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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, January 18, 2003  

Modern Britain - the permissive, "civilised" society
  • A paedophile robber who beat a pensioner with a sledgehammer and had sex with a 13 year old sues for £50,000 for being kept in jail "too long".
  • TV presenter Lowri Turner is mugged while holding her baby son.
  • Drug-addict who killed a man with dangerous driving sentenced to just five years.
  • High profile Labour Party member found guilty of various sexual offences including the rape of a four year old.

All from the same newspaper, all from the same day. Just how much longer can these liberal idiots hold up their permissive society as a success?

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 21:22 | Permanent Link |

Brussels doesn't know best - the voters do

GERMANY'S DISASTROUS CHANCELLOR Gerhard Schroeder has, through his lawyers, imposed a gagging order on tomorrow's Mail on Sunday, no doubt for covering the story of his alleged adultery. The paper has not broken any of the laws of this country, but because of the way the European Union now works, they are facing legal threats for delving into politicians' private lives, which is basically illegal under Germany's draconian privacy laws.

Now whether you agree or disagree with the Mail's investigation, or you think Germany's privacy laws would be a good idea here, is not the issue. The issue is whether a British citizen in the United Kingdom who is innocent of any crime should be subject to the laws and punishments of a foreign country, both of them determined by a legislature over which the British people have no control. For anyone who truly believes in democracy, there is only one answer. If only the EU shared that belief. If only we had a government with the guts to stand up for it. ®

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 17:52 | Permanent Link |

Thursday, January 16, 2003  

Jacques Derri-la-de-da

OVER AT THE NATIONAL REVIEW, Mark Goldblatt has a jolly time dismissing the ridiculous, postmodernist "philosopher" Jacques Derrida, beloved academic of all those intellectually insecure enough to be impressed by such gibberish as:

If dialectic desituationism holds, we have to choose between Habermasian discourse and the subtextual paradigm of context. It could be said that the subject is contextualised into a textual nationalism that includes truth as a reality. In a sense, the premise of the subtextual paradigm of context states that reality comes from the collective unconscious...

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 22:16 | Permanent Link |

Prison works, especially for burglars

IAIN MURRAY WRITES for the Spectator! Convincingly, he takes apart the arguments supporting the new 'Burglar's Charter', which effectively limits prison sentences to those crooks who have burgled at least three times. Rehabilitation of the offender? "American research has shown that these needs are best addressed in a custodial setting, i.e., in prison." Prison doesn't deter? "The Chicago economist Steven Levitt found that in America as a whole each offender imprisoned resulted in a decrease of 15 crimes overall."

But what of the claim that putting offenders in prison only puts them among those who have developed the criminal habit, which they will soon inculcate in the new prisoner?

The study of released prisoners mentioned above found that only one in five first-time offenders were rearrested within a year of their release from prison. Assuming that a certain proportion had already ticked the box labelled ‘criminal’ as their career of choice at school, it doesn’t seem that many first-time offenders decide on a career change after their experience inside.

Finally, prison works in so far as it keeps people on the outside safe from those locked up, for as long as they are held captive.

One researcher, for instance, has estimated that, without the massive expansion of prisons in the 1970s and 1990s aimed at incapacitating offenders, the American violent-crime rate would have been about 1,200 per 100,000 population instead of the 500 it reached in the late 1990s. Property offenders, on the other hand, are the prisoners most likely to reoffend. A study of prisoners released in 1994 found that 74 per cent of property offenders were rearrested within three years of their release. Almost a quarter of released burglars had committed another burglary. Burglars burgle. They can’t do it in prison. QED.

A concise and persuasive piece, and I think a necessary blow against liberals who claim that those who favour tougher sentences are doing so for emotional, sadistic reasons. On the contrary, the statistical evidence from place after place and over long and varied periods is clearly on the side of those who believe in lengthy prison sentences. All the other side have are the usual sentimental expressions of sympathy for the criminal. This would not be nearly as repugnant were this concern not wrapped up in total indifference to the feelings of the victim, and snooty hostility to the clear will of the ordinary people who suffer most when criminals are let off lightly.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 18:00 | Permanent Link |

Let's trust Scotland to kick the New Party into touch

THE NEW PARTY FOR GREAT BRITAIN plan to contest the Scottish Parliamentary elections in May. But now they face the thorny issue of changing their unfortunately chosen name. They have only recently become aware that when Sir Oswald Mosley left the Labour Party, his new political grouping was also called the New Party, before eventually settling for the charming title of the British Union of Fascists. Hmmm.

Anyway, if the party is really going to contest elections, I am pleased they have chosen these. Not only will they face the two main parties and the Liberal Democrats, but north of the border they also must face the Scottish Nationalists and the Scottish Socialist Party as they fight for seats. Scotland is about the worst place they could have chosen in the hope of making a breakthrough.

This is good news for real Tories, of course. As the Pro-Euro Conservatives were destroyed a few months after formation by a derisory performance in the 1999 Euro-Elections, we must hope that the same occurs with this party. They're going the right way about ensuring it happens.

Thanks to David Farrer for the link. ®

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 17:31 | Permanent Link |

Extreme, dishonest and incompetent

TO ANYONE ACTIVE in one of Britain's main political parties, it will be nothing new to hear that the Liberal Democrats as a party operate on the most dishonest, inconsistent grounds imaginable. In one constituency, they will support the euro, in another claim that only their candidate will stand up for the pound. They ruthlessly and dishonestly base their entire appeal not on a basic ideology which they want people to trust in, but on what the voters want to hear, or worse. I spoke in November to a former Conservative councillor in Gateshead. The Lib Dems had beaten her in the previous election and taken her seat on the council by going from door to door telling the voters that in the absence of a Tory candidate, only the Liberals could keep out Labour. In the by-election in which the Tories stood Lord Taylor, a black Conservative, the Liberal Democrats reportedly used propaganda that would not be out of place in a BNP leaflet in an attempt to win the seat.

In the Spectator today, Simon Heffer examines the activities of the party, the inconsistencies of their positions, and shows how unworthy they are even to be in opposition, let alone government. Most of all, he filters through their varying policy pronouncements to find the ideas they hold consistently. They are as extreme as they are ridiculous.

Exactly a year ago Mr Kennedy said, ‘We might well go into the next general election saying that we favour lower taxes.’ However, when the party’s alternative budget was published six weeks later, it called for a new 50 per cent top rate of tax for those earning more than £100,000 a year. It promised to abolish capital-gains-tax exemptions, and even expounded a crackpot plan to create regional assemblies and devolve to them the power to raise further National Insurance contributions. It also promised to ‘end the practice of giving non-domiciled tax status’. This would put a torpedo through the City of London where high-achieving foreign workers enjoy such status — driving them abroad, lowering the performance of their companies and ensuring that less, not more, revenue goes to the Treasury.

The Lib Dems have gone quiet lately on their long-held promise to put a penny on income tax to improve education, but doing this would raise just £3 billion, whereas their education promises are independently costed at £6.4 billion. Their Treasury spokesman, Matthew Taylor, has also said that the party is considering a local income tax of up to 8 per cent, a carbon tax, a higher landfill tax and (the pièce de résistance) VAT at possibly 7 per cent on new homes.

... The Lib Dem spokesman on home affairs, Simon Hughes, told the last party conference, ‘We must end the nonsense of sending so many people to prison.’ Custodial sentences are to be imposed ‘only as a last resort’, according to a policy paper published just before that conference, though how many muggings or burglaries one has to commit before that resort is reached is not specified. They are against mandatory life sentences for murderers and serial rapists. They want to give prisoners (or the few of them who remain once the prisons are emptied) the right to vote, and to legalise prostitution.

At a time when even the Labour government is reluctantly admitting that the link between drugs and serious crime is inescapable, Dr Tonge has said she wants cocaine sold in the same way as tobacco and alcohol. She also wants heroin made available on the NHS.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 16:41 | Permanent Link |

Fired for blogging

OUTRAGEOUSLY, Edge of England Sword's Iain Murray has been sacked for running his weblog. The reasoning is still unclear. But whether the grounds are political, or that he blogged in office hours (his former boss smiled on this and his new employer raised no objections until the day he was fired), or whether this is an excuse his employer gave to cover up an even more absurd reason, this is terribly shabby treatment. As a blogger myself, I for one feel deeply concerned about this, and makes me wonder whether I ought to operate under a pseudonym.

Anyway, now is a good time to make a contribution for the great work Iain has done on his page, so please head over and help out. I'll have to get around to ordering a credit card myself and do the same.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 09:52 | Permanent Link |

Done right, classes of sixty may just work

AS CLASSES OF sixty children at a time are planned in our schools, my feelings are mixed. On the one hand, it appears to be a response crafted solely to deal with teacher shortages and to allow teachers more time to deal with central bureaucracy. Although New Labour would never be able to see it this way, if bureaucracy is the problem, then it is bureaucracy which ought to be cut, not the teacher to pupil ratio, especially if this entails unqualified classroom assistants teaching lessons alone.

But equally, I am pleased that the government is at least reconsidering the notion that smaller classes are automatically good for a child's education. If a class is taught properly - sat on desks facing forward, with a teacher at the front of the class - then I can see no reason why classes of sixty should be less well educated than classes of thirty. Didactic, fact-based teaching of the whole class shows every sign of being far more effective than the modish method of setting up lots of little groups and the teacher wandering from table to table checking up on each. If you set up a seminar or give a speech, you don't feel concerned if sixty rather than thirty people turn up, because the proper passing on of knowledge didactically is obviously not a zero-sum game where every listener gains knowledge at the expense of others. I see no reason why teaching cannot be seen in the same light, instead of it being believed that every new pupil who joins a class is added to the detriment of the rest. There are far greater problems in our schools than large classes.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 09:52 | Permanent Link |

The new enemy within

THE HOME RAIDED ON TUESDAY in which a policeman lost his life is that of a bogus asylum seeker who is member of an Al-Qaida cell in the UK. ®

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 06:08 | Permanent Link |

Wednesday, January 15, 2003  

It's never going to happen

GOD SAVE THE QUEEN! Isn't it a testament to how much things have changed since 11 September 2001 that what would certainly have been a very major announcement a parliament ago is now restricted to some short column in the middle of the Sun?

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 16:53 | Permanent Link |

United Nations denied the chance to veto what is right

THE PRIME MINISTER just answered questions in the House of Commons on the issues of Iraq and international terrorism, in the sombre atmosphere following yesterday's tragic murder. He confirmed that a second UN resolution would not be essential before the UK would attack Iraq, saying that a veto which worked against the spirit of what the UN was aimed at would not restrict his foreign policy.

In the final minutes, after hostile questions from Dennis Skinner, Mohammed Sarwar and then a Plaid Cymru MP, he spoke with greater passion than I have ever seen in him.

I will tell him why I think it is right that we are prepared to take action in respect of Saddam's regime, if necessary. It is right because weapons of mass destruction, the proliferation of chemical, biological, nuclear weapons and ballistic missile technologies along with it are a real threat to the security of the world and this country. And I simply say to him, if anybody had come along...


... Well someone mentions North Korea. Yes, I agree. We have to deal with North Korea, too, but that's not a reason for failing to deal with Iraq! And the truth is that this issue of weapons of mass destruction is a real threat to the world. I believe, incidentally, that it is only a matter of time before it is linked with international terrorism. Does anyone believe that if we don't take a stand as an international community in respect of weapons of mass destruction, that some terrorist group is not going to get hold of this material and use it?

And supposing I'd come along in August 2001 and said to him "There's an Al-Qaida terrorist network". No one would have heard of them. And said "We've got to invade Afghanistan in order to deal with it", no one would have believed it was necessary. And yet, my goodness, a few weeks later: thousands of people killed on the streets of New York.

Now, I simply say to him, this is a difficult time, I understand the concerns people have. But sometimes the job of a Prime Minister is to say the things people don't want them to say, but we believe are necessary to say. Because the threat is real and if we don't deal with it, then the consequences are our weakness will haunt future generations.

Maybe it was Blair's famed acting ability or perhaps it was genuine conviction, but either way, he had me convinced.

If the UN Security Council has not the guts to support military action properly, then I now think the United States and United Kingdom will act bilaterally. This could easily smash the credibility of the United Nations for at least a generation, cause immense divisions among the Labour Party and could even cost the Prime Minister his job. If this one truly selfless act of bravery in his career does this, it will be a poor lesson for his successors to take note of. But equally, it seems somehow fitting that a man who shabbily came into office by lying to the most vulnerable and helpless people in our society about pensions, and promising through gritted teeth not to raise taxes, misleading so many, should lose power in such a noble way. We shall see. ®

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 13:35 | Permanent Link |

Tuesday, January 14, 2003  

Jenkins: not right, not great

THE STANDARD OF WRITING on the excellent Electric Review site rivals that of any newspaper and exceeds that of most columnists. A case in point is James Steerforth's graceful and compelling analysis of Lord Jenkins' life and achievements. I don't agree with all of it, but by goodness it's a good essay, and in analysing old Woy himself, seems flawless. ®

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 20:17 | Permanent Link |

Governor Ryan cleans his conscience with the blood of murder victims

I AGREE WITH the take of Right Wing News on Illinois Governor George Ryan's decision to prevent the executions of every killer on death row in his state. What does it matter if the people of Illinois support capital punishment, John Hawkins asks, so long as there are snooty members of a liberal elite around to prevent them getting their way? George Ryan would have fit in perfectly as a British MP.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 18:41 | Permanent Link |

Surrendering in the war on drugs would mean more than we might think

ROD LIDDLE MAKES an important point today, though not the one he intended, in examining the law on child pornography. All those who see the 'war on drugs' as theoretically unwinnable (and therefore unjustifiable) because it seeks to restrict a commodity in considerable demand, must also admit that this argument applies as much to photographs of children being raped as it does to cannabis and heroin.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 17:20 | Permanent Link |

Publish murderous lies and be damned

I AM VERY FAR from a Guardian reader, but what respect I had for the paper is rapidly vanishing. In a disgusting piece in the Guardian, Editor in Chief of the Zimbabwe Daily Mirror Ibbo Mandaza, a leading Mugabe supporter, defends the communist dictator's regime with the most absurd lies.

I am extremely sorry I missed Peter Oborne's undercover documentary on Zimbabwe this week, as it has been widely acclaimed. But the latest Centre for Policy Studies pamphlet, which he penned, is immensely detailed and depressing in its description of what is happening. He shows that Robert Mugabe, always a violent revolutionary, knew he could not retain power democratically, and has now employed the most vicious, murderous methods to hold onto power. Mtoliki Sibanda, MP for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, has had two attempts made on his life by Mugabe's thugs. Two of his fellow MPs have died in suspicious circumstances and all MPs are followed by the secret police and threatened. But MDC supporters are the worst affected. Zimbabwe Human Rights forum records 58 people killed and 1,053 tortured from January to August 2002. And this is just the ones discovered by such groups, murders which come to national attention. Peter Oborne notes what happened at one stage in his trip, suggesting this figure of over one murder a week is a gross underestimate.

We travelled under cover as golfers. Upon reaching Bulawayo, the second largest town in Zimbabwe and an MDC stronghold, we sought to establish our credentials. The Bulawayo golf-club turned out to be depressingly like any other golf-course, well-favoured by businessmen from what remains of the town's once prosperous commercial centre. We had some difficulty getting onto the course because of a tournament. But what we learnt when we did finally get to play shows what makes Robert Mugabe' Zimbabwe so special. Two weeks before there had been a blockage in the sewage system by the 17th hole. It was clogged up with dead bodies: they showed signs of torture and had been decapitated. The police arrived to collect the corpses, but otherwise showed no interest in how they came to be dumped on the course. The matter was hushed up, and not reported in the press.

Worst of all is Mugabe's policy of deliberately starving his own opposition. It is first worth understanding why Zimbabwe is suffering famine at all. It is not a mere case of natural disaster, for many of Zimbabwe's damns are full or nearly full. There is certainly enough water to irrigate sufficient crops to feed all the people of the country. The reason he does not is political. He wants millions of his own people to starve to death because they did not support him. As Didyus Mutasa, Zanu-PF's Organisating Secretary and a member of Mugabe's politburo, put it in August:

We would be better off with only six million people, with our own people who support the liberation struggle. We don't want all these extra people.

Zimbabwe's population before the starvation policy began was 12 million. And no one should doubt the deliberate use of starvation. Mugabe has ensured that his own Grain Marketing Board is the only organisation permitted to import market maize, which is converted into the "mealie meal", currently the staple food source in Zimbabwe. All the millers who do this conversion are under Zanu-PF control, forced by Mugabe's thugs to sell the mealie meal at cost, even though this kleptocratic class itself makes huge profits selling the food to the Zimbabwean people. The food itself is not legally available to anyone who is not an accredited supporter of Mugabe's Zanu-PF party. To make this worse, private movement of maize is banned, and rigorous road searches ensure this cannot occur, meaning opposition areas of the country receive no food. The MDC recently imported 132 metric tonnes of maize in the Beitbridge area, enough to feed tens of thousands. Zanu-PF got wind of it and impounded every ounce. Mugabe's communist government is open about what it is doing, even going so far as to tell the people publicly that the price of food is political support. As Abednico Ncube, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, put it:

As long as you value the Government of the day you will not starve, but we do not want people who vote for colonialists, and then come to us when they want food. You cannot vote for MDC and expect Zanu-PF to help you ... you have to vote for Zanu-PF candidates ... before Government starts rethinking your entitlement to this food aid.

No sane person could honestly claim that Robert Mugabe's government is democratic, or that it is not embarking on a policy of mass murder, a deliberate attempt to halve the country's population for political reasons. Yet what does the Guardian publish from Ibbo Mandaza?

The British government presents the Zimbabwean problem as one of dictatorship: the murder of white farmers, rigging of elections, silencing of the press, removal of the independence of the judiciary, and stifling Zimbabwean democracy. Sadly, the EU, US and white Commonwealth members have swallowed this "fight for democracy" lie whole.

But lie it is.

... it would be ludicrous to liken the proposed cricket boycott of Zimbabwe to the international boycott of the apartheid regime. Then there was an international consensus that apartheid was a crime against humanity; there is no such consensus on Zimbabwe.

If such a concensus really does not exist, it is precisely down to the stupidity of newspapers like the Guardian, willing to print these lies without even so much as a health warning. Robert Mugabe is now deliberately murdering millions of Zimbabweans, his food policies already having caused the deaths of thirty children through malnutrition-related illness, for example. Six million lives are threatened by Butcher Bob and his gangsters, yet the Guardian can somehow in good conscience publish such obscene untruths.

Some may say that it is merely a case of allowing controversial views a hearing, of listening to the other side. But there is all the difference in the world between letting an evil man make his case in your newspaper and actually publishing what you know - what all informed people know - to be lies that will aid him. Given this precedent, why not publish a holocaust denier's claim that no real harm was done to European Jews in the 1940s? I fail to see any moral distinction between the deliberate murder of six million Jews and the deliberate murder of six million Zimbabweans. In each case, unimaginable numbers of innocent people have died and they deserve that the truth be told. Indeed, it is in a sense far worse that Ibbo Mandaza was given his column today than if it had been given to David Irving. For although nothing can be done to help holocaust victims now, something can still be done to prevent the murders of innocent Zimbabweans, should enough people be aware of what is going on.

In this inexplicable decision, the Guardian has not only sacrificed immense moral credibility, but dealt a hammer blow to the notion of itself as an honest, accurate newspaper which would not lie to its readers, and which corrects its mistakes. Even more than when its editor Alan Rusbridger allegedly offered to help a vandaliser of statues find employment, The Guardian has truly disgraced itself today.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 16:39 | Permanent Link |

Dave Dudley's uncompromising stance a lesson for us all

HARRY STEELE IS finally back, and his own blog, as well as the Sectarian Worker page to which he contributes, is being updated again. Anyway, I simply must recommend to you their new satirical piece, the diary of Dave Dudley. To anyone with a passing familiarity with Britain's far left, it rings as true as it is funny. I do hope Dave will be a regular feature.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 15:33 | Permanent Link |

Wade may make the break between Sun and New Labour

ROY GREENSLADE OF THE GUARDIAN has an interesting prediction regarding the new Sun editor. I do hope he is right.

I suspect Wade will eventually deliver a great political shock. My hunch is that she will turn her back on Blair and take the Sun into opposition.

"She was a young Tory," one of her friends told me last night. "It's not natural for her to be cosy with Labour and I can't see her keeping the faith with Blair much longer."

It's hardly a secret that she has grown seriously disillusioned with the government, a change of heart also attributed to the Sun's influential political editor, Trevor Kavanagh. If that happens, then Wade's editorship will not only be memorable but positively cataclysmic.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 15:07 | Permanent Link |

Monday, January 13, 2003  

Britain's worst 20th century figure must not be Chancellor of Britain's best university

TO THE SUGGESTION that Shirley Williams, the Education Secretary whose envy destroyed many of the best schools in the world, smashing the opportunity of millions, be the next Chancellor of Oxford, Stephen Pollard is rightly damning.

In a rebellious contrast to the BBC's Greatest Britain programme, lots of publications such as the Daily Mail and New Statesman recently asked contributors instead for their worst Britain. At least in this century, for the damage they did to Britain's grammar school system, I reflected at the time that either Shirley Williams or Anthony Crosland is most deserving. I continue to hold that view now, as I remember that two third of Oxbridge places went to state school pupils in the late 1960s. Now, social mobility so destroyed by Labour, the ratio works two to one in favour of public schools. Given this, to appoint Shirley Williams Chancellor of Oxford would be not just mistaken but positively perverse.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 17:06 | Permanent Link |

Maybe not a cause of violence, but horribly violent in themselves

IN CASE YOU THINK Culture Minister Kim Howells may be exaggerating the violence and immorality of some computer games, just read Something Awful's review of Japan's latest offering, Battle Raper. If you find the grammar of the game title bad enough, just look at the content. Thanks to Right Wing News for the link.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 16:18 | Permanent Link |

David Yelland quits as Sun editor

Rebekah Wade of the News of the World is to take his place. Though far from politically correct - she bravely printed the names and addresses of released child molestors across the country in the NotW - she is also the cohabitee of prominent Labour supporter Ross Kemp, one of the bald thugs in Eastenders.

As Yelland was notable for his stress on political issues, perhaps the main effect of this change will be to reduce the political content of the paper, generally. I also doubt that the Sun editor has all that great an effect on the agenda of the paper one way or another. Stuart Higgins was reportedly strongly opposed to the Sun backing Labour in 1997, but did so anyway under Rupert Murdoch's orders. I suspect the political agenda of the paper will remain the same under Wade - always support the party that looks like winning decisively, and in those few close run campaigns (like 1992) the Sun will continue to stick its neck out and make its decision based on the paper's latent ideological preference for the Conservatives.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 15:46 | Permanent Link |

Sunday, January 12, 2003  

Twenty new families join the Fifth Column

I AM IMPRESSED THAT the Office of National Statistics collects its data so well that it can reveal that precisely twenty babies born in the UK have been named "Osama" since the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001. It certainly reveals the shamelessness of certain traitors and demonstrates the danger they (and more subtle Al-Qaida supporters) pose to us all. I just hope MI5 is watching the families of these Osamas very closely indeed, and that this revelation will ensure further, better background checks into the sort of people we allow to come and live here.

Posted by Peter Cuthbertson | 08:19 | Permanent Link |
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