Machinegun the tents

Sorry, this headline is just a cheap trick to catch your attention. I’m not suggesting the tents outside St Paul’s or Westminster Hall should be shot up, although the idea isn’t without some theoretical, purely aesthetic attraction. But in practice not only such a measure would be inhuman, but, as the Americans prove, it is also unnecessary. The other night New York’s finest, taking their cue from similar actions in Oakland, California, and Portland, Washington, managed to wipe out their own obscene eyesores without resorting to anything heavier than batons, floodlights and pepper spray. In the end, they didn’t even have to use the spray.

But then of course they didn’t have to worry about Vince Cable and the Archbishop of Canterbury telling them, as they tell us, that the tent dwellers have a point. Which point is that, other than that of those scrofulous youths being as feeble of mind as they are infantile of emotion? Contextually, it has to be that capitalism is to blame for our present misfortunes. Therefore we must have no, or at least less, capitalism and more, much more, socialism. How much more, exactly? At present HMG spends close to 50% of our GDP, about 75% in the Celtic fringe. Should it be as high as in Stalin’s Russia (85%)? Higher? But there such tents really would have been machinegunned, with all the dwellers’ families shipped off to concentration camps. Would the St Paul’s youths take this kind of rough with the smooth of socialism? Those of us who, unlike the youths, pay taxes tend to pay about 60%, all in. Should it be 100%? But then, if Arthur Laffer is to be believed, as in this case he should be, no one would work and HMG would get no revenue at all. Even the 50% marginal tax rate has produced a loss of revenue, though Vince thinks it ‘sent an important message’. The same message, one supposes, as that sent by the tents.

It isn’t capitalism but socialism that’s the immediate culprit in our current plight. Specifically, it’s the morally corrupting and financially unsustainable levels of public spending, promoted by our spivocrats. Ever since they discovered the trick of buying their votes with our money, there has been no stopping them. The calculation is simple: in the absence of moral restraints that can in the West only come from Christianity, there will always be more non-working wealth consumers than hard-working wealth producers. So give them what they want, squeeze the producers, and our spivocrats will have jobs for life, here or in the EUSSR. And if there aren’t enough homegrown freeloaders, then we can always import millions of likeminded outlanders — salt strewn on our civilisation to make sure nothing else will ever grow again. Give them a few years to become voters, and they’ll never have to become workers. Will they vote for a party that inscribes small government on its banners? Fat chance.

That’s the real logic behind the welfare state, and never mind the mock-Christian noises about looking after the less fortunate. Those truly bereft of fortune die of neglect in our welfare state’s hospitals or freeze to death in their welfare state’s flats. We’ve always had the poor (‘the poor always ye have with you,’ went the un-PC adage of that formerly popular proto-conservative). But never in the past did we have governments that self-perpetuate by trying to impoverish the whole population.

Is that the message, Mr Cable? Is that the point, Archbishop?

After ordering the clearout of Wall Street occupiers, Michael Blomberg, New York’s mayor, said something no European politician would ever utter: ‘Given the choice between human rights and public safety, I’d choose safety every time.’ A simple message, unadorned by any ‘gosh-crikey-jolly-hockey-sticks’ twitches we find so endearing in our own politcians. I wonder if he’d fancy the job of Mayor of London. Or that of Archbishop of Canterbury. Yes I know Mr Blomberg’s isn’t a Christian, but then Dr Williams isn’t much of one either. 

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