THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
Previous month:
December 2006
Next month:
February 2007

January 2007

Supermarket giants could make couple's dream 'a nightmare' | - Communities

Link: Supermarket giants could make couple's dream 'a nightmare' | - Communities.

I have discovered a site which bills itself as "News for the British public sector and beyond." It's a little like falling through the looking glass. Consider this story. Tesco "kindly" allow an elderly couple to use a vacant piece of land for an animal sanctuary while they try to get planning permission for a superstore. They fail, and - as the land is no use to them - decide to sell it.

The animal lovers, who seem not to understand the notion of gratitude, protest at the withdrawal of the free use of the land, even though Tesco have promised to keep it available for a further five years to allow them to find new benefactors., using every piece of loaded language known to media man, reports that a "Conservative" councillor is lobbying Tesco to "do the right thing" by giving them some of the land. Consider the degenerate thinking behind the councillor's reported remarks:

"Tesco could achieve their aim of satisfying their shareholders and at the same time, do the right thing morally by compromising as I have proposed, thus giving Hopefield a permanent, albeit smaller, area to care for their animals in. There is hardly a huge difference in value to Mr Leahy, their Chief Executive, whether 35 or the full 56 acres are sold off."

It's not Mr Leahy's land, you idiot, it belongs to the company. The company belongs to the shareholders who probably include both your and the aged sentimentalists' pension funds and life assurance companies. Mr Leahy has no moral right to expropriate his shareholders' in order to support this couple's venture. Frankly, I think Tesco has gone way too far in foregoing a market rent until now and for the next five years. It would be ridiculous for them to forego 11 acres of valuable land (probably more once separate accesses were worked out). Having a ramshackle 11-acre animal sanctuary next door would undoubtedly reduce the value of the remaining land.

It is time for British shareholders to get aggressive on the American model and bring class actions against boards who are "generous" with other peoples' money.

Where do these people think wealth comes from? What do they think the effect of their campaign will be on companies thinking of making such gestures in future? What on earth is a Conservative councillor doing getting involved in such a mad campaign? Do such people think at all?

How we left the Church behind… « Birmingham University Conservative Forum

Link: How we left the Church behind… « Birmingham University Conservative Forum.

Out of curiosity I had a look at the Birmingham University Conservative Forum blog. BUCF is the successor to the University's Conservative Association of which, many moons ago, I was first secretary and then chairman.

I have found myself in an interesting debate with the BUCF's members which began with the "gay adoption" issue and is broadening into an interesting discussion of the role of law in dealing with discrimination and, indeed, as to what it means to be a Conservative today. It is clear that Labour has redrawn the boundaries of acceptable political thought and I am in danger of being served up as dinosaur stew.

Students have the advantage of more time on their hands to engage in such debate than chaps like me. If anyone wants to weigh in and lend a hand, I would appreciate it. I have foregone lunch several days in succession to engage in this interesting discussion. I fear it may have done more for my weight problem than the defence of classical liberalism.

'Grammar schools should never have been closed' minister admits | the Daily Mail

Link: 'Grammar schools should never have been closed' minister admits | the Daily Mail.

I have waited for this admission of the obvious for 30 years, since my own education was trashed by the mad ideologues of the British Left. Can I now sue?

How infuriating that it comes (albeit without an apology) from a Labour Minister, while the Boy David continues to embrace the insane educational theory that has made us the uncultured cretins of Europe.

Questions of conscience

The left of the Labour Party is right, to precisely this extent. The Government would be wrong to make an exception to the Sexual Orientation Regulations, which come into force in April, for the Catholic (or any other) Church. If a law is necessary and correct, it must apply to all. But the intensity of the debate on this subject brings into question if this law is necessary or correct. I suggest it is neither.

Personally, I have no problem with gay couples adopting children. If they are suitable, responsible individuals, it is far better for a child to be cared for in a family home than in any kind of institution. Yes, the child will be teased about its unusual parents, but that itself will be a lesson in life. Every child is teased for something. However, I don't think the opportunities for suitable gay couples to adopt will be helped by this law.

No sensible gay couple would approach Catholic, Muslim or other religious agencies to arrange an adoption. A gay couple that did would be acting either mischievously or very, very stupidly. The Catholic Church has anyway said that if one of its agencies was approached, it would simply refer the couple to a secular agency. That is a reasonable, tolerant, approach.

Families offering children up for adoption via religious agencies are effectively expressing a preference that their children should be placed with a family from that religion. They are certainly placing their trust in the relevant Church. Have they no right to do that? If not, why not? What has the State to do with that choice?

Laws are not for the purpose of reeducating the masses. Attempts to use the blunt instrument of law for such purposes are very likely to backfire. The only sensible use of law is for the prevention of carefully-defined, substantive harms which cannot otherwise be avoided. Laws are not magic. They need widespread support and willing enforcement. They are certainly not useful for the avoidance of hurt feelings. Indeed the best way to avoid hurt feelings is (like the teased children adopted by homosexual couples) to develop a thick skin. Far too many in our country are far too ready to take offence. They want to be victims, because victimhood is now - pathetically - the highest state of grace.

There are more than 150 adoption agencies that are happy to place children with gay couples. There are about 30 Catholic agencies (and presumably various other agencies organised by religious bodies) which are not. Why would rational people want to compel that minority? Especially when those people are supposedly acting in the interests of a once-repressed minority?

When homosexuality was legalised (very sensibly) we accepted that, as a matter of law, what consenting adults do in private is their own business. As a libertarian, I could not agree more. But we did not compel people who considered homosexuality to be sinful, unpleasant or just gross to change their opinion. Laws can't do that. People are entitled to their views.

To their credit, the religious people who do not want to be compelled to place children for adoption with "unrepentant sinners" are not seeking to impose their views on anyone else. They are just asking to live by their own consciences and by what they believe to be God's laws. Unless they can be shown to be doing demonstrable harm, they should be left to do so.

The way in which this debate is being presented in the media is most unfair. The intolerant people here are not the Catholics or other religious people (for once). The intolerant ones are those who insist that it is so offensive for anyone to consider them unsuited to adopt, that they must be compelled by law to change that view (or at least pretend to do so).

That is a moral outrage and a very poor basis for law.

Blog Trends


This is an interesting feature over at You can type in 1-3 search terms and get a graph plotting how often they have been mentioned in blogs in the last 1, 2 or 3 months.

There has to be some more creative use of it than in the example above (click for readable version)

As A Dodo: The Home Office 1782-2007

Link: As A Dodo: The Home Office 1782-2007.

I have no plans to write a full Blogpower Review (I have just enough strength left to fulfil my commitment to do ten) but I just want to say that one of my favourite blogs at the moment, in or out of Blogpower, is "As a Dodo". The basic idea ("The obituaries you'd like to see") is witty and the execution is proving to be just as good, with such gems as "Tony Blair's Green Credentials", "John Reid's Fitness for Purpose" and, topically, "Celebrity Big Brother."

Today's "obituary" for the Home Office is really very clever - better than anything you can currently expect from our professional satirists. Have a look.

The truth about British education

As I predicted, New Labour is using the Celebrity Big Brother hoo-ha as an excuse for the compulsory re-education of the masses. Compare and contrast with this story about maths and English standards in our schools. We should have no doubt about New Labour's "educational" priorities. Just as it sees the police as a Cheka to enforce its political ideas so it sees our schools as venues for agitprop.

Racist abuse is no better or worse than any other kind of rudeness. Racist violence is no better or worse than any other kind of violence. When you say it is (as the whole concept of "racially-aggravated" offences does) you are insulting other victims of violence or abuse; saying that their suffering is less; in effect that they are lesser beings.

Teachers have always encouraged children to be polite and considerate to each other. Of course they should do so. With parents, they should be helping to build up the social conventions that, far more than the blunt instrument of the law, make civilised life possible. If you are educating children to treat each other well, you do actual damage to the concept of equality and fair play when you condescendingly single particular groups out for special protection.

You damage the future prospects of those privileged groups, as they will see every bad thing that happens to them as the product of racism. After last year's Summer holidays, my daughter compared notes with an Asian schoolfriend about our experiences at the same hotel in the South of France. We had been unhappy with the poor, rude service and had complained vigorously to the management (and received an apology). They had asumed the same experience was due to racism. Even the members of this rich, successful family saw themselves as "victims".

Equally, when you teach this nonsense, you damage community relations. They see the racist witch-hunts around them (I am waiting to see Jade Goody on the ducking stool) and they learn only fear. We are teaching children to be afraid of those who can destroy them with a casual accusation. They are less likely to seek them out as friends in future.

Jade Goody may not have been educated, but she has been politically indoctrinated. She responded to the suggestion that she had made racist remarks like a well-trained dog to the word "heel." She may have no culture and little understanding of the world around her, but she certainly knows that to be called a racist is social death, whether or not it's true or fair.

She is of mixed race herself. She has a "get out of jail free" card unavailable to most, but still she was visibly afraid. Is that fear one of the "British values" Mr Johnson wants our children to be taught? How ironic that a stupid TV show named for George Orwell's "1984", should advance us a step further towards the society the book depicted.

The ThunderDragon: Blogpower Testimonial 9

ThunderDragon may, let’s face it, be taking the youth thing a bit far. Why would a 21 year old want to be a political blogger when, as the poet would have it, the force that through the green fuse drives the flower still drives his green age? If you are a Conservative when you are 20, we used to say, you have no heart. If you are a Socialist when you are 30, then you have no head. The ThunderDragon is, it seems, a heartless young chap. Compare and contrast with Bob Piper, who is clearly the kind of fool there is no fool like.

His tag cloud features “Labour” as his most frequent topic. The comrades from Islington and Kirkcaldy have been in charge for much of his life. It’s hard for a young person in Britain to have the perspective to see that Labour is a political irrelevance and an historical anomaly. Their ideology is long since discredited. They are in power because of the snake-oil-marketing abilities of a master huckster. To be fair, young David Cameron is also too fascinated with New Labour and the dark arts that brought them to power. So focussed as to deploy them just as people have learned to see through them.

The ThunderDragon kicked off his blogging career on 20th June last year, with a single post on the West Lothian Question. His second post did not come until July 20th. His opinions were calm, but Cameronian. One might, for a while, have thought he had ambitions to be a Conservative candidate. After this slow start - just two posts in two months - the inital dancing round the ring was over. Off came the silk robe, in went the gum shield and he came out fighting. He posted a series of surprisingly unCameronian opinions. The critic of Israel and proponent of the non-policy of "English Votes on English matters" told us that:

This tree image is ridiculously generic, and if the word 'Conservative' was removed from beneath it, could be the logo for anything, or nothing!

"Party democracy is compromised in quest for more women MPs" says ConservativeHome, and who can really disagree with that, for it is the truth.

'Faith schools' seem very much like an oxymoron to me

"Eco-Warriors" are nothing more than idealistic idiots

Less controversially, he informed us that Charles Kennedy is a drunk, commenting:

As an alcoholic, he should not have stood for such a position, or should have resigned as soon as it became clear that he could not kick the habit easily.

That's a young man's view. Us older hands, even if we are not of Dylan Thomas's opinion that

an alcoholic is someone you don't like who drinks as much as you do,

see a politician without a flaw as a terrible thing. Flaws make us human. They make us less priggish. In a politician, a good flaw is essential to make him less inclined to ban others' foibles. Besides, as Ming Campbell has comprehensively demonstrated, mere sobriety does not guarantee success. Winston Churchill could have drunk all the LibDems under the table, and then kicked their asses electorally. Go figure.

This post played to his strengths; commenting on young people and their supposed disillusionment with politics. I am not sure I agree with his view that “spin” turns the young off more than the old. Older voters are inclined to expect less from the charlatans in public life, if only because they couldn’t take the strain of constantly dashed hopes. But they detect spin better than the young. Still, it was an intelligent, interesting post.

Subsequent posts have been equally “sound” on pointless apologies for history, positive discrimination and John Reid’s hypocritical heckler. His style is developing and he has earned the approval of several leading bloggers. The ThunderDragon consistently provides an interesting and enjoyable read - always entertaining and often insightful. His writing may even give us a foretaste of our political future. Stick with him. After all, time will cure his youth.

Next up: Please vote for my final victim.

Guy Fawkes' blog of parliamentary plots, rumours and conspiracy: How They Change Their Tune

Link: Guy Fawkes' blog of parliamentary plots, rumours and conspiracy: How They Change Their Tune.

I really have to conclude that enough's enough when we have a Government who will back police to the hilt after they pump seven bullets into an innocent man on the Tube, yet accuse them of "theatre" for arresting one of their own at an "ungodly hour" in the morning.Until we force this lot out, we are all complicit.

This, from an anonymous commenter on Guido's blog. I have nothing to add.