Saturday, August 10, 2002
Migration Watch staff vindicated
ANYONE WHO STATES uncomfortable facts will find many succumbing to 'shoot the messenger syndrome', blaming them for what they report, or attacking them for stating what they refuse to believe. Sir Andrew Green is such a man. His think tank Migration Watch recently predicted an influx into this country of two million immigrants a decade. As today's Telegraph interview shows, Sir Andrew is far from the racist the gutter press attempted to smear him as:
He considers such charges are belied by his association with several Middle Eastern charities since his retirement. He is chairman of Medical Aid for Palestinians and a member of the advisory board of the Sudan peace building programme. It was at an event organised by Sir Andrew that Cherie Blair found herself in trouble after some ill-judged comments apparently expressing sympathy for suicide bombers.
"We are an independent organisation," he said. "We have no political axe to grind. We simply believe that the public are entitled to know the facts, presented in a comprehensible form. It is then for the political system to decide what action to take.
"Suppressing the facts is much more helpful to the BNP than bringing them out for proper debate. It is not scaremongering, either. The official statistics show that net immigration is 180,000 a year."
He is correct that people have a right to know the truth, and we ought to be more suspicious of the motives of those who seek to suppress it, and who smear those who will not do the same. How can anyone who claims to believe in democracy not trust the British people to use their vote responsibly when all the facts are presented to them?Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 14:20 | Permanent Link |
Inside the bureaucratic brain
IN HIS COLUMN for the Telegraph, this week Mark Steyn takes on the role of an American airport security officer:
"I wasn't surprised to hear that airport security at Los Angeles had seized from a British granny the 2in toy rifle of a GI Joe action doll she'd bought for her grandson. Nor by the news that a Long Island woman boarding at JFK had been made to drink bottles of her own breast milk in front of other passengers to prove it wasn't a dangerous liquid.
Here at the US Transportation Security Administration, we regard these as important victories in the war against terrorism."Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 14:20 | Permanent Link |
He's had forty years' worth of chances - Arafat must go
WHEN DONALD RUMSFELD dared combine historical fact with common sense on the Middle East earlier this week, terrorist sympathisers were outraged. But in hearing this plain speaking, Israel's Prime Minister rightly sees the opportunity to take a step towards lasting peace:
Ariel Sharon, the Israeli prime minister, has stepped up his verbal attacks on Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian leader, saying he was the head of a "murderous gang" which must be removed before fighting could end.
Sharon is of course right. You can have peace on democratic terms, or you can have it on terrorist terms, with your people being murdered every day. No good leader can accept the latter. In rejecting Ehud Barak's peace plan to give 97% of the "occupied terroritories" to a Palestinian State, Yasser Arafat made clear that peace on terrorist terms was the only peace on offer, making the present conflict inevitable.
In a brilliant and moving speech last May, Benjamin Netanyahu talked of how he made peace with Jordan. He and King Hussein wept together with the families of the victims of a recent Jordanian blunder, and peace came. Negotiations can achieve such solutions in the case of reasonable leaders like Hussein. But they cannot work in the case of butchers like Arafat, who instead of working to end the murders, names public squares after the murderers. Saddam must go for the security of the United States, but Arafat must go for the security of Israel. Without the destruction of both, peace in the Middle East is impossible.Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 12:49 | Permanent Link |
The diplomatic battle is between idealism and realism, and this is no time for wishful thinking
IN A LENGTHY report today, The Daily Telegraph looks at the radically different outlooks that motivate European and American leaders:
"It is time to stop pretending that Europeans and Americans share a common view of the world, or even that they occupy the same world. On the all-important question of power - the utility of power, the morality of power - American and European perspectives are diverging.
... America's unparalleled military strength has predictably given it a greater propensity to use force and a more confident belief in the moral legitimacy of power. Europe's relative weakness has produced an aversion to force as a tool of international relations.
Europeans today, like Americans 200 years ago, seek a world where strength doesn't matter so much, where unilateral action by powerful nations is forbidden, where all nations regardless of their strength are protected by commonly agreed rules of behaviour.
For many Europeans, progress toward such a world is more important than eliminating the threat from Saddam Hussein."
Once one sees the debate in the terms described, both perspectives become far more comprehensible. But however noble European ideals, Brussels is not living in the real world. Washington is.
When faced with a threat to life and liberty, one cannot look to oneself for the blame. However much it may pain a liberal to hear this, there are some people in this world so wicked that however nice you are to them, they will reciprocate with violence and force. When that happens, the most peace-loving people alive then face a choice between defending their liberty or surrender, and no decent person would choose the latter. Saddam poses such a threat here and now.
One gets a sense in which mainland Europe is now dominated not by any moral devotion, self-belief or even selfish interests, but by guilt. Faced with rebelling colonies all over the world, many European nations could not face the fight to keep them. They found the perfect excuse in the sort of post-modernist garbage that fools people who want to be fooled. It told them that no nation, no culture, could ever be superior to another. As Jonah Goldberg accurately parodies such views, putting a bone in your nose really was equivalent to building a cathedral and composing a symphony. So they could happily leave their colonies because empire was clearly now unjustified. But by extension, so, it appeared, was war. If democratic ideals are no better than socialist ideals or Fundamentalist Islamic ideals, then fighting for one over the other is so much needless killing. So no wonder blind pacifism is now dominant across Europe, which no longer has the army to fight even if it wanted to.
Terrorists and the rogue states that aid them truly threaten Western Civilisation in a way we have never seen before, and which is extremely difficult to fight. Western Civilisation needs saving. If Europe won't do it, thank God America will, and let Britain play her own vital part in making that possible.Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 09:17 | Permanent Link |
The racism of the left
IF YOU ARE a black American, how do liberals usually treat you? Chances are you'll be given the protection of all sorts of laws: positive discrimination that you can succeed perfectly well without, hate crime laws that only apply to ethnic groups with powerful lobbies.
But what if you are a black American who believes in conservative values? What if you support a smaller government and a common American culture, and oppose discrimination for or against you? In that case, liberals will heap all the vilification and contempt they can on you. If you violate their politically correct ideas about every member of your "group" having the same rights, needs and views, you can expect no mercy. Called a traitor and a "banana" by the self-appointed leaders of all African-Americans, black conservatives must face the accusation that they, like bananas, are white inside. Liberals allow whites to differ in their political views, but do not extend that privilege to the blacks they claim to represent.
To stick by their principles despite such vilification requires real character from black conservatives. In Townhall today, David Limbaugh applauds their courage.Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 05:30 | Permanent Link |
The British press is not evil
AS THE HORRIBLE case of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman unravels, The Sun has offered £150,000, and the Daily Express and Daily Star £1 million, to anyone who can bring information forward that will lead to their safe return home. Yes, no one should need such an incentive, but I hope that if human decency is not reason enough for anyone to come forward with helpful evidence, this money will be. People without conscience who have been in trouble with the law in the past may see helping the police as treason, and the hope of a life of luxury may be the only thing that will make the difference. Yes, this is unlikely, but what harm does the offer do? If no one can help, it just isn't paid out.
In The Guardian, Mark Lawson makes the cynical suggestion that the offer is "about making money, not giving it away". I simply do not believe this. The people at the newspapers who make these offers cannot have sat down and thought about using a tragic case like this for financial gain. Does Mark Lawson really think this? Does he not wonder what would happen to the people in question if it ever leaked that such a conversation had taken place? The capitalist of the "starve 'em and evict 'em" variety is a myth lovingly sustained by those who find it easier morally to call for redistributive taxation if those who will suffer earned their money and created jobs not through hard work but through heartless means like this.
If we do live in a truly wicked society, this reward may at least help two innocent children survive to adulthood. If we do not, then the reward does no harm.
One thing I do wonder about is whether the efforts of Richard Desmond, owner of The Express and Daily Star, might be better placed if he stops selling the pornography that encourages and partially normalizes an interest in very young women. Perhaps without such material, these tragedies would not happen as often and rewards like this wouldn't be needed.Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 02:36 | Permanent Link |
Friday, August 09, 2002
Could peace be all over by Guy Fawkes night?
WE COULD BE at war with Iraq within three months according to the Daily Mirror today:
AMERICA will attack Iraq on November 6, US defence experts believe.
They are so sure of the date that they have posted an Iraq Countdown clock on the internet to show the minutes ticking away.
Respected commentator John Pike, director of the Washington-based organisation, told the Daily Mirror: "Iraq is going to happen a lot sooner than most people think."
It will apparently be too hot to attack in the desert before October, and early November seems to optimum time. This corresponds extremely closely with what I have heard is the case in two separate conversations with people involved with army preparations. I hope that the news that Blair is worried about war and may be starting to chicken out, is untrue. This war is a necessary one, and Britain's unrivalled special forces in particular should play their part in building a marginally safer world by removing Saddam from power. Now we wait.Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 12:11 | Permanent Link |
The doves are getting desperate
WHAT DOES A journalist do when all opinion polls show majority support for the opposing view? Well, if he works for the New York Times, he scours the streets for eight who disagree and makes them the subject of the story. Ann Coulter reports:
How is it that the New York Times managed to locate the only eight people in America opposed to attacking Iraq?
... Americans have been repeatedly polled on the question of using military force to depose Saddam Hussein. Within the last six months, the ABC News-Washington Post Poll showed 72 percent supporting a U.S. invasion of Iraq. The FOX News-Opinion Dynamics Poll also has 72 percent supporting it. The Newsweek poll shows 68 percent in favor. The least support for an attack comes from an NBC News-Wall Street Journal Poll showing only 57 percent in favor of attacking Iraq.
Yet the Times' man-on-the-street article – in Arizona, no less – did not manage to ferret out a single American supporting an attack on Iraq. Instead, the Times stumbled upon eight citizens, manifestly not at random, every single one of them opposed to war with Iraq. This allowed the Times to run an aggressively dishonest headline describing Americans as backing Bush – "but not into Iraq."
Perhaps we haven't heard much about opinion polls on this matter for the same reason: a desire in most of the press to cover up substantial support for removing Saddam.Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 10:33 | Permanent Link |
Euro continues slide to disaster
THANK GOD WE are not a part of the disastrous euro-rouble:
TRADERS and currency speculators in the City have called the euro a “toilet currency” for its tendency to keep on sinking. But to eurosceptic Britons its weakling status makes it worth its weight in gold.
Euroland’s politicians and central bankers have spent months in despair at the euro’s relentless slide on the foreign exchanges. But even as the currency has a sudden resurgence, it has emerged that the average Briton thinks it has fallen to levels that would give German bankers nightmares.Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 10:13 | Permanent Link |
"Saddam is a monster, but let's keep him in power"
DAVID AARONOVICH GOES into terrible detail in The Independent today in describing how wicked the Iraqi regime really is:
... Amnesty briefings detail[ed] what an unusually dreadful place Iraq was – a place where children would have eyes gouged out to encourage their parents to talk.
...[A] British journalist, Farzad Bazoft, was arrested as he followed up a story about a suspicious explosion. A drugged confession was extracted from him and broadcast on Iraqi TV. He was tried for spying in a secret court. Mrs Thatcher, among others, pleaded for his life. As the writer Adel Darwish recalls, Saddam made one of his speeches: "The English Prime Minister wanted the spy,'' Saddam said, "she will have him alright...' He paused to puff on his cigar, then exhaled the smoke saying, "in a box.''
"Nine hours later," says Darwish, "the First Secretary of the British embassy in Baghdad was signing for the box containing the body of Mr Bazoft, whose hanging he had to watch."
But then the column seems to fall apart:
Wars are very particular things and civilised nations can't just have them when they feel like it or when they feel they have run out of options. Wars have to be justified, overwhelmingly, by a conviction that the alternative to war is actually worse.
As he makes clear himself, this is nothing to do with having a war because we "feel like it", but because we are dealing with a monster who is a great threat to our safety. We know he has chemical and biological weapons, and that he is working on a delivery system for them, as well as on building nuclear weapons. How can Aaronovich believe that a man capable of gouging out children's eyes is incapable of killing millions with his weapons of mass destruction? This is a man who celebrated September 11th as much as Al Quaeda and the Palestinians. What scruples will he possibly have once he has the technical capability? He is a danger to the whole world, and to the Iraqi people more than most. That is why we must remove him by any means necessary.Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 09:43 | Permanent Link |
Unions bail out their bankrupt buddies
THE UNIONS COME to Labour's rescue again, donating £100,000 so they can keep the lights on at Milbank Tower:
"The full extent of Labour's worst cash crisis became clear last night when it was revealed that union leaders were asked to bail out the party with an emergency £100,000 donation because it was struggling to pay routine bills.
The private gathering, chaired by Bill Morris, general secretary of the TGWU, was told that Labour needed the money to meet regular running costs as a political organisation, including wages, lighting, heating, printing and other expenses."
Amusingly, it seems socialists never learn:
"In October Labour's annual conference will be asked to raise membership fees by as much as 70% to boost revenue by about £1m. Under proposals discussed by Labour's national executive committee, the unwaged concessionary rate would go up from £7 to £12 a year and full membership from £18.50 to £24. And for the first time all candidates in local and national elections will be required to pay the full £24 rate."
Typical Labour thinking. If these plans go ahead, membership for the next ten years will cost £240, and that is assuming no further increases before 2012. So their response to no one wanting to be in the party is to increase the cost of joining dramatically. Won't they be surprised when they get even fewer members?Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 09:16 | Permanent Link |
Thursday, August 08, 2002
AN AMERICAN ATTACK on Iraq is necessary for the West and will be good for the whole Middle East, says Canada's wittiest columnist, Mark Steyn:
"[Saddam] is living proof to the boneheads on the ‘Arab street’ that you can be violently anti-American, anti-Israel, anti-everything, and get away with it...
So Saddam has to go. He will fall quickly, as quickly as the Taleban fell. The disparity between poorly trained and scared Iraqi troops and the American forces will be greater even than 11 years ago, and without the hand-tying multilateralism of a Stanley Gibbons collect-the-set coalition. What happens then is harder to predict. I doubt whether any coherent post-Saddam administration can come from the disaffected freaks, creeps and losers assembled by the realpolitik set in London the other week and launched as the ‘Iraqi National Movement’. But, as Al Gore would say, first things first: it’s not strictly necessary for a new regime in Iraq to be better than its predecessor, only different. That sends the important message that whose fingernails you rip out in the dungeon of the presidential palace is your affair, but start monkeying with us and you’ve written your last romantic novel, moustache boy."Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 13:43 | Permanent Link |
UNBELIEVABLY, electoral apartheid is now being introduced in Britain for the first time, in elections for a Nottingham quango. If you are voting in those elections, when walking into a polling station, you will now be cateogorised according to skin colour, and you will be permitted to vote only for candidates of the same skin colour. The evils of political correctness apparently know no bounds. Where the hell did this idea that white, middle class males can only represent the views of white middle-class male voters, and black men can only represent the views of black male voters, come from? As a dark-haired male born in the 1980s, I can assure any politically correct nutcase who will listen that a certain blonde female born in the 1920s represented my political views better than just about anyone who has reached the cabinet in the last century. Repeat after me: skin colour doesn't matter, skin colour doesn't matter. Why can't the politically correct bureaucrats see that?
My thanks to Perry de Havilland of Libertarian Samizdata for the link.Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 12:59 | Permanent Link |
MY MP, the Health Secretary, Alan Milburn, has caused a not-so-minor shockwave with his Times column yesterday, where he effectively argued that the Tories would be a real threat come the next election because they were right to argue for choice and reform. His solution was to steal their policies. The Daily Telegraph notes today that this may not be as easy for him as he might want it to be:
"But while Labour is finally beginning to understand that everything cannot be run directly from the centre, it is still unprepared to devolve power to the users, as opposed to the providers, of public services.
It talks about giving more responsibility to managers, doctors and headmasters, but rarely to parents or patients. It is here that the Conservatives' opportunity lies. The Tories, unencumbered by the Left and the unions, should be able to outflank Labour every time on choice in health and education. By talking about choice but not providing it, ministers such as Mr Milburn may even end up making the Opposition's job easier."Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 09:55 | Permanent Link |
IN TOWNHALL TODAY, Jonah Goldberg demolishes the old canard that a person cannot express a view on something he hasn't experienced. When I argue with drug-abusers, I am told my view is useless because I have not taken illegal narcotics. Such a view would of course make it impossible for any law-abiding person to argue against murder or rape, but that doesn't stop these silly lefties. Like Jonah, I too have been told I cannot believe in war with Iraq unless I join the army tomorrow. His response to the argument is right:
"The fact that people will die in a war - and they will - is not trivial by any means, but it is a fact that begins the argument, not ends it.
Take crime, for example. I often advocate aggressive crime-control policies. This means I think cops should get out of their cars and be proactive. In the long run, I think this approach will lower crime and make the streets safer for cops and citizens alike. But in the short run this might endanger cops more. Should I keep my mouth shut because I'm not a cop? After all, cops, just like soldiers, will die to protect me. Of course not.
Well, the same thing holds for war with Iraq. I think that war with Iraq is necessary to save lives in the long run. I think that those who are opposed to toppling Saddam are risking American (and Arab and Israeli) lives too."
What I find interesting in the view Goldberg counters is the implication that conservatives only oppose something when they have nothing to lose by doing so, and only support what will bring them personal gain. This is a pretty rich view coming from a left that has never seen fit to ask itself what right it has for ever to demand more of other people's money. Left-wing students, pensioners, nurses, doctors, teachers, local council workers and so on seem to conduct never-ending campaigns to seize more money from other people. When is the last time anyone accused them of selfishness? No, it is always the man who votes for lower taxes, to allow people to spend and save their own money, who is "selfish". "Compassion", by contrast, is a word barely used any more, save in describing some Guardianista voting for other people to pay higher taxes that will come back to him as a wage increase. I could just about stomach this if I weren't also expected to believe that conservatives believe what they do for selfish reasons.Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 09:22 | Permanent Link |
IT SEEMS THE American State Department has the same sort of "always-do-deals-with-the-devil" attitude as the Foreign Office. The American government that rightly responded to September 11th with an attempt to destroy as many terrorists as possible is now deeming it inappropriate for Israel to react in the same way. As Joel Mowbray reports:
Israel should do as the United States does, not as it hypocritically says. When the Taliban refused our post-9/11 offer to hand over Osama bin Laden, the despotic regime was hit with the full force of American might—as well it should have been. The PA’s failure to hand over known terrorists, particularly leaders such as Shehade, should be treated no differently by Israel.
Consider the case of Muhammad Shakher Havishi, the first suicide bomber who was an Israeli citizen. For a week before his suicide bombing last September, Israel had pleaded with PA authorities to arrest Havishi, who was training in Jenin with Kiam Adouan, one of Hamas's most senior military leaders. On multiple occasions, Israel provided the PA evidence it had gathered showing that Havishi had left Israel for the West Bank. Israel merely wanted Havishi detained and sent back. The PA refused.
Havishi did return, but with a bomb strapped to his waist, killing three Israelis and wounding 36 others in Nahariya.
Because these cowards use human shields to make assassination harder, civilian casualties have become unavoidable:
The White House was absolutely correct to condemn the deaths of innocent Palestinians, and Israel should be forced to pay a public relations price for such a recklessly careless move. White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer rightly called Israel's action "heavy-handed", but State Department press flack Richard Boucher went one step further in declaring, "We don't think [targeting] contributes to Israel's security."
Boucher is badly wrong. Giving in to this emotional blackmail is not the answer, and it gives every terrorist the perfect way to evade justice. Far from preventing deaths of innocent people, it will increase them by keeping these worthless warlords alive, allowing them to commit the perfect crime by hiding behind civilians every time Israel pursues them.Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 08:43 | Permanent Link |
ANYONE WHO READS Mark Steyn's columns in The Spectator will know of the absurd ways in which American Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta is earning his politically correct credentials by ordering airport security to strip-search a dozen 90 year old Irish nuns and so on for every Arab. In efforts to stop another September 11th, everyone must now be made to suffer from American security except those who actually look like they might be Al Quaeda kamikaze pilots. But even Steyn has not detailed absurdities as ridiculous as those Jane Moore reports:
WHILE on a visit to LA, British tourist Judy Powell bought an Action Man-style doll for her seven-year-old grandson.
But over-zealous security staff confiscated its two inch plastic gun.
A spokesman for LA airport said: “We have instructions to confiscate anything that looks like a weapon. If GI Joe had a replica, it had to be taken from him.”
... In June, I flew from Las Vegas to LA and was subjected to THREE checks for the short flight.
“Your name is picked at random by the computer,” I was told, so I decided to conduct a straw poll of the others waiting in the “random” search queue.
“Hands up all those with a British passport,” I shouted.
Answer: Every last one of them.
Of course it is a good thing to be sensitive to Arabs who feel they are being chosen for searching just because of their race, both for their sake and because we cannot rely on everyone else being no threat. But it is no better deliberately to pick on other peoples either, and let's bear in mind that a bit of common sense never killed anyone.
[Edit: Moore and Steyn aren't the only ones sick of this nonsense. Gary Aldrich's Townhall column today is remarkably similar.]Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 02:35 | Permanent Link |
IN THE GUARDIAN yesterday, John Kampfner made an interesting argument that "European social democracy depends on Schroder". I'd like to believe that Schroder is social democracy's last hope, because today's German unemployment figures certainly look bad for him. But even if Germany does choose to keep their failed government on another four years, I think social democracy will be discredited here very soon. Though I was initially devastated at Gordon Brown's massive increases in public expenditure a few weeks ago, I realised after a while that as they were certain to fail, they would prove conclusively to an entire generation that government cannot spend an individual's money better than he can himself. The 2002 Comprehensive Spending Review could prove the need for radical reform of the state sector as much as the 1978 Winter of Discontent proved the need for trade union reform. However miserable that winter may have been, Conservatives must now acknowledge that in the long term it was better for Britain that it happened. I am optimistic enough to think the same of Gordon Brown's fiscal incontinence.
As I am very fond of Germany and German culture, I hope that Gerhard Schroder is defeated next month. But I believe that social democracy is dead in this country however the Germans vote.Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 01:58 | Permanent Link |
JUST AS SOCIALISM redistributes money from those who know how to make it to those who don't, human rights redistribute liberty from those who know how to use it responsibly to those who don't. As Peter Hitchens noted on Sunday:
"The only human right we have or need is to go about our lives without interference as long as we obey the law, which also protects us.
If we break that law, then we must expect to be punished. If we murder, we must expect to be punished very severely indeed. The whole idea of 'human rights' has been used to undermine this simple and effective set of rules which used to work very well.
Since human rights were introduced here, the well-behaved majority have become far less free, while wrongdoers have become more free."
We now see this again in response to our jails filling with selfish louts and sadistic thugs:
"Overcrowding and squalid conditions in jails may be breaching prisoners' human rights, the chief inspector of prisons believes.
Anne Owers criticised ministers for packing offenders into cramped and crowded prisons without tackling the issues that led them to break the law in the first place."
In those words we see a willful ignorance of the causes of crime. Perhaps more than any other single factor but illegitimacy, releasing criminals from prisons is what "leads them to break the law". If they are in jail, they can't be terrorising people outside. America is solving its crime problem through a conscious decision to turn away from sociologists and their ilk. Instead, they have made many more jails, and thrown over two million crooks inside. Crime has plummeted. It is time we stopped caring for the human rights of the criminal - the right not to be shot while you burgle the homes of terrified pensioners, the right to hotel-room conditions in the prison cell - and started caring about the victims again. Let's toughen up sentences and treat crime as seriously as its victims see the attacks on them. If you are not a terrorist, a burglar or a paedophile, the Human Rights Act has no new protection or freedom to offer you. Let's scrap it soon.Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 01:08 | Permanent Link |
Wednesday, August 07, 2002
THE CHAIRMAN OF the Commission for Racial Equality, Gurbux Singh, has resigned in disgrace today after being convicted of a public order offence:
Mr Singh, 51, who was involved in a confrontation with police last month outside Lord's cricket ground, was fined £500 and ordered to pay £55 costs.
In an incident following a one-day international between India and England - which India won with three balls to spare - Mr Singh had waved his fists at police officers and told them: "I'll have your jobs. Do you know who I am?"
Interesting how the voice of the oppressed believes himself so powerful that he can get innocent police officers the sack at whim. But Singh was always a corrupt bureaucrat, as last year's election proved. He chose to have a petition signed by all the party leaders committing themselves not to use racism in the upcoming election. When Blair and Hague signed it on behalf of their parties, the CRE tried something different, getting every MP they could find to sign it individually, and publishing the names of those who refused, flashbacks of McCarthyism suddenly seeming very real for a moment. It was a clear attempt by a state body to smear the Tories in the upcoming election.
Britain did once need a Commission for Racial Equality, but I am not so sure one is needed now. Black and Asian men and women hold respected and vital positions all over our society; doctors, government ministers, teachers, journalists, policemen. The law rightly protects anyone from racial discrimination in job selection, and racism is diminishing rapidly across the country. Racial integration has far to go, but in general our immigrants are already far better integrated than most in the United States and much of Europe. What role does the CRE have in encouraging integration? It only concentrates the matter back on race, rather than ignoring it as the irrelevancy that it is. In nearly all of the ways that can be dealt with by government bodies, Britain is not a racist society. We have come far enough not to need a Commission for Racial Equality. To abolish the CRE would not be to vindicate racism, but to acknowledge its defeat.Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 23:25 | Permanent Link |
IF YOU HAVE a spare half hour or so, I strongly recommend you read this report. Two academics examine the pro-Palestinian, anti-Israeli bias of the BBC news programmes, and show in every case how it violates the BBC's own charter on objectivity. Packed with evidence, it makes an overwhelming case against BBC claims of fairness in broadcasting. Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 09:40 | Permanent Link |
WHY IS THE Labour Party so keen to have state funding of political parties? I suspect this piece in The Independent gives the real reason:
"Donations to the Labour Party have plummeted by 83 per cent in only three months, deepening its cash crisis.
The collapse in contributions, disclosed yesterday, follows a series of rows over Labour's links with wealthy businessmen, including the steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal and the pharmaceuticals manufacturer Paul Drayson. With the party up to £8m in the red and Britain's biggest unions threatening to cut their contributions, the slump in donations will alarm Labour fund-raisers."
In a funny sort of way, this demand for state funding is basically just a call for a return to the 1970s and its legacy of taxpayers subsidising lame duck industries. It wasn't right then and it isn't right now. If a business doesn't want to go bankrupt, it should please its customers more, and if a political party faces huge debts it should govern the country better.Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 03:33 | Permanent Link |
A DIFFERENT SORT of blog was started yesterday, over at Biased-BBC. This is truly a group blog. Its purpose is to highlight political bias in this once-great broadcasting institution. I thought that rather than simply muttering under my breath every time I saw the BBC defending higher taxes, a bigger government, the euro, Palestinian suicide bombers and so on, I would set up this blog, with everyone else who notices political bias free to add their own pieces. If you spot any on BBC television, radio or internet services, you can let us know by filling in the form at the bottom of the page, and submitting it to us. We can then add that example to the page. I hope the site goes well, and that as many people as possible can contribute. Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 02:59 | Permanent Link |
YESTERDAY'S MENTION ON National Review Online's Corner was certainly helpful for a webmaster wanting a few more hits for his week-old site! Here is my hit count for the last fortnight.
Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 01:59 | Permanent Link |
Tuesday, August 06, 2002
SOMEONE CALLED GEORGE Monbiot was peculiarly allowed to write a column for the Guardian today. The result was some of the most idiotic ranting even they have dared print:
"[America's] preparedness to go to war with Iraq without a mandate from the UN security council is a defiance of international law far graver than Saddam Hussein's non-compliance with UN weapons inspectors....
[I]f the US were not preparing to attack Iraq, it would be preparing to attack another nation. The US will go to war with that country because it needs a country with which to go to war....
[Tony Blair's] challenge is to recognise and act upon the conclusion of any objective analysis of global power: namely that the greatest threat to world peace is not Saddam Hussein, but George Bush. The nation that in the past has been our firmest friend is becoming instead our foremost enemy."
There we get a true whiff of what the Second Gulf War's opponents are about: mindless, morally blind, anti-Americanism. They hate America because it is one of the few countries left in the world that can still tell the difference between right and wrong, and is willing to fight for freedom. I am proud that Britain joins her in doing what she can to help in that quest. But America can do no right in these people's eyes. When President Bush acts in his own country's interests, it is a sign of "isolationism", a charge no other country's leader faces when putting his own people first. But when Bush acts on the world stage, he suddenly becomes "interventionist", "unilateralist" and "the greatest threat to world peace". Now Bush can either be interested in dominating the world, or in isolating America from it, but not both.The BBCdian liberal elite will really have to choose which it is soon.
The extent to which the left's warped world-view is based upon nothing more than numbers, calculations and sociological theories is evident in their response to the terrorist murders organised by Osama Bin Laden and Yasser Arafat. Instead of asking who the democratic, legally-bound leader is, they accuse America and Israel of bring the attacks on themselves, and absolve the terrorists of their crimes on grounds of poverty and hopelessness. The left's inability to distinguish between a democratically elected leader who fights to destroy those who bomb children to achieve their twisted political goals, and a half-baked tyrant who uses chemical weapons in testing on his own people, who marches into neighbouring countries, and who is building terribly destructive weapons to fight us, demonstrates why Britain will never again have a true socialist government. Bin Laden proved that good and evil really do exist, and the British people will no longer support those who deny it.
So what is Monbiot's alternative to co-operating with America? He openly states that he thinks President Bush is a worse man than Saddam Hussein, that terrorists and tyrants should be left alone and democratic statesmen opposed. So what should Britain do? In so many words, become France:
"We can resist the US neither by military nor economic means, but we can resist it diplomatically. The only safe and sensible response to American power is a policy of non-cooperation. Britain and the rest of Europe should impede, at the diplomatic level, all US attempts to act unilaterally."
Boris Johnson was right last April to describe us as the second most important country in the world. We earn that influence through having a huge economy, the fourth largest of them all, and through the most professionally trained armed forces in the world. But we also gain it from being the closest ally to the world's only super-power. It would be treason to throw that rattle out of the pram in a tantrum born not of logic or conviction, but born only of resentment that America continues to disprove every major socialist theory with her success. France has never changed minds in America, nor has she exercised any influence when she spouts her silly ideas. For all France's sniping, she has no army to back up her words, and no moral authority to support her protestations.
The left is ultimately about turning Britain into another backward, inward-looking, high-taxation, European state. What they want is a people too morally deficient to care enough about any cause to support a war in its favour, and a country too weak to wage war in the first place, even if they ever did decide it was right. This gloomy, pathetic vision stretches even as far as the likes of Kenneth Clarke, though it is much more weakened and vague by the time it reaches them. But it is not a vision shared by the British people, and so long as our political leaders continue to support America when she is right, they will win mass support for their foreign policy.Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 08:26 | Permanent Link |
I HAVE GAINED a lot of respect for David Winnick in the last twenty-four hours. Labour MP for Walsall North, he has taken a correct and moral view on Iraq, and been more courageous than his own leader in defending it against "appeasers" such as Tam Dalyell, the batty man who wrote a book about the sinking of the Belgrano, seeking to portray it as a war crime.
"As far as my parliamentary colleague is concerned, it should be borne in mind that he totally opposed the liberation of Kuwait and the action in Kosovo and Afghanistan.
"With the greatest respect to Mr Dalyell he is an appeaser of military and criminal dictatorships - which he has every right to be.
"It is not because he approves of those regimes but because he will not accept any military actions.
"Had we listened to those critics in the past just imagine what would have happened.
"The ethnic cleansing would have carried on and Afghanistan would have been under the same criminals who were responsible for September 11.
"Therefore I think we should not take what they say too seriously."
This exchange does show divisions within the Labour Party over this war. Wrong as it may be to be partisan over something so important, I must admit it is nice to see Labour's nasty old terrorist-supporting, economy destroying, bloodlust left returning to prominence, showing what the party is, at bottom, really like.Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 07:40 | Permanent Link |
THREATENED BY THE prospect of imminent electoral defeat, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder has resorted to anti-American prejudice to boost his campaign in what now appear to be the dying days of his government. Declaring his opposition to fighting Saddam Hussein, he has opposed using any of Germany's money or troops to help the good guys in the Second Gulf War. He doesn't oppose a pre-emptive strike against Saddam on "legal" grounds. He says his position will remain the same even if the UN approves the action.
Schroder has always struck me as a shifty fellow. Resembling a vampire facially, he seems to have Clinton's political cunning, but also his lack of any moral principles. While the German public responded in revulsion when Britain became one of the only countries in the world to legalise human cloning for medical research, Schroder was privately envious of Blair's own standpoint; that he wouldn't allow ethical issues to get in the way of scientific research. But after four years in office, he has achieved very little for his economy or his country. With interest rates kept artifically high in Germany by the European Central Bank, the rate of unemployment has hardly changed, still being at the dreadful levels Britain last saw around Black Wednesday, nearly a decade ago. Populist Bavarian conservative leader Edmund Stoiber now offers Germany a different course of action. Just a while ago, it seemed inconceivable that a Bavarian like Stoiber could be elected to lead Germany, Bavaria being seen as the source of a far too vulgar, excitable sort of person. Now analysts are predicting that Schroder cannot close the gap of 10% in the opinion polls by which he is trailing Stoiber. I hope Germany votes Edmund Stoiber to power, so the last major European bastion of the left but one is removed. After that, it is down to Conservatives over here to complete the trend.Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 06:59 | Permanent Link |
IAIN MURRAY OF The Edge of England's Sword linked yesterday to a very interesting piece he wrote for Tech Central Station about modern science journalists filling their columns with politicized editorial content:
"The lead news story, for instance, is about the new 100-kilowatt infrared laser being developed by Lockheed Martin and Raytheon for the F35 Joint Strike Fighter. The laser is designed for use in attacking non-human targets, such as other aircraft, ground vehicles or static targets such as fuel dumps, anti-aircraft batteries or power grids. Yet, because the laser's energy could be reflected from these targets and thereby cause accidental blinding, the focus of the story is not the science of the laser, but the magazine's barely disguised outrage that the laser is not banned by the Geneva Convention."
I think what Iain reports is a small part of a debate that has been going on a long time between scientists on how to encourage public interest in science.
They know that true science can be wondrous and fascinating, and that huge numbers would love it if only they gave it a chance. But they also know that science is currently very much a minority interest. So they work out different ways to bring it to the masses: first they try public shows with lots of fun explosives, then they present lots of TV programmes about the science of sex, of course giving lots of screen time to naked women. Now, they are apparently embracing left-wing politics in a way they hope will make science more "relevant". Well, we saw what happened when the Church tried that. Not a happy precedent, and particularly discouraging for a profession which cannot really justify itself without a commitment to objectivity.Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 04:59 | Permanent Link |
Monday, August 05, 2002
TWO MILLION IMMIGRANTS a decade are likely to come to this country in the foreseeable future. When the schools are working, the hospitals can cure everyone, the jails are not packed, houses are not in massive shortage and unemployment is almost zero, then we can look at mass immigration again. Until then, we need to make some changes to the law, because the present influx of people who (quite understandably) come here hoping for better economic conditions is more than we can presently cope with. Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 19:30 | Permanent Link |
THE CAMPAIGN TO ensure state funding of political parties was given a surprise knock by a rare show of integrity by the Prime Minister in his recent interview with Jeremy Paxman. In the interview, Blair said he would only do it as part of a party concensus, not force it though with his majority. The Tories have now come out in clear opposition to this, so let us hope this idea goes away for a long time.
I would make the case against it myself, but I cannot do it better than Janet Daley did last February.Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 06:31 | Permanent Link |
Sunday, August 04, 2002
A VERY 'funny because it's true' piece comes from Nigel Farndale today, on the endless tendency for the press to report the results of every minor scientific study as a fantastic or horrific factual discovery, and the general silliness of "irresponsible journalism". Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 04:41 | Permanent Link |
THERE IS AN excellent article from Simon Heffer in The Sunday Telegraph today, focusing on the Conservative Party's obsession with image at the expense of opposition. He also tears down the myth that there was ever a rump of personally intolerant Tories eager to attack homosexuals, or whatever the BBCdian seems to think:
"Just for the record, the Tory party has always been popular with homosexuals. Mr Duncan talks about breaking the glass ceiling that stops homosexuals getting to the top: but Pitt the Younger, in all probability, broke it 220 years ago. Disraeli married late in life to an older woman, and would definitely have been put down today as batting for both sides. I cast no aspersions on their sexuality, but neither A J Balfour nor Sir Edward Heath found being a confirmed bachelor any bar to Downing Street. At least one member of Mrs Thatcher's first cabinet was homosexual. Her last parliamentary private secretary, Sir Peter Morrison, was a constant trial to the whips, who were afraid that his late-night cruises around and skirmishes in Sussex Gardens would come to the attention of the press.
Throughout the party's history, even when sodomy was a criminal offence, so long as no one frightened the horses, no one said anything and no one cared. To pretend to the contrary is historically inaccurate, and so wilfully so that one suspects those who continue to do it have some hidden agenda."
Essentially, I agree with all he says. We are doing what we can to prove ourselves bright and fresh and modern enough to govern Britain again. But after 63 months in opposition, it is now time to work primarily on the radical ideas which we can defend before the British people as they start to contemplate with dread a third term of Labour failure.Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 04:17 | Permanent Link |
I SUPPOSE IT was too much to hope that Tony Blair could stick by President Bush at least until the war to depose our common enemy started. Now, Blair seems to be making his support conditional on US surrender to some Palestinian demands:
The Telegraph has learned that the Prime Minister is privately urging President Bush to call Arab-Israeli peace talks before any military action against Iraq, but the White House is resisting.
"The Washington argument is: You can deal with Iraq in a separate box. That is not the London position," said a senior Whitehall figure.
"It doesn't mean you cannot do anything until there is a settlement in the Middle East, but you have to make progress."
It isn't necessarily a bad idea to look at the Middle East in relation to Iraq, but this policy is really putting the cart before the horse. Iraq (like the Saudi government), gives cheque after cheque to the families of suicide bombers, fuelling the brutal terrorism to which Israel is responding, and which prevents negotiation. To aim at peace in the Middle East before removing Saddam is like trying to solve a bathroom flood without first turning off the taps. Then again, to mix metaphors a little, Saddam is only the cold tap. We certainly also need Arafat - the hot tap of this flood - out of the picture.Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 03:51 | Permanent Link |
ANDREW RAWNSLEY BEING away, Hywell Williams writes a thoughtful column in today's Observer, analysing modern politics and its obsession with loyalty. I don't agree with all his conclusions about the Conservatives, but he is typically insightful throughout the article as he reaches them. Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 03:19 | Permanent Link |
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