THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
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September 2011

August 2011

A break from blogging

Mrs P's funeral was yesterday. The service was moving and beautiful. The Misses P made me proud by the readings they delivered over their mother's coffin and by their loving support, amid their own terrible grief, for their distraught father. As I watched their family and their young friends rally around them, I knew they will be fine, given time. There is no substitute for family and friends. Beware all charlatans who offer one.

Our families and our friends came together and celebrated her life. I thought my heart would stop when I threw a handful of earth and a flower into her grave, but - as you see - it didn't. I was told that some who tried to send her favourite flowers could not do so because I had cornered the London market. That made me smile. I always wanted her to have the best I could afford and those were the last loving gifts I could buy. My continuing duty to her now (as she made very clear) is to help her beloved daughters and her elderly mother. I will do it with pleasure as best I can. I will miss her wise guidance though.

Her earthly remains lie near the Katyn Memorial among distinguished Poles, including late members of the government in exile. Mrs P. spoke fluent Polish. We brought our daughters up during our eleven years in Warsaw. My clients and I (steered of course by Adam Smith's "invisible hand") did our bit to build the economy of post-Communist Poland. Somehow it seemed right. As the priest prayed over her grave, I knew a Polish lady very dear to her was also praying for her in Warsaw; the lady who first set her on her path to the faith in which she died. I also knew a good friend of hers I had never met was praying in a church in Corsica. She had told me she would and she texted me a picture of it as the cars took us away from the cemetery.

To my amazed delight, friends flew in from New York and Warsaw just to be there. We received flowers and touching messages from other friends in the United States and Russia who couldn't make it. I smiled to see a card in Cyrillic on a wreath and remembered Mrs P. practising her Russian skills on Aeroflot inflight magazines and in endless conversation with our (Ukrainian) driver. I am told a small UK cancer charity co-founded by her oncologist will receive gifts in her name from some unusual directions. It is wonderful to know that she was so loved outside our family too. I have many thank you letters to write and will do it in the coming days with a proud and grateful heart.

I have had other things to think about than blogging since she died, but I have read and have been moved by your kind comments under my last post (and by the direct messages I received from those of you who know me personally). I am still not in the mood to blog about the idiocies of the British state and its thugs and lackeys. I plan to drive around wild, beautiful Scotland for a few days, finding quiet places to sit and meditate over good whisky on how my life has changed. Maybe after that I will seek out every kilometre of unrestricted autobahn in Germany and clear Vittoria's tubes by maxing her out a few times. And then pootle back gently through France, remembering how we explored that country together in the last three decades and came - for all its foibles - to love it dearly.

Some calm, quiet reflection is required, so forgive me if the Last Ditch's little guns remain silent for a while. I will be back, when you will see how much bombast and overstatement Mrs P's editorial comments have spared you over the years. Thank you again for all your kind thoughts. The friends rallying around me here have reminded me yet again that cyberspace may be virtual, but is populated by real, kind humans.

'Mrs Paine' - 1956-2011

My beloved 'Mrs P.' has passed away. She died peacefully in the early hours of this morning. I was at her bedside, holding her hand and telling her for the last time in this life how much she is loved.

I cannot thank enough the staff at the Cromwell Hospital in London. They have taken great care of her since she was first diagnosed with cancer in December 2008. They were marvelous in the last few weeks. On Friday, they stood around her bed singing 'Happy Birthday' to Miss P the Elder. Mrs P's eyes lit up as they came in bearing an enormous cake made in the hospital kitchens. She ate a few crumbs, smiled at them and mumbled through heavy sedation 'I am very pleased'.

She was my wife of 31 years, my best friend of 37 and my chief counsellor in life. Her love of foreign languages and her curiosity about other cultures made my international career possible. She was a wonderful, instinctive mother to our two splendid daughters. She made every family occasion special. We will miss her more than I can possibly express.

We have been together since I was a boy of 17. She was the author of most of the good in my life. The road ahead seems very dark without her by my side.


See how the state defends you

London Riots: Shop-owners defend their businesses in east London - video | UK news |

So far, the only 'community' to emerge with credit from the London riots is that of the Turkish shopowners who banded together to defend their businesses from the thieving mob. Despite the weaselly attempts of the Guardian's reporter to get them to self-incriminate or make racist remarks they quietly stood their ground, commenting mildly that 'there are not enough police' and 'they can't do nothing about it.' Many are saying that. Only they chose to act. Good on them.

Meanwhile, while amused by the panicky left calling for water-cannons (presumably so they can cry 'police brutality' later) Inspector Gadget is on the scene as part of the emergency support drafted in from country forces. He reports watching a branch of Mothercare burn and informs us 'we don't need the army; we need the order to charge.'

Many people are becoming very angry that we refuse to move our lines and baton charge the rioters. I have run around like a blue arsed fly trying to understand why we are being ordered to stay static; the only explanation I can find is that Gold Command are concerned about the sensitivity of the target group.

Despite all the evidence before their eyes of how little pandering to 'community leaders' has achieved, the Met's leadership is more afraid to hurt criminals from ethnic minorities than it is concerned to protect the lives, limbs and livelihoods of Londoners. If you are genuinely concerned about racism, gentlemen, stop doing it. Because your stance is racist. Not holding certain ethnic groups to the same standards of behaviour is racist. If Dr Martin Luther King were here to comment, that is precisely what he would say. So cut it out right now and let your men do their job.

Pace the tedious thought-free commentators who are bollocking on about social exclusion and poverty, we are dealing with groups of people who have been encouraged by the political establishment to believe themselves above the law. They have been taught, over and again, by the courts that the consequences of real crimes against person and property are trivial. Any punishment will be minor and softened by lots of 'social work' from people who imply that it's all the fault of honest, decent people who are trying to pay their own way through life; not of the entitlement-drugged, parasitical criminal himself.

Vigorous defence of life and property is what the police are for. In a libertarian society, they would not have lost public support by being made to enforce politicians' ideas for social change. In a libertarian society, they would not have to ask if any social or ethnic group enjoyed the protection of those in power before they dared to enforce the law. Meanwhile, in the 'social democrat' society we have now, the same old endlessly opposing, blinkered, views are 'confirmed' by the riots. Different sides of the political debate jostle to use the suffering of those losing their homes and businesses to justify their old ideas.

In the end, I predict that the saddest thing about these events will be that nothing is learned from them.

Worstall on economics

Well of course.

I have nothing to add to Tim's wisdom and commend the linked post to you.

Economics ... has nothing at all to say about whether more or less inequality is a good thing to be striving for. Nada on whether greater physical wealth is better or worse than greater spiritual wealth, about whether we really ought to all make things with our hands or leave it all to machines or Chinee. Entirely sweet f*** all to say about what is the desirable society.

Quite. Asserting the primacy of politics over economics (a la Angela Merkel) is like deciding to fly to France by jumping off the white cliffs of Dover and flapping your arms. Your legitimate objective of travel to France doesn't entitle you to defy gravity.

Watching Ms Merkel and her European cohorts attempting to defy economic gravity is sadly not quite such an amusing image.