Thursday, 3 December 2009

More Old Toryism and confusing labels

Martin Ivens in the Times this morning looks at Cameron's relationship with Blond's Localist / Old Tory locus. Rightly, he identifies the IEA as the wellspring of the challenge to Welfarist thinking; under Ralph Harris and Arthur Seldon, both of whom came from working-class East London communities, the disempowerment of the working class by the State formed the core of a whole caucus of social and economic thinking.

We can't blame Thatcher for losing her way. As more pressing issues - dealing with the unions and the militant left in the Town Halls - forced her into increasing centralisation and a Big State, so the ideas of the IEA, and Ralph and Arthur's influence, fell into desuetude. 1979 was the start of neoliberalism, and saw over a million local members leave the party. To look at the roots of Old Toryism, we need to look back beyond the 1945 - 1979 period of consensus Keynesianism. As Blond wrote in Prospect:
Conservatives who believe in value, culture and truth should therefore think twice before calling themselves liberal. Liberalism can only be a virtue when linked to a politics of the common good, a problem which the best liberals—Mill, Adam Smith and Gladstone—recognised but could never resolve. A vision of the good life cannot come from liberal principles. Unlimited liberalism produces atomised relativism and state absolutism. Insofar as both the Tories and Labour have been contaminated by liberalism, the true left-right legacy of the postwar period is, unsurprisingly, a centralised authoritarian state and a fragmented and disassociative society.
Now those of you who have read Ralph Harris will know he always described himself as a 'liberal' rather than a conservative - but an implaccable enemy of the authoritarian State;
Alas, you need government, but big government is subject to such flaws, incorrigible flaws. Big government is irresponsible government because they can’t know all the circumstances of the nation, the society, the families that they are administering. Big government leads to all kinds of deals, backstage deals about policies, and all the time they are governed not by the public interest, but by the self-interest of the politicians to maintain their power. You need politicians, but the more you can contain politicians to the central tasks they have to do, the less you tempt them into this vote-grabbing, this corruption and deceit which is inseparable from modern, mass, undiscriminating democratic politics.
Harris advocated Burkean solutions, the answers being with the Little Platoons; mutuals and co-operatives, friendly societies and sixpence-a-week insurance policies. As does Blond.

Labels are confusing, aren't they?

Brown gambles all on 'hate and greed' strategy

Abandoning any pretence at being a Statesman, at being a man to unite the nation, Gordon Brown reverted yesterday to the greasy-haired Scots technical-college lecturer heckling the visiting Mayor. Brown has stepped firmly back onto old-skool Socialist territory, garnering support by an appeal to men's lowest instincts, for hatred and naked greed. The ugliness and irresponsibility of Brown's reversion surprises me not one jot; all he's ever done is for personal and party self-interest at the cost of our national well-being. My loathing of the man and his government has never been deeper.

Labour is a party of two-nations; one to be robbed, and one to be bought. This is as far as Brown's distinctly third-rate intellect will take him. Cameron remains the sole advocate of a one-nation Britain, in which we all move forward together. He hasn't accepted it yet, but Localism is the one approach that will kill Labour for ever and cement us as one Britain, one people. As Philip Blond had it in Prospect:
The next step for conservatism is to reverse the old politics of class, by restoring capital to labour. Cameron should reject the Marxist narrative that paints Tories as wedded to a disenfranchised proletariat. On the contrary: conservatives believe in the extension of wealth and prosperity to all. Yet the great disaster of the last 30 years is the destruction of the capital, assets and savings of the poor: in Britain, the share of wealth (excluding property) enjoyed by the bottom 50 per cent of the population fell from 12 per cent in 1976 to just 1 per cent in 2003. A radical communitarian civic conservatism must be committed to reversing this trend. This requires a considered rejection of social mobility, meritocracy and the statist and neoliberal language of opportunity, education and choice. Why? Because this language says that unless you are in the golden circle of the top 10 to 15 per cent of top-rate taxpayers you are essentially insecure, unsuccessful and without merit or value. The Tories should leave this bankrupt ideology to New Labour and embrace instead an organic communitarianism that graces every level of society with merit, security, wealth and worth.
I think it is a complete misnomer to call Blond a 'red Tory'. Cameron is a red Tory. Eric Pickles is a red Tory. Why? Because red Tories believe in a central State, in a Federal Europe, in a metropolitan concentration of power, in political patronage and the primacy of central party apparatchiks, in over-riding personal freedoms 'for your own good'. Cameron's Socialist Conservatives are only a whisker away from Brown's Blue Labour party. Blond is off the scale, on a fourth axis, espousing a manifesto that is wholly Old Tory.

Brown has moved forward, and left his goal completely open. This is Cameron's final chance.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

The banality of evil

Danny Finkelstein's natural repulsion in a Times piece at the idea of describing John Demjanjuk as a victim is perhaps understandable but perhaps also too simplistic.

Germany, like the UK at time, had the death penalty on the statute book, and throughout the war undertook the judicial murder (by Guillotine) of German citizens just as we did here (by Hanging). Putting people to death per se was not seen as wrong, unjust or illegal in either Germany or the UK. Statutes defined capital offences, courts passed judgement and those at the bottom end of the criminal justice system, the policemen and prison guards, carried out the confinements and executions.

Indeed, all societies with law enforcement agencies depend on a certain kind of person to fill the ranks; those with a respect for authority, those who find it easy to defend the supremacy of Law, those who don't question too deeply the moral legitimacy of their orders and instructions. In a free and democratic society, with local rather than State control over law enforcement agencies, such human qualities are not a bad thing, and recruiting such people, as we do now, into the ranks of the police and prison services puts the most suitable sort of people into the job. But only because they have others standing over them who do scrutinise, question and poke at the morality and legitimacy of the legal framework within which they operate.

Franz Stangle, Commandant at Sobibor extermination camp where Demjanjuk worked, started life as an ordinary Austrian policeman. After Anschluss, a law was passed allowing the compulsory euthanasia of the severely mentally and physically handicapped without hope of recovery. The law required the signatures of two doctors and a court order, and the subjects were (at first) 'humanely' killed by lethal injection. This was the T-4 programme, and Stangl was put in charge of carrying out the judicial killings.

Now this was the point at which we expect a law enforcement official to cavil; we can see the difference between guillotining a rapist and euthanising a paraplegic in a permanent coma, why couldn't Stangl? Was it because he was inherently evil (as Finkelstein would have it) or was it because he was, as just an ordinary policeman, too overwhelmed by central State authority and legitimacy to question? And when the method of euthanasia changed from medically-administered lethal injection to Carbon Monoxide gas why didn't he question then? Many policemen did - after their first T-4 killings they requested return to normal duties, and were not penalised or persecuted.

Finkelstein has the answer, I think, in the Milgram experiments. Some subjects turned the voltage knobs right up to 'lethal' - not brainwashed Nazis, but preppy American college kids. Some individuals are just programmed to accord a legitimacy to authority that others are not. Are they evil? Or victims, their 'flaw' misused and exploited by those in authority above them?

This isn't an obscure debate about the events of sixty years ago, but the most cogent and compelling reason to take great care of the way in which we design and develop our own system of justice and law enforcement. It is the reason I am unequivocally opposed to judicial murder, particularly if imposed and determined by a remote central State. Once you let them start killing, once the initial hurdle is cleared, then broadening the 'offences' of those to be killed becomes much easier. It may start with paedophiles but could rapidly include those caught with illegal firearms. Once the process and apparatus of judicial murder is in place, once the executioner has tasted his first legal blood, then it becomes so much easier to expand the process.

It's also the reason I'm unequivocally opposed to a national police force under central State control. As much as we need those individuals with character traits that make them suitable for law enforcement work, we need also to keep them under close control and not to allow others to exploit those traits against our own interests. If Demjanjuk represents evil, it is a banal and unremarkable evil, an ordinary human evil. And it's everywhere amongst us.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

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The street rats are mostly Balls' bastards

Ed Balls is either a very stupid man or one blinded by ideology to the evidence of the effects of family background on children. The evidence that children who grow up without their biological fathers are not only likely to be damaged but likely to damage others is overwhelming. For the sake of balanced, healthy, achieving children and for the sake of society as a whole we should be doing everything we can to promote stable families that retain both biological parents, and marriage is the best mechanism for formalising those bonds. What doesn't Balls understand?

Somewhere in the Sundays over the weekend was a story that surfaces from time to time, of the desire for an equalities counter-reformation. All the things that should have liberated women into a new equal world - the pill, employment rights, the outlawing of taste discrimination - have actually left women worse off, the piece stated, and for every ladette happy to fight their way up the career ladder there was a potential housewife happy to care for home and children, but the latter lifestyle choice had become increasingly difficult.

And of course our tax and benefits system must support not just the best evidential relationship structure for our children, but the most moral also - for without a common morality our laws, our social structure, our respect for the rights of others are nought but dross.

The next government will still have to deal with the underclass, with the street cohort of violent, illiterate young men dealing drugs and murdering each other for the pettiest of reasons, young men whose life expectancy doesn't stretch much beyond their forties, and half of that spent in prisons, care homes or young offenders institutions. These street rats are Ed Balls' bastards; they are the product of Labour's 'any lifestyle choice is good' policy that eschewed fatherhood for State co-parenting. And Balls, like all men who get bastards and flee, will leave it to everyone else to pay to solve his problem.

Monday, 30 November 2009

I herewith renounce EU citizenship

Anthony Coughlan writing in the Brussels Journal reveals how the Federasts are planning to make a Constitution out of the Lisbon Treaty. From tomorrow, he points out
... members of the European Parliament, who up to now have been “representatives of the peoples of the States brought together in the Community” (Art.189 TEC), become “representatives of the Union’s citizens” (Art.14 TEU).
OK, let's make this clear. I'm a British subject. I'm not an EU citizen. I hereby renounce, disown, repudiate, spurn, decline and abdicate any unwanted and unasked for status as an EU citizen. I declare I will fight the EU and its institutions and spurious antidemocratic bodies in every way I can; I will block, obstruct, sabotage, disobey and wilfully subvert any exercise of jurisdiction that unelected traitors in Brussels try to impose on me. I'm not one of your citizen slaves, comrades; I'm a free-born Briton.

From tomorrow I'm your enemy.

Fabians admit that welfare causes poverty

In a frank admission, the legatees of the foolish Webbs have all but admitted that welfare causes poverty. The Indescribablyboring illustrates the story with a Dickensian cliche of a photo of a young man begging. The word 'Victorian' is mentioned.

It's absurd to compare Britain in the twenty-first century with Britain in the nineteenth. Unlike Victorian London, our London doesn't have a prostitute for every twelve adult males (prostitution being the pre-welfare option for many women) nor do large numbers of children go about in bare feet, Chinese trainers being available for 99p a pair. Nor do we all die by 45, nor do we have rickets or scurvy or diptheria, nor do two out of five of our children die. Poverty today is not absolute but relative; being poor today is simply not having as much bling as Joe Potato next door. The Fabians of course have a solution to this - take some of Joe Potato's things away and give them to other people. They imagine a Utopia in which we all have exactly the same.

The fact is of course that we're not all equal, and it's simply wicked to pretend that we are. Some are pretty enough to be models, and some of us are not gifted with beauty. Some have superlative football skills, and some can't catch a beach ball at six feet. Some can understand String Theory, and some can't add up a grocery bill. Some can shift sixteen tonnes a day, and some get exhausted just lifting a shovel. Depending on how we, as a society, value various skills and abilities, so rewards vary. Thus a healthy meritocracy encourages those with ability to exploit it, and all society gains. Those without skill or ability even for a manual trade must learn their place in the spectrum, too; a labouring job, or sweeping the street, or working in MacDonalds are callings as necessary as all those better rewarded. The dignity of work alone confers a belonging worth rubies, even if the pay is rhinestones.

That Socialism is an evil was confirmed by Pope Leo XIII in Rerum Novarum;
It is surely undeniable that, when a man engages in remunerative labor, the impelling reason and motive of his work is to obtain property, and thereafter to hold it as his very own. If one man hires out to another his strength or skill, he does so for the purpose of receiving in return what is necessary for the satisfaction of his needs; he therefore expressly intends to acquire a right full and real, not only to the remuneration, but also to the disposal of such remuneration, just as he pleases. Thus, if he lives sparingly, saves money, and, for greater security, invests his savings in land, the land, in such case, is only his wages under another form; and, consequently, a working man's little estate thus purchased should be as completely at his full disposal as are the wages he receives for his labor. But it is precisely in such power of disposal that ownership obtains, whether the property consist of land or chattels. Socialists, therefore, by endeavoring to transfer the possessions of individuals to the community at large, strike at the interests of every wage-earner, since they would deprive him of the liberty of disposing of his wages, and thereby of all hope and possibility of increasing his resources and of bettering his condition in life.
The Fabians argue that Brown's stealth redistribution hasn't gone far enough - but isn't it about time we dismissed the whole nonsense about relative poverty and went back to talking instead of absolute poverty? We all recognise that we must freely and willingly give of our wealth to shoe and clothe the desperate, to ensure that none go hungry, none go without warmth and shelter and the sick receive succour. A Welfare system that is a disincentive to work for 5m of our citizens is morally wrong and repugnant; it excludes them from the dignity of work, however humble, from full belonging and from the hope of betterment, and imprisons them in a cruel State slavery more hopeless and despairing than the Slough of Despond. Socialism is an evil. We must fight it's effects with every breath we have.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

57% of Swissies are not 'far right'

Following the success of the Swiss referendum to ban future Islamic minarets in the country, the entirely predictable reaction of the race and equalities industry has already started; they are ascribing the result as a win for the 'far right'. Just as they described France's ban on headscarves in schools. And just as they describe Sarkozy's proposed ban on full-body burqas in France.

It's a comfortable self-delusion, no doubt. So much easier than having to face the fact that 57% of the Swissies aren't far right nutters but decent, ordinary people for whom the Islamisation of their public space was a step too far.

Islam remains an alien and fearsome heresy for many Christian Europeans. We may tolerate Muslims in our midst as long as they assimilate, become invisible, integrate into the mainstream, but are unwilling to accept the provocation of minarets and Niqabs. This, I think, is right and justified. In the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland and France democracy is working - creaking and groaning, opposed by the race, rights and equalities industry, but working.

It's an overdue adjustment that needs to be made across Europe - made peacefully and democratically, without violence or pogroms or persecution or displacement. We are a Europe of the Light; we face adherents of the Dark. The Light must win; the Light always must win.

A separate Conservative Party for Scotland is a good start

The Sunday Herald leads with a piece reporting the pressure on Cameron to allow Scots Tories to break away to form their own party; the Scots haven't taken to either Cameron or Annabel Goldie, and why should they?

I'm all for this. Scotland is an ancient nation with its own laws and legal system, and its own Parliament. Our union at the level of the Realm - with a common defence and foreign affairs structure - doesn't mean that we should seek homogeneity in everything else. And whilst the number of Scots MPs sitting at Westminster should undoubtedly decrease substantially, this should be balanced by a flowering of a particularly Scots culture of politics in which there is a gaping vacuum for a right of centre party divorced from Thatcher's memory.

Likewise in the province of Northern Ireland. I've never agreed with the 'Unionist' part of the Conservative Party; in less time than we may imagine, a popular majority in the Province will return it to the Republic. My dearest wish is that Ireland will then join the Commonwealth in recognition of the strong bonds between us. There is no place in a Tory party for a faction that will seek to cling to the Province against the wishes of a majority of its people.

And why then not a separate but affiliated Tory Party for Anglia? If the Turnip Taliban and Suffolk Swedes are more popular locally than Cameron's metrosexuals with the region's 3m population why not a separate party?

We are truly entering a time of radical change in British politics - a time in which almost anything is possible. To imagine that the hollow and dying incumbent parties can continue in their present forms is truly naive. The three incumbent parties have a combined membership of less than 1% of the electorate, and rely on corrupt finance from foreign governments to stay in power. The lesson the Conservatives must learn is clear

Decentralise or Die.