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"We admire the development of the peace movement around the world in the last few years. We pray to God to empower all those working against war." - Saddam Hussein, February 2003

Saturday, November 02, 2002  

A Section 28 compromise that helps no one

THE TORY PLAN to allow a free vote on the issue of Section 28 is a sign of cowardice. This is not because Section 28 is a sacrosanct feature of Conservatism, but because a free vote only proves a lack of policy. Let's have schools stressing the importance of marriage and morality in all sexual relations and let's stress parental controls over the schools in which they are taught, so that Section 28 becomes entirely superfluous. That's a sensible and modern policy that reflects the wishes of good parents and extends democratic control. It is also a policy around which all in the party can unite. Allowing a free vote will only extend divisions further and makes us look too "nasty" to oppose Section 28 but too cowardly to support it, ensuring we get none of the BBC and Guardian's credit for "modernising" and none of the electoral benefits of standing up for families.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 11:44 | Permanent Link |

Labour common sense lasts a day

PLANS TO FINE people for dropping chewing gum have been abandoned already, apparently because the unions see them as unworkable:

A spokesman for the GMB union, which represents tens of thousands of street cleaners and binmen, said: "Street cleaners and dustmen have tough enough jobs as it is without getting involved in confrontations with irate members of the public."

On this matter they have a good point - it just isn't their job to police the public. Is there any reason why the actual police cannot do it, then? If they are to back on the beat fining people for anti-social offenses of various sorts, why not add this to their list? Obviously they would sometimes have to prioritise, but that doesn't stop them cracking down on litter the rest of the time.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 11:14 | Permanent Link |

Friday, November 01, 2002  

Career before life

NATIONAL REVIEW EXAMINES the voting record of Democratic Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich and shows the depths of hypocrisy to which some will descend. Paralleling Al Gore's conversion to "reproductive rights", it seems another pro-life Rat has seen which way his bread is buttered, and chosen to vote the way his party would wish, rather than for what is right. I do hope he'll be made pay for it one day.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 17:08 | Permanent Link |

Three names for the Tory future

A CHANGE OF Tory leader is necessary, concludes David Aaronovitch, but they should skip a generation and choose as leader Oliver Letwin, Damien Green or David Willetts. Willetts' name I do not understand. He is certainly bright and philosophical, but I can't imagine a Shadow Cabinet Minister with less charisma, or who has made less impact in the last few years. On the other hand, Oliver Letwin could indeed be a great leader one day, but he has already said he does not want the job and challenged Andrew Rawnsley to wait until the next leadership election to see that he is not a contender. Damien Green certainly is a rising star. Human, clever and persuasive, I am very impressed by what he has done so far.

But I would myself add another name, Shadow Transport Secretary Tim Collins. I initially held against him his role in damaging the 1995 Redwood Leadership campaign (during which he called Redwood's supporters "the barmy army"), whose central message of 'No Change Equals No Chance' was proved comprehensively two years later. But in the last year, Collins has been very impressive in getting the Conservative message across. His conference speech last month was excellent and his appearances on radio and TV discussions effective. Politically, he is sensibly eurosceptic and supportive of general Conservative principles. Significantly, he has not fallen victim to the politically correct group rights ideas that seem to have turned certain other Conservative minds to jelly. He has opposed both pro-cannabis and anti-marriage adoption policies moderately and convincingly. If Oliver Letwin and Damien Green are names for the future, and they certainly are, then Tim Collins ought to be, too.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 15:49 | Permanent Link |

EU Stability Pact is no substitute for democratic controls nor for competitiveness

BUT FOR NUMEROUS sideswipes at Mrs Thatcher, Larry Elliot's analysis of the European Stability Pact in The Guardian is impressive. Certainly, the Stability Pact is probably too draconian, but that isn't the point. Domestic electorates of each country should be in control of these decisions, not European bureaucrats. Whether too harsh or not, the Stability Pact imposes demands on the ministers of the Eurozone governments that prevent them obeying or listening much to their own electorate. Getting into lots of debt is certainly a bad thing, but it should be for the voters to determine that, not for unelected bureucrats to enforce that decision.

Elliot sneers at the idea that Europe could benefit from "embracing Thatcherism" through cutbacks in welfare and union power. He should know better how much British competitiveness benefitted this country, and how dangerous it can be constantly to grant more rights to employees that can damage their company. By making their countries more competitive, European governments could cut unemployment very quickly and attract investment in the longer term. We should never forget that the United States created more jobs in one month of 1999 than mainland Europe did in the whole of the 1990s. It would be madness for Europe not to ask why.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 06:00 | Permanent Link |

Labour tries out a bit of common sense

I CAN'T IMAGINE a good reason to be opposed to any of the new measures likely to be announced to crack down on litter, graffiti and chewing gum in Britain's streets. One of the most depressing things about visiting other cities in the world is how much cleaner they always are than our own. If some people haven't the decency to keep Britain's towns and cities tidy voluntarily, as is clearly the case, the police should step in and punish them severely.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 05:35 | Permanent Link |

Thursday, October 31, 2002  

Greatest Briton poll proves how little of the greatness is left

ONE THING I often find annoying is when people talk about the human race in general or ordinary people as being stupid. In general, those who claim this are no better than the common man and they usually summon it to defend some intellectual position that they hold but normal people have more sense than to believe in (Marxists go so far as calling this indifferent attitude "false consciousness"). That is why it makes it especially difficult for me to acknowledge it when evidence suggests they are right. The BBC's Greatest Briton idea is admirable, both in terms of being historically educational, and in generating a little national pride. No one is to blame for the results but the voters.

Now yes, eight of the top ten are serious figures in history, but that does not excuse the names of Princess Diana and John Lennon, currently 1st and 9th respectively. Passing over Diana, whose "compassion" in front of the cameras is the only thing I can imagine she achieved, we get John Lennon, a nasty little twerp who funded IRA terrorists as they bombed the very fans who made him rich in the first place. I really don't want to get into comparing the historical merits of these cases, explaining why Lord Nelson really shouldn't be one place below Lennon and why Princess Diana is not the greatest figure in British history. If you really require an explanation, then likely no explanation is possible. It just makes me wonder at the sort of history-free, narrow-minded little people we must all now live alongside. So many demonstrate in this poll not only their own ignorance but their willingness to vote. If you ever find yourself wondering, 'Who are all these people who gave Tony Blair two landslides?', now you have your answer.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 09:49 | Permanent Link |

A few pearls of wisdom

THOMAS SOWELL'S OCCASIONAL "Random Thoughts" column at Townhall always tends to be a fun read. It certainly is today.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 09:28 | Permanent Link |

Netanyahu should return

IS IT TOO much to hope that the collapse of Ariel Sharon's governing coalition could mean a return for Benjamin Netanyahu? A leader whose common sense and basic moral principles were non-negotiable and right, he bowed the knee to no terrorist, but was willing to negotiate peace so long as the desire on both sides was genuine. A strong, charismatic leader such as Netanyahu would lead Israel through these difficult days, and ensure that all her foes take seriously the country's commitment to rooting out terror and criminality, and realise that the only way to gain peace is through an unequivocal commitment to it, not through shifty zero-sum game negotiations aimed at gaining whatever one can for one's own side, with the terrorist option never far from reach. That is the sort of peace Israel wants and deserves. Benjamin Netanyahu knows best how to deliver it.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 07:06 | Permanent Link |

Hugo Young dances on IDS's grave

IN A RATHER rambling piece, Hugo Young declares that Iain Duncan Smith will not be Tory leader a year from now, and that Kenneth Clarke's time has now come, for IDS lacks an essential characteristic of a modern political leader: a personality. Now this could just be wishful thinking on the author's part. Even the Prime Minister has expressed distaste for Young's "obsession" with Europe. But wishful thinking or not, perhaps Clarke as Tory Leader would not go the way he wanted.

As has been noted before, Europe has lost a huge amount of its resonance as a political issue in the last year. Blair has indicated it is unlikely he will ever hold a referendum on scrapping the pound. I think if it isn't announced in the Queen's Speech next month it will not happen at all under his watch. Equally, partly down to the success of Constituency Associations, Portillista dirty tricks and the Candidlist Programme, the Conservative Party is now so dominated by Eurosceptics that even if Clarke were for some reason willing to risk the collapse of his government in an attempt to abolish sterling, Eurosceptics in the Conservative Parliamentary Party would have the voting numbers to stop it in its tracks.

We also have to face the fact that short of a miracle, whoever is Leader of the Opposition at the next election is not going to be Prime Minister after it. A majority of 166 is not going to be overturned at one election. So Clarke could be replaced after the next election quite easily, having got us on the road back to power. The previously insuperable European barrier to the election of Ken Clarke as Tory leader suddenly no longer seems so imposing.

The greatest fear in my mind is that Clarke's election as leader would trigger a referendum by convincing Blair that with all three party leaders behind him, he can win a fight to scrap the pound. If this is true, selecting Clarke - whose political skills I believe have always been exaggerated - is more trouble than it is worth.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 06:33 | Permanent Link |

Wednesday, October 30, 2002  

Even if the left are wrong, they think what matters is they care more

JONAH GOLDBERG'S PHILOSOPHICAL edge is what makes him my favourite National Review columnist. While many of the others tend to write interesting stuff on the issues of the day, Goldberg almost can't help but express universal truths in every column. In writing about the funeral of Paul Wellstone, the Democratic Senator who died this week, he manages this again. Conservatism is seen as "mean", he says ("nasty" would probably be the most relevant synonym over here), because it is less concerned with feeling than with reality and what works. Because conservatives think this is what matters, they don't perhaps appreciate the appeal of the left, which can outbid them easily in showing how much they "care" (caring translating politically into supporting the use of taxpayer's money to buy votes and fund irresponsibility). Of course, the sort of caring offered by the left tends to be like that shown by a mother who grants her toddler's every wish - good for the short-term, but against the best interests of everyone in the end. The once commonplace idea that voting for a modern liberal party is about putting your heart before your head ought to be resurrected. It's the truth.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 22:53 | Permanent Link |

Brit-Bloggers are in good company

VARIOUS BRITISH BLOGGERS have made some very good posts today. The analysis by the guy who runs British Spin of the recent furore over IDS's leadership is typically insightful and objective. His point about the precise rules of leadership elections having crucial effect on politics is well made. Meanwhile Iain Murray links to an example of Theodore at his finest, Dr. Dalrymple's take on the significance of the eating habits of the criminal class. Over at Samizdata, Perry de Havilland takes on the US President over his weasel words and weasellier policies regarding free trade. What is so wrong with countries exchanging goods freely and each benefitting from the greatest talents of the other? How can one consistently favour a free market because unfettered exchange of goods and labour enriches everyone, while at the same time opposing it when that exchange extends beyond national boundaries?

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 21:46 | Permanent Link |

Tory MPs must wake up and see that PMQ doesn't really matter to the voters

WITH THE INDEPENDENT, Guardian and Telegraph all suggesting plans for a Tory rebellion against Iain Duncan Smith's leadership, and Matthew Parris and Linda McDougal both pronouncing him finished as Opposition Leader, things look bad for IDS. The atmosphere of Bournemouth three weeks ago was so upbeat and exciting. It's hard to believe things have descended this far already. Bizarrely, it is IDS's performance at Prime Minister's Questions the last fortnight that seems to have been the spur for this. William Hague was indisputably a fantastic public speaker, able to best Tony Blair every time he came to the Despatch Box. Sadly, those skills went almost entirely to waste, and Hague's leadership proved what little impact Parliamentary debate had on the electorate in any normal circumstances. That the party should contemplate a change of leader for this reason, just 13 months after he was elected by a large majority, is only further evidence of how attitudes and ideas in the party need to change. Sometimes divisions over major constitutional issues are a necessity. Divisions and talk about the leadership over issues no one much cares about, like gay rights and PMQ performances, are emphatically not necessary.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 19:36 | Permanent Link |

Commons to start and finish earlier

COMMONS HOURS HAVE seen an historic change in the last twenty-four hours, with debates in mid-week now starting at 11:30am instead of 2:30pm and Prime Minister's Questions starting at noon instead of 3pm. I am not particularly of the view that these changes are for the better or the worse, but it should be interesting to see what difference they make. If they in any way go further in preventing Parliament from holding the government to account, then they are bad for Britain. Sadly, if this is the case, however much any opposition may oppose the changes at the time, they are unlikely to do much about it - and disadvantage themselves - once in government.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 17:57 | Permanent Link |

Tuesday, October 29, 2002  

Cutting taxes is right, but not a practical promise this parliament

ANDREW IAN DODGE of Dodgeblog has made an interesting post over at Conservative Revival on a Tory activists' rally with Michael Howard. The description is less than flattering, the normally diplomatic and acerbic Shadow Chancellor apparently "managed to annoy most if not the entire room" through a refusal to commit to anything approaching Conservative economic policies.

His waffle was so bad that a party activist and funder of long standing, who gives £5k a year, pledged not to give a penny more. The entrepeneur was looking for policies that help small businesses; instead he got nothing. What was most interesting about the evening is the strong desire in the room for radical policies. It seemed that, like me, many in the room believed the way back to power is to continue the work Thatcher had started (and Major pissed away) and drive towards a much smaller, more accountable state.

... Despite repeated attempts to deny it, it is clear the current Tory policy is to wait for Blair to fail. It is a high risk policy that may well, in fact, be doomed to failure.

On this issue, I must say I am very divided. I understand Howard's thinking well enough. It is not levels of taxation that people presently care about as much as the services they get in return, which are in a terrible state. Tories know very well it is the nature of the state sector that prevents good services, not the amount of money put in. But ordinary people are not yet willing to accept that. Far better, the argument goes, to argue for reform of the public sector without promising to cut taxes and funding. "Investment without reform will fail" is a good slogan and attitude electorally.

But equally, I sympathise with the tax-cutting argument. Right-winger Rupert Darwell's excellent CPS Pamphlet "Paralysis or Power" made clear this attitude very persuasively: we didn't lose the tax-cutting argument - we simply stopped making it. Paul Gray's assessment of the follies of the 1997 Parliament included an analysis strikingly similar for someone on the modernising wing. By committing the party to meet Labour's spending plans minus £8 billion, many thought Hague was being moderate and clever. In fact, he was accepting Labour's argument that lack of money was the problem, with much more being needed, though at the same time promising less. We promised too much spending to be able to argue that taxes were much too high, and too little spending to win the support of those who accepted the left's analysis of the cause of the plight of our public services.

The sure lesson to learn from the last election is that moderately different policies from Labour will fail on both fronts. We must either choose and defend a radical tax-cutting agenda, or accept Labour's spending and go into the election promising better public services than Labour, with the money being put in, but spent better. This latter option isn't just a matter of cutting bureaucracy and helping people to lift the burden on the state by going private. There are all sorts of politically correct causes on which government funds are wasted. In health, we spend a fortune on breast cancer detection systems that save at most 1 in 3,000 lives, fund free abortions and sex change operations and would be able to make a substantial amount from fining those who cannot keep to their appointments or who waste the services of ambulances. As well as generating revenue, this would encourage less waste by ensuring people used the available services better. As the NHS and education systems improved, a large surplus could be built up of all the money that has been saved through improving public services. As concern about the public services started to wane, people would begin to demand more of their own money both because they felt taxes were now too high and because they would be getting used to paying more for their own services, and would see less need for the taxman to take from them. At this point we could cut taxes, each year seeing the tax burden falling fairly substantially. Raising taxation too much beyond whatever the present level might be has never been politically feasible outside wartime. Just as the Tories are now following Labour over spending, Labour would feel forced to agree to most Tory tax cuts.

Waiting for Labour to fail is not at all risky. Unless they adopt Conservative policies, it is an inevitability. I want low taxes as much as anyone, but Tory tactics have always in the past included knowing which fronts were the best on which to fight. Taxation is not currently such a front. This is partly because of an asymmettry in the political debate. For every discussion of the way in which money is raised, there are ten on how it is spent. We might win the tax argument every Question Time in five that it appeared, but then for three quarters of every single episode, we would be put on the back foot over one public service or another and how Tory cuts could only make it worse. The next election will be about the state of the public services whether we like it or not. Unless we put our greatest efforts into winning this battle, we cannot make the necessary progress next time.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 14:33 | Permanent Link |

Women to be responsible and free until drunk; men to be guilty until proven innocent

IN TODAY'S GUARDIAN, Zoe Williams tears into new proposals to turn having sex with a drunk woman into rape and to make men prove their innocence.

All women would have to accept that, in the eyes of the law, they had been infantilised. We cannot be held responsible for what we say and do while intoxicated - men, clearly, can still be held responsible for what they say and do while intoxicated, and the only conclusion to be drawn from that is that they are accountable, mature and retain a basic integrity whatever they ingest. We aren't and we don't. Presumably, the law will still have a problem with us if we commit a murder under the influence of alcohol, which gives this a more Victorian slant - while we are, generally speaking, rational beings, in the realm of sex we are as tiny kittens, beset by pit bulls. We know not what we do, nor are our mewlings meaningful.

... Now, this isn't great from a man's point of view, either. I find it pretty improbable that women who haven't been raped will press charges vindictively. But that decision will be entirely at the woman's discretion. Every man who's ever gone home and had sex with a legless woman will have technically committed a criminal act. I cannot believe many men exist who haven't had sex with a blind drunk female. I cannot believe many women exist who haven't had sex while blind drunk.

... The attendant problem, of course, is that it undermines the importance of rape as a crime, if so many people could, in theory, be said to have committed it. After all these years of graft, the long battle to make the police handle rape more sensitively, the even longer battle to get date rape recognised as a crime, are we now prepared to throw it away by calling all men rapists?

As one obviously cannot get away with a rape by claiming one was drunk at the time, why should people who agreed to sex at the time be able to withdraw their consent retrospectively? And do drunken people require this much protection? It is obvious that the inebriated will do silly and regrettable things, but if people are concerned about this, the sensible conclusion is not to drink excessively. To make criminals of those on the other side of drunken decisions is absurd. Should people who buy goods when drunk be able to return them without explanation when they sober up? Personal responsibility is the essence of liberty, and a necessary condition of its preservation. Laws like this threaten more than just those many men who've slept with drunken women.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 06:05 | Permanent Link |

Monday, October 28, 2002  

The left is losing its moral bearings.

TOWNHALL HAS A good column today from John Leo on the way the left is isolating itself from any moral concern, determined to side with or sympathise with the most barbarous evils. Ironically for a political force that has always retreated to the moral case for its ideas when faced with their practical failures, since 11 September 2001, being left-wing in foreign policy has meant abandoning the most basic moral norms.

Solidarity with people in trouble is the most profound commitment that leftists make, [Michael Walzer] wrote, but even the oppressed have obligations, and one is to avoid murdering innocent people. "Leftists who cannot insist on this point, even to people poorer and weaker than themselves, have abandoned both politics and morality for something else."

An example of that abandonment came two weeks ago (EDITOR: Oct. 12-14) at the University of Michigan's pro-Palestinian conference, which could not bring itself to criticize suicide bombings. Save us from moral appeals that leave room for blowing up families in supermarkets.

He's talking to you, Yasmin.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 16:38 | Permanent Link |

Let's ensure the BBC's poll tax fades into TV history

WHY SHOULD THE BBC be the only media organisation to receive a £112 subsidy from the taxpayer? If they don't want to advertise it is up to them, but they have no right to demand a poll tax from the rest of us in exchange. If it were genuinely an unbiased national institution, it would still have no right to impose its costs on those who don't watch it. But in the last few decades, it has turned from that into a Guardian-readers' haven, broadcasting soft-left perspectives as news and garbage as entertainment. The BBC's recent efforts seem aimed at actually transferring all the worthwhile programming onto their intelligent digital channels. How many times have I seen an programme advertised on BBC1 or BBC2 and then thought "Goodness - something worth watching" only to find it is a BBC4 thing? Normally, that would actually be fine - I should only get what I pay for. My objection is to being forced to pay for countless gardening programmes and absurd game shows. At some point not so far off, there will probably be channels to cater for every little interest. It only makes sense for people to pay specifically for what they desire, not generally for all that they do not. The BBC poll tax is an unfair anachronism that should go soon.

The Tories should lead public opinion in this matter, giving its voice to the 58% who already want an end to the license fee, and abolish it after five or so years in government. The coverage they would receive would probably stay about as bad as it already is, and might improve once owned privately, market pressures ensuring that the organisation cannot afford to alienate too much off its audience with political bias of any sort.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 15:26 | Permanent Link |

Yasmin: Suicide bombers do some good

SOME PEOPLE ARE so depraved and vicious there is nothing they can condemn unequivocally, no evil with which they cannot sympathise. Just listen to this nasty bile from Yasmin Alibhai-Brown:

Well, at last, and for the worst of all reasons, we are buzzing about Chechnya like furious bees. In that sense, at least, those homicidal men and women who took over the theatre in Moscow achieved something... Suicide bombers, whatever the injustices they are fighting, do more harm than good.

You expect the usual suggestion that blowing up men and women is more acceptable if one is fighting "injustices" of some sort. But astonishingly, she believes suicide bombers actually do good. I don't even know how to begin condemning this. Perhaps you should email her and tell her what you think.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 08:48 | Permanent Link |

Positive discrimination is why the left's women and minorities don't go far

GARY YOUNGE IN The Guardian:

The Tories can look back on providing the country with its first democratically elected female leader; there are few in the Labour party who could confidently look forward and suggest a time when they might provide us with a second. Moreover, far from being confined to British politics, this is a global phenomenon. Applying left and right in their crudest terms, the right has produced almost twice as many female leaders around the world as the left since the war.

The right's ability to elevate the under-represented extends to race too... with a cabinet that includes those of Asian, Arab, Jamaican and African descent, it is George Bush who has the more diverse cabinet. Moreover, it is the Republicans who have produced the most likely black contender for president, secretary of state Colin Powell, and may yet put forward a black woman for vice-president, Bush's national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice.

The good news for the right stops here. The left is way ahead when it comes to representation. Only twice since the war has Labour provided fewer than half the women in parliament. Today, all of the ethnic minority MPs and 80% of the women MPs sit on Labour benches. Likewise, the Democrats boast 38 of the 39 black members of Congress and around 70% of the women in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

... Nonetheless, the paradox remains that while the left supplies the lion's share of parliamentarians from under-represented groups, it struggles to place them in leadership roles.

This might be a paradox if you don't remember the left's obsession with the politically correct theory of representation, which claims that a political figure can only accurately represent the views of those who resemble them physically, so Asians can only be represented by Asians, women by women and so on, as if all fashionable minorities think alike. If an organisation accepts people because of their skin colour or sex regardless of talent, then obviously you are going to get more people like that. Discriminating against whites and males ensures it. But equally, they aren't going to be anywhere near as competent as those on the right, who are chosen on merit. So they aren't going to get so far. All "positive" discrimination does is delay a little the ultimate test of merit.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 07:44 | Permanent Link |

Mass cheating wrecks standards further

Any informed, objective observer knows that educational standards are falling, but today's revelations in the Guardian suggest this may be partly down to mass cheating by teachers.

Despite having officially reached government targets for English, maths and science, children can go to secondary school unable to spell, tell the difference between a plus and a multiplication sign, add up the numbers on a dice or use capital letters and full stops correctly.

We have identified 26 possible methods of cheating by headteachers, teachers and classroom assistants. They include opening papers early and revising set topics, handing back completed scripts for corrections to be made and checking exam scripts then rubbing out incorrect answers and adding decimal points and full stops.

Teachers claim this is not a question of isolated malpractice, but is widespread and symptomatic of a system open to corruption, where complaints are not properly investigated.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 05:43 | Permanent Link |

Why is every racist always said to be right-wing?

THOUGH HE GOES further than I would more than occasionally, the academic skill and backup for John J. Ray's arguments is second-to-none. His recent article for FrontPageMagazine on Racism is excellent in highlighting the absurdity of many of the idiosyncrasies of the modern Left, no longer even questioned.

Have you ever wondered why Fortuyn was portrayed as some sort of conservative? Or asked yourself what precisely it is that is right-wing about the BNP? The answer is almost nothing. They are described this way because the left has defined racism out of existence among its own ranks. No matter how socialist someone may be, if they are racist, they are sent to the right of the political continuum, a compliant media accepting this.

As many people have pointed out, the late Pim Fortuyn advocated gay marriage, gender equality, liberalized drug laws and criticized a religion which he saw as intolerant and homophobic — which sounds an awful lot like the Leftists of his era — but because he also wanted to stop further immigration into his already densely populated country he became, "Hey presto!", a "Right-wing extremist"! Brunton also points out that there is much in the rhetoric of prominent French anti-immigrant politician Jean-Marie Le Pen which would get him described as a Leftist were it not for his racial views. Any Leftist who does allow that race might have some significance in some way is immediately relabelled as Rightist. Being racist is enough in the current Left lexicon to make you Rightist regardless of anything else you might believe or advocate.

So virulent racism can exist on the Left. Most Leftists are just dishonest about acknowledging it, that is all. They think that by relabelling it they perform some sort of magic trick that makes it go away.

Perhaps it is time for the right to attempt some sort of fight back against these characterizations. Instead of distinguishing ourselves from the "extreme right", we ought to show that National Socialism is merely another branch of leftist, statist thinking, and that a little extremism in defending individual life, liberty and property is sometimes a welcome thing. Just as I never let someone get away with using a word like "elitist" or "homophobe" in an argument, I think I shall challenge the idea that all the unpleasant racialists who want a socialised economy and unfree society are right-wing.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 05:02 | Permanent Link |

Sunday, October 27, 2002  

"Just say No" saves lives

SCOTLAND'S POPULATION is one-tenth that of the whole of Britain, yet one in three Britons who suffer ecstasy-related deaths are Scottish. Wiser heads are now coming to admit that the absurd value-free drugs campaign they are now trying is a failure. Tell people how to take drugs "safely" and little about the health and moral dangers of doing so, and surprise-surprise, drug deaths rocket. If you taught 14 year olds that driving below 60mph was key, rather than that they should not be driving at all at that age, you would see the same result. Classroom moralising is far better than treating children as animals, unresponsive to reason or right and wrong, who must be controlled through anti-baby pills and junkies' safety measures. And it is certainly also preferable to the number young deaths Scotland is now facing.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 09:53 | Permanent Link |

Rape defendants to be guilty until proven innocent

NEW LAWS PROPOSED by the government to cash in on public sympathy over the Ulrika Johnson rape case will now require that men accused of date-rape prove they ensured the woman in question gave her consent. In other words, any man who cannot prove his innocence will be convicted. Worse, defendants will now be restricted in bringing up the woman's sexual history. Of course, it is relevant how promiscuous a woman is in determining how likely it was she consented. Some say - rightly - that it is unfair that the defendant should have his own sexual history kept secret but the victim have hers brought up in court. But this lack of symmetry can best be tackled by examining the sexual history of both defendant and accuser, rather than neither. Many men are accused by six different women who do not know each other of rape, and get away with it, without the juries knowing anything of it. Just as a woman of low morals is more likely to consent to sex, and to lie, a promiscuous man is more likely to rape than one who treats the issue as one of intimate importance. In determining guilt, both should be examined in detail.

All the sympathy in the world should be extended to women who have been raped, but men who are falsely accused of this crime are equally the victims here. The law should be fair to both of them, and crack down only on those convicted already, not on all defendants in rape cases, guilty or innocent. Let's have very long jail sentences for women proved to be lying about a rape and for convicted rapists - perhaps chemical castration for the latter. But despite all these measures, we mustn't threaten the rights of the defendant. All civilised societies must be have a legal system based on the state proving the defendant's guilt, not the defendant proving his innocence.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 09:37 | Permanent Link |

Support opponents of your party and you face the consequences

AS AN UNFORTUNATE recipient of every bit of junk email the "Democratic Alliance" sends out (I didn't request it), I know quite a bit about Chairman Mike Smith's plots to stand candidates in marginal Tory seats like Theresa May's Maidenhead, solely with the purpose of the Tories losing her as an MP. Party rules are strict and right on matters like this: any member who advocates supporting another party in an election can be expelled. This has now happened to Mike Smith, and he is trying to sue the party for this. Conservatives can be varying in their views and their attitudes, but those who cross the line into supporting other candidates should face the consequences. Such nasty figures deserve no better.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 05:06 | Permanent Link |
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