Monday, July 31, 2006

Israelis make a bad position worse

These are dark times. Are we facing the decline and fall of the West? Even the leader writers of the Daily Telegraph have given up on our right to self-defence.

The barbarians are at the gate and the toga-wearing sybarites of the West are debating the precise meaning of the word "proportionality". What can such a word mean when a nation under siege defends itself against those who are sworn to the genocide of its people?

The primitive misogynists of Hezbollah have learned well how to manipulate the Western media. I sat in horror over the weekend watching Sky News' "reporting" which was no better than Hezbollah propaganda. I read incredulously on Guido Fawkes' blog that he had turned to Sky News from the BBC because Sky's reporting was "more balanced!" I can't see the BBC from Moscow, but can only assume they have taken to broadcasting extracts from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

The Israelis have apologised for the civilian loss of life at Qana. They have made the fair point that they never target civilians, unlike Hezbollah. Their ambassador said "We mourn every Lebanese child killed, but Hezbollah celebrates the death of every Israeli child".

Yet the ignorant "reporters" asked over and over again - as if it were an incisive question - "How could you "see" the rockets and the terrorists and not "see" the women and children?" The Israelis suffer from all having served in the IDF. To experienced soldiers it is obvious that - with current technology - you can detect the explosion of a rocket or identify the source of enemy fire, without being able to see the faces of the men behind the weapons. Western reporters seem to see war as some kind of strategy game, where your opponent's moves are visible on a chessboard or on screen.

Hezbollah's fighters position their rocket launchers and hide their men in villages, contrary to the Geneva Convention. They are war criminals responsible for the civilian deaths they cause when Israel attacks those military positions. I would not be surprised if they held those women and children in a basement below a firing position in the hope of engineering their propaganda victory of this weekend. There is evidence that they positioned their fighters near UN troops in the hope of getting the "peacekeepers" killed for propaganda purposes.

To rational Westerners these ideas seem crackpot. Consider, however, that Islamic mothers send their sons to die as suicide bombers and praise them afterwards as "martyrs" (though no other religion so designates those who died killing others). To members of such a death cult, sacrificing women and children for propaganda gains is nothing.

Twenty percent of Israel's population is currently living in shelters under rocket attack from Hezbollah. Those attacks are unimpeded by Lebanon's army or the UN "peacekeepers." When Israeli spokesmen mention those attacks, the "reporters" pour scorn on the rockets being used by Hezbollah as if they were mere fireworks compared to the weapons at Israel's disposal. To hear Sky's "reporters" you would think a Katyusha delivered no more deadly effect than a water pistol.

It shames us all to admit it, but it is clear that no-one will defend Israel but Israel. Even the usually sound Condoleeza Rice is equivocating in the face of the orchestrated clamour of Muslims, Leftists and anti-Semites. Israel is part of the civilised West; the only democracy in a region ruled by barbarian tyrants with antediluvian ethics. The Israelis, battle-hardened as they are, may sometimes seem less gentle than us but they are our civilisational brothers and sisters. If we cannot choose correctly between them and the genocidal scum who threaten them, we are lost. I wish the IDF well in its just war and hope its political leadership will have the courage to continue until the job is done.

My daughters, who read this blog, complain that it is too "dark" and that I am too pessimistic. I wish I could find the Little Orphan Annie in me today. But in the face of such treachery, defeatism and weakness, I despair.

Telegraph | Opinion | Israelis make a bad position worse

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Obituary: Ted Grant

Living in Eastern Europe for 15 years, I have met many older people who lived to understand that they had spent their lives on a lie or - to be polite - an illusion. There were no believing Communists in power, of course. The leaders were all Prescotts - joining the Party because it was a way for the talent-free to enjoy wealth and privilege. However, there were lots of little people who believed.

I spent a Sunday afternoon once chatting in my broken Polish with a man who rode a Soviet tank into Czechoslovakia to put down the "Prague Spring." It's hard to read between the lines in your fourth language, but I thought I sensed some regret behind his bluff soldierly explanation of his role. I didn't press him. Why should I? It was tough for him already.

The naieve Reaganite idea that they were all glad to be liberated is not right. The older people had adapted to their circumstances and it was too late for them to change. One theatre director in Warsaw explained it well to my wife. "I suppose it will be better for my children," he said, "..but I have lost a way of life I understood." Not to mention a budget unlinked to any need to please his audiences.

One learns to be sensitive to these old Communists. If they were true believers, how could they suddenly accept they wasted their lives on defective ideas? That they lived to the detriment of their fellow men? We only have one life. It's hard to accept that we blew it. I can even feel sorry for them.

For Ted Grant, however, I have no such sympathy. This man lived in the free world and set out to subvert it. He lived an infantile life of secret societies, hidden identities and splits. He was a traitor and would - in a well-ordered democracy - have been executed. He cynically abused the weaknesses of a democratic party filled with naieve believers in Socialism; people who - like my lost old people of the East - genuinely wanted "a better world" and were guilty of naught but foolishness.

Ted Grant was a bad man who lived a full life of fun and self-importance. At this moment, I could wish there were a God so that he could be condemned to Hell. Within weeks, he would have set up in opposition to the Devil and formed new factions of left-wing demons. He would therefore improve Hell as he never managed to improve this world.

Guardian Unlimited Politics | Special Reports | Obituary: Ted Grant

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Committee opposes 'Tesco law' - Law - Times Online

Lawyers are not popular but, collectively, we are important. An independent legal profession is a hallmark of a free society. If lawyers are controlled by the Executive, then how are the rights of individuals to be defended against the State? If judges are dependent on the Executive - for example to determine their pay and pensions - then how is the independence of the judiciary to be maintained and defended? There are already those who fear that some judges have "sold out" to the New Labour Project for increased pensions.

No-one likes paying us, but when you are in trouble and find the awesome resources of a modern State ranged against you, you need an independent lawyer to defend you and an independent judge to acquit you if you are innocent.

New Labour's New Totalitarianism marches on with this project. It is opposed by the Law Society. It is opposed - as reported here - by a committee of MPs and peers. If you think that the independence of lawyers does not matter to you, you are wrong.

Committee opposes 'Tesco law' - Law - Times Online

Monday, July 24, 2006

Why I believe David Kelly's death may have been murder, by MP | the Daily Mail

It is surprising that this story is not given greater prominence. If Dr. Kelly was murdered, the question cui bono leads to some interesting suspects, to say the least. If the government is found to have ordered his death, one wonders if the ministers concerned will refuse to resign, saying they feel the need to sort out the problems they caused or that they still have something to contribute?

In a civilised sociey, no government could survive such a scandal. I doubt if any governing party involved in such a killing would ever see office again. But Britain is clearly no longer a civilised society, so maybe it will all turn out OK for Labour, whatever the truth of this MP's allegations.

Why I believe David Kelly's death may have been murder, by MP | the Daily Mail

Teenager was kept a prisoner for two years - Britain - Times Online

In what sense is a family "middle class", when it treats its daughters like this? It seems more like the behaviour of ignorant peasants to me.

Teenager was kept a prisoner for two years - Britain - Times Online

Despair as forced marriages stay legal - Britain - Times Online

I don't believe the statement in this article that "Suicide rates among young Asian women are more than three times the national average and about 12 women every year die as a result of so-called 'honour killings'." More than 20 years ago, a police sergeant in Nottingham told me that officers routinely accepted Pakistani families' "ludicrous" claims that their daughter had committed suicide, when they believed that she had been murdered in an "honour killing". They did so rather than face criticism from their superiors or adverse press coverage for "racism".

My guess is that all the "additional" suicides are murders.

Of course, accepting ludicrous stories from one community which would never be expected from another is real "racism", but that doesn't matter. As we know, racism in Britain is a one way thing.

Despair as forced marriages stay legal - Britain - Times Online

Prescott defiant over criticism

If John Prescott's motivation for being in politics was public service, he would quit. His acceptance of gifts from businessmen negotiating government contracts may not prove him to be corrupt, but it proves him to lack judgement. His reputation (such as it was) is damaged beyond retrieval and his ability to serve in government is diminished.

He knows that. He stays because, as his whole career shows, the "perks" are what it is all about for him. When he was a union rep., he groped the girls and lived at the union's expense. He has done the same in office. He is simply making his way in politics as a more lucrative alternative to any other life for which he is fitted.

Sadly, from his point of view, he has proved himself as unfit for this career as for any other.

BBC NEWS | UK | Prescott defiant over criticism

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Street crime soars as more robbers use guns but burglaries decline - Britain - Times Online

John Reid lacks respect for his bosses, the British people. How dare he tell them that rising street crime is their fault, because they are carrying such valuable items as cellphones and iPods? Crime is the fault of the criminal, not the victim, whether the item stolen is a pocket handkerchief or a laptop. The duty of the Home Office and its goons (formerly known as our police force) is to deal with the criminals, not criticise the people they are supposed to protect.

Shut up, Reid, until you are able to report some progress. You are our servant, not our master.

Street crime soars as more robbers use guns %u2013 but burglaries decline - Britain - Times Online

Leading universities spurn students from poor families - Britain - Times Online

What a nonsensical headline! How would it be in the interests of Universities to "spurn" good students? Why would admissions tutors, drawn from an overwhelmingly left-wing pool of British academics, discriminate against the products of a state education system they all profess to believe in?

These statistics are a direct product of the continuing scandal of an education system which has been subverted.

Only in the crazed world of British education is it wrong to select pupils for a level of education suited to their abilities. I suffered from this nonsense as a pupil. I tried, day after day, to learn while bored and angry classmates disrupted lessons they couldn't handle. I felt sorry for them, up to a point. They couldn't cope and I could understand their frustration. But, by God, I wished them elsewhere. Nor did I appreciate being stoned from passing school buses by "less academically able" (i.e. stupid) class mates who resented "swots". All the peer pressure at my comprehensive school was to make trouble and "spurn" education.

Mrs Paine - a teacher - suffered in attempting to work within this bizarre system. Many of our schools are now anarchic hell-holes. The least savoury pupils set the tone; destroying the educational chances of their peers. The turnover of teachers is appalling. Few last long in a profession which has been reduced to riot control interspersed with occasional political indoctrination.

I am furious with the Labour Party for this vindictive nonsense. That ****wits like Prescott should have been allowed to avenge his personal educational failure by trashing the prospects of millions is disgusting.

I am even more furious with Dave Cameron, who does not have Prescott's excuse of manifest stupidity. He has dropped even his Party's last token support of grammar schools - the most powerful agents of social mobility in Britain's history.

Anyone who cares about the education of ordinary children should be fighting to restore selective education. Equality of opportunity was at its greatest when grammar schools and secondary moderns were the norm.

Leading universities spurn students from poor families - Britain - Times Online

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Socialism and Corruption

President Putin landed a political blow on Tony Blair during the G8 Conference in St Petersburg. Questioned by the British press about criticisms of his government and asked if he would discuss them with the Prime Minister, he said "There are also other questions. Questions, let's say, about the fight against corruption. We'd be interested in hearing your experience, including how it applies to Lord Levy."

I don't blog about Russian politics. I am a guest in Moscow and it's not my place. Forgive me, however, if I enjoy the President's wit on the subject of British politics.

Growing up in the Labour rotten boroughs of the North, I am unsurprised by the ethical shabbiness of New Labour. I never believed for a second Blair's 1997 pledge to be "whiter than white" and was quietly confident that he would live to regret it. John Prescott's taste for the high life at public expense was no surprise to me, growing up as I did in the same area, surrounded by lots of such people.

A relative was approached to run for the council in the last elections. A lifelong Labour supporter she listened to the pitch from the Party's representatives with interest. She was promised the ability to claim "expenses", whether or not she bothered to turn up; free repairs and upgrades to her home carried out by council workers and numerous other "perks" all - as the Labour man said - for "next to no work". She sent him away in disgust, but someone took the offer.

I have blogged before about how a Labour local authority abused its powers to strip my family of a business permit, not because of any breach of its terms, but because it wanted to buy the land and thought it could get it cheaper.

I grew up in an area where, for twenty years, Labour councils ran their childrens homes so badly that they were largely staffed by predatory paedophiles who rented the children out for sex as well as abusing them themselves. New Labour appointed as "Minister for Children" a woman who had presided over another such scandal when leader of Islington Council.

This is not because British socialists are particularly bad. During the great 20th Century experiment with Socialism it was the common experience of people living under Socialist governments (more than half of humanity at one point) that their rulers lived like mediaeval kings; sometimes even exercising the droit de seigneur. John Prescott seems to have believed he had some modern version of that right in relation to his own staff.

Socialism is not about fairness. In practice it has always been a system under which wealth, privilege and power are allocated according to political rather than economic criteria. Socialists, caught out, always condemn the "abuse" and say that it was not "true Socialism" but time and time again that is the practical result of the system. It is always embraced by men, be they Josef Stalin or John Prescott, who have no talent or ability to earn wealth, but who have the low cunning to win power.

After the clear and abject failure of the 20th Century Socialist Experiment, only Britain still clings to the wreckage of a comprehensively discredited ideology. Why?

Reports reveal threats to NHS patients' safety

This article - in the journal of record of British Socialism - unsurprisingly lacks any analysis or critique, save for the routine implication that yet more money should be spent to make the National Health Service work. It is more evidence of the disaster that is socialised medicine. It illustrates perfectly how official "caring" is not quite the same thing as giving a damn.

The NHS is worse than a mere failure. It does positive harm, to its patients and to the ethics of the people who work in it. I don't suppose any NHS employees signed up for the opportunity to commit rape or manslaughter. It's hard to be sure of course, given - for example - that the People's Republic of Britain has a history of public childrens' homes largely staffed by predatory paedophiles.

The NHS is not an aberration. It does not matter how much money a rich nation spends to try to make socialised medicine work, it will degenerate into a shambles. During the great 20th Century Experiment, with more than half of humanity living under various flavours of Socialism, the evidence was clear. When people are reduced to providers or consumers of public services, their common relationship with the soulless State begins to destroy their human relationship with each other.

Why does Britain persist with this nonsense, when the rest of the world has seen it for what it is? | Health | Reports reveal threats to NHS patients' safety

Police summonsed over Menezes shooting - Law - Times Online

An innocent man is shot dead by what the British press would describe (if it happened in any other country) as "a police death squad." After long months of consideration by the authorities, the management of the police force is summonsed for an offence under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974.

Someone, somewhere is taking the piss.

Police summonsed over Menezes shooting - Law - Times Online

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

'They are using this law to cover their mistakes' - Britain - Times Online

Patricia da Silva Armani, a relative of Jean Charles de Menezes, said - commenting on the Crown Prosecution Service decision not to take any action agains the police officers who killed him - "The authorities here . . . don't have any shame. I feel sickened by that."

I feel sickened by it too. So should we all. This story is a disgrace to our nation.

'They are using this law to cover their mistakes' - Britain - Times Online

Souped-up ASBOs to tackle kings of organised crime gangs - Britain - Times Online

This is another signature "initiative" from this most pointless of governments. Everything that "gangsters" do is already illegal. If caught and convicted, there are laws enough to keep them in jail for as long as the government's sentencing guidelines allow.

We are not suffering from a shortage of laws. On the contrary, we have thousands too many. We are suffering from a failure of enforcement. This government makes new laws not to solve problems, but to suggest that every problem we have is due to defects in the law and not to the failure of the law enforcement agencies for which it is responsible.

What a shame Britain's academics are mostly left-wing. If a Conservative government were indulging in such legislatory masturbation, there would be studies galore to demonstrate its futility. I am prepared to gamble GBP500 with the first professor of criminology to take the bet that, if he embarks on a study of the hundreds of new crimes created by this government, they will prove to have had no measurable impact on the targeted behaviours. Many of them have not even been used; i.e. no prosecutions have been brought.

This government has passed more Criminal Justice Acts than in all our previous history. Each new such Act is now no more than a confession of the failure of the others.

How much better would it be to declare a legislative "freeze" to allow our police forces to catch up with their workload? How much better would it be to relieve trained police officers of the bureaucratic burdens imposed by the Home Office, designed to turn them into collectors of statistics rather than feelers of wicked collars? How much better would it be for the Home Office to help police forces recover the relationship they used to have with the public? There's a worthy task with which degraded spin doctors could redeem themselves.

The only policing that works (accepting that no policing works perfectly) is "policing by consent." The public used willingly to cooperate with policemen they saw as their protectors and servants. Now they see them as tax-collectors, bullies and agents of Class War.

I have made a couple of citizen's arrests in my time. I would not make one now, because I fear the police would be more interested in a soft target like me than any hard case I might bring them. I would end up being charged with assault, while the villain would walk.

In today's Britain, even the respectable middle class fear contact with a police force widely perceived to be politicised. If the 80% of the time of a front-line police officer that PC David Copperfield over at the Policeman's Blog estimates is wasted could be reduced to civilised levels, police officers could spend enough time with the public to win back their trust. On his blog recently, PC Copperfield said "Somebody told me the other day that if no member of the public ever called Newtown police ever again, our internal procedures would keep us so busy we wouldn'’t notice for another six months." I believe it.

Nothing in this government's record suggests that it gives a damn about the standing of any force in our society but the Labour Party. Now that its policies are failing even to promote that, perhaps Ministers on the way out might look to their legacy and try to do some actual good, instead of focussing entirely on pointless spin?

Souped-up ASBOs to tackle kings of organised crime gangs - Britain - Times Online

Saturday, July 15, 2006

A sad day for believers in liberal values - Britain - Times Online

Every day in Britain at present is a sad day for those with liberal values. I am sorry for my blogging colleague Doctor John Crippen because if these proposals go forward (and when does this Government ever pause for mature reflection?) he will no longer be a member of a learned profession.

Doctors should walk out of the health service en masse rather than submit to this ignominy. Only a group of skilled people who regulate the conduct of their own members is truly a profession. For all others, the word is a mere courtesy title for skilled workers.

I would argue that the most important and most dignified of all professions in any civilised country is - or should be - that of teacher. In Japan, there is no higher honour than to be known by that name, sensei. Since the teaching profession was "nationalised" in the 1940's, however, it has become no more than a corps of, mainly, state employees acting mindlessly under central direction and subject to the erratic (and often politically-motivated) discipline of its major employer, the State.

There is - appallingly - no prestige in being a teacher in Britain today, although many teachers of my acquaintance are better educated, more cultured, more intelligent and more thoroughly professional in their outlook than some in my own profession. With the demise of the GMC's disciplinary role, there will soon be no more prestige in being a doctor.

Those who submitted to the NHS because - as Nye Bevan put it - he "stuffed their mouths with gold" betrayed their successors. Dr Harold Shipman could never have murdered so many if he did not operate in a sloppy State bureaucracy. From the deepest pit of hell reserved for dead Socialists, Nye Bevan must be laughing that it was the evil Doctor Shipman who finally allowed Bevan's Socialist successors to complete his work of reducing free professionals to minions.

A sad day for believers in liberal values - Britain - Times Online

No officers will face charges over Menezes killing - Britain - Times Online

This is an inexplicable decision by the Crown Prosecution Service. I do not even accuse them of succumbing to political pressure, as it is inexplicable politically as well as legally.

If there are insufficient grounds to prosecute the officers who shot Jean Charles de Menezes, the CPS should say why. I have no doubt that you or I, were we to have shot him under the mistaken belief that he was a suicide bomber, would face prosecution. A jury would decide if our mistaken belief gave rise to a defence (self-defence?) which would mean we were not guilty of murder.

There could be no question of a manslaughter charge here. There was clear intent to kill. The two components of murder are the actus reus - the action of killing and the mens rea - the intent to kill. Both were clearly present on the facts as reported. Murder was committed unless the accused has one of the valid defences, e.g. provocation, self-defence or insanity.

If there had been evidence that Jean Charles were a suicide bomber about to detonate himself on a tube train, then I have no doubt that a jury would see the shooting as an act of self-defence on behalf of themselves and the whole community. They would be heroes. But they or their fellow-officers trailed him for a long time; watched him on and off of a bus (no concern about the passengers there?) and must have seen that he was lightly clad with nowhere to conceal a bomb belt.

They have a case to answer. Anyone else would have to answer it. Much though we may have sympathy for the needs of police officers making "split second decisions in the face of danger", there is no reason to keep this from a jury, still less to conceal the identities of the killers.

The family and their supporters have retained a leading QC and I expect him to advise them to commence a private prosecution. "Murder will out" as Chaucer remarked. I think I have made it clear why the CPS decision is legally wrong. If they were (and I do not allege this of my learned friends as it would be quite improper) succumbing to political pressure from the whore of Downing Street, that would be a political misjudgment too.

If the officers had been promptly brought before a jury, I think 12 good men and true would have had sympathy with their plight. No-one would think the officers were sadists looking for casual opportunities to kill. The jurors would understand (having felt it) the atmosphere of fear bordering on paranoia in London after the 7/7 bombings. The jury would have leaned over backwards to find a way to acquit.

A jury in a private prosecution, having the facts presented to them by the barrister for a grieving family denied the opportunity of justice by a State complicit in the alleged crime, may well be less sympathetic. With the passage of time, jurors will be less emotional, and more inclined to consider - for example - the standard to which the police and Crown Prosecution Service expect householders in fear of a burglar in their home to be held when using force. Why should trained officers whose only function is to use force in a crisis be held to a lower standard than that?

The men who put seven bullets in the head of an unresisting, innocent man held down by another police officer were not making split second decisions. They could see in front of them a man who was clearly unarmed. The best explanation that can be contrived on the known facts is that they were acting on orders which, in the excitement of the moment, they failed to question. Their blood was up and an innocent died.

If there is something the CPS knows that we don't, it should publish it - now. And we should know the names of the officers that - by its decision - the CPS is saying are innocent. Justice must be done, and seen to be done. The policemen concerned are citizens, living under the same rules as the rest of us, not henchmen of the State to be shielded from the light.

No officers will face charges over Menezes killing - Britain - Times Online

Friday, July 14, 2006

'BNP members must not work as teachers,' union warns | the Daily Mail

I am cool with this, libertarian that I am, provided that communists and other totalitarians (e.g. New Labourites) are also excluded.

'BNP members must not work as teachers,' union warns | the Daily Mail

Comment is free | The Levy scandal is an accidental by-product of Blair's negligence

Polly Toynbee's article is barely worth the irritation engendered by reading it. There are no new insights to be gained into the psychological state of one of Britain's two best arguments for the restoration of the 11+

But the comments are fascinating. To watch Guardianistas in full denial is most entertaining. I love the phrase "...a law that no one even knew existed..." in mitigation of Lord Levy's alleged offence. How many of the many hundreds of new crimes created by Parliament under New Labour can the average Brit name? In my experience (I always ask the Brits I meet in Moscow to name some) they only know one - "hunting with hounds".

So if you break one of the others, don't worry. You are only breaking "a law that no one even knew existed".

Guardian Unlimited | Comment is free | The Levy scandal is an accidental by-product of Blair's negligence

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Another proud moment for socialised medicine |

Only Big Government could simultaneously deliver a shortage of a drug in a State hospital, combined with an irrepressible abundance of the same drug, sold illegally on the streets outside.

Another proud moment for socialised medicine |

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Independent Online Edition > Health Medical

I think it is despicable of Professor Fitzgerald to trash the reputations of dead men by "diagnosing" them with conditions which "explain" beliefs they held which were contrary to his own.

I met Sir Keith Joseph. He was intelligent, articulate and perfectly rational. I was part of a group of students at an NUS conference who defended him when a bunch of leftists tried to push him off a balcony. Presumably as they were full of (highly theoretical) sympathy for their fellow men, Professor Fitzgerald would say that they were normal, whereas Sir Keith - who waved away our concerns for his safety with an airy "Don't be silly, this is England" - was, aparently suffering from "a mental condition".

I did think at the time that Sir Keith under-rated the danger from the student Trots in question. Professor Fitzgerald would no doubt argue he couldn't, as a "aspie" read their feral facial expressions and body language correctly. What tosh!

Yes, he was a serious man. He wanted to talk to intelligent people about serious things. I suppose he may not have been much for aimless "chat" over time-wasting coffee, although he chatted amiably enough to naieve young students interested in his ideas.

He may have been more than averagely direct. Why not? Must everyone be the same? Sir Keith was intense, because he was trying, by the raw force of his intellectual efforts, to rescue a nation on the brink of collapse. The nation was in that position because of the stupidity of lots of "humane" people who liked to chat over coffee about how to take money from decent hard-working people and squander it.

In a society where "4x4" now has a secondary meaning of a woman who has four children by four fathers to maximise her rights to benefits and prospects of gaining child support, one wonders if one really has to suffer from Asperger's Syndrome to agree with the speech that put a lid on Sir Keith's political career. One can question his political judgement on that occasion without having to question his mental condition.

Is everyone with a different political view to Professor Fitzgerald suffering from a mental condition? What a shame the Soviet Union collapsed. They had need of psychiatrists like him.

Independent Online Edition > Health Medical

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The fog lifts over RBS's inaction on NatWest Three

I have not blogged about the "Natwest Three" because I have been waiting for the clamour of anti-Americanism to abate. I am not angry with the American authorities for using a British law which entitles them to extradite suspects. Why shouldn't they? I am angry with our incompetent Government for enacting a law to give effect to a treaty which had not been ratified by both countries and was therefore not yet in force.

The simple fact is that we should never allow our citizens to be extradited in circumstances where the country to which they are to be sent would not extradite its citizens to us.

New Labour has played fast and loose with our liberties in many ways. This is just another of them. I don't know if the "Natwest Three" are guilty. I do know that New Labour is guilty of monumental ineptitude and of brutal indifference to the liberty of British citizens. I have every confidence in the American judicial system's ability to determine the NatWest Three's guilt or innocence. I don't understand why my fellow citizens could not determine - at the polls - the political guilt of the Labour Party.

Telegraph | Money | The fog lifts over RBS's inaction on NatWest Three

BBC NEWS | Health | Managers blamed for NHS deficits

In as sense, the NHS managers are right. It is "all too easy" to blame them for the NHS SNAFU's.

The NHS is intrinsically inefficient; a massive "producer cooperative" where there are no career consequences for inefficiency. If a manager in a private company were to overrun his budgets by anything like the amounts which are common in the NHS, his career would be over - and not just with that company.

NHS hospitals should be privatised. The government should confine itself to regulating the health insurance industry so as to ensure that policies are not written to exclude pre-existing conditions etc. (averaging costs across all policies), enforcing a compulsory health insurance scheme and then writing cheques to insurers for those who are unable to pay for their own health insurance.

Hospitals which are in danger of going bankrupt if their budgets are not met would soon find proper people to manage them. They would also ensure a sensible ratio of managers to fee-earning staff (doctors and nurses).

BBC NEWS | Health | Managers blamed for NHS deficits

UK Indymedia - SOCPA - serious police assault once again outside downing street

How far London has come since the "Summer of Love". SOCPA is amongst the most badly-named of all New Labour's deceptively-titled legislation. Our police are now political enforcers, not protectors of law-abiding citizens. Any police officer with a conscience should resign, rather than be part of the apparatus of the New Labour police state.

UK Indymedia - SOCPA - serious police assault once again outside downing street

Monday, July 10, 2006

Cameron defends youth crime speech

Even when Dave Cameron is right, he's wrong. His political judgement in leaving himself open to the "hug a hoodie" sneer from the NuLabour/Daily Mail authoritarians was weak. Of course hoodies are irrelevant. Virtually all young people wear them. I attended my elder daughter's final speech day at her highly respectable school on Saturday, and the school and its various houses had had "Leavers 2006" hoodies made. The young ladies you may see wearing them this Summer are no threat to anyone.

To condemn hoodies because some violent youths use them to conceal their features from CCTV during crimes is as absurd as to condemn ladies' tights for their regular involvement in bank robberies.

Cameron is right to encourage us not to demonise all youth because of the conduct of a few. To do so is to promote bad behaviour. To show more respect to people who behave well would stimulate more respect for others. Our arrogant and abusive police officers could usefully heed that advice. Cameron is right to suggest we should scale down the use of the ludicrous ASBO, which has made a laughing stock of the law.

Thousands of young people leave our schools every year ready, able and willing to play a constructive part in society. They, not the hoodied yob, are the norm. Our problem as a society is that we have allowed the yobs to set the agenda, firstly in schools where the inability to expel trouble makers has freed them from all restraint.

What kind of preparation for civilised society is an education in an environment where everyone in authority is open to ridicule and abuse, and where all punishments are vain - because they are simply ignored? My wife and I were educated in a comprehensive. My wife taught in several of them before giving up teaching as a bad job. We know of what we speak. If we could not have afforded private education, we would not have had children, precisely because the State Schools are so vile.

When yobs emerge from the jungle of state education, where they have ruled by fear and behaved exactly as they pleased, they expect to continue in the same way. They then meet a police force which, when it happens to be on the streets, has no interest in confronting their behaviours. In its discourteous attitude to others, the police force more closely resembles the yobs than the "decent" people. Police officers, rapidly becoming a politicised tribe apart, reinforce the uncivil nature of our "civil society".

If the police do take them on, the courts and the probation service will then continue to coddle them as their schools accustomed them to expect. However bad their behaviour, they can expect the Nanny State to protect them and support them, financially and otherwise. All the media take their tone from them, providing entertainment and information "dumbed down" to their Neantherdal level.

Cameron is right that the hoody has nothing to do with it. He is right that demonising our youth is no way to deal with our real demons. But namby-pamby Guardian liberalism is no way to deal with them either.

if he would like some policy suggestions, how about these? Give head teachers 100% discretion on the matter of expulsion, so that they can be as ruthless in disposing of trouble makers as the private schools. Take the view that taxpayer-funded State education is a privilege not an entitlement. If a child and his parents are not interested in taking advantage of that privilege, then that child will always disrupt the education of others. To protect their privileges, throw him out.

By all means provide facilities for such yobs, but let them be outside the normal system. If our expelled yob misbehaves there, then let the head have the right to throw him out again; this time onto the streets. Eventually, he will be picked up by the forces of law and order. Let them be unequivocally mandated to deal with him (and his neglectful parents) as they deserve.

Libertarians are not anarchists. We believe in as few laws as possible, thoroughly enforced. Being soft on any criminals, and young criminals in particular, is to be hard on everyone else. To hell with them - or to as close a facsimile of hell as a civilised society can tolerate.

Guardian Unlimited Politics | Special Reports | Cameron defends youth crime speech

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Londonist: Opinion: Freedom Of Speech Does Not Extend To Criticising The Police

The police officers involved in this story should ask themselves why they joined the force. Did they want to protect and serve the public, or did they want to be part of the apparatus of a police state?

Londonist: Opinion: Freedom Of Speech Does Not Extend To Criticising The Police

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The times have changed for British Blogs

I am pleased for Guido Fawkes and Iain Dale whose contribution to the sum of human knowledge about the odious Prescott is being widely acknowledged. I am also worried. Prescott's friends are urging him, it has been reported, to sue them and have their sites closed down.

Britain's libel laws have a chilling effect on public debate. People long knew that Robert Maxwell was a criminal, for example. As a new young partner, I introduced one of his companies to my old law firm as a client. I was rewarded with an immediate visit from the Senior Partner to praise my efforts and good intentions but to tell me never to accept such an instruction again. "Don't quote me," I was told, "but he's an utter crook". This was years before his watery end.

Maxwell was an enthusiastic litigator, bringing libel actions at the slightest provocation, putting his accusers to the proof and gleefully perjuring himself in his own "defence". He managed to silence almost all public criticism. Lord Archer also perjured himself in a libel action, forcing a newspaper to retract a true story and pay him damages. It was for that perjury that he eventually went to jail.

If the wealthy supporters of Labour choose to fund actions against bloggers, it will not matter if they wrote the truth or not. It will only matter if they can prove it. The best defence to defamation is "justification" - i.e. that the statement complained of was true. Against politicians there is a more useful defence, that the statement (if not true) was "fair comment on a matter of public interest". Much as I hope they will long continue, I am not sure that some of the more exuberant and entertaining blogs would be considered by juries to be making "fair comment". Whatever the rights and wrongs, many bloggers would be hard pressed to meet the costs of defending such actions, for which no legal aid is available.

I fear the glory days of British political blogging may be over. I doubt if even Prescott is daft enough to sue on an allegation which he has failed to deny, despite being given ample opportunity. However, when Guido's readership passed that of Private Eye, he became the sort of target that the Eye has long been.

Only the authentically poor can afford to say what they please. Those with assets and families to support must be careful.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Who can argue with Johnny Cash? H/T An Englishman's Castle.


Happy Fourth of July

We invented the English language and the Common Law. We will always be proud to have bred Shakespeare, though - like the language he shaped - we now share him with the world. However, we should acknowledge the American Declaration of Independence as one of the best pieces of prose in Shakespeare's language. "We hold these truths to be self evident...", it began, and a nation's history began with it.

The American Constitution too is a fine piece of work. Americans are fortunate that it was drafted at the peak of classical liberalism. It is not as beautiful as the Declaration of Independence, but it is elegant nonetheless. It contains in a few words (by lawyers' standards) beginning "We, the people..." so much more than any modern attempt at a framework for a nation's laws and government.

My chosen "nom de blog" is a clue that I am fond of the United States of America. Politically, I acknowledge it openly as the greatest of Man's works to date. I am proud that the best of English political philosophy found a home somewhere. I just wish it had been England.

The Founding Fathers did a great job and their successors have not yet screwed it up so much that they could fail to look them in the eye. Tom Paine began his life an Englishman and ended it an American. One reason I chose his name is that I still hope to repeat that feat one day, if circumstances permit.

Americans - unlike the English - are openly proud of their country. So should they be. No nation is perfect and they make mistakes like all humans, but the USA - as much as any nation on Earth - has contributed more to humanity than it has taken. The Europeans and Brits who make snide remarks about America are the same sorry minority of self-loathing liberals who have little good to say of their own countries. Americans should therefore not take it personally.

To all my American friends, present and future, I say "Happy Fourth of July". And may God bless America.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Serious Study: Immaturity Levels Rising

I wonder if the welfare state may have something to do with this story. After all, it allows a citizen to live in child-like dependence on "Nanny", just as he once depended on mother.

I fear that the burgeoning state in Britain is infantilising large numbers of citizens; institutionalising them so that real adult independence strikes them as a "survivalist" nightmare; something far too scary for ordinary people to contemplate.

Whenever I hear a politician say that "the first duty of government is the protection of the citizen", I fear the protector more than the person I am to be protected from. This is natural enough, since usually that person is me.

Life is not safe. There are evil men in every generation. The government can never make us safe, but it can make us unfree in the attempt.

Discovery Channel :: News - Human :: Serious Study: Immaturity Levels Rising