Our standing army turned into sitting ducks

HMG’s decision to cut our army strength to 82,000, the lowest since William Pitt sat in Dave’s chair, dovetails neatly with its earlier commitment to cut policemen’s salaries. It also shows how little those who govern us understand the purpose of government.

One might suggest that the state has not one but many different purposes: extorting money from those who work and passing it on to those who don’t; making sure the word ‘marriage’ acquires a whole new meaning; rewriting the rules of succession; supporting alien religions at the expense of Christianity; keeping children from educated families away from university; maintaining a health service that turns hospitals into death traps; enforcing an immigration policy aimed at turning the Brits into a minority in Britain; and above all self-perpetuating.

True, all these are worthy goals that must be pursued with vigour and tenacity. But occasionally it’s worth remembering that, since the first time our hirsute ancestors appointed the strongest among them to fight off objectionable outlanders, protecting its citizens has been regarded as the state’s raison d’être.

To make this appeal to history even-handed, one has to acknowledge that the need for standing armies is of somewhat more recent provenance. This stands to reason: in the past, the two principal branches of service, cavalry and infantry, were made up of men who required little training.

The cavalrymen would have typically learned to ride roughly when they were old enough to walk up to a horse. The ability to wield a sword and a lance was acquired at only a slightly older age.

The infantrymen knew how to drive an arrow through a wild boar at 300 yards when they didn’t yet have to shave. The skill to finish the animal off with a knife was also easily transferable to combat.

Those in both groups were extremely fit, as they spent their time working or hunting outdoors, rather than playing computer games indoors. They also ate food ‘cooked from fresh’, in the parlance of today’s lot, rather than crisps and frozen pizzas.

When a need arose, it took longer to gather a fighting force than to train it. Officers simply told their men (women were supposed to be women in those days) to imagine that those French knights were actually wild boar, to be killed either with long bows or with lances. A shot of rum or a mug of ale then got the men in the right mood, and they couldn’t wait to hear ‘for God, king and country’ before letting fly with all they had.

Nowadays the situation is different. Our arrows and lances, launched from land, sea or air, are laser-guided and they take more than a blacksmith to make or an archer to operate. This means that a standing, preferably professional, army isn’t a luxury but a necessity, for without it the state would be remiss in its principal role, that of protecting its citizens.

How large should an army be? How long is a piece of string? The answer in either instance is the same: depends on the need. However, when it comes to the string, the need is much easier both to calculate and to anticipate.

By way of illustration, I’d like to remind of you of Ross Perot, the billionaire Texan businessmen who in 1978 did what the US government failed to do in 1979: he got hostages out of Iran.

Perot’s companies operated all over the world, including its less pleasant parts. Naturally, his recruits had to be promised that if they got in trouble Ross would get them out. That promise, along with premium salaries, kept Perot’s overseas offices fully staffed.

Ross is an old-fashioned chap and, though at times he has dabbled in politics, he isn’t a politician. Thus his word is his bond, and he doesn’t lie the way he breathes. So to make sure he could act on his promise, he kept on staff quite a few former marines and Green Berets, whose sole job was to keep themselves fighting fit, ready if a need for their services arose, which Ross hoped would be never.

However, the need did arise, and Perot’s private army went into action, augmented by Ross’s buddies from his army days. After years of doing nothing, they did everything they were asked to do: the hostages were sprung out of an Iranian prison and brought home safe.

Unlike the Americans’ belief that ‘all men are created equal’, the moral of the story is indeed self-evident: an army has to be strong enough to meet not only the present needs but also those likely to arise in the future. It ought to be clear that cutting the army down to half of the UK’s police force isn’t going to meet this objective – not by a long shot.

This means HMG is being penny-wise and pound-foolish – much in the manner of the Americans who first made a few million transferring military technology to build up the Soviet army, only then to spend billions trying to counteract it.

I don’t know what our military needs are going to be, say in the next decade. Neither for that matter does HMG. Yet it’s relatively easy to see that such needs will be considerable and global, for the Channel can’t protect the country against ICBMs and dirty bombs in terrorists’ suitcases as effectively as it did against the panzers and the SS.

What with Islam going through a particularly impassioned stage, the pressure building up in the EU boiler, and the Argentines making aggressive noises, it’s foreseeable that our armed forces will be called upon to act in faraway corners of the globe. And at this very time our army strength is being cut to the strength of four divisions plus auxiliary  services – far from enough even to protect itself, never mind the rest of us.

HMG is thus reneging on its mission, thereby losing its claim to its own legitimacy and our allegiance. Protectio trahit subjectionem, subjectio projectionem (protection entails allegiance, allegiance entails protection) has been the guiding principle of Western government since its business was first transacted in Latin.

Dave would be well-advised to remember this. But then of course he has other priorities (see the second paragraph above).





Thus spake Dave: the EU is/isn’t dead

The other day I suggested that Dave is a Cicero to Obama’s Demosthenes, and now he has delivered himself of a long-awaited oratory aimed at justifying such flattering parallels.

Even as Obama expanded his mandate beyond the boundaries of time by claiming obligations ‘to all posterity’, Dave has stretched his own remit in space, by insisting he wants ‘a better deal’ not only for Britain but ‘for Europe too’.

It’s good to see a man with a broad outlook on life. However, perhaps Dave ought to remember that he was elected by the British people, and then appointed by Her Majesty to lead her government in the interests of her subjects. If such interests coincide with Europe’s, fine. If they don’t, too bad. Methinks Dave is planning to give Tony a run for his money when the job of EU president next comes up for grabs.

And specifically, Prime Minister? How will you deliver the pan-European better deal?

Here’s Dave’s answer: ‘It is nonsense that people shopping online in some parts of Europe are unable to access the best deals because of where they live.’ From being vaguely broad the aspiration has narrowed to a needlepoint. Perhaps Dave is campaigning for the presidency of, rather than that of Europe.

No, that too is wrong. Dave is seeking neither job. He’s campaigning in the 2015 election. His speech isn’t an earth-shattering statement of intent. It’s his plea to be returned to 10 Downing Street.

How else would you explain the proposed timing of the epochal referendum to which he now is/isn’t firmly/contingently committed? ‘No later than 2017,’ suggests Dave, which is the political for ‘no earlier’. Since Labour is opposed to any referendum, for Dave to keep this promise the Tories must win the next election. QED.

This seems so unlikely as to empty the promise of any meaningful content. And even if Dave remains Prime Minister beyond 2015, perhaps by forming a new coalition with the BNP, the Communist Party, UKIP, the Greens, Respect Party and the Manchester United fan club, so what? Five years is a lot of water under Westminster Bridge. Dave has been known to go back on campaign promises of much more recent vintage. Can’t you just hear it now? ‘Our 2013 pledge was made in good faith, but now the circumstances have changed so drastically…’

The pledge is contingent not only on something unlikely, Dave’s re-election, but also on something impossible, ‘…a new settlement in which Britain can be comfortable and all our countries can thrive.’

‘And when the referendum comes,’ continues Dave, ‘let me say now that if we can negotiate such an arrangement, I will campaign for it with all my heart and soul.’ The operative word here is ‘if’, and this if isn’t just big but, to use Dave’s preferred locution, ginormous.

In fact, if a new settlement is the pre-condition for the referendum, there’s no need to wait five years. It’s clear to anyone with an IQ higher than Dave’s house number in Downing Street that the only way for the EU to delay the collapse of the euro is to accelerate ‘ever closer union’. Again volunteering my services as translator, that means a single European state. Not coincidentally, this necessity tallies with the EU’s declared purpose.

This means that Britain may get a few crumbs thrown her way off the EU table, and in fact Frau Merkel has hinted at such a possibility, but we’ll never get a piece of the meat. Dave’s professed craving for ‘flexible, willing cooperation [which] is a much stronger glue than compulsion from the centre’ shows he’s either a child waiting for the tooth fairy or a fool who doesn’t realise that no tooth fairy exists – or else a knave who claims it exists while knowing it doesn’t.

The 64,000-euro question asks itself: What if no new settlement is forthcoming? Now, unlike Dave’s ifs, this one is tiny. After all, every federast, from Angela to François, from Barroso to Rumpy-Pumpy, has stated in no uncertain terms that being an EU member is like being pregnant: you either are or you aren’t. No picking, no choosing, no flexibility, no willingness – read my lips, Dave: no new settlement.

In that case, do we go to a referendum straight away, without sitting on our thumbs for five years? If we do, will Dave still campaign for the yes vote, as he promises to do now? Or will he say in his inimitable manner that the pledge of a referendum has been invalidated by the EU’s intransigence?

Dave answers none of such questions. Instead he utters a mantra of platitudes, some false, others so self-evident as to be irrelevant.

Falling into the first category is Dave’s boast that ‘the first purpose of the European Union – to secure peace – has been achieved and we should pay tribute to all those in the EU, alongside NATO, who made that happen.’ Well, at least NATO gets a parenthetical mention. And here we were, thinking that it was the threat of Luxembourg’s counteroffensive that prevented those 50,000 Soviet tanks from rolling towards the Atlantic.

It’s because NATO, and specifically the American nuclear umbrella, secured peace that the retarded baby of an EU was able to crawl out of the Franco-German loins. And in any case, read my lips again, Dave: ‘the first purpose of the European Union’ isn’t ‘to secure peace’. It’s to create a single, tyrannical, unaccountable European state. Omit this understanding, and the speech becomes just meaningless waffle.

The second category, that of needless truisms, includes Dave’s admittedly accurate enumeration of EU failings, ‘undemocratic’, ‘unaccountable’, ‘crisis of competitiveness’ and so on. Thank God for small mercies, for no British PM since Mrs Thatcher has dared to suggest there’s something wrong with the EU. But then they didn’t come under such pressure from their own party and UKIP. Dave has, hence his speech.

In the process he uses, naturally without attribution, Enoch Powell’s astute comment that there’s no such thing as a European demos (and therefore there can be no European democracy, but Dave skips this part). That’s a masterstroke of cynical but effective politicking: those who don’t know the provenance of the phrase will think Dave is clever; those who do will think he hints at his Eurosceptic lineage.

In fact, the whole speech is just that: effective politicking, shame about meaningful content. Dave tugs at every imaginable heart string, while showing yet again that his own ganglion of conviction is nonexistent.

Amazingly, conservative pundits were impressed by Dave’s Pauline attempt to be all things to all men, or rather by his technical mastery of political infighting. One can understand how they feel: we all like the aroma of freshly baked bread, even if we know we won’t get the loaf.

In one short speech Dave managed to score all sorts of political points:

·      He defanged a previously threatening UKIP, now seemingly deprived of their central plank.

·      He confirmed his pro-EU credentials by decrying British isolationism – no little-Englander, he.

·      He also established his anti-EU credentials by stating with (un)equivocal firmness that at some unspecified time, given an unspecified confluence of events, Britain will consider the theoretical possibility of leaving the EU, much as Dave personally thinks that would be a disaster of Biblical proportions.

·      He postponed making any serious decisions until his second term, while giving voters a semblance of a reason to give it to him.

·      He made Labour come down from its Eurofence.

·      He got an or-else bargaining chip for the next time he goes to Brussels with an outstretched hand.

All good stuff, that. But political virtuosity can’t mask a deficit of substance. After all, the art of politics isn’t practised for its own sake, but rather for the sake of the country. How Dave’s impersonation of Cicero will serve Britain is anyone’s guess. My guess is it won’t. 









The Sessions: perfect script, perfect acting, perfectly amoral

The film is based on the true story of Mark O’Brien, a poet and journalist rendered immobile by childhood polio. The only parts of his body he can move are his head and, well, that part.

Having been commissioned in 1994 to write an article about disabled sex, Mark decides to do research by experiencing the activity under scrutiny, something he hasn’t done in his first 38 years. To that end he engages the services of a sex surrogate cum sex therapist Cheryl Cohen-Greene (whose article provides a source for the script).

But first Mark, a pious Catholic, seeks the blessing of his priest, who has initial qualms about endorsing fornication. However, after some soul searching and a few glances at the icons of Jesus and the Virgin, the priest exclaims ‘Go for it!’, which Mark does.

Enter Cheryl, who is at pains to explain the difference between herself and a prostitute: ‘They want your repeat business, and I don’t.’ What she wants is exactly sex sessions, during which she gradually, competently and in due course lovingly coaxes first Mark and then herself to orgasm.

Mark’s spirits are lifted no end, and he makes a successful pass at the hospital volunteer Susan Fernbach, whose account also contributed to the script. He dies in 1999, much later and happier than, the film implies, he would have done without his foray into carnal love.

Judging by the bits of his verse cited in the film, O’Brien isn’t much of a poet. He is, however, something more important: an honourable man who bears his desperate condition with humour, dignity and fortitude. Never once in 95 minutes does he wallow in self-pity, demanding lachrymose sympathy from those around him. Instead Mark shows his generosity of spirit by joking about his condition which, he knows, makes life hard not only for him but also for his minders.

Cheryl and the others treat him without the cloying sentimentality into which the film could so easily have lapsed. They all trade variously funny and light-hearted lines with Mark, obviously trying to mask the underlying tragedy, but never quite succeeding in doing so.

Even though the sex scenes are rather graphic, with female nudity throughout, the film isn’t at all salacious – yet another pitfall it avoids. Cheryl at first imbues the proceedings with a certain clinical efficiency to be expected from the medical professional she thinks she is. From there she proceeds to emotional involvement, skipping eroticism unencumbered by sentiment.

Director Ben Lewin employs extremely restrained angles, laconic camera movements and miserly cutting volume. His taste is impeccable, and he senses that a film like this lives or dies by the acting performances.

In this instance it lives, and gloriously so. John Hawkes’s Mark is superb: one believes every word and every facial expression, the only means he has at his disposal. It takes a true artist to do so much with so little, and without a single false note.

Helen Hunt’s Cheryl is equally impressive. The Oscar-winning actress has never done frontal nudity before, and, for a 49-year-old it takes courage to do so for the first time. Hunt’s subtlety makes us believe Cheryl’s transition, unlikely for someone in her line of work, from detached professional expertise to genuine feeling. She manages to make even the red-blooded males in the audience forget they’re looking at a beautiful naked woman. Her humanity takes over, drawing attention to her face, eyes, smile and away from her body.

William H. Macy’s performance as the priest is as compelling as one would expect from the Coen brothers’ favourite actor. And every supporting role is impeccably cast and acted, delivering just the right mixture of gravity and levity.

The film refrains from moralising, which is always commendable. But in displaying such restraint it regrettably leaves some essential moral questions not only unanswered but indeed unasked.

These involve neither Mark nor his priest. Only a heartless puritan would begrudge a little happiness to a man who spends his life inside an iron lung and who’s clearly not long for this world. And I submit that a priest anathematising fornication under such circumstances would uphold the letter of Christianity at the expense of its spirit.

The problem starts with Cheryl and her trade. For all her meticulous compiling of medical notes, she is indeed closer to a hooker than to a doctor or a therapist.

Sex with patients isn’t what medical people do. If amorous problems arise from plumbing malfunctions, patients go to urologists. If the problem is psychological, they go to a psychiatrist. If it’s caused by an underlying disease, they go to a physician. If cured, they may seek professional sex, but it’s a fallacy to regard it as just another branch of medicine.

Like hookers, surrogates reduce sex to an impersonal interface between parts, not humans – which the film proves by finally making Cheryl act, on her terms, unprofessionally. The sex between Cheryl and Mark only succeeds when they become attached to each other, emphasising the advantage of being human, rather than, say, simian.

By treating Mrs Cohen’s profession as a legitimate medical service, the film displays worrying amorality – it imbues the action with an emotional content, while ignoring the moral one.

Cheryl acts, speaks and dresses like a normal middleclass housewife, which of course she is. After work she goes home to her husband, who lives off the proceeds of her occupation. He only becomes uncomfortable when he realises that Cheryl has feelings for Mark – her screwing strangers full time doesn’t bother him at all.

We don’t find out how Cheryl got to do what she’s doing, nor why her husband seems so nonchalant about it, and these omissions leave a gap. After all, neither I nor anyone I know would welcome our wives pursuing such career ambitions. That doesn’t mean that everyone should be as boringly normal but, if some men aren’t, an explanation wouldn’t go amiss in a complete work of art.

I’m not suggesting that the moral questions to be raised could receive a quick and unequivocal answer – only that not having asked them betrays somewhat the otherwise unimpeachable integrity of the film.

Interestingly, the Observer reviewer has a different problem: he mildly castigates the film for being ‘perhaps somewhat judgmental about prostitutes when Mark comes to making rigid distinctions between [them and] Cheryl.’

Of course being judgmental about anything offends against The Observer’s moral code, which has become predominant in our time. In fact, it’s the only sin that can’t be swept under the carpet of their editorial office. I’d suggest that a lack of moral judgment pushes us down to a level where human beings used not to be routinely found, but where Observer columnists seem to dwell en masse.



Caught between two speeches, feeling like a fool…

One can’t help feeling like a Mediterranean denizen alive during the centuries separating the two greatest orators of antiquity. But in our fast-moving world the interval is shorter: Demosthenes (aka Obama) spoke yesterday; Cicero (aka Dave) will speak tomorrow.

Thanks to numerous leaks, tomorrow’s speech is yesterday’s news: we all know what Dave will say. We’re also aware that, in common with all other spivocrats (sorry, today’s world leaders), he’ll proceed from the assumption that his audience comprises exclusively pimpled children with special needs.

Dave will demand that the leopard (aka the EU) change its spots and allow him to dictate his terms – or else. In this context ‘or else’ means that at some unspecified point, but definitely after the next election, Dave will call an unspecified referendum. This is like me promising you that, should I win big in the lottery, for which I never buy tickets, I’ll split my millions with you.

Still, let’s not jump the gun, as President Lincoln could have said. We must wait until Cicero has actually spoken. Meanwhile let’s enjoy the sight of Tory columnists trying to find something nice to say about Dave in anticipation of his epoch-making oratory.

Benedict Brogan, for example, is capable of lean, thoughtful writing. But he’s on a losing wicket here, something he knows but, being in denial, refuses to acknowledge.

Hence he declares that Dave’s ‘administration has chalked up an enviable record of achievement’, while forgetting to tell us what it is precisely that we’re supposed to envy. Oh yes, Dave personifies all the historical goodness of the Tory party:

‘His capacity to embody tradition yet accept the demands of modernity is the quality that successful British institutions have always shown, from the Army to Oxbridge colleges.’

Quite. Except that it’s hard not to notice that these very institutions are being destroyed by Dave’s administration. Under his true-blue tutelage the Army has dwindled to a strength just below that boasted by Wessex way back when.

And Oxbridge has been turned into a laboratory for social engineering, forced to come up with class-based admission standards last favoured by the Bolsheviks in the early years of their regime. Then higher education was off-limits for children of educated families, an ideal towards which Dave’s policies are edging bit by sure bit.

Party loyalty is a bugger, isn’t it, Ben? But enough about Cicero. Instead let’s talk about Demosthenes, who has already delivered himself of his speech-writers’ salient points:

‘A decade of war is now ending.’ Yes, but there are two ways of ending a war: winning and losing.

Americans, with us in tow, have destabilised the Middle East by their frankly idiotic attempts to push it towards democratic virtue. They then ushered in the Arab Spring, much beloved of Dave, Nick et al.

As a result, militant Islamist regimes have been installed all over the region and, as the Algeria carnage shows, terrorism is expanding geographically. After American withdrawal, hastened by Obama, Islamism will be stronger and blood-thirstier than ever – is that the end Barack Hussein has in mind?

‘We will support democracy from Asia to Africa; from the Americas to the Middle East, because our interests and our conscience compel us to act on behalf of those who long for freedom.’ How are we going to support it, now the war is over? By starting another one? By employing a few more speech writers? US policy so far has favoured not ‘those who long for freedom’ but those who long for female castration.

‘An economic recovery has begun.’ Has it indeed? What about the $16-trillion-plus debt? Unemployment? The probability of losing the AAA rating? Social trust funds on the verge of depletion? Never mind, we fools aren’t supposed to ask such questions.

‘We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are… to all posterity.’ Personally I haven’t met many Americans who share this belief – certainly not at a time of national crisis.

‘We will respond to the threat of climate change…’ But you’re already responding to this mythical threat, Mr President, by pumping funds you don’t have into tree-hugging. This embrace will soon go beyond the foreplay stage, jeopardising technological progress, the only kind modernity can deliver.

‘The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult…’ The problem is energy, not pie-in-the-sky sustainable energy. That problem is being solved by the hydrocarbon industry, bending under the weight of extortionist taxation and suffocating regulations.

Fighting off Barack Hussein’s ideological assault, this industry has come up with economically feasible ways of producing shale gas, putting the country on the path that’s really worth travelling, the one to energy self-sufficiency. 

‘That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God…’ …in whom by all accounts Barack Hussein doesn’t believe, but he does believe in courting the Bible-belt vote. As a general observation, show me someone who says ‘our planet’ and I’ll show you a tasteless knee-jerk leftie.

‘We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit.’ That’s why Obama is pushing for nationalised medicine, which is bound to increase the cost of health care, reduce its efficacy, and as to the deficit… ‘nuff said.

‘The commitments we make to each other – through Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security – these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us.’ How? Morally? They certainly neither strengthen the economy nor reduce the deficit.

‘Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law – for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.’ Are they unequal under the law now? First I’ve heard of it.

And what’s worth talking about isn’t love (Matthew 5-7 told us everything we need to know), but the legitimacy of some modes of expressing it. Otherwise one runs the risk of sounding even more demagogic than God originally made one.

‘Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants.’ How many more of them? Thousands? Millions? Billions? As to a better way, I can suggest one: make them ineligible for welfare. You’d be amazed how quickly immigration will find a reasonable level.

And so forth, drivel ad nauseum. The intellectual bar has been set, let’s wait to see if Dave can jump over it. Incidentally, I know a place where you can get some earplugs for next to nothing.

Why I won’t go to see Lincoln

It’s silly to expect historical accuracy from a history drama. Even historians get things wrong, so demanding scholarly rigour from a film would be both unrealistic and beside the point. Films are there to entertain, not to educate.

Having said that, neither does one want to be exposed to irritating ideological bias. Bending history for dramatic effect, à la The Tudors, is perfectly acceptable. Bending it to score mendacious political points, à la Oliver Stone or Costa-Gavros, makes one rush out of the cinema in a huff after the first 15 minutes.

In the case of Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, I won’t even give it that long. The trailer told me everything I needed to know.

The most obvious, if extraneous, point is that it ought to be clear to anyone other than the groupies responsible for Oscars that Daniel Day-Lewis is miscast in the title role. I realise he has won all sorts of accolades from US critics, but those chaps ought to have their eyes peeled and their ears unplugged.

Day-Lewis isn’t everyone’s cup of bourbon under the best of circumstances. I for one find him much too histrionic for words, although, like that proverbial curate’s egg, he’s good in parts. The circumstances in which Lincoln thrusts him, however, are far from the best.

Day-Lewis looks funny in Lincoln makeup, and I don’t think he was expected to play the role for laughs. The beard in particular looks pasted on, even if it isn’t. And in the short trailer his accent crisscrossed the Atlantic several times, alternately sounding Irish, scouse and New England (Lincoln was a Midwesterner). But that’s by the bye.

What’s really off-putting is that the film, as can be reliably judged even from the trailer, represents yet another prong in the leftist propaganda assault, using history to score present-day points. Actually ‘leftist propaganda’ is a tautology for propaganda is always leftwing. Just try to say ‘conservative propaganda’. Doesn’t quite ring possible, does it?

In this instance the film tackles, however indirectly, the Civil War, in which America suffered greater casualties than in all her other conflicts combined, including the two world wars. Anyone who has seen Confederate flags flown all over the South will know that the war continues to divide the nation even now, and not just along the Mason-Dixon line.

In broad strokes and with some exceptions, conservatives believe that the wrong side won, whereas those on the left, including the neocons, don’t. Consequently, the second group tends to treat the 1860s Civil War as the precursor of the 1960s civil rights movement, which the conservatives, who tend to eschew ideological mendacity for intellectual honesty, know it wasn’t.

There’s no question that slavery was deplorable, but no war was necessary to get rid of it. That institution was moribund anyway, which was proved by Russia, a country not then, or for that matter now, noted for its commitment to human liberties. Yet Russian serfs were freed a year before the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, and with nary a shot fired in anger.

Interestingly, many Northern generals were themselves slave-owners, while many Southern commanders weren’t. And Lincoln’s own attitude to blacks wasn’t impeccably consonant with the demands of our PC times.

Abolition of slavery wasn’t the reason for the war; it was its slogan. To understand the real reasons one has to delve under the surface, something those of the leftish persuasion, like Steven Spielberg, are neither inclined nor typically equipped to do.

Nor was the real casus belli exactly the conflict between those who desired practically unchecked central power and those in favour of greater state rights, although by claiming this we’d be getting warmer. However, the war was brought about by something more fundamental than that: modernity’s craving to wipe out every vestige of the traditional order.

In fact, this was the first war in which modernity directly assaulted holdouts from Christendom. That explains the inordinate bloodshed, the Southerners’ readiness to stand to the last man and the Northerners’ unrestrained ‘scorched earth’ savagery throughout. For in such a war there can be no compromise.

It was to the South that Christendom holdouts had drifted. Perhaps they were attracted by an economy that revolved around agriculture. They also may have realised that materialistic modernity would reign supreme in the mercantile North. The odds, however, were stacked against the South, and the dying breath of fresh air was eventually drowned by the smoky stench of victorious modernity.

Preference for local rather than central government is the essential difference between traditional and modern politics. Unlike the ethos of Hellenic antiquity, Christianity imbued its adherents with inward, rather than outward, aspirations. That made them innately suspicious of politics, especially as practised by strangers in the faraway capital.

Translated to the American context of the time, that meant a preference not for federal but local governance, which was then described as state rights. Modernity, on the other hand, sought to destroy not only Christianity as the spiritual, social and moral focus of society, but also its every extension into other areas, especially politics.

This provides the necessary background to the cult of Abraham Lincoln that started in America, was then exported worldwide and will now be perpetuated by Spielberg’s film. This isn’t to deny that Lincoln had remarkable qualities, as most successful wartime leaders tend to possess. However, it was his intransigence that was largely responsible for the war, which takes some shine off Lincoln’s accomplishments.

Yes, his leadership of the Northern cause was firm and inspired, but this isn’t exactly praiseworthy for someone who doesn’t believe the cause was just. And unlike Spielberg, Lincoln himself knew that the war had little to do with slavery. ‘If that would preserve the Union, I’d agree not to liberate a single slave,’ he once said. Not exactly the Martin Luther King of his time then.

In the process of preserving the Union, Lincoln acted in ways that belie his iconic status. For example, he closed down 300 pro-Southern newspapers (and had their presses smashed), suppressed the writ of habeas corpus and, according to the Commissary General of Prisoners, had 13,535 Northern citizens accused of pro-Southern sympathies imprisoned without trial between February 1862 and April 1865.

Comparing his record with that of the hideous Mussolini, who only managed 1,624 political convictions in 20 years and yet is universally and justly reviled, one begins to see modern hagiography in a different light.

As I said earlier, one doesn’t necessarily expect a film to stroke one’s intellectual sensibilities. But then neither does one want them to be grossly offended. So I’ll steer clear of Lincoln. Give me a decent Western any day.



Goebbels didn’t say it, but the thought rings a modern bell

Misquoted and misattributed (by David Starkey among others, tut-tut), the line “when I hear the word ‘culture’, I reach for my gun” is gaining mass appeal these days.

To set the record straight, neither Goebbels nor Goering ever uttered it, though the aphorism does have a Nazi provenance. It comes from the play Schlageter written by the Nazi poet laureate Hanns Johs, whose artistic attainment was rewarded with the rank of SS-Gruppenführer. The original line ran “Wenn ich Kultur höre … entsichere ich meinen Browning!” (“When I hear of culture… I release the safety catch of my Browning!”)

By now the word ‘culture’ has been so inflated that it has finally burst, losing its meaning and breaking up into little fragments. Every possible modifier is these days attached to the poor lost word, such as ‘pop’, ‘counter-’, ‘alternative’, ‘mass’, ‘drug’ or even, in the naughtier contexts, ‘Greek’ or ‘French’. When a word can mean anything it means nothing, and ‘culture’ is another proof of this.

But for my purposes it’s sufficient that we stick to the original sense of the word. It was first used by Cicero in the phrase cultura animi – cultivation of the soul, a commendable destination that can be reached by many different roads.

To put a more Western, which is to say Christian, spin on it, we all have souls, and they’re all teleological, that is reaching for the same ideal and absolute end. When culture was thus understood, it was inherently inclusive. For all our distinctions of class and status, in this one sense we’re all in the same boat, and it’s sailing to the same harbour.

That is exactly how culture was at the time when the word began to gain wide currency, in the XVIII and XIX centuries. This doesn’t of course mean that culture in those days was monolithic, devoid of any sub-divisions. It wasn’t. Rather culture then resembled a building, which has high and low floors but they’re all parts of the same structure.

Music, being the quintessential Western art, provides a good illustration of this symbiotic relationship among various cultural tiers. Practically every great Western composer, from Byrd to Bartok, loved, collected and widely used simple folk motifs – unlocking their potential, moving them from the ground floor to the penthouse, but never looking down on them from the height of his genius.

Opera, that most synthetic of musical genres, was from its very inception equally accessible to every social and cultural level because in a way it appealed to the entire high-low spectrum of taste. In Vienna and Prague, the aristocrats would take their seats in the boxes, the bourgeois in the stalls and the lower classes up in ‘paradise’ – but they’d all listen to Don Giovanni or Figaro with equal intensity and then applaud with equal gusto.

This is a far cry from our supposedly egalitarian time. The Christian foundation of the cultural structure has been blown up, the building collapsed, and its inhabitants have all gone their separate ways. They no longer belong together, and they tend not to treat one another in the spirit of equanimity. Instead they take a detached look at one another’s taste and realise they don’t like it very much.

These days people of cultivated musical tastes are revolted by pop excretions and disgusted by their perpetrators. Lovers of pop ‘music’, on the other hand, despise real music for being elitist, effete, posh and generally undemocratic. This animosity is no longer just intellectual but visceral, physiological.

To illustrate, a few years ago I argued with a group of very nice middle-class girls in their twenties, who insisted on playing pop cacophony in the office. The argument was somewhat one-sided, for, as their institutional superior, I could insist that they turn the CD player off whenever I entered the room. But, my innate didacticism getting the better of me, I once made them listen to a chorale from a Bach cantata.

That this experience didn’t produce an instant conversion was predictable. But what surprised even old cynical me was that the girls clearly experienced acute physical discomfort. One of them even had to take her chiselled features and preppie clothes out of the room after the first few bars. They didn’t just dislike the music – they resented it.

This hints at a rift in society that is far wider and deeper than the split between ‘right’ and ‘left’ politics. In fact the political rift is largely a result of the cultural fissure between those still trying to hang on to the remnants of Christendom and those loathing and trying to destroy its every legacy.

No more gentle village songs (in fact, by and large no more villages) with their simple but memorable tunes and lyrics. Instead we have the hateful, nihilistic, anomic words screeched unmusically to the accompaniment of incoherent noise. Most of this so-called music is based on three chords, but even this primitive kindergarten fare is drowned in mind-numbing electronic din.

Rather than cultivating the listener’s soul, this obscenity appeals to the basest instincts and sensibilities, and we all have them. But our traditional civilisation was there to mitigate the worst and bring out the best in us. What passes for civilisation today does exactly the opposite – and does it deliberately.

Never before in history did low culture spring solely from hatred, never before did it bypass people’s minds and souls, appealing instead to their gonads. This being the case, purveyors of pop ‘music’ target mostly youngsters, whose gonads are at the strongest, and minds and souls at the weakest, they’ll ever be.

The purveyors can then bawl their hatred of bourgeois culture all the way to the bourgeois bank. Women’s tennis aside, I can’t think of any other field where those bereft of the basic tools of their trade can become millionaires at an early age. Closely related industries, such as drugs and pornography, also do well in and around pop.

Whenever a child is corrupted sexually, we’re up in arms, and with good reason. Stamping a child’s soul into dog’s droppings, on the other hand, doesn’t raise even the mildest of objections. Yet I submit that, for usually being irreversible, it’s the latter that does far greater damage.

Pop music is a battering ram driven at the heart of what used to be the greatest civilisation in history. The wall has been breached, and the vandals are launching their final assault.











‘The righteous considereth the cause of the women…’

Admittedly, Proverbs 29: 7 talks about the poor, not the women. But we all know that the outdated Bible should be modernised to agree with our infinitely more progressive times.

Anyway, it’s January, which means that the first Grand Slam on the tennis tour, the Australian Open, is upon us. It also means that my unwavering commitment to political correctness is reeling from yet another blow. Or is it?

As a self-declared champion of equality, I must believe in equal pay for equal work with religious fervour. My daily prayer therefore includes the words ‘…send us this day our daily bread and make sure everyone, regardless of their trespasses, or verily their gender, gets an equal slice…’

In the sinful misapprehension that ‘gender’ is only a grammatical category, I used to say ‘sex’ instead, but, following a Damascene experience, it has been revealed to me that this in itself constitutes a trespass. So gender it is.

Also Satan, in his serpentine way, tempted me in the past to insist on the notion that, in proper usage, a singular antecedent, such as ‘everyone’, ought to be followed by an equally singular personal pronoun ‘his’. ‘Man embraces woman,’ I used to say in my wickedness before I saw the PC light. But Our Father of Political Correctness pointed out the error of my ways, and I’ve since replaced the wicked ‘his’ with the saintly ‘their’.

Hence, every tennis player should receive equal pay for their equal work [sick]. But never mind the wording – to my everlasting horror I’ve received yet another confirmation that this commandment is null and void at Grand Slam events.

That is, the equal pay bit still applies: a man or a woman who loses their first round gets the same amount: $27,600AUS, about £18,000. So far so good, my brethren and sistern in the God of PC.

But, unless my sums are hopelessly awry, the second part of the mantra, ‘equal work’, has gone to hell. Judge for yourself.

In the first round of the 2013 Australian Open, the women played a combined 149 sets. Of these, 27 sets – a whopping 18 percent, brethren and sistern! – ended with a one-sided score of either 6-0 or 6-1. Such routs seldom last more than 20 minutes apiece.

The men, on the other hand, played 235 sets, of which only nine percent ended at 6-0 or 6-1. That means, and I’m being generous in the spirit of PC charity, the men worked at least twice as many hours. Thus their pay was less than half that of the women, and verily I say unto you, brethren and sistern, fair it is not.

If only this were the end of injustice! But my, now indignant, eye couldn’t help noticing that women routinely double-faulted on break points, at least twice per set. Their counterparts of the male gender do so about once every other season, only to repent and beg their coaches for forgiveness. To a tennis player, this is God giving us the sign that the men spend infinitely more time working on their serves and, by inference, their other strokes also.

They also, unless I miss the point, work much harder in the gym and on the running track. Every male competitor’s body is lean and rippling with muscles. By most unfortunate contrast, half the women ripple with fat. Obviously, they have better things to do, and to eat, during the pre-season, and not all desserts they consume are just.

Add all this up, and it wouldn’t be far-fetched to suggest that a racquet-wielding woman is paid three times as much for their work than a man is for theirs. There must be much wailing and gnashing of teeth in PC heaven.

Except that there isn’t, and for a good reason. For, as we know, women constitute a minority. Well, they really don’t if one wishes to insist on arithmetical rectitude. But that doesn’t matter, for ‘minority’ isn’t so much a matter of maths as one of faith. If Our Lord of PC says women are a minority, then so, by Jove, they are.

Moreover, they are an oppressed minority, and have been for at least 5,000 years that we know of. Actually, any PC coreligionist of mine will be certain that said oppression goes back even further. But, in the absence of reliable records, we have to settle on 5,000 years, still an irredeemably long time.

Actually, this outrage can indeed be redeemed – by making appropriate restitution. By compensating our sistern in the way to which our American brethren refer as ‘affirmative action.’ And the organisers of the Grand Slam tennis tournaments have taken it upon themselves to correct more than five millennia of egregious oppression.

Hence, women getting paid three times as much is an injustice not done but repaired. Our Lord of Political Correctness is athirst, but His thirst has been partly quenched. Halleluiah!







Robbers of cops

‘Police officers and staff deserve to have pay and workforce arrangements that recognise the vital role they play in fighting crime and keeping the public safe,’ declared Home Secretary Teresa May.

In the next moment she cut the starting salary of a constable by 17 percent to £19,000 a year. Judging by her pronouncement, she doesn’t believe policemen play a particularly ‘vital role’ or ‘deserve’ even their current modest pay.

One can understand how Teresa feels. Why pay over the odds when neither she nor anybody she knows really needs policemen. Those concrete barriers around the Houses of Parliament and SAS sharpshooters on every roof take care of their safety quite nicely, thank you very much. And being whisked around London in a bullet-proof limousine with bodyguards in attendance gives one a nice safe feeling. Who needs cops?

Well, the rest of us do. We depend on policemen to keep at bay murderers, burglars and muggers. And we do think HMG should pay more to those who every day risk their lives to protect us than it pays in benefits to the likeliest murderers, burglars and muggers.

But you see, we don’t really matter. What matters is that our spivocrats are seen to be sorting out the fiscal mess of their own making. Not that they intend to balance the books for real, God forbid.

That would involve big cuts in social spending, a measure that would alienate the growing pool of voters from which most murderers, burglars and muggers are drawn. On a personal level, this might send all those Daves, Nicks and Teresas on a lecture tour before their time, which is to say after the next election, and this must be avoided at all costs.

I know this sounds harsh and vindictive. However, if our ministers didn’t think exclusively in those terms, they’d know that savings should be made everywhere but in the police and armed forces. They’d realise that protecting Her Majesty’s subjects from external and internal threats is mainly, some will say almost exclusively, what Her Majesty’s government is for.

It’s not as if we were short of areas in which cuts could, indeed must, be made. The most obvious one is the welfare budget, whose principal purpose, on available evidence, seems to be breeding, enlarging and perpetuating an underclass of little Mowglis, who then graduate to become murderers, burglars and muggers. You know, the kind of chaps policemen protect us from.

But it’s not just the social spending. What about all those parasitic quangos, sinecures and consultancies involved in spinning out the wool HMG then pulls over our eyes? Can’t get them for £19,000 a year. That much a month would be closer to the mark.

And how about all those diversity experts, optimisers of facilitation and facilitators of optimisation? The administrative staff of the NHS, which is growing like a late-stage malignant tumour just as the frontline medical services are shrinking? Or administrators of our non-education? Toss most of them out on their ear, and not only our finances but also the quality of our ambient air will be greatly improved.

Or, dare one say it, our illustrious civil service that has learned how to cut out the middleman, otherwise known as Parliament, and deal with the EU direct? Or, and I’m waiting for the skies to open and lightning to smite me, what about whole government departments?

Such as, for example, the Ministry for Equalities, now in the tender care of my flavour of the month Jo Swinson (I commented on her inane pronouncements two days ago). This 32-year-old pulls down £94,142 in salary alone and, I’m guessing here, at least another 20 grand in personal expenses.

The guess isn’t completely uneducated. Jo may know a square root of sod-all about government, but she doesn’t half know how to charge expenses. When she became an MP, roughly at the same age she acquired her first trainer bra, Jo quickly learned how to make the taxpayer shell out for a few meticulously listed items, to wit:

A £1.75 chopping board, a ‘food saver’ for £1.50 and a £2.50 sieve, all from Tesco.

A bottle of Mr Sheen cleaner costing 78p and a £1.19 window cleaner, from Asda.

A £16 lavatory roll holder, along with a £14.10 invoice to have a spare key cut for her cleaner.

Also submitted were receipts for items ranging from a packet of dusters for 29p to a television costing £544.90 (that was a few years ago, so we’re talking a wall-size flat-screen here).

Assuming that our PC (as in Politically Correct) Miss Swinson’s attention to detail hasn’t blunted in recent years, she is costing the taxpayer as much as at least six new PCs (as in Police Constable). Which kind of PC do you think serves us better?

Now, the number of policemen under the age of 26 has already fallen by almost half in the last two years. The cut in their salaries is sure to make the fall even more precipitous – this at a time when crime and social unrest are both steeply on the rise.

So next time you’re in trouble, don’t even think about calling the cops. Call a diversity consultant or an equalities minister. You know, the kind of people we couldn’t do without.

That bloody speech

Everybody’s talking about Dave’s epoch-making oration on Europe, which he originally planned to deliver on 22 January.

He’s now going to speak next Friday because Angela and François told him to. So what was that about a more independent stance vis-à-vis the EU?

The whole thing about winning concessions from the EU is mendacious on so many levels that one would need to write a book just to list them. The very premises from which Dave proceeds render impossible even a remote approximation of sound thinking or indeed veracity.

If Dave honestly thinks that the EU will accept a longer lead to keep Britain on, that’s even worse than simply lying. For even to harbour such a hope spells a tragic misunderstanding of what the EU is, what it’s for and what brought it about in the first place. Yes, of course, for purely tactical reasons Angela and François may agree to take a step backwards, but only in the confident hope of then making giant forward strides.

The EU came into being as a result of acute personality disorders suffered by France and Germany. Ever since 1870, when Prussia served notice of the new balance of power in Europe, the French have been paranoid about the Germans. But, as we know, even paranoiacs can have real enemies, and Germany did her best to stoke up France’s psychosis.

The Franco-Prussian war was initiated by France, by the way, or specifically by Napoleon III who sought to outdo his uncle in martial grandeur. Prussia’s victory and the subsequent unification of Germany imbued France with eternal fear of the new country’s military – and above all economic – might. This explains France’s unremittingly aggressive policy towards Germany in the early 20th century, something that the testosterone-rich Germans were only too willing to reciprocate.

Every subsequent catastrophe of the 20th century, from the First World War to the Second, from the Bolshevik revolution in Russia to the Nazi revolution in Germany, was either a direct result of the Franco-German enmity or at least its highly predictable indirect consequence.

But after the Second World War, both Germany and France found themselves at the margins of world power. The meaningful shots were either fired or at least called by the USA and the USSR, and the fragile self-confidence of the two erstwhile enemies suffered serious attrition.

Essentially, the Germans no longer wanted to be Germans, but the French did. Neither were in good mental health.

Quite rightly horrified by the cannibalistic beast having sprung out of their collective breast, the Germans opted to channel all that ferocity into making toasters and fridges. The French, who had for all intents and purposes belonged to the Third Reich during the war, realised their chances in any economic battle against the newly vegetarian Germany were even slimmer than in a military confrontation. France’s hopes of regaining a respectable place among the great powers were going the way of the Maginot Line, made irrelevant by the outflanking Boches.

The interests of the two countries began to converge: the Germans were hoping that the French would give them a course in anger management; the French wanted to ride Germany’s economic coattails, what with their own clothes threadbare.

The more ruthless and unprincipled Franco-German politicians then got together and mapped a strategy for either tricking or forcing other countries into a union dominated by Germany and France. The blueprint they followed was provided by the 19th-century Zollverein, initiated by Prussia as a mere customs union and then gradually used to bring most German principalities under her sway.

The interest of other countries, including Britain, never even came into it. They were swept aside by Germany’s desire to redeem herself morally, France’s urge to redeem herself economically, and both seeking to regain worldwide status.

In every substantive sense, both countries had lost the war, and their people yearned to reclaim some self-respect. Or rather such impulses were exploited by politicians who themselves were driven only by a manic quest for pan-European totalitarianism with a human face (preferably without bloodshed and concentration camps).

Any totalitarian setup depends on staying totalitarian to stay alive. One tiny push against it, and those dominoes may start tumbling one by one. How totalitarian power is projected is immaterial compared to the dire necessity of indeed projecting it.

In expanding its own totalitarian power, the EU has relied on bribery, blackmail and an endless stream of lies. The euro is a child of all these commendable stratagems: it enabled the EU to pour oceans of Monopoly money into the members’ coffers, thus bribing them into ultimately ruinous spending; the EU then blackmailed the members into accepting the bribes even after their pernicious effects became evident; and the EU lied through its teeth every step of the way.

The EU represents a triumph of moral, historical, political, social and economic evil. Such triumphs are always short-lived, but their consequences aren’t. Europe has never really recovered from the first big war a century ago, and it’ll never recover from the evil of the EU. At best, the disease can be kept in check, its symptoms mitigated.

Where does this leave Dave and his non-starter of a speech? He either doesn’t understand or pretends not to understand that the true desiderata of the EU are not economic but political, springing not from rational thought but from a variety of psychoses, insane powerlust prime among them.

Neither he nor, to be fair, anyone else has ever come up with a single intelligent argument in favour of the EU, and especially Britain’s belonging to it. All one hears is stupid, ignorant noises, such as about the EU, rather than NATO, having been the guarantor of peace in Europe. Or that the EU makes Europe more prosperous, a claim for which there’s no empirical evidence, as opposed to the plainly visible mountain of evidence against. Or that trading with Europe would be impossible without belonging to a single European state. Or that no European country can prosper outside the EU – and Dave even has the effrontery to offer Norway and Switzerland as proofs, whereas they prove exactly the opposite.

Any courageous statesman wouldn’t even mention a referendum, for ours isn’t a plebiscitary democracy. Instead he would use his position to launch a campaign for immediate withdrawal from this morally corrupt concoction. That would be merely reversing a constitutional outrage for which there has never been either political consensus or plausible justification.

Alternatively, a statesman lacking the courage of his convictions would offer an immediate in/out referendum – and use the power of his office to campaign for the out vote, which would be the easiest campaign in history. He would thus pass the buck to the people, while ensuring the right result anyhow.

Alas, Dave isn’t a statesman but a PR flak with spivocratic tendencies. Next Friday he’ll prove this by talking much and saying next to nothing. At best, he’ll declare slightly better terms of surrender than Germany managed at Versailles in 1918 or France at Compiègne in 1940.

We need the Black Prince and Henry V. What we have is Neville Chamberlain with a touch of Bernie Madoff.





















As a lifelong member of the PC community, I’m confused

Can you see sparks flying? Are you deafened by ear-splitting bangs? These are coming from mutually exclusive pieties clashing all over the place.

Having devoted my life to promoting political correctness (well, merely the second half of my life, but only because the term didn’t exist in the first half), I find myself in a quandary. 

Just look at this. Mayor Boris Johnson is to offer London as the site for the 2018 World Gay Games, presumably to be called Homolympics.

Far be it from me to suggest there’s anything wrong with extending a welcoming hand to those whose lifestyle, though different from mine, is just as valid and commendable – morally, socially and above all politically. The PC community to which I proudly belong regards everything and everyone as equal in every respect.

However, it’s precisely our hitherto unshakeable belief in even-handed  equality that’s being shattered by the very idea of Gay Games. I, for one, am shocked at the implications of holding such an event. What does it actually mean? Let’s consider the possibilities, even the purely theoretical ones.

Possibility 1: The Games will involve sports in which only homosexuals can ever participate. Other than adding a whole new meaning to ‘relay baton’, one hesitates to think what these might be.

Women’s tennis? No, that’s not it – there have been some notable heteros even among Wimbledon winners (immediately springing to mind is Chris Evert and… er, Chris Evert).

Beach volleyball? Admittedly, the homoerotic potential of this sport has been popularised by the film Top Gun, and to make sure nobody missed the point the female lead was played by a self-outed lesbian. But this is too marginal a sport to act as a fulcrum for a worldwide extravaganza. No, this possibility has to be discarded.

Possibility 2: Homosexuals have to compete in a separate event because their physical abilities are fundamentally inferior, similar to women’s in relation to men’s. This raises such horrendous subtexts that any member of the PC community should recoil in horror.

Repeat after me: WE! ARE! ALL! EQUAL! This is the principle to live by, and in this instance it has ample empirical support.

On the women’s side, the vile discriminatory proposition is refuted by a long and honourable roll of female Wimbledon champions, other than Chris Evert and… well, Chris Evert. (I’m not suggesting there have been no other straights among them, only that I can’t think of them offhand.) On the male side, a few homosexual boxers have held world titles in even the heavier weight classes. And one didn’t see Justin Fashanu pull out of too many tackles. So this possibility bites the dust as well.

Possibility 3: Homosexuals must be segregated, as they can’t be allowed to mix with heterosexuals. Yes, I know this is outrageous, but I’m running out of possibilities here, even purely hypothetical ones.

To make such separation even remotely valid, other sporting events would have to exclude homosexuals. Yet no attempt to hold an Heterolympics has ever been made, nor ever will be. Anything like that wouldn’t just fly in the face of equality, but would indeed smash it to a pulp.

This is precisely what vexes such a strong champion of political correctness as me. Surely it’s discriminatory to limit a sporting event to those practising a particular lifestyle (that’s what homosexuality is, isn’t it?)? Isn’t it akin to having whites-only or, for that matter, blacks-only restaurants or swimming pools?

Of course it is. And I can prove this by simply inviting you to imagine the furore that would ensue if Boris Johnson announced that London is bidding for the 2018 World Straight Games. Why, Boris would be tarred and feathered faster than you can say ‘bigoted homophobe’ – and quite right too. Then why doesn’t it work both ways? I’m baffled.

In Boris’s view, ‘there should be no limit to London’s legacy ambitions’. Whatever that means, obviously one such limit ought to be imposed by our rejection of discrimination in all its forms. Otherwise the PC community, to which I belong so proudly, will be offended, and it offends easily.

Yet Jo Swinson, the equalities minister, went against her mandate by making me even more mystified: ‘I have always been a passionate supporter of sport being open to everyone and I am wholeheartedly behind the bid…’

But that’s precisely our problem: the Gay Games won’t be ‘open to everyone’; they’ll only be open to homosexuals. Then again, one doesn’t expect a barely post-pubescent girl, and a politician to boot, to think before she talks.

And is she suggesting that regular sporting events, such as Wimbledon, are at present not open to homosexuals? If so, she should by all means produce the supporting evidence, of the kind that would refute tonnes of contradictory evidence available.

A friend of mine, a brilliant satirist, complained the other day that his genre is moribund because no satirist can outdo our self-mocking reality these days. All one can do is come up with purely rational suggestions, such as amalgamating the World Gay Games and Paralympics. I for one would pay good money to watch the homosexual cripple jump, wouldn’t you?

For the record, in this bid London faces competition from Amsterdam, Paris, Rio de Janeiro and Limerick. I’m especially intrigued by the last bidder, for all sorts of poetic possibilities would suggest themselves by way of slogans (such as, ‘A gay heavyweight from Khartoum//Took a lesbian champ to his room,// And they argued a lot// About who would do what// And how and with which and to whom’).

So my money is on Limerick, but the others shouldn’t be discouraged. Go for it, chaps, and may the best men lose.