Down with Lenin

Yesterday almost a million protesters (by their own calculation) or a few hundred of them (if you believe Russian TV) flooded Kiev in the biggest demonstration yet.

Laudably, they shouted their yearning for freedom from Russia. Lamentably, they screamed their desire to join the EU.

Amid building barricades, clashing with the police and what have you, the protesters pulled down a Lenin statue and decapitated it to the chorus of “Yanukovych, you’re next!”

There’s an obvious moral difference between beheading a stone sculpture and a living person, but one suspects that Yanukovych was more concerned with the practicalities of the matter. Time to do a runner, I’d suggest. I’m sure there’s a nice Moscow flat being furnished to his taste even as we speak.

Moscow, and indeed all of Russia, is a place still adorned with innumerable statues of Lenin. The first leader of all progressive mankind points to the horizon with one outstretched hand, while clutching a workman’s cap in the other.

One hand says ‘You’re on the right track, comrades’, while the other hints at the great man’s belonging to the united proletarians of the world. The claim was slightly tenuous, considering that Lenin came from a gentry family, but we must realise that the Bolsheviks defined as a proletarian anyone who was one of them, either as a card-carrying member or at least as a supporter. The person’s CV didn’t really come into it.

Lenin’s mummy still lies in its Red Square ziggurat, relics supposed to draw pilgrims from all over the world. Lately, there have been few of those, but such things can change. Putin and his gang certainly hope so.

That, however, is par for the course. What I find amazing is that whenever even a conservative Western commentator, especially one who hasn’t devoted much time to studying Soviet history, comes up with a roll call of evil, it’s usually only Stalin who’s selected to represent the Soviet Union alongside Hitler, Mao and Pol Pot.

That’s most unfair to the memory of the great man who, according to Soviet mythology, dearly loved children. That may have been, but Lenin definitely hated grown-ups.

To express such feelings, Lenin comfortably outscored all other twentieth-century monsters in murder rate, though because of his brief tenure he fell short of matching the absolute numbers of Stalin and Mao.

Lenin, it has to be remembered, drew up the blueprint for acquiring and holding on to power. This was followed by practically all modern revolutionaries, from Lenin’s contemporaries to ours.

That’s why the great man must also be credited with murders he committed vicariously, not just those for which he was directly responsible.

This isn’t to deny that the latter category is quite impressive by itself. There were almost 2,000,000 judicial executions in the first five years of the Soviet regime, on Lenin’s watch, plus untold and uncounted millions of extra-judicial ones, most of them murdered without even a travesty of justice for no wrong-doing other than belonging to a wrong class or believing in God.

Coming up with a precise number is difficult for records were either not kept or are still classified. Prof. Rummel made a good fist of it in his seminal studies Lethal Politics and Death by Government, in which he used demographic analysis to arrive at a figure of 61 million murdered by the Bolsheviks, at least a third of them in the five years of Lenin’s rule.

To this must be added 10 million victims of the Civil War Lenin unleashed to convince a reluctant populace that paradise on earth had arrived.

Lenin must also be credited with the technique of didactically starving to death those who are slow to see the light. About 7,300,000 died of starvation in the 1921-1923 famine, half of them by intentional democide, half as a result of Lenin’s catastrophic agricultural policies.

The great humanist was also in tune with modern atheism, except that he tended to express his innermost beliefs more forcefully than even Richard Dawkins.

More than 40 thousand priests (and 10 times as many parishioners) were murdered in all sorts of horrific ways while Lenin was still alive (I’ll spare you the details). Bolshevik gangs avidly destroyed the relics of Orthodox saints and, when Lenin declared the time was right, plundered church valuables.

For the great humanist the time was right when peasants in the Volga region and elsewhere were, in his phrase, “swelling from starvation” and therefore too weak to resist. But it was not all about money: Lenin never ignored the human factor.

In his secret order of 19 March, 1922, he wrote, “…removal of valuables… must be carried out with merciless resolve and in the shortest possible time. The more representatives of the reactionary bourgeoisie and clergy we shall manage to shoot in the process, the better. It is now that we must teach that scum a lesson so that they will not even dare think of any kind of resistance for several decades.”

The aspiring mummy saw the future with the clarity of a prophet. It was indeed several decades before any resistance to his brainchild began in Russia and elsewhere. It’s still going on strong enough in the Ukraine to smash a Lenin statue, though not strong enough in Russia to toss the Lenin mummy into a rubbish dump.

But it’s time Lenin be given pride of place – first place! – in the rota of murderous tyrants. If looked at dispassionately and fairly, he’d be in contention for the undisputed title of the most evil man in history, edging out Stalin, Hitler and Mao.

As a concluding aside, have you ever wondered why such ogres – thousands of them – appeared specifically in the twentieth century? This is one for later.

Mandela wasn’t exactly Jesus Christ

Wasn’t it Nelson Mandela who once said, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies…”?

No? Well, you can understand my mistake. Amid a dozen pages of gushing hagiography one of our broadsheets actually did say that Mandela taught the people to forgive their enemies. The credulous type that I am, I assumed he and Jesus Christ had somehow morphed into the same person.

However, the third day has come and Nelson Mandela still hasn’t risen. This must come as a shock to anyone subjected to the surfeit of lachrymose emotion pouring off every newspaper page.

Having lost God, modernity seeks idols, and Mandela was cast in this role while still doing time for terrorism. But all idols are false by definition, and Mandela is no exception.

It stands to reason that political idolatry inevitably focuses on figures of the revolutionary Left. I mean, who’s going to put the likeness of Enoch Powell on his lapel?

Thus the mass murderer Che Guevara still adorns the nicely rounded T-shirts of impressionable Western girls. And everywhere one goes one can still see youngsters sporting Lenin or Stalin pins, along with the ubiquitous hammer and sickle.

Nelson Mandela has arguably outdone them all. But unlike Lenin or Castro, he’s praised not for something he allegedly created (paradise on earth) but for something he allegedly prevented (hell on earth). That means the man isn’t given credit for his actual accomplishments, which upsets the justice seeker in me.

The African National Congress, led by Mandela until his 1963 trial and after his 1990 release, was a Marxist terrorist organisation committed to the violent overthrow of the apartheid government.

As such, it was similar to Angola’s MPLA that in 1975 succeeded in turning the former Portuguese colony into a communist state, complete with an ensuing bloodbath. In that undertaking the MPLA was assisted by the Soviets and their satellites, mainly Cuban and East German.

The ANC received exactly the same assistance: it was after all committed to armed struggle, and the arms had to come from somewhere. And it wasn’t just arms.

East German Stasi helped the ANC set up ‘Quatro’, the detention centre across the border in Angola. There dozens of anti-Marxists were tortured and murdered.

In the same spirit of international cooperation the ANC also received assistance from our own dear IRA. In an arrangement allegedly negotiated by Gerry Adams himself, the IRA sent its bomb-making experts to train aspiring ANC murderers, which greatly improved their efficiency.

However, the ANC didn’t just adopt foreign techniques. Some indigenous touches were added, such as the widespread practice of ‘necklacing’, whereby an old tyre was filled with petrol, put around a dissident’s neck and set alight.

All this was going on at the height of the Cold War, when direct association with the Soviets still carried some stigma in the West. That’s why any evidence of the ANC’s communist nature was routinely hushed up in the West’s predominantly liberal press. Similar discretion was afforded to the strong evidence of Mandela’s membership in the SACU and indeed its Central Committee.

At the same time the excesses of the apartheid government were gleefully portrayed and greatly exaggerated. At a time when millions were being butchered in places like Burundi or Angola, it was that, undeniably nasty but comparatively vegetarian, government that was held up as the epitome of evil (the whites ought to know better, was the underlying racist assumption). South Africa became the proxy battlefield of the Cold War.

The ANC and the SACU worked hand in glove, and most ANC leaders never denied being card-carrying communists. Mandela did, but the evidence since then collected by, among others, the British historian Prof. Stephen Ellis shows his veracity wasn’t of sterling quality.

Also, in the early ‘60s the Special Branch uncovered Mandela’s handwritten essay How to Be a Good Communist, in which the ANC leader promised that “South Africa will be a land of milk and honey under a Communist government.” This too was kept under wraps.

In his biography The Long Walk to Freedom Mandela indirectly admitted communist links: “There will always be those who say that the Communists were using us,” he wrote. “But who is to say that we were not using them?” Either way Mandela clearly supped with the devil, and he never brought a long spoon.

So why did the MPLA succeed in turning Angola into a communist killing field, with millions murdered, and the ANC failed to do so in South Africa, as it had clearly intended?

As with many pivotal historical events, the answer is timing. While the MPLA came to power when the Soviet Union seemed invincible, the ANC did so when the Soviets were going through the turmoil of transferring power from the Party to the KGB (the process otherwise known as ‘the collapse of communism’).

The Soviets otherwise engaged, the ANC wisely decided to eschew a civil war whose outcome would be uncertain and rely instead on negotiation and reconciliation. Mandela, supposedly mellowed by his imprisonment, seemed to be ideally suited to the role of peacemaker. However, in his first speech as a free man, Mandela spouted all the old stuff about class struggle.

But Leninists know that class war can be waged not only by violence but also by what Lenin called ‘legalism’ and what today would be called gradualism. An intelligent man, Mandela grasped the situation. Guns not being the realistic option, he had to become the prophet of peace.

Mandela’s credentials for that role were never questioned and he was universally accepted as the father of his country, the greatest man of our time. What followed was hysterical adulation, which is still ongoing.

Well, the father of his country Mandela undoubtedly was, but the child inherited not so much his intelligence, dignity and charisma as some of his less commendable traits.

The ANC rule has turned a safe, prosperous country into a monumentally corrupt, crime-ridden hellhole. The UN ranks South Africa second in the world for murder and assault, while she comfortably leads the world in rape.

Around 50 people are murdered in South Africa each day, which is more by an order of magnitude than 40 years ago. One in 4,000 women have been raped in the past year alone, while over 25 percent of South African men admit to rape, with half of them having raped more than one person.

Decent citizens, both white and black, cower behind walls and razor wire in their gated communities, while the cities outside are being methodically turned into slums. I suggest you visit for pictorial illustration (reference kindly provided by a reader of mine).

Regardless of his hands-on participation or lack thereof, Mandela is responsible for anything perpetrated on his watch by the organisation he led. Richard Nixon didn’t personally pick that Watergate lock either, but he deserved opprobrium.

So does Mandela – for all his supposedly fine qualities. Instead he’s being primed for sainthood but this, however, says more about our times than about him.

The pot, the kettle and Martin Bashir

It’s demonstrable that, though some lefties are also knaves, all are fools.

This doesn’t mean some of them can’t be superficially clever – many are. It’s just that if they were capable of any deeper thought, they wouldn’t be lefties.

Martin Bashir is a case in point. Mr Bashir, you may recall, was first sprinkled with star dust in 1995, when Princess Diana chose him for her cynical PR stunt… sorry, I mean her heart-rending, sainthood-conferring interview.

As she admitted her adultery, the princess’s eyelashes were flapping histrionically, which was supposed to make her look like a victim. Now a conscientious interviewer would have reminded her of the extant English law, according to which cuckolding the heir to the throne is high treason punishable by death.

But Diana had chosen her sounding board wisely. Every close-up of Bashir showed him nodding compassionate understanding with the frequency of a Parkinson’s sufferer.

That performance led to Bashir’s glittering career in America, first with ABC and then with MSNBC. It was from that job that he resigned two days ago following an outcry caused by his comments about Sarah Palin’s alleged stupidity.

By itself, questioning Mrs Palin’s mental prowess isn’t a sacking offence in the alphabet soup of US TV networks. It’s practically a necessary job qualification.

But MSNBC was in a sacking season. Just a few days earlier it had fired the actor Alec Baldwin from his chat show, following another public outcry. This was caused by the actor calling a particularly obnoxious paparazzo a ‘c***-s***ing faggot’ as Mr Baldwin was trying to swipe a dozen cameras away from his face.

When MSNBC didn’t show the same alacrity in sacking Bashir, the other half of the audience demanded that the gander be served with the same sauce as the goose. Bashir tearfully tendered his resignation.

Now what caused all this drama? Commenting on the calamitous US debt, Mrs Palin said, “It’ll be like slavery when that note is due. We are going to beholden to the foreign master.” The grammar is questionable but the economics is hard to fault.

Most of those promissory notes, £17 trillion worth and climbing, are indeed held by foreign investors and states. It’s natural to expect that at some point this may give them undue leverage over the United States, jeopardising the country’s independence – first economic, then political. Though this isn’t the only possible scenario, it’s a plausible one.

In the good leftie tradition Bashir didn’t question the substance of the argument. What caused his outburst was the use of the word ‘slavery’ as a simile. ‘Slavery’ in Bashir’s circles means only one thing: US black slavery in existence until 1863.

This can only be mentioned in the context of a retrospective apology and a promise to compensate the slaves’ descendants by affirmative action and welfare. Mrs Palin used it differently, which is a crime much worse in America than cuckolding the heir to the throne is in England. 

Hence Bashir’s reaction: “Given her well-established reputation as a world-class idiot, it’s hardly surprising that she should choose to mention slavery in a way that is abominable to anyone who knows anything about its abominable history.”

Bashir then read abominable excerpts from the diary of Thomas Thistlewood, an abominable eighteenth-century plantation overseer. The diary describes abominable brutality towards slaves, which included forcing faeces into their mouths.

“When Mrs Palin invokes slavery, she doesn’t just prove her rank ignorance,” went Bashir’s scripted comment. “She confirms if anyone truly qualified for a dose of discipline from Thomas Thistlewood, she would be the outstanding candidate.”

In other words, he thinks that thus supplementing Mrs Palin’s diet would be a fitting punishment for using the word ‘slavery’ in a seemingly innocuous context. Never mind the denotation – the connotation reigns supreme.

Not having had the pleasure of meeting Mrs Palin, I’ll refrain from commenting on her intelligence or education. Nor shall I rebuke Mr Bashir for being nasty to her: she’s a politician after all. I shall, however, comment on Mr Bashir’s own intelligence and education, which on this evidence are both in short supply.

This may come as a surprise to him and most of his viewers, but slavery has existed for most of the 5,000 years of recorded history and – to the extent that there can be any significant history outside the United States – not just in America.

Yet slavery in, say, Hellenic and Christian times, specifically in America, are two different institutions. Christianity preaches the ultimate equality of all human beings. Therefore even nominally Christian slave owners had to believe that slaves were less than human, as proved by their being racially different.

Denials of the slaves’ humanity can be found in the writings of many Founders, especially those like Jefferson and Madison, who were themselves Southern slave owners. This, however, was a specifically American phenomenon, and revolting it was too.

Yet a slave in Greece or Rome was an institutional inferior of his owner, but a metaphysical equal. Usually the master and the slave were the same race, often the same nationality, and the status didn’t carry any particular stigma. It was common, for example, to sell oneself into slavery by way of declaring bankruptcy, and this form of bondage persevered throughout the Middle Ages.

Mr Bashir was clearly unaware of this when he offered his dietary regimen to Mrs Palin. Yet had he prevented his knee from jerking, he would have realised that she probably wasn’t suggesting that in a couple of generations Americans would be eating faeces in a cotton plantation.

She was clearly talking about slavery in its non-American sense, that of economic bondage. Interpreting it the Bashir way testifies only to his own ‘world-class idiocy’ and ‘rank ignorance’. But let’s not be harsh on the poor lad. He does have to make a living in the ‘liberal’ media.


P.S. Nelson Mandela still hasn’t risen, but I’ll keep you posted.


British hero redefines courage

In 1930 the RAF pilot Douglas Bader crashed and lost both legs. In spite of that he fought during Germany’s previous attempt to unite Europe, scoring 20 victories. To this day Bader is held up as a paragon of courage.

Not that bravery is no longer needed. In fact, our soldiers dying in Afghanistan show that heroism never goes out of fashion.

However, the definition of heroism has been stretched to become lamentably loose. Nor is it so much the likes of Bader who are these days supposed to embody this virtue.

Instead it’s the 19-year-old Olympic diver Tom Daley whose death-defying bravery is being praised high and wide. Daley neither fought in Afghanistan nor entered a burning house to pull his granny out. He didn’t even use his primary skill to dive off a bridge to save a drowning child.

What’s drawing the effusive accolades is Tom’s YouTube video in which he heroically admits that he’s ‘dating’ another man. His female admirers needn’t despair though, for young Tom leaves the door open, if only ajar. “I still fancy girls,” he allows generously.

However, he has finally found happiness with ‘a guy’, which came as ‘a big surprise’ to him. It has to be said that the surprise is rather less earth-shattering to anyone who has ever seen Mr Daley or heard him talk, but that’s beside the point.

Truly emetic are the effusive panegyrics all over the press, praising Daley for his ‘courage’, ‘bravery’, ‘heroism’ and a thesaurus full of other synonyms for gallantry. Those RAF pilots have been overshadowed by a 5-minute video that has now received close to 5,000,000 hits.

By far the most intellectually unsound and morally reprehensible praise came from Matthew Parris, the acknowledged master of the genre. Granted, this hack is eminently capable of uttering rubbish on any subject. However, when he feels personally involved he outdoes even himself.

Writing in The Times, Mr Parris admits to having watched the video “with a mixture of admiration and envy”. The admiration part is self-explanatory, this is what courage is supposed to elicit. The envy comes from the retrospective regret that Mr Parris himself had to wait until a more mature age before admitting the rather self-evident fact that he too is what used to be called a ‘confirmed bachelor’.

Tom Daley’s coming out apparently confers some belated courage-tinted glamour on Mr Parris himself. He wastes no time in enlisting Tom as an ally in their common battle against “the forces of intolerance”.

These forces are as devious as they are ghastly: “they have switched the grounds of their attack… from ‘How dare you?’ to ‘Who cares?’

“After centuries of saying… it’s a mortal sin… the forces of intolerance now realise they’ve lost that battle. But they haven’t stopped hating, and their new cry is this: ‘Why don’t you just shut up about it?’”

The hating bit is indeed a problem, but not to worry. Paranoid delusions can these days be controlled with medication, so there’s hope for Mr Parris yet.

As to the putative question, I must admit it has crossed my mind as well. Nobody really cares and, at least in the rarefied atmosphere of Mr Parris’s life, few ever have.

He himself admits it: “The Foreign Office never asked. MI6 never asked. The Conservative Research Department never asked. Derbyshire Conservatives… never asked. London Weekend Television never asked.”

They didn’t ask because they didn’t care, not because Mr Parris’s sexuality was ever hard to guess. People only began to care when homosexuals began to wear their proclivity on the sleeve as a badge of honour, insisting that society accept them on their own terms. This occasionally encourages people to remind them that, as it ever was, homosexuality is indeed a sin, though far from the worst one.

Adultery, for example, is a worse sin than homosexuality, and every believer I know hates it. However, I have yet to meet anyone who hates either adulterers or homosexuals – indeed having such strong feelings may consign one to a life of resentful solitude.

“Hate the sin, love the sinner”, is how St Augustine put it. In the ethos in which this word has any meaning at all it’s assumed that God will forgive any sin if sincerely repented.

It’s only when the sinner doesn’t repent and moreover insists that there’s no such thing as sin that decent people become uneasy. But such nuances escape the likes of Matthew Parris. ‘Sin’ for them is merely a figure of speech used to mock anything disliked by ‘the forces of intolerance’.   

“So ‘parade’ it – and damn the consequences. Daley has found the courage to do that. I wish I had,” concludes Mr Parris.

Notice the reference to ‘full speed ahead and damn the torpedoes’? One wonders what sort of torpedoes Mr Parris fears might sink Daley. It’s not as if diving were a sport like rugby, where machismo is an essential part of the package.

Greg Louganis, the greatest diver ever, had four gold Olympic medals to his name, compared to Tom’s solitary bronze. Yet Greg not only heroically declared his homosexuality 18 years ago but also owned up to having courageously become HIV-positive.

This hasn’t prevented him from having a profitable career, publishing several successful books and appearing regularly on TV. Earlier this year he outdid Tom’s heroism by marrying another man.

Neither is Tom’s courage going to lose him lucrative sponsorships with Adidas and Nestle. It won’t scupper his TV reality show Splash – in fact his heroism, purely by chance I’m sure, coincided with the launch of its new series.

So yes, I do wish he – and especially Matthew Parris – ‘shut up about it’. That would enable them to save words like courage and heroism for situations where they truly belong.






France’s war on tolerance

How can that be, I hear you ask. After all, didn’t France narrowly beat Britain to the legalisation of same-sex marriage? How much more tolerant can a country be, this side of legalising interspecies marriage, necrophilia and political conservatism?

Moreover, France still has François Hollande as her president, and if that isn’t proof positive of unbounded, nay suicidal, tolerance, then what is?

Add to this the country’s good-natured acceptance of German domination, otherwise known as European federalism, and what further evidence of tolerance can one possibly want?

All these are perfectly legitimate questions, and you’re right – France, along with just about every other Western country, could rival Sodom and Gomorrah for upholding the world’s highest virtue, as identified by mankind in the last few years.

So it’s not tolerance as such that France’s National Assembly is about to criminalise but ‘houses of tolerance’ (maisons de tolérance), so called since the time of Napoleon. These are otherwise known as maisons closes, bordels or, in English, brothels.

And it’s not just brothels. It will become illegal to offer money for sex altogether, though apparently not to receive such payment. That deprives this time-honoured transaction of its bilateral nature, making one wonder how a payee can exist without a payer. But then I don’t claim any expertise in making sense of French (or any other) law.

The law first introduced years ago and last refined by Sarkozy in 2003 only banned solicitation (racolage), including passive solicitation (racolage passif). This was defined rather broadly, encompassing for instance such egregious offences as wearing revealing clothes in public.

One has to compliment the French, however, for enforcing this law with characteristic Gallic laxity. This is evident to anyone who has ever sat in a Paris café on a balmy summer evening, watched female newscasters on French TV or seen Mme Sarkozy on a night out with her fellow pop stars.

I’m not suggesting that any French woman, or certainly Mme Sarkozy, sporting a neckline plunging to her navel is out to turn tricks. All I’m saying is that such laws leave too much room for subjective interpretation to be taken seriously.

London, for example, is full of Russian girls, most of them on student visas, who all seem to have legs at least a foot longer than I remember from my time in Moscow. These young beauties live high on the hog by choosing exclusively the kind of boyfriends who can buy them £100,000 pieces of jewellery, £15,000 handbags and £1,000 bottles of bubbly.

The potential suitors are vetted for their fiscal suitability and discarded if they don’t qualify – or after they’ve been squeezed dry or at least drier.

Usually no folding stuff changes hands, so legality is scrupulously observed. As to the morality of it, I’m not sure how this sort of thing is superior to a French girl charging €300 for an hour of her time (I’m guessing at the actual amount, as I hope you and my wife realise).

Actually, a ‘French girl’ is a double figure of speech. About 90 percent of France’s 40,000 prostitutes are of foreign origin, mostly African and Eastern European.

And 15 percent of them are, well, not girls. Thus the proportion of male prostitutes is roughly 10 times the proportion of homosexuals in the male population, suggesting that homosexuals either have a more loving nature than straights or else are less discriminate in how they express it.

Now that we’ve entered the realm of numbers, Germany has 400,000 prostitutes, 10 times the number of France. When the Germans become more sexually permissive than the French, you know it’s the end of the world.

Actually, if I were to ban prostitution anywhere, it would in Germany, Holland and other Protestant countries where it’s practised in a particularly sleazy way. France, on the other hand, has always added a touch of naughty elegance to that ancient institution, as anyone can agree who has admired canvases by Toulouse-Lautrec, Degas and Picasso, or especially Catherine Deneuve in Belle de Jour.

Miss Deneuve, incidentally, leads other French celebrities in vociferous protests against the upcoming law. Personally, I’m not an enthusiastic supporter of prostitution, but I’d be tempted to shift my principled stance if all putes looked like Catherine Deneuve in that film.

There’s an English angle to French brothels, for they have been anointed by royal emanations. Edward VII was a regular and enthusiastic patron of Parisian maisons de tolérance, especially le Chabanais. It was there that the versatile monarch developed his ingenious multi-tier ‘love seat’, making an immortal contribution to French culture in general and furniture design in particular.

All in all, it’s hard to feel enthusiastic about any law that’s so ill-defined, unenforceable and counterproductive. Nor can one expect that French authorities will be able to put an end to an activity that has been thriving at least since the time of ancient Babylon.

My advice to French prostitutes would be to make mockery of this law by following the example of  those Russian ‘students’ in London. Eschew cash, accept a €500 case of champagne instead, flog it at a discount and Bob’s your uncle. Or rather your john.





The Ukraine should replace the UK in the EU

Apart from the obvious, if sometimes overlooked, benefit of the Ukraine lending itself to the abbreviation UK, what’s not to like about such a halftime substitution? Just think about it:

1) Britain would be better off economically, politically and socially.

2) The Ukraine would cock a snook at the Russians.

3) Putin’s imperial ambitions would be given a reality check.

4) Moving from the Scylla of Russia’s tender care to the Charybdis of the EU’s largesse, the Ukraine wouldn’t be better off. But neither would she be worse off, for the simple reason that she’s already at rock bottom.

5) Finally, the EU would be saddled with another sponger compared to which Greece would look like a self-sufficient economic giant. It’s doubtful that this abominable concoction could add the extra weight of 45 million impoverished inhabitants without its knees finally buckling. That would be wonderful news to those who agree with Point 1.

Ukrainians seem to feel the same way, which is why 500,000 of them staged a rally in Kiev, outscoring every other similar action in the country’s history. What drove them out to the barricades they instantly erected was President Yanukovych’s decision to push the country eastwards, towards Russia, rather than westwards, towards the EU.

Proffesor [sic] Yanukovych looked out of the window at the sea of fur hats filling the capital’s streets and heaved a sigh of wistful nostalgia for his romantic youth. His spelling might not have been any better in those days, but he made a comfortable living by ripping just such hats off the heads of men doing their business in public lavatories.

Oh to be young again. Life was so simple then, everything clear-cut, no room for equivocation. Grab the hat and run, secure in the knowledge that the victim’s trousers around his ankles would give the future proffesor [sic] a safe head start.

No such safety now – damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Yanukovych sighed again and declared that his heart and soul went to the protesters.

He then ordered his police, spearheaded by their special troops Berkut (golden eagle to you), to disperse the demonstrators using truncheons, tear gas, stun grenades and whatever else came in handy.

The idea was to turn Kiev into a battlefield, thus giving the good proffesor [sic] grounds for introducing a state of emergency and possibly seeking Russia’s help. And in case the protesters wouldn’t come out and play, Yanukovych produced a masterstroke.

The man has clearly added subtlety to his youthful directness. To prove this, the proffesor [sic] implanted a core of agents provocateur (titushki in Ukrainian) among the demonstrators. Armed with iron rods, rubber truncheons and Molotov cocktails, the titushki added the needed frisson to the proceedings.

So far the score is about even: 160 or so policemen have ended up in hospital, along with roughly the same number of demonstrators, including 30 journalists. 

To keep things fair, Berkut thugs have been discouraging out-of-towners from joining the fun. They blocked several roads with their lorries, thus keeping at bay Kiev-bound motorcades from the west.

Not to discriminate, they also prevented a large group of Europhiles from boarding the train at Dnepropetrovsk, southeast of Kiev. About 200 people were savagely beaten up at the station, others got the message.

The proffesor [sic] knew another declaration was in order. “I deeply condemn those who caused the clashes leading to human suffering,” he said in a bout of self-criticism.

This self-deprecation failed to win the hearts of West Ukrainians who tend to feel about the Russians the way a tree feels about dogs, and for pretty much the same reasons. Their capital Lviv (formerly Lvov, formerly Lemberg) is today paralysed by a general strike.

At the same time a group of Sebastopol councilmen sent a tearful petition to Putin, begging him to send Russian troops to the Ukraine. To be fair, Sebastopol’s link with the Ukraine is tenuous, owing more to Khrushchev’s gerrymandering than to any historical or cultural commonality. But officially it is in the Ukraine, which gives Putin a legal reason at least to consider the heart-rending plea.

The petitioners see Russian troops as the only possible defence “of the country, the Crimea’s Russian population and other regions of the Ukraine… from the US army and NATO aggressors.” Clearly they know something we don’t about US military strategy.

EU diplomats have reacted to the situation with somewhat less forceful threats, specifically those centred around trade sanctions against the Ukraine. Such actions wouldn’t unduly inconvenience Europeans, what with the unidirectional nature of this trade: the EU gives money to the Ukraine, the latter smiles seductively and promises to surrender her body to the EU’s passionate embrace.

If the EU project were about the economy, Jose Manuel and Rumpy-Pumpy would be ecstatic about averting an economic coup de grâce. But it isn’t: the project has been purely ideological from the very start.

This being the case, they grieve while still harbouring hopes that the situation in the Ukraine will become so messy that Putin will decide the mess isn’t worth the candle. “You want the Ukraine, you have her, see if I care,” they hope he’ll hiss.

My sentiments exactly, for reasons 1-5 above. However, one fears that even if the Ukraine is allowed to join the EU, the UK won’t be allowed to leave it. In that case the Ukrainian mess will become ours.









Glasgow and Dublin: twin disasters

First, a police helicopter crashed into a Glasgow pub on Friday, burying a number of people under the rubble and killing eight.

Then, in a parallel catastrophic development, the Church of Ireland consecrated its first woman bishop on Saturday.

While mourning the victims of the Glasgow tragedy, we may still rest assured that this is a one-off incident. To the best of my knowledge, no police helicopter has ever flown into a pub before, and one can confidently predict that this is unlikely to happen again.

Alas, the same can’t be said about the Dublin tragedy. Anglican churches around the world have consecrated 26 other women bishops, or will shortly do so. And what with the High Anglican end of the Synod having removed its objections, the Church of England will soon find itself on the receiving end of the same disaster as well.

Stretching the parallel even further, practically to breaking point, pub crawlers anywhere are unlikely to abandon their chosen pastime, assuming correctly that the odds are in their favour.

Conversely, it’s not immediately obvious how orthodox Christians can in all conscience remain in the Anglican Church. It’s not that they would be leaving the Church – it’s that the Church has left them.

The Church’s back won’t stay in one piece after the thudding, crashing impact of this last straw. If it does, this will only go to show how little the English value Christian doctrine.

As it is, Anglo-Catholics have to travel miles in search of a congregation eschewing crass translations of liturgical texts in favour of the ineffably beautiful and uplifting KJB and the Prayer Book.

As it is, many of the 39 Anglican articles are unacceptable to any orthodox Christian for being downright Calvinist.

As it is, orthodox Anglicans can’t pick up a newspaper without reeling from yet another blow delivered to their sensibilities, be it female vicars blessing same-sex couples, cathedrals kindly offering their premises as sites of raves, prelates mouthing bien pensant PC drivel or other prelates referring to the Incarnation and the Resurrection as figures of speech.

As it is, one finds it hard to see how the Church of England, what with its three different sub-divisions at odds with one another, can legitimately be described as a true Church rather than so many separate congregations with few visible ecclesiastical links among them.

What has happened now is a blatant declaration of contempt for 2,000 years of Christian tradition. And the declarers can’t even claim, as Luther and Calvin did, that they are being guided by the Holy Spirit.

They openly and proudly admit that their sole guide is our soulless, atheist, anomic modernity with its kaleidoscopically changing fads. “The Church has to adapt to the times,” is how they put it. They may be confusing the Church with the retail industry or perhaps high fashion.

If they believe, as one suspects few of them do, that the Church stands for the eternal truth, then it mustn’t by definition adapt itself to secular toing and froing. Quite the opposite, it must repeat ad infinitum that the secular world should adapt itself to the eternal truth, as taught by the Church.

Protectio trahit subjectionem, subjectio projectionem (protection entails allegiance, allegiance entails protection) is an ancient legal principle. One could suggest that it applies not only to states but also to Churches.

By insisting on debauching its theology to comply with secular pressures, the Anglican Church no longer offers protection to its orthodox communicants. It thereby forfeits its claim to their allegiance.

As they leave in droves, many will do so tearfully. The sublime poetry of the Authorised Version will still ring in their minds, the intimate grandeur of Anglican hymns will still sound in their hearts. They won’t be closing the door behind them because they want to. They’ll be doing so because they have to. Or rather because they’ve been shown the door.

Some will flock to Ordinariate churches, the few there are. But even assuming that more will be created to avoid a stampede, this can only be a stopgap measure, lasting one generation at best.

The illusion of becoming Catholic while somehow remaining partly Anglican is comforting, but it’s an illusion nonetheless. Small lexical differences will soon be overridden by the practically identical liturgies of Anglo- and Roman Catholicism, and youngsters will see little point in the Ordinariate as they grow up.

It’s really there to smooth the transition for older people, those who were baptised in the Church of England all those years ago and who have now been discarded by it. But even as they try to cling on to fragments of the Anglican rite, they will no doubt embrace Catholicism unequivocally and unreservedly.

They will be guided by Matthew 10: 14, stubbornly remembered in the lovely King James Version: “And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.”

The victims of the Glasgow disaster, RIP. Anglo-Catholicism, ditto.