It is with great regret that I judge Dave Cameron to have done the right thing in dismissing Patrick Mercer as a front-bench spokesman. It is not the way he should have to behave. Perhaps he even knows it. However, Britain is in the grip of a "racism" witch-hunt. The Left sees it everywhere and the media support them. Mercer is no racist. There was nothing remotely racist about his reported remarks. He should have known though that they would be "spun" as racist, which unfortunately makes him too naieve to be on the front-benches at present.
How sad that the McCarthyism of the race relations industry should claim the political scalp of a decent, honourable man with a fine record of service to his country. How pathetic that truth has been trumped by political expedience.
Over on the always-interesting ARmy Rumour SErvice site, the forums are expressing a rather more trenchant and less political view than mine. I wish our country was more worthy of them. To extract just one quote from a torrent of robustly supportive messages for Mercer:
"I tend to be a tory by nature but Camoron has just lost my vote and I suspect a lot of people like me for his complete toss reaction to the racist industry. Idiot. No balls at all."
I would really like to be able to demur. Unfortunately, "balls" are not permitted equipment for British politicians at present. Let's hope they will one day be standard issue again. In the meantime, I worry about the morale of our overstretched and endangered armed forces. The unwitting author of New Labour's manifesto, George Orwell, had it right when he wrote:
"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."
In Orwell's day, even left-wing Etonians understood the importance of the military. How long can we keep asking these men to follow the orders of a political Establishment that so clearly despises them?