Friday 30 May 2008

Of Methodism And Marx

Interviewed in the Catholic Herald, Geraldine Smith makes a valiant effort to defend Labour, admitting that Old Labour's Methodism and Catholicism have given way to New Labour's "metropolitan elite", but claiming that that elite is not typical of the Labour Party.

However, beyond that elite's salons, there hardly is any Labour Party, or Conservative Party, or Liberal Democrats, these days. No one from any other background now stands the slightest chance of being given a first shot at standing for Parliament, never mind of being made the new MP for a safe seat.

The old Communists, Trotskyists and fellow-travellers have entirely supplanted the Labour Party, while their imitators (and erstwhile university drinking mates, drugging mates and mating mates) have entirely supplanted the Tories and the Lib Dems.

On the same page, it is reported that one in six councils (of all parties, I bet) is now cancelling free travel to church schools, in the case of Bradford, at least, in order to pay the taxi fares for pregnant or nursing schoolgirls (of whom, please note, there were supposed to be no more after the 1967 Abortion Act).

Thank God that we have an excellent candidate based in Bradford.

The Strange Death of Political Britain

Melanie Phillips is wrong to call Blair "an icon" (never to anyone beyond the North London dinner party circuit), but apart from that:

Gordon Brown continues to stagger punch drunk round the ring, blows still raining down. Today’s round brought a Guardian story that only five weeks are left before Brown and other Labour apparatchiki are personally bankrupted by the party’s unpaid loans. House prices are continuing to crash through the floor, exceeded in velocity only by Brown’s continuing plunge in the opinion polls -- the latest from You/Gov appears to show the Tories on course for a majority of several trillion seats; newspapers bring breathless dispatches every day from the Commons tea-room about which of Brown’s loyal ministers is now selflessly preparing to step up to the plate should a desperate nation beg him or her to stand, before concluding that none of these pygmies is up to it and then starting the whole exercise all over again. We can carry on like this until 2010 and may well do so (groan). Brown may stagger on because of the absence of any plausible contender; or he may be carted out/cart himself out of Number Ten. Who knows.

However this particular tragic farce ends, though, we are surely seeing the playing out of something rather bigger. It is no accident that Brown’s agony uncannily mirrors the situation of John Major, who also took over mid-term from a Prime Minister who had been shafted and then brought his party crashing down around him. True, Major actually won the election after he took over from Mrs Thatcher, but that was almost certainly only because Labour’s then leader Neil Kinnock was simply unelectable. There was, to coin a phrase, no alternative.

The real similarity is that in both instances, the Conservative and Labour parties had destroyed their sitting leader and Prime Minister – in both cases, bringing down an icon. The Tories came near to destroying themselves as a result, not only losing three general elections but losing altogether any sense of what they were about – and it is far from clear whether they have yet found it. The Labour party is coming close to forcing out not one but two sitting Prime Ministers; wise heads within it are warning that if it does so it will also be in the wilderness for several terms; some are even suggesting that Labour would finally implode altogether.

Although the ‘end of Labour’ has been foretold before, just as the ‘end of Conservatism’ has also been confidently predicted in the past, this is not an altogether fanciful thought. Why, after all, did the Tories fall apart after the defenestration of Mrs Thatcher – and why are Labour in such a terrible state now? I think it’s because Britain itself has been falling apart for the past half century, a fact briefly disguised by the fizzing stars of a couple of Prime Ministers who in their very different ways seemed to offer the prospect of turning that trajectory round. Mrs Thatcher took the country by the scruff of its neck, shook it until its teeth rattled and said: ‘You WILL be great again.’ As a result, she gave the Tories a coherent cause to fight for and a story about what Conservatism was. Tony Blair came along and said: ‘I will lay my hands on the country’s wounds and heal them’; the country felt better about itself for at least five minutes and the Labour party swallowed its distaste for this non-comrade and went along with it while Tony kept winning elections.

But the astounding political success of both these iconic leaders and their tremendous impact masked the fact that behind them their parties had become Potemkin parties, standing for nothing. New Labour was a spirited attempt to construct a fresh purpose for the Labour party after the collapse of socialism, by grafting a kind of Gladstonian liberalism (Blair) onto statist social engineering (the rest of the party). The resulting incoherence finally brought the NewLab ‘Project’ to a sputtering halt; when Blair was finally turfed out, there was nothing left except, er, class war.

In turn, the collapse of socialism meant that the Conservatives no longer knew what they were for because they thought there was no longer anything for them to be against. Obsessed by ‘the market’ and thinking only in terms of economics (aka money) they were altogether oblivious to Gramsci’s ‘long march through the institutions’, which steadily achieved its ends over four decades and which was (and is) what conservatism should be against. (Mrs T herself, who was not quite the seer that her quivering disciples thought she was, delivered one of many death blows to British greatness and indeed to British anything at all when she was bamboozled into signing Britain up to the Single European Act.) So when they pushed out their Iron Lady, the Tories no longer had any coherent purpose in life; nothing to be against, nothing to be for.

It is now increasingly obvious that both Mrs Thatcher and Tony Blair, in their very different ways, were the only things standing between their parties and the edge of the cliff. The way back from that precipice is to analyse the state of the country correctly, thus overturning several decades of the soggy, soppy consensus of civilisational decline and decay, and have the courage and vision to start putting it right.

Simple, really.

Army Poverty Pay

It's come to something when it takes the Trots to say this:

A report on the state of the British Army released this month revealed considerable resentment amongst ordinary soldiers over low pay, leading many into financial difficulties, under-nourishment and the quitting of the armed forces altogether.

Is Phillip Blond Going Cameroon?

Say it ain't so.

And be warned, all you journos who don't like Brown because he's a swot and who want Tony Nice But Dim back instead. Cameron might not be in quite the "PhD, QC and nomination for a safe seat all by the time he was 30" league, but you'll still have to wait for Osborne before you have another truly Blair-like Prime Minister without so much as the lights on, never mind anybody at home.

There's No Trial Like A Show Trial

Robert Stewart reviews John Laughland's A History of Political Trials from Charles I to Saddam Hussein:

Since the first political trial in modern history — that of Charles I in 1649 — not a single one has ended in the aquittal of the accused. That tells us everything. In no other category of trial would a perfect record for the prosecution be conceivable. In this important, timely, and cogently argued book John Laughland lays bare the truth that political trials, by which he means trials of heads of state or government ministers for acts of state, not for personal trangressions of the law, have never been properly constituted nor properly conducted judicial proceedings. They are staged events, intended as theatre, whose purpose is to legitimise the new regime, or ‘new world order’, brought about by the fall of the old. They mete out ‘victor’s justice’ by special courts or tribunals whose members, both judge and jury, understand (and are picked because they understand) that the outcome has already been decided.

The New Labour of Religion

Launched today.

New De Gaulles Needed

Fifty years on from the overthrow of the Fourth Republic, France needs a new de Gaulle, a good conservative dirigiste in opposition to the capitalist corrosion of everything that conservatives exist in order to conserve, who, inseparably therefrom, treats both halfs of the neocon-Islamic alliance just as the General treated all four of German occupation, Soviet infiltration, American domination, and the unbalancing of the nasecent EU by British accession. After all, de Gaulle was right on all those counts.

Yes, that is what France needs.

And so does Britain.

For, as Robin Harris writes of the Fourth Republic:

"the system was incestuous and unstable, a small group of small men swapping posts in nominally different governments — all incapable of decisive action. Inflation corroded the franc, while collapse abroad, first in Vietnam but imminently in Algeria, corroded French self-respect far more."


After Fuel Poverty, Food Poverty

And after the Fuel Wars, the Food Wars.

You read it here first.

And no, of course the problem is not "overpopulation" (too many darkies and hoi polloi). The problem is globalised greed.

Thursday 29 May 2008

Royal Oak Day

Today is Royal Oak Day, and I have sometimes thought of the oak leaf symbol associated therewith as a potential party emblem.

Jacobitism, as an obvious expression of disaffection with the Whig hegemony, is increasingly recognised to have seeped into every corner of what was in fact (and contrary to how it has been presented) a deeply divided and discontented England during the period of that hegemony, providing a unifying principle among many disparate and even rival subcultures (the recusant Catholics and the Nonjurors, for example). The contemporary comparisons, not to say linear continuations, are obvious.

I refer, of course, to our own disaffection with neoliberal economic and correspondingly neoconservative geopolitical position, itself now hegemonic within this country's oligarchic and extremely narrowly-based Political Class. That disaffection, again, seeps into every corner of what is in fact (and contrary to how it is presented) a deeply divided and discontented United Kingdom under that hegemony, providing a unifying principle among many disparate and even rival subcultures.

The Whigs pretended not to know how widespread and how deep that discontent was, and their successors among British historians of England, at least, took them at their word. But archives on the Continent reveal that even Walpole and Malborough maintained, through intermediaries, some level of contact with the Stuart court in exile, apparently conscious that restoration might come at any moment, and therefore anxious to preserve what they could of Whiggery if and when it did.

I do not defend James II's decision to become a salaried employee of his cousin, the King of France, although I cannot see how our own pro-EU, pro-PNAC politicians are in any position to judge him. But it is worth keeping in mind that he was removed only when Tories as well as Whigs invited William of Orange (blessed by the Pope, but that's another story) to replace him.

Today, in similar fashion, all of us who can sign up as any one or more of pro-life, pro-family, pro-worker, anti-war, economic social democrats, moral and social conservatives, and British and Commonwealth patriots, need to make common cause in order to replace the morally, intellectually and financially bankrupt neo-Whig hegemony that is the existing party-political system.

When we do, then a truly Glorious Revolution, and a true Restoration, will undoubtedly ensue. You know how to start making it happen.

Mary Whitehouse

Right all along?

Yes, pretty much.

A bit OTT sometimes, perhaps. But then, look what she was up against.

Although there were a few errors in last night's drama, such as giving Lord Hill a nameplate reading "Lord Charles Hill", as if he had been the self-styled "Lord Michael Ashcroft" or "Lord Michael Levy". Like both Ashcroft and Levy, Hill was neither the son of a duke nor the son of a marquess. But unlike both Ashcroft and Levy, he knew it.

They Are Planning For A Coup

Already, thanks to Brown and cheered on by Cameron, the electorate, as such, actually cannot even care about interest rates, even though the public certainly does. Brown and Cameron both seem determined to do the same thing to health policy, once again reversing one of Labour greatest democratising achievements. And now there is a proposal to do the same to large-scale planning applications, such as those for airports or power stations.

With no say over, monetary policy, health policy or enormous developments, what will politicians be for? There will still be education, and transport, and policing, and social security, and foreign policy, and defence, and a host of other matters. But for how much longer? The precedent will be well and truly set. Parliament will go the way of local councils, except voluntarily.

Instead, we must demand the restoration and extension of the powers both of Parliament and of local government.

The Crimes Of Scott McLellan

1. He criticises the Iraq war

Surely not!

2. He complains that Scooter Libby and Karl Rove worked out their stories together about the Valerie Plame leak

Surely not!

3. He is scathing about Condoleezza Rice

Surely not! How else is it possible to be about her? A Bush loyalist promoted way over her head. By common consent, the worst National Security Advisor in the history of that office. And not much of a Secretary of State, either. It is high time to stop patronising her because she is a black woman, and start judging her as if she were any other third generation university graduate. Not too impressive in that cold light, is she?

4. He suggests that Bush did take cocaine as a young man

Surely not! Next thing you know, someone will say that the Pretzel incident was in fact a case of a hopelessly drunken finger on the nuclear button.

Down With The Dalai Lama

Says Brendan O'Neill.

American Cluster Bombs Thrown Out Of Britain

Jolly good.

But we need to ensure that even worse weapons are not devised in order to circumvent this ban.

Yet Another Argument For Nuclear Power

God help us all, otherwise.

The Great Leap Backwards

This blog is no great fan of Hindu fundamentalism. But the Maoist abolition of the monarchy in Nepal is even worse. Moaists linger on in Peru as well. Still, even the Chinese have given up on it, for all the pictures of the man himself. So that’s pretty much the end of Maoism. Isn’t it?

If only. The present President of the European Commission is an old Maoist who went on to become the rabidly “free”-marketeering and pro-Bush Prime Minister of Portugal before being wafted into his present position. He is as utterly unrepentant as all the old Stalinists and Trotskyists in the rabidly “free”-marketeering and pro-Bush New Labour project, and all the old Trotskyists around Bush himself, Eurofederalists every one.

These people have merely changed the ending so that the bourgeoisie wins. They have retained intact their Marxist dialectical materialism; their Leninist vanguard elitism, “democratic centralism”, and use of religious and other interests as “Useful Idiots”; their Trotskyist entryism and belief in the permanent revolution; and yet also their Stalinist belief that the dictatorship of the victorious class must be created in a superstate (and I don’t mean the EU) in order to be exported throughout the world, including by force of arms, while vanguard elites everywhere owe their patriotic allegiance to that superstate rather than to their own respective countries.

Perhaps large, Maoist-run Europe will become China to the American Soviet Union. But that’s not exactly much to look forward to.

Meanwhile, the popular persistence of open Maoism in Nepal and Peru is oddly reminiscent of how open Trotskyism once managed to make itself the mass movement of the workers in Sri Lanka and Bolivia. Any thoughts?

Wednesday 28 May 2008

Johnson Doubles Tube Fares

So much for the new alliance between the Tories and the white working class.

European Parliament To Ban Eurosceptic Groups

With the full support of the Tories, of course.

A shame, not least because we were already putting together the bare bones of a pro-life, pro-family, pro-worker and anti-war group of economically social democratic, morally and socially conservative opponents of European federalism, American hegemony and globalisation, to come into existence after next year's elections.

All the EU countries have Christian roots, you know (and we are determined to keep it that way...). And there are now two more Commonwealth countries among them.


Change We Can Believe In.

Obama-Hagel 08?

Well, if it's going to be McCain-Lieberman, then why not? Although Jim Webb would still be better.

A lot of anti-interventionist moral and social conservatives like Obama anyway, and a lot of those (not all, but a lot) are not necessarily averse to plenty of government action at home, depending on what it is and for whom.

Obama should be making it clear that on certain matters he will be reaching out, perhaps even in formalised, institutional ways. That's a lot more than they could expect from McCain.

Tuesday 27 May 2008

Throne and Altar

The Assembly of Quebec has voted unanimously to keep the Crucifix that hangs above the Speaker's Chair and below the Royal Coat of Arms.

A Little Light Crowing

Browsing the news media and the blogosphere, I see that there is now much use of the term "the overclass". Unless I am very much mistaken, that term first occurred in the mainstream media here, and was first ever used here.

Sometimes, It Takes A Tory

I mean of course a proper Tory, such as Geoffrey Wheatcroft:

Compare our rulers with Labour's one great, radical reforming government in 1945-51, under the public school, Oxonian, infantry officer CR Attlee. He had three chancellors, an Etonian and two Wykehamists. But nobody minded where Dalton, Cripps and Gaitskell went to school. They were socialists who believed they were building a new society in the interests of the poor.

What has now happened is that toff-bashing has become a displacement activity for a Labour party that has lost its popular roots and its radical faith. This is sham class war, a substitute for grownup politics, and the voters have noticed. In Crewe, Labour supporters passed by those stupid posters and voted Tory, and in London the white working class also voted Tory. It might be that we live in a new age of deference and that cheery Cockneys were so overawed by pictures of Johnson in his Bullingdon kit that the they doffed their cloth caps to him. Or it might just be that they are fed up with Labour.

On Friday evening, Channel 4 News interviewed Mark Fisher, who sits for the constituency next to Crewe. He is an independent spirit among Labour MPs, and has a semi-detached relationship with the ruling junta as a result. After all the clammy evasions we had heard from ministers throughout the day, he provided a cold shower of candour. This wasn't a temporary setback or mid-term blues, Fisher said, it was a brutal verdict on the government. Labour's only hope was to rediscover its role as a party of public services and reconnect with its origins as the champion of the poor.

True Labour supporters, or such as remain, will doubtless have given a silent cheer. I wonder how many of them remembered that Fisher went to the same school as Cameron and Johnson. "Floreat Etona" may seem an improbable slogan for a Labour revival, but the government really must do better than "Yah boo sucks to the toffs".

The Cruddas Manifesto


If the Tories really are picking up white working-class votes, then they are in fact picking up the votes of people who agree with Cruddas and are sick of waiting for Labour to implement such things.

If Cameron also did not do so (and, obviously, he wouldn't), then the Tories could only expect one term.

The people who violently disagree with Cruddas already vote Tory anyway. I don't know why they bother, considering the things in which they do believe, but that's another story.

Monday 26 May 2008

Corporation Tax Avoidance

Phillip Blond lays down the law.

So, That That, Then?

Several Catholic adoption agencies will be closed down in the next few weeks, thanks to Tony Blair's Sexual Orientation Regulations, supported by David Cameron.

Twenty-five per cent of adoptors in this country are Catholic, and that is the problem. It is not only perfectly reasonable to surmise, but in fact impossible for any reasonable person to fail to realise, that the destruction of those agencies is the whole point of this legislation.

This is not about homosexuality, but about marriage, and about the view that children are best brought up by a married couple, which, as much in point of legal fact as anything else, the parties to a civil partnership are not. (Yes, I was brought up from the age of 13 by a widowed mother. But that is wholly different from contriving such a situation, never mind a situation in which a paternal, or indeed a maternal, influence has been altogether excluded.) This view is no doubt held by a sizeable proportion of the population, and has long been one of the extensive list of popular views to hold which is to be disenfranchised.

Those behind this legislation hate the Catholic Church, with Her concentration in Scotland, the North, the Midlands, and the working-class parts of London; with Her unyielding, wholly coherent view encompassing bioethics, sexual morality, social justice, environmental responsibility, and world peace; and with Her large following among middle-class people with working-class family backgrounds, a post-War phenomenon the very existence of which is in no small measure due to the Catholic school system, the only reason why those who hate "faith schools" do so.

Sunday 25 May 2008

Will Irish Ayes Be Smiling?

Are the Irish going to reject the Lisbon Treaty in next month’s referendum? Perhaps so, although they have never really grown used to not being part of something bigger. They only went into the Eurofederalist project because we were doing so, and the subsequent thirty-five years of Brussels government by proxy have been, and remain, a seamless continuation of the preceding fifty years of London government by proxy.

Yet they rejected Nice. We can only hope that the penny is almost literally dropping: £50 billion in EU largesse is only one third of the £150 billion that their fisheries have lost as a direct consequence of EU membership. And the whole thing, both in itself and because it is an integral part of globalisation, has homogenised Irish culture and society to within an inch of being totally indistinguishable from the culture and society of anywhere else on earth.

The Real Ruling Class

Even a stopped clock is right twice a day. Herewith, one Nick Cohen.

As Cohen writes:

Labour would do better to realise that millions of working- and middle-class people who can't see the subtle social differences between Ed Balls's private school and George Osborne's are lying awake and wondering if the ground is shifting from under them.

They are sweating about debt, unemployment, repossession, pensions and inflation. Old Etonians are the least of their problems.

However, Cohen is wrong that Brown is an unelected Prime Minister. The Crown, and thus our liberties under it, have not been abolished just yet. That abolition would be the final triumph of the new ruling class, the only people with the faintest hope of any Presidency, yet for ever able to pass off that arrangement as simultaneously democratic and "meritocratic".

Lord Desperate

Yes, of course Gordon Brown can survive the onslaught of the mighty Lord Desai, the lunatic Labour peer and "distinguished economist" (the standard code for anyone who believes that a modest income is a moral fault which disqualifies one from health care, education or anything else) who has become the regular mouthpiece of those mercifully dispossessed unless they succeed in elevating the Blairolatrous David Cameron, he of the standing ovation for Blair on the floor of the House of Commons.

The Church of Eurabia

Are the churches in Britain doing enough to convert Muslims? No, of course not. They are instead positioning themselves for privileged dhimmitude when all the discontented young white intellectuals and their black boyfriends, and all the discontented young black wannabe pop stars and their white girlfriends, have become Muslims.

Secularisation is so last century. Britain, Europe, and indeed America (the muezzin’s call to prayer now resounds around Harvard Square) are already in the next stage, that of Islamisation.

Making Your Mind Up

Compare Britain’s large vote for Greece in the Eurovision Song Contest with Israel’s large vote for Russia.

Cyprus (a Commonwealth country) was not in it this year, and one in six Greek Cypriots lives in Britain, as we should bear in mind when deciding whether or not Turkey is really any brother of ours, as well as whether or not to support Islamic secessions from Orthodox countries.

Israel, meanwhile, is increasingly full of Russians, let in under the Law of Return, the suicidal essence of Zionism. Some of them are Nazis. And even the rest routinely insist on taking their Israeli Defence Force oaths on the New Testament alone. That stance has nothing to do with Russian Orthodoxy, which keeps Old Testament figures as saints and venerates icons of them. It really cannot be attributed to anything other than a simple dislike of Jews.

Not only Israel, but also America, needs to wake up. If the latter really is determined to treat the Russia of Putin and Medvedev as an enemy (and neoconservative ideology admits of no other approach, since it defines itself by its rejection of the Biblical-Classical synthesis of which Russia is so great a bulwark), then she must face the fact that Israel cannot any longer be regarded as an ally. Israel’s natural alliance is now with Russia.

Mister Sister

Are Hillary Clinton’s critics misogynists? If so, then she must find them very familiar. After all, she has been married for long enough to the worst misogynist that there is.

Friday 23 May 2008


It is difficult to articulate just how out of touch with reality must be anyone who seriously suggests that Alan Milburn, David Miliband or someone called James Purnell should become Prime Minister.

But as for Alan Johnson, bring him on. The old archenemy of church schools would at once annoy the Old Labour Catholics even more than is already the case (which is quite a feat) and have the same effect on the New Labour C of E types.

There are not enough Blairite MPs to get anyone onto the ballot paper (you'd have thought that they'd have worked that one out after last year's goings on), although a failure to do so would still not be as welcome as the actual defeat of such a candidate.

Just as the Clintons and their menagerie of an entourage need to get the message that they no longer own, or even matter in, the Democratic Party, so the Blairs and their menagerie of an entourage need to get the message that they never did own, and certainly no longer matter in, the Labour Party. Will they?

Dispatch This

With regard to this week's much talked about Dispatches, Oliver McCarthy writes:

Mr Modell repeatedly stated that their views were "offensive", without explaining why. At one point he seemed to be implying that Andrea Williams thought that Islam was Satanic, having apparently confused her views with those of Stephen Green. Her actual position, that Islam is a "false religion", is almost certainly one that Mr Modell himself shares (unless he is actually a secret Muslim with a hidden agenda and did not see fit to make the viewer aware of this). Given that he was clearly intent on making a documentary geared towards the thesis that Christianity is a false religion, it's hard to see where the "offence" might lie.

All I saw in his documentary was a small group of mainly elderly anti-abortion protesters, some of whom were a bit noisy but who taken together were massively outnumbered (and out-shouted!) by the younger, more agressive pro-abortionists. So where does the real political muscle of the future lie? And why not make a documentary full of crude people making foul-mouthed remarks about Christianity? Just googling "Nadine Dorries" would give Mr Modell plenty of material.

I might add that Dorries is not a Catholic. She is a (divorced) occasional attendee at the Church of England, and a supporter of unrestricted access to abortion in the first trimester.

Whatever Happened To Your Honour?

Reviewing Cherie Whatever-Her-Name-Is's account of pulling herself up by her bootstraps, Vicki Woods writes:

Fair enough, she did, alongside untold numbers of her lucky postwar generation. She told a poky interviewer (in one of her endless interviews) that ‘my husband was the nice, middle-class public schoolboy; I was the working-class girl from Liverpool’, as though the gap between them was the same as the present-day gap between rich and poor, which it wasn’t. And while she clearly wasn’t born sucking a silver spoon, there were some remarkably toff-y aspects to her life. Yes, her mother ‘worked in a chip-shop’, briefly (so did the millionaire model Agyness Deyn and so — for a week or two — did I), but later she worked as a travel agent and the sisters holidayed swankily in France, Liguria, Ibiza and Romania. Cynics might point out that the second in her family to go to university was her younger sister Lindsey; that her mother went to RADA and her father, Tony Booth, to the Central School. Actors aren’t ‘working-class’, they’re off-piste entirely, classwise. Mrs Blair is 54; she’s been middle-class since her early twenties. One grows tired of retro-Monty Pythonism about other folks’ shoebox roots.

Remember grammar schools and student grants, Mrs Blair?

Remember grammar schools and student grants, Ms Booth?

Most of all, remember grammar schools and student grants, Your Honour?

Not Worth The Price Of Oil

How they howled with derision when warned that the price of oil would go through the roof if Iraq were invaded. Have they learned their lesson? Will they refrain from invading Iran? And will they give us the real nuclear deterrent against the real threat - lots and lots of nuclear power?

General Elections Are Not Presidential Elections

Of course Brown is elected. He is elected as an MP, and therefore eligible to be Prime Minister. The only person with the power to remove him is the only person with the power to appoint him. That's how we do things in this country.

Still, it's no surprise that a lot of people don't seem to grasp this, now that our capital city purports to be a republican city-state. Or is it vice versa?

Whistle While You ... Well, What, Exactly?

According to the next Tory Leader, George "Children Don't Need Fathers" Osborne, mentioning immigration (at least to the lower orders, who are most affected by it) is "dog-whistle politics", and any party that does it is "the nasty party".

Remember that one.

Crewe & Nantwich, If We Must

If there is a real story here, then it is that Cameron can win without having to please the Tory base in the least, and indeed while defining himself against it for the amusement of the BBC/Fleet Street dinner party circuit.

So, all you tax-cutters and benefit-cutters, and people who inexplicably define themselves as Tories despite being Eurosceptics, family values believers, or tough on crime (were you asleep, or just out of the country, when the Tories were in office?), you can forget it. Cameron has proved that he can be as vicious as he likes to you and still win.

You have no hope either way in 2010. The economic rightists among you, and those of you still insisting against all the evidence that there is somehow something "Thatcherite" about patriotism or social conservatism, should all abstain, so that the consequent collapse of the Tories even after all the hype can lead to the emergence of one or more parties speaking for you instead.

The Usual Suspects

Since you are at it again. I know that you are going to have difficulty grasping this, but our appeal is to people who either couldn't care less what your kind thinks, or else (in very many cases) will actively support anything that you oppose, rightly recognising that anything uttered by the people who lied this country into war must by definition be a lie. There is nothing that you can possibly say or do to change their minds. Thank God.

Real Politics And Not

By the time that you read this, you will probably know whether or not the Tories have achieved the earth-shattering feat of winning from an allegedly rival, but in fact absolutely identical, party a marginal seat in Cheshire two years before a General Election.

Meanwhile, I have had a day which was not only crowned by a superb dinner under the aegis of one of my SCRs (at which I was seated next to a delightful peeress who regaled me with, among much else, how she used to go round to Prince Charles's room when they were Cambridge undergraduates to try and sell him Marxist periodicals, but he always claimed to have no money with which to buy them), but also included a traditional Latin Mass for those of us determined to keep Corpus Christi on its proper day, attended by more than one former member of the Labour Party. Such former members are very much a feature of traditional Catholic circles, and of several other circles besides...

The strengthening of such ties is real politics. The fake battle between the Tory oligarchy and the politically identical Labour oligarchy is not.

The "Free" Market Doesn't Work

Lots of old Trots may have become neocon crazies, but one has become Peter Hitchens. And lots of old Straight Left types may have become neocon crazies, but one has become Seamus Milne.

Thursday 22 May 2008

Pudding and Pie

George Osborne wants to be Tory Leader after David Cameron. He probably will be. This week, he voted with the eighty-two per cent of Labour MPs who believe that children have no right to a father and that birth certificates should feature the absurdity of two women listed as the child's parents. Need I say more?

The Re-Talibanisation of Afghanistan

What on earth has it all been for?

Traditionalist Socialism, Red Toryism

John Milbank writes:

By every traditional radical criterion New Labour has failed: it has presided over a large increase in economic inequality and an entrenchment of poverty, while it has actively promoted the destruction of civil rights, authoritarian interference in education and medicine, and an excessively punitive approach to crime. But never mind all that, says Jackie Ashley and her ilk: on what crucially matters - the extending of supposed biosexual freedom and the licensing of Faustian excesses of science - it is on the side of "progress".

Yet it is arguably just this construal of left versus right which is most novel and questionable. Is it really so obvious that permitting children to be born without fathers is progressive, or even liberal and feminist? Behind the media facade, more subtle debates over these sorts of issue do not necessarily follow obvious political or religious versus secular divides. The reality is that, after the sell-out to extreme capitalism, the left seeks ideological alibis in the shape of hostility to religion, to the family, to high culture and to the role of principled elites.

An older left had more sense of the qualified goods of these things and the way they can work to allow a greater economic equality and the democratisation of excellence. Now many of us are beginning to realise that old socialists should talk with traditionalist Tories. In the face of the secret alliance of cultural with economic liberalism, we need now to invent a new sort of politics which links egalitarianism to the pursuit of objective values and virtues: a "traditionalist socialism" or a "red Toryism". After all, what counts as radical is not the new, but the good.

He can have a couple of words with a couple of mutual friends, in that case...

Meno Male Che Silvio C'e

It's not often that I have anything good to say about Silvio Berlusconi. But good for him, cracking down on illegal immigrants. The clue is in the name - these drivers down of wages and working conditions are illegal. And as for Gypsies, they should, just for a start, be required to abide by the same planning laws as the rest of us. Or else whatever happened to equality?

Ecce Agnus Dei

Dogma datur christianis,
quod in carnem transit panis,
et vinum in sanguinem.
Quod non capis, quod non vides,
animosa firmat fides,
praeter rerum ordinem.

Sub diversis speciebus,
signis tantum, et non rebus,
latent res eximiae.
Caro cibus, sanguis potus:
manet tamen Christus totus
sub utraque specie.

A sumente non concisus,
non confractus, non divisus:
integer accipitur.
Sumit unus, sumunt mille:
quantum isti, tantum ille:
nec sumptus consumitur.

"Every Child A Wanted Child"

Remember that one? Yet a child in Birmingham seems to have been starved to death out of sheer neglect. Like "no more gymslip mothers", or the claim that abortions would decline as contraceptives became universally available (the exact opposite of what has happened in every society where abortion and contraception have been implemented - every single one), it was at best a fantasy, and really just a lie.

Tory Landslide? As If!

Oh, get a grip!

They might win, but it would make absolutely no political difference if they did. In any case, there are two years to go yet. And that's before even mentioning the constituency map. Landslide, indeed!

Why do you care which of these identical parties wins a General Election? Why?

ITV Is Now London-Obsessed

Who'd have thought it?

ITV urgently needs to be re-regionalised under a combination of municipal and mutual ownership. Central government (with very tight parliamentary scrutiny) should replace local government in the application of this model to Channel Four.

Trials and Errors

Yet more trouble for the Crown Prosecution Service, which either acquits in secret (notably, flagrantly guilty peerage salesmen) or convicts in secret, in which latter case the trial in open court is nothing more than a very expensive and time-consuming sentencing hearing.

Acquittal without trial is as bad as conviction without trial.

If there was insufficient evidence, then the accused should never have been charged.

Give back the Police their powers of prosecution, and let firms of solicitors build prosecution work into their normal caseloads, as they always used to do.

In League With The Devil

Last night's Newsnight was disgraced by the presence of Robert Kagan, a thoroughly undesirable alien inexplicably allowed into this country. He was on to talk about his donkey-daft idea for a "League of Democracies" excluding anywhere with a government not palatable to him and his neocon mates. Thank God that Israel no longer makes this cut, and that the United States will also very soon fail to do so.

Is Auntie Surrendering?

"Myanmar" now, and even "Yangon". Though, bizarrely, "Yangon, Burma".

Won't You Tell Me How To Get

Tom Lehrer gave up after the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Henry Kissinger. He said that the world had become beyond satire. But now we have military recruitment on Sesame Street. What is the world beyond after this?

The Unions Round On Brown

But what masochism ever motivated them to fund New Labour in the first place?

Boozed Up Britain

The Fabian and Christian Socialist pioneers must be spinning in their graves.

Wednesday 21 May 2008

The Fundamental Problem

We don't want those crazy Christian groups having access to Westminster. They encourage mad mavericks like that Wilberforce, who wants to abolish slavery. Have you ever heard the like?

That Ye Be Not Deceived

Nadine Dorries, on the Today programme this morning, suggested that the time limit for abortion would come down if the Tories won the next General Election.

The American Republican Party has been keeping itself in existence like that for forty years: promising to ban or at least restrict abortion, but never doing the slightest thing about it, because those on whose votes it has come to depend would then declare "Mission Accomplished" and go home to the Democratic Party, whence they came and where their economic interest actually lies.

But the Tories could never pull off that trick here. Just as by far the most socialised sector would still never vote Labour in a million years, so the Catholics and the black-majority churches would never vote Tory in a million years. That's just the way it is.

Instead, common cause begins elsewhere.


Although I don't agree with him about Peter Tatchell, Peter Hitchens writes:

Long ago it was my job to write about by-elections. Two stick in my memory, because they - sort of - changed history. We used to have many more in those days - the mid-1980s - because MPs in general were older and had often come into Parliament after doing real jobs. So they died in office more often.

They were also, in that time of Thatcherite triumph which followed the Royal Navy's recapture of the Falklands, rare opportunities for political protest. They were also completely misleading because they got so much coverage that people stopped behaving normally. Something similar has just happened in the London mayoral election. I'll come back to it. The Tories would almost always be flattened, usually by the Liberals or the SDP. The Tories would then go on to win the next general election with a crushing majority.

Most political reporters and commentators in those days were used to this because there were so many such elections. And even if they weren't used to it, there was enough evidence around to rub in the point. But alas, not now. There have been so few important by-elections in the New Labour era that people inside and outside politics have forgotten all about them.

I suppose I'd better not identify the Labour shadow cabinet member who once confessed to me and a couple of others that he and almost all his colleagues had been hoping like mad for their party to lose the Darlington by-election back in 1983. The plan was that, devastated by the defeat, they would then go in a body to poor old Michael Foot, the party's endearing but hopeless leader, and tell him that in all conscience it was now his duty to step down. The idea was then to stampede the party into electing Denis Healey instead, so transforming Labour's hopes in the coming general election.

"And then" snarled the Shadow minister "our candidate went and won the bleeping by-election, and saved Michael Foot for the nation." Even funnier, in a way, Labour then lost the seat a few weeks later in the General Election.

I wonder if similar thoughts are circulating in the Cabinet, though of course it's far harder to unseat a Prime Minister, who has kissed hands with the Queen, than it is to get rid of a mere Opposition Leader who has none of the powers which office provides.

What happened, as I recall, was this. The SDP fielded a highly telegenic candidate in the shape of a popular local TV presenter. It seemed, from the start, as if this man was destined to ride the wave of mild anti-Thatcher disquiet that was then abroad. But - because it was a key by-election - he came under too much scrutiny, and made a public fool of himself in a televised debate which would never have happened in a normal contest.

People in a mainly Labour seat like Darlington weren't ready to vote Tory, so they switched back to the Labour man, who was commendably bland and safe, and might easily have been an SDP candidate himself. Kaboom. What did it mean for the 1983 general election? Nothing. Would it have happened without the harsh light of coverage? No. Did it have an effect? yes, but not the one intended by anybody, or discussed at the time by the commentators, none of them ( so far as I recall) got a hint of the plot t get rid of Michael Foot.

The other memorable contest was at Bermondsey where the old monster of the London Labour machine, Bob Mellish had stepped down and was determined to sabotage Peter Tatchell, the engaging and naive young Australian chosen to replace him by a party that had (like most urban Labour Parties) been taken over by dedicated far leftists as the old trade unionists had weakened or disappeared.

Amazing as it may now seem, Peter Tatchell was not in those days openly homosexual. He (quite reasonably) dodged questions on the subject which people asked him when they had no business to do so. He stuck to the main plank of his campaign which was an excellent one for Bermondsey "Houses with Gardens". I suspect the sheer nastiness of the experience changed Mr Tatchell's life. Looking back, I think his quiet dignity and guts under an unending hosing of innuendo are one of the most moving political performances I've ever seen. And Parliament is the poorer for his never having got there. He is a principled defender of freedom of speech, amongst other laudable things. I've publicly apologised to him for any part I may have played in the campaign against him, in anything I wrote at the time. Those of us who were there now mostly realise that the man we portrayed as the villain was in fact the hero of the occasion.

It was quite clear from early on that the anti-Tatchell campaign had worked, and that he was unlikely to win. Mellish himself had sponsored an alternative candidate(the first time the expression 'Real Labour' was used, I think), and made one or two ugly appearances. Things were further complicated by the fact that two of the other candidates were called Hughes.It may have been three. Quite how the disaffected Labour vote concentrated itself behind the Liberal Simon Hughes I have no idea. But somehow it did. And in the way of Liberals (whose professionalism at detailed street politics is unmatched) he has held it ever since.

What did it mean? In terms of national politics, nothing. Some might say that Peter Tatchell's defeat contributed to the creation of New Labour. If so, it's hard to see exactly how. Alas, the one Labour Party policy of those days which has genuinely been abandoned (instead of being dressed up or obscured or approached crabwise to avoid being spotted) is the only one that was any good, namely withdrawal from the European Monster. And Labour (and the Tories) are now wholly committed to a sexual radicalism unthinkable when Peter Tatchell stood for parliament.

This, I think, help to show that politics is often not what it seems to be, and also that the main direction of British politics in the last 25 years has been to adopt and pursue policies that politicians knew were unpopular, but somehow managed to persist with anyway.

Israel Is Simply Facing Reality

Within Israel's pre-1967 borders, the most popular name for new baby boys is now Muhammad. There is now a Russian-language television station for the ever-growing number of devourers of pork products, many of whom insist on taking their Israeli soldiers’ oaths on the New Testament alone (emphatically not a Russian Orthodox position, but there we are), and some of whom have been found to be distributing anti-Semitic literature in Russian, up to and including the members of an Israeli neo-Nazi gang.

These Russians are the beneficiaries of the Law of Return, not least because Israeli Jews, other than ultra-Orthodox who are either fully anti-Zionist or at least deeply unhappy about the State of Israel that exists, exhibit that unmistakable societal death wish which is a birth rate well below replacement level (and still falling).

Israel should seize this opportunity, not only to present her non-Jewish Arabs (more than half of Israeli Jews being Arabs) as the best-off in the Middle East, but to make them enjoy, and make the world know that they enjoy, the same standard of living as the rest of her citizenry.

But put together the little Muhammads (who will one day be big Muhammads), the sausage-munching Russian Christians, the non-Jewish Arab birth rate, the ultra-Orthodox Jewish birth rate, the contrastingly low and declining birth rate among other Israeli Jews, and the fact that Israel’s international credibility now requires that she deliver on her much-vaunted claim that her Gentile citizens are equal.

All in all, in 50 or even 30 years time, we will all marvel that there was ever an attempt to re-create some romanticised version of Wilhelmine or Weimar Germany in the Levant, and the magazines that come with the Saturday or Sunday newspapers will occasionally feature articles about the tiny outposts of those aged souls still trying to live the dream.

But, my Zionist interlocutors, the dream is over. Give it up. After all, which would you rather have? Full re-integration into the linguistically and culturally Arab Levant of Christians, Muslims, Jews and Druze, with its de facto capital at Damascus? Or a statelet dominated demographically and politically by Russian Nazis, the statelet busily being created by the continuing application of the Law of Return? Those are the only two options available. In which would Jews be safer?

Paving Over England

Penny Cole writes:

England is disappearing rapidly as New Labour presides over the concreting over of the countryside. Since 1997, over 1,100 hectares of Green Belt have been lost each year and at least 45,240 homes – equivalent to a city the size of Bath - have been built on Green Belt land.

The purpose of the Green Belt, introduced in the 1955, was to give local authorities not only a means, but also an incentive to halt urban sprawl and leave a clear definition between communities. Green Belt land was formerly viewed as sacrosanct, but these crucial “green lungs” – and the contribution they make to ecology and environment - are being rapidly eroded.

The Council for the Protection of Rural England reports that the Government’s own planning inspectors are undermining Green Belt policy, with statements that suggest they no longer view it as a permanent designation, but subject instead to shifts in market demand, for example for housing and air travel.

At present, local authorities are preparing their regional plans, and so far 10,000 hectares of Green Belt have been put forward for development. A key reason for seeking to lift Green Belt controls is to deliver to developers the kinds of green field sites they find cheap and attractive for house building.

The CPRE reports: “Speculators are dividing up dozens of areas of Green Belt land with stakes and fences, and marketing them in small plots to people, often overseas, who want to make money from building on them. When time passes with no prospect of the land being developed, the land often becomes overgrown and blighted by fly-tipping – thus increasing the pressure to develop the land in order to tidy it up.” Since 2004 the total Green Belt area has shrunk in East Anglia, and in the East and West Midlands.

Paul Miner, CPRE’s senior planning campaigner, says despite minister’s pledges, “in reality the Green Belt is being seriously eroded”. He warns: “Too much development has already been permitted, and some Government Inspectors appear to be interpreting Green Belt policy in their own way. This is making a mockery of the permanence which Green Belts are supposed to have.”

Whilst paying lip service to protecting the Green Belt, the Government is sending local authorities a different message. For example a Treasury-sponsored review of land use planning called for more frequent reviews of Green Belt policy. And, the CPRE reports, between May 1997 and March 2004, 162 planning applications referred to central government for decision, were permitted.

In addition, the Aviation White Paper supports airport expansions that would take place on 700 hectares of Green Belt. This month the government agreed a development plan for the East of England aimed at delivering a minimum of 508,000 additional dwellings up to 2021 and Green Belt reviews will be held throughout Hertfordshire, much of it designed to facilitate expansion at Luton and Stansted airports.

The hypocrisy of the government knows no bounds. In April, ministers announced their shortlist of proposed “eco-towns”. Of these, CPRE has found that two are likely to involve significant development in designated Green Belt: Rossington (in South Yorkshire); and Weston Otmoor (near Oxford). No wonder local people are up in arms about these far from ecologically-sound proposals.

Silly Milly Again

"Yangon"? I ask you!

Good Egg Of The Day

The Reverend Tim Jones of York.

The Ties That Bind

Sir Paul Beresford was right to use today's PMQs to defend the current visa scheme for British-descended people from Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa . But it is also true that that scheme discriminates in favour of white people.

Instead, let all subjects of the Crown, including the people of almost all the English-speaking West Indies and several parts of the Pacific, have at least the same rights of entry to the United Kingdom as are enjoyed by EU citizens. If the South Africans want to enjoy this benefit, then they know what they have to do. Compared to their impending choice of President, they should jump at the chance.

The Dalai Show Comes To London

A warm welcome to the man who wants to hive off a vast tract of immemorial China and return life expectancy there to half what it is now, as it was the last time that the Chinese authorities allowed it to be run as a feudal theocracy. The man, moreover, who wants to purge it of well over half its population to that end.

Rowan Williams knows how to pick them. Later this summer, he will also be playing host to the racist fanatics who run the Episcopal Church in the United States, and who believe that Asians, Latin Americans, Oceanians and (above all) Africans are not entitled to an opinion on anything. Is it too late to have these people served with Exclusion Orders, like their indistinguishable compatriot, David Duke?


Of course hardly anybody wants to do the Government's silly diplomas. Alongside very highly academic education for those suited to it and (although there was never anything approaching enough of this) very highly technical education for those suited to it, there used to be, and there should be again, institutions providing both exactly as much academic knowledge and exactly as much technical knowledge as most people really need. They were called Secondary Modern schools.

But we don't want to go back to them, do we? Well, at least they had the wit to teach some people (as it happened, girls) how to cook, and to teach some people (as it happened, boys) how to do odd jobs around the house. Both sexes could and should be taught these things.

Think of Jade Goody, who would have attended a Secondary Modern if there has still been any. I have never met a former Secondary Modern pupil who was unable to understand the word "wedlock", or who imagined there to be a foreign country called "East Angular", or who wondered why Eskimos' eyes did not freeze over, or who was worried about being made an "escape goat".

Tuesday 20 May 2008

Mortality and Morality

Of course a lot of very premature babies die. They were ill in the first place. That is why they were premature. Where the morality of abortion is concerned, so what?

Police Strike

The Police tend to forget this, but they are civilians, paid to do full-time what, should the circumstances arise, we would all do, and be entitled to do, for free.

So they have a moral right to strike, which they voluntarily forgo in return for certain other arrangements, including the traditional pay deal that the Government is denying them this year. If they all call in sick on the same day, or whatever, then they should enjoy the full support of the labour movement, however magnanimous that would require some sections of it to be.

No one has been more loyal to New Labour than the Police, yet look how they are being repaid. I hope that they will hit back as hard as they can, and that their doing so will finally spur those in the unions who have remained loyal to Labour in return for nothing but scorn and abuse to start hitting back too, without fear of the Police response.

Brown: Whose Agent?

John Smith (who would certainly have voted against the HFEB), to whom Brown is allegedly the rightful heir who has been restored following the overthrow of the Blairian Usurpation, promised that workers' rights would apply to all, from day one of employment, and regardless of the number of hours worked. Yet even that has not come to pass, and is not being proposed.

There is simply no remaining point to the Labour Party. None whatever.


According to The World At One, the Labour leaflets at Crewe and Nantwich show Timson's silver fish knives. Fish knives? Fish knives! I think we can safely say that Miss Dunwoody does not have fish knives.

Trotskyism On The Vine

Yet another Trot on Jeremy Vine today. This one praised the NHS and its founder, both of which the sectarian Left used to despise, and probably still do behind closed doors. She also called for a revived Old Labour party. I couldn't agree more.

We need to revive 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". Of Gaitskell's rejection of European federalism as "the end of a thousand years of history" and liable to destroy the Commonwealth.

The party of the trade unionists and Labour activists who in the early twentieth century peremptorily dismissed an attempt to make the Labour Party anti-monarchist (as it now is), and resisted schemes to abort, contracept and sterilise the working class out of existence (as is now very well under way).

The party of Bevan's ridicule of the first parliamentary Welsh Day on the grounds that "Welsh coal is the same as English coal and Welsh sheep are the same as English sheep". Of those Labour MPs who in the 1970s successfully opposed Scottish and Welsh devolution not least because of the ruinous effects that it would have had (and is now having) on the North of England. And of those Labour activists in the Highlands, Islands and Borders, and in North, Mid and West Wales, who accurately predicted that their areas would be balefully neglected under devolution.

The party of the Attlee Government's first ever acceptance of the principle of consent in relation to Northern Ireland, of the Wilson Government's deployment of British troops in order to defend the grateful Catholics there precisely as British subjects, and of the Callaghan Government's administration of Northern Ireland exactly as if it were any other part of the United Kingdom.

The party of the Catholic and other Labour MPs who fought tooth and nail against abortion and easier divorce, of the Methodist and other Labour MPs who fought tooth and nail against deregulated drinking and gambling, and of those in the Labour Movement who defeated Thatcher's and Major's attempts to destroy the special character of Sunday and of Christmas Day.

The party of Attlee's dissuasion of Truman from dropping an atom bomb on Korea, of Wilson's refusal to send British forces to Vietnam, and of his use of military force in order to safeguard the right of the people of Anguilla to be British.

And so on.

That party gave the United Kingdom the universal and comprehensive Welfare State (including, for example, farm subsidies), and the strong statutory and other (including trade union) protection of workers, consumers, communities and the environment, the former paid for by progressive taxation, the whole underwritten by full employment, and all those good things delivered by the partnership between a strong Parliament and strong local government.

And it did so precisely because it believed in national self-government, the only basis for international co-operation, and including the United Kingdom as greater than the sum of its parts. In local variation, historical consciousness, and family life. In the whole Biblical and Classical patrimony of the West. In agriculture, manufacturing, and small business. In close-knit communities, law and order, and civil liberties. In academic standards, and in all forms of art. In mass political participation within a constitutional framework. And in the absolute sanctity of each individual human life from the point of fertilisation to the point of natural death.

All these are corroded to nought by the "free" market, both directly and because it drives its despairing victims by the million into the arms of Jacobinism, Marxism, anarchism and Fascism, all four of which feed into neoconservatism.

Turnout in the traditional strongholds of the above political movement was in some cases as low as one in three at the 2005 General Election. And now this. The votes are there to be had, if we can get onto the ballot paper and secure even a small amount of publicity in the right outlets.

You know how to start making it happen. With absolutely no room for Trotskyism.

Brown Opposes Ban On Cluster Bombs

Unlike nine British generals and the Pope.

Monday 19 May 2008

Is There No Escape?

The television schedules are still going to be butchered, for a football tournament in which these islands literally have no interest.

It is within my recollection that the media decided that a complete obsession with football should replace the actual culture of this country, to the ruin of both. Uneducated, drunken, drug-addled, obscenely overpaid wife-beaters and gang-rapists are now held up as national heroes, despite not even being any good at their "jobs", as the failure to qualify for this competition amply demonstrates.

And did you see that extraordinary event in Portsmouth yesterday? At least half of the people there looked like they had decided to spend a nice Sunday afternoon at the park, and were somewhere between thoroughly disconcerted and simply bored stiff to find this thing going on instead. The compere kept trying to get the crowd to engage in football chanting, but almost nobody joined in.

Television schedulers (among others), take note.

What Is Cheshire Coming To?

They could have a proper dynast, but instead seem on course to pick some noov with a cobbler's shop.

They Know Their Own

Nick Clegg's Lib Dems will back the Tories in a hung Parliament. This Eurofanatical, anti-family, pro-crime, pro-drugs party now rightly recognises the Tories as indistinguishable from itself.

Kirkcaldy No More

Someone I know who used to teach at the beleaguered Kirkcaldy High School (alma mater of Gordon Brown and Adam Smith, and of which Thomas Carlyle was once Head Master) says that it only looks that bad because there has not yet been an inspection of the school down the road.

But he adds that it is still pretty awful, and that horizons are now so limited that once, when he was organising a trip to Holyrood for his Higher class, one of them asked if it would entail an overnight stay. You can actually see Edinburgh from Kirkcaldy.

The Real Armed Forces Day

We already have an Armed Forces Day. It is on 11th November, and the whole point of it is that it is not a public holiday. Rather, at eleven o’clock in the morning, the ordinary routine of daily life is interrupted. Or, at least, it used to be. And it should be again.

As for improving relations between the general public and the Armed Forces, the latter should be brought home from Afghanistan and Iraq. If they are not, then they should simply bring themselves home, thus causing our rancid Political Class to collapse without so much as a shot's needing to be fired. Now that really would be doing their duty in the defence of the Realm.

Category D

A very interesting programme on Radio Four this morning about the old Category D here in County Durham.

Whereas today, it is the "reservations" that a Labour Government is tearing down, just as a Labour Council once tore down the inhabitants' original villages. And then what? Where are they now supposed to go?

She Who Started The Abolition Of Fatherhood

It was, of course, Margaret Thatcher who destroyed the economic base of paternal authority, initially in working-class families and communities, but very rapidly throughout society once that dam had been breached. She also introduced the practice of mothers effectively married to the State, which was unheard of before the 1980s.

"Bias" Hardly Begins To Describe It

Most of The World At One was given over to an argument in favour of spare parts babies by not only a doctor (unnamed, naturally), but a Catholic doctor. They even managed to find one with an Irish accent, just to ram the point home.

Those Irish actors who used to do Sinn Fein voiceovers for the Beeb have been a bit down on their luck in recent years. But not any more, it seems.

Counting The Cost

We can't have babies born prematurely. They cost a fortune to look after. And we need that money for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Year One, Or Year Zero?

According to the Government, what matters is how many children born at a certain point's gestation go on to see their first birthdays. So you don't really count until you are one year out of the womb. Remember that.

Sunday 18 May 2008

They Can't Help Themselves

Now they want to invade Burma.

Just after it's been hit by a cyclone.

In that case, where else should we invade, and why?

Gordon Brown On The HFEB

Dishonest from start to finish.

Still, it’s good to see him rattled on this.

The Balancing Act

Just imagine if, in the run-up to a by-election or whatever, the BBC, in particular, ever actually did what it is supposed to do and gave every candidate equal air time.

In other words, just imagine why it will never happen.

What A Comedown

“It may come down to this,” The World This Weekend warned us, “candidates going door to door, asking for votes.”


Britain's Secret Trials

Peter Hitchens writes:

Amy Winehouse is the latest famous person to be acquitted without trial after claims of drug abuse.

I think this is quite wrong. It is bad for us all that these charges have not been aired in a proper court under the rules of evidence.

Miss Winehouse should have the right to speak in her own defence and to confront the witnesses against her.

The Crown Prosecution Service was not set up to conduct secret bureaucratic trials.

People will not willingly accept its verdicts if they don't know how they were reached. One of the purposes of a justice system is to give people the chance to dismiss, once and for all, persistent but unproven allegations against them.


The CPS either acquits in secret or it convicts in secret, in which latter case the trial in open court is nothing more than a very expensive and time-consuming sentencing hearing.

Instead, give back the Police their powers of prosecution, and let firms of solicitors build prosecution work into their normal caseloads, as they always used to do.

Evolution Beyond Homo Sapiens?

No. Any such evolution would by definition be a regression to animality rather than a progression, entirely regardless of any specific detail.

Creationism Is Scientism

Scientism is the belief that the only objectively true knowledge is that derived from the application of the natural-scientific method. It is ruinous of science, since that method can only function on certain presuppositions which it cannot prove, but rather must (and, historically, happily did) accept on higher authority. Creationism is a form of scientism, which has accepted the scientistic argument and then applied it to Genesis. Creationists may seem to be the polar opposites of Stephen Hawking, Peter Atkins and Richard Dawkins. But, in fact, they are all of a piece.

Faith and Reason, Science and Art

Science as that term is generally understood began at Paris in 1277, when Etienne Tempier, Bishop of Paris and Censor of the Sorbonne, responded to the growth of Aristotelianism by condemning from Scripture (i.e., explicitly from revelation as apprehended by the gift of faith) two hundred and nineteen propositions expressing the Aristotelian versions of several of humanity’s ordinary beliefs.

Those beliefs were, and are, eternalism (the belief that the universe has always existed), animism (that the universe is an animal, a living and organic being), pantheism (that the universe is in itself the ultimate reality, the first cause, God), astrology (that all earthly phenomena are caused, or at least influenced, by the pantheistic movements of the stars) and cyclicism (that every event repeats exactly after a sufficiently long time the precise length of which varies according to culture, and has already so repeated itself, ad infinitum).

In particular, Tempier strongly insisted on God’s creation of the world ex nihilo, a truth which has always been axiomatically acknowledged as able to be known only from revelation by the faith that is itself mediated by the Church’s ministry of God’s Word and Sacraments, with the liturgical context of that ministry passing on from age to age and from place to place the Revelation recorded in and as the Bible and the Apostolic Tradition of which the Canon of Scripture is part.

This ruling of ecclesial authority as such made possible the discovery around 1330, by Jean Buridan (Rector of the Sorbonne), of what he himself called impetus, but which was in fact nothing other than the first principle of “Newtonian” Mechanics (and thus of “science”), Newton’s First Law, the law of inertia: that a body which has been struck will continue to move with constant velocity for so long as no force acts on it. This discovery was developed by Buridan’s pupil Nicole Oresme (afterwards Bishop of Lisieux), vigorously and in detail, around 1360.

The ideas of Buridan and Oresme spread throughout Europe’s universities for three centuries, and were especially associated with Spanish Salamanca, Portuguese Coimbra, and the Jesuits’ Collegio Romano (now the Gregorian University). They passed, through Leonardo da Vinci and others, to those who would formulate them in precise mathematical terms: Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Descartes, Huygens, and finally Sir Isaac Newton in the conventionally foundational text of modern science, his Principia Mathematica of 1687.

Without the Christian Revelation (apprehended by the faith mediated in, as and through the life of the Church), human beings are by inclination eternalistic, animistic, pantheistic, astrological and cyclicistic; and in that intellectual condition, the scientific project is impossible.

The reception of Newton’s Principia bespeaks a willingness (whether or not it can be identified in the work itself) to regard science as independent of the wider scientia crowned by regina scientiae, to have physics and the logical without metaphysics and the ontological, ratio unrelated to fides.

This is disastrous for science, which cannot demonstrate, but rather must presuppose, the falseness of eternalism, animism, pantheism, astrology and cyclicism. And it is also disastrous for art, because the world comes to be seen in terms of a logic newly detached from aesthetics, as from ethics. Thus, these become mere matters of taste or opinion, dislocated even from each other in defiance both of the whole Western philosophical tradition and of (to use in its ordinary manner a term deriving from Newton’s Early Modern age) common sense.

In such an environment, art attracts increasing distrust as the morally evil is held up as having aesthetic (and not least literary) merit. Meanwhile aesthetic experiences are so distinguished from everyday experiences that art is degraded to a frivolity and an indulgence. Thus, they are restricted to those who have the time and the money for it, indeed who actually have too much time on their hands and more money than they know what to do with.

At the same time, regard for the true and the good declines relentlessly in the supposedly superficial context of poor aesthetics, of literally false and bad art. Doctrinal orthodoxy and moral standards slip and slide where the liturgy and its accoutrements are less than adequately tasteful or edifying. Educational standards collapse and crime rockets in the midst of hideous architecture and décor. And so forth.

Saturday 17 May 2008

The Eastbourne of The North?

No, of course not. Eastbourne in 1990 was something like the twentieth safest Tory seat. The Labour majority at Crewe and Nantwich is only seven thousand.

Have Tories gleefully predicting the fall of Gordon Brown not realised that the Cameron-loving media pack would quickly transfer its affections from a mere Postmodern, hypercapitalist, meterosexual, warmongering, Oxonian Leader of the Opposition to an actual Postmodern, hypercapitalist, meterosexual, warmongering, Oxonian Prime Minister, should there suddenly be such a thing?


Autumn Kelly did not leave the Catholic Church in order to marry into the Royal Family (these days, the Church of England would not have received her on that basis), and the normally very anti-Catholic Today programe's apparent campiagn on this issue is laughable.

The Act of Settlement is good for us Catholics. It reminds us that we are different, and it does us the courtesy of taking our beliefs seriously by identifying them as a real challenge.

I question the viability of a Catholic community which devotes any great energy to the question of ascending the throne while the born sleep in cardboard boxes on the streets and the pre-born are ripped from their mothers’ wombs to be discarded as surgical waste. Far from being a term of abuse, the word “Papist” is in fact the name under which the English Martyrs gave their lives, and expresses the cause for which they did so, making it a badge of honour, to be worn with pride.

And yet, and yet, and yet...

The Established status of the Church of England was already a century and a half old at the time of the Act of Settlement, and is wholly unconnected to it. Anyway, in the 1990s, the Courts ruled that that status entailed what everyone had always known to be the case: that the doctrine of the Church of England – “the reformed Protestant religion as by law established in the Realm of England” – is whatever Parliament says it is at any given time, be that the ordination of women (as was the matter in question), or reincarnation, or the infallibility of Papal definitions ex cathedra, or anything else at all. All that it is necessary for a monarch to do in order to uphold this “religion” is to grant Royal Assent to Ecclesiastical Measures just as if they were any other Bills passed by Parliament.

Those who would most resist any change to the Act of Settlement are those who insist that the Church of England is confessionally Calvinistic as a first principle rather than, as is in fact the case, only until such time as Parliament sees fit to repeal or replace the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion, and not a moment longer. Such people are mostly not in England (where they are mostly not members of the Church of England), but in Scotland (where the monarch is required, in ecclesiastical terms, to do nothing more than preserve a Presbyterian pattern of polity) and in Northern Ireland (where, as in Wales, the monarch has no formal ecclesiastical function whatever).

However, it is in Northern Ireland that a large Catholic community, by far the single largest religious body (as the Catholic Church also is, narrowly or otherwise, in each of England, Scotland and Wales), is crying out to be bound more closely to the British State, with which certainly a very large proportion of its members, and possibly the majority, identifies very strongly. In view of what the Coronation Oath actually means, then let the Act of Settlement be repealed if that would help that binding, long complete and unthought about everywhere else in the United Kingdom (even, it seems, on Merseyside and in the West of Scotland).

What was established in 1688, with strong Papal support, was in fact the Catholic principle previously given practical effect in 1399 in England, and even more ingrained in Scotland, as against both Gallican princely absolutism and its metamorphosis into the theory whereby the new gentry-cum-mercantile republic was sovereign even over the Prince.

English Jacobitism, in particular, was what would now be called an Anglican, rather than a Catholic, phenomenon, when it was not just a ragbag of everyone (Congregationalists, Baptists, Quakers, smugglers, the lot) opposed to the Whig hegemony. Catholics hardly featured, since they simply did not share the underlying philosophical and theological assumptions; rather, they fully accepted Parliament’s right to determine the succession to the throne, even when it was inconvenient to themselves.

Each of the Commonwealth Realms is a linear inheritor of that age-old tradition, which is the peaceable alternative both to the bloodletting anti-republican pseudo-monarchism coming down from Buridan through the French Counter-Revolution, and to the bloodletting anti-monarchist pseudo-republicanism against which it came to react, historical aberrations both.

The Parliament of each Commonwealth Realm therefore has the absolute right to determine the succession to its own throne; but they mercifully choose to exercise this right in unison, and may that ever remain the case. (It is perfectly illiterate to suggest that the repeal of the Act of Settlement would revive any Stuart claim to the throne.) So, again, if the repeal of the Act of Settlement helped to keep even one country in this family, then, in view of the above, by all means let it be repealed, though only by unanimous consent among all the Commonwealth Realms, since its continuation would also be a price well worth paying in order to preserve the unity of our family.

Bush Rebuffed By The Saudis

Well, one can do that to one's hired help.

Fresh from his rabble-rousing in Israel, Bush his paying court in the Gulf. Like Hillary Clinton, he prefers countries that Jews may not enter and where women may not drive to a country in which there is a reserved Jewish seat in Parliament and women outnumber men at university.

Race To The White House

Ron Parsley cannot say that if you give a sum of money, then God will make it up to you, as money, many times over (I'd love to know where Jesus or anyone else in the Bible ever said that, by the way), presumably because he is white. After all, Reverend Icke (who I assume must still be alive) used to say that. But he was (and no doubt still is) black.

Whereas Jeremiah Wright cannot say that 9/11 might have had anything to do with American foreign policy, presumably because he is black. After all, Pat Robertson rather more improbably says that it was caused by American domestic policy. But he is white.

And Hillary Clinton can remain a candidate only for the sake of poor whites who won't vote for a black, whereas Al Sharpton was vilified for being the candidate of poor blacks who wouldn't vote for a white.

School Biology

Those who have been most vocal in denouncing me as a creationist for publishing here the self-evident, and academically commonplace, fact that "the survival of the fittest" has nothing to do with science, but is in reality a tautologous philosophical proposition and the creation myth of all the nastiest Western movements from Darwin's day to this, are themselves outspoken devotees of Tony Blair, who flogged off parts of the state school sector to a genuinely creationist organisation bankrolled by his prep school classmate, Sir Peter Vardy.

Right of Birth

Imagine if the law were to be changed so that mothers could be omitted from their children's birth certificates. You can't imagine it? Well, there you are, then.

Once the issuing of simply false and impossible birth certificates has been established by this means, then it will be extended to the issuing of transsexuals with new birth certificates. Don't we already have enough State lying?

Brown's Sermon On The Mound

What should he say? Something about the Iraq War and the HFEB?

As for Thatcher's infamous effort, to this day her "Jesus was a great moral teacher [not that she seems to have paid too much attention, but there we are] and churches do a lot of good [though not in any way of which she actually approved], but" school of agnosticism is held up as the height of devotion, whereas Neil Kinnock's practically identical views are reviled as godlessness of the lowest order.

The Forger's Lament

Times are hard at the forgers' den that is Michael Gove's hobby. They'd be better off in America, apparently. Well, why don't they move there, then?

Friday 16 May 2008

42 Days

Victory in sight.

Especially since the Lib Dems have said that they will back this amendment if their own is not called.

Beware Of False Promises

Neil Scolding on the HFEB.

The Heirs To Blair, Indeed

In setting out the programme for a Cameron Government, Michael Gove heaps extravagant praise on the Blairites, the baby-boomer undergraduate Marxists gone middle-aged and rich.

That, and that alone, is what the Cameroons offer. Only even richer. And harking back, not even to the real but relatively restricted moral chaos of the Sixties, but to the culture-wide moral chaos of the Eighties.

Intelligent Design?

It seems to be a sort of Deism, and an example of the arrogant streak among lawyers and scientists. Rather than ask the clergy assigned to the sorts of parishes or congregations that contain lots of lawyers and scientists, they have instead concocted this for themselves. But it's not really any better than "the survival of the fittest".

Our Social Democratic Commonwealth

New Zealand, which pioneered the Welfare State, has renationalised her railways. We should follow suit, not for the first time taking our lead from that, one of the countries on earth with which we have most in common, not least including a Head of State.

God Save The Queen!

Some People Never Learn

Privatise the Post Office? What a good idea! After all, privatisation has worked so well for the railways and the utilities.

That the "free" marketeers would seriously propose privatising something nationalised (to use the word anachronistically, I admit) by Charles II in 1660, and representing the most significant direct link between the monarchy and every household, business, organisation and institution in the land, indicates just how utterly unconservative the "free" market ideology really is.

Five Million People Waiting For Council Houses

Which nobody wants.

Do they?

The Evolution Of An Idea

Insofar as biologists agree about anything to do with the specifics of evolution, they could have gleaned much of it from reading a few select passages of Saint Augustine. Why, Genesis itself depicts the plants preceding the animals preceding Man, which is by no means obvious, and which accordingly does not occur in many a creation story elsewhere.

No, the original thing about Darwinism was not, and is not, evolution itself. It was, and is, the tautologous philosophical proposition, unrelated to science as such, that is "the survival of the fittest", the creation myth of secular liberals, Marxists, eugenicists, Fascists and Nazis. These differ, to the extent that they do on this point, only in their respective definitions of "the fittest". "Fittest" for what? "Fittest" to do whatever it is that they do, or want to do. And who identifies the "fittest" in those terms? They do. Of course.

Thus, in our own culture, we have the "meritocrats", embodying how the late Michael Young was subjected to the worst fate that can befall a satirist, that of being taken entirely seriously. Those with wealth and paper qualifications determine "merit", on the basis of wealth and paper qualifications. To object to this is to question "the survival of the fittest". And we can't have that, can we? After all, "the survival of the fittest" is a scientific fact. Isn't it?

Er, no, actually, it isn't. It isn't a fact at all. And it isn't scientific at all.

"The Poorest People In Society"?

People who previously paid the 10p tax rate? They are certainly poor, and they have certainly been grievously wronged. But "the poorest people in society"? Hardly! Unless anyone poorer isn't in "society" at all. I have a feeling that that is what is really being said.

Is Rising Affluence Always A Good Thing?

Outside Durham bus station last night, I saw a group of mid-teenagers making a nuisance of themselves while passing round a bottle.

Of champagne.

It looks like the Cameron Era really might be on the way after all.

Thursday 15 May 2008

Problems With Girls

It comes as no surprise to me that girls now commit far more crimes than they used to. When I was a supply teacher, I saw every day that they are now practically impossible to discipline. "I'll get my dad down here!" they screech at the slightest suggestion that even the most extreme behaviour might not be wholly appropriate or acceptable. And they swear like no one else whom I have ever heard.

The Problem With The C-Word

I describe myself as a moral and social conservative. I regard that, being an economic social democrat, and being a British and Commonwealth patriot, as inseparable. So do most people in this country, although not in the Political Class or the commentariat.

But conservatism in the English-speaking world, at least, has a bad name. I am afraid that a lot of the blame for that lies with William F Buckley, who sought to synthesise moral and social traditionalism, and (in his case, American) patriotism, with the "free" market, which in fact corrodes those things to nought while driving its own victims by the despairing billion into the arms of Jacobinism (of which it is itself a product and a manifestation), Marxism (of which its own bourgeois triumphalism is a variant), anarchism (which it very closely resembles) and Fascism (which at least theoretically exists in order to defend it).

Buckley also presented himself as a specifically Catholic figure while publicly dissenting from Catholic Teaching as set out in Humanae Vitae (instead siding with those who wished to abort, contracept and sterilise out of existence the working class and ethnic minorities), as set out in Mater et Magistra ("Mother but not Teacher", he infamously declared of that magnificent call for social justice), and in relation to the Schiavo case. All of these are of course connected.

In reality, liberty, equality and fraternity depend on and lead to nationhood, family and property. The reverse also holds. These six principles may be placed in a circle, and one may begin at any point. Liberty (the freedom to be virtuous, and to do everything not specifically proscribed) depends on equality (which must never be confused with mechanical uniformity, to which it is antithetical), which depends on active expressions of fraternity (trade unions, co-operatives, and so on).

Fraternity leads naturally to nationhood (a space in which to unselfish), which leads naturally to the family as the domestic nation-in-miniature, and thence to the urgent need for every family to enjoy real property as its security both against over-mighty commercial interests and against an over-mighty State, legitimate, and indeed necessary, though both commerce and the State are in themselves. And what is thus secured? Precisely liberty, as above defined.

Engels understood this, rightly regarding the family, property, and the State as having a common origin. After all, why bother having the State, if not to defend the family and property? Why bother having property, if not to defend the family and the State? And why bother having the family, if not to defend property and the State?

Those who now advocate the withering away of the State undoubtedly know that it is a Marxist term for a Marxist aspiration. But do they know that it would also be the withering away of the family and of property? They ought to be able to work this out, but nevertheless it is time that someone told them, in no uncertain terms.

The Real SOCA Scandal

The truly "disgraceful" thing about the Serious Organised Crime Agency is that it exists at all, a very significant step down the road towards central government control of the Police, and with an emblem more appropriate to a breakfast cereal packet, apparently designed deliberately to mock the Crown.

When is anything going to be done about the disorganised crime that really does make millions of people's lives a misery? That would be a far better use of the money currently being spent on SOCA.

Flexible Friends

You have always had the right to request flexible working. Of course. And your employer has always had the right to say no. Of course. So what is the story?

Cherie On Top

How we are all being reminded of just how ghastly the court of Tony Blair was.

As would be the court of David Cameron, with his product-placing wife.

Gordon Brown: Not All That Bad

Martin Meenagh writes:

To listen to the press at the moment, Gordon Brown is the author of all misfortune in the United Kingdom. The former Iron Chancellor celebrated by the Sun and the New York Review of Books alike a year ago has become a ridiculous tribute band version of John Major, to listen to the critics. David Cameron, the empty vessel currently leading the Tory Party to a crushing possible third of the vote, is apparently some form of national saviour.

There is little more unedifying than the English middle classes and the metropolitan elite blaming someone else. Buck-passing is a national forte. It's also partly Brown's own fault for presenting himself as the saviour of Real Labour and posing as super competent whilst not having laid down the tracks of success over the past ten years. British political history is laced with seams of once fabled also-rans, though. He made it. The terms on which he had to make it have damaged him, but ask yourself; What would Brown have had to do if he really had been in control of government as a super-chancellor if the present troubles for which he is being blamed were to have been avoided?

As I have been suggesting in response to an interesting post on the somewhat libertarian blog nourishing obscurity, Brown would have had to at least five different things.

Firstly, he would have had to over-rule every single backbench loudmouth, newspaper editor, and economist (most of whom have spent the past few weeks stating the obvious about the descent pattern we have been locked into for months) that the gold should not have been sold off.

Secondly, he would have had to tax the rich and companies and used the money not for the NHS or education (both of which absorbed billions) but instead to pay off the national debt.

Then he would have had to convince individuals not to see property as a guaranteed investment--a decision they all took willingly after the better part of two decades of compulsory education at least-- and not to use any apparent appreciation in their house price to take out more credit.

Fourthly, he would have had to overrule the greens and their silly Kyoto fetish and build tonnes of nuclear power stations to avoid peak oil, which he would have had to foresee. He may have also as a part of this process have invested hundreds of millions in plasma containment technology when it was but a twinkle in scientific eyes.

All of this would have been predicated on not only stopping his boss from joining the euro, and fighting mad wars, whilst fighting a constant battle against the flunkies, warmongers, former communists and narcissists Tony Blair surrounded himself with. It would also have depended on Brown lowering costs by eliminating the PFI, taking infrastructure, energy and railways into some form of social ownership (which would have been cheaper) whilst floating off universities, building up cheap privately-funded or supplemented schools and hospitals, and emphasising social insurance.

If he had done that, we'd be OK. He couldn't because the people with any money or access to it in this country, and the see-no-evil monkeys of the commentariat, were not interested. So now he gets the blame for food, oil, and energy rises that are not his fault; a credit crunch that is the voters' fault; and a creaking state that is the fault of every single manager, consultant, and their supporters in a country with no ability to manage anything.

The BoJo Revolution?

Peter Hitchens writes:

In fact, it's interesting that Ken Livingstone won in 2004 with far fewer votes than he lost with in 2008 (if you add 1st and 2nd preferences together, he got 828,380 in 2004 and 1,028,996 in 2008). The fact that London was a higher poll results from several things:

The amazing amount of coverage devoted to a purely local election in national media, much of it with an axe to grind; the fact that London is actually now an EU province, the only equivalent in England of the EU provinces in Scotland,Wales and Northern Ireland; the fact that this province has an elected head of state, the only one that does in what is still officially a monarchy. I'd add the fact that Ken Livingstone is a brand on his own, who exists independently from the Labour Party, has little connection with Gordon Brown. There's also the very significant fact that many media figures on the left, notably Andrew Gilligan, Nick Cohen and Martin Bright, joined the anti-Livingstone campaign, knowing perfectly well that this would help Boris Johnson. Would they have done this if David Cameron hadn't liberalised the Tories? You must be joking. But I think a lot of left-liberal voters saw this as permission to defect from Ken, either to abstention, to Brian Paddick (the Liberal) or even to Boris Johnson.

Then there's the 'Have I got news for You' factor. I once appeared on this ghastly programme (yes, they were desperate, desperate to get somebody 'right wing' on it so as to try to look balanced). Even that one appearance (they cut out one of my two perfectly decent unscripted jokes) gave me a taste of what real TV celebrity might be like. I was more or less used to a small number of politically interested people recognising me from programmes such as 'Question Time'. But after being on 'Have I..." just once, I found the number of complete strangers who recognised me shot up, and went well beyond the borders of the politically interested. This was showbusiness. And Boris Johnson has been on it not just once, but (I think) dozens of times. He is, as I pointed out, a major brand in British public life, and his humour, likeability and self-depreciation are hugely attractive to people who do not share his politics, and who suspect (in my view rightly) that Boris Johnson's personality is more important than his politics, which are rather vague.

So I don't think I'm persuaded that a Johnson victory in London (itself a completely untypical part of the country) is proof that the Tories will or can win the next election. It would be a loss of nerve, given the real results in the local elections and given these specific factors, to abandon a long-held judgement (this *judgement* is entirely separate from my *opinion* , that the Unconservatives *shouldn't* win. That opinion won't change even if I'm the last person alive that holds it). But I will admit that I had underestimated the concerted will of the left-liberal media elite to get David Cameron into Downing Street, and also underestimated the ability of Gordon Brown to dig himself deeper into the deep mineshaft he is in.

From Cracow To Crewe

The Exile writes:

Labour has tried to diffuse the row over the 10p tax rate with benefits all round, obviously in the hope that this will be enough to bolster the party's showing in next week's Crewe by-election. However, there is one factor that all the benefits in the world won't alter, and that is the number of Polish workers who now live in Crewe and who compete with the locals for jobs.

At least 6,000 Poles now live in the town out of a total population of less than 50,000, and the unpublicised effects of this will probably be yet another factor that sticks the boot into Nu-Labour's hopes of holding the seat.

A few websites do discuss the issue, and there the reaction is mixed. However, as this Crewe blogger makes plain, most people sit around in the pubs and complain, rather than make their views clear on-line. That said, reading the comments that the posting elicited, it seems clear to me that Polish immigration is going to be a major negative factor for Nu-Labour next week.

It could have been so very different, couldn't it? When Britain had an influx of Commonwealth immigrants in the post-war years the Labour government headed by Harold Wilson pushed the first Race Relations Acts through parliament to prevent management from paying immigrant workers less than their British counterparts.

Today, Nu-Labour has pretty much left all the old anti working class legislation that the Tories passed in place. The result of this is that wage rates in places like Crewe are reduced across the board. That might not be a problem for a Polish worker who just wants to make a few bob before he heads off back home, but it will probably turn out to be yet another nail in the coffin of Nu-Labour, as the locals in Crewe refuse to turn out to vote for the party that has so signally failed to represent their interests.