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Archive for the ‘society’ Category

Just watch this video and realise that not only does English football urgently need a man like Brian Clough, British public life generally does too. A sense of fair play, a respect for authority, a deep understanding of genuine priorities – what’s really important (like taking the initiative when someone’s being an idiot and stopping them!) – and a healthy contempt for the BBC’s po-faced, self-important, self-appointed, misplaced, half-baked didacticism. Best man never to have managed England, obviously, and rightfully regarded by those who knew him or supported football clubs he coached as a legend. Wish I’d been one of them!

Marvellous.

My word he would have made a team out of that bunch of overpaid airheads and losers we sent to South Africa. He makes Don Fabio look like precisely what he is, only a half-decent manager, and John Motson look like precisely what he is: a complete idiot.

Where are this nation’s Brian Cloughs, with all that flair, individualism and inner steel, when we so desperately need them!

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The latest Labour outbursts over their tax on jobs, containing further and deeper Brownian abuse of the Conservatives, a growing number of business leaders and, by implication, the millions of ordinary people (like me) earning over £20,000, is kind of losing its context. Perhaps that’s Brown’s and, in particular, the interminably corrosive Mandelson’s, intention: to distract people from the scale of what’s at stake in this election by obsessively focusing on one policy area, albeit a crucial and highly symbolic one. The NI hike tax on jobs and the resistance to waste cuts is an argument that has been comprehensively lost by Brown, and David Cameron knows it. It’s time to move on.

It was therefore good to hear Cameron dismiss Labour’s new batch of economic lies and smears as desperate and sure signs that the Labour leadership is ‘rattled’, before indeed moving on to the next part of his agenda of righting Labour’s wrongs, this time Labour’s social wrongs. The “National Citizen Service” is a great idea. This is the first meat on the bones of the whole, powerful Tory theme of social responsibilty and is an excellent – and radical – proposal designed to make youngsters, from all backgrounds I trust, aware of what it means to belong to the society into which they have been born.

Wresting the terms of the debate so long dominated by socialist dogma in this country is what Cameron is attempting here, and it is no mean undertaking. If it means that one day, “duty” is no longer a dirty word, then he, we, and British society generally, will have won a major victory. The endorsement of Sir Michael Caine notwithstanding, I’m fascinated by how the socialists intend to attack these new ideas – for attack them they will, tooth and nail, and not from a position of principle, but because they regard all-things “social” purely as their preserve (I guess that’s why they call themselves “socialists”). It’s a battle I’m looking forward to even more than the economic one, actually.

Norman Tebbit, if his latest, brilliant (and witty) blogpost, is anything to go by, might be too. He has said that there is simply no redemption for Brown such is the depth and seriousness of his denial and delusion about, well, anything and everything. It is certainly worth the read. But here, for me, is the key part, and it’s all the more powerful for the fact that he is an outspoken critic of aspects of the Cameroon agenda, such as it is known.

The sad aspect of all this is that there can be no redemption of Mr Brown. He is simply unable to learn anything from experience, except that his agenda has not been pursued with sufficient vigour.
That is why the first objective of those unconvinced by Brownian politics should be to remove Mr Brown from office. There only two ways this might be achieved. The first is to allow his colleagues, who have so far bungled every attempt to do so, to have another crack at it.
The other, and the more credible option, is to do the job for them by throwing NuLab out of office, and the only credible way of achieving that is to give the Conservatives a working majority on May 6.
I know that not all those of a conservative temperament will like that conclusion. Some will not accept it. I understand their feelings, but I hope that they will not awake on May 7 to find the ship still on the reef and the same crew in charge.

This is the simplest and most inescapable argument for voting Conservative at the general election, and it’s one I’ve been putting forward on this blog, especially to Kipper and libertarian friends, for some time. I’m not going to split the vote by voting for single-issue or tiny parties, no matter how much I might be drawn to some their arguments about EU referenda or the shortcomings of our political system and our long slide into state-sponsored authoritarianism, expecially under this government. Even taking those things into consideration, as Lord Tebbit often does, the risk of five more years of Labour is a far graver and more urgent concern. They’ve been that disastrous.

Cameron has won part of the argument on Brown’s insane tax and spend waste culture (although I still think he could go further – demolishing Brown’s nightmare long-term fiscal and monetary performance, as Tebbit suggests, would be a worthwhile and honest campaigning exercise, for instance). But Cameron also increasingly appears to be aware that this is not the be-all and the end-all; that there’s far more to say, and he’s going to say it. However far Cameron’s dislodged him from it, the economy is still Brown’s most comfortable area. It was therefore shrewd of Osborne and co. to take Brown onto that ground, give him a hell of a kicking, and them leave him there to think about it. Meanwhile, Cameron and the Conservatives move on, taking the debate, the country and the news cycle with them.

So what’s emerging now are more pertinent, less negative reasons to lend a vote to the Tories because now they are setting the agenda, and the pace. A lot of people have their doubts and still need either an excuse or permission to vote Conservative, but, increasingly to me, Cameron looks like he will deliver on both.

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Small point: I’ve just managed to have a glance at Cameron’s response to Gordon Brown’s ridiculously dishonest speech on immigration, coming on the back of another ridiculously dishonest podcast in which he used fake immigration figures to make him sound tough, laughably.

The Conservative leader made some pretty reasonable points, but he still doesn’t sound like he’s ready for power, or is prepared to tackle the issue head on. Why? Because he keeps using the wrong modal verb. He insists on saying that a government ‘should’ do this and ‘should’ do that, like some glorified special advisor, instead of a PM in waiting.

He’s got to start using the far more assertive modal of firm intent, ‘will’, as in ‘we will correct Labour’s dishonest, disastrous immigration policies’ and ‘we will enact laws that will reverse the evils of the divisive socialist dogma of multiculturalism, and place the age-old British traditions of pluralism and tolerance right back at the heart of British culture, where they belong’.

Plain English, innit.

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Dan Hannan has written a delightful post on his DT blog today, concerning Hobbits – or, rather, The Hobbit. He’s been reading it to his young son and has found that Tolkien’s verse and prose often far transcend the ordinary, but, strangely, we always seem to dismiss the whole, wonderful tale as a mere (admittedly magically escapist and fond) artifact of childhood. But it’s so much more than that. Hannan explains how:

Tolkien understood the power of incantation: the way in which, as Philip Pullman puts it, reciting a fine poem makes you feel as if you were voicing words of power, chanting a spell. The story is filled with songs which follow the strict rules on metre and alliteration of the Old English verses which Tolkien loved, and whose force cannot be properly felt unless the lines are vocalised:

The dwarves of yore made mighty spells
While hammers fell like ringing bells
In places deep where dark things sleep
In hollow halls beneath the fells.

The prose, too, is studded with old Saxon words, and there is rhythm in even the most fast-moving passages. Try reading aloud the description of the fall of Smaug:

The great bow twanged. The black arrow sped straight from the string, straight for the hollow by the left breast where the foreleg was flung wide. In it smote and vanished, barb, shaft and feather, so fierce was its flight. With a shriek that deafened men, felled trees and split stone, Smaug shot spouting into the air, turned over and crashed down from on high in ruin. Full on the town he fell. His last throes splintered it to sparks and gledes. The lake roared in. A vast steam leapt up, white in the sudden dark under the moon. There was a hiss, a gushing whirl, and then silence.

Barely remember it as I do – I must have been no more than twelve years old the last time I read it (although, I did enjoy the ZX Spectrum game, too, I can just about recall!) – it really is gratifying to have Hannan revisiting and revealing it so well here to me-as-adult. And I’m grateful for it.

But what’s more thoughtful and telling is not so much his appeal to grown-ups to give the story due credit as a piece of serious literature, but his invitation to understand its moral dimension, if it has one. Hannan, with some perspicacity in my opinion, identifies it and explains his discovery thus:

The only moral we can safely draw from the whole business is the one spoken by Thorin on his death-bed: “If more of us valued food and cheer above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world”. Amen to that.

Given the behaviour of our perfidious, venal political classes, the woeful economic incompetence of our dear leader and his crew of merry morons, the 1.5 trillion pounds-worth of personal debt we’ve managed to accumulate as a society and the astonishing greed and stupidity of the world’s money men, I could hardly imagine a more appropriate and timely sentiment. So, well done Dan Hannan but, as the debt default threat looms ever larger on the horizon, we may need to remember that it’s no empty one: sooner or later, all of us are going to have to alter our priorities radically, and start to appreciate the simple things in life once again.

Suits me. Ramble on, people 🙂

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Inequality, that vague, almost indefinable term generally used by socialists whenever they want to attack the “evils of capitalism”, is now the “worst” it has been since the 1970s – or so this government’s own report says today. Of course, what “inequality” really is is a euphemism for poverty. It should be unsurprising to anyone who has lived through a few governments that poverty always increases under Labour, because Labour impoverishes the country with its insane, incompetent economics and politically-motivated, divisive, incredibly damaging social interference. What is important to remember, however, is that the “inequality” to which socialists refer is based on some bankrupt notion of class and “privilege” (in other words, aspiration, education and self-improvement). It’s not genuine inequality, but politically motivated class warfare.

So, as we hear from Harriet Harman today, the left, with typical propagandist doublethink, will try to turn the the fruits of their own disastrous misgovernance into justification for more of the same. Truly, they are that perverse in their desire to make the State king and to hammer wealth creators – and the middle classes – into the ground, all the while expanding what now must be termed Labour’s “dependent classes” (they can hardly be called the “working” classes any more – and what we now know is that Thatcher wasn’t to blame for that).

But the scale of the damage this time around, of Labour’s betrayal of everyone, and in their own terms (it’s a government-commissioned report, for heaven’s sake) is truly astonishing and can’t be escaped even by Labour’s liars and spinners. Today’s Mail:

The study says that inequality in income has reached the highest level since records began in 1961, and probably since the end of the Second World War. It also concludes that inequality in Britain is among the worst in the developed world, with the highest rate of poverty in western Europe.
It says ‘deep seated and systematic differences’ remain between the life chances of different social classes and groups. People’s class and origins ‘shape their life chances from cradle to grave’.The report says there is ‘widespread ignorance of the scale of inequality’ and warns that many people will find its conclusions ‘shocking’.

So the report, as we can see from the right-on sociologist claptrap terminology employed, is definitely a left-inspired one – and it is still devastating for the government. So they can’t even use the familiar Labour lie that it “would be/was much worse under the Tories” – because it wasn’t – and because it couldn’t be any worse under anyone!

The question everyone must now ask is this: if Labour can’t even help making worse something they themselves presume to champion (ostensibly curing poverty but really robbing aspirational wealth creators to flatten social diversity), then what, exactly, are Labour good for? The answer that I for one have known for a long time now is simple enough: precisely nothing.

They are a redundant organisation belonging to a bygone age. I pray that when they are defeated this summer, they are beaten so badly that they are relegated to third party status. That would be more than they deserve, and I could tolerate the Liberals as one of the country’s two mainstream parties. Hell, I could even vote for them if they ditched their ex-Labour left wingers.

But Labour, as far as I am concerned, have inflicted so much damage on this country in so many ways that they warrant nothing more and nothing less than abolition. It would be easy enough to do for any new incumbent government. Just make union funding illegal. Job done.

In the meantime, there is some hope (there is always hope) not least because we are nearly at the point when we can eject them, but expect Labour to become more and more abusive and dangerous in their desperation as the general election approaches (they’ve already cranked-up the television propaganda to epic levels, for instance). As John Redwood says, commenting on today’s report:

The Labour response is likely to include new tortures for people who work hard, try to get on in the world, who aspire for themselves and their children.
What we need are policies which raise the sights and motivate the energies of the many. The way to reduce inequality – and to make most people better off – is to encourage and foster, not to regulate and tax in a fit of jealous anger that some have still succeeded.We need an enterprise package to make it easier to set up and run your own business, a small business package so more small businesses can expand and take on more labour, and a shake up of some schools and training Colleges so more obtain worthwhile qualifications.

Amen to that. See? There’s always hope.

As for Cameron, well, the one thing this disastrous report (for Labour) gives him is carte blanche to start listening far more to sane sages like Redwood (and Janet Daley) – and far less to the nutters, hypocrites, misfits and malcontents on the left.

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Been chaos at work for the last week or so, hence the recent abandoned feel of this inconsequential little blog. Just thought I’d take the opportunity to make a note of the excellent recent blog of Ed West in the DT which says everything I would like to have said about the welfare state’s complicity in the murder of Baby P, Haringey-style.

Of everything I’ve read about Tracey Connelly today, this little titbit stands out:

And when paramedics were called to the house on August 3, 2007, to find Peter blue and cold in his blood-spattered cot, they were horrified when his mother kept the ambulance waiting while she searched for her cigarettes.

That says it all. I know conservative commentators risk accusations of playing politics over an infant’s death, but if we’re to reduce the frequency of such cases in the future (we’ll never stop them) we need to be honest. Tracey Connelly was the ideal welfare state client – paid hundreds of pounds of taxpayer’s money every week to sit at her council-funded home getting drunk and fat, surfing the internet for poker and porn, sexually incontinent and lazy, totally irresponsible about her offspring and skilled only at taking advantage of naive liberals in social services.

She grew up in shocking chaos herself, the product of a one-night stand between a drug-addict and a paedophile, and with that background Oxbridge was never likely to be on the cards. Neither her biological nor step-father was up to much; but her surrogate father, the state, did not help either by throwing money her way. Her entire life seemed to be a litany of bad behaviour being rewarded by the authorities – every time she did something bad or stupid, they did something nice for her, until finally she, along with her mentally sub-normal, violent boyfriend and his even nastier brother, went too far.

I’m a Haringey resident and pay their extortionate council tax rate, but I would have been happy to contribute towards giving Peter Connelly a decent life. Instead our money ensured his death. In December 2006 Peter’s injuries were deemed so bad that he was taken away and placed with a friend for a few weeks, before being handed back again. So what did the council do to punish his mother? They took away her three-bedroom flat and gave her a larger four-bedroom house.

What did they expect? That rewarding someone for bad behaviour would stop that behaviour? Have the authorities lost track with human nature? Baby Peter’s life ended in that four-bedroom house, his death assisted by a welfare state that is as dysfunctional as any alternative family model. It’s become a cliche to rant about single mothers and their free council flats, but one of the under-reported, unintended consequences of the system is that such properties attract a breed of work-shy, violent “stepfathers” and sometimes, in this case, their family or friends.

The statistics suggest that children living in step-families are 100 times more likely to suffer fatal abuse than children whose biological father is at home, while analysis of 35 cases of fatal abuse between 1968 and 1987 showed children living with a unrelated men were 70 times at risk. And why do some many children live in such high-risk surroundings? Because the state encourages it.

Liberalism is supposed to help the weak and the defenceless against the bad and the strong, but in its unintended consequences the welfare system now does the opposite. Despite the money spent by the state, or perhaps because of it, Peter Connelly’s brief and pathetic life was lived in Dickensian poverty. It is a problem we are unable to cure because, unlike the Victorian social reformers, who understood that eliminating poverty required improving both the physical and moral state of the poor, our campaigners for “social justice” do not believe in being judgmental.

Until we change that attitude, and our welfare system, many more children will die in circumstances like Baby P.

The only dot that remains unjoined here is the direct responsibility of the British Left for the long chain of events that led to this parlous, feral, savage and nationwide state of affairs. It grieves me that mindless “progressives” like Mary Drivell are still peddling their incontinent claptrap in the main pages of Ed West’s broadsheet. But not half as much as it grieves me to contemplate just how much damage and harm the social experiments politicians that share her shade of red have done.

The murder of Baby P is a “progressive” murder. Those who Mary cheerleads for should be held accountable.

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Been chaos at work for the last week or so, hence the recent abandoned feel of this inconsequential little blog. Just thought I’d take the opportunity to make a note of the excellent recent blog of Ed West in the DT which says everything I would like to have said about the welfare state’s complicity in the murder of Baby P, Haringey-style.

Of everything I’ve read about Tracey Connelly today, this little titbit stands out:

And when paramedics were called to the house on August 3, 2007, to find Peter blue and cold in his blood-spattered cot, they were horrified when his mother kept the ambulance waiting while she searched for her cigarettes.

That says it all. I know conservative commentators risk accusations of playing politics over an infant’s death, but if we’re to reduce the frequency of such cases in the future (we’ll never stop them) we need to be honest. Tracey Connelly was the ideal welfare state client – paid hundreds of pounds of taxpayer’s money every week to sit at her council-funded home getting drunk and fat, surfing the internet for poker and porn, sexually incontinent and lazy, totally irresponsible about her offspring and skilled only at taking advantage of naive liberals in social services.

She grew up in shocking chaos herself, the product of a one-night stand between a drug-addict and a paedophile, and with that background Oxbridge was never likely to be on the cards. Neither her biological nor step-father was up to much; but her surrogate father, the state, did not help either by throwing money her way. Her entire life seemed to be a litany of bad behaviour being rewarded by the authorities – every time she did something bad or stupid, they did something nice for her, until finally she, along with her mentally sub-normal, violent boyfriend and his even nastier brother, went too far.

I’m a Haringey resident and pay their extortionate council tax rate, but I would have been happy to contribute towards giving Peter Connelly a decent life. Instead our money ensured his death. In December 2006 Peter’s injuries were deemed so bad that he was taken away and placed with a friend for a few weeks, before being handed back again. So what did the council do to punish his mother? They took away her three-bedroom flat and gave her a larger four-bedroom house.

What did they expect? That rewarding someone for bad behaviour would stop that behaviour? Have the authorities lost track with human nature? Baby Peter’s life ended in that four-bedroom house, his death assisted by a welfare state that is as dysfunctional as any alternative family model. It’s become a cliche to rant about single mothers and their free council flats, but one of the under-reported, unintended consequences of the system is that such properties attract a breed of work-shy, violent “stepfathers” and sometimes, in this case, their family or friends.

The statistics suggest that children living in step-families are 100 times more likely to suffer fatal abuse than children whose biological father is at home, while analysis of 35 cases of fatal abuse between 1968 and 1987 showed children living with a unrelated men were 70 times at risk. And why do some many children live in such high-risk surroundings? Because the state encourages it.

Liberalism is supposed to help the weak and the defenceless against the bad and the strong, but in its unintended consequences the welfare system now does the opposite. Despite the money spent by the state, or perhaps because of it, Peter Connelly’s brief and pathetic life was lived in Dickensian poverty. It is a problem we are unable to cure because, unlike the Victorian social reformers, who understood that eliminating poverty required improving both the physical and moral state of the poor, our campaigners for “social justice” do not believe in being judgmental.

Until we change that attitude, and our welfare system, many more children will die in circumstances like Baby P.

The only dot that remains unjoined here is the direct responsibility of the British Left for the long chain of events that led to this parlous, feral, savage and nationwide state of affairs. It grieves me that mindless “progressives” like Mary Drivell are still peddling their incontinent claptrap in the main pages of Ed West’s broadsheet. But not half as much as it grieves me to contemplate just how much damage and harm the social experiments politicians that share her shade of red have done.

The murder of Baby P is a “progressive” murder. Those who Mary cheerleads for should be held accountable.

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