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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, December 14, 2002  

Three decades of aborting American children

AS THE THIRTIETH ANNIVERSARY of Roe vs. Wade approaches, Planned Parenthood is hosting a poster competition to celebrate thirty years of legal abortion - the denial of civil rights to the most vulnerable Americans of all. Not content with their recent blasphemous "Choice on Earth" Christmas cards, their propaganda efforts must now continue into the new year. Thankfully, some American conservatives have already drawn up some posters infinitely more honest than whatever the winner will be:

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 23:03 | Permanent Link |

Anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism unite

TODAY'S TIMES HAS an interesting piece on Mona Baker, the UMIST professor who disgracefully sacked two employees for being Jews - oh sorry, I mean Israeli - and has lead the campaign to boycott Israeli academics, refusing even to sell her academic texts to Israeli educational institutes. In her fervent anti-Zionism, she seems keen to make common cause even with such fringe figures as the holocaust denier David Irving, emailing him to protest at for some perceived offence against Palestinians.

But why is Mona Baker sending e-mails to David Irving about it? Is the potty Holocaust denier the sort of chap she sees as a possible political collaborator? One is so often implored to remember that not all anti-Zionists are anti-Semites. But not all of them aren’t. And Irving is one who is. His aversion to Israel is based not on political but racial revulsion.

... Now, Professor Baker, in choosing to boycott people on the ground of their nationality rather than their personal politics, treads a fine line herself between legitimate opposition to state brutality and fascistic denial of free speech on the ground of race. Anti-Zionists and Nazis do share a common cause, in a way, in so far as their enemy is Jewish, and sometimes the two end up doing each other’s dirty work...

It is not impossible that Mona Baker is a rational woman who thinks that her boycott is the best way to liberate the disfranchised Palestinians. And it is also not impossible that she is a misguided nutter. It is not for a miserable clown like me to judge. But if she does not want her attempts to legislate against a group of people who just happen to be Jewish to come up smelling of Hitler, then she should avoid soliciting the support of his most prominent modern disciple.

I am less generous, and I think this sort of thing just reveals the depths to which Mona Baker will sink. Her sackings should not be legal, and her suggested boycott, if applied against Germany in the 1930s, would actually have prevented a persecuted German Jew coming here to take an academic post. Anyone willing to discriminate so openly and heartlessly against individuals on grounds of their nationality, merely in protest at their government, should be shunned by decent people. It seems Professor Baker has friends, far outside that circle of decent people, who could keep her company instead.

[EDIT: Stephen Pollard gave this shocking story further well deserved coverage. There I was thinking it was an original scoop for me, buried in the back of the Times somewhere.]

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 17:33 | Permanent Link |

Child prostitutes and sex slaves smuggled into UK

ANOTHER REASON TO TAKE SERIOUSLY illegal immigration and abuse of our asylum system:

The Guardian has learned of two separate cases of people smugglers who are each alleged to have brought up to 100 children from China and Angola through British airports in the past few years.

Children's rights campaigners and some police officers believe they are just two examples of a clandestine, lucrative business where children are open to abuse that includes being forced into prostitution, domestic slavery or private "fostering" by violent adults.

... "I would say it is naive to talk about hundreds," one detective investigating child-smuggling and trafficking said. "Thousands and thousands is probably better. It is a very lucrative business. I fear for the motives of those who run the trade. They do not do it for the good of the children."

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 14:44 | Permanent Link |

The wages of socialism

AS A 32 YEAR OLD VICTIM of the NHS is paid £347,000 in compensation for unnecessary removal of a breast, one is reminded of another disadvantage of socialised healthcare - not only do taxpayers have to fund operations when they go well, but we must also pay compensation when they don't. And of course, if a private company kept making these mistakes, worried customers can always make another choice. If you rely on the NHS, what money you can spend on healthcare taxed away to fund it, you have to stick with what you get.

On a lighter note, I must say that if £350k is the going rate, they could take both of mine.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 13:51 | Permanent Link |

Moderacy in the face of madness

JUST AS HOW one acts at his worst is a better test of character than how one acts at his best, perhaps how an MP deals with insulting loonies is a better character test than how he deals with polite constituents. Looking at Oliver Letwin's wholly polite response to an anti-Freemason conspiracy theorist, I'd say the Shadow Home Secretary passes with flying colours:

Dear Mr Croley,

Thank you for your letter of 12 November.

I am terribly sorry that you are so disillusioned with me and with positions in general. I fear that, in the light of your view that I am a corrupt and over-privileged good-for-nothing, it is unlikely that you will believe me when I tell you that I actually spend a lot of my time trying to pursue the cases of particular constituents who have particular and identifiable problems, which I can understand and grapple with on their behalf vis-à-vis matters such as housing, benefits, child support, and the like. I fear, however, I cannot understand what it is you actually want me to do in your case. I am afraid that I do not believe that the world contains a massive conspiracy organised by Freemasons – not least because the one or two Freemasons with whom I have ever knowingly come into contact have been perfectly responsible people. But I expect you will take this as another sign of my corruption or incompetence.

Since you clearly regard the courts as equally reprehensible, I shall not repeat Ian Bruce’s advice that you use this method of redress, but merely remind you that if you have evidence that some person or persons is or are behaving illegally, it is the police and the courts who have to deal with those and not politicians. Quite properly, the courts will simply tell any politician to go packing.

I am very sorry not to be able to offer you any more helpful comments.

Yours sincerely,

Oliver Letwin.

Only a reference to the Stonecutters episode of The Simpsons could have topped this response which, in its moderacy, makes the conspiracy theorist look dafter still.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 12:53 | Permanent Link |

Friday, December 13, 2002  

Lott must pay the price of stupidity

I AGREE COMPLETELY with Mona Charen, who today calls for Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott to resign. Even assuming the probable - that what he said was not an endorsement of segregation but an over-enthusiastic tribute to a former proponent of it - Senator Lott's comments that "we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years" had Thurmond been elected US President is wonderful, extremely useful meat for the Democrats, failing and powerless themselves and desperate for a crutch like this. He made this mistake, and he should pay the price.

The most contentious, emotional and bitter arguments between the two parties often touch upon race. Both Republicans and Democrats have played the race card, but in the last two decades, the Democrats have honed and perfected the art. They have done so because only by riling their black supporters and exacerbating racial tension can Democratic candidates continue to win elections.

The day Democrats fail to secure 80 percent or 90 percent of the black vote, they cease to exist as a major party. Or at least, they would be forced significantly to remake themselves as a party.

In 2000, the NAACP advertisement that blamed George W. Bush for the dragging death of a black man in Texas enraged black voters and helped drive up turnout for Al Gore. That ad was one of the lowest political smears in American history. (The men responsible had been found guilty and, in one case, put to death with Bush's blessing.) But it was only one example among thousands of the way Democrats seek to tar Republicans as racists.

Any judicial candidate who has expressed skepticism about affirmative action can expect the Democratic hit squads to accuse him of being the first cousin of Bull Connor. Anyone in public life who so much as misspeaks can face a P.C. firing squad. Remember the Washington, D.C., official who referred to "niggardly" spending habits and had to resign for "offending" community sentiments?

The Democrats thrive on dirty tricks and on distracting patriotic Americans from their party's liberal agenda. This statement plays wonderfully into their hands, and Lott's resignation is absolutely required to make clear that his comments do not represent the general feeling of Republicans. To stay would be self-serving, insulting and extremely damaging electorally.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 14:02 | Permanent Link |

REVIEW: Searchlight Magazine

TO THOSE UNFAMILIAR with left wing politics, a group called the Anti-Nazi League must sound a wonderful thing and to criticise it would sound deeply suspicious. After all, if you are anti-anti-Nazi, aren't you pro-Nazi? Well, no. It is perfectly possible for a group to be against something bad while still proposing something undesirable itself. C. S. Lewis once said the devil tempts us with one evil by contrasting it with another we hate more. The Anti-Nazi League capitalises on well placed distaste for National Socialism by using opposition to it to portray their own anti-parliamentary, anti-police, International Socialism as the only alternative. So the ANL, run by the revolutionary Socialist Workers Party, deserves all the criticism we would give it were it to use any other name. The fact that it shares with all decent people a disgust with Nazism shouldn't make us blind to its own vices.

As with the ANL, so with the magazine Searchlight. "Against fascism and racism" it says on its cover. But this basic, noble aim disguises a flawed and nasty journal. The latest issue is an example of dishonest reporting and vaguely totalitarian leanings wrapped up in good intentions.

Turn to page 6, and we see their verdict on the "Young, Nazi and Proud" TV programme that lost Young BNP leader Mark Collet his job. Anyone who saw this fascinating programme could not have failed to come away from it convinced that the British National Party is at heart a vicious grouping, clinging subtly, but as determinedly as ever, to the Nazi doctrines on which it has always been based. We saw activists with Nazi tattoos, a Young BNP logo based on an SS symbol, favourable references to the terrorist Johnny Adair, to the "friendly" disease AIDS (it apparently only kills blacks and gays), and of course to Adolf Hitler.

Collett himself clearly wanted to appear statesmanlike and vaguely sinister. Instead he looked immature, self-obsessed and mean-spirited. You couldn't hope for a better reason to oppose the BNP, and an unedited description of the contents of the programme should have been quite enough for Searchlight. But in that infuriating way the far left has of trying to mislead its own supporters (I believe Karl Marx called it the dialectical lie), it embellished and tried to make things look worse.

At one point, Collett talked about how certain historical figures had by their actions ensured their longevity. I can't remember it word for word, but it was something like "Stalin will live on for ever, Churchill will live on for ever, Hitler will live on for ever, and maybe I will too". How does Searchlight report this comment? "Hitler will live on for ever and maybe I will too". There's no denying he said those words in that order, but this particular reference was clearly to Hitler's historical significance, not his policies. I've often myself thought that Margaret Thatcher may have been the most influential politician of the entire twentieth century, save Hitler. Clearly, this is not an endorsement of Hitler or a claim that Maggie was a Nazi, merely a historical judgement. Any newspaper that tried to make out otherwise would be extremely dishonest. Yet this is exactly what they did with this Collett quote.

In paragraph two, Searchlight claims Collet "declared he could not understand why people should find images of German soldiers giving Nazi salutes upsetting". But later on, the article actually gives the full quote:

"I honestly can't understand how a man who's seen the inner city hell of Britain today can't look back on that era [Hitler's Germany] with a certain nostalgia and think yeah, those people marching through the streets and all those happy people out in the streets, you know, saluting and everything, was a bad thing."

These slight, niggling changes matter, because they damage the whole credibility of the rest of the article. He didn't say he couldn't understand what was upsetting about it. He said that compared to the inner-city "hell" of modern Britain, Nazi Germany wasn't so bad. This is an absurd and monstrous statement, clearly defending totalitarianism on the shakiest of grounds. Why did they feel any need to modify it to make it sound worse than it was?

In the penultimate paragraph, Searchlight writes that the BNP leader Nick Griffin "absolves himself of any responsibility for this debacle". But this isn't true, either. The BNP's own site has a video giving Griffin's short response to the programme. In terms of responsibility, he couldn't be starker:

"In this, I've got to take a fair bit of the blame that, having seen Mark deal with a number of journalists - including John Humphries, Radio Four's best, who he tore up one morning and left in little shreds on the breakfast table - I thought that Mark would have enough souse and savvy not to be taken in by this man. To some extent he was. That's not Mark's fault; it's my fault for thinking that he could cope with eight months of that much exposure and in the end in some places he couldn't."

This sort of thing just shows shoddy, amateurish, dishonest reporting.

Turn to page 11 and we see attacks on the traditionalist conservative Aidan Rankin. The piece quotes him showing equal contempt for BNP fascists and the 'anti-fascists' of the ANL/Searchlight variety, but then attempts to link him to racism and a far-right agenda. This about a man whose most recent book was praised by such figures as Michael Gove, a very well respected Portillista, merely because he dares to point out that those who label themselves anti-fascists have more in common with their opponents than they care to admit. The concluding paragraph mentions Rankin's involvement in a Durham University debate, where he argued for the motion that 'multiculturalism has failed':

"Allowing right-wing extremists a platform to argue their views on ethnic diversity does not send out a good message of tolerance and respect."

In that one sentence, we see the sort of magazine this is. Managing to slur Rankin as an extremist, it then falsely claims the debate is on ethnic diversity as if there is no difference between multi-racialism and multi-culturalism. Finally, the message itself should be examined. Without a hint of irony, the article contends that allowing proponents of a common culture and opponents of multi-culturalism to argue their case is not tolerant. The "tolerant" attitude would be to ban them from uttering a word against the popular liberal concensus. Tolerance used to mean, and in some minds still does, a capacity to bear those things one dislikes. Now it means pretty much the opposite: a virulent, fanatical distaste for anyone whose views vary a shade to the left or right of popular prejudices. "Tolerance" now means banning speakers of a certain viewpoint, restricting political language and debate and slurring anyone who disagrees with the left about immigration, asylum or culture as a racist, a bigot and a Nazi. Searchlight spreads this absurdity as keenly as anyone, and in so doing, forfeits its credibility as a serious combatant in the war against fascism. What a shame that in this time of unprecedented popularity for the BNP, such a magazine cannot think outside the politically correct tent and work on a way to expose the evils of Neo-Nazism truthfully and objectively. In the whole of post-war history, it has probably never been more necessary.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 12:28 | Permanent Link |

Sunday, December 08, 2002  

Things will be quiet around here for a few days

POSTING WILL BE SPARSE to non-existent until Thursday, I'm afraid. Just thought I'd let you know I've not gone anywhere. Well, I have, but I'll be back soon.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 05:54 | Permanent Link |

No joke, however bad, deserves a 37 month jail term

NOW I THINK it's fair to say I'm pretty pro-President Bush. I'm not one to indulge in "bear of little brain" gags, and I've often written admiring his moral clarity - summed up by Mark Steyn as the capacity to use the words 'good' and 'evil' without irony. So I hope this gives me special credibility in asking what exactly Richard Humphries did to deserve a three year prison sentence, or indeed any prison sentence at all. He wasn't conspiring to kill anyone, he wasn't a threat to national security. He was just a Democrat making a joke! What on earth is he doing in jail?

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 00:35 | Permanent Link |
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