Will Harry ever shut up?

Just as I was incensed yesterday about US congressmen meddling in our affairs, Americans have every right to be aggrieved by Prince Harry blatantly advising them to vote for Biden in November.

Mr and Mrs Windsor

He didn’t do that in so many words, but the meaning was so transparent that he might as well have done. Someone ought to explain to Harry certain basic truths he obviously can’t figure out for himself.

First, he is rather the opposite of bright. A man of his woefully inadequate intellect is in no position to lecture anybody on anything.

Second, our celebrity culture is such that even nonentities feel entitled to pontificate publicly if their name is readily recognised by the masses. However, acting on that perceived entitlement makes them look even more, rather than less, pathetic.

Harry’s name is recognised by the masses for one reason only: he is a prince of the realm. By all accounts he was a good soldier, but such men don’t benefit from name recognition unless they’ve performed an act of spectacular heroism or perhaps reached a senior general’s rank.

Third, the status of a prince of the realm confers rare privileges, while at the same time imposing ironclad responsibilities. Benefiting from the former while ignoring the latter is worse than inane and tasteless. Since it undermines the very essence of our constitutional dispensation, irresponsible behaviour on the part of the royals is borderline treasonous.

Fourth, being a prince of the realm or, for that matter, any royal involves the forfeiture of some rights the rest of us take for granted. One of them is the freedom of expressing political views publicly – and certainly campaigning for political parties even at home, never mind abroad.

Fifth, while the life of a private subject of Her Majesty belongs only to him and his God, the life of a prince also belongs to the whole nation. Some royals, especially those not burdened with excessive intellect, may find that onus unbearable. However, they must bear it for any number of historical and political reasons.

Sixth, however passionately Harry is obsessed with his wife, she is a typical Hollywood starlet with next to no talent and transient good looks. Marrying Harry was Meghan’s shortcut to enduring fame, which is a time-honoured stratagem for young women on the make.

However, Meghan insists on using her new-found fame as a platform from which to vent her hare-brained woke views on every conceivable subject. It’s beyond her modest abilities to fathom that, by marrying a royal prince, she has stopped being just Meghan Markle. Instead she became HRH the Duchess of Sussex, an important cog in the wheels of the British constitution.

The Queen must act with alacrity to put an end to this obscene road show. The HRH title, along with all other royal insignia, must be immediately removed from Harry and Meghan de jure, as it already has been de facto.

It’s not enough that they are no longer working royals – they must be taken down from the royal perch altogether. Moreover, they, like the Duke of Windsor (another royal henpecked by an American femme fatale) back in the ‘30s, must be banned from entering Britain, unless explicitly allowed to do so by the prime minister in each case.

Harry should keep his officer’s rank, provided he reverts to the name he used in the service, Harry Windsor. I for one will be interested to see the ratings of those Netflix films produced by Mr and Mrs Windsor, rather than the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. So, no doubt, will Netflix.

We must recognise the vital role played by the monarchy in Britain’s constitution, which is to say her very essence. For Britain, more than any other European country, is defined by her political arrangement. This is arguably the country’s greatest contribution to Western civilisation, much envied and often emulated by others throughout history.

The constitution has evolved over the centuries, but it has remained essentially intact for over three centuries, despite Tony Blair’s constitutional vandalism. But even in his zeal Blair discovered that no part of Britain’s political structure could be removed without jeopardising the whole.

Thus, much as he wanted to expunge the very notion of a Lord Chancellor, he only succeeded in downgrading the office, not eliminating it. Blair found out that too many political and administrative cul-de-sacs await any train trying to bypass that vital stop.

Yet the monarchy is even more important, by several orders of magnitude. If it collapses, Britain will be plunged into a hopeless political chaos, compared to which the economic damage done by Covid (avidly assisted by our craven, spivocratic government) will look like a marvel of order.

The republican sentiment at the grassroots is strong, and every time a royal violates his brief it gets stronger. Hence Harry’s idiotic shenanigans threaten his whole family and therefore the country.

When that’s the case, both Whitehall and the Palace must act quickly and decisively. In 1936 Stanley Baldwin knew what to do under such circumstances. Boris Johnson, who fancies himself a historian, should study history not just out of academic interest.

Congressmen playing marbles

A group of 18 US congressmen have issued an open letter, demanding that Britain return the Elgin Marbles to Greece on pain of losing any hope of a trade deal. The letter is enunciated in a language reminiscent of notes starting with the words “if you ever want to see your children again…”

Evidently Brexit offers exciting possibilities not only for global trade, but also for blackmail – with Britain on the receiving end.

That Americans are cast in the role of blackmailers adds an interesting twist to the very notion of the ‘special relationship’. Some US legislators can’t seem to be able to get their heads around the fact that Britain is a sovereign country entitled to conduct her affairs as she sees fit.

This doesn’t make us off limits for criticism, legitimate or otherwise. But neither is Britain a weedy nerd to be pushed around by a schoolyard bully.

It’s clear that we need a trade deal with the US, and presumably vice versa. But trade deals are just that, mutually beneficial arrangements for exchanging goods and services. They shouldn’t be used as levers of political influence.

Under normal circumstances, that is. No international relations, including trade, ought to exclude a moral aspect altogether. Sanctions and embargos imposed on evil states are perfectly justified, if seldom effective.

However, I doubt that many Americans see Britain as one such state, for all her demonstrable failings. Therefore making trade contingent on our compliance with an unfair and historically ignorant demand, especially when accompanied by veiled threats, is nothing but unvarnished blackmail.

The group of congressional blackmailers came from both parties, and it’s nice to see a cross-party consensus on at least one issue, if no other. The tone of their letter is menacing:

“We remain appreciative of your efforts and good will in support of the historic special relationship between the United Kingdom and the United States, and look forward to strengthening that relationship through the accomplishment of matters such as this.” In other words, do as we say – or else.

I’ve been unable to obtain the list of the 18 signatories, but I suspect many of them must be of Greek origin and hence subjects to an intricate lattice of loyalties typical of Americans. One doubts the cohesion of a nation, where so many people retain not only a cultural interest in the land of their distant ancestors, but also tribal and political sympathies – but that’s beyond my scope here.

I’m surprised Turkish Americans haven’t yet demanded that the Elgin Marbles be returned to Turkey. After all, at the time Lord Elgin removed them, Greece was part of the Ottoman Empire.

But for Lord Elgin, the Marbles wouldn’t exist: the Turks were burning them to obtain lime for construction purposes, and some priceless sculptures were irretrievably lost. Elgin, ambassador to the Ottomans at the time, managed to save the Marbles and transport them to London at a staggering personal cost, £70,000 (at a time when £500 a year was seen as an enviable income).

This issue has always attracted rebels in search of a cause. One such possessor of a flaming social conscience is George Clooney, who a few years ago demonstrated his cultural credentials by saying that “Even in England the polling is in favour of returning the marbles to the Pantheon.”

Which Pantheon, George? The one in Paris or the one in Rome? Oh hell, Pantheon, Parthenon, who cares as long as your heart’s in the right place (even if your brain isn’t). And a current poll shows that 64 per cent of Britons want to keep the Marbles, mainly, I suspect, because Britons tend to close ranks in the face of blackmailers.

Both sides to the debate make obtuse legal arguments, and I’m not qualified to act as a referee. I do know, however, that Britain should be at the bottom of the queue when it comes to returning art to previous owners.

The collection of the Parthenon (Pantheon?) Marbles at the British Museum wasn’t looted, which is more than one can say for the collections of some European museums, such as the Louvre.

Many of its treasures were stolen during Napoleon’s campaigns, yet nobody raises a hue and cry about it. And even some masterpieces in American museums were looted by the Nazis from Jewish families before eventually crossing the ocean.

US legislators try to blackmail Britain on other issues as well. Some of them are deeply concerned about HMG’s intransigence in its negotiations with the EU. That concern is also expressed by dangling a trade deal over our heads like the sword of Damocles.

It’s touching to see how selflessly those chaps devote so much of their valuable time to pondering issues that are none of their business. This, at a time when their own country is rent asunder by race riots threatening to engulf the whole country in flames, and when America is running up a Covid death toll much higher than ours, both absolutely and relatively.

All that is accompanied by bows towards the ‘special relationship’, understood as one between a wirepuller and his dummy. That’s exactly what it has been ever since the US threw its massive weight behind the task of dismantling the British Empire.

During the war, which Americans insist they won for us, the country’s real special relationship was with Stalin’s Russia, not Britain. Though the former entered the war as Hitler’s ally, Stalin got US lend-lease aid for free, whereas Britain had to beggar herself trying to pay for it. In fact, it was only in 2006 when the debt was finally settled.

My avuncular advice to US congressmen: chaps, leave Britain alone and mind your own business, which is far from being good. If you think you can profit from a trade deal, we’ll be happy to sign it. Otherwise you can flog your chlorinated chickens elsewhere.

Totalitarianism isn’t TB

By the time tuberculosis symptoms appear, it’s already too late to treat the disease, went the medical opinion in the pre-antibiotic era.

Teapots and kettles: her colleagues called Kristie Higgs a “Nazi”

Totalitarianism isn’t like that: even its early symptoms are there for all to see. However, it’s a distinction without a difference, for people either fail to recognise inchoate totalitarianism for what it is, or else ignore it altogether.

Hence there’s a distinct danger that totalitarianism will triumph with the deadly effect of tuberculosis in the pre-antibiotic era. And when it does, it will indeed be too late to do anything about it.

Totalitarianism escalates; given an inch, it’ll gradually claim a yard and then a mile. But then everything about modernity, including its congenital totalitarianism, is progressive.

That the rights of Englishmen are beginning to cough up blood is undeniable. The latest incidence involves Kristie Higgs, a Gloucestershire school assistant sacked for daring to oppose creeping woke fascism.

As a Christian, she regards education in the fine points of homosexuality as “brainwashing our children” and doesn’t “believe in the modern ideas of gender fluidity and transgenderism”.

Moreover, in her Facebook posts Mrs Higgs correctly described compulsory classes in sex education as “a vicious form of totalitarianism aimed at suppressing Christianity”.

This led to the following exchange between her and the school’s barrister at the subsequent tribunal hearing:

“Do you believe that because of your religious views you can post anything you like, no matter how reactionary?”

“I believe that if it goes against the word of God, people need to know about it. I love God but I also have to follow the law of the land, but it doesn’t mean I can’t disagree.”

So you could, Mrs Higgs, when Britain was still a free country. But you no longer can disagree, our incipient totalitarians won’t allow it. So far (the operative words) they’re unable to take your life, but they can certainly ruin it.

This is far from being the first case of British Christians suffering persecution for refusing to repudiate their beliefs and proselytise them, just as Christ told them to (“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations…”). The severity of punishment doesn’t yet match the experience of Christians in the Soviet Union, but such things have a natural accelerator built in.

What Mrs Higgs said about the propaganda of gender-bending applies to modernity at large. It too is, potentially at least, “a vicious form of totalitarianism aimed at suppressing Christianity”.

In fact, if there is a discernible animus all modern revolutions share, it’s a revolt against Christianity in general and its apostolic confessions in particular.

That’s why Catholicism was banned on pain of death in 12 of the first 13 American colonies; why the American revolutionaries, most of them deists at best, were so keen to separate church and state, with the Founders competing against one another in the stridency of their attacks on traditional denominations; why the French revolutionaries committed unspeakable atrocities under the banner of secularism; why the Soviets and the Nazis set out to exterminate or at least suppress Christianity.

However, as we are finding out, the bathwater of religion is impossible to throw out without also losing the baby of culture, civility and morality. And those are the only restraints able to keep totalitarianism in check, preventing its seed, planted in every modern state, from growing to luxuriant maturity.

The war on Christianity has been won on the secular background, but iconoclasm doesn’t stop even after the icons have been smashed. That’s why modern savages, such as those running that Gloucestershire school, react so violently to any recalcitrant holdouts.

And that’s why Miss Higgs’s appeal to the Bible and Christian moral teaching, while noble and correct, is unlikely to save any souls other than her own. Yet her argument can be made just as effectively without a single reference to Scripture.

I’m not saying it could be won, but it certainly could satisfy the strictest logician. Specifically on the issue of gender-bending, one can invoke reams of scientific evidence showing it’s impossible for a man to become a woman and vice versa. They can only succeed in becoming freakish sideshows, adding new arrows to the ideological quiver of modernity.

An argument from freedom can also be made on purely secular grounds. Parents must be free to withdraw their children from sex-education classes if they feel such ‘education’ is damaging to the child morally, intellectually and psychologically. Similarly, school employees have a right to oppose such classes without suffering repercussions.

I hope Mrs Higgs wins her tribunal case, but I’m not holding my breath. Appeals to real, as opposed to bogus, civil rights ring as hollow to our totalitarians as do quotations from the Bible.

However, it’s critical that the few holdouts among us heed the warning signs better than our typological precursors did in Russia and Germany. We should stand fast, refusing to cede those inches in the knowledge that they can ineluctably add up to miles. Totalitarianism must be fought everywhere its symptoms appear, even if they seem trivial.

We should refuse to succumb to totalitarian usages shoved down our throats; we should continue to appeal to basic human liberties; we should quarrel with school administrations promoting totalitarian takeover; we should march, non-violently, in defence of liberty; we should uphold real education based on real books, real music, real science; we should insist on the freedom of religion guaranteed yet assaulted by all Western governments; we should spring to the defence of Kristie Higgs and other victims of neo-totalitarianism.

And, all else failing, we should remember the old saying: even if none of it can be resisted, all of it can be despised.

Virtue comes at a price

For Princeton University the price may be quite steep: $75 million. That’s the amount of federal funding the university has received – fraudulently, according to a self-lacerating admission by its president, Christopher Eisgruber.

Hotbed of racism

Actually, Dr Eisgruber didn’t make that admission in so many words. He simply signalled his virtue to the outside world, saying things any respectable scholar has to say these days if he wishes to remain respectable.

The underlying assumption is as simple as truth itself. Any institution founded before the advent of new morality, one based on race, sex and sexes, is congenitally racist, homophobic and misogynist. Variously abject mea culpas are therefore de rigueur, repenting such sins singly or, depending on the situation, collectively.

In that spirit Dr Eisgruber wrote a letter to the university community in which he honestly admitted that Princeton has always been, and still remains, shaped by systemic racism.

“Racism and the damage it does to people of color nevertheless persist at Princeton as in our society, sometimes by conscious intention but more often through unexamined assumptions and stereotypes, ignorance or insensitivity, and the systemic legacy of past decisions and policies,” he wrote.

Dr Eisgruber understands the essence of the modern ethos, but he hasn’t quite mastered its vocabulary. His prolix admission could have been replaced by the voluminous term ‘unconscious bias’.

Take it from someone who grew up in the Soviet Union: if you want to criminalise thought and attitudes, you must make sure any resulting indictment will be irrefutable and applicable to the whole population.

‘Unconscious bias’ is, by definition, a prejudice of which the culprit is unaware. Since the burden of proof in thought crimes is always on the accused, he can’t possibly prove that something he doesn’t know doesn’t exist. QED, off with his head, or whatever punishment is deemed appropriate in the rarefied air of the proverbial groves.

However, as I said, Dr Eisgruber’s heart is in the right place, even if his language needs work. “Racist assumptions from the past also remain embedded in structures of the University itself,” he continued.

Be warned: some readers may find the facts cited in support of this doleful acknowledgement too disturbing. However, if you are made of sterner stuff, brace yourself: Princeton has “at least nine departments and programs organised around European languages and culture, but only one, relatively small, program in African studies.”

Sorry, let me take a moment to settle my nerves. If that’s not a case of criminal – I insist on this adjective – racial bigotry, I don’t know what is. For what other explanation can there be for so much more attention given to European culture? This is Jim Crow all over again, with campus lynchings but a step away.

What? European culture is more significant, is that what you’re saying? Look at yourself in the mirror, you reprobate. Scowling at you is the mug of a potential Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.

Having typed the full stop at the end of his letter, Dr Eisgruber must have smiled with the satisfaction of a job well done. Little hobgoblins of the past slain, virtue signalled, historical sins expiated. Back to business as normal.

Er, not quite, said the US Department of Education and then the White House. DoEd stated that: “Based on its admitted racism, the U.S. Department of Education is concerned Princeton’s nondiscrimination and equal opportunity assurances in its Program Participation Agreements from at least 2013 to the present may have been false.  

“The Department is further concerned Princeton perhaps knew, or should have known, these assurances were false at the time they were made. 

“Finally, the Department is further concerned Princeton’s many nondiscrimination and equal opportunity claims to students, parents, and consumers in the market for education certificates may have been false, misleading, and actionable substantial misrepresentations.”

Hence, wrote the triply concerned DoEd to Dr Eisgruber, “You admitted Princeton’s educational program is and for decades has been racist… The serious, even shocking nature of Princeton’s admissions compel the Department to move with all appropriate speed.”

In other words, Princeton has made fraudulent claims and tricked millions out of the government on false pretences. As a minimum, the university may have to pay the money back. As a maximum, criminal charges could be a possibility.

“Hey, wait a minute!” I hear Dr Eisgruber scream. He didn’t mean it literally! All he meant was that, when Princeton was founded almost 300 years ago, some of its trustees owned slaves, as one did in those days. That dripped drops of tar into the honey barrel of Princeton’s DNA, and the university has since been working tirelessly to purify itself.

Dr Eisgruber’s letter was the latest cleansing procedure, that’s all. Spiritual decontamination, not factual admission, can’t DoEd see it?

Too late for that. Dr Eisgruber stated his principles unequivocally and now he must bear the consequences, however unjust and unintended. Oh well, as they used to say, a principle isn’t a principle until it has cost you money.

Dr Eisgruber evokes the memory of those early Crusaders who beggared themselves for the privilege of reclaiming the Holy Land. Like them, he’ll go down in history as a selfless fighter for a noble idea. Unlike them, he’s not laying his life on the line.

Dr Eisgruber’s courageous stance may only cost his university some money and him his job. But, on the positive side, he earned my gratitude. Rare are news items these days that have made me laugh so loudly and gleefully.

‘Kill whitey’ and other funny jokes

The other day the black comedienne Sophie Duker cracked a side-splitting, knee-slapping joke on a BBC panel show.

Mass murder isn’t always funny

Race came up for discussion, as it always does nowadays, and Duker chipped in with a show-stopper: “When we say we want to kill Whitey, we don’t really mean we want to kill Whitey.” After a well-timed pause she added: “We do.”

Somewhat strained laughter all around, even though, whatever else this ‘joke’ may be, it surely isn’t funny. Yet other panel members, all of them white, knew they had to treat any idiocy coming from a black celeb as the acme of wit. One could also detect slight, does-she-mean-it nervousness.

All this is to be expected from all the parties involved: Duker, her woke colleagues and of course the BBC. In fact, the Corporation responded to the ensuing outcry on social media with a statement of unequivocal support for Duker and everything she advocates, including, one assumes, the murder of 90 per cent of BBC leadership and 86 per cent of its entire staff, all irredeemably white.

However, that incident provided valuable material for the columnist Sarah Vine, poor Michael Gove’s wife. Miss Vine took exception to Miss Duker’s humour, which does her credit. But then she undid her good work by again showing herself for the intellectually challenged barbarian she is.

Miss Vine explained she first learned the term ‘whitey’ (which she helpfully identified as being of American origin) from the 1970 song Whitey on the Moon by the black proto-rapper Gil Scott-Heron. Since Miss Vine was three when the song came out, her familiarity with it testifies to the enduring power of true art.

Indeed, this is what Miss Vine thinks that song is: “Scott-Heron speaks of struggling to meet his rent even though ‘Whitey’s on the moon’. It’s a powerful lament, a true work of art that urges the listener to see the world from a different point of view.”

Since I don’t possess Miss Vine’s firm grasp of counterculture, I had to look up Scott-Heron on Google and the masterpiece in question on YouTube, if only to refresh my understanding of what constitutes a true work of art. So here’s the first verse:

“A rat done bit my sister Nell./ (with Whitey on the moon)/ Her face and arms began to swell./ (and Whitey’s on the moon)/ I can’t pay no doctor bill./ (but Whitey’s on the moon) Ten years from now I’ll be payin’ still.”

Since this is a precursor of rap, even Miss Vine must see that the song has no musical content whatsoever. Hence she must believe that its true artistry comes across in the lyrics, inspired by “the Black Panther leader Eldridge Cleaver, who argued that the Moon landings were nothing more than a distraction from the crippling poverty among America’s black communities.”

Implicitly, this source of inspiration confers incontestable artistry, which implication I find hard to accept. Eldridge Cleaver was a communist – and black supremacist – terrorist who took refuge in Cuba after a deadly shootout with Oakland police. The current BLM and NFAC mobs trace their provenance to the Black Panthers and other similar groups committed to perpetuating the ghetto mentality of American blacks.

But true enough, Cleaver’s influence is manifest in Scott-Heron. For his truly artistic lyrics are worse than moronic – they are symptomatic of the race war whose flames are still being fanned into a revolutionary inferno.

I know it’s tactless to try making sense of songs, especially those impeccably consonant with the zeitgeist. But since we’ve agreed that these lyrics are a depository of true art, such pedantry seems to be justified, for art can withstand exegesis.

The underlying thought is that Mr Scott-Heron’s protagonist can’t pay his medical bills because “Whitey’s on the moon”. (If you wonder what would happen to a white rapper singing of a similar embarrassment caused by ‘multi-millionaire spades in the NBA’, you are a racist – which you probably are anyway. Aren’t we all?)

In other words, he sees a causative relationship where none exists. Unless he thinks, which he probably does, that the money committed to the space programme could have been better spent on even greater handouts to blacks and other ‘socioeconomically disadvantaged’ groups.

Since most people employed in America at the time were covered by medical insurance, the brother of the girl on the receiving end of that rat bite clearly didn’t have a job.

Moreover, it’s a fair guess that he hadn’t worn out too much shoe leather looking for one. It was so much easier to live on benefits and carp about the absence of fairness in the world. In other words, rather than a human agent, he is described as merely flotsam on the crest of a social wave.

This is false economics, poor philosophy and puny thinking in general. It “urges the listener to see the world” not just “from a different point of view”, but from a stupid, divisive and extremist one.

But then of course who are we to argue with true art? Or with Miss Vine, for that matter.   

A kiss isn’t just a kiss

If not reciprocated with sufficient enthusiasm, it’s an imprisonable felony. Former Tory MP Charlie Elphicke found that out the other day, when he was sentenced to two years in prison for two counts of sexual assault.

Was chemical castration considered?

One count involved the self-described ‘naughty Tory’ inviting a thirtyish woman to his house for a drink, then kissing and groping her without permission.

The other count came after Elphicke tried to kiss another woman and put his hands on her breasts. Two counts, two years, there’s a certain harmony there.

Yet the sentence is bad news, and not just for the ‘naughty Tory’. It’s one of those miscarriages of justice that undermine the very basis of legality.

The men among you should strain your memory and try to recall whether you ever tried to kiss or feel up a reluctant woman, ever had your hand knocked off a reluctant knee. I bet you did, if only in your testosteronal youth. Did I? I insist on my right not to incriminate myself.

If such behaviour isn’t merely boorish but criminal, then we all – well, most of us – have committed criminal acts. Hence the law that sent Elphicke down criminalises practically the entire male population and, I’m guessing here, a fair chunk of the female one as well.

This in itself is criminal: if everybody is a felon, nobody is. Hence this law is meaningless, which makes it harmful.

The greater the number of meaningless laws on the books, the less respect people will feel for the law in general. And less respect will become outright contempt when people realise that increasingly more laws have nothing to do with justice and everything to do with idiotic fads imposed by subversive pressure groups.

But fine, let’s agree for the sake of argument that kissing a woman against her will is a heinous crime. However, there’s the issue of commensurate punishment.

A friend of mine, an expert on such matters, has calculated that burglars serve, on average, three days per burglary. And long is the list of crimes, such as theft, burglary and mugging, that practically never draw a custodial sentence on first offence.

Yet Elphicke, who had no previous, was treated more harshly than thieves, burglars and muggers. Remember that neither ‘victim’ was raped or hurt in any way. They were mistreated and mishandled, as it were. Either of them would have been justified in slapping Elphicke’s face, or perhaps have her boyfriend do so later with more pow.

Had they felt that further action was in order, they could have complained to the Tory whips, who would have certainly censured the libidinous MP for misbehaving. But the whole ethos being shoved down our throats led them to report Elphicke to the police, who then saw fit to pass the case on to the CPO – and then the jury, sufficiently primed by said ethos and the judge’s instructions, saw fit to convict.

I do hope this monstrous verdict will be overturned on appeal. Yet even if it is, the damage has been done – to the law, relations between the sexes, the very notion of justice and therefore to us all.

A quick question: Do you think a dweller of a Brixton council estate would have received the same punishment for the same offence? And if the answer is no, as it has to be, are our courts waging class and political war? In addition to enforcing every wokish fad? Don’t answer that.

Cable Street comes to US

Historical parallels vindicate Euclid by never converging. Yet sometimes they run so close to each other that they almost touch.

The Battle of Cable Street

The first parallel line runs through Cable Street in London’s East End, the site of the eponymous battle. The conflict was triggered by Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists (BUF) that staged a march on 4 October, 1936.

The march broke no law, emphasising the difference between what’s legal and what’s good. That difference was blindingly obvious to the opposing groups, some of which, such as communists, anarchists and socialists, had equally dubious claims to goodness.

They employed extra-legal means to stop the objectionable procession by building barricades and coming out in large numbers to man them. Some 20,000 turned up to confront about 3,000 fascists.

Now, the Metropolitan Police are in the business of enforcing the law, not any group’s understanding of virtue. Since the fascists weren’t breaking the law and their opponents were, the police tried to protect the marchers.

The crowd charged, attacking the police with all sorts of objects not manifestly designed as weapons: full chamber pots, rocks and rotten vegetables used as projectiles, sticks and items of furniture swung as improvised clubs.

Seeing that the police were about to be overrun, Mosley was forced to move the march to Central London, which didn’t stop the Battle of Cable Street immediately. The riot continued, eventually claiming 175 wounded on both sides and some 150 arrests – on one side.

That was a serious, but by no means an isolated event. Mass brawls between international and national socialists raged throughout the 1930s, with the second group represented by the BUF and its splinter group, the National Socialist League led by William Joyce, better known later as Lord Haw-Haw.

The police were doing their best to maintain a semblance of order, but, their hands tied by constitutional niceties, it was disintegrating fast. Social cohesion only recovered when the War started, giving the police the power to treat the fascists as enemy agents. Mosley was imprisoned for the duration, while Joyce escaped to Germany and embarked on a fruitful career as Nazi propagandist that eventually led him to the British gallows.

History is screaming parallels. Is anyone listening? So I thought, reading today’s accounts of the clashes between opposing militias in American cities.

The latest battleground was kindly provided by Louisville, Kentucky, the birthplace of Muhammad Ali and the famous Derby. This time the initiative was taken by a predominantly black group elegantly calling itself Not Fucking Around Coalition (NFAC). I find this name objectionable – the first three words should be separated by hyphens.

Playing on the same team were BLM rioters, while the opposition came from a white militia, largely made up of people who build secret caches of weapons and food in preparation for any number of cataclysms from a long list.

Such militias include between 40,000 and 100,000 members, but they are spread thin all over the country. The Battle of Louisville involved more modest numbers, some 250 from each side, a far cry from Cable Street.

However, what they lacked in numbers they amply made up for in firepower. Both sides were armed with assault rifles, shotguns and pistols, which were all brandished but miraculously not fired.

Similar events have been going on for several months in other American cities as well, Portland, Oregon, being especially affected, and Rochester, NY, not far behind. Clashes involving BLM, NFAC, various militias and police are becoming routine events in America, with a match never farther than an inch away from the tinderbox.

A bloodbath can ensue at any moment, and such outbursts tend to escalate like brushfire. Add to this some training and organisation generously provided by foreign powers with a vested interest in inflicting paralysis on the US, and the dangers can’t be overstated.

I don’t have, mostly for aesthetic reasons, much sympathy for either side as such. But I do have endless sympathy for the militias, however unsavoury, trying to protect their homes and businesses from rioting mobs.

The clashes are teaching us all a lesson we’d better heed: if the law is remiss in its duty to protect its citizens, the citizens will take the law in their own hands. When they do, it won’t be gentlemanly types coming to the fore. It will be thugs egged on by demagogues.

But why is the law so remiss? Because the state has hoisted itself with its own petard by making progressively greater concessions to rotten ideas begetting subversive demands.

Revolutions are fought by people, but they are won by ideologies, as distinct from ideas. The former are all evil by definition, and it takes the latter to stop them.

The intellectual discourse in America, and throughout the West, is dominated by ‘liberals’ endlessly gravitating to ‘democratic’ socialism and then unalloyed Marxism. Class conflict, real or more typically bogus, is its food and drink.

Class may or may not mean race, this is just a detail. The principle is portraying large swathes of the population as victims of historical and on-going injustice, correctable by revolutionary means. Since Marx didn’t have a wide choice of candidate groups, he had to focus on workers detached from the means of production by greedy capitalists.

Today’s subversives have a longer menu of victims to choose from. In addition to the downtrodden social classes, they include any number of ethnic, racial and religious minorities, all women (even those who reject victimhood indignantly) and actually the entire mankind about to be made extinct by warm weather.

Inciting any or all such groups to riots and even armed rebellion is a matter of some organisation, much propaganda and perhaps some fortuitous happenstance, such as fatal shots fired at a crowd, if only accidentally.

The problem is that the West has run out of ideas that can put evil ideologies into their place. Promises of prosperity, preferential treatment and restitution don’t qualify as such. Fevered masses brandishing weapons will only regard those as signs of weakness.

Should social order and national unity collapse, it’s unlikely that this time a world war would interfere to restore them. In any case, any such future event will only make things irretrievably worse.

We may shrug and say well, that’s America for you. Because of their Second Amendment, the Yanks are all armed to the teeth. British rioters have to resort to the kind of projectiles used in Cable Street all those years ago because firearms are harder to get here.

True. But harder doesn’t mean impossible, as both the IRA and Prod gangs have proved. It takes a bit more organisation and outside help, but things can eventually come to a head here as well.

Thanks to globalisation, John Donne’s words about the bell that tolls for thee have never been more apposite than now. Only truly conservative governments, proceeding from truly conservative ideas, can stop it ringing, governments that wouldn’t hide their cowardice behind fake principles, non-ideas and babble about misconstrued human rights.

Such a government would have the intelligence to realise we’re already at war – and the guts to win it. You know the kind of government I’m talking about? The kind that simply doesn’t exist any longer.   

He don’t like his boring job

This line – whose relevance will soon become clear – comes from a 1977 song in which the punk rock group The Clash anticipated Dave Cameron’s arrival on the political scene:

“I can do to England what I failed to do to Sasha”

“He’s in love with rock’n’roll woaahh/ He’s in love with gettin’ stoned woaahh/ He’s in love with Janie Jones/ But he don’t like his boring job, no…”

That such prescience (but for the identity of the love interest) was on display follows from the image of Cameron emerging from Sasha Swire’s upcoming book Diary of an MP’s Wife. Mrs Swire, married to a former Tory minister, is about to publish her catty memoirs that, judging by the available excerpts, will leave no turn unstoned.

Cameron is depicted as a louche, dipsomaniac and aspirationally priapic lightweight who routinely shirked his government duties in favour of what he called ‘chillaxing’.

Once, when political families were out on a picnic, Dave told Mrs Swire that he’d like “to drag her into the bushes and give her one.” How any woman could resist such romantic wooing is beyond me, but apparently Mrs Swire did.

As a keen watcher of Cameron’s tenure, I find this portrait eminently believable. Then of course I don’t know Dave personally. Sarah Vine, poor Michael Gove’s wife, does, and she commendably sprang to Dave’s defence in her column.

Since the Goves fell out with the Camerons over Brexit, this shows Miss Vine’s magnanimity and even-handedness. However, the way she went about that task highlights her less admirable qualities, such as a lamentable deficit of intellect:

“The David Cameron I knew, especially in the early years of his premiership when it was still possible to bypass the No 10 machine, was well-read, a good listener and someone who empathised and felt things deeply. Yes, he enjoyed a glass of wine and listening to music (The Clash being a favourite). But he only ever did those things off-duty. The rest of the time he was deadly serious.”

If Miss Vine didn’t realise she was in effect arguing that Cameron was unfit for the job (as if we didn’t know that already), she’s dim. If she did, she’s perfidious. Either way she shares with her protagonist a complete detachment from our civilisation.

My contention is that no one able to listen to the disgusting cacophony produced by The Clash – and rank it as his favourite music – should be allowed anywhere near the government. And no one who doesn’t realise this should be allowed to write for a newspaper with 1.5 million readers.

Such people are barbarians, which doesn’t necessarily make them bad persons. They may indeed have all the fine qualities enumerated by Miss Vine: capacity for listening, empathising and feeling things deeply. (I question the well-read part, or else the nature of Dave’s preferred reading matter. I suspect it’s the literary analogue of The Clash, which is astounding in a man educated at Eton and Oxford.) 

However, good, bad or indifferent, barbarians shouldn’t lead great Western nations. That capacity presupposes, in part, acting as the bulwark against the incessant barbarian onslaught. And how can a barbarian defend his nation against barbarism? He’d be more likely to fling the castle gates wide open.

Music is the distillation of Western culture. It shows how high the human spirit can soar, how it can approach the divine. No one has ever expressed this better than Plato:

“Music is a moral law. It gives a soul to the Universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness, gaiety and life to everything. It is the essence of order, and leads to all that is good and just and beautiful.”

Aristotle went even further, directly linking music and politics. He decried musical innovation, especially of a more sensual kind, because he believed it led to political subversion. Agree or disagree, the greatest minds of even the pre-Christian period understood the transcendent nature of music.

In Christendom, otherwise known as Western civilisation, music became the most poignant expression of its aesthetic, cultural and spiritual content – and therefore of any other.

It was also able to keep barbarians at bay much longer than the other aspects of our culture. Sublime music was written throughout the twentieth century and, as my friend James MacMillan proves, it’s still being written.

Victorious barbarians have failed to destroy it, as they’ve destroyed just about everything else. But they’ve succeeded in marginalising it, indeed in desemanticising the very word ‘music’. It’s now applied to the anomic, anti-musical, anti-cultural din accompanying cretinous lyrics pitched at the mental level of an average paperweight.

You know, the sort of stuff spewed out by the likes of The Clash or George Osborne’s favourite Niggas with Attitude. Had I known this duo’s musical tastes in advance, I could have predicted their disastrous tenure, wholly committed as it was to undermining Britain’s constitution and promoting homomarriage.

Real music hasn’t just been marginalised. Even worse, it has also been ideologised, and isn’t everything these days?

Here’s the view of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony spread by Vox, an online publication started by former Washington Post correspondents and regularly visited by over eight million people.

Their writer talks about “… the wealthy white men who embraced Beethoven and turned his symphony into a symbol of their superiority and importance. For some in other groups – women, LGBTQ+ people, people of colour – Beethoven’s symphony may be predominantly a reminder of classical music’s history of exclusion and elitism.”

The chap who wrote this moronic drivel must wear upmarket sports clothes and handle his upmarket Negroni glass with practised elegance. But he might as well wear wolf skins and swing a battle-axe. He – along with the other protagonists of this article – is a barbarian who isn’t just at the door. He’s busy reducing the castle to smouldering ruins.

Right to kill

With a bow towards Hegel, if the right to be killed is the thesis, then the right to kill is the antithesis.

Doctors have the same licence

The synthesis is the vastly discounted cost of human life and the debauchment of its sanctity as a general principle. But, on the plus side, it widens the worship of consumer choice, the true religion of modernity.

Like all rights, especially bogus ones, the right to perform euthanasia can be both used and abused. Note that I’m not imposing on anyone my view that this ‘right’ constitutes an abuse ipso facto. I’m merely commenting on the vicissitudes of human nature.

When people are liberated from reasonable constraints, before long they’ll reach out for unreasonable licence. Tell a 10-year-old he can have a glass of wine with dinner, and he’ll grab five when the grown-ups aren’t looking. Tell ethnic groups they must protest against discrimination, and they’ll end up demanding privilege. Tell a woman that a comment on her looks breaks some nebulous moral law, and she’ll sue everyone in sight.

Extending the same observation to the subject in hand, when doctors are given the power to kill within a certain rigid framework, the inexorable pull of human nature will encourage them to expand the framework, making it more and more elastic.

Such is the warning issued to his British colleagues by Dr Bert Keizer, Holland’s prominent practitioner of euthanasia. Now, when someone like Dr Keizer is lecturing British medics on this subject, you know we’re in trouble.

That’s like Julius Streicher pronouncing on racial sensitivity, Lenin on the inviolability of private property, or Elton John on marriage. Listeners would be likely to consider the source and then ignore the message. Yet this message should be heeded.

In 2002 Holland became the first country to legalise euthanasia for consenting terminally ill patients. However, says Dr Keizer, “Every time a line was drawn, it was also pushed back.”

Specifically, it was pushed far enough back to compromise both the consenting and the terminally ill parts of that requirement. One example from a couple of years ago:

A woman of 74 suffering from Alzheimer’s decided to be euthanised. In preparation, the doctor put a sleeping pill into her coffee, and the woman dropped off. But when she woke up, she decided she didn’t want to die after all and began to kick and scream. But she was overpowered and killed anyway.

At about the same time a Dutch health official proudly stated that 92 per cent of the 6,000-odd patients euthanised that year actually were terminally ill. No one saw fit to ask about the remaining eight per cent, some 500 people who could have lived many more years.

Dr Keizer laments that legalised euthanasia is steadily moving towards “random killing of the defenceless”. Dutch doctors are now doing the job of the Dignitas suicide factory by killing even healthy people who simply don’t feel like living any longer.

Disabled children and prisoners serving long sentences will soon be culled en masse, fears Dr Keizer, and surely he’s right. Doctors these days claim the divine power of deciding who deserves to live and who doesn’t.

At the same time, many patients, schooled in the sanctity of consumer choice as the only sacred notion, demand that deadly syringe as of right. I didn’t choose to be brought into this world, they claim with a certain deficit of logic.

They don’t realise that the argument is self-refuting. Precisely because they didn’t choose to be born, they shouldn’t choose to die – and they certainly shouldn’t be assisted in acting on that macabre choice.

All this goes to show what happens to man when he is no longer subject to any discipline other than his own desires. All links connecting him with reason are severed, and he is cast adrift in an endless sea bubbling with infinite personal choices.

Life and death become products for sale, with everyone cast in the role of customer and, in this case, doctors acting as helpful assistants. That’s the stuff of erstwhile dystopic fantasies, now miraculously transformed into everyday reality.

The slippery slope that incomprehensibly vexes the Dutch merchant of euthanasia is getting ever steeper. Dr Keizer stops his train of thought halfway to its destination: when euthanasia becomes legal, at some point it’ll become compulsory.

I hope that the 1961 Suicide Act, according to which a doctor helping someone to die can get up to 14 years in prison, will never be repealed by our Parliament. This hope will likely prove forlorn: we no longer have any philosophical and moral ramparts protecting the sanctity of human life.

Without such bastions, we are at the mercy of the zeitgeist and its champions. And modern zeitgeist is a wind blowing in one direction only, if at varying strengths.

Monuments to silly jingoism

France has hundreds of beautiful places but, in this beholder’s eye, the tiny royal city of Senlis takes pride of place.

Good Ukrainian lass, Annie, as she was yesterday

It’s tiny because its population is just under 15,000 and you can walk all over it in a couple of hours. It’s royal because it was the capital of Hugh Capet who became the King of the Franks in 987 and bequeathed the place to his descendants.

One of them, his grandson Henri I, married the Kievan Rus’ princess Anna in 1051, turning Senlis into a shrine for those interested in Russian history – and especially those who, like me, were forced to live it in their youth.

Kiev is now the capital of the independent Ukraine, and long may it continue. This long-suffering country has paid for her freedom in blood, spilled throughout history by her powerful neighbours Poland and Russia.

Russia is actually still at it, but that’s a separate subject – as is the fact that the Ukrainians did a fair amount of blood-spilling of their own. That’s still fondly remembered by visitors to Kiev’s Babi Yar, where tens of thousands of Jews were massacred in 1941, mostly by the Ukrainian Auxiliary Police.

Ukrainian patriotism has always been strong, as has been the people’s resentment of both Poland and particularly Russia. Specifically, the artificial famine that in 1932-1933 killed some five million Ukrainians didn’t do much to foster goodwill and neighbourly amity.

Patriotism, however, is a good but dangerous thing. Care must be taken for it not to become jingoism, the mill to which ignorance, stupidity and ideological fervour are the grist. I was reminded of that yesterday, looking at the Senlis statue of Anna erected by the Ukrainian sculptor Vladimir Znoba in 2005.

The inscription on the plinth identifies her as a Queen of France in both French and Ukrainian. That’s fair enough: the sculptor was entitled to use his mother tongue on a statue he gave Senlis as a gift.

However, some fire-eating patriot stuck a Ukrainian flag into Anna’s bronze hand, presumably on the assumption that she was a Ukrainian patriot too. No doubt she would have been, but for a small detail: the Ukraine didn’t exist at the time, and neither did her blue-and-yellow flag.

The word ukraina in its various Slavic versions means ‘outskirts’, an area at the edge of a country. It was first used in the vicinity of today’s Ukraine in 1187 – 102 years after Anna’s death – to describe the strip of land running between Kievan Rus’ and Poland.

As to the flag, it was first unfurled in 1848, making it a fair guess that Anna wouldn’t have recognised its significance. That makes the chap who thus decorated (defaced?) her statue the worst type of blithering idiot, one with an ideology.

Nor is this an isolated case. In 1988, London’s Ukrainian community erected a statue to Anna’s grandfather, Grand Duke Vladimir, identified on the plinth as ‘Ruler of Ukraine’, which word was first heard 229 years after he was born, and which country never really existed even a few centuries later. Vladimir was no more the Ruler of Ukraine than Alaric was the Chancellor of Germany or the Etruscan chieftain Tyrrhenus the Prime Minister of Italy.

Kievan Rus’ has even less to do with either today’s Russia or today’s Ukraine than the Rome of Augustus has to do with today’s Italy or the Athens of Pericles with today’s Greece. A strong magnifying glass could perhaps discern intersecting lines, but they would be tiny, peripheral and smudged.

Anna was a princess of the Scandinavian Rurik dynasty, a descendant of the Vikings (called Varangians in Russia) who in the ninth century established an outpost on the route to Byzantium, where they regularly went for marauding purposes.

When the Byzantines used a most unsporting weapon, called Greek fire, to burn their boats and repel their aggression, the Vikings retreated and settled in Kiev. Over the next two centuries they turned it into one of the most glittering European capitals.

In fact, Henri’s emissaries sent to Kiev to accompany the king’s bride to France had to apologise in advance for the comparative dinginess of French cities. The same held true for Anna and her bridegroom: he was illiterate, while she knew several languages and had even learned French in preparation for her marriage.

Ethnically, Anna was mostly Scandinavian on her father’s side and all Swedish on her mother’s side. A typical Ukrainian ancestry, in other words – at a time when the Ukraine wasn’t even a twinkle in God’s eye. Claiming Kievan Rus’ as a property of either the Ukraine or Russia is ignorance at best and ideological falsification at worst.

A message to the Ukrainians: chaps, my heart goes out to you when a KGB-run Russia pounces on you like a rabid dog. When that happens, I’m prepared to add my voice to the chorus intoning the proud battle cry: Slava Ukraine! (Glory to the Ukraine.)

But there’s neither glory nor dignity in raping history the way Russia rapes her neighbours. Amica Ukraina, sed magis amica veritas