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Boris Johnson beats up lesbians

Now that Johnson has the Tory leadership practically sewn up, more and more distressing facts are coming to public attention.

Adolf Hitler, speaking on his plans to gas all homosexuals and Muslims

The other day, for example, he viciously attacked a lesbian couple on a London bus, beating them to a bloody pulp.

Well, if you want to be pedantic about this, Boris wasn’t the one landing the punches. In fact, my sources confidently report he wasn’t on that – or any other – London bus that day.

However, according to the victims interviewed on Channel 4, Johnson was the real culprit in the attack, more real than the actual thugs who had drawn blood.

Now it’s no secret that Channel 4’s affection for any politician is inversely proportionate to his conservatism. Since this month Boris seems to be the most conservative of the realistic candidates, Channel 4 would happily see him eviscerated, stuffed and put on public display in the Whitechapel Monster museum.

Hence one of the first questions the interviewer put to the victims concerned Mr Johnson’s suitability for high office. What else could he possibly have asked two women beaten up on public transport? The floodgates were flung open.

Homophobic hate crimes are alive and well, they complained, and it’s all because Johnson personally creates a climate of hatred. Fit to lead the United Kingdom? You’ve got to be joking.

“I do not think that Boris Johnson is fit to lead anything much less the United Kingdom,” fumed one of the victims. What, not even a dog on its walkies?

Since Johnson’s guilt was self-evident to both parties, the interviewer didn’t probe into the issue too deeply, which was good news for the candidate. After all, incitement to violence is a crime that potentially could land him in Wormwood Scrubs rather than 10 Downing Street.

But being by nature an inquisitive sort, I looked into the matter more closely. After all, we may be talking about our next PM.

It turns out that in his 2001 book Johnson expressed opposition to homomarriage. Not only that, but he actually suggested he saw no valid difference between marrying two men and a man with his dog.

Having myself written things along these lines many times, I’m ready to spring to Johnson’s defence.

The only marriage worthy of the name is between a man and a woman, which argument can be made from every conceivable angle: historical, religious, moral, social, cultural, demographic and so forth.

The counterargument is typically eudemonic: if two people of the same sex are naturally inclined that way, why shouldn’t they marry? Wouldn’t that increase the happiness of the world?

The response to this is that in a moral society not all natural inclinations are to be condoned, much less encouraged. For example, we still, for old times’ sake, refuse to exonerate a chap naturally inclined to violence or thieving.

And if our society is no longer moral, then what’s the difference between a man having sex with another man or, say, a sheep? On what grounds do we discriminate against one perversion in favour of another?

Some Welsh sheep I’ve seen are more attractive than Sir Elton John and, if rumours are to be believed, some shepherds are naturally inclined to succumb to those ovine charms. Consummation of such attraction doubtless makes them happy, so why not let them marry?

Isn’t this the same argument as one in favour of homomarriage? I think so, and so evidently does Mr Johnson.

You may disagree, although only false modesty prevents me from claiming that I could easily destroy any dissenting argument based on logic (a purely emotional one is of course indestructible). So could Mr Johnson.

But one way or the other, how can putting forth an argument be seen as incitement to violence, even if we happen to disagree? I dare say the ability to argue soundly and logically ought to be hailed as a great asset for any politician trying to make sense of our mad world.

However, precisely because Mr Johnson chooses to be rather conservative this month, an open season has started.

Since according to Descartes all knowledge is comparative, Johnson’s beastliness can be best illustrated by comparing him to some rather disagreeable political figure of the past. Such as Hitler.

Not to my mind, but to the giant one belonging to Mohammed Amin, the chairman of the Conservative Muslim Forum. Mr Amin has vowed to quit the Tories after 36 years as a member if this present-day answer to the führer gets to lead the party.

The parallel between Mr Johnson and Hitler isn’t so obvious as not to require a clarification. Mr Amin is happy to oblige. Yes, he admits grudgingly, Johnson is popular, but “popularity is not the test. A lot of Germans thought that Hitler was the right man for them.”

Now the first part of that statement is correct: popularity isn’t – or rather shouldn’t be – the test.

It’s the second part of the statement that makes me doubt the giant size of Mr Amin’s mind. True, Hitler was popular with the Germans, but that’s not all he’s known for. He also gassed Jews, which to my knowledge isn’t Mr Johnson’s plan (I’m not so sure about Corbyn’s Labour).

Anyway, if popularity isn’t the test, what is? Put another way, what is the test Mr Johnson fails so comprehensively as to rate comparison with a mass murderer?

Mr Amin explains: “The test is, is this person sufficiently moral to be prime minister, and I believe he fails that test.” That may be, but there’s much moral mileage between failing Mr Amin’s rigorous moral tests and being evil.

That Mr Johnson isn’t exactly a choirboy is well-known, but he isn’t a candidate for canonisation. He stands for Tory leadership, a job in which certain moral laxness doesn’t necessarily spell automatic disqualification.

Boris is known for a roving eye but, compared to some great statesmen of the past, he’s indeed a choirboy. The list is long of US presidents who ran an uninterrupted string of girls through the White House or of French kings and first ministers who did the same at Versailles. Nor has every inhabitant of 10 Downing Street kept the premises monastically pristine.

Many people who seek political office are highly sexed: lust for power is closely related psychologically and hormonally to other lusts. If we wanted to elect sexual teetotallers, we’d have to raid monasteries. Alas, they haven’t existed in Britain since Henry VIII did just that.

Actually, it’s not really Mr Johnson’s sexual shenanigans that most vex Mr Amin. “There are lots and lots of Muslims in the party,” he says, “who are very concerned about Boris Johnson.” 

I’m surprised there are “lots and lots of Muslims” in the Tory party tout court. I can’t help feeling they have to be either bad Tories or bad Muslims.

After all, British conservatism traditionally takes a dim view of such Muslim practices as the stoning of adulterers, although Mr Amin seems to think that may be a good idea in this case.

The problem is that Mr Johnson’s pronouncements on Islam highlight the divergence in the Tory and Muslim views of the world. For example, he favours a ban on the public wearing of the burqa, claiming that women thus clad resemble “letter boxes” or “bank robbers”.

The similes may or may not work, but show me a Tory who isn’t offended to see swarms of women sporting Halloween costumes in England, and I’ll show you, well, the chairman of the Conservative Muslim Forum.

It would be too much to expect a Muslim scorned to choose a less emotional comparison to put Mr Johnson down. A Muslim Tory (if they exist in anything other than name), for example, could say that Tony Blair was popular, but he was one of the most destructive prime ministers in British history.

But where’s the emotional charge in that? No, Boris Johnson has to be a latter-day Hitler, who attacks lesbians on buses and wants to gas all homosexuals and Muslims.

That much-vaunted British understatement, wherefore art thou?

Donald Trump is Ali G in disguise

You know how a man pretending to be someone else may betray himself with just one wrong word? That’s what happened to my friend President Trump.

President Trump on his state visit to Buckingham Palace

One ill-phrased tweet, and it dawned on me (even if it didn’t dawn on anyone else) that the comedian Sacha Baron Cohen based his Ali G character not on a black gangsta but on ‘me main man Donald’.

See if you can spot the tell-tale word in Donald’s message urbi et orbi:

“I meet and talk to ‘foreign governments’ every day. I just met with the Queen of England (U.K.), the Prince of Whales…”

The quotation commas bookending ‘foreign governments’ indicate those bodies are neither foreign nor really governments, but many people misuse that punctuation (although admittedly not many of those whose education cost a six-digit sum).

True, specifying Her Majesty’s title as “the Queen of England (U.K)” betokens a most lamentable ignorance, but that solecism still doesn’t reveal the true provenance of Ali G. So what does?

I’ll give you a clue: one of Ali G’s early sketches was about Wales. He started it by saying: “When you ear da word Wales, you probably fink of da fish with da biggest dick in da ocean. But it’s also da name of da country dat’s only 200 miles from Britain…”

Do you get it now? Trump’s reference to HRH as “the Prince of Whales” (sic) is a dead give-away: no one but Ali G thinks of marine creatures when speaking of Wales, HRH’s principality.

Having realised what’s what, I immediately phoned my friend Donald, telling him he had been found out. This is what he replied, dropping the mask he had had to wear for such a long time:

‘Boyakasha, Al! Is yous wicked? But wot is yous bangin on about? Me leader of Washington posse, me and ma bitch Melania goes to see da Queen, da prince and his bitch Camilla, innit?

‘Melania is well fit, me always wants to grab’er by da muff, but Camilla is well mingin, wouldn’t dig her to get jiggy wiv me biggy, you feelin me? But me didn’t want to dis’er, so I says wassup, Cam, wanna do some erbal remedies wiv me?

‘And dis geezer Whales says in dis batty boy accent “Actually, my wife has no pressing need for any medication. She is rather fit, as a matter of fact.” She ain’t fit me finks, but me doesn’t get da rest of it. To be polite me says aye, for real, finkin me main man prince he don’t understand me was talkin about a spliff of gundja, not medical stuff.

‘Den da main bitch asks me “How do you find London, Mr Trump?” And me says me finds it well wicked, a wicked place to chill. Eastside! (East Side is me turf, not West Side, me main man Sacha he got that wrong, innit?)

‘But da main bitch she says “I rather think London is unseasonably warm at the moment, but it can indeed be rather wicked at times.” She ain’t feelin me, me not feelin her, and me crew has to translate all da time. Main bitch may fink me a bit fick.

‘Me says word in da street be da Tory posse be fightin to elect da main man, innit? Me likes Boris, he do erbal remedies but quiet, not like dat geezer Gove. But da main bitch she say “Yes, it is rather tense at the moment.”

‘Me finks ain’t nuthin like gundja to take da tension off but me doesn’t say dat thinkin she don’t understand English.

‘Den we gets some posh grub and chill. Da wine cost a lot of mula, 2,000 squid, but me doesn’t drink, me likes erbal remedies, but dere was none dere. Dere was no bruvers neither, nuthin but a well posh posse, but me doesn’t mind, innit. Me has nuff bruvers on me turf in Washington.

‘Dat’s it, Al, stay cool and keep it real! Eastside!’

My friend Donald hung up, leaving me happy about the unmistakable sense of relief in his voice. A mask coming off must feel like a load off his mind, and God know he has plenty of other loads there.

Glad to have been of help. Boyakasha and keep it real, as my friend Donald likes to say.

Exactly what is American conservatism?

This question has been prompted by Gerard Baker’s article American Conservatives Are at Daggers Drawn in today’s Times.

“OMG, what have we done?” (Or words to that effect.)

Mr Baker himself neither answers this question nor indeed poses it, even though his cogent article makes it obvious that no clarity on the subject exists.

He merely describes the debate between old-school, which is to say anti-Trump, conservatives and the new breed, according to whom “Trump is not conservative at all: just a grotesque Neronian figure committed to his own self-aggrandisement through protectionism, tough immigration policies and isolationism.”

“Old-school conservatism,” explains Mr Baker, correctly, “which has dominated the right since the days of Ronald Reagan, was chiefly about promoting free markets and small government after the failed corporatism of the 1960s and 1970s.”

According to the new lot, however, specifically the New York Post op-ed editor, “This laissez-faire approach to society actually enabled ‘progressives’ to promote their illiberal version of liberalism… Despite the election of Republican presidents and congresses, social and legal norms have moved steadily leftwards, particularly on minority rights, and it will soon be illegal for devout Christians… to express their beliefs about sexuality or sin in public.”

One detects a terminological Babel here, so typical whenever political labels are bandied about. But Mr Baker is right: unless we sort this mess out, buried underneath will be conservatism on both sides of the Atlantic.

“Does the future of conservatism lie in continued faith in small government, and in peoples’ right to pursue their own interests free from undue state intervention? Or should conservatives man the political and cultural barricades, and fight the forces of progressivism to the bitter death?” he asks, this time less convincingly.

The two courses of action ought to be linked by ‘and’, not ‘or’. The trouble is that in America, and exceedingly in Britain, political conservatism is often defined in economic terms, converging with economic libertarianism, and leaving social and cultural conservatism to fend for itself.

Yet, though true conservatism may include aspects of libertarianism, it’s much deeper and broader than simply a preference for free markets over state corporatism.

Western conservatism is defined above all by commitment to preserve what’s left of Western civilisation, otherwise known as Christendom, of which politics is only one, perhaps least important, manifestation.

However, Christendom is impossible to preserve without Christianity acting as the dominant moral, social, cultural – and derivatively political – force.

This isn’t a theoretical postulate but merely a historical observation: ever since the secular desiderata of the Enlightenment began to rule the roost, our civilisation has been suffering a steady erosion. Traditional certitudes no longer apply, and neither does the traditional political taxonomy.

American Founders, being wiser and more moderate than their French Enlightenment brothers, tried to fashion a conservative society out of Christendom leftovers, a sort of Christendom without Christianity.

But ultimately that effort was doomed to failure: you can’t break eggs without breaking eggs. One egg broken immediately after the American Revolution was political – as opposed to cultural – conservatism.

Jefferson, Adams, Madison and Hamilton, the Revolution’s greatest minds, thought they were creating a republican version of British constitutional monarchy. For the king, read the president; for the House of Lords, read the Senate; for the Commons, read the House of Representatives.

Yet a solid structure can’t be built on a rickety and termite-eaten foundation. A secular revolutionary republic inspired by Enlightenment egalitarianism and lacking indigenous political tradition going back many centuries was bound to become an egalitarian democracy, which precludes political conservatism by definition.

Messrs Jefferson, Adams, Madison and Hamilton had miscalculated – and they lived long enough to realise that to their horror. Granted, the commonwealth they created has proved viable and successful on its own terms – as long as we accept that political conservatism isn’t one of those terms.

The politics of Christendom mirrored the structure of the Church and its key organisational aspect: subsidiarity, devolving power to the lowest sensible level. Central power attenuated as it radiated towards the periphery: the most absolute of monarchs had more power over their loftiest courtiers than over their lowliest peasants.

If we take Louis XIV as the personification of absolute monarchy, he couldn’t even dream of the powers vested in modern presidents and prime ministers.

It would never have occurred to the Sun King that he could conscript the whole population into his army, extort at least half of people’s earnings in taxes, impose the same obligatory education on all children and punish the parents who demur, dictate what the people should eat, where they should live, how they should be treated – and so on, ad infinitum.

Enlightenment, as opposed to traditional, politics ineluctably lead to centralism ousting localism – which is to say political modernism ousting political conservatism. The American Civil War did a good job of convincing those who had failed to grasp that point.

Since traditional politics can’t exist without a traditional social structure, and since both had fallen by the wayside, cultural conservatism was the only one left available to Americans. Yet when different parts of the whole go their separate ways, the whole can’t survive.

Fast-tracking a century or so forward, we see the mess Mr Baker describes. Post-war American conservatism was mainly an economic reaction to New Deal corporatism. Since then the whole debate has been reduced to big vs. small state and free vs. controlled markets.

Those who laudably supported small vs big and free vs unfree were desperately clinging on to the flotsam of a great imploded ship: Christendom. But those were only small fragments, which most people failed to realise.

A great comprehensive view of the world that included economics and politics but was infinitely greater than them was extinct. The vacuum thus formed was filled by another comprehensive view of the world, one that descended from the Enlightenment on a straight dynastic line: egalitarian socialism (whatever it’s called) in its economic, cultural, moral and political manifestations.

This view of the world springs above all from the destructive desire to drive the last nails into the coffin of Christendom. As such, it doesn’t lack cohesion and consistency – exactly the qualities that so-called American conservatism can’t possibly have.

That’s why it can counter-attack only on a small section of the front, not across the whole frontline. This section is the economy, a fact that by itself testifies to an argument lost.

Those who attempt to engage the left on other issues, such as abortion, euthanasia or legalisation of drugs, are ultimately outshouted by the well-coordinated chorus of anti-Christendom invective.

Arguing ab oeconomia is tantamount to accepting the socialist terms of debate. But socialist views on economics dovetail with the broad picture of the world painted by any mind formed by the Enlightenment.

On the other hand, the so-called conservative, in fact libertarian, take on economics is but one piece of a jigsaw, from which it’s impossible to reconstruct the whole design.

Such is the real nature of the debate described by Mr Baker, one between old-school and new-school conservatism. Students of the new school are correct in their observation that commitment to laissez-faire economics by itself (my emphasis) can’t stem the tide of socialist subversion of cultural, social and ethical mores.

Students of the old school are also right in pointing out that the big, omnipotent state is harmful to the economy and detrimental to liberty.

Yet neither of them realise that this is a ‘both… and’ argument, not ‘either… or’. The very existence of those two schools testifies to the demise of conservatism, as defined in the only logical way as the preservation of Western tradition.

One can preserve only what is still extant – not Western conservatism. Its obituaries are written every day and with equal relish by libertarians, socialists, statists, neoconservatives, free marketers, corporatists, progressives. It’s just that some of them may not realise that’s what they are writing.  

‘Petty’ is French

Sometimes one loses sight of etymology, which is a shame. Tracing borrowed words back to their origin is a good way of gaining an insight into the mentality of both the lender and the borrower.

The departure lounge at Folkestone is empty – all the drivers are outside, queuing up

‘Petty’ is one such borrowing. It comes from the French petit which in its native habitat simply means a non-judgemental ‘small’.

That’s what it initially meant in English too, when it came into the language in the fourteenth century. Throwbacks to that obsolete usage still survive in words like ‘petty cash’ or ‘petty officer’.

It took the English two centuries to attach a derogatory meaning to ‘petty’, and in its current sense of ‘small-minded’ it no longer sounds like a naturalised French word. That’s why the linguist in me is grateful to the French customs officials for issuing a useful reminder of the word’s Gallic provenance.

I come in contact with those people several times a year, when taking the Channel Tunnel either at Folkestone or, on the way back, at Calais. This I’ve been doing for a quarter-century, which is long enough to develop certain expectations.

For example, it has usually taken no more than five minutes (a bit longer at peak times) to clear passport control on either side of the English Channel, which the French vindictively call La Manche.

Once every 20 crossings or so I’m asked to pop the boot open for the douaniers to make sure no illegal aliens full of heroin and armed to the teeth are hiding there. That adds another five minutes to the procedure, which barely qualifies as even a minor irritant.

Yet arriving at the Folkestone terminal the other day, we found a serpentine queue of cars at least half a mile long, and a helpful sign informing the drivers that clearing passport control would take at least 30 minutes.

As it turned out, that was an optimistic assessment. In the end it took us an hour and a quarter, which meant we missed our crossing and several after that.

“What’s going on?” I asked the ruddy lass in the English booth one passes on the way to the French one.

“Well, there are no problems on the English side,” she said. The stress on the adjective was so pronounced that my next question was redundant. But I asked it anyway: “You reckon it’s revenge?” She nodded ruefully.

That takes us back to the etymology of petty. It’s as if the French are reclaiming the word, but this time in its derogatory English meaning. How much pettier can you get?

Those douaniers manning passport-control booths aren’t acting on their own initiative. Their superiors must have issued stern instructions that life must be made hard for les sales Anglo-Saxons who dared to defy the EU.

And I don’t mean their immediate superiors either. This pettiness reflects policy passed down from the ministerial level at least, if not from Manny Macron himself.

That is a hostile act, one of many to follow, as I hope you don’t doubt. And the only way to preempt such acts is to counter with some of our own.

My imagination isn’t vindictive enough to think what they might be, but possibilities abound. Our customs officers could, for example, search every French car and its passengers thoroughly enough for them to miss that day’s crossings altogether, which would exert upward pressure on the petty ministers.

Or else… well, I’d rather not think along those lines: I’m not French. Nor would I like to draw far-reaching generalisations about the French character – I have many French friends, and none of them is petty.

But some near-reaching generalisations are irresistible. When finally reaching the French passport control at Folkestone, I already opened my mouth to offer some, but Penelope wisely made me shut it.

If she hadn’t, we’d still be there.

1789 and all that: what the Russians can teach us

I have long argued that Russia is in many ways a mirror image of the West. Because the mirror is both concave and convex, it distorts the picture, but not beyond recognition.

Russians liberals find themselves on the wrong side of the barricades

That can serve as a useful lesson for us, if only by making our salient traits exaggerated and therefore more visible.

One such trait is an almost complete absence of true conservatism as a viable social dynamic and intellectual force.

In Russia the word is associated with everything Putin does or at least preaches: the worst features of the Russian Empire fused with what he sees as the best features of Stalinism.

In Britain it’s associated with the Conservative party, which has as much to do with conservatism as the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea has to do with the people, democracy or republicanism.

Hence decent Russians who see the Putin kleptofascist regime for what it is oppose all its policies and pronouncements as a matter of course. There they run headlong into the same problem as the one we face in Britain.

We see what we hate about our weak, unprincipled, vacillating, manifestly unconservative government as clearly as those Russians see what they hate about Putin’s junta. But what is it that we love?

Suddenly a fog descends and clarity disappears. We want to change things – so do those Russian opponents of Putin. That much is obvious. But to change them for what?

No one can answer this question sensibly without first laying a coherent philosophical foundation on which to build a complex intellectual structure. In Britain, we have precious few people capable of doing so. In Russia, they don’t exist at all.

At least in Britain we have something to fall back on, what with the seminal contribution the country’s thinkers have made to political science over centuries. The Russians have no such tradition: their thinkers have always tended to busy themselves with metaphysics above everything else.

That goes a long way towards explaining Russia’s awful political history. But we shouldn’t feel too smug either: our own tradition of political thought has been debauched and marginalised.

But the Russian opponents of Putin don’t realise this. Trying to mimic Western politics, they tropistically reach out for ‘liberalism’, the only trend they see as being opposite to Putinism.

Since they know little about Western conservatism and understand even less, they assume it’s sort of like Putinism, mutatis mutandis. Hence, proceeding apathetically from the negative, they use as their sources of political wisdom Western ‘liberal’ publications, such as The Guardian, Le Monde or The New York Times.

In Britain, one would think that, drawing on the legacy of Burke, Canning, Coleridge, Eliot, Chesterton et al, conservatives would be able to win any debate against their mock-liberal opponents. That, however, isn’t the case.

Political conservatism can only thrive in a fertile traditional – which is to say Judaeo-Christian – soil. When that soil was strewn with the coarse salt of atheism, it became barren.

Conservatives were no longer sure what it was they wished to conserve. ‘Liberals’, on the other hand, were dead certain about what it was they wished to destroy: every offshoot of Christendom, including its political legacy.

This being a short article rather than a long book, I’ll have to skip some intermediate steps describing the road to our political perdition. Suffice it to say that, as a direct result of the emasculation of conservatism, Britain is likely to get a Marxist government, which is a logical development of post-Enlightenment ‘liberalism’.

The Russians understand none of this.

Putin runs the Russian Orthodox Church in the best traditions of the KGB – the ‘liberals’, who constitute the only visible opposition, have to be militant atheists almost to a man.

Putin proclaims his commitment to ‘traditional values’ as camouflage for running the greatest organised crime gang in history – the ‘liberals’ turn to The Guardian and everything it represents.

Putin’s thugs beat up homosexuals in the streets – the ‘liberals’ support homomarriage with abandon. And so forth: if tomorrow Putin were to say that the sky tends to be blue, the ‘liberals’ will insist it’s polka-dot.

These thoughts crossed my mind yesterday, when the on-line magazines of the Russian opposition were full of obituaries for the liberal blogger Evgeniy (Zhenia for short) Ikhlov, who died a writer’s death, having suffered a heart attack at his computer.

I’ll translate a portion of one of the obits, while assuring you that they all say roughly the same things:

“Zhenia and I both belonged to the same camp… The camp of those who defend the values of the Enlightenment, rationalism, humanism, progress, liberty and human rights…

“Zhenia believed in them. He believed in liberty. He believed in human rights… In the rights of man and citizen – in the very sense of 1789…Just like me, Zhenia belonged to the liberté, egalité, fraternité camp.”

Allow me to paraphrase in a language closer to the real meaning of this excerpt.

Both the deceased and his obituarist belong to the ‘camp’ of those who destroyed our civilisation, turned France into a bloodbath, proceeded to murder further untold millions around the world in the name of the very slogans produced in that fateful year, have prostituted our culture in the name of egalitarianism, replaced ratio with rationalism – the very same ‘camp’ from which the only possible foray will lead its followers to socialism, eventually its extreme forms.

The Russians don’t realise this, but they have a good excuse: they have no serious tradition of political thought. We have no such excuse – and yet our ‘liberalism’ is about to culminate in the victory of what for all intents and purposes will be a communist government.

We were supposed to teach the Russians how to think about politics. Instead, because we’ve forgotten everything we used to know, they’re teaching us how not to do so.

Vlad is NFI and fuming

If you aren’t familiar with this popular acronym, the outside letters stand for ‘not invited’, and I’ll let you guess what the middle letter stands for.

Brothers in arms – and in ideology

The invitation that never came was for the celebration of the 75th anniversary of D-Day yesterday. Predictably, Vlad whinged about the West underplaying the Soviet sacrifices and, according to The Times, “he may be right”.

This is ridiculous in so many respects that I’ve run out of my fingers and toes trying to count them. It’s true that the Soviet losses of at least 24 million outnumbered those of Britain – 450,000 according to The Times, 650,000 according to most history books I’ve read.

That’s a fact, and no educated Westerner I’ve ever met “diminishes the huge Soviet role in defeating the Nazis”, a Kremlin claim that the paper tacitly accepts.

Yet neither should we diminish ‘the huge Soviet role’ in arming the Nazis, providing them with the necessary strategic materials and acting as their faithful allies from 1 September, 1939, to 22 June, 1941.

The Russophones among you would be well-advised to scan the book Fashistkiy mech kovalsia v Rossii (The Fascist Sword Was Forged in Russia) a compendium of documents gathered by the Russian historians Diakov and Bushyeva.

The documents show how the two rogue regimes, defeated Germany and Bolshevik Russia, formed an alliance in 1922 aimed at turning Germany into what Lenin called “the icebreaker of the revolution”.

Germany rebuilt her armed forces on Russian territory, and many of the great German commanders of the Second World War, such as Guderian and Manstein, trained there together with Soviet officers.

Stalin’s plan was to turn a revanchist Germany against the West, wait until the warring parties exhausted themselves and then launch the Soviet juggernaut across Europe.

As Walter Krivitsky and other high-ranking Soviet defectors testified, things seamlessly segued from the Weimar Republic to the Third Reich. The notorious Soviet-Nazi pact of August, 1939, wasn’t the beginning of that process but its culmination, a fact completely missed by Western intelligence services.

Just a few days ago the Russians finally published the facsimile of the secret protocol to the Pact, according to which the two allies agreed to carve Europe between them, dividing it into spheres of influence.

Nazi Germany would have been in no position to attack the West without massive supplies of Soviet grain (1.5 million tonnes), oil (865,000 tonnes), strategic metals, such as nickel and tungsten, raw rubber and so on.

Thus reassured, the Nazis attacked Poland from the west and, a fortnight later, their Soviet allies attacked her from the east. So I agree with The Times: we shouldn’t downplay ‘the huge Soviet role’ – in starting the war.

Having crushed Poland, the two jaws of the same vice met at Brest-Litovsk and held a joint victory parade, with Gen. Guderian and his Soviet ally Brig. Krivoshein in command (see the photo opposite).

During the Battle of Britain, the Nazis quickly ran out of bombs, which were then supplied by the Soviets. Let’s not forget that it was Soviet bombs that rained on London from German planes.

It wasn’t just the bombs. The Soviets also provided their Nazi allies with intelligence and meteorological reports, making the bombing raids more effective.

British shipping in the North Sea was attacked, with murderous effect, by the Nazi U-boats and raiders supplied by Basis Nord (Base North) just west of Murmansk. The base was rendered redundant in April, 1940, when the Germans invaded Norway. But without that Soviet base, the invasion would have been much costlier.

On direct orders from Stalin, communist parties throughout occupied Europe welcomed the Nazi invaders and helped them root out the early resistance. The situation changed only when the Nazis finally realised what Stalin’s plans were and hit the Soviets with a knockdown preemptive strike.

By varying accounts they beat the Soviets to the punch by no more than a fortnight, possibly by just a couple of days. And then a highly predictable miracle happened: after all the mass murders, concentration camps and deadly famines, the Soviet people didn’t want to fight for Stalin.

The Soviets enjoyed an overwhelming superiority in tanks, artillery, planes and personnel. Yet it’s neither numbers nor machines that fight wars – people do. The Soviets didn’t want to fight for Stalin, but the Germans were screaming Heil Hitler!!! with deep conviction.

The German army not only enjoyed a higher morale – it was also infinitely better trained and led. The Soviets only began to approach, without ever achieving, similar standards towards the end of the war, but at the beginning of it a perfectly organised professional army was fighting an armed mob that didn’t want to fight.

Such was the nature of the Soviet wartime suffering that has been elevated to the status of religion in Russia. In those first months of the war the Nazis took 4.5 million POWs, many of whom hadn’t put up any resistance. At least as many were killed or wounded.

Stalin only managed to reverse the course of the war by extreme violence. Soviet soldiers who staggered out of encirclement were treated as deserters and traitors; those who dared retreat, ditto.

All in all Soviet military tribunals passed 157,000 death sentences, with easily twice as many executed without even that travesty of justice, or else machine-gunned in the back by the NKVD ‘blocking units’.

(At the same time, the troops were told that their families back home were hostages to their performance. The family of any inadequate soldier would be deprived of its ration cards – starved to death in other words.)

That means the Soviets probably killed more of their own soldiers than Britain lost altogether, which is nothing to be proud of or celebrate. Many of their other casualties were also self-inflicted.

Soviet generals had scant regard for soldiers’ lives, driving them on suicidal attacks, often for no good military reason. Dwight Eisenhower remembered how he was appalled when talking to the Soviet butcher-in-chief Marshal Zhukov.

Eisenhower complained that the Allied thrust through western Germany had been slowed down by the profusion of minefields. Zhukov couldn’t see what the problem was. “When I run into a minefield,” he explained, “I simply clear it by marching some penalty battalions across.”

Stalin would routinely order that such and such city must be captured by such and such date, usually some communist anniversary. When his generals meekly suggested that waiting a few days would save 100,000 lives, their objections were waved aside.

The Times readily repeats Sir Max Hastings’s fallacy that “between 1941 and 1944, the western Allies, with a considerable degree of cynicism, left the Russians to fight the Germans on their own.”

I would have been tempted to add that, with even a greater degree of cynicism, between 1939 and 1941, the Soviets not only left the Western Allies to fight the Germans on their own, but actually aided and abetted the Nazis.

But even factually his assertion is wrong. The Allies were fighting in Africa throughout the war, drawing huge German resources. Sir Max ought to remind himself how Rommel, one of the German top commanders, earned the nickname of Desert Fox.

Nor was it just in Africa. On 3 September, 1943, the Allies landed in Italy and began a massive northward offensive. Has Sir Max heard of Monte Cassino?

It was then, not in June, 1944, that the second front was opened in Europe. Sir Max (and The Times) simply repeat a Soviet lie, which has a pernicious background to it.

Churchill intended for the Allied force in Italy to push all the way up, cutting southern Europe from Stalin’s reach. Hence the Italian landing didn’t count, as far as Stalin was concerned. It had to be Normandy, leaving eastern and southern Europe to Stalin’s tender mercies.

And this is the main point: the Allied landings in Italy and France led to the liberation of western Europe. In the inimitable Soviet dialectic, Stalin’s ‘liberation’ of eastern Europe was in fact replacing brown with red slavery.

So yes, the victory over the Nazis is something to celebrate. But the Soviet victory isn’t, at least not to the same extent.

Internally, Putin and his little Goebbelses have already sacralised the butchery of millions that the Soviets helped to initiate and then made much worse than it had to be. It’s a good job that the erstwhile Allies resisted letting them do the same externally.

D-Day was the West’s operation. And it’s the West’s to celebrate.

It’s not Brexit that can turn Britain into a pariah

People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw epithets like ‘fascist scum’ around.

Labour’s answer to Bolshevik and Nazi rallies

Yet members of our future government ignore this simple wisdom with blithe consistency. This shows unwavering loyalty to the Bolshevik heritage of today’s Labour.

Here’s a list of epithets used in just three issues of the Pravda (some may not sound pejorative, but were contextually used in that spirit) when Lenin was still alive, and most of them came from Lenin’s published works:

Fascist, social-fascist, reactionary, magnate, enemy agent, spy, destroyer, pickpocket, hypocrite, cynic, thief, millionaire, Jesuit, demagogue, cretin, throw-out, dollar diplomat, imperialist, crook, imbecile, rascal, rogue, charlatan, corruptible, adventurer, sell-out, trash, cheat, mercenary, ambush, liberal, provocateur, sadist, parasite, reptile, Trotskyite, fleecer, scum, horror, dog, Janus, saboteur, coward, dolt, microbe, ass, bandit, schismatist, lord, speculator, Yankee, Fritz, gangster, degenerate, scamp, ignoramus, oppressor, torturer, blackguard, inquisitor, idiot, traitor, executioner, riff-raff, assassin, cosmopolitan, slimy rat, salacious viper.

This is the level of intellectual debate on which Corbyn and his jolly friends operate, whenever their opponent isn’t an admirer of socialist hell. Donald Trump is one such, and the hysteria whipped up by Labour functionaries during his state visit is revoltingly emetic.

The aforementioned ‘fascist scum’ was flung at Trump by London’s mayor Sadiq Khan. I’m sure if probed he won’t be able to define ‘fascist’ tightly, much less show how Trump fits whatever definition he’d concoct.

But that’s not the point, is it? This lot are as full of hatred as they are lacking in brainpower. It’s pointless looking for some sense in anything they say – venom is all there is.

Thus Emily Thornberry, our future foreign secretary and head of British diplomacy, described Trump as “a racist and a sexual predator”. The latter he might be (most driven men are), but the former?

Let me think. What could have possibly earned Trump that soubriquet? Two things spring to mind: his support for Israel and his attempts to put an end to illegal immigration from Mexico.

Now, if choosing the only civilised, Western state in the Middle East over crazed fanatics who blow up public transport, fly airliners into tall buildings and openly proclaim their desire to kill all Jews (starting with all Israelis) is racism, then that word is fully synonymous with human decency.

Of course doctrinal Muslim anti-Semitism rings a mellifluous chord in the hearts of today’s Labour – in this too they are faithful to their Marxist legacy.

As to illegal immigration, if we realise that the operative word there isn’t the noun but its modifier, then this brand of racism is fully synonymous with upholding the rule of law. So call me a racist on both counts, and a proud one to boot.

Corbyn, his former paramour (and our future home secretary) Diane Abbott, our future chancellor John McDonnell and John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons, boycotted Her Majesty’s state banquet in honour of President Trump – throwing the Queen’s invitation back into her face.

People used to dance the Tyburn jig for lesser acts of lèse majesté, and something in me feels nostalgic for those good old times.

Now Corbyn and his henchmen have happily broken bread with Putin, Maduro, Xi and other murderous dictators. And of course Corbyn counts among his friends the leading lights of such terrorist gangs as Hamas, Hezbollah and our own dear IRA.

The lines are thus clearly drawn: Britain’s enemies are Corbyn’s friends and vice versa. And if you think for a second that such feelings won’t be transformed into policies should this lot ascend to power, think again.

Say what you will about Trump (as I do every now and then), but he’s easily one of the most effective US presidents in my lifetime. More important in this context is that he’s one of the best and most sincere friends Britain has had on the other side of the Atlantic for a long time.

By contrast, Barack Obama, one of the most useless US presidents in my lifetime who didn’t even bother to conceal how much he detested Britain, was welcomed with open arms by Labour then, as he certainly would be today. And should FDR, another Britain-hater, do a Lazarus, I doubt he’d be snubbed by Corbyn et al.

On this anniversary of D-Day it’s useful to remember that America is Britain’s ally, massive trade partner and, as the lynchpin of NATO, a significant factor in our country’s security (this, though the much-vaunted special relationship is at times too one-sided and insufficiently special).

It doesn’t take a crystal ball to predict that none of these will be the case should the top four posts in the British cabinet be occupied by Corbyn, McDonnell, Thornberry and Abbott.

The multi-trillion trade deal Trump mentioned during his visit would never happen if he is re-elected, which, considering the available options, I sincerely hope he is. Yet even any other resident of the White House would be unlikely to enter into that level of commitment with a government openly hostile to America and dedicated to wholesale confiscation of assets and capital.

That would be catastrophic, especially if Britain managed to limp to some sort of Brexit, with or without a ‘deal’. America’s trade and her friendship are vital now; in a year or two they’ll be a matter of life or death.

Neither Trump nor his country lets insults slide. Both suffer from some touches of provincial insecurity characteristically manifested through pursuing global power. Hence they won’t forget this state visit – and nor will America’s allies and partners who value her friendship more highly than ours.

Brexit won’t make us isolated in the world, but a Corbyn government will. Turning history’s greatest trading power into a pariah sounds impossible, but, as Lenin put it, “there are no fortresses Bolsheviks can’t storm”. I’m sure this is Corbyn’s nightly mantra, in lieu of prayer.

Now Trump really is working class

Our likely next chancellor John McDonnell describes himself as working class because he doesn’t “own any means of production”.

Paul Fussell would have had a field day

I had some fun at his expense yesterday, pointing out that according to that Marxist orthodoxy, the Queen is working class too: I don’t think she owns any factories, plants or forges.

It takes a Trotskyist zealot like McDonnell to persist in applying to modern societies criteria that were already obsolete when Marx first thought of them, in the early days of the Industrial Revolution.

But that doesn’t mean class distinctions don’t exist, even if class barriers are now few. A cleverer Marxist than McDonnell (any Marxist can be clever only comparatively) would probably come up with his own social taxonomy, most likely based on wealth.

Yet, as Paul Fussell so brilliantly showed in his 1992 book Class, money plays only a tangential role in social identification. He wrote about specifically the American status system, but many of his observations apply in Britain as well.

The principal one among them is that visible class is defined more by the person’s tastes, demeanour, vocabulary, clothes and general culture than by his wealth. It’s not the amount of money but how it’s spent that matters.

Fussell wrote before Donald Trump graced the international scene, but, had he waited some 25 years, he could have used America’s 45th president as an illustration.

Trump is a multi-billionaire if you believe him or at least a multi-millionaire if you believe his detractors. Yet in every tell-tale characteristic of class he is what Fussell called a ‘prole’. Trump talks like one, walks like one, dresses like one, eats and drinks like one – he is one.

His tweets are full of both grammatical and lexical solecisms, and they betray a crass personality – this, irrespective of whether he’s right or wrong (it’s more usually the former).

Trump wears red baseball caps with dark lounge suits, and his caps display legible slogans, usually Make America Great Again. One wonders if his car features furry dice dangling off the rear-view mirror, deer antlers on the roof and a bumper sticker saying Honk if You Love Jesus.

Trump’s ties are a foot longer than normal, which is a dead giveaway of the lower social orders, while his casual clothes were designed for a man half a century younger.

All this becomes especially painful when he comes in contact with British royalty. The other day the president was photographed wearing white tie next to a similarly attired Prince Charles.

Although HRH is also working class by McDonnell’s criteria, his clothes always look as though he first visited Savile Row shortly after learning to walk. His tailcoat was impeccable, as all his suits always are.

By contrast, the front of Trump’s tailcoat was a good foot shorter than it should have been, and the suit looked as though it had been hired at Moss Bros. He also needed something at least two sizes larger. Trump too fits McDonnell’s criteria of working class, but unlike HRH he actually wears it on his sleeve, as it were.

The same goes for food. When Her Majesty treated the president to dinner, the menu was a steamed fillet of halibut with watercress mousse, asparagus spears in chervil sauce, followed by Windsor lamb with herb stuffing, spring vegetables and a port sauce. One of the wines was a 1990 Chateau Lafite, costing, depending on where you shop, between £1,400 and £2,000 a bottle.

Trump’s dinner for Her Majesty at the US ambassador’s residence was rather different: beef, potatoes and vanilla ice cream, washed down with a £30 bottle of California red.

However, Trump is teetotal, which means he sampled neither the Napa Valley product nor the Lafite.

I don’t know why he is teetotal. It could be because he’s a recovering alcoholic scared of falling off the wagon. He may also be under doctor’s orders, although I’ve never met a heartless medic who’d ban a glass of Lafite. He may be afraid to reveal some dark secret under the influence. Or else he’s a control freak who hates to lose even a modicum of self-restraint.

I’ve seen all such types, miserable individuals who sip soft drinks throughout dinner. Yet that by itself isn’t a class indicator. But the kind of soft drink they sip is.

The old principle of the drier the drink, the higher the class applies to non-alcoholic beverages as well. A teetotaller of taste drinks mineral water with or without a wedge of lime. Orange juice is also possible, just.

But Trump drinks Diet Coke, which is revolting prole muck even outside the elevated context of dinner with royalty. In that context it’s barbaric.

US presidents routinely employ professional style consultants. But even a rank amateur of some taste could correct all those class aberrations in a lazy afternoon. The illiterate tweets would take longer to fix, but even that problem isn’t insurmountable.

But – and here we strike outside the narrow confines of class tastes – Trump clearly doesn’t feel the need. On the contrary, he knows that projecting the image of a man of the people is a known vote-getter in America.

And unfortunately not only in America. Democratic politics throughout the West have been reduced to rabble-rousing, and today’s rabble are roused more readily by someone they perceive as one of their own.

In Trump’s case his vulgarity is genuine: he displayed it even when he was merely a property developer on the make. But even many politicians who know better still feel obliged to compete in the Prolier Than Thou stakes. They know what they are up against.

It’s commonplace now for TV interviewers to ask an aspiring candidate for political office if he knows the price of a pint of milk or has ever changed a nappy. Someone whose response shows him for the toff he is loses votes, perhaps even the whole election.

Yet I can’t think offhand of many great statesmen of the past who could have passed such a test, not in Britain at any rate. Wellington? Pitt? Churchill? Be serious.

This modern tendency activates mechanisms of Darwinian natural selection in the political class, first bringing to the fore individuals who feel they have to pretend to be vulgarians and then those who don’t need to pretend.

Le style, c’est l’homme même, wrote Buffon. Vulgar style is often a result or precursor of vulgar thoughts, vulgar feelings – and eventually vulgar actions.

Still, by modern criteria, Trump is as good a president as a country can get, which says less about him than about our times.

P.S. Now we are on the subject of good taste, you can prove yours by attending Penelope Blackie’s recital tomorrow. Even though she’s married to me, she is a sublime pianist of the kind of noble sensibility that is almost extinct among today’s pianists. For details: penelopeblackie.com

Old McDonnell has a dream

Actually, a nightmare is more like it. For John McDonnell, our likely next chancellor, dreams of overthrowing capitalism.

The rock and the hard place. with Britain caught in between

Thus his entry in Who’s Who openly states that his life’s work is “fermenting the overthrow of capitalism.” He probably means ‘fomenting’, but it’s the thought that counts.

McDonnell’s worthy goal has earned him a sympathetic, nay fawning, profile by Rachel Sylvester in The Sunday Times, formerly known as a conservative paper and now filled to the gunwales with leftist slow learners.

He emerges as the powerful brain behind Corbyn, a man driven by pursuing noble, quasi-religious ends made so much more laudable for being daring.

Thus Miss Sylvester passes without comment McDonnell’s story of his spiritual progress from Christ to Marx. “John McDonnell has always been a believer,” she explains, first in Christ, then in Marx, which is sort of the same thing.

McDonnell was raised as a Catholic, but at age 16 “I just came to the conclusion that I didn’t believe there was a deity.” Other than Marx, that is.

To his credit, McDonnell is generous with his theological insights: “The New Testament is about transforming society, tackling poverty, all those things that are embedded in socialism… I always looked on Jesus as a socialist.”

I always looked on Jesus as Our Lord, but then I can’t remember off-hand a single line in the Gospels pointing at his ambition to run a poverty programme. I do remember his saying “The poor you will always have with you”, but perhaps I haven’t studied the Scripture as closely as McDonnell did in his childhood.

There’s this slight problem that, wherever socialism was tried in earnest, it failed miserably. How would McDonnell explain that?

Simple. “Of the failures of the Soviet Union, Cuba and Venezuela… It was never socialism.” No, of course not. Had it been socialism, it would have succeeded – that’s axiomatic.

Then there’s another small matter of the millions murdered by Marxists around the world. Hold on, I get it: those hundreds of millions of murders had nothing to do with Marxism.

“You wouldn’t read the New Testament and blame Jesus Christ for the Spanish Inquisition”, explains McDonnell. He’s right for once, we wouldn’t.

First, a minor point of historical arithmetic. The Holy Inquisition never sentenced anyone to death. When it found a defendant guilty, it passed his case on to the secular authorities, with a specific recommendation not to put him to death.

The secular authorities didn’t always comply: in the roughly 400 years that the Inquisition was in business, about 10,000 people were executed. Compared to the 60 million murdered by Soviet Marxists alone in just 50 years, this number is trivial (if any death can be so described).

Second, a more important point. There’s no doubt that Christians have committed many crimes, including murders, throughout history. Such, alas, is the human propensity that always remains constant.

However, it takes monumental ignorance or else evil chicanery to trace such crimes back to anything Jesus and his disciples taught. Love one another as I have loved you – this message permeates the whole New Testament.

Christian criminals thus act against their Scripture. On the other hand, Marxist criminals uphold both the spirit and the letter of their founding documents.

They have brought to fruition Marxist dictates on concentration camps (Engels called them “special guarded places”), slavery (Marx: “Slavery is… an economic category of paramount importance”), mass murder (Marx: “the victorious party must maintain its rule by means of the terror which its arms inspire in the reactionaries”), anti-Semitism (Marx: “…the Polish Jews… this dirtiest of all races,” “Thus we find every tyrant backed by a Jew”) and genocide.

Here are a few other choice quotes from McDonnell’s idols:

“All the other [non-Marxist] large and small nationalities and peoples are destined to perish before long in the revolutionary holocaust. For that reason they are now counter-revolutionary… these residual fragments of peoples always become fanatical standard-bearers of counter-revolution and remain so until their complete extirpation or loss of their national character… [A general war will] wipe out all this racial trash.”

 “…only by the most determined use of terror against these Slav peoples can we, jointly with the Poles and Magyars, safeguard the revolution… there will be a struggle, an ‘inexorable life-and-death struggle’, against those Slavs who betray the revolution; an annihilating fight and ruthless terror – not in the interests of Germany, but in the interests of the revolution!”

“We have no compassion and we ask no compassion from you. When our turn comes, we shall not make excuses for the terror.”

A far cry from “love thy enemy”, isn’t it?

McDonnell’s economic ideas come straight from Marx, no deviations from the general line for him: “Eventually you will get to a situation where goods will be held in common, so workers will own their own companies.”

Quite. But at present the companies are owned by others, either private individuals or shareholders. For the workers to gain ownership, the current owners would have to be dispossessed, meaning robbed. And, if they resist, killed.

He also plans a land grab, forcing owners to sell at the prices set by McDonnell or else using extortionate property taxes as a kick up the owners’ backsides.

Anticipating this development, many ‘capitalists’ are already fleeing Britain at an accelerating pace. When their worst fears of a Marxist government become a reality, they’ll leave in droves, taking their capital, and therefore jobs, with them.

Nor will investors, foreign or domestic, be encouraged to risk their capital in a country committed to confiscating it.

All that will instantly shrink the taxation base, scuppering McDonnell’s grandiose plans for spending an extra £48 billion on public services and £250 billion on infrastructure development, to be financed by taxation and (suicidally inflationary) borrowing.

The question arises, as it always does with a government committed to robbing the populace, making private property insecure and forcing people into economic slavery: what if the people resist?

The most cursory of glances at every Marxist government in history provides the answer, which has to include concentration camps as an essential component. This inhuman, satanic doctrine of hate and envy can only ever be enforced by violence – to this rule there are no known exceptions.

That McDonnell is evil ought to be clear to anybody. But this “brain behind the Labour party” is also obtusely ignorant and not conspicuously bright.

Just look at his explanation of why he’s working class: “Do I own or control the means of production? No, I don’t. So I’m working class.”

My financial advisor doesn’t own any means of production either. Neither does my doctor. Neither does any banker. Neither does the Queen. Are they all working class then?

McDonnell’s underdeveloped mind is firmly lodged in Marx’s fallacies produced in the early days of the Industrial Revolution, and widely seen as obsolete even then. The poor chap doesn’t realise, or else pigheadedly refuses to accept, that in our post-Industrial age his economic ideas aren’t just obsolete, but simply cretinous.

Miss Sylvester graciously acknowledges that McDonnell’s dreams aren’t without a potential for risks. I disagree.

A risk describes a situation whose outcome is uncertain. McDonnell’s ideas, even if only attempted and not fully realised, are guaranteed to produce an instant, universal and possibly irreversible catastrophe.

In short, when this evil, illiterate doctrinaire takes over the Exchequer, head for the hills. May I suggest the French Alps?

Ann Widdecombe’s crime

Brexit Party MEP and former Westminster MP Ann Widdecombe is in trouble. Or rather we are.

Ann Widdecombe, sinner against modern cults

For we all live at a worrying time when a perfectly innocuous remark can be tantamount to a crime if it goes against the grain of a modern cult.

Actually, because her views tend to be informed by her Catholic faith, Miss Widdecombe treads on thin ice even before she says anything our pious secularists see as controversial. And if she ever utters anything consistent with her beliefs, the ice cracks under her feet.

Since she’s a forthright woman, tricking her into saying something seen as objectionable by The Guardian and PinkNews is easy. Our TV interviewers can set verbal traps with the skill of a KGB interrogator.

Armed with a full armoury of such techniques, save for rubber truncheons and strategically placed electrodes, Sky News presenter Niall Paterson was questioning Miss Widdecombe about the policies of the Brexit Party.

Except he really wasn’t. What Paterson was trying to do was to trick his mark into ‘incriminating’ herself by saying something ‘controversial’.

In that spirit, he pointed out to Miss Widdecombe that some of her views are at odds with many members of her new party. Specifically, he referred to her 2012 article in which she suggested that one day science may “produce an answer” to homosexuality.

She wrote that: “The unhappy homosexual should, according to gay activists, be denied any chance whatever to investigate any possibility of seeing if he can be helped to become heterosexual.”

“The fact that you expressed [this view],” said Mr Paterson with a well-practised self-righteous grimace, “means that plenty of people would not want to share a platform with you.” The mimicry was so vivid that the viewer was left in no doubt that Mr Paterson himself was talking to Miss Widdecombe only under duress.

All hell broke loose in the aftermath. Independent MP Nick Boles referred to Ann Widdecombe’s remark as “poisonous bigotry.”

Labour MP Chris Bryant added, without even pretending personal disinterest, that: “She clearly thinks there’s something wrong with being gay and wants to cure us or make us disappear.”

That Ann Widdecombe said something reasonable and compassionate got lost in the din, drowned in the venomous spittle sputtered by the paid-up worshippers of modern cults. Clearly, the only acceptable way to talk about homosexuality is to treat it as an ‘alternative lifestyle’, equal, and in some subtle ways possibly even superior, to any other – and certainly as normal as any other.

Anything else is treated as blasphemy against the cult, whose exponents won’t even bother to argue with the blasphemer. ‘Off with her head’ is the only righteous response.

Now I’m not aware of any universally applicable ethical system in the West other than that of Judaeo-Christian moral doctrine. This is the foundation not only of our morality, but also of our legality, which has to be accepted even by atheists.

According to that doctrine, homosexuality is a sin – not the worst sin, but one nonetheless. True, to most people these days sin is nothing but an outdated construct.

However, even they must see that homosexuality falls short of the norm, practised as it is by a small proportion of people (1.4 per cent according to the most extensive study I’ve ever seen). Yet in Britain the attitude to that practice has been lenient for at least a couple of centuries.

Society took the view that in this matter, as in many others, Judaeo-Christian morality shouldn’t be enforced. It was accepted that what two people do in private is their business and no one else’s, provided they don’t impose their morality on everyone else.

That’s where things would have stood had homosexuality, along with everything else that contradicts our moral tradition, not been politicised. It was no longer enough for people to tolerate homosexuals – the new political cult, just like bolshevism and Nazism, wasn’t satisfied with good-natured acquiescence. It demanded enthusiastic support.

Whenever none is offered, the ensuing outrage has nothing to do with the face value of the argument. The response isn’t that of a debater; it’s that of a fanatic whose sacr

ed cow has been slaughtered.

So what’s the precise nature of Ann Widdecombe’s “poisonous bigotry”? She said that science could help homosexuals to become heterosexuals. This statement sounds unassailable: if science can change sex, why not sexuality?

If a man who used to be a woman can be impregnated by a woman who used to be a man, it’s counterintuitive to reject the possibility that science will one day be able to scale that particular barrier.

Miss Widdecombe was specifically talking about “unhappy homosexuals”, those who find their sexuality onerous. Do her detractors think such people don’t exist? Do they seriously believe that, while multitudes are supposed to be clamouring for a sex change, no homosexual would wish to change his sexuality?

If they believe that, they are deluded. They should listen to the song Glad to Be Gay by the punk group Tom Robinson Band, which has been considered the national gay anthem since it was released in 1976.

No one can miss the rage and anguish thundering from the lyrics “Sing if you’re glad to be gay, sing if you’re happy that way.” The unmistakable message is that some such people aren’t happy, so why not help them if possible?

If a treatment for homosexuality were available, clearly it would be like any medical help: offered only to those who seek it. In this case, those who aren’t glad to be gay.

One would think that anyone with a modicum of compassion and love would welcome such a scientific breakthrough. But that would be missing the point, which has nothing to do with compassion and love.

It’s all about scoring political points by propping up totem poles with false idols perched on top.

Yet Ann Widdecombe stubbornly refuses to prostrate herself before those idols. So the pyre has been assembled, all the twigs are in. Does anyone have a match?