Monday 30 June 2008

Happy Canada Day

At least as being kept in Trafalgar Square a day early, for some reason.

All the same, God Save The Queen.

Sixty Years Of The NHS

The Tories eventually voted against it because of technicalities, but it had been in all three manifestos in 1945, and they returned to office when, in serious financial trouble, it was still only three years old. Had they not believed in it, then it would not have existed since the early Fifties. Yet instead, even Margaret Thatcher largely left it alone.

But then along came a government with deep roots among those who most hate the Labour Movement and its achievements, correctly identifying both it and them as the reasons why there was never a Marxist revolution in this, one of the two countries that Marx himself deemed most likely to have one (the other was Germany).

And they have now taken over all three parties.

Wendy Alexander

Like her Deputy and possible successor, Cathy Jamieson (a frequent Galloway warm-up act back in the day), Wendy Alexander is an old cog in the George Galloway machine. She was his researcher and baby-sitter, and he refers to her as having "a brain the size of Hampden Park, but of common sense or the common touch she has none".

Indeed, so otherworldly is she that Galloway claims to have been present when she was first ever presented with a mobile phone and asked, in complete seriousness, where you put the money in.

Much is made of her having been a protege of Gordon Brown and Donald Dewar. What, at the same time as she was working for George Galloway? And then there is Jamieson, among others. North no less than South of the Border, New Labour's sectarian Left roots are plain for all to see, yet remain oddly unremarked upon. Why?

The Labour Funding Scandal

We can't have a political party's being funded by large membership organisations' collection and passing on of small voluntary donations from their individual members. It must be funded by half a dozen fabulously rich individuals. After all, half a dozen fabulously rich individuals can expect a return on their investment. The unions certainly can't.

It's Her Again

She of the Single European Act, the Anglo-Irish Agreement, the Exchange Rate Mechanism, the Police and Criminal Evidence Act, the Children Act, the replacement of O-levels with GCSEs, the previously unthinkable phenomenon of millions of dole claimants at any given time, the destruction of the economic basis of paternal authority in (initially) working-class communities, and so much else besides.

It was she who refused to recognise the Muzorewa-Smith Government, instead clearing the way for the Chinese-backed Robert Mugabe by holding out for the Soviet-backed Joshua Nkomo. Who would have been so much better. Of course.

F**k Off

There, do I get my GCSE now? I am entitled.

The replacement of O-levels with GCSEs was the work of the same Prime Minister who refused to recognise the Muzorewa-Smith Government, instead clearing the way for the Chinese-backed Robert Mugabe by holding out for one so much better, the Soviet-backed Joshua Nkomo.


The BBC assures us those who marked the important anniversary that is Saint Vitus's Day by setting up a Parliament for Serbs in the rebel Serbian province of Kosovo are "hardline Serb nationalists". Note the use of "Serb" (which is ethnic) not "Serbian" (which is civic).

So when (in accordance with current trends) the "free" market has produced a Muslim majority in the former Metropolitan Counties of South and West Yorkshire, and they have therefore availed themselves of the Kosovo Principle in order to secede from the United Kingdom, will anyone trying to protect the legal position of those loyal Britons (of whatever colour or creed) still living there be "hardline English nationalists" (ethnically "English", not civically "British")?

For that matter, when (in accordance with current trends) the "free" market has produced a Hispanic majority right along the American border with Mexico, and they have therefore availed themselves of the Kosovo Principle in order to secede from the United States, will anyone trying to protect the legal position of those loyal Americans (of whatever colour or creed) still living there be "hardline American nationalists"? Or "hardline American nationalists"?

Or what, exactly? And why, exactly?

Ba'athist Terrorists

Yes, they do exist.

They are Iranian.

Britain no longer classifies them as terrorists. Both the dying Bush Administration, and the EU under Sarkozy's Presidency, are poised to do likewise.

Funny old world...

Los Estados Desunidos Con McCain

Obama should stop fighting the illegal immigration amnesty candidate and instead make it clear that he intends both to consolidate his own black base and to reach out to blue-collar whites by insisting that immigration be both strictly legal and strictly limited, and by promising to support a constitutional amendment declaring American English to be the only official language of the United States severally and collectively.

As things stand, the Latin American colonies from Southern California to Southern Florida are America's Kosovos in waiting, as are comparable, fast-growing pockets further north. The election of McCain would only make things worse. But the election of Obama could make them better. Will he grasp the nettle?

If so, then, since he would undoubtedly want a second term, he must be held to his commitments. Especially now that the Democratic Party's ranks are being swelled by former Republicans such as Bob Conley, alienated by the Republican Party's abandonment of its historic belief in real national security through strictly limited and strictly legal immigration, through economic protection, and through the avoidance of needless wars.

Here's The Beef

Well might South Koreans protest at the dumping of diseased American beef on South Korea.

Well might we go to any length to prevent and reverse our own slide from proper agriculture (with its strong rural communities, its family-centredness, its environmental responsibility and its animal welfare) into factory farming.

And well might Americans rally to Barack Obama in his authentically conservative opposition to the South Korea "Free" Trade Agreement, as well as to another such with Colombia, extending both the dumping of sub-standard produce on the world's poor and, which is just as bad, the export of high-skilled, high-wage, high-status American jobs to Asian and Latin American sweatshops.

Obama, who would undoubtedly want a second term, must be held to the commitments that he has made on trade, among many other issues. Especially now that the Democratic Party's ranks are being swelled by former Republicans such as Bob Conley, alienated by the Republican Party's abandonment of its historic belief in real national security through economic protection, through strictly limited and strictly legal immigration, and through the avoidance of needless wars.

A McCain adviser, Carly Fiorina, has called Obama "the most protectionist candidate that the Democratic Party has ever fielded". Here's hoping. And here's watching.

EU Plus PFI Equals?

No, as is clear from this in the Guardian, it very definitely unequals.

Thank God that there are still a few strong unions, and that there is still some vestige of a public sector, so that anyone can be made aware of these things. How much more must go on under the radar?

The Real Rate Of Inflation

My 28-day bus ticket costing £57 ran out yesterday. So today, I bought a new one. It cost £62:50. In four weeks, the price had increased by £5:50, practically ten per cent. That is the real rate of inflation.

Saturday 28 June 2008

Of Throwbacks And Kickbacks

Anyone really missing the Blair era should have watched last night's Newsnight. That would have put them right. For up popped the self-styled "Lord Michael Levy", not in fact the son either of a duke or of a marquess.

His re-emergence is a most timely reminder of just how ghastly the Blair years were, and the Blair restoration under Cameron would be: an age of eye-wateringly undistinguished figures such as Peter Mandelson, Alastair Campbell, Jonathan Powell, Carole Caplin, and of course this big-haired, stacked-shod, shiny-suited dispenser of funny money, a lost occasional character from Footballers’ Wives.

Safety First

Further to his Early Day Motion on safety crime, the following appears in George Galloway's Morning Star column:

Amid the acres of column inches about violence on Britain’s streets, a greater cause of death and injury takes its toll with scarcely a mention.

You are in fact more likely to be killed by working than you are through some act of interpersonal violence.

I had the author of a shocking new report into the collapse of workplace safety standards on my radio show the other week.

Professor Steve Tombs outlined how there has been a staggering 49 per cent fall in enforcement notices brought by the Health and Safety Executive. The cause is twofold.

First, the HSE is facing year-on-year cuts, which are affecting the number of inspectors that it deploys, as well as other vital staff. Second, there is a doctrinal shift, under the Establishment mania for deregulation, from enforcement to advice.

In other words, voracious corporations are to be advised on how to improve health and safety, but are not to feel the discipline of inspections and enforcement to make sure that that advice has been heeded. It is a staggering retreat for a Labour government.

For it was a Labour government, freshly elected in 1974, which brought in the Health and Safety at Work Act. That was the fruit of the preceding years of labour militancy. Now, it is being whittled away and the body meant to oversee it is being left to wither.

In conjunction with Tombs and the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies at King’s College London, I’ve tabled an early day motion (number 1855) calling for the recommendations of the Commons select committee which oversees the HSE to be implemented.

They include giving workplace safety reps the legal right to stop the job if a hazard is identified and publicising the sentences for safety breaches imposed on directors. I hope that you’ll encourage your MP to sign it.

Over the years, much of the media has reduced health and safety matters to bogus stories about “banning conkers” in playgrounds - something that was never true, by the way.

In fact, it is about the legitimate expectation of workers that they will clock off in one piece and that they won’t be worked into an early grave.

Next month will bring the fourth anniversary of the deaths of two firefighters in my constituency - Adam Meere and Bill Faust - who were killed while attending a fire at a shop on Bethnal Green Road.

It’s time that the minds of parliamentarians, most of whom wouldn’t plunge into a darkened room for a firefighter’s pay cheque, were concentrated.

Great stuff. And what a sign of the times that a pro-life Catholic (who, on his radio programme, regularly expresses very traditional views on things like drugs and lap-dancing) can now have a column on the Morning Star. For that matter, as with Galloway's cavorting with Trotskyists and Islamists (and again, no one with links of either of those kinds would have had such a column even a very few years ago), what a sign of the times that that is where his column now appears.

Can Obama Do It For Catholics?

Asks Michael McGough:

Last month a preacher at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, apparently intending to help Senator Barack Obama in his bid for the presidency, mocked Senator Hillary Clinton, whose candidacy already had been declared dead by political pundits. Recalling Clinton's tears before the New Hampshire primary, the clergyman told an appreciative congregation: "When Hillary was crying, and people said that was put on - I really don't believe it was put on. I really believe that she just always thought: ‘This is mine. I'm Bill's wife, I'm white and this is mine. I just got to get up and step into the plate.' And then, out of nowhere, came, ‘Hey, I'm Barack Obama.'"

The Revd Jeremiah Wright? No, it was Fr Michael Pfleger, a guest preacher at Trinity and a Roman Catholic priest. In an embarrassing encore of the furore over Wright's sermons, Obama condemned Fr Pfleger's sermon and Cardinal Francis George, the Archbishop of Chicago, rebuked the priest and secured a promise from him that he would refrain from presidential politics. The irony of the Pfleger gaffe is that a month later Obama might have welcomed the endorsement of a Catholic cleric - though obviously not Pfleger. In the Pennsylvania primary, Obama not only lost to Clinton but trailed badly among Catholic voters. Exit polls suggested that Clinton won 74 per cent of the votes of Catholics who attended Mass weekly and by 65 per cent among less frequent churchgoers.

Even after he secured the nomination and Clinton's endorsement, there has been talk - gleeful talk among Republicans - that Obama has a "Catholic problem". To some extent it is a Democratic problem; George W. Bush out-polled John Kerry (a Catholic) among Catholic voters in 2004. Defenders of this view cite Obama's poor performance among Catholic voters in the primaries, his pro-choice views on abortion (a contrast to John McCain's long-time opposition) and matters of style, such as his refusal, for a while, to wear an American flag lapel pin and his notorious suggestion that small-town Americans "cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations".

But reports of Obama's unacceptability to Catholics may be exaggerated and rely too much on the results of his contest with Clinton. John Green, a senior fellow in Religion and American Politics at the Washington-based Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, has pointed out that Catholics might have supported Clinton for other reasons. Referring specifically to the Pennsylvania primary results, Green noted that "it is hard to separate the effect of religion from the effects of age, income and gender. As in past contests, Clinton did well with older, working-class women, a demographic that overlaps significantly with Pennsylvania's Catholics."

Green adds that "many of the Democratic Catholics who did not vote for Obama in the primaries might well support him in the fall against John McCain. But, on the other hand, not all white Catholics are Democrats - many are independents or Republicans. If nothing else, this means that white Catholics are a key group to watch."

Other factors could improve Obama's performance among Catholic voters. Young Catholics, along with other members of their generation, have been energised by Obama's campaign. Obama's opposition to the war in Iraq and support for economic justice appeal to Catholics who believe in a "consistent ethic of life" that begins but doesn't end with opposition to abortion.

Finally, Fr Pfleger isn't the only Catholic to praise Obama. He was endorsed in Pennsylvania by that state's pro-life Democratic senator, Bob Casey (though to seemingly little effect), and eyebrows were raised within Washington DC when Douglas W. Kmiec, a prominent conservative legal theorist and a professor of law at California's Pepperdine University who served in Republican administrations, wrote that "an audaciously hope-filled Democrat like Obama is a Catholic natural".

Obama's share of the Catholic vote in November may be shaped as much by intra-Church politics as by the secular kind. In 2004, after some bishops suggested that John Kerry should be denied the Eucharist, the Democratic nominee was bedevilled by a "wafer watch" in which journalists followed him to church to see if he would be turned away at the Communion rail. Obama is not a Catholic, so that particular dilemma will not arise. However, he might face criticism from conservative Catholics if he chose a pro-choice Catholic, such as Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, as his running mate.

Even without a Communion controversy, Obama could be damaged by a continuing rift in the hierarchy over how much prominence Catholic voters should give to a candidate's views on abortion. In a document entitled "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship", the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops produced a sort of "pushmi-pullyu" prescription.

The document pleased conservative Catholics by insisting that "abortion and euthanasia have become pre-eminent threats to human dignity because they directly attack life itself, the most fundamental human good and the condition for all others". But the statement also acknowledged that "Catholics often face difficult choices about how to vote. As Catholics we are not single-issue voters. A candidate's position on a single issue is not sufficient to guarantee a voter's support. Yet a candidate's position on a single issue that involves an intrinsic evil, such as support for legal abortion or the promotion of racism, may legitimately lead a voter to disqualify a candidate from receiving support."

A measure of the bishops' success may be that the statement was welcomed both by the anti-abortion group Priests for Life, and by Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, a liberal group that in praising the statement said it "clearly articulates the broad range of fundamental human issues found at the heart of Catholic teaching. Abortion, human cloning, racism, torture, genocide and the targeting of non-combatants in acts of terror or war can never be justified, according to the bishops' document."

The outcome of the quest for the Catholic vote could depend on which view of the bishops' statement - and of Catholic thought generally - will dominate pronouncements by notable Catholics about the election. In his new book, Souled Out: reclaiming faith and politics after the religious Right, the Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne writes that in the 2004 Bush-Kerry campaign "conservative voices in the hierarchy were dominant, fearless, relentless - in brief, overwhelming. Progressive voices in the Church were, to be charitable, conflicted.

It might be said that progressive church leaders had qualms because of the abortion and stem-cell issues. But the issues of poverty, social justice and war did not seem to deter the conservative leaders in the Catholic Church from speaking out strongly in a way that left little doubt that they supported the re-election of George W. Bush." Obama's "Catholic problem" may also be the Church's problem.

White Catholics have predominantly voted for the winning candidate in the last eight Presidential Elections. Yes, eight. Every time since 1976.

But what have the Republicans ever done to deserve the blue-collar Catholic vote? They have never done anything, but quite the reverse, to deserve any blue-collar vote at all, on which they have nevertheless long depended. And as to Catholic votes, McCain would merely continue the long Republican tradition of pretending to be against abortion while doing absolutely nothing to kill the goose the lays the electoral golden eggs.

Obama might be no better, although he might surprise us: as C S Lewis pointed out, nobody ever converted from unbelief to liberal Christianity; and the black churches are not without their pro-lifers, as well as being mainstays of things like the Alliance for Marriage.

But he would certainly be no worse, because he simply could not possibly be any worse.

Blair And Bush Wanted A Short War In Afghanistan

The real target was always Iraq, admits grand old neocon retainer, Paddy Ashdown.


Friday 27 June 2008

That Henley Result In Full

Yes, Labour coming fifth is a story, although Labour losing its deposit there is not.

But there are rather bigger stories here: the low turnout (aren't people itching to come out and vote for Cameron?), the failure of the Lib Dems to make any headway, the hopeless failure of Cameron's Blue-Greenery, the rise of the Greens (also strikingly apparent in nearby Oxford and elsewhere) among the ever-leftish section of the bourgeoisie, the total collapse of UKIP, and the success of the BNP among people who might be white but are certainly not working-class.

Those are the real ones to watch.


So David Cameron wants to carry on where Blair left off? No surprise there, of course. Nor should there be. Since Blair was such a phenomenally popular and successful Prime Minister, sorely missed by the electorate that demonstrated so enthusiastically in support of the Iraq War, and the flogging off of schools and hospitals.

Cameron was always going to go downhill if and when he decided to express political opinions. Sit back, and enjoy watching it happen.

What A Drag

Last night's Question Time with Grayson Perry, Yvette Cooper, Baroness Neville-Jones and Dame Ann Leslie was a scream. It took me ages to spot the transvestite (I think). Who do readers think it was?

Shame on Chris Huhne and David Dimbleby for not dragging up. And shame on Yvette Cooper for dragging down. The whole tone of the programme.

On This Week afterwards, was Diane Abbott joking when she explained "for the benefit of viewers" who Andy Burnham was? It is very telling that Abbott is much better-known even to the politically well-informed than are several members of the Cabinet and almost all members of the Shadow Cabinet.

Taki On De Gaulle


While on Bushido I was reading up on de Gaulle. I was not a Gaullist while he was president because of what I thought was his betrayal of the French army in Algeria. But I was wrong. De Gaulle knew very well that holding Algeria was impossible. He also mistrusted capitalism — up to a point. He knew that left totally to their own devices, capitalists would turn much too greedy for the public’s good. When he retired in 1969, he could have collected his pension as a general as well as that of an ex-president of ten years. He chose, instead, a colonel’s pension, and de Gaulle was not a man of means. He died the following year in relative poverty. Compare that with the 100 million greenbacks Bill Clinton has amassed by hanging out with low-lifes like Jeffrey Epstein (about to do a Taki for at least 18 months) or the millions Tony Blair is accruing from American banks for having played along. The money-obsessed career politicians of today alone make de Gaulle a great man.

They certainly do. As does so very much else about that good conservative dirigiste in opposition to the capitalist corrosion of everything that conservatives exist in order to conserve. Inseparable therefrom was his glorious battle against all four of German occupation, Soviet infiltration, American domination, and the unbalancing of the nascent EU by British accession.

On all four counts de Gaulle was right, as he would have been, for exactly the same reasons, if faced with today's neocon-Islamic alliance in the midst of the Postmodern, globalised, hypercapitalist, meterosexual wasteland.

A new de Gaulle is just what France needs.

And so does Britain.

Where are they?

Is Con Coughlin Finally Getting The Point?

Almost certainly not.

Throughout the build-up to the Iraq war, hardly a word was uttered in public by Admiral Sir Michael Boyce, then head of the British Armed Forces, even though there was considerable disquiet - some would say outright hostility - among the military to British participation in the invasion of Iraq.

More is the pity that they never said anything, then.

This week's remarks by Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, current head of the Armed Forces, that Britain cannot continue to fight two wars at once, suggest the code of omerta long observed between the military and its political masters is rapidly unravelling.

Not before time. Of course "Britain cannot continue to fight two wars at once". One among the numerous reasons why we should end them both forthwith.

Sir Jock, like many other senior officers, has been concerned for some time that Britain's Armed Forces simply do not have the resources to sustain their current levels of deployment, and has no doubt been arguing this point tirelessly within Whitehall.

No doubt. The solution, of course, is to end the deployments, pointless and indeed downright counterproductive that they are.

The Labour party has no real understanding of how the military works, is embarrassed that Britain is fighting wars on two fronts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and is ambivalent about whether British troops should be there in the first place.

Would that those second two were true, although of course the Government is not, nor does it really have anything to do with, the Labour Party. Coughlin is probably thinking of Sir Jock Stirrup, who certainly does have a "real understanding of how the military works", and doubtless is "embarrassed that Britain is fighting wars on two fronts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and about whether British troops should be there in the first place".

Until politicians of all persuasions wake up to the fact that we are asking too much of our limited military resources, we can expect a great deal more plain speaking from the top brass.

Here's hoping.

What Coughlin undoubtedly wants is huge transfers of money from public services, private pockets or both into the fighting of his and his fellow-Crazies' endless wars. But I doubt that the military top brass, never mind the rank and file, want any such thing. Knowing what war is like, they are extremely averse to it if at all avoidable, like Jim Webb or Jacques Chirac (old brothers in arms of John McCain are aghast at his views on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, on bombing Iran, on torture, and on veterans' issues).

I for one would love them to say so, and for our Forces to bring themselves home in such a way that Brown, Blair, Cameron and the rest would only find out when they switched on their televisions and saw the triumphant marching through the cheering, flag-waving crowds. Without a shot's needing to be fired, our rotten and decadent, blood-thirsty but battle-cowardly Political Class would be brought crashing to the ground.

Now that really would be the defence of this Realm.

Are They By Any Chance Related?

A few facts for poor, slow-witted Harriet Harman, now complaining that women in part-time work earn less than men in full-time work. I wonder why that might be?

It has been illegal for 38 years to pay a woman, simply because she is a woman, less than a man for doing the same job.

Men and women working part-time earn the same hourly rate, as do men and women working full-time and aged under 40. And single, widowed or divorced men and women working full-time earn the same hourly rate.

The entire "pay gap" is down to the differential pay among those aged 30 and upwards (especially over 40), and among older couples (married or cohabiting), and it is strongly related to the number of dependent children (eight per cent for none, thirty-five per cent for four or more).

The data for younger and single people shows that women earn the same as men. The gaps are due to women tending to work part-time, and to women in couples earning less than men in couples. Both are plausibly explained by child care, career breaks, choices to spend more time home-making, and so forth, the last a thoroughly good thing to anyone who knows the difference between price and value.

So, not Harman, then. Nor her old friend at the old National Council of Civil Liberties back when it was hand in glove with the Paedophile Information Exchange, Patricia Hewitt, who while a Minister talked about the "problem" of mothers who didn't go out to work.

Still, Harman is only following where David Cameron has led. His A-list reserved the best seats for women and ethnic minorities (and card-carrying members of the Labour Party, who had never left the party that they had only joined because of Blair). He is on record that "at least a third of my Cabinet will be women". And he has gerrymandered the selection of Tory candidates for the European Parliament, first to ensure the re-selection of sitting Europhile MEP, and then to ensure the selection of women.

I have pointed out before how closely the achingly high-born George Osborne and the achingly high-born Harriet Harman resemble each other. But David Cameron's cousin is Ferdinand Mount, whose mother's brother was Lord Longford, Harman's uncle. Are Cameron and Harman by any chance related? I think we should be told.

Thursday 26 June 2008

More Equal Than Others

It is notable that, although certainly having room both for upper-class people and for QCs, Old Labour governments felt no need for an "Equality Minister". They were too busy getting on with creating the NHS, clearing slums, and such like.

I didn't hear Woman's Hour this morning, but after Harman's fawning "interview" on Today, there was nothing about this on Jeremy Vine (despite an hour on other aspects of this Bill, including an interview with Harman), nor even anything on Martha Kearney's World At One. I wonder why not?

It is women who physically give birth, and on whom small children are most dependent. Get over it. In egalitarian terms, the "pay gap" does not exist. What Harman is seeking is not equality, but special privilege.

The Cameron Manifesto That Isn't

Pure wishful thinking from Fraser Nelson.

How long has the right-wing press been banging on about how Eurosceptical, or tough on crime, or committed to traditional family values, the Tories are really?

For that, as for this, there exists absolutely no evidence whatever, but rather, overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

New Labour To Privatise ENTIRE Welfare Sector

To no batted eyelids, the Financial Times reports:

Britain’s entire welfare system is to be opened to offers from the private and voluntary sectors, in a far-reaching drive to shrink the role of the state and improve service delivery.

James Purnell, work and pensions secretary, will on Wednesday announce a “radical” initiative in which private companies will be encouraged to come up with innovative business models to deliver welfare.

The move opens up a potential multi-billion pound market for private companies and voluntary groups, which could bid to run everything from welfare-to-work schemes to projects to rehabilitate former prisoners.

Mr Purnell, regarded as one of the ruling Labour party’s leading modernisers and sometimes tipped as a potential future leader, told the Financial Times the move represented a “big step” in transforming Britain’s welfare system.

Current rules, under which Mr Purnell’s department decides which services to put out to tender, have seen the value of services run by the private and voluntary sectors rise to £1.8bn ($3.5bn, €2.3bn) from £600m in 2001.

On Wednesday he will announce “a complete reversal” of that approach, so that outside contractors will be encouraged to come up with proposals for the services they want to run under a so-called “right to bid”.

“This is us saying very clearly the only limit is the quality of service and the imagination of the provider,” Mr Purnell said. He said all services would potentially be up for grabs, with his department reserving only a few policy functions for itself.

He said Job Centre Plus, a government agency, provided “world-class” services in helping people back to work, but even that operation could be transferred to outside contractors if they had a better business model.

The test of Mr Purnell’s ambition will be the extent to which business proposals turn into contracts, but the secretary of state said every offer would be properly evaluated by a commissioning team reporting to him and his top civil servant.

He said British companies exploiting this new market would be able to expand into world markets for welfare delivery. He said only Japan operated a similar “right to bid” philosophy.

The “open invitation” to new ideas extends across welfare provision, including proposing welfare to work schemes that would pay private and voluntary sector service providers from the government savings made from finding jobs for the unemployed. “I’m not ruling anything out,” said Mr Purnell.

The measure is a further sign that Britain is willing to open up the “multi-billion pound” welfare-to-work market for private and voluntary providers envisaged in the Freud report, an independent examination of welfare reform.

Several international welfare-to-work companies – including Maximus and Rescare, two big US providers, and Igneus, the Australian owner of Work Directions, the UK-based group – have already begun targeting Britain as a potential growth market. They are joining domestic providers of existing programmes including A4e and Reed-in-Partnership.

Several big government decisions over systems of funding for welfare-to-work schemes and programmes to tackle the 2.6m people on incapacity benefit are expected in coming weeks.

Shifting Sands

The Qatari takeover of ten per cent of Barclays Bank is no surprise.

The Gulf monarchies are busily buying up the West, with the Saudis already owning eleven per cent of the US economy, the UAE gobbling up the ports there, the former's financial dependent coming to the end of his second term as President, and a financial dependent of both (and of Kuwait) coming within inches of the Democratic nomination in this Democratic year. Thank God for Barack Obama. And so much for fighting to prevent an Islamic conquest.

"But that's the free market, isn't it?"

So it is.

So away with the "free" market.

Left-Footers And Labour

Many thanks to Red Maria for this, from this week's Tribune, by Conor McGinn (although he is wrong about immigration):

The growing isolation felt by Roman Catholics in the Labour Party is reaching a critical point. Recent outpourings of anti-Catholic sentiment, under the guise of debate around the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, have been reminiscent of language used during the era of Guy Fawkes - and about him and his co-conspirators in the Gunpowder Plot.

As an Irish Catholic, the natural political home for me on moving to Britain was the Labour Party. As Catholics from across Europe settled in Britain, their children and grandchildren maintained strong and proud Labour traditions and provided the backbone fro the party in its heartlands in England 's great cities, the mining valleys of Wales and Scotland 's industrial belt. We backed Labour because we believed in the values of the party and the trade union movement. Our values of social justice, equality and community were born as much from our Catholic tradition as they were from our Labour tradition.

In recent times, these values have been translated into support for progressive campaigns to alleviate debt and child poverty in the developing world. In some respects, these campaigns were instigated by the Catholic Church and other religious groups. A high profile campaign to support migrant workers - among the most exploited and vulnerable groups in our society - was led by senior figures in the Catholic Church, including Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, who called for an amnesty for illegal immigrants. Catholic priests, nuns and laity work in some of the most deprived communities in Britain , with churches and community centres providing a range of support and services for families who have been neglected by the state and society. It is unsurprising that this aspect of Catholicism and the work of the Catholic Church are rarely acknowledged by detractors, who choose to ignore the selfless public service given by Catholics throughout the world.

Obviously, the attitudes of many Catholics towards issues such as immigration and child poverty are shaped, in part, by the teaching and message of the Catholic Church. By the same token, many Catholics will have had their views on other, more controversial matters, such as abortion, informed by that same Catholic faith. Unfortunately, the former is ignored and the latter contested by those whose antipathy towards Catholicism has been barely concealed in the debates around the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill.

Among the most vicious of the recent attacks on Catholics in the Labour Party was an article in The Guardian by London MEP Mary Honeyball. This venomous piece included the implication that Catholics were not fit to hold ministerial office because they were subservient to the Vatican . Honeyball also referred to Catholicism having a "vice like grip across Europe " and accused the church of "interference in democracy".

Before anyone seeks to accuse me - or other Catholic members of the Labour Party who were deeply offended by her comments - of overreaction, they should read her article and substitute the words "Jew" or "Moslem" for "Catholic". Can you imagine the outcry? And in this regard, the anger felt by Catholics has only been exacerbated by the failure of any senior Labour figure to admonish Honeyball.

She peddles the myth that politically-active Catholics serve in obedience to the Vatican and are directed on how to vote by Rasputin-like clerics - almost as if they constituted a fifth-column in the Labour Party. If this were not so offensive, it would be laughable. Catholics are certainly not a homogenous group. In fact, we are one of the most diverse faith communities in Britain. And we are not dictated to by priests or even popes. Our Catholic faith shapes many of our views and opinions, in the same way that background, family, education and a whole host of other experiences do. We shouldn't have to make any apologies for that. And if the low-level war on politically-active Catholics continues, the only apology many of us will be making is to say how sorry we are to have to leave the Labour Party.

Well, now pro-life, pro-family, pro-worker and anti-war people have somewhere else to go.

Further to Tony McNulty's astonishing admission blogged here yesterday, there is a crying need for further investigation into the roots of all of this in the feud within Britain's Irish communities between orthodox Catholics and sympathisers with a Marxist guerrilla organisation during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.

No Axis, Just Spin

It always took a bit of believing (in fact, it admitted of no belief) that North Korea, of all places, was "sponsoring" Islamist terrorism. Of course, the same was true of Saddam's Iraq, and "sponsorship" of the Bin Laden school of Sunni pastiche is also inconceivable on the part of Shi'ite Iran.

So now that even the dying Bush Administration has admitted the bleeding obvious about North Korea (apparently being perfectly happy even for her to have a nuclear bomb), will it, and every one of its little helpers, make the same admission of the bleeding obvious about Iran and about the former regime in Iraq, and apologise unreservedly for the latter's illegal overthrow, which has turned one of the Arab world's principal bulwarks against Islmaic militancy into a hotbed of that militancy?

If not, why not?

You Have Nothing To Lose But Your Chains

Can someone please explain to me what is so wrong about a political party's being funded by large membership organisations' collection and passing on of small voluntary donations from their individual members?

Can someone please explain to me when and why anyone ever gave money to a political party for no policy reason whatever?

And therefore, can someone please explain to me why in the world the unions are still facilitating such collections for New Labour, or indeed ever did?

After all, it was the unions who organised to save Labour from the very sectarian, privileged, permanently freshman-minded Leftists who nevertheless created New Labour when all their Christmases unexpectedly came at once with the death of John Smith.

And those sectarian, privileged, permanently freshman-minded Leftists still have exactly the same contempt towards the unions and their members that Tony Benn legendarily displayed towards the old EEPTU (electricians and plumbers, now indirectly merged into Amicus) when he was Energy Secretary and Industry Secretary, leading it to refuse to nominate him for Deputy Leader in Opposition because "we reject [your] attitude of aristocratic disdain".

When are today's trade unionists going to reject, from the wallet, the new ruling class's attitude of pseudo-aristocratic disdain?

Open Court

The accused have the right to confront, and to be confronted by, their accusers. The use of video links is arguably not compatible with that right. The use of screens and voice-disguising devices certainly is not.

As for the intimidation of victims, let those who would engage in such intimidation fear the law, and so be dissuaded.

Therefore, let the law be something to be feared.

Keeping Things Civil

This year's fifty per cent reduction in civil partnerships arises from the failure of the original legislation to provide for such (which already do not need to be consummated) between unmarried close relatives.

That was proof, as if proof were needed, that the point of that measure was to privilege homosexuality on the specious basis that it is an identity comparable to ethnicity or class, or even to sex (which is written into every cell of the body).

That legislation must be amended immediately to allow unmarried relatives, whether of the same or of opposite sexes, to register their partnerships. Then there would be rather more of them.

Obama: Every Little Helps

Barack Obama is now supporting the workers of Tesco's American subsidiary.

Can he possibly get even better?

Yes, I think he probably can.

The Gurkhas

Labour and the Tories have, with staggering ineptitude, ceded to the Lib Dems, of all people, the cause of the Gurkhas.

Not only should old Gurkhas have an absolute right to live and be naturalised in the United Kingdom, but (an even more pressing need) serving and former Gurkhas' children should be charged only home student fees by universities here.

When is that going to happen?

Why hasn't it happened already?

A Right Little Crick

That's right, Michael Crick on Newsnight.

The BBC's beloved Unconservative Tories suddenly became "popular" (polls of tiny numbers of people conducted by phone so that their identities are known to the pollsters, a crudely projected 44% of 35% including neither most of the West Country nor anywhere in Scotland, overturning a mere seven thousand Labour majority in Cheshire mid-term) after George Osborne promised to raise the threshold for Inheritance Tax.

Which is already paid almost exclusively by people who vote Tory anyway, most of them resident in safe Tory seats.

Of course.

Wednesday 25 June 2008

The Chagos Islands And Ascension Island

Justice at last for the Chagos Islanders, perhaps. Yet, even as I write, another craven British Government is allowing an American Administration to perpetrate a strikingly similar injustice against British subjects on British soil. I refer to Ascension Island. Google for it, and for the splendid Councillor Lawson Henry in relation to it. And then ask yourself why this shocking story is not front-page news.

New Labour: Sectarian Left Entryism Out Of Its Own Mouth

Peter Hitchens writes:

Here, as promised, is the fuller version of Tony McNulty's remarks ( he was answering questions after a lengthy speech) to the Index on Censorship gathering on Monday 16th June. The strange reference to the 'outlaw community' is to his Irish background. The academic Conor Gearty had used this phrase earlier.

"It is not my job to pass laws that outlaw radical politics. It is not my job to come up with laws that say 'anyone who says they don't like George Bush, Tony Blair or what's happened or not happened over the last 5-10 years is somehow a violent extremist'. It absolutely isn't.

"I know it's terribly hard to believe but I used to be radical myself. I used to think that politics was about selling excuse was I was very, very young but, you know, like a lot of government I'm an ex-Trot.

"And discovered myself in a very very clumsy way what politics was all about and what I wanted from politics.

"I say - by the by - at a time when it was very very dodgy in some senses to be so coming from the 'outlaw community'. I remember growing up in the 70s, I remember my father coming to me and saying 'Can I just have a look at all those books you've got and I know you're every interested amongst other things in Irish politics but PTA (The Prevention of Terrorism Act) has just been passed, if you've got anything there from or by the IRA you'd better get rid of it'.

"I don't say that's anything like the experiences that some have now but I do understand that the mythology that says that as a consequence of that the entire Irish community in this country were against the terrorism effort or against the PTA doesn't follow at all. This is how far back I go...In the late 60s going to church in Kilburn and seeing young men dressed all in black with berets and sunglasses on 'collecting for the boys' - as it was described at the time - and old ladies going up and spitting at them and throwing the collection bucket the time. I do think there are very thin parallels between all aspects of the Irish position and what prevails now. I know it's difficult, I know it's contested terrain. I am not about outlawing young people from any community having radical views, and disagreeing with my views. It's absolutely the opposite."

I don't think Mr McNulty expected me, of all people, to hear these words. But maybe he genuinely didn't mind. It seems to have passed without any fuss. I personally think that my media colleagues should be more interested in this kind of thing than in their endless dissections of what's wrong with Gordon Brown, and I am disappointed that it has attracted so little attention. Imagine him saying it even seven or eight years ago. And how many others could say the same? No guesses, please.

Finger Lickin' Good

Over on The American Conservative's blog, this from Freddy Gray (well-known to some of us from The Catholic Herald), on Andrew Roberts, the pseudo-aristocratic heir to a Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise:

Last week, the presence of Andrew Roberts at a valedictory dinner for President Bush in London prompted rumors that Roberts–every neocon’s favorite British historian–was being lined up as a ghostwriter for Bush’s autobiography. We have discussed this possibility in the latest issue of TAC.

It was obvious, though, that Roberts’ sycophancy wouldn’t wait until the president was out of power. In yesterday’s Sunday Telegraph,he wrote a very greasy op-ed heralding Bush as the great statesman of his time. We all know the drill: remember Harry Truman and you’ll appreciate Bush’s heroism.

"Give Iraq five, ten or twenty years, and Bush’s decision to undertake the surge - courageously taken in the face of all bien pensant and “expert” opinion on both sides of the Atlantic - will rank alongside some of Harry Truman’s great decisions of 1945-53."

To back this desperate just-you-wait-and-see rhetoric, Roberts uses the word “history” as a trump card to justify arguments he cannot reasonably support,

"History will also shine an unforgiving light on those ludicrous conspiracy theories that claim that the Iraq War was fought for any other reason than to implement the 14 UN resolutions that Saddam that had been flouting for 13 years."


"Historians will appreciate how any War Against Terror that allowed Saddam to remain in place would have been an absurd travesty."

History might also show that Andrew Roberts was a consummate name-dropper and shameless social alpinist who used his formidable intellectual gifts to make friends in high places.

The West's Favourite Genocidist

Svetlana, whose blog is delightfully called Byzantine Sacred Art, begins:

Former US Ambassador to Croatia Peter Galbraith who testified before the Hague tribunal on Monday, confirmed that ethnic cleansing of Serbs from Serbian Krajina region was a deliberate systematic operation and the state policy of Croat leadership, headed by Franjo Tudjman, which lead to the mass scale ethnic cleansing in two blitzkrieg operations in 1995, codenamed Storm and Flash.

As a prosecution witness in the case against Tudjman's generals Ante Gotovina, Mladen Markaca and Ivan Cermak -- accused for conducting military operations aimed at forced and permanent removal of Serbian population from the Krajina region, including killing Serbian civilians and prisoners, expulsion, deportation, plunder of Serbian property, merciless destruction of Serbian-populated towns and villages and inhumane and cruel treatment -- Galbraith stressed that this was Croatia's state policy that continued to be enforced afterwards, preventing the expelled Serbs from returning to their homes and land in Croatia.

According to Galbraith, the systematic destruction and plunder of the Serbian property during the Storm, as well as prevention of their return, through the legal and other measures undertaken after the operation, took place "because Croat state leadership -- Tudjman and the gang around him -- wanted it to happen, and they were happy when it did happen".

As Neil Clark puts it:

You can read more of this story over at Svetlana's.

Don't expect to read too much about it elsewhere: Tudjman in his wicked, racist schemes was backed by the west- in common with all the other extremists who wanted to destroy the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

Look out for how Pope Pius XII protected the Serbs, as soon as I can track it down online.

Bedrooms and Battlefields

Sometimes, killing people really is as bad as sleeping with them, explains John Zmirak:

For modern folks like me, perhaps the most frustrating thing about the Church is her failure to be ambiguous. The Catholic moral code is frightfully clear about a long, long list of things, and leaves no wiggle room for those of us who'd rather form our consciences from papier-mâché and wishful thinking. For some 20 centuries, the greatest minds in the West meditated on Sacred Scripture, in the light of human reason, to form an elaborate and detailed tradition of moral reflection -- whose most important conclusions have been canonized by papal or conciliar declarations, some of them infallible. Which is, of course, kind of a drag.

The most annoying intrusions of divine authority into the conduct of our own affairs occur when the Church attempts to channel and elevate our most primal instincts, the things pertaining to our animal nature -- by which I mean principally having sex with people or killing them. You needn't be a Freudian to recognize that these are two areas, historically, in which man hasn't always lived up to the Boy Scouts Honor Code. If you made a movie of the Old Testament, its rating would waver between a wary R and a solid NC-17 -- depending on whether or not Mel Gibson was directing. Nor are the histories of Greece or Rome particularly inspiring, what with all the wars of conquest, which yielded all those tantalizing slaves.

Things got significantly better in Europe with the arrival of the gospel -- which undermined and finally eliminated slavery, gave women the right to marry or refuse, forbade men to abandon their aging wives for younger ones, and drove the Church to develop shockingly strict criteria for waging war.

St. Augustine did most of the heavy lifting in the construction of just war doctrine, whose most recent formulation you can find in the Catechism. The best job I can do of boiling down this complex teaching is the following, which I lift from my book The Bad Catholic's Guide to Wine, Whiskey, and Song:

The Just War tradition specified that Christians should only take part in a war if it is

• In a good cause, i.e., to repel aggression or protect the innocent. (No, "revenge," "a presidential sex scandal" or "an upcoming election" don't count.)
• Waged by legitimate authorities.
• Reasonably likely to succeed.
• Unlikely, proportionately, to cause more harm than good.
• The last resort after attempted negotiations.
• Waged with the minimum force necessary, making every attempt to protect civilians.

These criteria take all the fun out of war -- banning naked land-grabs, empire building, torture, mass-rape, fire-bombing cities, and the use of America's 10,000 or so nukes for pretty much anything at all. Since the Just War tradition is such a buzz-kill, Christians of a certain kind often argue it away as cleverly as a canon lawyer wangling an annulment for a Kennedy.

In matters both of the bedroom and the battlefield, the Church tightened the screws on fallen human nature and imposed a code of conduct more rigorous than that found even in the Old Testament. If the kings of Israel had been permitted wars of conquest (with not much attention to the fate of enemy civilians), they could bed dozens of wives, and when necessary divorce them. The Church, citing Jesus' words and their implications, recalled mankind to the higher standards implied in the Book of Genesis, and made herself the champion of peace.

To the lusty, land-hungry barbarians still moist from their recent baptism, the Church said essentially this: Sexual intercourse and killing are usually gravely evil -- except in certain circumstances, such as self-defense or marriage. That's a downbeat way of putting it, and I'm glad that John Paul II explored in his Theology of the Body the profound positive side of the Church's teaching on sexuality. But there's no soft-peddling the fact that compared to paganism, the Church demands that men spend a great deal more of our lives with swords, well, sheathed.

Of course, Catholics constantly fell short of these outrageous rules, whose fulfillment is only possible with constant infusions of actual Grace. But they could never do so in good conscience, since the Church was unwavering in repeating these "hard sayings." Man's two most fundamental impulses must be ruthlessly diverted into the channels of justice: marital sex, and defensive war. These levees too rarely hold, but their very presence tends toward keeping us honest, like a wedding ring that just won't come off. Henry VIII felt the need to marry each of six wives in a church -- even if he had to found a whole new Church in which to do it. Likewise, the most aggressive Christian kings were constrained to search for justifications for their invasions and honor-feuds that offered at least the appearance of meeting just war criteria.

The Crusades -- which nowadays we are required to ritually denounce three times a day, while facing Mecca -- were launched in defense of Christendom and the still-majority Christian population of the Holy Land living under Islamic occupation. Of course, even wars that the pope himself declares are just rarely turn out well for the civilians in the area. The most arguably justified Crusade, the first, saw the liberation of Jerusalem -- and the massacre of many of its inhabitants.

Over the centuries, even combatants whose cause was obviously just -- for instance, Britain and America fighting Japan and Nazi Germany -- have employed means that the Church severely criticizes, such as the indiscriminate bombing of civilians. With the invention of weapons that cannot be used discriminately -- such as the "city-busting" nuclear bombs that, for some reason we and Russia are still pointing at each other -- Church leaders have grown increasingly skeptical about the practice of modern war. Of course, they no more blunder into the heresy of pacifism than the sternest orthodox Desert Father ever thought to demand universal celibacy. (It took the "spiritual" Franciscans to get condemned as heretics for trying to foist the Evangelical Counsels onto laymen as a condition for salvation.) So relax, guys -- no one's trying to take away your swords.

Still, the Church has been sufficiently scathed by the memory of bishops blessing the troops on both sides as they marched into the meaningless slaughter of World War I to adopt a more rigorous attitude toward rationalizations for war. Since Pope Benedict XV poured out his heart trying to conciliate that conflict, Church leaders have striven manfully to talk nations off the ledge, before they plunged into the butchery of battle. Sometimes, of course, war cannot be avoided -- for instance, when an aggressor like Adolph Hitler is on the march. History proved that some dictators cannot be contained.

But others can. (Even Stalin could.) There isn't really a Hitler hiding in every hut -- and if we let ourselves get whipped into a frenzy over every apparent threat to our national interests, we will make excuses for military actions that are unjustified and unnecessary, which means that they are sinful. Since we're talking about millions of human lives, I daresay they might be mortally sinful.

We should at least consider the question, instead of dismissing the Church's teaching on war and peace as blithely as liberals do her teaching on birth control. If we don't, we might just look . . . ridiculous. As I daresay a number of theologians look today, for proposing that the Vatican revise the Church's teaching on just war to address the overwhelming threat of Saddam Hussein and his weapons of mass destruction.

Sometimes an historical moment in fact threatens to be a replay of October 1938, when weak Western leaders appeased a ruthless aggressor. But there are other times when our leaders are acting more like the ninnies of 1914. We have a grave duty as citizens and Christians to carefully discern which is which -- and not simply to repeat the press releases that come out of a friendly administration.

We also must resist the shrill voice of nationalism, which tempts us to believe that our values, our way of life, are eternally true and should rightly be imposed on others through the use of force. (Can you think of any great empire that didn't say the same?) We must not mistake our flawed but worthy system of government for the Kingdom of God on earth, and our enemies for devils.

But this is the central assertion of "national greatness conservatism" -- the muscular, interventionist foreign policy championed by Sen. John McCain, so dubbed by his most enthusiastic supporters (many of whom are Catholic). It insists that Western liberal democracy is the right system of government right now, for everyone in the world -- and that such a system was always and everywhere the proper model for human society. The Catholic monarchies and mixed systems of government that built up our civilization were sad compromises of men who were ignorant of all the moral wisdom that we modern Americans possess. We can feel a little sorry for them, for the likes of St. Louis IX. The poor man couldn't really help it: He was French.

As Catholics who really believe that the cafeteria has closed, we have no right to snicker at the liberals who stock up on the granola of peace and justice, while we load our own trays with red meat mandates that mostly center on the bedroom.

Sometimes, folks -- and I'm really sorry to have to break the news -- but sometimes killing people really is as bad as sleeping with them. Even if you're doing it under our flag.

Save Bletchley Park


Tuesday 24 June 2008


It would not be possible to invade Zimbabwe except via at least one neighbouring country, and large numbers of Mugabe's very numerous tribesmen and clansmen would in any case fight to the death against any such invasion. For that is what it would be: an invasion. Who has invited us in?

So instead, the Movement for Democratic Change and all other concerned Zimbabweans should issue an appeal to all their fellow-subjects of "Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of Zimbabwe and of her other Realms and Territories", to aid them in overthrowing the usurpatious tyrant, Robert Mugabe. Is it conceivable that we would not then go to their aid?

Her Majesty would not have to do anything. That is the point: this would come from within Zimbabwe, and would place moral and political obligations on governments and people in 16 sovereign states (only four of them predominantly, and none entirely, white), and in numerous other territories besides, not only in these islands, but also in the Americas and in the Pacific.

So not only would this rescue the basket case of Africa and make it once more the bread basket, but it would also constitute a formal tie between Africa and her diaspora in the Caribbean. God Save The African Queen!

Of Primark and Protection

Well, where did you think that the saving was made? On the cost of the fuel to transport the finished goods? Hardly!

These things should be made here, or at least somewhere else where we know that standards are at least as high as they are here. Things that aren't should not be allowed into this country.

Protection all round.

Power of Attorney

A Committee of MPs, tellingly chaired by a Lib Dem, wants to abolish the office of Attorney General, or at least cut in up such as to amount to the same thing. As if you had not guessed, that office is, in its current form, contrary to their precious and pernicious theory of "the separation of powers".

Will that theory's proponents be demanding that all Ministers resign their seats in either House, that the Law Lords renounce either their peerages or their seats on the bench, and so forth? Have they ever heard of the Law Lords? Or of the Home Secretary's role in determining sentences? Or of the numerous quasi-judicial functions of Ministers? Or of the fact that all members of the Executive are required to be members of the Legislature? Or of the fact that the judges make the whole of the Common Law?

This "separation of powers" line was also put about when the position of Lord Chancellor was abolished overnight in all but name, in favour of something apparently sketched on the back of a beer mat. But the House of Lords is still chaired by someone in much the same outfit, which was actually presented by Blair as a serious, and even conclusive, argument for abolition. It is just that Baroness Hayman is not the Lord Chancellor. But so what, from that point of view? Meanwhile, there was until Brown's appointment of Jack Straw still no Cabinet Minister accountable to the House of Commons either for the major front-line public service that is the Court Service, or for the enormous Legal Aid budget of public money.

Like the other examples given above, the office of Lord Chancellor was often described as an "exception" to "the separation of powers". Quite apart from the fact that such a doctrine cannot, by definition, admit of exceptions, so that their very existence disproves the doctrine itself, there do seem to be an awful lot of these "exceptions", and they do seem to matter rather a lot.

In reality, the "powers" have never been "separate", nor can they ever be so. One of them has to win in the end. In Britain, we have decided that it is to be Parliament, and thus the elected House of Commons within Parliament. Would we rather that the Prime Minister always had the last word? Or that, as in the United States (among other places) an unelected judicial body of lifetime appointees could simply rule that any matter it liked was "constitutional", and thus reserved entirely to itself? This is why, as is their wont, judicial theorists and constitutional lawyers habitually engage in more than a spot of wishful thinking where "the separation of powers" is concerned. They wish to see an American-style krytocracy in this country.

The wretched Human Rights Act has been a major step in that direction. But mercifully, we still have instead the supreme legislative, executive and judicial authority of the Crown (i.e., of the nation embodied, regardless of party or anything else), exercised either by Parliament itself or by Ministers drawn from and accountable to Parliament. Within Parliament, the House of Commons has come to be elected by universal adult suffrage and, since the Parliament Act of 1911, to be supreme.

The Crown is the ultimate contradiction of the Franco-American, and in no sense indigenously British, theory of the separation of powers. And it is thus the ultimate guarantee that the United Kingdom (and each of the 15 countries with which we share the Crown) will remain a democracy, unlike either absolutist and historically coup-plagued France, or krytocratic America, to name but two.

"Separation", indeed.

And lest such views be branded "anachronistic", or even "right-wing", they are in fact the simple application of The First Attlee Test: if Attlee (not to say Bevan, a staunch Unionist among so much else) could make something constitutional work, then it is beyond me why, say, Blair or Brown would feel any need to change it.

The same applies to ceremonial: these things are changed because those changing them have given up on, if they ever really believed in, fighting against want, ignorance, ill health, squalor, and avoidable war. They have given up on, if they ever really believed in, defending the best conservative values both against the Whiggish "free" market, and against the Jacobinism, Marxism, anarchism or Fascism into which that Whiggery drives its millions of despairing victims.

If there had been, say, a Human Rights Act or a Supreme Court in the 1940s, then it seems certain that there would have been no nationalisation, even with compensation (which compensation was quite right, I might add), nor any incorporation of private and charitable hospitals into the NHS, without which there would simply have been no NHS. These measures would have been presumptiously struck down in the courts. That equally important consideration is The Second Attlee Test.

But the office of Attorney General passes, as the office of Lord Chancellor passed, both Attlee Tests with flying colours.

By Popular Request

My comment placed both on Harry's Place and on Oliver Kamm's website just before one o'clock this morning:

Oh, for goodness sake, Kamm and all your alter egoes, are you still at it? And no, I do not necessarily spend my evenings on this sort of thing. Get a life!

Let’s go over this again, shall we? You have repeatedly posted these claims (under various names) on the Spectator’s website, where at least one of my offences allegedly took place. They have either been rejected outright, or else rapidly removed at my instigation, followed by thoroughly apologetic emails to me from the moderator. I, by contrast, have never had a comment rejected by that blog, despite the very controversial views that I have frequently expressed there, as I do several times per week, and quite frequently several times per day.

You have doubtless also tried to do this on CiF (another alleged crime scene), but if they have ever even let you up, then I have never seen or been made aware of it. Again, they have no problem putting up even very forthright comments of mine. I suspect that they are simply not interested in the view of someone whose own undoubted lies have led to the murder of one hundred thousand people and the maiming of a further million, and who remains utterly unrepentant. Nor should they be. They do still publish you, but only for the fun of the pillorying that you invariably receive from the readers, who oddly cannot see how the arbiter of left-wingery can be a Tory-voting hedge fund trader and war criminal.

And it should be perfectly clear from the mere existence of the above article that even the editors of Harry’s Place either don’t believe you or don’t care. I strongly suspect the former, since if they did believe you, then they would care.

You really should give it up. Your attempt at a career-ruining campaign against Neil Clark has been spectacularly unsuccessful, and you should learn your lesson. If (which I very much doubt) you believe what you are writing, then you embody the old adage that rich people are called eccentric, whereas poor people are just called mad. However, I do not think that you are mad. You are bad. Very, very, very evil.

Plus that just submitted on Harry's Place, since he's still at it (of course):

We’ve settled all of this, Oliver. Nobody believes you. The Spectator doesn’t believe you, or it would have banned me from commenting, which it hasn’t. Comment is Free doesn’t believe you, or it would have banned me from commenting, which it hasn’t. And it is perfectly clear that even Harry’s Place doesn’t believe you, or it would not be publishing entire articles by me. (Never mind why the Guardian actually *employs* Neil Clark if what you say is true. You obviously have not the faintest idea about any world in which people have to work for a living.)

And why would they believe you? Give it up. You are like a psychiatric patient clutching his blanket to himself and screaming “Martin Miller! Martin Miller! IP address! IP address!”

Monday 23 June 2008

An Excellent Start To The Week

This morning's Start The Week was excellent, not only featuring the far too little-known story of just how badly the Zionists treated German Jewish refugees to Palestine (calling them "soap bars", and telling them that the Holocaust had been their own fault for not moving to Palestine in order to live the dream years before), but also touching on the fact that the problem of multiculturalism, leading to the rise of Islamic militancy in this country (among much else, one might add), has its roots in the 1980s.

Remind me again which party was in government, and who was Prime Minister, continuously throughout the 1980s.

Make Network Rail A Protected Mutual

Says the Co-operative Party.

Sign up to the campaign here.

Surveillance: Intrusive, Ineffective And Expensive

Says David Davis.

Join The Dots

Says Martin Meenagh:

Many thanks to the oil drum for doing what the mainstream media are not, and keeping an eye on Saudi oil promises.

On August 11 2004, Saudi Arabia promised to increase oil production to 9.3 million barrels per day, for the foreseeable future, and then to increase production further.

On April 26, 2005, the Saudi government promised to increase oil production to 12.5 million barrels per day.

On July 31, 2007, they were back, promising an increase again--but this time, to only 10.8 million barrels per day, which they should have reached anyway.

And today's great promise of an increase? to 9.2 million barrels per day.

How much oil does anyone realistically think they have left at viable prices?

Two years ago, the writing was on the wall. It was written by a combination of food and oil price increases because of peak oil, combined with a falling off in money markets, and a vast global overhang of capital. It said that these things would lead to stagflation and monetary crisis.

Very few people read and learned outside of the blogosphere.

One year ago, it was very clear that the combination of Islamism and demographic instability in the world could be intelligently and systematically combatted. The effort would involve attempts to spark Islamic reformation, promote thinkers like Father Koerner and Gulen in Turkey, and to withdraw from vast wastes of time, energy and blood in middle eastern wars whilst using intelligence agencies, military power, and trade wisely.

Nobody in power listened. Even George Bush's former man in the Sudan has published a piece in Foreign affairs this month crying out for someone to learn.

Today, it is fairly obvious that global warming as a consequence of man-made carbon is fairly unstable, unsure science, and that new, decentralised energy production, distributed systems of local food production, and the emergence of a new argument for social ownership, the limitation of profit, and much more limited, democratic, even libertarian government is vital.

These simple facts will challenge almost all of our self-styled 'political', 'left-wing', 'green' and 'compassionate' politicians and commentators. So most of them are not listening.

It is also fairly obvious that, although our technology may be able to save us from what is coming, it won't save us from a global slump. It will not save us from a war of choice in Iran. It will not save us from the break-up of the euro.

Nor will we be saved by the inevitable increases in pathological, useless, security measures as states become more fearful, and central banks more dependent upon the diminishing mirage of their own control of interest rates.

We will not be saved from the collapse of bee populations. That may seem a silly point, but without them there is no agriculture that can feed us properly. Here's a link on that latter note to the celcias site, some of which I disagree with but which you might take a look at.

We will only be saved by our reason, and by whatever it is that makes us love.

Just A Thought

From The Exile:

In place of a posting I just want to give out a quick thought. I have often wondered if the real reason why Nu-Labour took Britain to war against Iraq in 2003 was the fear that if they didn't, then the Tories would attack them from the right. Blair was so determined to protect that right flank that he was prepared to come out with any old guff to prevent a Tory charge from that quarter.

Maybe the 42 days detention had a similar origin? If that is the case, then it makes the government's collapse even sweeter. In trying to shore up their position against an attack from the right, they left their left flank wide open.

Just a thought...

Moreover, they left their left flank wide open to David Davis.


This does not come easily to me, but the CBI is right.

Let there be academic qualifications, in which people who really know about chemistry or history certify that you, too, know a creditable amount about chemistry or history.

Let there be vocational qualifications, in which not a teacher or an academic, but a joiner or a welder, certifies that you are a joiner or a welder.

And by all means let as many people as possible have both.

But let there be no silly attempt to turn either into the other.

The New Pro-American Party

This article of mine appears (by request, I might add) on Harry's Place:

We promote friendship and co-operation with the American people on the basis of common interests such as family values, the protection of workers and consumers, strictly limited and strictly legal immigration, fair trade and fair tax, constitutional checks and balances, universal health care, national security, Social Security, energy independence, environmental responsibility, Second Amendment rights and responsibilities, Civil Rights, America as an English-speaking country, and foreign policy realism.

The British People’s Alliance is the restoration of the party that gave this country the universal and comprehensive Welfare State, 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 these good things delivered by the partnership between a strong Parliament and strong local government.

We believe in national self-government (the only basis for international co-operation, and including the United Kingdom as greater than the sum of its parts), local variation, historical consciousness, and family life (founded on the marital union of one man and one woman). 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 all forms of art. In mass political participation within a constitutional framework. In the absolute sanctity of each individual human life from the point of fertilisation to the point of natural death. And in the constitutional and other ties among the Realms and Territories having the British monarch as Head of State, the status of the English language and the rights of its speakers both throughout the United Kingdom and elsewhere, and the rights of British-descended communities throughout the world.

We are social democrats precisely to counteract all these good things’ corrosion to nought by the “free” market.

So the BPA is the pro-life, pro-family, pro-worker and anti-war party of economically social democratic, morally and socially conservative British and Commonwealth patriots. We are the party that was otherwise destroyed by Communist and Trotskyist infiltration, eventually leading to the creation of New Labour by utterly unrepentant old Communists, Trotskyists and fellow-travellers. The party owing more to Methodism than to Marx, indeed owing nothing whatever to Marx. The party of Attlee, Bevin, Morrison, Bevan and Gaitskell.

Of the trade unionists and Labour activists who in the early twentieth century peremptorily dismissed an attempt to make the Labour Party anti-monarchist, and resisted schemes to abort, contracept and sterilise the working class out of existence.

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. Of the 66 Labour MPs who voted against Maastricht. And of the every single Labour MP who voted against the Common Agricultural and Fisheries Policies every year between 1979 and 1997.

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 its ruinous effects on the North of England. And of those Labour activists in the Scottish Highlands, Islands and Borders, and in North, Mid and West Wales, who accurately predicted that their areas would be balefully neglected under devolution.

Of the Parliamentary Labour Party that voted against the partition of the United Kingdom. Of the Attlee Government’s first ever acceptance of the principle of consent with regard to the constitutional status of Northern Ireland. Of the Wilson Government’s deployment of British troops to protect Northern Ireland’s grateful Catholics 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.

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 who successfully organised against Thatcher’s and Major’s attempts to destroy the special character of Sunday and of Christmas Day.

Of Attlee’s successful dissuasion of Truman from dropping an atom bomb on Korea. Of Wilson’s refusal to send British forces to Vietnam, but use of military force to safeguard the right of the people of Anguilla to be British. And of Callaghan’s successful prevention of an Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands.

We helped to provide the backbone of the Police, the Armed Forces and the Prison Service in much better days for all of them, and to call millions onto the streets to celebrate such events as the Coronation in 1953 and the Silver Jubilee in 1977. And now, we are back.

Further information is available from

Free To Leave

Where race is concerned, James McGrath is the last person who should worry anyone about his newly former boss, Boris Johnson, the de facto joint Tory-BNP candidate who only won on the BNP's second preference votes.

For McGrath was simply stating a fact. If Darcus Howe is right (and I don't believe that he is) that elderly West Indians will simply return to the Caribbean rather than live in Johnson's London, then they should do just that. There is more to Britain than London, and those who would rather live in a different country should go there.

The same is true of those who wish to live under Sharia Law. The same used to be true of those who idolised the Soviet Union, or apartheid South Africa.

And the same is true of the Boris-backers (including many of the old Moscow-worshippers and all of the old Pretoria-worshippers) who now prostrate themselves to what they imagine America or Israel to be like, by definition including all three people who ever supported the Iraq War.

They should clear off to America or Israel, not only because the shock of what those countries were really like would probably kill them, but also because those of us who want to be British could then get on with being British.

What Brown Should Be Telling The Oil Boys

"We're building lots of new nuclear power stations, so that not only will our people have the high-skill, high-wage, high-status jobs that they used to have in things like coal and steel, but we'll never have to worry about you again. Therefore, all our troops are being pulled out of Afghanistan and Iraq with immediate effect. And the people of Iran can sleep easy in their beds, at least if they were ever worried about Britain."

Over to you, Gordon.

The Dark Side of John McCain


I used to be quite warm towards him, since a man of his experience, like the decorated Jacques Chirac, struck me as likely to leave the warmongering to such draft dodgers as Bill Clinton and George Bush. But the presence of Robert Kagan, John Bolton and the like around him strikes me more than reason enough to vote for anyone at all against him, even if there is still, mercifully, a sufficiently genteel and refined side to Senate Republicans that the utterly uncouth Bolton would stand no chance of confirmation in any position whatever even if the Republicans were in control, which they are not going to be.

And the suggestion that McCain is against abortion is laughable. I honestly do not know why NARAL bothers to oppose Republican candidates. On the contrary, they should tell all their supporters to vote Republican at all times, since a Republican victory absolutely guarantees the continuation of totally unrestricted abortion, so that the wholly false promise to restrict it can be used to keep those blue-collar white votes, Catholic and Evangelical, coming in to the party of Wall Street, not Main Street.

Sunday 22 June 2008

At Last, They Admit It

Peter Hitchens writes:

Just as there are still Japanese soldiers in the jungles of Borneo, unaware that they should have surrendered 63 years ago, there are still people who think ‘New Labour’ is Right-wing.

I’ve tried to get the message across to them, ever since the whole Blair project began. This is the most revolutionary government since Oliver Cromwell, dedicated to overthrowing the moral, social and cultural order of this country. But simpleton Labour Leftists (who want to nationalise Mr Whippy vans, Starbucks and eBay) and dimwit Tories (who likewise don’t grasp that the battlefield has shifted) just don’t get it.

The truth is – and I know it because I was a Sixties Trotskyist myself – that the Blair-Brown Labour Party is crammed full of unreformed revolutionaries. That’s why the MI5 files of that era have been so zealously destroyed. I tried to obtain my own docket and was refused on feeble grounds.

The fact is that mine went in the incinerator along with Peter Mandelson’s, John Reid’s and many others whose interesting pasts are much-rumoured around Westminster, but impossible to prove.

But now you don’t have to take my word for it. Last week, my lonely warnings were confirmed in an astonishing public statement by Tony McNulty, Minister of State at the Home Office.

Mr McNulty was sucking up to a pro-liberty group, who didn’t think much of his enthusiasm for jailing people without trial.

Believing that everyone there was a Leftist like him, he tried to win them over with these words: ‘I know it’s terribly hard to believe but I used to be radical myself. I used to think that politics was about selling excuse was I was very, very young but, you know, like a lot of government, I’m an ex-Trot.’

Now, I don’t find it hard to believe at all. Looking at the bland, prosperous faces of the Parliamentary Labour Party I see my generation, the ones who between about 1965 and 1975 learned to loathe patriotism, the Armed Forces, proper policing, proper schools, traditional religion, marriage, the Monarchy and all the other things that ‘alternative’ comedians are paid handsomely to sneer at on the BBC.

What a conformist bunch we were. And how hard we were on anyone who broke ranks – as I discovered when my direct experiences of Communist countries and of the inner workings of the Labour Party persuaded me to change my mind.

Hardly a week has passed since when I haven’t been gratuitously mocked or personally insulted by my former comrades. These people haven’t changed their minds. They haven’t the courage, the character or the experience to do so.

They’re too fat for the jeans and they’ve lost the hair, but they still think what they thought back then. Mr McNulty’s totalitarian belief in imprisonment without trial – justified, of course, by supposedly noble ends – comes straight from his revolutionary teens. Trotsky would have approved.

Which is why some of us are determined to restore the party that was otherwise destroyed by Communist and Trotskyist infiltration of the unions and the Constituency Labour Parties respectively, eventually leading to the creation of New Labour by utterly unrepentant old Communists, Trotskyists and fellow-travellers.

The party owing more to Methodism than to Marx, indeed owing nothing whatever to Marx. The party of the Welfare State, workers' rights, progressive taxation, full employment, strong local government, a strong Parliament, "patriotism, the Armed Forces, proper policing, proper schools, traditional religion, marriage, and the Monarchy". The party of Attlee, Bevin, Morrison, Bevan and Gaitskell.

Registration will be complete by the end of this month.

More On Bob Conley

From Right Democrat, who has been a bit quiet of late, but is now well and truly back:

Bob Conley has been certified as the winner of the South Carolina's Democratic U.S. Senate nomination. Running against big-business Republican Lindsay Graham, Conley offers a refreshing alternative for South Carolina voters fed up with special interest-controlled Washington politicians. Here is some information concerning Conley's positions on issues obtained from his campaign website:

Energy: Bob Conley sees solutions to reduce your gas prices through the use of alternative energy and conservation. To end our dependence on foreign oil, we need to change our energy policy. Bob will fight for this change by: encouraging more energy production at home, promoting the development of alternative energy sources, wider use of proven alternative energy solutions, and encouraging the use of energy-saving technologies. We’ll regain energy independence and create good jobs in the process!

Iraq: Bob Conley believes it is time to end the occupation, and support our troops by bringing them home!

Jobs & Immigration: Corporate greed is robbing us of our jobs and driving our down our wages. Bob Conley supports secure borders. Corporations that fuel the immigration fire must pay the price. Greedy corporations and unscrupulous businessmen profit, while our working families and taxpayers foot the bill for services for illegals. This is corporate welfare, and it must end.

The legal importation of foreign workers is also driving down wages, and placing Americans in unemployment lines. This is wrong, and must end. Policy needs to change and should be based on what is good for our workers, our families, and our communities – not the bottom lines of corporations and their lobbyists’ demands!

Jobs & Trade: Bob Conley says no to trade agreements that send our good, well-paying jobs to foreign lands. Multi-national corporations profit while our working families and our communities suffer. This is wrong, and must change. The U.S. needs to withdraw from trade agreements that have cost us 3.5 million of our good manufacturing jobs since 2001!

Bob will promote and restore America First trade policies. We need to follow the Constitution – where Congress is to regulate trade with the foreign nations – and cannot continue to allow unelected foreign bureaucrats in far away places to decide and dictate our trade policies. We must end most favored nation status for Communist China. Bob is our fighter to change trade policies, correct our massive trade imbalance, and keep our good jobs here at home.

Economy: We must implement fiscal policies to end deficit spending. Bob Conley believes we must change our monetary policy, restore sound, honest money, and halt the fall of the dollar. We must stop predatory lending practices, end the Wall Street bailouts, and put a lid on massive expenditures abroad.

Military: Overseas deployments of occupation are breaking our military. Deployments in recent years have left 80% of our National Guard units without the necessary equipment for training – and the missions they should be prepared to serve here at home. Our National Guard needs to be rebuilt.

Veterans: Bob Conley believes veterans need to be given adequate care, not shuffled around in a Veterans' Administration that should be overhauled. Bob will work to pass a new GI Bill for our veterans who have fought in the twenty-first century.

Constitution and the Bill of Rights: Bob Conley will fight to repeal the Big Brother legislation passed by rubber-stamp Republican Congresses. We cannot afford to give up essential liberties under the false pretense of security. Measures that infringe on our individual liberties protected by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights must be repealed! We must restore the Constitution and respect the principles on which our Republic was founded.

Saturday 21 June 2008

Another Bad Bill, Another Labour Revolt

This time against the attempt to abolish what little democracy there still is in the planning system.

The Old Dominion

This article on Jim Webb is extraordinary.

Webb is wrong to project onto the English the WASP elite's mistreatment of the Scots-Irish in America. But he takes to an unhelpful extreme what is nevertheless the real old Scots-Irish ambivalence (no doubt underlying Ian Paisley's cosying up to the SNP) that saw them with the English (and thus with the Anglo-Irish) during the Plantation, against them during the Civil War, with them during the Glorious Revolution (as I do not hesitate to call it, given the Papal Blessing sent to William of Orange when he set out for Ireland), against them during the American Revolution, and half in and half out of the 1798 Rebellion (the Jacobin, and thus anti-Catholic, foundation of Irish Republicanism).

And why is legitimate Scots-Irish grievance in the South and West intolerable when the grievance of blacks, Hispanics, Jews (with very little to complain about in America), and even unhyphonated Irish (America's richest ethnic group) are the fertile soil of Democratic politics? Is it being white, being rural, or being provincial that makes people not count, no matter how poor they are? Good for Obama, looking increasingly likely to take this on by making Webb his running mate.

Webb's elevation will give Virginia the chance to elect to the Senate a Democrat (most obviously, though not necessarily) who will give a pro-life, pro-family, pro-worker and anti-war voice to economically populist, morally and socillay conservative American patriots.

A Democrat (most obviously, though not necessarily) who is totally committed to family values, to the protection of workers and consumers, to strictly limited and strictly legal immigration, to fair trade and fair tax, to constitutional checks and balances, to universal health care, to national security, to Social Security, to energy independence, to environmental responsibility, to Second Amendment rights and responsibilities, to Civil Rights, to America as an English-speaking country, and to foreign policy realism.

A Democrat (most obviously, though not necessarily) who can unite progressive Democrats and social conservatives, conservative Democrats and paleoconservatives, organised labour and national security voters, the Religious Left and the Religious Right. Are not the vast common interests already there?

And a Democrat (most obviously, though not necessarily) who can bring together those who supported Obama and Huckabee, Kucinich and Paul. Again, are not the vast common interests already there?

So, where is that candidate?

Auntie Gets It Right

Reporting the Olympic flame in Lhasa as its arrival in and progress through "the Tibetan-inhabited regions of Western China", also inhabited by lots of other people, one should add.

It's a shame that she was too frightened of the Islamists to say something similar, and equally accurate, when the flame was further north earlier in the week.

The Top Ten Neoliberal Jokes

Thanks to Neil Clark:

1. Britain's privatised railway system (which leads to commuters who have spent thousands of pounds on hideously overpriced season tickets having to stand in toilets).
2. Britain's privatised utilities.
3. The works of Dr Milton Friedman.
4. The Adam Smith Institute (those bright sparks who gave us (1) above).
5. The EU's oh-so-popular Lisbon Treaty.
6. George Bush.
7. The 'trickle-down' theory.
8. The idea that privatisation is good for the taxpayer.
9. The Terminal 5 fiasco.
10.New Labour.

But isn't the whole thing now beyond a joke?

The Building Blocks of Tyranny

With lots of links, Charles Pooter writes:

Under English law it will be possible to be arrested for a crime that was not illegal when it was committed and then held for 42 days without charge. You can then be tried in a closed tribunal without a jury, which can hear evidence from anonymous accusers. Your silence in front of the police can be held against you in the trial. If you are not found guilty, it will be possible for you to be retried for the same offence in the future.

Now it may be true that not all these facts can apply to the same alleged offence, but does anyone really believe that this will remain the case once the principles have been conceded for a particular set of crimes?

The Balkans Today, The West Tommorow

Glorious stuff:

Showing any sympathy for the present plight of Serbia is swimming against the tide of received opinion, which was largely generated by the successful propaganda of the West, particularly concerning Bosnia and Kosovo. The demonization of Serbia was taken to grotesque proportions and, in general, faithfully and uncritically repeated in the mainstream media. So, for many people, their “default setting” is that Serbs were uniquely wicked and brutal to their erstwhile fellow Yugoslavs in pursuit of a “Greater Serbia”.

This narrative is a grossly inadequate basis from which to make an appreciation of Serbia’s present situation. As the weight of repetition of the “demon Serb” theory is so overwhelming, I will be putting the contrary case whilst conscious that no side in the unhappy disintegration of Yugoslavia was guiltless of atrocity.

At this area of the world’s surface, where the tectonic plates Of Islam, Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodox Christianity collide, one could start the story at least as far back as the Fourth Crusade but it is only necessary to go back to the Second World War to form a coherent picture of what has happened in Kosovo. It had always been a heartland of the Serbian Church and national consciousness, containing churches as important as Canterbury, Salisbury and Winchester are in England.

The Axis powers favoured Albanians and arranged for a large part of the Serbian population to be expelled from Kosovo and replaced by Muslim Albanian immigrants. This was the beginning of the now overwhelming Albanian majority in the province. At the end of the war, Marshal Tito agreed with his communist comrades in Albania that the incomers should remain in new Socialist Yugoslavia and prevented the expelled Serbs from returning.

The communist takeover after the war was bloody in the extreme. Not only were wartime scores settled but there were wholesale massacres of those deemed to be “enemies of the people.” The new masters made as sure as they could that there would be no competition with their leadership from the former elites. The bien-pensant, leftish world came to regard “non-aligned” Yugoslavia as a more moderate version of socialism than the Soviet variety but it was certainly not so at its inception nor for many years thereafter.

Tito’s treatment of the Serbs was conditioned by two considerations – firstly that many Serbs had backed the royalist Resistance (the Chetniks) under General Mihailovic and secondly that Serbia should not dominate the new Yugoslavia, as it had done before the war. The communist partisans’ civil war with the royalist Chetniks had been fought at least as vigorously and dirtily as the war against the German occupiers.

To reduce Serbian influence, he drew the boundaries of the constituent republics, so that large numbers of Serbs would live as minorities in Croatia, Bosnia and elsewhere outside Serbia. Whilst these borders were more or less local government boundaries, it was not such a burning question. Yet these were the boundaries which the Western powers would later recognize as the borders of sovereign states – states furthermore with aspirations to Serb-free, racial and religious purity.

A sort of political correctness was enforced in socialist Yugoslavia in which multiculturalism between and within the constituent republics was officially maintained. The basis of the state was a form of Marxist class outlook which was supposed to predominate over cultural and linguistic differences. The slogan was “unity and brotherhood.” In some ways this appeared to be reasonably successful.

Intermarriage between different cultural groups was quite common and the atheist stance of the authorities tended to mask religious differences. Perhaps Gordon Brown’s late conversion to official “Britishness” is a faint echo of this.

As testified by Mitar Balevic at the Hague tribunal, Kosovo was different - subject to Albanian agitation for an ethnically pure state from the 1950s onwards. There were large scale demonstrations on Albanian Flag Day in 1968 and Serbs were persecuted throughout the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties. There were murders, expulsions and rapes, as well as desecration of churches, exclusion from public employment and medical discrimination at Pristina Hospital – especially in the maternity department. Between 1961 and 1981, the Albanian population doubled and the Serbs declined from being one quarter to one sixth of the population.

Tito granted local autonomy in 1974 but this only increased the Albanian appetite for driving out the Serbs. The Serbian alphabet was banned and Serbian school text books destroyed. Some 20,000 Serbs fled after the riots of 1981. After the death of Tito in 1980, German foundations and institutes, deniable instruments of government policy, were prominent in supporting the Albanians. Their efforts were increasingly supplemented by the German Secret Service (Bundesnachrichtendienst) which fostered the separatist movements in all parts of Yugoslavia.

It was against this background that Slobodan Milosevic went on April 24, 1987 to speak at Kosovo Polje, holy ground in the Serbian national story – the battlefield where the Serbs went down to glorious defeat at the hands of the Ottoman Turks in 1389 – The Field of the Blackbirds.

This speech has been consistently misrepresented in the West as a sort of declaration of war on the mostly Muslim Kosovo Albanians but that is a total untruth. Milosevic’s words were shot through with the Yugoslav brand of multicultural Political Correctness. “Protect brotherhood and unity”…. “nationalism always means isolation from others, being locked in a closed circle and stopping growth”…

He exhorted people to “emerge from a state of hatred, intolerance and mistrust” whilst making clear that there would be no ethnically cleansed Kosovo, from which all Serbs would be expelled.

That may have been one cause of Albanian outrage. Until then, they had been consistently successful in working towards that aim. The other famous incident on this occasion was an attack by Kosovo-Albanian police on some of the Serbian crowd which provoked Milosevic’s remark “Nobody should beat you”. This was reckoned to be very un- PC in the vocabulary and discourse of “unity and brotherhood”. Apart from that, he appealed for calm. Yet time after time, this speech is represented in the West as the provocative ravings of an extreme nationalist.

A couple of quotations from separatist leaders supported by the West make an interesting comparison.

“Genocide is a natural phenomenon in keeping with the human-social and mythological divine nature. It is not only permitted but even recommended by the Almighty…for the maintenance and spreading of the One True Faith” FRANJO TUDJMAN – first President of post war Croatia, who also said “Thank God, my wife is nether a Jew nor a Serb”. (Mrs. Thatcher later accepted a decoration from him).


“There can be no peace or coexistence between the Islamic faith and non-Islamic institutions. The Islamic movement must and can take power as soon as it is morally strong enough, not only to destroy the non-Islamic power but to build a new Islamic one”. ALIJA IZETBEGOVIC, first President of Bosnia- Hercogovina, eulogized at his funeral by Paddy Ashdown as the father of his people. With Ashdown’s approval, Bosnian war dead were officially classified as “shahid” – martyrs in the Jihad against the Infidel.

So, a clerico-fascist and an Islamic extremist were supported by Western intelligence agencies, governments and armed forces as bearers of “European values” to the benighted Balkans. To do this, the EU member states broke their obligations under the UN charter and the Helsinki Accords by which they had guaranteed to accept existing national borders in Europe. They recognized Slovenia and Croatia diplomatically. This was done principally at Germany’s instigation and the German government regarded this sudden about turn by the other EU states as a triumph. The Foreign Minister was cock-a-hoop “By this, Germany has regained diplomatically everything lost in Eastern Europe as a result of two world wars”. It opened the way for the new “Drang nach Osten”.

The pretext for the later air war on Yugoslavia was based on the accusation that Serbs were committing genocide against the largely Muslim Albanians in Kosovo. It undoubtedly was an unpleasant, dangerous time. Statistics from the period before the war suggest that an Albanian in Kosovo was about as likely to meet a violent death as an ordinary inhabitant of Washington DC at the same period, whereas a Serb was around twelve times more likely to come to an untimely end.

The Kosovo Liberation Army was known to police authorities all over Europe as a major criminal organization, deeply involved in drug smuggling and human trafficking.

Yet both the German and American governments contributed to its training and arming for Kosovo’s “liberation”. Its commander from 1998 (later prime minister of Kosovo in 2006) was one Agim Ceku, a former Yugoslav army captain who first became a general in the HVO (Croatian Army). Assisted by access to all NATO intelligence on Yugoslav forces and with the aid of NATO airpower, he was a very successful commander, responsible for the expulsion of around 200,000 Serbs from the Krajina region of Croatia in “Operation Storm”(1995). He also appears to have had command responsibility at the time of the Medak Pocket massacre where Croatian forces fired on Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry. They later discovered the evidence of the massacre for which nobody has been brought to book. An Interpol warrant exists for Ceku’s arrest.

Wartime “information” from NATO told us that at least 100,000 young Albanian men from Kosovo were missing, presumed murdered. Yet the Spanish forensic team, sent to look for mass graves was gravely embarrassed. In late 1999 its leader complained that he and his colleagues had become part of “a semantic pirouette by the war propaganda machine because we did not find one, not one mass grave”. The Wall Street Journal concluded that NATO stepped up its claims when it saw “a fatigued press corps drifting towards the contrary story – civilians killed by NATO bombs… The war in Kosovo was cruel, bitter, savage. Genocide it wasn’t”.

The Spanish forensic team found 2108 bodies in 1999. The killing did not stop with the end of the war. According to a report in the Sunday Times, based on figures from the UN Mission in Kosovo, 420 Albanians were killed between June 1999 and March 2000, as the KLA dealt with perceived traitors. In the same period 1041 non Albanians (mostly Serbs) were killed. The “protection” offered by KFOR and their KLA allies was distinctly shaky. Serbs have continued to “disappear” or be found dead since, yet nobody has been brought to court, let alone convicted. In the same period (1999-2008) some 154 Orthodox Serbian churches have been destroyed and some 300 mosques have been built with funds from extreme Saudi Arabian Wahabi organizations. Like Bosnia-Hercegovina, where some 1500 foreign Mujahedin have settled as Bosnian citizens, Kosovo has become part of the “green wedge” of Muslim territories pushing closer to the gates of Vienna.

In spite of its experiences at the hands of the West in general and EU powers in particular, there is considerable support for membership of the EU in Serbia. The recent re-election of Boris Tadic as president (with 50.57% of the vote) is an indication of this. Pro EU Serbs think that the EU is “modern” and a safe place to be. Given Serbia’s former demonization, isolation and pariah status, it is easy to see the attraction of this. Then their clinching argument is “It is inevitable”. But the narrowness of Tadic’s victory shows that there is a large body of opinion which is by no means reconciled. Tadic has talked tough for domestic consumption but, if he runs true to form, he will succumb to EU blandishments.

Will the EU dispensation eventually make former Yugoslavia into an area of harmony and cooperation? How stable is the EU/NATO-imposed settlement? Is it a settlement or merely an armistice until some shift in the balance of great powers? In the map which follows, Great Britain, “Britoslavia”, is divided up, approximately as Yugoslavia was. It does not quite match the regionalization plans of John Prescott but would have much the same effect in reducing the independence, defensibility, security and international influence of the inhabitants of these islands.

There follows, along with references, a map (rather charmingly of the traditional counties) showing Perthshire as Bosnia-Herzegovina, Northumberland as the Republika Srpska, Nottinghamshire as Serbia (now containing one million refugees of all former Yugoslav ethnicities), Cambridgeshire as Voivodina, Sussex as Kosovo, and Cornwall as Montenegro.