Archive November 2019

In these last twenty seconds of the Marxist dream, the Left has lost its mind

A former leader of the Conservative party, Iain Duncan Smith, posts pictures of his vandalised constituency office online. This provokes an avalanche of vicious abuse and threats of violence against him and his family.

The tidal wave of messages, arriving so fast that they seem suspiciously mechanised, ranges from the malicious to the bizarrely unhinged. It features the death threats that have become part of the standard currency of social media and which necessitate police intervention. This is now so commonplace that it has become a boring story.

These attacks are specific in their political targeting even when they are hysterically incoherent: Tories are mass murderers. They deserve to be…

President Trump is a great supporter of Nato. If only we could say the same about Emmanuel Macron

Emmanuel Macron has declared the “brain death” of NATO, urging Europe to seek a new path away from the United States and the transatlantic alliance. But the French President’s thinking is both fundamentally flawed and out of touch with reality.

Mr Macron may dream of a grand European Army that will, to borrow from Shakespeare, bestride the world like a colossus. But his Napoleonic delusions of grandeur cut little ice with the world’s real superpower across the Atlantic and most of the rest of Europe. 

As Donald Trump has bluntly put it, Macron’s rallying cry for an EU military to “protect” Europe from not only Russia and China but also the United States is “insulting”, especially from the leader…

Ursula von der Leyen is certainly going to have her hands full

From next week, the old European Commission and Council are moving on. Jean-Claude Juncker is free to go on a permanent wine tour, Donald Tusk can spend more time with his Brexit grief, and the svelte new broom at the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, will have to get on with the task of actually governing. From the look of her, Commission staff will be morosely putting the wine racks into storage and ordering in stocks of plain yoghurt and mineral water.

Ms von der Leyen has made much of her grand plans for Europe, but her tenure is more likely to be spent coping with events than rolling out pre-planned initiatives. Her ambitions include a “European green new deal”, a European minimum wage,…

What if meat-eaters become even bigger bores than vegans?

Troubling news. This week a panel of scientists suggested that going vegan was not only “completely unnecessary”, but potentially even bad for the planet. “If everybody went vegan, it would be devastating for the UK environment,” said Professor Mike Coffey, from Scotland’s Rural College. “Animals bred for food help boost biodiversity.”

No doubt these comments will worry the more fashionable metropolitan types among us. In recent years, more and more of them have been boasting about their conversion to veganism, and lecturing everyone else about the dangers of meat. If it turns out they’ve been on the wrong track all along, it would be horribly embarrassing.

On the other hand: maybe they’ll simply…

Sacred Mysteries: Making our moves on God’s own chessboard

Even if the universe had always existed, it would still need explaining. This is a point of interest to anyone who has wondered about the existence of God.

Thomas Aquinas (1225-74) specifically argues that his way of arriving at the existence of God by looking at causality does not depend on the universe having begun in time. Ignorance of this rather fundamental fact lets down Richard Dawkins in his dismissal of Thomas’s Five Ways, according to Rupert Shortt.

Shortt, whose intelligent explication of such matters I’ve mentioned before, has now made Dawkins’s Outgrowing God, published this year, a peg for a very readable book of 100 pages, God for Grown-Ups. For my part, I don’t feel Dawkins merits…

The Government needs to change the rules on train strikes

Pity the poor commuter: an increase in rail fares has been announced just days after talks between management and unions collapsed, triggering what is expected to be the longest rail strike in history. Ticket prices will rise by an average of 2.7 per cent from January 2; the strike is on South Western Railway. Hundreds of thousands of people will endure a restricted timetable between the capital and the Home Counties, lasting for 27 days and potentially spoiling the Christmas period.

Labour might try to exploit this, but its nationalisation plans are based upon a false prospectus. Starved of funds, history suggests that the service would actually get worse – and nationalised trains run by a Labour…

Letters: Confected television coverage is distracting from real election issues

SIR – This week, Labour held a press conference for its 451-page document purporting to prove that the NHS would be “on the table” in a post-Brexit trade deal with the United States.

During the television coverage we caught a glimpse of Seamus Milne – Labour’s communications director and Jeremy Corbyn’s closest aide – wheeling out Mr Corbyn and Barry Gardiner with a pre-prepared script designed to shock the public and distract from Labour’s desperate situation on anti-Semitism.

It failed. We saw a shameless attempt by Labour to exploit NHS staff by having them hand out the documents (wearing scrubs and stethoscopes, in case we didn’t realise they were medical staff). They acted highly unprofessionally…

Politicians no longer have to play to 
the tune of our biased broadcasters

Channel 4’s stitch-up of the Tories in its climate ‘debate’ is a prime example of media manipulation

A general election is the only time when we the people can decide who should govern us. It follows that the only entities which matter during an election campaign are the voters and those seeking to get elected.

A general election is therefore the period, more than any other, when the media should live up to their name. The word “media” means channels of communication. Those channels should be as clear and open as possible, not clogged by the broadcasters’ views. That is why those broadcasters – the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 – which have privileged means of communication and money-raising, also have…

British values will prevail against terror

A terror attack in the centre of London in the middle of an election campaign is a reminder of how vulnerable the country still is. The incident yesterday, on London Bridge, came just weeks after the terror threat level was downgraded from severe to substantial. The perpetrator apparently had a knife and a fake explosive device strapped to his body; members of the public were injured and killed. There was a remarkable, courageous attempt to restrain him by passers-by, and the police were quickly on the scene. The perpetrator was shot and killed.

 

In moments such as this, we see the best and the worst of the human condition. Whatever motivated this person, whatever their allegiances, it fits…

The Tories’ secret plan is not about selling off the NHS

Westminster watchers always get fed up during elections. Around the country they trundle, from rally to rally, watching politicians give the same old speech to similar crowds in sports halls, factories and car parks. Politicians insist that the repetition is essential, because normal people don’t follow politics. To have even a chance of getting across your message, you’ve got to say something 50 times.

To that end, the Tory message couldn’t be clearer this time around. “Get Brexit done,” says Bojo-bot, ad nauseam. Rising crime? “Get Brexit done.” Austerity? “Get Brexit done.” Climate change? “Get Brexit done … and complain to Ofcom.”

This is all well and good, and I’m sure there are clever campaigners…