How to make crime pay

Just a month after being demoted to the lowly post of Justice Secretary, Dominic Raab has come up with a ground-breaking idea.

Giz a job at a hospice

Showing a talent for going beyond his immediate remit, he espied that the economy is suffering from staff shortages. That leaves a gaping hole of at least a million vacancies crying out to be filled.

Having thus identified the problem, Mr Raab returned to the domain of law enforcement and experienced an Archimedes-sized eureka moment. A flash of mental lightning made him realise he is sitting on an untapped labour reserve of murderers, thieves, burglars, robbers, rapists and other criminals doing unpaid work (or none) at Her Majesty’s pleasure.

Why not let them out on day release so they could plug the staffing holes in the British economy? Just think how many birds could be killed with that one stone.

The immediate personnel problem will be at least partly solved – that much is obvious. Then of course we must never lose sight of the real purpose of prisons. They are there not to punish wrongdoers but to rehabilitate them, isn’t that so?

Now, what can achieve this purpose better than the joy and pride of honest labour, something, if I’m being totally honest, most inmates have never experienced? For example, by filling some of the 55,000 care vacancies, prisoners could learn to look after old people, rather than robbing them of their pensions.

There is of course the danger that released inmates might help themselves to their charges’ possessions rather than just emptying their bedpans. And here we come to another side benefit of the Raab scheme.

On the off chance that some of the chaps haven’t yet found God, innocent bystanders must be protected from possible relapses. That means hiring more prison guards and policemen, thereby drawing even more people into the workforce.

Or else – I’m thinking as I go along, so bear with me – violent criminals could be used to keep the nonviolent ones in check. That way not only could a pickpocket obtain a day release to wash dishes in a pub, but so could a murderer turned guard. The state wouldn’t even have to arm those men – they already know how to turn toothbrushes into shivs or battery-filled socks into deadly weapons.

Think also of another side benefit: tax revenue for the Exchequer. Since the prisoners would be under constant watch, they wouldn’t be able to insist on cash in hand. That means their earnings would be taxable – verily I say unto you, this whole idea is a never-stopping fount of benefits.

I hope Mr Raab will thank me for developing his bright insight to its logical extension. Meanwhile, I have to wonder if our leaders played truant when arithmetic was taught.

We have in Britain today just over 80,000 prisoners, most of whom haven’t done a day’s work in their lives. How many could be of genuine use on day release, with little time to train even the trainable ones? A couple of thousand at best, would be my guess. Fine, I’ll give you 10,000, what with my generosity knowing no bounds. Still, we are talking about an empty gesture, not a solution to a problem.

However, we do have a real, as opposed to fanciful, reservoir of labour waiting to be tapped: 9.5 million welfare recipients of working age. The simple trick of withholding their benefits cheque would enable the government to find the 28,220 cleaners we need, and 55,019 carers, and 6,557 bar staff, and 2,251 postal workers, and 32,615 shop assistants – and so forth, practically ad infinitum.

Suddenly real benefits begin to pile up, including instant savings in the social budget. There is a slight problem though: our ministers may come up with a palpably inane idea of integrating prisoners on day release into the economy, but not with the sound one of doing the same with able-bodied youngsters on benefits.

You see, the social and the NHS are two sacred cows of Britain. As such, they can be milked, but never slaughtered. If Mr Raab or any other minister even hinted at the possibility I’ve outlined, he could plant two good-bye kisses on his government career. First, because he’d be deselected; second, because his party wouldn’t stay in government for long.

As Jean-Claude ‘Junk’ Junker said in a rare moment of sobriety, “We all know what to do. We just don’t know how to get re-elected once we’ve done it.”

Virtue signalling wouldn’t be so bad if it were real virtue. But signalling fake virtue is worse than not having any at all. Yet this is what our politicians, journalists, writers, all public figures in fact, have to do to stay in business.

Unless they constantly mouth the whole approved list of shibboleths, they’ll find themselves on the receiving end of God knows how many slings and swarms of arrows. The breed of sacred cows may change from time to time but, while they are sacred, they are untouchable.

The belief that every criminal is a useful member of society waiting to happen doesn’t quite qualify as a sacred cow, but it’s definitely a calf suckled by our deracinated society.

Not only our virtues but also our sins are fake. Thus a man who tells a crude ethnic joke is a worse transgressor than a burglar, and someone who feels up a strange woman is much, much worse than someone who mugs her.

For a man falling short of woke standards of goodness has only himself to blame, whereas a criminal is a victim of society – so goes the mock-virtuous superstition. Hence Mr Raab ought to be congratulated on scoring a double whammy:

He signalled his virtue by stating his belief in rehabilitation, and he avoided the pitfall of signalling vice by offering a real solution to a real problem. Isn’t our Conservative government wonderful?

Heil Putin!

Whoever ultimately wins the German election, we lose. By ‘we’ I mean the West facing up to its enemies.

Schröder and his recruiter

Putin’s kleptofascist regime is one such enemy, implacable and self-proclaimed. And consecutive German governments have been its collaborators. Political analysts have even come up with the term ‘schroederisation’, in honour (dishonour?) of the ex-chancellor now making millions on the board of Gazprom and other Russian cash cows.

It’s from that angle that I invite you to look at the German election. The dead heat between the Christian Democrat Armin Laschet and the socialist Olaf Scholz brought up a photo finish in favour of the latter. However, his victory doesn’t necessarily mean Scholz will be able to form a coalition.

As with all countries practising proportional representation, it’s the marginal parties that often decide the outcome (which explains why our dear LibDems pine for this inherently ineffectual system). At the moment, the Greens and the Free Democrats are playing hard to get, hoping to drive up the price of their participation.

Yet whoever forms a coalition, Putin wins. For both candidates are his stooges, unwitting or otherwise.

Using his professional skills, the KGB colonel started out by buying European politicians retail. He later switched to wholesale purchases, doubtless trying to lower the unit price.

Britain is no exception, always open for Russian business. Our illustrious PM has even cooked up a KGB peer of the realm by elevating Evgeny Lebedev to the Lords.

Lebedev’s father is a career KGB officer turned tycoon, whose ill-gotten loot bought two British newspapers and hundreds of lavish shindigs, at which his son wooed British politicians, including Johnson. A life peerage followed, leaving me surprised that it wasn’t a hereditary one. Something to look forward to, I suppose.

For details of Russia’s recruitment of the City of London and the relevant politicians, I do recommend the recent bestseller Putin’s People by Catherine Belton. Since she wrote that book, our former chancellor, George Osborne (whose recent job was editing Lebedev’s Evening Standard), has become advisor to Oleg Deripaska’s aluminium concern.

That consummated a courtship conducted by Osborne since at least 2008, when he was shadow chancellor. Osborne visited Deripaska’s yacht in the cross-party company of Peter Mandelson, with great and profitable fun doubtless had by all. Deripaska, incidentally, is under personal sanctions in the US, whose authorities cited his links with organised crime as the reason for that exclusion.

Actually, any Russian billionaire or government official (the two categories often overlap) could be found guilty of the same indiscretion. After all, Putin’s government is history’s unique fusion of secret police and organised crime – unique, that is, in a sizeable country with lofty pretensions.

Such a combined background stands Putin in good stead when it comes to seducing Western politicians, especially German ones. His bias towards Germany is easy to understand.

First, the country is the most influential EU member; second, Col. Putin served at the KGB Dresden station, where he developed a particular expertise in recruiting and running German agents. Since he became national leader (nationaler Führer in German), that activity has, if anything, intensified.

Merkel, while occasionally making critical statements about Putin for public consumption, toed an unswerving pro-Russian path in everything that mattered. The two leaders are on a first-name basis, and they happily indulge in public foreplay each time they meet. That cordial friendship extended to business, with Merkel happily increasing Germany’s dependence on Russian gas.

In particular, she lobbied to overturn US sanctions against Nord Stream 2, the Russian pipeline using gas as a profit spinner and blackmail weapon. Biden obliged, and when the pipeline starts pumping, just about all of Germany’s gas will be at Putin’s mercy. So much for German Christian Democracy.

But the good colonel doesn’t discriminate: he is happy to woo any European parties, right, left or centre. The so-called right-wing (in effect fascisoid) parties, like Germany’s AfD or France’s National Rally, are the easiest marks, but like a priapic lothario Putin is out to seduce any willing prey.

Hence both deadlocked candidates treat Putin with sympathy and affectionate understanding. Laschet especially has set out to out-Merkel Merkel or even to out-Schröder Schröder.

He responded to Putin’s bandit raid on the Crimea by saying: “Yes, of course Russia is breaking international law. But do let’s look at this through the eyes of our partner in dialogue”. No wonder that Laschet is a welcome and frequent guest at the Germano-Russian forum ‘Petersburg Dialogue’.

By way of conducting such bilateral communications, Laschet doubts Russian spies had anything to do with the Skripal poisoning, he didn’t demand sanctions after the poisoning of Navalny or his imprisonment on trumped-up charges. He applauds the role Russia is playing in Africa and the Middle East. And of course he adores Nord Stream 2.

The other candidate, Scholz, who won the election by a whisker, is more reserved in his pronouncements about Putin. However, judging by his close links with his Parteigenosse Schröder, his policies will be softer than his rhetoric.

While rebuking Putin for the theft of the Crimea and eastern Ukraine, Scholz believes that: “If we want to guarantee collective security in Europe, then it’s up to the EU and Russia to do so.” Herr Scholz refuses to see that this is the same as using burglars to secure one’s house from burglaries.

Who does he think is threatening European security? Britain? US? New Zealand? Clearly not Putin’s Russia, which pounces on its neighbours like a rabid dog and whose rattling sabres are deafening the world.

One has to congratulate Col. Putin for this operational success. These days he can watch any European elections with the detachment of a neutral observer. Whoever wins, he wins.

Who’s running America?

I sometimes laugh at Joe Biden, but I’m actually sorry for this confused old man. There’s an element of self-pity there as well, felt most acutely every time the president publicly takes another meandering trip away from sanity.

Since I’m only a few years younger than him, what if I end up like that too? My only hope is that I’ll be strong enough to stick by my staunch opposition to suicide.

Then again, though one’s cognitive abilities always diminish with age, a lot depends on the starting point of the downward slide. I like to think that mine is quite a bit higher than Joe’s, so perhaps there’s hope for me still.

Such hubristic selfishness apart, I fear for America and the free world she is supposed to lead. The man in command of the US Army isn’t even in command of his own mental faculties – what if he has to make the choice between peace and war?

Not being an expert on US constitutional law, I don’t know if sufficient grounds exist for invoking the 25th Amendment and putting Joe out to pasture. Yet every time he is forced to veer off script, usually during press conferences, he presents a clinical picture of senile dementia.

If the doctors among you find fault with this diagnosis, by all means pick it full of holes. But please don’t insult my intelligence by insisting that Biden’s mental health is robust. Just watch excerpts from his confrontations with journalists (such as these, among dozens of others: and then tell me what you think.

This, though reporters, most of whom work for socialist-leaning media, toss him cream puffs of questions, as opposed to the grenades they hurled at Trump. Yet, rather than eating those cream puffs for breakfast, old Joe smears them all over his face.

This raises the question in the title above. Since Biden is manifestly incapable of leading his country, who in his country is leading him?

One of his numerous gaffes was referring to Kamala as ‘President Harris’ – was it just a senior moment or an accidental reference to the actual state of affairs? And if not Harris, then who? Is there some cabal of left-wing extremists burrowing through the foundations of American politics? Much as one hates conspiracy theories, it’s hard not to think along those lines.

Since Americans pride themselves on their democracy, only those elected to lead are entitled to do so. If, say, some congressmen, elected to wield legislative power only, are acting as the executive behind the scenes, then the US Constitution is for all practical purposes null and void.

To be fair, Biden isn’t the first president to suffer from mental disorders. For example, some presidents of old are believed to have been clinically depressed. Madison, John Quincy Adams, Pierce, Lincoln and Coolidge are the names that tend to come up in that context.

Grant and Nixon were borderline alcoholics, and Pierce actually died of liver cirrhosis. Woodrow Wilson suffered several debilitating strokes, and his wife effectively acted as president in his second term.

Reagan was manifestly senile towards the end of his tenure, and the government was run by James Baker, his chief of staff. However, Reagan didn’t start out that way. The electorate voted in a man who was compos mentis. Reagan’s interviews and press conferences were full of wit and common sense. (To wit:

Biden, however, was already the way he is now during his election campaign. That people voted for him in sufficient numbers is a ringing denunciation of universal franchise if I’ve ever seen one. Yet it’s not just the electorate that’s to blame.

To a great extent this travesty is Trump’s fault. Yes, for all his faults he was ten times the president Biden could have been even at his best. That’s beyond question. But, to paraphrase Buffon ever so slightly, le style c’est le président même.

The average voter goes by style, not by substance. He envisages a certain composite picture of a perfect leader and uses it as a stencil. Any candidate who sticks out too much makes that hypothetical yet all-powerful individual uncomfortable.

Trump’s style didn’t so much stick out as break the stencil into pieces and throw them into the voter’s face. He who lives by incendiary populism may well die by it.

Actually, I’m surprised Trump did as well as he did in 2020. But for the Covid pandemic, he might very well have won.

Yet I’m not surprised that those whose comfort zone Trump had gerrymandered swung to such a catastrophic extreme. One gets the impression they would have voted for anyone who wasn’t Trump – not just for Joe Biden, but even for Joe Stalin.

Make no mistake: the world is in grave danger for as long as Biden remains in the White House. Foreign aggressors are like voters: they too respond not so much to weakness as to its projection. Conversely, an image of strength and resolve may deter even a much stronger enemy. Hitler, for example, didn’t dare invade Switzerland.

Knowing that the US president is senile, Xi may fancy his chances with Taiwan – or Putin with the remaining portion of the Ukraine or, even worse, with the Baltics. And I’m not even talking about assorted economic and social crises that also require a quick and wise response.

That ‘old man in DC’ (with apologies to Hemingway’s spirit) is what Americans call a clear and present danger. I for one am scared.

Victims should pay criminals

This penetrating insight into jurisprudence comes to you courtesy of Donna Jones, inmate in a psychiatric hospital…

Who ate all the shoplifted pies, Donna?

Just kidding. Miss Jones is actually a crime commissioner who, as far as I know, doesn’t suffer from any mental disorders. It’s just that our zeitgeist gone mad can speak even through sane people.

Egged on by this metaphysical stimulus, Miss Jones spoke out against imprisoning recidivist shoplifters with drug addiction. Instead, the robbed retailers should pay for their robbers’ rehabilitation.

That means victims must be punished twice for the same crime: first by being ripped off and then by having to foot rehab bills for the thieves. Miss Jones thus enunciates an idea that has escaped legal minds for 4,000 years, ever since Hammurabi laid down his Code.

Her thinking deserves a longish quotation, for all its stylistic ineptitude:

“Often for shoplifting, even if you are a prolific offender with 200 shoplifting offences, the chances are you might get six months and, therefore, you might do 12 weeks.

“Then you’re out and actually is that really going to break your addiction, or you’re more likely to take drugs when you’re in prison anyway, and then come out and just be carrying on the way that you were before?

“Are we just incarcerating people? Are we actually stopping them from reoffending?”

This idiocy wouldn’t be worth a comment if it didn’t reflect the overall collapse of modern morality and the concomitant debauchment of the law. Supposing you are immune to such afflictions, what would be your first response to that nonsense?

I can tell you what mine would be. First, a repeat offender with 200 convictions to his name should be sentenced not to six months but to life in prison, ideally without parole. Second, if drugs are readily available in prisons (which they are), then something is fundamentally wrong with our penitentiary system.

Third and most important, rehabilitating inmates to break their addiction to drugs or, for that matter, to crime isn’t what prisons are for. Rehabilitation is a secondary purpose of incarceration, not to say a tertiary one.

Its primary purpose is to serve justice by meting out punishment commensurate with the crime. Each time this happens, society is reassured that its safety is protected by just law.

If the criminal emerges from prison a new man, so much the better. But even if he doesn’t, at least we know he was kept off the streets for a long time. Those who would have otherwise fallen victim to his shenanigans could have heaved a sigh of relief.

Corrupting the meaning of punishment is only the top layer of the problem. Lurking underneath is a much graver issue, that of the moral collapse I mentioned earlier. For the implication of Miss Jones’s legal breakthrough is that crimes against property are innocent antics – unlike, say, patting a strange woman’s rump on a bus.

Miss Jones merely acts as the mouthpiece of the zeitgeist, which is consistently blowing leftwards. For downgrading the importance of personal property is tantamount to denying the importance of personal freedom.

John Locke, whose thought midwifed the modern state, believed that the state as such was brought into existence merely to protect private property. He more or less identified the “pursuit of estate” (which his American disciples translated into “the pursuit of happiness”) as the cornerstone of liberty.

Locke isn’t necessarily my favourite thinker on such subjects. But there’s no doubt that the more insecure a person’s property, the more insecure his freedom. For any state that sees private property as an incidental is bound to deny other liberties as well.

Nothing illustrates this general observation more vividly than the lackadaisical treatment private property receives at the hands of the modern British state. Not only shoplifting but even burglary routinely go not only unpunished but unprosecuted.

A friend of mine, who has appeared as expert witness at numerous trials, has calculated that an average burglary is punished with a mere couple of weeks in prison. Someone who kisses a woman without permission will look at a stiffer sentence.

This reminds me of the Bolshevik concept of ‘socially close’ criminals, who were often treated with lenience. As the celebrated Soviet pedagogue Makarenko explained (I’m quoting from memory), “No working class criminal is so bad that he can’t be corrected. It’s only the children of aristocrats, priests and intellectuals who are incorrigible.”

The British state too must sense that thieves are in the same business the state is, redistribution of wealth. Of course, if someone tries to redistribute the state’s wealth, by cheating on taxes, he’ll have not just the book but the whole library thrown at him. But a man stealing from a private person or his shop, is essentially doing the same thing extortionate taxation does. So he only deserves a slap on the wrist, if that.

Miss Jones must have breathed in deeply and smelled that legal concept wafting in the wind. Hence her insight that a shop owner must be robbed twice, first by the criminal, then by the state. After all, they are both pulling in the same direction.

Dickens didn’t even realise he wasn’t just commenting but also prophesising when he made his Mr Bumble say that “the law is a ass”. Yet that phrase was as prophetic as it was ungrammatical.

P.S. Speaking of prophesies, St James anticipated our current agricultural problems when he wrote: “Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.”


If you still harbour doubts about the true mission of the NHS, this should dispel them. And if you think its main business is treating patients, this should disabuse you of that misapprehension.

Something is missing, don’t you think?

The staff of this saintly – no, scratch that, I mean divine – institution is now being offered training on Black Lives Matter, as one of the highlights of its extensive curriculum of diversity.

The articles I’ve read on the subject make it unclear whether attendance is elective or compulsory. If it’s the former, I think the government is displaying wishy-washy, weak-kneed liberalism. NHS wokers must spend on such training most of the time left over from filling in hundreds of forms.

What can be more important for a doctor or a nurse than learning about the BLM version of Marxism? Surely not all that recondite medicine?

Anyway, before even reading more about this programme, I’m so aroused (no, not that way, you perverts) that I’m hereby offering my services as one of the tutors. After all, if the course is designed to elucidate the “history, guiding principles and messages of BLM”, I’d like to think that my credentials are unimpeachable.

Ever since BLM first set America on fire, I’ve been writing regularly about it. My last contribution to the study of this vital subject came less than a fortnight ago:

Having got this hasty job application out of the way, I’ve decided to read on. After all, the first pupil a teacher must educate is himself.

Turns out this invaluable programme covers such rubrics as “white privilege, unconscious bias and authentic allyship”. Mercifully, the first two terms are straightforward.

White privilege means that, when it comes to emptying patients’ bedpans, white nurses are in the front of the queue. They are administratively empowered to push differently coloured colleagues out of the way, thereby quashing their ambitions for career advancement.

‘Unconscious bias’, on the other hand, has puzzled me at times, which probably means I myself suffer from that disorder. As I understand it, and please correct me if I’m wrong, many white people may be racists without realising it.

Hence, the purpose of the course must be turning unconscious into conscious – and then eradicating it. That’s like some lines of a poem haunting your mind day and night. The best way of handling that problem is to write them down on a piece of paper and then tear it up.

Of course, there’s always the danger that, once made cognizant of his deep-rooted racism, the pupil may quite like it. Suddenly, he may replace his amiable civility towards his chromatically different colleagues with frequent references to the shape of their noses, the thickness of their lips, the size of their genitalia or their rapacious appetite for bananas.

That’s where the art of teaching comes in. A teacher must not only convey the relevant facts, but also inculcate his pupils with the moral values derived therefrom. Again, if you look at my CV, you’ll know that inculcation of moral values figures prominently.

Now, the meaning of the third subject, ‘authentic allyship’, escaped me altogether. I had to look it up on the Authentic Allyship website, only to find out that much of this subject is too subtle for me to grasp.

I did learn that “Allyship can often fall into this bracket of performativity without us realising it”, which I understood to be a bad thing. Down with performativity, I say, even though I haven’t a clue what it is.

Not to worry: true knowledge may be negative as well as positive. Just consider apophatic theology, approaching God not from what he is, but from what he isn’t. Jumping on that train of thought, if my job application succeeds, I hereby foreswear the whole “bracket of performativity”, whatever it is, into which authentic allyship may fall to its detriment.

Apparently, the new course will describe BLM as a “healing” movement, which is an interesting multi-layered metaphor if I’ve ever seen one. Since BLM’s modus operandi focuses on torching commercial buildings, this evokes the image of a cauterised wound, with bleeding stopped by applying extreme heat, usually fire.

In the course of this welcome programme, NHS wokers will learn to look at its practices through a “BLM lens”, thereby “fuelling better racial equity in the health service”. Hear, hear.

What can fuel racial equity better than forcing white doctors and nurses to take the knee and, if they manifest their unconscious bias by refusing, beating them up or, in truly incorrigible cases, necklacing them? (It’s that hidden fiery metaphor again, I hope you appreciate this.)

One plank in the BLM programme that I would focus on is its commitment to defunding the police. Since the NHS suffers from a chronic lack of finance, this initiative would hit two birds with one stone.

First, it would abolish the police, consumed as it is with unconscious bias and cravings for white supremacy. Second, it would free up the funds that could then be channelled into the NHS, where they’ll be put to good use by expanding diversity departments at all hospitals.

As it is, many hospitals have cut the number of beds to accommodate Directors of Diversity with their six-figure salaries, and not necessarily low six figures either. You’ll agree that anyone blessed with the title of Director must have a large staff reporting to him, and the new initiative will solve this problem.

It’s not enough for Directors of Diversity being able merely to optimise facilitation and facilitate optimisation. They must also be able to compartmentalise and departmentalise, and clearly BLM training deserves its own department, or compartment if you’d rather.

Such expansion will eventually help Diversity, with its BLM, Homophobia and Misogyny subdivisions, replace the more customary ECG, ECU, Traumatology, Endocrinology or what have you. I’m sure the road signs one sees in all hospitals are already being amended to that effect.

And if you can’t read the signs, just ask the chap at the information desk for directions to BLM. He’ll be happy to help.

P.S. I don’t understand why we have Kwasi Kwarteng as Business Secretary. Doesn’t this ministry rate a real Kwarteng?

The joke is on Johnson

It’s perfectly acceptable for Her Majesty’s first minister to crack jokes, provided he doesn’t become one himself.

Boris Johnson, speaking at the UN General Assembly

Alas, Boris Johnson is rapidly becoming just that, a broad joke, a Monty Python caricature of a bumbling Englishman without much of a clue about anything. The latest step in that direction came yesterday, when, speaking of the French reaction to AUKUS, he addressed Manny Macron with a Franglais spoof.

Prenez un grip about this and donnez-moi un break,” he said. That’s neither clever nor funny, Prime Minister. Yes, I sometimes resort to a similar trick myself, in light-hearted pieces about Macron. But what’s allowed in a jocular article by a man who represents no one but himself doesn’t belong in a speech by a politician who statutorily speaks for the whole country.

If I were Macron, I would have told Johnson to go baiser himself, but of course Manny is cut from the same gossamer cloth, if with a hole where a sense of humour ought to be.

That buffoonery came in the wake of Johnson’s trip to Washington, where he played supplicant to Joe Biden.

Approaching foreign powers with an outstretched hand and an Oliver Twist mien ill-behoves a British prime minister. Britain may not be a great power any longer, but she’s still a great nation that deserves better than being publicly humiliated. And make no mistake about it, a prime minister assuming a prostrate position demeans not just himself but all of us.

Mr Johnson can bang on till the buffaloes come home about the special relationship we supposedly have with the US, but that’s a fiction – especially when the US president happens to be a leftie halfwit whose policy towards Britain is informed by the burred voice of his Irish blood.

An interesting question: How would Johnson respond if Biden told him that the price of a trade deal was a united Ireland? What would he say after his usual complement of gollies and crikeys? I can’t offer an interesting answer, but I’m fast learning to expect the worst.

Having emerged from Washington empty-handed, Johnson hopped over to New York where he played the latest Carrie On film to a UN audience. There he re-emphasised his newly acquired credentials as an eco-maniac.

Turning on his knack for metaphoric flourishes, the PM spoke urbi et orbi of the urgent need to “blow out the candles of a world on fire”. To that effect, all foreign leaders must follow his example by undertaking first to impoverish their people and then to beggar them. Trying to blow out the candles of a world on fire, they’ll punch its lights out.

Playing the buffoon again, Johnson referred to the Muppets, making himself sound like one. He cited Kermit the Frog’s song, insisting that it’s “easy being green”. That wisecrack doesn’t work even on its own puny terms: Kermit was green originally, while the modern economies weren’t.

As to the word ‘easy’ in that context, Johnson should take the trouble of thinking before opening his mouth. His pipe dream of zero carbon emissions by mid-century is just that, a pipe dream. Any attempt to make it come true may be described by various adjectives: self-destructive, foolhardy, ignorant, deleterious, insanely woke – choose your own.

One adjective that definitely doesn’t belong in this sequence is easy – unless, of course, Johnson thinks that converting Britain from an agricultural economy to an industrial one was a doddle. But at least, first Britain and then the rest of the West suffered the excruciating pains of the Industrial Revolution for a self-evident promise of future economic benefits.

However, the reasons for the green revolution our eco-sceptic turned eco-zealot is touting are solely political, and politically correct. Its consequences will be catastrophic or rather, in all likelihood, near-catastrophic.

Reality is bound to shove harsh truths down ministerial throats, forcing their woke owners to dismount their hobby horse in mid-gallop. They’ll realise that a real disaster is looming on the horizon, not its mirage. One can only hope that by then it won’t be too late.

Towards the end, our aspiring muppet blithely dismissed both Testaments in one sentence: “We still cling with part of our minds to the infantile belief that the world was made for our gratification and pleasure and we combine this narcissism with an assumption of our own immortality.”

The first part of that “infantile belief” comes from Genesis, while the whole New Testament communicates the second part, the promise of immortality. As a student of history, Johnson must realise the formative significance of those scribbles to our civilisation, both broadly Western and parochially British. After all, our current head of state was anointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury – even if the next one may well be blessed by Greta Thunberg.

“My friends, the adolescence of humanity is coming to an end,” concluded the muppet, proving yet again that weakness of character nullifies such incidentals as learning and cleverness.

Johnson should take his own advice and grow up. Being a man involves more than just an ability to father children on either side of the blanket.

P.S. A friend of mine suggested the other day that, if Greta Thunberg shows her face in Britain after the harsh winter we are facing, she’ll be torn apart limb from limb. We both agreed that such an outcome would justify any deprivation.

What’s your definition of radicals?

The term used to describe marginal political extremists, especially those who didn’t mind expressing their insane ideas with pistols and bombs.

Now, if you believe Daniel Finkelstein of The Times, it stands for conservatives, especially those who believe in God. That lexical reassessment appears in the context of his article about assisted dying, which he considers “a modest and popular step”.

Therefore those who oppose it are immodest and unpopular radicals – because, in his own words, they resist “a radical change, a break with hundreds of years of law-making, philosophical principle and medical practice… the abandonment of common morality.”

The lexical acrobatics of the modern political nomenclatures clearly require the kind of agility I don’t possess. But I think I get it: a radical is one who resists a radical change.

If I understand Lord Finkelstein right, those wishing to overturn hundreds of years of legal, philosophical and moral tradition are sensible reformers, while those who think such things are worth keeping are dangerous radicals. To my ossified mind, it’s the other around, which I suppose makes me as radical as they come, radically speaking.

He then replaces verbal acrobatics with veritable contortionism by bending himself into all sorts of unlikely shapes in an attempt to distinguish between “assisted suicide” and “assisted dying”. These semantic subtleties escape me altogether, though I do grasp the general gist that “assisted suicide” is radical, whereas “assisted dying” is modest and popular.

I do agree with Lord Finkelstein when he says that: “Political minds change slowly but the change is all in one direction.” Where we diverge is in our assessment of this one direction. He sees it as commendable; I see it as vectored towards perdition.

Lord Finkelstein favours straight talk and declares war on euphemisms. “Assisted suicide” is an especially objectionable euphemism: “For the people who use the term suicide to describe assisted dying don’t really believe assisted dying is any kind of suicide. They believe it is murder.”

Remarkably, not a single word of the 1,120 in his article even touches upon the Judaeo-Christian origin of our civilisation, whence all those philosophical, moral and legal ideas come. I understand that Lord Finkelstein has no time for such arcana, but one doesn’t have to be a believing Jew or Christian to be able to identify the kernel of this matter.

The clue is provided by this dialogue from Mikhail Bulgakov’s novel Master and Margarita. While interrogating Jesus, appearing as Ha-Nozri, Pontius Pilate demands that he swear he isn’t a subversive.

“What do you want me to swear by?” asked the unbound prisoner with animation.

“Well, let us say by your life,” said the Procurator. “This is just the time to swear by it, for it hangs by a thread – you must know that.”

“And is it your belief that you have hung it so, Hegemon?” asked the prisoner. “If so, you are very mistaken.”

Pilate started and spoke through his teeth:

“I can cut this thread.”

“There, too, you are mistaken,” said the prisoner with a luminous smile, shielding himself from the sun with his hand. “You must agree that the thread can surely be cut only by him who had hung it?”

At the heart of the hundreds of years of tradition evidently despised by Lord Finkelstein lies the belief Bulgakov here conveys artistically. Since it’s God who gives life, only he is entitled to take it.

Hence, suicide, assisted or otherwise, indeed isn’t murder. It’s worse.

For, by taking a life or any number of them, a murderer merely defies one of the Commandments. By taking his own life, on the other hand, a suicide defies God altogether.

By rejecting God’s dominion over his life, he kills not only himself, but God within himself, thereby putting himself above God. That’s why suicides were traditionally denied a Christian burial, but murderers weren’t.

Thus, the issue of assisted dying becomes the battlefield on which two civilisations clash: the Judaeo-Christian one, based on the assertion of certain principles, and the modern one, based on their negation.

Lord Finkelstein is right though: it’s the latter that’s winning, for now. What is astounding is that he ignores the Judaeo-Christian argument altogether, without even bothering to take issue with it. This says much not just about him, but about the modernity he extols – crass and inane materialism is taken as a self-evident truth.

Lord Finkelstein then goes into a boring discussion of casuistic details, specifically of how a private member’s bill, such as the one to that effect currently submitted, can clear parliamentary hurdles. His conclusion is that sooner or later it will, because most people support it.

Lord Finkelstein thereby commits another fallacy, called argumentum ad populum: insisting that something is true because the majority thinks so. The whole modern civilisation is based on this fallacy, courtesy of what Ortega y Gasset aptly called “revolt of the masses” almost 100 years ago.

For all his shunning of rhetorical conventions, Lord Finkelstein is right: the masses are indeed revolting. Using another Latin-named rhetorical device, reductio ad absurdum, the majority prefers Lennon to Bach, Coronation Street to Shakespeare and three-word sound bites to Lord Finkelstein’s prolix musings.

There is little he can do about restoring Bach’s and Shakespeare’s popularity, but, to be true to his principles, he ought to relinquish his position at The Times and start twitting short messages ending with LOL.

But I’d still insist that he sort out his terminology. If a decent, church-going gentleman is a radical, then there is something wrong with Lord Finkelstein’s nomenclatures. Not with the gentleman.

Ready to freeze hungry in the dark?

If you still doubt that intellectual and moral folly can produce tangible practical disasters, consider the looming energy crisis.

Coming this winter: new Carrie On disaster movie

Sorry, did I say ‘looming’? No, the crisis is already upon us, escalating out of sight. Some analysts are already uttering macabre predictions, along the lines of the title above.

Even people who have never read a line of Shakespeare (or, for that matter, Steinbeck) are talking about “the winter of our discontent”. Alas, there is no sun of York rising to turn the gloom into a glorious summer.

Those who eschew literary references invoke the 1973 three-day-week debacle brought to Britain courtesy of another incompetent Tory government. This seems to be a distinct possibility this winter, which would work wonders for the economy, especially against the backdrop of a new lockdown.

Dozens of small energy companies are already going to the wall, with the magic words ‘government bailout’ wafting through the air. Assuming that it happens, who do you think will bear the brunt of such charity? But of course. The government will offset its generosity by new tax raids on the grateful public, a stratagem well-rehearsed and fine-tuned.

At the heart of the crisis is wokery, an urgent desire to signal virtue by touting the global warming hoax as man-made reality. When that canard first began to flap its wings, any sensible statesman should have asked two vital questions. First, is it true? (No, is the scientifically unimpeachable reply.) Second, what can we do about it? (Nothing.)

Yet successive British governments, including the one fronted by Mr and Mrs Johnson (you decide who is functionally which in that marriage), have proved that both sensibility and statesmanship are extinct in our government. Rather than thinking of bono publico, they’ve concentrated on their own bono, understood as an ability to outwoke one another.

To be fair, our government isn’t the only one. All the wokers of the world stand united in this idiocy, ready to sacrifice the wellbeing of the people at the altar of pernicious ideology. Never in history have so many been sacrificed by so few for something so nebulous.

I shan’t repeat myself, or rather the serious scientists I tend to quote, by restating the arguments that shoot down the canard of anthropogenic global warming. But the eggs laid by that bird are worth smashing one by one.

The ultimate goal stated by the Johnsons is to eliminate carbon emissions altogether. That means getting rid of fossil fuels, replacing them with sun and wind, the fickle energy sources predating the Industrial Revolution.

Since our economy post-dates the Industrial Revolution, it’s driven by just such fuels: oil, gas and coal. The only currently practical alternative to hydrocarbons is nuclear but, courtesy of hysterical left-wing propaganda, it’s invariably seen against the backdrop of Hiroshima. This, though no one in the West has ever died as a result of an accident at a nuclear plant.

Hence both Germany and France are phasing out their nuclear power stations, leaving a gaping hole in their energy supplies (in France, up to 80 per cent of all energy is nuclear-generated). Since six per cent of our energy is mainlined from France, the tremor of that tectonic shift is reaching us too.

Yet our indomitable PM, the star of the Carrie On films, isn’t going to pay attention to such mundane matters. He wants to look good at parties with his wife’s friends, who are rapidly becoming his as well.

To that end, he has committed Britain to the patently unachievable goal of replacing all normal cars with electric Go Carts by 2030. Meanwhile, he is hanging on to the 23 per cent ‘green’ levy on domestic gas, which would hurt most people even by itself.

But this tax grab isn’t doing its destructive work by itself. It’s amply complemented by Col. Putin, thanks to whose price fixing gas is now 250 per cent dearer than it was in January.

Now, Putin’s government is a self-avowed enemy of the West. Hence, it takes irresponsibility bordering on treason to allow Russia to weaponise energy, using her oil and gas for political blackmail. One would think Western leaders would bang their heads together, trying to figure out how to knock that weapon out of their enemy’s hands.

Instead, they are doing exactly the opposite. The EU, tacitly supported by the Biden administration, is pushing aside every barrier in the path of the new Russian gas pipeline, Nord Stream 2. When it starts operating, Germany, to name one EU member, will get practically all her gas from Russia, as opposed to the current 49 per cent.

The present tensions with France ought to have alerted the Johnsons to the danger of relying even on friends for the supply of a vital strategic resource. As to relying on enemies, I’m not sure I can find polite words to describe that death wish.

Here we get two idiocies for the price of one. Idiocy One: Europe, including, if only vicariously, the UK, is increasingly dependent for its energy on a hostile foreign power. Idiocy Two: this, though there is no need for such dependence.

Parts of Europe, including Britain and especially France, have practically unlimited deposits of shale gas underfoot. This resource, however, remains untapped – first, because hydrocarbons are the work of the anti-woke devil; second, because extracting shale gas by hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is seen as yet another blow in the face of ‘our planet’.

The Johnsons must have played truant when science was taught at their schools. Had they been present and correct, they’d be more cautious in their campaign to eliminate every molecule of  CO2 from Britain’s ‘green’ and therefore increasingly unpleasant land.

Not only does carbon make up some 18 per cent of human body mass, it’s also essential for every form of biological life. Periods of the greatest prosperity in history have coincided with high levels of carbon emissions, which make plants grow more plentiful and luxuriant.

Shortages in CO2 emissions, on the other hand, have always led to famines. I doubt that a real famine is on the cards this winter, but our chemical plants are already struggling to produce enough carbon-based fertilisers.

If energy prices double by this winter, as most experts confidently predict they will, low agricultural yields and the suffering of the transportation industry will combine to produce food shortages. How severe I can’t tell, but one already has to display more creativity than before trying to replace essential ingredients disappearing from supermarket shelves.

In spite of that, the Johnsons are steadfast in their refusal to get rid of the ruinous green levy. As to accepting that their whole green agenda is as foolhardy as it is incidious, this would be akin to a pious Muslim agreeing that there is a God other than Allah, and Mohammad isn’t his prophet.

The current situation, claim the Johnsons against both logic and empirical evidence, won’t hurt the people. No? Well then, perhaps they should consider rat poison instead.

Corbyn and Xi sing in unison

Each time I rant and rave about Boris Johnson, which is about every day, I say the magic word. The decibel level drops instantly, and the piercing screams turn into muted moans.

None dare call it treason

That magic word is ‘Corbyn’. For Chairman Jeremy came within a whisker of becoming PM in 2019. Had the Tories come up with a less charismatic leader than Johnson, Britain could have been stuck with an evil communist government – rather than one merely woke, unprincipled and incompetent.

For make no mistake about it: Chairman Jeremy is a rank communist, and only the low street cred of the actual Communist Party stopped his party affiliation going with his heart. Since one can’t win elections standing as a communist candidate, Corbyn became what his idol Lenin called a ‘legalist’.

The term describes a communist who decides that, rather than acting as a wrecking ball trying to demolish the West violently, he should work as a termite, slowly eating away at its foundations from within. Legalist communists participate in Western institutions the better to undermine them and, in Britain, they tend to become Labour or, at a pinch, LibDems by way of subterfuge.

The word ‘nuclear’ has the same effect on Chairman Jeremy as the word ‘culture’ had on Dr Goebbels. That is, when the word is used in a Western context. He has no problems with nuclear energy or even weapons – provided they are wielded by the communist enemies of Britain.

Hence he made no indignant noises about China arming herself with nuclear warheads, bombs and submarines. But the moment the US and the UK agreed to supply Australia with such submarines, Corbyn’s face turned the colour of his beloved flag.

The AUKUS pact, he screeched, is a start of “a new Cold War”. That, he explained, “will not bring peace, justice and human rights to the world.”

That, actually, is true. Weapon systems of any kind aren’t designed to pursue those lofty goals. They can, however, protect countries that already have such wonderful things from falling prey to foreign tyrannies.

In this case, the immediate aim of AUKUS is to give Australia more tools to defend herself against the dominant power in the region. That happens to be one of the most evil regimes ever to curse the world: communist China.

The long-term goal goes beyond Australia’s self-defence. AUKUS is effectively a military bloc put together to contain or, that failing, repel China’s aggression against Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and of course Australia.

Now, the Chinese are by natural disposition traders, not military aggressors. That’s how they used to be traditionally known in Asia. But communism rides roughshod over tradition.

Thus, just a few months after they grabbed power in 1949, the Chinese communists attacked South Korea, with millions of their ‘volunteers’ pouring over the 38th parallel when it looked that Americans would overrun China’s North Korean clients. The Soviets helped every step of the way, with ‘Stalin’s falcons’ flying their Migs in combat.

At the same time, Corbyn’s typological American equivalents at the Institute for Pacific Relations, a transparent Soviet front, whipped up pro-communist propaganda at home. China was portrayed as a progressive force for good in Asia, whereas her enemies were Cold War jackals jeopardising peace in the world. Due to that combined effort, the best the US-led coalition could get out of the war was a draw.

It’s reassuring to see how faithfully today’s Chinese communists, along with Corbyn (born again Owen Lattimer, the Soviet spy at the head of the Institute for Pacific Relations), toe exactly the same propaganda line.

China, being a communist country, is by definition a seeker of peace. Communist countries, you understand, never attack anybody, they just defend themselves in a preemptive way. Whereas AUKUS, according to China’s foreign ministry, “seriously undermined regional peace and stability”.

The US, UK and Australia, threatened its spokesman, had better abandon their “outdated Cold War zero-sum mentality.” Otherwise they would “only end up shooting themselves in the foot”.

The original Cold War started immediately after the post-war euphoria of alliance was ended by Stalin’s aggressive stance. In 1946 Churchill made his famous Fulton speech, in which he used the term ‘Iron Curtain’, first coined in 1918 by the Russian philosopher Rozanov.

In 1947, Stalin’s army blockaded West Berlin, triggering the greatest airlift of humanitarian aid in history. The Cold War was under way, provoked by Russian communists and cheered on by an army of fellow travellers in the West.

Stalin’s Maoist allies, at that time merely vassals, immediately began to threaten Taiwan, where Chiang Kai-shek’s nationalists entrenched themselves after Mao’s victory. When I was a little child, all Soviet papers were gleefully publishing China’s incessant ‘final warnings’ to Taiwan.

Even at age four, I couldn’t quite understand what was going on. To me, there could be only one final warning, not one numbered 162. I don’t know if that sequence is still continuing, but there’s no doubt that China is gearing up for an invasion of Taiwan.

To that end, the Chinese have built one of the world’s biggest navies, including nuclear submarines that so excite Chairman Corbyn when Australia seems likely to get them. China’s fleet also includes over 200 landing craft, some of them giant ships able to carry swarms of soldiers across high seas.

One assumes that Chairman Corbyn believes that, unlike AUKUS, this vast force is there to “bring peace, justice and human rights to the world”. Whereas anyone who resists it is a Cold War monger daydreaming about a nuclear catastrophe.

The spirit of Munich combines in Corbyn’s lungs with Trotskyist miasma to produce a foul emission of enmity to the West in general and Britain in particular. Just to think that we came close to having that ghoul at 10 Downing Street (all in the name of Western democracy of course).

P.S. Speaking of communists, yesterday marked the 82d anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Poland. Thus Stalin entered WWII on Hitler’s side… pardon me, struck a blow for “peace, justice and human rights to the world”. 

Prince Will made me scared

Petrified, actually. Panic-stricken. Trembling with fear. Although perhaps it wasn’t exactly the kind of fear he was hoping to induce.

How do you know he’s talking rubbish? His lips are moving

HRH feels strongly that ‘our planet’ is rapidly heading for extinction, what he calls a “tipping point”. And we have only ourselves to blame:

“Humans have taken too many fish from the sea. We have cleared too many trees, burnt too much fossil fuel, and produced too much waste. The damage we are doing is no longer incremental but exponential, and we are fast reaching a tipping point…”

I’ll say one thing for HRH: all that expensive education didn’t go to waste, as it did with his brother. So it’s good to see that he can use, even imprecisely, words like incremental and exponential. But I still wonder how Will pictures that tipping point.

I’m sure he sees it as fires of hell fanned by hurricanes, strengthened by eruptions and earthquakes and not put out by floods. In that case, if scare-mongering was his intention, he certainly succeeded with me.

However, unlike him, I’m not scared for ‘our planet’. Over the past millions of years, it has shown an admirable ability to fend for itself. What I’m scared for, perhaps also unlike him, is the future of our monarchy.

For if the history of politics teaches us anything, it’s that redundant institutions tend to die out. My mortal fear is that the upcoming generations of our royal family will kill off the monarchy by making it trivialised, vulgarised and therefore redundant.

Each time any members of ‘the Firm’, other than the Queen and her daughter, open their mouths on any subject whatsoever, I break out in sweat, my limbs begin to shake, my mouth goes dry.

For practically every statement they make regurgitates every woke fad imaginable and spits it out in a constant stream of vulgarity. That by itself wouldn’t be hopelessly deadly if they were the only ones spouting such rubbish. But they aren’t, far from it.

Practically every cabinet member, most MPs of whatever affiliation, most articles in most papers, every TV channel, every pronouncement by yet another functionally illiterate ‘celebrity’ or ‘influencer’ can amply satisfy whatever appetite we may have for woke effluvia.

We don’t need our royals for that, which is bound to raise the inevitable question of what we need them for, full stop. I can only answer that question the way I always do.

The monarchy is the axis around which Britain’s constitutional history revolves. In a world where governments come and go, fashions change, and the world is in constant flux, our monarchy is a factor of constancy. It stands above quotidian politics to tie together generations past, present and future.

To be effective in that capacity the royals must emanate an aura of grandeur, mystique, certain unworldliness if you will. We must always see that they are different from us and, by implication, better than us. If we don’t, if we perceive the royals as being no different from other ‘celebrities’, then their whole mission is compromised, irrevocably so.

They become redundant and therefore superfluous. If that’s the impression they convey, then the republican spirit, never dormant in the more upmarket parts of Britain, can become fully awake and unstoppable.

Whenever the royals try to ingratiate themselves to the woke elites of Islington and Notting Hill, they are on a losing wicket. Woke means socialist, and socialists hate, congenitally and viscerally, the monarchy and everything it represents. No amount of rubbish about tipping points is going to change that.

The more of their mystique the royals cede trying to sound like average Guardian readers, the more perilous the state of the monarchy. People should look up to them, not regard them with disdain.

As to the face value of the meteorological situation that makes Will so despondent, he should make the effort of reading a few serious books on the subject. He’ll find that there’s little reason to see all this climate change brouhaha as anything more than a woke hoax, an expression of ideological discontent.

It’s one arrow in the quiver of hostility to our civilisation, with each trying to kill it by a million pinpricks. And the monarchy is a statutory brace holding the remnants of our civilisation together. The upshot of this is that, if Will doesn’t have anything intelligent to say, the best thing he can do is shut up.

Who knows, that way he may still have a crown to bequeath to Prince George of Cambridge.