle be a problem for the United States, or indeed for the United Kingdom. 

Donald Trump promised to bring the troops home. If he did, then nobody in Iraq or Iran could bomb them. Or would have any wish to do so. The trick is stay out of these things in the first place.

I will be standing for Parliament again here at North West Durham next time, so please give generously. In any event, please email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com. Very many thanks.

Persian Excursion

John Pilger is absolutely right to call on Jeremy Corbyn to visit Julian Assange in prison and demand that Amnesty International recognise Assange and Chelsea Manning as prisoners of conscience.

Ian Lavery and Richard Burgon should do likewise, and then, with Corbyn, board a plane to Tehran, with their smartphones in their hands. Immediately before landing, they should tweet that they would not be leaving without Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

The cameras would be waiting, and Nazanin could be brought home. Who could then deny Lavery and Burgon the Leadership and Deputy Leadership of the Labour Party?

Iran should of course make the release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, as required by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, conditional upon the release of Julian Assange, as required by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. After that, then Britain would have no quarrel with Iran.

If I were in Parliament, then this would already have happened. I will be standing for Parliament again here at North West Durham next time, so please give generously. In any event, please email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com. Very many thanks.

We All Know Freya Heath's Game

Like universities and the drug laws, prostitutes are afforded a de facto exemption from the law against sex with underage boys, to which Freya Heath has confessed in a previous statement to the police in Cyprus.

But it is a criminal offence for a British citizen or resident to have sex with anyone under the age of 16 anywhere in the world, regardless of the local law, and certainly regardless of whether or not, as in Cyprus, the local age of consent might in fact be higher than that in the United Kingdom.

She will have to come back eventually, when they deport her at the end of her sentence. Let her then stand trial here, as part of a general crackdown made possible by the introduction of the Universal Basic Income and of Modern Monetary Theory's Jobs Guarantee, removing as those would any conceivable grounds on which to attempt to justify prostituting oneself.

I will be standing for Parliament again here at North West Durham next time, so please give generously. In any event, please email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com. Very many thanks.

More Than The Minimum

You could call your cat the Living Wage, but that would not make it so. Still, the increase in what the Government insists on calling the National Living Wage is welcome enough in itself.

Such people as might ever be minded to defend the Blair Government always, and only ever, cite the National Minimum Wage, a single measure from Tony Blair's first Queen's Speech.

And, again, that was welcome enough in itself. But Blair positively boasted of retaining the most restrictive anti-union laws in the developed world, meaning that that minimum became in fact the normal wage across much of the economy.

I will be standing for Parliament again here at North West Durham next time, so please give generously. In any event, please email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com. Very many thanks.

Civil Order

From today, opposite-sex couples are availing themselves of their new right to contract civil partnerships.

This is excellent news, since divorce can now be made far more difficult, at least for people who had chosen marriage after this new arrangement had come into force. After all, if they had not wanted that, then they could always have had a civil partnership instead.

So we need to give any marrying couple the right to register their marriage as bound by the divorce law that obtained prior to 1969, and any religious organisation the right to specify that any marriage that it conducted would be so bound, requiring it to counsel couples accordingly.

We need to fix entitlement upon divorce by Statute at one per cent of the other party’s estate for each year of marriage up to 50 per cent, with no entitlement for the petitioning party unless the other party’s fault were proved.

And we need to remove the restriction of civil partnerships to unrelated couples, since there has never been any sexual aspect to civil partnerships per se.

I will be standing for Parliament again here at North West Durham next time, so please give generously. In any event, please email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com. Very many thanks.

Councillor Watch: Day 169

I hereby invite all Labour members of Durham County Council who believe me to be guilty of the criminal charges against me to email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com and say so.

I would not be able to reply to those emails, but every day the names of those who had sent them to me would appear here. So far, I have received none.

Monday, 30 December 2019

#BoycottCyprus?

In reality, the British reaction to the case of Freya Heath is to the fact that a former British colony has dared to convict a white Briton of anything at all. After all, there has never been the slightest problem with the criminal justice system here in Blighty. Nor with any past British behaviour in Cyprus. Oh, no. Oh no, indeed.

At 19, Heath is a "teenager" according to the BBC, but the people whom she accused, and with whom she has previously admitted to having had sex that was consensual at least on her part, were all "men" despite being aged between 18 and as young as 15.

In 2020, several partially overlapping projects in which I am involved ought to begin to come to fruition. A little conference might be in order sometime in the autumn. I had assumed a mates' rates arrangement with one or more of the agreeable little clubs that made up God's Own University. But then again, there is always Ayia Napa.

I will be standing for Parliament again here at North West Durham next time, so please give generously. In any event, please email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com. Very many thanks.

Dulce et Decorum Est?

Whenever British politicians start going on about patriotism, then ask them which patria they mean. Most places suffer from some form of "my country, right or wrong", but only Britain is ruled by people who believe in "someone else's country, right or wrong".

In any particular order, that country is one that annually celebrates its origins in treason against Britain, or another that was founded by exceptionally vicious anti-British terrorists so recently that some of them are still alive, or a third that is the only state on earth to inspire, fund and direct acts of terrorism on the soil of the United Kingdom.

I will be standing for Parliament again here at North West Durham next time, so please give generously. In any event, please email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com. Very many thanks.

Decisive Response?

Nobody would be bombing the American bases in Iraq if there no longer were any American bases in Iraq, as Donald Trump promised that there would not be.

Domestically, President Trump has had considerable successes. But internationally, he has been rather more of a disappointment.

The Prime Minister who wishes to hold onto Britain's own Rust and Recruitment Belt, and any potential Leader of the Opposition who might wish to challenge him for it, both need to take note.

I will be standing for Parliament again here at North West Durham next time, so please give generously. In any event, please email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com. Very many thanks.

"She Is Appealing"?

Speak for yourself.

She may yet win her appeal, but even so. This woman, who as a 19-year-old convict ought to be named, was clearly used to the #IBelieveHer culture that had taken hold in Britain. She was not the only one.

The authorities in Cyprus required her to substantiate her claim, found that she could not, and have now convicted her of an offence comparable to perverting the course of justice, an offence for which she is awaiting sentence.

Therefore, according to Britain's #MeToo media, Cyprus is a backward banana republic. Much more of this, and they will be calling for a war to effect regime change.

The victims in this case ranged in age from 18 to as young as 15. But the age of consent in Cyprus is 17. How, then, could anyone under that age be a sexual assailant there? That question does not present itself only in Cyprus.

I will be standing for Parliament again here at North West Durham next time, so please give generously. In any event, please email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com. Very many thanks.

Woman Has Baby


Hold the front page.

I wish every success to Jordi Casamitjana. If ethical veganism is a protected philosophical belief, then at the very least so are the words of Maya Forstater, which I proudly repeat: 

"Sex is a biological fact, and is immutable. There are two sexes, male and female. Men and boys are male. Women and girls are female. It is impossible to change sex. These were until very recently understood as basic facts of life by almost everyone."

I will be standing for Parliament again here at North West Durham next time, so please give generously. In any event, please email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com. Very many thanks.

Children of the Revolution?

The cannabis scenes in Gavin & Stacey probably were intended as propaganda, but I doubt that they can have worked very well. Only elderly characters were shown consuming the drug; Larry Lamb and Alison Steadman are both in their seventies.

If anything, intentionally or otherwise, the whole thing was a satire of the Baby Boom on the cusp of dotage, after several decades of upper-working-class, small town domesticity rather than the sex, drugs and rock'n'roll that may have been anticipated a very long time ago.

I will be standing for Parliament again here at North West Durham next time, so please give generously. In any event, please email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com. Very many thanks.

Councillor Watch: Day 168

I hereby invite all Labour members of Durham County Council who believe me to be guilty of the criminal charges against me to email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com and say so.

I would not be able to reply to those emails, but every day the names of those who had sent them to me would appear here. So far, I have received none.

Saturday, 28 December 2019

Affected Directly

Following today's data breach, does anyone now have the home address of Dame Alison Saunders?

For now, I would just like her to know that I had it. For future reference, you know.

Please email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com. Absolute confidentiality guaranteed, of course. Very many thanks.

Chemical Trail

The claim that President Assad used chemical weapons at Douma has been completely discredited. One wonders why there is any other news. The only people who are still mentioning it while sticking to the line are the people who still pretend to believe that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Chris Williamson, who alone among MPs was right all along about this, has lost his seat. But I will be standing for Parliament again here at North West Durham next time, so please give generously. In any event, please email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com. Very many thanks.

Unite, Community

The view that Anna Turley was unfit to be a Member of Parliament was clearly not confined to Anthony Hudson QC.

Now that she is unwaged, then the Turley Girlie is perfectly entitled to join Unite Community. Counteract her and her other newly beggared associates by doing so here.

Beggars, Belief

I am not easily amazed, but the gall of the Liberal Democrats never ceases to amaze me.

They criticise Iain Duncan Smith's knighthood as if they had had no hand in the welfare policies that did, after all, eventually move him to resign. They are as bad as the New Labour veterans who introduced those policies in the first place.

I will be standing for Parliament again here at North West Durham next time, so please give generously. In any event, please email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com. Very many thanks.

Inherit The Earth

The people who pretended to believe that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and who even now are still pretending to believe that President Assad used chemical weapons at Douma, are peddling their equally batty theory about Ian Lavery and the miners’ money. So closed is the world that they inhabit that they sincerely imagine that hallucination to be widely regarded as credible or even as proven. Of course it is neither.

But nobody any longer cares what people like that think, anyway. Lavery is wrong about “medicinal cannabis”, but no more so than the Government is, and unlike them it is impossible to imagine him smoking a spliff for the fun of it. He is right about most other things. He even broke the whip to vote against austerity in 2015, when Rebecca Long-Bailey abstained.

Alongside that of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister, his presence as Leader of the Opposition would consign to oblivion those who, although markedly lacking in meekness, had assumed that they would inherit the earth. Those people are the embodiment of the broken promise of Thatcherism and of New Labour. By now, MPs were supposed to have become suburban, déclassés, ideologically non-ideological (or so they were to have told themselves), and barely partisan at all.

They were supposed to have risen through the state schools, the good but not grand universities, and the private sector, to have taken their places as the guardians of an economic and social liberalism that the use of soft power where possible but hard power where necessary had made unquestionable at home, so that the use of soft power where possible but very hard power where necessary could spread it across the whole wide earth by means of an unquestionable alliance between the European Union and the United States, an alliance with Britain at both its cultural and its military heart. Well, how has that worked out for them?

Or else they were supposed to have taken a different path after university and then come up via the all-women shortlist system, which has done more than anything else to turn the Parliamentary Labour Party from 50 per cent Broad Left in 1994 to 85 per cent Hard Right today. The changes to the British economy since the Callaghan Government’s turn to monetarism in 1977 have turned into the ruling class the public sector middle-class women who dominate the PLP, while the wars waged since 1997 have barely affected them, having largely been waged for explicitly feminist reasons, albeit to no good effect for the women of Afghanistan, and to catastrophic effect for the women of Iraq and Libya.

A position of being anti-industrial at home but pro-war abroad is ridiculous in itself, and bespeaks a total lack of comprehension of how wars are fought. But those MPs are Thatcher’s Daughters, unable to understand the rage against deindustrialisation and against the harvesting of young men in endless, pointless wars, and probably unaware of a growing number of young men’s closely connected discovery for themselves of the various schools of heterodox economics, and of the traditional Great Books that, for ostensibly if questionably feminist reasons, have been excluded from school and university curricula.

As a longstanding London media fixture who spent eight years as the Mayor of that metropolis, Johnson does at least have some connection to the world of the Daughters of Destiny and of the Guardians of the Galaxy, even if he is far enough removed from it to drive them up the wall. But Lavery has none. Absolutely none whatever. At least for the time being, one of them as Prime Minister while the other was Leader of the Opposition would largely dispossess the forces of neoliberal economic policy, of identitarian social policy, of neoconservative foreign policy, and yet also of anti-industrial Malthusianism.

Johnson has no ideology. Once Brexit has happened at the end of next month, then he will implement a broadly Corbynite economic programme, while of course claiming that it was something else, in order to hold onto the seats that Jeremy Corbyn’s Brexit debacle had won him. Lavery is the man to cheer that on while calling for it to be taken a great deal further.

Johnson, like Margaret Thatcher before him, can tell the moaning Right of his own party to get stuffed because it has nowhere else to go and because it would be an ignored pseudo-academic fringe without him. Lavery could tell the moaning Right of his own party to do a lot worse than merely get stuffed because it had nowhere else to go and because it already was an ignored pseudo-academic fringe.

Johnson will be 60 in 2024, and Lavery will be 61. But the struggle will still have at least a generation left to go against neoconservative foreign policy and against anti-industrial Malthusianism, against neoliberal economic policy and against identitarian social policy, against the Daughters of Destiny and against the Guardians of the Galaxy. I will still be only 47, and I will be standing for Parliament again here at North West Durham next time, so please give generously. In any event, please email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com. Very many thanks.

You Read It Here First

Britain First does not have the five thousand members that it claims to have signed up to the Conservative Party.

But however many it really does have, then it really has signed them up, with absolutely no difficulty whatever. And they are very highly organised, now within a governing party which nevertheless has a tiny and mostly elderly membership.

I have been trying to tell you about this kind of thing for quite some time. And I will be standing for Parliament again here at North West Durham next time, so please give generously. In any event, please email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com. Very many thanks.

Constitution, Democracy and Rights

It was very much the same old Michael Howard on the Today programme, equating Parliament and the Government so as to suggest that the Courts of Law ought to treat the mere opinion of Ministers as if it had the same weight as primary legislation. But the Short March through the Institutions has begun, so we had better join it while we still can.

It is difficult to see why either constituency boundaries or voter identification should still be an issue to a party that had just won a famous victory under the current arrangements, but if the number of Commons constituencies were indeed to be reduced to 600, then the number of MPs might nevertheless remain the same. The whole country should elect 50 MPs, with each of us voting for one candidate, and with the top 50 elected at the end.

The House of Lords should be replaced with a Senate based on the 99 lieutenancy areas. Each of us would vote for one candidate, and the top six would be elected, giving 594 Senators in all, serving for six years. Ministers would not be drawn from the Senate, but they would appear before it for scrutiny. Remuneration would be fixed at that of members of the House of Commons. Eventually, the House of Lords always has to yield to the House of Commons. But the Senate would be under no such obligation.

All non-ceremonial exercises of the Royal Prerogative, including Royal Assent, should be transferred to six, seven, eight or nine of nine Co-Presidents, with each of us voting for one candidate, and with the top nine elected to hold office for eight years. One of the exercises requiring unanimity would be appointment to the Supreme Court, which would also need to be made on the nomination both of the Prime Minister and of the Leader of the Opposition.

As much as anything else, that would enfranchise the people who incomprehensibly looked to the monarchy to protect traditional values as they understood them. It has never done any such thing. The Queen has to sign whatever the Prime Minister puts in front of her. But the Co-Presidents would be in a very different position. Of course, the monarchy itself would continue to exist.

I will be standing for Parliament again here at North West Durham next time, so please give generously. In any event, please email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com. Very many thanks.

Councillor Watch: Day 166

I hereby invite all Labour members of Durham County Council who believe me to be guilty of the criminal charges against me to email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com and say so.

I would not be able to reply to those emails, but every day the names of those who had sent them to me would appear here. So far, I have received none.

Friday, 27 December 2019

Mining For The Truth

There are persistent rumours that Ian Lavery might be about to enter the Labour Leadership Election. Be prepared for the BBC's lie that he stole money from a fund for sick and aged miners.

Its authority for this criminally libellous claim is the fact that it has been made by the BBC, which the BBC regards as settling the matter. 

The lie is repeated endlessly by the Blairite enemies of trade unionists, of regional accents, of Irish surnames, and of accepting the fact of Brexit. Of course, that is a perfect description of most Labour MPs.

But I will be standing for Parliament again here at North West Durham next time, so please give generously. In any event, please email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com. Very many thanks.

Contest This

Russia should ask, if it alone is doping its athletes, then how come other countries' sometimes beat them? They are all at it. We all know that. Not all athletes. But all countries that participate in these things and which can afford the drugs.

Beginning in earnest in relation to the Beijing Olympics, we have spent the last dozen years watching an attempt to redefine international sporting contests as expressions of neoconservative "Western values", to the exclusion of real or alleged dissenters or backsliders.

But international sporting contests are not that at all. Even the suggestion that they are primarily or ordinarily about promoting peace and understanding stretches credulity, to say the very least. International sporting contests are international sporting contests. No more, and no less.

I will be standing for Parliament again here at North West Durham next time, so please give generously. In any event, please email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com. Very many thanks.

Quaestiones

Following his recent performance, the questions now almost answer themselves. Was Boris Johnson admitted to Oxford to read Classics, which was then still widely taught in the state sector, based on nothing more than his background and his charm rather than on any knowledge of the subject, or even very much interest in acquiring any?

In the days when a 2:2 was still quite normal, was he awarded a 2:1 based on little, if anything, more than his background and his charm? Is he nothing more than a monstrous fraud who has spent his entire life as a beneficiary of undeserved patronage?

These questions need to be asked, and the fundamental and central role of Classics in the self-organisation and advancement of the victims of such arrangements needs to be reasserted. I will be standing for Parliament again here at North West Durham next time, so please give generously. In any event, please email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com. Very many thanks.

Sir Iain Duncan Smith?

Why the hell not? At least he resigned. These vicious policies really go back to Yvette Cooper, and once the Government had nominally changed then Harriet Harman whipped Labour MPs to abstain rather than vote against them. Whatever the faults of IDS, he is still better than the people who are now trying to take back control of the Labour Party. One of theirs will of course be the Labour candidate here at North West Durham in 2024.

The really offensive gong this time is for the previously, and rightly, rejected Dame Alison Saunders, who was sacked as Director of Public Prosecutions. If any of her other victims and their supporters might wish to elect an MP who would campaign for the forfeiture of this obscenity, then I will be standing for Parliament again here at North West Durham next time, so please give generously. In any event, please email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com. Very many thanks.

Charge Sheet

Ah, hospital car-parking charges. And prescription charges. And eye and dental charges. And charges for social care. And, although this might not necessarily be much of a priority, undergraduate tuition fees. Without them all, then England would become Venezuela or Zimbabwe. Why, just look what has happened in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

Never mind across Western Europe, where they have public spending at levels that would only be considered here by Jeremy Corbyn, who had insanely wanted to bring it up to the levels in those neighbouring countries. Venezuela and Zimbabwe, the lot of them.

Corbyn's mistake was to put his every mainstream Social Democratic wish into his party's manifesto, although without the Brexit debacle that would still have made it the largest party in a hung Parliament.

Boris Johnson, on the other hand, has no ideology beyond his own advancement, and he has achieved that by winning seats that, once Brexit had happened at the end of next month, could be held only by implementing Corbyn's economic programme.

So, while of course denying it, that is what he is going to do. Sections of his own party will be unhappy about that, but those sections are too wedded to his own fate to cause any real trouble, as when the Right used to whine and moan, and it did, under Margaret Thatcher.

Johnson's domestic programme will, however, split the Labour Party hopelessly. Most members, but only a few MPs, will oppose it from the left, as not going far enough. But most MPs, though only a handful of members, will oppose it from the right.

There will be no holding that together. But so what? We are the key marginal seats now. Let's fill our boots. Then I will be standing for Parliament again here at North West Durham next time, so please give generously. In any event, please email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com. Very many thanks.

Councillor Watch: Day 165

I hereby invite all Labour members of Durham County Council who believe me to be guilty of the criminal charges against me to email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com and say so.

I would not be able to reply to those emails, but every day the names of those who had sent them to me would appear here. So far, I have received none.

Thursday, 26 December 2019

Celebrate The Good That Is To Come?

Tweaked ever so slightly, Boris Johnson is going to deliver that same spiel on every religious festival while he remains Prime Minister. He has long been on record as despising Christianity, as many a mediocre Classicist does, although based on recent form he is barely even that.

Johnson has no intention of helping the massacred Christians of Narendra Modi's India, or anyone who might convert to Christianity in Saudi Arabia. He is preparing to make it an imprisonable offence to mention the existence of the ancient indigenous Christians of the Holy Land.

No, where he might offer some glimmer of hope is in the fact that, barely a month from now, Brexit will have happened, leaving him with nearly five years in which to try and persuade seats such as this one to vote for his party again.

Broadly speaking, that will mean implementing the domestic policy programme of Jeremy Corbyn even while screaming at Rebecca Long-Bailey or whoever about Venezuela or what have you (which is a very good reason why Corbyn ought to stay on as Leader of the Labour Party), and paying for it by the application of Modern Monetary Theory even while pretending never to have heard of MMT.

All of this will of course wreak havoc in and around the parliamentary contingents of both parties. But I will be standing for Parliament again here at North West Durham next time, so please give generously. In any event, please email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com. Very many thanks.

Keep Corbyn

At least in the absence of Ian Lavery, there is no field for the position of Leader of the Labour Party. 

Jeremy Corbyn got 40 per cent of the vote before the Brexit debacle, putting him within two points of victory, and he got 32 per cent even after it. But none of these people would get 25 per cent.

It is his last duty to stay on, even to the age of 75, so that a new generation of Labour MPs might be selected and elected. Not that there will be any chance of that here, of course.

But I will be standing for Parliament again here at North West Durham next time, so please give generously. In any event, please email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com. Very many thanks.

Boris Johnson Is A Stupid Person's Idea Of A Clever Person

On one level, who cares that Boris Johnson can recite a bit of The Iliad, and what does that have to do with being Prime Minister? But it turns out that he cannot do it, anyway.

Imagine that Margaret Thatcher, who had read Chemistry at Oxford, had been asked to recite the Periodic Table, likewise learned by rote at school. Then imagine that she had done it in the wrong order, when not filling in the large gaps in her knowledge by simply making up words that were not really words at all. It would have been the end of her.

Of course, Oxford would never have admitted her to read Chemistry if she had not known the Periodic Table. In 1983, Classics was still widely taught in the state sector. From which schools other than Eton would Oxford have admitted anyone to read Classics who had had practically no knowledge of at least one of the Classical languages, but whose party piece had been to pretend to recite the beginning of one of the two best-known texts in it, a recitation that had in fact been gibberish? Did he perform it at interview? Was he interviewed?

There is no higher skill in reciting something that one had been taught by rote at school, and in any case by all accounts he cannot even do that. This recitation has impressed only people who had little or no Classics, while trained Classicists have laughed it out. But I say again that mere recitation would not be a higher skill even if he could do it, which it seems to be perfectly clear that he cannot. The mark of his intelligence would have been his analysis, of which he had none. He never does have any analysis. His book on Churchill, which was published only because Johnson was its author, contains less criticism of its subject than may be read even in Churchill's own derided and risible memoirs.

As a comment of a previous post puts it:

I've seen the clip and I don't think he knows what the words mean. It must have been very easy to get a 2:1 in Classics from Oxford in 1987, although he claims that he was mostly an ancient historian and philosopher, which might account for it up to a point. Remember that incident with The Road to Mandaly? He didn't even know what those words meant, and they were in English. He is that public school type, taught to recite the pub quiz answers and the party pieces but with no capacity for original thought. Truly, a stupid person's idea of a clever person. 

That does seem to be the consensus, yes. If Johnson sincerely believes his drivel to be by Homer, then his class is lower even than that of the people who imagine that Abba were singing about chicken tikka. And then there is his claim to turn that, the opening passage of The Iliad, for consolation in times of trouble. Consolation of what kind, exactly? Not only does he not know what the words mean, as is common consent among those who do, but unlike the rest of us he has never even read the passage in translation. He has no idea what it is about. Truly, as my interlocutor says, Boris Johnson is a stupid person's idea of a clever person.

National Salvation?

Yesterday was the thirtieth anniversary of the deaths of Nicolae and Elena Ceaușescu. Romania was not part of the Soviet Bloc. It had a ghastly regime, not least from the point of view of the valiant Byzantine Rite Catholics. But not a Soviet satellite one.

In fact, that regime had particularly close ties to Britain. To our shame, but there we are. English and French, rather than Russian, were taught in schools. No Romanian troops participated in putting down the Prague Spring. More than once, the Soviet Union came to the brink of invading Romania. There was absolutely no question of giving back what is now the Romanian-speaking western part of the cut-and-shunt state of Moldova.

That bring us to the National Salvation Front, overthrowers of Nicolae Ceaușescu, and originators of the present political class in Romania. Their objection to Ceaușescu was not that he was pro-Soviet. It was that he was anti-Soviet. They emerged out of the Moscow-backing, because Moscow-backed, faction within the Communist Party. In 1989, the Soviet Union still had two years left to go, and few were those who thought that it would collapse entirely.

When a kangaroo court convicted and executed the Ceaușescus for the "genocide" of 34 people and for daring to throw parties at their house on major holidays, then it was not only the beginning of dodgy "genocide" convictions: of Luis García Meza Tejada for fully eight people, of Augusto Pinochet for fewer than a hundred, of Mengistu Haile Mariam in absentia, of his opponents even including aid workers, and of Jean Kambanda without trial, with Slobodan Milošević never convicted at all.

It was also, as it turned out, the last great triumph of the Soviet Union, taking out a man who was vicious and brutal in himself (like García Meza, or Pinochet, or Mengistu), but who was nevertheless a dedicated opponent of Soviet power. Those who took him out have run Romania ever since. They now do so within both the EU and NATO.

Ostensibly, we are about to leave the EU, although Boris Johnson's "level playing field" provisions, the end of which should be believed when seen and not before, will leave us subject to the legislative will of these people while having no such will of our own. But even the Labour manifesto this year committed that party, under Jeremy Corbyn, to continued membership of the NATO that Donald Trump had already described as "obsolete".

I will be standing for Parliament again here at North West Durham next time, so please give generously. In any event, please email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com. Very many thanks.

Antidote

We know what, or at any rate whom, Alexei Navalny is against. But what is he for? What does he want instead? 

And notice that he is not dead. If Vladimir Putin is the Great Poisoner, then he is not very good at it. If it is not the Skripals doing the hokey cokey across Salisbury Plain, then it is this. 

If Putin, or the GRU, or any of that lot, wanted you dead, then you would be dead. Not of some exotic poison that didn't work, anyway. But of a bullet to the head.

Councillor Watch: Day 164

I hereby invite all Labour members of Durham County Council who believe me to be guilty of the criminal charges against me to email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com and say so.

I would not be able to reply to those emails, but every day the names of those who had sent them to me would appear here. So far, I have received none.

Tuesday, 24 December 2019

Merry Christmas

See you on Thursday, at the earliest.

Enjoy the scenes from Bethlehem. This time next year, the IHRA Definition will be the law of this land, and just as it is already grounds for expulsion from the Labour Party to mention that anyone had lived in the Holy Land during the 19 centuries after AD 70, by then it will also be an imprisonable offence, meaning that no such material will be broadcast here.

Preferably against Simon Henig, whose only excuse for not being the Labour candidate would be that he was still in prison for what he had tried to do to me, I will be standing for Parliament again here at North West Durham next time, so please give generously. In any event, please email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com. Very many thanks.

More Than Ever

"Never mind North West Durham," writes a correspondent, "If Tony Blair still thinks that he is so popular, then Labour is looking for a candidate at Sedgefield."

Yes, Blair will be 71 in 2024. But do not his country, his party and his old constituency now need him more than ever? Only one person lost North West Durham for Labour, and that person was neither Tony Blair nor Jeremy Corbyn.

As to its candidate here next time, they either put up Simon Henig against me, or they and he are too frightened. After all, he will have precious little else to do following Labour's loss of overall control of Durham County Council in 2021, and very possibly the loss of his own seat.

Assuming, that is, that he was not still in prison for what he had tried to do to me. In 2024, he will very probably barely have started his stretch. Not that I have anything in principle against Labour members of Durham County Council. Of the 400 or so people who voted for me for Parliament, about two per cent, around one in 50, were Labour members of Durham County Council.

I will be standing for Parliament again here at North West Durham next time, so please give generously. In any event, please email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com. Very many thanks.

That Man Who Hides One Thing In His Heart And Speaks Another

The Iliad and The Odyssey are glorious, but the texts themselves are designed to be easy to recite, because the bards themselves could not read. Think on that if you found Boris Johnson's Ancient Greek recitation at all impressive. 

By all accounts he has misremembered half of it and his pronunciation is awful. But even that is beside the point. He will have learned to recite The Iliad at school. His Classics degree ought to have taught him to analyse it. Ask him for some analysis, and then we might see how clever he really was.

Councillor Watch: Day 162

I hereby invite all Labour members of Durham County Council who believe me to be guilty of the criminal charges against me to email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com and say so.

I would not be able to reply to those emails, but every day the names of those who had sent them to me would appear here. So far, I have received none.

Monday, 23 December 2019

Dissolved In Acid, Indeed

And so the man who ordered the death of Jamal Khashoggi orders the deaths of the men who killed Jamal Khashoggi. Remember, to question any of this is to be an "extremist". To be financially dependent upon it is to be "on the centre ground".

Saudi Arabia inspires directs, funds, and essentially is the so-called Islamic State that we back to the hilt in Syria and which turns out to be strengthening again in Iraq. In both, its very existence is a direct consequence of the invasion of Iraq in 2001.

Yet Tony Blair is once again giving us the benefit of his wisdom. Blair should always be met with the question of how many votes he would secure if he were to stand for office today. He is welcome to try and find out, because I will be standing for Parliament again here at North West Durham next time, so please give generously. In any event, please email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com. Very many thanks.

Councillor Watch: Day 161

I hereby invite all Labour members of Durham County Council who believe me to be guilty of the criminal charges against me to email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com and say so.

I would not be able to reply to those emails, but every day the names of those who had sent them to me would appear here. So far, I have received none.

Sunday, 22 December 2019

Boiled With His Own Pudding?

If you want to write an original television screenplay and you can get the BBC to commission it, then good luck to you. 

But do not call it The War of the Worlds when it isn't. And do not call it A Christmas Carol when it isn't, either. 

That goes for you, and it goes for the BBC.

Gang Signs & Prayer, Indeed

Hysteria greets the news that BBC One is to have the Christmas Story read on air by a regular attendee at the Word of Grace Ministries in Kennington. 

Entirely without apology, Stormzy believes every word of it. And that is the problem, for those who have a problem.

To orthodox Catholics, especially in the Northern and Midland townlands and in their hinterlands, the black-majority churches are key allies, especially in urban areas and most especially in London.

Our common task is to rebuild pro-life, pro-family, pro-worker and anti-war politics after the recent era-defining General Election.

I will be standing for Parliament again here at North West Durham next time, so please give generously. In any event, please email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com. Very many thanks.

The Catholic Moment

The Conservatives need to get to know their new voters, while Labour needs to reconnect with its lost ones. In relation to the old industrial working class in the North and the Midlands, then no other single institution has the breadth and depth of reach that the Catholic Church has. This is Her moment, if She has the wherewithal to take it.

If people who insist that they are women despite having penises can be part of the political mainstream, along with people who openly vote and agitate, including from national newspaper columns, on behalf of a far from friendly foreign state, then so can people whose pro-life, pro-family, pro-worker and anti-war position brings with them everyone else who is also at least one of those things.

You can already lose your job if you question the penis ladies, and you will soon be liable to imprisonment if you mention the two thousand year Christian presence in the Holy Land. On either grounds, you can already be expelled from the Labour Party, and the Conservative Party would refuse to select you as a first time parliamentary candidate.

I will be standing for Parliament again here at North West Durham next time, so please give generously. In any event, please email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com. Very many thanks.

Putting Them Right

Farewell, then, to the Independent Group for Change, which was in its own terms less popular than either Trotskyists (as they were then called; the preferred term in this Parliament is "Stalinists") or the Alt Right.

The Labour Right is internationally the most belligerent section of British politics, but we now have it within our power to finish it off in the cause of peace. 

You see, it has also been unique in having an enormous fiscal base, due to its permanent or semi-permanent control of almost all of the most populous local authorities in England and Wales, with their Council Tax, their business rates, their pension funds looking to invest, their endless opportunities for sweeteners and backhanders, and so on.

In the urban centres, which mostly continued to vote Labour at the recent General Election, it is now up to the Left to remove those figures as candidates whenever their seats were next due to come up for election. 

But here in the ex-industrial townlands and countryside, we have already shown that we were capable of going even further. Notably here in County Durham, the first local authority that Labour won and which it has never lost in over a century since, in almost all cases we should simply vote for the candidate best placed to defeat Labour. In May 2021, we can deprive the right-wing Labour machine of the jewel in its crown.

Within that, though, there are odd left-wing Councillors who have sometimes experienced suspension from the Labour Party in order to protect Simon Henig, and I am very well aware that none of the Labour members of Durham County Council for wards in North West Durham signed Laura Pidcock's nomination papers, while certainly three and possibly all eight of them voted for me. But at least one of those three will be retiring in 2021.

I will be standing for Parliament again here at North West Durham next time, so please give generously. In any event, please email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com. Very many thanks.

Connecting The Dots

After CounterPunch refused, the mighty OffGuardian has published this, by John Steppling, on the cynical corporatist exploitation of Greta Thunberg.

I will be standing for Parliament again here at North West Durham next time, so please give generously. In any event, please email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com. Very many thanks.

Councillor Watch: Day 160

I hereby invite all Labour members of Durham County Council who believe me to be guilty of the criminal charges against me to email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com and say so.

I would not be able to reply to those emails, but every day the names of those who had sent them to me would appear here. So far, I have received none.

Saturday, 21 December 2019

Oliver Kamm Is Making Me Cross

Oliver Kamm, or whatever you are now calling yourself, I do not know how many times I have to tell you this. Your emails are deleted unopened.

Sadly, I assume that I would have to open them in order to block you. But go away and get back to editing Wikipedia obsessively under an assumed name, you funny little man.

Neil Clark's fundraising page in order to take you to court is here.

The Choice Is Simple

Larry Elliott writes:

Modern Britain has been shaped by two events: the banking crisis of 2008 and the Brexit vote eight years later. 

The reason Boris Johnson is sitting in No 10 is that the Conservatives have learned the right lessons from these episodes and Labour has not. 

The Tories have understood that their response to the financial meltdown – a prolonged period of austerity that squeezed living standards – was unpopular and wrong. 

They also twigged that Brexit was a revolt against austerity and free-market economics more generally – so they have embraced the decision to leave the European Union and positioned themselves as the party of intervention and the working classes. 

Labour got the first part of this narrative but not the second. In this general election it sought to divorce austerity from Brexit – with disastrous results. 

Labour won seats in 2017 when it said it would respect the referendum result, but saw its “red wall” breached when it moved steadily closer to remain. 

Having chosen not to listen to what voters in its former heartlands were saying, Labour now seems bemused to find that they have migrated to a party that did. 

Labour’s Brexit stance was not the only reason it lost the election. The number of seats won by the party has fallen, with one exception, at every election since 1997. 

Corbyn bucked the trend in 2017 and although he only managed to emulate Gordon Brown’s performance in the defeat of 2010, there was hope that Labour could avoid becoming as politically irrelevant as the social democratic parties in Germany and France. 

But to do so Labour had to keep its broad electoral coalition together. The problem in doing so became evident as the campaign wore on. 

Voters in the former industrial parts of the country are not mugs. They could see that Labour’s stance on Brexit had moved from respecting the referendum result in 2016, to telling the public to have another think (and to come up with a different result) in 2019. 

And when canvassing returns showed the likely loss of seats in the red wall, Labour made matters worse by coming up with a string of panicky, and expensive, electoral bribes. 

To many voters, these seemed an insult to their intelligence, which indeed they were. All of which leaves Labour in a terrible place. 

It is not just that the Conservatives are in power for at least the next five years. It is not even that seats once thought impregnable have been lost. 

It is the failure – for a second time in a decade – to be able to exploit conditions that looked tailor-made for a party of the left. 

The financial crisis marked a watershed for global economic liberalism, because its fundamental tenet – that markets worked best when governments took a back seat – came under scrutiny. 

Brexit was one of the ways in which the pushback against the orthodoxy manifested itself, but much of the remainer left in the UK has been unable to grasp this. 

Instead of seeing Brexit as a vote for a different sort of economy, it has demonised leave voters as nativists and racists. It decided early on that no matter what form Brexit took, it would be worse than the status quo. 

This was a curious argument, because it presupposed that nothing ever changes: that there would be no new policies, no attempts to improve on what currently exists, no attempts to respond to any short-term problems that Brexit might cause. 

By this token, Labour’s national investment bank and its Keynesian infrastructure programme would have made no difference either. 

Brexit has already been a catalyst for change. It has forced the government to spend rather than cut. 

The Conservatives are committed to increase both the minimum wage and have pledged to use the money saved by scrapping a planned reduction in corporation tax to spending on the NHS.

The need for state intervention in the economy is now accepted: regional policy is back in vogue. So Labour’s remainers face a choice. 

Option one is to move straight from supporting a second referendum to arguing for rejoining the EU. 

This is an entirely negative strategy and relies on UK voters looking at the dismal growth across the Channel and saying: “We want what they are having.” It seems a tad unlikely.

Option two involves grudgingly accepting that Brexit is a reality and that Labour’s approach should be to make the best of a bad job. 

This would be a continuation of Corbyn’s triangulation strategy and have the same baleful result. 

The message sent to leave voters would be the same as it has been consistently from remainers since 2016: you got it wrong, you idiots. This doesn’t seem to be a particularly good way of rebuilding the red wall either. 

Strategy three is the hardest for remainers to swallow but it is the only option that offers a way back for Labour: embrace Brexit and argue for a left version of Britain outside the EU. 

This could take many forms: a devolution of power to local mayors; a new deal for the north; state support for green industry that would provide well-paid jobs in every constituency. 

It means exuding optimism that things can get better rather than telling people who are struggling, but not destitute, that only state handouts can alleviate their misery.

The choice is simple: start putting together a post-Brexit progressive project or have a monster sulk and watch the Tories make the political weather. 

I will be standing for Parliament again here at North West Durham next time, so please give generously. In any event, please email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com. Very many thanks.

Defending Our TERF

It would be impossible to plan the National Health Service at any level if we had no idea who was a man and who was a woman at any given time. Likewise, it would be impossible to compensate the WASPI women, for which the money will have been set aside in anticipation of the loss of the court case.

That money will still be sitting there. Boris Johnson, Sajid Javid and Thérèse Coffey could pay it all out in the New Year, or certainly at the turn of the financial year. But only if they knew who was a woman and who was not.

I proudly repeat the words of Maya Forstater: "Sex is a biological fact, and is immutable. There are two sexes, male and female. Men and boys are male. Women and girls are female. It is impossible to change sex. These were until very recently understood as basic facts of life by almost everyone." Do your worst.

If a scientific fact as basic and as obvious as biological sex can be denied, then so can any other scientific fact, to the ruin of human progress. It is contrary both to the whole history of human experience, and to the plain facts of biological science, to suggest either that sexual orientation is fixed, or that "gender" is "fluid".

I will be standing for Parliament again here at North West Durham next time, so please give generously. In any event, please email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com. Very many thanks.

Purely Medicinal?

We must be on our guard. Any medicinal properties of cannabis are no more applied by smoking a spliff than those of opium would be by injecting heroin, or than those of aspirin would be by ingesting bark. Cannabis is linked to violent psychosis.

We need a single category of illegal drug, with a crackdown on the possession of drugs, including a mandatory sentence of three months for a second offence, six months for a third offence, one year for a fourth offence, and so on. 

We also need to restore the specific criminal offence of allowing one's premises to be used for illegal drug purposes, and we need Peter Hitchens's The War We Never Fought to be taught in schools.

Radical change would be impossible if the workers, the youth and the poor were in a state of stupefaction, and that baleful situation, which has been contrived in the past, is being contrived again today.

I will be standing for Parliament again here at North West Durham next time, so please give generously. In any event, please email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com. Very many thanks.

A Call To Arms

As Cobham is flogged off, with the announcement on the Friday before Christmas in the hope that nobody would notice, Lady Cobham is entirely right that this would not be allowed to happen in any other advanced country.

The case is further strengthened for a publicly owned monopoly supplier of arms to our own Armed Forces, with a total ban on arms sales abroad, and with heavy State investment in the diversification of the existing skills base in the arms industry. It must be said that that industry has vastly more political clout than its real economic importance would warrant, but even so.

Boris Johnson is in Estonia, where we station troops as a kind of tripwire because under no other circumstance would Britain fight a war to defend places in Eastern Europe of which many people here had never heard and which very few could identify on a map.

An attack on those countries would have to involve shooting at our own troops. So we put our troops there in order to be shot at. Following the recent family-reunion-from-hell of an excuse for a NATO seventieth birthday bash, the case for getting the hell out of NATO is now plain for all to see.

It is of course Donald Trump who calls NATO "obsolete". He has had some success in securing a prisoner exchange with Iran. Johnson could cut the ground from under Keir Starmer and Jess Phillips by offering to release Julian Assange, as demanded by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, if Iran also released Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, as demanded by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.

Beyond that, we have no quarrel with Iran, but plenty with Saudi Arabia, which we arm and for which we fight wars, yet which inspires, directs and funds terrorism right here on our own streets. Prince Turki al Faisal or anybody else who might wish to drag us into any other war for Saudi Arabia, much less a war with Iran, must be told in no uncertain terms to get lost.

And what of the United States Space Force? It is not necessarily unwelcome in principle. It will do important work in research and development, work such as probably only the United States could do, or at least coordinate.

But space is being militarised, and that by the country that does not recognise it as a common resource for all humanity. There needs to be a call for the Republican Party to return to President Eisenhower's proposal, in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly on 22nd September 1960, for the principles of the Antarctic Treaty to be extended to Outer Space.

I will be standing for Parliament again here at North West Durham next time, so please give generously. In any event, please email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com. Very many thanks.

Councillor Watch: Day 159

I hereby invite all Labour members of Durham County Council who believe me to be guilty of the criminal charges against me to email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com and say so.

I would not be able to reply to those emails, but every day the names of those who had sent them to me would appear here. So far, I have received none.

Friday, 20 December 2019

Born of a Virgin

Long before anyone knew anything about X and Y chromosomes, the Church Fathers held that God had made up whatever had been lacking in order to make it possible for a woman to bear a male child without any male human involvement. The view that miracles are absolutely impossible is not compatible with agnosticism. Nor with science, which is purely descriptive. What if a miracle did occur?

Forget the assertion that until the nineteenth century, people thought that heredity was purely on the paternal side. The Greek urban, homosocial leisure class thought that. But the Hebrew writers seem to have been unaware that any such fantasy even existed. Well, of course they were. They were working farmers who spent their time with their wives and children. Accordingly, their purity and incest laws presuppose a biological relationship with both parents. I employ the present tense because those laws are still in daily use, and may be read in the best-selling book in the world.

There is an old stand-by of middlebrow, pub bore professional atheism, that the Virginal Conception has numerous mythological parallels. Nothing could be further from the case. What occurs over and over again in mythology is the impregnation, by otherwise normal sexual means, of a woman by a god; a god, therefore, with a physical body. Exactly that does not happen in the Gospels.

However, it is held in Mormonism that this was how Jesus was conceived, one among many reasons why the enormous popularity of the Mormons within American religion – numerically third only to the Catholics and to the Southern Baptists, and the clear direct or indirect originators of numerous ideas such as "Manifest Destiny" – raises very serious questions about whether the American Republic, as such, is any sort of bulwark of Christianity. Not unanswerable questions. But very serious ones.

Both Jews and pagans made all sorts of contrary claims, but one was completely unknown to either, namely that Jesus had been the natural child of Mary and Joseph. No such suggestion was ever made by anyone in the first eighteen centuries of Christianity's existence. Even the Qur'an has the "Prophet Isa" born of the "Virgin Mariam". Apart from that partial retelling in the Qur'an, the Biblical account is unique, and could not be less like any of the parallels that are routinely alleged. 

That Islam – a Semitic reaction against the recapitulation in Christ and His Church of all three of the Old Israel, Hellenism, and the Roman Empire – depicts Jesus as both virgin-born, and the Messiah foretold by the Hebrew prophets, is an important insight into the debate as to whether or not the circumstances of His conception described in the New Testament really are the fulfilment of Old Testament prophecy.

Of course, had there been no expectation that the Messiah would be virgin-born, then there would have been no reason for the Evangelists to have invented it. And that would have been just as strong an argument in the doctrine's favour. But the Islamic view, staunchly Semitic and anti-Hellenistic as it is, adds considerable weight to the belief that the Virgin Birth is, as the New Testament writers maintain entirely matter-of-factly that it is, the fulfilment of the words of the Old Testament prophets.

It is often contended that it is not clear that the prophecy in Isaiah actually refers to a virgin. Well, it certainly does in the Septuagint, the translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek, and, contrary to what used to be asserted, first century Palestine is now acknowledged to have been profoundly Hellenised. So either the Septuagint prophecy is indeed being fulfilled explicitly, or else there was no expectation that the Messiah would be virgin-born, and thus no reason to make up that Jesus had been. The doctrine works either way.

Happy Holidays?

Hanukkah is a strange one. After the emergence of Judaism, set out below, Hanukkah was historically a very minor festival until almost into living memory, and in much of the Jewish world it still is. But it does provide an opportunity to preempt this year’s round of lazy claims that Christmas is a taking over of some pagan winter festival. 

There is of course a universal need for winter festivals. But the dating of Christmas derives from Hanukkah, not from the pagan Saturnalia or anything else. No British or Irish Christmas custom derives from paganism. There is little, if any, fokloric pagan continuation in these islands, and little, if anything, is known about pre-Christian religion here. Most, if not all, allegations to the contrary derive from Protestant polemic against practices originating in the Middle Ages, and usually the Late Middle Ages at that. The modern religion known as Paganism is an invention from scratch, the very earliest roots of which are in the late nineteenth century. 

Furthermore, the dating of Christmas from that of Hanukkah raises serious questions for Protestants, who mistakenly exclude the two Books of Maccabees from the Canon because, along with various other works, they were allegedly not considered canonical at the time of Jesus and the Apostles.

But in fact, the rabbis only excluded those books specifically because they were likely to lead people into Christianity, and they are repeatedly quoted or cited in the New Testament, as they were by Jewish writers up to their rabbinical exclusion. Even thereafter, a point is made by the continued celebration of Hanukkah, a celebration thanks to books to which Jews only really had access because Christians had preserved them, since the rabbis had wanted them destroyed.

Indeed, far from being the mother-religion that it is often assumed to be, a very great deal of Judaism is actually a reaction against Christianity, although this is by no means the entirety of the relationship, with key aspects of kabbalah in fact deriving from Christianity, with numerous other examples set out in Rabbi Michael Hilton’s The Christian Effect on Jewish Life (London: SCM Press, 1994), and so on.

Hanukkah bushes, and the giving and receiving of presents at Hanukkah, stand in a tradition of two-way interaction both as old as Christianity and about as old as anything that could reasonably be described as Judaism. As Rabbi Hilton puts it, “It is hardly surprising that Jewish communities living for centuries in Christian society should be influenced by the surrounding culture.” There are many, many, many other examples that could be cited.

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

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

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

Judaism, I say again, is not some sort of mother-religion. Rather, I say again that it is a reaction against Christianity, and specifically, like Islam, a Semitic reaction against the recapitulation in Christ and His Church of all three of the Old Israel, Hellenism and the Roman Empire; there are also, of course, culturally European reactions against that recapitulation by reference to Classical sources, as there always have been, although they are increasingly allied to Islam.

Thus constructed, Judaism became, and remains, an organising principle, again like Classically-based reactions, for all sorts of people discontented for whatever reason with the rise of Christianity in general and with the Christianisation of the Roman Empire in particular, including all the historical consequences of that up to the present day, without any realistic suggestion of a common ethnic background.

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

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

And it is Christianity in general, and Catholicism in particular, that is the religion of the Hebrew Scriptures. Including the two Books of Maccabees, the origin of Hanukkah. The true form of which, as of so much else, is Christmas.

The Man Who Was Thursday, On The Man Who Invented Christmas

It is almost impossible to overstate the cultural impact of A Christmas Carol. All adaptations, even by the Muppets, stick closely to the plot, and usually even to the dialogue. A green Bob Cratchit is not contrary to the book, in which no colour is specified.

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

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

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

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

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

Dickens’s defence of Christmas was therefore a fight “for the old European festival, Pagan and Christian”, i.e., for “that trinity of eating, drinking and praying that to moderns appears irreverent”, unused as the modern mind is to “the holy day which is really a holiday.” Dear reader, may you eat, drink and pray most merrily. As, indeed, will I.

Follow The Money

The problem is the Monetary Policy Committee itself. The surrender of democratic political control over monetary policy was New Labour's Original Sin, and must be reversed.

I will be standing for Parliament again here at North West Durham next time, so please give generously. In any event, please email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com. Very many thanks.

Indian Mutiny?

Narendra Modi effectively defines Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh as part of India, of the state of mind that is Bharat, but their Muslim majorities as not Indian and therefore as colonial occupiers or what have you, a view that cannot logically be held of the Muslims in certain parts of Bharat but not in the whole of it.

This is a perfectly normal expression of the political tradition in which he stands. That tradition, like at least half a dozen more, was at least as important to the struggle for Indian independence as Gandhi was, never mind our own Hollywood version of Gandhi, which is not very accurate at all, but which we insist on teaching in schools. Whether on film or in real life, Modi's lot assassinated Gandhi.

Of academic interest in Britain, you may say. But would that it were. Those of Modi's mind are such an important vote bank for the Conservative Party that they already hold three Cabinet positions, including that of Home Secretary.

I will be standing for Parliament again here at North West Durham next time, so please give generously. In any event, please email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com. Very many thanks.

Will You Listen Now?

A year later, as it turns out that as many Far Rightists as Islamists are now referred under Prevent, and then more of the former than of the latter are now sent up to the next stage, I am reproducing this here in the hope, however forlorn, that now you might listen. I accept that the part about the DUP is now academic, as is the part about Harriet Harman and the Speakership, but even so:

I have spent more than 20 years, since I was just about still in my teens and had never seen the Internet, trying to get the story out about Harriet Harman and the Paedophile Information Exchange. I have paid a terrible journalistic and political price for it, but I have no regrets.

Media that always knew about it simply ignored the whole thing, banning me from their websites and what have you, until a period of no more than two weeks when they needed to distract attention from Patrick Rock. Normal service was rapidly resumed, and it has continued ever since. No one has done more on this issue than I have. No one. And now, the plan is advancing to make Harman the next Speaker of the House of Commons. Not only would I oppose her election, but, were she already in post, then I would oppose her re-election at the start of the next Parliament. I have always been right about this, and I am now being proved right about something else as well.

We are enduring the rehabilitation of Toby Young, who is a eugenicist of international importance, who is also a self-confessed sexual assailant and supplier of Class A drugs, and whose involvement in eugenics has made him an associate of Emil Kirkegaard, himself an advocate of the rape of drugged children.

Like Kirkegaard, Young is a stalwart of the world of the London Conference on Intelligence, the Ulster Institute for Social Research, and the Mankind Quarterly. Yet he was given a loud voice in education policy for many years, a major formal role in education was about to have been given to him, and he is even now being brought back into public life. I was proved right about Harman, and I am being proved right again.

The Ulster Institute for Social Research and the Mankind Quarterly are based at the perfectly respectable University of Ulster, while the London Conference on Intelligence is held at the world class University College London. One of our most prestigious seats of higher learning has been hosting the propagation of eugenics, attended by the man whom the Government had wanted to put in charge of the entire sector.

No British university is giving houseroom to Holodomor Denial, which does do the rounds. If any were, then we would never hear the end of it. Nor should we. Yet in this age of Toby Young, would you bet that none was providing a platform for Holocaust Denial, and that no one with a key policy role was turning up? If you would, then you are a fool, and you richly deserve to be parted from your money.

As the latest developments in relation to National Action have made clear, and as I have been trying to tell people for years, the single biggest internal security threat comes from the Far Right. A Far Right that is enormous, longstanding, very highly organised, armed to the teeth, and possessed of the closest possible ties both to the DUP and to Conservative Party.

Sammy Wilson, who was then the DUP’s Press Officer and who is now one of its MPs, chaired the founding rally of Ulster Resistance, which has never disbanded or disarmed in any way. Ian Paisley (the Elder, so to speak), Peter Robinson and Ivan Foster all spoke at that rally. Emma Little-Pengelly, who is now the DUP MP for Belfast South, is the daughter of Noel Little of the Paris Three. She owed her election last year, for a somewhat improbable seat, to the concerted efforts of the local Loyalist paramilitary organisations, to whom she extended barely coded thanks in her acceptance speech. It is highly unusual for a married woman from her background to continue to use her maiden name, even in hyphenated form. But Noel Little’s daughter does so.

No Irish Republican organisation has murdered a Member of Parliament in the present century or in the preceding decade, and the people responsible are now such pillars of the British Establishment that they are entertained at Windsor Castle. No Islamist or Leftist organisation has ever murdered a Member of Parliament. But the Far Right has done so, only in 2016.

Thomas Mair, the murderer of Jo Cox, described himself to the Police as “a political activist”, and so he was. National Fronts come and BNPs go, EDLs come and Britain Firsts go, but certain institutional and organisational manifestations of the Far Right are perennial, hitherto even permanent. Mair’s is the Springbok Club, which is run by the people who also run the London Swinton Circle. And that, in turn, was addressed by Liam Fox (born 1961) and by Owen Paterson (born 1956) as recently as 2014. Ah, those old 1980s Tory Boys, in their Hang Mandela T-shirts and all the rest of it. Wherever did they all end up?

In the Thatcher and, to a lesser extent, Major years, there were Ministers who were members of the Western Goals Institute or the Monday Club, which latter had played a key role in securing British accession to the EU. Those crossed over, via such things as the fiercely Eurofederalist League of Saint George, to overt neo-Nazism on the Continent, to the Ku Klux Klan, to apartheid South Africa, to Ian Smith’s Rhodesia, to the juntas of Latin America, to Marcos and Suharto, to the Duvaliers, and so on. Nick Griffin’s father, Edgar, was a Vice-President of Iain Duncan Smith’s Leadership Campaign. He answered what was listed as one of its official telephone numbers (in his house) with the words “British National Party”. And now, we have Toby Young and the London Conference on Intelligence.

I tried to tell you.

I was right about Harriet Harman and the Paedophile Information Exchange. And I am right about this, too. Nor are they unconnected.

It has all come out about Margaret Thatcher’s friends. She knew about Cyril Smith when she arranged his knighthood. Jimmy Savile’s knighthood was rejected four times by the relevant committee, until she absolutely insisted upon it for the man with whom she spent every New Year’s Eve, and on whose programmes she was so obsessed with appearing that her staff had to ration those appearances. Her closest lieutenant was Peter Morrison.

Unlike the Prince of Wales, she would have had sight of every file on Laurens van der Post. What was so important about Smith, a highly eccentric and largely absentee MP for a tiny minority party? He was a Thatcherite avant la lettre, who had left the Labour Party when he had started to see cars outside council houses. Thatcher’s father was also a Liberal until all of that fell apart between the Wars, and he was never a member of the Conservative Party to his dying day. He, she and Smith were politically indistinguishable.

That the Radical Right put out pamphlets demanding the legalisation of paedophile activity was mentioned in Our Friends in the North, which was broadcast in 1996. Our Friends in the North is so integral to subsequent popular culture that one of its four stars is now James Bond, another was the first Doctor of this century’s revival of Doctor Who, and neither of the others is exactly obscure. That Thatcherite MPs were likely to commit sexual violence against boys with the full knowledge of the party hierarchy formed quite a major subplot in To Play the King, the middle series of the original House of Cards trilogy. To Play the King was broadcast as long ago as 1993. No politician or commentator of the generation that is now in or approaching its pomp could possibly have seen anything less than every minute of that trilogy.

Moreover, anyone who came to political maturity in what were then the newly-former mining areas will have been made fully aware that the miners in the dock, all the way back in 1984 and 1985, routinely made reference to the proclivities of the Home Secretary of the day, Leon Brittan. Those proclivities were common knowledge from Fife and the Lothians, to County Durham and the southern part of Northumberland, to South Yorkshire, to South Wales, among other places. Nothing was carried in the papers or included in the court reports, but the pit villages never needed Twitter in order to circumvent that kind of censorship.

Notably about Harriet Harman and the Paedophile Information Exchange, I have been here before: everyone called me a nutter for years, but I was right, I knew that I was right, so did they, and they now deny that they ever denied what I had been saying all along. Likewise, I have been trying for years to tell the world about the Far Right in this country, about its links to the 1980s New Right by which we are now governed, and about the links between both of those and paedophile advocacy, activism and activity. There it all is, at UCL and at the very heart of government. Will you listen now?

I will be standing for Parliament again here at North West Durham next time, so please give generously. In any event, please email davidaslindsay@hotmail.com. Very many thanks.