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Saturday, 4 February 2012

Immaturity of the European Right

Sven Sellanraa writes on Brussels Journal of the emergence of a new Anglophone grouping of bloggers, writers and activists termed the 'Orthos', and speculates whether they are responsible for establishing a new philosophical foundation for the Right. I think he accords them far too much printspace; I think they're no more than the English speaking manifestation of the puerile and intellectually barren Euro Catholic Right, lovers of dressing up in silly made-up costumes, reviving (with profound ignorance) mediaeval organisations, awarders of fake and spurious medals, orders and titles and fascist fantasists of the like of Anders Brevik. The Brussels Journal itself leans this way, of course, so perhaps it's hardly surprising that it devotes space to essays of this kind.

By the start of the nineteenth century conservative ideology, the reaction against that villain Rousseau, had branched into those who followed the English tradition of Burke and the hard-core of followers of de Maistre. The Burkean tradition was largely protestant, liberal and democratic, and absorbed the intellectual changes of the first and second enlightenments with ease. Maistrists rejected the enlightenment in its entirety and sought a return to feudalism; Faguet wrote of de Maistre as "a fierce absolutist, a furious theocrat, an intransigent legitimist, apostle of a monstrous trinity composed of pope, king and hangman, always and everywhere the champion of the hardest, narrowest and most inflexible dogmatism, a dark figure out of the Middle Ages, part learned doctor, part inquisitor, part executioner". Yet this freakish man enjoys a renaissance amongst the European Right and its Anglophone shadow today; As Sellanraa states "Their main target is not postmodern relativism, redistributive left-liberalism, Frankfurt School cultural radicalism, or Marxian socialism; for although they deplore these things, they also regard them as mere symptoms of a deeper problem". Indeed, all of us on the Right deplore those things, but those of us in the Burkean tradition would rather debate the muddle-headed leftists over a decent dinner than burn them at the stake. I may pepper this blog with calls for embezzling bankers to have their nostrils slit and shoplifters (except Worral-Thompson, of course) to have their ears cropped but no-one (I hope) takes it very seriously. The difference is, the ideologists of the Euro Right mean it. 

Hungary will be a fascinating laboratory to see how far the ideas of the Euro Right can go in government, restrained by an EU that is overwhelmingly committed to  "postmodern relativism, redistributive left-liberalism, Frankfurt School cultural radicalism, or Marxian socialism".

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Mandarins answer to no one

A recent survey suggested that our senior civil servants spend approximately a third of their time working on their Minister's agenda, a third on EU initiatives and a third on interests of their own devising. It explains in part why ministers, with a remit from voters, find it almost impossible to effect change during their period in office. Mandarins also know that ministers are 'here today, gone tomorrow', with few having sufficient experience to know how to manage their Departments of State. Thus when cuts are actually biting  across the armed forces, libraries, the NHS and the like, the civil service has remained virtually unchanged and intact. As for accountability, the convention, established by Sir Robert Armstrong in 1985, is that mandarins are accountable only to their ministers. Whilst insisting at the same time that they have higher duties than to political objectives, that they are guardians of the State, independent and impartial. It's a defence in depth, a series of fortifications that means in effect that senior civil servants are accountable to no one but themselves.

It's the mandarinate more than any other component of our polity that has built the 'Big State', that has established the poisonous message that only the bureaucratic Central State can be trusted to be fair and uncorrupt. When I suggest on here, for example, that Welfare should be local, the greatest countervailing argument in the comments is that people can't be trusted to be fair and ration Welfare with probity, that only the State can do so. And that's the message from the mandarinate - that we can't be trusted to manage ourselves, that we're flawed, incapable, inept and unskilled, and that they only know know what's best for everyone. I'm sorry, but it's bollocks. It's a crock. The mandarinate are the greatest single threat to our freedom and liberty, the EU's fifth column, the enemy within, with loyalties not to our sovereign realm but to some specious international ideology. They can't be trusted as far as I can spit. Give me a bent local Imam creaming off the Welfare budget to Lahore any day - at least it's honest theft.  

Gus O'Donnell's parting shot in defence of the mandarinate is revealed in the Telegraph this morning. Margaret Hoxha had the temerity, as Chairman of a Select Committee,  to put a senior mandarin to the question, and when she suspected him of lying, insisted the rest of his evidence was taken under oath. O'Donnell was incandescent with rage. Civil servants are immune from Parliamentary scrutiny as far as he is concerned. How could they govern the country if they were subject to direct democratic control?

But there's a new mood in Parliament. Reform is on the wind. MPs are feeling their breeches for the first time in many years. The mandarinate may have a shock coming.  

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Goodwin should count himself lucky

Parliament, as a comment to a previous post reminded me, remains our supreme court. Parliament can still pass a Bill of Attainder that tries, condemns and sentences all in one. In the past, Attainder meant forfeiting all you had; land, titles, houses, property, wealth and even the clothes you stood in. Popular anger against corrupt and sleazy MPs, thieving Lords, bent civil servants, peculative coppers and the rest of the stinking class would have seen a tsunami of Attainders had the 'Mail' and the 'Sun' (or this blog ..) run a vote on it.

Sadly, the ECHR would almost certainly reverse any modern Attainder. Wrecking a national economy, putting 100,000 out of work, stealing £100m and such are not regarded by the ECHR as sufficiently heinous to merit the draconian penalties of full Attainder. What we can do is what we have done - strip the malefactor of any honour they hold. Nowhere in the Charter of Fundamental Rights does it say 'Every man has the right to a KBE'. The ECHR will not reverse the judgement. 

Despite the opinion of the press, this was a good call.    

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Corporal works of mercy

The two Romanian gypsy girls had gone down to the Naples tourist beach with a few trinkets, maybe to sell, maybe to provide cover for a morning of purse and wallet thefts. These are tough girls - hanging around London ATMs ready to grab a wad of dispensed cash from the slow and unwary, I've seen them front-down police officers, refuse to move on. But even tough little thieves get hot on an Italian beach; they went to swim, struggled, drowned.

The two nineteen year old lads had travelled together from their village in the Congo, paying down with stolen funds their places on a leaky fishing boat that would get them into Europe. The boat never made it. The bodies of the boys, still together, were washed ashore on a Lampedusa beach. 

What the two incidents have in common is the treatment of the corpses. In both instances these were not only left for many hours on the beaches concerned, but in both instances photos have emerged of holidaymakers getting back to sunbathing and swimming around them. Now I know that depth of field and skilled photography can fool the eye, and those bathers who appear just yards away are probably a hundred feet distant, but the photos don't lie in showing their exposed corpses lying alone and only partially covered, unbarriered and unguarded, with no officer or official respectfully watching over them. 

The care, preparation and burial of the dead is one of the corporal works of mercy that establish our humanity. Let us be shamed that our attitudes to these people in life should not last in death. We are all equal in death. 

Monday, 30 January 2012

It's Monday it must be Greece

It's Monday. Check the Travelcard, fix the diary for the week and throw another £50 billion at Greece to keep it solvent for another fortnight. In fact, much of that money goes back to the French and German banks that own Greek debt, and therefore to bolstering those nations' credit ratings. The Greeks end up not a Euro better off but with a further obligation for their grandchildren to pay for the German and French banks solvency. It's a sort of reverse Robin Hood tax - taking from the poor to give to the rich. 

It won't work, of course. But that's never deterred the Federasts from anything. 

Just a bent little frog

So Sarkozy, with news of brown envelopes, tax breaks, sleaze and Presidential corruption, is proving that he's just a bent little frog after all. Like so many French Presidents, the stench of peculation, theft, bribery and dishonestly surrounds him.   

The Kermits may be happy to be led by such people. We, you may be sure, are not.