Let Putin eat gas

Any punishment for any crime should ideally serve two purposes: properly punitive (serving justice) and deterrent (preventing the criminal from doing it again).

These days many, including some of our top judges, disagree. They think that the prime purpose of punishment is rehabilitation: improving the criminal’s character.

That’s why they routinely pass derisory sentences, claiming spuriously that “prison has never done anyone any good.”

First, this is factually wrong: throughout history, there have been numerous examples of criminals emerging after a prison term better men than before. Suffering in general is a personality builder – in fact, an essential one.  

Second, rehabilitation isn’t so much a secondary purpose of punishment as tertiary. If it happens, so much the better. If it doesn’t, well, we have prisons mainly not to improve those inside but to protect those outside.

The same logic applies to dealing with international criminals, rogue states committing predatory acts. The circumstances are different, so is the scale, but the purpose remains the same two-fold: punishment and deterrence.

Which of the two has been achieved by the sanctions imposed on Putin’s Russia, or rather on her 21 minor officials? Obviously, lamentably, infuriatingly neither.

Putin is rapidly creating a fascist state, with himself as a Mussolini-type figure, mutatis mutandis. This is clearly linked to his desire to rebuild the Soviet Union to its past glory. After all, this KGB colonel with megalomania regards its dismemberment as “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the twentieth century”.

In order to achieve this worthy aim, the good colonel needs to incorporate into Russia (or the mythical Union of Independent States, or the equally mythical Eurasian Economic Community) most of the ex-Soviet republics. Of these, in terms of size, natural resources and strategic significance, the most important are Kazakhstan, Belarus – and especially the Ukraine.

Now, since the West has every reason to believe that the past glory of the Soviet Union wasn’t all that glorious, we must do all we can to prevent the Walpurgisnacht the Soviet Union really was. After all, that charming brainchild of Lenin and other evil degenerates murdered 60 million of its own people, enslaved half the world and several times brought it to the brink of nuclear annihilation.  

This is the only context in which Russia’s action in the Crimea can be seen properly. And, as follows from their immoral, craven and suicidal response to Putin’s aggression, this is exactly the way our ‘leaders’ don’t see it.

Unchecked democracy encourages strategic myopia, with few politicians able or willing to see the world in any terms other than their next election. Since in our materialistic times this usually hinges on strictly short-term economic factors, they are incapable of thinking beyond an immediate economic gain or, as the case may be, loss.

Col. Putin has his grubby fingers on the tap controlling the flow of gas in his cherished pipeline. This is seen as Europe’s lifeblood, what with a quarter of her gas and, more to the point, a third of Germany’s coming through Putin’s pipe.

It’s the fear of the tap shutting that guides Western policy towards Russia, not any desire for justice or, crucially, deterrence.

God forbid Putin should turn the tap clockwise. Why, our heating bills would go up, with our leaders’ electoral chances heading in the opposite direction.

The very fact that this, highly predictable, type of thinking is possible re-emphasises the idiocy of depending on rogue states for our strategic resources. Every waking moment of our ‘leaders’ ought to have been dedicated to expanding every possible alternative to Russian, and for that matter Middle Eastern, oil and gas.

The only existing alternative, and no sane individual would regard sun and wind as such, is nuclear, and the most promising future (in America, already present) alternative is hydraulic fracturing.

And what do Germany and France do? Germany under the former communist apparatchik Merkel is shutting down all her nuclear power stations, France,under the socialist apparatchik Hollande, many of hers, and both are fighting ‘fracking’ tooth and nail.

This doesn’t just put a blackmail weapon into Putin’s hands, but cocks it and slips the safety off. Still, any reasonable government of any major nation would refuse to go along with the blackmailer.

Moreover, this is the kind of weapon that can backfire. Yes, as Putin has demonstrated in his previous dealings with recalcitrant neighbours, he’s capable of using the pipe as a gun barrel. If any other than derisory sanctions had been brought on line this time, Europe would indeed suffer some short-term discomfort.

But Russia’s economy is totally dependent on her exports of hydrocarbons – this would hurt her more than it would hurt us. They can’t eat their gas, and they can’t drink their oil.

Yet even minor discomfort isn’t something our ‘leaders’ are prepared to countenance.  And no state unwilling to accept some pain in order to prevent a looming disaster deserves to survive. Make no mistake about it: if Putin gets his way, our survival will become tenuous.

The mistake the West has always made towards the Soviet regime (of which the post-Soviet one is but a continuation by other means) is to believe that its party and KGB chieftains are PLUs, People Like Us.

Granted, there are rough edges here and there, and caution must be exercised – but fundamentally they can respond to the fair give-and-take of politics. We’re nice to them, they’ll be nice to us; we give, they take – then the other way around.

Any serious study of history, ideally augmented by native knowledge of the place, will tell you that this picture has nothing to do with reality. The Russians’ approach to political realities is that of take-take.

They have always treated kindness as a sign of weakness: witness the fact that every Russian tsar who attempted liberal reforms was murdered. And internationally the Russians don’t understand fair trading; the only language they understand is that of brute force.

It’s naïve to believe that slapping 21 officials on the wrist constitutes a show of such force. What it is is encouragement for the KGB colonel to accelerate his rebuilding programme.

Just think: the next on the list may be the Baltic republics, NATO members. If they are attacked and the West does nothing, this will spell the end of any resistance to international evil. And if the West does do something, it may mean war.

Historical parallels are easy to see. For Crimea, 2014, read Munich, 1938. But don’t read it at bedtime.   





It’s official: George Osborne has gone mad

The Chancellor’s severe medical condition was diagnosed at Saturday’s meeting of the Conservative party’s 1922 Committee.

The symptoms included losing touch with reality, manic delusions and illogical, incoherent ranting.

Mr Osborne displayed no such symptoms when the meeting was called to order. However, as senior Tories one by one expressed their concerns about dragging many of their potential supporters into the 40p tax bracket, George was becoming increasingly agitated.

He doodled frantically (a later inspection of his drawings revealed that his chosen subject was Nigel Farage with a noose over his neck), muttered incoherently and fidgeted in his seat.

Out of the blue, he jumped up and screamed, “People – Conservatives! – like paying taxes! They ******* love it!”

The Tory grandees present were taken aback. They exchanged worried glances and one of them said solicitously, “There, there, George. No need to get excited, old boy. We’re all friends here, what? Sit down, will you, there’s a good boy. Here, have some water…”

George knocked the proffered glass away with a mighty swipe of his forearm. The glass smashed against the wall, with shards flying all over the room.

“Sod your water!” he shouted. “I mean it! Every poll proves it! The higher the taxes, the more the punters love paying them.”

“Er… how does this work, George? I mean, I’m sure you’re right, but…” asked another senior Tory, having decided that the only way to calm the younger man down was to humour him. Several other 1922ers were surreptitiously whispering into their mobiles.

“There are advantages in more people paying tax at 40p,” repeated George.

“Are you sure you’re still a member of the Conservative party?” asked another grandee who was a bit slow on the uptake.

“I’m not!” screamed George. “I’m not the party’s member! I’m its brain!

“Paying higher taxes makes punters feel they are a success and joining the aspirational classes.

“That means they are more likely to think like Conservatives and vote Conservative.

“If they are paying 40p tax, they have a greater interest in cutting government spending because they are paying for it. All the polling evidence suggests I am right.”

A stunned silence ensued, with the MPs pushing their chairs away from George’s just in case.

Trying to keep him quiet until the paramedics arrived, one Tory engaged  George by questioning his logic. “Are you saying that paying more tax is good for the middle classes?”

“Yes, I bloody well am,” shouted George grabbing his own throat. His eyeballs rolled up and only the whites were visible.

Ignoring the impending explosion, the same Tory continued, “You cannot argue that making more people pay 40p tax is good…”

Another grandee tried to stop him in mid-sentence, whispering, “Oh shut up, for heaven’s sake. Can’t you see what’s going on?”

But the stubborn man wouldn’t be silenced. “I simply don’t follow your logic. What Conservative voters really want is the same as all voters – that is to pay less tax, not more…”

Suddenly George climbed on top of his chair and raised his right arm in the manner of the bronze Richard I outside the Houses. “You’re betraying the party, you reprobate!” he thundered.

“The people who are betraying the party are not me but those who have abandoned our roots,” objected the parliamentarian who still wasn’t getting it.

George foamed at the mouth, jumped on the conference table and tried to kick the man in the face. All those present converged on him and after a brief scuffle managed to pin him down to the tabletop.

At that point two burly young men in white coats rushed in and expertly squeezed George into a straitjacket. As he was being carried out of the room the Chancellor was singing at the top of his voice, “…frustrate their knavish tricks…”

Now, I admit that my account of the incident features a few made-up details added for colour. But the essence is true: this was exactly what the Chancellor declared at the meeting of the 1922 Committee, the inner sanctum of the Tory parliamentary party.

I’m only surprised that he didn’t develop his argument to the logical conclusion that, ergo, introducing a 100p tax on all income will guarantee a Tory landslide. Perhaps George’s illness is only in its initial stages and he’ll come round to that way of thinking later.

As to his colleagues’ stunned reaction to his insane claims, it was verbatim as I’ve described – apart from their calling for an ambulance. But then a writer must be allowed to indulge in wishful thinking every now and then.


Shock, horror: the GM industry uses advocates

Smoking kills, as cigarette packs helpfully inform smokers. For once, it’s not just scaremongering: the link between smoking and cancer, first established by Nazi scientists, has since been amply proved.

Yet no one, apart from professional pressure groups, seems to be worked up about the numerous lobbyists defending the tobacco industry in every country that has one.

Alcohol kills thousands every day, but we happily watch commercials advertising various brands that alone can enhance the joy of life. Yet apart from a few Muslims here or there, is anyone bothered? Not so you’d notice.

Cars, though not lethal in theory, will always kill people in practice. Yet the motor trade is amply supported in general-access media. Does this give you sleepless nights? Of course not.

However, the discovery that many scientists who support GM crops are actually paid by biotech companies has created a huge splash in today’s papers. Yet there is no dearth of real news, what with a major European war a distinct possibility courtesy of Col. Putin.

I’m not going to go into the ethics of it all. Suffice it to say that such advocacy is routinely used in support of all sorts of causes, including such sinister ones as global warming.

First the UN, whose role in life ranges from useless to subversive, declared that the earth is dangerously overheating, which is the first scientific discovery ever made by a political organisation. Then the UN laid grants and salaries on a platoon of scientists ready to cross their hearts and hope to die for the cause.

I suppose the way we respond to advocacy largely depends on how we feel about the cause advocated. So is GM technology as impressionistic as anthropogenic global warming? More important, is it as dangerous as smoking?

Not at all. A 2013 review of 1,783 studies dedicated to the effects of genetic modification showed not a single one that as much as hinted at any health risks.

Nor are such risks flagged by reputable organisations. Quite the contrary: the World Health Organisation, the American Medical Association, the US National Academy of Sciences, our own Royal Society all testify to the safety of GM crops.

Yet someone skimming newspaper headlines may get the impression that what’s being advocated here is OTC cyanide. But that impression is utterly false: no one has ever come up with even a hypothesis of any mechanism whereby GM crops may cause harm.

It’s not as if we haven’t had time to find out. In 2012, 16 years after GM was first used commercially, 17.4 million farmers in 29 countries were growing GM crops on an overall area 1.5 times greater than the USA.

And what do you know? While we’re still waiting for any reports of health risks, the evidence in favour of GM is irrefutable: the technology delivers greater, safer, cheaper, more profitable crops – and food that’s as safe as anything produced by any other method. There are also unique benefits.

For example, maize blight can be combated by spraying the plants with insecticide, which is expensive, time-consuming and possibly unsafe. Alternatively, adding to maize the insecticide gene derived from Bacillus thuringeinsis does the job in an instant and without any unpleasant chemicals.

Or look at rice. In 2005 a deficit of Vitamin A, mainly derived from beta-carotene, affected 190 million children, killing 250,000 of them.

The problem is that people in many poor countries rely on rice as their principal food and, wonderful as this cereal is, it’s short of beta-carotene. This potentially deadly problem can be solved simply by splicing into rice a gene of dandelion, a plant that produces beta-carotene.

This isn’t to say that GM technology doesn’t change the ecological balance at all. It does. The Monarch butterfly, for example, may die out as a result, joining about 98 percent of all the species that have ever inhabited the earth.

However, much as I enjoy butterflies, I have more sympathy for those people who die of hunger, malnutrition or vitamin deficiency. Why, I even sympathise with farmers struggling to make a living. Call me old-fashioned but, given the choice, I’d say to hell with the Monarch butterfly.

Let’s face it: every technological or scientific breakthrough changes the ecological balance almost by definition.

Agriculture, for example, is a major factor of atmospheric warming – turning the soil releases heat. Leaving arable lands in their primordial virginity would lower ambient temperature more effectively than any ban on deodorants. Of course, such a commitment to bucolically pristine nature would create a deadly famine.

Mining hydrocarbons unquestionably has adverse effects. Yet without it we’d all freeze in the dark, which effect would be considerably more adverse.

Anyone who has ever visited Pasadena, Texas, knows how awful the air smells there, encircled as the town is with chemical plants. The same can be said about any area housing such installations – yet without them we wouldn’t have life-saving drugs. When the drugs were nonexistent and the air pure, life expectancy was half of what it is now.

Not that I think for a second that any rational arguments or scientific evidence would deter either the rent-a-mob fanatics who scream ‘GM kills!’ or, more critically, those who rent the mob.

These are the same type of people, and often the same individuals, who emulate the Monarch butterfly by happily floating from one subversive cause to the next.

They are the same chaps who protest against nuclear energy, which is the only safe and viable alternative to hydrocarbons; march against ‘fracking’, which is the only way to eliminate dependency on Middle Eastern oil or Putin’s gas; clamour against river dredging that may endanger some avifauna while preventing murderous floods.

These chaps are driven not by any noble impulses but by Luddite hatred – of everything the West stands for, including scientific and technological progress. In the past they joined the communist party; now this is unfashionable, they pour their excess venom into voguish substitutes.

I’d suggest that, by poisoning the atmosphere with their effluvia, they present a far greater ecological risk than just about anything else. And certainly GM crops.







The Tories are bent on self-harm

Many complain that most of our politicians have never had a job outside politics, which is why they don’t understand the real world.

Yet the same charge was never filed against the great statesmen of the past, many of whom boasted similarly limited CVs: Burke, Canning, Pitt, Gladstone and Disraeli spring to mind. 

The problem with our politicians isn’t that they haven’t done a stint at a bank or a factory before becoming MPs. It’s that they are, with the odd exception here and there, moral and intellectual nonentities.

Because of such failings they’re incompetent even in what’s supposed to be their sole area of expertise: winning elections.

Witness Dave who didn’t manage to score an outright victory against what was probably the worst government in British history, one that, among its other similar accomplishments, had plunged the country into economic disaster.

All the Tories had to do to form a government was separate themselves sharply from everything Tony-Gordon had done. Opportunities were there for the taking – and yet Dave, the self-proclaimed heir to Blair, didn’t take them.

As a result he had to form a coalition with the party sitting to the left of Labour, which effectively did to the Tory grassroots what our neighbourhood Great Dane does to the bus shelter across the street.

Now there’s every sign that Labour are planning to fight the 2015 elections in cahoots with the LibDems, a marriage so natural that it’s amazing it hasn’t already been made in heaven.

How would you counter the leftwing coalition threatening to sweep into power and stay there long enough to destroy this country? Correct. You’d appeal to your potential support: not just the knee-jerk Tories who’d never vote for anyone else, but also the vast, expanding and vacillating middle class.

This group occupies not only the economic but also political middle ground, the territory where elections are traditionally won or lost. Though naturally gravitating towards the Conservative end, many such people are in conflict.

Their heads, buried in ledger sheets, bank statements and occasionally books on history and economics, say Tory. But their hearts, sullied by a century of socialist propaganda, say Labour.

If the appeal to their heads isn’t strong enough, and the appeal to their hearts isn’t accompanied by too foul an insult to their heads, they’ll vote Labour every time.

You’d think that the Tory electoral strategy writes itself. Make the appeal to such voters’ heads so strong that their corrupted hearts won’t come into play.

At the same time, reassure the knee-jerk Tories that the party is committed, in deed, not just word, to everything they hold dear, from traditional family to the historical sovereignty of Parliament, from sound economic policies in general to those that favour the middle 80 percent specifically.

In parallel Dave could neutralise the threat of UKIP by entering into an alliance with it. Yes, Nigel Farage has said he’d never consider this for as long as Dave remains the Tory leader, and one can sympathise with his feelings.

But I bet he’d feel differently if offered to field UKIP candidates, unopposed by Tory rivals, in a few traditional Tory seats. This would make UKIP a parliamentary party allied to the Tories, a big enough prize for them to agree not to oppose Tory candidates in other seats, especially the touch-and-go ones.

At the same time, those soft, wet Tories who require a strong cerebral appeal to vote with their heads, not their hearts, must be reeled in by sound economic policies (knee-jerk Tories like those too).

This is a fancy way of describing something so simple that even Dave should be able to grasp it. First, the Tories must be able to show how they’re going to sustain economic growth, thereby enabling the middle classes to make more money. Second, they must come up with a taxation policy enabling the middle classes to keep more of the money they earn.

Simple, isn’t it? What I’ve outlined is a strategy that has both depth (reassuring the core market) and width (appealing to the vacillating market outside the core). So what do our narrowly specialised politicians do? Exactly the opposite.

First, Dave alienated the knee-jerk Tories by his fanatical support of same-sex marriage and other inversions of traditional moral and social mores.

Then, instead of committing the country to withdrawal from today’s version of the Third Reich, he promised an in-out referendum halfway through the next parliament.

One doesn’t have to be blessed with an acute olfactory sense to smell a rat. First, many voters will see this promise as a cynical bribery attempt, contingent as it is on Dave’s return to power. Second, it’s absolutely clear to anyone – and certainly UKIP supporters – that Dave and his clique are committed to staying in the EU.

That means that, come the referendum, they’ll add every propaganda resource at their disposal to the formidable resources the EU will bring to bear. The British people will be tricked, scared or coerced into voting to stay in.

And even should they by some miracle cast an ‘out’ vote, there’s no guarantee that Dave’s government will abide by it. In all likelihood they’ll ignore it the same way the EU itself has ignored every national vote that has gone against it.

As to their economic policies, rather than mollifying the middle classes, they’re punishing them, this time by pushing more of them into the 40-percent tax band.

When it was first introduced in 1988, only one in 15 people found themselves in this bracket. Since then, inflation and state extortion have combined to make it one in six – and the new Tory proposal will make the proportion even higher.

If I believed in conspiracies, I’d feel one is unfolding before our eyes: the Tories seem to be deliberately dragging Miliband and Balls [sic] into that Downing Street terrace.

But I believe not in conspiracies but in cock-ups. Trust our intellectually challenged spivs to produce them with metronomic regularity.

The internet has no downside – but we do

Twenty-five years ago Sir Tim Berners-Lee (as he then wasn’t) invented the worldwide web, and surely its anniversary is custom-made for contemplation.

To be fair, this isn’t in short supply, as every columnist in His creation weighs the pros and cons. Yet most of the comments are one- or at best two-dimensional. The dimension they tend to lack is depth.

To say that the net has its pros and cons is to say nothing. Everything has its pros and cons, and certainly every technological invention in history.

The split atom can both heat our houses or incinerate them. An airplane can whisk people to the other end of the earth in hours – or kill them in seconds. A car can be driven onto the Channel Shuttle at Folkestone or into a crowd of grannies at a zebra crossing.

In that respect the internet is just like any other technological advance. Its pros are self-evident, and no one in his right mind will deny that the net is a marvellous tool, the kind only a bad workman would blame.

What does deserve a comment is the cons, as pointed out by hacks who are terribly confused about cause and effect. Let’s pick some perceived cons off the top.

Children acquire an easy access to pornography.

True. But then pornography has always been available – even in countries with no free press.

In one such country, an older pupil once showed an innocent 12-year-old boy a pack of photos depicting muscular black chaps copulating in various poses with overweight blondes. The boy was fascinated, yet never again sought out any dirty pictures. I had better things to do, like reading, listening to real music and hustling chess.

And had I displayed an unhealthy interest in such material, my sainted mother would have nipped it in the bud – no mercy, no equivocation, no delay.

So why don’t today’s mothers do the same thing? Just take junior’s computer away for a month, see how he likes it. Then give it back to him with the proviso that you’ll censor his viewing preferences and, if they’re objectionable, the next time he’ll have a computer will be when he’s old enough to pay for one.

The thing is that today’s parents can no longer control their tots. Children have absorbed the ambient ethos of rights, and they won’t have theirs taken away. Push comes to shove, they can do more to their parents than the parents can do to them.

For the ambient ethos has the power of the state behind it. Just like Plato’s and Marx’s models, the modern state has a vested interest in supplanting parents as the dominant influence on children’s personalities.

Denying children what others have, be it £150 trainers or high-speed broadband, is now treated as an infringement of the tots’ human rights, something that may lead to a lifelong psychological trauma.

These days no self-respecting child, actually no person of any age, can be without a trauma or two without looking like a pariah. So if a child locks himself in his room and surfs the net to his heart’s content (or other organs’ content), today’s parents are helpless.

And why would such a child watch hard porn rather then read a book (possibly even on Kindle)? Why would he play mindless computer games rather than chess? Why would he listen to oligophrenic pop rather than Bach?

Any comprehensive answer would have to be book-length, but such a book wouldn’t even have a short chapter about the internet. It would, however, have long chapters on the collapse of traditional civilisation and its replacement with our anthropocentric perversion.

A man (or, more to the point, a child) is now seen as merely a sum of his appetites and, if these aren’t instantly gratified, he’s denied his humanity. This is a much worse crime than, say, burglary, and quite on the par with child abuse.

Children and infantilised adults reduce human discourse to incoherent, vowel-less bytes of meaningless information.

This presupposes that, away from their computers, they’re able to communicate with an eloquence to do Diogenes proud. Well, they aren’t.

In fact, the net attracts the elite of our children, those who can express themselves, however badly, in writing. ‘OMG got 2CU’ falls short of the customary epistolary standards of the past, but at least the child knows his ABC. Many don’t.

The state again has a vested interest in educating children to become little savages, completely divorced from our civilisation. Only such people could fail to see through our spivs, thereby keeping them in power.

Our comprehensives are deliberately designed for this purpose, and they’re staffed with ‘educators’ trained and inspired to fail the pupils but not the state. One such, a Headmaster no less, writes in a letter to today’s Times, “For my wife and I the most important thing was…”

He and his ilk are the cause. The virtual world of the internet becomes so irresistible because the real world is run by equivalents of Headmasters ignorant of elementary grammar and paid by the state whose interests they serve so admirably.

The internet is used for ‘grooming’.

Well, properly brought up children won’t be easily groomed with the Internet. And badly brought up children have always been easily groomed without it (witness some of the on-going trials for offences committed 30 years ago.)

To say that the internet is to blame for a paedophile grooming a child is like saying that Burberry macs are responsible for an exhibitionist flashing a child in the street.

The wonderful, liberating ‘60s, still remembered with such touching nostalgia by aging cretins, managed to sexualise society without the benefit of electronic media. The tree was planted then; the internet just crates its fruit.

An so on. Poor workmen blame their tools for their botched-up jobs, poor thinkers blame the internet for our anomic, soulless, dehumanising modernity.

They’d do better to look in the mirror and ask themselves the perennial question: “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eyes, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?”

Happy birthday, ‘mote’, otherwise known as the internet. None of this is your fault. 

Dave’s speech to the Knesset raises eyebrows

My friend Dave has kindly provided the real transcript of his speech to the Israeli parliament, stressing that it’s strictly for private use only.

I can understand his reluctance to let the text seep into the mainstream media, for the shoddy research on the part of Dave’s speech writers created a rather embarrassing situation.

Mercifully, the Knesset agreed to bury the speech as delivered and replace it with the one they helped Dave draft on the spot. It’s the second version that has been released orbi et urbi, but I thought you might be interested to read the original text. In the strictest confidence, of course.

Gutn morgn, khaverim. Shalom!

“I’m so happy I’ve shlepped to Eretz Israel from my native shtetl London!

Ber mir bist du shayn, boychick, as my Yiddishe great-great-great-great-great-grandmother used to tell me when she wasn’t writing the first great book of Jewish literature after the Old Testament, and that’s what I’m telling you now: you’re beautiful!

“To begin with, let me tell you that, even though I’m part Dane, and their PM Helle is a sheyne shikse in my native Yiddish, I disagree with the Danes who say that ‘animal rights come before religion’.

“Religion for me comes before animal rights, and I mean any religion to whose practitioners I happen to be speaking at the moment.

“Since it’s you I’m speaking to, khaverim, and since I’m part Jewish, a Yiddische bocher – the better part, actually – I think that if you feel like eating kosher and practising Shechita, who’s to say you can’t already? Certainly no one who needs the Jewish vote next year.

“Eating kosher is your right, and nobody sticks up for human rights as resolutely as I do, even if it’s the right of every faygala to marry another faygala.

“Allow me to take this opportunity to say that no doubt that nudnik momser Miliband is going to talk to you soon. Since he pretends to be a Yiddishe mensch, he’ll no doubt ask you for gelt to finance his ridiculous campaign.

“All he ever does is kvetch about lack of campaign funds, especially now that even the Unions have reduced their contributions. Even though I’m part Labour myself, don’t give him a single shekel! Bupkes! He’s at heart pro-Arab, that no-goodnik, and his father was a communist!

O tempere o tsoriss, as another Jew, Cicero, once said, meaning that it’s oy gavalt when the likes of that putz pretend to be your friend!

“I’m telling you this on the emes: no one admires your chutzpah in facing up to the Arabs as much as I do – this, even though I’m part Arab myself. We’re all one happy family, mishpukhe in my native Yiddish, and okay, maybe they have the right to have their own state already.

“But you have that right too, you must keep your state, whatever is left of it after the diplomatic efforts of my friend, that’s pryyand to you, Barack and my own Foreign Office.

“As we say in my native Yiddish…

[At this point Craig Oliver, Dave’s Director of Communications, whispered something in his ear. Dave turned purple and screamed, having remembered to turn off the microphone first:]

What the **** do you mean, they don’t speak Yiddish?!? They’re Jews, aren’t they? Who the **** wrote this ******* speech?!? Don’t you ******* idiots do any research?!? So what the **** do they speak? Right, now you tell me. So get your finger out and give me a Hebrew phrase – now!!! Well, look it up, you moron! Any bloody phrase! Fine, this’ll do…

[Switches the microphone back on]

“As we say in my native Hebrew, ach-shav ani mevin. Now I understand all your needs and I’m with you wholeheartedly!”

Why socialists hate private pensions (except their own)

Actually they hate private anything, including property. That’s why we shouldn’t be surprised that Labour are promising yet another raid on private pensions – this sort of thing is encoded into their DNA.

After all, if we strip socialism of its mendacious slogans (and all its slogans are mendacious), its essence is a commitment to transferring as much power as possible from the individual to the state.

This in effect means transferring power to the ruling elite, the kind that strives to exercise total, or rather totalitarian, control over people’s movements, property, speech – their bodies and their minds.

All modern governments are united in striving for this goal, which is why at base they are all socialist. Depending on how they plan to trick their way into office and stay there, they may say different things. But they’ll all do the same things, give or take.

There’s nothing else. All that talk about looking after the downtrodden, social cohesion, equality and what have you is just a tactic designed to soften people’s resistance, turning them into putty in the state’s hands.

That’s why whenever a socialist politician talks about reducing people’s dependence on the state, he’s lying through his teeth. The greater the number of people dependent on the state, and the greater their dependence, the greater the power of the state. QED.

The differences between communists and socialists in this respect are marginal and entirely tactical. Communists can rely on a greater range of control levers, including unrestricted violence. Tautologically named  democratic socialists have to use finer tools to do the job. But the job is the same.

The main tool in the socialists’ box is financial. After all, secure private property is a factor of independence. That’s why every pound in the people’s pockets is a burr under the socialists’ blanket. Removing this irritant is their life’s work.

Pensioners are especially irritating. First, they can no longer serve the state. Second, by requiring more medical help they compromise the so-called free healthcare, one of the main control levers in the state’s hands. And third, if the state really gets up their nose, they can just up and leave for sunnier climes.

Ideally, the state would prefer to cull all wrinklies, but this worthy goal can’t be achieved in one fell swoop: enough people still have enough residual scruples to be aghast. That’s why euthanasia has to be sneaked in through the back door, wearing the camouflage of kind regard for people’s dignity.

But it’s making headway nevertheless. Euthanasia is already legal in many Western states, and assisted suicide is being talked up as an act of almost Christian charity.

Still, it’ll be at least another generation before the state is able to fulfil the vision of that great socialist George Bernard Shaw. He inspired another great socialist, Adolf Hitler, by advocating the use of a ‘humane gas’ to dispatch wrinklies who can’t ‘justify their existence’.

Meanwhile, the state has to make sure that people have less property, and that whatever they have is less secure. The main target in our socialists’ crosshairs is people of independent means, however meagre.

Independent means come about by any of the three legal expedients: earning, inheriting or saving – and pensions are by far the most popular form of saving in Britain.

Clearly the socialist state has to compromise all three to fulfil its genetic desideratum. Extortionist income taxes go a long way towards punishing earning, inheritance taxes then kick in to make sure that whatever is left after the income taxes will be extorted again.

And still, after all the state in its munificence has done for them, those truculent ingrates sometimes manage to hold on to enough pennies to make themselves independent of the state in their run-up to heaven. That simply won’t do.

That’s why, when Tony Blair moved into 10 Downing Street and even before he invited every tattooed ‘musician’ to the housewarming party, he hit the pension funds for £5 billion. For starters. Hey, first things first – that’s what government is all about, isn’t it?

And that’s why the two Eds, Miliband and Balls [sic], are planning to hit our pensions again, ostensibly to finance their harebrained Compulsory Jobs Guarantee.

Able-bodied youngsters who’ve been on the dole for more than a year will be made to work for six months or lose their benefits. The programme therefore has two prongs, both hitting the same target.

First, the state will tighten its grip on a large group of young people already in its tender care. Second, the wrinklies will be made to part with some of their nest egg and hence some of their independence. How good is that?

You don’t think that after six months of a sinecure paid by, well, us the lifelong welfare recipients will be imbued with a work ethic, do you? Of course not.

Unscrupulous employers will take the state’s shilling (or rather euro, if Labour gets in), shove their largely illiterate trainees in the corner, then let them go after six months. By that time the state will have realised that just robbing pensioners won’t bankroll the scheme. It will then either abandon the programme or look for someone else to expropriate. But the pension funds will stay robbed.

I’d suggest a much better plan. No welfare should be available to any healthy youngster of working age. You’d be amazed how quickly they’ll learn to look after themselves – people tend to survive no matter what.

The sheer mendacity of Miliband and Balls [sic] is staggering. For they espouse the pernicious, inhuman ideology that’s solely responsible for creating the army of young freeloaders in the first place.

It’s that ideology that inspired the destruction of our education, that time-honoured way out of penury. It’s that ideology that created such blood-sucking Leviathans as the NHS and the whole welfare system. And now its practitioners claim that the very same ideology can set things right.

Really, these spivs won’t have a moment’s rest until they’ve done to the country what those good socialists Anthony Crosland and Roy Jenkins used to do to each other. And you know what’s even worse? We’ll let them.














Darwin proved wrong yet again

Having examined 1,141 species of birds, researchers at the Australian National University have disproved yet another Darwinian mantra.

They’ve discovered that, contrary to what Darwin and Darwinists have always maintained, it’s not just male birds who sing their beautiful songs, but also female ones. And neither of them sing to attract sexual mates.

Yet again, when faced with the sheer beauty of the world, Darwinists are found out. 

Left out of their cold-blooded ratiocinations is something that has to be obvious to any unbiased observer: the world is organised according not only to rational principles, but also to aesthetic ones.

In many instances aesthetics comes before practicality, or even cancels it out. Not only, as Dostoyevsky suggested, can beauty save the world – beauty is the world.

Look at the peacock’s tail for example. At first sight, this is a hindrance: after all, the oversized protuberance reduces the bird’s mobility, thus making it less able to flee from predators. Darwinists explain this and many other examples of seemingly useless aesthetic characteristics, especially in males, as a factor of sexual selection.

The more striking the male’s appearance, the more likely it would be to appeal to the aesthetic sense of a female and thereby pass its own genes on to the next generation. However, this raises a question that’s rather awkward for Darwinism: whence do animals acquire their aesthetic sense in the first place?

In the case of the peacock this comes packaged with characteristics that actively hamper the survival of the species. Clearly, metaphysical aesthetics overrides physical functionality – yet again metaphysics takes the lead.

This applies to birdsong as well, which, as we’ve found out, isn’t there to chat up the opposite sex. It does, however, betray the bird’s location to predators, again jeopardising physical survival for the sake of beauty.

Or look at the geometric perfection of physical bodies. Particularly telling here is the golden section, obtained by dividing a length into two unequal portions, of which the shorter one relates to the longer one as the latter relates to the overall length.

Any length can be divided into an infinite number of portions, but only one division will produce this geometrically perfect ratio.

Modern scientists discover the proportion of golden section in the morphological makeup of birds and man, plants and animals, in the structure of the eye (which so baffled Darwin that he admitted evolution couldn’t explain it – yet), in the location of heavenly bodies, in brain biorhythms and cardiograms.

Scientists are united in their conclusion: because this phenomenon goes across all levels of material organisation, it conveys a deep ontological meaning. But science is unable to explain it, and the best that honest researchers have done so far is admit their inability to account for the aesthetic aspect of the world.

After all, aesthetically perfect shapes add nothing to the organism’s survivability and may well endanger it.

Why, for example, do cereal plants need stalks with joints arranged according to the golden section? This does nothing to make the stalk stronger.

Why do the bodies of dragonflies relate to the length of their separate parts according to the principles of the golden section? This doesn’t enable them to fly any faster.

Why do our fingers relate to the length of their joints the same way? This doesn’t make gripping objects any easier.

Indeed, if Darwin was right, and organisms evolve in the direction of greater survivability, then why do they have so many seemingly useless, and often potentially dangerous, features that nonetheless adhere to rigid aesthetic principles?

The aesthetic arrangement of nature points at a metaphysical, rather than physical, purpose. And that’s exactly what’s revealed in birdsong.

The human ear can perceive no more than 10 modulations per second. Birdsong, however, often delivers 100-400 such modulations, making much of it imperceptible to us.

The only way to hear all of it is by recording the song on a specially designed tape recorder that can slow it down when playing it back. The listeners can then be exposed to an aural canvas compared to which the nightingale, our established vocal star, doesn’t appear all that virtuosic.

 In fact, many scientists regard the nightingale’s songs as rather primitive compared to, say, the musicality of the hermit thrush (Hylocichla guttata). Played at a slower speed, his singing shows characteristics amazing in the animal world.

He often repeats the passages of his music, each time in a slightly altered version. In fact, his singing has been compared to the ‘theme with variations’ of classical composers.

The bird follows two- or even four-beat bars, and even composes harmonic accompaniment to the main subjects, singing two voices at the same time.

Actually, some of the world’s leading experts in musical folklore were fooled by a clever researcher who played the slowed-down bird’s music to them, having first identified it as the chant of an African shaman.

The musicologists were perplexed. Understandably, none of them could identify the ethnic provenance of the music. But they all refused to believe that it came from an African shaman, insisting that it could only have originated in a higher musical culture.

The current debunking of Darwin, published in the journal Nature Communications, says, “Our findings… call for a re-evaluation of the pervasive view of birdsong as evolved through sexual selection.”

The authors, of course, stopped short of even hinting at the gross inadequacy of Darwin’s theory in general. Modern science at best accepts natural selection as only one – and far from the most significant – factor in ‘the origin of species’, and surely the authors of the study know this.

But they’ve got mortgages to pay and families to feed, something that would be in jeopardy for any Darwin denier. Modernity encourages free scientific enquiry – but only if the results agree with its founding principles.

Intellectual freedom? It’s strictly for the birds.


Perfect timing: Col. Putin nominated for… you have 100 guesses

This comes from my ‘I Thought I Had Heard Everything’ department.

Col. Vladimir Putin has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize – bet you didn’t guess that. Admittedly he’s only one of 278 candidates, but I’m sure Peter Hitchens and other Western fans will agree he deserves not just to be short-listed but to win.

What better qualifications can one think of than bringing Europe to the brink of a major war? After all, every war is followed by peace, and no doubt, once the Ukraine has been sorted out, peace will ensue.

How long it’ll last is a different matter, especially since the Baltics are next, but we shouldn’t look that far ahead. What matters is now, and Col. Putin is trying to achieve peace after the minor hiccup of a war.

His selfless dedication to supplying weapons to Hezbollah and Hamaz are also ultimately directed at achieving peace in the Middle East, once Israel has been ‘driven into the sea’, to use his clients’ terminology.

If Col. Putin wins this ultimate geopolitical accolade – as Peter Hitchens doubtless thinks he should – he’ll add his august name to the long list of previous worthy winners. Such as:

Woodrow Wilson, for dragging America kicking and screaming into the First World War against the express wishes of Congress.

Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho, for handing South Vietnam over to the communists. Tho had the decency to turn the prize down; Kissinger didn’t. That prompted Tom Lehrer’s remark that Henry accepting the Prize made political satire redundant.

Mikhail Gorbachev, for transferring power in Russia from the Party to the KGB and killing merely hundreds in the process, rather than the millions he could have killed. His staunch denial that anything untoward had happened at Chernobyl must have been a contributing factor as well.

Yasser Arafat, for murdering people with conventional weapons, rather than nuclear ones. Col. Putin of course did use such weapons to murder Alexander Litvinenko in London, but the yield was too low to count.

Al Gore, for producing a mendacious film about global warming that nonetheless served the useful purpose of making people feel guilty whenever they reach for an aerosol or car keys.

Barack Obama, presumably for having been a community organiser in Chicago. It couldn’t have been for anything he had done subsequently because, well, having just been elected President, he hadn’t done anything yet.

Actually, I’ve been a bit slipshod in listing Col. Putin’s indisputable qualifications for the Prize. It’s not only his heroic attempts to pacify the Ukraine that merit the highest accolades.

Earlier, in 2008, he provided the same service for the people of Georgia who forgot all the good things Russia in general and the KGB in particular had done for them. As a result of Col. Putin’s short and sharp war, Georgia finally acquired a government unlikely to go to war with Col. Putin – after all, it was he who appointed it. Peace ensued.

The same goes for Chechnia. Until Col. Putin sorted it out, that bellicose province had been at daggers drawn with Russia for 200 years. The good colonel had two Russian blocks of flats blown up, blamed the atrocity on the Chechens and started a war that – predictably and laudably – led to peace.

Putin installed a puppet government, gave it a free licence to run not only Chechnia but also the Moscow criminal underworld, and if that doesn’t qualify him as a peacemaker I don’t know what would.

And let’s not forget that Col. Putin has shown the world how to resolve hostage crises to everybody’s satisfaction (except perhaps the hostages’).

In 2002 some Muslim terrorists in Moscow took over a theatre full of culture seekers. In 2004 other Muslim terrorists grabbed a Beslan school full of pupils. In both instances, Col. Putin applied the technique pioneered at Béziers in 1209 and summed up in the command “Kill them all, God will claim his own”.

Both in Beslan and in Moscow, the terrorists and the hostages were wiped out together – in Moscow with a gas whose composition still baffles experts. This will no doubt discourage other hostage takers, promoting peace and reaffirming Col. Putin’s credentials as a Nobel seeker.

In one of those serendipities history throws up, the letter nominating Col. Putin for the prize was drafted by a chap named Beslan [sic!] Kobakhiya, who thereby has become my friend for life.

My new friend Beslan is vice-president of the organisation snappily called The International Academy of Spiritual Unity and Cooperation of Peoples of the World. According to the letter, “… [Col.] Putin makes efforts to maintain peace and tranquility not only on the territory of his own country but also actively promotes settlement of all conflicts arising on the planet,” and truer words have never been spoken.

In case you’re wondering, my friend Beslan’s group is on the list of those approved to proffer Nobel nominations, and quite right too. Moreover, its nomination has received a weighty support from the Russian singer and MP Iosif Kobzon, denied entry to the United States for his widely publicised links to organised crime.

Allow me to remind you that the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to “the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses”.

This describes Col. Putin so accurately that, as far as I’m concerned, there’s only one potential winner. To join me and Peter Hitchens in expressing support, write to: Col. (ret.) V.V. Putin, c/o FSB (former KGB) Headquarters, No. 1/3 Lubianka Square, Moscow, Russia. 

A man’s best lover

Skegness Magistrates’ Court has handed a suspended sentence to a young man who admitted an act of sexual penetration with a Staffordshire bull terrier.

Some of my conservative friends are indignant at the leniency of the punishment, but I, being a resolute defender of progress and modernity, think it was unduly harsh.

For one thing, I too have warm feelings about bull terriers, even though so far I haven’t expressed such sentiments physically. Let’s face it, they aren’t the prettiest of dogs, which is why they need all the love they can get.

As to escalating such love to sex, who’s to say this is wrong?

Certainly not the Dutch scientist Midas Dekker, who in 2000 published the academic treatise Dearest Pet: On Bestiality, adding a whole new meaning to the concepts of heavy petting and indeed Midas touch.

Dr Dekker argued that people and animals can form loving erotic relationships, just like hetero- or homosexual humans. It is therefore wrong to assume that sex between a human and, say, a Staffordshire bull terrier violates the latter’s rights. On the contrary, it upholds them.

The right to warm and loving relationships has been sanctified by the 1948 UN Declaration on Human Rights, and surely a bull terrier starved of canine companionship can’t exercise this right.

Since we’ve finally cottoned on that it’s not just humans but also animals who have rights, the owner would have been in default of his obligations had he declined to stick… well, I’ll spare you a graphic description of what he shouldn’t have declined to do.

The great philosopher Prof. Peter Singer, he of the tireless campaign to grant apes the same human rights that are denied to about 90 percent of the world’s humans, studied the issue of bestiality from the moral standpoint and reached the same – commendable! – conclusion.

“We are animals, indeed more specifically, we are great apes,” explained the good professor, doubtless on the basis of frank self-assessment. Therefore such sex “ceases to be an offence to our status and dignity as human beings.”

One wonders how poor Mrs Singer feels about this, assuming that her hubbie-wubbie practices what he preaches, as Dr Dekker apparently does. One suspects she may deny the family dog that extra helping of Pedigree Chum, you know how jealous human females can get.

According to these scholars, sex has no ethical dimension at all – it’s all about feeling, ‘lurve’, passion, pleasure, that sort of thing. By inference, no object of such romantic cravings can possibly bring them into disrepute, and they’re all worthy of being consummated or even sanctified by marriage.

Witness the kind of love that in the past dared not speak its name, but now not only screams it off the rooftops but actually threatens legal action against those who refuse to join the chorus.

Approaching the issue from the purely pragmatic angle, once sex has been scoured of its moral, social, religious and – well – human aspects, a dog may be seen as a better partner than a woman, a man or anything in between.

A canine lover is unlikely to encumber the relationship with soppy sentimentality and post-coital verbosity that used to make sex so complicated for human beings.

A dog isn’t going to demand flowers in the evening or respect in the morning.

It’s guaranteed not to say anything stupid – in fact, even better, not to say anything at all.

And if you decide to get rid of it, it won’t take you to the cleaners – and nor will it sell to the papers any disparaging stories about your character or sexual performance.

An ideal companion any way you look at it, in other words.

One only wishes that the Skegness chap had done the honourable thing and made an honest bitch out of his bull terrier… Sorry, I assumed that his canine lover is female; how silly of me.

Since the word ‘perversion’ has been expurgated from our lexicon, it doesn’t matter whether the bull terrier was male or female. The sex of either lover can no more act as an obstacle to matrimony than their species.

The famous Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld has shown the way by marrying his Siamese cat Choupette. I don’t know if the union was sanctified by the church, but I rather doubt it, considering Mr and Mrs Lagerfeld live in a residually Catholic country. The way our own dear Anglican church is going, before long guests will be tossing rice at poodles – or bull terriers, if you’d rather.

I have so much more to tell you on this subject, but I’ve got to run. I’m late for an appointment with the manager of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home who wants to discuss the possibility of repositioning his establishment as a dating service.