Sunday, February 28, 2010

David Cameron’s speech was dripping with Blond and Kruger

It was a tour de force in many ways: David Cameron has the mental agility and capacity of a Shakespearean actor to memorise hundreds of lines and thousands of words, and his ability to incarnate his political philosophy and communicate the intense reality of his feelings to an audience is worthy of the applause of Stanislavski himself. He is a consummate actor in the mould of all the political and religious greats: he conceded that he is a ‘salesman’, and found in the term more compliment than shame.

And so he should.

Politics, like religion, needs people who can communicate and enthuse: if you are a tedious dullard, you inspire no-one to enter the kingdom of heaven and guide none to their earthly salvation. Just as Christianity has been corrupted over the centuries through the interference of man, so conservatism has been misrepresented and perverted by politicians and their parties. No pope or archbishop is Jesus, and no Conservative politician is Burke. All we can do is interpret their words and attempt to discern and interpret their teachings in another era and in a different culture.

The conservatism of Disraeli was not that of Churchill, which was not that of Macmillan, which was not that of Thatcher. And the conservatism of Margaret Thatcher is not that of David Cameron.

Yet a common thread courses through the veins of these leaders: the organic mutability of conservatism and the adaptability of the Conservative Party.

David Cameron’s speech was pitched perfectly for postmodernity: there was sufficient conservative meat for the traditional Tories, a few pounds of flesh for the reformist Whigs, a few sinewy morsels for the liberally-inclined and quite a few marrow-filled bones for those who have never before voted Conservative.

There was no overarching coherent theme (‘change’ is a process, not an objective), though the policies which were outlined were cohesive: if David Cameron delivers on his ‘localism’ and co-operatives, his diverse and ‘small’ schools, his commitment to abolish RDAs, his plans to permit referenda and public petitions in Parliament, his devolution of politics to the lowest level possible, he will be one of the greatest reforming prime ministers in British history.

Which is why the Blond ‘Red Tory’ philosophy irks.

‘Compassionate Conservatism’ does not have to be shackled to ‘Christian Democracy’ and Roman Catholic social teaching: indeed, Margaret Thatcher dedicated her entire premiership to liberating the British economy and eradicating corporatism and statism. Yet by embracing the Milbank doctrine of ‘a civil state, a moralised market and an associative society’, Cameron risks rejecting the best of Anglo-Saxon dynamism for the worst of the Continent’s bureaucracy. The moment one moves to control supermarket prices or interfere with sales, the next step is to prohibit the repossession of homes, and then to replace the minimum wage with a ‘living wage’, to control excessive interest rates on bank lending and herald the end of ‘cartel domination’ and a limit to ‘inappropriate speculation’.

This is not a credible economic model: the state gets bigger, bureaucracy becomes bloated, intervention abounds, the cost of government increases and we are all made poorer.

And yet the Kruger ‘fraternity’ theme gives hope.

There is indeed an arid emptiness in Western culture which is caused by the ‘cult of individualism’. Communities are fragmented, families divided, and society disassociated. In his book On Fraternity, Kruger notes in The City of God that Augustine quotes a Briton who says: “The Romans make a desert and they call it peace’. And he suggests the Conservative Party might be said to have made a desert and called it freedom.

And so Cameron has appropriated some body, mind and spirit ‘wholeness’ themes to connect with those individuals and groups who have never before voted Conservative. By talking of children, families, relationships, welfare and community, and by adopting some distinctly socialist ideas (or, rather, adopting some traditionally socialist themes), he conveys a conservatism which cares for the integrity of the natural environment and for people’s harmony with it. His ‘broad church’ approach, through its ‘compassionate’ or ‘progressive’ influence, is actually the approach of any mission-orientated church. Due to the present deep divisions along religious, philosophical and political lines, there is an arguable need to find alternative principles to guide the construction of just institutions which will permit peaceful cohabitation and the pursuit of an overarching common good. Beyond issues of liberty and equality is, as Kruger observes, fraternity, which he defines as ‘the spirit of unofficial cooperation, aimed not at general formulations or national policies but at specific actions and local needs’.

Just as the Church of England is having to justify why it should remain a privileged participant in the political system, so the Conservative Party is having to come to terms with no longer being ‘the natural party of government’. David Cameron is appropriating Blond’s ideas because they sound more compassionate, but the substance has been tried and well-tested, and consistently been found wanting.

But Kruger is far more than mood music. His dialectic latches on to people’s intuitive quest for meaning, for rootedness, for an assurance of identity. By heeding these deepest of human needs, David Cameron is articulating a conservative liberalism for the postmodern era: it is more feeling and intuiting than it is thinking and sensing.

Whether or not it works remains to be seen.

Labour ‘infiltrated’ by Islamic radicals

Andrew Gilligan is usually sound, so there is no immediate reason to dismiss his report in The Sunday Telegraph that the Labour Party have been ‘infiltrated by a fundamentalist Muslim group that wants to create an “Islamic social and political order” in Britain’.

He quotes the Environment Minister Jim Fitzpatrick, that the Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE) have become ‘a secret party within Labour and other political parties’. He says the group ‘believes in jihad and sharia law, and wants to turn Britain and Europe into an Islamic state’. In order to do this, it ‘has placed sympathisers in elected office and claims, correctly, to be able to achieve “mass mobilisation”’.

He appears to be oblivious to the fact that all Muslims ‘believe’ in jihad and sharia law: it is the duty of all Muslims to struggle for their faith and live a life in submission to the laws of Allah; it is what makes a Muslim a Muslim. But he appears to be incapable of distinguishing between the plethora of schools of thought on these theo-political concepts: one Muslim’s jihad and sharia are not another Muslim’s jihad and sharia: theological interpretation has been devolved and judicial authority protestantised.

This is not the first time Mr Fitzpatrick has incited ill-feeling towards his Muslim constituents: it was he who back in August ‘stormed out’ of a wedding reception when he refused to be separated from his wife.

And here he is now decrying a Muslim group for ‘acting almost as an entryist organisation, placing people within the political parties, recruiting members to those political parties, trying to get individuals selected and elected so they can exercise political influence and power, whether it’s at local government level or national level’.

‘Twas ever thus.

In a liberal representative democracy, it is the right of any legally-constituted group to order itself, get its members to join political parties, and then get them selected and elected ‘so they can exercise political influence and power’.

Good grief, even The Countryside Alliance are at it. And only a few weeks ago, an anonymous Conservative was decrying the same strategy of the Evangelical Christians.

And in 2001 Martin Bell made the 'infiltration' of the Conservative Party by 'extremist' Christians his principal reason for standing against Eric Pickles in Brentwood and Ongar.

One wonders if the grave threat posed to democracy in 2001 by the Peniel Pentecostal Church in Brentwood and Ongar equates to that presented in 2010 by the Islamic Forum of Europe in Poplar and Canning Town. Jim Fitzpatrick is in no doubt: they are ‘completely at odds with Labour’s programme, with our support for secularism’.

Labour’s rabid secularisation agenda has been evident for all to see, but it has not hitherto been articulated by a Government minister. One hopes that other traditionally Labour-supporting religious groups (like the vast majority of Roman Catholics, Nonconformists [especially Methodists], Sikhs and Hindus) will note the existence of this ‘programme’, because it appears now to be Labour’s official position that the involvement of faith groups in politics is a ‘corrupting’ influence.

Yet Mr Fitzpatrick has been hoist by Labour’s petard.

The problem is that Labour have mistaken social cohesion for multiculturalism: they have destroyed community cohesion by pandering to the whims of every minority and creating a hierarchy of rights in which each and every disparate group now vies for supremacy. There can be no cohesion where there is no harmony, and no harmony in a climate of perpetual struggle for supreme rights. New Labour have consistently denigrated Christianity, perverted the pervasive culture and degraded the Church of England in favour of a corrosive secularist ideology of moral relativism which, by statutory instrument, they have made as absolute as any religious doctrine.

The Human Rights Act 1998, the Equality Act 2006 and that of 2010 have conspired to undermine the stability, peace and security of the nation, and have created a vacuum at its spiritual heart.

The Christian faith is now simply one of a number of equal and equivalent faiths, any one of which may be legitimately adopted by any citizen as a religio-political template; any one of whose leaders may be lauded and followed as the prototype disciple, the archetype believer, the perfect man.

Jesus is no longer unique: he is but one in an increasingly broad pantheon.

This is a religio-political beast of Labour’s own creation.

And Jim Fitzpatrick only woke up to the culture war when he realised that his precious Labour Party has welcomed the colonisers and appeased the invaders.

And he has chosen to speak out now only as he realises that he is electoral toast in the new constituency of Poplar and Limehouse, and that his main opponent, George Galloway, has been in bed with the IFE for years.

Perhaps Martin Bell should consider standing here, for 'the case raises issues of democratic process' by which he has justified his entry into politics in the past, and there are clearly one or two 'worried local people'.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Forces of Hell

If you have nothing better to do, you can try to beat His Grace.

There's life in the old ashes yet: FORCES OF HELL

William Hague: "It's time to invite the forces of hell to get the hell out of Downing Street"

"In Brighton this weekend, we, the Conservative Party, come together firm in our conviction, confident in our purpose and resolute in our determination that we will provide the change, the new direction and the new government that this country so urgently needs.

This is a party, out of government for these long years, that has once again planted its roots deep in the soil of Britain; a party that stands unambiguously for family and community, for facing problems together, for responsibility and backing those who do the right thing, for hard work and for saving, for aspiration and optimism, for opening up our own party to people of every background, for releasing the enterprise of a bold and ingenious nation, for giving people more control over their own lives, for giving people the belief they have lost – that they can once again respect their own country and know the rest of the world will do the same.

Britain’s most crucial election for a generation will be held in a matter of weeks. Gordon Brown will not so much decide to call it as be finally dragged kicking and screaming to call it. His decision will be made for him, as so many of them are, by time running out. This is a Prime Minister who got ready for an election when he thought he could win it, then was too frightened to hold it, then has dragged out this miserable parliament to its fullest, bitter end, dithering and vacillating over every decision; a Prime Minister no one ever elected kept in office by Lord Mandelson who no one voted for at all, and who should have had the moral courage and political decisiveness to hold an election long ago.

And I say it is that most crucial election because I believe the choice for Britain is as stark as this: it is change or ruin.

When Gordon Brown took over, this, our great country, was the 4th largest economy in the world. Now it is falling behind and forecast within 5 years to be the 11th, behind not just growing giants like China, but behind our neighbours France and Italy. We were ranked 7th in the world for the competitiveness of our economy. Now we are 13th. We were 4th in the world for our tax and regulation. Now we are 84th and 86th. We are the last G20 country to emerge from recession. We are borrowing almost as much of our income as Greece, but the Greeks have more plans than Gordon Brown, like everyone else in the world, to do something about it.

We are telling the British people the truth: we cannot go on like this.

We say to them now: it is time, it is time to make the break. We cannot go on just borrowing money from China so that we can buy their goods and then borrow some more. Gordon Brown is like a credit card company who will always send you another letter saying it would be so easy when in debt to borrow even more. Every family, every small business, everyone except this Government knows it is the road to ruin.

Last week Gordon Brown said the election should not be a verdict on the Government’s past record. Let me tell him this: we will ensure that a country that wants to look to the future is fully aware of his record. He may not want to discuss his pension destroying, gold selling, golden rule-breaking, national debt-doubling, money wasting, tax raising, colleague rubbishing, pledge betraying, election bottling record but, oh boy, we do.

He says voters should give him a second chance. Look here Gordon, you’ve had 13 years now. You’ve had your second chance and your third. No one in Britain can afford to give you a fourth chance: no one in this country can afford another 5 years of Gordon Brown.

So it is time for change. And if we do not take this opportunity, grasp this hour, to set a new direction for Britain, then I tell you in all frankness that it will be too late. It will be too late in 5 years’ time to say we should have got rid of them, too late to reverse the decline: the debt will be too big, the bureaucracy too bloated, the small businesses too stifled, the slope Britain is sliding down will be too steep.

So to every voter listening to us now we say solemnly, if not now it will be too late. It is time, time to say we can rescue our country, time to refuse to get poorer and more indebted, time to say Britain is not doomed to decline, time to let the Labour party fight its squabbles out of power where it can do no harm, time to invite the forces of hell to get the hell out of Downing Street.

The spectacle of a Prime Minister too disloyal to support his own colleagues but too weak to sack them is a pitiful one. The contrast before the country could not now be greater, for over the last four years it has been my good fortune to work with a leader who treats his colleagues like a team, who wins on his merits their own loyalty and respect, who finds the ground that unites people rather than the lines that divide them, who has the combination of steely determination and earthy common sense that will make for a great Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and that leader is David Cameron.

I have known to some degree every person who has been Prime Minister or Leader of the Opposition in my adult lifetime. I have spent thousands of hours with David Cameron and I can tell you this: he has a passionate belief that life can be improved, that our National Health Service can give of its best, that our schools can beat the world, that our environment can be saved, that government can so organise itself, its taxes, its civil servants and its laws that the energy and goodness of each individual can be released into the world, and these passions – made from Britain at it strongest and Conservative values at their deepest – will form the central, driving energy of a Government of which British people will be proud.

And he likes to take decisions with a cool head inside him and well-informed colleagues around him. It has emerged at the Iraq inquiry that in the vital matters of our national security, of foreign relations and the deployment of our troops, this Government made its decisions without properly consulting the experts, without papers, in casual meetings and ‘little chats’. David Cameron and all of us around him are determined that Cabinet Government will be restored, that we will create a true National Security Council. And ,yes, shocking as it may be to today’s ministers, it will include experts; it will have minutes; it will expect government departments to be co-ordinated with one another: our armed forces have never let this country down and the way we make decisions about their deployment must never let them down.

It is when you think of how badly government is conducted in Britain today, and then of how well it could be conducted with change and new direction, that you grasp both the urgency of our task and the inspirational opportunity now at hand. For, yes, this will be very difficult, both the election against opponents who have nothing to lose except the power that is all they live for, and governing afterwards when they will have left us the worst situation faced by a new government since, well, since the last time a Labour government left office in 1979.

It will be difficult, but it can be done. To those people who have always voted Labour, let us spell out Gordon Brown’s record: the worst of modern times. To those who think they can ignore the election, or vote for Liberals or fringe parties, let us state bluntly you cannot leave it to other people: change will only come if you vote for it and the only vote for change in this election is a vote for a Conservative candidate.

And to those who say they do not know what the Conservatives will do, let us tell them. We will cut the spending that cannot go on and the borrowing that leads to ruin. We will help the hard-pressed taxpayer, by freezing council tax for two years, abolishing stamp duty for most first time buyers, and helping small businesses. If we can, we will spare millions of working people Labour’s extra tax on jobs due next year. We will create a culture of saving instead of a culture of debt, helping people to stay in the home they worked all their lives to pay for, and removing millions of middle-income people from the inheritance tax they should never have been expected to pay.

We will work for George Osborne’s vision of a Britain open for business again – aiming to give Britain the most competitive tax environment in the G20, encouraging multinational companies to locate here and creating the best environment for intellectual property of any major economy.

We will reform welfare, create more apprenticeships, make sure new regulations mean the end of old ones, fund more university places this year and scrap a large slice of expensive quangos. Imagine what our country would be if we could do these things; how the gathering gloom of Gordon Brown’s Britain could be dispelled; how the excitement and energy could pulse through a new generation of entrepreneurs.

And imagine too, far beyond material wealth, the enduring strength we could return to our society. We will make Britain the most family friendly country in Europe. We’ll back the NHS, which matters more to families than anything else. We will strengthen communities by the biggest transfer of power this country has ever seen to councils and communities to decide on what is built, what is spent, what is saved and what is preserved in their city, town and village.

We will bring to education the galvanising effect of new schools in the state sector but not run by the state and a long overdue emphasis on discipline and standards for all. We will give our public sector workers the biggest opportunity they have ever had to run things themselves, as they know best.

This would be, when you repeat it and think about it, the salvation of our country. Let no voter say, by election day, that they do not know what the Conservatives will do. And it doesn’t stop there. Where Labour have refused to control immigration we will properly control it; where they betrayed democracy by refusing a referendum we will build a referendum whenever the powers of the voters are given away into our law; and where they have presided over the greatest disillusionment with politics and government in centuries we will reduce our own salaries as ministers, cut the size and cost of parliament, make the House of Commons more democratic let everyone see how their taxpayers’ money is spent – and demonstrate that people can have faith in their leaders again.

This is a vision of a Britain restored. This is a Britain that would be listened to in the world again. And it is a Britain that would have, with us, a distinctive British foreign policy, making the most of our European and transatlantic alliance, but doing something Labour have never done – elevating our relations in culture, education, commerce and diplomacy with many friendly nations of the Middle East, Asia and Latin America, intensifying the friendships that will give British people opportunity, employment and security for generations to come.

So I say imagine what we could do. If we could do these things, we would take our country in a new direction and show that politics has a purpose; that it can turn a country round and get it moving again.

Imagine what we can do, and you know beyond doubt that our efforts are worth it; that these things are worth each one of us fighting for, worth the voters who want change voting for, worth millions of British people hoping for.

In Brighton this weekend we present the choice: five more years of Gordon Brown’s tired Government making things worse. Or David Cameron and the Conservatives with the energy, leadership and values to get the country moving. Five years from now it will be too late. Tomorrow David Cameron will ask you to vote for change. It is time, now, for our great leader, our strong team, our clear policies and our vision of the future, to be the change this country needs.”

Nothing wrong with this.

Except that Cranmer would not have used the word 'invite'.

MPAC: ‘What type of idiot Muslim are you’?

It is axiomatic that one may mock one’s fellow countrymen: if an Irishman tells a joke about the Irish, it is funny; if a rabbi mocks Jews, it is hilarious; if a Pakistani refers to ‘Pakis’, it is certainly not racist. And so Muslims are at liberty to berate their co-religionists: to do so is neither insult nor prejudice.

The Muslim Public Affairs Committee (MPAC) sometimes comes out with utter rubbish, but more often than not, their observations are thoughtful and intelligent.

Consider this piece: ‘What type of idiot Muslim are you?

They say:

The problem with Muslims when it comes to election time is that they fall into three categories of idiot:

1) The 'I am an idiot and too lazy to vote' Muslim
2) The 'I am an idiot and always vote Labour no matter how they treat me afterwards' Muslim
3) The 'I am an idiot and think I will go to hell by voting against a war' Muslim.

After 10 years of teaching Muslims to vote intelligently and, better still, join all political parties to make a difference (not to mention being the first group to make this a national Muslim issue) we couldn’t help but hold our heads in our hands in despair when we read this report in the Guardian that the dumb Muslims are still as stupid as ever.

If you want to break the psychological chains that made your friends idiots, why not come to a local branch discussion in your local area and let us make you clever again?

MPACUK : Operation Muslim Vote coming soon to an area near you.

It is refreshing that a dedicated Muslim site is prepared to say something as forthright as ‘the dumb Muslims are as stupid as ever’, not, of course, because they believe that all Muslims are dumb and stupid (presumably, they at least exempt themselves), but because it is the considered view of MPAC that the herd mentality and traditional tribal loyalties are proving insurmountable obstacles to religio-political enlightenment.

The Guardian piece which so grieved them was concerned with the Theos/ComRes research which showed that Muslims are attracted to Labour like a moth to a flame, Pooh Bear to honey, or (considering the perverted essence of the present Government) blue-bottles to faeces. Even when the moth has been singed (Iraq, Afghanistan), the bear made sick with sweetness (Tony Blair’s love-in with George Bush) or the flies gorged on a surfeit of excrement (rafts of ‘anti-terror’ legislation), the ‘dumb’ and ‘stupid’ Muslims just will not do what MPAC believe they should.

The Theos/ComRes poll established that if there were a general election tomorrow, 35 per cent of voting Muslims (meaning those Muslims who claim they are more likely than not to vote) would vote Labour. This compares with 22 per cent of voting Christians and 23 per cent of the entire voting population. By comparison, whereas 30 per cent of the voting population would tick the Conservative box, only 13 per cent of voting Muslims would do so.

Astonishingly, 49 per cent of Muslims claim they feel that the Labour party has been most friendly towards the Muslim faith over recent years, compared with 6 per cent who think that the Conservatives have been.

Or perhaps it is not so astonishing, since ‘over recent years’ the Conservatives have not been in a position to be ‘friendly’ in ways that many Muslims might like, especially with regard to foreign policy.

And so MPAC despair that ‘Labour appears to remain the natural home for British Muslims’.

The mistake, of course, is to presume that Muslims vote a particular way because they are Muslim. There are demographic and socio-economic reasons which might explain their voting intentions, as the The Guardian observes: ‘British Muslims are disproportionately younger and more urban. They come from lower-income households and experience higher levels of unemployment. These factors traditionally edge voters to the left.’

If Muslims vote Labour because they are young, urban, poor or unemployed rather than because they are Muslim, ‘it would mean that attempts to court the Muslim vote, or even engage with the Muslim community, are misguided’.

And when one reads the self-righteous waffle of Inayat Bunglawala, one may see the wisdom of this observation.

In another Guardian piece (about which MPAC have been uncharacteristically silent), Mr Bunglawala, who is the media secretary of the Muslim Council of Britain, berates David Cameron and the Conservative Party for failing to attend their ‘gala dinner’.

He reminds us that the MCB is ‘the UK's largest Islamic umbrella body’, and points out that Labour sent the Justice Secretary, Jack Straw and the Communities Secretary, John Denham. And the Liberal Democrats sent their party leader, no less, Nick Clegg.

But he bemoans the fact that ‘no frontbencher from the Conservative party deemed it worthwhile attending this event, which brought together more than 400 key figures from the UK's diverse Muslim communities’.

He then reasons why they should have done:

‘The Theos research appears to confirm that UK Muslim support for Labour is on the increase once again after a torrid few years under the Blairite former cabinet ministers Ruth Kelly and her successor at the Communities and Local Government (CLG) department, Hazel Blears.’

Actually, Hazel Blears (rightly) severed links with the MCB following the revelation that Dr Daud Abdullah, the organisation’s deputy secretary-general, advocated attacks on British armed forces (specifically the Royal Navy) if they attempted to halt arms intended for Hamas being smuggled into Gaza. Dr Abdullah put his name to the ‘Istanbul Declaration’ along with 90 other Muslim leaders, because he supports the right of the Palestinian people ‘to resist the ongoing illegal and brutal occupation of their land’. The declaration includes the statement that ‘foreign warships in Muslim waters, claiming to control the borders and prevent the smuggling of arms to Gaza’ was a declaration of war.

The ‘torrid few years’ to which Mr Bunglawala refers were as a result of Labour’s refusal to do business with an organisation which advocates betrayal and treason.

The Conservative Party is not interested in associating with those who reject parliamentary democracy, dismiss the rule of law and promote intolerance and discrimination on the basis of race, faith, ethnicity, gender or sexuality. The Conservative Party is not interested in being as popular as John Denham (who, along with Robin Cook, resigned over the Iraq war) if that popularity comes at the expense of national security.

Apparently, at the gala dinner, Mr Denham made it clear that ‘the government no longer wishes all UK Muslims to be viewed through the prism of terrorism and the security threat’.

The Conservative Party never has and never would do this: to do so would be akin to viewing all Roman Catholics through the prism of Gerry Adams’ blood-stained spectacles.

The Conservative Party is as concerned with jobs, housing and education as any Muslim; it is as alarmed by family breakdown and the pervasive lack of respect for authority and tradition as any Muslim; it is as disturbed by poverty and prejudice as any Muslim; it is as motivated towards self-improvement and social advancement as any Muslim.

That is why Muslims would find a natural political home within the Conservative family.

So when Inayat Bunglawala rebukes the Conservatives for a ‘needlessly offensive snub’, he might consider that the MCB is a self-appointed, self-perpetuating, self-important and self-indulgent organisation which no more speaks for the ‘Muslim community’ of Great Britain than Stephen Green speaks the 'Christian Voice’ for all Christians; it is the MCB which continually snubs the foundations of our liberal democracy; and it is Inayat Bunglawala who offends by perpetually falling into MPAC’s second category of Muslim idiot.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Cardinal Keith O’Brien: the Pope should ‘give Labour hell’ for its policies

There’s an awful lot of Gehenna around at the moment. If it is not spewing forth from Number 10, it is being invoked from The Vatican.

But as much as one might agree with the Cardinal that the forthcoming visit of His Holiness to Scotland to celebrate the 450th anniversary of the Scottish Reformation might be a good opportunity for a ‘Thomas More’ moment (unless he is saving that for his address from Westminster Hall), Cranmer cannot for the life of him work out why the Archbishop of Canterbury has gone Trappist.


It is difficult to summarise the damage this Labour Government has done to the Christian conservative-liberal settlement by which the United Kingdom has been bound together for centuries. And that is conservative with a small ‘c’ and liberal with a small ‘l’. It is a peculiarly English disposition: autonomy in a social context; the right to life, liberty and property, possessed by man in isolation, with the state stepping in to do what only the state can do, leaving the rest of existence to voluntary association and free pursuit. It is the disposition which has guarded us against bloody revolution, and sustained the peace for more than three centuries.

After 13 years of New Labour, we now have a despotism in which each individual is encouraged to assert his or her rights, with one minority interest group perpetually pitted against another; all now conditioned to look to the state as the only source of wisdom and truth. By aggressively asserting ‘equality’, the benign Christian settlement by which the character of the nation has been forged and its liberties constructed is reduced to being merely one constitutional template among many. We have become, as Hegel would say, a soulless community, irredeemably divided into a mere multiplicity of individuals, in which all count the same.

The logical end of the New Labour project is expounded by Plato: the state controls voluntary association, suppresses the home and usurps the functions of family life. We are not quite yet at ‘mating festivals’, but the aggressive moves towards a state curriculum for morality, or the plans for a universal register of all state-approved home-schoolers, is designed to ‘liberate’ the child from all previous influences upon his or her life, to undo any religious or moral influence, and return the child to that state of abstract equality which preceded his or her social existence.

After 13 years of New Labour, church and state are no longer in what Hooker called a ‘living tension’; the secular state has neutered the sacred church, such that it dare not open its mouth for fear of offending some minority, uttering something profane to the creed of political correctness, or ‘inciting hatred’ towards Muslims. The Church of England has been emasculated and feminised by the testosterone-charge of rabid secularism. What was once the ‘Tory party at prayer’ has become the ‘spiritual wing of New Labour’.

The state of England’s national church is a disgrace. In fact, it is more than a disgrace, it is a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions.

Shakespearean because it has abandoned the classical unities of action, time and place (there are so many gay, feminist and papal sub-plots that there is no possibility of coherent action occurring in one day and in one place). And it has a particular non-Aristotelian tragi-comedic feel, fusing clowns with hollow crowns, robed protagonists with carping clerics and religio-political spectacle expressed in sublime moments of poetry against the prosiac prose of life.

But it is not so much blank verse as blank theology.

There may be no towering protagonist like a Lear, Hamlet or Othello, but there is an individual who is leading us to an inescapable destiny of conflict. It seems to demand a tragic ending, but it will probably be averted by the pervasive comic action.

Godly people have simply been ground down by the bureaucrats and those who couldn’t beat them have joined them. If they are not consumed by women priests and bishops, they are distracted by serial re-marriage or absorbed by gay blessings.

All in the name of ‘equality’.

And while the new gospel of the rights of man has been ascendant, the Christian conscience has been usurped.

After 13 years of New Labour, we have seen an a steadily increasing intolerance of religious or ethical considerations, and especially to those of immense concern to Christians. The triumph of utilitarianism has relegated religious considerations to the peripheries of sanity, and the only rational context in which debate can now take place is that which reduces ethical considerations to matters of economics or science.

New Labour has cheapened the value of life and negated the primacy of conscience. They have misrepresented science in order to perpetuate their programme of social engineering, and they are intent on destroying the carefully-laid foundations of tolerance and respect which have set this nation apart. They are so intent on legislating for tolerance towards every intolerant minority that they are legislating for intolerance of the tolerant Christian majority.

When Christians dare to be convicted, they are portrayed as bigots. When they articulate a view with which others may disagree, they are dogmatic. When they fall short of perfection, they are pilloried and cast as hypocrites. When they defend the unborn, they are unenlightened. When they oppose animal-human embryos, they are anti-science. When they express concern over the fatherless, they are homophobic. When they speak up for the poor, they are wishy-washy liberals. When they defend faith-based education, they are intolerant. When they seek to uphold marriage, they are ‘right wing’ reactionaries.

It therefore comes as no surprise that Cardinal Keith O’Brien wants the Pope to ‘give Labour hell’.

Though it is probably now illegal to say politicians might go there.

But it is a very great pity that the Archbishop of Canterbury has not already called this anti-Christian Government to account, and reminded them that we Christians dwell in the same space as they, and that we have our ancient rights and liberties.

First, that we have granted to God, and by this present charter have confirmed for us and our heirs in perpetuity, that the English Church shall be free, and shall have its rights undiminished, and its liberties unimpaired...

"There needs no Pope, my lord, come from Rome to tell us this."

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Nigel Farage: “I don’t want to be rude, but...”

With the news that Speaker Bercow has been reported to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards for allegedly using the apolitical Office of The Speaker to operate his re-election campaign for Buckingham via 'The Friends of Speaker Bercow', Nigel Farage might well have a little jaunt in his step.

Teaching abortion in an ‘enlightened’ and ‘non-judgmental’ way

There has been much to-ing and fro-ing about who blinked first and who conceded what to whom in the latest Education Children, Schools and Families Bill to pass through Parliament.

The contention, as ever, is in the provision of sex education.

The Catholic Education Service and Archbishop Vincent Nichols are apparently so content with the settlement that they provided Ed Balls with abundant quotations to that effect (or, rather, they have not sought to correct his interpretation of their apparent acquiescence or his self-promotion as the guardian of religious liberty).

Yet the National Secular Society and the more Tablet-inclined Roman Catholics are appalled by what they see as a Government climb-down and ‘pandering to religion’.

And so are a few liberal Jews and those ‘fairly classic’ sorts of Anglicans.

The liberal religionists accuse the Secretary of State of diluting the ‘enlightened’ compulsory requirement for all schools to teach about contraception, homosexuality and abortion in a ‘neutral’ kind of way.

The orthodox are foaming at the mouth over the imposition of secular or ‘enlightened’ values upon schools whose religious foundation repudiates that such moral issues could or should be addressed in a ‘neutral’ fashion.

It is not a new clash of worldviews: indeed, the ‘special’ status of what have become known as ‘faith schools’ can be traced to the very foundations of the state education settlement in the nineteenth century, which was enshrined in law for the modern era in the 1944 Education Act.

But it is a bizarre and undignified spat, because anyone can see that it is the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales (as represented by the Catholic Education Service and led by the Archbishop of Westminster) which has shifted on this; it is they who have (apparently) agreed to propagate the ‘enlightened’ secular amorality of New Labour.

One can understand that socialist zealots are blind to the dogmatic orthodoxy of their own state coercion that ‘enlightenment neutrality’ must be imposed upon all children: they are, after all, socialists, and it is intrinsic to their political creed that children are the property of the state and that the state has a duty to inculcate them with a sense of what is permitted and induct them with the state’s notions of truth. The creed is as illiberal as the most illiberal religion, and as unenlightened as the most medieval attitude.

If parents no longer have the right to educate their children in accordance with their own religious laws and values, England has just lost the religious liberty which has developed over the past three centuries. The steps towards emancipation which Nonconformists, Jews and Roman Catholics have taken over the years have resulted in greater liberties in their teaching, worship, marriage and the right to stand for public office.

It is ironic that these hard-won liberties are now being steadily eroded, and the authoritarian state is rediscovering its repressive instinct.

As a result of this Act, all schools in England (for education is a devolved competence) are now required by statutory instrument to teach all pupils about contraception, homosexuality, civil partnerships and abortion.

Faith schools, however, may do so in accordance with their religious precepts. The amendment inserted by Mr Balls reads:

Page 14, line 6 [Clause 11], at end insert—

‘(7A) Subsections (4) to (7) are not to be read as preventing the governing body or head teacher of a school within subsection (7B) from causing or allowing PSHE to be taught in a way that reflects the school’s religious character.

(7B) A school is within this subsection if it is designated as a school having a religious character by an order made by the Secretary of State under section 69(3) of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998.’.

You might think, therefore, that (say) a Roman Catholic school would be free to teach that contraception exists but it is expressly forbidden by the magisterium as being contrary to the purposes of God; that homosexuality is, as the Pope says, an ‘intrinsic disorder’; that civil partnerships are nothing but a perverted parody of the institution of marriage; and that abortion is... well, murder.

Not so. The exemption is illusory.

Mr Balls has said of faith schools: ‘What they must not do is teach discrimination’.

This begs the question of whether the Secretary of State knows the difference between prejudice and discrimination, not least because the very existence of faith schools enshrines discriminatory provisions within the education system.

He also says: “Faith schools will not be able to opt out of statutory lessons on sex and relationship education when the legislation comes into effect in September 2011. This includes education about contraception and the importance of stable relationships, including marriage and civil partnerships. It will not allow the teaching of homophobia...”

Which schools teach ‘homophobia’? How is this defined? Is it not clear that any move to teach that civil partnerships are somehow inferior to marriage runs the risk of allegations of ‘homophobia’?

And so Labour now require that all matters of sex and sexuality be taught in a ‘non-judgmental’ way.

But it is difficult to see how this may be done without setting aside the traditional moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church and the very words of Pope Benedict XVI.

To state that homosexuality is an ‘intrinsic disorder’ is... well, judgmental.

To state that abortion is murder is no less so.

Unless one is to teach that homosexuality is an intrinsic disorder but then expound its carnal joys and bonding pleasures; or that abortion is a grave moral evil and a mortal sin, but then provide girls with all the information and encouragement they require to procure one and all the emotional comfort they need afterwards.

The reality is that this Bill forces every faith school to conform to the ‘fairly classic’ sort of Anglicanism: but it is not a statutory via media which attempts to tread somewhere between the liberals and conservatives, but a statutory instrument which obliges the conservatives to adopt liberal values and expound liberal doctrine, which, to them, is manifestly unorthodox. They are henceforth coerced by the state’s concept of ‘neutrality’. These schools are obliged to present as ‘choice’ what hitherto has not been a choice; to give pupils the options as though they were all morally equivalent; to promote what has traditionally been judged to be ‘sin’. It is facilitation under the guise of information.

Harry Cohen MP, a Labour backbencher, asked Vernon Coaker, junior minister for schools:

"Will my hon. Friend assure me that no faith school teacher will be allowed to spread long-term fear among children by telling them that if they subsequently have an abortion or partake in homosexuality they will end up going to hell?"

To which Mr Coaker replied: "Of course I can give my hon. Friend that assurance."

And so Parliament has grabbed the Keys of St Peter. And the state’s office of the Inquisition – Ofsted – will ensure compliance, lest an otherwise outstanding school be publically criticised and humiliated for ‘failing’ to provide an ‘adequate’ programme of PSHE.

Since this Bill cannot become law before the General Election, it remains to be seen what the Conservative Party intends to do with it.

One would think that a party which traditionally eschews coercion and recognises the right of parents to educate their children in accordance with their own religious precepts would let this Bill fall by the wayside. The problem they have is that it is enmeshed with issues of gay ‘equality’ and minority ‘liberty’.

For all three main political parties, moral ideas have become a desiccated sediment: they had significance while they were suspended in the fluid of religious and social tradition. Labour have been drawing off the water of life in which our moral ideas were suspended, pouring it down the drain with the sewage, leaving us with nothing but dust.

Labour have de-legitimised morality and replaced it with abstract moralising, as though the vagaries of human sense were a substitute for millennia of accumulated wisdom. The nation’s Protestant Settlement, which bequeathed us a tradition of benign social authority, has been subsumed to a malign socialist anti-authoritarianism and ultra-liberalism which is inexorably changing our culture beyond recognition and foisting upon everyone a value-free vernacular.

One cannot be ‘neutral’ about sex, sexuality or the sanctity of life without being indifferent.

It is time for Christians to repudiate New Labour’s old tyranny.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

"The forces of Hell were unleashed..."

Labour becoming more reliant on union funding

The latest quarter's funding of political parties has just been released:

• Conservatives continue to broaden the base of support. In the last calendar year (2009), the Conservative Party received a total of 1,037 individual cash and in-kind donations. This is an increase of 40 per cent on the 742 cash and in-kind donations received in the previous calendar year (2008).

• Conservatives have five times more individual support than Labour this year. The Conservative Party received over five times as many individual cash and in-kind donations as the Labour Party in 2009 (199 for Labour, 1,037 for the Conservative Party).

• Labour Party still relies on a few big individual donors. In 2009, Labour received 199 cash and in-cash donations totalling £3,655,929.91 from individuals. Three quarters of this money came from just three donors – Nigel Doughty, Ronald Cohen and Lord Sainsbury. Between them, they donated a total of £2,810,201.

Labour’s Reliance on the Unions

• Labour more reliant on trade unions for funding in 2009 than in 2008. In 2008, trade unions provided 52.2 per cent of funding for the Labour Party. In 2009, this rose to 60.3 per cent – trade unions gave Labour £9,784,232.43 of the £16,220,694.64 it raised from other sources.

• A third of all donations come from the trade unions. The Labour Party raised £5.3 million in Q4 2009, of which £1.9 million came from trade unions.

• Union reliance up on the last quarter. In Q3 2009, the Labour Party received 87 cash and in-kind donations from the trade unions. In Q4, there were 138 cash and in-kind donations from trade unions, representing a quarterly increase of 59 per cent.

• Union behind planned BA strikes gave Labour millions. Unite, the trade union behind the BA strike action, gave the Labour Party £3,642,919.06 in 2009. This equates to 22.5 per cent of the funding the party received last year. This is up on 2008, when donations from Unite amounted to £3,958,915.79 – 22.0 per cent of the total funding they received (Electoral Commission).

• Labour received over £30,000 from unions in staff secondments in the last quarter. Unions seconded staff to Labour in the last quarter to the value of £30,680.42. This brings the total donated to Labour in staff secondments in 2009 to £138,042.86 – a huge increase on the £51,918.10 in staff secondments received by the party in 2008.

Total Support for Labour

• Since 2001, unions have donated over £86.5 million to the Labour Party. Since donations first had to be reported to the Electoral Commission in 2001, Labour have reported receiving donations totalling £86,503,718.41 from the unions. This equates to 60 per cent of all the donations that they received since recording began.

Responding to the latest figures released by the Electoral Commission on party donations, Conservative Party Chairman, Eric Pickles, said: “It’s frightening that day by day the unions’ stranglehold on the Labour party is tightening.

“As millions face air travel misery, we now discover that the union behind it is bankrolling the Labour Party, and its Political Director is back doing Gordon Brown's dirty work.

“This really is a Government that has lost its moral authority.”

Quite. But since we now know that they can and do unleash the forces of hell even upon their own, one can expect a hint of amorality.

Alistair Darling: Gordon Brown is the spawn of Satan and his advisers are demons who do his every bidding

There is something refreshingly honest about Alistair Darling. He is that rare beast among politicians – honest, direct and plain-speaking. He not only (correctly) predicted the worst recession for 60 years, but also (accurately) assessed that people are ‘pissed off’ with Labour.

The Chancellor did not quite call Gordon Brown Satan, but it is certainly what he implied.

He leaves us with no illusion about the unpleasantness he endured after revealing to the world the likely depth and duration of this recession. ‘The forces of hell were unleashed’, he says.

Hell is, of course, a place of fiery punishment and torment where the souls of the damned are confined after death. It is a state of misery or wickedness in the underworld, from which the demonic hordes are dispatched to plague, torment and tempt mankind into an eternity of darkness, separated forever from the truth, light and love of God.

Asked by the interviewer whether the forces of hell were unleashed by Number 10, Mr Darling responded: "Not just them, the Tories as well."

Well, one can excuse the Tories, for they are the party of opposition, and unleashing unpleasantness upon the Government is (presently) their raison d’être.

But the Chancellor quite explicitly confirms that ‘the forces of hell were unleashed’ by Number 10, and this is a reference to the backroom briefings, whisperings and destabilising activities of the Prime Minister's demonic henchmen Damian McBride and Charlie Whelan.

And let us not be naïve about this: they would not have so much as breathed a word against the Prime Minister’s most senior government colleague if they had not been directly ordered to do so – by the only person who could have ordered them to do so.

So when Gordon Brown categorically denies doing any such thing, we are left with a choice.

Do we believe the man who systematically destabilised his predecessor in Downing Street, who has a proven track record of briefing against colleagues and ‘bullying’ people to do his bidding; do we believe the self-serving political director of a trade union; do we trust the word of the one who left Number 10 last year after a disreputable email scandal?

Or do we believe the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who was honest enough with the electorate not only to forewarn us of the deepest and longest recession in history, but who also had the perspicacity of mind to observe that we are irredeemably ‘pissed off’ with this Labour Government?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Richard Dawkins: "Not to know the King James Bible is to be in some small way barbarian"

He then says the Bible 'doesn't have to be tied to religion... It's important that religion shouldn't be allowed to hijack this cultural resource'.

Ignore completely, of course, its fons et origo - millennia of Jewish and Christian revelation and inspiration.

One wonders how Professor Dawkins (who, incidentally, never had the courtesy to respond to His Grace other than with ad hominem insult) might feel about the assertion that evolutionary biology doesn't have to be tied to Atheism. It is, after all, very important that Atheism shouldn't be allowed to hijack science.

David Cameron’s Department for Administrative Affairs

Who would have thought that the fictional department which was run by the Rt Hon Jim Hacker MP might one day become a reality?

Who would have credited the brilliant Antony Jay and Jonathan Lynn with such inspirational foresight as the gift of political prophecy?

Of all the draft manifesto semi-commitments yet expounded by the nation’s next prime minister, none is as revolutionary as his ‘Post-Bureaucratic Age’, and yesterday we heard more about it.

Command-and-control will disappear: the Hobbesian Leviathian of state centralisation will be slain by the swords of transparency, scrutiny and accountability. Power will be relinquished and devolved from the centre, permitting cooperatives to flourish, shifting the control of public money from the sluggish tiers of bureaucratic government to energised individuals and vibrant communities. The internet will make everyone a participant: the wisdom of the crowd, no longer tolerant of obfuscation, waffle and gibberish, will shine through to impose itself upon government policy. Such ideas have come to be known as post-bureaucratic.

It was George Orwell who observed that ‘political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness’. In the same essay, he added that such language was ‘designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable’.

Standards have not really changed: indeed, the whole business of government is now seen in those terms. Impenetrable verbiage and incoherent jargon, lies and duplicity have demoralised the people and alienated a nation: they are disillusioned with their politicians and despairing of their politics.

‘Spin’ and intractable bureaucracy have become a totalitarian force in modern political life. The ‘spin’ is the packaging and presenting of information to brainwash; the bureaucracy to frustrate inquiry and obfuscate to the point of exasperation. This arouses suspicion, engenders distrust, and becomes a self-fulfilling cycle of perpetual immobility.

But we are no longer dependent upon the BBC for the ‘state’ news; we are no longer beholden to media barons for a ‘take’ on a story, to publishers for a book selection or to radio stations for a music playlist. An artist can now reach Number 1 in the charts solely through internet downloads; a blogger can have a wider readership than a national daily; a book can be published and sold on demand; and anyone can give us an angle on a news story – especially those the ‘mainstream media’ have chosen to ignore.

The internet now presents us with Sir Humphrey’s nightmare: the data he had at his fingertips and which he withheld from the Minister will now be made available to the masses. They can filter it, crunch it, order it, present it, interpret it and review it, irrespective of ‘spin’ and the official civil-service line to take. It is the epitome of transparency; the pinnacle of accountability; the zenith of democracy.

It will not be easy, not least because it runs counter to the post-democratic zeitgeist, and Sir Humphrey is now no longer merely a pedantic and pompous permanent secretary in Whitehall but a burgeoning bureaucratic beast in Brussels.

The hurdles are considerable.

Let us not forget that Jim Hacker failed in his idealistic quest to improve the relationship between government and citizens; he failed to reduce bureaucracy or to save the taxpayer the millions he promised. And the reason was that ultimately his own re-election and advancement became his only real measure of success. Sir Humphrey knew this, and so forced the Minister for Administrative Affairs to dance to the tune of popular appeal, thereby sustaining the prestige, power, and influence of the complex bureaucracy.

And so the reforms and economies never happened.

But the department remained, because the aspiration was an undeniable vote-winner; the mere existence of the policy sustained the perception of progress.

Let us hope the ‘Post-Bureacratic Age’ does not fall foul of civil service obfuscation and circumlocution, or European Union jargon and manipulation. And let us also hope that it does not have to wade through months of boards and reviews or years of interminable inquiries and interdepartmental committees, lest the ‘Post-Bureaucratic Age’ become nothing more than a colossal exercise in bureaucracy.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Labour ends prisoners' Early Release Scheme weeks before General Election

Responding to the Government’s announcement that they plan to end their Early Release scheme, Shadow Justice Secretary, Dominic Grieve said:

“Mr Speaker, on this side of the House we have been calling for an end to the government’s reckless early release scheme for some time. In principle, it is something to be welcomed. But as always with this government, you have to check the fine print.

The House will recall that the introduction of the early release scheme was a direct result of this Prime Minister’s failure. As Chancellor, he choked funding for the prison cells the Home Secretary had asked for, the capacity required to meet official projections for the prison population.

The consequences of that failure have been stark. 80,000 criminals let out of jail early. Including 15,000 violent offenders and two terrorists. Those released went on to commit 1,500 crimes, including several rape and murder offences.

Given this record, Mr Speaker, it is vital to bring the scheme to a close. That must be done by providing the cells to house the prisoners, and protect the public. Yet over the last 6 months, the Justice Secretary has shelved plans for a prison in North Wales and one in Dagenham.

That leaves a gaping hole in the government’s plans. Can the Justice Secretary confirm that, on the Government’s own projections, taking into account planned increases in capacity, prison population will exceed operational capacity by July 2011? They are his department’s projections. Can he confirm them?

Mr Speaker, not only do we have his department’s projections. I have personally received a letter complaining that the Justice Secretary has been warned by his officials that prison population will continue to rise over, without adequate capacity in place, creating a crisis of overcrowding within 2 years. He has a track record of ignoring government legal advice. Can he say categorically that he has not received any official advice warning that ending early release cannot be sustained for more than a temporary period?

Mr Speaker, today the Minister of State has also released a written statement to the House announcing a new contract which will promote the use of Home Detention Curfew.

The Minister is explicit. She says the government wants and I quote:

‘courts and prison governors to make greater use of conditional bail and early release on Home Detention Curfew’ than they do at present?

It seems what the Justice Secretary gives with one hand he takes with the other. Can he confirm that this will not simply mean more early release under another label?

Mr Speaker, let there be no doubt. On this side of the House we want an end to early release. But, it would compound the very recklessness of the scheme to end it when that can only be done temporarily. Or to re-introduce it under another name.

On 9 February, the Minister of State was asked whether the government had plans to end early release.

She denied such plans, but stated that the government would end early release, and I quote, ‘as soon as is practically possible’.

What in less than two weeks has rendered what was then practically impossible today possible?

Could it be the timing of the end of the scheme, on 12 March just weeks before an election is called which only confirms our fears that the government is acting out of political desperation, not the national interest.

Is the Justice Secretary talking tough on crime before the election, to make it tough on us after?”

As a footnote, Cranmer was aware that Labour had liberated some 80,000 criminals on their 'End of Custody Licence', including 15,000 violent offenders who have been responsible for some 1,543 further offences including at least three murders. But he had absolutely no idea that Labour had granted premature freedom to convicted terrorists.

What an offensive façade of justice and security this shambolic government is.

Gordon Brown – a bully or just a strong but imperfect leader?

Cranmer knows a thing or two about bullying.

Believe it.

They manipulate, humiliate, denigrate, undermine, distort, fabricate, lie convincingly and then lie again to cover their lies. And then they project all of their inadequacies, shortcomings and inappropriate behaviours on to their innocent victims with ferocious psychological violence, just to avoid facing up to their own inadequacies and doing something about them.

Bullies are arrogant, audacious, and exert a superior sense of entitlement. They are practised in the art of deception, deflection and obfuscation: if ever they are called to account, they will flit from subject to subject without ever answering the question, and spontaneously fabricate further as the moment requires, knowing full well that further investigation of their additional lies is not likely. And so they continue their vile and vindictive campaign when any official internal process has been summarily dismissed. And they even lie on oath, perfectly convinced of the infallibility of their words and the untouchability of their person. They are impregnable, unaccountable and immovable; perfectly charming in public and before any inquisitor or judge but thoroughly evil in private.

They tend to be superficial and awkward in conversation, though possessed of exceptional verbal dexterity. Their laugh is forced, hollow and insincere. In any discussion in which they sense danger of exposure, a voice may be raised slightly to warn off, speaking may become ‘firmer’, or the conversation will be abruptly terminated. They will alienate the strong employees, often by overlooking them for promotion or recognition, and they will ‘look after’ the fawning and obsequious.

They tend to be emotionally retarded with a pathological inability to empathise; they may storm out of rooms or rant when they don’t get their way. They are prone to mimic, repeat and plagiarise in order to maintain their façade of working excellence and semblance of normality. They cannot be trusted with personal information or confidences, and are likely to use any employee’s weakness (like bereavement or illness) as a means of undermining and destabilising.

Bullies can exhibit an unhealthy obsession with sexual matters: they see everything in terms of sex discrimination, harassment or paedophilia. Any employee they wish to bully can expect to have their morality and integrity questioned and can be made to feel like a sexual pervert. They are profoundly prejudiced (gender, race, religion, sexuality) but present themselves as the epitome of rectitude and fairness.

They criticise without foundation and often behind one’s back. They divide and rule by sharing ‘confidences’ with other employees and then swearing them to secrecy. They poison the minds by manipulating perceptions. Their own sense of superiority persuades them of the orthodoxy of their leadership style and methodology.

Serial bullies despise anyone who enables others to see through their deception and their mask of sanity. And they are programmed to discredit, neutralise and destroy. No-one knows more about bullying than the bully, and so the victim is often accused of bullying the bully by trying to raise a legitimate grievance.

The bully is spiritually dead. They may loudly profess their faith and use all the right words, but their soul is devoid of life. Their invincibility has made them their own god, and God is recreated in their image.

That is the bully. They exist in all walks of life, in all companies, at all levels. They doubtless exist on the Government benches as they do on the Opposition benches. There may be one in Downing Street, and it may or may not be the Prime Minister. And the species might also infect Conservative Party Headquarters.

But exposing and attempting to bring them to account can be a suicidal pursuit.

Now let us examine what Gordon Brown is accused of.

We are told by Lord Mandelson that he can be impatient, gets angry and won't take no for an answer from his staff: "He doesn't bully people - I don't think he so much bullies people as is very demanding of people around him.... He will go on and on until he's got a policy or an idea that can go on.”

"There is a degree of impatience about the man but what do you want - a shrinking violet?"

Asked on the BBC whether he has been hit by the Prime Minister, Lord Mandelson suggested they had been in ‘metaphorical’ combat, saying: "I think it's true we've had our moments."

Andrew Rawnsley’s book alleges that the Cabinet Secretary became so alarmed by the Prime Minister's behaviour that he issued a verbal warning.

This has been denied this morning in a statement from the Cabinet Office.

The Prime Minister is also accused of throwing a secretary out of her seat when he judged she was not typing fast enough; of grabbing his deputy chief of staff by the lapels; of thumping the back of the passenger seat of his official car in rage; and of throwing mobile phones and printers across the room.

There is more here, here, here and here.

And we heard yesterday from ITN’s Lucy Manning yesterday that the Chief Executive of the National Bullying Helpline has told her that they have received ‘several calls from staff at Downing Street complaining about bullying culture’.

As much as Cranmer loathes this tawdry Labour Government and is appalled by what Gordon Brown has inflicted upon the nation and its people, the allegations made by inter alia Andrew Rawnsley, which, it must be observed, are all unsubstantiated, do not constitute the profile of the serial bully. Certainly, Mr Brown may have psychological flaws and character faults. He may be prone to impatience and severe bouts of depression. He may be very demanding of his staff and occasionally shout or express his anger and frustration. And he may not always express himself appropriately or at least in a manner by which an issue may be resolved or defused.

But when one reads the biographies of Benjamin Disraeli, Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher, it is apparent that they all could be similarly accused.

Let us not mistake the malicious, manipulative and malevolent bully for the imperfect leader whose motives are essentially good, noble and honourable.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Labour's Town Hall Death Tax

Labour’s Pay As You Die tax: Give up your home as council tax soars
Pensioners to be forced to sign away their home’s equity to stave off town hall bailiffs.

Labour have legislated to create ‘enabling powers’ to create a deferment scheme for pensioners, allowing the elderly to pay off their accumulated local tax bills when they sell their property.

In order to stave off local authority tax collectors and bailiffs, this Government scheme was quietly enacted in November 2009 and will permit pensioners to ‘defer’ their council tax bills, and instead pay - with interest - when they their property is sold or on death of the surviving resident spouse. Such a policy though will pressure many pensioners on fixed incomes to sign away their homes if they are struggling with their council tax bills. Council tax will effectively become a form of inheritance tax.

· Ulster first, England next: Northern Ireland is being used as the testing ground for the tax scheme, just as the poll tax was controversially first trialled in Scotland. The ‘enabling’ legislation was passed by Labour Ministers in Whitehall under direct rule in 2006. In an unnoticed announcement in November 2009, it has now been implemented across Northern Ireland, raising the prospect of the rest of Britain facing the scheme in any Labour fourth term.

· £73,000 Pay As You Die bill: Estimates suggest that over a twenty year deferment, a typical home in England would be left with a £73,000 tax bill, which would be levied on top of inheritance tax and any cost for social care. A charge would be placed on the property, giving local councils second call after the taxman had grabbed his inheritance tax share. Town halls will effectively raid estates from beyond the grave and make children pay huge bills left by their dead parents.

· ‘Robbed of their birthright’: Pressure groups have expressed their alarm at the plans. The Institute of Revenues Rating & Valuation has warned of a "perception that the ratepayers and their offspring are being robbed of their birthright". The Fair Rates Campaign have labelled it a "Pensioners Savings Tax" with pensioners becoming "debtors to the government". The Consumer Council has said "older people may feel forced into a system that they don’t fully understand... We are worried about the potential amount of debt that an older person could accumulate against his or her property."

· Support from across the left: Such a town hall death tax has been supported by Gordon Brown’s review into town hall finances by Sir Michael Lyons; by former Local Government Secretary Stephen Byers; and by Vincent Cable and the Liberal Democrats.

Caroline Spelman, Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, said: “This is another savage raid on the savings of the elderly – pension funds were first, then social care, and now people's homes. Under Labour plans supported by Liberal Democrats, the vulnerable risk being pressured into signing away their homes’ equity to stave off the tax man. This pay as you die tax is just an excuse to hike up council taxes even more while avoiding the sight of pensioners being sent to jail for non-payment. Gordon Brown is intent on turning council tax into a second inheritance tax, and there is nothing he won’t tax.”

Lord Glentoran said on behalf of the Conservatives in the House of Lords: “We are completely opposed to this new system... People on fixed incomes—pensioners who might be asset-rich, but in cash terms, poor—single-person households and those just outside the benefits system will be hit especially hard... To gather the information required to implement the new system involves huge erosions of liberty. Unprecedented powers are being given to the Government to compile data on family homes, literally to spy on people using aerial photographs and the like. I mention too the sinister Article 38 powers of entry and invasions of privacy for government inspectors to assess, with fines for those who simply want to keep the snoopers out. The new system is unjust and undemocratic. It is opposed overwhelmingly across the community in Northern Ireland"

The Consumer Council have said: “Older people may feel forced into a system that they don’t fully understand. We have particularly noted that any costs and fees related to the scheme can be rolled up as an additional charge along with the rates on the property, this may also include the cost of accessing advice. We are worried about the potential amount of debt that an older person could accumulate against his or her property. Furthermore, the availability of a deferment scheme may set a precedent with the threat of charges other than rates and the associated costs being made against the property. Short-term expediency may be stronger for some than the longer term implications.”

St Gerry of Belfast

When Margaret Thatcher was in power, this man’s voice was not even allowed to be broadcast. But now he is given his own broadcast pulpit on a Sunday evening to preach the gospel to the nation. Yes, the good Catholic boy Gerry Adams is on a journey ‘to discover the real Jesus’ and today he expounds his Christology: the terrorist Jesus; Christus Victor, Dominus Hibernae, Pro Deo, Rege et Patria, Hibernia Unanimis

And the C4 website styles Gerry Adams a ‘politician and supporter of the IRA’.


They make it sound like a home game against Glenavon FC.

He was rather more than a supporter: he was a ‘commanding officer’ – one who leads, has control, formulates strategy, gives orders, exerts authority and ensures obedience and submission.

And he describes himself as an 'Irish Catholic who, despite all the let-downs and scandals that... the Church has been embroiled in, remains a member'.

Re-read that very carefully.

He says he remains a Roman Catholic despite the let-downs and scandals the Church has been embroiled in.

Well, let us hope His Holiness is grateful and honoured by Gerry Adams’ condescension and forbearance.

But how is it that he remains incommunicate with the Roman Catholic Church after ‘all the knee-cappings let-downs and murders scandals that he has ordered been embroiled in’?

How is it that all of Irelands bishops (of which there is a surfeit) never sought to deter him from his murderous pathology by initiating disciplinary proceedings to excommunicate him? Turning a blind eye and covering up paedophilia is one thing. But terrorism, torture and murder?

We are told: ‘Adams explores how Jesus's core message - that of love, forgiveness and advocacy of non-violence - has affected him and other members of his community... As someone who has defended the resort to arms by Republicans in Northern Ireland, he reflects on how he reconciles this with the teachings of Jesus... Equipped with his new knowledge of Jesus, Adams ends by revealing his personal relationship to Jesus's teachings and how they relate to his own life experiences.’

Well, Cranmer can hardly wait.

If Gerry Adams is going to appeal to Augustine or Aquinas and the ‘Just War’ theory to explain the IRA campaign of terror, he will manifest the poverty of his theology and the void of his spirituality.

He is not remotely penitent, and, as Geoffrey Wheatcroft has observed of Martin McGuinness, if he were a Serb, he would be indicted at The Hague.

‘Or try another comparison, the respective fate of two terrorist leaders. One is a white Catholic Irishman, the other a dark-skinned Muslim Palestinian; one is asked to present a programme on Jesus, the other is brutally bumped off – an assassination which, like all such by Mossad, will never be publicly condemned by the US. Suppose that, at the height of the IRA violence, Adams and McGuinness had been the objects of "targeted killing" by MI6. It's interesting to speculate what the American reaction would have been.

‘The British media are sometimes accused of a bias against Israel. But would Channel 4 ask an unrepentant Islamist terrorist who had killed ordinary Israelis to present a programme on the Prophet Mohamed? Or, for that matter, Ratko Mladic to talk about Orthodox Christianity and the Serbian monastic tradition?’

Are there really any differences between the religio-political ideologies and terrorist methods of Gerry Adams and Mahmoud al-Mabhouh?

And Geoffrey Wheatcroft hits the nail right on the head with this:

‘Compare and contrast, as exam papers say. The IRA and its front organisation Sinn Fein want to undo the partition of Ireland that was effected by the creation of a separate province of Northern Ireland in 1920. To that end the IRA deliberately murdered many people, including ordinary Protestants, and that end, if not the means, "is shared by many of our citizens", Blair says, as well as by millions of Irish Americans.

‘Hamas wants to undo the partition of Palestine that was effected by the creation of a separate state of Israel in 1948. To that end it has deliberately murdered many people, including ordinary Jews. And that end, if not the means, is shared by hundreds of millions of Arabs and Muslims as well as others in Asia and Africa. Why does their support not equally validate the objective?’

Doubtless there will be those who will assert there is no evidence that Gerry Adams was a commander or was ever in the IRA, blah, blah, blah. Yet only yesterday, Delours Price, the first female member of the IRA, said that Garry Adams ordered her to ‘disappear people’.

She led the unit that bombed London in March 1973, and states unequivocally that Gerry Adams was her Officer Commanding from whom she took orders in person, which included the ‘disappearances’ of IRA members Seamus Wright, Kevin McKee and Joe Lynskey, not to mention the Belfast mother-of-ten Jean McConville.

Gerry Adams is an unrepentant liar, murderer and man of blood.

And yet still he remains in communion with the Church of Rome.

Why is he so tolerable to the Roman Catholic hierarchy, when the mother of a nine-year-old girl who was raped and made pregnant by her step father is excommunicated for permitting an abortion?

As appalling as abortion undoubtedly is, how can it be more mortal a sin than leading one of the most effective terrorist organisations in the world? How can it merit excommunication more than a lifetime of involvement in robbery, fraud and drug-dealing; murdering hundreds of one’s fellow-citizens – men, women and children; the attempted assassination of the British Prime Minister and her entire Cabinet; lying to protect a paedophile brother; and facilitating a known paedophile to work with children?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

David Cameron's 'Obama Army'

Courtesy of The Daily Mail, let it be observed that, on current projections, the Conservative Party will have the same proportion of black, Asian and ethnic minority candidates on its benches after the General Election as there are black, Asian and ethnic minority people in the country. The Party will be visibly, manifestly and undeniably representative (click image to enlarge).

Now to work on the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender candidates, though it is not quite so easy to be manifestly and undeniably 'visible' about it.

A Future Fair for All?

Apparently, Labour’s slogan for the forthcoming General Election is ‘A Future Fair for All’.

It is a curiously confusing and clumsy construction, turning an adjective or adverb into a noun. Unless they really are suggesting that Labour’s election manifesto for another period of government will grant us all nauseating rides and amusement stalls for our mutual entertainment.

It isn’t even original, but yet another well-worn, recycled 'policy' parading as inspiration.

But with the national debt currently (at the minute of writing) running at £876,848,942,591.00, representing a colossal £14,059 for every man woman and child in the country, and destined to soar to an eye-watering £1.1 trillion by 2011, shouldn’t Labour be talking of 'A Future Fare for All?’ – the fare they’ve shackled us with for decades to come? The fare we all get to pay for our journey into the future, irrespective of who wins?

And there’s nothing ‘fair’ about it at all.

It is a profound injustice inflicted upon all the people by this tawdry, deceitful and delusional Labour Government.

There’s nothing ‘fair’ about Socialism.

Elton John: 'Mohammed was a super-intelligent gay man'

Oops, sorry. It was Jesus, not Mohammed.

That's alright then.

Friday, February 19, 2010

I've never voted Labour before...

People who travel first class are 'a totally different type of people'

From the perspective of those of us who travel ‘standard’, this is undoubtedly true: those in first class are wealthy, privileged and have a certain status which places them above hoi polloi – the masses of common people who constitute the backbone of the nation.

So when Sir Nicholas Winterton, who, it seems, invariably travels first class, says those who travel ‘standard’ are ‘a totally different type of people’, he is not entirely wrong. For he is part of hoi oligoi – the few who are destined to be set apart from the vulgar plebeians. He might, of course, have helped himself if he had not said ‘totally’ with such bombast or used the phrase ‘different type’, which rather suggests there is something sub-human about the herd of commoners.

And yet he is a commoner, by virtue of his membership of the House of Commons. And at the same time he is set apart from the majority as a legislator and knight of the realm (for services to Parliament, not his party), and formerly a second lieutenant in the 14th/20th King’s Hussars.

But the Conservative Party leadership have condemned Sir Nicholas for being ‘out-of-touch’, and dismissed his comments as an aberrant view of an eccentric backbencher who in a few months will no longer be an MP. We are told: ‘They do not...represent the views of David Cameron or that of the Conservative party and should be treated as such.’

And yet...

The Conservative Party’s rank and file (hoi polloi) have been subject to precisely the same criticism by a front-bencher who in a few months will be a secretary of state.

When Michael Gove refers to the ‘grumbling and rumbling’ of the Party’s ‘backwoodsmen’, he adopts precisely the same hoi oligoi attitude of Sir Nicholas. When David Cameron observes of his Party’s masses (hoi polloi) that ‘they are looking for the perfect son-in-law rather than the perfect candidate’, he too adopts the hoity-toity narrative of the ruling élite – hoi oligoi – the Tory paternalism that is not benign, but which seeks instead to impose a particular worldview upon hoi polloi because they are recalcitrant and don’t know what’s good for them: they are ‘backwoodsmen’.

According to the OED, the term has three definitions:

1. An inhabitant of backwoods
2. An uncouth person
3. A peer who very rarely attends the House of Lords

Now, Mr Gove is an intelligent man, so he cannot possibly believe that Conservative hoi polloi all dwell in the undergrowth, although they may in Surrey Heath. And neither could he possibly be referring to peers who rarely attend the House of Lords, for these, by definition, are hoi oligoi.

Which leaves ‘uncouth person’.

So a Conservative front-bench spokesman is of the view that the Conservative Party has members who are ‘lacking in ease and polish; uncultured and rough’ (OED). And these are they who oppose ‘modernisation’.

Would Mr Gove and Mr Cameron not say of these, in the words of Sir Nicholas, that they are ‘in a different walk of life’?

The reality is that while Sir Nicholas was talking about something as banal as first-class travel and being able to work in peace, David Cameron and Michael Gove are talking about a rather more fundamental (and important) point of political philosophy. Sir Nicholas is concerned with planes, trains and automobiles; David Cameron and Michael Gove are concerned with gender, ethnicity and sexuality, for that is what constitutes their ‘modernisation’.

Sir Nicholas has denied saying that MPs are somehow better than ordinary people: “I didn't say they weren't as good, but they are in a different walk of life. They are doing different things. Very often they are there with children."

He added that first class was ‘very valuable for business people and I include in that category MPs’.

The fact that members of parliament will no longer be reimbursed for first class travel is an undoubted loss of privilege (and, for those whose constituencies are hundreds of miles away from, may indeed mean they are no longer able to work on confidential matters whilst travelling). And so Sir Nicholas may be justifiably ‘infuriated’.

But he is nowhere near as infuriated as the rank and file of Conservative Party members who are slowly waking up to the fact that hoi oligoi holds hoi polloi in utter contempt, and that hoi polloi are considered good enough for bridge evenings, barbeques, quizzes, leaflet delivering and fund-raising. But God forbid that they should ever again acquire the right to determine who joins hoi oligoi, for that is now a centralised competence to the oligarchy itself, and only they are able to recognise ‘the perfect candidate’.

It is perhaps ironic that all those men (for they are) who were selected by hoi polloi under the ‘perfect son-in-law’ regime have become so patronisingly dismissive as to refer to Party members as ‘backwoodsmen’. Doubtless these rank and file dinosaurs ('a clumsy survival from earlier times' [OED]) need to realise that they are ‘a totally different type of people’. And if they do not, they will be sacked.
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