THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
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May 2009

Not right and left, but right and wrong » Blog Archive » Who will be the biggest winners from the Expenses Scandal?.

This post from the excellent sums up the parliamentary expenses scandal for me. For most people (including most politicians) morality is history. It is "old-fashioned." It is something to profess semi-plausibly to get votes from the moral minority, while winking in a worldly way at everyone else. Tony Blair was a master of this, fooling even the Pope. Gordon Brown overdid it, has a scary "wink" and has been rumbled very quickly. If he mentions his "moral compass" or his clergyman father again, he will be greeted with raucous laughter.

The post captures the zeitgeist accidentally because gambling is necessarily an amoral activity. Probabilities have nothing to do with right and wrong. It's necessary to distance yourself from such matters to gamble successfully. So it's pure chance that, of all I have read in the past few days, this post best describes a modern Britain to which I do not belong. A "non-judgemental" place in which worldliness is the norm and the only question is how to profit from the weaknesses of others (before your own are detected).

Our nation does not now divide as much on political lines as moral. Socialism is a materialistic, worldly ideology. Its adherents tend to be not merely irreligious but anti-religious. On the other hand, since the 1960's, it has been hip to admire alien religions while despising homespun Christianity. Therefore there is some kind of weird consistency in the way that a party which sees itself as "modern" veers between sycophantic "respect" for outré beliefs to delightedly offending those of plain Christians. Of course there are a few drippy and ineffectual Christian socialists, but they have never been mainstream and the hard men of the left have always sniggered. The Tory Party, once considered to be the political wing of the Church of England (rather like the Christian Democratic parties of the continent) is now also determinedly modern and "does not do" religion. Like many among us, it is casting about for other values to replace those it has lost. Hence, perhaps, its adherence to the new faith of which Al Gore is the Messiah and Zac Goldsmith is (at least in Britain) John the Baptist.

Am I confusing religion with morality? Certainly not. As an atheist who tries (and sometimes fails) to live to certain standards, I have no interest in supporting the claim of the religious to a moral monopoly. Baroness Uddin alone is anyway a sufficient disproof of that claim. The problem is that, in a formerly religious nation, with an overtly religious flag, a national anthem addressed to God and the influence of the Christian religion in its institutions, traditions and laws, many do confuse the two. The race from "old-fashioned" religious values has become a race from values per se. Hence the sincere protestations of our politicians who are truly upset to be castigated. They have complied with "the rules" and are puzzled and aggrieved. They genuinely don't see that - even if the rules expressly permitted them to build property portfolios and buy tampons and chocolate with taxpayers' money - if would not be right. Poor, low creatures; rather like a well-trained dog they have no other concept of "right" than compliance.

Some say that such compliance is worthless because the politicians themselves made the rules. Sadly, that is how this scandal will be resolved. The problem is that, once some nominally independent body sets "the rules," compliance really will suffice. The pigs will trough heartily, secure in the knowledge that - however degraded their conduct - it will have been approved by an independent body. Some quango (on which their leaders can sell places) will sell them indulgences and their place in piggy heaven will be assured.


How can we explain to such creatures that it is not enough to follow the rules? That it is never enough? How can we explain to people who, not only do not distinguish between right from wrong, but regard the distinction as quaint? The present scandal is great fun for political nerds. It's delightful to see the sanctimonious "if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear" brigade exposed as having quite so much to hide and fear. However our fun is turning another generation of moral people off politics and that way madness lies. Even some immoral ones would be an improvement on this amoral horde, but we could really use some moral politicians.

Of mischief and comeuppances

White mischief Cholmondeley gets its comeuppance - Africa, World - The Independent.

Pg-2-Cholmondeley-e_171560t Did you ever read a nastier headline? Disturbed in the act of theft, a criminal set his dogs on Mr Cholmondeley. He died after being shot in what the judge seems reluctantly to have accepted was self-defence. The judge certainly accepted there was no intent to kill. For The Independent's Cahal Milmo, however, it is enough that Cholmondeley is rich and white for this verdict (overturning that of the Kenyan jury) to be a "comeuppance." Never mind whether Mr Cholmondeley is guilty of anything. He is from a group that is, for Milmo's taste, quite guilty enough.

If if were not for my total contempt for the condescending, whingeing, high-on-fake-victimhood types who use the concept so casually, I would point out that this article is racist. It is a cheerily approving account of "class justice", "race justice," "social justice" (in short, anything-but-justice). Milmo's reporting veers between irrelevance and sheer, gleeful schadenfreude. Imagine the outrage had a reporter failed to show the requisite sympathy for the alleged drug mule currently pleading her belly to avoid "peoples' justice" in Communist Laos, on the basis that she was getting what, not she, but people like her, deserve. Imagine if someone wrote of her situation as a "comeuppance" for her grandmother's alleged loose morals.

No-one could blame the Cholmondeley family for now leaving the only country they can call home, but I advise them not to come to Britain. Here, they will be hated more than in Kenya;  not for the contents of their characters but for the colour of their skin and for the greatest crime of all - sustained success. Here, only sportsmen and entertainers are allowed to live the lifestyle that Milmo so puritanically attributes not to Mr Cholmondeley, but to his grandparents. I do not doubt that his family's estates will soon be managed to the standard that has brought Africa to its current exemplary prosperity. But never mind. Mr Cholmondeley - chillingly an "it" not a "he" to The Independent's headline writer - has had a "comeuppance" that pleases Mr Milmo.

I am feeling pretty foolish right now

BBC NEWS | UK | Time limits on innocent DNA data.

Miss P the Younger says that, while Mrs P is a genuine cynic, I am merely a constantly-disappointed idealist. She may have a point. After more than a decade of Labour, I actually thought on Sunday that the government (albeit reluctantly and spinning it furiously as its own decision) was going to comply with a court order and destroy the DNA records of innocents. I really must try harder to understand that they are so far from decency that nothing, however despicable, can safely be ruled out.

Great rows in the pub, remembered

Tom Paine- No explanation needed - inamdar's posterous.


This, courtesy of Posterous (great name!) a communal blog I have never heard of before, is a plaque on the wall of the White Hart in Lewes, Sussex. Next time you think your bar room oratory (or your pamphleteering blogging) is a waste of time, take heart. Tom's debating at the "Headstrong Club" in an obscure provincial town changed the world for the better. Though the future seems dark right now,  there is always hope if we can only stay calm enough to articulate our ideas clearly at the right time. Despite the inscription, old Tom achieved rather more with pen than sword too, which is a cheering thought when age has wearied one's sword arm.

If I seem less grumpy than usual and these thoughts unusually bright, in a spririt of full disclosure I confess it may be a question of microcosm and macrocosm. Mrs P survived a nine-hour operation yesterday and (though she has much recuperating to do) is much on form today. After so much stress, no let's be honest, fear, to see her smile and crack a joke has put me in my best mood for a while. So don't go starting any revolutions solely on the basis of my optimism, ok? Get some other opinions first.

British politics explained

Prodicus: 'In place of strife - Unite!' Mrs Dromey announces her candidacy.

Prodicus is on form. Do read the whole thing, but here's the nub of his thesis:

So, to recap, the deputy leader of the Labour Party is sleeping with the Hon. Treasurer of the Party who is a big cheese in Unite the Union which pays the Labour Party's bills by arrangement with, er, the Hon. Treasurer of the Labour Party which, by the will of its Leader, abusing his office as our (temporary) Prime Minister, gives lots of taxpayers' money (through its 'union modernisation fund') to, er, Unite the Union without whose support the Labour Party would be bankrupt and, er, out of business.

Now you are an expert.

Live by the sword, perish by the sword

Speed camera boss caught doing 102mph on a 70mph road - Telegraph

The work of Satan

Have at you, Tom Riall, you varlet. I hope your shareholders are vigilant enough to ensure you don't circumvent your punishment by charging a chauffeur, taxis or other forms of transport to the company (and therefore, given tbe nature of  your contracts, the taxpayer). You boast on your website;

We advise policy makers, design innovative solutions, integrate systems and - most of all - deliver to the public.

Deliver to us? Your tax machines have done as much to make these islands miserable and joyless for us as any other aspect of the Labour mega-state your public service outsourcing company supports. Many decent people have lost their jobs because your infernal devices have caught them mere basis points over the speed limit, as opposed to the 46% you were. I am sure they would rejoice if you lost your job, you hypocrite.

Debate frappé

Labour peer Baroness Uddin claims £100,000 expenses on empty flat - Times Online.

Baroness_Uddin_538100aThe facts of this story seem simple enough and (subject to their being confirmed by due process) the legal conclusions quite clear. Perhaps a more interesting aspect of the story is how difficult it is to discuss alleged criminality by members of ethnic minorities without accusations of racism being made.

Craig Murray, for example, made disappointing allegations against Iain Dale on the patented Damian McBride/Derek Draper "guilt by association" formula that he failed to delete allegedly racist comments on his blog. In doing so, Murray stimulated a despair-inducing exchange of sloganising in his own comments. It seems rational discourse is impossible in such a context. How are we going to bring the different races and religions on our islands to live in harmony, when political correctness has such a chilling effect on debate? Particularly hurtful was Murray's own remark that:

I tend to the view that this proves that, if you move in Tory circles, you get inured to comments that make ordinary people's toes curl.

This is pure, ignorant prejudice. I am no longer a Conservative (see the sidebar) but I moved widely in Tory circles more than 25 years ago and never heard a racist sentiment expressed. I hardly think racism is likely to have crept in since. Tories, in my experience, are far less obsessed with human taxonomy, whether by race or class, than Socialists are. If Conservatives have a prejudice, it's generally for the productive against the unproductive. Of course that may not be true of all their voters, but it's not true of all Labour's voters either. Murray should be ashamed of his snide remark. As one of his commenters put it;

She is not a fraudster because that is a behaviour common to immigrants. She is a fraudster because that is a behaviour common to New Labour.

That's probably an unfair generalisation too. I am sure there must be some honest New Labourites. Give me a moment to think of one...

h/t Iain Dale via Craig Murray

A new kind of policy reannouncement

DNA profiles of innocent citizens on police databases to be destroyed - Telegraph.

One of New Labour's routine deceptions has been, if it had something "good" to announce, to do so again and again. Contemptuously, it thinks us such mugs that we will remember only the "good" headlines, not their significance. Of course "good," in its warped lexicon, usually meant giving back to citizens their own (net of 70% for paying the wages of its payroll vote) but that's for another day.

Like all deception, this requires trust. Labour doesn't seem to "get" that it has blown that. Its Goebbels tactics have been rumbled. In the unlikely event that it started to tell an occasional truth, it would not now be believed. This was always the problem with the technique. Like borrowed money, lies will eventually come back to bite you.

This "announcement" is a particularly evil specimen. This government and its politicised police (the Provisional Labour Party, as I now think of them) want to keep the DNA of innocents on file. They have said so again and again. But the European Court of Human rights decided, quite rightly, that it had no legal basis to do so. The government was caught out breaking the law and has now announced, not that it is shamefacedly complying with the court's decision, but that it will order the DNA records of innocents destroyed. There is nothing it wants to do less, but it is trying to steal the credit for it.

New Labour; liars and thieves.