The same spurious argument keeps turning up like a bad euro

Those of you who have earned my gratitude by reading this blog regularly have seen me make the same counter-argument over and over.

Reiteration is of course the essential tool of polemics, just as repetition is the mother of learning, but excessive repetitiveness can become very boring indeed. Hence I generally tend to eschew it, and would do so in this instance – except that the idiot fringe keeps mouthing the same nonsense in exactly the same words. The best one can do in reply is to paraphrase one’s own response, without changing its essence.

Here is the nonsense popping up in today’s Telegraph, this time enunciated by Andrew Gilligan. The opening passages of his article The EU: Where Did It All Go Wrong? show an unfortunate tendency towards platitudinous thinking, but at least they are broadly correct.

Gilligan comments on our economic grievances against the EU and by and large he doesn’t say anything objectionable. The gist is that back in the sixties and seventies Europe looked like a good club to join. It was doing so much better than Britain in every economic category that the Brits were losing all national self-confidence. Jumping on the bandwagon seemed like a better idea than being run over by it.

However, things have changed, and the British economy now looks more robust, largely thanks to our staying out of the euro. So it’s only with a jaundiced eye that the Brits look at any attempts to draw the country any deeper into the clutches of the EU.

All this is only partially true, and Gilligan’s forays into economics are too superficial to be utterly convincing. But that’s not the problem. The problem is that he, along with so many others, tries to reduce the whole issue to its economic aspect.

For obvious reasons those residing in the idiot fringe can no longer pretend that the EU is a rip-roaring economic success. But even if it were, and even if further integration would make us prosper beyond Rumpy-Pumpy’s wildest and wettest dreams, I’d still oppose it with the same venom as I do now.

The real argument against the EU is that it is by definition bankrupt historically, philosophically and, above all, morally. It constitutes an attempt by a corrupt, ill-educated, power-hungry and usually marginalised elite to expunge two millennia of European history by destroying everything that has gone into it: religion, culture, nationhood, ethnic differences.

The European slate is supposed to be wiped clean of all those, so that the self-appointed elite can then scribble upon the slate its own subversive message, largely based on the defunct socialist dream of a single world government. A total calamity is the only possible outcome of such an endeavour.

A house built on termite-ridden foundations will ultimately collapse, with an economic decline the most visible but far from the most significant disaster. Reducing the whole cosmic complexity of the disease to its economic symptoms is like using laxatives to treat stomach cancer.

Judging by Mr Gilligan’s corpus of work, he is a man of modest abilities who can’t be expected to grasp any serious issue in all its ramifications. But it shouldn’t be beyond even him not to write the sort of harebrained drivel with which he ends his piece:

‘Yet the British impetus for full withdrawal may be dangerous: in the modern world, the very idea of “UK independence”, as promoted by the eponymous Eurosceptic party, is surely an illusion. Even if we left, given the amount of trade we do with the EU, we would still have to follow most of its rules – while no longer having any role in setting them.’ This is a rehashing of the idiot fringe’s tired old argument, so I can’t help rehashing my response.

True, if we left the EU, we’d no longer ‘have any role in setting’ its laws. Neither do we have any role in setting the laws or rules governing the USA, China, India, Switzerland, Brazil – in short, all our partners outside the EU that collectively account for 60 percent of our trade. This doesn’t prevent us from doing profitable business with them.

Britain doesn’t have to become America’s 51st state or Switzerland’s 27th canton in order to exchange our whisky and financial services for their computers and wristwatches. Nor do we have to accept foreign, and distinctly alien, laws or God-awful Social Charters in order to trade with the EU. Surely even Andrew Gilligan must see this?

It’s a sorry state of affairs when columnists writing for our supposedly conservative papers fail to understand the elementary truths that even Jacques Delors has got his head around. All knowledge being, according to Aristotle, comparative, my new affection for old Jacques is growing by the minute.

What’s yours, Delors?

For the first time since I first heard of Jacques Delors I feel like buying him a drink. And I wouldn’t even try to lace it with cyanide.

Moreover, now that this sage man of impeccable moral character has effectively applied for UKIP membership, I wish to make an admittedly unauthorised apology on behalf of Britain for that unfortunate 1992 Sun headline (UP YOURS DELORS).

At the time I thought this was one of the three best tabloid front-pagers ever. For the record, the second was also from The Sun (ARGY-BARGY!, in response to the sinking of the Belgrano during the Falklands war) and the third came from The New York Post (HEADLESS BODY FOUND IN TOPLESS BAR).

Of course back in 1992 Jacques was still a bad boy. He was trying to bully Mrs Thatcher, as she then was, into granting him dictatorial powers over Britain. All he got in response was the headline for which I’m now apologising.

It takes a bright man to realise the error of his ways and a strong one to make a public admission to that effect. This Monsieur Delors has now done by reiterating all the same arguments dyed-in-the-wool conservatives like me have been making since I was young (that is to say for a hell of a long time).

Britain, said Jacques in an interview to a German newspaper, would be better off out of the EU. And – shock, horror! – her exit would not lead to an instant severing of all trade relations, as Messrs Cameron and Clegg would have us believe.

‘If the British do not follow the tendency towards more integration in the European Union,’ said my new mate Jacques, ‘we can anyway stay friends, but in another way.’ One obvious other way, he suggested, would be for Britain to sign a ‘free trade agreement’, and wiser words have never been spoken, not even by Nigel Farage.

Much as one would like to believe that Jacques has washed his hands of the whole euro-fiasco, or become an Anglophile, or else repudiated his socialist convictions, this is probably not the case. It’s just that he agrees with Rumpy-Pumpy, who currently leads the European Commission, that Britain can’t be allowed to ‘cherry-pick’ the bits of the EU she likes and dump those she hates.

He and Rumpy-Pumpy must have sat down together, split a bottle of something bubbly, and decided that the EU would be better off shot of Britain’s malevolent presence. But one way or the other, he has shown more common sense than our so-called leaders have displayed so far, if ever.

Manifestly absent from Jacques’s interview were any traditional harangues packaged with veiled threats that, should Britain leave the EU, she would languish in the economic doldrums. He didn’t even mention the 40 percent of our trade that comes from the 27 EU members. Perhaps he didn’t want to hear the stock response that the USA alone accounts for 30 percent. Or else he chose not to sound stupid by implying that this 40 percent would be gone faster than you can say ‘embargo’.

Such disingenuous idiocy he left to Dave and Nick. What Jacques actually said was that if Britain did leave the EU, she would still be a ‘partner’, because she is ‘strategically and economically important’. Just so.

Perhaps Jacques really should be made an honorary member of UKIP. Considering the alternatives, I wouldn’t even mind seeing him as British prime minister, provided he learns to speak English properly. But neither of those decisions is mine to make.

All I can say is, ‘What are you having, Jacques?’










With friends like these…

A few days ago I wondered, in Dave Gets Baracked, exactly how special our relationship with the United States is. New files released under the 30-year rule are unequivocal: not very, is the answer to that one.

Backtracking 30 years takes us to the Maggie-Ronnie love-in, with the two statesmen routinely bracketed together. Seen as joint leaders of a freedom crusade, they were close not just politically but also personally.

Both held conservative beliefs, as the term is understood these days. And both acted accordingly by introducing wise economic policies. (One may question the wisdom of Reagan’s policies considering that the federal debt almost tripled during his tenure, but that would be nitpicking, wouldn’t it?)

Under their aegis the relationship between the two countries was supposed to be at its most special – and yet Reagan did all he could to torpedo the South Atlantic operation (I’ve used this verb advisedly).

Since 1823, when the Munroe Doctrine was introduced, the United States has regarded the Western hemisphere as its own bailiwick. European intrusions of any kind have been seen as implicit aggression and discouraged in every possible way.

These days the US relies mostly on the carrot of diplomacy and economic leverage to get its way in the hemisphere, with the military stick held behind its back but still visible. Argentina, along with Brazil, is the most important player in the game the USA plays in South America, which explains Reagan’s response to Britain’s attempt to reclaim the Falklands to the crown.

To keep the Argentines sweet, the USA had to be seen as playing no favourites, which de facto meant endorsing Argentina’s aggression. To that end Reagan was going to inform the Argentines about the exact time and location of the first British landing, on South Georgia. Fair’s fair, as far as Maggie’s best friend Ronnie was concerned.

Gen. Haig, Reagan’s Secretary of State, explained the situation with soldierly directness: ‘If the Americans acted in this way they would be able to show even-handedness to the Argentines and this would enable them to continue their role as go-between.’

The result of this Munroe-inspired fairness could have been the routing of the British task force: the Argentines would have been forewarned and therefore forearmed. It took a most resolute stand on the part of HMG, and Thatcher personally, to prevent the Americans from acting on this treacherous intent.

Much is made, mostly by Americans, of the help with intelligence and logistics Britain received from the USA during the war. Less publicised is the fact that Defence Secretary Caspar Weinberger went against Reagan’s wishes and made a single-handed decision to help, effectively sticking his own neck out.

The president, on the other hand, was doing all he could to keep the Falklands in Argentine hands. Throughout the war he kept pushing for a negotiated settlement, which would have denied Britain the fruits of her hard-won victory. The great wartime leader Margaret Thatcher would have none of that: ‘As Britain had had to go into the islands alone, with no outside help, she could not now let the invader gain from his aggression.’

Another great wartime leader, Winston Churchill, had his own problems with the special relationship, which he correctly saw as a trifle one-sided. These days any American will happily tell you that, when all is said and done, it was the USA that won the Battle of Britain, or at least greatly contributed to victory by providing a steady flow of supplies.

In fact, the tactical value of US shipments was negligible, as opposed to the disastrous effect they had on the British economy. For the help wasn’t offered from one friend to the other, with the left hand not knowing what the right hand was doing. All shipments were supplied on a cash-and-carry basis, and Britain had to sell, at knockdown prices, all her overseas investments to pay. In fact, the last instalment was paid only eight years ago.

Just as America was claiming Britain’s last £50 million worth of gold, Churchill sent a desperate message to Roosevelt: ‘…after the victory was won with our blood and sweat, and civilisation saved, and the time gained for the United States to be fully armed against all eventualities, we should stand stripped to the bone. Such a course would not be in the moral or economic interests of either of our countries.’

Churchill had to say those things, but he probably knew he was being too kind. The demise of the British Empire was an important secondary objective pursued by America in the Second World War. And it was largely British cash that enabled America to overcome the effects of the Great Depression and emerge from the war hugely in the black. So ‘such a course’ was very much in America’s ‘economic interests’. As to ‘moral interests’, the less said about those, the better.

The special relationship proceeded apace after the war. Just as the 1956 Anglo-French action against Egypt was about to claim victory, President Eisenhower stopped it in its tracks. Worried about the growing Soviet influence in a region awash with oil, the president felt he had to cater to Khrushchev’s affection for Nasser. British interests weren’t even considered, much less accommodated.

Then again, at least the Americans didn’t arm Nasser’s army with missiles, which is a welcome contrast to what our other NATO friends did during the Falklands war.

The French had kindly supplied to the Argentines Exocet missiles and Super Etendard aircraft, and it was an Exocet fired from a Super Etendard that sank HMS Sheffield. It was only after Thatcher threatened Mitterand with ‘a devastating effect on the relationship between our two countries’ that the French refrained from arming the Argentines with more Exocets.

On the plus side, at least the French were honest enough not to claim any special affection for Britain, which is more than can be said for the Americans.

‘There are no friends in politics,’ said Cicero. No friends, only interests. We should remember that.

The Dave and Nick show: the tart before the whore

Nick Clegg has been uncharacteristically silent lately, what with Dave doing a famous job all by himself promoting the agenda normally touted by Labour and LibDems. But suddenly there’s some slack to take up, and Nick is the man to do it.

Dave has decided to dedicate himself wholly, without remainder, to pushing through his homomarriage bill, which leaves him little time to spare on such incidentals as the British economy or indeed sovereignty. Quite right too for, as a democratic leader, Dave must keep his ear to the ground of public opinion.

He has to take into account the yearnings of the millions of Brits tossing and turning at night worried about the plight of the few hundred homosexuals hitherto denied a walk to the altar, with proud parents discreetly wiping their eyes. Dave is also under pressure from our manufacturers of confetti and unisex wedding attire, who desperately wish to expand their markets by at least another 50 nuptials a year.

In the good tradition of government it’s the leader who takes care of the really vital stuff. Marginal business is the domain of his deputy, in this case Nick who has yet again demonstrated his sterling credentials for the job.

First things first, these are the words Nick lives by, and he wants us to do so too. Hence, before we even consider a referendum on Europe we must first solve every problem the world faces – or is ever likely to face in Nick’s lifetime.

This is how he put this self-evident idea in his favourite paper, The Guardian: ‘I think to have a referendum, kind of about nothing very much in particular, when you’re in the middle of an emergency repair job to your own economy and European economy, is putting the cart before the horse.’

One feels humbled by the power of Nick’s intellect, not to mention the elegance of his style. Even the most ardent champions of European federalism balk at referring to the in/out dilemma as ‘kind of nothing very much in particular’. Granted, compared to such cosmic issues as homomarriage, Britain’s sovereignty is ‘nothing very much’, anyone can see that. But lesser men might still suggest that the matter is quite particular, defined in specific, unequivocal terms.

Not to Nick though: ‘For the life of me I still don’t know what is the question we’re supposed to be putting to the British people because we don’t know what we’re reacting to in terms of the further integration of the eurozone.’

You have to admire Nick’s self-restraint. He could have said that we can’t pop the question because we don’t yet know who’ll win next year’s Wimbledon, who Angelina Jolie’s next husband will be, and why a chicken crosses the road. But then, as a statesman, he sees things beyond the reach of us simpletons.

We, the simpletons that is, might suggest that the question to ‘be putting to the British people’ is quite straightforward: do you want to stay in the EU or get out? Moreover, we may even say that this question has nothing whatsoever to do with ‘the further integration of the eurozone’. After all, we’re not in that zone yet, even though Nick would desperately want us to be, so its integration or disintegration shouldn’t be a concern of ours.

What we ought to be ‘reacting’ to isn’t the vicissitudes of euro juggling but the systematic destruction of Britain’s ancient constitution, the reversal of her entire political history – all for the nonexistent economic benefits of belonging to an utterly corrupt and ultimately unworkable setup.

But that’s the simpleton in me talking. Nick has his own, unimpeachable, take on British political history: ‘It would be a dramatic reversal of not just decades but centuries of British engagement and leadership if we were to suddenly back ourselves out of the whole enterprise, but it would also in my view have a very detrimental effect on the balance of opinion, the balance of debate in the rest of Europe.’

Personally, I lose little sleep over ‘the balance of debate in the rest of Europe’, but then my interests are shamefully parochial. Nick, on the other hand, thinks in universal categories, as befits a man whose giant intellect has just overturned several centuries’ worth of historical and political science.

He must be credited with the startling discovery that over ‘not just decades but centuries’ Britain’s foreign policy has been dedicated to becoming integrated with continental Europe. Less accomplished minds have always been given to the misapprehension that exactly the opposite has been the case.

Admittedly, Edward III at Crécy and Henry V at Agincourt did seek ‘engagement’ first and ‘leadership’, or rather conquest, second. However, until Nick’s contribution, their efforts hadn’t been seen for what they so obviously were: attempts to dissolve England in a federation of European states.

Thanks to Nick, we can see these men as the true pan-Europeans they really were. And even Wellington and Nelson, to say nothing of ‘Bomber’ Harris, can now be divested of the eurosceptic stigma previously attached to them. If Nick’s scholarship doesn’t call for elevation to the Royal Society, I don’t know what does.

But this would indeed be ‘putting the cart before the horse’, and I apologise for having misread Nick’s original phrase earlier. The Royal Society can wait – let’s get him appointed European Commissioner first.



Putin thinks Swift was being serious

In 1729 yet another famine in Ireland caused much outrage in England. Foremost in the public mind was the plight of Irish children whom their parents were unable to feed and no one else really wanted.

Jonathan Swift responded to the tragedy as no one else could: he brought to bear on it his genius for satire and what Nikolai Gogol would later call ‘laughter through tears’. Swift published, anonymously, a pamphlet called A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People From Being a Burden to Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Publick.

Rather than worrying about feeding their offspring, wrote Swift, parents should eat them. This modest proposal would achieve the dual benefit of having fewer mouths to feed and at least two mouths fed very well indeed.

According to Swift, babies were quite a delicacy: ‘A young healthy child well nursed, is, at a year old, a most delicious, nourishing and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee, or a ragout.’

I don’t know if Col. Putin has read the pamphlet but, if he has, he seems to have taken Swift’s irony at face value. Under his stewardship Russian orphans aren’t often used as a source of protein but, all things considered, they might as well be.

Not all, nor even most, children kept in Russian orphanages are actually orphans. Many are today’s answer to the Irish babies of 300 years ago – children abandoned by their parents out of sheer destitution.

They seldom fall victim to cannibalism, though such cases aren’t unheard of. Most of them, rather than being eaten by grownups, are devoured by the Saturn of Putin’s Russia.

At least half, and by some estimates up to 95 percent, of orphanage inmates become alcoholics, drug addicts or suicides. About 60 percent of both boys and girls are raped. Few live to maturity, and those who do are released into the outside world unfit to survive in it by any other than criminal means.

Some children are lucky enough to be adopted, though for many this means leaving the frying pan for the fire. Some foster parents are perverts, but most are kind, well-meaning persons. Alas, many of them overestimate their ability to feed their children, with predictably disastrous consequences.

The really lucky children are adopted by Western couples – for them the chances of survival to adulthood are 39 times higher than for those adopted by Russians. And it’s this lifeline that Putin and his gang have severed with their characteristic mercilessness.

The US Congress recently passed the Magnitsky Law, banning from entry into the country several dozen Russian officials implicated in the death of the lawyer tortured to death in prison. Magnitsky’s crime was to blow the whistle on monumental corruption in the higher reaches of the government, so the unofficially passed but swiftly executed death penalty was the only possible outcome.

When the US Congress decided to act, Putin and his gang were outraged, especially since other Western countries are likely to follow suit. After all, the Russian national sport, money laundering, can’t be practised without access to the laundromat, otherwise known as the West. And what’s going to happen to all those palaces in Florida, all those villas in Costa del Sol, all those Eaton Square mansions, all those 300-foot yachts moored at the Côte d’Azur?

Putin’s response was instant, only beaten for speed by the alacrity with which it was rubberstamped by the Russian ‘parliament’. Henceforth those awful Yanks won’t be allowed to adopt Russian children. Col. Putin would rather watch them being raped and starved to death in the hellholes of Russian orphanages than let Americans indulge their paternal instincts.

This little bit of quid pro quo was accompanied by a propaganda campaign the likes of which hasn’t been seen since the halcyon days of the Soviet Union, if then. Back in the ‘60s an average Russian could be forgiven for forming the impression that lynching was America’s chosen leisure pastime on a slow weekend. But Putin went his KGB ancestors one better.

He personally vouchsafed to his subjects the secret that in America it’s not against the law for foster parents to kill their adopted children, especially Russian ones. And according to his shrill mouthpieces in the Duma, at least 10 percent of  the little Russians are only adopted to be disassembled and sold for parts. Others are turned into slaves, like those blacks who were being lynched en masse back in the ‘60s. Most of them will be used as cannon fodder in the upcoming attack on Russia, which, as we all know, is being planned by American warmongers.

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose, say the French. Loosely translated, this means that those gullible Westerners, especially politicians and journalists who hailed the advent of glasnost and perestroika, are either fools or knaves. For once I’m going to sit on the fence and suggest that they are a bit of both.


P.S. I gleaned all this information from the few Russian opposition websites that are still in business. Our own papers were too busy covering Christmas sales.











I wish no one ‘a happy holiday’

This locution originated in America to protect the supposedly fragile sensibilities of Jews, Muslims, Taoists, Hinduists, Buddhists, animists, agnostics and above all atheists. They were all expected to feel deeply insulted by any reference to Christ and especially by any derivative of his name.

Few actually were. Most were intelligent enough to realise that, while their own creeds are particular, Christianity is universal.

The birth of Christ didn’t just give rise to a new religion – it gave rise to a new humanity and a new civilisation, the greatest the world has seen. If all Americans, regardless of their politics, celebrate the Fourth of July as the birth of a new nation, surely they all, regardless of their faith, can find it in their hearts to celebrate Christmas as the birth of a new world.

The only ones feigning insult were the liberal and predominantly atheist intelligentsia, the kind of people who had been chipping away at the foundations of the West for centuries. Credit where it’s due, they’ve proved to be cunning enough to convert most Americans to putative hypersensitivity. This sorry lot sensed correctly that propaganda of an insult culture and the number of those feeling insulted exist in a symbiotic relationship.

Though these days most modern perversions originate in America, as befits the leader of the post-Christian world, they spread quickly. Thanks to our wonderful technological advances, the time lag is getting shorter and shorter.

In this instance it was about 15 years but worth the wait – now even most Brits wish one another ‘a happy holiday’. They then besiege various emporia by day and get legless by night, for this seems like a good way to celebrate a ‘holiday’.

During midnight Mass at Shrewsbury Cathedral the Rt Rev Mark Davies told his congregation that the hysterical attempts to push through a bill legalising same-sex marriage are a direct attack on Christianity. He compared coalition plans to the ideologies of Nazism and Communism, which threatened Christian civilisation in the name of ‘progress’.

The sermon has drawn predictably inane non sequiturs from ‘the gay community’ (isn’t it lovely the way we’re all arranged in pseudo-communities, what with real ones nowhere in evidence?), screaming about their suffering at the hands of the Nazis.

True enough, what the Nazis did was evil. But all modern, which is to say post-Christian, states have something in common. They all come full circle and overlap at the red-hot end of hatred towards the traditional, which is to say Christian, world.

So Bishop Mark was absolutely right – our civilisation is threatened, and not just by the abomination he singled out. It may even seem to be on the way out.

But God works in mysterious, and often miraculous, ways. Many a time throughout its existence Christianity has appeared moribund – only for a miracle to occur and breathe new life into it.

If things look bad now, go back 700 years, to the year 312. Christianity was fighting a seemingly losing battle for survival, with Christians not just marginalised but routinely murdered in all sorts of horrific ways. Christianity’s continuing existence even as a small sect, never mind its emergence as the world’s dominant religion, looked like a pipe dream – barring a miracle. But a miracle wasn’t to be barred.

As Emperor Constantine the Great was preparing for yet another martial clash, he stood at the Milvian Bridge across the Tiber, contemplating his order of battle. Suddenly he saw emblazoned upon the sky a burning cross and the Greek words Εν Τούτ Νίκα, usually translated into Latin as in hoc signo vinces and into English as ‘in this sign thou shalt conquer’.

This led to Constantine’s conversion, and a few decades later Christianity became the official religion of Rome, which is to say of the civilised world as it was then circumscribed. God had brought another miracle to the aid of his Word.

I walked across Ponte Milvio in the outskirts of Rome just three days ago. It is now pedestrianised, though there were few pedestrians about. There were quite a few joggers though, worshipping the human body the way it had been worshipped before 312. Pseudo-classical statues of various saints adorned the four corners of the bridge, but none of them was Constantine.

In fact, I couldn’t even find a plaque commemorating the event of 700 years ago, though I did find a board describing the history of the bridge in every structural detail. One detail conspicuously omitted was any mention of Constantine’s conversion – this in a city where the likes of Antonio Gramsci and Palmiro Togliatti have streets named after them.

My joy at treading the bridge was thus leavened with sadness, but also with hope. Christianity needs a miracle to survive, but miracles do happen. Only when we stop believing this will 25 December truly become any old holiday.

Merry Christmas – and God bless you all, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Taoists, Hinduists, Buddhists, animists, agnostics and even atheists.







Dave gets Baracked

Obama gives us another powerful reason for EU exit: he’s against it. The president communicated his views on the matter in a conference call to Dave, and he found a sympathetic ear.

Barack told his temporary friend Dave that he personally was on the right track: Britain should seek ‘a better deal’ from the EU by all means – but she must stay in. As far as Barack is concerned it isn’t Dave who’s the problem; it’s roughly two thirds of the British people who’ve had enough of that monstrosity.

If Britain were governed by her own parliament, explained Barack Hussein, she would be too enfeebled to act as the conduit of American interests on the continent, which would render her useless for all practical purposes. Stay in the EU or kiss the special relationship goodbye, was the gist of the message.

The sheer idiocy and effrontery of such bullying is beyond dispute, and this has drawn enough comment for me not to wish to add my euro’s worth. What merits a comment is that on this one issue Obama doesn’t go against the grain of American policy over at least a century.

At first glance, America’s historical affection for a single European state is odd. After all, one of the explicit reasons for the EU, as stated by its countless senior figures, is to counteract America’s economic power. To a large extent, the EU is an anti-American bloc designed to internalise most trade and to keep outsiders, emphatically including the USA, at arm’s length.

Thus on the surface of it, by supporting European federalism, America is cutting off her economic nose to spite her face, and the country isn’t known for self-mutilation tendencies. To understand this seeming paradox it’s necessary to delve beneath the surface.

The USA is the quintessential flag-bearer of modernity, the only Western state adhering to Enlightenment principles from its very inception. One universal feature of modernity is its progressivism, longing to replace the old with the new. To avoid self-refutation, the sales pitch of modernity has to be that the new will always be better.

This is what all modern states have in common, regardless of their ostensible politics. Some will define ‘better’ as expanding living space for the nation; others as steadily growing redistributive justice; still others as taking another step towards millenarian happiness; to so called capitalist countries, such as America, ‘better’ means a constant improvement in year-on-year economic indicators.

Some modern states overplay the positive end of their aspirations, creating the new, and downplay the negative end, destroying the old. Others go the other way. But fundamentally the destructive element is present in them all – without it, they wouldn’t be modern states. The new can only rise on the ruins of the old.

In America the desire to destroy the traditional order of Christendom is strengthened by resentments encoded into the nation’s DNA. After all, the country was founded by those who had to escape from Europe for various reasons, and genetic memory hasn’t been erased, nor ever can be.

The political upshot is that the USA has always promoted any development weakening the traditional European order, starting with the French revolution. Thus, for example, though Americans modestly take all the credit for Allied victories in both world wars, they forget to mention that the country entered those wars largely driven by her urge to destroy the traditional European empires, including the British.

For instance, dismantling these offending institutions was clearly one of President Wilson’s key objectives in the First World War. A fanatic of a single world government, and the driving force behind the League of Nations, Wilson was at the same time a great champion of national self-determination. Anticipating a possible confusion on the part of the reader, there was no contradiction there at all. The first was the end; the second, the means.

Similarly, in the next big war Roosevelt was committed not only to preventing the emergence of a powerful German empire, but also to destroying the already tottering British one. As a true modern leader, he felt greater affinity for another true modern leader, Stalin, than for the residually traditional Churchill. The national self-determination of Eastern Europe was therefore no longer a concern.

A single world government dominated by America is the unspoken desideratum of US foreign policy, and the EU is clearly seen as a vital step towards that worthy goal. This vision is shared by all American presidents, including such putative conservatives as Ronald W. Reagan or George W. Bush. In the rather empty cavity of the socialist Obama’s head, the clarion call of modernity resonates even louder.

There are also quite a few practical considerations that come into this. A nation where most people can’t tell Sweden from Switzerland or Austria from Australia tends to regard Europe as a homogeneous entity, a bit like the USA herself. Obama is marginally more worldly, but he has to cater to national prejudices. Also he, along with other US presidents, would rather deal with a single customer. The EU countries could then be bullied wholesale, rather than one by one.

Alas, long gone are the days when a British prime minister could tell foreign leaders not to stick their noses into our foreign policy. In this instance, Dave ought to have told Barack to mind his own business, which is far from being good. For example, making sure that the country doesn’t fall off the ‘fiscal cliff’ would be a good start, a worthy area for Obama to apply his restless energy.

Instead Dave was happy to receive a confirmation that he has a kindred soul in Barack Hussein. No doubt he’ll try to use Obama’s wishes as a stick with which to beat down the opposition within his own party, and also to ward off the uppity UKIP. At least Dave is being honest – why pretend we’re still a sovereign nation?



Putin thinks Lenin was a saint

Ever since the macabre state so lovingly created by Lenin supposedly disappeared, the Russians have been arguing what to do with Lenin’s mummy lying in state at the Mausoleum. The very fact that so many of them think there’s something to discuss justifies the adverb ‘supposedly’ in the previous sentence.

Just imagine for the sake of argument that Hitler was killed by Stauffenberg’s bomb in 1944. Further imagine that the Nazis then embalmed his body and turned it into a national shrine. What do you suppose would have happened to the mummy after the Nazi regime disappeared in 1945, just like the Soviet one supposedly did in 1991?

Would it still be on display in the same shrine? Would the Germans still be arguing about it? Would Frau Merkel declare that keeping the relics was part of the Christian tradition?

My admiration for the post-war German state isn’t without some limits, but I can’t imagine any of this happening. After all, the Germans have repudiated their Nazi past in no uncertain terms. Tens of thousands of Nazis were convicted in the Federal Republic by the Germans themselves, not counting those convicted by the Allies at Nuremberg and elsewhere.

Ever since, the nation has been on a massive guilt trip, with the very name of Hitler practically eradicated from the history books. And Hitler’s own literary effort Mein Kampf is banned in Germany.

That is understandable, if occasionally excessive. After all, for 12 years Hitler turned Germany into a synonym of evil, besmirching the country’s reputation in ways that outlived him. Millions of Jews went up crematorium chimneys in German concentration camps, accompanied by millions of others. It’s inconceivable that the man responsible for the carnage would still be worshipped.

For millions murdered by Hitler and his German gang, read tens of millions murdered by Lenin and his Russian gang. Yet not a single KGB ghoul has been tried for a single murder, never mind convicted. Moreover, a KGB gang ably led by Col. Putin himself is still running the country in the best traditions of his sponsoring organisation (just imagine the SS surviving to this day and numbering most of Germany’s government among its members).

Hence the squat ziggurat structure of the Mausoleum still sits in Red Square, just like it did under Stalin. And the mummy is still there, though for appearances’ sake the scale of worship has been somewhat curtailed.

Clearly a comment from the national leader was called for, and now it has been uttered urbi et orbi. Keeping the mummy where it is, explained Col. Putin, is perfectly justifiable. This, you see, is in line with the Christian tradition of keeping the relics of saints. Good to see that the colonel has grasped the essence of his recently acquired religion.

The current head of the Communist Party Gennadi Zyuganov eagerly picked up on that line of thought. ‘This form of Lenin’s internment agrees with the Russian Orthodox canons and traditions. So,’ he added in the direction of liberal protesters, ‘put up and shut up.’

Of course saints aren’t usually embalmed, and nor can I recall a single one whose body is kept intact by a whole institute full of scientists solely dedicated to that purpose. But this is a minor detail, and no one expects factual accuracy from this lot. One may however suggest that their take on the Christian tradition isn’t quite irrefutable.

About a fourth of the roughly 60 million Russians murdered by the Leninists perished on Lenin’s watch (1917-1924). The victims included some 40,000 priests killed in all sorts of imaginative ways, whose description needn’t detain us here. Many of their parishioners shared the same gruesome fate – just because they believed in God. Their churches were desecrated, plundered of liturgical valuables and most of them destroyed – all on Lenin’s direct orders.

One would think that his claim to canonisation, or simply to having his relics worshipped, would be rather weakened by this arithmetic, but not for Col. Putin, his ruling gang and his loyal Communist opposition.

History apart, martyrdom is an ironclad requirement for canonisation, and Lenin falls a bit short. He didn’t die for his faith in mass murder today for the sake of nebulous happiness tomorrow. He died of syphilis, a cause not normally associated with saintliness.

The list of Russian Orthodox saints begins with Boris and Gleb, sons of Prince Vladimir who baptised Russia. They were murdered by their brother Sviatopolk who, after their father’s death, reverted to paganism, which they refused to do. The subsequent hagiographic rolls include such holy names as that of Sergius of Radonezh, along with many bishops of the church murdered on Lenin’s orders. According to Col. Putin, their executioner belongs on the same list.

But it’s not the face value of Col. Putin’s argument that’s worth discussing. It’s that such an argument could have been made at all. We know what this says about Putin and, considering the source, we aren’t surprised. But what does it say about his country?

The only possible thing I can think of is that Lenin’s body is kept intact because his cause is.





UKIP electoral strategy writes itself

Only about seven percent of UKIP supporters favour the party for its uncompromising stance on the EU. The rest are simply politically homeless conservatives looking for salvation from the wreckage of the Tory party.

About ten percent of those who voted Tory in 2010 have already switched their allegiance to UKIP – by the time the next election rolls along, I hope the last Tory voter will remember to turn off the light and lock the door on his way out.

The combination of these two statistics is exceptionally good news, both for UKIP and for the silenced, ignored, desperate British conservatives.

The first bit of news shows that UKIP is shedding its vote-losing image of a single-issue party. Such parties never do well in national elections, and nor do they deserve to.

Single-issue politics is unsound regardless of the merits of the single issue. None of them exists in isolation from others – they are all parts of the same land mass, rather than little islands in an archipelago.

Parties defined by adherence to a single issue are born losers; individuals like that are stark mad. I may agree, for example, that mass immigration of cultural aliens is destroying the country. But at the same time I steer clear of anyone who constantly bangs on about this particular problem to the exclusion of others. He’s either a BNP member doing untold damage to conservatives because unsophisticated people think we’re like him, or else a nutter who may bite me if I disagree.

Exiting the EU is the right thing to do, but it has to be inextricably linked to many other right things in any political platform. Sane people don’t just want Britain to regain her sovereignty – they are desperate for Britain to regain her sanity first and her soul second.

That is the big goal made up of many small ones, none of which can be broken off and dismissed. They certainly form a single whole in the mind of any conservative.

I can’t, for example, imagine a true conservative who wishes to leave the EU but sees nothing wrong with homomarriage, the consecration of women, runaway social spending, massive borrowing and ‘quantitative easing’, foreign aid as a means of padding the Swiss accounts of assorted tyrants, comprehensive education that doesn’t educate, a national health service that doesn’t serve health, a government almost exclusively made up of selfish spivs, the virtual disarmament of Britain, the destruction of her ancient constitution – just tell me where to stop.

Views on such issues only partly derive from rational deliberations. For the most part they spring from an intuitive longing, a certain emotional predisposition. This, in turn, informs the subsequent intellectual process. In that sense, every rationalisation is in fact post-rationalisation.

It is such intuitive, visceral conservatives who have found themselves disfranchised since Dave declared himself to be ‘heir to Blair’. He was as good as his word, for under his leadership the Tory party has become indistinguishable from New Labour, in fact sometimes finding itself to its left.

By broadening its stand on vital political issues, UKIP has effectively offered a glimmer of hope to the people Dave’s Tories have tossed away like so many used snot rags. Finally, at the positive end, they’ve found a viable alternative, a party for them and people like them. At the negative end, they’ve discovered a way of paying  Dave’s Tories back without compromising their own principles – and we should never underestimate desire for revenge as a powerful political stimulus.

The only thing that has so far stopped conservatives (me included) from voting UKIP is the fear that ‘a vote for UKIP is effectively a vote for Labour’, as a venerable Tory front bencher put it to me a few years ago. So we must be grateful to Dave and his jolly friends for making this fear invalid by turning their party into Labour Lite. A vote for UKIP is now a vote for UKIP – and against social democracy, whatever it calls itself. 

This means Lord Ashford is probably right that a promise of a referendum on the EU wouldn’t by itself plug the widening leak from the Tories to UKIP. It would, however, be a good start – provided of course that it’s a good referendum.

By this I mean a straight in/out choice, not one between staying all in or having ‘a loose, trade-based relationship’ with Brussels so dear to Dave’s heart. This wouldn’t be a referendum. It would be pulling a fast one on the electorate.

Ours is not a plebiscitary democracy. The only issues on which people ought to have a direct vote are those of lasting, especially irreversible, constitutional import. Dissolving the country’s ancient sovereignty in a foreign body is definitely one such issue; having 80 percent of our laws imposed on us by foreigners who think ‘common law’ means it’s for the plebs, is another.

The country’s trade policy is not. We elect representatives whom we trust to make such technical decisions on our behalf. We have to believe that our elected leaders will choose the country’s trading partners wisely, and trading with the EU certainly would be wise.

But this decision doesn’t belong on the same ballot as EU membership. The EU is a political setup, with economic considerations strictly secondary – as proved by everything said by the EU founders and everything done by the EU today. If the economy were a primary concern, the EU wouldn’t be driving Europeans into penury in the vain attempt to keep the political union intact.

In/out is the only rational and moral choice in a referendum. Which is why it’s a safe bet that Dave et al won’t offer it. I suspect that UKIP supporters realise this, which is partly why they don’t limit their desiderata to this one issue.

The same poll produced one amusing result: most of those switching from the Tory party to UKIP say they’ll come back if the Tories sort out immigration, welfare and the deficit. Alas, the Tories would’ve done those things already if they had the kind of statesmen capable of wise and decisive action.

As it is, the precondition could be worded more concisely: we’ll come back when pigs fly.





‘Tis the season to be jolly revolting

Millions of young Brits are out to celebrate God’s Word uttered 2,012 years ago. Most, alas, are unsure of what exactly the message was.

By various accounts Mary was already pregnant when she had her first date with Joseph, and only the hopelessly naive believe that the Holy Spirit had anything to do with it pull the other one, mate. She then gave birth in the rushes and put baby Jesus into a wicker basket because Joseph wouldn’t cough up for a proper cot.

The ‘m’ word hardly ever comes up, and when it does it’s usually taken to mean that Jesus was a born manager. Clearly, producers of Nativity plays have their work cut out, always provided they can get audiences.

Others are hazy on the marital status of the couple, the general consensus being that Jesus was illegitimate, a product of a little dalliance Mary had had before tricking an old man into marrying her. His dubious legal status didn’t prevent Jesus from receiving a bountiful visit from Santa who came laden with presents bought at a Christmas sale in the nearest High Street.

Obviously a message of such subtle poignancy has to be celebrated in appropriate style, and our youngsters never disappoint on this score. They celebrate the birth of our civilisation by shedding all its outer trappings while clinging to its underlying spirit. Or spirits, to be exact.

Millions of them were out on the streets last weekend displaying their piety by wallowing in their own vomit, copulating in large groups, brawling, throwing rubbish bins at one another, falling under fast-moving vehicles, passing out in various stages of undress and ending up in the tender care of police and assorted emergency services.

To their credit, these services left nothing to chance. Just like an army moving field hospitals close to the frontline before a major offensive, police, hospitals and paramedics weren’t caught unprepared. They set up hundreds of mobile units and ad hoc centres equipped and staffed to take care of such pandemic conditions as alcohol-induced coma, busted heads and drug overdose.

Hypothermia isn’t usually mentioned among the consequences of public devotions, but considering the thousands of half-naked girls passing out in gutters on a freezing night, I’d be surprised if those army-style field units didn’t have to deal with that problem as well.

These didn’t come cheap – London’s Soho field unit alone cost £500,000 to set up, austerity or no austerity. The facility was in high demand: every bed was taken by 11.30 Friday night. In general, 999 became the most popular phone number that Friday, with for example Newcastle ambulances having to deal with 1,500 calls in a few hours.

It wasn’t just hundreds of field units and thousands of extra police officers who were drafted in – other species did their bit too. Sniffer dogs were used throughout Merseyside, spotting the worst drunks and making canine-citizen’s arrests to strike a blow for interspecies cooperation. Verily I say unto you, interspecies marriage will have to be the next item on Dave’s busy agenda. After all, who’s to say that dogs and people can form just working partnerships? Only those in thrall to what Dave’s idol Tony so aptly described as the forces of conservatism.

Mind you, a show of some of those vanquished forces wouldn’t have gone amiss last weekend. Conservatives probably wouldn’t have found proper answers to the social catastrophe, but at least they could have asked the right questions, mostly of the why-oh-why variety.

These are too obvious to raise here, but a lament is in order. For the celebration fits the occasion, as it has become. Christmas in a neo-pagan Britain has turned into an eerie combination of crass commercialism and unrestrained savagery, a sort of Walpurgisnacht for the whole family, while stocks last.

The illegitimate baby Jesus looks on out of his wicker basket, clutching a useless present in one hand and a bottle of Sambucca in the other (Mary was so hammered she thought it was milk). There’s no one to look after him: his Mum is out on the razzle, and his Dad has passed out. The baby is crying, hoping that we’ll cry with him. But we won’t – we’re too busy celebrating.