Retail therapy in Birmingham and London

How does one protest against violence in a faraway land? Why, by looting shops at home of course.

It’s not only the best way but in fact the only way to express one’s political philosophy or register disagreement. We all know that.

That’s why the other day Londoners and Brummies, feeling that the British government isn’t doing enough to stop the massacre of Christians in Iraq, armed themselves with clubs, bricks and torches.

They then went on a rampage, looting every grocery shop that sells Halal food, which basically means every grocery shop in some areas.

That done, the crowd proceeded to loot supermarkets selling Halal meat, which again means all of them. Most, however, do so surreptitiously, without tagging their meat as religiously pure.

That made it even worse. Indignant crowds felt justified in thinking that supermarket chains used the subterfuge to express their support for anti-Christian massacres in a most perfidious manner.

Attacking a few supermarkets thus made a morally valid political statement. It also sent a clear message: if you sell Halal food, you are directly complicit in the beheading of Christians. You’ll therefore be violently punished.

The supermarkets got the message and removed offensive items from their shelves. Job done.

Their adrenalin flow receding, the looters then went home proud of their accomplishment. Though they hadn’t saved any Iraqi Christians, at least they had mollified their aching collective conscience, thus adding a whole new meaning to retail therapy.

Sounds insane, doesn’t? Not only did nothing of the sort happen, but it takes a particularly morbid imagination to think up such a scenario, wouldn’t you say?

Yet replace Halal with Kosher, and what has actually happened in Birmingham and London isn’t a far cry from the product of my admittedly morbid imagination.

Anti-Semitic mobs – sorry, we’re supposed to call them anti-Israel protesters – wreaked havoc at a Tesco supermarket in Birmingham and laid siege to a Sainsbury’s in London’s Holborn (not, incidentally, a manifestly Muslim area).

Threatened with a Kristallnacht-style pogrom, the management wisely removed Kosher foods from display, handing the mob an easy victory.

That the mob was animated by hatred of Jews in general, rather than by any disagreement with the foreign policy of Israel’s Likud government can’t be gainsaid.

Even assuming for the sake of argument that any attempt by Israel to defend itself is immoral, no one in his right mind would argue that the sins of that Middle Eastern state are visited on Jews all over the world.

By the same token, Middle Eastern Muslims’ atrocities against Christians don’t make every Muslim in Birmingham or London guilty by association.

However, if one were radical enough to make such a claim, it would be more justified than holding all Jews responsible for Israel’s bombing those underprivileged terrorists in Gaza.

Israel doesn’t bomb Gaza for ideological or religious reasons. Those poor Palestinians are killed not because they are Muslims but because they either are terrorists themselves or are used as human shields to protect terrorists.

Hence the bombings aren’t an ideology at work. They are the desperate acts of a nation fighting against extinction.

However, those IS Muslims in Iraq are beheading Christians for no wrongdoing other than being Christian or, to be more exact, not being Muslim. Hence lashing out against all Muslims anywhere would have some conceivable, if no less deplorable, justification.

Yet there are no pickets outside Muslim shops in England, much less any attempt to punish the purveyors of Halal food. No one is painting offensive institutional symbols on the shop fronts in Brick Lane and Northend Road.

While welcoming such civilised behaviour on the part of English Christians, pious or nominal, one can decry the brutality of English Muslims so much more vehemently.

It’s clear that, just as their co-religionists in Iraq are driven solely by hatred of Christians and other non-Muslims, the rioters in Birmingham and London are motivated by hatred of Jews – not by a burning desire to express their disagreement with Israel’s foreign policy.

Anti-Semitic loathing is the reason; Israel in Gaza but a pretext. It’s something that, in the rioters’ eyes, goes a long way towards legitimising the resentment bubbling just under the surface and seeking an outlet.

Unless decisive action is taken, before long every Jewish or Jewish-owned shop in England will be attacked and looted. Shards of glass on the pavements will glisten as brightly as they did in 1938 Germany, and violence will be as brutal as it was then.

At least the authorities in St Louis, Missouri, had the courage to respond to similar, if differently motivated, events by declaring a curfew and calling in the National Guard.

There too the urgent need to seek and destroy splashed out because the police provided a convenient excuse. There too it’s really sociopathic, anomic brutality that’s the reason in search of a pretext.

So what will be our equivalent to the summoning of the National Guard? I can’t even imagine.

My crystal ball would be considerably clearer if events unfolded to the hypothetical scenario I outlined at the beginning. If crowds of outraged Christians attacked Halal shops, it would be easy to picture the government’s response.

Every paper in the land, right, left or centre, would be spewing righteous indignation at such racist beastliness. Armed police units would be put on the streets with instructions to do whatever is necessary to stop the riots and punish the rioters.

The looting of Halal butchers would be taken not just as an attack on a religious minority but as a gross affront against every progressive ideal everyone is supposed to hold sacred. The CPO would be instructed by the government to pass prison sentences without mercy or delay.

Far be it from me to suggest that the absence of such a response to the anti-Jewish riots betokens a latent anti-Semitic animus on HMG’s part. I’m sure there must be another reason. I just can’t think offhand what it might be.


































Turning Bradford into Nuremberg, circa 1935

According to George Galloway, Hamas and Hezbollah aren’t, nor have ever been, terrorist organisations. However, Israel is.

On the strength of this eccentric taxonomy he proposes turning the Yorkshire city he represents in Parliament into an ‘Israel-free zone’.

Speaking ostensibly to Respect activists (an appropriate name for his party, wouldn’t you say?), but in effect urbi et orbi, he clarified his meaning:

“We don’t want any Israeli goods or services. We don’t want any Israeli academics coming to the university or the college.

“We don’t even want any Israeli tourists to come to Bradford, even if any of them had thought of doing so. We reject this illegal, barbarous, savage state that calls itself Israel. And you have to do the same.”

Since Israeli visitors look like Jews from anywhere else, the only way to keep Israelis out is to bar Jews in general.

I don’t know if George has studied German history or language, but there places successfully purged of Jews in compliance with the Nuremberg Laws were in times olden called Judenfrei (‘free of Jews’) or Judenrein (‘clean of Jews’).

George didn’t specify how far he’d be prepared to pursue this obvious parallel, but he’ll be happy to know that the German manufacturer of Zyklon B is still in business, if nowadays restricting itself to a more benign product line.

Considering that 24.7 per cent of Bradford’s population are Muslims (and that’s just those we know about), George’s seeds fall on a fertile ground.

But most Brits aren’t far from his general assessment of Israel’s moral character. For example, 62 per cent believe that the current Israeli government is guilty of war crimes.

Yet my friend George stands out even against this background. While agitating to ban dual British-Israeli nationality, he himself holds two passports. One is British, the other Palestinian, which he gratefully received from Hamas in 2009.

Now, one can understand how commitment to Hamas’s noble cause, which is to do to every Israeli, ideally every Jew, what Isis is doing to Iraqi Christians, can outweigh commitment to truth.

Still, George may regard Israel as an illegal state, but even he has to admit that a state it is. Hamas isn’t, much as all progressive people hope it will be soon. Hence its right to consecrate outlanders to citizenship seems rather questionable.

Yet if such a keen student of legality as George has no problem with it, who am I to argue?

And not just legality: George is also qualified to rule on Judaic doctrine. This privilege has been traditionally reserved for scholars who devote their whole lives to pondering the original texts.

I’m sorry if I’m maligning our Hamas citizen, but I don’t believe he has devoted his whole life to Talmudic scholarship. Yet here he is, explaining that “Israel blasphemes against the Torah by calling itself a Jewish state.”

My grasp of Judaism isn’t all that firm either but, as I recall, Jews acquired the Torah on the way to Palestine which they in short order turned into a Jewish state. Moses on the mountain, voice out of the burning bush, Tabernacle, that sort of thing?

Hence, though Israel ‘calling itself a Jewish state’ may be regarded as offensive to people like George, it’s certainly not blasphemous.

But then George denies Israel’s right to call itself anything, or indeed to exist. The amazing thing is that even some British Jews express views that, if logically developed, would spell Israel’s Armageddon.

For example, Hugo Rifkind, that living argument against nepotism, wrote an article bemoaning the rise of anti-Semitism in Britain. He remarked, correctly, that such sentiments flare up whenever the Israel Defence Force is in action.

But then came a disclaimer, which was pure George ibn-Galloway, or would be if George learned to speak rather than to rant: 

“I mean, look, it’s not as though I think Israel is doing the right thing. Far from it. In my view, if your only military success entails bombing a country where 50 per cent of people are under 18, then it’s not a military strategy that you should be following.”

What if that youthful country fires thousands of rockets at your own towns and digs tunnels through which prepubescent terrorists crawl to murder your own people?

What would be the proper military strategy to defend yourself, according to that Clausewitz of The Times? Roll over and play dead? You will be, before long.

And what if that country sites its rockets in a way (for example, at or in hospitals and schools) that’s guaranteed to maximise collateral damage for propaganda purposes?

Should Israel just sit back, dig in and let Hamas rockets reduce the country to rubble?

Or is this son of Margaret Thatcher’s frontbencher unaware of the constant bombardment of Israel by Hamas, which left Israel with no non-military options?

Unlike Hamas, Israelis don’t bomb ‘the country’. They bomb the military installations the country uses to kill them. Some people under 18 inevitably die in the process, though Israel does more than any country in the history of warfare to reduce their number.

So what would be ‘the right thing’ for Israel to do? What strategy would satisfy Hugo’s exacting requirements?

Bien pensant lightweights like him, who insist on making progressivist noises, in effect converge with evil anti-Semites like Galloway, a meeting of minds that would displease both sides should they be aware of it.

The story goes that, when the Nazis ordered all Jews in occupied Denmark to wear the yellow star, the king himself put one on and called on all his subjects to follow suit.

The story is unfortunately apocryphal, but the idea is good. At a time when the only civilised nation and our sole true ally in the Middle East is desperately fighting for its survival, we, Christians, Jews or atheists, should close ranks and declare: “We are all Israelis now!”

As to George, he should really renounce one of his passports, and I don’t mean the Hamas one. Our parliamentarians do make a strong case for democracy, don’t they?


P.S. My new book, Democracy as a Neocon Trick, is coming out this autumn. You can pre-order at












Response to Iraq massacres: abolish our Parliament’s sovereignty

What, you don’t quite follow the logic of it? This only goes to show you aren’t a Cabinet minister, not even a former one.

You’ve got to understand that one can’t ascend to government without being touched by the hand of Sophia, divine wisdom.

Once such a tactile contact has been made, the chosen one becomes privy to the rarefied reaches of intellect, where trivial Aristotelian logic is superseded, nay transcended, by higher reason.

The freshly sacked Attorney General Dominic Grieve is a case in point.

My friend Dominic was kicked out on a matter of principle. The principle is as simple as truth itself: Dave wants to be re-elected.

The path leading to this Shangri-La is thorny, and he won’t reach the destination unless the thorns are removed. Of these, Ukip is the most bothersome.

Even if Ukip’s popular support is halved by the time of the next general election, Ed will move into 10 Downing Street and Dave will go on a speaking tour. For Dave to stay at his present address he needs to convince voters that Britain’s sovereignty will be safe in his hands.

Rumour has it that to this end Dave plans to suspend the Human Rights Act and refuse to obey the diktats of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) unless Parliament approves them.

This doesn’t mean Dave wants to leave the EU, perish the thought. What he wants is to win in 2015, and once that’s done he’ll find a way of coming back into the pan-European legal fold.

But first things first. As a sop to those voters who feel nostalgic about the time when Britain was a sovereign nation, Dave has purged the Cabinet of the more strident federasts, of whom my friend Dominic is one.

Yet Sophia confers her grace in perpetuity, and Dominic, now free of the shackles of ministerial discipline, has given us the benefit of his neo-Gnostic sagacity from the back benches.

Walking out of the ECRH, he explained for the benefit of slow learners, would spell a disaster for Britain. Why is that, Dominic? I hear you ask. In fact, I’m asking the same question myself.

We’re even slower than Dominic thought. Allow him to explain in words even we can understand: “One only has to look at what is going on at the moment in northern Iraq to see that human rights do matter.”

My first reaction is to go down on my knees, put my palms flat on the ground and cry “We are not worthy, oh Wise One!”

My second reaction, once I’ve resumed the upright position, is to reach out for that decommissioned tool of basic logic. Inferior though it clearly is, it’s the only one I’ve got handy.

So let me see if I get this right. Now that US foreign policy has triumphed in Iraq and wholesale slaughter has begun, it ought to become blindingly obvious that we should knock out the cornerstone of British polity, sovereignty within Parliament.

No, surely Dominic can’t possibly mean that.

Oh yes he does: it would be fatal, he says, “to prevent the [ECHR’s] judgements being implemented unless the Parliament approves it.” Parliament in a position to approve laws? What a quaint, outdated idea.

I get it. Parliament’s authority established over 1,500 years should be repealed because otherwise Leeds will turn into another Mosul.

Christians will be converted into Islam at gunpoint or preferably murdered, women will be stoned and children starved. York will secede from the UK and become an Islamic Caliphate, with George Galloway as the Caliph.

Come to think of it, such a situation isn’t wholly unimaginable. What is unclear is how making Britain’s Parliament irrelevant will prevent this evolutionary development. In fact, it’s easier to see how that will accelerate the evolution.

In other words, a slave to Aristotelian logic may feel that Dominic hasn’t made an ironclad case in favour of the ECHR being the sole theoretically possible guarantor of the rights of Englishmen.

Such a slave might further insist that the European Court of Human Rights is no more synonymous with human rights than the European Union is with Europe.

He may aver – mistakenly, according to my new friend – that, just as Europe had existed for a while before the EU, the notion of individual rights hadn’t been totally alien to Europeans before they were blessed with the advent of the ECHR.

Moreover, some members of this august moral authority (Russia springs to mind) don’t seem to be overly constrained by its legal notions.

The ECHR is very good on issuing variously inane laws, but its means of enforcement are somewhat lacking. If a law can’t be enforced, it’s not a law but, at best, an ideological statement. As such, it will be heeded only by those who share the same ideology.

Dominic obviously does and so, truth be told, does Dave. But don’t let me digress: my today’s point has less to do with our leaders’ ideological preferences than with their intellectual abilities.

No good case can be made for a bad cause. But, if appointed devil’s advocates, you and I could easily come up with more plausible arguments in favour of the ECHR than those based on Islamic massacres in Iraq.

Such arguments would still be fundamentally false, but at least they wouldn’t sound as if they were put forth by a 10-year-old attending a remedial reading class.

Dominic couldn’t satisfy even that minimum requirement. This is a man who for four years was the chief legal advisor to the Crown, and he was only relieved of his post for short-term political reasons.

This brings me back to my recurrent theme: modern democracy. The most reliable litmus test of a method of government is what kind of people it elevates to power.

If Dominic, Dave et al are the best we can do, it’s time to think long and hard. Or else head for the hills.


P.S. My new book, Democracy as a Neocon Trick, is coming out this autumn. You can pre-order at

















Women vs. men: retiring chess queen checkmates herself

Judit Polgár, the only woman in history capable of competing with men at the highest level, has retired at age 38.

Judit became a grandmaster at 15 years and four months, beating Bobby Fischer’s record by a month.

Since her teens she has been in and out of the world’s top ten, having won games against, among others, world champions both past (Kasparov) and present (Carlsen).

One would think that she’d leave the game with pride, thanking, if not God, then at least the game that has made her a star, though admittedly not one as stellar as Kim Kardashian, whose chief assets are located somewhat lower than Judit’s brain.

Instead Judit fired a parting shot that missed by a mile. She castigated the game as ‘sexist’, with male players doing their best to keep women down.

It’s to men’s beastliness that Judit ascribes the demonstrable fact that, out of thousands of women who have played the game professionally, she’s the only one who has ever been as good as most male grandmasters.

Feminism is a popular game these days but, unlike chess, everybody who plays it is a loser. Its underlying assumption is that, apart from certain fixtures that have made Kim Kardashian such a star, women are no different from men.

Consequently, if they don’t achieve the same results in every field of endeavour, it can only be society’s fault or, in this instance, men’s.

God forbid one should even suggest obliquely that the obvious physiological differences between the sexes extend to their brains. When ideology speaks, common sense keeps silent.

Say that men’s brains are different, and a feminist will only hear that they are better – something that only an idiot would think, amd a tactless idiot would say.

Never mind scientific facts, such, for example, as that aggressiveness (an essential part of a chess player’s equipment) is a function of testosterone, of which women, this side of Martina Navratilova, have considerably less than men.

Never mind that, just as women’s brain wiring makes them better at languages, men’s wiring makes them better at maths, a discipline that bears perhaps the closest resemblance to chess.

Never mind even abundant empirical evidence, such as the sex identity of 56 winners of the Fields Medal, the highest prize in mathematics. Yesterday, the 2014 awards were announced, and for the first time since 1936, when the prize was first endowed, a woman was among the winners.

Yet 40 percent of maths graduates are women, a proportion that diminishes precipitously at PhD level and beyond. Why?

It’s a sign of intellectual laziness and ideology-driven dishonesty to insist that the sole reason is some fiendish male conspiracy.

Women are, on average, not as good at maths as men are, which makes the achievement of the only female Fields Medal winner so much more spectacular.

Neither are they as good at chess, which is why Judit is the only woman ever to climb so high up the game’s Olympus.

If women were as good as men, all those thousands of girls who, in the communist countries, have gone through the same state-sponsored training programmes as the boys, would have produced a more proportionately representative number of top players – or at least more than just one.

Judit is in an ideal position to know what role chess played in her native Hungary, my native Russia and every other communist country.

When Mikhail Botvinnik became the first world-class Soviet player back in the 1930s, the Soviets discovered the propaganda potential of chess.

Millions were poured into unique training facilities to produce living proof of the USSR’s superiority over its ‘capitalist enemies’. Chess players became privileged citizens, enjoying the kind of wealth that was beyond not only most Soviets but, more important, Western players.

For example, when Botvinnik won the 1936 Nottingham tournament, Stalin gave him a car, a prize fully equivalent to a 300-foot yacht today.

Women were just as valuable to the propaganda offensive, and girls were trained side by side with boys. Having gone through the Soviet chess system, I can testify to this – as Judit can no doubt testify to the same situation in Hungary.

Incidentally, to disclaim any parity with her, at the same age she became a grandmaster I quit chess, having discovered joys of a more tactile and liquid nature.

Unlike her I didn’t have the talent and dedication to go all the way, having stopped at a level similar to that of a decent county player in England. Yet shortly before I quit the game, I won a blitz match against Elizaveta Bykova, then women’s world champion, though no longer at her peak.

It’s not just one man’s experience. At that time any male grandmaster would have beaten the top 20 women in a simultaneous exhibition. Today the situation isn’t appreciably different: although there are quite a few decent female players, only Judit was in the first rank.

Part of the reason women don’t go as far is that they’re saner than men. The life of a budding chess mercenary in the West, where players survive on prize money, is similar to that of a travelling tennis pro, but the potential rewards aren’t.

Thus most professional players are dysfunctional individuals who misspent their youth hustling strangers for fivers in cafés, parks and clubs. Most of them look as if they sleep rough, even if they don’t.

Many go mad, which, for example, musicians hardly ever do, belying Daniel Johnson’s assertion in today’s Times that chess has ‘a mysterious affinity’ with music.

True enough, in as much as both fields have a mathematical aspect, they have something in common. But the similarity is superficial because the nature of the inspiration is entirely different.

That’s why it’s silly to say, as Johnson does, that Judit’s brilliant 1987 victory against a Soviet grandmaster “offers raptures not unlike – to take another Hungarian example – one of Liszt’s Transcendental Études.”

A musical piece, even one as mindless as a Liszt study, is inspired by one of the highest manifestations of the human soul. A brilliant chess attack is animated by the urge “to make’em squirm”, as Fischer put it. Chess is closer to poker than to art.

That chess can give aesthetic pleasure doesn’t make it an art – unless we define the concept so broadly as to make it meaningless. Not everything that “offers rapture” is art, for otherwise we’d regard, say, Kim Kardashian’s jutting attractions as artistic masterpieces.

Women are less keen to make people squirm, which is a point in their favour. Nor, and this is another feather in their cap, are they as willing as men to spend their life on an utterly trivial pursuit, and dedicate every waking moment to it.

That’s why, say, Viktor Korchnoi is still playing grandmasters’ tournaments at 83, while Judit has wisely retired at 38. One wishes she were as wise in her pronouncements. 

The arithmetic of humanitarian aid, Putin-style

First the humanitarian aid, as widely reported:

Last night a convoy of 280 KamAz lorries left the town of Narofominsk near Moscow, heading for the distressed eastern provinces of the Ukraine.

They carry 2,000 tonnes of cargo comprised of humanitarian aid for the Ukraine: cereals, sugar, baby food, medicines, sleeping bags and power generators.

The lorries are all military vehicles; all KamAz lorries commissioned by the Russian army are armoured; ergo the 280 humanitarian lorries are armoured too.

The armoured humanitarian lorries were loaded by soldiers of the Taman Guards division. Before that the soldiers had taken two days to repaint the lorries white to make them look more humanitarian and less armoured.

The night before, Col. Putin told my Maoist friend José Manuel Barroso that the convoy was being dispatched by agreement with the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Yet the ICRC representative in the Ukraine Ashot Astabatsian swore on his mother’s grave that such an agreement was news to him. Had it been in place, he would have known about it.

Now comes the arithmetic, for the conflicting reports made me whip out my trusted calculator:

The payload of a military KamAz lorry is 11.4 tonnes. Multiplying this specification by the number of lorries, 280, we get 3,192 tonnes.

Subtracting from that product 2,000 tonnes, the declared weight of the humanitarian aid, we obtain 1,192 tonnes. That’s 1,192,000 kilos of payload unaccounted for.

Now the average weight of an AK-74 assault rifle is, depending on the modification, 3 kilos. Dividing 1,192,000 by 3 and multiplying the resulting quotient by the AK’s firing rate of 650 rounds/min, we get enough firepower to wipe out the entire population of the Ukraine in a few long bursts.

Far be it from me to accuse Col. Putin of trying to pull a fast one. After all, he was trained at, and remains loyal to, the KGB, an organisation known for its veracity and commitment to truth.

Moreover, even assuming in a jaundiced mood that the humanitarian convoy does carry 1,192 tonnes of AK-74 assault rifles, this doesn’t necessarily compromise Col. Putin’s stated objective.

The rifles could after all be used for purposes other than wiping out the entire population of the Ukraine.

Hunting, for example, may be instrumental in solving any food crisis, and a hunting version of the AK rifle does exist.

Firing a short burst in the air will keep wolves at bay. These always come out of the woodwork in numbers whenever the country is devastated by war – as the Ukraine is, thanks to the evil plot by the Judaeo-Banderite-EU-CIA fascists, otherwise known as Ukrainians.

Also, if left unloaded, an AK rifle could be used as a tool for hammering, say, tent pegs into the ground or driving nails into walls.

Being a credulous sort, I’d be happy to accept any such explanation, especially if coming from Col. Putin, who’s like George Washington in that he never tells a lie (if one believes his Western admirers, such as Peter Hitchens, and I see no reason not to).

What I find vexing is that no explanation has been offered at all. Nor has it been requested by anyone outside this, admittedly venomous, space.

If a third of the lorries are empty, I’d like to know why. If they aren’t empty, I’d like to know what they are carrying. Is that too much to ask?

There may be many perfectly innocuous explanations for all of this, and Col. Putin could have put forth any of them. Off the top:

  • The armoured lorries were repainted white because that’s the colour of the dove of peace, and they are indeed on a humanitarian mission.
  • They aren’t loaded to the gunwales to make them more drivable on Russian and Ukrainian roads.
  • The stated weight of 2,000 tonnes was inaccurate, and what’s a 1,000,000 kilos here or there among friends?
  • Mind your own business, you Anglo-Saxon hireling, if you don’t want to drink Polonium-200 with your tea.

My faith in Col. Putin’s boundless virtue is such that I even don’t mind suggesting such plausible explanations to him.

All he has to do is repeat them in public – and then hire me as his mouthpiece. Since the good colonel never lies, somebody has to do his lying for him.

Why not me? I may not be a natural liar, but at least I know how to make numbers add up.







Empty Paris, full Louvre – it would be better the other way around

Yesterday I saved €38, which is more than I can say for my sanity.

The sum in question is the cost of a day’s parking at Vinci, the Paris chain of underground garages.

What none of my French friends knows but I’ve found out is that Vinci forfeits the charge on one’s birthday, which for me was yesterday.

Call me a penny pincher, but this is one of the reasons we always spend 10 August in Paris, less than two hours away from our summer hiding place.

Another reason, actually a more important one, is that Paris empties out in August, with Parisians fleeing for more bucolic locales. Toute la France est en vacances, in the ridiculous jargon the natives use to frustrate linguistically challenged outlanders like me.

A recent US commercial, for the Cadillac if memory serves, mocked that civilised custom. It showed a well-heeled middle-aged American walking through his prole-heaven house towards the driveway where his prole-heaven car sat.

As he walked, he was pontificating that he had been able to buy all those wonderful things because, unlike some people, he doesn’t take all of August off. The words ‘cheese-eating surrender monkeys’ weren’t spoken, but they were clearly implied.

Personally, I’d rather take the whole year off than live in an antiseptically tasteless house like his – or, as a matter of fact, drive his car, which has to roll almost to a stop before one can turn without the risk of spinning off the road.

Moreover, most Parisians I know own bigger and infinitely better appointed houses (along with large Paris flats) than the ad’s protagonist’s – this in spite of their being less dysfunctionally single-minded about turning a buck.

That they, along with millions of others, rush out at this time makes August the best month to visit Paris. Strike half a mile away from the herds of Nikon-snapping tourists and you’ll have the place all to yourself.

Yet if force majeure drives one closer to the very centre, with its museums, shops and galleries, then August is the worst time to visit Paris.

The Nikon-snappers overrun the place, creating an awful contrast between their vulgar selves and the elegant surroundings. They rush, they shout, they jostle, they munch revolting street food, drink disgusting treacly muck – and they keep on snapping their ‘here’s Shirley and me at the Eiffel Tower’ pictures.

Suddenly one feels that, on balance, one would be better off if Parisians were to reclaim Paris from the stampeding herds. The city would be better off too, more harmonious, more organic, more of a piece.

Yesterday was wet, with gusts of wind driving burger wrappers along the pavements and us into the Louvre, where one can be aesthetically elevated and, more important on a day like that, dry.

Picture-snapping grex venalium were all there, at least a million of them, though that number might have been an optical illusion. However, since perception is the ultimate reality, if Plato is to be believed, I insist on my off-the-top head count.

Suddenly we found ourselves in a maelstrom of humanity, or whatever passes for it at times. They were running through the Louvre’s 60,600 square metres at an Olympic speed, bumping into one another and, more annoying, us.

Few were looking at the paintings, most were photographing them with their mobile phones. To personalise the images, they’d place their polyester-clad wives and overfed children next to Géricault’s lively scenes and Ingres’s lifeless portraits.

It took us 10 minutes to elbow our way (in my case literally; in my wife’s case figuratively) anywhere near the two Vermeers besieged by Japanese visitors. Those in the front row of the art lovers were shooting snaps point-blank, those behind them were holding their mobiles above their heads.

I doubt this is the best way of capturing the master’s subtlety, but that’s not what the descendants of the samurai were after. Their sole aim seemed to be keeping those who can appreciate such matters as far from the canvases as possible.

Until recently photography was banned in the Louvre because flashes damage the paintings. However, democracy, with all its technological advances, trumped elitism yet again.

The advent of miniature mobile phones with built-in cameras has made a museum the size of the Louvre almost impossible to police. The CRS riot busters at full strength could possibly do it, but they’re otherwise engaged containing crowds of Muslims screaming ‘gas Jews’ and trying to do to Paris what Nero allegedly did to Rome.

Venus de Milo was densely surrounded by photography buffs, but one can step 10 yards away and still see the sculpture well, provided one isn’t trampled by the tourists procuring evidence that they actually did go to Paris.

The Mona Lisa demands a closer proximity, something that can’t be secured without the benefit of fully automatic weapons, and I didn’t have one on me. Hence we didn’t even try to see the painting, with my wife, a much kinder person than me, commenting “It’s hard to love the human race in a place like this.”

After a while we decided that, on balance, rain would be a lesser irritant and left. The rain had stopped though, as if God had approved our choice. A short cab ride later we left the hideous Pyramid far behind, sat down on a bench at Luxembourg and watched tennis players sliding all over the still damp courts.

How does one restrict attendance of great museums only to those aware of the difference between chiaroscuro and Kim Kardashian?

(For those who don’t know who Kim is, she’s some sort of celebrity whose attainments exclusively consist of extra-human endowment in what Americans call T&A, and they don’t mean the Territorial Army. Kim could have made a perfect model for Rubens, whose idea of beauty was a combination of porcine physique  and bovine expression.)

The Ebola pandemic may solve this problem by restricting air travel, but one has to be evil to wish for that. Barring such cataclysms, I’m afraid this is a game long since lost.

At least the next time we go to Paris most of the tourists will have gone back to their prole heavens, and the Parisians will be back. Popular misapprehensions notwithstanding, they aren’t at all rude if one speaks their language – even as badly as I do.























The Times, taking its cue from American neocons

One would think that our papers don’t need lessons in demagoguery. They, right, left or centre, have become experts on it. No outside help necessary, thank you very much.

Ideas, however, may run out, at which time it’s natural to turn to those who have them in abundance. Or at least, in our intellectually barren times, those who have one basic idea but repeat it so often, and in so many different contexts, that it seems to be multiplying before our very eyes.

This brings me to the neocons, mostly Americans, but also some Brits they’ve paper-trained and taught to bark on cue.

It was mostly that shrill group that talked Bush and Blair into committing the criminally stupid aggression against Iraq in 2003.

The entirely predictable effect of that mission was to bring not democracy to the region, but destruction to our friends and those who, while falling short of friendship, at least didn’t hate us too hysterically.

That geopolitical folly acted as a recruitment drive for al-Qaeda and likeminded satanic groups whose numbers swelled to bursting and whose fervour heated up.

The whole region, previously enjoying relative stability, imploded. The so-called democratic governments beloved of the neocons proved to be exactly what everyone knew they’d be: impotent.

Chaos erupted, soaking the region in blood. The fanatics couldn’t murder the West (although there’s still time), so they aimed their guns and knives at objects of hatred within reach.

Jews, Christians, other Muslims, Zoroastrians all found themselves in peril. And it didn’t start with Isis, currently exciting everyone’s righteous wrath.

Since 2003 three out of four Christians in Iraq have fled their homes if they were lucky. The unlucky ones were killed, many for refusing to submit to being converted to the religion of peace at gunpoint.

The neocon Iagos whispering in Bush’s and Blair’s ears didn’t kill those Christians with their own hands, just like Iago didn’t strangle Desdemona. But the blood of those Christians is on their hands too, for without their wicked harebrained ideology none of this would have happened.

Let’s spell it out. Neocon warmongers aren’t just misguided simpletons. They are criminals.

Unfortunately they can’t be punished within law, for few people, and no international organisations, see what they did for what it is: war crime.

After all, it was done in the name of Democracy. Not racial superiority, not dictatorship of the proletariat – Democracy, that great vindicator of modernity’s urge to destroy Western civilisation.

Hence we can’t expect to see the neocons behind bars. But one might think we ought to expect them at least to repent. Or, barring that, honestly admit their fatal error.

Such expectations would be forlorn. The neocons don’t regret what they did to Iraq. They regret they didn’t do enough of it.

If only we hadn’t left when we did, their bleating goes, if only we had stayed longer, Iraq and the rest of the Middle East would in due course become a sort of Florida East. Peace, prosperity and, above all, Democracy would reign. Happiness all around.

If only the surge had been allowed to last longer… Surges, gentlemen, don’t last long by definition. OED’s, as a matter of fact: “Surge, n.: A sudden large increase, typically a temporary one”.

But forget semantics. How much longer are we talking here? As long as it would have taken, is the answer. One generation, two, three, for ever. No sacrifice is too great for Democracy.

This is the line taken by American neocons, who really don’t know any better. And, alas, by their British hangers-on, who should.

“Rescue the Christians. And then keep going,” says the nostalgically Trotskyist headline of Tim Montgomerie’s article. How far? Well, to the ends of the earth if that’s what Democracy demands.

He starts out well enough, by tugging on our heart’s strings. Tim met an Anglican priest who courageously keeps tending to his Iraqi flock in the face of dire danger. The priest relayed harrowing stories of Christians being tortured, murdered and displaced.

For a second there I thought the article would be Christian. But Tim quickly disabused me of this notion.

He began to repeat, word for word, the American neocons’ ‘if only’ mantra about the success of the surge, which, if only it could defy the dictionary definition by continuing in perpetuity, would have ended up in resounding success.

This is how he puts it: “America stayed in Germany and South Korea for decades to help to ensure they became the stable nations that they are today. Iraq needed a similar level of commitment. It didn’t get it.”

A rotten idea can’t be supported with good arguments, and this one is as spurious as they get, coming right out of the neocon hymnal. Americans “stayed in Germany and South Korea” because no one was shooting at them there.

It wasn’t that much of a hardship to garrison a few hundred thousand soldiers in those places where they had merely police duties to perform, and most of the time not even those.

Comparing that situation to the Middle East where people strap explosives to their bodies as a popular pastime, and where they never stop fighting and killing Western invaders, not to mention one another, is… well, I don’t want to overuse pejorative adjectives.

An intellectually honest comparison ought to have been drawn not with Germany and Korea but with Viet Nam, which proved that, when it comes to wars, Americans are sprinters, not stayers.

The nation, locked in its maniacal pursuit of happiness, can take only so many flag-wrapped coffins flown back from faraway lands.

Go beyond a certain cut-off point, and pimply youths start marching and chanting “Hell no, we won’t go”, “Hey, hey LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?” and, my personal favourite, “Ho, ho, ho, Ho Chi Minh, NFL are gonna win”.

Tim is too young to remember that, but he should have asked his older and wiser friends who would have told him. 

As it is, he goes on with his ignorant musings: “Last time the West betrayed Iraq by leaving too early. This time we need to do a proper job and help to destroy Isis.”

But Isis is no longer called Isis. It’s now the State of Islam, or hasn’t Tim heard? Destroy Isis, and the State of Islam will appear. Destroy that, and those people will think of something else. And then those pimply youths will whip out the posters and start marching in front of the White House.

Don’t those bastards ever learn? Haven’t they done enough harm?

It is the West’s moral duty to save the Christians and the Jews put in mortal danger by the West’s own criminal idiocy. If it takes military operations to achieve that end, then so be it.

But it should be that end and no other. And it must be accompanied by a generous offer of asylum and help with resettlement. Something France has offered Iraqi Christians – and something Obama reserves for those who aid and abet their murderers.

Don’t get your milk out for the lads

Compared to the cataclysmic events unfolding in the Ukraine and throughout the Middle East, the two items that caught my eye in today’s papers may seem insignificant.

But, as the modern banality goes, less is more. Sometimes it’s tiny stories that tell a big one.

One such story involves a Buckinghamshire woman who was banned from breastfeeding her baby in public, by poolside to be exact.

The lifeguard who issued the ban did the right thing for a wrong reason: according to him, he was enforcing the rule banning consumption of food and drink at the pool.

Instead he should have said that such exhibitionistic displays are tasteless and vulgar – not that we have many lifeguards capable of saying, or indeed thinking, any such thing.

In her own words, the woman “was in too much shock to get angry – I just got really upset and started welling up.”

My sympathy goes to the lifeguard on the receiving end of the breastfeeder’s welly, partly because years ago I too found myself in a similar situation.

A colleague’s girlfriend brought her baby (I don’t think it was also his) into the office and started to breastfeed it in the conference room, where he and I were talking shop.

I made an innocent comment, to the effect that I myself was thirsty too – only to be accused of sexism, lewdness, discrimination, perversion, rudeness and antediluvian prejudices.

All probably true in general, but the reason for my callous remark was none of those. That was my way of hinting that, much as I admire the sight of a woman’s breast, the view should be enjoyed in private.

Presumably such unrestrained behaviour is supposed to communicate to the world that the woman is free of inhibitions (particularly those of the bourgeois kind), at one with nature, proud of her body, comfortable in her femininity, basking in the glory of motherhood, and all those wonderful things.

To me, this urge to let it all hang out (in that instance literally) betokens exhibitionism, which is indeed a perversion, and bad taste, which is worse.

As further proof that my aesthetic judgement of the Bucks woman is correct, she sports a nostril ring. This, along with tattoos, is yet another semiotic communication, that of being prole-cool.

A woman, dear, should wear rings in her ears or on her fingers – not in her nostrils, eyebrows, navel or, as seems to be fashionable in certain circles, clitoris. Choosing one or more of those unconventional cites brands you as vulgar and stupid, not cool.

Breasts in, nostril ring out would be my avuncular recommendation – especially since, judging by the woman’s flabby face, her breasts can’t be much to look at.

Shamelessness seen as a sign of progress represents a reversal to neo-pagan primitivism, which makes the young lady ideally qualified for a clerical career in the Church of England. Given the prevailing climate, she’d be fast-tracked to priesthood in no time, and then a bishopric could be just round the corner.

But I shouldn’t be offering career, or indeed grooming, advice to today’s lot. Judging by the woman’s reaction to the ban, she and her ilk would neither welcome nor understand it.

The other news item involves a Carmelite nun who was run out of her convent for having sex with a handyman… sorry, I misread the story.

It’s actually about Commander Sarah West, the first woman to take charge of a frontline ship in the Royal Navy. Commander West has just been relieved of her post, though mercifully not hanged off the yardarm, for having sex with an officer under her command.

In both US and British armed forces, officers are allowed to bonk up but not down. Having sex with a superior officer is fine, but not with one sporting one less stripe than the offender.

Thus the Lieutenant-Commander who enjoyed Sarah West’s favours was free of all blame, but she wasn’t.

My heart goes out to Sarah. Considering that every man on board the frigate she commanded was by definition her statutory inferior, her amorous options weren’t so much limited as non-existent.

Now, on the available evidence, Commander West is neither a Carmelite nun nor an active practitioner of brahmacharya, the Hindu art of sexual abstinence. She’s a young, fit, physically active woman with an aggressive temperament, all of which characteristics normally presuppose a healthy sexual appetite.

In her line of work she had to spend weeks, sometimes months, at a time sequestered in the company of sex-starved young men whose opportunities for fulfilment were almost as limited as hers.

Under such circumstances, expecting Commander West to adhere strictly to the naval regulations would be presuming too much on human nature. I’m not condoning sexual licence, but then neither do I welcome such denial of basic humanity.

Does having sex with fellow servicemen undermine the unit’s battle worthiness? Perhaps. Probably. In a combat situation, it would be hard for a man or a woman to treat a lover as any other comrade.

Others would cotton on, and certain resentments might arise. This would create additional tensions, which a fighting unit could do without. And the tensions would be even stronger if one of the lovers were in command.

It has been understood since time immemorial that sexual fault lines may fracture the cohesion of a unit, its morale and hence its battle-worthiness. However, there’s only one way of preventing such problems, and that’s not having women – or practising homosexuals – on active duty.

I realise that expressing such a view marks me out as a troglodyte, but in fact the Royal Navy only began to admit women to active duty in 1990, Italy and Spain still exclude women from military service, and only five Nato countries don’t exclude women from combat.

The two stories may be different, but they’re closely linked. They both testify to a collapse of common sense, traditional morality and time-honoured sense of propriety.

A young woman who whips her breast out in public, a man who relieves himself in a crowded street (such as London’s King’s Road, in my experience) or a Royal Navy that submits to militant feminism aren’t the problems in themselves.

They’re all symptoms of the disease that in shorthand could be described as modernity, with its urge to reverse, mock and often punish yesterday’s certitudes. The barbarians are no longer at the gate, they’re inside, and they’ve taken over.

Hilaire Belloc put it just right: “We are tickled by [the Barbarian’s] irreverence, his comic inversion of our old certitudes and our fixed creeds refreshes us; we laugh. But as we laugh we are watched by large and awful faces from beyond; and on these faces there is no smile.”

Hear, hear.


P.S. My new book, Democracy as a Neocon Trick, is coming out this autumn. You can pre-order from the publisher on
















What Dubya said, Putin does

George W. Bush had a way with words that made Mrs Malaprop come across as a precise stylist.

In one of his more memorable pronouncements, Dubya declared: “Our enemies… never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.”

Dubya was trying to reassure Americans that his efforts to protect the country matched the efforts of those trying to harm it. Alas, his verbal proficiency wasn’t quite up to the task of enunciating even simple thoughts.

On the other hand, if Col. Putin said the same thing, it would ring true.

There’s no denying that Western sanctions, pathetically inadequate though they are, have done some damage to Russia and the Russians.

Among the Russians who’ve suffered are the few thugs graced with the misnomer ‘businessmen’ in the West. One of them, Gennadi Timchenko, widely believed to be Putin’s personal money launderer, complained the other day of his deprivations.

He can no longer blow his billions in the West, instead having to find a suitable outlet within Russian borders. Timchenko also made the magnanimous, if irrelevant, gesture of claiming he’d happily give every last billion he owns to the government.

That’s like saying you’d happily repay a mortgage loan. The money you borrowed isn’t yours, you merely have the use of it.

Similarly, the ‘oligarchs’ don’t own their capital. At best they have the leasehold on it. The freehold belongs to the source of their wealth: the state and its cutting edge, the KGB/FSB. Which is to say Putin personally.

My heart doesn’t bleed for them. I do feel for ordinary Russians, those who launder their own clothes rather than Putin’s billions. They’re the ones bearing the greatest burden.

That’s the way it always is. Whenever a country loses access to foreign goods, services and commodities, it’s the silent majority of consumers who truly suffer. For example, and it’s one among many, unplugging most Russian banks from the global financial network is rapidly driving the country’s inflation towards double digits.

Incomes are heading in the opposite direction, the rouble is losing value, and the Russians (most of whom already live below what we’d regard as poverty levels) are bearing the brunt.

That’s why protectionism doesn’t work: reducing imports may preserve some jobs in the short run, by transferring more of the production to home industries. But in the long run the rewards of every job will attenuate, consumers will consume less and therefore pump less lifeblood into the veins of local industries.

All told, there’s no doubt that what Russia has always seen as her enemy, the West, is hurting much of the population. That’s why the KGB colonel has decided to hurt it even more.

By announcing a sweeping ban on Western food imports, Putin effectively took Bush’s words and made them flesh. For, while his countersanctions will have only  a trivial effect on the West, the damage they’ll do the Russians will be anything but trivial.

Before the 1917 advent of social justice Russia had been the world’s second largest food exporter. And her 1913 exports of cereals exceeded those of the USA, Canada and Argentina combined.

However, social justice demanded that the peasants’ land be confiscated and the most productive peasants shot or sent to concentration camps, followed by all those who resisted social justice.

When whole areas, such as the Ukraine, proved recalcitrant, the previous generation of Putin’s employers would arrive in the autumn, rob the peasants of all their food and grain stocks, then seal the area tight to make sure no one could escape.

The starving peasants would eat their remaining livestock, then horses, then dogs and cats, then their children, then each other. By early spring everyone would be dead. Putin’s alma mater would come back with bulldozers and dump lorries, supplied by Ford and other American manufacturers.

The bulldozers, their blades straining, would push the frozen bodies, millions of them, into ravines, and the dump lorries would fill the nameless graves with earth and lime. Social justice would triumph yet again, to the hosannas of the West’s useful idiots.

The peasants, dead or alive, took their revenge. No one was sowing, tilling or reaping. The supply of food to the cities was cut off, and they too were starving.

Overnight, Russia became the world’s biggest importer of food, reversing the situation existing under the royal tyrants. The official explanation was bad weather, which Russia had to endure non-stop from 1917 to 1991, when talk of social justice became unfashionable and the weather miraculously improved.

The peasants were then offered all sorts of incentives to go back to the land. The offers weren’t taken up with alacrity. The peasants still remembered being given land back in 1917, only then to have it taken away, together with their lives.

Thus, even after the dictatorship of the Party was replaced with that of the KGB (sorry, I mean after Russia became a true democracy), domestic food production remained sluggish.

Hence last year Russia imported $42 billion’s worth of food, while food prices increased by almost 15 per cent on average, with potatoes, that omnipresent staple, becoming 63 per cent dearer, vegetables 23.6 per cent and dairy products 19.4 per cent. Critically, Russia imports almost a third of her meat from the West.

Putin claims that his sanctions won’t affect the living standards of the population, evoking the Soviet-time joke, whose punch line was “Have you tried rat poison?”

His mendacious promise is that the slack left by imports will be taken up by domestic production – that old saw of every protectionist. Even assuming that Russian peasants will rediscover their erstwhile industry and enterprise (an unsafe assumption if I’ve ever heard one), replacing Western imports will take decades – not one year, as Putin lied with his customary fluency.

His sanctions will hurt the Russians without hurting the West very much. For example, Europe’s largest food exporter is France, but even there agriculture accounts for a mere three per cent of GDP, while food makes up only 9.7 percent of French exports, with Russia being a very minor market.

In short, Putin has cut off his nose to spite his face. Or, as the Russian version of the same proverb goes, he gouged his own eye out to make sure his wife’s mother would have a one-eyed son-in-law.

The Russians will soon be hit by a food crisis, but there’s a silver lining to that cloud. Scotch whisky isn’t covered by Putin’s sanctions.




How to end 2,000 years of Christianity in the Middle East

In common with all sensible men, I’m uneasy about conspiracy theories – this without denying that perfectly non-theoretical conspiracies have been known to exist (bolshevism springs to mind).

In that spirit, and in contradiction to plentiful evidence, I don’t believe Messrs Bush and Blair hatched a plot to drive Christianity out of the Middle East.

Yet I struggle to imagine what they would have done differently had that indeed been their aim.

Neither do I believe the persistent rumours that Obama is a secret Muslim, even though his name is Barak Hussein.

Again however, I fail to see how differently he’d act if he were indeed an adherent of the ‘religion of peace’, as Dubaya tagged Islam somewhat counter-intuitively in the immediate aftermath of 9/11.

While our useful idiots describe Israel’s desperate struggle to survive as disproportionate, which it isn’t, few describe the 2003 Anglo-American attack on Iraq as criminal, which it was.

The attack fit in nicely with the overall campaign to destabilise and oust the quasi-secular dictatorships that alone could keep the lunatic fringe of Islam at bay.

After Saddam and Gaddafi were murdered, Mubarak was arrested, and Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq were embroiled in civil war, thousands of murderous fanatics came out of the woodwork, gun in hand, hatred in heart.

Whom do they hate specifically? The list is long.

Israel, that goes without saying. Jews in general, that too doesn’t need reiterating. Other Muslims, those holding dissenting views on the post-Mohammedan succession. The West, for its persistent if waning resolve to resist conversion from atheism to Islam. Anyone who disagrees with the fanatics now or may do so in the future.

And of course Christianity, this awful heresy to Islam that just happens to predate it by 600 years.

No wonder the Koran, the only source of spiritual and intellectual sustenance a good Muslim ever needs, puts Christians into the same bracket as Jews: “Take not the Jews and the Christians for friends…” (5:51) and, for preference, kill them: “Slay them [unbelievers] wherever ye find them…” (2:91)

The Prophet’s diktats must be obeyed. Hence, with all those secular traitors to Islam out of the way, open season on Christians began.

The think tank Civitas reports that “Christians are targeted more than any other body of believers.” It estimates that 200 million Christians are “socially disadvantaged, harassed or actively oppressed for their beliefs.”

Yet those who have the misfortune of living directly in the path of the Islamic juggernaut aren’t just ‘socially disadvantaged’. They are being robbed, raped, murdered and displaced.

Nowhere is their plight worse than in Iraq. This stands to reason: the country was the first beneficiary of American-style democracy so beloved of the neoconservatives, our typological analogue to jihadists.

This is particularly heart-rending because Christianity in Iraq goes back a long way – as long as historically possible. It was brought there by St Thomas, one of the apostles.

Iraq, or Mesopotamia as it was then, quickly became one of the world’s major centres of Christianity. For example, more bishops came to the pivotal Council of Nicaea (325 AD) from Mesopotamia than from Western Europe.

Throughout history Christians enjoyed a relatively easy ride there, as did Jews – to a point where after the Second World War a third of Baghdad’s population was Jewish.

Just eight years after the advent of laser-guided democracy there were seven Jews left in Baghdad – and now it’s the Christians’ turn.

The Islamic State, which owes its existence to the 2003 aggression, has given Iraqi Christians a straightforward choice: convert to Islam or die.

Neither alternative appealing, thousands flee, just like Egyptian Christians fled after the advent of the rather wintry Arab Spring – indeed just like the holy family fled in the wake of Herodian slaughter.

Mary and Joseph took their baby to Egypt – where can the displaced and dispossessed Iraqi Christians run? Not to the United States, that traditional refuge to ‘the huddled masses’.

Just as so many Western countries refused to admit Jewish refugees from Germany in the 1930s, so is Obama’s America ignoring the plight of Christian refugees from Iraq. The danger of the same outcome is imminent.

Last Saturday Iraqi Christians living in the United States rallied at the White House, chanting “Obama, Obama, where are you? Iraqi Christians call for you!”

There was no reply. President Obama was otherwise engaged, facilitating the entry of Muslim terrorists into the country.

Even as he’s slamming the door in the face of Christian refugees, he’s flinging it wide to welcome ‘minor’ Islamic terrorists, those not perpetrating terrorist acts themselves but merely aiding and abetting them.

In doing so, Obama has unilaterally overturned Bush’s law barring entry to providers of aid to Hamas and other terrorist groups. In the process he has removed at least 4,000 people from the terror watch list, welcomed them to the USA and offered them ‘limited material support’.

This goes on against the background of Obama’s State Department having rejected almost all of the 20,000 asylum applications from Coptic Christians trying to escape Egypt from the progressive Muslim Brotherhood.

That’s an odd way to behave for a country that liberally peppers its official documents with references to God and decorates its banknotes with the assurance that ‘in God we trust’.

France, on the other hand, is regarded as the most atheistic country in Western Europe, and indeed she’s proud of her post-revolutionary laïcité. Yet it’s the French and not the Americans who are willing to save Iraqi Christians.

France’s foreign and interior ministers said in a joint statement in Paris on 28 July that “we are ready, if they wish, to facilitate their asylum on our soil.”

The openly atheist French government is thus doing more for Christianity than the fulsomely pious United States, which stands to reason.

France, after all, was a Christian nation for most of her history, and her entire ethos is permeated with vestiges of past grandeur. The United States, on the other hand, started life as a revolutionary, secular republic, with Christianity never accepted as anything other than a personal idiosyncrasy.

Add Barack Hussein’s presidency to this heritage, and Mohammed is your uncle, Fatima is your aunt.

Meanwhile, Glasgow’s Lord Provost Sadie Docherty has declared that, as a gesture of solidarity with Hamas, the Glasgow City Council will fly the Palestinian flag from city chambers tomorrow.

The devolution still hasn’t happened, and yet Scotland’s biggest city already seems to be pursuing an independent foreign policy. I wonder what Dave has to say about this.