I’m not a Muslim

Do you feel offended by this statement? If so, I beg your forgiveness, even though I was simply stating a fact. So please don’t call the police to have me arrested for ‘racially or religiously aggravated harassment, alarm or distress.’

I’m not being crazy – our world is, and I know you’ve heard me say so before. Well, you’ll hear me say it many times again.

For Paul Griffith, 75, was arrested by armed police on that very charge for uttering the phrase in the title.

Going through airport security at Stansted, Mr Griffith was asked to remove his shoes. He complied, but in the process uttered the offensive, nay criminal, sentence above.

The security chap (whose religion isn’t specified in the news reports) felt mortally and racially offended, which I hope you weren’t when I said the same thing.

The uncharacteristically lackadaisical policemen turned up armed to the teeth, but allowed the pensioner to go on his trip. When he returned, they were lying in wait.

Mr Griffith was kept in airport detention for six hours, had his fingerprints and an oral DNA swab taken and was told to report to his local police station.

When he did so the next day, he was told that he had been charged with an offence under the Crime and Disorder Act. To be fair, Mr Griffith was then magnanimously offered to accept a caution, which is to say a criminal record.

When the wrongdoer refused, claiming he had done nothing wrong, the charge was made official and Mr Griffith was given a court date for a trial.

I’m with him on this one: he did nothing wrong. Mr Griffith simply denied any adherence to Islam, and his statement was factually correct.

Then of course he was charged not with lying but with a racial offence. Since we’ve already agreed that the phrase ‘I’m not a Muslim’ is semantically inoffensive, it must have been deemed criminal contextually.

In that context the phrase ‘I’m not a Muslim’ really meant something more than just a statement of religious disassociation.

In effect Mr Griffith was saying that, since he manifestly wasn’t a Muslim, he was statistically unlikely either to hijack or to blow up his flight to Malaga.

Implicitly he was thereby suggesting that this statistical probability was somewhat higher for Muslim passengers, as opposed to, say, Buddhist ones.

Otherwise he would have said, ‘I’m not a Buddhist’ or, for that matter, ‘…Taoist’, ‘…Zoroastrian’ or ‘…Presbyterian’.

Now if that’s what he really meant, as seems likely, then his contextual statement seems as factually correct as the textual one.

To verify this, I opened an appropriate Google page and scanned the headlines of the articles cited. Here they are, in the right order with none left out:

Muslim Terrorist Who Detonated Bomb on Pan Am Flight 830 Freed from Prison”

“Canada: Muslim arrested after flight escorted back to Toronto – said on plane, ‘I just want to bomb Canada’.”

“Three British Muslims have been convicted of planning a series of co-ordinates suicide bomb attacks on transatlantic airliners, which could have killed up to 10,000 people.”

“British Muslims ‘planned to kill thousands by bringing down SEVEN transatlantic airliners in one go with liquid bombs’.”

“Three guilty of airline bomb plot: Tanvir Hussain, Abdulla Ahmed ali and Assad Sarwar”

“F-16 jets escort Toronto-Panama plane after Mohammadan ali Shahi bomb threat”

Then of course, bygones be bygones and all that, but it’s hard to forget it was Muslims who flew airliners into those tall New York  buildings, killing 3,000.

And – you’ll never know how it pains me to say this – it was Muslims who on 7 July, 2005 conducted a series of coordinated bombings on London public transport, killing 52 and crippling God knows how many more.

Muslims. Not Buddhists, Taoists, Zoroastrians – nor even Presbyterians, Lutherans or Ultramontane Catholics.

Hence Mr Griffith made a statement correct in every possibly way, explicit or implicit. Neither did it contain any rude words, threats or a general assessment of the Muslims’ moral character. It was purely factual, if ill-advised.

Yet he barely escaped a criminal sentence, possibly even a custodial one. In fact, the case didn’t get as far as the trial. Twenty-four hours before the gavel was to fall, the CPO dropped all charges, if with clearly perceptible regret.

Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor Frank Ferguson said: “In order to successfully prosecute a charge of racially or religiously aggravated disorderly conduct, we first have to show that the language used was threatening or abusive and in these particular circumstances we could not show that to the high criminal standard required.”

Don’t worry, Frank, you’ll get your man next time or, if not him specifically, someone like him.

After all, most mental disorders, including the one our society is suffering from, are degenerative, meaning they get worse with the passage of time.

Even a paltry 10 years ago an airport security man wouldn’t have called the cops under similar circumstances, nor would the cops have arrested the transgressor.

Ten years from now, and I’m being optimistic, a man like Mr Griffiths will be sent down, to spend a few years in the company of murderers.

Meanwhile, this lunacy has done little to endear the authorities, or indeed Muslims, to the rest of us. Quite the opposite, I dare say – but please don’t report me to the police.






Women can’t govern (neither can men)

“The abolition of God necessarily leads to the abolition of man,” wrote C.S. Lewis, ever the prophet.

True enough, half a century or so later we’ve developed a knack for talking about people not as individuals but as groups.

By doing so, we’ve jumped backwards, leapfrogging two millennia of our civilisation and landing smack in the middle of the pre-Christian Greco-Roman antiquity.

Rather than rejoicing in the Christian notion of the sovereign individual, we wallow in the defacing collectivism of modernity – and love it.

Group identity has replaced individual dignity, and any personal affront is instantly taken as an assault on the group with which the target identifies, especially if the group enjoys a minority status in public perception.

Hence women, who, in defiance of maths, are supposed to be a minority, and an oppressed one at that, routinely demand – and are given – certain privileges not on merit but simply on the strength of their being women.

Having ridden their sex to a particular job, such women then erect around themselves a protective wall to ward off any insinuations about their incompetence. Like Nato’s charter stipulating that an attack on one member is an attack on all, they accuse the insinuator of misogyny, not a legitimate gripe against a certain woman but hatred of women as such.

In that spirit, since I’m about to point out the cosmic incompetence of two of our female ministers, I hasten to offer this disclaimer: neither women nor men in general are fit to govern. However, some men are, and so are some women.

It’s just that neither Nicky Morgan nor Helen Grant is, and they both happen to have ministerial portfolios, for Equality (along with Education) and Sport respectively.

Helen is grievously hurt by the observation that some professional women athletes get paid less than their male counterparts.

As if setting out to vindicate my belief that the world has gone mad, she’s particularly upset about the gross discrimination suffered by female footballers. These ball-kickers, she claims, should be paid as much as the men.

This raises many questions, not least those about Miss Grant’s professional competence.

For example, which male footballers should be used as the standard to follow? We have in England four professional leagues: the Premiership, the Championship, the First and the Second Divisions.

The average salary in the Premiership is roughly eight times higher than in the Championship. In the Championship Division it’s three times higher than in the First, which in turn towers over the Second by a factor of two.

The same goes for those teams’ managers. Those working in the top flight typically get about £3,000,000 a year, as opposed to something like £50,000 in the Second division.

Presumably Miss Grant sets her sight stratospherically high, seeing in her myopic mind’s eye female strikers earning as much as Rooney or Costa. This brings to mind a purely commercial question.

Apart from the generosity of billionaire owners, football revenues come from ticket sales, TV income, kit sales and endorsements. Comparing, say, the FA Cup Final with a similar women’s competition, which do you think will be more commercially virile?

Don’t answer that. Instead answer another question: how can someone capable of uttering such stupid, ideologically driven statements be trusted with running the country? On second thoughts, don’t bother with that one either: there is no good answer.

Front-bencher Nicky Morgan was one of 161 MPs who opposed the legalisation of homomarriage in 2013, thereby defying her party leader Dave.

However, she has since changed her mind. If the vote were held today, Miss Morgan says, she “probably would” vote in favour. She now welcomes “anybody who enters into a commitment”.

Since she didn’t qualify the statement in any way, one could infer that she’d welcome marital commitment between mother and son or brother and sister. But let’s not indulge in such reductio ad absurdum.

Instead let’s wonder what has happened in the intervening year to make Miss Morgan change her mind.

Actually, there was no change. What passes for Miss Morgan’s heart was even then firmly on the side of Dave and all those who helped him push that subversive bill through Parliament.

However, she went against her deeply held convictions because her constituents were asking her to oppose the bill “by ten to one”. This is how Miss Morgan explains the decision-making process in a style that’s rather lamentable in someone who holds the Education portfolio to augment the Equality one:

“We are all, as Members of Parliament, here to represent, to listen, to hear, to change minds but I have a lot of constituents who asked me to vote in a particular way and I listened to them and it was an issue of conscience too.”

Leaving aside the disputable claim to possessing a conscience, one has to say that, for an Education Minister or simply a halfway educated person, Miss Morgan has little idea about her parliamentary responsibilities or indeed our constitution.

On the off chance that she’s one of the few politicians who ever read books, perhaps one could recommend she acquaint herself with the writings of Edmund Burke, who knew a thing or two about constitutional matters.

An MP, wrote Burke, should be the people’s representative, not their delegate. As such, his vote should reflect not his constituents’ wishes but their interests – whatever he judges those to be.

The underlying assumption was that voters sent to Parliament those they trusted to represent their interests, even if these diverged from their wishes. In his turn, an MP felt free to vote according to his conscience, a freedom that had been vouchsafed to him by the electorate.

Hence, if Miss Morgan’s conscience called for a vote in favour of that perverse legislation, she presumably felt that the law would be in the interests of the community she represented.

Hence, by acting on the voters’ wishes rather than their interests, she effectively betrayed their trust – not to mention the constitution of this country.

Sorry about indulging in such subtleties. They have no place in a nation governed by a parliament stuffed to the gunwales with self-serving, intellectually inadequate, morally corrupt nonentities.


Both male and female.












Sometimes one wonders about this Pope


His Holiness has regaled us with two more statements, to which one doesn’t immediately know how to react.

The first one, on evolution, is generally unassailable from any position, other than the stridently and unscientifically atheist one. It does, however, raise the question of why it had to be made at all. Also, some of the wording may be interpreted as more deist than Christian.

The second one, on the death penalty and life imprisonment, which the pontiff equates, is open to criticism from a wider base, both secular and orthodox Christian.

Let’s take them in turn.

Reassuring his audience that there is no contradiction between God and evolution, the Pope began by saying: “When we read about creation in Genesis, we run the risk of imagining God was a magician, with a magic wand able to do everything.”

Why the pontiff decided to give an airing to a patently vulgar idea of God escapes me. It’s best kept for the exclusive use of atheist propagandists, who put forth the notion of a magician deity the better to mock God.

Since the Pope clearly believes no such thing, one would think he would eschew the language of those he must regard as enemies of Christianity.

“God is not a divine being or a magician,” continued Francis, “but the Creator who brought everything to life. Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve.”

In other words, before things evolve, they have to be. This is true at every level: theological, philosophical, logical and scientific.

There are a couple of slight problems though. One could argue that ‘brings’ would have been a better word than ‘brought’: the latter hints, probably unwittingly, not at a living God but at the Cartesian, deist ‘clock winder’, who set the world in motion but then lost all interest in it.

The other problem is that it isn’t clear exactly what this statement adds to the thinking prevalent in the Church not just since Pius XII, but actually since Cardinal Newman, Darwin’s contemporary, who saw no conflict between Christianity and evolution.

Being omnipotent, God can obviously choose to create things not only quickly but also slowly. The six days mentioned in Genesis convey the spiritual, but not literal, truth of Creation.

After all, since God exists outside time, as we don’t, a day can only be metaphorical: on our earthly clock God’s six days could mean six nanoseconds or six billion years.

The Pope seems to misunderstand the nature of the modern debate. This isn’t about evolution as a formative element of the world before our eyes.

It’s about evolution as the sole and sufficient explanation of the world. Insisting, as Dawkins and other strident ignoramuses do, that Darwin’s theory explains everything has little to do with science. Nor is it even faith, as is frequently but inaccurately suggested.

It’s a pernicious ideology, on a par with Marxism, Freudianism and other determinist travesties. As such, it’s impervious to any evidence, including that supplied by science, not to mention philosophy and plain common sense.

For example, not a shred of scientific evidence supports any evolution of man’s spirit – on the contrary, evidence proves that this faculty, which defines man, was created once and for all.

Thus a Pope pursuing the truth, rather than political ends, would phrase his statement differently. He’d say something along these lines:

“It’s unscientific and therefore ignorant to deny the presence of evolutionary elements in natural history. Yet it’s even more unscientific and ignorant to insist on their self-sufficiency. And, when it comes to man, evolution, even if true, explains so little of importance as to be irrelevant. Man stands as towering testimony to Creation and the glory of God.”

We these days can’t afford to pretend to be walking through a bucolic landscape to the accompaniment of gentle birdsong. We’re walking through a minefield to the accompaniment of deadly charges going off all over the place.

Treading carefully, which in this case means weighing the consequences of every word, is a matter of life or death, and not just metaphorically speaking.

When the Church stops being militant, it stops being triumphant, and militancy by definition precludes the urge not to offend secular sensibilities, which are growing more delicate by the minute.

The Pope said little wrong, semantically. But the overall tone of his remarks has encouraged atheists – and they never forgo their militancy – to ignore the denotation and respond to the connotation.

Hence, the mendacious nonsense in The Independent: “The Pope made comments which experts said put an end to the ‘pseudo theories’ of creationism and intelligent design that some argue were encouraged by his predecessor, Benedict XVI.”

Benedict XVI believed that the world was created by God, which was a job requirement for his post. Being also a thinker and philosopher, he mocked the trumped-up conflict between ‘creationism’ and evolution.

“The doctrine of evolution,” he wrote, “does not answer every query, especially the great philosophical question: where does everything come from? And how did everything start which ultimately led to man?”

Pope Benedict, along with other intelligent men, knows that, because such questions are metaphysical, they can only have metaphysical answers. If Pope Francis knows it too, one wishes he expressed himself with the kind of clarity that would preclude lying comments in the atheist press.

No one in his right mind would interpret the Pope’s remarks as disavowing Creation. But strident ideologues, such as the anonymous ‘experts’ mentioned in The Independent, do.

If Francis’s views on evolution sit more or less comfortably within Christian doctrine, his statement on crime and punishment I’m afraid doesn’t.

Specifically, His Holiness opposed in no uncertain terms not just the death penalty but also life imprisonment. This is his right as an individual, but not as the spiritual and institutional leader of Christians.

Even on a purely individual level, his rationale is puzzling: the media and politicians, said the Pope, advocate “violence and revenge, public and private, not only against those responsible for crimes, but also against those under suspicion, justified or not”.

Right. So media and politicians favour bumping people off merely on suspicion. Perhaps they do, or rather used to, in the Pope’s native land, but one doesn’t often hear an MP, congressman or even an Independent hack advocating any such thing.

Moreover, most Western countries have abandoned the death penalty even for convicted murderers, in my view ill-advisedly. Yet Catholic teaching doesn’t proscribe capital punishment, the Pope acknowledged.

That is God’s own truth, often expressed by Fathers of the Church. The Church’s view of the death penalty is inseparable from its view on death. A vicious criminal must be deprived of his life in earth, both to protect the still living and to render him to God’s judgement in afterlife.

Thus, for example, St Augustine: It is in no way contrary to the commandment, ‘Thou shalt not kill’ to wage war at God’s bidding, or for the representatives of public authority to put criminals to death, according to the law, that is, the will of the most just reason.”

St Thomas Aquinas confirms: “Therefore if a man be dangerous and infectious to the community, on account of some sin, it is praiseworthy and healthful that he be killed in order to safeguard the common good, since ‘a little leaven corrupteth the whole lump’ (1 Cor. 5:6).”

It would have been more helpful had the Pope restated the Christian position on such matters, rather than giving credence to one springing from liberal, which is to say atheist, consensus.

Real culture doesn’t need ministers

Who was England’s culture minister at the time of Shakespeare, Sidney and Donne?

Austria’s, during the period demarcated by Haydn at one end and Brahms at the other, with Mozart and Beethoven in between?

Russia’s, from Pushkin and Gogol to Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky?

Venice’s, from Bellini to Tintoretto, via Titian?

Tuscany’s, when Duccio and Piero della Francesca painted their masterpieces?

France’s, when Rabelais used fictional titans to satirise real pygmies?

No one, is the answer to all these questions, which only goes to show how backward people were before the advent of modernity.

These days most countries, emphatically including Britain, Austria, Italy, Russia and France, have placed their culture into the safe hands of government ministries.

These are led by officials whose whole lives must have prepared them for the arduous task of shaping their lands’ cultural output and pushing it up to new plateaus of greatness.

However, post hoc, ergo propter hoc being a rhetorical fallacy and all that, one is sorely tempted to detect an inverse relationship between a country’s culture and the presence of a minister at its helm.

Observing all those countries rapidly sliding into out-and-out barbarism, one may suggest, without much claim to logical rigour, that they’ve suffered their cultural demise not when they acquired culture ministers, but specifically because of it.

Such jaundiced speculations are going to become wider, thanks to France’s new culture minister Fleur ‘Flower’ Pellerin.

This pretty 41-year-old, usually photographed with a neckline plunging down to her navel, told a TV interviewer that she loved Patrick Modiano, the French novelist who earlier this month won the Nobel prize for literature.

Asked which of his novels had impressed her most, ‘Flower’ couldn’t name a single one.

When the interviewer expressed a mild surprise, the culture minister admitted “without the slightest difficulty” that, being a busy person, she had no time to read books.

Now allow me to provide a little local backdrop.

The French hold bookishness in much higher esteem than the British do. Their university graduates tend to be better-read than ours, or at least better at pretending they are.

Thus few people in Britain are scandalised when finding out that Tony Blair hasn’t read a serious book since his student days, if then. We don’t hold such illiteracy against our politicians – in fact it enhances their popular appeal.

The French tend to be different, and they also tend to be more overtly patriotic than we are. Hence every achievement, no matter how trivial, by a French citizen receives wide, not to say cloying, publicity – especially if said achievement confirms the sense of cultural superiority most Frenchmen share.

Add the two tendencies together, and you’ll see why Modiano’s name, along with the titles of all his books, has been splashed all over the French press with gallons of typographic paint.

Anyone who has as much as opened a French broadsheet over the last fortnight has Modiano coming out of his ears, and it’s as hard for a Frenchman, even a non-reading one, not to learn the titles of Modiano’s books as for an American not to know Kim Kardashian’s vital statistics (38-26.5-40, for the ignoramuses among you).

In other words, the lovely ‘Flower’ has no time not only for books but also for newspapers, at least those sections that don’t deal with the latest opinion polls.

The French are surprised, which is the only thing that surprises me. They simply don’t seem to understand the nature of modern government.

At first glance it appears that a culture minister who doesn’t read books is as incongruous as a pacifist defence minister or a finance minister who regards money as filthy lucre and the source of all evil.

The assumption is that someone put in charge of a government department ought to be familiar with the field under its aegis. This assumption is woefully wrong.

It’s no more necessary for a government bureaucrat to possess such knowledge than it was for the Nazi Gauleiter of the Ukraine Erich Koch to learn Ukrainian.

Koch represented an occupying power, and so, in a way, does a modern culture minister. Mlle Pellerin’s brief is not to return France to her former artistic glory but to use public funds to bend culture to the state’s egalitarian will.

Since things can only ever be equalised at the lowest common denominator, ignorance and cultural barbarism aren’t disqualifying characteristics for the post. They are practically job requirements.

A cultivated and refined culture minister might diverge funds to promote real art, as opposed to electronically enhanced flatulence, tasteless scribbles, unmade beds and pickled animals (I’m not sure what the French equivalents of those last two are, but I’m certain they exist).

That simply wouldn’t do. Before long schoolchildren would learn enough discernment to realise that not all tastes are equally valid or all judgements equally sound. When they grow up, they may even notice that yet another ‘leader’ is capable of jamming a dozen grammatical and logical solecisms into a short speech.

This would undermine the very foundations of modern politics, casting the state adrift like a rudderless ship. People would demand to be governed by public-spirited statesmen, not power-grabbing spivs, and where would we be then?

Summing up, Mlle Pellerin is perfect for her job, and I can only compliment my friend François Hollande on his keen, and widely publicised, eye for female beauty.




Bach was an impostor – isn’t that a lovely story?

I know I’m repeating myself, but, as we all know, repetition is the mother of all learning.

Not everyone has yet learned that we’re living in a lunatic asylum run by its inmates, and so, at the risk of repeating myself, I have to produce more factual evidence.

Mercifully, the newspapers never disappoint. The current big story picked up by all our broadsheets is that some of J.S. Bach’s best works were actually written by his second wife Anna Magdalena.

Specifically this multi-talented woman is supposed to be given credit for parts of the Goldberg Variations, the six cello suites and, according to one source, the B Minor Mass.

If true, this is a remarkable achievement reemphasising the endless potential of womenfolk, whose talents have been suppressed by beastly men throughout history, a gross injustice feminists are undoing even as we speak.

One would have thought that Anna Magdalena would have had her hands full, looking after Bach’s four surviving children from the seven he had fathered in his first marriage, giving birth to 13 of her own, running the rather crowded household, continuing a professional vocal career and acting as Bach’s amanuensis, especially in his later years when his eyesight failed him.

But this indomitable lady still found time in her busy schedule to knock off some of the greatest music ever written. It’s only because of the inherent misogyny of the world that her contribution has gone unrecognised for 400 years.

Until the Aussie academic Martin Jarvis came along. Using expert graphologists he came to the only possible conclusion: Anna Magdalena didn’t just write down her husband’s work on lined paper – she actually composed much of it.

All ye of little faith, sit up and listen. Mrs Bach’s handwriting didn’t show the strain of someone copying written documents and, if that doesn’t convince you, editing marks show she had to stop and correct the music as she went along.

Case made, beyond not just reasonable doubt but any other kind as well. Of course inveterate sceptics might argue that an alternative explanation just would be possible. And, dare one say it, it would be rather more persuasive than the cock-and-bull story peddled by Dr Jarvis.

For example, since in his later years Bach couldn’t see well enough to write, he composed at his clavier, with Anna Magdalena writing the music down. And even before he went partially blind, Bach was known to dictate his music as he composed it. This would explain both the editing marks and Anna Magdalena’s handwriting showing no signs of a copyist.

Then again, the cello suites were written between 1717 and 1723, while Bach married Anna Magdalena only in 1721, almost immediately after his first wife’s death. So can we please give him credit for at least some of the suites?

(Thankfully, no one has suggested yet that Mrs Tolstoy actually wrote War and Peace – a remarkable restraint, considering that no fewer than seven copies of the manuscript were written in her hand.)

The amazing thing is that Jarvis himself is well aware of the falsity of his claims: “My conclusions may not be wholly accurate,” he says, “but the way in which tradition has put Anna Magdalena into this pathetic role… is rubbish.”

For the benefit of those of you who aren’t fluent in Australian, allow me to translate. Jarvis’s isn’t an open and shut case. In fact, he has no case at all.

What he does have is a thirst for publicity, a keen nose for the potential appeal of any feminist gibberish, no matter how insane, and the ready outlet of major newspapers experienced in translating feminism into sales.

It’s not just feminism either. Another clinical symptom of modern madness is egalitarianism, the desire to bring everyone, ideally including sublime geniuses, down to the level of the masses who are all ‘self-evidently’ supposed to be ‘created equal’.

Thus Mozart, who was not only one of history’s greatest composers but also one of the cleverest men in his contemporaneous Vienna, has to be depicted as some kind of idiot savant, an Asperger sufferer who, although stupid in every way, was somehow able to compose some pretty mellifluous tunes.

It takes monumental ignorance to be unaware of the gigantic intellectual effort that goes into musical composition to believe that any great composer could ever be the infantile cretin of Schafer’s fancy. Or else it takes the craving so powerfully described by the Russian poet Pushkin when talking about the public depiction of Byron:

“The crowd greedily reads confessions, memoirs, etc., because in its baseness it rejoices at the abasement of the high, at the weakness of the strong. It is in rapture at the disclosure of anything loathsome. ‘He is small like us; he is loathsome like us!’ You are lying, you scoundrels: he’s small and he’s loathsome, but not the way you are – differently.”

Jarvis obviously feels the same need. It doesn’t seem to occur to him that the kind of genius that goes into composing works like the cello suites, not to mention the B Minor Mass, takes over its possessor.

Had Anna Magdalena indeed written several pieces of immortal music, we would have had ample evidence of her spending every waking moment writing – or at least trying to write – more. She wouldn’t have been able to run a perfect bourgeois household and look after a crowd of children the size of a football squad.

Yet her real, historical role as wife and mother, the great man’s faithful friend and assistant, the bedrock of his life seems ‘pathetic’ to modern sensibilities. Hence the concoction of the frankly idiotic fairy tale about a sublime composer who never received due credit for her attainments.

Hence also the alacrity with which our previously respectable papers have picked up the non-story. What a mad world we live in!






Political correctness is no joking matter

Political correctness also existed back in the USSR, so nostalgically remembered by the Beatles. The basic concept was the same as in today’s West, but the interpretation was different.

Far from being proscribed, jokes about racial minorities, Jews, women and cripples were actively encouraged.

The political correctness the authorities enforced really was political. Hence a joke about communism or any of its figureheads would act as a starting gun for a race.

The listeners, including the joker’s close friends, would fall over themselves rushing to report the offender to the KGB (or its precursors).

The winner of the race would receive an accolade, doing his career no harm. The losers could well be prosecuted under Article 58.12 of the USSR Criminal Code, covering ‘not reporting counterrevolutionary activity’.

Colloquially called ‘knew but didn’t tell’, the Article left much leeway for the prosecution. Its strict letter provided for a maximum punishment of six months in prison, which in those days only qualified as a mild rebuke.

But if the spirit moved the prosecutor, he could link Article 58.12 to others, including those calling for the capital punishment or, more usually, a tenner in the camps (which for all practical purposes amounted to the same thing).

In my post-Stalin youth the Article changed its number, and it got to be evoked less frequently. Yet a political joke laughingly told in boozy company could still be punished by imprisonment or, more often, expulsion from a university or sacking from a job.

It’s refreshing to see how rapidly today’s West is moving in the same direction.

Jokes aren’t yet treated as treason against the state, although that may come in due course. For the time being they’re only punished if they betray the diktats of the modern ethos.

Nor is criminal prosecution practised yet, though we shouldn’t hold our breath. Yet an unfortunate joker may already suffer a campaign of public opprobrium and concomitant career repercussions.

Two current cases, one Russian, the other British, illustrate the point.

Chronologically, the first one involved Shamil Tarpischev, president of the Russian Tennis Federation and admittedly an unsavoury character.

Russia’s pre-Vlad president, Yeltsyn, was a tennis buff, and Tarpischev was his favourite coach. As such he belonged to the presidential coterie that differed from a mafia only in insignificant details.

Proximity to the godfather, at that time Yeltsyn, was both a necessary and sufficient condition for advancement, and Tarpischev advanced all the way to the post of Sports Minister.

Now if you’ll allow some background, the sports establishment in the USSR was run by the KGB. The reason is self-evident: world-class athletes by definition had to travel the world, which was the highest privilege ever afforded a Soviet citizen.

Hence the ranks of athletes had to be heavily infiltrated by those whose mission in life was to enforce loyalty and ideological purity. Thus every Soviet sports ‘delegation’ travelled in the company of numerous KGB minders under the guise of interpreters, team doctors, administrators, tour guides and whatnot.

The USSR Sports Committee effectively was a KGB department, and the fusion of sports and secret police was maintained when history ended and Democracy vanquished.

Except that by then the secret police itself had fused with the criminal underworld to such an extent that it was impossible to tell where one ended and the other began (Col. Vlad, he of a $40 billion fortune, is a prime example of this amalgam).

The mafia potential of sports is endless, what with betting on results being rife in most Western countries. Tennis in particular, as an individual sport with heaps of funding in it, offers a perfect arena for throwing matches for money.

Followers of the sport must have caught a whiff of many such scandals, typically featuring Eastern European and Russian players. US authorities certainly did when in 1993 they denied Tarpischev an American visa for his alleged links with organised crime.

Though he vehemently denied the charges, the poor chap missed the Olympic games in Atlanta and narrowly made the semi-finals of the Federation Cup, even though he captained the Russian team.

All this is par for the course. Let him travel to the Crimea, I say. Tarpischev deserves everything the West can throw at him.

But he doesn’t deserve the censure to which he was subjected simply for a joke – stupid, unfunny, but still only a joke nonetheless.

Speaking on a Russian TV chat show, Tarpischev referred to the Williams sisters as ‘Williams brothers’, alluding to the masculine power of their game.

A worldwide scandal erupted, and the WTA banned Tarpischev from women’s tennis for a year, fining him $25,000 into the bargain.

Serena Williams, whose body shape doesn’t resemble any man of my acquaintance, issued a public statement describing Tarpischev’s joke as racist. Having read the text of his remarks, I found no references to race, but then of course any offence to a black person is ipso facto racist in our politically correct world.

After all, didn’t our own courts rule that a racial offence is anything the offended person says it is? Hence, if the Williams sisters feel insulted, then anyone saying, for example, that Serena looks overweight or that Venus’ game is in the doldrums is a racist.

Come on, ladies, a joke is a joke. Tarpischev will never make it as a comedian, and he’s a nasty bit of work, but surely in this instance Serena and the WTA have overreacted?

Now Jimmy Carr has made it as a comedian, in spades (no racially offensive pun intended). His stock in trade is jokes treading a fine line beyond which humour ends and savagery begins.

It’s a matter of personal taste, but I like him. Though I wouldn’t be able to defend this view, for me a joke is funny or not. I apply no other judgement to it, although others are perfectly within their right to do so.

Thus I laugh when Jimmy says, for instance, “They say there’s safety in numbers. Go tell that to the six million Jews.”

Perhaps I shouldn’t laugh, but I do. Moreover, though others may not find this joke humorous, only a self-righteous moron… sorry, I meant ‘modern’ would attack Jimmy for endorsing, or even trivialising, genocide.

This time he got in hot water over a joke about Pistorius. Talking about a lavatory queue, Jimmy quipped:

“So frustrating. All I’m saying is I can see it from Oscar Pistorius’ point of view. That’s not the controversial bit. Here it comes… I blame her. If she hadn’t been in that disabled toilet none of this would have happened.”

An explosion of public indignation ensued instantly. Thank God all the characters in that tragedy were white. Had they been black, Jimmy would be branded as a racist, with career-ending implications.

We all hold certain things to be off limits for jokes. However, exactly what those things are may cause a divergence of opinion.

I might suggest that jokes about Christianity, coming in a non-stop stream from every stand-up venue, overstep the limit. But the gods of old civilisations invariably become the demons of new ones.

New civilisations demand new gods, and hence today’s deification of political correctness. How long before it dawns upon us that, largely for that reason, our civilisation isn’t worthy of the name?



My friend José Manuel Barroso has a point

The EU has just told Britain to top up her net contribution to the EU coffers by another 20 per cent or, in absolute numbers, £1.7 billion. The deadline is 1 December.

This being close to a by-election in which Ukip is leading the Tories by 13 points, Dave felt called upon to throw that extortionist demand back into those Euro mugs.

“If people think I am paying that bill on 1 December, they have another think coming,” he intoned, both mendaciously and incorrectly.

The mendacity should be visible to the naked eye. Dave pretends to be someone he isn’t: a statesman capable of facing up to the EU.

If he were such a statesman, he would have simply refused to pay the money, full stop. Being what he is, a cynical, self-serving spiv, he only said he wasn’t going to pay on 1 December.

Like someone responding to a ransom demand, Dave complained he hadn’t been given enough time to put the sum together. “C’mon, at least give me until the middle of the month,” seems to be the implication.

His outburst is also factually incorrect. He won’t be paying anything on any date – we will. I know this thought may sound quaint to our spivocrats, but they actually don’t own public funds. The public does. We. Us.

We’re the ones picking up the tab for Britain’s EU ‘contributions’, which is more accurately describable as us paying protection money without getting the protection.

The arrangement has been depicted in various films and TV shows, starting with The Godfather and starring fine Italian-American actors. The difference between a Mafia shakedown and Britain paying the EU is that it’s generally believed that we proffer our hard-earned voluntarily.

That, of course, is another lie. I for one don’t recall consenting to pay a part of my income to subsidise the Common Agricultural Policy, which is to say French farmers. I already pay them enough each time we go to our local market in France.

Anyway, José Manuel quite reasonably said that the shakedown “should not have come as a surprise” to Dave.

He was absolutely right, though not exactly in the way he meant it. Barroso was suggesting that the demand naturally flowed out of all sorts of agreements Britain had entered into, which is God’s own truth.

But it’s only part of the truth, and an infinitesimally small part at that.

The shakedown is a natural aspect not only of the EU, but also of any other giant socialist project, which is exactly what the EU is.

Tossing aside the mythology of socialism and focusing instead on its essence, we’ll identify a plethora of traits. Then we’ll realise that the EU shows every one of them, in spades.

Politically, socialism (and so-called social democracy dominant in all Western European states is no different) is all about transferring power from the periphery to the centre – both geographically and, more important, essentially.

While enveloping itself in the smokescreen of slogans along the lines of ‘all power to the people’, socialism takes power away from the people and concentrates it in the hands of a small, more or less homogeneous elite.

Aggressive socialism effects this transfer quickly and violently; ‘democratic’ socialism does so gradually and bloodlessly.

But the result is the same: whatever power people think they have is illusory. They can’t, for example, vote the ruling elite out. They can only shift power from one party within the elite to its virtual twin, albeit bearing a different name.

One key lever the elite uses to prise power away from the people, in whose name it supposedly governs, is financial. It’s in the elite’s interests to take as much money away from those who have more of it than others, for money spells independence from the state.

The less money people have left, the more they are dependent on the state, which is precisely the idea. That’s why, for example, the state constantly increases the underclass dependent on it directly and wholly.

To any reasonable person, such social engineering is ruinous financially and, even worse, corrupting morally. But the state has its own reason, its own inner imperative, and, when judged by its own criteria, it proceeds from unassailable logic.

Exactly the same principles apply internationally. Socialists have always craved a single world government, a global cosmos activating the same mechanisms as each national microcosm.

The logic of socialism demands an ad infinitum growth of the state. This presupposes the government outgrowing its national boundaries and removing itself even farther away from the people it governs.

If a national state applies socialist principles to bullying its subjects, the resulting supranational entity applies them to bullying its constituent national states.

Money plays exactly the same role here, but obviously on a much grander scale. Just as a socialist state seeks to renders its financially virile citizens fiscally impotent, so does a superstate, in this case the EU, seek to lessen the power of the financially stronger states – especially those outside its Franco-German elite.

Hence our money will go straight to Germany and France, who’ll get it in the form of rebates. A socialist nation state taxes its wealth producers at a higher rate than everyone else; the supranational state the EU is in all but name taxes a temporarily more successful Britain in favour of the temporarily less successful France and Germany.

When our economy has been brought down to the level of France, it’s conceivable that less money will be extorted from us. There would be no point: Britain will have lost even a semblance of financial independence and hence room for manoeuvre.

Whenever we contemplate the EU’s actions, we must remember that, like any other socialist enterprise, the ends it pursues aren’t so much economical as political. Money is only a tool, or rather a weapon.

So Barroso is right: since Britain is the only European economy that seems to be growing at the moment, it has to be brought down a peg. Otherwise, Ukip and much of the Tory party would start getting ideas beyond their station.

They would find it easier to argue that Britain would be better off without the EU, which of course is true in any case. But the point is that the EU would be worse off without Britain, and this is the only point that matters.

It would be easier for Dave, Ed, José Manuel or whomever to argue that Britain needs the EU if we were as impoverished as France is rapidly becoming.

Hence the new shakedown. And hence also Dave’s frankly pathetic objections to it.

A walk through psychiatric wards in England and elsewhere

The theme of madness keeps recurring in this space, and it’ll continue to do so.

Madness is of course a clinically imprecise term, what with mental disorders coming in all shapes and sizes.

However, common to many patients, such as those suffering from schizophrenic and paranoid delusions, is losing touch with reality.

As with any other illness, the symptoms may vary from mild to severe, and psychiatric patients must be grouped together accordingly.

So let’s accept that today’s news is actually a series of dispatches from a mental hospital, and let’s further imagine that we’re walking through it ward by ward. In that spirit:

WARD 1 (MILD TO MODERATE): The Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu, the second most important Anglican prelate, insists the C of E should break the confidentiality of confession when the parishioner confesses paedophilia.

What about mass murder? High treason? Group rape resulting in life-threatening injuries? His Grace obviously believes paedophilia, a vile crime as it is, trumps them all, which means reality makes no inroads on his mind.

If further proof is needed to nail the diagnosis down, Dr Sentamu has manifestly blocked out of his consciousness some fundamental Christian doctrines, such as the sanctity of confession.

The confessor isn’t a police informer, Your Grace. He’s the intermediary between the confessing Christian and God. And God has his own ways of punishing sinners, which punitive measures don’t include summary arrest and speedy trial by jury.

Only in places where the Church forfeits its mission and acts as an adjunct to the state do confessing priests act as snitches. Russia, for example, developed this arrangement under the tsars and perfected it under the Bolsheviks.

If this is the model the good Archbishop sees in his mind’s eye, his mind urgently requires medical attention.

WARD 2 (MODERATE TO SEVERE): The Times ‘Friends’ cartoon, subtitled ‘Unholy Alliances’, is symptomatic of worrying paranoid delusions.

The cartoon depicts six great villains: Hitler, Mao, Kim, Putin, Assad and… well, who do you think belongs in this company? Lenin? Stalin? Amin? Attila the Hun?

No, Nigel Farage. One infers that Nigel must advocate democide, aggression against foreign countries, the cult of his own personality, no free press, artificial famines, genocide, concentration camps, political assassination…

You don’t think so? That’s because you’re sane. The editorial staff of The Times, on the other hand, are suffering from malignant anxiety and paranoia.

They are so scared of Ukip consigning the Tories to a third position in the polls that they’ve developed the kind of delusions against which psychotropic drugs are helpless. Frontal lobotomy seems to be the only solution, but then by the looks of it these chaps have undergone it already.

WARD 3 (SEVERE): Our own dear parliament often debates, and occasionally passes, crazy bills. But the symptoms hardly ever go beyond the moderate category.

Russia’s parliament, the Duma, goes us one better. Thus Dr (jurisprudence) Yelena Mizulina, head of the Duma Commission on Women’s Affairs, justifies the most extreme of diagnoses with room to spare.

Russia is currently experiencing both quantitative and qualitative problems with childbirth. The country’s population is going down at an alarming rate, and much of the new brood is genetically compromised by the parents’ affection for liquid refreshments.

Dr Mizulina proposes to solve both demographic problems in one fell swoop by the expedient of every young Russian woman conceiving Putin’s children.

Now even though Russia’s population is declining, she still boasts millions of women of childbearing age. Hence, without casting aspersion on Vlad’s well-publicised virility or doubting that his offspring would indeed represent a breeding triumph, his busy schedule probably would prevent him from doing the honours across the board.

Not to worry: Dr Mizulina keeps abreast of modern scientific advances: “My proposal is essentially simple,” she says. “Every female citizen will receive Putin’s genetic material by post, get pregnant by him and give birth. Such mothers will receive special benefits from the state.”

In due course Putin’s children will be brought up in military schools to be imbued with the spirit of devotion to the motherland in general and the president in particular.

“The children born to Russia’s president,” says Dr Mizulina, “will in future form the military and political elite of the state.”

Considering the length of the proposed breeding cycle, I’m unlikely to see it to its conclusion. That is a pity, for I (along, no doubt, with Peter Hitchens and Christopher Booker) would love to see such a state in action.

However, I must compliment Dr Mizulina on having removed the last remaining doubts on the historical genesis of Putin’s Russia.

Not that I expect everyone to see the light immediately. After all, some still deny, for example, that Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany were ideological twins.

For the benefit of those doubting Thomases, here’s a link to a graphic comparison of Soviet and Nazi posters: http://fototelegraf.ru/?p=173168 Not only are they practically identical in pictorial subjects and captions, but, a more reliable telltale sign, they obviously proceed from the same aesthetic and hence philosophical premise.

Dr Mizulina may suffer from many mental disorders, but monomania isn’t one of them. A true Renaissance woman, this academic parliamentarian applies herself to a multitude of issues.

For example, she has proposed a bill to expel all Jews from Russia on the grounds that “we have enough of our own problems.” (I’ll spare you the historical parallels.)

Dr Mizulina also believes that childless women should be barred from access to higher education. The underlying notion of a woman’s role in society could be described in English, but this wouldn’t have the alliterative ring of the German Kinder, Küche, Kirche. (No historical parallels, I stand by my promise.)

All these proposals have reached the level of Duma debate, strongly suggesting that Dr Mizulina isn’t the only MP in need of psychiatric help.

Rejected so far is her draft bill on Banning sexual intercourse on the territory of the Crimean Republic and Sebastopol, which Dr Mizulina justifies by stating that “it’s not what we annexed the Crimea for”.

No, of course not. The purpose of said annexation must have been to depopulate the peninsula by both short-term and long-term measures. The immediate objective was achieved by the mass exodus resulting from Putin’s conquest, and trust Dr Mizulina to think many moves ahead.

This concludes our today’s tour of the madhouse of modernity. There will be many more, I promise.



The Tories are running out of bribery money

If you read about as fast as I do, it has taken you three seconds to read this headline.

During the same time the UK national debt has grown by £15,510, which is, you must agree, pretty good going.

Or, depending on your point of view, pretty bad going. Catastrophic, come to think of it.

Our debt is currently but a cat’s whisker under £1.5 trillion. If it continues to accelerate at the same rate, over the next five years it’ll grow by £8,152,056,000,000. Before long we’ll be talking serious money.

Still, the money may be serious, but the way we, well, I mean the government and the press, talk about it isn’t. In fact, the remarks one reads are downright frivolous.

The papers report that George Osborne has just discovered that our borrowing has in the first six months of the year overshot the target by £20 billion.

Both George and the papers that are in thrall to his party find this situation unacceptable, as well they should.

Yet what troubles them isn’t that the economy is rapidly heading for a massive crash that’ll make us think of 2008 with nostalgic longing.

No, the problem as they see it is that they’ll find it hard to bribe the voters with pre-election giveaways, such as a sizeable tax cut.

By now we’ve become sufficiently fluent in the modern jargon to know that, when a government talks about a giveaway, its intention isn’t to give but to take marginally less.

By the same token, a mugger who cleans you out but, out of the goodness of his heart, leaves you three quid for the bus fare home isn’t actually giving you something. He’s just robbing you by a slightly smaller amount.

Those who understand the jargon don’t of course expect any key words to be used in their real meaning. Thus the word ‘liberalism’ is widely used to denote transfer of power from the individual to the state, which is exactly opposite to what the word really means.

Staying with economics, we’ve learned that ‘austerity’ is the new meaning of profligacy, ‘quantitative easing’ means deepening the fiscal abyss by printing money, and ‘growth’ stands for shifting cash from one pocket to the other while claiming that each shift is tantamount to GDP growth.

Still, call it a giveaway, a tax cut or a cynical attempt to buy our votes with our own money, our present austerity, otherwise known as profligacy, means the Tories can’t afford it, whatever you call it. Hence they can’t bribe their way to power, and that’s naturally all they care about.

Never mind that the country is bankrupt, if we define bankruptcy as liabilities exceeding assets. Never mind that the state is chronically unable to pay its own way. Never mind that we spend more on servicing the existing debt than on defence of the realm. Never mind that future generations will be beggared by the ruinous debt. May 2015 is all that matters.

This unfolds to the accompaniment of bleating coming from Keynesian economists, talking about ‘paradigm shifts’ and ‘new models’.

Essentially, they are saying that spending more than you earn is good for you. Not you personally, mind you. Irresponsible urination of money against the wall isn’t good for you individually – it’s good for the collective you, the people at large.

Somehow the big numbers are supposed to invalidate Adam Smith’s common sense he evinced by remarking that “What is prudence in the conduct of every private family can scarce be folly in that of a great Kingdom.”

A private family knows that, if its outgoings keep exceeding its income, things will be fine for a while. But sooner or later they’ll become less fine, then not fine at all, and then the bailiffs knock on the door.

We are expected to believe that the state operates to a different ‘model’, but it doesn’t really. It’s just that the state has a greater power than an individual to defer the day of judgement – but not indefinitely. Sooner or later the penny will drop and, to mix the metaphors ever so slightly, the balloon will go up.

The only way for Britain to regain its erstwhile solvency is to change the whole ‘liberal’ basis of our economy. Without going into too much detail, we should do things that are known to work, not those that are solely founded on bien pensant wishful thinking of the ‘liberal’, which is to say socialist, genre.

Keeping public spending down, ideally under 25 per cent of GDP, works. So does offering welfare only to those who legitimately can’t work, as opposed to won’t. So does denationalising most of the health service. So does reducing government bureaucracy. So do income-tax rates at least half of their present extortionist level. So does not having to pay tribute to foreign powers.

Every country that introduced such policies thrived as a result (the Asian ‘tiger economies’ spring to mind). Every country that followed our ‘model’ more or less closely developed the same problem sooner or later.

But those statesmen who knew that Smith was right and acted accordingly didn’t do so because they wanted to bribe the electorate. They did it because they wanted their countries to do well.

I am not so naïve as to think that any measures I’ve touched upon would be politically feasible. Our democracy run riot corrupts not only the politicians but also the voters.

A Chancellor bold enough to suggest anything along those lines would stop being Chancellor at the end of his speech plus three minutes, tops. The whole cabinet would probably follow in his footsteps on the road to political oblivion.

That’s why, barring a calamity that doesn’t bear thinking about, we’ll be for ever stuck with chaps willing to beggar the nation for the sake of the next election or, even worse, some abhorrent ideology.

Meanwhile, if you’ve read all of this article, you’ve missed a major economic event: during this time our national debt has grown by £1,706,100.






Dispatches from the madhouse (otherwise known as news)

If you still doubt we’re living in a lunatic asylum run by the inmates, read today’s papers, especially our domestic news.

World news does occasionally introduce a faint touch of sanity, this time supplied by France.

The cast of Opéra Bastille in Paris stopped singing La Traviata halfway through, and not in protest to its demotic music.

The singers objected to the sight of a burka-clad woman in the audience. And – make sure you’re prepared for the shock – no one called the police to have the reactionary vocalists arrested.

Instead the ushers evicted the woman over her loud protests, and the performance resumed. The evictors were on safe grounds because wearing garments that conceal the person’s face is illegal in France.

But, having spent much of my life in the company of musicians, singers and other artists, I rather doubt that the cast felt they had to strike a blow for legality.

I suspect their reaction was purely aesthetic: vive la différence and all that, but too much différence is unsettling, especially if it’s supplied by a civilisation openly and aggressively hostile to ours.

A burka in a public place makes an aesthetically unacceptable and philosophically aggressive statement. It’s an open challenge to our civilisation, even at its low end represented by Verdi. And performers hate to have to contend with any challenges other than artistic ones – hence the reaction.

Turn the page to domestic news, and the spirit of sanity instantly evaporates.

A private Christian school in the Home Counties has been threatened with closure and had its Ofsted rating downgraded from ‘good’ to ‘adequate’ because it is, well, Christian.

As such, it emphasises Christianity at the expense of other faiths, such as Islam, which are all supposed to be equal, especially Islam (Chesterton’s quip – I wish I had said it first).

Thus the school’s assemblies are led by Christian priests rather than, say, Muslim imams, a practice that supposedly teaches the pupils to disrespect other faiths.

This constitutes an egregious affront to the clinical condition going by the name of modernity – though not, one suspects, to the pupils and their parents.

After all, they must have known what they were in for when deciding to select a private Christian school and pay good money in tuition fees. It’s conceivable, though abhorrent to me as a lifelong champion of political correctness, that they actually feel that Christianity isn’t just one of the equally valid options on the table, but the only true religion.

And even if it isn’t, it’s still the faith that produced our civilisation. Parents sending their children to Christian schools perhaps lament the demise of this civilisation and are desperate to cling on to whatever is left of it.

That doesn’t mean that they want their little ones to grow up as bigots hating proponents of other faiths. It does, however, mean that they probably regard the government’s demand for equal time to be afforded to, say, Islam to be intrusive, tyrannical and, well, insane.

To verify that diagnosis they are probably asking all sorts of probing questions. Such as, how many Muslim schools have their assemblies led by Christian priests or Jewish rabbis? Surely what’s sauce for the Christian goose ought to be sauce for the Muslim gander?

And if it isn’t, our supposedly Christian country is insisting that a religion openly hostile to Christianity and Christians be given not just equal but indeed preferential treatment. Any competent psychiatrist will diagnose such insistence as a reliable symptom of a mental disorder.

Turn the page, and the clinical report is getting more detailed. A London bus driver and a Brighton supermarket are being ‘investigated’ for trying to stop, respectively, a male and a female homosexual couple engaging in foreplay on their premises.

The bus driver is reported to have shouted “Oi, you two don’t do that on my f****** bus or you can get off, I don’t want to watch that.”

The loving couple couldn’t believe their ears. To check their hearing, they asked the driver if he was speaking to them.

“Yes,” he replied, “it’s my bus, it’s my rules and I don’t want to watch that, it’s disgusting, get off the bus.”

I realise that in our mad world it’s impossible to have anything against any form of public behaviour, provided it’s not endangering innocent bystanders’ life and limb.

Yet, at the risk of being branded a retrograde fascist homophobe (yet again), I’d suggest that any sexual activity, penetrative or otherwise, homo- or heterosexual, is best practised in private.

However, while I’d find the sight of a boy and a girl French-kissing in public to be annoying, my reaction to two men doing it would be exactly the same as that bus driver’s. I’d be disgusted.

Now the veneer of good manners I’m trying, with variable success, to keep in place would probably prevent me from expressing my disgust in the same forthright manner. But it’s not just the driver’s locution that made the two homosexuals disbelieve their ears.

They felt or, in all likelihood, feigned incredulity at the very fact that someone might find what they were doing objectionable.

Homosexual activists pretend that they want their ‘lifestyle’ to be treated tolerantly, which is fair enough. But tolerance, as I never tire of repeating, isn’t a suicide pact.

Homosexuals engage in a practice that most civilisations, including our Christian one, regard as a mortal sin. It’s not the worst sin, for if it were it would have merited a place either among the biblical commandments or the patristic deadly sins.

But a sin it is, in both Testaments on which our civilisation rests. Hence tolerance to it has to be a two-way street: the sinners undertake not to flaunt their transgression and others agree not to harass them.

That’s how things have been in England for many decades, when the country was still sane. The bilateral compact was honoured bilaterally, and perfectly clubbable gentlemen got their jollies without anyone being too exercised about it.

This is no longer good enough in our loony bin. Homosexuals now insist on being accepted on their own terms. The distinction between virtue and sin, normal and perverse, right and wrong not only is no longer recognised, but those who draw it are about to be criminalised, if they aren’t already.

However, though ideology can trump any sane beliefs, sane visceral responses are more stubborn. And most heterosexuals do find homosexual canoodling to be disgusting, even though few would say so openly.

For example, without running a survey one can still venture a guess that most heteros would be offended by an explicit homosexual scene in a film, but not by an erotic scene featuring a man and a woman. That’s just how things are.

The bus driver is likely to be censured, possibly sacked, for enunciating, albeit in a crude form, a normal response of a normal person. But a sane man isn’t normal in a lunatic asylum.

And if you doubt that’s where we live, just read the morning papers.