‘Music’ gets its own ‘politics’

Just as Mayisyahu, the Jewish-American reggae singer was due to appear at a Spanish festival, the organisers asked him to state his “positions on Zionism and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict”.

When he refused, his invitation was withdrawn, an action that resulted from a hysterical campaign by the anti-Israeli organisation Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS).

Apparently Mayisyahu had said things about Israel that suggested that his values differed from those of the festival, listed as “peace, equality, human rights and social justice”.

Leaving aside the matter of how such commendable values tally with the implicit advocacy of firing rockets at Israeli villages, one must welcome this long-overdue initiative.

It’s just and proper that, before reggae lovers are allowed to bask in the mellifluous sounds of their choice, the performer must be vetted for his political views.

If these are in any way objectionable to anybody, especially professional anti-Semites and those whose politics are coloured various hues of red, the performer must be banned.

However, as a lifelong champion of equality, I have to scream foul.

What about people who are offended by performers spouting moronic drivel on every subject under the sun? What about those who dislike performers expressing Nazi sympathies? And why limit this valuable initiative to reggae? Why not extend it to classical music as well, including the recordings of artists long since dead?

Hence here’s my modest proposal, starting with another question. What do pianists Walter Gieseking and Alfred Cortot, singer Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, conductors Herbert von Karajan, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Richard Strauss and Willem Mengelberg have in common?

Yes, they were all sublime musicians, but that has nothing to do with our cosmically significant initiative, does it? The right answer is that they all collaborated with the Nazis to one extent or another.

Karajan actually went the whole hog by joining the Nazi party twice, first in his native Austria and then in Germany. Moreover, whenever der Führer graced Karajan’s performances with his august presence, the conductor arranged the audience in the shape of the swastika, thereby proving his unwavering loyalty.

Now, are you ready for this? Recordings of all these musicians, including the Nazi twice over Karajan, are widely available on CDs – this though not many music lovers approve of Nazism. There’s only one solution to this injustice: the CDs must be removed from shops, libraries, private collections and summarily burned. Fair’s fair, right?

And let’s not stop there. Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Richter, Oistrakh and all other Soviet musicians were tainted by association with the regime that murdered six times as many people as the Nazis managed to do.

What a nice bonfire their CDs would make! And let’s not forget boycotting concerts by all living Russian performers, some of whom, such as Pletnev, Spivakov, Matsuyev and Bashmet, are enthusiastic supporters of Putin’s version of fascism.

Actually there’s no need to name names. Once we’ve established the principle of political vetting, the specifics will suggest themselves.

I doubt there’s a musician anywhere in the world who doesn’t represent a political regime or philosophy many would find offensive. The conclusion is as sweeping as it’s natural: in compliance with the sacred principle of equality emblazoned on the banners of reggae fans, we must ban all music, live or recorded, altogether.

Of course another possible solution would be to ignore the musicians’ politics and instead listen misty-eyed to their artistic offerings (although the desire to listen to reggae must be investigated from the anthropological and psychiatric angles).

But that possibility is clearly not on. Neither is boycotting all musicians who are even tangentially associated with politics someone out there doesn’t like.

No one is going to boycott Karajan’s or Cortot’s records. No one will boycott Putin’s performing poodles. No one will boycott musicians from countries where Christians are murdered. It’s only those who prefer our Israeli friends to our Islamic enemies who merit such treatment – especially if they themselves are Jewish.

And it’s not just musicians. Our scientists bravely bar their Israeli colleagues from scientific conferences, or else, like Stephen Hawking, refuse to attend congresses held in Israel.

All in the name of “peace, equality, human rights and social justice” of course. What did you think?

Classlessness is a pipe dream (or rather nightmare)

Sir Patrick Stewart is a fine Shakespearean actor, but he can’t be immune to the typical foibles of his profession.

One such is a rather light burden of intellect (having grown up in an actor’s family always surrounded by his colleagues, I feel qualified to generalise).

This stands to reason: a man who slips into various personalities as easily as Sir Patrick does is unlikely to have much of a personality of his own, though I’m aware of a few exceptions here and there.

In the 80s Sir Patrick abandoned his career at The Royal Shakespeare Company and went to America to act in Star Trek. Not a silly move by itself, provided it was made for the right reasons: fame and money.

But, being an actor, Sir Patrick claims his real motive was to get away from Britain’s vile class system. He expected to find unadulterated classlessness in America, an expectation in which he was thoroughly and predictably frustrated.

Before his departure, the actor would have done well to read Paul Fussell’s excellent 1983 book Class, in which the author shows that America is more class-ridden than Britain.

Having lived in America for 15 years and now in the UK for almost 30, I can vouch for that.

The class system in any commonwealth of recent standing can’t possibly be based on centuries of selective breeding and careful nurturing. It can only be founded on money, the distinguishing feature being its overall amount and the length of time money has been in the family.

That being a contrived and therefore brittle structure, Old Money families in America guard it with greater vigilance than even the outer reaches of the royal family in Britain, never mind lesser aristocracy. This creates a class that Fussell calls ‘top out of sight’, which doesn’t exist in Britain this side of the inner core of the royals.

Hence the popular ditty: “Here’s good old Massachusetts, the land of the bean and the cod, where the Lowells talk only to Whitneys, and the Whitneys talk only to God.” Well, English aristocrats readily talk to mortals as well. 

When I lived in the States, there was no path I could have taken into the mansions of American Old Money (not that I wanted to). Within a few months in London, however, I found myself rubbing shoulders with people whose titles go back to centuries before Americans stopped sporting war paint (not that I deliberately sought such company either).

Americans, especially those on the East Coast, can tell a person’s class from yards away, relying on such telltale signs as his clothes, posture, car and so forth. Fussell shows that even musical instruments are class giveaways (the higher the tone, the higher the class: the flute sits several rungs above the tuba).

And if any doubts still persist, they disappear the moment the stranger opens his mouth and says either ‘how do you do’ or ‘how are ya’. The class distinction between, say, ‘evening wear’, ‘dinner jacket’, ‘black tie’, ‘tuxedo’ and ‘tux’ is an unfordable watershed.

Contrary to socialist mythology, the British class system has always been permeable, of which Sir Patrick, born to a working class family, is living proof. In fact, only about two per cent of all English peerages go back further than 100 years, suggesting a high social mobility, both upwards and downwards.

An actor (or an intellectually challenged politician like John Major) can be forgiven for dreaming about a classless society. People who think more deeply know that classlessness is neither achievable nor desirable.

Whenever people have tried to achieve it, they’ve only ever succeeded in massacring or banishing the traditional upper classes and then replacing them with new ones, infinitely less suited for the role.

God clearly creates people unequal in every respect that matters: intelligence, character, talent, enterprise – you name it. And it’s to be expected that, when such qualities are put into effect, society will become stratified.

Even the church, while asserting the equality of all before God, never suggests that people ought to be equal in any other respect. According to one of Jesus’s parables the kingdom of God is a place where “many are called but few are chosen”.

It’s not only birds of a feather but also roughly similar people who flock together. Naturally, once a cohesive group is formed, it tries to protect its integrity. Class barriers fall in place, and they are only ever raised with reluctance.

But raised they are, for any group needs an influx of fresh blood to keep itself viable. Even European royalty occasionally admits commoners into the fold, with variable results.

Our class-tortured Sir Patrick found that starring in a hit TV series made him a Hollywood proletarian. The upper classes were formed of the big-screen stars, who tended to look down on TV upstarts. Even such a cloistered society arranged itself hierarchically.

Thus Sir Stewart’s fondest but rather silly dreams were frustrated. I hope he has learned his lesson: classlessness exists only in a mass grave. And mass graves always proliferate whenever those who aren’t only thick but also wicked try to make such dreams come true.

Sledging isn’t cricket? Actually it is

Sledging in sport means unsettling one’s opponent to gain an unfair advantage. Referring to his race, intelligence or the sexual record of his mother/wife/girlfriend has been known to work a treat.

If you think that’s not cricket, you ought to know that the term was first used during the Adelaide Oval in the mid-sixties, when one player suggested that an opponent’s wife was having sex with his team mate.

Thenceforth, whenever the wronged party came to bat, the other team greeted him with a rousing chorus of When a Man Loves a Woman. I don’t know what that did to his performance but, judging by the fact that since then sledging has become commonplace, it must have worked.

Cricket had its Gentlemen vs. Players matches, starting in 1806, but the distinction referred to the sportsmen’s social class, not their conduct. In those days, and for a century and a half thereafter, they were all expected to behave like gentlemen.

The 1960s Walpurgisnacht destroyed gentlemanly behaviour, along with any notion of propriety. This coincided with a huge influx of money into many professional sports, including tennis.

The combination of the ‘liberating’ effect of the time and the chance to become a millionaire in one’s teens gave tennis a mighty push, and decency began to go off the rails. By the mid-70s it had crashed.

In times olden, tennis players, even Australian ones, were gentlemen par excellence. The great Aussies Laver, Rosewall, Newcombe, Emerson et al may have consumed copious amounts of beer off court, but their behaviour on court was impeccable. They showed dignified respect for the game, umpires, opponents – and themselves.

Then came the brats, the Nastases, Connorses and McEnroes of this world, and suddenly, in line with Dostoyevsky’s dark prophesies, everything was permitted. Out went fair play, in came every dirty trick possible.

Playing against a morbidly superstitious opponent, Nastase once brought a black cat to the court and let it out of his tennis bag as the opponent was about to serve. Connors would make foul gestures towards his opponent, use delaying tactics, scream obscenities at the umpires, other players and paying public. And McEnroe… well, he was McEnroe.

Boris Becker remembers playing McEnroe for the first time and being treated to a steady litany of “motherf***er-c***sucker” at every changeover. Sledging had left its native shores and original game to catapult into tennis. And because tennis had become a massive money-spinner, officials were reluctant to do anything about it.

Since then sledging has become a constant factor in the sport, of which 20-year-old Aussie Nick Kyrgios has kindly reminded us.

This chap, adorned with tattoos and gold chains, stands out even against the background of widespread rotten behaviour. He mutters obscenities while the ball is in play, swears at everyone within earshot and tanks matches when he feels wronged or doesn’t feel like playing.

Then last week he used a changeover to proffer useful information to his opponent Stan Wawrinka: “Kokkinakis [another young Aussie player] banged your girlfriend. Sorry to tell you that, mate.”

The girlfriend in question was the Croatian teenager Donna Vekic, Kokkinakis’s mixed doubles partner for two years. Wawrinka has had an affair with her since leaving his wife earlier this year, a split that affected him badly.

His game suffered and he only began to recover a couple of months ago. Nonetheless he was clearly vulnerable to being unsettled by such a remark, which Kyrgios knew and exploited with the savagery of the young barbarian he is.

An outcry ensued. Kyrgios apologised and was fined £6,400, pocket change to him. The ATP also gave him a ‘notice of investigation’, suggesting he could be suspended for any number of matches or months.

I can’t recall any other player being banned for on-court misconduct – positive drug tests are the usual reason. But then neither do I recall such an outburst of public hypocrisy.

The chorus was led by Martina Navratilova, who champions traditional mores so much that she formally went down on one knee to propose to her girlfriend in a restaurant, with paparazzi in close attendance.

“There needs to be more than a fine,” she pronounced. “There is no place for such behaviour.”

Since when? Certainly not since I started watching tennis in the mid-70s. And certainly not since Navratilova in her playing days waged a full-scale war against Steffi Graf, off the court and on.

The problem isn’t just with Kyrgios, an ignoble savage though he is. Nor is it with merely tennis or sport in general. What’s going on there is merely a symptom of a disease afflicting us all. It’s called modernity, and there’s no cure for it.

So by all means run Kyrgios out of the game – I don’t think it’ll be any the poorer for it. But please spare us the emetic holier-than-thou hypocrisy, which is in even worse taste than Kyrgios’s jibe.





Archbishops can outdo hacks in demagoguery

Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey must be India Knight in disguise. Unlike India, he’s professionally qualified to ask “What would Jesus do?” Just like her, he answers the question badly.

India was sure that Jesus would share her opinion on the Calais stowaways. Lord Carey has co-opted Jesus as an ally in the matter of legalising assisted suicide. By way of proof both offer a couple of tear-jerking examples, wrapped in woolly thinking and threadbare morality.

Lord Carey’s example is a woman who killed her paralysed friend to stop her suffering, and was charged with murder for her trouble. That, he says, made him change his mind about legalising assisted suicide.

In the past, before Lord Carey was vouchsafed Jesus’s presumed views on the matter, he “argued [legalised assisted suicide] was taking the issue of autonomy too far and would lead to a massive breakdown between doctors and patients.”

Well, he was right then and he’s wrong now. Such a breakdown has occurred in every country where euthanasia in various shapes was legalised. Holland led the way by passing this awful law in 2002, and since then thousands have been killed by physicians (4,050 in 2010 alone).

Most of these deaths are “by request” (assisted suicide) but many aren’t. The legal requirement in Holland is that the patient have “hopeless and unbearable” suffering, which definition is open to interpretation and subjectivity.

What’s unbearable for one person is bearable for another; a condition one physician finds hopeless, another might find less so – and they all know cases of miraculous recovery in cases identified as terminal.

One way or the other, the trust mentioned by Lord Carey was certainly broken. Many old Dutch people are scared of going to hospital because they think doctors may kill them. They realise that what’s legal today may become advisable tomorrow – and mandatory the day after.

This isn’t to say that physicians, prone to error as they might be, aren’t qualified to judge a patient’s condition. They are – and they’ve always done so.

Any hospital doctor will tell you that he has hastened a patient’s death by, for example, withdrawing treatment for therapeutic reasons, when he knew the medicine would prolong suffering more than life. He has also probably administered opiate painkillers in doses he knew would be likely to result in death – without the state’s stamp of approval telling him that was acceptable.

The real problem with legally assisted death is neither the noun nor the adjective, but the adverb. Legalising assisted suicide or any other form of euthanasia indeed gives both doctors and patients too much autonomy, which Lord Carey used to fear but doesn’t any longer. The likelihood of error on both parts would increase greatly.

This law would also give the state an inordinate power of life and death over the people. It’s not up to the state – in this instance represented by judges – to decide whose life may or may not be worth living.

Such are the rational arguments that the rankest of atheists could make, provided he were capable of rational thought. But a Christian, especially a prelate, would – or rather ought to – argue the issue differently.

He’s duty-bound to remind our increasingly atheist world that a man doesn’t have autonomy over his own life. He’s not free to dispose of it as he sees fit because his life doesn’t belong to him. It belongs to God because He gave him life in the first place.

Due to this ownership and this provenance, human life is sacred, and its sanctity is affirmed by Christian law, on which all human laws used to be based in the West. Therefore any human law that encroaches on the sanctity of human life contravenes Christian beliefs, which Lord Carey was sworn to uphold at his ordination.

Instead he opines that Jesus “would expect us in these modern times, with all the skills that doctors have, to tend the very vulnerable at the end of life and help them cross into the place of peace that they are craving”.

This is nonsense on many levels. First, “the skills that doctors have” “in these modern times” have nothing to do with it. Since time immemorial doctors have had poisons at their disposal, along with the skills to administer them, intravenously or otherwise.

It’s not so much that the doctors’ skills have increased as that Christianity has been shunted aside, and hence our commitment to the sanctity of human life has diminished.

Lord Carey should stay within his lifelong professional remit to fight this tragic situation tooth and nail, reaffirming the Christian position resolutely and unequivocally.

Instead he does an India Knight by dousing us with tear-jerking demagoguery that should be left to others – along, for that matter, with the kind of rational arguments I outlined earlier. A clergyman may or may not be a great thinker, but he must always be a great Christian.

It’s the church’s sacred duty to oppose legalising assisted suicide, euthanasia, abortion, homomarriage or any other perversion of Christian morality. A priest must never kowtow to secular fads, which is exactly what Lord Carey has done with his sermon of pseudomorality and pseudocompassion.

Would Christ admit 100 million Christians to Britain?

The hack India Knight, who has a unique insight into Jesus’s mind, suggests in today’s Times that he would.

He’d gently pick up all those rioting stowaways in Calais, carry them across the Channel and then soften our hearts enough for us to extend a warm welcome to all persecuted Christians.

She doesn’t exactly say that, relying instead on laying a smokescreen of emotive subtext out of which Jesus’s message (as transmitted through India) would emerge as a ghostly apparition.

In common with all demagogues, India limits herself to puffery, eschewing anything concrete, especially – God forbid – numbers.

Nor does she make any specific recommendations, trusting the reader to reach his own conclusion. A deft kick at Nigel Farage, who heartlessly opposes unlimited immigration, is also there, to focus the reader’s mind.

India tugs at our heart strings by reporting her conversations with the Middle Eastern Christians fleeing from persecution to Calais. One is to infer that they’re the dominant group among the refugees.

I doubt it. I suspect that most of them aren’t Christians seeking safety but Muslims seeking money.

Admittedly I don’t know that for sure. But then neither does India or, if she does, she’s reticent about proffering such information.

What nobody knows is how many in that crowd are terrorists trying to infiltrate into Britain to blow it up or recruit others to do so. Common sense suggests there must be some, although I wouldn’t venture a guess at the exact proportion.

Some figures, however, are available, and India should have cited them. For example, approximately 100 million Christians are persecuted for their faith somewhere in the world, 90 million of them in Muslim countries.

For any Christian, or anyone blessed with a conscience, this is an unbearable tragedy. It’s also a problem demanding a solution.

‘Tragedy’ is an emotional word, coming from a compassionate heart. But ‘solution’ is a cold-blooded word coming from a rational mind.

We’ve identified the problem: 90 million Christians (and many Jews, let’s not forget them) are suffering murderous persecution in Muslim lands. Now what’s the solution?

Sheltering them in Britain would be a humane, Christian thing to do. It would also be suicidal, for no country could survive a rapid 150% increase in her population. The refugees would find themselves in the middle of riotous strife that would make them feel nostalgic for their birthplaces.

No, the solution isn’t to welcome Christians fleeing from Muslim persecution. It’s to stop Muslim persecution of Christians.

I’d suggest that the first step in that direction would be to declare, against all available evidence, that our civilisation still remains Judaeo-Christian.

Therefore, persecuting Jews and Christians is a hostile act tantamount to an attack on our family. Since most of its victimised members live in Islamic countries, Islam is an enemy.

Those prevented from reaching this ineluctable conclusion by their PC piety resort to particularising subterfuge. They’ll talk your ear off insisting that all Muslims can’t be held responsible for crimes committed by relatively few ‘fundamentalists’, ‘Islamists’ or ‘Islamofascists’.

It’s like ‘Bomber’ Harris refusing to bomb German cities because not all Germans were Nazis. He didn’t though. He knew there was a war on, and it had to be won.

Just over a century ago, the West’s commitment to protecting its own hadn’t yet been corrupted.  

In 1904, when the Moroccan brigand Raisuli kidnapped a Greek-American named Perdicaris, President Theodore Roosevelt immediately sent warships to Morocco. The ships levelled their guns on Rabat and flew the signal “Perdicaris Alive or Raisuli Dead!”

One Muslim. One Christian. Yet there were no phoney pronouncements on how few Moroccans were brigands. Give us our family member back or we’ll wipe out your capital – that was the simple yet effective message.

Rather than asking her readers “What would Jesus do?”, India ought to have asked “What would Teddy Roosevelt do, seeing not one Christian violated in Muslim lands, but 90 million?” The answer would have offered itself.

Instead she doused her readers with the spray flying off her bleeding heart, co-opting Jesus to prop up her own understated honesty and intellect. Just the stuff of which today’s journalism is made.

Morality does pay in politics

The prevailing wisdom is that politics, along with its economic offshoots, has to be amoral to be successful. Some call it healthy cynicism, others prefer the 19th century German term Realpolitik.

Whatever it’s called, this belief is wrong. As often as not, the most moral course of action is also the most practical.

For example, it would have taken no more than police action for the West to stamp out Russian Bolshevism at any time between 1917 and 1922.

That hygienic operation would have rid the world of its most dangerous contagion, making the action moral.

And in practical terms, it would have saved not only the millions of lives, but also the trillions in whatever currency you care to name it took to fight the resulting pandemic over the next 70-odd years (a fight, incidentally, that’s far from over).

Similarly it would have been both moral and practical for the West to kill Nazism before it killed millions. This would have amounted to a cakewalk at any time between the 1936 remilitarisation of the Rhineland and the 1939 capitulation of Poland.

In 1936 the Nazis were bluffing: the Wehrmacht was then weak and far from the efficient machine it went on to become later.

And in 1939 it was still so much under strength that the attack on Poland sapped Germany’s resources – so much so that the Nazis couldn’t afford to keep a single tank on their Western border.

By contrast France alone, even without the British Expeditionary Corps, had over 1,800 tanks poised on Germany’s border. That force could have rolled all the way to Berlin practically unopposed – but didn’t. We all know what happened next.

Yet what provoked my thoughts about practical morality was matters economic, not martial. Specifically, the current troubles of China’s economy, threatening a global economic catastrophe.

The USA, along with the rest of the West, has been happy to ‘outsource’ production to China, whose population is consigned to what only Protagorean sophistry would prevent one from calling slave labour.

We choose not to ponder the ethical implications. Yet if we were to add up the cost of raw materials, utility prices, depreciation of the factory plant, manufacturer’s mark-up, cuts taken off the top by various middlemen and retailers, cost of transportation and storage, customs duties etc., we’d realise that the poor devils who make the cheap products we enjoy still subsist on a bowl of rice a day.

However, before amalgamating China into the global economy, wherein the collapse of a large part might destroy all, we would have done well to remember that slave economies aren’t just immoral but also moribund.

At the slow-moving time of Egypt or Rome it took millennia for the slave-drivers to come to a sticky end. When the pace of life quickened, slave economies could hang on for a century or two (Britain’s American colonies, especially the southernmost ones), almost a century (the USSR), or a couple of decades (China).

But sooner or later they do a Jericho and come tumbling down. And if they are as massive as China’s they may well bury us all under the rubble.

Such is the economic history. And if you look for its current validation, you need to look no further than China.

Most indicators suggest that, to mix the metaphorical clichés just for the fun of it, the bubble has burst and the chickens have come home to roost.

For the last several years, the Chinese have been pumping massive borrowing into the corporate sector, mostly construction. A high-rise town after town has been going up, with most of them becoming ghost towns due to lack of demand.

Predictably last month the Chinese market crashed, wiping trillions off the economy already margined to breaking point and moaning under the weight of rapidly multiplying derivatives. 

In response the Chinese declared they were abandoning their export-based economic model. Then they belied their declaration by unpegging the yuan from the dollar and thrice devaluing it this week.

Such measures usually point at a desperate attempt to lower unit costs even further and make exports even cheaper – this against the background of rapidly declining Chinese exports.

In a parallel development China has cut her interest rates by 1.25% to a record low. This, as most economists (including those in China) agree, is way too excessive and evidently desperate.

The communists also lie about their annual growth rate or, to be charitable, fail to measure it properly. They claim a current figure of 7%, but in reality it’s closer to 3%. This would be respectable for most Western economies, and unachievable for the EU, but for China it represents a massive slowdown from almost 15% a decade ago.

The signs are that China is incapable of managing the slowdown properly – and that, unlike her communist, slave-owning government, solid economic theory doesn’t lie. The danger is that the slowdown could turn into a meltdown, putting us all at deadly risk.

Hence a principled refusal to admit communist China into a global economy would have been both practical and moral – and Realpolitik be damned.

None dare call it conspiracy


 A Sun journalist opined on today’s Sky News that the real question about Jeremy Corbyn is whether or not he’s a leader.

This obsession with leadership is a relatively recent phenomenon, as if a strong leader is ipso facto a good thing, regardless of where he’s likely to lead the country. Messrs Stalin and Hitler, both unquestionably strong leaders, would no doubt agree.

A more interesting question about Corbyn is whether or not he’s a front man for a hard-Left conspiracy to take over Britain.

Now reasonable people are rightly wary of believers in conspiracy theories. Such beliefs usually come packaged with pet hatreds, psychiatric disorders or at best touchingly naïve credulity.

However, if we stop talking about theories and instead focus on practices, it becomes clear that some large-scale conspiracies have indeed shaped the modern world.

The Bolshevik party, for one, was conspiratorial, as any reader of Lenin’s canon will confirm. The two-phase conspiracy aimed at taking over Russia and then using it as a springboard for world conquest, and neither Lenin nor his henchmen were bashful about stating these goals in so many words.

The first phase worked to perfection, in the second the Bolsheviks achieved control of merely half the world. Some may see that as a success, some as failure, but nobody can deny that Bolshevism was a global conspiracy at work.

“Britain,” says Corbyn, “has a lot to learn from Marxism.” Well, she has even more to learn from Leninism, the better to counter Leninist tactics of seizing power.

Lenin advocated a two-prong strategy: combining violent revolutionary subversion with ‘legalism’, that is using loopholes in Western constitutions to overturn them.

He despised inflexible ‘Left-wing communism’, which he called an ‘infantile disorder’. Grown-ups were supposed to use Western parliaments to destroy Western parliamentarism and only resort to violence if that hadn’t worked.

This has always been the tactic of the British hard Left, and it almost succeeded during Harold Wilson’s tenure. That attempt, led by the Militant group, mercifully failed. But the group itself remained lurking in the background, waiting for its hour to come.

Suddenly it has sprung to life, which is evident from this statement: “The Socialist Party (formerly the Militant Tendency) wishes Jeremy Corbyn well in the Labour leadership election. If he is victorious it would be a real step forward and, in effect, the formation of a new party.”

No doubt. And if you wonder what kind of party it’ll be, just look at Corbyn’s key policies and sympathies:

  • Getting rid of the royal family, turning Britain into a republic
  • Scrapping nuclear weapons and leaving Nato, both unilaterally
  • Nationalising railways, energy companies and banks
  • Cutting less and taxing more (up to a 75% tax rate for the ‘rich’)
  • Encouraging mass immigration: “The whole narrative on immigration… fails to recognise the huge contribution migrants have made to this country… we should let people into this country who are desperate to get somewhere safe to live” – with no suggestion of any limit on the number of such safety seekers
  • Alliance with Hamas and Hezbollah, which it was Corbyn’s “honour and pleasure” to host in Parliament

As a sideline, it’s also Corbyn’s “honour and pleasure” to rub shoulders with virulent anti-Semites, such as Raed Salah, whom Corbyn described as “a very honoured citizen”. This honoured citizen has been imprisoned in Israel for inciting anti-Jewish racism and later found by a British judge to support the ‘blood libel’ canard.

Corbyn also defended the vicar Stephen Sizer, disciplined by the Church for anti-Semitism; presented a programme on the Iranian propaganda channel Post TV; allegedly donated money to Paul Eisen whose rabid anti-Semitism led to his being shunned even by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

None of this prevents Corbyn’s fellow MPs from praising him for his sincerity and unbending devotion to his beliefs. Well, Lenin was equally sincere about his plans, and neither did Hitler show any duplicity in promising to kill all Jews.

The methods used by the hard Left to support their man smack of Bolshevik ‘legalism’ more than of British parliamentarism. Hundreds of thousands of extremists are enlisting to vote in the leadership contest, even though they have never supported the Labour party before – 409,000 have rushed in since May. This proceeds against the background of massive cyber attacks on Corbyn’s opponents.

As a result, Comrade Corbyn seems certain to win a first-round landslide, which his reddish-brownish supporters will doubtless see as Phase 1. Phase 2 will be moving him to Downing Street – and make no mistake about it: this outcome is far from impossible.

Even if our phoney prosperity hasn’t run out of steam by 2020, there’s much the hard Left will be able to do to paralyse the country just in time for the next election. A general strike would do nicely, accompanied by the kind of disruption a small taste of which we’re getting on either side of the Channel Tunnel.

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing,” said Edmund Burke. Jeremy Corbyn is a harbinger of such a triumph, which good men must realise – and do something about it.

Extremism, another word for Christianity

According to Huw Lewis, Welsh Education Minister, religious (meaning Christian) education threatens “community cohesion” and encourages “extremism”.

Hence he proposes to muffle the destructive effect of Christianity by lumping it together in the same course with “philosophy, ethics and citizenship”, thereby instructing pupils on “what it means to be a citizen in a free country”.

A minor, or perhaps not so minor, point is that British pupils, even if they happen to be Welsh, aren’t citizens of any country, free or otherwise. They are subjects of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

This isn’t a difference in semantics. Rather it’s a clue to two diametrically opposite types of statehood and civilisation.

In the modern Western context, ‘citizen’ is a republican, Enlightenment construct that came into being as a result of a concerted effort to break away from almost 2,000 years of Christendom.

It’s not for nothing that the first secular government in history, that of the United States, almost immediately declared that religion would play no role in state affairs.

The US Constitution coyly eschews the phrase ‘separation of church and state’. Instead the First Amendment states only that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” But in his comments both before and after the ratification Thomas Jefferson was unequivocal: this amendment, he gloated, built “a wall of separation between Church and State”.

The modern state pioneered by America and later developed by France is a revolutionary contrivance, only intelligible against the background of burgeoning hostility to Christianity, along with all of its ecclesiastical and secular institutions.

Monarchy is the fundamental political institution of Christendom because it unites in itself both the secular and transcendent aspects of national history. It’s thus an organic entity, as opposed to a revolutionary one.

This was reflected in the oath Her Majesty took at her coronation 62 years ago, when this dialogue took place: 

Archbishop. Will you to the utmost of your power maintain the Laws of God and the true profession of the Gospel? Will you to the utmost of your power maintain in the United Kingdom the Protestant Reformed Religion established by law? Will you maintain and preserve inviolably the settlement of the Church of England, and the doctrine, worship, discipline, and government thereof, as by law established in England? And will you preserve unto the Bishops and Clergy of England, and to the Churches there committed to their charge, all such rights and privileges, as by law do or shall appertain to them or any of them?

Queen. All this I promise to do.”

The historical, moral, philosophical and religious background to this short exchange would take many volumes to explain and, more to the point, many hours of study to understand.

It doesn’t matter whether a pupil is a Buddhist, Muslim, Hinduist, Taoist, animist or – as is these days most likely – atheist. For our realm is Christian, and it can never be properly understood without an extensive study of Christianity, its history, scripture, dogma, ritual, worship.

Deprived of such study, British pupils will emerge as neither subjects nor citizens. They’ll be savages.

For they’ll be ignorant not only of the political essence of the realm, but also of the entire cultural heritage of our civilisation. All the most glorious achievements of Western art, music and literature, even if they aren’t overtly Christian, are a direct reflection of hearts and minds shaped by Christianity.

Of course churning out savages is the real goal of our education, this being a sine qua non for our government spivs, such as Huw Lewis, to stay in power. A properly civilised populace would run them out of town faster than you can say ‘multicultural tolerance’.

Tolerance is today’s shorthand for the absence of convictions and critical judgement. No hierarchy of ideas, tastes, faiths or anything else is supposed to exist. They are all equal.

I like contrapuntal music, he likes jazz, they like rap – who’s to say some tastes are superior to others? He tells the truth, she tells a lie, they can’t tell the difference – what does it matter?

It goes without saying that all religions are also equal, especially Islam. Of course insisting, in a Christian country, that Christianity is no better than any other creed is guaranteed to destroy Christianity, which is the whole point.

But never mind the Christian faith. Even asserting Christian morality or any of its aspects is these days classified as extremism. Hence our intellectually challenged Education Secretary Nicky ‘Nicola’ Morgan has explained that any child who finds anything wrong with homosexuality may fall prey to ISIS recruiters.

Yes, but what if the child got his ‘extremist’ views by reading Leviticus or St Paul’s Epistles? Well then, that would be even worse. He’d be an extremist twice over.

Tolerance is a wonderful thing, but only if the notion is properly understood. Yes, all people deserve love and respect because they are children of the same father and therefore our siblings.

But from that it doesn’t follow that everything anybody says, does or believes is equally respectable. Discernment and (dread word) discrimination are essential to forming mind and character.

An intelligent person knows the difference between sound and unsound, a moral one between right and wrong, one with developed taste between good and bad. It’s a school’s task to educate pupils how to judge such matters.

And, in Her Majesty’s realm, our choice isn’t between Christian education and some other. It’s been Christian education and none.


The following exchange took place an hour ago, after I posted my blog on Pope Francis.


From Fr Bernard Mulcahy to AB:


Dear Mr Boot,

Since I enjoy and admire your work I am sorry to have to tell you

that the quotation attributed to Pope Francis (“Jesus Christ, Mohammed,

Jehovah, Allah. These are all names employed to describe an entity that is

distinctly the same across the world,” etc.) appears to be from the satire

website “National Report”. As a Catholic priest and theologian I would be

more sorry, however, if the Pope had actually said something heretical! (It

would mean I’d have to go become Orthodox, I suppose.)


Fr Bernard Mulcahy


From AB to Fr Bernard Mulcahy:


Dear Fr Bernard,

I feel like an idiot, to have been taken in. My only consolation is that I’m not the only one: several of my friends, some of them priests, sent me the link to the website, asking me to comment. Neither they nor, regrettably, I realised it was a spoof. The reason we swallowed it though is that, alas, the story is believable. Pope Francis has said many things along similar lines, such as those real-life statements quoted in the same article. That, plus Pope Benedict’s recent statement on the impending death of Christianity, followed by its rebirth, made me susceptible to the clever sleight of hand.

Thank you for putting me right – and also for your kind words about my work.

All best wishes,

Alexander Boot


From Fr Bernard Mulcahy to AB:


I agree that it is (almost) believable. I suspected it was a fraud because I believe the Holy Spirit prevents things this awful!


From AB to my other readers who pointed out that the story was a spoof, however believable:

See above – and thank you.





The Pope: “Christianity isn’t the true religion”

 A pedant would scream that His Holiness didn’t say that and, true enough, Pope Francis didn’t utter those words. But I challenge you to interpret what he did say in any other way:

“Jesus Christ, Mohammed, Jehovah, Allah. These are all names employed to describe an entity that is distinctly the same across the world. For centuries, blood has been shed because of the desire to segregate our faiths. This, however, should be the very concept which unites us as people, as nations, and as a world bound by faith… We are all children of God regardless of the name we choose to address him by. We can accomplish miraculous things in the world by merging our faiths…”

If I were a semi-nude African animist, I’d be mortally offended. How come my bull’s head sitting atop a totem pole was left out? What am I, chopped human buttock on toast? The Equality Commission is going to hear about this.

Now I’ve heard of ecumenism, but the Pope’s tirade is ridiculous. I don’t think any pontiff has uttered such blasphemous, arrant nonsense since 955, when the title of John XII was assumed by an 18-year-old youngster who immediately turned the Vatican into a place of ill repute.

Not only did he drink, gamble and fornicate but, much worse, the Holy Father celebrated mass without taking communion, gave regular banquets in honour of pagan gods and even offered toasts to Satan.

A full millennium later, Pope Francis has set out to outdo his medieval predecessor – not in deed but in word, and in the damage caused to the Church.

One wonders if His Holiness even begins to understand the religion over which he presides as heir to the throne of St Peter, or whether he worships Christ as fervently as he promotes his bien pensant Leftie ideology.

Since Christianity presupposes freedom of choice, anyone is free to espouse it or not. But believing in the sole truth of Jesus Christ as divine Saviour and the second hypostasis of the Holy Trinity surely must be a job requirement for any priest, never mind the world’s highest prelate.

None of the deities the Pope saw fit to mention as “distinctly the same” as Jesus Christ can even remotely act in that capacity for any Christian, to say nothing of anyone whose mission it is to carry Christ to the world.

Even to the Muslims Mohammed isn’t God but merely Allah’s prophet, while for old times’ sake Christians still accept Christ as God. As to Jehovah, he is to Christians God the Father, the first hypostasis of the Holy Trinity from whom the Holy Spirit proceeds as it does from Christ.

The Pope is duty-bound to regard all religions other than Christianity and Judaism (in as far as it forms part of the Christian canon) as heresies. They may be variously dangerous but they are all equally wrong.

By effectively denying the exclusive truth of his faith Pope Francis relegates it to the status of a secular club socially and an extension of Leftie radicalism politically. A few hundred years ago much milder heretics used to be burned for less.

Religious tolerance is undeniably a good thing but, just as undeniably, religious suicide isn’t. And, by being unable to tell one from the other, that’s what Pope Francis is committing, wittingly or unwittingly.

In this world men accomplish “miraculous things” (otherwise known as miracles) not by “merging our faiths” but by heroically asserting the truth of one, Christian, faith over all others.

If the Pope doesn’t believe in this truth, he ought to be run out of the Vatican, unfrocked and – ideally – excommunicated. Ditto, if he doesn’t believe the drivel he utters but says it anyway to mollify his Leftie comrades.

In the first instance he isn’t a Christian because he doesn’t believe in Jesus Christ. In the second, he isn’t a Christian because he betrays his religion to its haters. One just hopes that Francis goes before the Church does.

Oh Pope Benedict XVI, where are you when we need you? Please come back, Your Holiness – your successor is running Christianity into the ground.