Trump’s unforgivable crime

Messrs Mobutu, Suharto, Xi Jinping, Ceaușescu, Gorbachev, Mugabe and Putin have all ruled different countries at different times, which explains important distinctions among them.

However, one notices certain things they all have in common. Although variously despotic, they’re all tyrants. Although variously homicidal, they’re all murderers. Although variously contemptuous of liberties, they all abuse them.

And, the most salient similarity in the context of this article, they all paid state visits to Britain with nary a protest. Fair enough, during Ceaușescu’s visit a few Romanian malcontents unfurled a slogan or two outside Buck House. But that could hardly be classified as mass outrage.

It’s in this context that the psychotic reaction to the proposed visit of President Trump is particularly interesting.

Thousands of protesters have come out, led by such intellectual giants as Gary ‘I-hit-it-first-time-and-there-it-was-in-the-back-of-the-net’ Lineker. More than a million have signed a petition demanding that Mrs May cancel the invitation she had extended to Mr Trump. The heavily tattooed Times columnist India Knight has called for Trump to be assassinated (imagine a Times columnist sporting a shoulder tattoo 100 years ago, and you’ll see progress in all its grandeur).

Labour MP Dennis Skinner has appealed to Boris Johnson’s memory: “Will the Foreign Secretary just for a moment try to recall, along with me, as I hid underneath the stairs when two fascist dictators, Mussolini and Hitler, were raining bombs on towns and cities in Britain. Now this government are hand-in-hand with another fascist – Trump.” Mussolini didn’t do any raining, but let’s not be pedantic.

Now Trump isn’t everyone’s cup of bourbon. I for one await with apprehension further developments in his love affair with the aforementioned Putin. I’m worried about his understated commitment to collective security. I find most of his ideas, even those that have merit, to be simplistic. His economics seems dubious to me, his jingoism childish. I deplore his vulgarity of manner and most lamentable lapses of taste.

However, any sane person must see that on the scale of human goodness Trump is closer to Mother Teresa than to Hitler, Mussolini or indeed any of the gentlemen mentioned above. That’s conventional wisdom.

But according to the unconventional wisdom of the 1.3 million petitioners, Trump’s crimes are much worse than, say, Gorbachev’s (who ordered special forces to fire at peaceful demonstrations in Vilnus and elsewhere).

Moreover, most of those protesters aren’t bothered by things that bother me about the president. I doubt, for example, that Gary Lineker et al. have pondered deeply Trump’s views on economics or collective security. No, what in their minds makes Trump as bad as Hitler and worse than Ceaușescu is his meek, positively timid attempt to protect America from Islamic terrorism.

Trump’s order has put the general refugee programme on hold for 120 days and the admission of Syrian refugees indefinitely, suspended for a mere 90 days all entry visas from six particularly objectionable Muslim countries. Persecuted Christians from those places are exempt. Freely admitted are British Muslim subjects (which to me is a mistake – enough British-born Muslims have murdered enough people not to warrant a special treatment).

Not quite the final solution, you’ll agree, and not even the wholesale assault on every human liberty launched by Trump’s friend Putin. So why the mass hysteria?

Clearly, reason, that faculty in whose name modernity was adumbrated, plays no role whatsoever. Surely everybody can see that half the world’s population of 7.5 billion would rather live in the West than in their native countries? Since accommodating them all is obviously impossible, some immigration curbs are inevitable.

And surely Muslim immigration should be the first to be curbed? As anyone with eyes will see, Muslims en masse don’t adapt easily or willingly to Western ways. Surely even a sporadic newspaper reader knows that most terrorist acts in the world are committed by Muslims? Surely such a person will know that many such acts are committed by jihadists infiltrated into the West under the guise of refugees? Surely it’s no secret that thousands of mosques openly foment seditious hatred of the West, calling for jihad?

Yes, some of Trump’s measures have been executed clumsily and without due attention to detail. But, staying within the realm of reason, one can’t see offhand how these palliative, temporary steps can excite so much deranged, venomous indignation.

They don’t. Lineker et al. don’t have sleepless nights crying over those Muslim millions, in addition to the millions already here, who have to suffer living in Muslim lands. They respond not with their minds but with their viscera.

Their knee-jerk reaction isn’t caused by Trump’s affront to the notion of free movement of people. It’s caused by Trump’s blasphemy against the dominant cult of modernity, of which multi-culti rectitude is but one manifestation.

The pig’s head sitting atop the modern totem pole is worshipped not because it’s a particularly beautiful pig’s head, and not because it inspires love. It’s worshipped because it’s the only embodiment of modernity’s metaphysical cravings.

People can’t live without such cravings – ‘not by bread alone’ was a prophetic insight. Having abandoned God, modernity created its own glossocratic idol, and modernity is prepared to sacrifice everything at the foot of its totem pole.

What we’re observing is a shamanistic dance, not a reasoned response to some policies. People always display greater vehemence when protecting their cults than in defence of anything else, including their lives. When true ideals have been discarded, false idols fill the void.

This particular false idol is a man-eating ogre, but somehow such monsters inspire great devotion among our neo-pagan throngs. That’s where a parallel with Hitler would be valid:

Trump doesn’t resemble him at all, but the marchers are typological twins of the SA screaming Sieg Heil!!! in the visceral worship of their secular deity at a Nuremberg rally.

No sex please, we’re the British Medical Association

Don’t get me wrong: the BMA hasn’t yet outlawed sex in the sense of copulation. It has only taken issue with such admittedly offensive, sex-specific words as ‘mother’ and ‘father’.

(A disclaimer is in order: as a matter of both principle and taste, I eschew vulgar politicised usages, such as ‘gender’ when used outside grammar or colloquial banter, as in ‘gender-bender’. Nor do I use the title ‘Ms’. If a woman is married, I address her as ‘Mrs’; if she isn’t, or if I don’t know her marital status, as ‘Miss’.)

Actually, these very words have been out of fashion for quite some time now. Their diminutive, infantile versions ‘Mum’ and ‘Dad’ have taken over, and the time can’t be far away when the Church of England will insist of ‘Our Dad’ and ‘Mum of God’.

Then again, if it follows the BMA’s lead, it won’t. Those words aren’t ‘inclusive’ enough. A neutral ‘parent’ must rule the day.

So far that offensive idiocy hasn’t quite reached the ecclesiastical establishment, although it probably will before too long – our state church may well be ordered to be inclusive on pain of disestablishment.

But the medical establishment has already ruled that a pregnant woman can no longer be called an ‘expectant mother’ or indeed a ‘pregnant woman’. Such an outrageous designation may constitute a gross, traumatic insult to a pregnant woman in the process of changing sex to become a man.

And it isn’t just mother (‘Mum’) and father (‘Dad’). Other sex-specific words have also been banned, such as son and daughter, husband and wife, girlfriend and boyfriend. That is, they aren’t banned altogether – it’s just that their use can’t be allowed until it’s ascertained which sex someone wishes to be.

Now, as a lifelong supporter of progressive causes and a champion of the downtrodden masses deprived of freedom of choice, I welcome this initiative. Free choice is a core concept of our civilisation, and I for one insist on exercising it.

Acting in that spirit, I’ve chosen to be tall, dark, lean and handsome – defying the accident of nature that made me none of those things. If you want me to be more specific, look at a young photo of Gregory Peck – that’s me, as I wish to be and therefore am. If you dare to describe me in any other way, I’ll report you to the BMA.

Any woman reading this should instantly swoon and fall into my arms. Or any man, for that matter, if at some point I decide that I actually wish to be a tall, dark, lean and handsome woman.

If you object that sex-change procedures have become routine, while no procedure exists that could conceivably make me tall, dark, lean and handsome, don’t be so hasty. And don’t sell short the medical and scientific progress, of which modernity is so justly proud.

A bone graft could make me tall or at least taller; a hair transplant and a lifelong supply of dye could make me dark; liposuction could make me lean; cosmetic surgery could make me… well, almost handsome. And once those alterations have been done, I may decide whether the new me wishes to be a man or a woman.

The BMA guidance has been described as ‘Orwellian’ in some quarters. That misses the point.

For progress of which I, as a tall, dark, lean and handsome person (sex, TBD) am a lifelong champion, outpaces all amateurish attempts at satire. Practically every piece of reportage these days has enough biting poignancy and boundless imagination to make any dystopic satirist of the past die again, this time of envy.

Had George Orwell been asked to depict a pregnant woman whose right to become a pregnant man could be questioned by no respectable institution, he would have laughed. Satire, he would have said, has to have some bearing on reality to have any effect. Hence showing a world where mendacious propaganda is called truth is fine. Showing a pregnant man isn’t.

The combined talents of Swift, Orwell and Huxley would have been defeated by the task of producing the BMA’s booklet entitled A Guide To Effective Communications: Inclusive Language In the Workplace.

Mere talent wouldn’t have sufficed. It takes real genius at unwitting self-mockery, and nothing can match the quotidian reality of modernity. We must thank the BMA for making this point clear yet again.


We don’t know the enemy

The dire consequences of such ignorance were pointed out some 2,500 years ago by the Chinese strategist Sun Tzu.

However, many Western thinkers in the past knew that Russia was the West’s historical adversary. For example, Joseph de Maistre, the Marquis de Custine and Alexis de Tocqueville issued astonishingly prophetic warnings to that effect two centuries ago.

In the 20th century those prophecies came true a hundred-fold, but this time the West’s eyes were clouded by ideology. One retarded child of that parent was ignorance, promoted by those who genuinely didn’t know, but most perniciously by those who didn’t wish to know.

Still, newspaper editors, except the most leftwing ones, still had enough integrity and education to present facts about Soviet Russia well – when they presented them at all, that is. Even The Manchester Guardian published Malcolm Muggeridge’s report on the state-created famine in the Ukraine (Golodomor), later widely publicised by Robert Conquest in The Harvest of Sorrow (1986).

Granted, Muggeridge was summarily fired, and the overall corpus of reporting on Russia fell far short of depicting faithfully the hell on earth it was. But those seeking knowledge could find some of it easily enough by reading their morning papers, especially if they read more than one.

Compare this to the staggeringly ignorant article in today’s Mail, snappily titled A Spy’s Eye View of Russia: Never-Seen-Before Pictures of Stalin-Era USSR Taken by a US Army Major Deported for Espionage.

The eponymous pictures are described as “extraordinary photos”, “thousands of photographs during the Stalin era 60 years ago”. (Actually, Stalin died 64 years ago, so this is the first intimation of slipshod reporting.) Now I’ve only seen those few provided in the article, and they’re far from extraordinary.

The headline would lead one to expect snapshots like the one above, showing peasants reduced to cannibalism during the 1921 famine, unleashed by the Soviet empire Putin is so desperate to restore.

It would have been harder to take such stomach-churning shots in the 50s, when the eponymous army major travelled Russia with his camera. But it wouldn’t have been impossible.

Even now, 60-odd years later, I get photographs from my Russian friends that show the kind of misery compared to which the Mail photos are holiday snaps. In the 50s finding such views would have been much easier: why, even the pictures of the Moscow communal flat in which I grew up would have made for more dramatic journalism.

The Mail’s editors don’t realise this, which makes them ignorant. All they’re showing are signs that Russian cities in the 50s weren’t quite as prosperous as London or Oxford – big deal. A more prying lens could have captured emaciated, starving people rummaging through rubbish skips in search of food – as some of my neighbours did, half a mile from the Kremlin.

The anodyne pictures shown are accompanied by ignorant captions. Here are a few examples:

Russian officials walk an empty street in a picture taken from a building above the road by the US diplomat who was deported

They aren’t officials; they’re teenage military cadets.

A woman walks down a busy Russian streed [sic – don’t they have sub-editors any longer?] holding the hand of a youngster while a man in state uniform strides alongside

The man striding alongside is wearing a regular mass-produced Soviet suit, not a state uniform, whatever that means.

A photograph taken by US Army Major Martin Manhoff of what looks like a state-sponsored public ceremony in Russia

All public ceremonies in Russia were state-sponsored. This one isn’t any old ceremony, but a military funeral of a high-ranking officer.

A picture taken from a car shows cars and a bus trapped in a massive flood sweeping through the streets of a Russian city

The flood is nowhere near as massive as those I witnessed every year in Houston, Texas. And the trapped vehicle shown isn’t a bus but a trolleybus.

These are just details, you might think, but that’s where the devil lives. If our leading (only?) conservative paper displays such ignorance of detail, can we really trust its reporting on serious, complex matters that require infinitely more knowledge even to begin to understand?

The question is rhetorical, don’t bother answering. One can see why British papers failed to understand the tectonic shifts in Russian politics, such as glasnost and perestroika.

These were greeted as a triumph of good over evil, the advent of eternal peace, the end of not only the Cold War but indeed of history, in the words of a particularly cretinous American neocon. In fact, they were merely a transfer of power from the Party to the amalgam of the KGB and organised crime.

Had this been made clear at the time (my own articles appeared in conservative journals whose circulations were too small to make a difference), Russia wouldn’t have been allowed to become such a menace to the world.

Our press doesn’t follow Sun Tzu’s advice. It’s ignorant of the enemy. Why, it’s even ignorant of the fact that Putin’s Russia is an enemy. And it proves its ignorance even through seemingly insignificant details.





Equality, backwards

We know that all modern terms remotely related to politics mean exactly the opposite of their dictionary definition.

Liberal means socialist in America, conservative in Australia. Conservative means KGB in Russia and liberal in America. Neoconservative means non-conservative. Rightwing, as in Marine Le Pen, means leftwing. Justice, as in social justice, means injustice (people receiving what isn’t their due). Democracy means all sorts of things, but certainly not rule by the people. And equality means inequality everywhere you look.

Nowhere is this more evident than in tennis, where male and female players get equal prize money in all Grand Slam events. This year’s first such tournament, the Australian Open, has just reached the final stage, which signals the recurrence of this theme in my work.

Every year I write about this gross injustice, each time promising myself it will be the last. Every year I become so enraged I can’t contain myself.

Female players have won the case in favour of ‘equality’ following a long campaign unfolding under the slogan of equal pay for equal work. Yet major tennis tournaments provide the most convincing proof that the work put in by the two groups is far from equal.

First, a datum that even those who’ve never struck a ball in anger will understand. At this year’s Aussie Open the two women’s semi-finals between them lasted 3 hours 15 minutes. The two men’s semi-finals, 7 hours 45 minutes. More than twice as long.

That ratio more or less holds true throughout the tournament. Hence women get paid more than twice as much per hour, which somehow doesn’t fit into the loosest definition of equality.

Second, and again no recondite tennis expertise is required, men clearly work much harder on training and conditioning, thereby increasing the gap in the effort dedicated to their profession. If you wish to contest this observation, just compare the physique of any of the men’s semi-finalists with that of Coco Vandeweghe, one of the semi-final losers.

Coco’s photo, taken from a lovely angle, is featured above, and one has to admit that she’s an appealing girl. I shan’t tell you what her rubenesque body instantly brings to mind – I could be arrested for that.

However, what it definitely doesn’t bring to mind is the image of four hours’ gym work every day, followed by as many hours of court practice, a five-mile run and an ice bath – all routine for a top male player.

Half the women on the professional tour don’t look like athletes at all, never mind professional athletes. So, using an analogy from another sport, should a footballer playing in the Saturday pub league be paid the same as Wayne Rooney? For equality’s sake?

Third, and if you don’t play tennis you’ll have to take my word for it, women’s semi-finalists have nowhere near the technique of their male counterparts.

I’m not talking about foot speed and muscular strength here – these are largely physiological differences. My point is that, say, the Williams sisters, tomorrow’s finalists, don’t have the same repertoire of shots as the men’s semi-final winners Federer and Nadal, which means they haven’t put in as many hours.

For example, any British county player has a better volley than either sister, and even top club players tend to have all four limbs coordinated throughout the shot. By contrast, on half their shots the sisters’ limbs each acquires a life of its own, and their travel plans are at distinct odds.

Venus’s left leg often ends up shoulder-high on a forehand follow-through, which means she only has tenuous control of the shot. Any US college player from a half-decent university could beat any female professional without working up a sweat – largely because he has worked harder on honing his technique.

The fourth argument is commercial: men’s matches are much better draws in terms of gate receipts, sponsorship and, more important, TV revenues.

If fans were ready to pay more to watch Coco’s beautiful behind than Federer’s beautiful game, then none of the above arguments would mean much. But in fact, given the choice, anyone would rather watch a Federer-Nadal final than the one between the two Williams sisters.

So what exactly is the argument in favour of equal pay based on? Nothing but the toxic ideology of political correctness, which has a murderous effect on the very justice and equality it preaches so shrilly.

The juggernaut of modernity rolls over life, claiming all sorts of victims. One of them is language which these days lies not only in the notions it expresses but also in the words it uses. If Talleyrand believed that speech was designed to conceal thoughts, modern speech kills thoughts. Worse still, it perverts them.

Trump is reshuffling Obama’s pack

I find it hard to talk about President Trump in any other than his preferred idiom, based on either gambling or trade.

Actually, in his business the difference between the two is often hazy, but so far he hasn’t bluffed in politics. Every measure he’s putting into effect is undoing what’s humorously called Obama’s legacy.

Now my expectations of modern politicians are low. If yours are different, just compare today’s foreign ministers with those attending the 1814-1815 Congress of Vienna. See how Steinmeier, Johnson, Lavrov or Ayrault stack up against Metternich, Talleyrand, Castlereagh and Humboldt.

Hence my favourite type of modern politician is someone who does nothing but does it well. George W. Bush got it wrong: he did a lot but none of it well. Obama got it half-right: he did next to nothing, but did it badly.

Doing nothing is clearly not Donald Trump: when the chips are down, he ups the ante. Though dealt a bad hand by the previous administration, so far he has been playing his cards right, or almost right.

I don’t like his economics, which I mentioned yesterday, but it’s hard to find fault with anything else he has done or said so far, as president. What’s especially satisfying is the effortless ease with which he gets up the nose of the spivocratic ancien régime, mostly made up of open and crypto-lefties (otherwise known as neocons).

For example, Trump is planning to block entry visas for people from the most objectionable Muslim countries: Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen. Personally, I’d like to see Saudi Arabia added to this list, but perhaps Trump doesn’t want to overplay his hand.

That measure has caused an outburst of warm spittle from various quarters. Assorted idiots are screaming that America is a country of immigrants, huddled masses yearning to be free and all that.

Unfortunately some of the huddled masses these days yearn not so much to be free as to enslave others. Rather than building things, they have a pronounced tendency to blow them up. Given half the chance, they can create American versions of Malmö, where unwavering commitment to free movement of people has created such hell that the Swedish government is about to send the army in (the police can no longer cope).

Trump has further proved himself to be an inveterate monoculturalist by exempting Middle Eastern Christians from the ban – unlike European ‘leaders’, he seems to know the difference between friend and foe.

The 2,000-mile wall along the Mexican border is a bit of a joker in the pack, especially since the Mexicans said they wouldn’t pay for it. Then again, no other measure has ever managed to keep hordes of illegal arrivals from crossing the Rio Grande. In fact, the very first article I ever wrote in the West, some 40 years ago, was on that very subject.

I don’t know if Trump will make America great again, but he clearly wishes to make it American again – not an unreasonable desire, and one our ‘leaders’ should adapt to our own needs.

Then the president will withdraw funds from those NGOs that export abortions all over the world. How politically incorrect can one get?

Doesn’t he know that a foetus only becomes human the day he crawls out of his mother, not one minute before? Before long the president will give neocons and lefties apoplexy by insisting on the sanctity of human life, and where will we be then?

What else? Oh yes, waterboarding, which Trump said he would allow because it works, causing a moral outcry from exactly the kind of people who wouldn’t know morality if it bit them you know where (Boris Johnson, ring your office).

When weak-kneed liberals scream that torture is indefensible whatever the circumstances, it’s not their minds talking but their emotions or, worse still, ideology.

All they have to do is imagine a situation where a nuclear device is hidden somewhere in central London, and it’s set to go off in 48 hours. Our intelligence services have in their hands a terrorist who knows where the device is, but won’t tell. Unless he talks, hundreds of thousands will die a horrific death.

Under such circumstances, any intelligence outfit in the world would do anything it takes to make the chap more forthcoming. Electrodes, water, blow torches – you name it. Whatever works.

Hence no absolutist answer can be given to the question ‘Is the use of torture moral?’ The answer has to be a relativist ‘it depends’. When a country tortures terrorists to protect its citizens from mass murder, torture is moral, if distasteful. If a country tortures someone whose politics it doesn’t like, just to see that look on his face, it’s disgusting.

The same people who decry waterboarding see nothing wrong with carpet-bombing residential quarters for a dubious military gain. They should check their textbook on morality. It’ll probably say that torture is evil, but not when it can prevent evils immeasurably worse.

I don’t know what other cards Trump has up his sleeve, but so far he seems to hold all the aces. Watch this space.

Modernity isn’t working

Almost nine million people aged 16-64 are ‘economically inactive’ in Britain, and few of them are independently wealthy.

And we are doing comparatively well in that department. Germany and the US are only marginally better off, other European countries are much worse. For example, youth unemployment in southern Europe is around 30-50 per cent.

The disastrous consequences are self-evident. Lower employment means a lower taxation base, which makes the governments’ social obligations impossible to fulfil.

Modern governments have no pot of money out of which they pay state pensions. Instead they run a sort of Ponzi scheme, hoping that the money paid in by some people today will be sufficient to pay for other people’s pensions tomorrow. What if it isn’t, as is increasingly appearing likely?

Other, non-economic, consequences are even worse: hordes of young jobless adults turn into a knife slashing the social fabric. Alienated, robbed of any dignity, they become a ballast on society, often a threat to it.

The burden of providing what Dr Johnson called ‘the necessaries’ falls on the state, which either has to extort more taxes out of the economy or run deficit budgets and service huge public debts ($20 trillion for the US, £2 trillion for us).

Everyone knows that mass unemployment is a deadly blight. The lapidary question asked by the pragmatic Anglo-Saxon mind is: ‘What are we going to do about it?’

Before treating a disease we must first establish its aetiology. Pandemic unemployment is caused by multiple factors. Some of them, such as a steadily deteriorating education and wide availability of welfare, have the same source: socialist politics.

Such problems are easy enough to fix in theory. In practice, they are next to impossible to fix without a tectonic shift in political Weltanschauung. That isn’t going to happen without a global catastrophe, such as the collapse of the monetary system or a devastating world war.

But at least one can think of a solution, if only in theory. Two other problems seem insoluble even in that realm: globalisation and computerisation.

Turning the whole world into effectively a single market means that labour will go where labour is cheap. Hence we all wear clothes stitched together by undernourished people, eat food produced by effectively slave labour, use energy generated by those subsisting on what we spend on restaurant tips.

And computerisation enables a chap pushing buttons on a console to do the work of a hundred men with mouths to feed. With the best will in the world (which in this world is rare), even if they all learn how to push those buttons, there aren’t enough buttons to go around.

As a result, manufacturing makes an ebbing contribution to GDP in the West (only about 10 per cent in the UK, 12 per cent in the US). And even the curves of value-added manufacturing look like a downhill slalom.

‘Conservative’ (in reality liberal) economists are ecstatic: both tendencies benefit Western consumers by reducing prices. They see nothing but positives in negative trade balances. Thus, for example, their guru Milton Friedman: “Our gain from foreign trade is what we import. Exports are the price we pay to get imports.”

The immediate monetary price, yes. But looking beyond today and even – dare one say it – beyond just today’s money, there’s an awful social, moral and, down the road, economic cost of millions unemployed.

What are we going to do about them? Are they all going to become systems analysts, computer programmers and fund managers? Somehow one doubts that.

I wish I had a ready answer, but I don’t – not without a complete reversal of modernity, which is an appealing pipe dream, but a pipe dream nonetheless. More worrying is that our ‘leaders’ don’t have a clue either.

Whatever their politics, they’re painfully aware of the problem. Yet at best they can offer only palliative measures that may delay the impending catastrophe but not thwart it.

Witness two politicians very much in the news, Donald Trump and Benoit Hamon, the Socialist candidate in France’s presidential election. Much as I detest socialists in general, and Hamon in particular, he seems to have a wider understanding of the issue, though his proposed solutions are still inadequate.

Trump wants to counter the effects of globalisation by protectionism. Manufacturers will be rewarded for having their plants in the US and punished for moving them abroad. At the same time, Trump is threatening stiff tariffs on imports.

One can understand where he’s coming from, but ultimately such measures aren’t going to work. Their immediate effect will be price increases across the board: labour will no longer be cheap.

The long-term effect will be even greater computerisation: businesses exist to make profits, and expensive labour will be even less competitive with the aforementioned buttons.

Hamon’s solution is two-fold. First, he proposes that every French adult be paid €750 a month, no questions asked. That way, he says, people won’t have to work if they don’t want to or can’t. Second, he wants to tax robots, thereby countering the effect of computerisation on employment.

Interestingly, both Hamon, who’s a communist in all but name, and Trump, who calls himself a ‘pragmatic conservative’, are proposing blatantly statist measures designed to give the state an even greater control of the economy.

This is yet another proof that teleologically all modern governments, whatever they call themselves, pull in the same direction: empowering the state at the expense of the individual. The two gentlemen will make neither America nor France ‘great again’. They will, however, make state power even greater – which is an ineluctable effect of modern politics.

Unemployment and other structural problems of modernity will persevere for as long as modernity does. Within the confines of the thought inspired by the Enlightenment there can be no solution to the problems created by the Enlightenment.

Brexit also causes cancer

Since I, in common with our Supreme Court judges, believe that Britain would be better off as a gau in Greater Germany (aka the EU), I’m worried about the deadly effect of Brexit.

This may sound counterintuitive, but Brexit isn’t just carcinogenic, it’s instantly carcinogenic. Allow me to explain.

Fifty-two per cent of the British voted Leave (each a moronic, ignorant lout flying a St George cross off his white van), thereby imposing their wicked ways on the 48 per cent (each a refined, erudite person driving an ecologically responsible Prius).

That created inordinate stress in those sensitive souls, and stress may be a cause of cancer. And if you think that’s bad, wait till you hear this.

Slightly burned toast or potatoes roasted to a crust have been proved to cause cancer, and so it’ll remain until this irrefutable claim has been refuted. But what causes people to leave their bread in the toaster and potatoes in the oven for too long?

Right. It’s the stress of knowing that Britain has become a homeless orphan, the distracting anxiety about our uncertain future, the mental image of us shivering from cold on the world’s breadline.

Convinced by my unassailable logic? No? Yet this is roughly the intellectual level of most arguments put forth by The Times, exemplified by today’s article Brexit Blamed As Assaults on Hospital Staff Double.

Now percentages may be misleading. For example, in 2015 I found vomit at my London doorstep just once, while in 2016 that happened twice. Yet this 100 per cent increase appears less catastrophic when expressed in absolute numbers.

Yes, assaults on NHS staff have gone up from 225 to 496 in one year. But let’s put this datum in perspective.

The NHS is Britain’s largest employer, and, if the present trend continues, before long it’ll become the only one. For the time being, it employs 1,400,000 people, of whom 800,000 actually treat patients, while most of the others prevent them from doing so.

I’d suggest that reducing the 600,000 balance by at least a factor of 10 would alleviate the funding problems plaguing the NHS, but that’s by the by. Let’s just say for now that 496 assaults, while morally deplorable, hardly constitute our healthcare’s most pressing problem.

Now how do we explain the 225 pre-Brexit assaults in 2014-2015? Since even a passionate Europhile like me can’t possibly blame them on a prescient anticipation of a Leave vote, some other factors must have played a role.

Off the top: homicidal waiting lists, overcrowding, undignified mixed-sex wards, inattentive staff, incoherent replies to patients’ questions, low hygiene, prevalence of hospital-acquired infections, long wait at A&E, routine denial of life-saving drugs for financial reasons – just tell me where to stop.

Or, from another angle, additional contributing factors may include the growing brutalisation of the British. The whole modern ethos, devoid of any moral, cultural or intellectual rigour, is replete with a booze-fuelled sense of entitlement and general resentment against, well, just about everything.

One can see it in the feral faces of our lumpen underclass, unemployed and unemployable, their welfare money going on drink, drugs, tattoos, Nike trainers and iPhones. Compare the people watching football matches in the 1950s newsreels with today’s football lovers, and you’ll know what I mean.

Thanks to the technical achievements of which modernity is so justly proud, all modern perversions have an accelerator built in. So would it be a stretch to suggest that all those factors might have been exacerbated over a year?

Add to this a huge influx of foreign doctors and nurses, now making up 38 per cent of the frontline medical staff. According to MBA spokesman Anthea Mowat, they “bring great expertise to the NHS”, a statement The Times quotes uncritically.

Some no doubt do, but equally doubtless is that some don’t. The standards of medical training vary greatly across the world, and, say, some Eastern European doctors wouldn’t be able to qualify in Britain – if they had to. But, being EU citizens, they don’t.

However, even assuming they’re all Edward Jenner and Florence Nightingale rolled together, many of them have difficulties communicating their sterling expertise in English. And patient interviews are an essential part of therapy.

I for one feel uneasy when banging my head against the language barrier separating me from a medic. Being an aging gentleman, I wouldn’t express my frustration physically, but I can see how someone who’s neither aging nor a gentleman might.

Hence assaults on racially or religiously different medics may not be motivated by racial or religious factors – an elementary thought that’s beyond The Times.

Also, such violence presupposes assaults by whites on BME people (Black and Minority Ethnic, in case you’re wondering). Yet victims of about half of the assaults were whites, most of them British.

And that’s “of the victims whose ethnicity was recorded”, says The Times without batting an eye. But this statistic is meaningless unless we’re told how many victims fall into that category.

Overall, there isn’t a single fact cited in the article that even remotely justifies its title. This is yet another proof that modernity destroys the very reason in whose name it was adumbrated. Our society is post-truth largely because it’s post-intelligence.

Barmy Prince Charlie

Like anyone else Prince Charles is entitled to express eccentric views, but there exists a fine line between eccentric and deranged. And this is the line HRH oversteps with growing regularity.

Especially worrying is his apocalyptic view of warm weather, an impending catastrophe he regards, according to his spokesman, as “the number one threat to the planet and it is the thing he cares most passionately about”.

Anyone less dedicated to monarchy than I am could be forgiven for turning republican on the strength of that statement alone. Really, Your Royal Highness? Nothing more worrying in the world?

How about the complete brutalisation of your loyal subjects who en masse regard wallowing in their own vomit as a good night out? Educational standards way below Victorian times? Our pyramid-scheme economy? Collapsing NHS? Muslim terrorism, threatening to go nuclear? Several flashpoints in the world, each capable of triggering a global war? Growing atomisation of society? Spiritual, intellectual and cultural standards rapidly descending to those of a pre-colonial Africa? Totalitarian political correctness stifling free speech more effectively than the Gestapo ever did?

Well, at least all of them are demonstrable facts, not politically inspired hypotheses, which anthropogenic global warming most emphatically is.

After all, the anthropogenic nature of warm weather is the first discovery in the history of science made not by scientists but by a political body, the UN. Much as one admires the epic successes this organisation has achieved in its own field (Yugoslavia springs to mind, among many other examples), one has to say that the evidential base of the theory is, to be charitable, weak.

The political base, however, is massive, and the banners of fictitious global warming have drawn all the same people who oppose nuclear energy, shale gas, medical experiments on animals, free enterprise and everything else that can improve and prolong human lives.

Prince Charles’s latest contribution to this destructive propaganda is his suggestion that every weather forecast include a detailed report on the damage perpetrated on ‘our planet’ by climate change. Floods, hurricanes and tidal waves must be unequivocally blamed on the UN’s scientific breakthrough.

TV weathercasts are already too long, but at least they have the benefit of being a politics-free zone (it goes without saying that all political statements aired in that medium oscillate between stupid and subversive). Now Prince Charles proposes that they become interminably long and intolerably politicised. Good one, HRH.

One shouldn’t be too hard on people for saying silly things. He who is without sin… and all that. Yet I’m genuinely worried about our future king’s mental health.

This heartfelt concern wouldn’t be completely justified if this proposal were the only symptom. Alas, it isn’t. There have been many other manifestations, enough to indicate a progressing degenerative disorder.

This was especially acute last year, when HRH, his eyes glistening frighteningly, blamed climate change for the on-going crisis in the Middle East. That geopolitical analysis for once rendered me speechless.

Since HRH believes that at base all religions are the same, he obviously couldn’t blame Islam, with its 1,400 years of blood-soaked history. But at least he could have suggested that partly to blame was the idiotic attempt to carpet-bomb the Middle East into parliamentary democracy initiated by the Americans and supported by Blair.

He didn’t though. Instead HRH went so far out into left field as to be in the stadium car park.

According to him, our wanton disregard for the environment begat “five or six years of drought” in Syria; the drought begat the 2011 uprising; the uprising caused the civil war; the civil war begat 250,000 deaths; the deaths begat 11 million running away from home; and the combined effect of all those disasters presumably begat the hundreds of massacres perpetrated by Muslims over the last 20 years.

This whole chain of begets is traceable back to anthropogenic climate change, believes our future king, so next time you whip out that aerosol spray, I hope you’ll be suitably ashamed of yourself. The blood of all those Muslims and their victims will be on your head, vicariously at least.

Compared to that peak of acute madness, HRH’s current display of his obsession suggests that the disease is entering a chronic phase. There’s no need for an immediate chemical cosh; some gentle therapy may keep the condition at an even keel.

Anything will do to keep Charles’s mind off his idée fixe. For example, I don’t know if he has lost interest in his friends’ wives, which was a major preoccupation of his younger days. Yet if the old embers are still smouldering, it’s the therapist’s task to fan them into vigorous life.

However, Charles should be discouraged from referring to his friends’ wives as ‘hot’ or using expressions like ‘cold comfort’, ‘a warm feeling’ or ‘hot to trot’. HRH’s staff would also be well-advised to make sure HRH stays in an air-conditioned space on hot days and only goes out when it’s below freezing.

Actually, I’m hereby offering my services in amateur psychotherapy. It’s the duty of every patriot to do his bit for the realm.

Tawdry demagoguery, good first act

The first thing President Trump did in his new job was issuing an executive order to take apart Obama’s awful healthcare plan.

That has improved the bad taste left in my mouth by the vulgar inauguration ceremony and especially Trump’s cheaply populist inauguration speech. The former is unavoidable in a democratic republic: it takes at least a millennium of monarchic tradition to get pomp and circumstance right.

The latter, however, could have been avoided, but wasn’t. On the plus side, Trump’s oration didn’t include openly tyrannical statements, like those Kennedy made in his own inauguration address.

Amazingly, Kennedy’s promise of despotism is still regarded by many Americans as a great speech. Here’s the first such promise:

“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”

Had so many Americans not had the critical faculty bred out of them (Alan Bloom describes this accurately in The Closing of the American Mind), they would have realised that Kennedy was issuing a commitment of eternally escalating imperialism – something, incidentally, that Trump promises to stem.

Then Kennedy thundered: “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country!” Allow me to translate from demagogic into English: you are to serve the state, not the other way around. That pronouncement took us back to the politics of ancient Athens, except that a Plato or an Aristotle was nowhere in evidence. Nor, more to the point, was a Pericles.

If Kennedy’s speech sprang from the Enlightenment survival of statism, centralism and internationalism, Trump’s speech capitalised on another bequeathal of that pernicious period: jingoistic populism.

“We are,” declared Trump, “transferring power from Washington, D.C.. and giving it back to you the people.” This is nonsense – unless he meant he was declaring democracy null and void.

Beyond choosing which wing of neo-Enlightenment is going to lord it over them for the next few years, “the people” have considerably less control over their lives in a modern democracy than under the most absolutist monarchies of Christendom.

A ‘democratic’ state presupposes burgeoning centralisation, and a US president has infinitely more power over his citizens than, say, Louis XIV had over his subjects. If Trump doesn’t realise that, he’s ignorant. If he does, but still says it, he’s mendacious.

Trump exacerbated that dichotomy when adding: “What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people.” One wonders how, say, a car mechanic in Mobile, Alabama, will exercise his control over Trump’s administration.

“A nation exists to serve its citizens…” Trump and, which is worse, even his advisers are clearly unaware of the difference between ‘state’, ‘government’, ‘nation’, ‘people’ and ‘society’. Such taxonomic ignorance used to disqualify people from high office, but hasn’t for over a century. That’s called progress, in case you’re wondering.

Then on to economics: “For many decades we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry… And we’ve spent trillions and trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay…”

Quite. Some of us have even created global business empires of 500-plus companies with equity investments and licensing agreements worth billions in dozens of countries, including some iffy ones.

China, Saudi Arabia, Duterte’s Philippines, Erdogan’s Turkey and Putin’s Russia spring to mind, but there are also many others where some US politicians have extensive business interests. Let’s not name names, let’s just comment in Franglais: “Hypocritical, moi?”

But let’s not be cynical; perhaps Trump meant his family will divest itself of its vast overseas interests when saying: “We will bring back our wealth, and we will bring back our dreams.” So far most of Trump’s own dreams of wealth have come true abroad – do we take this statement as a promise then?

“Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength,” was how Trump explained his ignorant take on economics. It won’t. It’ll lead to the exact opposite. An ideology, this time populist, shouldn’t trump reason and experience (pun intended).

“From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first, America first.” I wouldn’t put it past Trump to be ignorant of the pre-war America First Committee of Charles Lindbergh, Joseph Kennedy, JFK’s father, et al.

That group neatly combined isolationism with anti-Semitism and pro-Nazi sympathies. I’m not accusing Trump of harbouring the last two of these vices – in fact, he’s considerably friendlier towards Jews and Israel than his predecessor.

But if he didn’t mean to sound like a follower of the Ku-Klux-Klan and other nativist groups, which I’m sure he didn’t, then he should have chosen different words.

For example, “American before foreign interests” would have conveyed the same thought without evoking unpleasant parallels. It’s that ignorance again, casting doubt on the supposedly sterling intelligence of Trump’s advisers.

Trump ended with a de rigueur “God bless America”. Now God’s ways are unknowable, and He may well bless the first constitutionally secular country in Western history.

Also I’m sure God in His infinite mercy will even forgive vulgar platitudes and national self-deification. I mean, can you imagine a British PM finishing his maiden speech with “God bless Great Britain”? We only sing “God save the Queen”, and I do hope He does.

All in all, a C- for Trump’s speech, but an A+ for his first act. That gives him a head start on what in his country is called Grade Point Average. Hope he maintains it.

Flash, Russian style

Igor Sechin, head of Rosneft, Russia’s state-owned oil company, drives around Moscow in a car equipped with flashing lights and a siren. You know, like an ambulance, a police cruiser or the limousine of a high government official accompanied by armed outriders.

This has drawn the attention of some intrepid, nay suicidal, journalists who at a press conference dared question Rosneft’s spokesman about the nature of Mr Sechin’s entitlement to such automotive privileges.

What followed is sufficiently instructive to tell you all you need to know about Putin’s Russia. Everything else can be confidently inferred.

Rosneft is the world’s largest publicly traded oil company, which no doubt makes Sechin’s job quite big. However, one wouldn’t think it’s big enough to turn its holder into the country’s second most powerful individual.

Yet in Russia it’s not the job that makes a man powerful but proximity to the throne, currently occupied by you-know-whom. And no one is closer to Putin than Igor Sechin, not even Donald Trump.

The two graduates of Leningrad University have been good friends for 30 years, since the glory days of the KGB First Chief Directorate, for which Sechin worked under diplomatic cover in Mozambique.

When he returned to Petersburg in 1999, he embarked on a stratospheric career as Putin’s flunky, following the good colonel from job to job and from city to city. He was Putin’s chief of staff in Petersburg, then second-in-command in several government offices led by Putin, then head of the prime minister’s (Putin’s) secretariat, then deputy chief of President Putin’s administration.

Then, as a temporary downturn in his career, Sechin did a stint as deputy prime minister under Medvedev. But his most important and present job came Sechin’s way in 2004 when, according to the American global intelligence company Stratfor, he became “the FSB’s hand in Russia’s energy sector.”

In that capacity Sechin led two raids on Yukos, which led to its head Khodorkovsky going to prison for 10 years and Sechin’s Rosneft plundering his assets, thereby growing to its present size.

Whereas in the West political power usually follows economic success, in Russia the sequence is reversed. Thus Sechin owes his economic prowess to having hitched his wagon to Russia’s political star, Putin. Rosneft is his bonus for loyalty; his growing political power is its ineluctable consequence.

Sechin became a major geopolitical player, for example securing deliveries of armaments and nuclear technology to Hugo Chávez’s Venezuela. Especially relevant to his political influence in today’s world is the $500-billion joint offshore venture that Rosneft formed in 2012 with Exxon, at that time led by Rex Tillerson, Trump’s appointee for Secretary of State.

Tillerson married Sechin in the nick of time: two years later the US government sanctioned Sechin in response to Russian aggression against the Ukraine. The sanctions include a travel ban to the US, freezing of all Sechin’s US assets and a ban on business transactions between US citizens and Sechin.

How the US Congress will view Tillerson’s appointment and its potential conflict of interest is anybody’s guess, but it’s not my subject here. Suffice it to say that Sechin is justifiably regarded as Putin’s unofficial second-in-command in Russia and a persona non grata in the West.

Now I’ve mentioned these two geographical entities in the same sentence, let’s allow our imagination to run free. Imagine an influential American oilman, say Tillerson as he recently was, abusing his position by claiming privileges to which he isn’t legally entitled.

Let’s further imagine that his PR spokesman is queried about such abuses at a press conference. What would be the spokesman’s reaction? I can’t see anything beyond abject grovelling, claims of some misunderstanding and promises to correct the situation immediately.

It can’t be otherwise: in the West the Fourth Estate is a power to be reckoned with. When the press casts aspersion on a public figure’s probity with ample justification, he’d better try to talk his way out of trouble in a most woebegone way. For trouble is what he’s in even if the president is his personal friend.

No president will be able to save the culprit’s career if he’s guilty as charged: the press in the West is immune to the vertical pressure exerted by government (though not to the horizontal pressure exerted by social trends, these days predominantly political correctness).

If you accept that this is a test of a relatively free society, observe how gloriously Mikhail Leontiev, Sechin’s VP for public relations fails the test.

He responded to the perfectly natural and polite question in the language a cultured Russian of 100 years ago wouldn’t have used even when chastising a domestic servant: “Please, go f*** yourself” (note the polite use of the magic word), “What the f***?” “Stop picking up s***.”

Say no more. He who has any analytical aptitude will use this little incident to reconstruct the big picture of Putin’s Russia – one truer to life than that painted by either ignorant or disingenuous apologists (Peter Hitchens, ring your office).