Sunday, February 26, 2006

Murky: Serious question on the Totalitarianism Bill deflected

Here is an excellent summary by of the current position on the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill, including an account of a disgraceful ad hominem attack by Geoff Hoon to avoid answering the questions posed by The Professors' Letter.

Hoon's performance does not surprise me. I have met him and he is an obnoxious politico with no sense of the real world.

There are also links to various blog comments on the subject of this appalling bill. It's a great place to begin if you want to understand the issues. Serious question on the Totalitarianism Bill deflected

Friday, February 24, 2006

Poll shows Labour back in the lead | the Daily Mail

Is this really so surprising? From a principled point of view. there is no point in electing a Conservative Government which promises to be just as statist, tyrannical and determined to squander the nation's wealth as Labour. Dave Cameron has yet to provide the Conservatives with a "unique selling point" to catch the electorate's imagination. Until he does, the best he can hope for is that the rising tide of corruption will damage New Labour's image.

We now have a situation where our political divisions are not betweeen Left and Right, but are essentially regional. If you live in Scotland, Wales or the North of England, then it makes sense to vote Labour. They will subsidise your Council Tax and ensure that you get the maximum benefit from public spending. Of course much of that spending is merely "fiscal churn" (your own money being taken in tax and then given back minus "expenses") but you can expect it to be topped up with tax taken from Conservative voters elsewhere.

In Germany every "Land" (region) has a city which is economically self-sustaining. In Britain, there is only one - London. All the others benefit from net transfers of public expenditure. If you live in London or its "hinterland" of the South, East and Midlands, then you are in the productive parts of our islands. You had best vote Tory. Of course you can't hope for a government that will encourage 9 million unproductive fellow-countrymen into work. Most of them have forgotten how to do it. Perhaps you CAN hope, however, that dapper Dave will be as ruthless and cynical as tinsel Tony in stealing from his opponents' voters and giving to his own.

Of course such regionalism is bound to lead to even greater cynicsm and political division, but it's hard to see how else to proceed. Now that so many depend on the State for their income, no principled stand for a smaller State is likely to win hearts and minds. No doubt the transfer of human resources from productive to unproductive unemployment will all come to grief years from now, but voters worry about how to make this year's mortgage payments, not those years into the future.

Labour has succeeded in making more people dependent on the State than even yesterday's statistics would suggest. In the private sector, many of our employees are "government-facing" not "customer-facing". They are paid by their employers, for example, to collect VAT and personal income tax. In practice, they work for the government and their self-interest is not aligned with their employer. He only cares about serving customers. They care about serving the government. Many can be relied upon to snitch if they think the employer is doing the State down. In former-Communist countries I have worked in, the Government has imposed a criminal liability on accounts staff who fail to report suspicions of tax avoidance by their employer. How long before Gordon does that?

Many "Human Resources" people are working to ensure compliance with employment laws and the government's view of best practice. They do nothing for their employers or their employers' customers and often have no real concept of what the company does. In firms regulated by the FSA (banks, financial advisers, consultants) there are staff dedicated to compliance with money laundering regulations. They decide case by case whether to "shop" customers to the police by reporting suspicions as to the source of their funds. They add no value to their employers or their customers and are effectively out-sourced secret policemen.

Finally, there are those services the private sector provides for Government. I don't name my own firm here because - amongst other reasons - my partners would be unhappy to jeopardise public sector assignments by offending the government. I think that's one reason why the legal profession in Britain, organised into large law firms doing lots of government work, has been so craven in the face of attacks on civil liberties and their professional independence. The small law firms of France and Belgium have been much braver in opposing requirements secretly to shop clients to the police on suspicion of money laundering, for example.

A substantial proportion of private sector employees function as de facto agents of the State; the cost of their employment representing in reality additional tax. Those people know who their real bosses are and are likely to vote accordingly. Even those who are really customer focussed must remain silent when one of their major customers is the State.

Poll shows Labour back in the lead | the Daily Mail

Thursday, February 23, 2006

UK: Human rights: a broken promise - Amnesty International

Amnesty International has published a report on Human Rights in the United Kingdom. It is, as readers of this blog would expect, damning.

It is so embarrassing that the nation of Magna Carta should be open to such criticism. Amnesty international is not always beyond politics and has been known to be wrong. I with I could say it was in this instance.

H/T World Weary Detective

UK: Human rights: a broken promise - Amnesty International

Charge women for needless NHS epidurals, say midwives

One of many foul consequences of socialised medicine is that the staff think their views take priority over those of the patient. In a private hospital, one is a customer and entitled to the same sort of care and consideration I give to my fee-paying clients. In an NHS "health concentration camp", one is a cost to the taxpayer and a nuisance to the staff.

If a midwife was not attracted to the profession by a sadistic streak in the first place, she is likely soon to become inured to the suffering of her patients. Birth for her is an everyday humdrum bore, not a life-changing and magnificent event. I attended two very important births in an NHS maternity home in England and was horrified by the arrogant approach of the staff.

A young doctor moaned about needing just one more birth on his training checklist so that he could "get out of obstetrics forever." My wife tried to oblige him but his shift ended too soon and he left with undisguised irritation, the c***.

An arrogant, bossy, brain-dead midwife told my wife that she could not have the epidural she had signed up for in advance as it wasn't - in her view - "necessary". I explained that I thought my wife's view on the subject more important than hers. She disagreed. That was the only time in my life that I did my lawyerly "heavy" act on my own behalf and threatened to sue. I am sure I had no legal leg to stand on, but she read my fierce eyes and complied.

Britain's public servants don't know their place any more. The police don't anwer to us, but preach to us. Ministers don't administer the Government on our behalf, but tell us how to live and even speak of using the law as an instrument of "education". Our midwives think themselves experts, entitled to determine how much pain our womenfolk "should" bear. Our legislators, given a rare "free vote" promptly use it to tell us how to behave behind the closed doors of our private clubs. No wonder the public sector is growing so fast. If you want to experience the thrill of bossing others about, it's a lot easier to get such opportunities in Government, however lowly your position, than it is to build (or rise to the top of) a business empire.

Telegraph | News | Charge women for needless NHS epidurals, say midwives

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Telegraph | News | Shooting report may take months

If the suspects were not agents of the State, do any of us believe that it would take so long to investigate this shooting incident? If any of us had shot this young man, would we still be at large?

No other suspects are under investigation. There is no dispute as to the facts. The authorities know (although, despite the fact it was done in our name, we are not allowed to) the name of the officer who fired seven shots into Jean Charles de Menezes' head while he was held down by colleagues. The CCTV evidence either exists or it does not. No factual evidence can be obtained by waiting. The dispute is as to the knowledge and intent of the officers in question and the legality of the orders under which they acted.

There is no possible policing reason for the delay. The suspicion must be that the only reasons are political.

Telegraph | News | Shooting report may take months

Monday, February 20, 2006

The Stoning of Soraya M.

Any wrong done by our troops in Iraq or elsewhere is the subject of endless agonising and condemnation in the media. Rightly so. We will never spread civilisation by behaving in a barbaric way. I am angry with the tiny minority of young soldiers, no doubt fired up by the dangers they face daily, who expose our cause to such needless criticism. I am even more angry with their officers who should be alert to these risks.

Why, however, is there nothing in the main stream media about the routine barbaric horrors of the "religion of peace", Islam? Why are our journalists so craven in the face of those who want to destroy all the gains of our civilisation since the Enlightenment? Is it not racism on their part to hold Muslims to lower ethical standards that we hold ourselves? Does that not imply that our "right on" media types regard Muslims as inferior beings from whom fully-civilised behaviour can not be expected? I think it does. Ironically, as they quest for "institutional racism" in every corner of society, our leftist journalists are themselves profoundly racist.

The story linked to here (don't click on the links to it if you are squeamish) says a lot. Our multicultural mantra is that we must respect all points of view and regard them as "equally valid". I am sorry if it offends anyone, but that is dangerous nonsense.

To assert the equal validity of a religion which mandates death for apostates, physical mutilation for criminals and regards a man's evidence as equal to that of three woman is not tolerant. Nor is it "respectful". It is craven, immoral and dishonest.

Muslims are very clear that we are their inferiors and that we must either convert, submit to the status of "dhimmi" (a non-Muslim second class citizen in an Islamic State) or be killed.

I have daughters. They are fine, intelligent, free-thinking young women, strong of character and conscience. I don't want them reduced to servile wretches unable to move without the supervision of male relatives. No more, if I had sons, would I want them to live in a world where men abused women so, still less to be part of that abuse.

It sickens me that millions of people admitted to all the rights of citizenship of my country should desire, as is suggested by the Telegraph poll yesterday, such barbaric laws in Britain. It sickens me more that I can have no faith in the will of our current leaders to resist.

British Muslims who advocate the overthrow of our laws are doing us a favour by alerting us to our danger. Any who act to achieve that overthrow are traitors and should be dealt with as such. Only when they realise that we will not submit meekly to dhimmitude, will our Muslim "extremists" retreat. The present policy of appeasement achieves nothing but the radicalisation of our native population. That is in no-one's interests.

The Stoning of Soraya M.

Drinking From Home: Religion of Peace "Family Law"

This is worth a visit if only for the wonderful new masthead design for the Grauniad.

Drinking From Home: Religion of Peace "Family Law"

Grizzly Mama: Grizzly Report: We Are At War.

The search for moderate Muslims continues in Philadelphia.

Grizzly Mama: Grizzly Report: We Are At War.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Poll reveals 40pc of Muslims want sharia law in UK

We hear about "moderate Muslims", but has anyone ever met one? It's important here to differentiate between people born into Muslim families and individuals who actually practise the religion. Scratch the surface of a "moderate Muslim" and you may find he's not a Muslim at all.

We should follow Germany's lead in vetting potential immigrants by reference to their attitudes to Western values. Of course people will lie, but there will be no basis in future for them to deny the basis on which they were admitted. It seems absurd to me that we will deny extradition to the USA of accused criminals who would face the death penalty if convicted, but we routinely admit people to citizenship here who believe in the death penalty for such "religious crimes" as apostasy.

Telegraph | News | Poll reveals 40pc of Muslims want sharia law in UK

Friday, February 17, 2006

A sensitive cartoon about Islam

Hat tip to Pub Philosopher for this clever cartoon called "Gevoelig" (which is Dutch for "Sensitive").


Thursday, February 16, 2006

Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill - the Professors' Letter

Commenting on my post about the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill, a gentleman named Paul asked me for some "blood curdling hypothetical examples of how this legislation might be applied". In a letter to The Times today, Law Professors at the University of Cambridge have done the job for me.

Sometimes I feel we liberty-minded bloggers are ploughing lonely furrows. Britain sometimes seems too drink-addled and debt-saddled to care. M'learned friends in Cambridge have therefore made my day. Not only are they speaking for England, but proving liberty bloggers are no mere nutters!

Please follow the links and read the letter. Please accept, if you are British, that your nation's future as a liberal democracy is in imminent danger. Please call or write to your MP and let him/her know how you feel and make it clear that he/she will pay the electoral price for failing to vote against this - and future - "police state" legislation. Then please ask all your friends to do the same.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Kelly egg attack man remanded | the Daily Mail

Remanded in custody - imprisoned - for throwing an egg at a Minister? What has Britain come to? This gentlemen's actions were in the best traditions of British democracy. It comes to something when a mob may incite murder unpunished, and a protestor who throws an egg is such a danger to society that he is refused bail!

Kelly egg attack man remanded | the Daily Mail

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Brown says ID cards are vital | the Daily Mail

I despair. Brown has taken up the cause of ID cards and once more revived the canard that they wil help defeat terrorism. Odd that, as David Blunkett admitted that was untrue some time ago.

Brown says ID cards are vital | the Daily Mail

US prepares military blitz against Iran's nuclear sites

If this story is true, it is a disgrace. Not that the attack should be planned, you understand. That seems perfectly prudent. It's a disgrace that the politicians should have disclosed it.

Some brave young Americans will be asked one day to fly across Iran in fragile military planes to destroy the nuclear facilities. The least they could ask of the politicians who put them in harm's way is that they keep their damned mouths shut so that the enemy has not been alerted.

So I guess, alas, it's just sabre-rattling. Too bad.

Telegraph | News | US prepares military blitz against Iran's nuclear sites

How can we have respect for Islam when we are too fearful to criticise it?

Hat tip to L'Ombre de L'Olivier. I love the comment "If only the Czech Republic would publish the cartoons then Hamas would have to boycott Semtex."

Sunday Herald

The Two Types of Human

My political life has been a switchback ride. I was brought up in a family of small business-people, working-class in outlook and Tory by inclination. They had an old-fashioned belief in education. I learned I could have anything my limited young imagination could conceive, if I could only justify it as "educational". Looking back, I feel some guilt. Homework excused all household chores and allowed me solitude for listening to Led Zeppelin through earphones and reading for pleasure.

Inevitably, my reading tended Leftwards. Intrigued by the uproar when I brought a biography of Marx home from the library, I set out to read the great man's works. I am the only person I know who has read "Das Kapital". I live in Russia now, so that's a more surprising claim than it used to be.

I became a Maoist. I was suspended from school for selling revolutionary magazines; the high point in a period of teenage father-baiting.

Working during school holidays on a building site, I had a "road to Damascus" experience; an encounter with the Shrewsbury Pickets. They were not a rock group, but a foul, violent gang of Communist scumbags. An older fellow-Communist at school patiently explained that the violent intimidation I had witnessed was a perfect example of "the dictatorship of the proletariat"; my friends on the receiving end being, as mere construction workers, the "lumpenproletariat". I may have been an impressionable youth, but I knew that giving an evil thing a fancy name could make it worse, but could never make it better.

I dipped again into the political books. Within two years of that incident, I was chairman of my University Conservatives. I had the experience of being introduced to the late Ted Heath as "a recent convert from Maoism". He chatted amiably about meeting Mao, but gave no sign of knowing what a murderous monster the "Great Helmsman" was.

As a student Conservative, I was among the first to call myself a Thatcherite. Mrs Thatcher appealed to the no-nonsense working-class boy in me more than the pompous Heath or other sanctimonious asses (such as Geoffrey Howe) I met at that time. Her undoubted appeal to the working-classes frightened the old-style Tories. They reacted rather as did the more squeamish on the side of Men when Aragorn took the "paths of the dead" and summoned ghosts to their cause in the Lord of the Rings. They were happy to have their support, but reluctant to rub shoulders with such scary recruits. Like those ghostly warriors, working-class Thatcherites duly passed on - with their leader - into the Party's afterlife. So did I. I had read too much Marx, and experienced too much "dictatorship" to turn Left. I was politically homeless.

All might have been well were it not for the propensity of the British Middle and Upper Middle Classes to treachery. Just as their grandfathers had betrayed the nation to the Soviets in the days of the Cambridge Four (or was it Five, or perhaps Five Thousand?) so they flocked to Blair and his "Third Way". With that special British insularity that our geography explains but does not excuse, they had not noticed the outcome of almost a century of global Socialist experimentation. More than half of mankind lived under Socialism in the 20th Century. Behind the Iron Curtain at least, its failure had been accepted. Yet the Islingtonians turned from PG Wodehouse to a half-assed Readers' Digest version of Marx, just as the rest of the world had finally rumbled the old fraud.

I have spent the Blair years behind the Iron Curtain. My Polish, Russian, Hungarian and Czech friends and colleagues are immunised against collectivism. They had reason to fear the challenges of capitalism, for which their education had ill-prepared them. But their families' memories were enough to ensure they did not kid themselves that there was a second or third way to the rigours of the market.

I watched in dismay as working-class former Tories sank into apathy or worse. I took no more pleasure in watching the bitter political journey of the Northern Labourites with whom I grew up. For a while they were so happy their party was in power that they suppressed their doubts about the embroidery defacing its flag. They consoled themselves that once more they had the opportunity to divert the fruits of others toil to the Labour fiefdoms of the North and the Celtic fringe. Blair might have the "look and feel" of the most condescending and matey sort of Old Tory, but he still let good old Gordon channel billions to the public "services" for squandering.

Even the "accounting errors" in the Home Office last year wasted the work of over 150,000 average taxpayers. That's the kind of State the Northern comrades wanted. Their only problems were that they had to wear a tie when meeting journalists and couldn't call their comrades "comrade" any more. It was also embarrassing to watch Prescott's humiliating antics as the token Northern prole, but he was too much of an ***hole to pity much.

I hoped stupidly that the Conservatives would learn from their historic defeat. They didn't. They haven't. They had run out of ideas and were perfectly happy finally to be rid of "that bloody woman" and the embarrassing proles in her army. They retreated into their former mediocrity and squabbled for control of the bankrupt wreckage of what had once been the greatest election machine in Europe.

I hoped even more stupidly that there was some truth in Blair's rhetoric. I reasoned optimistically that only a Labour Prime Minister could muster the necessary support to reform State Education. A product myself of that appalling system, I knew that "Education, Education, Education" was the right set of priorities for Britain. Blair, sadly, was bullshitting. The product of "Scotland's Eton" was happy to send his own offspring to politically-correct faith schools, while leaving his countrymen's children to the "bog standard comprehensives".

Why did he he want power so much, when he had no idea what to do with it? However bad a barrister he may have been, surely he could have earned everything "power" has given him?

My political life now is a daily fight with cynicism. Liberties, carefully structured over centuries to balance the interest of the individual with those of the collective, are being rudely smashed. Blair rhetorically balances "the ancient right to life" against the "ancient right to liberty" as if the former were any use without the latter. By that logic, he might as well offer to lock us all safely away until the danger is over. Even such fragile reasoning goes unchallenged by a feeble Opposition.

I have come to the conclusion that there are two types of human. One believes that he, and groups of people like him, can shape his community to make a better life for everyone. He is a "joiner", who believes that the world can be a better place if only all "old" ideas can be reexamined and old ways "reformed". He feels for humanity in theory; worries about the needless suffering of those less wise than him. His only insight into history is that he was not there when previous attempts to perfect humanity failed. This time, it will be different. This time, it will work.

Tony Blair is such a man, as is every right wing taxi driver who ever said "there oughta be a law against it, Guv".

The second type knows in his gut that, however unfortunate he may be in life, he is a better judge of his own interests than anyone else, however well-intentioned. He does not trust the collective. He knows people will always form religious, political, social or sporting clubs, but he believes there must always be a good selection of them, so that he has choices. He feels for the humans in front of him, not humanity in the abstract. He may well be charitable, but he knows charity given freely is more likely to reach its target than "charity" extorted by the taxman.

In the last century, Socialism, Communism or Fascism were the creeds that offered the greatest opportunities to build an apparatus of "social control" to mould and perfect mankind. They attracted the first type of humans by the million. The second type was more likely to be a conservative (not a Tory), a liberal, or perhaps an anarchist. The collapse of the idea of Socialism, after it was tested in the largest political experiment in history, only gave the first types pause for a couple of years. They they regrouped; defining themselves by what they were against - racism, male chauvinism, homophobia or other evils (real or imagined).

By carefully selecting evils, first types justifed new apparatus of control. Once the apparatus existed, it was easy to expand its application. The lack of a guiding philosophy actually makes this easier! New Labour has become an umbrella group for everyone who wants to badger and bully his fellow men. By defining only what it is against, it has become more dangerous than ever. The uneasy feeling growing in the electorate is simply the dawning realisation that - like Mr Blair - New Labour has no policy goals. It is not for anything but the accretion of power.

I console myself that this too will pass. The amusing contradictions which require New Labourites simultaneously to defend Muslims who hate homosexuals and homosexuals who call Muslims "homophobic" are the first straws in the wind. The Conservatives are wrong to copy the Blair model just as the cracks begin to show. The only thing that unites the followers of our ruling Party is that each of them believes the collective will enforce his will. It must soon become obvious, even to the most blind amongst them, that even a collective led by spin doctors cannot enforce every one of a mass of unrelated and contradictory ideas.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Compromise on ID cards expected

There is no point having an ID Card, unless carrying it is compulsory. The Government will not spend billions (including billions more than estimated) on the most complicated government IT project in history and then fail to follow through. If Parliament falls for this "salami slicing" approach to the issue, it will be a disgrace and a betrayal.

ID Cards do not reduce crime. This can be tested. The Government can commission some research on crime rates in countries with, and without, ID cards. I confidently predict (having lived in both) that the research will reveal no correlation. The Law Society says - stating the obvious as lawyers do so well - that connecting an identified individual to a crime is typically the problem, not identifying the individual in the first place.

For terrorism, we do not need research. The 9/11 bombers identified themselves at check-in. Suicide murderers have no interest in concealing their ID. The Madrid bombers were carrying their compulsory Spanish ID cards. How long did it take to establish the identity of the 7/7 London bombers? As proud jihadists, they wanted their ID to be known.

ID Cards, and the database behind them, are not about terrorism, crime, or easier access to the "Government services" most of us work hard to stay away from (like free surgical knives with which to "self harm" when driven mad by modern Britain). They are not about identity theft (a centralised database run by Government incompetents will make that (a) much more likely and (b) much more damaging when it happens). They are about control. They are about the creeping intrusion of the State into the lives of formerly free men and women.

Every second word spoken about ID Cards by New National Socialists Labour is a lie. They are betraying what little is left of what once was good about Britain. HM Opposition should not be tinkering with "compromises" but telling our nation the truth and opposing the scheme in principle.

Day by day, this Government is building the apparatus of a police state. Even if you think they don't intend to use it (perhaps they are doing it for a bet?) at least consider that some future Government may. Write to or call your MP today and let him or her know what you think. Please.

BBC NEWS | Politics | Compromise on ID cards expected

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Blair 'must give more ground' on school reform

Mr. Blair is said to be concerned about his "legacy". He wants to believe that he will be remembered for his achievements. That's understandable. His mantra on taking power was "Education, Education, Education". Many of us hoped that, at the head of a Labour Government, he could reform our pathetic system of State education in a way that no Conservative Government could hope to do. Naievely, we even thought that it was worth letting Socialist idiots into power for a while to achieve that worthwhile goal.

Unfortunately for him (and I am prepared to believe that in this respect he had good intentions), his only educational achievement has been to teach the British electorate that "spin" is just a euphemism for "lies" and that - as history has repeatedly proved - the end, however noble, never justifies the means. In his case, so paltry have been his educational achievements, it might be said no means could ever be justified by such an end.

Telegraph | News | Blair 'must give more ground' on school reform

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill

If you have never read a draft law before, have a go at this one. Then tell me that something is not rotten in the State of New Labour Britain. This Bill, if enacted, will give Ministers power to make law, without reference to Parliament.

Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill

Abu Hamza guilty

This story illustrates how unnecessary our new "thought crime" legislation is. Abu Hamza was mainly guilty of soliciting to murder, a very old offence. The "racial hatred" and possession of material "of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism" charges will have made no difference to his sentence.

However, the real problem now is that prosecuting this man ostensibly for what he said (and actually for coming to the attention of the Murdoch media to which our Government is in thrall) will create new ethnic tensions. Nick Griffin was acquitted; Abu Hamza convicted. Extremists will claim that British juries favour White Fascists over Muslims and use that allegation to whip up trouble. How much better to have prosecuted neither of them until they actually DID something. The Americans claim to have evidence that Abu Hamza DID do something. How much more practical to have extradited him to be dealt with by their courts.

Telegraph | News | Abu Hamza guilty of race hate charges

Islamic Imperialism

I am sitting at my desk in Moscow, updating my filing, and listening via podcast to yesterday's interviews on the "Today" programme. For once, the BBC did a good job. The interviewer put questions directly to Omar Bakri Mohammed of al-Muhajiroun and elicited a clear statement of the Islamic view. Those who drew, published and republished the now-infamous cartoons should, he said, be tried under Islamic law and executed. Free speech does not apply to racists, even in our societies, and by analogy it should not extend to those who ridicule the prophet, Mohammed. He was gracious enough to add that the execution should be after due process of Sharia Law and that individual Muslims should not take matters into their own hands. Presumably a "fatwa" (legal opinion) from a suitable authority - a la Salman Rushdie - would constitute sufficient due process for him, but the interviewer did not pursue that point. I think he was embarrassed that the BBC's cosy line on Islam was being so comprehensively shattered.

Asked what should happen if the "offenders" were beyond the reach of Islamic law, he answered that we "live in a global" village and the countries concerned should "take the consequences". The Muslim world does not have to deal with them and " don't have to deal with us". In this, I agree with him. We have no right to complain about what is done in the Muslim world provided that it is in accordance with local laws and (where the countries have signed up to them) the UN Charter and other international treaties. That's one reason why my family and I no longer holiday there, as we did for many years. If I don't want to submit to Sharia Law, I should stay away from Sharia jurisdictions. I wish British Muslims understood the corollary of that.

The chairman of the Muslim League, Amr Moussa, was not quite so open but his comments did reveal that he is under the impression that anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial and even criticism of Israel are illegal in the West. He seemed to think Islam was only asking for the same protections as Judaism and that we were being hypocritical in claiming the right of "free speech" in relation to Islam.

This is a perfect example of the indivisibility of freedom. Racism is stupid, ignorant and wrong. Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism are stupid, ignorant and wrong, but it is a mistake for them to be illegal. If we suppress the expression of some opinions, however repellent and disgusting, we inevitably face demands for the suppression of other opinions. Before the game is over, none of us will be free. All of us will have to live to the standards of the most ignorant, extreme and hypersensitive amongst us. The Muslims in our countries have done us a favour by exposing our errors.

It is time to recognise that the "progressive" thinking of the past 30 years has been anything but. It has in fact been regressive and has lost us many of the gains of the Age of Enlightenment. Given the bloody nature of the 20th Century and the damage done by totalitarian "isms", perhaps it is understandable that we have fallen into these errors. However, it is well past time to recognise that we have over-corrected. It is time to restore full freedom of speech and to laugh at idiotic opinions rather than to fear them. If there are those amongst us who can't hack it in the rowdy bazaar of human thought, then let them find a country where only their ideas, rather than ideas in general, are sacred and leave us modern men in peace.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Doctors 'to report underage sex' | the Daily Mail

One characteristic of a police state is an expectation by the authorities that every loyal citizen will function as a policeman. British lawyers now have a duty to report their clients to the authorities (without "tipping off" the client) if they suspect a crime. British doctors and nurses are now to report their patients to the authorities if they believe they have been engaged in under-age sex. No doubt this duty will be extended in future. The effect in both cases is the same. People who need help and advice will be afraid to seek it. The message is clear; the relationship with the State takes priority over relationships of trust between professionals and those they serve.

Another characteristic of a police state is that the State takes priority over the family. One of the most chilling actions of the Soviet State was to make a Communist saint of Pavlik Morozov, a little boy who supposedly denounced his own father to the authorities. Every day a youngster went home wearing a Young Pioneers badge bearing Morozov's image, he was delivering a threat from the government to his parents. It is therefore interesting to note that Doctors are to be required not to inform the parents, who could then take their own decision in the interests of their child, but the authorities. If, God forbid, I had ever been in that position, I can imagine that I might have taken other steps to protect my child than involving the police.

Every day, little by little, Britain assumes more and more of the characteristics of a police state. A tipping point will be reached - perhaps it already has - when there is no going back.

Doctors 'to report underage sex' | the Daily Mail

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Funny Feet

This is not just a very funny article. It is very clever indeed. Well done, Mr. Leith, and welcome to the campaign against predatory victimhood.

Telegraph | Opinion | Commentary

Matthew Parris Times Online

This is a brilliant article. It explains precisely why any attempt to defer to the super-sensitive in society is dangerous for us all. Freedom of speech is not a bourgeois indulgence or luxury, but a necessity.

I think the article also supports my view that all our attempts to defer politely to Islamic opinion is building up hidden resentments which will lead, one day, to violence. By avoiding a confrontation now, we are causing a much worse one later.

Opinion - Matthew Parris Times Online

Dangerous Times

I am very concerned about the BNP. I share none of its wicked ideas, but I can see it is intelligently led and positioning itself well to take advantage of a number of factors in its favour.

The Crown Prosecution Service is making a mistake in pursuing a retrial of the BNP's leader. There is little prospect of a conviction. The further prosecution only seems vindictive and will increase public sympathy for this odious man.

Few native Englishmen bred in our liberal traditions really feel, at an instinctive level, that it is right for the criminal law to interfere in political speech or thought. Many may feel that what Griffin said about Islam is, essentially, correct - or at least worthy of debate. They may not sympathise with his racism or anti-semitism, but they live in daily fear of Islam.

I am certain that no English jury will convict Griffin for saying that Islam is "a vicious, wicked faith", after seeing Islamists marching through London yesterday with such banners as "massacre those who insult the Prophet and "to hell with free speech". The marchers chanted threats of new terrorist attacks. Jury members will have seen a leader of the march calling through a megaphone for those who insult the prophet to be killed.

Incitement to murder seems more serious to most of us than incitement to religious or racial hatred.

The conditions are ripe for the growth of the Far Right in Britain and I fear that. There is a growing sense that Muslims are not held to the same standards of conduct as the rest of us, in Britain and abroad. Griffin says Islam is wicked and vicious. He is prosecuted. British Muslims call for "massacres". They are not. A barman fails to notice a black customer waiting to be served and he will be called a racist. The Muslims of the Janjaweed militia slaughter 300,000 black Africans in the Sudan and racism is not mentioned. European papers publish cartoons of Mohammed and Jack Straw condemns them. The press in the Muslim world routinely publishes viciously anti-semitic cartoons, without a word of comment.

I can imagine a scenario in which the BNP becomes a vehicle for popular protest against double standards which condemn almost everything the white population of Britain does, while excusing everything the Muslim population does. Nick Griffin may be elevated to the status of popular hero. The Crown Prosecution Service, staffed as it is by the weakest products of our law schools, may by its lack of judgement, set him well on the way.

Angry Muslims Stage London Protests

Look at the banners on the picture of Muslims protesting in London. "Massacre those who insult Islam" is legitimate freedom of speech apparently. I am prepared to buy that, but it seems a trifle hypocitical.

Angry Muslims Stage London Protests

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Muhammad cartoon row intensifies

Have we not one newspaper editor with the testes to stand with our brave European friends? While we pass stupid laws to protect the delicate sensibilities of primitive fundamentalists, Continental editors are standing up for Western Civilisation.

Speak for England, Murdoch's gutless rabble! Publish and be damned!

BBC NEWS | World | Europe | Muhammad cartoon row intensifies

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Burning our money: Home Office Whelk Stall Fiasco

As Wat Tyler says, you couldn't make this stuff up. The public servant responsible for misplacing the best part of a billion pounds of taxpayers' money at the Home Office is sent to the Bank of England to be in charge of "financial stability".

If a great Department of State's accounts are "qualified", it seems to me that the least the Minister in question could do is resign. Not in this Government, it seems.

Burning our money: Home Office Whelk Stall Fiasco