Political correctness breeds racism

Every other week during the football season my neighbourhood is overrun by feral-looking chaps.

This isn’t to say that all Chelsea FC osupporters are feral — it only seems that way.

When their team wins they drink copious amounts of beer joyously. When their team loses they drink copious amounts of beer morosely. In either case they urinate in the street and throw up at my doorstep (nothing personal, I hope).

And they sing. The musical content of their songs can’t compete with Schubert’s lieder, but I dare say those crude chants are more instructive anthropologically.

It goes without saying that obscenities figure prominently — the genre demands them, just as Schubert’s lieder demand the words Tränen in meinen Augen (‘tears in my eyes’).

I mean, those fans aren’t going to sing about Tränen in their Augen, are they? So they sing “We win home and away, we win every f***ing way” and “Chelsea here, Chelsea there, Chelsea every f***ing where”, with the rousing chorus easily penetrating my double glazing.

My wife invariably voices strong objections to obscenity, but for me to do so would be hypocritical — unless I were prepared to repeat the phrase “Do as I say, not as I do.”

Yes, I do reserve my swearing for the delectation of my interlocutors, not for everyone within 200 yards, but one ought to make allowances for mass enthusiasm.

That’s not all they sing though. Some of the chants make strong statements on race issues, the most popular of them being “There ain’t no black in the Union Jack”.

That’s true: there ain’t. There are, however, quite a few people, both black and white, who find that sort of thing more offensive than the oft-repeated expletive.

In yet another example of life imitating art, the fans sometimes act on their songs’ messages. As they did, for example, in Paris, when they threw a black man off a Metro train to the vocal accompaniiment of “We’re racist, we’re racist, and that’s the way we like it.”

Who am I to argue with what other people like? However, and this is a life-long observation, real racists hardly ever describe themselves as such.

Neither do fascists, this side of Mussolini’s Italy. Neither do paedophiles. Neither do murderers. These terms don’t smell good, and the practitioners of such vices are good at finding acceptable euphemisms.

So, even assuming that those Chelsea fans genuinely hate other races, why do they scream their racism off the rooftops? I suggest this is a resction, or rather overreaction, to the ethos of political correctness that has been shoved down their throats for half a century at least.

All races are equal at the only level that matters, and we ought to be reminded of this postulate constantly, and especially during this week.

“There is neither Jew nor Greek… for ye are all one in Christ Jesus,” wrote St Paul, and mankind has so far failed to come up with an alternative bond tying people together.

That failure, however, hasn’t stopped mankind from effectively abandoning the sole available bond and separating sharply along national and racial lines. This development is rather recent.

For example, we take the concept of nation state for granted, forgetting that it’s barely 200 years old.

Also, at roughly the same time that concept appeared, the great champions of liberty in America, including the sainted Thomas Jefferson, regarded and treated blacks as not fully human.

Of course neither the French nor the American Enlighteners saw Paul, or for that matter Christ, as an authority on the conduct of everyday life. What they saw in their min’d eyes wasn’t God Man, but man as God, a sort of deincarnation.

Their views on nations and races more or less held sway, with varying degrees of virulence, for the next two centuries. Then suddenly they became unfashionable.

Specifically in Britain all races were declared equal, but not at the only level that matters. They were pronounced equal in being equally entitled to unlimited access to the country and its social benefits. The glorious idea of equality was replaced with the repugnant one of egalitarianism.

Suddenly even uttering the word ‘immigration’ in any context other than a burning desire for more of it became impossible in polite, which is to say politically correct, society.

Successive Labour governments insisted on opening British borders — and social rolls — to millions of people who not only looked unlike the indigenous population but also behaved differently.

There was nothing they could do about their appearance, but there was much they could have done about their behaviour, bringing it in line with the traditional culture of their adopted country.

However, they weren’t encouraged to do so. On the contrary, the new arrivals were imbued with a sense of entitlement springing from the colonial past of their home lands.

It would be presuming too much on human goodness to expect that the Brits would accept this development with universal equanimity. Truth to tell, the English aren’t known for their welcoming spirit when it comes to strangers, even chromatically similar ones.

A friend of mine, for example, retired to a Cambridgeshire village, having spent his working life elsewhere. Though the village is five miles down the road from the one in which he was born and grew up, it took his new neighbours 15 years before they began to respond to his greetings.

A massive propaganda job was needed to prevent popular uprisings against the influx of Labour voters on social benefits, and the arrival of many hard-working people with Tory leanings didn’t change the overall perception.

The propaganda guns couldn’t be levelled at just race: they had to bombard every aspect of traditional customs and beliefs. The ensuing barrage goes by the name of political correctness.

In its name any millennia-old belief, regardless of its intrinsic quality, was castigated first as socially unacceptable, then as immoral and then, exceedingly, illegal.

People have been conditioned to accept that it’s not just death and taxes (however exorbitant) that are unavoidable, but also criminal prosecution for deeds and even words that go against the propaganda diktats.

By and large the effort succeeded, but, if history  has taught us anything, the Brits may succumb to propaganda for a while, but sooner or later they’ll rebel.

The nation, after all, taught others the true meaning of political liberty, and this lesson sprang from the depth of the British natoional character (yes, there is such a thing).

The rebellion may take various forms, depending on who is rebelling. You’ll notice that in this election campaign it has become possible (if, one suspects, ultimately futile) to discuss immigration as a serious issue at dinner parties in the better areas of London — something unthinkable even 10 years ago.

Most Chelsea fans, however, don’t live in Chelsea or adjacent areas. They come from rougher neighbourhoods, where verbal and pghysical violence is common currency.

The older ones still remember the times when those neighbourhoods weren’t all that rough, when one could leave one’s door unlocked without fear of being robbed. The younger ones just react from their gonads.

Rightly or wrongly they ascribe the change to the dilution of the social and ethnic coohesion brought about my institutionalised political correctness. And they react in the only way that comes naturally.

So far this takes the shape of obscene chants and the odd act of hooliganism. Full-scale riots may follow, and we hope they don’t while fearing they might.

This isn’t to excuse the yahoo hooligans, especially those among them who are visceral haters. But I’d venture a guess that those thugs are in the minority. Most act that way because they don’t know what else they can do.

If The Times disagrees with me, I have to be right

Please join me in shedding a tear for a once venerable newspaper.

In the distant past, The Times voiced opinions with which one could usually agree or occasionally disagree. In either case, the paper’s columnists supported their views with sound arguments.

This is no longer the case. Any intellectual integrity in The Times has fallen by the wayside, and one hardly ever finds evidence of grown-up thinking there.

Today’s article by Libby Purves is a case in point. Miss Purves has taken time off her busy schedule, mostly devoted to ‘gay rights’, to write a piece whose title caught my eye: You Can Have Depression and Still Fly a Plane.

Since my yesterday’s article reached exactly the opposite conclusion, I had to examine Miss Purves’s arguments on the off chance that she may have a point. Alas, having done so, I found no reason to change my mind either on the issue at hand or on my general assessment of The Times.

Her eponymous conclusion is based on three points: 1) Human normality is hard to define (“it is worth remembering what human normality is”), 2) Depressed pilots don’t often crash planes on purpose (“how rare and abnormal such events are”), 3) Most people aren’t mass murderers (“how extraordinarily un-murderous and protective of one another most human beings feel”).

If this is the foundation on which Miss Purves’s conclusion rests, no wonder it comes crashing down.

Her first point is irrelevant in this context, though it wouldn’t be out of place in a philosophical essay contemplating the complex interplay between ontological and existential factors in human behaviour.

Yet airline executives screening potential pilots don’t have to be philosophers guided by abstract ratiocination. They should proceed from that increasingly uncommon quality called common sense.

Hence they should realise that no person who has undergone extensive psychiatric treatment is fit to take control of a plane carrying hundreds of passengers. End of story.

This may sound insensitive, callous and discriminatory, failing to meet the stringent moral demands of a gay-rights campaigner. But if such abominable characteristics save lives, any reasonable person would put his sense of moral outrage on hold.

Miss Purves’s second point is absolutely correct. However, it in no way justifies her conclusion.

As someone who in his somewhat tempestuous and lamented youth used to drive home a bottle of spirits in the bag, I can testify that most drunk drivers get home safely. Would Miss Purves accept this fact as a reason to repeal drink-drive laws?

One suspects not. She would probably decide that statistical probability is a wrong tool to apply to judgement concerning human lives.

Considering that a drunk driver is unlikely to kill more than half a dozen people, and a depressed pilot has just demonstrated an ability to kill 150, why such double standards?

Well, you see, drinking is yobbish, the curse of the working classes, as Victorians used to say. Of course in our progressive times dipsomania has crossed the class barriers, but the old conviction persists.

Depression, on the other hand, is oh-so-fashionable around Hampstead and Notting Hill, while touching sensitivity to it is oh-so-de rigueur. That is perfectly fine, unless of course we don’t let such puny considerations cloud our judgement on matters of life or death.

Miss Purves’s third, pardon the expression, argument refutes itself, making my effort to do so both redundant and unsporting.

It’s God’s own truth that few people are murderers. Does this mean we should decriminalise homicide? Or do nothing to prevent it? Should we force our police officers to assume the duties of social workers, even more than is already the case?

The article goes downhill from there. Miss Purves quotes a German expert as saying that psychiatric evaluations are difficult, depending as they do “on the patient being truthful or the doctor being perceptive.”

Sir Simon Weassely, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, confirms: “no amount of mental health screening will predict [such events].”

Both statements are doubtless correct, but Miss Purves’s conclusion is a complete non sequitur.

It is true that a reasonably clever chap can usually beat psychological tests, especially if he has a strong incentive to do so. But such tests and personal interviews aren’t the only screening tools possible. By far the most reliable one is the patient’s history.

Even the most unperceptive of doctors examining the most untruthful of patients can still read the patient’s notes. If they reveal a long history of psychiatric treatment, any responsible airline should rule that the pilot is unfit to fly.

It’s true that medical mistakes are possible, especially in this notoriously obscure area. But then jurisprudence is also error-prone, which doesn’t disqualify courts from passing prison sentences.

In addition to a deficit of logic, Miss Purves is richly endowed with ignorance.

“To demonise all forms of sensitivity and depression is itself crazy,” she writes. I’m not aware of anyone suggesting that all forms of sensitivity be demonised, and nor does keeping psychiatric patients from airliner controls constitute demonisation.

That’s the crepuscular logic. Now comes the ignorance: “Many people suffer from sadness, depression or family and romantic failure [yet they don’t crash planes on purpose].”

There is such a thing as endogenous depression, Miss Purves, which can be triggered by an unpleasant event but is not caused by it. That type of depression is a legitimate clinical condition characterised by a severe biochemical imbalance, and it is usually resistant to drugs.

It’s touchy-feely ignorance to use the word ‘depression’ as a full synonym of ‘sadness’ in any other than purely colloquial parlance. In general, it’s best to steer clear of such extremely involved and technical areas if one isn’t sure of one’s footing.

Of course the problems with our popular journalists is that they are never unsure of their footing. They have been anointed by the hand of public opinion, and thereby given the licence to say whatever they please with scant regard for logic or facts.

One wonders, however, if Miss Purves would show the courage of her convictions by embarking on a plane knowing in advance that the pilot has been treated for mental disorders. It would be like vaccine pioneers inoculating themselves, though with less of a benefit for mankind.









For once I agree with the BBC

First a disclaimer: I dislike the BBC and quite like Jeremy Clarkson.

With every word out of his mouth, the sacked presenter of Top Gear challenges the prevailing ethos, especially its more revolting aspects so ably promoted by the BBC.

Clarkson talks and writes in a lucid, entertaining and occasionally witty fashion, with none of the emetic self-righteousness typified by the network’s ‘serious’ programmes.

He is the quintessential Jack the Lad, not the anthropological type that appeals to me before all others, but surely one preferable to the pseudointellectual lefties making up the bulk of the BBC staff.

Moreover, I am man enough to admit that I like cars (and I know real conservatives aren’t supposed to), if not quite with the same pitch of demotic passion exuded by Top Gear.

Hence over the years I must have watched a dozen Top Gear episodes, which, among BBC programmes, places it second in my affections to Match of the Day (another disqualifying factor for a real conservative I’m afraid).

If you detect a sense of mild, dispassionate approval for the show in general and Mr Clarkson in particular, your antennae are in working order. However, there is nothing mild and dispassionate about the contempt I feel for the BBC and everything it represents.

The network, this side of Top Gear and Match of the Day, proves my deep-seated conviction that trendy lefties aren’t just misguided but actually stupid.

Nowhere is this law of nature revealed more palpably than in BBC ‘educational’ programmes that are, with one or two exceptions, culturally demotic, intellectually feeble and morally decrepit.

Having said all that, it isn’t immediately obvious how such BBC highlights as Match of the Day, Top Gear, along with its once and future stars like Jonathan Ross or Russell Brand, uphold the corporation’s charter.

The Charter specifies the desiderata the BBC must pursue in order to qualify for public money. The five off the top are:

·      Sustaining citizenship and civil society

·      Promoting education and learning

·      Stimulating creativity and cultural excellence

·      Representing the UK, its nations, regions and communities

·      Bringing the UK to the world and the world to the UK

At the risk of sounding elitist, one may argue, albeit timidly, that the kind of education, learning and cultural excellence meant there aren’t to be advanced by watching Mr Clarkson drive unaffordable cars at illegal speeds, or by hearing yet another tattooed chap with learning difficulties gloat how he “hit it first time, and there it was in the back of the net.”

Admittedly, the footage of English football fans rampaging through the streets to the accompaniment of the ‘Ingerland, Ingerland, Ingerland’ chorus does convey an idea of Britishness to the world, but I’m not unequivocally certain this is the best idea to convey.

I’d suggest that the demonstrable failure of the BBC to meet its Charter requirements is sufficient grounds for it to lose its licence fees and fight for its share of voice in the commercial market.

If it were indeed a commercial outfit, I bet it would never sack Mr Clarkson who has created and sustained all these years by far the most successful programme in BBC history. Nothing short of his credible promise to load up a Ferrari with Semtex and blow it up in the middle of the Oxford Street shopping crowd would get Clarkson the boot.

As it was, he was fired for beating up a lowly producer on his programme who was guilty of not having provided a hot meal at the end of the show.

The sacking caused an outburst of protest, featuring a petition signed by millions and even the odd death threat to BBC management. One can understand the protesters: clearly Top Gear has become an important part of their lives.

Regardless of what one may think of the kind of people whose lives just wouldn’t be complete without a particular TV show, most people are like that. And in our democratic times we can’t dismiss the majority out of hand, no matter how strong the temptation.

All this is a preamble to the following sentence: If I were in charge of the BBC, I would have sacked Clarkson too – and probably faster than he was indeed sacked.

Clarkson is nothing but an entertaining jumped-up yob with the gift of the gab. When he projects that persona on his show, more power to him. As I said, better that than the pseud effluvia of some faddish art expert or historian.

But when those same qualities give him the sense of being above the law, he ought to be punished. Clarkson obviously felt that his exalted status of a money-spinning celebrity gave him the right not only to scream obscenities at his underlings but also to attack them physically.

He must have felt stratospherically superior to his victim. Yet if Clarkson were a civilised man, he’d know that at the only level that matters we are all equal – and equally entitled to dignity and respect.

Hitting a man in the face, especially a man half your size physically and infinitely inferior to you institutionally, isn’t just causing physical pain. It’s stamping into the dirt the man’s dignity and humanity. As such, it’s an affront not only to the victim but to us all, the human race.

The victim has generously agreed not to press legal charges, sparing Clarkson an arrest for affray and possibly ABH (actual bodily harm). But any moral judge should find him guilty as charged.

It’s good to take those media celebrities down a peg once in a while, to remind them that, for all their trivial achievements, they are still expected to comply with the rules of civilised behaviour.

Mr Clarkson will now probably take his talents to a commercial station, where cash cows are treated as sacred ones. One hopes he has learned his lesson in self-control, though this isn’t the way to bet.

He is a celebrity, isn’t he? As such he is God in our otherwise godless society.








This Germanwings disaster is sheer insanity


Head of Germanwings (a company wholly owned by Lufthansa) has self-deprecatingly admitted that the mass murderer Andreas Lubitz slipped through the firm’s “safety net”.

That, as they say in the streets of London, is stating the bleeding obvious.

The real question is why the safety net has proved to be so permeable. After all, German companies, and Germans in general, aren’t known for a lackadaisical approach to procedure.

Nevertheless a man with a well-documented history of mental disorders was allowed to fly an airliner full of passengers, none of whom survived the experience.

Why? Would the same company allow a drunk pilot to take controls? Of course not. Lufthansa enforces a 12-hour, zero-tolerance limit ‘from bottle to throttle’.

Now I’d venture a guess that a pilot who had a few drinks 11 hours before flying presents less of a danger than a man suffering from clinical depression.

Yet Lubitz was suspended from the Lufthansa training course in 2008 for precisely that reason. He then underwent a year and a half of psychiatric treatment – and continued to receive it up until the tragic day.

In fact, Germany’s Federal Aviation Office reports that Lubitz’s medical condition and his need for regular psychiatric examinations have been noted in his pilot’s file.

Why then is Lufthansa so strict on drinking but so relaxed about mental disease? In the company’s own language, the answer is Zeitgeist.

We have all been conditioned to feel deep sympathy, bordering on admiration, for mental unbalance. After all, Freud is one of the gurus of modernity, with his psychobabble jargon accepted as meaningful not only linguistically but also substantively.

We are expected to take seriously such terms as ‘self-actualisation’, ‘synergy’, ‘complex’ (Oedipal, of inferiority or some such), ‘meaningful relationship’, ‘denial’, ‘co-dependent’, ‘dejection’, ‘penis envy’, ‘anal retentiveness’ and other verbal dross.

Whoever wields such terminology fluently is treated with respect, and the bubbly-quaffing classes in London or especially New York know that they’ll sound dull unless they admit to at least one mental quirk describable in Freudian cant.

The word ‘depression’ in particular has left the domain of psychiatric disorders to enter one of common parlance, where it’s treated as a more sophisticated term to describe a lousy mood.

Such lexical laxity trivialises a medical condition and, conversely, medicalises a purely existential one. Hence millions around the world, and practically all Americans, pop Prozac like Smarties whenever they feel a bit down.

Doctors routinely prescribe antidepressants for no medical reason, just to get perennial whingers out of their hair and to show that they too espouse the culture of care, share and be aware.

This erases the very valid distinction between someone who is occasionally unhappy and someone who is ill to the point of being dangerous to himself and others.

But even if a patient is legitimately ill, not to worry.

A deep conviction has been hammered into all of us that once he has been through analysis, especially when supported by a course of psychotropic drugs, he’s cured and fit for any job, including one in which he has the lives of hundreds at his fingertips.

However, every competent psychiatrist knows that depression can’t be cured; it can only be controlled. And control of anything may occasionally slip.

The whole area is obscure, and doctors readily admit the aetiology of depression is unknown. Even its biochemical nature is in doubt: clinical depression is accompanied by some chemical abnormality, but is it caused by it? No one knows.

Using drugs to correct the biochemical disorder usually alleviates the symptoms of depression (except in the most extreme of cases), but a responsible doctor is unlikely to say that the patient has been cured.

If that’s the case, then a chap who comes across as perfectly normal may one day have his depression triggered again by some random event, such as being dumped by a girlfriend, supposedly the case with Lubitz.

It ought to be clear to anyone who isn’t crazy himself that any history of any mental disorder, no matter how old or mild, should automatically disqualify an aspiring pilot – no further questions asked, no further examination needed.

This may sound harsh and unsympathetic, and sympathy is a fine human quality rich in Christian significance.

But then so is respect for human life and, when the two are in conflict, I’d say that potentially saving 150 people is a fair price to pay for a little insensitivity.

To be fair, most airlines, including our own EasyJet and Virgin Atlantic, have responded to the tragedy with a raft of immediate measures. Chief among them is a rule that no pilot shall be left in the cockpit by himself.

Since most cockpits (such as those on Germanwings Airbuses) are inhabited by only two pilots, this profession will soon feature an unusually strong bladder among its job requirements – after all, we don’t want those strapping, crisply uniformed lads to emerge from the flight deck reeking of urine.

I’d suggest a less malodourous solution. Anyone deemed unsafe to be left alone for a couple of minutes should be kept out of the cockpit by sensible and decisive vetting procedures, unsullied by the modern pseudo-psychological nonsense.

Well, I’d better stop here before I too begin to feel dejected, conflicted and depressed, with the attendant urge to have sex with my mother, kill my father and stick a needle in my eye.















If Brits are conservative, how come they support Labour?

We are all conservative now, say the polls. But the Tories and Labour are still neck-and-neck.

While under Labour the economy was in the doldrums, it now grows faster than anywhere else. But the two parties are still neck-and-neck.

Tory efforts to rein in public spending are hugely popular. But the two parties are still neck-and-neck.

Tory attempts to reform the welfare state are warmly welcomed by most. But the two parties are still neck-and-neck.

Three in four back the Tory-promoted benefits cap. But the two parties are still neck-and-neck.

Most people are comfortable with university tuition fees, and they don’t think the NHS is doing all that badly. But the two parties are still neck-and-neck.

Only 10 per cent have problems with Tory plans to limit the availability of benefits for immigrants. But the two parties are still neck-and-neck.

Dave’s personal popularity is much higher than Ed’s. But the two parties are still neck-and-neck.

How can one make sense of this paradox on wheels? My normal tendency is to question the underlying assumptions if they are contradicted by facts.

One such assumption is that the British are conservative. They aren’t. Decades of socialist policies, whoever was in charge, haven’t just undermined the economy. They have corrupted the people.

In parallel, decades of socialist education have produced a generally dumbed-down populace unable to think logically and connect cause with effect.

Incapable of understanding the shambolic nature of an economy financed by the printing press, the people are prepared to accept that the economy is a success – even if they themselves aren’t doing fabulously well.

Still, since they themselves aren’t doing too badly, they claim they are in favour of conservative-sounding policies. But this is strictly an ad hoc reaction, one not springing from any deeply felt beliefs or strongly held convictions.

Underneath it all, the Brits have been Pavlovially conditioned to love the culture of care, share and be aware that has been methodically shoved down their throats for several generations.

Out of sheer politeness they may curtsey towards the Tories and, in a catastrophic situation, such as the one that existed in the 1970s, they may even vote them in. But, while the Tories have to pay for their votes with irrefutable arguments, Labour socialists get theirs for free.

Hence it’s entirely possible for a comprehensively ‘educated’ chap brainwashed by Tay-Vay propaganda to profess affection for every plank of the Tory platform and yet vote Labour on 7 May.

The Tories only ever win elections when they demonstrate a clear difference between themselves and Labour, and when the circumstances are such that people are temporarily prepared to accept that this difference is what’s needed.

Only then is the electorate prepared to put its innately socialist instincts on hold. But make no mistake about it: their instincts are indeed innately socialist.

I am generalising here, but the very term ‘general public’ suggests the intellectual validity of such a blanket approach. Generalising about individuals is always wrong; generalising about the mob seldom is.

Yet undeniably many people stick out from under the blanket generalisation. They are the intuitive conservatives, whose number is still large, if nowhere near the size suggested by the polls.

It is from this group that the Tories have traditionally drawn their core support, which brings me to another premise that the pollsters have got wrong.

Such intuitive conservatives no longer feel that the Tory party is on their side. And, to dispel another underlying assumption, this feeling may have little to do with the party’s economic ideas or even performance.

“It’s the economy, stupid,” pronounced James Carville, Clinton’s strategist, and in the American context he was right. Yet this maxim doesn’t apply to Britain unequivocally, if at all.

Such economic givens as free trade, small state, open markets, free enterprise and entrepreneurship are traditionally Whig, not Tory. The Conservative Party only began to espouse these virtues, somewhat reluctantly, in the 1970s, when it was taken over by an out-and-out Whig Margaret Thatcher.

Until then the Tories had practised a sort of paternalistic socialism, often to the detriment of economic performance. The party felt that it wasn’t just, or even primarily, the economy, stupid.

Other things mattered more: social and political order to be preserved, traditional morality to be upheld, cultural cohesion to be fostered, historical religion to be built on, the realm to be defended.

In the last 40 years or so, intuitive British Tories have added to their principles some of those espoused by Margaret Thatcher, largely because of her electoral success.

Similarly, fire-eating Labourites accepted Blair’s shift, more in word than in deed, towards some of the terrain previously occupied by the Tories. But their heart wasn’t really in it, and neither, I venture to guess, are the Tories unreservedly committed to economic Whiggery.

Those other things I mentioned count for much more, and it’s there that they feel betrayed by Dave’s take on Toryism.

Dave is, to be sure, facilely intelligent, in a PR sort of way. But he lacks wisdom and a real capacity for serious political thought.

Otherwise he would have realised how deeply, possibly irreversibly, he damaged his party’s chances by introducing his cherished homomarriage legislation, along with other measures springing from the box of historically anti-Tory tricks.

Social and political order: he has done nothing to undo the damage done by Blair, for example to the House of Lords.

Traditional morality: see above.

Cultural cohesion: nothing has been done to stem the torrential in-flow of immigrants coming from cultures not just different from ours but often hostile to it.

Religion: it is during Dave’s tenure that the first female bishop was consecrated, a measure that ripped the heart out of the Christian tradition. Soon we’ll be blessed by the sight of two bishops married to each other. They aren’t the same sex for the time being, but another couple of years and who knows?

Defence of the realm: under Dave our armed forces are being downgraded to a point where they become a police force at best. Add to this the on-going destruction of our sovereignty, proceeding apace despite Dave’s pathetic attempts to pretend otherwise.

In short, real Tories don’t see Dave as one of them. That undermines the depth of the Tories’ appeal, while the breadth suffers from the natural inclinations of the rest of the British public.

It is for these reasons that last time around the Tories didn’t manage to score an outright victory against the worst government in British history. And it is for exactly the same reasons that this time they may let in an even worse one.









Fascists of the world, unite (in St Petersburg)

The first Russian International Conservative Forum took place in the country’s imperial capital two days ago, and let me tell you: conservatism ain’t what it used to be.

I’ll give you a clue: the British delegation was led by Nick Griffin, who denies the Holocaust ever happened but hopes it will.

Nick led the BNP for a number of years, and I don’t mean my French bank. Then last year he was expelled from the party for racist and anti-Semitic extremism. That’s like being drummed out of Isis for excessive cruelty.

Other keepers of the international conservative flame included Jared Taylor, an American who thinks the white race should rule because it’s genetically superior to all others; Udo Voight, der Führer of the German neo-Nazis, currently serving a suspended sentence for glorifying Waffen-SS; Georgios Epitidios from Greece’s Golden Dawn party whose emblem is a tastefully stylised swastika; Daniel Karlsen, one of the founding members of Denmark’s honestly named Nationalist Socialist Movement; Roberto Fiore, head of Italy’s Nuova Forza party, which new force is neither very strong nor particularly new (old Benito tried it all before).

Well, I shan’t bore you with a complete list, but you get the picture. Just take my word for it: all the delegates came from the same ideological background. All of them coyly eschew the term ‘fascist’ to describe their parties (that term is reserved for mainstream parliamentary parties and what they represent), but that’s exactly what they are.

The forum was an attempt to unite the swampy creepy-crawlies of the world into a cohesive movement, and it’s both typical and predictable that they should be welcomed in Putin’s native city.

Since all the attending parties are nationalist, their platforms have to differ in some details. But they were all invited on the strength of two essential qualifications: approval of the Third Reich and admiration for Col. Putin.

Hence I’d like to extend my sympathy to Peter Hitchens and Christopher Booker, who were both shunned. They passed with flying colours on the second qualification but failed on the first.

Take my advice, chaps: before the next Forum make sure you say something nice about the economy Hitler got going and the trains Mussolini got running on time. Insist on assessing Hitler’s tenure in a balanced way and you never know your luck, you just may wangle an invitation next time around.

Sorry, I forgot another characteristic all the represented parties have in common: none of them has a hope in hell of ever being elected to any office other than the presidency of some global fascist alliance.

Those who do have electoral hopes, such as France’s Marine Le Pen, chose not to come even though they were invited. That’s gratitude for you: didn’t Vlad pump millions into Marine’s party coffers? Of course he did. And now that blonde b…, well, beauty, pretends they’ve never met. I’d put the Front National on notice if I were Vlad: you don’t come, I don’t pay.

That also goes for Hungary’s Jobbik and Denmark’s People’s Party, other recipients of Vlad’s largess who pretended their invitation had got lost in the post. Watch your steps, you treacherous swine, or Vlad will cut you off too.

The Russian contingent featured such colourful figures as Alexei Milchakov, officer in the army of the recently constituted Donetsk People’s Republic. Before pledging his allegiance to the new Republic Alexei was a skinhead who inundated the Internet with photos of himself holding the Nazi flag in one hand and a puppy’s severed head in the other. A true blue Conservative, in other words, the Russian answer to Sir Alec Douglas-Home.

Now fascism has left bad memories at the site of this global event. After all, 1.5 million denizens of Leningrad, as it then was, starved to death during the Nazi siege, and some of the few survivors are still kicking. So it was predictable that a group of people still not completely desensitised by Putin’s propaganda would take to the streets in protest.

Just as predictable was the reaction of Vlad’s police: it featured rubber truncheons, bullying and summary arrests. Who are you calling fascists, you traitors in the pay of the CIA, MI6 and presumably RSPCA?

In a parallel development, a pro-Putin magazine Zmiana (Change) has been launched in Poland by Mateusz Piskorski, known as a translator and publisher of hard-core Nazi material. Specifically in the late 1990s he brought out the magazine Odala, devoted to Holocaust denial, praises of Nazi Germany and calls for a united Slavic empire as “the only hope for the White Race”.

Polish authorities have so far failed to establish a direct link between the new publishing venture and Vlad’s good offices, but magazines cost money, which has to come from somewhere. Then again, it’s possible that Mr Piskorski is independently wealthy and is doing this out of disinterested affection for fascism, especially of the pan-Slavic variety so cherished by Putin.

It has to be said that Vlad is building on a solid historical foundation. Immediately the Bolsheviks grabbed power in Russia they began to bankroll extreme socialist groups all over the world.

Most of the groups were international socialist, though Germany’s Workers’ Party received some funds too, before Hitler took over. At a time when millions of Russians were starving to death and cannibalism was rife, the idealistic Soviet state so beloved of Messrs Shaw and Wells was spending tens of millions to keep foreign communists in the style to which they were rapidly getting accustomed.

My contention has always been that, semantic wrangling apart, there isn’t much difference between national and internationalist socialists – as Vlad has set out to prove.

At a time when food is getting scarce in Russian shops the other side of Moscow, he’s spending millions on his ideological brethren, those whom our inept taxonomists describe as ‘right wing’ or ‘left wing’ (such as Greece’s ruling party). Both wings propel the same fascist bird, a carrion vulture with a voracious appetite.

In conclusion, one has to compliment Vlad on his honesty. By extending a welcoming hand to this global scum, he has finally abandoned subterfuge. Vlad is a fascist, and proud of it. He knows who his friends are, and he doesn’t care who else knows it.


Lee Kuan Yew: the triumph of intelligence over democracy

The death of one of the greatest modern statesmen didn’t touch me emotionally. I’ve never been to Singapore, have no desire to go there and have little sympathy for the kind of money-obsessed, sterile, excruciatingly modern country Lee created.

Yet Lee’s death made me think about Britain, the country that does touch me emotionally – even though most Brits now subscribe to the same philistine values Lee championed with such thundering success.

I am well aware that my contempt for a society that measures its success mostly in monetary terms puts me in a small minority that can never have any political, social or even cultural influence. Not any longer.

That’s fair enough and, having spent my life outside the mainstream in three different countries, I don’t at all mind. If most people want to have wealth above all else, by all means they should pursue it, and more power to their elbow.

Obviously in historical terms Britain is indeed very wealthy. Yet much of our prosperity is phoney, financed by money we don’t really have. Our economy is a giant pyramid scheme, and the pyramid is inverted, tottering on its sharp end.

Sooner or later it’ll collapse, burying under the rubble several generations to come. It may even collapse sooner rather than later, in which case those living today won’t escape the fallout either.

Many Brits, even those lacking in the knowledge of recondite economic concepts, sense this intuitively, which is why the Tory party isn’t the runaway success in the polls that it ought to be on the strength of its apparent economic competence.

Actually, the knowledge of recondite economic concepts isn’t so much essential as antithetical to economic wisdom. All it really takes is basic common sense and the kind of pragmatic intelligence measurable by IQ scores.

Lee had it, and I suspect at least some of our politicians do as well, though these days this isn’t the way to bet. However, Lee managed to use those fine qualities to create real prosperity for his nation, while the best our rulers can manage, regardless of the qualities they may or may not possess, is the phoney kind.

Why? The answer is obvious: democracy won’t let our government govern intelligently. Even if our officials knew what produces economic success, they wouldn’t be able to do anything about it. Their heads would be banging against the brick wall of democracy run riot.

It’s against this background that one should read the Times article Quitting EU Could Cost Britain £56bn. The article is yet another diatribe against Ukip’s putative desire to “shut the borders and shut the world out, which would mean a net loss in terms of the UK’s GDP.”

This is all par for the pre-electoral course: Ukip could take votes away from the Tories, which makes anything The Times says against Farage perfectly acceptable, no matter how false or slanderous it is.

I suspect I know more Ukip politicians and supporters than the author does, yet I’ve never heard one of them express any such desires. All they are saying is that any sovereign nation should decide whom and how many to admit to its shores. And, if Britain has no such right, she is no longer sovereign, which, in view of thousands of years of British history, is rather regrettable.

But the usual Ukip baiting apart, the article does make an interesting point. It quotes the Open Europe think tank as saying that, rather than losing £56 billion from leaving the EU, Britain could actually gain £35 billion, and don’t you just admire such precise figures in such a notoriously imprecise science.

However, to turn such a precise loss into an equally precise gain, says Open Europe, Britain would have to put through measures that anyone with half a brain knows make sense anyway.

We’d have to sign free-trade agreements with the US, India and China and “rip up workers’ rights and green legislation”. In other words, we should do what Lee Kuan Yew did so effectively in Singapore.

We’d also have to follow Lee’s lead in other areas, which the article leaves out. Specifically, we should lower taxes to the point where the state’s take is no higher than 25 per cent of GDP, drastically roll back the welfare state, replace our socialist NHS with a combination system that gave Singapore the world’s most effective healthcare system – in short, do all those things that alone can give us a healthy economy.

All those things, in other words, that we’ll never do, EU or no EU, Ukip or no Ukip. Our cherished, unlimited democracy of one-man-one-vote or, to be pernickety about it, one-man-one-woman-and-increasingly-one-child-one-vote, makes economic sanity impossible.

Since the passage of the Reform Act (1832) and repeal of the Corn Laws (1846), Britain has needed no lessons in free trade from Singapore or anyone else. Nor does she need to be taught the benefits of free and open labour markets, which are indeed as essential to prosperity as Open Europe claims.

But imagine a political party standing on a platform of measures designed to turn Britain into another Singapore economically, while retaining the cultural advantages of being a Western, which is to say residually Christian, nation.

What do you suppose the electoral chances of such a party would be? I’d say that on a scale of one to 10 they’d be about -20.

Unfortunately our democracy is egalitarian, in that it corrupts both the government and the governed equally. Lee Kuan Yew – who incidentally was educated at Cambridge – succeeded so spectacularly because he counterbalanced his country’s parliamentary democracy with his own quasi-monarchical power, not letting people’s desires get in the way of their interests.

He learned the lessons taught by Edmund Burke and our other great political thinkers, the lessons that we ourselves have forgotten. That’s why our politics is reduced to scoring cheap party-specific points, of the kind in which The Times specialises.

And that’s why we’ll never match Singapore’s economic success, in the EU or out of it. We may, however, reclaim our sovereignty by leaving the EU – even if this costs us £56 billion (which I personally don’t believe for a second).

A principle isn’t a principle until it costs you money, says a conventional wisdom.

Our politicos would disagree because they have no principles and don’t really know what the word means. Lee would have disagreed too – he believed in the kind of principles that made money rather than lost it.

Lee Kuan Yew, RIP.


























Is Finland next? Or Denmark? With Putin, one never knows

Countries ruled by law are rather dull, wouldn’t you say? Before they do anything interesting they have to go through a slow legislative process, which takes all the fun out.

Not so tyrannies ruled by the will of one man. They never lose the ability to surprise because no man, including one in power, is ever entirely predictable.

Few are so rational that their every step can be anticipated. Even a spouse, never mind a friend, can suddenly do something so unexpected that one has to reassess the whole relationship.

Tyrants are only human in this respect even when they, like Putin, appear to be subhuman in every other way. Hence the constant guesswork along the lines of ‘Will he or won’t he?’

Will he launch an all-out offensive on the Ukraine? Intelligence data seem to suggest he might. What’s next then?

The way the Russian troops are deployed points at a Baltic strategy, with former Soviet republics there being routinely and loudly demonised in Putin’s media for the way they allegedly mistreat their Russian minorities.

From there Finland and the rest of Scandinavia are but a cannon shot away, and recent pronouncements by Russian KGB leaders should give those countries reason to worry.

The former head of that service Nikolai Patrushev, now head of Russia’s Security Council, has castigated “an increased influence” of Finnish nationalists on the population of Karelia.

Said influence, according to Gen. Patrushev, is being exerted through those pernicious human rights groups that have no place in civilised society, as defined by the KGB.

Actually there was only one such group in Karelia, their Youth Human Rights Organisation, but a court order shut it down back in January. Hence the evil influence must come from the government of Finland, which is doubtless gearing up for yet another attempt to conquer Russia.

The previous such attempt, and one is amazed those bellicose Finns have had to wait so long, came on 26 November, 1939, when Finnish artillery shot up a Soviet border post, presumably as a prelude to a victorious march on Moscow.

However physics conspired against the world’s first haven of workers and peasants. You see, shell fragments spread in the direction of the shell’s trajectory, which makes it easy to determine whence the shot was fired.

A brief inspection of the pattern established that the barrage had come from Russia, which could only mean that the dastardly Finns must have bribed the Giver of Physical Laws to conspire with them against the present-day garden of Eden, aka the Soviet Union.

Such beastliness demanded a worthy response, which came immediately. The entire might of the Soviet military machine, fine-tuned for the conquest of Europe, was unleashed on the Finns – or the White Finnish fascists, as they were then described in the Soviet press.

The Soviets had three times as many soldiers, 30 times as many aircraft and 100 times as many tanks. The Finns, led by the former Tsarist general Mannerheim, had skis, rifles, explosives and an all-abiding hatred of communism.

They fought smartly and heroically, defending their sovereignty with self-sacrificial abandon. The Soviets suffered horrendous casualties, as many as a million dead, according to Khrushchev. Nikita, however, was much given to hyperbole, and the actual number was probably a fourth of his estimate. Still…

The USSR was summarily expelled from the League of Nations, with those doubting Thomases refusing to accept the self-evident fact that it was the mighty, gigantic Finland that had attacked the tiny, defenceless Soviet Union, not the other way around.

Also, just as the Finnish army was running out of steam, Britain informed Stalin that, should he persist with the aggression, the RAF bomber squadron based at Mosul in Iraq would take out the Baku oil fields, then the principal source of Soviet hydrocarbons.

Hence Stalin had to contend himself with only 11 per cent of Finland’s territory, not the 100 per cent as planned. He then added that acquisition to the adjacent part of Russia to form the Karelo-Finnish SSR, number 16 in the Soviet fraternal family of nations.

That contrivance survived until 1956, by which time every denizen with but a drop of Finnish blood in his veins had skipped out to Finland. The Russians were joking that the only Finns left there were the fininspector (financial auditor) and Finkelstein, although a closer examination revealed they were both the same person.

Hence where ‘Finnish nationalists’ could have come from in today’s Karelia is a mystery – as much so as those Finnish artillery shells flying into Russia, then turning around and hitting that border post from behind.

But then, as Putin explained to military historians exactly two years ago, Stalin attacked Finland to “correct the mistakes” made in drawing the border in 1918.

Now juxtaposing Putin’s Stalin-like urge to correct any such historical mistakes (the Crimea springs to mind) with Patrushev’s statement, one may get the impression that Finland isn’t far down on Russia’s hit list.

If so, it’ll be only a hop, skip and jump to Denmark, which has just been put on notice for a potential Russian nuclear strike.

Apparently the Danes have agreed to enter the European anti-missile defence system, something that makes Putin see red, as in the colour of the Soviet flag. Who do those Westerners think they are, wishing to protect themselves from Russia’s nuclear missiles?

Placing anti-missile systems on their territory just may expose Denmark to massive nuclear strikes, threatened the Russian ambassador Mikhail Vanin. Denmark’s government protested, claiming that, as their nomenclature suggests, anti-missile systems are defensive in nature.

While they are playing those semantic games, Russia has launched the Tu-160M, a supersonic nuclear bomber that can outrun our Typhoons (provided we still have them after the current batch of defence cuts).

The biggest strategic bomber in the world, the Tu-160M will be operating from a Russian base near Murmansk, a mere 1,000 miles from Britain. Considering that the bomber boasts a 7,600-mile range, along with its Mach 2 speed, I don’t know how confidently our Scandinavian allies can count on our help.

A situation where such help will be needed may arise sooner than we think, and the danger will always be there for as long as Russia is run by the KGB, so ably fronted by Messr Putin, Patrushev et al.

“The KGB,” explained Patrushev 15 years ago, “is Russia’s new nobility”. He was clearly referring to the organisation’s stature, not any inner qualities.  




Conservatism vs. libertarianism

Opening remarks in a debate at The Freedom Festival, Bournemouth, 2015:


“O liberty, what crimes are committed in thy name!” cried Marie-Antoinette on her way to the guillotine.

Indeed the Enlightenment shifted liberty to the fore of political desiderata. Since that shift, and largely because of it, the world has suffered the most oppressive tyrannies in history.

This brings us to the fundamental distinctions between conservatism and libertarianism, which are often confused with each other.

The key question for a conservative is ‘what is it that you’d like to conserve?’ The key question for a libertarian is ‘liberty for whom, from whom and to do what?’

There is only one answer to the conservative question that makes the issue intelligible.

It’s the Christian, specifically apostolic Christian, way of life that defined and shaped the cultural, social and political institutions of the West over the past 2,000 years. It is this way of life that in modern times has been under sustained attack from all sorts of quarters.

From this the definition of conservatism flows as naturally as wine out of the bottle, for it’s clear what it is that conservatives wish to conserve: Christendom, whatever is left of it.

Because Christendom has so many facets, not just religious but also social, political and aesthetic, conservatism must reflect them all – never forgetting that they are indeed facets of the same whole, rather than unconnected phenomena.

For example, it’s hard to imagine a true political conservative preaching the social delights of a classless society, as John Major once did when he was still prime minister.

Nor should a man get a free ride when claiming to be a social liberal but a fiscal conservative, which presumably means he loves the welfare state but hates to pay for it.

To a conservative, political liberty isn’t an aim in itself – it’s but a natural by-product of a just order.

An individual’s right to political liberty, understood as the state placing no unreasonable restraints on human behaviour, depends on society accepting the individual’s definition of an unreasonable restraint.

This right is therefore suspect, for its exercise involves an obligation imposed on others. In general, ‘liberty’, along with all its cognates (liberal, liberation, libertarian and so forth), is a word fraught with semantic danger: one man’s liberty is another man’s licence and yet another’s anarchy.

For example, is the absence of anti-homosexuality laws a factor of liberty or licence? If the answer is the former, as it has to be in our PC times, then we ought to ponder the fact that the first modern country without such laws was Soviet Russia between 1917 and 1934, a place and period not otherwise known for a laissez-faire attitude to life.

Libertarianism is often confused with conservatism, mainly because of their shared commitment to limiting the power of the central state over the individual.

For a conservative this commitment is rooted in Christendom, which shifted the social focus from the collective entity of Hellenic polis to the individual.

Libertarians, on the other hand, have replaced the Virgin with Ayn Rand, Jesus Christ with Murray Rothbard, faith with ideology and hence a realistic assessment of man’s nature with unbridled and unwarranted optimism.

The states of Christendom followed the church principle of subsidiarity, with power devolved to the lowest sensible level. To use modern terminology, localism trumped centralism.

On the other hand the modern post-Enlightenment state created in the name of liberty is innately centralising.

Hence even the absolute monarchs of Christendom never had anything near the power enjoyed by our post-Enlightenment presidents and prime ministers.

Both conservatives and libertarians accept that a free market is a sine qua non of civilised society even though libertarians assign a much greater importance to the economy in the general scheme of things.

They tend to preach what I call totalitarian economism, claiming that, once the economy is free, everything else will follow, which strikes me as primitive philosophically and wrong factually.

However, libertarians also seek to curtail the influence of tradition as conveyed through benign associations, such as guild, parish, or township, lying at the foundation of any traditional order.

Originally created mostly for the purpose of keeping people safe from encroachment by kings, in time those institutions assumed the role of the formulator, educator and custodian of the social and moral order.

It was such institutions that gave physical shape to the three pillars on which, according to Burke, government should rest: prejudice, which is intuitive knowledge; prescription, which is truth passed on by previous generations; and presumption, which is inference from the common experience of mankind.

Fully paid-up libertarians have to reject these, as they tend to reject the resulting institutions. That is why, while a part of their creed overlaps with conservatism, temperamentally it has more in common with socialism and especially anarchism.

The ideal libertarians see in their mind’s eye is abolition of the state, and there they converge not only with Bakunin but also with Marx.

While the historical roots of libertarianism can be traced back to so-called free thinkers, mainly in Britain and France, its modern home is the United States.

This reflects the difficulties with defining political conservatism there.

British conservatism, on the other hand, practically defines itself.

The triad of ‘God, king and country’ may be as simplistic as all slogans tend to be, but it’s more precise than most, encapsulating neatly the essence of British conservatism, both its transcendent inspiration and political expression.

A monarch ruling by divine right or some similar claim to legitimacy represents the transcendent aspect of such a system, a factor of constancy linking generations past, present and future.

At the same time, an elected parliament is a temporal institution translating the people’s interests into political action and preventing the monarch from becoming a despot.

To achieve a workable balance, Parliament’s power must be real but limited, the monarch’s power limited but real, and they should both feel accountable to the institution that is itself accountable to God only.

Hence the triad of ‘God, King and country’, in which the first element reflects transcendent continuity, the third temporal interests represented in Parliament and the second the link between the two.

Regarded in this light, the slogan stops being just that, becoming instead the philosophical premise of British conservatism.

It’s important to remember that the triad lists its elements in a descending order of importance. Thus eliminating the first element, God, as has effectively been done in Britain, largely invalidates the second one, king, and runs the risk of destroying the third, country.

Conservatism then becomes problematic, as demonstrated by today’s Conservative party, which is neoconservative at best and downright socialist at worst. But at least British conservatives have a past model they can hope to revive.

Americans, on the other hand, excised the second part of the triad, King, and effectively fused the other two, God and country, together.

Falling victim to this surgical procedure was the philosophy of political conservatism, indeed its clear definition.

The American secular creed of exceptionalism stepped in to fill the vacuum thus formed, but this creed can draw believers from all sorts of political groups.

How would an American conservative answer the question ‘what would you like to conserve?’ In all likelihood he’d say the Constitution of the United States.

But the American republic, just as the French one, is revolutionary, dedicated to marginalising, rather than conserving, the political heritage of Christendom.

That’s why Americans who decry statism gravitate towards various surrogates of conservatism, such as neoconservatism or libertarianism.

But surrogates they are, and I dare say that neither of them is philosophically, historically or emotionally close to true conservatism. It would be more accurate to say that they are antithetical to it.


Perfect time to remove sanctions on Putin

I, along no doubt with Peter Hitchens, have heaved a sigh of relief. For a while there I was genuinely concerned about Vlad’s continued good health, what with his having taken 10 days out of his public life.

That disappearance act gave rise to all sorts of rumours, ranging from a fatal disease to a palace coup to a sort of paternity leave, with Vlad attending the birth of his illegitimate child.

Mercifully, Vlad is back, looking slightly wan but in high spirits, cracking jokes about the prophets of doom. His comeback coincides with what he doubtless sees as excellent news. 

France, Italy and especially Greece are making it clear that an extension of sanctions beyond this July is highly unlikely.

Greece is the most vociferous appeaser, and has been since the last election brought into power a party that is communist in all but name.

One wonders how our right-wing champions of Putin, such as Messrs Hitchens, Booker et al, reconcile their affection for the KGB colonel with his unreserved support for Greece’s ruling Syriz party, which sits slightly to the left of the USSR Communist Party at the time Putin joined it.

Aren’t we supposed to believe that Putin is the last bastion of conservatism in the world? The last bulwark of Christian values? One can easily feel confused.

There is no confusion about his plans though. The Ukraine’s Interior Ministry has just made public the intelligence data showing that Putin is preparing a large-scale offensive along the entire frontline.

Large battle formations of both Russian troops and their proxies are being moved into the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. This is accompanied by an increased concentration of artillery, tanks, personnel carriers and rocket systems, which keep firing at the Ukrainian troops.

At the same time ranking field officers of the Russian army are coming in en masse, accompanied by senior officers of the General Staff, GRU and Putin’s own KGB/FSB.

Trainloads of ordnance are arriving in their wake, along with fuel carriers. The Russian army is actively deploying the rear support in all strategic directions.

In parallel Russia has mobilised her Northern Fleet to full combat readiness and is conducting massive exercises across the country, all the way to the Barents Sea.

These involve 45,000 troops, 56 warships and submarines and 110 aircraft. Russia is also moving tens of thousands of military vehicles, including tanks, into the areas along her border with the Baltic states.

According to Lord West, a former First Sea Lord, Russian espionage in the North Sea represents a ‘worrying level’ of ‘provocation’.

Converted fishing boats equipped with the latest surveillance technology are keeping track of British nuclear subs, with the clear aim of nullifying our Trident deterrent.

Meanwhile Vlad has done a star turn in a new documentary film The Crimea. Return to the Motherland.

One implicit message of the film is that we do need our nuclear deterrent. Vlad admitted nonchalantly that when he and his four colleagues (whose names are available on the Russian government’s official website) were planning the eponymous return, he ordered Russia’s nuclear forces to be put on high alert. Just in case.

In case of what, one wonders. In case Nato countries had responded with anything more resolute than a token slap on the wrist? Was Putin ready to push the button for a nuclear holocaust?

Apparently, because otherwise there would have been no need for putting his ICBMs on a hair trigger. Nice to know what kind of adversary we’re dealing with.

But wait a minute. What’s that planning business? Until the release of this cinematic masterpiece, Vlad’s official line was that the Crimea was annexed by a spontaneous uprising of local Russian patriots, armed by the orts and ends from the army surplus stores.

Now he is stating on full-colour celluloid that “We [that is, he and his four mates] had to begin work aimed at returning the Crimea to Russia.” In other words, it wasn’t an outburst of local Russian patriotism but the ‘work’ of the Russian ruling junta that led to the annexation.

Details? Vlad is on hand to provide those with alacrity. Russia moved Spetsnaz units to the Crimea in order to disarm the Ukrainian troops there. Or, in Vlad’s own words:

“We needed specialists who know how to do such things. That’s why I gave an order to the Defence Ministry to move to the Crimea, to be honest under the cover of beefing up the protection of our Crimean bases, special-task units of the Chief Intelligence Directorate, marines and airborne troops.”

Hold on a moment, Vlad. Haven’t you been screaming at all and sundry that no Russian troops were involved in the operation? Why this sudden bout of prideful honesty?

The only possible resounding answer to this is, why not?

You see, to you or me Vlad’s announcement may sound like an admission of a crime, specifically the crime of stealing another country’s territory.

To Vlad, however, it’s taking credit for a major achievement. He isn’t ashamed of what he has done. He is proud.

Logic suggests that he’d be even more proud if Russia grabbed the rest of the Ukraine and then moved on to the Baltic republics, which just happen to be Nato members.

Add to this Vlad’s gleeful playing with his nuclear toys, and one begins to see the point of those who claim that the world hasn’t been in such danger since the Cuban crisis.

How do we deal with this mortal danger? Why, by getting ready to remove sanctions on Russia and effectively eliminating our own defence capability.

Once again we are reminded of some hard facts of history. Specifically that all great geopolitical catastrophes happened when an evil tyrant presented a grave threat, while the West was led by craven and at best mediocre leaders.

Such as… well, there is no need for ad hominems here. You know who they are.