Language terrorism reaches Brexit

The other day I wrote about the Welsh Assembly’s misguided attempt to solicit views on Brexit from children as young as seven.

My general thrust was that we might as well ask babies what they think. If our paedocrats think that seven-year-olds should be asked because they’re the ones who’ll be affected by Brexit longer than grown-ups, then, by the same logic, babies should have even more of a voice.

In the intervening three days, the Welsh legislator Neil Hamilton, Ukip, has expressed the same view, and he’s right, as any half-intelligent person would realise without even a second’s deliberation.

Enter the fully paid-up language terrorist Oliver Kamm, who disrespectfully disagrees.

Ollie mostly delivers himself of permissive views on the English language. If we applied his permissiveness to other matters, we’d lower the age of consent to that same seven or even lower (prenatal possibilities would have to be discarded for ballistic reasons).

Ollie, who’d rather split infinitives than hairs, proceeds from the premise that, if folk say it, it has to be right. Such swapping of prescription for description is a short-fused bomb placed under the foundation of Europe’s greatest language.

Again this is something anyone with a modicum of intelligence would know: anarchy in language has the same destructive effect as anarchy in politics. Naturally, our egalitarian modernity makes inroads on everything of value, including English. But it’s the sacred duty of every educated person to fight rearguard action against this onslaught, rather than joining it.

I suspect Ollie has gone to all the right schools, so, technically speaking, he’s educated. But schooling doesn’t equate intelligence, especially when it’s further compromised by leftie bias.

This Ollie’s rhetoric on Mr Hamilton proves beyond any doubt. For, since rhetoric is adjacent to language, it too suffers from Ollie’s terrorist propensities.

Ollie proves that it’s not only wit that brevity is the soul of. His short piece has five paragraphs, of which the first four are savage ad hominems against Mr Hamilton.

Actually, I rather share the view that Hamilton is a disagreeable man. But ad hominems constitute a rhetorical fallacy partly because even an awful man may sometimes be right.

For example, if a composite villain made up of Lenin, Hitler and Mao said that the sky is blue and Ollie’s nose isn’t, he’d be right. Much as we might hate this apparition, we’d have to agree.

Ollie kicks off with groundless assertions leading to witless irony: “As the cause of Brexit becomes mired in the brute facts of economic torpor and diplomatic isolation, Neil Hamilton knows who to blame. The fault lies with children at primary school.” (It should be ‘whom’, but what’s one terrorist act among so many?)

He must be privy to data outside the public domain. Those in that domain (and I suspect our vox populi Ollie thinks ‘data’ should be singular because his postman uses it that way) point to neither the torpor nor the isolation. But leftie Remainers will say anything.

Another tip on rhetoric, Ollie: for irony to succeed, it must touch on truth, however tangentially. Yet Ollie’s irony has no bearing on truth whatsoever. Mr Hamilton didn’t blame tots for the fictitious torpor and isolation. He simply said that grown-up decisions ought to be made by grown-ups.

If anything, leaving children out of this process exculpates them from any mistakes grown-ups may make on their behalf. But our language terrorist sees no difference between ‘blames’ and ‘protects from blame’.

Having got the thin gruel of personal attacks out of the way, Ollie proceeds to the meat of the argument:

“It’s natural that children will have inchoate views on public policy. Perhaps, as the Conservative philosopher Michael Oakeshott put it, ‘politics is an activity unsuited to the young, not on account of their vices but on account of what I at least consider to be their virtues’. Yet young people are the ones who will pay the highest price for Brexit, losing the automatic right to travel freely, study and live in the EU. I’d rather listen to the voices from the playground than to their Ukip critics.”

At first I wondered why he’d drag Oakeshott into it, especially since the late professor presaged the view held by Mr Hamilton. Then it dawned on me: ‘conservative’ is the operative word. To Ollie, everything conservative is ipso facto wrong, not to say evil, and he assumes that his Times readers share this view.

It slides downhill from there. I won’t repeat the argument I made the other day against the ridiculous notion of enfranchising children because they’ll have more years to live with Brexit.

But “losing the automatic right to travel freely, study and live in the EU”? This prediction, provided it comes from the mind rather than out of…, well, you know what I mean, heavily depends on the known facts.

Specifically, for it to be true, Ollie would have to demonstrate that before 1992, when Europe was blessed with the Maastricht Treaty, Britons had been unable to do all those things on the Continent.

But that’s simply not true – unless he’s prepared to argue that Nice’s Promenade des Anglais was so named because no Englishmen were allowed to go there. And Sorbonne’s numerous British alumni include Douglas Cooper, George Whitman, Frank McEwen and John Cairncross (I assume his degree was a first in treason).

As to Ollie rather listening to “the voices from the playground than to their Ukip critics”, this preference is understandable. Ollie must sense intuitive kinship between children’s minds and his own.

How does one argue with Hawking?

More generally, how does one argue? More specifically, how does one argue with atheists? (I’ll entertain no replies along the lines of ‘with a crowbar’.) More generally again, what constitutes an argument?

That such questions need posing is a direct result of the triumphant Age of Reason, which predictably destroyed reason. For reason operates from certain presuppositions, the most vital of which is that truth exists.

This premise turns thought into a teleological process – it travels along a clearly signposted road towards its destination: truth. The road may meander, sometimes turn back on itself, zig and zag, but the overall vector is discernible and unmistakable.

Hence it used to be assumed that if X is true, and Y contradicts X, then Y is false. Now that the Age of Reason has borne its rotten fruit, it’s believed that Y is differently true – and so are all other letters of the alphabet.

Debate inspired by this premise destroyed the natural progression from opinion to judgement to argument, indeed erased all distinctions among them.

When one contradicts someone these days, one often hears: “I’m entitled to my opinion.” To which I sometimes unkindly reply: “Yes, but you aren’t entitled to an audience. I don’t care about your opinion. I would be interested to hear your judgement presented in the form of an argument.”

An opinion, which any person is indeed entitled to have on any subject, doesn’t require any support. It is what it is. Thus in my opinion, all those parallel universes are tosh.

However, I can’t turn this opinion into a judgement because I don’t know enough astrophysics. Such knowledge would be required because, unlike an opinion, a judgement requires solid support that can only come from ratiocination based on extensive knowledge of the relevant facts.

Should I take the trouble of acquiring such knowledge and thinking it through, I could conceivably be ready to make an argument, which is a logical, coherent and persuasive presentation of a judgement.

This basic rhetorical path has now been overgrown with the weeds planted by the Age of Reason. Most people are now unaware of its existence, which is why they feel that any opinion, no matter how unenlightened and rash, must enjoy equal rights with judgement and argument. In fact, they feel all three are the same.

But they aren’t, and Hawking would be safe from me had he stayed in the realm of astrophysics that’s outside my ken. Yet he ventured outside the secure walls of that fortress to launch a foray into fields in which I feel qualified to form a judgement and present it as an argument. He, on the other hand, finds himself on shaky ground. Now we can argue on equal terms. Now the battle is on.

The Rev. Peter Mullen has written an excellent article on the late scientist, from which I can nick a few quotations by Hawking, such as “Given the laws of physics, nature drags itself into existence and there is no need for a Creator.”

This flies in the face of the truth first expressed by Lucretius (d. c. 55 BC) as ex nihilo nihil fit: nothing comes out of nothing. (Having thus presaged the First Law of Thermodynamics, Lucretius then beat Darwin to the theory of evolution by observing that it was by their superior cunning and strength that all extant species were different from those that had become extinct.)

A powerful preemptive blow against Hawking’s stab at philosophy was delivered by St Anselm (d. 1109) with his ontological argument. According to the archbishop, even if we don’t believe in a Creator, we can still think of the greatest possible being.

If so, we must also be able to think of a greater one, then of still a greater one and so on, until such incremental steps take us to the existence of the ultimate being “that than which nothing greater can be thought”.

Another, even stronger preemptive blow against Hawking’s ex nihilo, was struck by St Thomas Aquinas with his argument from contingency (or causality), which develops the ontological argument.

Without going into a thicket where we can all get lost, the argument states that, while few things, such as mathematical relationships, are necessary, most things are contingent. They depend on something else for their existence, and without that something else they wouldn’t have existed.

Three times two equalling six is a necessary thing that would remain what it is whatever else happened to the world. But, say, a tree is contingent on things like soil and water, without which it might not have existed. Therefore, three times six doesn’t require an explanation, but the tree does. Why does it exist? What is its existence contingent on?

If we repeat that it’s soil and water, then the same questions may be asked about them, and then about the things those other things are contingent on – and so forth.

If most things are contingent singly, then they are contingent collectively. Hence the universe itself is contingent – and all the same questions may be asked about it. And even if the universe has no beginning in time, then time itself is contingent, and hence requiring an explanation.

One may add that one proof of the universe’s contingency is the very attempt by Hawkings et al to explain it. He didn’t feel the need to explain why three times two makes six.

The ontological argument had its critics, most prominently Kant. However, Kant got this argument second hand, via Descartes, and was probably unaware of Aquinas’s embellishment.

Both Anselm and Aquinas used their arguments to prove the existence of God. But Aquinas also taught a valuable rhetorical lesson: one must argue with people on their own terms. Otherwise you might as well not bother.

One may ask an atheist where, if there is no God, the universe came from. He’d simply answer he doesn’t know. All he knows is that there is no God. The debate thus ends before it has even started.

It is, however, possible to leave God out of it altogether. Forget theology, let’s stick to philosophy and rhetoric. They are sufficient tools to show that it’s Hawking’s ex nihilo argument that’s full of holes, black or otherwise.

But who needs philosophy? According to Hawking, “Philosophy is dead. Science is the bearer of the torch.”

His foray into alien territory has become too long, and his supply lines get stretched beyond repair. This statement is simply not clever.

First, philosophy is a science too. If he meant ‘natural science’, he should have said so. Otherwise his adage sounds as if science is dead, but nonetheless capable of bearing the torch. And there I was, thinking that natural scientists know how to phrase precisely.

But here’s a question: How is it that Trinity College, Cambridge, has produced 33 Nobel laureates, while the entire Muslim world (1.6 billion people) has managed only 10, six of them winning peace prizes? This though there used to be no shortage of Muslim scholars and mathematicians.

How come that, for all their philosophers and mathematicians of genius, the Hellenic world never managed to advance natural science in any appreciable way? And why did European natural science only get going, at an ever-accelerating pace, after Aquinas baptised Aristotle, fusing the Greek’s philosophy with Christian theology?

The fact is that natural science is a servant to philosophy, contingent on it, if we continue with the same terminology.

It would be impossible to study nature without an epistemology based on the object existing independently from the subject. Similarly, the whole idea of natural laws being rational and universal would never have appeared had it not been activated by arguments in favour of a rational, universal law-giver.

As the philosopher R.G. Collingwood put it (and again I owe this quotation to Peter Mullen’s article): “If they knew a little more about the history of science, they would know that the belief in the possibility of physics is only one part of the belief in God.”

The Renaissance man didn’t outlive the Renaissance or, if he did, not for long. As the amount of information grew, the era of narrow specialisation arrived – people who tighten the screws on the intellectual conveyor belt are no longer capable of hammering the rivets in as well.

Fewer and fewer are real polymaths who can venture into disparate areas without losing their footing. Hence I can’t judge Hawking as a physicist, but he certainly wasn’t a throwback to the likes of Leonardo or, closer to our time, Florensky. I don’t think anyone can be that any longer.

This in no way diminishes my admiration of Prof. Hawking’s courage in overcoming the terrible handicaps he suffered throughout his life. Such a superhuman and unfathomable achievement had to come directly from the grace of God – in whom he didn’t believe.

Stephen Hawking, RIP

Paedocracy kills democracy

Welsh voter, expressing his unreserved support for Brexit

Shakespeare, according to Ben Johnson, had “small Latin and less Greek”. Our comprehensively educated masses go the Bard one better: they also have small English, which is why they’re at the mercy of any hysteria whipped up by the media.

This becomes especially galling when the media have to use longer words of either Latin or Greek origin, such as ‘paedophilia’. And they use this particular word a lot these days: moralising titillation sells papers.

‘Paedophilia’ is a compound word of Greek origin consisting of two stems, with the first one meaning ‘child’. Spelled in various ways, it also appears in other words, such as ‘pedagogue’, ‘pedant’ and ‘pederast’.

Naturally our brutalised masses find all those paed- words confusing, which is bad news for paediatricians. Since our papers discovered that an extensive and graphic coverage of paedophilia sells, many paediatricians have been attacked on the assumption that their trade is a particularly perverse form of paedophilia.

Yet every one should know that paediatrics isn’t a perversion and paedophilia is. What else everyone should know is that it’s not the most dangerous paedo- perversion.

If paedophilia claims only a small percentage of children as its victims, paedocracy, the rule of children, not only damages our democracy but undermines the idea of democracy in general.

Like all other contingent rights, the right to vote comes packaged with responsibilities. Democracy lives or dies by the people’s ability to cast their votes responsibly and intelligently. Any voter who can’t do so harms every vital institution of Britain.

Now Edmund Burke (d. 1797) believed that only 400,000 Britons, then about 10 per cent of the population, were qualified to vote – and that was before the arrival of comprehensive non-education.

Assuming that roughly the same proportion holds true for our time, one is dismayed to see that the actual number of registered voters exceeds 51 million, about 78 per cent of the population.

Accepting the Great Whig’s calculations as true, and few people in history understood politics as deeply as he did, we have about 45 million potential voters in this country who can’t vote in a responsible and intelligent fashion.

Logically then, the electorate should be shrunk to make sure we elevate to government only those qualified to govern. There are many methods of achieving this goal, of which the most obvious and least controversial one is to raise the voting age, which at present stands at 18.

I maintain that only an infinitesimal minority of 18-year-olds have the necessary qualifications of intellect, maturity and education. Neurophysiologists agree: until age 25 or so, the human brain isn’t even wired properly.

Yet political opinion in this country, especially among the MPs, is that the voting age should actually be lowered to 16.

The MPs’ motives are easy to understand. If people could vote responsibly and intelligently, most of our parliamentarians wouldn’t be elected as proverbial dog catcher.

While praising them for their realistic self-assessment, one shudders to think what lowering the voting age to 16 would do to the country.

Why, Corbyn, who hates viscerally everything that makes Britain British, would follow Xi and Putin to be elected leader for life – with everything that would entail (see the history of modern Russia and China for details).

One would think political folly couldn’t possibly sink any lower. But such optimism would be misplaced: things can’t always get better, but they can always get worse.

If you doubt this existential truth, look no further than Wales. Its ministers believe that children as young as seven (!) should have their say about Brexit.

Wales’s Minister for Children (Who was his Victorian counterpart? How many useless ministerial posts are there?) Huw Irranca-Davies explained that: “Our children are our future, so it’s absolutely vital we ensure their views and concerns are listened to.”

As his source of authority, the spiffily named minister cited the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which gives children a right to agree or disagree with grown-ups’ decisions if they affect the tots’ future.

If you doubt that we live in a madhouse circumscribed by national borders, this should dispel any such doubt.

Narrowing the issue down to a single family would be fun. It has been assumed since the time Darwin created man that parents take decisions on behalf of their children until the latter reach majority.

Unlike many other rock-solid presuppositions, this one hasn’t suffered much erosion over history. If Mr Irranca-Davis has a 7-year-old child, would he consult him about buying a new house, changing a pension provider or moving to a different city?

Probably not. Yet all those decisions affect the child’s future, don’t they? I’d suggest Irranca-Davis be censured for violating the aforementioned UN Convention.

Or perhaps locking him up in a loony bin would be more appropriate: who but a madman would think that a person unqualified to pass judgement on relative trivialities deserves to have an audience for his views on the country’s future?

However, the proposed survey is going ahead, and its results will be released in a few months. One can only bemoan the uncharacteristic restraint of Welsh legislators.

Extending their own logic to its ineluctable end, why limit the age to seven? After all, statistically speaking, babies have even a greater stake in Brexit than 7-year-olds do – they’ll have to deal with the consequences for several years longer.

It’s true that most one-year-olds can’t yet speak, but that doesn’t mean their views can’t be solicited. Even if they can’t communicate their opinion semantically, they can do so semiotically.

For example, gauging their responses to other questions, such as “Want to go potty?”, one can establish empirically that “ah-ah” means yes and “ooh-ooh” means no. So, if we avoid more involved questions, such as “Who’s Daddy’s lovely girl then?”, we can obtain a reliable sample for qualitative research.

As far as I know, no one has proposed extending full franchise to babies yet, which points to a deficit of logic. For, when it comes to issues as complex as Brexit or our next government, a baby’s view has as much value as that of an adolescent.

Guest appearance

Garry Kasparov, one of history’s best chess players, now attacks the king in a different way

This article was written not by me but by Russian journalist Alexei Sharopaev. It appears today in the online magazine, which is blocked in its country of origin, can’t imagine why.

Rather than using the research cited in this article and passing it for my own, I thought it would be more appropriate (and also less taxing in my currently enfeebled state) just to translate it as is. I’ve only taken the liberty to decode in footnotes some of the less known acronyms.

Note that the author shares many Russians’ exaggerated faith in the West’s knowledge of Russia and appetite for resisting it.

The West accusing Moscow of poisoning the former GRU Col. Sergei Skripal and his daughter is the most natural response possible under the circumstances. It’s based on facts along with the reputation of the VCheKa-FSB[1] and, more generally, Putin’s Russia as successor to the USSR.

Today’s officers in Russian security services call themselves Chekists[2] and are openly proud of their pedigree. Yet everyone knows that, from the very beginning, the whole history of Lubianka is marked not just by mass terror but also by clandestine ‘special operations’ aimed at eliminating dissidents both at home and abroad. Let’s cast a broad look at this.

In 1926 Simon Petlyura was killed in Paris. Though the actual assassin was Samuel Schwartzbard, supposedly taking personal revenge on the Supreme Ataman for his alleged ‘anti-Semitism’, strong evidence suggests the GPU’s responsibility for the murder.

In 1930, also in Paris, OGPU agents led by Yakov Serebriansky kidnapped the ROVS[3] leader Gen. Kutepov and, in 1937 in the same place, his successor Gen. Miller.

In 1938, in Rotterdam, the Chekist saboteur Sudoplatov killed the famous Ukrainian nationalist Yevgeniy Konovalets.

In 1940 the Chekist Mercader murdered Leon Trotsky in Mexico (the operation was masterminded by the aforementioned Sudoplatov and spy-saboteur Naum Eitingon, also complicit in the kidnappings of Kutepov and Miller).

In 1946 Sudoplatov and Eitingon arranged the murder of the Ukrainian politician Shumsky in Saratov, where he lived in exile.

In 1948 the same duo organised the poisoning of Theodore Romzha, bishop of the Trans-Carpathian Greek Catholic Church.

In the same 1948, in Minsk, MGB agents murdered the actor Solomon Mikhoels by staging a fake accident.

In 1954, in West Berlin, Soviet agents kidnapped one of NTS[4] leaders Alexander Trushnovich (he was killed during the kidnapping).

In the same 1954, in West Germany, Lubianka tried to murder another NTS leader Georgiy Okolovich. However, the operation didn’t succeed: the agent-assassin Khokhlov told Okolovich everything and stayed in the West (later Khokhlov survived a thallium poisoning).

In 1959, in Munich, a KGB agent poisoned the prominent leader of the Ukrainian liberation movement Stepan Bandera.

In 1971, in Novocherkassk, the KGB tried to poison Alexander Solzhenitsyn by an undetectable ricin injection.

In 1978, in London, Bulgarian dissident Georgyi Markov was killed with a poisoned umbrella tip (joint operation of Soviet and Bulgarian State Security).

In 2006, also in London, a Moscow agent poisoned former FSB Colonel and dissident Alexander Litvinenko – as established by the British court.

This list can certainly be extended – for example with the news of Berezovsky’s associate Nikolai Glushkov, strangled in London. (London has become as unsafe for today’s Russian émigrés, as Paris used to be for their White precursors.)

Or else with the list of defecting Chekists liquidated by the vengeful Lubianka: Vladimir Nesterovich (poisoned in a German café, mid-‘20s), Georgiy Agabekov (stabbed in Paris, 1937), Ignatius Reuss (shot in Switzerland, 1937), Walter Krivitsky (shot in Washington, DC, 1941)…

Since the subject of poisons is understandably in the news at present, it’s worth remembering a few facts.

In the late ‘30s-early ‘40s, active in the centre of Moscow was a special laboratory run by Mairanovsky that, for maximum effect, conducted experiments on people, mainly political prisoners. It’s probably worth mentioning that Nazi ‘achievements’ in this area are less impressive.

The laboratory operated under the auspices of Sudoplatov and Eitingon, and the latter is known to have taken personal part in the diabolical experiments. It was Mairanovsky’s laboratory that provided poisons for the liquidation of, inter alia, Shumsky, Bishop Romzha, and also Raul Wallenberg (supposedly dead of a heart attack).

What am I driving at? After Stalin’s death, Sudoplatov was arrested and convicted. He came out of prison only in 1968. However, in 1992, in already democratic times, he was rehabilitated in ‘new Russia’ while still alive. And in 1998 all his decorations were reinstated posthumously. After that is it any wonder that a spawn of the KGB became Yeltsyn’s successor?

Eitingon’s fate was similar. First, in the twilight of the Stalin epoch, he was charged with participating in the ‘Zionist conspiracy’. Then he was convicted as a Beria man and came out of gaol only in 1964, naturally without his rank or decorations.

But this is what’s interesting: just like Sudoplatov, Eitingon was rehabilitated (posthumously) in the same democratic year of 1992. And on 9 May, 2000, his decorations were returned to his family.

That was a powerful, eloquent and, as we can now see, promising gesture. The government made it clear that it didn’t regard as criminal the actions of executioners and murderers, terrorists and saboteurs. On the contrary, it remembers and honours them.

And Litvinenko was poisoned in London a mere six years later.

Polonium is very dangerous. But ‘novichok’ is already a weapon of mass destruction. The British, who are familiar with the ‘glorious’ history of VCheka-FSB, have every reason to react robustly.


[1] VCheka (Vserossiyskaia chrezvychainaia komissiya), the original name of the Soviet secret police. Throughout the article the author uses several subsequent names of that sinister organisation (GPU, OGPU, MGB, KGB and FSB) as historically appropriate.

[2] Members of the VCheka and its successors.

[3] Rossiyskiy obshchevoiskovoi souyz, émigré organisation of Imperial and White soldiers.

[4] Narodnyi trudovoi soyuz, non-military émigré organization.

Tail Gunner Joe is back

The other day I suggested that, when political opposites attract, they aren’t really opposites. Even if there’s something that separates them, what unites them is much weightier.

For example, back in the 1930s the Left were taken aback by the ease with which German ex-communists were joining the SA and SS. Since communism was to them commendably left-wing, Nazism had to be right-wing by default. So how come?

They didn’t realise that there exists kinship that transcends political tags. Hence communism and Nazism can converge with each other much more naturally than either could converge with conservatism, which is also misleadingly called right-wing.

(On this subject, I’d suggest the book Diary of a Man in Despair by Friedrich Reck-Malleczewen, the aristocratic German conservative murdered by the Nazis in the last days of the war. I find it the most moving and incisive account of that time in Germany.)

Mussolini, who had a vast experience of both national and international socialism, understood this perfectly. He wrote at some time in the ‘30s that Russian communism had developed into “a kind of Slavic fascism” – and he was right.

Communist slogans had been downgraded to the level of meaningless mantras, and during the war Stalin largely abandoned them.

Coming to the fore instead were patriotic slogans borrowed from the Russian Empire. Generalissimo Suvorov, who until then had been described in Soviet encyclopaedias as “a lackey to imperialism” and in general evil incarnate, was suddenly hailed as a great Russian hero and had a medal named after him.

Millions of Russian soldiers, few of them untouched by murderous purges and famines, had refused to fight for communism in the first months of the war. But they were successfully rallied under the banners of Holy Russia and motherland.

Even the church (ROC) was invited on the bandwagon – this though at least 40,000 priests had been brutally murdered by the Bolsheviks. It was at that time, incidentally, that the ROC hierarchy became in effect an NKVD department, remaining in that role through multiple changes in that organisation’s name, all the way to today’s FSB.

If you compare Soviet and Nazi propaganda of that time, you’ll see the difference in language but not in substance. And even if you understand neither language, a quick look at the two sides’ posters, sculptures, paintings, films and architecture will tell you everything there’s to know.

Had Stalin lived another year, the world would even have been treated to another Final Solution to the Jewish problem, putting to bed forever any notions of irreconcilable differences between ‘right-wing’ and ‘left-wing’.

Whatever positive goals red and brown extremists inscribe on their banners, their negative animus is identical: visceral hatred (as opposed to constructive criticism) of the West, the urge to reshape it in their own image. The sides may be different, but the coin is the same.

Hence it’s instructive to see how British extremists at both ends converge in their affection for Putin’s Russia.

Discounting transparent trolls of the kind who inundate my e-mail with their cretinous messages, both extremes are driven not so much by rational arguments in favour of Putin’s kleptofascism as by visceral sympathy for a hard man putting his foot down – whomever he puts it down on.

If I were a Freudian, I’d probably go off on a tangent trying to ascribe this sympathy to homoerotic attraction. But I’m not, so I won’t.

Yet it’s clear that adoration (latent or otherwise) of Putin reaches the depths simple statements of political affiliation can’t reach. And the KGB colonel knows how to cultivate such deep feelings, even if he knows little of anything else.

(For all his bogus degrees, Putin is staggeringly ignorant. For example, the other day he misquoted Count von Münnich, General-Field Marshal in the eighteenth-century Russian army. Münnich quipped that “The Russian state has an advantage over others in that it is run directly by God. Otherwise it is impossible to explain how it exists.”

This Putin twisted to dismiss the sarcasm and claim that Russia is God’s own country. In the process, he ignorantly referred to Münnich as ‘Marshal’, a rank that didn’t exist in the Russian Empire.)

All this explains why Jeremy Corbyn, who isn’t a communist only in the most technical of senses, joins forces with our fascisoid hard Right in his adulation of Putin.

In this my friend Jeremy displays a greater understanding of Putin’s Russia than they do. They justify their love for the evil KGB thug by claiming Putin’s Russia isn’t at all like the Soviet Union. Jeremy loves Putin because he senses it is.

In that spirit he accuses those who object to Putin’s use of WMD to murder British subjects on British soil of “McCarthyite intolerance of dissent”.

It sounded like a spiritualist séance: suddenly the spirit of Tail Gunner Joe came wafting into the room enveloped in the usual fog of lies.

McCarthy, for all his well-documented flaws, wasn’t intolerant of dissent. He was intolerant of communists in high places, where they could both spy and shape public opinion. Specifically, he went after known communists in the State Department, show business and later the army.

That earned him the eternally undying hatred of the Jeremy Corbyns of this world, except, with all that time elapsing, they’ve changed their tack. They used to scream that good people were accused of being communists. Now they scream that good communists were accused of being communists.

After all, all those Rosenbergs, Hammetts and Hisses were ‘idealists’, and idealism expiates all sins – including doing the bidding of the most carnivorous state in history.

“The Salisbury attack is appalling,” allowed Jeremy. “But we must avoid a drift to conflict.” Allow me to translate: we should invite Putin to murder with impunity whomever he likes. My Putin trolls doubtless feel the same way.

What’s eating Dawkins?

Richard Dawkins has come up with a breakthrough in gastronomy

Professional atheist Richard Dawkins once wrote that Darwin taught us “everything we know about life”.

Now, atheists, no matter how breathtakingly clever, have preset limits to the reach of their intelligence. But even moderately clever ones wouldn’t commit such gibberish to paper.

Assuming that Darwin’s slapdash, politicised theory is correct in every detail – and even my hypothetical clever atheist wouldn’t assume that – it still doesn’t explain most things worth explaining, nor even tries to.

Before things evolve, they have to be: so what’s the origin of being, Richard? No response. How did the Earth come into existence? Ditto. What’s thought? Ditto. Why, by Darwin’s own admission, his theory can’t even explain such a comparatively simple thing as the human eye.

Nor does Darwin explain how an ideologised, manipulative nonentity like Dawkins became so popular. This, however, says more about modernity than about either Darwin or Dawkins, so let’s get them off the hook on this one.

Now that Stephen Hawking has gone to that great parallel universe, the field is clear for Dawkins to move in and propose universal solutions to universal problems, or those perceived as such.

One such problem is current, or especially impending, world hunger, and trust my friend Richard to solve it with one word. The word is cannibalism, using human flesh as a protein source.

One has to admit that the sight of a serving dish displaying roast Richard with an apple in his mouth isn’t without some aesthetic appeal.

But Dawkins precludes the possibility of such a culinary delight by specifying that the human meat he has in mind would be created from stem cells in the lab – not scavenged from the morgue or bought from some human abattoir where people would be culled for their buttocks. Thank God for that… sorry, Richard, wrong turn of phrase.

This way, explains Dawkins, we’d overcome the “taboo against cannibalism”. Perhaps. Equally possible is that an encouragement to coprophilia would rid us of the taboo against eating excrement, which, in book form, is the fare sustaining Dawkins’s readers.

The question is, why would we want to overcome such taboos? They are kind of cosy, customary and comfortable, like a pair of well-worn boots. Even for an atheist, who doesn’t believe in man’s special status, the sight of a humanburger would be revolting.

Precisely! That’s exactly the problem. For we live under the yoke of “yuck reaction absolutism”. Dawkins is happy to free us from this abomination by replacing it with “consequentialist morality”.

My friend Richard isn’t bright enough to realise that such ideas let the cat out of the bag. His brand of professional atheism isn’t new science – in fact, it’s no science at all. It’s new morality, or rather immorality.

Another moral guru, Princeton professor Peter Singer, hasn’t come up with a lofty term like ‘consequentialist morality’, but he too is keen to preach that there’s no moral difference between a man and a pig. I disagree, though I do admire his capacity for frank self-assessment. I also admire his logic.

Dawkins’ sermon of cannibalism logically flows out of his strident atheism, which goes to show that the premise on which the logic is based is perverse.

Likewise, Singer inadvertently debunks his Darwinist premise by allowing that humans and animals can have “mutually satisfying” sexual relations because “we are animals, indeed more specifically, we are great apes.” Therefore such sex “ceases to be an offence to our status and dignity as human beings.”

With friends like Dawkins and Singer, Darwinist atheism doesn’t need enemas. For sound logical inference can turn any unsound theory into the sort of substance one sometimes steps into on the pavement.

Marxism, for example, logically leads to mass slaughter. What’s a few million lives when compared to creating paradise on earth? Yet those of us who suffer from ‘yuck reaction absolutism’ when treated to the sight of mangled corpses dumped into a ravine may begin to doubt the theory that leads to such practice – especially if we read what Marx, Engels et al actually wrote about genocide.

(This last phrase is for the benefit of the cerebrally challenged multitudes who insist that Marxism is a beautiful theory, lamentably perverted by the Soviets. Read your Marx, Engels et al, chaps, not their mendacious interpreters like Jeremy Corbyn.)

The mishmash of inanities that passes for Dawkins’s mind is proposing a cannibalistic solution to a problem that doesn’t, or at least shouldn’t, really exist. There Darwin comes together with Malthus to crank out the phantom of a world starving to death because of overpopulation.

This is nonsense, as shown by empirical evidence. For example, Britain has four times the population density of Ethiopia. Yet Ethiopians periodically starve to death in vast numbers, whereas the British throw away more food than many Ethiopians eat.

Humanburgers won’t solve this problem because the problem isn’t physical but metaphysical, or civilisational if you will.

Our civilisation is capable of producing or buying enough food to feed our population without having to indulge Dawkins’s lucrative horror show. The Ethiopian civilisation isn’t so capable, and won’t be unless Ethiopians adopt our ways.

I suppose it’s too late for Dawkins to learn how to think, especially since many people encourage his idiocy by buying his books. I for one eagerly anticipate his next opus, The Kitchen Delights of Cannibalism.

P.S. And speaking of thinking, Manny Macron initially refused to support Mrs May’s puny punitive measures against Russia for lack of prima facie evidence.

But some conclusions don’t require it: they may be based on intuition, obvious inference, logical induction, ratiocination, common knowledge, expert opinion, etc. For example, there’s no prima facie evidence that cannibalism is immoral, that bestiality is wrong or that Manny is homosexual (not that there’s anything wrong with alternative lifestyles, I hasten to add).

Useless. Craven. Pathetic.

That’s a polite way to describe Mrs May’s response to the series of murders committed by Putin’s thugs on British soil.

A couple of hours earlier I wrote I hoped against hope that the measures she would take would be appropriately punitive. I was right about the ‘against hope’ bit.

Here’s how we’ll respond to the WMD attack on Britain:

Expelling 23 diplomats

Big deal. They’ll just send in 23 more spies.

Increasing checks on private flights, customs and freight

For what exactly? A gram of powder? Good luck.

Freezing Russian state assets where there is evidence they may be used to threaten the life or property of UK nationals or residents

Define Russian state assets. Is it just those listed as such? That’s either being ignorant or hoping we are.

Russian ‘oligarchs’ are only leaseholders of their assets, with the government owning the freehold. Putin can draw on their capital at any time, as he did, for example, by making Abramovich foot much of the bill for Vlad’s previous propaganda coup, the Sochi Olympics.

Ministers and the royal family boycotting the World Cup

I can just see Vlad trembling. His propaganda coup just won’t be the same without 10 seconds’ worth of Boris Johnson footage

Suspending all planned high-level bilateral contacts between the UK and Russia

Now that’s scary. They kill British subjects; we aren’t going to talk to them for a while. How will Putin survive without being able to peek down Mrs May’s décolleté?

Plans to consider new laws to increase defences against “hostile state activity”

Plans. To consider. So first we’ll make plans to consider, then we’ll do a bit of considering – and then what? Oh back to normal, of course.

Advice to Vlad: just try not to have a go at Her Majesty. Anything short of that you’ll get away with.

Vlad is laughing. And we should brace ourselves for more murders.

Nerve gas isn’t the worst poison

“And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul, but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell,” says the book that in my Moscow youth was classed as anti-Soviet propaganda.

(The newly pious Col. Putin remembers those days well: he started his career in the KGB’s Second Chief Directorate, part of whose duties was to cut off the import of such subversive literature sent to Russia by Western enemies of progress.)

In Britain this book isn’t yet banned. It’s simply dismissed as irrelevant: there’s no soul, nor any hell. There’s only the body, and it must be pampered in every conceivable way until it’s no more.

Most of those ways take money, lots of it. Since society’s desiderata have been boiled down to purely material needs, pursuit of money, otherwise known as happiness, moves to the forefront of our private and public aspirations.

It follows logically that the morality of good and evil is replaced with the morality of not getting caught. Since it’s all about having a painless, enjoyable life only money can buy, why be fastidious about the means of acquiring money or its sources? You only live once.

Whatever works, as long as it’s legal. And if it isn’t quite legal, that’s fine too, provided one can get away with it. (Pecunia non olet – Vespasian enunciated that principle when the material for the aforementioned subversive book was still being gathered.)

That, however, involves a misapprehension. For no society can really get away with it. I can’t vouch for what happens in hell, but cynical amorality inevitably gets punished in earth. Body politic can survive any amount of physical damage, but not a thrust through its very heart.

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also,” says the anti-Soviet book young Vova Putin worked so diligently to toss into the bonfire.

That gets us to the presence of the so-called oligarchs on British soil, and the high six-figure contributions they’ve allegedly made to the Tories.

That sum is downright paltry when compared to the billions in laundered cash they’ve injected into the sclerotic veins of the British economy, but for some unfathomable reason people still expect the government to be more moral than a bank.

The proof that the Conservatives received money from Russian gangsters… sorry, I mean oligarchs… is much weaker than the proof of the Russians indulging in mass murder on British soil.

But of course nothing short of prima facie evidence (or not even that) will ever satisfy our regiment of Putin trolls if their idol is shown to be a mass murderer.

Unless Putin is caught on a CCTV camera personally spraying nerve gas on a car door handle, it’s not the Russians what done it. But any factually unsupported rumour of government corruption will be accepted as, well, gospel, provided it serves the cause of our moral equivalence junkies, otherwise known as Putin trolls.

However, in this case I believe the rumour. For I detect no moral barriers that our government erects to protect itself from attacks on its very soul. They do a reasonably good job surrounding the Houses of Parliament with concrete slabs, so, their bodies adequately protected, who cares about the soul? It doesn’t exist anyway.

So why not take a few lousy hundred grand from the likes of Abramovich and Deripaska? After all, we’re happy to welcome them and their billions here. And we don’t ask how those billions were made, do we? The Faustian deal was struck, and so far HMG has kept its end of it.

It has taken a series of murders committed by Putin’s hit squads in Britain for HMG to start making noises about impounding the filthy lucre and kicking its owners out of Britain. That only shows where the government’s heart is (see above).

Never mind the poisonous presence of hundreds of Russian gangsters in the better parts of London and Surrey. Never mind the soul-destroying moral damage. It’s the physical damage that upsets us, especially when it oversteps a certain implicitly set limit.

Yet that presence has been as poisonous as they come for years. Billions in dirty money sloshing about sully as all, by dripping poison into our society drop by drop.

For there are hundreds if not thousands of bankers, stock brokers and fund managers knowingly accepting money of criminal origin. Drop!

Hundreds of estate agents flogging mansions and riverside apartments to thugs they know to be thugs. Drop!

Hundreds of property developers who know whom they develop those properties for. Drop!

Hundreds of owners of shops and boutiques in Bond Street, Sloane Avenue and elsewhere knowingly playing lickspittle to criminals and their molls. Drop!

Thousands of ‘socialites’ falling over themselves to attend lavish parties thrown by an Abramovich or a Deripaska. Drop!

Bipartisan politicians being entertained on Deripaska’s yacht (one of them now edits the London newspaper owned, through his son’s proxy, by a KGB officer.) Drop!

Hundreds of Sloanies desperately trying to wangle an invitation to Abramovich’s box at Stamford Bridge. Drop!

And so forth, ad nauseam, until all those drops converge into a mighty river of poison engulfing our soul, which, contrary to the popular error, does exist.

I do hope (against all hope) that HMG will join other civilised countries in throwing a cordon sanitaire around the source of that global poison, Putin’s kleptofascist junta. And that we’ll have the courage to make sure Russian criminals are thrown back inside that fence.

And their money? Frankly, I don’t care much about it. It would be just if we confiscated their loot – the word that accurately describes the wealth of every Russian billionaire. But at a pinch let them take it back where it came from, and hope they choke on it.

P.S. Speaking of Putin trolls, I’ve been inundated with their cretinous e-mails for the past few days. Driven to distraction, I finally replied in a language no gentleman should ever use – unless he really means it. I did, and I hope they understood every part of it.

Useful idiots’ warped logic

The plot sickens. More and more fans of Putin are coming out of the woodwork with pathetic attempts to justify the latest WMD attack on British soil.

They stop at nothing: lies, falsified facts and the kind of syllogisms that would have had a student drummed out of a decent university when we still had decent universities.

The most popular syllogism goes like this. Thesis: Putin does bad things. Antithesis: we do bad things. Synthesis: ergo, Putin is better than us or, in any case, we have no moral right to object to his murdering anyone on British soil.

Let’s start by accepting that Britain, the US and just about everyone else in His creation are deeply flawed. So stipulated, as a QC would say.

Perfection is unattainable in this world, but there still exist degrees of imperfection. For example, stealing a loaf of bread is bad, but murdering an old woman for her pension money is worse. Equating the two is called moral equivalence, which betokens an infirm grasp on both morality and the very notion of equivalence.

I recall speaking to the faculty of a London university, and only pedantry prohibits me from describing members of that august body as rank communists.

They took exception to my branding communism as murderous and evil. What about the Inquisition, they asked with that QED expression on their faces. They burned people alive, didn’t they?

True, I said. In the 400 years it was in business the Inquisition immolated about 10,000. The most accurate estimate of communist murders is 61 million in about 45 years – and that’s in the Soviet Union alone.

There’s no difference, they said. And if I say there is, I’m guilty of moral relativism.

I’m not, I countered. I’m only guilty of arithmetical relativism in that I think that killing 1.3 million people a year is more than killing 25 people a year – although I do agree that, on general principle, burning people isn’t nice.

In the same spirit I agree with our useful idiots when they list all the rotten things Britain has done since the Roman conquest, and especially in the last few decades. Moreover, I happily add a few of my own.

This can be verified by tapping ‘Major’, ‘Blair’ or ‘Cameron’ into the search feature on this blog – or better still, at least from my publishers’ viewpoint, reading any of my books, starting with How the West Was Lost.

I do think that our modern governments have perverted Britain’s greatest gift to mankind, her political system. As a result, we’ve done many things I regard as wrong and, especially in Blair’s case, some I regard as criminal.

However, the optimist in me believes that everything perverted can be unperverted, even if the realist in me demurs. For things to be perverted, they have to be good to begin with, which leaves room for backtracking to the starting point.

Since Putin’s useful idiots see themselves as British patriots, they probably don’t think that our system of government is evil in se, even if it has done some bad things.

However, by any standards of political evil, Putin’s regime is just that: evil through and through. Let me list some of its more endearing achievements for the benefit of slow learners.

According to Olga Kryshtanovskaya, Putin’s loyal sociologist and Duma member from his party, 84 per cent of Russia’s ruling elite, including of course Col. Putin himself, are unrepentant KGB officers. (“There’s no such thing as ex-KGB,” Putin once explained.)

In other words, they are members of the same criminal organisation that ran up the aforementioned list of victims. To emphasise their lack of repentance, they continue to act in character.

The mummy of Lenin, under whom people were murdered at a brisker rate than even under Stalin, still adorns Red Square. Hundreds of statues of Stalin are going up all over Russia, and in some Russian churches his portraits are used as icons.

This is part of our history, explains Putin, to be cherished even if “some mistakes” were made. Quite. And Hitler is part of German history – yet somehow one doesn’t see much Hitler memorabilia in Germany’s squares.

To dispel any suspicions that this is just a matter of antiquarian value, the regime acts in character, with one added detail. Stalin’s regime discouraged organised crime rather terminally, while Putin’s junta is fused with it.

That started with his first political job. When the KGB assigned Putin as Vice Mayor, in effect watcher, to Petersburg’s Mayor Sobchak, he went into business. In 1992 the Council commission headed by Marina Salye investigated Vlad’s record.

Among other choice bits, the resulting dossier shows that Putin signed deals to export $100 million worth of raw materials in exchange for food. The raw materials dutifully left Russia. No food came back in return – this at a time of rationing in Petersburg.

When in due course Putin got into the Kremlin, he quickly expanded his scale by creating history’s first ruling elite fusing secret police and organised crime.

Russia’s natural resources, the richest in the world, had already been sold at derisory prices to Yeltsyn’s cronies, but there was still a lot left. Putin began to dispossess those oligarchs who were insufficiently loyal to him – and reward his own hangers-on, with the amounts involved reflecting the new-fangled oligarchs’ proximity to the throne.

In short order everyone close to Putin – his friends, family, judo partners, KGB colleagues, bodyguards, cooks – became billionaires. And they didn’t keep their money in Russia, wisely realising that their ill-gotten lucre wouldn’t survive a regime change.

By a modest estimate, a trillion of well-laundered dollars is now sitting in US banks, with about as much again elsewhere – this when, by the Russian government’s own estimate, 14 million people are living below the poverty line, drawn at about £200 a month.

(One particularly idiotic useful idiot wrote to me yesterday, listing Putin’s achievements. Among them was his putting a stop to the flight of capital out of Russia, leaving me to ponder whether it’s ignorance, cretinism or paid advocacy.)

Putin’s own wealth is estimated within a broad range of anywhere between 20 and 250 billion dollars, and it probably gravitates toward the high end.

After all, according to Western and Russian investigators, Putin owns 4.5 per cent of the world’s largest gas producer Gazprom, 37 per cent of the oil company Surgutneftegas and a majority interest in Gunvor, the world’s fourth largest oil trader.

Until recently, Gunvor operated in Switzerland under the leadership of Putin’s confidant Gennady Timchenko, lovingly nicknamed ‘Gangrene’ in some quarters. But Gangrene hastily sold his shares a couple of days before Western sanctions went into effect – forewarned is forearmed.

Still, I wish it were only green money. Alas, it’s also red blood.

Putin’s grip on power was consolidated by the Second Chechen war, yielding at least 160,000 deaths. This was precipitated by his sponsoring organisation blowing up several residential blocks in Russia and blaming it on the Chechens. For details, I recommend the book Blowing Up Russia, co-authored by Alexander Litvinenko, who later fell victim to an extreme form of literary criticism.

Thus inaugurated, Putin’s regime proceeded apace, systematically tightening the screws. Some 300 journalists have disappeared or have been murdered since 1993, most of them on Putin’s watch. Uncountable others have been harassed, beaten up or maimed.

Numerous political opponents of Putin have been murdered too, with opposition leader Boris Nemtsov spectacularly shot 50 yards from the Kremlin wall. This activity transcends Russian borders, as Messrs Litvinenko, Perepelichny, Skripal and many others (not all of them Russians) could testify.

In parallel, independent media have been suppressed, and even anti-Putin on-line magazines have been blocked. Taking their place is the most revolting propaganda I’ve ever seen, and I lived in the Soviet Union for the first 25 years of my life.

If you search ‘Soloviov’ or ‘Kisilev’ on my blog, you’ll find quotations that’ll make your hair stand on end – and this is standard fare, poured on the Russians round the clock, especially on TV. Lately, Putin’s Goebbelses have been inviting token dissidents on their shows and then encouraging the loyal guests to attack them physically. Nice.

No free press means no free elections. And anyway, didn’t Putin’s role model Stalin say that what matters isn’t how votes are cast, but how they’re counted?

So far I haven’t even mentioned Putin’s aggressive wars against Georgia and the Ukraine, with the latter claiming at least 10,000 lives, nor his shooting down Malaysian Flight 17 airliner, killing all 298 aboard. Nor have I brought up his indiscriminate bombing of Syria, with hospitals and schools being intended targets, rather than unfortunate collateral damage.

All in all, I struggle to think which criterion of political evil Putin’s junta doesn’t meet. But I’m sure his useful idiots have their own logic – of the sort that would make a reasonably clever 10-year-old blush.

David Suchet finds his own God

Notable exceptions aside, actors aren’t known for their towering intellect. Having grown up in an actor’s family, and met dozens of his colleagues, I feel qualified to make this general observation.

I don’t know why that’s the case. Perhaps because an actor’s brain has to accommodate hundreds of personalities over a career, there’s no room left for his own. It’s conceivable that a certain vacuity just may be a job requirement.

Whenever they don’t have a script to follow, and a director screaming “Can’t you learn your bloody lines for crying out loud?!?”, they tend to mouth inanities on any subject that catches their fancy.

In that endeavour they’re encouraged by our comprehensively educated public that tends to issue celebrities a licence to kill all sound thought. Somehow the assumption is that, if a chap’s face appears on TV often enough, anything he has to say is the verity to end all verities.

That’s why I only tend to comment on actors’ pronouncements when they enunciate a thought shared widely enough to be considered typical. Suchet’s take on Christianity falls into that category.

In 1986 Suchet did an Archimedes by finding the truth in the bath. I don’t know if he shouted ‘Eureka!’, but he felt the urge to find a Bible. That he did, and was converted to Christianity by Romans 8: 12-15, with Verse 14 saying, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”

Having thus found Christ, Suchet issued a disclaimer: “I’m not a great fan of organised religion.” That could mean either of two things: 1) he likes his religion to be disorganised or 2) more likely, his own Christianity needs no outside help, thank you very much.

Discounting 1) as facetious, we’re left with a man displaying a typical fideistic hubris, originally encouraged by all sorts of heresies that culminated in Protestantism and eventually turned into the sort of agnosticism prevalent in our own time.

At some point, a man so inspired often becomes either a downright atheist or, if his hubris is of megalomaniac proportions, a vague seeker trying to find God within himself and finding only himself there.

I’ve written a book about such a man (God and Man According to Tolstoy), who developed that tendency to the logical end of becoming not only his own priest, à la Luther, but indeed his own God.

Not being blessed with the vast scale of Tolstoy’s personality, Suchet hasn’t gone quite so far. But, like Tolstoy, he has developed his own Christianity without Christ by following a road… to where exactly?

“More spirituality: Christian spirituality because that’s where I was moved towards, but very much away now from doctrine and dogma, which I find very polemical,” Suchet said.

I’d suggest that, if he seeks the best manifestation of the spirit, he ought to try Lagavulin or some other decent single malt. An old Armagnac could also do the trick.

Being an actor, Suchet clearly doesn’t realise that “doctrine and dogma” contain all of Christianity. For Christianity isn’t so much the teaching by Christ as the teaching about Christ.

When Jesus himself speaks in the Gospels, it’s of course both. But everything Jesus is recorded to have said amounts to only about two hours’ worth of speech. Surely he must have said quite a bit more during a mission lasting between one and two years?

That’s why it has taken history’s best minds centuries to fill in the blanks. For example, it was only in 451 AD that the Council of Chalcedon determined that Jesus was neither just God nor just a man. He was both: “perfect both in deity and in humanness; this selfsame one is also actually God and actually man.”

This organic synthesis of the physical and metaphysical created the greatest civilisation the world has ever seen. Its enemies have always tried to make one end of the delicately balanced seesaw shoot up skywards and the other hit the ground.

Reducing Christianity only to some ill-defined spirituality means having no Christianity left. It’s a sort of Docetism heavily tinged with nihilistic Eastern creeds, a heresy that isn’t a different view on Christianity, but its deadly enemy.

Having stepped on this eastward road, Suchet eventually landed on the doorstep of Kamal Khatib, whom the actor himself describes as “this hate preacher, really anti-West.”

Khatib definitely is that, but not only that. As befits a good Muslim he fanatically hates both Christians and Jews, especially the latter.

The Muslims, according to Khatib, must create a worldwide caliphate with Jerusalem as its capital, and in the process “eliminate the Jews from history”. Both desiderata strike me as a bit of a tall order, but Suchet doesn’t seem to mind.

When he met Khatib, says the actor, “He was a man with such conviction about Islam and the caliphate and what he took to be his vision of the Koran that I found myself leaning forward and going: ‘Really?’ I found myself empathising… The majority of Muslims that I’ve ever met are the most wonderful, spiritual people.”

Shame about the sizeable minority that tend to blow up public transport and drive vehicles through screaming crowds.

It’s that spirituality again, of the kind that would have destroyed our civilisation had the Albigensian Crusade not stopped it – but unfortunately not dead in its tracks. It pops up more and more, especially among deracinated Westerners who are neither humble enough to seek the Church’s help nor bright enough to work out the subtleties of Christianity on their own.

Eastern spirituality is attractive to those who don’t really understand Western civilisation, chaps like Suchet who seek some sort of disembodied spirit anywhere they can find it.

Few, however, ‘emphasise’ with merchants of hate who, unlike Suchet, do follow their own dogma and doctrine. Part of it is an entreaty to kill Jews and Christians, something for Suchet, who’s both, to ponder.

P.S. Much has been made of Meghan Markle’s baptism in the Anglican rite. Now as far as I know, Miss Markle was baptised in a different confession at birth, and different Christian denominations accept one another’s baptism as valid.  Shouldn’t it be ‘converted to’ rather than ‘baptised in’?