“The English female befouls”

Thus spoke Generalissimo Alexander Suvorov (d. 1800), using the word Anglichanka (English woman) to describe England and the verb gadit (befouls) as a hint at rather stormy Anglo-Russian affairs.

Suvorov knew what he was talking about

This should contradict those who claim that relations between Britain and Russia are at the nadir. The indefinite article would be more appropriate, for there have been many such nadirs throughout history.

Russia as a unified political entity with imperial ambitions appeared in the second half of the 16th century, in the reign of Ivan IV ‘the Terrible’. He earned that nickname by launching a murderous punitive raid on his own people immediately after ascending to the throne.

But before he struck, Ivan had prudently tried to secure a fallback position in case of failure. To that end he sent his brocade-gowned, fur-hatted, shaggy-bearded emissaries to propose marriage to Queen Elizabeth I.

Her putative virginity must have been a factor in Ivan’s proposal, for he prized chastity in his brides as much as he decried its absence. For example, when his fifth wife turned out to be not quite virginal on their wedding night, Ivan had her drowned in a pond, as one does.

In case the Queen was unable to overcome her maidenly qualms, Ivan suggested a second-best option: a mutual guarantee of asylum should rebellious subjects throw either monarch out.

Giles Fletcher, Elizabethan traveller to Russia, renders this offer more eloquently, if a bit archaically, in his memoir: “Further, the Emperor requireth earnestly that there may be assurance made by oath and faith betwixt the Queen’s Majestie and him, that yf any misfortune might fall or chance upon ether of them to go out of their countries, that it might be lawful for ether of them to come into the other countrey for the safeguard of themselves and theyr lives…”

Elizabeth wasn’t so much reluctant to accept either offer as perplexed. Since Her Majesty had only a vague idea of Muscovy (or Tartary, as contemporaneous English maps identified Russia), she was unlikely to regard it as a suitable haven.

And since she probably had never heard of Ivan she was reluctant to let his wooing succeed where Leicester’s had failed. She did however suggest out of politeness that Ivan was free to settle in England if he so chose. Forget about the nuptials though.

Fletcher, by the way, was an agent of the Muscovy Company, a trading concern chartered in 1555 that had a monopoly on trade with Russia until the reign of Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich (d. 1676). The father of Peter I harboured suspicions of England, which he expressed quite succinctly.

When the Muscovy Company applied for an extension of its licence, it was floored by the short uppercut of the tsar’s ukase: “Inasmuch as the said Anglic Germans have slaughtered their own King Carolus to death, we hereby decree that none of the said Anglic Germans shall henceforth be admitted to Russia’s land.”

The tsar’s statement suggests that, while vague on the English ethnicity, he grasped the main point about the contemporaneous England. It was becoming dangerous to the well-being of absolute monarchs or those who, like “King Carolus” (Charles I), attempted to regain a fraction of the kind of absolute power that was taken for granted in Russia.

Since then relations between the two countries have been up and down, mostly down. They usually belonged to different and hostile coalitions, as they did during the Northern War (1700-1721), the War of the Polish Succession (1733-1735), the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-1748), and also the Seven Years’ War (1756-1763).

During the Napoleonic wars, the two countries set out to give the lie to the proverb about our enemy’s enemies. In spite of having common problems with Napoleon, they were officially at war with each other since 1799.

Apart from a short interlude in 1812, Russia fought not so much against France as against England. And even in 1812, when Napoleon attacked Russia, her state of war with England continued, if only formally.

Britain’s policy was always designed to prevent the emergence of a dominant continental power. As Russia’s imperial ambitions grew, she was increasingly cast in that very role. Hence ‘the Great Game’, a political and diplomatic confrontation that existed for most of the 19th century between Britain and Russia over Afghanistan and other territories in Central and South Asia.

That cold war heated up when Russia’s expansion threatened the existence of the Ottoman Empire, which Britain saw as an essential counterbalance to Russian power in the region. This led to the 1853-1856 Crimean War, in which a small expeditionary force sent over by Britain, France and Sardinia thrashed the Russian army despite being outgunned and outmanned.

In the run-up to the war, England had forced Russia to disband her Holy Alliance with Austria and Prussia, which prevented those countries from coming to Russia’s aid. However, Britain couldn’t press the strategic advantage of her Crimean victory – dysentery turned out to be a more formidable adversary than the Russian army and navy.

In 1833, exactly 100 years before you-know-what, Prussia formed the Zollverein, a customs union with other German principalities. The aim was to bribe or coerce them all eventually to form a single German state under Prussia’s aegis. In hindsight that can be seen as a rehearsal for a larger-scale operation known as the European Union.

That process led to Prussia defeating France in 1871. Immediately thereafter Bismarck proclaimed the German Empire, and a new candidate for continental supremacy was born. Britain saw the signs with unerring clarity and made a mental note that Germany was the greater danger. That’s why Britain and Russia were allies in the Great War, at least until 1918, when Lenin betrayed the Entente by signing a separate peace with Germany.

We can now fast-forward to our own time, leapfrogging the seven decades of Bolshevism, the Second World War and the Cold War. Suffice it to say that, a few years in the 1990s apart, Britain and Russia have been in a relationship that honesty prevents me from describing as amicable.

In fact, I can’t think of any other major Western country as incompatible with Russia as Britain is – and has been for centuries. America, Germany, France all have many common features with Russia. Britain has none that are immediately obvious.

The restrained, pragmatic, self-deprecating yet quietly self-confident English personality weaned on centuries of civil liberties and the rule of law is the exact opposite of Russian effusiveness, bombast and delusions of grandeur born out of a deep-seated sense of inferiority.

That at least partly explains why Britain was the first country to support the Ukraine both morally and materially. The reason for such unequivocal support isn’t so much strategic (although that too) as cultural, historical and, if you will, visceral.

England is – or rather used to be – the epitome of Western civilisation, which the Russians both envy and hate. (For confirmation, see the writings of Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky.) The history of animosity between the two countries reflects irreconcilable differences that will persevere in eternity.

The main one is the perpetual conflict between civilisation and barbarism, in which only one adversary can ever be left standing. If you still doubt which side is which, I suggest you follow the day-to-day accounts of Russia’s ongoing bandit raid on the Ukraine – and look up the statistics of the overwhelming support for the war among the brainwashed, but otherwise unwashed, Russian population.

One hopes Britain still retains enough of her erstwhile civilisational spunk to keep up her support for the brave people dying to stop Russian barbarism in its tracks. Let history be our guide.

P.S. In this regard, the BBC has finally done something right. I wholeheartedly recommend its documentary series Russia 1985-1999: TraumaZone.

Meat eaters don’t deserve to live

This argument seems to grow on trees in our groves of academe. However, the fruit is poisoned, best left unbitten. But judge for yourself.

Save Daisy and win a valuable prize

Suppose you are a good swimmer and a man drowning before your very eyes isn’t. You could easily save him, but should you?

Not necessarily, according to Dr Michael Plant, philosophy don at Oxford. For, according to some moral philosophies, eating meat is a mortal sin. Hence, if the drowning person is a carnivore, he doesn’t deserve to live.

On the contrary, you have a moral duty to watch him sink. After all, writes Dr Plant, “It seems universally accepted that doing or allowing a harm is permissible – and may even be required – when it is the lesser evil.”

Being a philosopher, he correctly ignores the practicalities involved. Yet these are worth a moment’s thought. Let’s say you ponder life while sipping a beer on the beach. Then you see – let’s add a touch of sentiment to the discussion – a child thrashing and splashing about some 50 yards from shore, screaming “Help!!!”

Your first impulse is to jump in but, on general principles, you desist. Some preliminary work is required first. Hence you scream back: “Do! You! Eat! Meat?” There’s the danger that all you’ll hear in reply will be a gurgling sound, but at least your philosophical conscience will remain pristine.   

Lest you may accuse Dr Plant of self-interest, his idea isn’t just impartial but also potentially self-sacrificial: he himself is a meat eater. Here’s a man with the power of his convictions, a rara avis these days. Good to see that young people do have principles after all.

However, as a logical corollary to his proposition, you’d be morally obligated not just to watch a carnivore drown but also to push him off the pier if he wouldn’t jump of his own accord.

All you’d have to do is close your eyes, think of the herds of livestock you’d be saving from this reprobate’s murderous appetite – and push as hard as you can with both hands. After all, “some moral philosophies” say that killing a man is a lesser evil than eating a burger.

Assuming that Dr Plant agrees with Jacques Maritain’s definition of philosophy as a science of first principles, he must believe that our founding code of first principles, the Bible, contains a thou-shalt-not commandment not to eat meat.

It doesn’t though, quite the opposite. Thus, for example, Genesis 9: 3: “Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.”

Animals, therefore, are created strictly to serve man, and, according to Aquinas, himself no slouch at philosophy: “There is no sin in using a thing for the purpose for which it is.”

Now, I realise that Dr Plant may not derive his notion of first principles from the same source as Aquinas did. In fact, that’s the way to bet – he is, after all, a modern Oxford don. I even suspect his definition of philosophy in general and of first principles specifically may differ from Jacques Maritain’s.

To be fair to him though, even first-rate Christian thinkers also pondered the morality of carnivorism. C.S. Lewis, for example, devoted many an essay to the subject of animal suffering and, implicitly, meat eating. Now, accuse me of irreverence to the great man if you will, but I genuinely believe Lewis’s brilliance was wasted on this issue.

My own approach to it, along with many other dilemmas preoccupying the modern mind, comes from another, admittedly cruder, discipline: advertising. It’s encapsulated by the acronym KISS – Keep It Simple, Stupid.

Any thought starts from a premise; it’s the foundation on which an intellectual structure is built. The structure then acts as proof of the foundation’s integrity, its ability to prop up a sound thought. The KISS principle suggests that certain premises are best left alone – even if the resulting superstructure (dread term) doesn’t seem to totter.

Dr Plant’s philosophical speciality is eudaemonia, the theory of happiness. Hence I’m sure he could use his evident mental agility to make a valid point in favour of, say, necrophilia.

Even I, tragically lacking the benefit of formal philosophical training, could make a good fist of it. For example, I’d start by saying that, although necrophilia is technically criminal, it’s by definition a victimless crime. Raping a corpse isn’t the same as raping a living, breathing woman: she will hate the experience, but a corpse won’t mind.

On the other hand, the perpetrator will enjoy the act, be the happier for it. Thus the sum total of happiness in the world will be greater as a result and, on balance, this has to be a good thing. There you go, a plausible eudaemonic case made. Long live necrophilia, even though I’m not sure the slogan works semantically.

You may or may not be capable of punching logical holes in this argument. You needn’t bother though: this structure had no right to be built. The premise shouldn’t even be pondered: remember KISS and just say that the practice is degenerate and so is anyone who takes it seriously. Then start thinking about things that really matter.

“I argue that,” continues Dr Plant, “if meat eating is wrong on animal suffering grounds then, once we consider how much suffering might occur, it starts to seem plausible that saving strangers would be the greater evil than not rescuing them and is, therefore, not required after all.”

And I argue that the conditional clause at the beginning of his statement should be dismissed out of hand, even though the wonderful C.S. Lewis didn’t. Let’s just KISS and make up.

P.S. The other day I wrote about the plight of the Irish priest who dared describe homosexuality as a mortal sin. He found himself on the receiving end of slings and arrows, to which Taoiseach Micheál Martin has now added his own: “In my view the language used was not the language of Christianity, and certainly would seem to me to be the language of exclusion as opposed to inclusion.”

I agree with Ireland’s PM: the language of exclusion is un-Christian. Here’s another example of such heathen invective: “Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness.” Clearly, whoever said that had no clue of what a Christian should sound like.

Individual take on collective madness

Dmitry Medvedev, former prime minister, former president, currently Chairman of Russia’s Security Council, always Putin’s mouthpiece, issued an address to the nation.

“Go tell’em, Dmitry”

The occasion was National Unity Day, and Dmitry clearly set out to enunciate what it is that unites the nation. If you have any doubts that the unifying factor is a rapid onset of madness exacerbated by alcoholism, the address should dispel them.

That’s why today I’ll act not as a writer but merely as a translator. My friend Dmitry can speak with enviable eloquence not only for himself but also for his people. Nor do you need my commentary to establish your own diagnosis of both individual and collective lunacy. So here comes:

What are we fighting  for? Russia is a vast and rich country. We don’t need other people’s territories; we have plenty of our own. But there exists our own land, which is sacred to us, where our ancestors lived and where our people are still living. And which we won’t cede to anyone. We are defending our people. We are fighting for our own, for our land, for the millennia of our history.

Who is fighting against us? We are fighting against those who hate us, who ban our language, our values and even our faith, those who sow hatred for the history of our Motherland.

Opposing us is a fragment of a dying world. It’s a gang of deranged Nazi drug addicts, the people they’ve befuddled and blackmailed, along with a large pack of howling dogs from the Western kennel. With them is a motley herd of grunting porcine creatures and backward philistines from the disintegrated western empire, those with the saliva of degeneracy running down their chins. They have no faith or ideals, other than the obscene habits they themselves have concocted and their self-made standards of double-think rejecting the morals given to normal people. That’s why, by having risen against them, we’ve acquired a sacral power.

Where are our former friends? Some scared partners have rejected us – and to hell with them. This proves that they were not our friends but only accidental fellow travellers, leeches and hangers-on.

Cowardly traitors and greedy turncoats have run for the hills – may their bones rot abroad. They are no longer among us, which makes us stronger and purer.

Why did we keep silent for so long? We were weak and paralysed by the interregnum. But now we’ve shaken off the sticky stupor and depressing mire of the past decades, in which we were thrown by the death of our previous Motherland. Our awakening was awaited by other countries, those raped by the lords of darkness, slave traders and oppressors who longingly daydream of their monstrous colonial past and seek to preserve their power over the world. Many countries no longer believe their gibberish, but they are still running scared. They too will soon wake up once and for all. And when the rotten world order collapses, it’ll bury under the tonnes of its rubble all its prideful shamans, bloodthirsty practitioners and speechless dummies.

What are our weapons? Weapons can be different. We are capable of sending all our enemies to hell, but this isn’t our task. We are listening to the Creator’s words in our hearts and obeying them. It’s these words that define our holy mission. The mission is to stop the Supreme Prince of the Inferno, whichever name he goes by – Satan, Lucifer or Devil. For his aim is death. Our aim is life.

His weapons are intricate lies.

And our weapon is Truth.

It’s because of this that our cause is just.

It’s because of this that victory will be ours!

Happy Holiday!

Stirring stuff, that. This should serve as a useful reminder that alcohol ought to be a beverage of moderation. Once delirium tremens sets in, it’s too late to arrest a mental collapse.

Now what do you think of a nation that listens to its clinically deranged leaders and, in overwhelming numbers, jumps up and salutes? And what do you think of our own useful idiots who wish we ourselves had strong leaders like these?

I could tell you what I think, but won’t. It ought to be self-evident.

Scary manifesto of youth

Every day provides new evidence for the statement in the title, but none so irrefutable as Olivia Petter’s article in The Times.

Can you detect a flicker of intelligence in Olivia’s face?

Hers is a veritable manifesto of today’s youth, the generation called Yips (‘Young Illiberal Progressives’). Each of the three words in that nomenclature is, according to Olivia, a badge of pride, to be shoved into the wrinkled faces of old fogeys.

Actually, the ‘I’ initial in that acronym should more appropriately stand for ‘Idiotic’. Olivia is a living argument in favour of this small adjustment, for she doesn’t even realise that, contrary to her intended braggadocio, she actually condemns the Yips with every word.

The idea of a generational conflict is nothing new. Back in 1862 Ivan Turgenev published Fathers and Sons, perhaps the most famous novel on that subject. The eponymous sons were the proto-revolutionary nihilists (Turgenev’s coinage), out to destroy the world of their elders.

Considering the nightmare created by the ‘sons’ 55 years later, the novel was nothing short of prophetic. And young Olivia proves that the prophecy transcended not only its time but also its geography.

Her generation, she boasts, is educated by “TikTok, Instagram and Twitter”, which institutions of high learning give a voice to “marginalised communities”. She could have added that such communities have a dominant share of the voice. That’s hardly surprising: research shows that Yips are “more censorious than their elders”.

That, according to Olivia, “is surely a good thing. My 15-year-old sister, Juliet, lives in northern California and recently lectured my British baby boomer father about why it’s offensive to deadname a transgender person (that is when you refer to a trans person by the name they used prior to transitioning).

“She also regularly talks to him about women’s rights, racism and the environment. Whenever I hear Juliet pontificate on an issue, I’m in awe. No, she isn’t tolerant of transphobia, racism, misogyny, homophobia or climate change denial. And thank goodness for that – because it shows my dad that he shouldn’t be either.”

Now, if a 15-year-old tried to lecture me in that manner, I’d tell her to shut up, have a quick Number One, go to bed and forget that hare-brained rubbish by morning — or else. Such a dictatorial response wouldn’t constitute denial of free thought, for the two sisters haven’t had a single thought, free or otherwise, in their whole lives.

They wouldn’t know a thought if it came up behind them and bit them on their shapely rumps (I’m inferring the shapeliness of Olivia’s rump from her photograph. In fact, her rump may actually be her face, hard to tell.)

These people aren’t sapient human beings. They are jukeboxes with a full complement of buttons, each corresponding to a subversive fad. Push one, and out comes transphobia, and how it’s simply wonderful and progressive to castrate prepubescent children. Push another, and you’ll hear a monotonous drone about ‘our planet’ being destroyed by aerosol sprays.

One can argue with people, but not with jukeboxes. For there are no other tunes linked to the same button. No matter how many times you push it, you’ll get the same set of disembodied slogans and shibboleths.

If you pretended, for old times’ sake, that you are actually talking to a person and tried to argue against a slogan by pretending it’s actually a thought, you’d be howled down. For, though Olivia and her ilk don’t really know what a thought is, they instinctively hate it when they hear it.

So next time you tried to push that same button you’d be zapped with an electric charge. Just like the nihilists in Fathers and Sons and the eponymous Possessed in Dostoevsky’s novel, this lot aren’t just brainless but fascistic – and proud of it.

“I’m not interested in tolerating the views of others,” declares Olivia, superfluously. “Nor do I think I should be. Rather, I believe it’s the older generation that needs to become more tolerant of us.

“We are the ones growing up in the modern world, don’t we have a greater sense of the issues that define it? It’s not about obstructing freedom of speech, it’s about becoming a more progressive society. Anyone more concerned by the former than the latter is the one that needs to become more tolerant.”

Remember Cabaret with its mighty chorus of “Tomorrow belongs to me”? This is another reference to the history of evil raising its young head above the parapet of civilisation. Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany and similar regimes show what happens when youngsters, with hormones flooding what passes for their brains, get the power to impose their gonadic urges on society.

Does Olivia realise she marches in step with other young people who didn’t tolerate the views of others either, all those Red Guards, Black Shirts, stormtroopers, hongweibings, Barbudos, Khmer Rouge? No, she probably doesn’t. She’s too dumb.

Paedocracy is an unfailing sign of incipient fascism (I’m using the term broadly). That’s why it’s actively promoted by evil grown-ups seeking power.

“Youth is the barometer of a nation,” explained Trotsky, who knew a thing or two about destroying civilisations. Alas, these days it’s more than just that. It’s also the spokesman of a nation, perhaps even its helmsman.

And the worst thing is that grown-ups play along. They listen to the impetuous youngsters, nod sympathetically and even publish their gibberish in formerly respectable papers like The Times.

On second thoughts, perhaps they aren’t really grown-ups in any other than the chronological sense. For history shows that the dominant group can impose its ethos on the whole society.

This explains the growing infantilisation of Britain (and the West in general), with childish babble passing for speech, hysterics for feelings, sloganeering for thought – and Olivia Petter for a journalist.

Bad luck of the Irish priests

Priests used to be suspended for perverting the Gospel. In today’s Ireland they are suspended for preaching it.

Where are the other 70, Albrecht?

That’s exactly what happened to Fr Sean Sheehy, of St Mary’s Church in Listowel, County Kerry.

He could have preached multiculturalism, the catastrophe of global warming or the delights of MeToo and BLM. Instead he had the audacity to use his homily as a platform for denouncing sin.

One would think that doing so is part of the priestly remit, and I’m sure Fr Sean’s parishioners would agree with this general statement. The problem arises in the movement from the general to the particular.

For Fr Sean displays a singular lack of imagination in defining sin the way it has always been defined, both in Scripture and in Catholic doctrine. His parishioners, however, have moved way beyond such antiquarian rubbish. They, unlike Fr Sean, know that yesterday’s sins are today’s virtues and tomorrow’s diktats.

Thus, when Fr Sean vouchsafed to them the traditional understanding of sin, they were aghast. At least 30 of them stormed out in a huff, presumably to treat their wounded sensibilities with a liberal injection of Guinness (sorry about the ethnic stereotype — make it celery juice).

One of the traumatised souls complained on social media: “’That hateful man does not represent Listowel and the people of Listowel.”

That no doubt is true. Fr Sean’s job is to represent God, not the people of Listowel. And looking at his homily, I can’t for the life of me see where he was in default of that task.

This is what he said: “You rarely hear about sin but it’s rampant.

“And we see it, for example, in the legislation of our governments. We see it in the promotion of abortion. We see it in the example of this lunatic approach of transgenderism.

“We see it, for example, in the promotion of sex between two men and two women. That is sinful. That is mortal sin.”

He also added that free distribution of condoms and other contraceptives were “promoting promiscuity.” Both common sense and empirical evidence support that statement, but it’s not about that, is it?

Now, I don’t know how this incident was covered in the left-wing press, but even our most conservative paper, The Mail, has described the homily as a “bizarre rant”. And Bishop Kerry Browne publicly apologised for Fr Sean’s comments as he took him off the roster.

Is the bishop Catholic? One wonders. No such doubts about Fr Sean: he could have supported every word he uttered with scriptural references, with no dissenting views expressed anywhere in either Testament.

On the subject of homosexuality being a mortal sin, he could have quoted Genesis 19: 4-8,  Matthew 10: 14-15, Leviticus 18:22, Leviticus 20:13, Corinthians 6: 9-10,  Romans 1:26 – and I am only scratching the surface.

Now God was too backward to acknowledge either the plethora of the 72 sexes we’ve since identified or free transition between them as an essential right. However, both Testaments preemptively if implicitly disavow 70 of those sexes.

Thus Genesis 5: 2: “Male and female created he them.” Jesus had numerous opportunities to take issue with such doctrinaire intransigence. He did indeed diverge from some OT dicta. But not this one: “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning made them male and female.” (Matthew 19: 4)

Jesus did tend to see life in clearly defined terms, which goes against the grain of modern conscience. We like to keep things fluid, open to any quirk, and flight of fancy, any appetite. And you may even welcome such licence for all I know (although I’m guessing that most readers of this space probably won’t).

Moreover, you may not be a Catholic or any other Christian or a believer of any kind. Fair enough, it’s a free country. However, even if you don’t believe in God, you must believe in elementary logic.

And this discipline will unerringly lead you to the realisation that Fr Sean was simply doing his job. Which is neither to represent the people of Listowel (that’s what their MP does) nor to promote modern atheist superstitions (that’s what our media do). It’s to act as mediator between his parishioners and God, helping them to save themselves by steering clear of sin.

They ask God to do just that when reciting the Lord’s Prayer: “…and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil…” Fr Sean lends them a helping hand by reminding them that they aren’t free to define sin and evil as they see fit.

All such definitions are helpfully provided by the Scripture and doctrine. A priest’s job is to reiterate them and explain what they mean if any unclear areas exist. That’s exactly what Fr Sean was doing – and that’s what even our conservative papers describe as a “bizarre rant”.

That dutiful priest refused to offer any mea culpas when a radio interviewer asked if he was going to do so: “Not at all – why would I apologise for the truth?

“My answer basically is that I’m giving the teaching of the scriptures and the church regarding homosexual sexual relationships: that they’re sinful and that’s it,” said Fr Sean.

Ireland used to be in the forefront of Catholicism in the Anglophone countries. Yet every report one hears points at a dramatic turnaround. These days Irish priests refrain from sporting their clerical garb in public for fear of being abused or attacked.

By the sound of it, even their job description is changing. They can now be struck off, perhaps even unfrocked, for teaching Christian doctrine. The Church is supposed to act as an extension of social services and a promulgator of every perverse idea of modernity.

I have an idea. Perhaps every Irish church should display on its façade a quotation from Ernest Hemingway: “If it feels good, it’s moral”. There, that would simplify matters, wouldn’t it?

Human rights and wrongs

Following the fire bombing of the refugee centre at High Wycombe, immigration is very much topical again.

Welcome ashore, chaps. Britain is wide-open

All news outlets agree: the crime was motivated by hatred. Seriously? And I thought it was love that motivated people to toss fire bombs into crowded buildings.

That particular building was crowded because 40,000 people have so far crossed the Channel illegally this year, which is five times the number in 2020. Since 50,000 is confidently projected for next year, one can’t help noticing a certain escalating tendency.

This brings into focus the shrill attacks on Home Secretary Suella Braverman, fired by Truss, reinstated by Sunak and now in danger of another sack.

Quite apart from minor procedural violations, Mrs Braverman’s sin is recognising that illegal immigration is a problem and trying to do something about it. This, according to our liberal (meaning illiberal) media, disqualifies her not only from high office but also from her Indian ethnicity. To paraphrase Joe Biden, who is my oratorial role model as much as Neil Kinnock is his, if she is a real Tory, she ain’t Indian.

Parenthetically, I am relaxed about the ethnicity of both Mrs Braverman and her boss Mr Sunak. We’ve had so many cowboys recently, we might as well give Indians a chance.

This particular Indian, however, has strong principles, which makes her suspect in the eyes of our media, especially since Mrs Braverman’s principles are at odds with the rhetoric of the Bollinger bolsheviks resident in the smarter parts of North London.

As to her rhetoric, don’t get me going on that. She had the temerity to use the word ‘invasion’ when talking about the swarms of illegal aliens currently housed in our hotels at a cost of over £6,000,000 a day. The received wisdom is that their numbers mustn’t be limited in any way, provided they are kept out of the smarter parts of North London.

This raises a question. If 40,000 a year is the point of departure, what is the destination? 400,000? 4,000,000? 40,000,000? This ancient method of reductio ad absurdum illustrates the necessity of curbing immigration at some point, ideally not one of no return.

Those who don’t have the exalted privilege of working for the BBC or Sky News do see a massive problem there. And in the congenitally pragmatic British manner they are asking the lapidary question: What are we going to do about it?

We could start by studying the experience of other countries, such as Australia. In this world we aren’t blessed with perfect systems, but, looking from afar, the Australian quota system seems to come pretty close.

Australians admit a certain number of skilled workers every year and a smaller number of genuine refugees, those fleeing for their lives. Once the quota has been filled, everybody else is put on a ship and sent to the Pacific island of Nauru. When practised for a few years, that system severely compromised the criminal business of smuggling people.

Alexander Downer, Australia’s former Foreign Minister, describes the system in today’s Mail and comes up with recommendations. His advice is worth heeding, most of the time.

In fact, when she was Home Secretary in one of the half-dozen Tory governments we’ve had lately, Priti Patel tried to do just that, follow Australia’s example. She chose Rwanda, rather than Nauru, thereby adding a whole new meaning to the film Hotel Rwanda.

A pack of wolves was instantly formed and it attacked Miss Patel with red-toothed ferocity. She was a racist barbarian who saw something wrong in Britain’s population growing at a million a year largely thanks to uncontrolled immigration. She didn’t merit the honourable badge of her ethnicity either, that went without saying.

Mr Downer correctly identifies the origin of the ammunition fired at Miss Patel: “After Brexit, Britain needs to find a lasting legal basis for exemption from European Court of Human Rights diktats. The nation has to be free to control its own borders.”

But then came a real downer [Yes, I know it’s a feeble pun. But if I don’t amuse myself, who will?]:

“Exiting the ECHR should be a last resort. Britain could draw up its own human rights legislation, but it could set a dangerous precedent for other countries to ditch their commitment to human rights.”

Using simple mathematical tricks, one figures out that Mr Downer equates commitment to human rights with ECHR membership. I wonder how we had managed to survive as a reasonably civilised nation until 4 November, 1950, when Europe was first blessed with the arrival of the ECHR.

One can understand the impetus behind it. After all, until five years previously most European nations had been either actively perpetrating, or at least collaborating with, monstrous crimes against humanity. Hence they felt an urgent need to have some pan-European watchdog to keep them on the straight and narrow in the future.

But Britain’s history, both recent and ancient, gave no reason for such concerns. Rather than perpetrating the crimes that gave rise to the ECHR, the British had done their best to stop and punish them.

Mr Downer, I’m afraid, shares the misconception of most politicians and modern Westerners in general who assign undue significance to politics and the institutions produced thereby. In fact, most seminal problems of life have no political solutions. And the solutions they do have come from a very different provenance.

The idea that human beings possess inalienable rights simply because they are indeed human beings is fundamentally Christian. Implicit in that is the notion of real, as opposed to today’s bogus, equality.

To their wide-eyed amazement, the Romans, to whom people had rights as citizens, not as simply people, heard that those inalienable rights didn’t derive from birth, wealth or social status. Everyone was equal before God and therefore the law (the link between the two still existed).

That was the ideal and, what with the laws of human nature always in force, it was sometimes violated, in some places more than in others.

But the ideal itself was perhaps the most revolutionary one ever accepted by mankind. And Britain led the world in putting that ideal into practice, much to the envy of even those European thinkers who started from a different philosophical premise. (Montesquieu and Voltaire come to mind.)

The problem started with that gross misnomer, the Enlightenment. Its principal stratagem was looting the rightful property of Christendom, shifting it into the secular domain and converting it into a tool of political rhetoric and, ultimately, civilisational subversion.

That instantly expanded the idea of human rights, which tendency continued until the idea burst with a mighty bang. Now human rights are used in the meaning of human desires and appetites. Instead of saying “I want” or “I need”, people have been brainwashed to say “I have a right to…”.

Since human rights became political, they had to be enshrined in, and enforced by, political institutions. Hence the ECHR, heir to the French 1789 Déclaration des droits de l’homme et du citoyen.

A notion politicised is a notion perverted. Thus the larcenous shift of human rights from the religious and therefore legal domain to the political one produced an endless potential for abuse.

That potential has since been richly realised by two world wars, systematic murder by government (Prof Rummel’s phrase), artificial famines, murder camps, gas chambers, SS and KGB. Some 300 million people died horrific deaths in the 20th century alone, the first century in which secular politics reigned supreme.

The ECHR is part of the problem, its natural development. As such, it can only make the problem worse, not solve it.

Perhaps Mr Downer should give the matter another thought – he comes across as a man capable of it. I hope he’ll realise that ditching the ECHR isn’t only the most practical thing to do, but also the most moral one.

Whose side are cops on?

As radical thugs wreak havoc on London traffic by blocking key roads, some hacks write scathing articles and some others churn out sympathetic ones.

However, no one makes a big deal of the name the thugs go by, Just Stop Oil. That’s a pity, for in some important ways the name establishes historical continuity.

Back in the 1960s, American radicals protested against the Vietnam war by chanting “All we are saying is give peace a chance”.

Of course they chanted more incendiary things too, such as “Ho, ho, Ho Chi Minh, NLF are gonna win” and “Hey hey LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?” But it’s the “All we are saying” sing-along that must have inspired our own thugs.

“All we are saying” sounds modest, understated, reasonable. The implication is that we could be saying other, equally justified, things, such as calling for violence against the police, terrorist attacks on life and property, poisoning the water supply.

But we aren’t, are we? All we are asking is a chance of peace, which is a wonderful thing, isn’t it? So it can’t be that much to ask. Hence any attempt to disperse us would be an attack on reason and moderation, launched by murderous warmongers.

I don’t know whether the organisers of the Just Stop Oil movement have studied historical precedents. But the word ‘Just’ suggests they might have done. They could have simply said “Stop oil” without distorting the meaning of their demand. But the tone would have been wrong: too harsh, bossy, peremptive.

Yet the word ‘Just’ makes it sound sensible. Just comply with our little request and we’ll go home.

However, if you don’t comply, we’ll paralyse city traffic, superglue ourselves to some museum paintings, throw tomato soup on some others, paint public buildings orange and in general commit all sorts of excesses. But whose fault is that? Yours, for refusing to see reason.

Ostensibly the thugs are protesting against new oil licences, but that’s only their immediate objective. The ultimate aim is to get rid of all fossil fuels, and if that plunges Britain into icy darkness, then so be it. At least ‘our planet’ will be saved.

Arguing against the face value of the argument is pointless, for there is no face value. Much more interesting is to consider the response from our police, sworn to uphold public order.

After all, the disruptions have been going on for months, and only recently have the police begun to remove the road blockers and make some perfunctory arrests. Until now police officers haven’t even tried to conceal their sympathy for the Just Stop Oil cause. Instead of whipping their truncheons out, they’d dole out cups of tea and share a good chuckle with the thugs.

Drivers stuck in central London try to plead with the road blockers, appealing to their nonexistent good side: “I’m an ambulance driver, with a patient in the back.” “I’ve got to feed my family by driving this cab.” “I’ve got to get to work.” “I’m visiting my dying mother in hospital”.

None of these makes a dent, not even the plea that the patient in the ambulance is about to die from a heart attack. Unfortunate, runs the stonehearted reply. But if we don’t stop oil, many more people will die.

Desperate motorists have to resort to DIY policing. They grab the thugs by the ankles and drag them off the road. Some punches are also reported to have been thrown, but surprisingly not many. My first impulse would be to drive right through those thugs, but Penelope assures me that this would be ill-advised.

She is doubtless right, for the Met takes a dim view of even people removing the thugs from the road, which the police tag as “taking the law in your own hands.” Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist said as much:

“The police must work within the clear legal framework and secure evidence for the offence of highway obstruction,” he said. One would think that securing such evidence would require no elaborate investigative work. After all, the road blockers are in plain view.

One would think wrong though. For it takes a law enforcement professional of high rank to appreciate the legal subtleties involved. According to Mr Twist, proper, usable evidence includes “showing clearly that there is an obstruction, that it is deliberate, that it is unlawful, and finally within the context of protest, that it is unreasonable in all of the circumstances.”

Only the last part of that litany of requisite corroboration gives a clue to the Met’s good-natured treatment of road thuggery. The other parts are self-evident: an obstruction is there for all to see, it’s undeniably deliberate (the thugs don’t block roads by accident), disrupting public thoroughfares was against the law the last time I looked.

However, and here we get to the crux of the matter, the state manifestly doesn’t regard these actions as “unreasonable in all of the circumstances”. The reason is simple: the state and the thugs share the same suicidal commitment to eliminating fossil fuels.

The only difference is that the state pretends to go about this task in a deliberate, grown-up fashion, while the thugs act with youthful impetuosity. The state thinks in terms of a few years; the thugs want to get their way instantly. But even if their methods and timelines differ, they share the same aim.

Therefore the state can’t possibly treat the thugs as criminals. They are likeminded allies pulling in the same direction, if perhaps tugging too hard. A mild reprimand is in order accompanied by avuncular advice to show some patience. But no harsh punishment is on the cards.

Police officers were seen taking the knee during the BLM riots for the same reason. The state has a vested, divide et impera, interest in sowing racial discord. A house divided against itself can’t resist a steady growth of state power, which is the principal – increasingly sole – desideratum of all modern governments.

On the other hand, private individuals trying to use their own meagre resources to protect their property or, as in this case, to drag antisocial thugs off the roads are working against the state. They are the real enemies.

This should answer the question in the title above. Two short words will suffice: not yours.