Chalk another one up for Peter Hitchens’s darling

How many crimes does Putin have to commit before our ‘conservatives’ and ‘libertarians’ realise he and his regime are indeed criminal?

There is no limit, I’m afraid, as there is no limit to people’s idiocy – especially when it’s propped up by strident ideology.

Putin is self-admittedly proud of being a KGB officer “for life”? So what? George Bush was head of the CIA, which is fully equivalent, even if, unlike Putin’s sponsoring organisation, the CIA never murdered millions of its citizens.

Putin had Russian apartment blocks blown up, blamed the Chechens for the crime and used it as a pretext for uncapping a gusher of blood in North Caucasus? Oh well, say Putin’s ‘conlib’ groupies, there’s no proof he did it.

How, pray tell, would they expect to have proof if the terrorist and the investigator happened to be the same person?

Actually, there was ample proof, and Alexander Litvinenko published it in his book Blowing Up Russia. He was about to publish more when he was murdered with nuclear weapons in the middle of London.

And still the ‘conlibs’ found excuses. Yes, there was a clear motive and only Putin had the means, but Putin’s men weren’t found guilty in a court of law, so there.

Of course they weren’t. They fled back to Russia where they hid behind the wall of parliamentary immunity and Putin’s refusal to extradite them.

In between those crimes there was Russia’s blitzkrieg on Georgia whose purpose was mainly educational. All those ex-Soviet republics thinking of veering westwards had to learn, or rather re-learn, who’s boss.

Again there were excuses galore. It was Georgia that attacked Russia, not the other way around, claimed the ‘conlibs’.

Ever looked at the map, chaps? Compared the size of the two countries?

Georgia attacked Russia in 2008 like Finland attacked it in 1939, or Poland attacked Germany the same year. In both cases the aggressor claimed to be the victim, and Putin has learned from his role models.

In parallel, the last semblance of free speech was stamped out in Russia by means both quasi-legal, such as shutting down papers and broadcast channels or blocking websites, and downright criminal, such as beatings, assassinations and threats thereof.

More than 40 journalists were murdered, including such high fliers as Anna Politkovskaya and Paul Klebnikov, the American editor of Moscow Forbes. God only knows how many others were roughed up and crippled within an inch of their lives.

Opposition politicians didn’t fare much better: many were imprisoned if they were lucky or murdered if they were not. A few others, such as the lawyer Magnitsky, were both: murdered while in prison.

Libertarians! Conservatives! How could you find excuses for a transparently fascist regime brutally denying its people the same liberties you supposedly cherish?

Not a problem. Putin is leading Russia to freedom and prosperity, they said, but the road can’t possibly be straight. It has to meander a bit, some pitfalls are inevitable along the way.

Then came the Ukraine, and here the ‘conlibs’ have come into their own. Putin, they explain, is a true Russian patriot looking after his country’s national interests, and don’t you wish we too had such a strong leader?

The Ukraine is being used by Nato and the EU as a springboard for an impending attack on Russia, or at least Putin is within his right to feel that way even in the absence of any evidence of such an intention. In fact, all European countries are rapidly disarming, but this may well be a dastardly ploy to conceal war preparations.

We hate the EU, Putin hates the EU, so Putin is our friend. Actually, Putin detests ‘the Anglo-Saxons’ even more that he hates the EU, while we kind of like them, but we’ll let that pass.

And didn’t Putin ban homosexual propaganda in schools? Of course he did. So he’s one of us.

By that criterion Hitler was also one of us, along with Stalin, bin-Laden and Jihadi John, but hey – ours is still a vestigially free country, so Peter Hitchens can choose what kind of people he wishes to claim as his own.

Let’s not forget history, say those who are cretinously ignorant of it. Isn’t the Crimea traditionally Russian?

Actually, no, it isn’t. It belonged to Russia during the same period, give or take a couple of years, that India belonged to Britain. Would that justify sending the Royal Marines to New Delhi or shelling Calcutta?

And isn’t the Russian minority woefully persecuted in the Ukraine? It is, if you regard having to learn their country’s language as persecution.

In fact, the Russians in the Ukraine are persecuted a lot less than German minorities were persecuted in Czechoslovakia and Poland in the late 1930s. So Hitler had a point, don’t you think? And if he didn’t, Putin certainly has.

Then, a few hours ago one of Putin’s leading political opponents Boris Nemtsov was shot dead a hundred yards from the Kremlin. His mangled corpse, riddled with bullets, was left on the pavement for three hours – no doubt pour encourager les autres.

Last week Nemtsov was interviewed on the website His mother, he said with a smile, was scared Putin would kill him.

“Interesting,” said the interviewer, “And are you too, after talking to your mother, afraid that Putin will kill you, either personally or through intermediaries?”

“Well, yes,” replied Nemtsov. “Not so much as my mother, but still… Actually, I’m not scared of him all that much. If I really feared him, I’d hardly be leading an opposition party…”

“I hope,” concluded the interviewer, “that common sense prevails and Putin won’t kill you.”

“God willing,” said Nemtsov. “I hope so too.”

Common sense didn’t prevail. What prevailed is the evil despot in the Kremlin. That energumen couldn’t stomach Nemtsov’s open opposition to the rape of the Ukraine, his gathering a dossier of evidence proving Russia’s direct involvement, which Putin mendaciously and cynically denies.

When Klebnikov was killed in 2004, he was shot by two men firing Kalashnikovs from a moving car. Putin’s FSB immediately spread rumours that the American had been shot by a jealous husband.

This time the Russian Investigative Committee has announced it’s exploring three similarly likely versions of Nemtsov’s murder: he was killed for his solidarity with Charlie Hebdo victims; then there were his commercial activities resented by many; and let’s not forget the possibility of a personal tiff.

I can save the investigators’ precious time: Nemtsov was organising a march of protest against the Ukraine war, and for that and other such misdemeanours he had to die – no doubt to the forthcoming accompaniment of ‘conlib’ hosannas.

None has come so far because they obviously have to catch their breath and think up another spurious excuse for the ‘strong leader’. If you’re stuck for one, chaps, ask Peter Hitchens. He’s good at that sort of thing. Christopher Booker is also available, and he can come cheaper.

Boris Nemtsov, RIP.   






Into the valley of death rode the six hundred – in vain, says the EU

On 25 October, 1854, a miscommunication in the chain of command caused the Light Brigade to charge into Russian guns at Balaklava. The unit was badly mauled, but that was just one battle lost in a war decisively won.

For the Crimean War achieved the strategic objective that had brought together Britain, France, Turkey and Sardinia: barring the Russian navy from establishing a foothold in the Mediterranean.

The war wasn’t an isolated event. Ever since Russia acquired a navy in the early 18th century, the tsars, the Bolsheviks and the post-Bolsheviks have sought a Mediterranean base and, ideally, control of the Straits.

It’s in pursuit of this objective that Russia fought eight wars against Turkey between the reigns of Peter I and Nicholas II.

Hence Russian strategic doctrine has always incorporated a major southward thrust. And that’s why subversive Soviet activity was at its most febrile in Greece, Italy and France.

Conversely, Western European powers, and especially Britain, have historically made every effort to prevent such Russian expansion. They knew that allowing Russia a permanent presence in the Mediterranean would shift the strategic balance of power her way, and no Western country regarded Russia as a long-term friend.

In fact, this was one issue on which Europe was united long before the European Union was a twinkle in Jean Monnet’s eye.

Austria was allied with Turkey in the 1735-39 war against Russia, the three Western powers joined Turkey in the Crimean war, Britain more or less created the Turkish navy and so forth, all the way to the Second World War, after which Britain and the United States prevented the Soviets from turning Greece into another Romania.

Hundreds of thousands died in those gallant efforts to keep Russia in check, but the strategic objective was achieved, and no one could say those Turks, Greeks, Austrians, Sardinians, Brits and Frenchmen died in vain.

That is, no one could say it until now. For it has just been announced that the Cypriot government has granted Putin’s Russia the use of Cyprus ports. The construction of a permanent Russian naval base is just round the corner.

The piquancy of the situation is that it’s not immediately apparent how Russia is any less of a strategic threat now than she was two centuries ago.

Not only has Putin launched an open aggression first against Georgia and now the Ukraine, but every shrill message from the state-controlled Russian press leaves one in no doubt that the Russians see such conflicts in the broader context of war on the West.

Moreover, the current aggression has been sacralised, which is the time-honoured trick of modern tyrants.

If you read the Russian press, you’ll get the impression that the Ukraine doesn’t matter one way or the other. What is supposed to be currently under way is a clash between the Russian World and the Anglo-Saxon World (of which, if you believe the Russian press, the EU is but a stooge).

Unlike the materialistic, soulless Anglo-Saxons, Russia represents unbridled spirituality that must be imposed on the world by paradoxically physical military means. God is with Russia, preach Putin’s media, eerily evoking the memory of the SS slogan Gott mit uns.

This sort of stance has historically tended to create firm opposing alliances, such as the one put together in the Crimean War at a time when Russia sounded much more modest in her aspirations.

Hence we must get down on our knees and give thanks. There is no need to put together such an alliance. It already exists, and it’s called the European Union.

You know, the entity to which we supposedly owe the absence of a major European war in the last 70 years. The EU has brought Europe together to ensure lasting peace, prosperity and cultural cohesion.

That’s why, whenever a regional conflict brews anywhere Europe, the EU closes ranks, blows the bugle, beats the drum and… well, does nothing, if truth be told.

In all those conflicts, from Yugoslavia to the Ukraine, the EU has been at best a useless presence and at worst a malevolent one, adding to the bloodshed, rather than subtracting from it.

But surely this time it’ll be different. Surely the EU will draw the line at reversing three centuries’ worth of strategic policy…

Hold on a moment. The last I looked Cyprus was a member of the EU and even, since 2007, of the eurozone. Is it still? Let me see on my trusted Google… there it is. Well, what do you know, Cyprus indeed belongs to the united front Europe presents to the cold world out there.

Fair enough, Russia can bring pressure to bear on Cyprus, what with Russian Mafiosi favouring her beaches for relaxation and her banks for money laundering. But if the EU can tell Britain (Britain!) how to run her foreign and domestic affairs, can’t Angie say Nein to Cyprus (Cyprus!)?

Apparently not.

In general, Putin is finding the EU unsportingly easy as a target for the old divide et impera strategy. His overtures to Greece, Hungary and now Cyprus are manifestly aimed at splitting the Union, and this recent development raises the question of how united the Union really is.

Not very, as you can find out by buying a glass of wine for a Greek, Spaniard, Italian or a Portuguese and asking him what he really thinks of the Germans. Or else you could buy a stein of beer for a German and ask him how he feels about those other chaps, and also the ‘Anglo-Saxons’ and the French.

Unless the recipients of your largesse work for the European Commission, the illusion of a united Europe will vanish like a desert mirage. You’ll get a distinct impression that, contrary to its declared objectives, the EU promotes fractional enmity and consequently the possibility of a major war.

But ours not to reason why, ours but to do and… Well, let’s not end on a macabre note.
















Ukip’s friends and enemies

Enoch Powell, claims the Ukip MP Douglas Carswell, “misjudged Britain’s ability to become a multi-ethnic society at ease with itself”.

That was the lead-in paragraph of an otherwise sensible article Enoch Powell Was Wrong About Immigration, arguing that, while a successful nation shouldn’t stop foreigners from coming, it must reserve the right to choose those it allows to come.

Why kick a political thinker long since dead, one would wonder, but only a political virgin would wonder for real. You see, Ukip’s emergence has scared our political spivs (regardless of party affiliation) so much that they’ve ordered their journalistic groupies to unleash a torrent of lies about Ukip, accompanied by hysterical invective.

The mendacious Channel 4 documentary is only one example – of thousands. Now, if you don’t think mass propaganda works, download some YouTube footage of a Nuremberg rally to see how wrong you are.

The anti-Ukip propaganda, for all its intellectual and factual dishonesty, seems to be working too, after a fashion. For example, I’ve seen some perfectly sensible people lower their voice and half-whisper that Ukip intends to nail Britain’s borders shut – in both directions.

“Do you realise,” asked a writer friend of mine, “that a Ukip government would make it impossible for you to go to your house in France?” Now politics isn’t my friend’s forte, but you can see the kind of damage the spiv agitprop is doing.

Mr Carswell isn’t a thinker in search of truth but a politician in pursuit of votes. That’s why, while arguing in favour of a reasonable immigration policy based on an Australian-type point system, he feels called upon to attack Enoch Powell posthumously.

That’s his doomed attempt to establish his own, and his party’s, PC bona fides, and also to counter some of the nonsense spread around about Ukip. Indirectly this serves to remind us that Ukip politicians are still politicians, of the modern variety.

Hence their commitment to truth is less passionate than their commitment to electoral success. And they know that in our political climate the two never go together.

If Mr Carswell suddenly decided to retrain for a different career, of course he’d admit that Powell was absolutely right, specifically in his Aeneid speech, which, according to Mr Carswell “made it difficult to even mention immigration in Westminster… Yet in his pessimism, Powell was wrong… [because he] underestimated the ability of a free society to adapt.”

One can’t expect even a generally benign politician to spot self-refutation in his own arguments. Still, one has to wonder how free our society is if, by Mr Carswell’s own admission, it’s “difficult even to mention immigration in Westminster”.

Immigration, continues Mr Carswell, “has been, overwhelmingly, a story of success.”

No doubt working-class Englishmen who walk the streets of their neighbourhoods without ever hearing an English word, other than ‘Social’, will agree – as will the denizens of our better boroughs inundated by Eastern European muggers, beggars and car thieves.

And does Mr Carswell really believe that the arrival of a million Muslims in the last 10 years, on top of about two million in the country already, has been “a story of success”?

I like couscous as much as any other man, but I’m prepared to forego this delicacy to be also spared the sight of Muslims dancing in the streets of Bradford in celebration of terrorist acts on London public transport.

I’m also slightly worried, to the point of doubting the overwhelming success of immigration, when reading that 25 per cent of British Muslims feel sympathy for jihadist murderers.

And how successfully has our ‘free society’ integrated 115,000 Somalis? Not very, unless Mr Carswell is prepared to welcome their enhancing our education on such worthy multi-cultural practices as female genital mutilation.

Enoch Powell, Mr Carswell, was absolutely right, and even his political enemy Edward Heath admitted as much three years after sacking Powell.

Powell’s Aeneid speech, which the spivs insist on calling ‘Rivers of Blood’, gave an intellectually sound shape to the people’s concerns, which is why 74 per cent of the population applauded it.

Unlike Ukip’s enemies and also, evidently, some of its members, Powell realised almost 50 years ago that mass immigration was sooner or later bound to reach a critical mass beyond which England would no longer be England.

Rather than waffling on this issue, Mr Carswell, and the rest of his party, ought to stick to their guns and continue to speak the truth. Alas, if they could do that they wouldn’t be modern politicians.

With friends like that, Ukip doesn’t really need Tim Montgomerie, yet he is the bad penny that keeps turning up – in The Times, where else.

To Mr Montgomerie’s credit he doesn’t pretend to be objective. He is a career Tory apparatchik and a fully paid-up member of the Tory beagle pack of trained journalists. Ukip baiting is thus his job requirement, and he is never derelict of his duties.

In today’s paper he predicts the demise of Ukip as a political force of any kind. That very well may be, but why does Mr Montgomerie think so?

Oh well, you see, neither Ukip membership nor its leadership is uniform in its opinions. The party, he says, “is hopelessly divided on many issues”.

This is yet another example of a factually accurate lie. The inference the reader is supposed to draw is that other parties, especially the one of the blue rosette fame, are solid monoliths of ideas and aspirations.

Yet Tim’s beloved Tory party was perfectly able to accommodate Heath and Powell in the past and, in more recent times, Clark and Tebbit. If these aren’t two pairs of political antipodes, I don’t know who would be.

And, if we assume that the Tory ideology is demarcated by Ken at one end and Norman at the other, one can find just about every political hue in between.

Surely Mr Mongomerie is familiar with dozens of Tory MPs who routinely vote against the government on Europe? Of course he is. Some of those rebels are even his friends.

“While its immigration and European policies are pretty well known,” continues Montgomerie, “I doubt one in 20 voters could name another Ukip policy.”

Possibly. But what proportion of voters would be able to pinpoint any policy of any other party, including the Tories? In the absence of such comparative data, Montgomeries’s statement is nothing but shrill propaganda.

In any case, he belongs in the select five per cent of those who know some other Ukip policies as well. “Ukip voters… want to spend more on defence, less on welfare…” Montgomerie helpfully informs.

That’s not too shabby, considering that all other parties’ preferences are the other way around. So it’s not just immigration and Europe then?

I do hope Ukip can discipline its friends and humiliate its enemies. The party may not be better than others, but at least it’s still different.

Looking at the Dave-Ed-Nick show, all I can say is vive la différence.





At least the Catholic bishops don’t confuse Christianity with socialism

Just like their Anglican colleagues, the Catholic bishops have offered advice on how to vote in the general election.

That’s where the similarity more or less ends, for the Catholics never mentioned disarmament and joining a single European state as prime Christian values.

Instead they urged the faithful to vote for candidates who uphold Christian morality, with all it entails. Vote for candidates, said Their Graces, who support marriage and family life.

Lest there be some misunderstanding, they clarified their meaning: “The Christian understanding of marriage, founded on a loving and faithful relationship between a man and a woman, is the basic building block of society.”

How antediluvian can you get? ‘Between a man and a woman’? This suggests that the bishops disapprove of homomarriage, showing yet again how hopelessly out of touch the Church is.

Any union between any two mammals is as valid, and as worthy of the word marriage, as the outdated notion favoured by the bishops. Surely they must know this? Surely they aren’t challenging the consensus? Surely they aren’t challenging DEMOCRACY?

Then it gets really bad. Their Graces say we ought to vote for candidates opposed to abortion, euthanasia and assisted suicide.

“Each person matters,” they pronounce, “ and the foundation of Catholic teaching is the respect for human life from conception to natural death” (my much needed emphasis).

Now if that doesn’t take the Eucharistic wafer, I don’t know what does. Clearly the bishops haven’t been following Oliver Kamm’s columns. No, I’ll go even further – they haven’t been following modern life.

Otherwise they’d know that human life begins at 24 weeks and ends whenever a person becomes a pain in the gluteus maximus to himself and his family. Or, at a pinch, just to his family. Or to the NHS. Or to his neighbours.

Contrary to what fossils like you may think, Your Graces, man is created in his own image. Actually, to be more precise, he isn’t created at all. He has evolved from another mammal, whose likeness modern man now closely resembles inwardly and, increasingly, outwardly.

It follows from this with ineluctable logic (well, modern logic at any rate) that man has any value only for as long as he’s a useful member of society. Now, what the bishops provocatively call ‘unborn babies’ aren’t useful yet, and wrinklies and crumblies aren’t useful any more.

That’s why it’s an act of Christian mercy towards society to coerce them into suicide or, if they are too small or too far gone to commit one, to do the job for them. The greatest good of the greatest number, right? That’s the ultimate Christian value, and shame on Their Graces for failing to grasp this.

I wonder if the bishops realise that their advice, which is in such stark contrast to the Anglican bishops’ secular leftie gibberish, is tantamount to telling the Catholics not to vote at all.

For there is no mainstream party in the running that supports what Their Graces tell us to support and opposes what they tell us to oppose.

The Tories (and possibly Ukip, if it qualifies as a mainstream party) should be their only natural allies in upholding Christian morality. Instead Dave triumphantly pushed through the profoundly anti-family homomarriage law, compromising the party’s core vote.

I have yet to hear the Tories make an unequivocal statement opposing abortion, euthanasia and assisted suicide. They haven’t and they won’t – the focus groups won’t let them.

The Kamms of this world have corrupted the British public so thoroughly that the numbers are stacked up against any such statements. And no modern party will jeopardise its electoral chances by going against majority opinion. That’s what democracy is all about: the ultimate truth is determined by the calculator.

Hence the Tories choose to ignore the pro-family minority of traditional Tory voters. But they do so at their peril, for, while this minority is insignificant in the electorate at large, it’s quite sizeable within the Tory party.

This just may explain the current polls that show that the Conservatives are extremely unlikely to win the general election outright. At least I can’t think of any other explanation.

After all, the political wisdom, as enunciated by James Carville, Clinton’s strategist, says that “It’s the economy, stupid”. Now it doesn’t take a PR genius to communicate to the masses that a) the Labour government dragged Britain into an economic quagmire and b) the Tories pulled her out of it.

Britain enjoys lower unemployment and higher growth rate than anyone else in Europe, the FTSE 100 is at an all-time high, the pound is strong, and the French flock to our shores in droves because our economic prospects are so bright.

If Carville was right, the general election should be done and dusted by now. Instead most polls show a dead heat, and only a few yield a Tory lead of a point or two. Over Labour!

One explanation could be that the British people are so well-versed in economics that they detect something phoney about this prosperity. They may feel that, with the national debt at around £1.5 trillion, our economy is a beautifully decorated house resting on a termite-ridden foundation. Hence, to punish the Tories for their dishonesty, they would be ready to vote for the party that’ll take a wrecking ball to the house.

Alas, much as one would like to credit the Brits with such sophistication, two generations’ worth of comprehensive education make economic, or any other, astuteness rather unlikely.

So perhaps it’s not just the economy, stupid. Perhaps Dave, with his maniacal war on traditional family, has shot the party in the foot and all it can hope for is limping feebly to another emasculating coalition. Perhaps many natural Tories will, like me, register a protest vote, probably for Ukip.

This leaves the bishops’ advice hanging in the air. It is no doubt a most welcome statement of what it means to be Christian in the moral mess of modernity, but as a practical recommendation it’s well-nigh worthless.

Much as we’d like to follow their guidance, there is no party we could vote for in good conscience. So, as one applauds Their Graces, one would be justified in shedding a tear for the country.





Oliver Kamm makes a case for sex-selective abortion

I like to have my cherished notions confirmed as much as any other man. That’s why I‘m grateful to Oliver Kamm of The Times.

This pundit never tires of vindicating my life-long judgement that lefties aren’t just misguided but stupid. The distinction between the two is relevant here.

A misguided but clever man will be able to erect a solid intellectual structure in support of his opinions, and it’ll take a particularly discerning eye to detect any logical faults.

On the other hand, someone who’s not only misguided but also stupid will commit every rhetorical fallacy known to man, and he wouldn’t even be aware that what he says makes no sense.

Kamm falls into the second category, which is why I often invoke his name when questioning the intellectual competence of lefties as a group. What Ollie writes about doesn’t really matter – he can utter equally refreshing inanities on any subject.

A few days ago, for example, he delivered himself of various linguistic insights that can all be reduced to one: anything people say is correct simply because people say it. Why, he has even written a book attacking usage pedantry.

Of the two cognates, ‘pedantry’ and ‘pederasty’, the former strikes me as more acceptable than the latter, but I’m sure old Ollie feels differently.

In common with all left-wingers, he’ll wax positively libertarian when defending anything that has a destructive potential for our civilisation. Destruction is the underlying aim, and a seemingly laisser-faire leftie will in the next breath turn dictatorial when that suits his purpose better (for example, when banning country sports).

Hence, wearing his libertarian mask, Ollie welcomes every lexical or grammatical perversion because he senses viscerally that such permissiveness promotes cultural and social egalitarianism, thereby adding another twig to the pyre of our civilisation. QED.

His today’s article extolling the virtues of sex-selective abortion is another example of exactly the same destructive pursuit.

Ollie espied with his eagle eye that most people who are against sex-selective abortion oppose abortion in general. This is perfectly logical, for both issues hinge on whether a foetus is part of a woman’s body or a separate person.

If it’s the former, then an abortion is no different from an appendectomy: a woman is within her right to correct either condition. She may choose to abort because she doesn’t want to have her style cramped, because she doesn’t know who the father is or because the foetus in her womb is female and her husband wants a boy – logically speaking, it makes no difference.

If, however, a foetus is regarded as a human being from the moment of conception (the only logically defensible moment, for anything else, including the current legal limit of 24 weeks, is totally arbitrary), then a woman has no sovereign rights over its fate.

A debate between pro-abortionists like Ollie and anti-abortionists like, well, me must revolve around this solely valid distinction. The victory in such a debate ought to go to whomever makes the better case.

Any debate is an exercise in rhetoric and logic, and both are intellectual disciplines with their own rigid rules. Stepping outside such rules leads to committing rhetorical fallacies, and intelligent people tend to avoid those.

Ollie, on the other hand, has never known a rhetorical fallacy he couldn’t love. His particular favourites are argumentum ad populum (appeal to the people: the proposition is true because folk believe it) and petitio principii (begging the question: using what is the conclusion of the argument as a premise).

These fallacies are intelligent people’s taboos, but Ollie’s workhorses. In this case he harnesses them to carry his arguments in favour of abortion in general and the sex-selective variety in particular.

Argumentum ad populum: “A YouGov poll in 2013 found only 7 per cent support for a ban on abortion. A substantial majority either supported the law as it stands… or favoured relaxing it.”

On hearing such a statement, an intelligent man would shrug and say “So what?”. That most people think something doesn’t make it right. But for Ollie vox populi is vox dei, or would be if he believed in God.

Petitio principii: Ollie then attacks Fiona Bruce, MP, for tabling an amendment to the Serious Crime Bill to outlaw sex-selective abortions. “The amendment attempts to undermine by stealth one of the most important social advances of the past half-century” (meaning abortion on demand).

Here Kamm uses his premise (that abortion is a social advance because it strikes a blow for women’s rights) as his conclusion. Yet it takes proof to turn the former into the latter.

I happen to disagree with both the premise and the conclusion. Moreover I’m prepared to put forth a cogent argument that legalising abortion on demand negates one of the founding principles of our civilisation, that of the sanctity of human life.

The sheer logical impossibility of pinpointing the beginning of human life to any moment other than conception means that abortion violates what has always been held to be inviolable.

That seems perfectly logical to me. Yet I am prepared to entertain counterarguments – provided they are intellectually sound, which Ollie’s musings aren’t.

He then brings the two fallacies together in one sentence, with argumentum ad hominem thrown in for good measure: “Having lost the argument and knowing they are out of step with social mores and public opinion, the zealots are attempting to get their way by procedural manoeuvre and obfuscation.”

Had Ollie lived in Germany around 1943, he doubtless would have favoured the Holocaust – after all, ‘social mores and public opinion’ welcomed it. It’s only a few ‘zealots’, most of them conservative Christians, who opposed mass murder.

The upshot of it all is that Ollie is incapable of making a sound argument in favour of abortion in his words. Yet he does better when making it in his person.

Had Mrs Kamm detected in an early stage of pregnancy, circa 1962, that her future son Ollie was afflicted with the terrible genetic disorder of strident stupidity, she would have had a strong argument in favour of termination.

Well, perhaps not a strong argument, but certainly a better one than her son has grown up to enunciate.











Patty Hearst in the news again, and so is brainwashing


At the risk of dating myself, I remember the case as if it was yesterday.

Alas, it wasn’t. This granddaughter of the publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst was kidnapped by the so-called Symbionese Liberation Army in 1974.

Those Marxist thugs abducted Patty, 19, who was living with a boyfriend at the time, and kept her in a wardrobe for a few weeks, indoctrinating her in their ‘philosophy’, a hodgepodge of Marx, Mao and Malcolm X.

The indoctrination was literary, oral and sexual, with Patty regularly raped by two of the Liberators. Rape eventually turned into consensual sex, and Patty went on to keep for many years a cherished memento given to her by one of the rapists.

In due course she became a willing participant not only in the sex but also in some of the Liberators’ less amorous activities, such as bank robberies.

During one of them Patty, who had adopted the nom de revolution Tania, was filmed pointing an M1 rifle at terrified bank employees sprawling on the floor.

“Keep your mother****ing heads down or I’ll blow your mother****ing heads off!” bellowed the newly converted heiress.

In another incident she gave covering fire to her comrades, and only her poor marksmanship saved the lives of several police officers.

Eventually the police caught up with the SLA. Patty got away at first but was caught soon thereafter.

As she was led to custody, Patty asked the throng of reporters to “send my greetings and love to all the sisters and brothers out there”, and she wasn’t talking about her siblings. Filling in a prison questionnaire, she listed her profession as ‘urban guerrilla’.

At her trial Patty was defended by the fashionable lawyer F. Lee Bailey. The phrase making the rounds in the legal profession at the time was: “God asks himself every morning ‘What can I do for F. Lee Bailey today?’”

In Patty’s case God didn’t do much for either of them. Bailey’s defence was based on brainwashing, which supposedly turned Patty into an unthinking automaton. It was during her trial that the term ‘Stockholm syndrome’ gained common currency.

Under Bailey’s expert guidance, Patty eventually repudiated her SLA allegiance, but it took her weeks to do so. Perhaps because of that delay, the brainwashing defence failed, and Patty was sentenced to seven years in prison.

In passing his verdict, the judge commented that “rebellious young people who, for whatever reason, become revolutionaries and voluntarily commit criminal acts will be punished.”

Patty ended up serving two years and then dropped from the public eye – until this week, when her pet shih tzu Rocket won the top prize in the ‘toy’ category at America’s leading dog show.

This is undoubtedly a better way of getting into the limelight than firing an assault rifle at policemen, knocking off banks and scaring bystanders out of their wits.

But Patty’s re-emergence makes one wonder again whether brainwashing really can override people’s free will so thoroughly. After all, following her indoctrination programme Patty roamed free – and armed.

She must have had endless opportunities to get away from her captors, yet chose not to do so. Patty clearly no longer regarded them as her abductors and rapists. They now were her friends, lovers and comrades-at-arms.

My natural impulse would be to dismiss the whole notion of brainwashing as another psychobabble con.

Free will is an ontological property of man, and it’s one of the key differences between us and animals.

To think that violence, sensory deprivation and a litany of cretinous slogans can turn a decent person into a murderous robot would be demeaning not only to the person but to mankind at large.

In fact, one could cite many examples of people exposed to much more cruel indoctrination who nevertheless managed to resist. Some American POWs in Vietcong ‘re-education’ camps spring to mind, many Germans who hated everything the Nazis preached, and many Soviets who retained their humanity in the face of non-stop inculcation backed up by death threats.

Yet one can also site many other examples, including those American POWs who did succumb to communist indoctrination, Soviet citizens who did swallow the part line sincerely, and Germans who greeted Hitler’s deranged speeches with millions of heartfelt ‘Heils!!!’.

One could also cite the psychotically charismatic cult leader Jim Jones, who in 1978 brainwashed 913 of his followers to commit ‘revolutionary suicide’ by cyanide.

Much as one detests the dehumanisation of humans, evidence does show that brainwashing works famously on some people. But what kind of people?

Having grown up in a society where brainwashing propaganda was screamed at the populace every minute of every day, I firmly believe that indoctrination works only on those who are emotionally and intellectually predisposed to accept it.

Not everyone can be a hero, and some people who detest the ‘re-education’ may pretend to go along to save themselves. But pretend they would, and once the threat disappeared such people would instantly recover their former selves.

Patty Hearst didn’t, which means her captors found her to be a receptive audience. Patty’s life at Berkeley University, which was then the hotbed of left-wing radicalism, must have made her receptive to left-wing propaganda.

As an heiress, she must have had strong feelings of guilt, and if she hadn’t to begin with, a year at Berkeley would have enlightened her to the Berkeley version of reality. Thus her SLA indoctrinators enunciated her own thoughts, if with an added radical twist. Their job was easy: a bit of coercion, a bit of propaganda, and Patty was all theirs.

“People move on,” she said the other day, accepting congratulations on her canine triumph. They certainly do, and I hope Patty, now 60, has moved in the right direction.

That, however, doesn’t make me doubt the justice of her prison sentence all those years ago. She should have served the full whack.





We are at Putin’s mercy, says the RAF, and the Lords explain why

Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Graydon put it in a nutshell: “I very much doubt whether the UK could sustain a shooting war against Russia.”

Air Commodore Andrew Lambert concurs: “If the Russians turned up the heat, we would struggle badly.”

No wonder. Since 2010 HMG has cut £4.7 billion out of the defence budget, along with 33,000 servicemen and hundreds of warplanes, warships and tanks. The numerical strength of our army is now down to the levels of the early 19th century.

Our solitary carrier has no planes on it, and we are down to 17 surface ships. The two carriers under construction will be useless pieces of metal if, and it’s a big if, they ever sail. We’ll have neither the planes to put on them nor the escort ships to turn them into carrier battle groups.

Britannia not only doesn’t rule the waves any longer – she can’t even make them.

Moreover, according to some expert reports, the Russians’ new tracking systems can more or less nullify our Trident deterrent, which is our sole hope of giving the Russians second thoughts.

The number of our fighter squadrons has been cut from 26 to seven, and the other day, when Russian nuclear planes buzzed just off the coast of Cornwall, our two Typhoons had to be scrambled from a Lincolnshire (!) base to intercept them.

If the Russian mission was launched to test the rapidity of our response, whoever runs the Russian air force must a have a broad grin on his face.

Those who know what they are talking about reacted to this Russian provocation in a way that’s in worrying contrast to the response of those who haven’t a clue, namely Dave.

We shouldn’t, he said, “dignify it with too much of a response… this episode demonstrates that we do have the fast jets, the pilots, the systems…”

We know we have those things, Dave, but thanks for telling us. We also know we don’t have enough of them to defend the realm against the Russian threat, which our Defence Secretary considers “real and present”.

If HMG abandoned its maniacal commitment to foreign aid, our defence budget could be increased by 40 per cent without any additional appropriations. But, especially in this election year, Dave has to be seen to perform within the culture of care, share, be aware. This takes priority over defence of the realm, which is after all the main function of government.

It has to be said though that, compared to Germany, the UK is a thoroughly militarised, sabre-rattling, testosterone-driven power. Germany’s armed forces are down to 63,000 personnel in active service, while her arsenal is hopelessly outdated and short of even spare parts.

As always, such gross negligence on the part of Western powers is rooted in ignorance, stupidity and chronic inability to think strategically.

This was pointed out yesterday, in slightly more diplomatic terms, by the House of Lords EU committee.

Its report says that Europe has “sleepwalked” into the Ukraine crisis. There is a chronic shortage of Russian experts at the Foreign Office, claims the report. Thus we suffer from a vastly curtailed analytical capacity and a compromised ability to formulate an “authoritative response” to the crisis.

I’m not sure that Britain’s analytical capacity would be tangibly heightened by adding more bureaucrats to our already bloated public sector.

However, the report correctly attributes the looming catastrophe to the fact that Europe has proceeded for too long from the “optimistic premise” that Russia is on the road to democracy, moral goodness and Christian probity.

I seldom blow my own trumpet but in this case I find indulging in this kind of musicianship impossible to resist. For, as those who’ve kept the back copies of The Salisbury Review can find out, I’ve been writing for 25 years that the Russian leopard still has all its spots in place.

Being rather bloody-minded by nature, I persisted in screaming that all those glasnosts and perestroikas were fundamentally bogus, a stratagem to achieve the same ends by different, more flexible means. Sooner or later, the flexibility was bound to disappear, while the evil ends would take over openly, rather than surreptitiously.

Some readers agreed, but most felt that I had an axe to grind, a chip on my shoulder and no objectivity, a faculty that’s an exclusive property of those blessed with ‘an open mind’ (another word for ignorance).

I don’t claim any unique insights or an uncanny analytical ability. Every educated ex-Russian of my acquaintance knew what was going on as well as I did, and some of them wrote exactly the same things.

The trouble was that we wrote for small journals whose readership numbered in thousands, whereas the perestroika groupies wrote for mainstream publications with millions of readers.

Why, even now, when Russia’s evil designs have been laid bare for all to see, Peter Hitchens still knocks off his pro-Putin drivel for The Mail, our most conservative paper.

Most pundits, however, have now seen the light with the unrivalled acuity of hindsight. So, as the Lords report suggests, have some of the politicians.

Let’s just pray that it isn’t too late for this newly acquired vision to be translated into appropriate action. Personally, I am not holding my breath. 





Fallon’s talk on Putin is tough – and cheap

Putin poses a ‘real and present danger’ to the Baltic states and therefore to Nato, says the Defence Secretary. Nato, according to him, is getting ready to repel any aggression.

The first part of the statement is easy to welcome. The second is hard to believe.

The welcome part is that Mr Fallon realises Putin is a great threat to the West, as great as that presented by ISIS.

What makes Putin dangerous isn’t necessarily the scale of his current aggression. It’s the steady escalation from one stage to the next, with each probing the West to test how far he can push.

“SO WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?” is the perennial implicit question.

This didn’t start a year ago. The opening shots in the war on the West were fired in 2008, when Georgia was the immediate target.

As his booty, Putin got two provinces of Georgia, veto rights over the country’s policies and, most important, a reply to his question. The answer, in deed not in word, was – eh, not much. Nothing, if truth be told.

That’s exactly what he wanted to hear. The time had come to up the stakes and move on to the table where the game is bigger. Hence the brutal attack on the Ukraine.

Even that unfolded gradually, though the time lines were now compressed. First Putin used Russian troops modestly withholding Russian insignia to occupy the Crimea and pose his lapidary question to the West.

Again he got the answer he wanted: next to nothing. Some derisory sanctions, a few stern words and no single-minded response across the board. Some misguided Western opinion-makers even went so far as to argue that perhaps Putin had a point.

Didn’t Crimea belong to Russia before Khrushchev transferred it to the Ukraine?

It certainly did – for almost exactly the same number of years as India belonged to the British Empire.

Granted, the British Empire no longer exists. But then neither does the Russian Empire, for which Prince Potemkin annexed the Crimea, or the Soviet Union, within which Khrushchev moved it sideways.

The colonel was listening and drawing conclusions. Time had come to attend to serious business.

The serious business was to use his proxy bandits, armed to the teeth by the Russians and reinforced with regular Russian troops (again without insignia) to grab two eastern provinces of the Ukraine.

This time the reply to Putin’s question came in rather higher tones. Russia was hit with mild sanctions, which nevertheless had a deleterious effect on the country’s economy, especially when accompanied by oil losing half its wholesale price.

Moreover, there were some consequences for Putin personally, which was the worst bit. Rather than being fêted as a world statesman, friend to US presidents and German chancellors, he began to be treated as a leper belonging in a quarantine.

This started in Brisbane, where Putin found himself in shunned solitude. Merkel tried to talk to him, and her subsequent accounts clearly discouraged all other leaders from conversational conviviality towards Putin.

He now felt like a pariah, with precious little he could do to regain his seat at the table. One possible way out of the conundrum was to stop the carnage, withdraw the troops and start playing honestly, without swiping some chips off the table when no one was looking.

That, however, was out of the question. Putin’s early life was guided by the unwritten code of street gangs: if you start a fight, you can’t stop it until either you or your opponent writhes on the tarmac sputtering blood.

Either way you’ve earned respect (rispetto, in the Italian equivalent). If you lose that particular fight, there will be others. But if you sue for peace, there won’t be – because there won’t be any respect. Your former mates will turn on you, join forces with your enemies, and you’ll be history.

That’s the only code Putin knows, the only one that has left a deep imprint. He acted accordingly.

His sinister propaganda machine, otherwise known as Russian media, was cranked up, and the messages it spewed out got more and more menacing.

If the West arms the Ukraine, Russia will use low-yield nuclear weapons. To start with. Make no mistake about it, screamed one Putin Goebbels after another, we can turn any foe, including the USA, to radioactive dust.

We’ll burn Paris and London to cinders with napalm, screamed another acolyte. Russian military doctrine, explained Putin’s high command, no longer excludes a nuclear first strike.

Putin himself used the trick beloved of all fascist dictators: he sacralised his aggression.

Before Grand Duke Vladimir baptised Rus, he himself had been baptised in the Crimea, explained the colonel. That, and not Khrushchev’s administrative shenanigans, is what gives Russia the right to claim the peninsula.

And isn’t Kiev known, since time immemorial, as the Mother of Russian Cities? Well, then it’s time for Russia to return to her mother, or rather it’s time for the wayward mother to return to Russia.

Putin then declared that Russia is the hub not of the world proletariat and all oppressed masses, but of a mysterious entity called Russian World, a sort of Pax Russica.

His, Col. Putin’s, task was henceforth to protect not just Russian citizens but all ethnic Russians, regardless of where they live. If they see themselves oppressed, then oppressed they are, and it’s Putin’s sacred duty to spring to their defence.

Long-term this may sound worrying to any country that includes a Russian minority. For example, I know quite a few aggrieved Russians in Paris, London and New York.

But those aren’t the immediate targets. What Putin sees in his evil mind’s eye is Russia’s reoccupation of the former Soviet republics, all of which have considerably bigger Russian minorities than Paris, London and New York.

Putin is on record describing the collapse of the Soviet Union as “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century”, a rating not countenanced by a single former Soviet republic other than Russia herself.

But Putin is president of Russia, so he owes it to his namesake who baptised Kievan Rus a millennium ago to bring the republics back into the fold.

The Ukraine’s turn is now – who’s next on the list? Belarus? Possibly. Kazakhstan? Even more likely.

Still, the West could live with the rape of those former provinces of the Soviet Union, as it’s currently living with the rape of the Ukraine.

The real problem could come from Putin’s attack on Latvia, with her 556,422 Russians, Lithuania, with 174,000 and Estonia with 321,198 (a whopping third of the population). The three Baltic republics are Nato members, and Article 5 of the Nato Charter says that an attack on one member is an attack on all.

This realisation dawned on Merkel, Hollande and other European leaders, especially since Putin was using nuclear blackmail as a prompter.

If, encouraged by Europe’s inactivity, Putin acts on his threat, Nato will have only two choices: fight or surrender. The second option is really a non-option: surrendering would be such a show of testicular weakness that Putin would almost certainly press on to the Channel at least.

Fighting, on the other hand, isn’t a valid option either. Europe has nothing to fight with – no arms, no armies, no will above all.

It was 26 years ago that Western leaders pretended they believed that Russia had gone vegetarian. Now we will all get fat on the peace dividend, was the universal hope.

That promoted a demob-happy mentality, which led to demob-happy policies. The Nato target of military spend equal to two per cent of GDP was never met by Europe. Britain’s defence budget stands at 1.7 per cent, and going down. Germany and France are even more parsimonious.

Hence Merkel and Hollande rushing off to Moscow to offer surrender, while begging Putin to let them keep face. They don’t want to fight, they can’t fight, they hope Putin won’t make them fight.

Amazingly Western papers are describing this cowardly act as a peace initiative. The Russians read the situation better: their papers are full of headlines like “Europe got scared”, “Europe crawled to us on her knees” and “Europe has to welcome Putin”.

The blackmailer’s ploy has worked.

So what exactly does Mr Fallon mean when claiming that “Europe is getting ready”. How is Europe getting ready?

Is it embarking on a rapid rearmament programme? Is it firming up relationships within Nato to make sure all members present a united front? Is it setting up lines of defence at depth? Is it communicating to Putin that we aren’t necessarily averse to a nuclear first strike either?

Don’t be silly. It’s election year, and the blessed electorate knows nothing about Putin and cares even less.

Spending large amounts on armaments would mean not spending them on buying the votes of the underclass, and we can’t have that, can we now?

Britain had started to rearm in the nick of time before Hitler marched. The 21st-century nick of time is now, and all we get from our leaders is talk. Which, as we know, is cheap.



Piers Morgan and anti-Semitism

“Jews didn’t desert New York after 9/11 so why on earth does Netanyahu want them to run away now?” asks one of our more objectionable columnists.

In other words, he fails to see the difference between flying planes into buildings full of multi-national, multi-cultural and multi-confessional victims, and attacks that target specifically Jews.

Since such a deficit of both logic and sensitivity is surprising even in a modern hack, one would expect Morgan to expose the intellectual structure supporting his comment.

He duly obliges:

“At least 270 Jews are known to have died in the attacks on the World Trade Centre on 9/11. Possibly as many as 400. That’s between 10 and 15 per cent of all the victims. I don’t remember hearing anyone, least of all Benjamin Netanyahu, declare then that every Jew in New York should immediately quit the city and go and live in Israel.”

Why do you think that was, Piers? I get it. Netanyahu was so reticent then because New York Jews make up a great part of the US Jewish lobby, itself a part of the worldwide Judaeo-Masonic conspiracy.

Netanyahu wanted them to stay in New York so that they could continue to help Israel both politically and financially. Is that about the size of it?

I’m sure Morgan would throw up his arms in horror if such crude thinking were ascribed to him. Well, crude it may be, but at least it has some inner logic, mad and perverse though it is.

That is more than can be said for his own crepuscular thinking.

The 9/11 atrocity brought Jews and gentiles, and more broadly all Americans, together because it was an attack on America.

The attackers neither knew nor cared about the ethnic and religious composition of their victims – and neither did the survivors. Their natural instinct was to close ranks and fight back, together.

An attack on a kosher grocery or a synagogue is different. Rather than reinforcing the feeling that French Jews are Frenchmen, American Jews are Americans and Danish Jews are Danes, it reminds them that some of their countrymen see them as a discrete, pernicious group slated for destruction.

Jews in general and European Jews specifically can be forgiven for being ever so slightly sensitive about that sort of thing. After all, almost half of the world’s Jewish population was wiped out in a few short years when my parents were already adults.

Then too German Jews felt they were German first and Jews a distant second. Jews in the rest of Western Europe felt roughly the same way, though the Dreyfus affair did give French Jews a chance to stop and think.

And then all those Germans, Dutchmen and Frenchmen, most of whom weren’t even religious Jews, met in the gas chambers operated by their erstwhile countrymen and neighbours.

In our time dominated by psychobabble we don’t bat an eyelid when a woman claims she was severely traumatised when a male colleague made a remark about her figure. We nod our sympathetic understanding when a ginger-haired man seeks psychiatric help because of all the crude jokes he had to endure at school.

Yet we deny the same sympathy to those whose whole families were gassed like rats in concentration camps.

Just close your eyes and imagine those barely living skeletons, naked, starving, robbed of any human dignity, herded into a tight space. Then the hissing sound comes and they all know what it means…

Now imagine they were all English: your grandpa Nigel, your aunt Jane, your granny Florence. How would you feel if today’s English people were targeted for attacks specifically because they are English?

The difference between Germany at the time of Kristallnacht and Europe today is that now European Jews have a place to flee to. That option was well-nigh nonexistent then, and many countries –including Britain – were indirectly complicit in Nazi crimes by denying refuge to the Jews.

The prime minister of Israel, a country constituted along Zionist lines, is duty-bound to remind European Jews that, if they feel unsafe in their home countries, there is another home waiting for them.

Morgan mocks this impulse in his usual hare-brained fashion. Netanyahu himself, he says, claims that his country could be nuked by Iran. So it makes no sense for Jews to move to Israel.

True, Israeli Jews may die, as they have died in four wars launched by the virulent anti-Semites who surround them. But there is a difference between dying with honour defending your country and being slaughtered as part of a helpless and impersonal herd.

Morgan then mobilises his severely challenged intelligence to come up with another argument. Jews, he says, weren’t the only victims of the recent terrorist attacks.

True. Similarly Jews weren’t the only victims of the Second World War and they weren’t the only group exterminated in Nazi concentration camps. Gypsies suffered a similar fate. So did homosexuals. So, incidentally, did 2.5 million Russia POWs.

But Jews were a major group specifically targeted en masse then, as they are now. If a Gypsyland or a Homoland had existed back in the 30s, one would have expected the prime ministers of those countries to extend a welcoming hand in the same manner as Netanyahu has done.

Morgan describes Netanyahu’s invitation as “cowardly, self-serving, crassly insensitive and overtly political.”

I especially like the word ‘cowardly’, as applied to a man who fought with suicidal commando units in three different wars, who led innumerable raids behind enemy lines and was wounded several times.

Obviously, Morgan’s own background in commissioning scurrilous pieces based on phone hacking makes him an unimpeachable judge of courage.

Many European Jews are fleeing to Israel, doubtless feeling that too early is better than too late. It’s a decision only they can make, and it’s not up to any gentile, and certainly not the transparently anti-Semitic Morgan, to pass judgement on that decision.

Make no mistake about it: European Jews are in real danger, if only because of the chronic inability on the part of our own ‘cowardly, self-serving, crassly insensitive and overtly political’ leaders to recognise and combat the growing Muslim threat.

How Jews choose to deal with this danger is up to them, both collectively and individually. Some will leave, most will stay, and we should all pray that their fears prove to be groundless.

As to Morgan, I’ll punch him next time I espy him in our local supermarket. Since he’s both bigger and younger than me, unfortunately this promise isn’t likely to make him do a runner.








Even Labour’s truths are lies


The Bank of America estimated last week that, if a Labour-led coalition takes over in May, our economic growth will screech to a halt and foreign investors will lose confidence.

“In a nutshell,” the report concluded, “the UK would look increasingly like France.”

Now, considering that France’s growth rate is one-fifth of ours and her unemployment is twice as high, the report paints a bleak picture indeed. One would think that becoming like France is the last thing Britain would want to do.

Not so, according to Labour’s leadership material Chuka Umunna, shadow business secretary.

Rather than assuring the electorate that the Bank of America is in the employ of the Tory party, the CIA or possibly MI6 and therefore wide of the mark, the chap with the unlikely name endorses the report enthusiastically.

We’d be happy for Britain’s economy to be just like France’s, he says. In fact, that’s our goal.

One’s first reaction is to express heartfelt concern for the mental health of Chuka and his superiors, notably Ed Miliband. True, after Hollande’s victory in 2012 Ed did say that he was in agreement with François’s economic ideas.

But that was before those ideas were acted on – before France suffered what only hopeless Francophiles or else witless socialists would fail to describe as an economic disaster. Surely by now Ed and Chuka must have realised that Hollande’s ideas pave the way to economic hell?

Not at all, says Chuka. We want Britain to be just like France because French workers are 20 per cent more productive.

“It takes on average a British worker to Friday to do what equivalent workers in France will complete by the end of Thursday afternoon,” he said.

The phrase is muddled: what he means isn’t to Friday, but by the end of Friday. Alas, the thought behind the phrase is even more jumbled.

The thought, not the fact, for Chuka’s statement is factually correct. French workers are indeed more productive.

But from this it would follow that we must import Hollande’s policies only if Chuka could prove three things:

First, that France’s higher productivity is thanks to Hollande’s measures and the economic philosophy on which they are based. Second, that by adopting such policies we would bring our productivity up to France’s level. Third, that in the process we wouldn’t also import high unemployment and zero growth.

Chuka can’t prove any of these three things because none of them is true. Nor will he be able, or rather willing, to answer this simple question:

If France’s population is roughly the same as ours, and her productivity is 20 per cent higher than ours, how come her GDP is slightly smaller?

To make arithmetic sense of this disparity we have to assume that the French are putting in 20 per cent fewer man/hours. That’s exactly the case. In fact, France’s labour force spends almost 25 per cent less time at work.

And why is that? Now that question will tear so many holes in Chuka’s intellectual trousers that his modesty will no longer be protected.

For it can be answered in one word: socialism.

To break it down a bit, that voluminous concept in this case includes restrictive labour laws, the state owning 60 per cent of the economy, a punitive taxation system that’s especially extortionist towards wealth producers, unsupportable social costs, the 35-hour week, high unemployment (only 40 per cent of France’s population are in work), unrestrained union blackmail, the social stigma attached to entrepreneurship.

All these perversions have the same ideological base, and Hollande has honed their cutting edge to razor sharpness. By importing that sort of thing here we wouldn’t become like France. We’d be like Greece.

So why is labour productivity so much higher in France? There are a raft of reasons for this, but the main one is that their workforce, from top to bottom, is better educated than ours.

And why is that? Simple. Because their education system began to be destroyed by socialist egalitarianism later than ours.

This destructive animus came from exactly the same ideology that is so ably represented by Messrs Hollande, Miliband and Umunna. It doesn’t matter that schools turn out functional illiterates unable to hold a decent job. As long as they are equally illiterate across the board, every socialist heart is a-flutter with joy.

School education in France is still better than in Britain, but the gap is narrowing fast. Should Miliband’s friend stay in power for a while longer, French school leavers too will be unable to read, write and add up, doubtless losing their productivity edge as a result.

In other words, France’s productivity is still higher than ours not because of socialism, but in spite of it.

So what measures are Chuka and his jolly friends proposing to improve the literacy of our labour force and consequently its productivity?

Reintroducing grammar schools? Tightening academic standards at comprehensives? Sacking incompetent teachers? Shutting down colleges training incompetent teachers? Disbanding teachers’ unions? Reintroducing streaming?

Nothing of the sort. What they are proposing is more of the same educational calamity triggered off by their fellow socialists back in the 60s.

That, I’m afraid, will mean that France’s higher productivity will remain a pipe dream. What is absolutely guaranteed to become a reality is France’s economic disaster – many times over.

One envies our politicians’ ability to lie even when saying things that are factually correct. The Labour party doesn’t hold exclusive rights to this skill, but they set the standard for all other spivs to follow.