Liberal and anti-Semitic meet at Bradford East

A spectre is haunting Europe – the spectre of anti-Semitism. With apology to the authors of The Communist Manifesto, this paraphrase describes the situation accurately.

All over the continent, synagogues are burnt down or covered with obscene graffiti, Jewish cemeteries are desecrated, Jews are attacked in the streets.

True enough, churches are also burnt or otherwise abused – recently I saw a fine collection of photographs depicting European churches tastefully decorated with graffiti, a pig’s head being the artistic device of choice. (That aesthetic preference also manifests itself on synagogue walls – manufacturers of spray paints must be doing brisk business.)

But this is a separate and less pressing subject – after all, since the 4th century not many Christians have been killed in Western Europe simply for their faith. The mass murder of Jews is rather more recent, which calls for even greater vigilance.

It’s hard not to notice that most outrages are being committed in countries with large Muslim populations, and indeed Christians and atheists aren’t known for expressing hatred via porcine images.

This ethnic slant creates problems for Western governments as it presents a case of clashing pieties. On the one hand, in keeping with their liberal PC image, if not necessarily out of deep inner conviction, they have to decry anti-Semitism. On the other hand, they can’t be overtly critical of Muslims – for the same reasons, and also because many parliamentary seats across Europe depend on the Muslim vote.

Yet the persecution of Jews, while growing, has not reached Krystallnacht proportions, nor is it likely to do so in the near future. The reason is simple: anti-Semitism isn’t institutionalised, as it was in Germany circa 1930s. For as long as it remains a matter of private initiative rather than government policy, Jews will only be abused in isolated incidents.

However, it’s particularly worrying when government figures make overtly anti-Semitic statements. This brings us to David Ward, LibDem MP for Bradford East, a predominantly Muslim area.

Over the last few weeks Ward has been voicing his dismay over the ‘Jewish atrocities’ in Palestine. For example, he informed the readers of his website that he was ‘saddened that the Jews, who suffered unbelievable levels of persecution during the Holocaust, could within a few years of liberation from the death camps, be inflicting atrocities on Palestinians…and continue to do so.’ Well, at least he acknowledged that the Holocaust did happen.

Nick Clegg took exception to such outbursts and chastised Ward, threatening him, if rumours are to be believed, with withdrawing the party whip. Eventually Ward offered a feeble apology, but only after stating that he and his party had ‘a difference of opinion.’

Supporters of Israel are routinely accused of equating any criticism of that country with anti-Semitism.  Some indeed may do so, but from this it doesn’t follow that no criticism of Israel is motivated by racial and religious hatred. Indeed anti-Zionism is often used as a mask, a rather flimsy one, for the sentiments associated with such publications as Der Stürmer.

In the Soviet Union, for example, where anti-Semitism was indeed institutionalised, the papers regularly featured cartoons of fat, ugly, hook-nosed Jews doing nasty things to Arabs. The offenders were drawn in the Der Stürmer style, and the readers were left in no doubt of what the real message was. Incidentally, it’s comforting to know that The Times lately has been borrowing this technique for its own cartoons, the difference being that the British are less attuned than the Russians to taking such hints.

Ward naturally claimed that neither he nor his remarks were anti-Semitic. What are they then? If they aren’t motivated by this time-honoured sentiment, then they must be based on a sober assessment of the situation in the Middle East. But this would presuppose a level of cretinism that even our MPs tend not to display.

For what the Israelis are showing is the acme of humanitarian self-restraint. The country has been on a war footing ever since the UN voted for the partition of Palestine in 1947. Arab states immediately attacked the newly formed Israel from every direction, and only by suicidal courage did the greatly outnumbered and outgunned Jewish settlers manage to defend their statehood (that’s what Ward describes as ‘Jewish atrocities’).

Since then rare has been a Muslim leader who hasn’t called for driving the Jews into the sea, which is another way of saying killing them all. From Nasser to Ahmadinejad, Muslim politicians have been screaming that no Holocaust ever took place – but it will.

And it hasn’t been just talk. In 1967 and 1973 Arab states launched full-blown aggression against Israel. Since then the country has been on the receiving end of incessant terrorist outrages. Even as we speak, hundreds of rocket are being fired into Israel, killing people and destroying the products of their loving labour.

Yet even though it’s faced with mortal danger, Israel responds with astounding moderation. Possessing the military means of wiping out all those Hamases and Hezbollahs in one felt swoop, it limits itself to isolated and limited raids whenever attacks on its people become intolerable.

Some of this moderation comes from the simple fact that Israel is the only civilised country in the region, and the methods of its enemies are alien to its very ethos. Part of it is imposed by the West, trying not to upset the owners of oil wells too much.

That is, incidentally, being penny-wise and pound-foolish. In their thirst for hydrocarbons Western governments choose to ignore that Islam is at present going through an impassioned phase. What we are witnessing isn’t just increased terrorist activities but a full-scale war against the West. Israel is our first line of defence, and yet dampeners are being put on its efforts to defend itself – especially now that the most powerful Western country has Barack Hussein Obama for president.

Be that as it may, one can’t imagine any Western country producing as measured a response to attacks on its territory. Yet here is David Ward, talking about Jewish (not Israeli, but Jewish) atrocities. Even he can’t be so stupid as not to see how feeble the face value of his ‘opinion’ is. The underlying emotion, on the other hand, is very strong indeed.

It is of course possible that Ward is at heart a philosemite, some of his best friends are Jewish, and his blatantly anti-Semitic remarks are an attempt to pander to his constituency. If so, this is a powerful argument against having democratic constituencies populated by those who are openly, hysterically hostile to every democratic principle.

Britain would be better off if a few million Romanians came here

This is one those teasing headlines that writers sometimes try on to draw readers in. A slightly dishonest trick, this, and I apologise.

In point of fact, I don’t think massive immigration from Bulgaria and especially Romania is good for us. Over the last decade Britain has already received 1.7 million arrivals from Eastern Europe, most of whom, as if by magic, settled in Labour-voting areas.

There, I’m being facetious again. In fact no magic was involved, unless you believe that Tony Blair possesses supernatural powers. Anyway, about a million out of the 1.7 came from Poland, the rest mostly from Hungary and Czechoslovakia.

A few months ago I made a purely empirical observation based on the experience of Britain and other host countries. All newly arrived communities tend to affect the crime rate, and not in the direction of lowering it. But they don’t affect it equally – a lot depends on where they arrive from. It so happens, and don’t ask me why, that there are proportionally fewer criminals among arrivals from Catholic or Protestant countries than among those espousing the Eastern rite – such as Serbia, Russia and, well, Romania and Bulgaria.

A few days ago that observation was confirmed by a couple of German politicians, who warned that every EU country blessed with a sizeable Romanian community has received, as a side benefit, a massive increase in crime, both organised and spontaneous. Drugs, prostitution, gambling, mugging, robbery, pick-pocketing, murder – nothing is excluded.

That’s partly why I’m feeling a trifle inhospitable in advance of the anticipated deluge a year from now. So I suspect do you. So, more important, do Dave and his jolly friends. Alas, just like you and me, they can’t do much about it. The EU won’t let them.

In a telling aside, our Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has suggested that it just may be possible to overrule the European Court of Human Rights over votes for prisoners, even though we would suffer political repercussions. Parliament, he said, can be sovereign on this issue. The emphasis is mine, for these three words correct my woeful misapprehension. Silly me, I thought Parliament was sovereign, full stop. Just goes to show how little I understand England’s ancient constitution.

Now Parliament doesn’t seem to be sovereign on the issue of a Balkan swarm descending upon England’s land, thereby making it both less green and less pleasant. That’s why HMG has to resort to subterfuge to limit the influx, but without getting on the wrong side of the EU.

To that end Dave called a meeting the other day and told Her Majesty’s ministers ‘to kick the tyres’ on the immigration proposals. More appropriate kicking clichés would include the words ‘long grass’ or ‘touch’, but we already know that immigration doesn’t happen to be an issue on which Parliament is sovereign.

Switzerland, on the other hand, cut its economic throat by staying out of the EU. So we can’t possibly believe all those lying surveys that place its quality of life at Number 1 in the world. That simply can’t be – staying (or getting) out of the EU is tantamount to instant penury and social disintegration, we all know that. Dave, Nick and Ed have told us so.

But it’s undeniable that such suicidal hermeticism does allow greater leeway in little matters like immigration. The Swiss ground rules are simple: do come, but you’re not entitled to any free social services, including healthcare. And the tiniest of transgressions, even if it’s only J-walking, means instant deportation with no due process anywhere in sight. No questions asked, no answers needed.

Of course acting in this manner here would be impossible, for this would run against the grain of my two favourite sets of initials: EU and PC. Witness the fact that the UKIP candidate in Eastleigh, the seat Chris Huhne has vacated to avoid a driving ban, has been made to apologise for suggesting that Romanian migrants have a higher propensity for crime than the Swiss.

The candidate Diane James simply repeated what the Germans told us, that there’s a problem with ‘the crime associated with Romanians.’ Such plagiarism didn’t go unnoticed. The Romanian ambassador called the remark ‘extremist’ and ‘unfounded’ – presumably even if true. ‘This kind of talk,’ he added, ‘is dangerous’. I can see why: if offended, Romanians may cut their supply of horsemeat (otherwise known as beef) to these shores.

A good friend of mine is a professor at a Dutch conservatory, where he has a Romanian student. The young man has a large family and knows dozens of Romanians in Amsterdam. Of the hundred or so people in his immediate circle, he’s the only one who isn’t receiving benefits. They all do some work off the books, but not so that the social will find out. The young pianist is widely regarded as stupid in the Romanian community – not seeking handouts is like throwing money away.

His elder brother put his computer background to good use by designing an authentic-looking website advertising discounted electronic appliances. Having received a large amount in pre-payments, he vanished into thin Romanian air. His victims went to the police, only to be told that such cases were too numerous to be even investigated. When the clamour died down the chap returned to Holland, where he is again receiving every benefit you’ve heard of and a few that you haven’t.

Now Britain is about to go Dutch (and German and French and Italian), while Dave and his mates kick tyres. Careful they don’t burst, fellows. If they do, it’s you who’ll be apologising to the Romanian ambassador.





The spirit of resignation is upon us

Pope Benedict XVI has announced his resignation, citing frailty of mind and body as the reason. Considering that the last resignation from the Holy See occurred almost 600 years ago, the announcement came out of the blue – or purple, if you’d rather.

Is this the kind of job one resigns from? His Holiness is in a much better position to judge that than anyone else, but comparisons with his predecessor are hard to escape. For John Paul II continued his ministry until his dying breath, even though he had clearly been moribund for a long time.

Perhaps one could argue, proceeding from an orthodox Catholic position, that since a man is called to occupy the throne of St Peter by God himself, only God can divest him of his office. Generally the deity serves the termination notice by calling on the pontiff to join him in heaven. Then again, Benedict XVI may have received a different message – that’s between him and God.

Christians of all denominations or none, adherents of other religions and even the more intelligent non-believers will miss Joseph Ratzinger, possibly the last conservative Pope of our lifetime. His conservatism was different from his predecessor’s in that Benedict clearly set out to reverse the worst excesses of the Second Vatican Council.

In particular, he paved the way to the return of the Tridentine Mass, which is sorely missed in such traditionally Catholic countries as France. Having lost Latin as their liturgical language, they have replaced it with a rather demotic, freshly minted French, which lacks both poetry and grandeur. British Catholics too have to rely on modern translations of liturgical texts, and they eye enviously the glorious scripture of the traditional Anglican rite.

His Holiness’s generous offer of the Ordinature has struck an important blow for ecumenism by inviting Anglo-Catholics into communion with Rome, but without abandoning the beauty of the Anglican mass. He was of course aware of the obstacles in the way of any unification of the English and Roman churches, and these may yet prove insurmountable. But the attempt to find an accommodation came from a noble heart and first-rate intellect.

To a greater extent than John Paul II, Benedict XVI was blessed with the mind of a philosopher, and in that he was a true disciple of St Thomas Aquinas and the earlier Fathers of the Church. For they knew that Christianity isn’t a matter of blind faith. To put it in simple terms, Christianity makes sense – it’s a religion of reason fertilised by faith.

It can’t be otherwise, for if a believer accepts that in the beginning was Logos, which could mean either Word or Reason, then he has to see his own mind as a particle of God’s. While his heart reaches out to God through prayer, his mind remains active too, rushing towards Logos and getting as far along that road as God allows.

This intellectual exertion requires essential philosophical tools, and Christianity only became a world religion when intuitive faith in Jesus Christ fused with the philosophical apparatus of Hellenic antiquity. Thereby Jerusalem and Athens came together in a simulacrum of Christ and his dual nature. By offering itself to the service of faith, the mind soared to heights it had never reached before.

If faith is an act of self-sacrifice at God’s altar, then the mind is perhaps the greatest offering, especially for people with the greatest minds. But giving one’s mind to God doesn’t mean that the believer becomes mindless as a result. Quite the contrary: God accepts the sacrifice and rewards the donor by giving him his mind back, having first cleansed it of everything extraneous, scoured it of everything dreary. Thus purified, the mind acquires the freedom it never had before, because, just as no content is possible without its form, no freedom is possible without discipline. The greater the mind, and the more sincere its original sacrifice, the greater God’s reward, the higher the mind can soar.

In the absence of such a sacrifice, the mind remains for ever shackled to the earth with its mundane concerns – the mind itself remains mundane. Thus prideful refusal to submit one’s reason to God’s is punished by a diminished power of the reason. For, when looking at the world, the mind can see so much more by rising above quotidian problems than by staying mired in their midst.

Seeking empirical proof of this, observe how otherwise intelligent people turn into blithering idiots the moment they try to argue against God. Logic comes from Logos not only semantically but also in substance – and in his own ministry Benedict XVI has given us all an invaluable lesson in how to use a particle of Logos to make intellectual mincemeat out of those who dare fight it.

His Holiness understood and preached the true nature of morality as a derivative of Logos. Even the most strident atheists will accept that moral behaviour makes sense. But this is so not because God teaches it, but because He exists. Morality only makes sense because God does. Remove God as the framework and you won’t find morality anywhere else – especially not, as Kant believed, within yourself. Looking for God inside you, you’ll find only yourself there – effectively you’ll become your own God, with tragic results not only for yourself but for society.

Benedict XVI taught this, and his poignant words will forever remain his legacy:

‘Today, a particularly insidious obstacle to the task of education is the massive presence in our society and culture of that relativism which, recognising nothing as definitive, leaves as the ultimate criterion only the self with its desires. And under the semblance of freedom it becomes a prison for each one, for it separates people from one another, locking each person into his or her own ego.’

Good-bye, Your Holiness. Sorry you couldn’t stay.

Waterboarding isn’t to be confused with surfing

For all its innocuous-sounding name, waterboarding has more to do with Langley than with Malibu Beach. It’s an elaborate torture shown with harrowing realism in the film Zero Dark Thirty.

The film uses a semi-documentary narrative to depict the protracted CIA hunt of Osama Bin Laden, designated, in the style of those Jimmy Cagney pictures, as Public Enemy Number One.

I shan’t attempt cinematic criticism, other than saying that the picture is as thought-provoking as a complex work of art invariably is, whatever the genre. Instead I’d like to comment on the thoughts Zero Dark Thirty has provoked.

Most of them revolve around the issue of torture, which the director Kathryn Bigelow handles with cold, deadpan neutrality. She doesn’t impose any moral position on the viewer, leaving him to arrive at his own. What seems to concern her more is purely utilitarian questions: Was torture used in the pursuit of bin Laden? Did it play a significant part in the success of the mission? More generally, does torture work?

The director and scriptwriter handled the underlying ethics with subtlety. The explicit moral judgment was left to the critics, who didn’t disappoint. Zero Dark Thirty became the most reviewed film of 2012 and amazingly the arguments pro and con blurred the political lines, with unlikely figures arguing both for and against.

Not that politics never came up. Conservative critics accused Columbia Pictures of having released the film in October, just before the presidential election, thereby reinforcing Obama’s sole claim to fame (apart from being half-black). The studio and more Obama-friendly critics countered by pointing out that Obama, though mentioned a few times, doesn’t even appear in the film.

That’s a silly argument. Hideki Tojo doesn’t appear in The Bridge Over the River Kwai either, yet the film is an unequivocal indictment of Japan’s wartime beastliness and, by inference, of her dictator. Similarly, for all its understatement, this film leaves one in no doubt that Obama was both decisive in sanctioning the assassination and humane in banning any further use of torture. Whether this helped his re-election is a matter of debate, but it couldn’t have hurt.

However, it’s torture that created the greatest critical disagreement, both of a practical and moral nature. In practical terms, is torture a reliable way of getting information? Was the decisive breakthrough in the hunt of Osama obtained by waterboarding?

The first question seems superfluous. Of course torture works – there are only so many electric shocks to the testicles a man can withstand. The only practical argument against torture is that the victim may say any old thing just to stop the pain. However, this is a purely technical problem that surely can be solved in any number of ways. Scopolamine? Hooking the victim to a lie detector? I’d trust the experts to figure out the way.

The second question has already been answered. Three days after the assassination Leon Panetta, CIA Director at the time, admitted that waterboarding had been used to extract crucial information in the hunt of Osama. Panetta’s successor Michael Morell admitted that ‘some [information] came from detainees subjected to enhanced techniques, but there were many other sources as well.’ Fair enough, it wasn’t just torture.

Morality does of course come into the question of torture, though not necessarily in any obvious way. When weak-kneed liberals scream that torture is indefensible whatever the circumstances, it’s not their minds talking but their emotions or, worse still, ideology.

All they’d have to do is imagine a situation where a nuclear device is hidden somewhere in central London, and it’s set to go off in 48 hours. Our intelligence services have in their hands a terrorist who knows where the device is, but won’t tell. Unless he talks, hundreds of thousands will die horrific deaths.

I’d suggest that under such circumstances, any – but any – intelligence outfit in the world would do anything it takes to make the chap more forthcoming. Electrodes, water, acid, pliers, blow torches – you name it. Whatever works. Moreover, no sane person would object to the use of torture if it can save so many lives from extinction and such a beautiful city from destruction.

Hence no absolutist answer can be given to the question ‘Is the use of torture moral?’ The answer has to be a relativist ‘it depends’. When a country tortures terrorists to protect its citizens from mass murder, torture is moral, if distasteful. If a country tortures someone whose politics it doesn’t like, just to see that look on his face, it’s disgusting. This much lies on the surface.

What doesn’t quite is the morality of institutionalised torture, the kind that’s allowed by issuing an executive decree. President Bush was as wrong to do so as President Obama was in banning torture.

Obama’s act came from ideology, both his own and his electorate’s. It’s a bit like Dave pushing through the homomarriage bill – something done not because it’s a good thing but simply to elicit a Pavlovian response from the less intelligent, or more subversive, segment of the populace. Therefore Obama’s ban of torture is unequivocally wrong – it delivers an absolutist answer to a relativist question.

But Bush was equally wrong in having allowed torture. No civilised country should have such a decree on the books, even if the unfortunate necessity to rely on cruelty has to be tacitly acknowledged. To put it bluntly, this isn’t a president’s business.

The President, who in the USA is also the Commander-In-Chief, may issue a general order, in this instance to get Osama. The mechanics of how this can be done must be left to the field operatives’ discretion. If they then go overboard, they besmirch their own reputation, but not that of their country or its leader.

Of course Americans possess this legalistic zeal that compels them to turn every technical or political issue into law – possibly because more than half of those manning their three branches of government are lawyers by profession. The hunt for Osama shows how easily this can bring the country into disrepute.

Dave’s triumph puts me to shame

Over the life of this blog I’ve said many nasty things about Dave, taking exception to just about every policy he has championed. The recent policy I found ill-advised was his fanatical touting of single-sex marriage, but the most frequent criticism has dealt with Dave’s shilly-shallying on Europe – and also his shortage of any noticeable qualifications for high office.

Following his resounding victory in a Brussels all-night squabble, all I can do is kneel, bang my forehead on the floor and keep shouting ‘mea culpa’ as loudly, and for as long, as it takes the neighbours to call the noise police.

For Dave has used his natural charm and debating strength to bring Angela Merkel around to virtue – and he has used his unbending fortitude of character to resist François Hollande’s animadversions, turning the pinko into a snivelling, bad-natured irrelevance. Dave has thus established himself as history’s greatest statesman this side of Pericles, the nation’s greatest asset and saviour, and a shining example for all aspiring politicians to follow.

Just consider the true magnitude of Dave’s triumph: by threatening to use his veto, a concept first developed by the Romans in the sixth century, he managed to make EU leaders – including Rumpy-Pumpy! – agree to a whopping €5-billion reduction in the EU budget over five years.

The clash with François is particularly significant: a third of the EU budget goes on its agricultural subsidies, of which France is the principal beneficiary. Thus François was arguing from a purely parochial position, whereas Dave proved yet again that his concerns laudably transcend purely national interests. Or indeed his own, for there’s every danger that first-growth clarets, to which Dave is reputed to be partial, will now become more expensive just at the time he’ll have to start paying for his own wines.

Five billion! That’s five followed by nine zeros, ladies and gentlemen, a huge amount by most people’s reckoning. Have you got that much in your savings account? Can you even imagine such a huge, or in Dave’s parlance ‘ginormous’, sum of money? I know I can’t, which shifts my response to Dave’s feat from admiration to sheer awe. I’m now ready to take on all naysayers, to whom I so lamentably used to belong, rebuffing their arguments that can only ever be spurious.

I can anticipate their vituperative objections based on something as trivial as maths. Lowering a proposed €913-billion budget to €908 billion, they’ll hiss in their snake-like fashion, represents a puny reduction of merely less than 0.5 percent. Since this will probably be followed by another raid on Britain’s rebate, the nasties will claim, the country will lose rather than gain as a result of Dave’s principled stand. And since the EU is known for its unwavering commitment to parliamentary democracy, the reduced budget still has to be approved by the MEPs, which is highly unlikely.

Trust those vipers always to look on the dark side, especially wherever the great statesman Dave is concerned. They refuse to see that it’s God who proposes everything that Dave disposes.

Didn’t Christ preach universal love? Yes he did. Did he stipulate that the love could be heterosexual only? Of course he didn’t. Hence Dave’s orthodox Christian position on same-sex marriage.

Didn’t Christ state that the poor in spirit are blessed? Hence Dave’s pious stance on education.

Didn’t Christ specify that his kingdom was different from, and implicitly higher than, any kingdom of this world? Hence Dave’s derision of national sovereignty.

Didn’t Paul say, ‘I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice…’ Hence Dave’s healthcare policies.

No critic of Dave can henceforth be a friend of mine. Thus I’ll live friendless in the world for everyone I know insists that Dave’s a useless, spineless, self-serving spiv. But that doesn’t matter: with a PM like Dave looking after us, who needs friends?






No Hope for Survival (NHS for short)

Several years ago I had to discharge myself from an NHS hospital after three days of receiving no visit from anyone who could diagnose my excruciating gall stones. By the time I escaped and got to a private consultant my gall bladder had become gangrenous. Another day or two in the tender care of the NHS and I would have been dead.

This monstrous Leviathan did its level best to kill me and, even though it failed, it can’t be faulted for effort. Apparently the NHS is doing much better in thousands of other cases. Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust alone is responsible for killing 1,200 patients between 2005 and 2009, which is pretty good going for just one part of one of the UK’s 86 counties.

Desperately ill people were left in soiled sheets, unwashed, thirsty and hungry. Listing the causes of death, most sources cite such neglect, but few mention MRSA and other hospital-acquired infections – or indeed the waiting lists that must have killed many people before they even got into those murderous fleapits. Neglect and infections are often connected, though not necessarily so. My mother-in-law, for example, was neither thirsty nor hungry in her Devon hospital, but MRSA got to her anyway.

The papers are full of indignant commentary on our murderous health service, and all sorts of measures are being proposed. Sending doctors and nurses to prison for dereliction of duty is among the more radical ideas, while most others deal with removing this or that glitch.

Commentators coming out of the left political field feel that pumping more money into the NHS will turn it into a model the rest of Europe will want to follow (so far no other country has). Those more conservatively minded talk about reducing administrative staffs and building up frontline services.

No intrepid soul has come up with the only true explanation for the disgraceful state of our medical care. Which is that the NHS is so rotten because it’s based on a rotten idea.

There is a good reason this obvious fact has been overlooked, and a shortage of intelligent commentators isn’t it. It’s just that the British have been brainwashed to look upon the NHS not as a mere expediency, a purely practical way of administering medical care, but as a cult.

For even an intelligent Brit to suggest that the NHS is fundamentally flawed is akin to a Muslim saying that there is a God other than Allah and Mohammed isn’t his prophet. One may question the shaman but not the bull’s head sitting atop the totem pole.

Such inordinate worship is wrong even in theory, for no administrative setup, or for that matter no man-made institution, ought to be held as sacrosanct. People are fallible, indeed fallen, which is why we aren’t blessed with perfect institutions in this world. And imperfect ones should be open to criticism, including the kind that raises doubts about their raison d’être.

The false, destructive idea on which the NHS is based goes by the name of equality. As with all modern ideas springing from such an ideological bias, when put into practice they achieve the exact opposite of their declared aim.

‘Equality’ in education means, for all intents and purposes, no education. Equality in university admissions means degrading higher learning. ‘Gender’ and race equality at work means denying employment to the most qualified candidates and thereby damaging the economy. And equality in medical care means, well, Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust.

It ought to be clear by now that no giant government undertaking can possibly succeed in anything other than shifting more money, and therefore power, the way of the state. No modern country can afford a fully nationalised medicine – not the kind of medicine that can keep up with the advances in diagnostic technology and pharmacology, not to mention a rapidly aging population.

No other European country even tries – they have all put into effect a combined system involving tax incentives, private insurance and some state involvement. As a result, they all boast much better standards of medical care than our dear NHS can even dream about – and the gap is growing wider. Yet the NHS is already the biggest employer in Europe, so what’s the plan? Make it the only one?

Like most socialist projects, the NHS is based on a lie, in this instance that medical care is free. In fact the 12 percent of our income we shell out for National Insurance Tax makes the NHS one of the most expensive systems of medical care in the world.

True enough, you go to hospital now and pay later, through your taxes. But free at the point of purchase doesn’t mean free – this impression is illusory and therefore wrong. What is undeniably true is that, if we discount the postcode lottery, the NHS provides equal care for everyone – which in essence means rotten care for all.

Socialism in general, and all its offshoots, including the NHS, is indeed about universal equality, but only of those who don’t belong to the ruling elite. It’s in fact the most self-serving of all methods of government. That’s why we shouldn’t be surprised that the administrative staff of the NHS, along with various government agencies responsible for medicine, is growing in inverse proportion to the diminishing size of frontline medical personnel.

All those directors of diversity, optimisers of facilitation and facilitators of optimisation perform the core function of the NHS – increasing the power of the state over the individual. When all those expensive doctors, nurses and hospital beds get in the way, they’re brushed aside – in essence, they’re superfluous.

Do our MPs know this? One suspects many, perhaps most, do. But if the bill to do away with the NHS were to come up for ballot, it would be defeated well-nigh unanimously – this regardless of how persuasive and well-supported the argument in favour would be.

One may get away even with voting against one’s own party. But one votes against secular gods at one’s peril.







Who benefits?

Yesterday’s vote on same-sex marriage puts a silver lining on Chris Huhne’s cloud. He can now marry his homosexual mistress and receive conjugal visits in prison.

For the rest of us, this perverse vote represents yet another outrage perpetrated by the revolting clique governing the country. It’s easy enough to see the destruction wreaked on yet another fundamental institution of civilised society, one that predates the state. What one fails to detect at first glance is any sizeable group that can feel better as a result.

According to the largest survey ever carried out, just over one percent of the British are homosexual. Of those only an infinitesimal minority wanted this abomination – in fact, many campaigned against it. Moreover, the homosexual activists who now have smirks on their faces won’t vote Tory anyway – and wouldn’t even it were the only party on offer.

Neither does the Tory party benefit in the long term. There are only so many clefts a body can suffer without falling apart, and this is one too many. Let’s be clear about it: no real Tory can possibly support a bill based on open contempt of tradition and animated by a destructive impulse.

Thus the party division on this issue isn’t between like-minded people who happen to disagree. It’s between Tories and non-Tories. Yesterday’s ballot showed that they simply don’t belong in the same party. Dave and his cronies will feel much more at home with their equally subversive mates across the aisle, while the real Tories – the majority of the party – will be able to break bread with the other lot only at an unacceptable cost to their conscience.

Our constitution too has suffered serious, possibly irreparable, damage. The very existence of the monarchy is brought into question, for there’s no longer a legal barrier to prevent a king from reigning with another man as his queen. I doubt that even Tory ‘modernisers’ would be able to swallow such an obscenity without gagging.

Dave personally is hardly a winner either. Those 169 Tory MPs who refused to support this abomination dwarf the 126 voting in favour – this in spite of disgraceful arm-twisting by the PM and his pinstriped thugs. And at the grassroots the party abhors the bill almost unanimously.

This leaves Dave not just as a lame duck but a sitting one. Most of his own party don’t just disagree with him but find him disgusting. This doesn’t bode well for his political future – in fact, it’s far from certain that he’ll even contest the next election. What’s guaranteed is that if he does contest it he’ll lose.

The Church of England, which is a key element of the British constitution, suffered a blow to the solar plexus. It did express its opposition to same-sex marriage but was ignored. Now the vote leaves our established religion in an ambiguous position vis-à-vis the government. Many clergymen express dismay that the bill went through in spite of the unequivocal disapproval by the Church and its new Archbishop of Canterbury.

They miss the point. Dave and his cronies have pushed the bill through not in spite of the Church’s opposition, but because of it. The Church, after all, is a factor of constitutional and cultural continuity, the keeper of the flame lit 2,000 years ago. This flame, if allowed to burn, would incinerate our whole political clique (alas, only figuratively speaking). The likes of Dave can get within mingent distance of Westminster only by trampling every tradition underfoot. They realise this and act accordingly.

Therein lies the answer to the cui bono question. For Dave et al are prepared to forgo any tactical advantages in pursuit of their strategic desiderata. Such trivia as public opinion, the feelings of their own party to say nothing of the rest of the country, respect for Western civilisation, a sense of responsibility both to history and the future, taste, indeed common decency can make no inroads on this lot’s resolve to self-perpetuate.

Their loyalty is owed not to the country, nor to the party, nor even just to themselves, but to their own utterly corrupt political class. Everything of value must die so that this gang may live.

Hence we’d search in vain for any positive aspect of this evil bill. It was introduced not to create but to destroy. The agents of the destruction, the 126 Tories especially, but also the 274 others ought to be ashamed of themselves. Except that if they were capable of such human feelings, they would have voted against.

I’m going to defend Chris Huhne – somebody has to

Friends and readers know that my affection for today’s politicians in general and leftie politicians in particular isn’t without limits.

Chris Huhne falls into that category, which would normally make him an unlikely candidate for my compassion, even though he is a fellow BMW driver. And yet Huhne deserves it, not because I have anything but disdain for him, but because his accusers are even worse in their hypocrisy.

For those of you who have been on a protracted lunar holiday, here are the facts of the matter. Huhne, then one of the top LibDems, was caught by a speed camera in 2003. Since he already had nine points on his licence, the offence meant a driving ban. Mr Huhne and his wife then decided that they’d pass the points on to her, by claiming she drove the offending vehicle – a popular ploy here on earth, all you moon travellers.

So far so bad. But then things got worse. In 2010 Huhne left his long-suffering, point-bearing wife for a younger woman, a lesbian who looks like his elder brother or perhaps – choose your simile – like a drag queen. That was a bad move in more ways than just aesthetic and moral ones.

For last year Mrs Huhne, or rather Vicky Price as she now is, blew the whistle on Chris and hence on herself. This self-sacrificial woman thus vindicated William Congreve who aptly observed all those years ago that “Heav’n hath no Rage, like Love to Hatred turn’d, Nor Hell a Fury, like a Woman scorn’d.” (Shakespeare said many wise things, but he didn’t say everything.)

After months of lying denials Huhne has pleaded guilty to perverting the cause of justice, resigned his parliamentary seat and in a few days will be sentenced to prison, if his judge is to be believed. His ex-wife’s trial for the same offence begins tomorrow, with her defence team claiming marital coercion to keep her out of pokey.

Now Chris Huhne’s career, indeed life, lies in ruins as his former friends and colleagues from all parties turn into vultures circling his political corpse. Ignoring Christ’s suggestion about casting the first stone, these exemplars of honesty, who have never told a lie, nor exceeded the speed limit, are braying for his blood. They want him in prison, preferably with the key thrown away.

Now I realise that perverting the course of justice is a serious offence, but do let’s be realistic. As a politician, and a leftwing one at that, Chris lies institutionally and professionally. Moreover, in the past he was a Guardian journalist, which means lying isn’t so much second nature to him as first.

Expecting high standards of probity from him is like expecting vegetarianism, or clean language, from Gordon Ramsey. Such an expectation says more about his critics than about Chris himself. Still, ridding Parliament of his toxic presence has to be a good thing, especially if Nigel Farage stands for the seat now vacated. But a custodial sentence? This raises the question first asked in Griboyedov’s play Woe to Wit: ‘And who are the judges?’

(Note to West End producers: this play, along with Gogol’s Inspector General, is the best comedy this side of Shakespeare or, arguably, Molière, and yet neither has been performed in the 25 years that I’ve lived in London.)

Let’s keep things in perspective, shall we? Huhne’s transgression is undoubtedly a bad thing to do. But those demanding that he be punished to the full extent of the law are exactly the same people who see nothing wrong with burglars getting off scot-free. They are the same fine legal minds who claim that prison doesn’t work. Their arguments are as common as they are spurious:

Prison doesn’t make people better. Do they think that Huhne, on the other hand, will emerge from the clink as perfect and squeaky-clean as his critics obviously are?

Prison doesn’t deter. Do they think that in this instance it will? That people will never go over the speed limit, nor lie about it if they do?

Prisons are overcrowded. Does this also apply to those who lie about speed violations or just to muggers, burglars and hooligans?

Prison turns inmates into worse criminals than they were to begin with. Do they think Huhne will come out wistling a merry tune?

Perfect people in politics and journalism, forgive Chris Huhne for falling short of your impeccable moral standards. Make up your mind on the efficacy of custodial sentences. And for goodness sake, realise that a self-made millionaire is entitled to the same mercy as the tattooed plankton for whom, according to your animadversions, prison doesn’t work.














USA and Bulgaria unite against Dave

According to America’s VP Joe Biden, Dave’s vague promise – well, a hint at the contingent possibility of a promise – of an EU referendum puts in jeopardy world peace, prosperity and security.

According to Bulgaria’s Foreign Minister Nikolai Mladenov, Dave’s obliquely expressed reluctance to greet with open arms another million Balkan immigrants puts in jeopardy any chance of an EU compromise that’s supposed to precede the vaguely promised  referendum.

If I were Dave, I’d consider the sources and wonder what I’m doing right. It’s also worth pondering the likelihood that the pincer attack on Britain was coordinated.

I wonder where Joe Biden got this idea? Could it be that he’s again talking to Neil Kinnock, whose speech he famously plagiarised during his own run for US presidency? Show me a man who has to depend on Kinnock for his mots justes, and I’ll show you a man whose IQ resides way down south. Surely such a man couldn’t have come up with the usual federastic arguments on his own, without help from someone who knows the mantra by heart?

Actually, I forgot. Joe has just had talks with Angela Merkel and François Hollande who must have given him the script and taught him how to read it properly. ‘Nein, Joe, Sweden and Switzerland are not ze same country. Nicht! And neither are Slovakia and Slovenia, you dummkopf. And don’t forget to tell David zat a referendum ist ausgeschlossen.’ ‘Angie a raison, Zho, but no? She eez une femme very intelligent and very, comment vous dites? sexee.’

It’s also likely that Joe’s proximity to the original source of his wisdom involves a degree of separation. Its name is Obama, who has already enunciated all the same objections in several telephone conversations with Dave. One way or the other, no dummy can talk without the help of a ventriloquist.

‘We believe,’ says Biden, ‘that the United Kingdom is stronger as a result of its membership.’ Exactly how? By having to comply with business-stifling red tape? By destroying its own fishery industry? By having culturally alien laws stuffed down its throat? By having most power removed from its ancient parliament? By not being able to keep millions of immigrants away and off our welfare rolls?

And it takes a mind even more decayed than Joe’s to aver that the EU ‘makes critical contributions… to prosperity.’ How does it do that, at this time particularly? By pegging all eurozone currencies to the mark, thereby perpetuating Germany’s dominant position in Europe and suffocating competitiveness all over the continent? By laying trillions in cheap money on the less prosperous countries and thus ruining them with debt?

‘That is our view,’ says Biden. Fine, Joe, that’s your view. Just keep it to yourself, will you? You’ll look more intelligent that way. And don’t talk to Angie and François too often; it’s not good for you.

As to Mladenov, he comes across as God sending all those plagues on Egypt. ‘If this debate [about keeping the number of Balkan arrivals down ever so slightly] continues the way it’s heading, it will definitely dampen the enthusiasm for cooperation between the two countries,’ he warns in his good English learned at King’s College, London.

I realise that the prospect of Bulgaria’s ire must have every Briton quaking in his boots. On the other hand, tighter immigration quotas, coupled with more rigid admission standards at King’s College, might keep at bay some of the more undesirable elements disgorged by Eastern Europe.

What Mladenov is actually threatening isn’t just Bulgaria’s displeasure but her potential refusal to support the EU compromise so dear to what passes for Dave’s heart. It’s amazing how the gentlest hint at the very distant possibility that Britain might want to reclaim some of her sovereignty brings all those bullies and blackmailers out of the woodwork.

I think both Biden and Mladenov should apply for a remedial course at the Neil Kinnock Academy for Fine Rhetoric. It’s a good finishing school for those who’ve already matriculated at the Angie and François School of Bullying.

What a shame we no longer have a Prime Minister capable of standing up to such people.


Why are our ministers suddenly so passionate about same-sex marriage?

This question is particularly puzzling because every answer hitherto provided fails to convince. After all, there’s every indication that this perverse bill was concocted recently and all of a sudden – with nary a hint of it in the Tory electoral manifesto.

So why this sudden outburst of enthusiasm? Why would even such a reasonably intelligent man as Education Secretary Michael Gove turn into a blithering idiot when the subject comes up?

He himself is happily married, Gove explains in The Mail, which proves that marriage is good. This is the short summation of several emetic paragraphs pitched at a level that would embarrass even an average writer of soap operas.

In a bit of a non sequitur, Gove concludes that hence allowing homosexuals to marry would uphold the goodness of this institution. Therefore, he writes, ‘I believe that marriage should be defended, supported and promoted in every way.’

In every way, Michael? How about allowing inter-species marriage? Or one between siblings? Mother and son? Surely Gove is intelligent enough to realise he’s talking nonsense. Before ascending to government, he would have known that, rather than upholding the institution of marriage, this outrage is destroying it. One gets a sneaky suspicion that Gove takes his cue from Dave’s Iago whispering in that poisonous way of his, ‘Want to stay on the front bench, Othello?’

But why has Dave himself suddenly jumped on this hobby horse? One explanation being bandied about is that homomarriage is for Dave a matter of conscience, of deep inner conviction. This is frankly risible.

On any other political issue Dave’s conscience is entirely shaped by focus groups – which is another way of saying he hasn’t got one. But in this instance, not just focus groups but also desperate pleas from Tory chairmen all over the country show that the bill is going to rend the party asunder. At least 20 percent of traditional Tory voters are now saying they’ll switch as a result; at least 180 Tory MPs will, according to The Telegraph, refuse to vote in favour.

Given the mood of the country, the state of the economy and his standing in the polls, Dave’s touting of homomarriage suggests a craving for political suicide, a tendency our power-hungry PM has never manifested before. So why is he pushing his party in this counterproductive direction? Is it perhaps – and this is pure conjecture – because someone is pushing him?

To shift gears, as it were, two years ago HMG was seriously mooting the possibility of increasing our motorway speed limit to 80 mph. After a brisk and unresolved debate in the press, the idea faded away. But why did it come up in the first place? After all, the measure is sensible, which fact alone ought to have nipped it in the bud, long before any public discussion.

It occurred to me then that the only reason HMG wasted its valuable time on this proposal was that it wished to harmonise UK speed limits with those on the continent, where they are generally higher than ours. In other words, it was the EU that put this, uncharacteristically sensible, idea into Dave’s shell-like.

Could it be that Dave’s newly found passion for destroying the institution Michael Gove holds so dear also has the same origin? Please say it’s not so, Dave. Please say the EU can’t yet tell a British PM to commit political hara-kiri (and do untold damage to his country in the process) just like that.

Alas, both the nature of the bill and its timing lead inexorably to this melancholy conclusion. After all, the same bill was introduced in France just two months ago. That brought hundreds of thousands of protesters to the streets of Paris, but we don’t do this sort of thing – we’re much too civilised for that. We just bend over and take it… oops, wrong phrase, sorry.

In Germany, same-sex couples enjoy every right of marriage, including that to adoption, and in Hamburg homomarriage is already legal. Belgium, Holland, Iceland, Norway, Spain, Sweden allow homomarriage, and most other EU members are inexorably moving that way.

I’m guessing here, but could it be that Dave’s sudden and otherwise inexplicable change of heart was dictated by Brussels? The EU already provides 80 percent of our new legislation, so why not this one? No reason at all.

Another bit of circumstantial evidence comes from German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, on whose silly article in The Times I commented this week. Guido is in a didactic mood these days, and Britain isn’t the only country he feels he has to hector.

The other day he attacked the Russian ambassador to Germany Vladimir Grinin over Russia’s proposed bill to outlaw homosexual propaganda. Germany, pontificated Guido, feels that the offensive legislation would aggravate European-Russian relations and would also damage Russia’s image in Europe.

I’d suggest that if this criminal state still enjoys a good image in Europe, and Guido is a self-declared friend of Russia, then something is wrong with Europe. Routine murders of political opponents, a police force that not so much fights crime as perpetrates it, widespread torture, corruption from top to bottom, international money-laundering on an epic scale, abject poverty of most people, curtailed freedom of the press – surely these should already have got Russia into Europe’s bad books?

But no – it’s Russia’s attempt to ban Gay Day parades that has piqued Guido’s ire and, it has to be said, led him to a most undiplomatic outburst. One may detect a personal animus there, and one wouldn’t be wrong.

Like Michael Gove, Guido is a happily married man, the difference being that he is married to another man, Gove’s namesake Michael Mronz. One just wonders how he introduces his other half at diplomatic receptions. ‘This is my husband’? ‘This is my wife?’ ‘This is the love of my life?’ I’m sure his Saudi and Iranian counterparts would be all smiles.

But such prurient musings aside, it’s clear that the EU is in the middle of a homomarriage offensive. Itself a convoluted contrivance, it naturally detests, and wishes to compromise, all institutions that predate the Treaty of Rome. And if Germany sees fit to lecture a country lying outside EU jurisdiction, it’s not hard to imagine how the arms of EU members are being twisted all over the place.

Is this what lurks behind Dave’s favourite bill? I don’t know. But it’s highly likely, wouldn’t you say?