Nick Clegg wants to tax the rich out of the country

Nick has come up with an amazingly stupid idea. But then we consider the source and stop being amazed.

Not only does Nick want to push through his ‘mansion tax’, designed to punish those people who have the temerity to live in nice houses, but he now wants them to pay an extra ‘rich tax’. Temporarily of course, don’t get him wrong, but then we know that taxes are always about as temporary as death.

Nick went to decent schools, so he must be reasonably numerate. But one wonders if he has done the sums in this instance.

I don’t know whom he includes in the rich category, but let’s assume for the sake of argument that he means millionaires. The UK has about 600,000 of them, those blood suckers who, according to the philosophy Nick espouses, or rather feels in his viscera, have exploited and stolen their way to wealth.

The idea of punishing them for their sharp practices certainly has much appeal, and if some non-exploitative doctors or inventors also get the chop in the process, well, it’s their hard luck. But putting the aesthetics of the matter aside for a second, let’s consider the practicalities. Will making the leeches cough up this ‘temporary’ tax really solve any problems?

The greatest problem the British economy has is Nick and his like-minded redistributors. It’s thanks to their unceasing efforts that we’ve run up a public debt in excess of a trillion pounds. That’s a rather large amount any way you look at it, but I suggest we consider it in purely arithmetic terms.

A trillion divided by the number of British millionaires yields the sum of £1.6 million and change. Now most asset millionaires don’t make anywhere near this amount in a year. For most it would take 10 years at least to gross that amount in total income. Asking them nicely to pay as much as that in extra tax would give them a good laugh or, depending on their cardiac health, a heart attack. In either case, no extra income will swell the Exchequer coffers.

Some richer millionaires would have to take up the slack and pay not £1.6 million but possibly £1.6 billion – on top of the taxes they are paying already. The cynic in me can’t help thinking that those fortunate individuals aren’t going to get down on their hands and knees, take their punishment and keep saying, ‘Thank you, sir, can I please have another.’ And the realist in me can absolutely guarantee that they’ll just up their sticks and go to some place where the likes of Nick are kept outside ranting distance of government.

If his bright idea is acted upon, the Exchequer will lose not just the extortionate amount Nick proposes to squeeze out of the ‘rich’, but indeed the considerable taxes they are paying already. This ought to be clear to a chap with an expensive education, as I’m sure it’s clear to Nick. But he and his party comrade Vince don’t really think that robbing the rich will help the poor, or indeed the economy at large. They don’t care a flying buck about the poor or the economy. What they want to do is send what Vince once aptly called ‘an important message’.

And what message would that be? That rather than rewarding success we want to punish it. That we don’t want anyone to succeed beyond a very modest level. That those who’ve become a success anyway should go and be successful somewhere else.

The effect on the economy will be nothing short of disastrous, but what does Nick care? He knows that envy, the sixth cardinal sin, drives many voters to support parties that make anti-rich noises. Aquinas explained how this works: ‘Charity rejoices in our neighbour’s good, while envy grieves over it’.

It’s to the envious, lazy, stupid and mean that Nick, Vince and their parteigenossen send their subversive messages. But, on the rebound, the noises also reach the industrious, enterprising and daring. These people don’t need an interpreter to understand the real meaning, and translate it into a call to action: Run with what’s left of your money, while you still have any money left.

The trouble is that such people don’t just make money for themselves. They also create wealth for others. And that’s precisely the burr under Nick’s blanket: God forbid more people will be able to take care of themselves without relying on the state’s largesse. Such people will have no reason whatsoever to vote for mentally and emotionally challenged politicians like Nick. And every reason not to.


Coming soon to a street near you

Every day we hear news of immigrants from all sorts of unsavoury places living in million-pound houses on the taxpayer. One recent story involved Fulham, to which I self-servingly pay more attention than to any other London borough.

A Muslim family of five moved into a £1.5-million semi, to which, according to the mother, they ‘have every right’. It’s good to see that recent arrivals adapt so quickly to the language and ethos of their new land. The process however isn’t quite complete for they have yet to learn that rights are married to responsibilities. On past evidence, this, if it ever happens at all, takes longer.

As a demonstration of this lapse, the happy family have turned the house, which after all doesn’t belong to them, into a stinking pigsty complete with broken furniture, smashed appliances and other debris. The action then had to move outside, for movement inside the house was becoming difficult. The happy family began to throw what they no longer needed, along with the weekly accumulation of rubbish, out into the street, giving it that unmistakeable je ne sais quoi feel of a shanty town and threatening a suitable drop in property prices.

The residents’ sensibilities, both aesthetic and fiscal, were hurt, and they tried to bring the authorities in on the fun. Proving he still has a lot to learn about the local mores, a teenage scion of the family, his torso defiantly bared, was photographed extending his middle finger towards the camera. Give him another couple of years in the mansion, and the youngster will go native enough to use two fingers to communicate the same message.

That happened last week. Staying in rural France at the moment, I’ve lost track of the story, and so don’t know what happened next. But, in a parallel development, the other day our neighbours had to rush to the outskirts of Paris where they own a flat used as rental accommodation. Actually, that description is only half-right, for, while the furnished flat has indeed provided accommodation for a North African family, our friends have been unable to collect any rent.

All attempts to do so were met with unpleasant and menacing hostility, communicated in the kind of French that even unabridged dictionaries don’t contain. The owners then sought help from the local council, begging them to evict their non-paying guests. That, they were told, was a complete impossibility, for the poor family had nowhere else to go. Inured to the logic underlying the explanation, our friends used the mildest of equivocal language to suggest, nay to hint, that this wasn’t entirely their problem. It’s not ours either, yawned the council official and sent them on their way.

Suddenly last Saturday our friends got a call from their Paris neighbours, helpfully informing them that their tenants, or, to be more precise, guests, had brought a removal van in and were loading it with our friends’ furniture. No, not all of it, only the items they like. Those they don’t like they were smashing up, turning the normally quiet street into a bedlam.

Distressed, our friends called the police in Paris, only to find that, it being Saturday evening, the station was shut for the day. The next morning they did manage to reach a bailiff, who explained to them that they’d better familiarise themselves with the proper procedure for handling such cases. Procedure, Monsieurdame is all important, but no? Without procedure all would be un bordel, a word that originally meant a whorehouse but now also means a mess. With or without procedure, it’s our flat that’s being turned into un bordel, our neighbours tried to explain, in vain. All right, what’s the bloody procedure then? The procedure, Monsieurdame, explained the patient man, is for you to go to your local gendarmerie and file a complaint, filling all the appropriate forms.

Our friends rushed to the local gendarmerie, only five minutes of frantic driving away. Naturally, it was shut, that being Sunday. The matter had to be put off until normal office hours, for all normal Frenchmen, regardless of their affiliation with law enforcement, spend Sundays drinking, eating and gardening.

On Monday morning the family decided to heed Adam Smith’s prescription and divide labour. The husband rushed off to Paris to see how much of the flat was still salvageable, while the wife went to the gendarmerie when it opened at 9 am. After waiting for an hour or so, she was issued several kilos of forms to fill in. The saga is on-going, and God only knows how it’ll end, though by the looks of it He has given up on the outskirts of Paris.

It’s good to see that London and Paris are striking such powerful, well-coordinated blows for true European integration and harmonisation. We all, goose or gander, are going to be smeared with the same sauce of suicidal, bleeding-heart, bien-pensant policies, with the bureaucratic ingredient especially rancid.

Sooner or later, taxpayers are going to rise in revolt, taking the law, what’s left of it, into their own hands. Evictions will be effected not with procedure but with shotguns and cricket bats, with civil order the main casualty. It’s already suffering attrition all over Europe, and things aren’t getting any better.

Why is murder not murder?

Is there a lawyer in the audience? I need help, for I simply can’t work this out by myself.

A Polish builder, Damian Rzezovski, stabbed six people to death and yet was cleared of their murders. The court in St Helier, Jersey, found him guilty of manslaughter only. Why?

Why, apart from the fact that they were all in one place, did Rzezovski kill his wife, their two little children, his father-in-law, his wife’s friend and her little daughter? Simple. His wife had admitted to an affair with another man.

One might suggest that slaughtering her, along with five other people, three of them children, was a bit of an overreaction even to such a self-confessed offence against the Seventh Commandment. A civilised man either ignores his wife’s infidelity or divorces her. A somewhat less civilised one swears at her and tells her to keep her knickers up from now on. A brute slaps her. A savage kills her. So how would you describe someone who massacres not only her but also five other people?

One possible adjective would be ‘crazy’. Psychiatric problems may be so severe that the madman is no longer responsible for his actions. He loses the ability to distinguish right from wrong. So was Rzezovski insane? He wasn’t.

In fact his defence did try this on, by entering a plea of guilty of manslaughter due to diminished responsibility. But the Crown rejected the plea, and one would think that would settle the issue. Apparently it didn’t.

The court heard all sorts of testimony from every expert and his brother, to the effect that Rzezovski was depressed and heard voices, telling him to kill. If the latter was true, than he is a schizophrenic, who should be treated as a patient, not a criminal.

Yet obviously the diagnosis of schizophrenia wasn’t accepted by the court, for otherwise Rzezovski would have been found not responsible. The only possible verdict would have been to confine him to an institution for the criminally insane and keep him there until he recovered – or, if he never did, for ever. Since he was found guilty of manslaughter, we can forget about schizophrenia as either an explanation or an excuse.

As to depression, the term has suffered so much inflation by overuse that it has for all intents and purposes become desemanticised. ‘Depression’ is routinely used to describe something that used to be known as a lousy mood. Shrinks, first in America then everywhere else, have begun to dispense antidepressants like Smarties, rather than telling their patients to pull themselves together, have a stiff whisky and think nice thoughts.

Rzezovski is indeed being treated with diazepam, né Valium, but these days that means next to nothing. Doctors often prescribe such mild drugs just to make the patient stop whingeing, go home and get out of their hair. When a psychiatrist diagnoses real, clinical depression, he prescribes real, clinical antidepressants, not diazepam. Not being a doctor, and not having had the pleasure of meeting Mr Rzezovski, I can’t venture a guess as to his mental health. But it clearly wasn’t sufficiently bad to explain, much less justify, what he did.

In fact, the court obviously accepted the prosecutors’ argument that Rzeszowski wasn’t suffering an ‘abnormality of the mind’. Why is it just manslaughter then?

A few months before the tragic event, Rzeszowski had found his wife flirting with strangers on the Internet. When he demanded an explanation, he realised he should have been careful what he wished for: his wife told him she didn’t love him anymore. Pure and simple.

Rzeszowski’s first reaction to hearing the news was certainly within the normal range. He went out and had sex first with a trained professional, then with a willing amateur. What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, Rzezovski must have said, or Polish words to that effect.

But then the spouses decided to patch up their differences and give the marriage another chance. In fact, they went back to Poland on holiday, hoping that their native land would act in the capacity of marriage counsellor.

Poland failed, for shortly after their return to Jersey, Mrs Rzeszowski admitted not only that she didn’t love Mr Rzeszowski but also that she quite liked someone else. It would have been natural for a simple and rather morose man to fly into a rage – but he didn’t. In fact, Rzeszowski waited almost two hours before two kitchen knives saw the light of day. And then he brutally murdered everyone in the house, accepting no pleas of innocence, diminished responsibility or temporary insanity.

When arrested, he told the court he wasn’t ‘that type of man’, which rather flew in the face of empirical evidence. He then vindicated the empirical evidence by admitting he could be that type of man when ‘drunk or upset’.

Now most people I know, including myself, are frequently upset and occasionally drunk. Yet no one I know has to the best of my knowledge ever allowed either of those conditions to progress to the point where they’d murder their spouses, in-laws, friends and children.

A man like Rzeszowski isn’t just unstable when ‘drunk or upset’. He is an evil murderer. As such he ought to be put down or, in the lamentable absence of the death penalty, found guilty of murder and put away for life, meaning life.

The verdict of merely manslaughter, accompanied by salvos of psychobabble resonating through the press, is a copout – even if it produces a long sentence. It’s on a par with the Norwegian court sentencing Breivik to three months for each of the 77 murders he committed.

A society that fails to punish evil decisively may soon succumb to it. A simple thought, this, but it’s amazing how many people it escapes.


The freak show is getting freakier by the minute

When the sick spectacle known as Paralympics finally kicks off, I won’t be watching any of it – the idea of people debasing themselves for cheap notoriety doesn’t appeal to me. And in any case, just reading about the Paralympics provides all the fun one can handle comfortably.

First came the news of three Jordanian ‘athletes’ being thrown out of the Games for serious sexual offences. Details needn’t detain us here, but I do think the organisers missed a trick.

Paraplegic sex ought to be turned into another competitive event, for no one can deny that participants would have to display the kind of dexterity that would be nothing short of acrobatic. The competitors could be judged on technique and artistic impression, like figure skaters. And if you think this would be an affront to good taste, then what about the whole thing? One can hardly abuse the participants more than they’ve already abused themselves, along with our aesthetic sense and the very notion of human dignity.

And think of the sell-outs, something that’s vexing the organisers so. Apparently, they’ve been unable to corral enough voyeurs to watch the cripple jump, or whatever delights they’ve got on offer. Paraplegic sex would take care of this commercial problem nicely, for we know from history that the combination of sex and deformity has much popular appeal.

During the French naughty Belle Epoque, Paris brothels and streetwalkers were doing brisk business, with hordes of men joyously floating from one to the next and in due course dying of syphilis. Many would eventually get so sated and blasé that they would seek crippled prostitutes to whip up their ardour.

Apparently the legless ones (and I don’t mean the ladies were drunk) were in particularly high demand for the attractive ballistic possibilities they opened up. Now though my proposal features only vicarious thrills of the Peeping Tom variety, they would be thrilling nonetheless, and I’m certain this kind of titillation would generate huge turnouts.

The second bit of news has to do with ‘boosting’, and chances are you’ve no idea what that is. In short, if the very idea of Paralympics is sick, ‘boosting’ is sickness squared. According to some authoritative reports, up to 30 percent of the parathletes rely on this trick to gain a competitive edge.

As any able-bodied athlete knows, vigorous physical exertion drives up the blood pressure and heart rate, which in turn improves performance no end. Alas, quadriplegics, those with severe spinal injuries, can’t get that response by natural means. Yet we all know that winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing, don’t we?

Acting in that spirit, the poor sods resort to unnatural means to produce the same effect. They crack their toes with a hammer, strangulate their testicles, administer electric shocks to their legs, fill their bladder and don’t empty it to make it really painful – that sort of thing.

‘Boosting’ is against the rules, and it can be dangerous, leading to strokes among other things. But then blood doping is illegal too, yet that didn’t stop Lance Armstrong, America’s great cycling hero who was yesterday banned for life and stripped of his record seven Tour de France cups.

Personally, I’d let him get away with it, for he won his first Tour a mere year after several cycles of brutal chemotherapy for testicular cancer. That’s a huge handicap, and a little doping to offset it seems fair. Armstrong, however, didn’t compete during chemotherapy, a notion that would have appealed to the Paralympics organisers, had they thought of it at the time.

In an anonymous survey during the Peking* Paralympics, 17 percent of the respondents owned up to ‘boosting’, though the experts believe the real number is twice as high. How desperate can one get?

Anyway, what can’t be forbidden must be allowed. Again, the situation is replete with commercial possibilities. One idea that springs to mind immediately would be to allow ‘boosting’, provided it’s done in full view of the paying public. Since 100 percent of the participants will be doing it, the only way for them to get a jump on the competition would be to come up with more creative techniques, and surely this is something we’d all like to see.

I could offer a few possibilities, but won’t. It’s lunchtime, and I don’t want to turn you off your food. Just think of the torture tools exhibited at the Tower of London or the nearby Museum of Horrors and you’ll get the general idea.

Modernity, don’t you just love it? We’ve come a long way since the Book of Job taught us how to handle suffering and what it means.



* I refuse to call that city ‘Beijing’ because it hasn’t changed its name, the way, say, Leningrad has. It’s always been pronounced ‘Beijing’, and we’ve always spelled it ‘Peking’. Now the Chinese insist on the different spelling, but it’s not up to them to issue diktats on English orthography. Incidentally, the French spelling of the name hasn’t changed since time immemorial. 

Russia joins the WTO: there goes the neighbourhood

My affection for international organisations of any kind, never overwhelming under the best of circumstances, has just found new limits. Yesterday Russia was admitted into the World Trade Organisation.

Also admitted on the same day was that great trading nation of Vanuatu, about which I know, in broad strokes, nothing, other than that it’s somewhere in the Pacific. My knowledge of Russia is somewhat more extensive, and it seems to be more accurate than that of the WTO.

To the credit of this august organisation, it has rebuffed Russia’s attempts to join for the better part of 20 years, ever since the words ‘glasnost’ and ‘perestroika’ first entered Western lexicons. What, one wonders, has made the WTO change its mind? Or, to put it in a different way, how has Russia changed in the last 20 years?

One of the key desiderata to which the WTO is committed is transparency, meaning, presumably, that a member’s trading practices are aboveboard, there for all to see. Well, if the consensus is that Russia satisfies this requirement better now than she did 20 years ago, the consensus is simply wrong.

Transparency International, whose very name is consonant with WTO values, has a corruption index of 182 countries. Russia is currently in the 143th place, sandwiched between Nigeria and Timor, those well-known champions of economic probity.

Way above Russia on this list are such committed practitioners of fair, transparent trade as Rwanda (49), Namibia (57) and Cuba (61), which is a good reason for a sly chuckle. But then one looks at a few other lists, and the chuckle becomes a moan.

For Russia is the world’s ninth largest economy, and no country even remotely in the same neighbourhood is as far down on the Corruption Index. If that gives you food for thought, feast on this: of the nine countries known to possess nuclear weapons, only North Korea is below Russia at Number 182. Even Pakistan (134) is above Russia, to say nothing of the UK (16), the USA (24), France (25), Israel (36), China (75) and India (95).

Russia, in other words, isn’t someone you want as a neighbour or a guest in your house. She won’t just nick the odd silver spoon – she can get a removal truck in, empty the house and then blow it up. What then are the advantages of having her in the WTO?

This organisation is supposed to grease the wheels of international trade, making both exports and imports easier and less costly. In terms of exports, one can see how China, another utterly unpleasant place, can be helped by the WTO, whose member she has been since 2001. China’s economy, after all, is all about exporting goods made cheap by the country’s vast pool of slave or near-slave labour.

But Russia already has a €100-billion trading surplus, mostly thanks to her exports of commodities, such as hydrocarbons. Of her €200 billion worth of exports to Europe, €115 billion comes from oil and gas. The prices for those are set by world markets, and Russia’s membership in any organisation isn’t going to change matters one bit. Russia also exports weapons, competing with America in this area, and vodka.

What else is she going to export in any serious volume? Her cars, the automotive answer to Chernobyl? Her stylish clothes, based on GULAG fashions? Her medicines, best described as bottled euthanasia? The answer is, nothing – if you disregard, as most people do, the brisk business she’s doing in human tissue, aborted embryos and body parts, all used in various products, including cosmetics.

Another seldom mentioned Russia’s export is ill-gotten cash, laundered gleaming white through off-shore banks, electronically transferred, flown around the world in private jets, shipped aboard 500-foot yachts, carried in suitcases bursting at the seams. To answer your likely question, it’s ill-gotten because Russia doesn’t just have a mafia economy. It’s a mafia state, where government and criminal structures are so impeccably fused that they are one and the same.

Thinking that Russia’s WTO membership will turn her into what Daniel Sandford, the BBC’s Moscow correspondent, calls a ‘much more accessible – and predictable –  market for foreign companies’ is sorely misguided. The only predictable thing about doing business in Russia is that it can be done only according to the rules of organised crime, as set by the nation’s godfather Putin and his stooges.

Since the ironclad system of kickbacks, backhanders, protection money and bribes won’t change, I even doubt that foreign imports will become much cheaper for long-suffering Russian consumers. It’s like our petrol tax, which constitutes 64 percent of the price of unleaded. That given, and we know that the tax can only ever go up, reductions in the wholesale price of oil won’t result in much cheaper fuel at the pumps. The Russians will probably lower the official customs duties now, but it’s the unofficial contributions to the Putin mafia’s favourite charity that’ll take up the slack.

Back in 1983 President Reagan described Russia as an ‘evil empire’. She’s arguably less of an empire now, but she’s definitely no less evil. Welcoming her with open arms into trading organisations and partnerships will only serve the purpose of legitimising the world’s biggest criminal gang. 

So, to answer the question I asked earlier, Russia hasn’t changed much, nor is she likely change in the future. What has changed – for the worse, it has to be said – is the West’s understanding of the evil nature of Russia’s regime. And the West’s willingness to put up even a token resistance.

Dave and George should commit suicide

We don’t have a Bushido honour code, according to which a man who has let others down should disembowel himself. And if you’re thinking this wouldn’t be a bad idea in this instance, you ought to be ashamed of yourself.

No, the suicide Dave and George should commit is only of the political kind. For, in a nation utterly corrupted by socialism, as preached and practised by all three parties, doing the right thing will bring any political career to an ignominious halt.

Britain, along with all other Western countries, has reached a critical mass of state dependency, and, just like in an atom bomb, a loud bang is inevitable. More than half of our population depend on the state for their livelihood, and closer to three quarters in the North and the Celtic fringe. This means that no sizeable cut in taxation and government spending is possible without a truly revolutionary upheaval of the whole economy. Which party happens to be in power doesn’t matter one jot.

When I talk about cuts, I don’t mean the phoney ‘austerity’ Dave and George are flogging to our comprehensively educated populace. In fact, it’s hard to escape the conclusion that the real aim of Shirley Williams’s reforms was to create a nation ready to lap up any mendacious nonsense peddled by the state.

Such, for example, as the government’s canard that a marginal slow-down in the growth of government spending constitutes a cut. In fact, our public debt as proportion of GDP (65.7 percent and climbing) is greater than it was under the utterly incompetent, not to say subversive, Labour government.

In July, overall government spending went up 5.1 percent and social-benefit payments rose 6.2 percent – truly, austerity ain’t what it’s cut out to be. At the same time the on-going recession, the worst in living memory, has pushed total tax receipts 0.8 percent down. Consequently, the Chancellor will have to borrow £30 billion more than planned. Seems like there’s no easing in quantitative easing.

We’re on a rollercoaster and, unless someone stops it, we can’t jump off without breaking our collective neck. Stopping it is precisely what any ministers acting in the nation’s interests would do – and what our ministers, acting in their own interests, will never even contemplate.

For the only way to treat the cancer of our economy is to remove – and I mean remove, not downsize or slow the growth of – the tumour of the welfare state. At the same time, the government’s take from the economy must be cut to 20-25 percent maximum. Everything else will follow.

The economy will suffer greatly for a couple of years and then a German-style economic miracle (Wirtschaftswunder for short) will arise, phoenix from ashes. Tax rates will drop so low that payers won’t even have to cheat, while tax revenues will grow. People will be transformed from spongers to tax payers by going off welfare and into employment, with millions of jobs begging to be taken. We’ll need to have real, as opposed to comprehensive, education, for that’s what it takes to function in a modern economy. We’ll get rid of most red tape, acting like a garrotte over the country’s economic throat. Only immigrants who can improve our economy will be admitted. Crowds of government sinecures will be shut down, reducing expenditure and increasing the labour force in productive employment. Our EU membership will become unsustainable. Above all, the moral health of the nation will improve, as decades of serpentine corruption will be steadily reversed. People’s pride in themselves and their country will be revived.

This is what needs doing, and it can only be done in one fell swoop, not slowly, not gradually, not eventually. There are too many forces acting against economic, social and moral sanity. Given time, they’ll crush any true reform, restoring madness to its most raving.

Considering the corruption that has penetrated the nation’s pores, initially there will be hell to pay. Social unrest will be inevitable, and for a while Britain will look like a more southern land. This will have to be dealt with decisively, ruthlessly if need be. We must realise that the very existence of Britain as a sovereign country is threatened – as gravely and more irreversibly than during the Second World War. Given this situation, it’s conceivable that certain civil liberties will have to be put on hold, as they were during the war.

No British leader pushing his country through such a painful period will survive with his career intact. Even Churchill lost the first post-war election, and he could hardly be blamed for the Blitz. Adenauer and Erhard emerged as national heroes after doing that sort of thing in Germany, but the time and place were different then.

In other words, we need ministers willing to sacrifice their careers for the sake of the nation, to commit political suicide so the nation will live. We need a Churchill. We have Dave and George, with Tony or Boris waiting in the wings. You draw your own conclusions – and run for the hills.  









Boris Johnson, the stuntman politico

As Boris showed during the Olympics, he’s prepared to do his own stunts. In a way, one could describe the whole Games as a contiguous Boris stunt, but I’m referring specifically to his dangling off zip wire.

Nothing short of a masterstroke, that, and Boris milked it for even more than it was worth. Supposedly dispelling rumours that he’s setting up a run for Tory leadership, Boris said, in that stand-up comic style of his, “How could anybody elect a prat who gets stuck in a zip wire?”

Quite easily, is the answer to that one, and Boris knows it. We love politicians who dangle, turn in the wind, twist around. Before long they begin to resemble weathervanes, and then we know they’re definitely going places.

Ever sensitive to the way the wind is blowing, Boris has now recorded a video in support of the ‘Out4Marriage’ campaign for homonuptials, launched by that traditional Tory publication Pink News. Speaking of the delights of married life, with which he’s only too familiar, Boris said, ‘I see absolutely no reason why that happy state should be denied to anybody in our country.’

The wind blew in a slightly different way in 2001, when Boris wrote, “If gay marriage was OK… then I saw no reason in principle why a union should not be consecrated between three men, as well as two men, or indeed three men and a dog”.

Really. Surely marriages involving more than two are too unconventional still, unless of course the extra parties are kept on the side, discreetly or at a pinch scandalously. But cross-species unions? ‘In principle’? On second thoughts, why not?

In 2000 the Dutch scientist Midas Dekker published the book Dearest Pet: On Bestiality, in which he argued that people and animals can form loving erotic relationships, just like hetero- or homosexuals. So why can’t ‘that happy state’ be pursued?

Can’t you see it? “Down, Jessie, down, there’s a good girl. Now promise Daddy you won’t bite the registrar when he pronounces us man and bitch…” Five gets you ten, if the wind changes direction towards bestiality, as it soon may, Boris will claim he was dead serious in 2001. That he indeed ‘saw no reason in principle why [such] a union should not be consecrated.’

For the time being, Boris has to restrict himself to supporting a marginally different declaration: “I now pronounce you man and man.” Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe for a second that he indeed sees ‘absolutely no reason’ to find anything wrong with the idea, a bright lad like him.

For, when Boris was at Oxford, he didn’t just join his Bullingdon mates Dave and George in getting pissed, trashing restaurants and then paying for the damage. In his free time, he also read Classics. So he must know a society is on its last legs when it first condones and then welcomes decadence in general and sexual perversion in particular. Surely he must have read Gibbon, explaining why and how Rome declined and fell?

I don’t know if he also read a bit of political science, but any scholar worthy of the name could have explained to him that, unless a society is anchored by traditional institutions, it’ll be cast adrift. And in the West, no institution is as vital as marriage, defined as a consecrated union between a man and a woman (one of each).

Families are the cells out of which the body social is made, and they also provide the model for other close-knit groups patterned after them: village, parish, guild, local government, kinship. These became all-important when the West divested itself of the Hellenic notions of res publica and privatised the individual.

Ever since, family has been a natural competitor of the mighty central state, and only the tethers of Christian morality used to prevent the state from waging an all-out war. Such tethers have now been slipped, and the war is in full swing.

Hence the government using every means at its disposal to destroy family and debauch the very idea of it. Our megalomaniac welfare state assuming the role of the provider father, thus making him redundant, is one line of attack. Another prong is our tax system that encourages cohabitation rather than marriage, and makes it necessary for most mothers to work full time.

Homomarriage is supposed to administer the coup de grâce. It’s no longer a man and a woman. It’s now a person and a person or, soon, any mammal of a person’s choice.

That’s as far as the underlying strategy is concerned. As an immediate tactical objective, the Tories want to win the 2015 election. Yet, their bloodhound’s nose smells defeat, and their eagle’s eye sees the writing on the wall. It says, ‘You’ve been tried for a few years and found pathetic.’

Whether the Tories lose to Labour or to a made-in-heaven coalition between Labour and LibDems is immaterial. One way or the other, they know they’ll lose – unless a miracle occurs, unless a St George rides in to slay the dragon.

Enter Boris, with all his little Eton twitches, stuttering gollies and gees, Have I Got News For You, zip wire, little marital infidelities, shock of discoloured hair, the lot. The Tories sense in their political bone marrow that Dave would lose and keep them out of power for the next generation. They need someone who comes across as quaint, heterodox, weird even – provided that underneath it all he’s just like Dave, an unprincipled, spivocratic mediocrity. (Oh, I’m sure Boris is clever enough. What makes him a mediocrity isn’t a deficit of brainpower but a failure of character.)

The clarion call has sounded, and Boris has answered it. Hence the zip wire for the weird bit, but hence also his support of homomarriage as a bit of just-like-Daveness. The lad is the Tories’ last ditch, and he’ll do what it takes. They, in their turn, would hail Caligula as a saviour, if only he could come back from the dead and the polls went his way.

Let’s just hope that the next opinion poll doesn’t make it imperative for Boris to make a principled stand in favour of, say, necrophilia. After all, that way a man could enjoy ‘that happy state’ without really hurting anybody. Except, of course, society, but then we all know there’s no such thing.


Let’s hear it for Obama and his next Nobel

Back in July, old Barack Hussein delivered a speech that may yet lose him the presidential election. However, it ought to win him the Nobel Prize for economics, to go with the one of the peace variety he claimed in 2009.

Some naysayers, who, if you believe the American press, must all be racists or Republicans (the terms used interchangeably), were bleating at the time that Obama had done nothing to deserve the Peace Prize, coming as it did a mere month into his presidency. No doubts this time – in his ‘you didn’t build that’ speech the president made an earth-shattering discovery:

People who start a business don’t make it a success by their own efforts. Most of the credit should go to the government, led so ably by Barack Hussein himself. But forgive me for diluting the fiery message by a feeble paraphrase. Here’s what Obama actually said:

“If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business – you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

There he was, youngish, shirt-sleeved, open-collared, italicising the key words with hand gestures that must have taken months to rehearse in front of a full-length mirror – uttering a statement that one would never expect from any American, never mind a president.

A British PM, possibly. A French president, definitely. An Italian PM, you bet your bottom euro. But a US president declaring individual achievement null and void? Orating, gesticulation and all, that it’s the state that wrote every success story? Implying that the state is the senior partner in every enterprise, entitled to a lion’s share of the profits? I shake my head in disbelief, twirl my index fingers in my ears and run the video again. No, I haven’t misheard. There’s Barack again: “You didn’t build that!”

This is like the Pope stating ex cathedra that it wasn’t God but Darwin who created the world. For Obama committed apostasy, he blasphemed against the article of faith Americans hold as ‘self-evident’, to quote from their Declaration of Independence. It’s their unshakeable belief in the American Dream, that of starting from scratch, taking risks, working your donkey off – and becoming a rip-roaring SUCCESS. And doing so not because of the state, but in spite of it.

Thus America’s greatest essayist H.L. Mencken: “The state remains, as it was in the beginning, the common enemy of all well-disposed, industrious and decent men.” Now Obama is claiming that, rather than being ‘the common enemy’ of such men, the state isn’t just their friend but benefactor. In one fell swoop the president turned the dream into a nightmare.

No sooner had the words left his mouth, helped on their way by manual punctuation, than Obama’s campaign flacks gasped. They, hard-nosed, dyed-in-the-wool political mechanics, knew instantly that their boss had screwed up big time. He landed the campaign in the sort of stuff that gets stuck to your shoe sole, and now it was up to them to get it out again. The flacks’ trusted pooper-scoopers then saw the light of day.

Obama didn’t mean it the way it sounded, they explained. He just got the grammar wrong by using ‘that’ instead of ‘them’. What he was trying to say was ‘If you’ve got a business – you didn’t build them’, meaning the roads and bridges in the previous sentence. Anyway, what do you expect from an alumnus of Harvard Law School? The president isn’t like those hoity-toity country-club Republican racists. Barack, he don’t give a flying buck about grammar. He’s a regular guy, speakin’ from the heart, tellin’ it like it is.

Yeah, yeah, winced Americans. Pull the other one. Obama indeed spoke from the heart, his socialist, collectivist, determinist, social-engineering heart. What he said reflects the core of the social philosophy shared by those folk who think ‘Republican’ is a synonym of ‘racist’.

At the core of this philosophy lies the hysterical denial of the doctrine of free will. People aren’t free agents; they are automata whose buttons are pushed by anything other than their individual choices. This could be their social class, if you listen to Marx. Their nature as it has evolved from a random cell, if Darwin is your source. Their desire to copulate with their Mums and kill their Dads, if Freud is your hero. The genes they’re born with, if you believe sociobiologists like Edward O. Wilson. Anything – other than the choices people make freely and of their own accord.

Collectivism follows with the certainty of night following day. Indeed, if people are but cogs in a social-evolutionary-sexual-genetic machine, they can neither claim the credit for their success nor take the blame for their failure. Both belong to some button-pushing entity, doesn’t really matter which. Barack thinks it’s the state, him specifically. And why not? In a different situation, he just as easily could’ve said society or evolution or Oedipal longings. Whatever it takes.

One would expect that Romney, now enjoying a slender lead in the polls, would waltz into the White House after this. His rival has shown his true colours, and none of them is black – they are all various tints of red. It’s as if Obama explained why his first term was so awful, why, for example, he pushed the disastrous healthcare bill through Congress.

This expectation, though natural, is ill-founded. For socialist demagogues to be run out of town, their opponent must offer a discernible – and believable – alternative. So Barack may still win a second term, thanks to the evil of two lessers. After all, our own Dave didn’t manage to score an outright victory against the worst government in British history.

But let’s not blame Dave or Romney, should he lose in November. It’s all society’s fault.

A brief Pussy-Criptum

Today’s BBC website shows a young Muscovite girl protesting against the sentence passed on the Pussy Rioters. She is holding high a poster saying, in English, ‘We are Pussy Riot. We are legion.’

This is a slight paraphrase of Mark 5:9, clearly intended to show that young Russians in general and young Christians in particular don’t mind anything the Rioters did, and even praise it.

Generally I welcome Biblical references, especially when, as in this case, they are truly applicable. Alas, though this one does apply, it doesn’t do so in the way intended by the poster bearer.

Allow me to quote the verse in full, along with the previous one to set the scene. ‘For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit. And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many.’

The legion in other words is made up of demons, one of whom Jesus drives out of a man possessed. Or, to put it back into the context of the protest, the poster suggests that the Pussy Rioters are satanic.

The believer in me nods his enthusiastic approval. The music lover concurs. The pedant laments the pitiful standards of public education in Russia. And the political commentator remarks yet again how grossly inadequate the opposition to Putin is.

Learn your scripture, boys and girls.





Pussy Rioters checkmated

The three Pussy Rioters have been sentenced to two years each, for hooliganism and blasphemy.

The ensuing protests outside the Moscow courthouse featured the great chess player Garry Kasparov carried by four policemen through the crowd, with each cop assuming responsibility for one limb. The BBC video shows the ex-champion of the world repeating non-stop ‘Why? Why? Why are you arresting me? Why?…’ By way of reply, the police later claimed Kasparov had bitten one officer during the scuffle. Perhaps he felt that was a legitimate from of political expression. Or else he was feeling peckish. Anyway, he’s in trouble for asking rhetorical questions.

The three women were found guilty of desecrating the Moscow cathedral of Christ the Saviour, which came as a huge shock to me. What’s wrong with desecrating cathedrals? We do it all the time. For example, the last time I visited Winchester Cathedral, preparations were under way to hold a rave there that night. All sorts of revolting posters were being strung across the nave, although none of them featured what the Russians call ‘non-normative’ vocabulary.

And barely two days ago I saw sublime 13th-century stained glass sharing the cavernous interior of Bourges Cathedral with poster-like flags in psychedelic colours. Again, no swearwords appeared, but contextually the abstract ‘art’ was nothing short of sacrilegious.

I shan’t repeat what I said on the same subject a few days ago, focusing instead on a few developments on the margins. In a show of hypocrisy seldom equalled in recent years, Putin had asked the judges ‘not to be too strict’. That’s like Stalin asking Beria to take it easy on those Polish officers at Katyn. And immediately after the verdict was announced, the Vice-Chairman of Putin’s party said he had hoped for a suspended sentence. That’s like Beria saying that he hoped the Polish officers would be shot with blanks.

The whole comedy was staged like the show trials of the 30s, with the verdicts reflecting not justice but political expediency, as seen by the bosses who had ordered the trials in the first place. Putin’s gang of thieves and money launderers wanted to be all things to all men.

On the one hand, they are tossing a bone to those Russians who genuinely think that desecrating cathedrals isn’t nice. Putin hopes, probably forlornly, that they’ll see him as an upholder of ‘the spiritual foundations of the Russian state’, as the prosecutor put it. Presumably, the venerable jurist was referring to Orthodoxy and not to thievery and money laundering, which both answer that description much more accurately.

On the other hand, Putin and Co. show to the Russians and the world that they aren’t exactly Beria’s heirs, even though they (along with the hierarchy of the Russian Church) gained their work experience in the same secret police Beria used to serve with so much distinction. The maximum sentence for the Pussy Rioters’ crime was seven years. Did the prosecutor ask for seven? Did he ask for five? Did he emulate his role model Vyshinsky, Stalin’s prosecutor, by screaming, ‘Shoot them like rabid dogs!!!’?

Vyshinsky’s heir did none of the above. He – are you ready for this? – asked for merely three years in a mildish concentration camp. And the judges saw fit – were allowed! –  to give him a year less than he had requested. Moreover, Putin may yet prove that he’s in touch with his feminine side by reducing the sentence by another few months. Even if he doesn’t, he comes across as a strict but benevolent father, just the ticket the Russians crave for their slow journey towards democracy with a clerical dimension.

I must say I’d gladly see the three unsavoury samples of femininity in prison even if they hadn’t committed their blasphemous act. Their previous behaviour, featuring public sexual intercourse among other niceties, not to mention their so-called music, would for me constitute sufficient grounds for indefinite incarceration.

It would also be poetic justice if they shared the cell with some of their Western defenders. Most notably, one would mention Madonna, whose very stage name is as egregious a blasphemy as anything the Rioters had done, while what she does on stage is a capital crime against our civilisation. A senior Russian politician has described Madonna as ‘a slag who wants to teach us morals’, and I’d agree with his assessment – if he weren’t a senior Russian politician.

This proviso is the key point. For this spectacle of a trial evokes another historical parallel, with those Nazi murderers being judged at Nuremberg by even worse Soviet murderers. Madonna teaching morality is indeed risible – but not half as much as this lot passing judgment on blasphemy.