Well done, Guardian

As a former creative director of an ad agency, I know how difficult it is to foster corporate spirit even in a relatively small group. And when the group involves copywriters (often frustrated novelists), art directors (often frustrated painters) and other creatives, the task becomes exponentially harder.

The feral scowl of transphobia

All kinds of team-building stratagems, most based on heavy drinking, are activated to that end, but typically only with moderate success. People involved in writing and art tend to be cantankerous individuals, who are proud of being both individualistic and cantankerous.

So much more impressive is the achievement of our most liberal newspaper in forging homogeneity among its employees. To wit: 338 of them signed a petition demanding that Suzanne Moore, award-winning columnist who had been with the paper for 10 years, leave or be sacked.

The management went along – one assumes willingly, for Miss Moore’s transgression was egregious by the lofty standards of that august publication. For she’s guilty of transphobia, a crime that rivals racism and homophobia for sheer offensiveness to modern sensibilities.

This isn’t to say that Miss Moore is inordinately scared of transsexuals – and if you insist on the literal use of the Greek term, you too should be sacked from whatever job you have. In today’s parlance, politically charged words are desemanticised. They have a political meaning and no other.

Since old common-or-garden totalitarians typically gained and held power by violence, they were most afraid of violence. Today’s totalitarians are what I call glossocrats, meaning they rise not by the sword but by the word. Hence they are most afraid of words, not swords.

In any totalitarian society, neo-, aspiring or actual, a crime of word is worse than a crime of deed. Glossocrats know that once they’ve gained control of the language, their power will become absolute.

In that spirit, racism doesn’t have to mean fear of other races, and nor does a homophobe duck behind parked cars whenever a camp chap comes round the corner.

Anyone who says that immigration of cultural aliens must be curtailed is a racist. Anyone who finds anything wrong with homomarriage or with homosexual couples adopting children is a homophobe. And Miss Moore is a transphobe.

After all, she dared to introduce a touch of the real world to the schizophrenic virtual reality of Guardian liberalism by writing that sex is a biological classification, “not a feeling”. Hundred of throats opened wide and a thunderous chorus of “You what?!?” shook the Guardian building to its foundation.

But of course sex is just a feeling! Who cares what chromosomes you were born with? You are a free, liberal, tolerant individual (at least as freedom, liberalism and tolerance are defined at The Guardian). That means you have a Guardian-given right to choose any from the menu of the available sexes, currently containing 74 options and growing.

Such is the orthodoxy, and if you defy it you are a heretic. Be jolly thankful if you’re only tossed out on your ear, not into a pyre.

Unfortunately, I’m unfamiliar with Miss Moore’s work and hence can’t judge her overall political inclination. However, since she lasted 10 years at that stronghold of tolerance, it’s safe to assume that she herself is generally liberal.

That makes it even worse. For she isn’t just a heretic, but also an apostate, turncoat, traitor. She’s a worm, a parasite gnawing at the insides of The Guardian’s body, and just getting rid of her offensive presence at the paper is too good for that vermin.

That’s why, in parallel with getting the good news that she was no longer welcome at her job, Miss Moore and her children also received hundreds of death threats. I don’t care how hardy one is – getting such threats is unsettling.

I can testify to that from personal experience, having received hundreds of similar message myself when years ago I wrote a piece in The Mail, in which I described homosexuality as an aberration, specifying that I used the word in its strict dictionary definition only.

Yesterday I asked for help with my English. What prompted that plea was the incessant updating of woke terminology that’s impossible to keep pace with. For example, just as I advocated, somewhat facetiously, the use of the politically acceptable term BAME, it was dumped into what Comrade Trotsky poetically called “the garbage bin of history”.

Now further help is required. Will someone explain to me the meaning of the words liberalism, tolerance and freedom inscribed on The Guardian’s metaphorical banners?

Actually don’t bother; I get it. Liberal means illiberal, tolerant means intolerant, free means enslaved. And put together they mean neo-totalitarian glossocracy.

Help me with my English

It’s hard for a poor boy from downtown Russia to keep pace with the rapidly developing language of his adopted land.

“Why can’t you BAME me up, Scotty?”

I can just about muddle through trying to convey the meaning of what I want to say. But words have more than just meaning. They are also tinged with colour, stylistic, emotional – and, these days above all – political.

Even the meaning of words is changing, largely thanks to our progressively comprehensive education. Some words just disappear, to make life easier for those who have had the benefit of said education.

Look at words like uninterested, apprise and masterly, for example. Why do we need them if, respectively, disinterested, appraise and masterful can do the same job? Of course pedantic spoilsports may argue that the job isn’t the same because these words mean something else.

That just goes to show how little they understand the dynamics of linguistic progress – and they don’t even have the excuse of being poor boys from downtown Russia. For, repeat after me, words mean whatever the formerly downtrodden masses want them to mean.

Since majority vote decides matters in a democracy, and the comprehensively educated masses greatly outnumber the aforementioned retromingent pedants, it’s the masses who pass the verdict on the meaning of words. Or, more precisely, the verdict is passed by those who speak on behalf of the masses.

If semantics is decided by due democratic process, the colouring of words is determined by more dictatorial methods. Those who take it upon themselves to speak on behalf of the masses, dictate what is or isn’t acceptable.

That’s where my problem begins. While in no way disputing the right of those chaps to dictate, I can’t help noticing that their views are fluid. What’s de rigueur today may become questionable tomorrow and criminal the day after. This especially applies to words designating racial, ethnic and sexual minorities – starting with the word minority itself.

How does a former outlander keep track? My only consolation is that I’m not the only one who has this problem.

The other day, for example, I wrote about the – justified and commendable! – sacking of the FA chairman Greg Clarke who proved to be a straggler on the march of progress.

Apart from his semantic lapses, he enraged all progressive people like me by saying that homosexuality is a matter of personal choice. How is it possible for a modern man to be so blatantly unmodern?

Mr Clarke ought to know the current, correct thinking on the subject. A man can choose to be a woman, but he can’t choose to be a homosexual. He is what he is. It’s his sex, not sexuality, that’s a matter of choice.

If you find a logical flaw with this explanation, you belong in a re-educational facility that Britain regrettably doesn’t have yet, but, one hopes, soon will. But Mr Clarke’s real problems were indeed semantic.

He described those for whom apparently no proper designation exists as ‘coloured’ people, ignoring the fine distinction between ‘people of colour’ (acceptable) and ‘coloured’ (sackable).

Writing indignantly about that reprobate, I suggested that the only allowable term is BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic). And what do you know? Turns out I’m just as behind the times as Mr Clarke. Thank God I have no job from which I can be sacked.

The new spokesman, or rather spokeswoman or, even better, spokesperson for the FA has declared that BAME is offensive for being demeaning. The word ‘minority’, she (if one is allowed to be gender-specific) explained, implies inferiority.

Hence it’s as racist as ‘coloured’, if not quite as objectionable as ‘of colour’. The permissible term is ‘those of ethnic diversity’.

Aforementioned pedants might argue that, since ‘minority’ refers only to numerical inferiority and no other, it’s factually, if not politically, correct. After all, persons of ethnic diversity are still shamefully outnumbered in Britain, even if they no longer are in London.

Then again, the progressive person in me may argue that the word ‘diversity’ is problematic too, for it implies that whiteness is a default colour. After all, diversification can logically proceed only from an established norm.

This is yet another proof that perfection is unattainable in this world. In the Kingdom of Man we just aren’t blessed with a vocabulary sufficiently extensive to convey all the nuances of identity politics.

Now, I suspect that the new FA spokesperson leans leftwards in her political inclination. Yet on this vital subject she has found unexpected allies on the right, in the person of the former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith and his think tank, the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ).

The term BAME is “useless”, argues the CSJ, because it lumps together groups of people with entirely different backgrounds, attainments and problems. That’s no doubt true, but it exacerbates the problems this poor boy from downtown Russia has with today’s English.

After all, exactly the same can be said about any term designating a large group of people. For example, I’ve met many women in my life, most of them also characterised by different backgrounds, attainments and problems. Does this invalidate the word ‘women’? I’m just asking here, not asserting anything.

While debunking BAME, the CSJ has so far failed to recommend an alternative that could satisfy all comers from either end of the political spectrum. A couple of years ago, our present Home Secretary Priti ‘Very Priti’ Patel did offer a way out, which to a progressive person like me sounds more like a copout:

“I don’t like the labelling of people,” she said. “I don’t like the term BAME. I’m British first and foremost, because I was born in Britain.” Adopt this attitude and we’ll have to ditch identity politics, which simply won’t do. Where will we be without it?

There are some Priti thorny problems with Miss Patel’s doctrine too. What about those not correctly identifiable persons who weren’t born in Britain but have settled here? There are millions of them, and there will be more if Boris Johnson becomes as flexible in his EU negotiations as John Major demands.

Please don’t read more into this than there is. This piece is a cry for help, not an attempt to pass judgement. Though originally a poor boy from downtown Russia, I too am British first and foremost. So is Miss Patel. So is Sir Iain. So is the FA spokesperson. And none of us has a bloody clue.

Where are the saintly hacks of yesteryear?

Nostalgia for the past is a time-honoured conservative virtue. By putting a check on unbridled, progress-happy optimism about the present and future, it introduces a note of sobriety to our habitually punch-drunk discourse.

Nixon looking at the evidence in the Hiss case

However, hindsight has to bear some relation to known facts, the more the better. Glorifying the past for no good reason, and especially supporting that exercise with ignorant or mendacious statements, turns nostalgia into the sort of thing little boys are told not to do for fear of going blind.

Yesterday’s article by Peter Hitchens serves a useful reminder of this medical fact. Displaying his usual propensity for self-aggrandisement, Hitchens portrays “most journalists of my generation” and especially himself as heroic paladins storming the bastions of the government with selfless abandon.

This stands in sharp contrast to the present situation, when “more and more journalists seem happy to be the mouthpieces of government, or of political parties.”

The contrast would be justified only if it satisfied two conditions: showing a) a political bias on the part of today’s hacks and b) the sterling objectivity of the previous generation.

Trying to prove a) is hardly sporting. There’s no glory in rolling the ball into an empty net from a yard out. Yet the second condition is harder to satisfy, especially from the starting point of ignorance.

Thus Hitchens: “…we all remember the great film All The President’s Men for its depiction of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, the reporters who exposed the crimes of Richard Nixon after the Watergate break-in.”

Hence Bob, Carl and other American journalists of their generation had the courage of tossing bricks through the windows of the state, at the risk of winning the Pulitzer Prize and earning millions. Those chaps had no ideological agendas and merely pursued objective truth for its own sake.

If Hitchens actually believes that, rather than indulging in his frequent practice of cutting facts to the stencil of his own prejudices, then he really knows nothing about American journalism of that period.

To support his romantic hindsight, he’d have to show that US journalists, especially those working for such ideological flagships of the liberal establishment as The Washington Post and The New York Times, displayed the same selfless vigilance regardless of who, or which party, was in power.

If, on the other hand, they could be shown to have been Rottweilers only towards conservative politicians and lapdogs toward liberal ones, then they’d be no better than today’s hacks. Hitchens would have to hold on to his rosy spectacles with both hands to make sure they don’t fall off his nose.

Alas, the predominantly liberal US press, including Woodward’s and Bernstein’s Washington Post, didn’t display the same commitment to truthful investigative journalism when the Kennedy brothers ruled the roost.

In fact, the Kennedys routinely committed misdemeanours compared to which Nixon’s were child’s play. Let me emphasise that I’m speaking comparatively here. For Nixon was indeed aware of the Watergate break-in and he did have a hand in covering it up. Thus he deserved everything that came his way courtesy of the Pulitzer laureates-to-be.

That’s the position taken by Victor Lasky in his 1977 book It Didn’t Start With Watergate. However, he also documents countless incidents of the press letting the Kennedys get away with murder (in Teddy’s case, possibly literally).

Wiretapping political opponents, using government agencies such as the IRS to harass them, conspiring with Mafia bosses, running a herd of hookers through the White House, blackmailing and threatening both politicians and journalists, underwriting smear campaigns – I do recommend Lasky’s book, especially since the evidence he presents is so voluminous that this format precludes even enumerating it.

Moreover, Lasky shows how that Cerberus of verity, the liberal press, was aware of most of those transgressions and yet chose not to disclose them. Kennedy was their darling, whereas Nixon was their bogeyman.

That hatred of Nixon specifically, and not just of his perceived conservatism, didn’t start with Watergate either. It goes back to 1948, when Congressman Richard Nixon interrogated the Soviet spy Alger Hiss on behalf of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC).

Nixon nailed Hiss to the wall, kicking off a campaign to drive communists out of the US government, especially the State Department. That campaign is now known as McCarthyism, even though Tailgunner Joe was a senator, while the H in HUAC stood for the House (incidentally, Robert Kennedy was one of the HUAC investigators, but, unlike Nixon, he went on to redeem himself by establishing impeccable liberal credentials).

The same papers that later hounded Nixon with maniacal persistence were in broad sympathy with the communists, whom they saw as left-of-centre liberals rather than stooges to the Soviet secret services they all were at least potentially. Even now, McCarthy’s name is used in the same breath as Hitler’s, and at the time passions ran much hotter.

Hence, as William F. Buckley wrote presciently in his 1962 book The Committee and Its Critics, from 1948 onwards Nixon was a marked man. Every step he took was scrutinised in the press with the kind of diligence that was never applied to liberal politicians and especially the Kennedys.

It wasn’t just voter fraud but also an unashamedly biased campaign in the media that accounted for Nixon’s defeat in the 1960 election. That contributed to Nixon’s understandable insecurity: knowing he was a hunted man, he came across as visibly awkward before TV cameras, whereas Kennedy acted with the insouciant self-confidence of a teachers’ pet.

Later, in 1964, Barry Goldwater suffered the same treatment. Voters were scared into voting for Johnson by a string of caricatures in those supposedly objective papers, showing Goldwater against the background of mushroom clouds.

The thrust of that hysterical campaign was to play cynically on the fear of a nuclear holocaust to follow immediately after Goldwater’s election – and those knights sans peur et sans reproche did their job admirably, as they continue to do its variants nowadays (notably in this year’s election).

I suppose its hard to expect faithfulness to the facts from a Putin poodle, and I’m sorry for indulging in another canine metaphor.

Yes, today’s media are biased. But no, this isn’t a new or even recent phenomenon. The jokey riddle “What’s black and white and red all over?” didn’t start with Watergate either (ANSWER: a newspaper).

Our henpecked PM is setting up another Labour decade

It increasingly looks as if Boris Johnson is whipped by the same organ Donald Trump likes to grab.

“We can always rejoin the EU, Boris”

Johnson’s mistress Carrie Symonds exerts the kind of influence on policy that no WAG has done in a major Western country since Mrs Woodrow Wilson. Yet there’s a salient difference: by the time Edith took over, Wilson had lost his mind. Carrie, on the other hand, is running the show because Johnson has lost his nerve.

I almost said ‘his convictions’, but then realised it would be unfair to the man who has never had any convictions to lose. However, many of those who voted Leave and then gave Johnson a landslide victory do have convictions, and these emphatically don’t include the urge to make Britain “more liberal, greener and more international”.

They want British farms to prosper, not wind farms to multiply. They are concerned about preserving – or, as the case may be, regaining – the rights of Englishmen, not boosting the rights of LGBTQ+ people (although personally I love the open-ended plus). And they are sure that, unlike animals so beloved of Carrie, they do have such rights.

The men most responsible for developing the strategy that brought those people on side were Johnson’s communications director Lee Cain and especially his adviser Dom Cummings. In recognition of Cain’s role Johnson last week offered him a higher post, that of his chief of staff.

Then Carrie got into the act. Whatever her expertise in political mechanics, she’s woke in every fibre of her body, including the part with which she has whipped Johnson. That means she has an ideological bias, and no pragmatic concerns can withstand its onslaught.

She wants Johnson to inherit the mantle of Heir to Blair that another faux-Tory, Dave Cameron, once claimed for himself. Hence the “more liberal, greener, more international” drivel Johnson saw fit to mouth.

And hence also the brutal dismissal of both Cummings and Cain, without whom Johnson would probably have gone back to writing his Telegraph column. Granted, gratitude isn’t a productive dynamic in government. But realpolitik should be.

By using her journalistic connections and an underhanded campaign to destroy Cummings and Cain, Symonds has shown she can be as Machiavellian as they are. What she hasn’t shown is their sensitivity to the country’s mood.

Most people who voted for Johnson have no knee-jerk allegiance to the Conservative Party. Nor are they like me, who’d never vote Labour come what may.

These people can vote Labour and have done so in many elections. The masterly campaign laid out by Cummings gave them strong reasons to switch, and so they did. Yet they can switch back just as easily if they feel betrayed. And betrayal is under way.

They thought they were voting in a strong government they could rely on in any crisis. Instead they got a vacillating government that lost control of Covid. They thought they were voting in a government able to handle public finances with traditional Tory prudence. Instead they got tax-and-spend statists.

And they can sense that a Brexit betrayal is in the wind too. It looks likely that the acting PM Symonds will guide the figurehead PM Johnson to relaxing his stance on the EU trade deal. In fact, it could become so relaxed that Britain would agree to obey all EU laws while losing even the dubious privileges of full membership.

This isn’t what the electorate voted for in 2016 and 2019. And electorates can be very vindictive indeed, especially if a viable alternative presents itself.

Sir Keir Starmer and his Labour party are waiting in the wings, and they are literate enough to read the situation fluently. Sir Keir is Corbyn’s clever twin: just as left-wing but smart enough to conceal it behind liberal cant, repeating word for word the Johnson-Symonds mantra of “more liberal, greener, more international”.

In fact, if it were Starmer at the helm now, I’m sure he’d be saying and doing exactly the same things as the Johnson-Symonds coalition. Printing money on a scale unprecedented in peacetime? Of course. Playing footsies with the EU? Naturally. Taxing wealth producers? Definitely. More wind farms and less hydrocarbons even if it means national penury? Certainly. Identity politics based on sex, race and class? Can’t be without it.

Whenever the next general election comes, and it may be sooner than people think, the voters will have to choose between two identical programmes, one fronted by a man who has already betrayed them once, the other by one who hasn’t yet had the opportunity to do so. An easy choice, wouldn’t you say?

Then we’ll have at least a decade of a Labour government even more revoltingly subversive than Blair’s was. Who knows, by then Carrie might even qualify for a cabinet position.

There’s a glimmer of hope though. Johnson has rich form in tiring of his mistresses, including those who have borne his children. Maybe, just maybe, he can get unhenpecked and unwhipped by dumping Carrie’s charms and her policies at the same time.

Otherwise we are courting disaster even greater than the one we are facing anyway. Is this what the French mean when they say cherchez la femme?

London overrun with white bitches

The exact proportion of white Christian women (known as ‘white bitches’ in some quarters) in London’s population is hard to estimate. Suffice it to say that they are in a minority.

However, London is so vast that even a minority may number in millions, especially considering that many people who don’t live in the city still work here. Hence, for all the giant strides made in promoting diversity, the offensive presence of white bitches is hard to avoid in most workplaces.

And an institution like Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), which employs over 4,000 people, is bound to have its fair share. ‘Fair’, however, isn’t the right word. For many GOSH employees regard this situation as very unfair indeed.

That was communicated to data manager Catherine Maughan in no uncertain terms. Over the three years she worked at GOSH, Miss Maughan had ample opportunity to peruse the riot act read to her chapter and verse.

On many occasions she was called a “silly white bitch” and a “stupid northerner” (she has the misfortune of coming from Yorkshire). She was kicked in the lift and was threatened to keep her mouth shut or else.

When she still had the temerity to complain, her manager, Adeboye Ifederu, told her she “would be sorry”, and the message sounded credible. In parallel, she received a crash course in multiculturalism when her colleagues explained to her that she had to “accept that in black African culture, men are dominating towards women”.

Amazingly, Miss Maughan was less than grateful for this valuable lesson in comparative religion. Realising which way the wind was blowing, she began to compile a diary, carefully documenting each instance of abuse she suffered.

The worst offences were committed by her colleagues Ayotunde Ojo, Margaret King, and Rebecca Eaton-Jones – in addition to the aforementioned manager, Adeboye Ifederu. To wit:

“On July 31 2018 Ayotunde Ojo told me that I ‘can’t drink alcohol after work on Friday, it’s against my religion and it would be offending Muslims’.”

“On August 28 2018 Rebecca Eaton-Jones called me a ‘f*****g silly bitch’.”

“On September 4 2018 Margaret King called me a ‘silly white bitch’.”

“On October 12 2018 Ayatunde Ojo called me ‘a white Yorkshire girl’.”

“With an aggressive tone, Adeboye called me a ‘silly white girl’ and said he was ‘surprised that I had been a manager before being stupid and inexperienced’.”

“Adeboye told me I ‘must ask for permission when leaving my desk or using the toilet’.”

“Adeboye slammed his fist on my desk in anger which, added with his threatening tone of voice when he said I ‘would be sorry for complaining about him,’ made me anxious for my safety.”

And so on, ad nauseum.

As a result, Miss Maughan became depressed, and her hair began to fall out, leaving her “with visible bald patches and very thinned hair.” She was prescribed antidepressants, but the drugs didn’t address the aetiology of her condition.

Finally, having raised the issue on numerous occasions with her colleagues, Miss Maughan made a formal complaint. Her abusers’ response was predictable: 

“On December 17 2018 Adeboye Ifederu discussed my grievance complaints with another colleague Daley Aofolaju at the tea bar in a manner which could be heard.

“Adeboye called me a ‘stupid white girl’ and asked ‘why I had not run away yet like others’.” So there had been others, and why not?

Eventually Miss Maughan had to leave her job, sent on her way with the kind of references that made it impossible for her to get another job. Her only recourse was legal, and she sued GOSH for sex, race and religious discrimination.

The case is being heard at Central London Employment Tribunal, and I don’t know whether or not it will find for the plaintiff. One thing is already clear, however: though there’s still room for improvement in GOSH’s employee relations, its policy on diversity is irreproachable – and that’s much more important.

As to Miss Maughan, she must realise that, while her sex could in theory be a target for discrimination, her race and religion can’t, by definition. Moreover, her race and religion may conceivably invalidate her claim of discrimination even on the grounds of sex.

She and other white bitches must pay the price for the irredeemable sins of the British Empire. If that means getting depressed, bald and unemployable, then so be it. The juggernaut of progress can’t be stopped by a few bodies crushed by its wheels.

The C of E, RIP

The Church of England has succumbed to a two-prong attack, one prong doctrinal, the other sartorial.

This is my body…

The House of Bishops has issued a document densely enveloped in a fog of obfuscation. However, if one manages to disperse it, the message emerges in all its clarity: as early as in 2022 the Church will start officiating homosexual marriages.

The two senior Anglican clergymen, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, co-authored a foreword, instructing the church to be “deeply ashamed and repentant” over the “hurt and unnecessary suffering” it had caused to gay and transgender people.

Contextually, the refusal to debauch a key Christian sacrament constitutes one factor of said hurt and unnecessary suffering. The only way to propitiate for this sin is to have a vicar, ideally a transgender lesbian herself, to pronounce happy couples man and man, or wife and wife, or any other permutation the English language affords.

In this abomination the church follows the lead of the state, which legalised homomarriage during Cameron’s (Conservative!) tenure. However, this Anglican apostate can’t help pointing out the difference between the two bodies.

A state legalising homomarriage deals a blow to the very institution of marriage, thereby stamping on millennia of tradition and tearing yet another hole in the social fabric. However, that isn’t the first such outrage, and it certainly won’t be the last.

The secular state still manages to muddle through for the time being, and in any case it has been secular for so long that no one is particularly surprised when yet another legacy of our civilisation falls by the wayside. That’s what modernity is all about, isn’t it?

The upshot of it is that the state can absorb, just, a large number of charges going off without necessarily collapsing onto itself. However, a Christian church that marries two homosexuals at the altar is no longer a Christian church. Full stop.

When at the altar, the bride and the groom take vows that include the words “according to God’s holy ordinance”. Or at least they do so in the few remaining Anglican churches that still favour the Book of Common Prayer over Mao’s Red Book, or whatever texts today’s clergy hold as sacred.

And God’s holy ordinance is unequivocal on the subject of homosexuality, which is castigated in both Testaments as a deadly sin. A priest represents Christ at the altar and if in this capacity he blesses a deadly sin, he forfeits the right to act as God’s intermediary. And of course the church that instructs him to debauch its sacraments is effectively deconsecrated.

Against this background, the sartorial revolt being launched by female vicars and bishops doesn’t have more than amusement value. Those dubiously ordained Lysistratas are unhappy about the drab clerical garb concealing their more jutting attractions.

They don’t want sombre black robes hiding their bodies from admiring eyes (although, to be unchivalrous for a second, most female vicars I’ve seen don’t offer much to admire). They want sequins, lace and satin. They want skirts cut at least six inches above the knee and ideally slit. They want décolletage. And, as God is their witness, they are going to get them.

So far they have drawn the line on celebrating mass clad in a dog collar and nothing else, but such outdated modesty may be ousted before long. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the House of Bishops issued an edict on female clerical nudity, saying “if you’ve got it, flaunt it.”

And why not? Compared to subverting Christian sacraments, what’s a little sartorial indiscretion among friends? A bit of innocent fun, that’s all. And if the church can’t be fun, what good is it?

The revenge of a sweet FA

As a frequent football watcher, I like to have fun with the solecisms peppering the speech of both players and commentators.

Clarke must be welcoming the Grand Wizard of Ku Klux Klan

Just the other day, a random 10 minutes of commentary regaled me with a few choice examples. One player was accused of a “lacksidaisical attitude”, another of being “adverse” to defending, yet another was to be substituted “momentarily”.

It’s “lackadaisical” and “averse”, chaps, I thought maliciously. And “momentarily” means for a moment, not in a moment. Why, I went so far as accusing our football folk of being ignorant of, or at least insensitive to, the nuances of English.

Turns out I was wrong. Our football community, ably represented by the Football Association (known colloquially as ‘sweet FA’) has linguistic sensitivity in spades, if one may use this word without incurring censure or even prosecution.

In fact, it’s so sensitive to linguistic nuance that it has forced the resignation of its chairman, Greg Clarke, for using language carelessly, crassly and borderline criminally. If you have the stomach for it, here’s a short list of his transgressions.

First, he bewailed the abuse “high-profile coloured footballers… take on social media…”. The sentiment is unimpeachable, the choice of words isn’t. Mr Clarke ought to have known that the word ‘coloured’ is currently out of fashion.

It may come back in the future, but it hasn’t yet. The proper term is BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic), and Clarke should have been using it, while avoiding the idiotic levity of puns like ‘up your BAME’.

Some stick-in-the-mud tried to defend the culprit by citing the Duchess of Sussex, aka Meghan Markle, who once referred to herself as “a woman of colour”. However, it was correctly pointed to that troglodyte that ‘of colour’ is drastically different from ‘coloured’.

I must admit the fine distinction escapes me. Perhaps I should take a linguistic sensitivity course, if such a thing exists. I’m sure it must; can’t be without one.

And in any case, BAME persons may call themselves whatever they like. Why, black comedians even routinely refer to themselves by the word than which none more appalling exists in English or in any of the world’s other 6,500 languages. But that doesn’t give anyone, including Clarke, the licence to follow suit.

I wouldn’t blame you for screaming that you can’t take any more of this. But on the off-chance that you can, Mr Clarke also made an observation that’s so much more offensive for doubtless being correct:

“If you go to the IT department at the FA, there’s a lot more South Asians than there are Afro-Caribbeans. They have different career interests.” Excuse me?!?

I realise that Mr Clarke actually did the hiring at the FA. Hence one might think he’s in an ideal position to judge the relative numbers in question. However, one would be inexcusably wrong.

Physical facts mustn’t be allowed to compromise a higher metaphysical truth. And the higher metaphysical truth says that anyone who as much as hints at any behavioural or cognitive differences among races is a [TAKE YOUR PICK: racist, bigot, fascist, extremist, chauvinist, Donald Trump].

Clarke is clearly one or all of those things (except Donald Trump, that one is sui generis). A sacking alone is insufficient here – the Special Branch should hear about this. Especially considering that this fossil isn’t just racist but also sexist. This is what he said:

“I talked to a coach… and said, ‘what’s the issue with goalkeepers in the women’s game?’ She said, ‘young girls, when they take up the game (aged) six, seven, eight, just don’t like having the ball kicked at them hard’, right?”

Wrong, Mr Clark. Again a higher metaphysical truth should trump (if you’ll pardon the expression) any physical, or in this case medical, fact. A stickler for empirical knowledge may say that a hard shot striking a man’s chest may only cause mild discomfort, while the same shot striking a woman may cause breast cancer.

That ignores the higher truth that, just as there is no difference – as in none, zilch, nil, zippo – among the races, so there’s none among the sexes, all 74 of them. If some women have to die defending this unassailable proposition, then so be it.

Now, are you ready for this? Clarke isn’t just racist and sexist. He’s also a homophobe. Discussing the possibility of gay footballers openly admitting their sexuality, Clarke said, inter alia: “I’d like to believe and I do believe they would have the support of their mates in the changing room.”  

At first glance, you might think these words are inoffensive. But the current legal definition of an offence is anything taken as such by anyone else. Hence if some people think that Clarke is a homophobe on the strength of this statement, then that’s what he is. Off with his head.

Actually, that’s only a figure of speech, for the time being. All Clarke got was a sacking. He should count himself lucky, though I’m not sure about the rest of us.

Maastricht Johnny rides again

Lacking specialised training, I can’t define treason with lawyerly precision. But on general principle, a concerted effort to destroy the constitution of the realm should come close to any reasonable understanding of the term.

If so, then the Maastricht Treaty signed by John Major in 1992 was a treasonous document. Then again, not being the sharpest chisel in the toolbox, Major probably misunderstood the sovereignty of parliament, on which our constitution is based.

He might not have realised that the institution in question isn’t just any old parliament, but specifically the British one. That means the parliament sitting in Westminster, not in Strasbourg – but then geography, or for that matter any academic discipline, isn’t Major’s forte. (In his youth he even failed maths in a bus conductor’s exam.)

Even before Maastricht, in 1990, Major tried to peg the pound to the euro by joining the European Exchange Mechanism. That little caper cost the Exchequer some six billion before the pound was forced out, with Major kicking and screaming.

Having effectively turned Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II into Liz Windsor, citizen of the EU, Maastricht Johnny then applied his giant intellect and political acumen to home affairs. In that capacity he successfully led his party to the worst defeat in recent memory, a 1997 debacle that wasn’t fully reversed until last year.

In 2001 Major retired from politics and has since practised full-time self-vindication, which in his case means frenetic attempts to prevent Britain from regaining her sovereignty. Such worthy efforts were intensified in the run-up to the 2016 referendum, and especially after it returned a result Maastricht Johnny hated.

Yesterday he rode again, showing that his mind hadn’t noticeably sharpened in the intervening years. First Major made an observation startling in its ground-breaking perceptiveness: “We are no longer a great power. We will never be so again… 

“We are a top second-rank power but, over the next half century – however well we perform – our small size and population makes it likely we will be passed by the growth of other, far larger, countries.”

As Johnny must have told Edwina at one point, it’s not the size that counts. Quite a few successful countries – in fact all the top 10 in the quality of life – have smaller populations than ours.

As Maastricht Johnny espied with his eagle eye, Britain is unlikely to retrieve her empire, much to the chagrin of many countries that used to belong to it. So what exactly follows from his astute observation?

Funny you should ask. For, displaying the mental acuity of his bus conductor’s exam, Major came up with a complete non sequitur: because Britain is no longer an empire on which the sun never sets, she should remain in the EU de facto, even if that awful referendum made it impossible for her to do so de jure.

That logic can’t be reduced to the absurd because it’s already as ridiculous as it can get. In effect, Major is saying that a country of 65 million souls is too tiny to govern herself without help from some supranational entity constricted by its own megalomania and bureaucratic zeal.

Hence, if we regrettably can’t keep the nebulous privileges of full EU membership, at least we must retain the duties. And the way to do so is giving the EU everything it wants to get out of the on-going negotiations.   

“Because of our bombast, our blustering, our threats and our inflexibility,” fumed Maastricht Johnny, we’ll end up with “a flimsy, barebones deal or no deal at all.” That would be a “wretched betrayal of what our electors were led to believe”.

Our electors were led to believe that, as a result of Brexit, Britain would again be governed by her own parliament according to her own ancient laws, and not those imposed by an ideological contrivance with its roots in the socialist dream of a world government.

This is what Johnson’s government is trying to deliver, and it’s something that can only be delivered by a show of strength and resolve – what Major describes as inflexibility.

The situation is difficult, but it has only arisen because of what he did in 1992. Surely Maastricht Johnny must realise that? No, perhaps not.

As he’s probably unaware of the net effect of Britain’s EU membership: untold billions going to that abomination, untold swarms of immigrants coming the other way, our laws made impotent and irrelevant, our government reduced to a gau similar to those circa 1940.

I wouldn’t put it past Maastricht Johnny to collude with Biden in trying to stop, or at least denature, Brexit. After all, four years ago the British people let it be known in no uncertain terms what they thought of his life’s work. I’m sure Major takes that as a personal insult, and that’s not something his brittle ego can stomach.

Manipulated manipulator

Gold dust flies off celebrities like down off a poplar tree, and many snobbish hangers-on jump up in the air hoping to catch some of the glitter.

Diana in that infamous interview

For a few years during her life, Princess Diana’s power to draw such acolytes was second to none, and she has retained some of it even 23 years after her death.

This brings me to Rosa Monckton, otherwise known as Mrs Dominic Lawson. Mrs Lawson still goes by her maiden name that’s considerably more illustrious than the one she acquired through marriage.

That’s understandable. If, say, a Cavendish girl married, say, a Jones, she’d have to be unrealistically free of any snobbery or class prejudice to become Mrs Jones, wouldn’t she? Miss Monckton isn’t entirely devoid of such qualities, which is why she is still tirelessly establishing her credentials as a PROFROD.

I use this acronym for the sake of brevity, since Professional Friend of Diana is unwieldy. Yet this is the role Miss Monckton has been playing for years, squeezing every particle of gold dust out of her association with Diana.

Why anybody would be proud of friendship with a conniving, not particularly bright egotist is beyond me. But gold dust gatherers don’t ever think about such incidentals. Their thirst for social elevation by association is unquenchable.

Yet Miss Monckton doesn’t have regular access to a wide audience gagging for yet another reminder that she’s a PROFROD. Her husband, he of the family where the girls are named after their fathers, does.

Mr Lawson is a popular, and often good, journalist, but he too likes stressing his vicarious ties with the dead princess, and one would think being married to a Monckton would be enough to satisfy most men’s social ambitions.

Hence his article today, snappily titled Callous, Cruel and Calculating, Martin Bashir Poisoned Princess Diana’s Mind. No Wonder She Told My Wife She Regretted It.

The old cynic in me suspects that the only load-bearing words in this title, indeed in the whole article, are ‘Princess Diana’ and ‘my wife’. But, though brevity may be the soul of wit, these four words don’t quite work as a cogent piece.

Hence Mr Lawson fumed for another 1,400 words about the awful BBC and that scumbag Bashir who tricked the saintly girl into agreeing to that infamous interview. Or rather fewer than 1,400, for some of those words were used up to remind those slow on the uptake several times that “my wife Rosa Monckton was one of the Princess’s closest friends”.

Apparently, “it has become clear that the BBC man had, quoting ‘intelligence sources’, been poisoning the Princess’s mind with concocted tales of nefarious plots, even including the disgusting assertion that her son, Prince William, had a watch which was secretly recording their conversations.”

Now, I don’t doubt for a second that Bashir was perfectly capable of resorting to such tactics. He isn’t the first sleazy hack to get a story by dishonest means and he won’t be the last.

However, Mr Lawson also tells us that Bashir didn’t plant such fears into Diana’s mind: “It is true that Diana had for quite a while been convinced that she was the victim of some sort of conspiracy.”

But “he knew that this was Diana’s great fear, played on it ruthlessly and dishonestly to win her confidence – and thus the interview that every broadcaster in the world coveted.”

Nothing in this story sounds unlikely, especially the Bashir part. Yet the Diana part doesn’t quite add up.

I’m sure that the hack had to exaggerate only a little, if at all. For our security services would have been grossly negligent had they not kept a watchful eye on Diana’s shenanigans.

For the princess had been at war with the royal family practically from the first day she joined it. Diana was either too stupid, or more probably too self-centred, to realise that the duties of being our future queen are as onerous as the rewards are spectacular.

Marriage to the heir to the throne isn’t a culmination of a love story. It’s a lifelong job, involving hard and self-sacrificial work. A royal marriage has little to do with ‘lurve’, and much to do with service.

If the heir to the throne cares more about his mistress than about his wife, that’s unfortunate, even deplorable. But it’s not the same as, say, a salesman playing away from home. The nature of the marriage contract is different.

Diana, being a thoroughly modern young lady, couldn’t get her head around that. And being vindictive, she started fighting her husband and his family. At first her response was merely self-destructive, taking the shape of various eating disorders, deliberately falling down the stairs and other such attention-seeking excesses.

In due course, however, she began to fight back in earnest. To that end she recruited a whole army of hacks and paparazzi who were surreptitiously directed to Diana’s whereabouts. They would then descend on her like a swarm of bees on a honey tree – only for the princess to complain bitterly about being haunted by reporters.

Soon, to score hits on her real enemy, she began to weaponise her lovers, of whom Captain Hewitt was far from the first. Again, reporters followed, having been quietly tipped off.

Eventually the couple separated, and Diana began to sow her wild oats on an even wider field, carefully choosing paramours who would most enrage, and more effectively compromise, the royal family. However, she still remained the wife of one future king and the mother of another.

That made her behaviour technically criminal, for adultery by the wife of a present or future king is high treason in English law. Yet no one would have thought of enforcing that. Of greater concern was the potential damage Diana could have caused by consorting with shady characters whose feelings for Her Majesty’s realm were tepid at best.

So yes, while I find it improbable that the royal family was plotting against Diana, I’m sure somebody was keeping an eye on her activities. Now what could she do about it?

One obvious response would have been to divorce Charles, withdraw from the public eye and do whatever she was doing more discreetly. That, however, would have done nothing for her war on the royals.

Instead she allowed Bashir to seduce her the same way she allowed her lovers to seduce her. In each case, the relationship was bilateral: she was seducing them too, with equal gusto.

I can’t quite follow the logic of why admitting to adultery before an audience of millions solved whatever problem Diana was supposed to have with dastardly conspiracies against her. The logic of wishing to cause maximum pain to her enemies was, on the other hand, unassailable.

That Bashir and the BBC behaved in an immoral, possibly actionable fashion is beyond doubt. But it takes an inveterate PROFROD to portray Diana as the innocent victim. She was no more a victim of Bashir than she was one of Captain Hewitt.

Conservatism is dead, like God

When Nietzsche pronounced his famous verdict, he didn’t mean it literally. He meant that God had been excommunicated from serious discussion because educated people no longer believed in him.

Conservatism is dead in the same sense and for the same reason. Throughout the West, the same correlation obtains: the likelihood of voting for left-wing parties increases with the educational level.

In Britain some 65 per cent of the poorly educated (under GCSE) vote Tory, while only 20 per cent of university graduates do so. This circle is bound to be vicious for it’s university graduates who control local politics, the media and of course education itself.

They are the ones who create what’s disingenuously called public opinion, and what’s in fact the opinion of the neo-totalitarian establishment. They exerted an inordinate influence for a long time, but only over the past decade or so have such ideologues begun to dominate the public discourse.

They speak in one voice, doing their utmost to mute any polyphony at the grassroots. Hence, the few conservatives working at universities, newspapers or TV stations find it socially and professionally hard to express their views – just like those 19th century intellectuals who sensed that any reference to God was infra dig.

Such is the face of neo-totalitarianism, the kind that sports a patronising smile rather than a savage scowl. But let’s make no mistake about it: the absence of blood dripping off the fangs doesn’t make it any less totalitarian.

However, a mechanism for forcing, as opposed to brainwashing, people into acquiescence isn’t yet there, although those who think the West is immune to violent totalitarianism are too optimistic. Yet for the time being people may still vote their conscience and reason.

And basic conservatism speaks to both, even if intellectual conservatives no longer do, for the simple reason of being outnumbered and outshouted. Hence Trump’s triumph in this election.

Yes, I know he lost, by a whisker. What makes Trump’s campaign triumphant is that he only lost by a whisker.

He was fighting the election in the midst of one of the worst natural disasters in recent history, and such disasters are always blamed on the incumbent, however irrationally. Presidents and prime ministers have been known to lose office because their countries underperformed in sporting competitions, because of hurricanes, floods – and of course epidemics.

Hence it’s astonishing that Trump managed to run the neo-totalitarian establishment so close at a time when hundreds of thousands (billions, Mr Biden?) of Americans are dying. This testifies to the success of his policies, while his defeat bespeaks a systemic failure of American, and generally Western, conservatism.

Trump lacks many traits I regard as essential for a conservative. Most of these have to do with personality and style, and these, more than any set of ideas and policies, characterise a conservative. Militant vulgarity, ignorance of history (and most other things that matter), narcissism, jingoism, crassness of mind and manner, lack of self-restraint – all these aspects of Trump’s personality disqualify him from being a conservative as surely as Marxist beliefs would.

And it’s not just a president’s policies but also his personality that matters, for he is the face his country presents to the world. However, if we strictly look at Trump’s policies, then I think that, with the possible exception of Reagan, he’s the best president in my lifetime.

Trump struck a mighty blow for democracy by doing during his tenure exactly what he had promised to do during the campaign. Hence the hysterical shrieks about Trump somehow undermining democracy are ludicrous. By electing Trump, American voters got what they had voted for – and I can’t think offhand of any recent president who merited the same accolade to the same extent.

Trump’s commitment to deregulation and lower taxes was at least as staunch as Reagan’s, and probably more successful. Governments in residually free countries can’t take all the credit for the economy’s success, but some policies are known historically to work better than others. Trump’s definitely succeeded, and, but for Covid, he would have won this election at a canter on the strength of the economy alone.

A massive influx of illegal immigrants across the Mexican border has been a problem that every previous president acknowledged yet none even attempted to solve. By the time Trump became president, even talking about this issue had become well-nigh impossible for fear of incurring the neo-totalitarians’ wrath.

Yet Trump not only talked about the problem, but actually tried to solve it as best he knew how. It’s easy to criticise his solutions, but none of the critics has come up with a viable alternative. (Criticism in general is easy in the absence of responsibility and accountability.)

Trump’s foreign policy was by far the best this side of Reagan’s. His playing lickspittle to Putin is a blot, but it’s the only one.

He displayed more firmness than any other recent president towards North Korea and Iran – and his confronting China has been courageous, considering the West’s addiction to the poison of China’s cheap labour. Trump was also firm to his Nato allies, especially when insisting they pull their weight on defence, which doesn’t strike me as unfair.

It is somewhat illogical, since America pays not just for Europe’s defence but also for the lucrative privilege of being the Leader of the Free World. One shudders to think, for example, what would happen to the US economy if the dollar stopped being the world’s reserve currency, one in which America’s suicidal debt is denominated. But, on balance, it’s hard to argue with Trump on this issue.

He is manifestly contemptuous of every verse in the neo-totalitarian scripture, such as the global warming hoax. Unlike Biden, Trump isn’t committed to crippling the economy for the sake of an ill-conceived and anti-scientific ideology based on the Marxist hatred of capitalism. One has to welcome his decision to leave the Paris accords, thoughtfully designed as they are to destroy economic growth in the West and boost it in China.

Trump has made more progress in the Middle East than any other US president I recall. He has left the world in no doubt that it’s the Israelis and not Hamas who are friends and allies to the West. Again, he refused to succumb to the neo-totalitarian worship of the Third World, which is another aspect of hatred for the West.

Trump’s response to EU protectionism with protectionist measures of his own might have upset David Ricardo, but a politician can’t always be guided by theoretical rectitude. ‘They do it to us, we do it to them’ is the language easily understood by those to whom a president is accountable, the people.

Everywhere I look, I see that Trump’s policies are those any sensible conservative would favour, give or take. I am sorry, however, that it takes someone like Trump to champion such policies.

The argument for reason (the word I use interchangeably with conservatism in this context) should be put forth and won not by shrill demagogues, but by serious writers and philosophers. It’s their confident voice that should be distinctly heard in university halls, TV stations and editorial boards. Alas, by their very nature conservatives can’t outshout lefties: the former do all the thinking and the latter all the screaming.

By leapfrogging the neo-totalitarian establishment and emulating its shrillness, someone like Trump may appeal directly to the people’s better instincts. That way he may win a victory for some conservative policies, but, in the absence of an intellectual and cultural victory, conservatism will still lose.

Sooner or later the crude, homespun conservatism of a Trump will be shunted aside by the neo-totalitarian establishment. A tragedy will ensue, and there’s no doubt in my mind that the Biden-Harris victory will score a direct hit on America, and on us by ricochet.

Harris had the honesty to announce that her life’s ambition is to become “the most left-wing president in American history”. One could argue that this ambition has already been fulfilled, for Biden will be president in name only.

Even if only some of the incoming administration’s plans are realised (and one hopes that a Republican majority in the Senate and a largely conservative Supreme Court will be able to apply some brakes), this triumph of the neo-totalitarians may spell America’s downfall.

Everywhere one looks, from the projected trillions to be spent on socialised medicine and the criminally idiotic Green New Deal to the onslaught of the ‘downtrodden’ to a foreign policy more likely to be anti-Western (and specifically anti-British) than anti-tyranny, one can see a disaster looming.

Those Americans who were quick to respond to the neo-totalitarian prodding and call Trump divisive will learn what divisive really means. At least I hope they will – for the alternative is the submissive uniformity of castrated thought so beloved of all totalitarians, neo- or otherwise.