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

Nick Clegg is un-English

I watched Andrew Marr interview the leader of the illiberal non-democrats this morning. I believe his name is Clegg. He seems very representative of his pernicious party.

Distinguishing the LibDems from the Tories on civil liberties, he said indignantly that the Tories wanted to abolish the Human Rights Act, calling it the basis of our rights. There can be no better evidence that someone misunderstands the English. The Government cannot "give" us rights because all rights belong to us. The government only enjoys the powers (i.e. the abilities to limit our rights) that we give to it. His vision is of a nation of slaves, granted freedom by the State. That is the vision of Labour. It is profoundly un-English and rather revolting.

On the subject of taxation, he suggested that lower rate taxpayers "subsidise" higher rate payers who get "twice as much" tax relief on their pension savings. Again, this only makes sense if you believe that all wealth belongs to the state, so that money we are permitted to retain is some kind of gift. I can't even be bothered to critique it. It is surely quite obviously wrong to even the meanest intellect.

I am still not going to remember this lightweight's name. It's quite enough to know he's a political idiot with no understanding of the nation he aspires to lead.

New Statesman loses argument, conceals evidence

New Statesman - Tory racism: crystal clear.

The link above is to one of many preserved copies on the web (courtesy of Alessandre Bieri) of James Macintyre's notorious New Statesman article accusing the Conservative Party of being institutionally racist. It is a refreshing, rare example of a conclusive outcome to a political argument. Macintyre made a ludicrous accusation based on defective logic, was called out for it in the comments, lost the argument and pulled the article. [It has now been reposted, minus his more intemperate comments and with a "personal view" disclaimer]. An epic failure for him, but an encouraging moment for all who fear that political debate is a waste of time.

I particularly enjoyed how, despite sarcastically sneering at Steve Green's "You're sick" comment as "highly reasoned and thoughtful views,"  he then proceeds to deride his opponents:

Do you have jobs?

How often to you surf blogsites posting abuse?

Are you scared of daylight, only come out at night?

Are you real people who engage socially with other individuals in the normal way?

That's telling us, James. Not only do I have a job, son, I have created many jobs for others - which is more than you will ever do. But so what if I were unemployed, or retired? Would that mean I was not entitled to a view? How does someone from a party that claims to "care" for pensioners and the unemployed get off sneering at those without a job?

Like Jimmy Carter, Macintyre has the phoney left-wing "superpower" of hearing the unsaid, particularly when it comes to racism (or anything that will discredit their opponents). His super-hearing fails, however, when it comes to his own snobbishness in accusing all who oppose him of being social cripples. Not to mention, of course, his vicious anti-Transylvanian racism.

A proper sense of priorities

American Thinker: Community service is not what made America great.

Reading the Institute of Directors' journal over lunch today my heart began to sink. Almost every story seemed to reference "social enterprise," companies' "green credentials" or "corporate social responsibility." Our "educators," the media and the luvvies of the art world have long preached that what is done for love is better than what is done for money. That this is now unchallenged even by the IOD makes it no less wrong.

I was considering how to articulate this controversial idea to my tender-hearted readers when a post by Washington Rebel saved me the trouble. It led me to this perfect statement by American Thinker. I have added that site to my daily reading list on the basis of three splendid paragraphs:

All we have is our time and our talents. We trade those for either money, pleasure or for service to others. Now there is absolutely nothing wrong with trading a lot of your time and talent for money. In fact, until you have met all of your financial obligations to your family and your creditors, that is exactly how you should spend the majority of your time and talents. That is not greed. That is maturity.

Then and only then are you in a position to spend more of your time and talents in pleasurable or charitable pursuits. That's not to say you can't coach little league or go fishing until your mortgage is paid off -- it is to say that if you are living off the fruits of others while volunteering or agitating "for free," you are really not a volunteer at all. You are a mooch.

You are running up society's credit card but making yourself feel more virtuous than those actually paying for your habit because you are "not in it for the money."

Of course, those who choose to "give back" or "make a social contribution" are the moral superiors of those who spend their free time in idle pleasure. However, the key phrase is "free time." Time is only morally "free" after duties have been fulfilled and our first duty is to support ourselves and our dependents. If we are deploying the capital of others in our business life, then safeguarding it and delivering the highest legal return is (or should be) also a top priority. If the shareholders want to give their money to charity, they have the right to do so. The custodians of that money have no such right.

A corporate leader crowing about "corporate social responsibility" is on a moral par with a politician boasting of his "generosity" with taxpayers' cash. It is hypocrisy at best and fraud at worst.

Socialists redacting history (at the taxpayers' expense)

Margaret Thatcher airbrushed from Harriet Harman's history of women in politics - Telegraph.

The most significant elected woman in British political history does not merit a name check in an "Equality Office" taxpayer-financed propaganda sheet paper called "Women in Power: Milestones." Doesn't this tell you all you need to know about Harriet ("more equal because female") Harman?

Wake up Britain! Their every word is deception. Kick these rascals out!

Old Tom's Destiny... to be claimed by right and left. It's always idiocy, of course, to judge a historical figure's views by the standards of today. He had ideas about social security and land tax, which might not have worked out as well as his ideas about liberty, but he hated tyranny above all. Whether you are an admirer of the man from left or right, right or wrong, please enjoy the song...

If it's the right thing, why don' t they tell the families?

One in four relatives 'not told when doctors place patient on controversial death pathway' - Telegraph.

My title seems a fair question to me. Concealing an action suggests (but I agree does not prove) that one feels it's wrong. More scarily;

The audit also found that more than one in three patients, 37 per cent, were given sedatives while on the pathway, although in most cases these were in low doses

Or to put it another way, 63% of patients being starved and/or dehydrated to death (in NHS Newspeak "put on a care pathway") by their NHS doctors are not given sedatives. Let's hope they get some pain relief at least while being humanely put down.

The truth is out there (preceded by "not")

BBC NEWS | UK | Paedophile checks scheme defended.

The British state says that 11 million people must be certified and logged by a state authority before they can safely be allowed to give their children's friends a lift to the swimming pool. This is as offensive (and revealing) a concept as could have been conceived by our uppity public "servants."

A government employee sexually abused and then killed two little girls for his sadistic pleasure. Had the school been private, its screening and hiring policies would have been challenged and its management would have been held to account for its failure to protect the children in its care. As it was a state school, its management is of course perfect. So we all become suspects instead.

Ignore all examples of child abuse by "carers" in state institutions. Ignore the risk that the database will be abused to smear, punish, and/or blackmail those who offend the state's minions. Any such incidents will be mere aberrations, for in their eyes we are the dark and they are the light. Only when that light shines upon us can we truly be safe.

You may be surprised to read that the linked BBC piece actually lists everything that is wrong with this scheme. You just have to break the code. Ignore the appeals for calm. Forget the soothing Newspeak job-titles ("chairman of the Independent Safeguarding Authority"). States have always been adept at making evil sound cuddly; consider for example the French "Committee of Public Safety". In particular, be careful to ignore all noble-sounding objectives, like "...protect children from paedophiles...". The more noble the objective sounds, the more wicked the measures the state seeks to justify.

To find the truth, look to the things any given apparatchik denies. In this example, the Witchfinder General chairman of the ISA tells us that the scheme is NOT about;

  • interfering with the sensible arrangements which parents make with each other to take their children to schools and clubs;
  • subjecting a quarter of the population to intensive [note the weasel qualifier] scrutiny of their person lives
  • creating mistrust between adults and children
  • discouraging volunteering
So there you have it. The scheme, perfectly-described in bullet points. The truth is in there. You must just know how to look.

British values - just what are they?

This is a guest post by renowned blogger James Higham and is cross-posted at his usual home:  Nourishing Obscurity.

There's an interesting group called Nothing British and the words I liked in their blurb were:

We believe in addressing the concerns of those people who feel alienated from their society by government failures on issues like immigration, Europe, religious extremism and job insecurity. This means campaigning for policies that work ... the British values of democracy, tolerance, fair-play and respect for one another.

In the light of the current state of our society, this is a conservative stance or rather "reversionist" stance, wishing to re-establish values which have been lost. Well, that part I embrace, as far as I can interpret it because it might mean different things to different people.

For example, tolerance and fair-play.

I think I know how these particular gentlemen see this and they are as close to absolutes as one can get. However well the British did or did not embrace these values throughout the past three centuries, one need only go to people outside of Britain to have these values defined. I wrote a post some time back, partly on British values and of the difficulty the relativists amongst us have in defining these, in terms of the new multi-cultural "tolerance" [that word again]:

Well, come with me and let me enrol you for a month in any English department in schools of extended English learning in Russia and you can learn what British values are, if you happen to have forgotten them. Because in these schools, in texts written by British educators from Cambridge et al, is set out quite clearly what British values are.

That's the thing - people outside have no problem defining them - it's only half of those inside and the government inside who have no idea at all. A look at the citizenship test and in there are things which were not taught at any school I know of and things omitted which really should have been in there.

I'm not tolerant of these things in the least and I'm even less tolerant of the tail wagging the dog, as in Imams and other extremists dictating alien policies to our elected government. This is our country, not theirs and they either assimilate or depart, as far as I'm concerned.

Let your not-so-humble blogger pause for one moment and state something about himself.

I've had, in the last 13 years, a close to unique experience in having lived in Russia and embraced their values whilst I was there, whilst retaining my Englishness - in fact, it was required of me in my work to be more English than I'd ever been. Thus I was an "Anglichanin", not a "Britaiski". In that sense, the language I taught was English.

As it is really only us who get tied up in the Westlothian and the Barnett, which require resolution, it was certainly mentioned whenever the idea of British arose but at the same time, there is

a common tradition in many ways, not least in the armed forces and in education. Angus McIvor's First Aid in English is one of the prime texts of the last generation and that says something about our common traditions but of course, there are the differences and to speak of British values will annoy a Scot when we're speaking of English values much of the time.

Again though, if you look at a Scottish town like Aberdeen, you don't see a huge difference, architecturally in layout to, say, Stevenage and ........ well, let's not get into this endless loop which doesn't help the foreigner understand.  For all our differences and don't forget that I am a Witanagemot member and believe in an English parliament, it is possible to go back into our history and point to certain outlooks, character traits and common upbringing which are maybe English but are also found in the Scots and Irish.

My best mate is a Scot - not a 2nd generation but a "real" Scot, taken neat. He is just as much disgusted with this government as I am and as he can't very well call himself English, he's been here all his life and so calls himself British. Britology Watch says:

I’m not totally, negatively opposed to any attempt to affirm and rally round the things that are positive in the British tradition, history and character. On the contrary, I’m proud to be English and, by that token, British.

As he also says, "Britishness" is being used by this government to slip other ideas over to newcomers to these shores under the banner of "British" but are really nothing to do with that and disguise other, nasty agendas.

This post can't encompass all of that - it tries to leave our own internal issues to one side and present to the foreigner what British is, as distinct from what Chinese is or what French is, the positive aspects we all embrace, the ones taught in foreign schools as to what it means to be from here.

One of those British values is how we muddle along and how this has been cynically played upon and twisted and quite frankly, to have departed these shores, leaving one Britain behind and to return to find a divided land was soul destroying, to put it mildly. Changes of the very worst sort had taken place.

I was the hobbit who departed The Shire and returned to find Sharkey's men ransacking what had been a realtively good place, give or take a few issues. The paradox is that extremists can seize on our spirit of welcome and tolerance, more a state of mind than a set of government policies and when they start sounding off about what they themselves want then, when we oppose those things, there is this ludicrous situation where we are actually the ones accused of extremism, intolerance and racism.

One right prat who's good at pulling this kind of stunt is a man called Sunny Hundal who writes for some rag that another relativist, Polly Toynbee, also writes for. Their game is to call themselves "progressive", as if this is a good thing in itself. Yep - progress to a police state and the breakdown of Britain as a nation, Brown's chosen policy.

So tolerance is a double-edged sword, isn't it?

Ecclesiastes had it right when it spoke of "a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing". It's quite possible that many, especially those born in this country yet coming from an alien culture, don't know our values and once again, I say - go to English language schools around the world and you'll soon discover what these are.

Some of our homegrown lot too, whose family history goes back into the mists of time on these isles, have lost the plot and are coming out with this rubbish that there is no such thing as a Brit, that we actually come from Africa or wherever.

What $%^&*(&*!

Anthopologically, perhaps a few thousand years back that was so but since that time, I'd like to remind these people, we've actually created a society which has been recognized for one and a half millennia as being Anglo-Saxon and Celt and in recent centuries - British, by the common wish of those houses. That's what we are and that's what we've built.

Even our very confusion over what is British ... is British.

What other nation has this problem? I also count myself a Northumbrian or Yorkshireman, for goodness sake but if I can put that to one side for the moment and look at these isles, there is something quite distinct from Namibia and Vietnam. We're more than tolerant of new ideas, of innovation, of culturally diverse experiences - the Brits are well known for settling in other lands themselves - look at those in Spain and France for a start and I don't mean the summer yobbos.

Cuisine is an area, for example, where there's been a distinct local cultural cringe for years. Readers of my blog know me to be a Europhile in where I've lived and in the culture of those places but that does not mean I'm going to be party to the totalitarian Europeanization of our home soil and the loss of all identity, something this government has worked so hard to bring about.

That's even why I have a lot of trouble at my blog because it matters not whether you are a jailbird, Member of Parliament, white, black, Lib Dem, BNP or indifferent - your view can be put as long as you are not being extremist yourself. Telling someone I'm not putting up with their extremism is in no way, shape or form tantamount to me being extreme in not tolerating these things.

It's not extreme - it's being a brick wall and a stubborn bstd. That I plead guilty to.

There are absolutes, including moral absolutes and there is a thing called Britishness or even Englishness. It's how we were brought up, it's the values we embraced and the modes of conduct we adopted. Yes, I'm C of E, in the traditional sense and why not? Why should I apologize for that? In which other denomination can one have a good snooze on the back pews during a sermon?

It was once and shall be again, respect for G-d, Queen and country although the former is now denied by ostriches, The Firm is subject to much scrutiny these days and the latter has been decimated by the socialists. It has also always been the dissenting tradition of Defoe, the British philosophers, cricket and a cup of tea which define us.

So what's this rubbish about no Shakespeare in schools, no heritage, no pride in our nationhood? Have the French lost their Frenchness? Have the Russians lost their Russianness? Well why should we lose our Britishness and in our neck of the woods, our Englishness? Just look at the breakup planned for the poor old United States by Them and shudder because we're headed down that path as well.

One aspect of our Britishness is the bulldog strain and thus my chin juts out and says - you've very welcome here and we'll learn from you, we'll eat your food and read your literature, let me buy you an ale but if you live here, if you settle here, then it's our way or you're on your way.

[Thanks, Tom, for the invitation]

Further reading on this topic from Tom here.

The aftermath of 9/11

September 11 attacks - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.


This is the anniversary of the day that had even the French saying "we are all Americans now."

I remember a baffled Polish colleague coming into my office in Warsaw with the news. I remember waiting to hear if colleagues in the WTC were safe. I remember sending messages of sympathy and support to American friends and clients.

The sense of unity we had that day has been entirely lost. Partly because of the American alliance's mishandled responses, but mostly because no envied superpower can expect sympathy for long. Anti-Americanism is back to default levels among all the usual suspects.

Today, however, the families of 2,974 innocent people are remembering their loss. As we remember with them, we should reflect on the costs of fanaticism. After eight years, perhaps our governments should also begin to reflect on how quickly we can return to peacetime levels of security. The "War on Terror" has outlasted the Second World War, though such of our enemies as have not been killed or captured skulk harmlessly in caves.

There have been huge costs to civil liberties. There has been economic damage as "security theatre" has become the bane of international travellers. Intelligence, espionage, diplomacy and clandestine military operations are the way to defeat Al Qaeda. All else is pointless show at best and political opportunism at worst.

Every day we live in continued fear, is a victory for those 19 maniacs and the evil men who sent them to their deaths. Enough.