Yesterday I suggested that the evil of two lessers is the only choice available to voters in modern democracies run riot. T.S. Eliot referred to this as “licensing the opinions of the most foolish”, while Churchill suggested that “the best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”
I was reminded of those wise epigrams when voting in the London mayoral election yesterday morning. The choice was hardly inspiring: Zac Goldsmith, nominally a Tory MP but in fact a fanatical environmentalist, or Sadiq Khan, nominally a Labour MP but in fact a rabid Muslim.
As I write this, Sadiq Khan is leading the tree-hugger by a margin big enough to suggest he’ll be our next mayor. He’s usually described as a ‘democratic socialist’ (as opposed to a Nazi or a Bolshevik?) and a ‘moderate Labourite’. That he may be, but he’s certainly not a moderate Muslim, if there is any such animal.
Mr Khan is on record referring to his insufficiently fire-eating co-religionist as ‘Uncle Tom’, a locution gratefully borrowed from the 1960s US Black Panthers. When I heard this, I was truly appalled.
How could he? I thought. How could he commit such a treasonous act? Why use a black American term when we have an impeccably British equivalent: Bounty. That sweet is basically coconut paste covered in chocolate, making it dark outside and white inside… well, you get the picture.
I know I’ll brand myself as a racist (racialist, in proper British usage), fascist, bigot and, even though Mr Khan is neither a homosexual nor a child, quite possibly also a homophobe and paedophile: but here comes. A man who feels so strongly about Islamic rectitude is unfit to be Mayor of the world’s greatest Western, meaning vestigially Christian, city.
Under normal circumstances this wouldn’t be such a critical issue, but our circumstances are far from normal. Islam is clearly impassioned at the moment, and its adherents tend to express their religious fervour by blowing up public transportation, with people and assorted bits thereof landing on the roofs of nearby buildings.
There’s every indication that any time now London will be hit by another 2007, but ten (100?) times worse. Since it’s a dead certainty that the perpetrators will be neither Mormons nor even Calvinists, much hostility between the Muslims and non-Muslims is likely to ensue, requiring a resolute and, if need be, brutal response from the city government.
Are we sure that a Muslim mayor, especially one who liberally uses Americanisms like ‘Uncle Tom’, is going to respond the right way? Are we sure he’s capable of doing what it takes to forget political correctness, ignore the shrieks of ‘discrimination’ and try his best to prevent such an outrage – even if that means following the age-long police practice of concentrating resources on the highest-risk groups? Well, I’m not.
Now, apart from his mild but nonetheless laudable Euroscepticism and equally mild but deplorable support for government by plebiscite, Mr Goldsmith doesn’t seem to stand for any serious political beliefs other than global warming. The issue is indeed political rather than scientific, for the science supporting this great hoax is puny to the point of being nonexistent.
If, on the strength of a similar corpus of evidence, a scientist came up with a theory saying that smokestack industry and high-emission engines are good for the environment, he’d be laughed out of town or, most likely, committed to an institution. No such fate awaits those who concocted the idea that cars are destroying our planet – partly because it came not from scientists but from the UN.
Now London has the best part of 3,000,000 licensed cars, not counting other vehicles. I’d suggest that replacing each one of them with a horse would create a much worse pollution problem, but this simple thought never occurs to Zac.
Actually, there’s nothing wrong with responsible environmentalism. For example, the fabled London fogs were actually smog produced by thousands of smokestacks. Once those were pushed out, the ‘fogs’ disappeared, while the incidence of pulmonary diseases went down drastically.
But ‘responsible’ is the operative word. Like any other heresy, compulsive tree-hugging is a matter of emphasis. There’s nothing wrong with a chap who likes trees well enough to express his affection in a tactile fashion – provided this mild eccentricity is lodged at the periphery of his philosophy of life. When it moves to the centre, he’s no longer eccentric. He’s, at best, an intellectual lightweight (I won’t tell you what he is at worst).
Such was the choice I faced yesterday morning when contemplating the ballot box the way Aristotle contemplated the bust of Homer in a Rembrandt painting. This being a secret ballot, there’s absolutely no way I’m going to divulge that I actually wept, wailed, gnashed my teeth and voted for Goldsmith.
It’s that evil of two lessers again. Isn’t one-man-one-vote democracy wonderful?