THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
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January 2008

Guilt by association?

Link: Diary | The Guardian | Guardian Unlimited.

Guilt by association anybody? Pay close attention to the use of the passive voice in the linked article as various leftist luminaries complain of the way they were treated by members of the public at a public meeting. Frankly, given the damage they have collectively done to our nation, they were lucky to escape with no more than verbal abuse.

Without a shred of evidence that the people of whom they complain had any claim to speak for his party, they try to sling mud at the Conservative speaker (although admitting in passing that he was in "obvious discomfort" at the remarks made).

I have news for Yasmin Alibhai-Brown. I too have been called a c**t in my time and I honestly didn't feel the need to call my race or sex in aid. If her skin pigmentation no longer bubble-wraps the second most odious woman in British journalism perhaps it is a sign of progress towards racial equality? Welcome to the life of the ordinary Briton, Yasmin. Enjoy.

How delightful, incidentally, that such smear tactics are supported by this person ("person" being pronounced here as Lady Bracknell might pronounce "handbag"). This, though he is always so quick to complain of any robust attack upon his heroes. This, though he appears constitutionally incapable of writing "David Cameron" more than 10 words away from "Bullingdon Club." I suppose, given the feeble calibre of the present Cabinet, we must simply be grateful that he is not yet Home Secretary.

Phones tapped at the rate of 1,000 a day

Link: Phones tapped at the rate of 1,000 a day - Telegraph.

Igotit Every time I try to convince myself that my concerns about the state of Britain are simply those that middle-aged men have had since Shakespeare first coined the phrase "going to the dogs," a story like this appears. 1,000 applications a day is the merest tip of the iceberg of course as Ministers have other powers which do not require applications to be made or communications intercepts to be reported. The security services probably do not trouble with such formalities either.

All the necessary apparatus is in place for Britain to be a police state. The police are politicised. State employees are inured to abuse of citizens' rights. There is a climate of fear. And the public is looking the other way. This story should have led to rioting on the streets. The politicians who engineered the situation should be in fear for their personal safety. But the story does not rate the front pages and the people lack the energy even for a collective shrug of the shoulders.

When I tell friends and colleagues that I no longer plan to retire to England because I fear it will be a totalitarian state by then, there is a look in their eyes which suggests they think I am barmy. There is now so much evidence that if my fears come to pass, they will look back and say they were barmy not to have shared them.

Leaked Home Office memo on ID.

Link: Shades of Grey » Voluntary my Arse!.

All praise to Ian and his cohorts for hosting a leaked memo from the Home Office, which the excellent No2ID campaign fears may be suppressed by injunction. As I am safely in Russia (and my blog is hosted in the United States) I am happy to host another copy (below). Good luck enforcing an injunction, chaps.

Download nis_options_analysis_outcome.pdf

Tory Derek Conway gave £260,000 to family

Link: Tory Derek Conway gave £260,000 to family - Telegraph.

The gods have given David Cameron a chance. Today he can prove he is a better leader than the despondent ditherer from Fife. He should withdraw the Conservative Whip from Mr. Conway forthwith and quite possibly file a report with the police. Unless of course he knows of some reason why that would be wrong. In that case he should make the reason public without delay.

British voters need no pious declarations from him about probity in politics. They do not need to hear about his Party being "whiter than white." They have every reason to know that any scoundrel can say that. If confidence in British politicians is ever to be restored, voters need action not words. Once a country assumes that all politicians are corrupt, only corrupt people will embark on political careers. Once that happens, the situation (as many in post-Communist countries will attest) is almost impossible to retrieve by peaceful means.

Mr. Cameron can do his country a greater service today than ever before. I hope he seizes the opportunity.

Happy Birthday Tom

Old_tomToday is the 271st birthday of the greatest political pamphleteer in history, Thomas Paine. He was born in Thetford, Norfolk on 29th January 1737. He was instrumental in forging the institutions of two of the most important free nations; France and the U.S.A. Not bad for a corset-maker, though his countrymen in England might wish he had never travelled, but wrought his magic at home instead.

Paine is admired by modern leftists. So much so that Michael Foot is the President and the 2nd Viscount Stansgate the Vice-President of the Thomas Paine Society (of which I am a humble member). They are personally worthy (however much I disagree with their politics) of the association with Tom, but they should resign from the present authoritarian manifestation of the Labour Party, rather than contaminate his memory by association with such trash.

As the quotations in my sidebar indicate, Tom was far from his modern admirers' foolish belief in the essential goodness of the state. They will argue (with some cause) that he pioneered the concept of social security, but I suspect his contempt for modern welfarism would have been immense. It is is one thing to cushion mens' misfortunes; it is quite another to sink them in a swamp of dependence.

Perhaps the greatest hubris of my life was to take his name as my nom de blog. My only excuse is that I admire the man. Even more I admire the sheer virile force of his writing. I know that my own efforts can never be so good, nor have such effect. I can only urge any reader who has not read his works to do so. In his pungent words - laced with contempt for all oppressors - you will hear the authentic voice of a free man.

Tom did not believe in conventional religion. He was spurned by his fellow-Americans for that and - in consequence - for a long time received no credit for his leading role in making the United States. It would infuriate him to be imagined looking down on us from heaven (or up at us from hell). Throughout the free world, however, his spirit lives. That one man could, by rational argument, change history remains a message of hope to all.

Happy birthday, Tom.

Davos celebrates


The Daily Mash (who are these guys? - their "about" page is strangely coy) continues to set the standards for British satire. How I chuckled as I set off for the airport to return to the relative sanity of Russia. Satire always dies under Labour, as the luvvies of the British media back off to let "their boys" have a free run. When the Conservatives are in power, we get such high class stuff as Not the Nine O'Clock News, Spitting Image and Yes, Minister. When Labour rules, we get such trash as The Goodies or Little Britain as homo sovieticus attempts to distract the peasantry from missed tractor production targets with mindless State Circus clowning.

The high quality satire from the Daily Mash therefore suggests that Labour is already on the way out. I particularly loved this mock quote from a Davos official;

The organisers said this year's event set a new record for the number of billionaires who arrived by helicopter to talk about the ghastliness of poverty.

but do go and read the whole thing. If satire is back, political sanity cannot be too far behind.

Case study: The £120,000 couple

Link: Case study: The £120,000 couple - Telegraph.

The Telegraph is supposed to be a Conservative paper, but this feature today reveals how socialist thinking has penetrated British souls. Wealth is not a high wage, but enough capital to produce an above average income. "Shopping at Waitrose" does not equal wealth and "driving an Audi" (a rather boring German car, beloved of the poor in spirit) certainly does not.

My secretary in Russia employs a nanny and aspires to a second home in the country. She will certainly achieve it. The poverty of Britain's aspirations after 60 years of state socialism makes me weep.

In a quiet county town

Three_man_gang_on_cctv Yesterday, three men attacked the sole security guard outside the door of a jewellery store in a small county town in the North of England. Normally there are two guards, but one was on his lunch break. Evidently the store and the habits of its guards were under observation. A robber threatened the guard with something, errm, I think it's called "a gun." You know; one of those terribly useful things honest citizens are not allowed to have in England. The robbers jammed open the security door. As the staff looked on, they smashed the display cabinets with crowbars and stole the contents. Then they escaped.

Mrs Paine heard this story repeatedly today as she was shopping (we are visiting our home town to spend time with the younger Miss Paine who has the weekend off from school). When my wife dropped into the jewellers to pick up a repaired item, she mentioned that everyone in town was talking about the robbery. The staff confirmed what she had heard, but were apparently under instructions not to talk about it; presumably so as not to alarm the customers.

The incident happened at 3pm yesterday. Shortly afterwards, the streets were awash with armed response police officers carrying automatic weapons (you know; more of those things forbidden to defenceless citizens, but freely available to criminals). They made a big and utterly pointless show of force. The populace was unimpressed.

We know the staff concerned quite well and feel for them. Clearly this was a scary experience. Mrs P. reports that person after person offered unsolicited opinions about the uselessness of the current government; bemoaning the way it has been soft on crime and even more on the causes of crime (aka criminals). All mention of the government's statistics showing crime to be down was greeted with derisive snorts.

I sense the mood is finally changing even here, in Labour's heartlands. The people have finally had enough of these useless losers, their lies and their endless distractions from the real business of government. I only wish the manner of their going could be as terrifying for them as yesterday's incident was for the staff of that store.

Distinguishing right from legal

Link: MPs can't distinguish right from legal - Telegraph.

MofosWhen I studied criminal law at university, fellow students considered me old-fashioned because I had a problem with "offences of strict liability;" i.e. those where the legislature had removed the element of intent from the definition of the crime, so that you were liable regardless of intent or knowledge.

As so often the concept was introduced with good intentions. A typical example was food hygiene, where it was enough to show that premises were unhygienic for the proprietor to be criminally liable. I thought then, and said so, that this was a "slippery slope" and that such offences were far too convenient for prosecutors for them not to be expanded and extended.

So I have no sympathy with Peter Hain's, Harriet Harman's and Wendy Alexander's protestations of innocence, whether or not they are accurate (as is pretty hard to believe of Hain's given the use of a fake "think tank" as a conduit for donations). Such protestations are heard - and ignored - in court rooms all over the country every day. Innocent people, who intended no harm, are routinely convicted because politicians like them created so many such offences. How deliciously, there-is-a-just-God-in-the-Universe, foolish were they to have set the trap of a strict liability offence for themselves?

Now they are guilty too, regardless of their knowledge or intent, and their protestations of innocence reveal them either as hypocrites or as morons. On either count, let them perish by the sword they lived by.