Poor Richard Dawkins, savaged again

My friend Richard believes in human evolution, meaning that all of us, including the chaps who wrote St Matthew Passion and built Chartres Cathedral, evolved from primitive organisms.

I’ve been known to remark unkindly that in his case this assertion springs from frank self-assessment. My friend Richard is indeed not a particularly complex creature, and he’s fairly easy to understand.

Understanding some of his critics and all of his admirers is more difficult, and I find this task baffling.

What gives me a particular problem is that on those rare occasions when poor Richard says something sensible he’s attacked mercilessly. Yet his same detractors, millions of them, then buy and extol the books in which he writes utter drivel.

Last year Richard was widely attacked for making this statement: “All the world’s Muslims have fewer Nobel Prizes than Trinity College, Cambridge.”

The only way to contest this statement is to show it’s untrue. Since I cherish every instance of Richard getting something wrong, I did the requisite research. To my disappointment, Richard was proved right.

He didn’t stoop to citing the exact numbers, which are 32 Nobels won by Trinity scientists versus 10 by the Muslims. But had he been more specific, he’d have had to add that only two of those 10 Islamic overachievers were scientists, two others writers, while six were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, which has little to do with science, or indeed peace.

Richard’s statement was thus factual and therefore unassailable. His motives for citing those facts may be a different matter.

Facts have little significance unless they’re used to prove a point. And some points are less worth making than others. For instance, it’s a fact that blacks have a lower median IQ than whites. Yet those who insist on citing it ad infinitum may be confidently assumed not to be great champions of the Negroid race.

Likewise, Jews are more lavishly represented in banks, academic institutions and symphony orchestras than their mere proportion in the population would warrant. This fact is demonstrable calculator in hand, but those who whip out the calculator for that purpose not always do so out of admiration for Jews.

One way or the other, Richard was savaged by the very people who see nothing wrong about the aggressively stupid things for which he gets paid his millions.

Here are two examples of his inanities, which faithfully represent the general intellectual quality of his output.

Example 1: “Darwin told us why we exist and that’s not an easy question to answer. It’s not just us, it’s all living things.”

Example 2: “Life evolved out of nearly nothing, some 10 billion years after the universe evolved out of literally nothing, is a fact so staggering that I would be mad to attempt words to do it justice.”

Now some savants have rightly held poor Richard to account for his ignorance of philosophy, theology, history, rhetoric and, well, just about everything. For example, his critique of Aquinas’s Five Ways displays a command of the problem for which many a pupil has been expelled from Sunday school.

Yet I’m prepared to overlook Richard’s ignorance – we’re all ignorant of something, though not all of us pontificate on issues about which we know next to nothing. Alas, the two examples I cited point at Richard’s inability to think logically, and that is a more serious problem. 

The question mentioned in Example 1 is indeed not easy to answer. That’s why Darwin never attempted to do so. He merely tried to explain how all living things that already were got to be as they are.

Simple logic that escapes my friend Richard should have told him that, before things evolve, they have to exist. Think what you will about the evolution theory, but its very name suggests that a) it deals with the development of something already in existence and b) even then, it’s merely a hypothesis, not a fact.

The words Richard thinks he’d ‘be mad to attempt’ in Example 2 were actually uttered 2,500 years ago by Parmenides: ex nihilo nihil fit or whatever it was in Greek. Nothing comes out of nothing, an idea Newton later expressed as his First Law of Thermodynamics.

A casual statement to the contrary, when not accompanied by a coherent refutation of both the philosopher and the scientist, may indeed be ‘staggering’ but it’s far from being a ‘fact’. Insisting on it betokens a certain deficit of intellectual rigour, which is a polite euphemism for stupidity.

Suddenly, out of the blue, Richard at last said something that adds up: “X is bad. Y is worse. If you think that’s an endorsement of X, go away and don’t come back until you’ve learned how to think logically.”

In other words, gradations of evil exist. Richard’s logic is incontestable, if a tad simplistic.

If I wanted to substitute real things for the algebraic symbols, I could take issue with some of my good friends whose mind’s eye is blinded by their distaste for the European Union. They thus find good things to say about Putin, whom they see as a St George slaying the EU dragon over the Ukraine.

Using Richard’s newly found logic, I’d object that X (the EU) is bad but Y (Putin) is worse. It implies no endorsement of X to say that I’d rather live under the unquestionably hideous EU autocracy than under Putin’s kleptofascism – and so would my friends if they knew more about the latter.

In fact, had my friend Richard fleshed out his statement in this way, he wouldn’t have been criticised by anyone other than Peter Hitchens and his friends, of whom Peter can’t possibly have many.

Alas, he chose other substitutes for his X and Y: “Mild pedophilia is bad. Violent pedophilia is worse. If you think that’s an endorsement of mild pedophilia, go away and learn how to think.” And: “Date rape is bad. Stranger rape at knifepoint is worse. If you think that’s an endorsement of date rape, go away and learn how to think.”

Personally, I find nothing objectionable about this, other than the fact that Richard doesn’t know how to spell paedophilia. But then he’s a scientist, so that’s understandable.

But others have been much less kind to poor Richard. For example, the human rights activist Shami Chakrabarti screamed bloody murder: “There is no mild rape, there is no mild paedophilia. These are terrible, terrible crimes.”

No doubt. But in Western law some terrible crimes are more terrible than others. For example, both accidental killing and premeditated murder involve the terrible crime of taking a life. Yet the second is regarded as more terrible than the first.

Having sex with a nubile 15-year-old girl is paedophilia, as is having sex with a babe in arms. Surely Miss Chakrabati doesn’t think they’re equally terrible crimes?

A woman who gets into bed with her boyfriend and, after prolonged foreplay, says no at the last moment, which the man ignores, may be the victim of a crime (I’m referring to an actual case). The same woman raped at knifepoint in Hyde Park definitely is. Are they equally ‘terrible, terrible crimes’?

Miss Chakrabati and many others who’ve attacked Richard with similar venom are definitely guilty of the crime of which he accuses them: inability to think logically.

But both they and Richard are guilty of a more ‘terrible, terrible’ crime: adherence to a pernicious ideology. The ideologies may be different, but their cause is the same: hatred for every founding tenet of our civilisation.



Is Putin trying to provoke a major war?

Tyrants rely on wars to tighten their grip on power.

The Russian liberal Alexander Herzen expressed this historical truth epigrammatically back in the 19th century: “The strongest chains binding people are forged out of victorious swords.”

The stratagem of using foreign wars to bolster domestic power wasn’t invented by the Russians, but it was certainly perfected by them.

Yet Col. Putin has set out to prove that rigorous logicians are wrong to insist that perfection is unquantifiable. A tyranny knows how to make perfect even more so.

The good colonel shot to well-nigh absolute power in the wake of the second Chechen war he conflagrated just for that purpose. Russia cheered: she felt acutely nostalgic for the role of ‘Europe’s gendarme’, the soubriquet she earned when Herzen was young.

There at last was a real muzhik, man’s man, at the helm. Russia was ‘getting up from her knees’, the advantage of the upright posture being that she was now able to knee anyone else in the groin. Isn’t that what greatness is all about?

Russia’s third world economy was thus reconnected with her Third Rome mentality, and Putin thrived.

Then came the Georgian war of 2008, when it took Putin a mere five days to prop up his puppet regime in South Ossetia, historically a part of Georgia.

Apart from Russia, the independent state of South Ossetia was recognised by the great powers of  Nicaragua, Venezuela and Nauru, which exclusive club has yet to expand its membership.

Again the Russians cheered. Even those who were uncertain exactly what and where Nauru was were happy to find themselves in such select company. The muzhik may not be able to feed Russians, but at least he can bully foreigners.

Yet Putin realises that the political capital he has built in Russia needs topping up lest it be depleted. Throughout their history the Russians have pounced on any leader perceived as less than a muzhik, and they can do so again.

The Russian concept of a muzhik includes as a necessary constituent a healthy dose of xenophobia, especially hatred of the West.

Thus a ‘strong leader’ has to keep reminding them that, though Western money and technology are welcome, Western influence, especially of a civilising sort, is not.

There’s every sign that Putin senses that his popularity is now at its peak. From there the only way to go is down, and this is a direction no tyrant will accept.

Hence the brinkmanship in which he’s indulging. He’s the schoolyard bully pushing a classmate in the chest and saying “Oh yeah? So what’re you going to do about it?”

Even the mindless, spineless spivs in our governments are beginning to realise they have to push back, albeit not too hard.

Putin responds by pushing harder. So much so, in fact, that one gets the impression he actually wants (or rather feels he needs) a full-blooded fight.

In a horrifying reminder of the Berlin wall, he’s surrounding South Ossetia with a barbed-wire fence, effectively turning it into a concentration camp.

The combination of Russia and barbed wire conjures horrific images even for those who merely read The Gulag Archipelago. For those who used to be inside the barbed wire, the images are unbearable.

At the same time, the Russians are violating the terms of the 1987 treaty by testing ground-based cruise missiles. Just like the barbed wire around South Ossetia, this too evokes nightmarish memories, and even Obama felt he had to say (not yet do) something about it.

Remember all those SALTs? The Soviets violated them with boldfaced duplicity, achieving at least strategic parity with the USA as a result. That history is now repeating itself with STARTs, as Putin is proving that the knack for cheating didn’t collapse along with the Soviet Union.

Interestingly, the Russians have been testing the banned missiles since 2008, but Obama’s administration has been turning a blind eye until now, when Putin’s cheating has overlapped with other outrages.

Last year Putin deployed tactical Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad, née Königsberg, right at Nato’s doorstep. The missiles have in their sights Nato’s radar systems designed to protect millions of Europeans against Russia’s first-strike holocaust.

And this year he’s testing the West’s resolve by trying to rape the Ukraine and loot chunks of her territory, ideally all of it.

In response, Nato is planning large-scale military exercises in Eastern Europe, with Dave contributing a mighty contingent of 1,500, the numerical strength our spivs evidently see as ideal for our army in toto.

Seeing how European leaders cringe at the thought of having to pay more for gas, one can be confident they don’t want a confrontation with Russia.

Neither does Dave: the City and BP are screaming hysterically that keeping a few Russian gangsters out of Knightsbridge will be costly. Nor does Dave want to bite the Russian hand feeding his party’s coffers.

Yet make no mistake: the situation is fraught with danger. The analogy with a powder keg is much overused, but only because it works.

It takes but a tiny spark to turn a keg into a bomb, and sparks always fly whenever two armies are poised in confrontation.

We can’t trust Putin to know when to stop pushing: bullies never do, unless they’re punched on the nose. What if he pushes into the Baltics, Nato members?

Baltic governments certainly think this is likely, and their shrieks of SOS are resounding through Nato headquarters.

What if Putin launches an all-out offensive on the Ukraine, this time with his forces honestly wearing Russian insignia?

Here’s one plausible scenario. Putin’s Spetznaz thugs hold out until 28 September, when the next national election will be called. The election will be free, in that East Ukrainians will be given a free choice between a ballot and a bullet.

The East will then declare its independence, this time claiming an electoral mandate. Since the Ukrainian government has shown little willingness to accept their country’s dismemberment, there’s no reason to believe they won’t respond by force.

The Russian juggernaut will then roll, possibly with the right wing crashing into the Baltics. Nato will have to respond, and Putin will get his war, which he hopes will be limited.

This isn’t scaremongering. Nothing like this may happen, but only an irresponsible fool will insist it can’t happen.

Si vis pacem, para bellum, as the Romans used to say. We want peace, even if Putin doesn’t. That’s why it’ll be criminal folly not to prepare for war.





Thou shalt respect other people’s customs, whatever they are

As a lifelong champion of multi-culti rectitude, I’m proud of the progress Britain has made since the 19th century.

In those days of the Raj the British colonialist-imperialist monsters displayed gross insensitivity to the local customs.

It’s not as if the concept of multiculturalism was then unknown, even if the word was. As far back as the 5th century BC (sorry, it should be BCE now, but I haven’t yet expunged all my rotten habits), Herodotus taught that “we must respect other people’s customs.”

Having issued that injunction, about 50 pages later in the same book he cited an illustration: “Burying people alive is a Persian custom.”

Herodotus didn’t link the two statements directly, an oversight that I’d like to correct. For it’s my heartfelt conviction that we mustn’t be selective in proffering our respect. We can’t pick and choose which alien customs we esteem – they’re all equally valuable and, implicitly, more so than our own.

Such is the true meaning of progress, as we define it today. But in the stone-age 19th century the Brits still tried to cling on to antediluvian values. They still hadn’t grasped the nature of progress.

Thus in 1829 the Raj administration in India callously banned suttee, the ritual immolation of the widow on her husband’s funeral pyre.

This ancient custom was then still practised widely, with about 600 women turned to ash every year, supposedly with no coercion involved. Submitting to suttee was a sign of virtue: the word derives from the Sanskrit for ‘good woman’.

That ethnic, meaning progressive, rite wasn’t limited to the Indians. In fact, Herodotus mentions its existence among some Thracian tribes, and Procopius, as cited by Gibbon, says that some Germanic tribes also had a version of this fine custom.

The Russians, or rather proto-Russians, weren’t far behind, as testified by the Arab diplomat Ibn Fadlan. He travelled from Baghdad to the Volga area in the 10th century and wrote an entertaining book about it.

A version of suttee was among other charming rites Ibn Fadlan described. In broad strokes, when a chieftain died, his numerous wives and concubines were asked to nominate a volunteer to be cremated with him.

One would inevitably step forward, after which the lady, before she was incinerated, would be given wine and drugs. She would then, in her semi-conscious state, dance and have sex with all the male relations of the deceased.

This ritual, while testifying to the unbridled virility of the early Russians, probably has as its close modern equivalent the sex-drugs-and-rock’n-roll culture (usually without the immolation) so beloved of today’s Western youths.

By the mid-1880s the Indians had had enough of the colonial oppression imposed by the British and personified by General Sir Charles James Napier, the Commander-in-Chief in India (1859-1861).

Some Hindu priests came to him with a perfectly valid complaint about the continuing ban on suttee. This, they said, is our ancient custom and you must respect it.

Belying his reputation for intransigence, Napier readily agreed:

“Be it so. This burning of widows is your custom; prepare the funeral pile. But my nation also has a custom. When men burn women alive, we hang them and confiscate all their property. My carpenters shall therefore erect gibbets on which to hang all concerned when the widow is consumed. Let us all act according to national customs.”

This statement fills me with righteous wrath. For Napier didn’t just threaten to punish multiculturalism with the death penalty. He mocked it by his last sentence, implying that we too have our customs and, given the chance, will make others abide by them.

Yet the multi-culti champion in me also rejoices. For these days no British administrator would allow himself such sarcasm towards any ethnic custom. If he did, he’d be forced to take a diversity course or, more likely, sacked.

For we’ve learned to respect other people’s cultures so much that we despise our own. That’s why we allow the existence of thousands of mosques, each preaching hatred for everything we used to hold dear, but don’t any longer.

Oh yes, we still draw the line on some of the more quaint customs, such as the stoning of adulterers. I suspect that our multi-culti sensitivity hasn’t yet been honed enough to let such things slide, but do give us a few years.

As to suttee, I don’t know how widely it’s practised these days in its native habitat. Yet India’s government felt obliged to pass the Commission of Suttee Act in 1987, which suggests the ritual isn’t completely out of fashion in modern times.

However, I’m not aware of suttee still surviving among the British Indians. British Muslims, on the other hand, still enforce some customs to which we respond with the retrograde knee-jerk reaction of disgust.

Many of them relate to the treatment of women, who in the Islamic ethos occupy an intermediate position between humans and livestock.

Honour beatings, incarceration and even murder are widely reported, as are such more innocuous things as forced marriage, often coupled with making a Western-born and educated girl go back to her parents’ native village to wed an illiterate goatherd.

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is another aspect of multiculturalism that’s still very much alive in 27 African countries, as well as in Yemen and Iraqi Kurdistan. About 125 million girls in those countries have been affected, and the number is going up, what with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria imposing it by law.

Back in 1985 the British government, still in the grip of vestigious prejudice, outlawed FGM. Since then the law has been on the books but, as I’m pleased to report, not a single case has been prosecuted.

Yet up to 66,000 women have been thus crippled in Britain since then. I’m sure they don’t mind: this is an ancient custom after all, and it must be obeyed on pain of death.

One has to welcome this progress of multiculturalism, even as one feels slight unease of a gastrointestinal nature. How long before we legalise suttee, I wonder?

Two wars, one moral confusion

The term ‘moral equivalence’ was popular during the Cold War, when it was widely used by Westerners of the leftist persuasion.

Those people saw no difference between the KGB spying on the West and the CIA spying on the Soviet Union or, say, between American missiles installed in Turkey and Soviet missiles installed in Cuba.

‘Moral equivalence’ was the term they used, but they didn’t really mean equivalence. The word was just shorthand for the emotional and ideological kinship they felt for the Soviet Union.

Coming out and saying outright that they were on the Soviet side wasn’t quite socially (and at times legally) acceptable.

On the other hand, ‘moral equivalence’ suggested an unbiased, even-handed judgement. Aren’t those Egyptians killed by British bombs as human as the Hungarian students tortured to death by the Soviets? Of course they are. So who’s to say we’re any better than them?

This touching devotion to the sanctity of human life was almost saintly, and it would have been completely so had its enunciators not in fact been supporting the most evil regime in history. Having murdered 62 million of their own citizens, the Soviets sought to extend their sway over the whole world, and the Westerners worshipping at the altar of moral equivalence were doing their bit to make it happen.

One would think that, what with the Cold War supposedly finished, the term, and the spurious notion behind it, would sink into oblivion. However, this hope would be forlorn.

The two most eye-catching conflicts currently under way are pitting Putin’s bandits against the legitimate, pro-Nato Ukrainian government and Hamas terrorists against the legitimate, pro-Nato Israeli government.

Both conflicts have such clearly drawn lines that no moral ambivalence seems to be possible. In both instances any decent person should be on the side of good against evil. And any intelligent person should be able to tell which is which.

The first of these conflicts arose because the KGB colonel Putin is trying to rebuild history’s most evil regime, whose collapse he regards as ‘the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century’.

Never mind the two world wars. The greatest catastrophe of the most murderous century ever was the demise of the regime that made the century considerably more murderous than it otherwise would have been.

That same regime has come back in its kleptofascist incarnation, and it’s so far in its infancy. Putin wishes to nurture it to its cannibalistic maturity, an end that can only be achieved by cannibalistic means.

This noble effort has already produced hundreds of thousands dead in places about which we know nothing and care even less, such as Chechnya and Georgia.

Since the two places were comfortably far from Europe’s doorstep, it was possible to pretend that Putin’s savagery was none of our business. His next adventure, however, has made such detachment difficult.

The Ukraine shares her borders with several Nato members and Putin’s boldfaced aggression against the country demanded some response, however timid. Yet, after Putin’s lads murdered 298 Westerners with a sophisticated SAM missile, timidity is no longer on the cards.

The second on-going conflict involves Israel fighting for her survival, as she has had to do since 1948. The fight has always been against desperate odds, what with the country being surrounded by enemies who are never bashful about their intention to eliminate the State of Israel and to exterminate everyone in it.

Hence Israel can’t afford losing. When, say, Japan lost the war in 1945, she was given every opportunity and help to rebuild. If Israel lost a war, her every man, woman and child would be butchered in the imaginative ways for which Muslims are justly famous.

This situation tends to focus the mind, making the Israelis trigger-happy whenever their enemies overstep certain boundaries. Israel strikes out then, trying to disable the enemies and buy herself a few years of uneasy and precarious peace.

Both situations seem crystal-clear – morally, geopolitically or in any other way. If one prefers Western civilisation to the satanic reign of KGB or Hamas brutality, one supports the Ukraine and Israel. If one’s preference is different, one supports the other side.

The situation may seem crystal-clear to you and me, but not to the mongers of moral equivalence in our midst. Such as a Moscow reader of mine (let’s call him Igor) and a certain Mail columnist (let’s call him Peter Hitchens).

Here’s Igor responding to the articles I’ve written recently:     

“Whenever Israel… starts bombing the quarters densely populated with children, women and old men, I do not see how this is different from what Putin is doing in Ukraine. It is the international community that must disarm Hamas and punish Palestine for any aggressive behaviour towards Israel in the future, but when Israel retaliates it looks as though 20 Palestinians are killed for each Israeli victim…”

The term ‘moral equivalence’ isn’t used, but it’s implied. Also, it’s clear that Igor’s heart is with Russia, whoever happens to govern her at the moment.

This loyalty clearly overrides his intelligence, of which he possesses plenty, as do all my regular readers. Otherwise he wouldn’t need me to tell him what the difference is. There are several, as a matter of fact.

Difference 1: The Ukrainian government isn’t out to conquer Russia and massacre every Russian. Hamas pursues exactly such ends towards Israel.

Difference 2: Israel is a legitimate country. Hamas is a terrorist organisation acting not only against Israel but against the West at large.

Difference 3: Israel indeed kills 20 Palestinians for every one of her own casualties, which is exactly the same ratio as in 1939-1940, when Stalin attacked Finland. The reasons for the disparity are identical.

Benefiting from superior training and higher morale than Stalin’s hordes, the gallant Finns were better at fighting the war they didn’t start. They also didn’t use Stalin’s human-wave tactics springing from the Soviets’ nonexistent regard for human lives.

The parallel works because Israelis are also better at war than Hamas, just as they are better at having peaceful lives. For the Israelis every IDF soldier killed is a national tragedy to avoid. For Hamas, every Palestinian killed, especially one from a vulnerable group, is a PR triumph to seek.

That’s why they site their rocket launchers and command centres in ‘densely populated areas’, next to a school or a hospital being their particular preference. The Israelis are then faced with the Hobson’s choice of either accepting the thousands of rockets fired at them every year or bombing the sites, at the risk of incurring the wrath of good but naïve people like Igor.

As to his faith in the power, and indeed the desire, of ‘the international community’ to stop Islamic terrorism in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world, it can only be attributed to his living in a country that strangulates any free flow of information.

Peter Hitchens doesn’t have this excuse, which is why I wouldn’t describe him as either good or naïve. In fact, this being Sunday, I’ll refrain from describing him in any befitting terms.

To Hitchens ‘Israel’s attack on Gaza’ is ‘idiotic’, ‘wrong’, ‘probably fatal to the future of the state its leaders claim to be defending’, ‘moronic’ and ‘babyish’, all within a couple of paragraphs. Pretty good going for any day of the week, especially for Sunday.

“Israel may bray that it did not intend to do this [dead and wounded women and children, weeping, gore and rubble]. I’m sure it didn’t. But if you shell and bomb a confined space such as Gaza, it will happen, and shame on you if you pretend that it’s not your fault when it does.”

Israelis don’t pretend any such thing. Similarly, Sir Arthur Harris didn’t pretend his Lancasters weren’t killing civilians when bombing munitions factories and railway junctions located in ‘densely populated areas’. But Britain was fighting for her survival, just as Israel is doing now.

The nature of modern war has long since invalidated the difference between combatants and civilians. Using missiles and bombs, guided or otherwise, will produce collateral damage whether desired (as in the case of Hamas launching their rockets indiscriminately) or seen as unfortunate (as in the case of Israel).

“It would have been far, far better to let the Hamas rockets fall, to shelter from them and to let the world see how much better Israel is than its aggressive despotic neighbours,” continues Hitchens.

In other words, he wants Israel to do what Hamas does: use the deaths of her people as a PR stunt. As to Hitchens’s faith in the world being able to see anything along those lines, it’s as misplaced as in Igor’s case, but without the same excuse of having little access to unbiased information.

Hitchens then switches his attention to Russia: “I’m pleased to see that the wild, simple-minded anti-Russian hysteria of last weekend has cooled a bit, as the complicated truth has emerged.”

The complicated truth is that, while “Russia has been helping the rebels in Ukraine… it’s also fairly obvious that Ukraine’s revolutionary government, which came to power in an EU and American-backed mob putsch in February, is getting help too.”

First, Russia hasn’t been “helping the rebels”. They are Putin’s proxy troops, his Spetznaz thugs. And describing in such terms the Ukraine’s successful attempt to throw out her puppet government loyal to Putin and trying to drag the country into his Soviet Union Mark 2 leaves one in no doubt where Hitchens’s sympathies lie.

In fact, for him to grant moral equivalence to the two sides would be a step in the right direction. As it is, he can’t contain his preference for the kleptofascist regime run by the KGB colonel.

A 70-year old woman abused for using a 150-year-old idiom

A councilwoman in Brimscombe, Gloucestershire, committed a crime.

I’m not sure whether it’s forensically classified as a felony but, if it isn’t yet, it will be soon.

For the time being, this salt of the English earth, who runs a B&B and organises the village fete, hasn’t been sent to prison, as she doubtless will be if she re-offends when she’s 75.

Meanwhile she was sent on a diversity and equality course, which will set her back £150 plus the train fair to London.

Her crime? She described herself as ‘the nigger in the woodpile’, which offended two of her fellow councillors.

Neither of her opponents belongs to the racial group justified to resent being described by the word in the idiom. This group being barely represented in their county, neither could they have felt the vicarious pain of their constituents.

As native speakers of English, they certainly know that the expression is desemanticised, as most clichés get to be after a century or two.

Nonetheless they felt called upon to feel offended, as they’ve been trained to be by the ethos of modernity. The same training makes them sanctimonious snitches, which they proved by shopping the poor woman.

As a result, she’s being subjecting to a stupid, unjust and humiliating punishment, and not for the first time either: “I’ve already done equality training with the council,” she says, “but it was mainly on gays and travellers.”

Mrs Peters spoke without rancour but with bemusement: “I’m a Christian and believe you should love everyone whoever they are, regardless of their colour or creed, so I think for me to go on this course is a bit silly.”

It is rather. I’d actually call it something worse than that, but then Mrs Peters is obviously a gentler person than me.

She then went on to prove that she’s still an inveterate criminal at heart: “‘English is such a lovely language. I feel sad the way it is being changed. I asked my grandchildren yesterday how they say ‘eeny, meeny, miney, mo’ now. One said ‘catch a spider by its toe’, another said ‘catch a tiger by its toe’. Spiders don’t even have toes.”

Neither do tigers, but this isn’t about zoology. It’s about modernity asserting its power over taste, tradition, common sense, language, religion and whatever else stands in its way.

Trying to match Mrs Peters’s benign civility and resignation, I’m prepared to accept that we today have much more delicate sensibilities than our forebears. We’re all hypersensitive and our skin is gossamer-thin.

We are also imbued with the ideological, if somewhat counterintuitive, belief that we’re all equal. It’s in this spirit that I’d like to share this complaint with you.

What about my friends and me? We too are grossly offended, and not just once in a while. Everywhere we turn, our senses, intellects, tastes and beliefs aren’t just insulted but stamped into the dirt.

Aren’t we tautologically as equal as Mrs Peters’s fellow councillors? Or are they oxymoronically more so? Surely not, if you believe in equality as firmly as I do.

So how come no one cares about us? How come we have no recourse? How come we can’t send our offenders to a taste, propriety, politeness or sanity course? How come no one stands up for our human rights?

I can’t speak for my friends, although they’d be happy for me to do so. However, here, in no particular order, is an abbreviated list of things that offend me, and I know I’m leaving a lot out:


  • Tattooed, facially metalled louts and slags overrunning our country
  • People mangling the English language out of ignorance or, worse, perverse ideology
  • Political correctness of any kind
  • Preponderance, indeed the very existence, of anti-musical, satanic, shamanistic noise called music, which assails one’s ears everywhere one goes (including the Proms)
  • Self-serving spivs who run our governments
  • Sexual perversion elevated to social virtue
  • Thousands of mosques preaching hatred for Christians, Jews, the West in general and everything about our civilisation
  • Tony Blair, Dave Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband
  • Grossly rude attacks on Christianity that, unlike even a mild opprobrium of other faiths, aren’t just unpunished but tacitly encouraged
  • What passes for literature these days
  • What passes for classical music these days
  • What passes for art these days, i.e. unmade beds, pickled animals and close-up pictures of genitalia
  • TV and radio announcers who speak with demotic accents and grammar
  • People penalised for their words and thoughts but not for crimes like burglary
  • Education that doesn’t educate
  • Medical care that doesn’t care
  • 200,000 abortions every year
  • Creeping euthanasia
  • EU Maoists and Trotskyists running our lives
  • EU in general
  • Footballers making more in a week than teachers do in five years
  • Most footballers not being worth the fortune they get
  • Most teachers not being worth even the pittance they get
  • Foreign policy designed to punish our friends and reward our enemies
  • Rampant egalitarianism
  • Press with nonexistent moral and intellectual standards
  • Russian gangsters buying into social acceptability in London
  • Ditto Arab sheiks
  • Ditto Chinese communists
  • Homomarriage
  • Anglicanism becoming a social club barring Christians from membership
  • Britain having lost the right to keep the riff-raff out
  • Pall Mall clubs admitting women
  • Reverse discrimination
  • British boroughs and whole towns imposing Sharia
  • Lambeth calling itself a nuclear-free zone
  • All those facilitators of optimisation, optimisers of facilitation and diversity consultants in the NHS or anywhere else

Last but not least, let’s not forget diversity and equality courses, acting as the modern equivalents of tarring and feathering. You know, like the one shoved down poor Mrs Peters’s throat.













Tories come cheaper wholesale (advertising feature)

Fancy a nice, cuddly Tory MP? Or a bloodhound ready to chase your detractors to the ends of the earth? A whole pack perhaps?

Come to the Tory Kennel in Westminster – we won’t let you down.

We have plenty to choose from: front bench, back bench, dogs, bitches, black, brown, white, all ages from puppy to pre-taxidermy, all looks from well fit (bitches) to shaggy (dogs) – you name it.

Lately we’ve had a large intake of particularly good-looking bitches, all perfectly groomed, able to walk on hind legs and… Well, what more do you need?

Every one of our MPs, dog or bitch, is paper-trained and also taught to obey simple commands: sit, stand, vote, bark, play dead and so forth.

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Looking for a plump, juicy defence contract with bells on? Just shout ‘fetch’, and your new MP will deliver it to your doorstep in his mouth.

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Prices are negotiable, varying from a large one-time donation to a lease-to-purchase plan involving smaller monthly contributions.

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Our kennel has satisfied customers all over the world, from China to Saudi Arabia, from Columbia to Russia (references available upon request).

It’s our Russian customers, all hailing from the picturesque town of Putingrad, who have been particularly satisfied with our goods and services. That’s why they come back for repeat business time and again.

And, are you ready for this?

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In addition to having first pick of the MPs they require, our wholesale customers join the ranks of Friends of the Tory Kennel. This entitles them to a prominent seat at our annual sales conference, where they can meet all our MPs and choose those who can best serve their needs.

Depending on the services you require, and the trouble with the law from which you wish to be protected, the down payment may vary from £90,000 to £400,000.

But you wouldn’t be paying this money – you’d be investing it in the kind of protection only our MPs can provide.

The initial outlay may look rather large, but not when you divide it by 305, the number of MP dogs and bitches we have on offer.

There are also tax advantages, for we can classify your investment as a charitable donation, or else as an operating expense. One way or the other, you save.

Suddenly, rather than having just one or two MPs to serve you, you have the whole kennel at your disposal, starting with our top dogs (and bitches) on the front benches.

But don’t take our word for it: hear what our happy customers from Putingrad have to say about our MPs and the services they provide.

Dmitri ‘the Hammer’, Putingrad banker:

“When I decided to move from Putingrad to Londongrad, I needed someone to guard my money from the pol…, well, I mean from those who wanted to get their teeth into it.

“And you know what? For a mere £450,000 in pocket change I became a Friend of the Tory Kennel. Now my money is secure, whatever is left of it after my boss in Putingrad gets his cut.”

Alexei ‘the Garrotte’, aluminium producer, also from Putingrad:

“My enemies from back home were after me, and I needed round-the-clock protection. Then my associate Dmitri ‘the Hammer’ told me of the great experience he had had with the Tory Kennel, so I decided to give it a go.

“At first I bought just a few MPs, at £10,000 each, and they did a good job. But then Dmitri told me not to be a putz. ‘Only a schmuck pays retail,’ he said, and it made sense to me.

“So for ‘a few bob more’, as my English mates put it, I got a great deal. I became a Friend of the Tory Kennel for just £100,000, the price of 10 MPs. For that I got the services of all 305 of them, and they’ll chase away any beast coming after me.”

Ivan ‘the Beast’, laudromat owner, formerly of Gorbachevka, then of Putingrad:

“I came to settle in Londongrad because my boss ‘Polonium’ wanted to ‘whack me in the shithouse’, as he put it. For just £65,000 I got a whole pack of guard MPs, and sure enough, they’re real sons of bitches, just as advertised. I feel safe now.”

Write to us for more testimonials – we have hundreds of them, even more than that other kennel from across the aisle.

So whether you need protection or just a playmate, become a Friend of the Tory Kennel. We’ll find just the right MPs to serve your needs.

The Tory Kennel. No job too low, no donation too high, no paying customer turned away. We’re always at your beck and call, Mr Comrade.


What Churchill described as a ‘bacillus’ has come full circle

Although Churchill in his later life couldn’t conceal his admiration for Stalin, he accurately described Lenin as a ‘plague bacillus’ transported by the Germans from Switzerland to Russia.

The bacillus caused an outbreak of a deadly disease that claimed more lives than any other pandemic in history.

Calculating the exact number of those devoured by the Bolsheviks over decades of tireless labour is difficult: the Russians have never been the most meticulous of record keepers, and those records the Bolsheviks did keep are still largely classified.

However, difficult doesn’t mean impossible, and in his books Lethal Politics and Death by Government Prof. Rummel used demographic analysis to come up with a plausible number of  62 million – way in excess of the 20 million Khrushchev acknowledged.

One way or another the physical damage caused by Bolshevik infestation is possible to calculate with various degrees of precision. What’s utterly incalculable is the metaphysical, moral damage.

Yet I submit, while praying for the millions of innocent people slaughtered by the ghastliest regime in history, that the moral damage it caused is even greater and longer-lasting.

Years of brutal, murderous slavery corrupts slaves and masters alike. The two groups intermingle, and after a few decades their members become largely indistinguishable. The slaves often think, occasionally act, like their masters, and the masters are themselves slaves in their mentality, morality and tastes.

The mark of Cain isn’t indelible, and the same book that tells us the story also shows ways in which the ugly imprint can be expunged. Yet, though a person can do so quickly, a society can’t.

The disease that infected it in the first place may go into remission for a while, but then it’ll always flare up – and it’ll remain for ever contagious.

In its acute phase, the bacillus of Leninism reinfected the West whence it had come. And it wasn’t just thousands of ‘useful idiots’ who were the carriers of the contagion. Russia in her Bolshevik phase vastly expanded the boundaries of the possible and trampled over the old taboos, which affected not just witting individuals but also unwitting societies.

By elevating institutional amorality to a level of secular religion, Bolshevism claimed millions of post-Christian Western victims, now bereft of the only source of collective morality possible in the West.

Those at the epicentre of the pandemic, the Russians, suffered immeasurably more than anyone else. But Westerners reinfected with the bacillus suffered too – and they continue to do so.

Russia is undergoing a new massive outbreak of the plague, with the bacillus of Leninism having returned in a modified version called Putinism. But those at the periphery of the pandemic, Westerners, aren’t free of the disease either.

The West is smiling smugly at the ego-stroking thought of being safe from a direct physical attack by Putin’s kleptofascist state. This sense of security may or may not be false, and I’ll leave it to the experts to weigh our military capabilities against Russia’s.

But the West has neither any natural immunity nor any effective vaccine against the bacilli of moral corruption emanating from Putin’s Russia.

These are carried and spread by Russian ‘oligarchs’ who don’t just gobble up properties in London’s better boroughs. These messengers of Putin  are buying up, both retail and wholesale, Western politicians and their parties, journalists (along with their papers), businessmen, present and former heads of states and even members of our royal family.

Every purloined banknote passed on by the gangster ‘oligarchs’ (and all their banknotes are purloined) is crawling with the germs of moral plague. These infect the recipients as surely as the real physical bacilli would.

An article in today’s Mail doesn’t tell me anything I don’t know or haven’t written about. But it catalogues nicely the British VIPs who have fallen victim to the germs that have rubbed off on them from dirty Russian money.

The contagion doesn’t discriminate along party or class lines. It affects with equally lethal power prominent Tories like Douglas Hurd and Lord Powell, Labour grandees like Lord Mandelson and Lord Myners, independent leftie Lord Owen, Lord Ponsbie, George ‘I’ve-never-seen-a-disgusting-cause-I-couldn’t-love’ Galloway, Lord Truscott – and it even reaches our royal palaces, infecting their past and present inhabitants, like Sir Michael Peat, until recently Prince Charles’s Private Secretary, and Prince Michael of Kent, who has been taking Russia’s rouble since the time Putin was a student at the KGB academy.

It’s not just about the individuals though. The disease pervades the whole society, for we all sully our hands with filthy Russian lucre, even if it’s not passed into our proffered palms directly.

The City of London, which produces almost a quarter of our GDP, receives and launders billions in infected cash, as does the booming property sector of London and the Home Counties. Our pension funds are awash with dirty money, and there’s enough sewage left over to float our football clubs, newspapers and chains of bookstores.

With money comes political influence. Since Putin’s kleptofascism veils itself in the mantle of democracy, however threadbare, even the Tory party doesn’t flinch when accepting millions in plague-infested cash.

By taking money from Russian disease carriers, our tennis-loving politicians Dave and Boris are spreading the disease as surely as does Germany’s ex-chancellor Schröder who’s paid millions by the Russians, France’s president Hollande who’s selling Mistral helicopter carriers to the Russian fleet based in the annexed Crimea – as surely as all those European governments who won’t do anything to stop Putin’s aggression because they want Putin’s gas.

They are all doing an Esau and a Faust simultaneously, by selling both the West’s birthright and its soul to the highest bidder, in this instance Russia.

Money doesn’t just talk, ladies and gentlemen. When crawling with plague bacilli, it also infects.





















“Death to Jews!” screams Europe

Shattered shop fronts in Jewish neighbourhoods. Shards of glass crunching underfoot. Jews attacked in the streets. Synagogues and Jewish cemeteries vandalised. Marauding crowds screaming “Kill Jews!” and “Slit Jews’ throats!”, with police looking on.

This isn’t Kristallnacht in Germany, 1938.

This is Paris, London, Rome and Berlin today. Seventy years after six million Jews were murdered by the Germans, with the acquiescence and avid participation of most countries under German control.

Some new shouted chants provide the accompaniment to the riots. For example, Germans didn’t shout “Hitler was right!” and “Gas the Jews!” in 1938.

The former was impossible for grammatical reasons: as Hitler was still in power, the past tense would have represented a solecism. The latter would have been implausibly prescient: the Nazis hadn’t yet discovered the delights of Zyklon B.

The firm that produced it was also the first to synthesise aspirin, but during the war most of its profits came from satisfying the needs of Germany’s growth industry. That, however, isn’t mentioned much these days, while the aspirin sideline is touted as yet another vindication of progress-happy post-Enlightenment modernity.

Since true progress must be built on past achievements, it’s good to see that the European crowds are acknowledging their debt to their Nazi predecessors. The reference to gas is particularly popular in Berlin, proving that the spirit of pan-European unification hasn’t yet diminished the nation’s pride in her days of glory.

These outbursts are supposed to have been provoked by Israel’s self-defensive counterattack against Palestinian terrorists.

Personally, I find it hard to think of a recent military action anywhere in the world that’s more richly justified. There are only so many rockets fired into her territory, so many of her citizens murdered or kidnapped that any nation can tolerate.

Yet I realise that some may assess the Israeli-Palestinian conflict differently. I’m also man enough to admit that I don’t react to the murder of an Englishman and, say, a Columbian with the same dispassionate objectivity. The latter upsets; the former enrages.

Likewise, the Arabs and other Muslims who make up the majority of European rioters probably feel more upset about a few hundred Palestinians killed by the Israelis than about the thousands of rockets raining on Israel from Gaza every year.

Hence one can understand a peaceful demonstration outside the Israeli embassy, with people holding up placards saying things like “Hands off Gaza”. The romantic in me would still yearn for a few strategically placed machineguns, but the realist would acknowledge that such protests are both legal and excusable.

But to use Israel’s actions, no matter how objectionable one finds them, as a pretext for attacking European Jews is neither legal nor excusable. It’s monstrous and, which is worse, illogical.

When some African tribes murder hundreds of thousands from other tribes, as they do from time to time in places like Rwanda or Burundi, one doesn’t see many demonstrations in Europe under the slogan of “Kill blacks!”

An understanding exists, as in civilised countries it should, that Europeans who have ethnic or religious links with foreign governments aren’t to blame for such governments’ actions, no matter how much one dislikes them.

Such moderation, however, doesn’t extend to Jews, all of whom are held collectively responsible for any Israeli action that can be construed as a pretext for rioting.

This means that the savage crowds screaming “Kill Jews!” don’t do so to express a geopolitical preference for Hamas over Israel. They do it because they hate Jews.

This means that European anti-Semitism is leaving its latent phase for an acute one. For it’s not just the Muslim screamers and bottle-throwers who are at fault.

The riots would be instantly and, if need be, violently quashed should the non-Muslim populace close ranks against the anti-Semitic brutes. Alas, one observes exactly the opposite.

A recent study shows that 37 per cent of the French, 25 per cent of the Italians and almost 30 per cent of the Germans are openly anti-Semitic. Add to them those who are reticent about expressing the anti-Semitism they feel, and one can understand why riot police forces in Europe, such as the normally uninhibited French CRS, are being so polite to the rioters.

A few days ago I commented on Europe’s blatantly biased press coverage of the current conflict. Yet my friend Tony, who reads French (and any other) papers more regularly than I do, objected that Le Figaro tends to be fair on such matters.

Yet here I am, reading a Figaro article written by the award-winning journalist Natacha Polony, who this once has stepped outside her speciality area of education.

Sure enough, in the first couple of paragraphs she deplores the anti-Semitic riots in Paris, especially their slogan “Mort aux Juifs!” However, two column inches down comes the good stuff:

“Of course, Israel’s policy of colonialism and militarisation is unsupportable and suicidal…

“Of course one would like to see the international community taking a firmer stand on banning the iniquitous wall that cuts off Palestinian villages with no regard for the borders established by the UN…

“Of course one would like to hear more Jewish voices denouncing Israel’s policy…

“Of course one hopes that any criticism of the State of Israel… would not be taken as a sign of anti-Semitism…”

Mlle Polony is hereby using the rhetorical device of anaphora (the repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of every clause) to shatter Tony’s claim that Le Figaro covers the conflict with unbiased detachment.

Well, I can do anaphora too:

What she calls ‘colonialism and militarisation” are the Israelis’ desperate attempts to save themselves from annihilation, to which all her neighbours are firmly and vociferously committed.

What she calls “the iniquitous wall that cuts off Palestinian villages” is Israel’s attempt to stem the flow of terrorists across her borders.

What she calls a dearth of “Jewish voices denouncing Israel’s policy” is a fiction that can only be believed by those who never open leftie papers, which are alive with such voices.

What she calls “any criticism of the State of Israel… [being] taken as a sign of anti-Semitism” is simply the failure of every attempt to find a different explanation for the shamefully pro-Palestinian bias in most newspaper articles.

Such as her own.




In Britain the law is above all (except the urge to mollycoddle Putin)

Foreign agents murdered a British subject on British soil in 2006. The murder weapon wasn’t a gun, a garrotte or a knife. It wasn’t even any traditional poison.

Alexander Litvinenko, the KGB defector naturalised in the UK, was murdered with a radioactive substance called polonium-200.

That, and the widely assumed fact that Litvinenko was working for MI6 at the time, added some piquancy to the crime. The case became big news, for the usual five minutes.

The victim’s widow was insisting that a public inquiry be held: the murder had been clearly committed by two FSB spies who had spiked Litivinenko’s tea with the esoteric isotope.

The man who probably did the actual spiking, Andrei Lugovoi, fled back to Russia. When the British police tried to summon him for questioning, Putin’s government flatly turned down the polite request for extradition.

Just to be on the safe side, Lugovoi was hastily elected to the Duma, thereby gaining parliamentary immunity. This confounded the slanderous vipers who maintain that the Russian parliament is good for nothing. It’s actually extremely good for the criminal underworld, whose many stars use it in lieu of forged identity papers and false moustaches.

After the half-hearted attempt to get Lugovoi back, the case was passed on to a coroner. Last year Home Secretary Theresa May agreed that a public inquiry would be par for the course in such a case, but she ruled it out for fear of hurting ‘international relations’ and upsetting ‘our foreign partners’.

Presumably, she wasn’t referring to Brazil or Hong Kong. Contextually it was clear that the hypersensitive ‘foreign partner’ Mrs May had in mind was Putin.

God forbid we should offend the good colonel. Yes, no such action could have gone ahead without his approval, and ordering an act of nuclear terrorism in London was a bit naughty. But there was only one victim involved, not the thousands Putin could have killed just as easily by using more of the same chemical.

He didn’t though, which speaks highly for his restraint. So by all means do let’s go through the motions of some sort of investigation. An obscure coroner working sub rosa is the right man for such symbolic gestures, provided he doesn’t come up with the wrong, which is to say correct, answer: that the real murderer was Putin, the chap from whom Angie buys all that cheap gas.

That was pretty good going for a country that prides herself on her legal system. On past record, the pride is eminently justified. On that performance, there wasn’t anything to be proud of. Justice wasn’t served – it was mocked.

For, in a civilised country ruled by law,  justice and the legal procedures serving it must not be held hostage to political expedience. In a country like Britain, which gave the world the example of an uniquely just constitution, such an outrage is borderline criminal. When the political expedience is grossly misconstrued, it’s stupid as well.

Fascist rulers like Putin understand only one kind of language: that of force. Give them an inch, such as de facto immunity for the murder of Litvinenko and, appropriately emboldened, they’ll grab a mile – or rather quite  a few miles of sovereign foreign territory.

Two years after the murder, Putin attacked Georgia and gobbled up a chunk of her territory, receiving nothing but an avuncular rebuke from the West. Another five years, and he attacked the Ukraine, for which he was punished with derisory sanctions.

Then his lads went a missile too far. They shot down an airliner full of what is regarded in the West as premium human material. Culling all those Georgians, Chechens or even Ukrainians is one thing, killing Dutchmen, Brits and Americans is something else again.

The former is the equivalent of a dog biting a woman: unpleasant but hardly big news. That’s what dogs do, isn’t it? The latter, however, is more like a woman biting a dog: enough news value to keep the papers going for a week at least.

When the papers get going, the government has to react, especially with a national election just round the corner. Its natural reaction would be to accept the boldfaced lies concocted by Putin and his henchmen, spread by Russian media and eagerly picked up by the BBC.

Alas, in this instance there’s too much hard and incontrovertible evidence. Flight MH-17 was destroyed by a Russian SAM, smuggled into eastern Ukraine by Russia and apparently fired by Russian military personnel.

The crime wasn’t committed by the Ukrainian government, the CIA, Nato or the Martian Air Force. It was committed by Russia or, considering that she is a dictatorship whose parliament’s sole function is to act as a safe house for murderers, by Putin personally.

Hence HMG has to sigh mournfully and admit that the political situation has changed. Dave in particular, what with the national election just round the corner, feels he must act or, to be more exact, be seen to act.

This means that temporarily Putin is no longer a ‘foreign partner’ whose delicate sensibilities have to be spared to make sure Angie gets her gas at an affordable price. The KGB colonel has become a really naughty boy whose wrists must be slapped – but not so hard that he may slap back.

Thus the crime of yesteryear, or rather eight yesteryears, will now be subject to a public inquiry. I find it hard to decide which constitutes the greater travesty of justice: the refusal to hold such an inquiry eight years ago or the decision to do so now.

What’s easier is to propose the next punitive steps to be taken to bring Putin in line or, barring that, to make Dave look like a decisive leader.

For example, British banks should decline to accept deposits in excess of one billion pounds from any Russian citizen (unless he asks nicely).

Mayfair casinos must refuse admission to any customer who doesn’t know that ‘blackjack’ is the English for ochko (unless said customer owns a Premiership football club or a mainstream British newspaper).

Russians residing in London must be told in no uncertain terms that no bid for Buckingham Palace, St James Palace, Kensington Palace and Marlborough House would even be considered (unless it’s way in excess of the market value).

These would be sufficient to be going on with and, if they don’t do the trick, I have many other ideas in store.

Sooner or later Putin will cotton on that he can’t just attack sovereign European countries whenever the spirit moves him (unless he really wants to).





It’s the West wot done it, gov

One wonders what, short of a Russian air attack on Western capitals, would make Putin’s Western admirers shut up.

Prime among them is Peter Hitchens, who has an almost homoerotic longing for a ‘strong leader’. In his younger years he venerated Trotsky; now it’s Putin’s turn.

Hitchens has been singing tuneless hymns celebrating the KGB colonel for several years now, and the volume of said performances is unaffected by any cannibalistic act perpetrated by his idol.

(I mentioned a few random examples the other day, absentmindedly leaving out many others, such as Putin’s unprovoked aggression against Georgia in 2008.)

Thus he absolves Putin’s clique of any guilt for the vicious attack on the Ukraine, of which the 298 victims of a SAM, fired by Putin’s troops or proxies, are the most widely publicised casualties.

The logic Hitchens applies to the whitewashing task is staggering in its inanity, and his piece in this week’s Mail on Sunday provides a perfect sample of it.

He starts with a manifestly false statement: “In any war, the aggressor is the one who makes the first move into neutral or disputed territory.”

This may have been true 300 years ago, and even there one could argue that this view of casus belli is simplistic. Applied to modern conditions, it’s simply spurious.

This logic dictates, to cite a current example, that the hundreds of rockets fired into Israel from Gaza don’t constitute an act of aggression, but Israel’s resultant self-defensive ground offensive into enemy territory does.

But let’s be kind and accept Hitchens’s schoolboyish definition of aggressor. Surely then it’s Putin’s Russia that’s guilty of aggression against the Ukraine?

Technicalities apart, it’s Putin’s troops (or proxies) that occupied the Crimea, a legitimate if relatively recent part of the Ukraine’s territory. Wasn’t that ‘the first move’?

And what about the subsequent move into the east of the country? Doesn’t it tally with Hitchens’s definition of aggression? Of course it does.

However, ideologues never let facts obscure their line of vision. Hence, while insisting on his definition of aggression, Hitchens claims that its perpetrators ought to be sought elsewhere:

“And that aggressor was the European Union, which rivals China as the world’s most expansionist power, swallowing countries the way performing seals swallow fish (16 gulped down since 1995).”

Now Hitchens dislikes the European Union, as do I and most intelligent people of my acquaintance. But it’s silly to blame this admittedly vile entity for all our ills, such as the storms we’ve been having for the last few days, my current ache of tennis elbow and Putin’s attack on a sovereign European state.

Expansionist the EU may be, but it’s a serpentine seducer, not a rapist. It doesn’t yet launch military offensives to draw countries into its orbit. It more or less bribes them with our money.

The countries, however, retain freedom of choice. They can either join or refuse to do so. Those stupid or desperate enough opt for the former, those sage and farsighted enough for the latter.

It’s sheer dishonesty to equate an invitation or even enticement to join the EU with military aggression. The first may have been hasty and irresponsible; the second is criminal.

By way of an analogy, imagine a girl living in a bad neighbourhood where it’s unsafe to walk after dark. Her friends living a few streets away invite her to a party, and the girl accepts even though she can only get to the party on foot.

She goes out and is raped. Who’s to blame for it? One could say it’s her own fault – she should have known better than to walk at night wearing a revealing party frock.

The people who invited her, without making sure she could get to their place safely, aren’t guiltless either. Nor are the police and the city council whose responsibility it is to make our streets free of crime. One could even use the standard defence of ‘it’s all society’s fault, gov’, a phrase our criminals seem to learn before they can say ‘Mum’.

But it takes moral idiocy of epic proportions not to see that the party most responsible for this vicious crime is the degenerate thug who raped the girl.

In this analogy, the Ukraine is the girl who should have been more cautious, the EU is the party host who issued the invitation but didn’t bother to escort the girl through the mean streets, Putin is the rapist – and Hitchens is the moral idiot who can’t tell the difference.

Moreover, he directly blames the Ukraine for the rape she has suffered. She herself provoked the crime by having got rid of Putin’s puppet installed to steer the Ukraine back into the Soviet Union Mark 2 Putin is putting together:

“It did so through violence and illegality, an armed mob and the overthrow of an elected president.” Hitchens’s moral compass is going haywire because it’s too close to his magnet of ‘strong leader’.

Ukrainians, whose parents and grandparents were deliberately starved to death in their millions by the very organisation Putin is currently spearheading, tried to break free of their de facto bonds of vassalage. Violent overthrow of the puppet Yanukovych government was the only way of doing so, what with Putin and his stooges being past masters at rigging elections.

It’s for this that Hitchens feels the Ukraine must be raped and her violator exculpated. How dare they rebel against the kind of ‘strong leader’ Russia is blessed with and we so lamentably lack in our own country?

Hitchens illustrates the point I make often: converts from communism are always suspect, especially if they saw the light in their mature years. If a grown-up man feels it’s justifiable to murder, torture and enslave millions for the sake of an abstract idea, he isn’t just mistaken. He’s fundamentally flawed.

Eventually he may change his views, or profess to have done so. But the basic flaw will remain, and sooner or later it’s reveal itself.

Col. Putin unwittingly agrees with me. When once described as ex-KGB, he objected: “There’s no such thing as ex-KGB. This is for life.” The same evidently goes for an ex-Trotskyist.