Politics has no place in a charity

Robert Henderson

There are many aspects of modern charities which run contrary what is still, despite all the bad publicity charities have had in recent years,  the general public’s  idea of what a  charity should be;  an organisation which is doing good works by raising money from individuals,  is the reverse of self-serving  and  a morally good thing.

There is much dislike about  modern charities. They   are frequently incompetently run, often too much of a charity’s income goes on administration, especially the pay of the senior staff, embezzlement by the staff of charities  is too frequent for comfort  and larger charities often take much of their funding from the state.  However, those weaknesses are not the subject of this piece.  What I am concerned with here is the political aspect of charities in Britain, an aspect which seems to loom ever larger.

Charities in Britain are very often overtly political, using much of their income to lobby politicians, pay for what are essentially political adverts  and research which is no better than  propaganda.  The Charity Commission’s rules forbid charities being set up for a political purpose ,  charities campaigning for a political party or charities campaigning for a political end which does not accord with the declared  purposes of the charity. Charities may lobby politicians and engage in campaigns which are inherently political to their heart’s content  provided they observe  these rules.  The full Charity Commission Guidance on political activity by  charities can be found here . In summary it is :

To be a charity an organisation must be established for charitable purposes only, which are for the public benefit. An organisation will not be charitable if its purposes are political.

Campaigning and political activity can be legitimate and valuable activities for charities to undertake.

However, political campaigning, or political activity, as defined in this guidance, must be undertaken by a charity only in the context of supporting the delivery of its charitable purposes. Unlike other forms of campaigning, it must not be the continuing and sole activity of the charity. (Section D5 provides a fuller explanation.)

There may be situations where carrying out political activity is the best way for trustees to support the charity’s purposes. A charity may choose to focus most, or all, of its resources on political activity for a period. The key issue for charity trustees is the need to ensure that this activity is not, and does not become, the reason for the charity’s existence.

Charities can campaign for a change in the law, policy or decisions (as detailed in this guidance in section C4) where such change would support the charity’s purposes. Charities can also campaign to ensure that existing laws are observed.

 However, a charity cannot exist for a political purpose, which is any purpose directed at furthering the interests of any political party, or securing or opposing a change in the law, policy or decisions either in this country or abroad.

In the political arena, a charity must stress its independence and ensure that any involvement it has with political parties is balanced. A charity must not give support or funding to a political party, nor to a candidate or politician.

A charity may give its support to specific policies advocated by political parties if it would help achieve its charitable purposes. However, trustees must not allow the charity to be used as a vehicle for the expression of the political views of any individual trustee or staff member (in this context we mean personal or party political views).

 As with any decision they make, when considering campaigning and political activity charity trustees must carefully weigh up the possible benefits against the costs and risks in deciding whether the campaign is likely to be an effective way of furthering or supporting the charity’s purposes.

 When campaigning, charity trustees must comply not only with charity law, but other civil and criminal laws that may apply. Where applicable they should also comply with the Code of the Advertising Standards Authority.

A charity can campaign using emotive or controversial material, where this is lawful and justifiable in the context of the campaign. Such material must be factually accurate and have a legitimate evidence base.

The principles of charity campaigning and political activity are the same, whether the activity is carried out in the United Kingdom or overseas.

These rules allow charities to quite legally act as campaign groups and lobbyists and in practice charities often  get away with  throwing over even the mild restraints that the Charity Commission imposes.

Why should their politicisation be a concern? Because  such behaviour  undermines the very  idea of a charity, which generally is to pursue unambiguously beneficent ends.  Bring the pursuit of political  ends into the picture and  the moral purity of the charity is tarnished.  I would also doubt whether the general public would want the state the state to  provide privileges such as tax breaks for charities  while they  press their own political agendas.

Which charities now existing should have their status removed?

Where a charity receives a substantial part of its income from state bodies, as many of the larger ones now do, the use of the money to campaign for a political end is doubly unwarranted, for charities which receive money from public funds are not really charities at all but subcontracted arms of the state.   Receipt of state money should mean no charitable status. (The practice of politicking is strong amongst charities which receive substantial funds from the public purse).

The donation of money by non-state bodies such as limited companies or organisations which are not commercial enterprises , for example trade unions,  should  be banned where the donations are such as to promote the interests of the donor.

Individual  donations  should be left to the discretion of the donor, but the charity should be legally obliged to provide  the name of any donor providing more than 5% of a charity’s donations in any financial year, together with details of the person’s background including their political and commercial interest if they have them.

Some types of charity are  too  inescapably  political to be charities. These include those concerned with human rights,  immigration, race relations and   charities which promote the cause of particular groups (especially ethnic minorities).

Charities which support criminality either directly through or indirectly, for example, by supplying goods and services which release funds to be spent on criminal activities such as terrorism.   Good examples are Islamic charities which overtly or covertly support terrorism. There is also the problem  of ostensibly legitimate mainstream charities donating to other  charities which have links to terrorists.

Think Tanks which do nothing but produce reports and papers for discussion  should not be charities  because by definition they are not providing active relief  of suffering or directly promoting something which is socially valuable.

Charitable status should only be granted for charitable work undertaken in the UK. The British taxpayer  should not subsidise by the  granting  of tax relief work which does not benefit Britons.

Whether or not  a charity currently  pursuing political ends under the present rules receives money from the  state, they should no longer have charitable status if they insist on political campaigning.  They should sail under their true colours as political organisations  and be subject to the same rules as other non-charitable bodies.  Such organisations could be profit-making or non-profit-making and be treated as other political organisations which are not charities are treated.

None of the exclusions I have proposed mean that people will not be able to donate funds to whatever cause they wish to donate. All it means is that such donations will go to organisations which  no longer have the tax privileges or  the moral status of a charity.

What  work should charities do?

They should be reformed to be what the general public thinks a charity should be, a beneficent organisation giving active help to people  and other indisputable good causes which draws  its money  not from the state but from private donations drawn only from individuals.  To this end charities should exist simply to provide goods and services to ameliorate the deficiency that they ostensibly were founded to lessen, whether that be the alleviation of an obvious need such as poverty or sickness  or to provide something which is not an absolute need but which will be socially valuable such as specialist types of education such as music schools.

What would this mean in practice? Let me give a few examples.

1. Oxfam would cease to engage in political campaigning and concentrate solely on providing help to the poor.

2. Medical charities would cease to lobby for more government spending on medicine and concentrate solely on providing treatment and support to sufferers.

3. The RSPCA  and the RSPB would confine themselves to providing for the welfare of animals by funding care  for abandoned animals and  purchasing land to  provide habitat  for specific wild species .

The advantages of these  changes

The removal of politics from charities and of  the state subcontracting  to charities would change the relationship between  the public and charities for the better, because the reality of  charities would then be much closer to both their traditional role and the present day perception of what a charity should be  in the public mind. That would be likely to increase donations.

Charities would  be much  less susceptible to political or commercial influence if they do not take money from the state or private corporations.

The changes would  remove large swathes of charities which are manifestly not in the national interest . Any work overseas would not be classed as charitable and the army of human rights, immigration and ethnic minority charities would cease to be charities.

The type of person attracted to charity work would probably change significantly if the political aspect was removed.  The charities which were left would have to concentrate on providing practical  aid to the causes which they espouse.  People would join because they wanted to be ministering directly to ends of the charity.

Film review – Transcendence

Transcendence

Main Cast

Johnny Depp as Dr. Will Caster, an artificial-intelligence researcher.

Morgan Freeman as Joseph Tagger,  a government scientist

Rebecca Hall as Evelyn Caster, Caster’s wife and a fellow academic.

Kate Mara as Bree, the leader of Revolutionary Independence From Technology (R.I.F.T.)

Cillian Murphy as Donald Buchanan, an FBI agent.

Cole Hauser as Colonel Stevens, a military officer.

Paul Bettany as Max Waters, Caster’s best friend.

Director:  Wally Pfister

In terms of pure filmmaking this is a seriously flawed film. The dialogue is often clunking, there is a lack of character development and  the storyline is  weak.   Nonetheless, it  is a work  which will repay  seeing  because it deals with the  lethally threatening potential  of digital technology, threats  which will almost certainly become reality within the lifetime of most people now living.

Will Caster (Depp) is a scientist specialising in artificial intelligence. He is married to Evelyn  (Rebecca Hall) who works in the same field.  As the film opens Caster  believes he is close to creating an artificial intelligence  that is truly sentient and  which he believes  will create a technological singularity – the point at which computer technology exceeds the capability of homo sapiens – a state  which  Caster calls Transcendence.

This hope is cut short when  Caster is shot by a neo-Luddite group,   the  Revolutionary Independence From Technology (R.I.F.T.),  who also  carry out a  attacks on his artificial-intelligence computer laboratories.  Caster survives the shot but the bullet is coated with radioactive material for  which there is no antidote.  The prognosis is that he has about a month to live.

Evelyn refuses to accept his imminent death and  with the help of Caster’s best friend  Max  (Paul Bettany)  arranges to upload Caster’s consciousness, personality, mind – call it what you will – to a quantum computer. Max  helps  do this despite the fact that he has grave doubts about the wisdom of the act. His doubts rest on the possibility that  Caster’s brain contents will not  be uploaded  uncorrupted or that a  Caster reduced to a digital form will not be Caster anymore  because of the immense change in his environment..

Once uploaded Caster appears on the computer screen looking and sounding  like his real world self, although there is a  new coldness  about him. He  immediately  demands to be connected to the Internet. Max sees the profound dangers of this if Caster in a computer is malign rather than benign  or simply inhuman for he will be able to copy himself throughout the Internet. Consequently, Max  tries to persuade Evelyn not to do it.    Evelyn,  obsessed with her desire to have Caster in any form,   shrugs aside Max’s doubts and throws him out of the laboratory before linking Caster to the Internet where he  promptly does just what Max feared and  copies himself throughout the  virtual world.

The digital Caster is,  if not omniscient and omnipotent, a significant way along the road to both,  because he now has the capabilities of both human and computer with access to the data and facilities of the entire digital world. He is not malign in the sense that he is consciously malicious or self-serving.  Rather Caster  is beset with the  sin of those who are sure they know best. His monomaniac desire to make the world a better place is suddenly released from the shackles of his emotions and the practical limitations on implementing his plans which existed when he was merely a man.   It is a cliché that with power comes a disregard for anyone else’s opinion, but  Caster not only knows better than anyone else,  he now  has the means to realise his dreams.

Using Evelyn as his instrument in the real  world, the virtual Caster makes a fortune rapidly and uses this to take  over  an isolated desert  town called Brightwood. Over the next two years  he develops  advanced technologies  in the fields of energy, medicine, biology and nanotechnology. His plan is to rid the world of the blight of disease,  pollution  and ultimately mortality. The problem is Caster intends to do this not only with no reference to anyone else but also by using nanotechnology to control humans so that they are in essence robots.

While all this is going on  forces are gathering to sabotage  Caster’s ambitions. Shortly after Max breaks with Evelyn , he  is kidnapped by R.I.F.T   and eventually agrees to  join them to disrupt Caster’s plans.  Then the  US government, in the form of  FBI agent Donald Buchanan (Cillian Murphy) a government scientist Joseph Tagger (Morgan Freeman) unofficially (so they have deniability) join forces  with R.I.F.T  in their  attempt to thwart Caster

Evelyn  gradually  moves from willing and committed  collaborator to a frightened and deeply  worried  woman . The process of disillusionment is completed when she  sees that Caster can  remotely connect to and control people’s minds .  Distraught, Evelyn approaches  R.I.F.T  who develop  a computer virus  which will destroy Caster’s  source code, killing him and, as a side effect,  destroy the technology on which modern society has become recklessly dependent. This happens because the digital Caster is spread throughout the Internet.  To destroy him, the Internet  has to be destroyed.

Regardless of the technological devastation using the virus will create, Evelyn agrees to upload the virus to end whatever it is that Caster has become.  But on returning to Brightwood she finds Caster resurrected in biological form, his body having been replicated, presumably, from   the digital information stored when his brain contents were uploaded .

Caster is aware that his wife  has the virus and  intends to destroy him but does not act against her.  The FBI and  R.I.F.T. attack the Brightwood base  and in the process mortally wound  Evelyn.  Evelyn persuades Caster  to save her by uploading her mind as his mind was uploaded. Caster does this even though he knows it will  end him and the Internet. The virus seemingly kills Caster and Evelyn, and  technological disaster ensues.

But all is not quite as it seems. Years later Max visits the Casters old garden.  The garden is  protected by a device called a  Faraday Cage. This stops any electrical transmission reaching what is inside the cage.    Max  sees a drop of water falling from a sunflower petal instantly cleanses a puddle of oil. The drop contains one of Casters nanoparticles, which is intact because of the protection afforded by the Faraday cage. Max thinks, logically correctly,  that  Caster  and Evelyn’s consciousness’s are contained within the active nano-particles. Perhaps Caster even knew when he wittingly uploaded the virus that there would be copies of  Evelyn and himself retained in the nano particles in  their old garden…

Depp’s performance a s Caster has  received a good deal of criticism on the grounds that it is a flat emotionless  portrayal. This is to  miss the nature of the character he inhabits  once he exists only in digital form. He is then  someone robbed  of the kernel of what makes them human.  Hence, his performance is exactly what is required.

The rest of the performances range from serviceable  in the case of Rebecca Hall to colourless  in the case of  Paul Bettany and slight in the case of everyone else simply because there was no space for them to expand their characters.

This could have been a much better film if two issues had been given much more space, namely, the general arguments against incontinent technological advance and the devastating effects which would result from a closing down of the Internet and  the ending of connectivity which is not only so much a part of modern everyday live but also vital for the maintenance of modern technological necessities such as power stations and large factories.

The  R.I.F.T  characters are anaemic and their arguments against technology do not go much beyond   the mantra “intelligent machines are bad”.  There is no discussion of how human beings may simply fail to survive because they become demoralised by the  superior capacity of machines or machines or that intelligent machines will take not only the jobs humans do now but any other jobs which arise.  As for the post-virus technological upset, this is barely touched upon.

The strength of the film is that it puts before its audience the possibilities of technology  moving beyond the control of human beings and even more fundamentally damaging calling into question what it is to be human.  The dangers of intelligent machines  are simple enough, either they replace humans by making them redundant or engender in humanity the trait seen in tribal peoples encountering   Europeans : the tribal peoples often became  terminally demoralised, presumably by the sophistication and scope of  European culture with which they were faced.

More fundamentally, until now we have known what a human being is. We are on the brink of losing that happy state. If the human mind could be copied an exist within a computer file there is the potential for immortality. The mind could exist within a robot body or  be  distributed throughout the Internet (or whatever supersedes it). If the mind can be uploaded to a computer file so  could all the data needed to create a digital replica of  a person’s body  be uploaded which could then be used to create a replica body into which the uploaded mind could be  uploaded in turn. If the technology to do that  existed, then in principle  it should be possible to upload a digitised mind into a body developed from someone else’s uploaded data….  That is not a world I should wish to live in.

See Transcendence  for its warning of the shape of things to come.

 

The Commons Education Select Committee  and the libel of the white working-class

Robert Henderson

The Commons Select Committee (CSC) on Education has  produced a report on the underachievement of white British working-class children.  This  ostensibly  highlights the poor educational performance of white British children who are eligible for free meals (FSM)  compared to those in receipt of FSM from ethnic minority groups such as those of Indian and Chinese ancestry.  I say ostensibly because there are severe flaws in methodology.  These are:

  1. The definition of white British is far from simple. The report distinguishes between Irish,  traveller of Irish heritage,  Gypsy/Roma and Any other white background (see CSC table 2 page 13).  The Any other white background is the largest.  It is not clear from the report how the white British were defined, for example , a child of white immigrants might well consider his or herself white British.  Who would whether they were or were not British?
  2. The numbers of  some of the ethnic minority groups cited are small, for example, at the end of Key Stage 4 (the end of GCSE courses) in 2013 there were only  168 Chinese in the country who pupils who qualified for FSM. (see CSC table 2 page 13).

3. The use of FSM  as a proxy for working-class  means that  white British apples are being compared with variously coloured ethnic minority  oranges. Most importantly the use of FSM means that the British white working-class as a whole is not represented , but only the poorest  section of it. Hence, the general treatment in the media of the report, that it shows the white working-class to be falling behind ethnic minorities, is grossly misleading. The report recognises this:

…measuring working class performance in education through FSM data can be misleading. The Centre for Research in Race and Education (CRRE) drew our attention to a mismatch between the proportion of children who were eligible for free school meals and the proportion of adults who would self-define as working class:17 in 2012/13, 15% of pupils at the end of key stage 4 were known to be eligible for free school meals,18 compared with 57% of British adults who defined themselves as ‘working class’ as part of a survey by the National Centre for Social Research.The CRRE warned that projecting the educational performance of a small group of economically deprived pupils onto what could otherwise be understood to be a much larger proportion of the population had “damaging consequences” on public understanding of the issue. The logical result of equating FSM with working class was that 85% of children were being characterised as middle class or above.

The  white British group  will be overwhelmingly drawn from the most deprived part of that  group’s population, while many of the ethnic minority groups  held up as superior to the white British children , will have a large  component of people who are not drawn from the lower social reaches of their society, but are poor simply because they are either  first generation immigrants or the children of first generation immigrants and  have not established themselves in well paid work – think of all the tales the mainstream media and politicians regale the British with about immigrant graduates doing menial jobs.  These  parents  will both have more aspiration for their children and a greater  ability to assist their children with their schoolwork.

The range  of  those qualifying for FSM is extensive and there is  considerable  complexity resulting from pupils  going in and out of the qualifying criteria, viz:

(Para 12 of the report) . Of the  Children are eligible for free school meals if their parents receive any of the following payments:

Income Support

• Income-based Jobseekers Allowance

• Income-related Employment and Support Allowance

• Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

• the guaranteed element of State Pension Credit

• Child Tax Credit (provided they are not also entitled to Working Tax Credit and

have an annual gross income of no more than £16,190)

• Working Tax Credit run-on—paid for 4 weeks after they stop qualifying for

Working Tax Credit

• Universal Credit

13. A report for the Children’s Society noted that the criteria for FSM mean that parents working 16 or more hours per week (24 hours for couples from April 2012) lose their entitlement to FSM since they are eligible for working tax credit; as a result there are around 700,000 children living in poverty who are not entitled to receive free school meals. In addition, not all those who may be eligible for FSM register for it; a recent report for the Department for Education estimated under-registration to be 11% in 2013. This figure varies across the country: in the North East under-registration is estimated to  be 1%, compared to 18% in the East of England and 19% in the South East. 

4. Greater resources, both material  advantages and better quality staff,  are being put into schools which have a  very large ethnic  minority component  than schools which are predominantly filled with white British children.  This is occurring both as a matter of deliberate government policy and through not-for-profit corporations such as charities.

Government policies are things such as the  pupil premium . This is paid to schools for each pupil  who qualifies under these criteria:

In the 2014 to 2015 financial year, schools will receive the following funding for each child registered as eligible for free school meals at any point in the last 6 years:

£1,300 for primary-aged pupils

£935 for secondary-aged pupils

Schools will also receive £1,900 for each looked-after pupil who:

has been looked after for 1 day or more

was adopted from care on or after 30 December 2005, or left care under:

a special guardianship order

a residence order

The amounts involved for a school can  be considerable. Suppose that a secondary school with 1,000 children  has 40% of its pupils qualifying for  FSM. That would bring an additional  £374,000 to the school in this financial year.   At present £2.5 billion is being spent on the pupil premium.

According to a Dept of Education (DoE) investigation published in 2013, Evaluation of Pupil Premium Research Report ,  a  good deal of this money is being spent on ethnic minorities and those without English as a first language     (see tables 2.1 and 2.2, pages27 and 30) . The pupil premium can be used to provide extra staff, better staff, improved equipment after school activities and so on.

Schools can allocate the Pupil Premium money  at their discretion and often make the identification of where money has gone next to impossible because they do things such as merging the Pupil Premium money with money from other budgets and joining forces with other schools in the area to provide provision (see pages 14/15 in the DoE report).  It is probable that the Pupil Premium money brought into schools by white British working-class FSM children  is being used,  at least in part,  to benefit ethnic minorities. The converse is wildly improbable.

Ethnic minorities are concentrated in particular areas and particular schools. This makes it more  likely that ethnic children will go to schools with a higher  proportion of  free school meal pupils than schools dominated by  white pupils.  That will provide significantly greater funding for an ethnic  minority majority school than for one dominated by white Britons, most of whom will not qualify for the Pupil Premium. .

Because ethnic minority families, and especially those of first generation immigrants, are substantially larger on average than those of  white Britons, the likelihood of ethnic minority children qualifying for FSM will be greater than it is for white Britons because  the larger the family the more likely a child is to qualify for FSM.   This will boost the additional money from the pupils premium going to ethnic  minority dominated schools.

An example of not-for-profit intervention is  the charity Teach First.  The select committee report (para  116) describes their work:

 The Government’s response to the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission’s first annual report noted that Teach First will be training 1,500 graduates in 2014 to 2015 and placing them in the most challenging schools, and that as of 2014/15 Teach First will be placing teachers in every region of England.

The Teach First  website states:  “Applicants to our Leadership Development Programme are taken through a rigorous assessment process. We select only those who demonstrate leadership potential, a passion to change children’s lives and the other skills and attributes needed to become an excellent teacher and leader. These participants teach and lead in our partner primary and secondary schools in low-income communities across England and Wales for a minimum of two years, ensuring every child has access to an excellent education.”

Apart from specific programmes such as the Pupil Premium and special training for teachers to prepare them what are euphemistically called “challenging schools” which end up disproportionately  favouring ethnic minority pupils,  there is also scope within  the normal funding of state schools to favour ethnic minorities because head teachers have a good deal of discretion in how funds are spent. That applies with knobs on to Academies and Free Schools.

There is also a considerable difference in funding between the funding of areas with large ethic minority populations, especially black and Asian groups,  and areas with largely white populations,  for example,   between East Anglia and London: “ The government has announced plans to raise per-pupil funding 3.7pc in Norfolk to £4,494, 7pc in Cambridgeshire to £4,225 and 2.5pc in Suffolk to £4,347 next year following a campaign by MPs.

“But councillors have called for a long term overhaul of the funding system, which will still see each student in the county receive around half of the allocation in the City of London, which will get £8,594.55 for each pupil.”

5. The effect of political correctness. With good reason any teacher,  and  especially white teachers,   will be fearful of not seeming to be devoutly political correct.  They know they are at the mercy of other teachers , parents and pupils and know that an accusation of racism from any  source could well end their teaching career at worst and at best seriously disrupt their lives while a complaint is being investigated. In addition, many  teachers will be emotionally attached to political correctness generally and to multiculturalism in particular.

In such circumstances it is reasonable to suspect that teachers in schools with a mix of ethnic minority and white British children  will devote more time and patience to ethnic minority pupils than   to white children.  They may do this without conscious intent, with either  fear or the ideological commitment making such a choice seem the natural one.

Such preferential treatment for ethnic minority children is facilitated by the large amount of continuous assessment  involved in GCSE.  (This is supposedly being reduced but the results of the change has not yet worked through to the end of a GCSE cycle.  Teachers routinely help children to re-write work which does not come up to par, in some cases re-doing the work themselves . Teachers have also been caught helping pupils  to cheat during exams . The opportunity and the temptation to help ethnic minority children is there and the pressure of political correctness may cause opportunity to become actuality.

6. The disruptive effect on schools of a large number of pupils from different backgrounds with English as a second language, the type of schools where the headmaster boasts “We have 100 languages spoken here”.   The most likely white British children to be in such schools are those from the poorest homes which means they qualify as FSM pupils.  They will be lost in these Towers of Babel not only because often they will be in the minority,  but also because, unlike children with English as a second language or  ethnic minority English speakers  who will have a good chance of enhanced tuition, the white British FSM pupils  will not enjoy  such a privilege and may be actually ignored to a large extent because of the desire of the staff to assist ethnic minority children.

7 . The downplaying of British culture. The school curriculum in Britain and  especially in England (where the vast majority of the British live)   is shaped to reflect the politically correct worldview.  This means that ethnic minority culture and history  are frequently  pushed ahead of British culture and history.   The larger the percentage of ethnic minorities in a school, the greater will be the tendency to marginalise the white British pupils, who will almost certainly be drawn largely from those qualifying for FSM. They will be deracinated and become culturally disorientated.

To this school propaganda is added the politically correct and anti-British, anti-white  propaganda which is pumped out  ceaselessly by mainstream politicians and the media. This  will reinforce the idea that being white and British is  somehow at best  inferior to that of ethnic minority cultures and at worst something to be ashamed of, something  to be despised, something which is a  danger  to its possessor.

Conclusion

As far as the general public is concerned, the Select Committee report is saying the white working-class children – all of them not just those receiving FSM  – are doing less well than ethnic minority children.   The reason for this is simple, the mainstream media have reported the story in a way which would promote such a belief, both in their  headlines and the stories themselves.

A comparison between  the  white British population as a whole and the ethnic minority populations as a whole would be nearer to reality, but it would still be comparing apples and oranges for the reasons given above. The ethnic minority children would still be likely to have on average parents who would not be representative of the ancestral populations they came from, political correctness would still drive teachers to favour ethnic minority pupils,  continuous assessment would still allow teachers to illegally aid ethnic minorities, heads could still decide to divert more funds towards ethnic minorities and the promotion of ethnic minority cultures and history would still exist.

What could be done to remedy matters? Continuous assessment should stop  and end of  course synoptic exams substituted . Ethnic minority children should not have more spent on them than white British children.  School funding in different areas should be broadly similar per capita.  British culture and history should be the dominant teaching driver.  Political correctness should be removed from the curriculum generally.

As for future studies, these should be controlled in a much more subtle manner than simply using FSM  as a criterion.  Any study of all or any part of group should control for parents’ education,  income, the amount of money spent on each pupil, the teacher pupil ratio,  the quality of the teachers and the general facilities of the school.

Those suggestions would not entirely cure the problem,  but it would be good start to both getting at the truth and ending the demonization of the white working-class  which has gathered pace ever since the Labour Party decided to drop the white working-class as their client base and substitute for them the politically correct groups of gays, feminists and most potently ethnic minorities.

See also

http://englandcalling.wordpress.com/2012/04/01/the-english-white-working-class-and-the-british-elite-from-the-salt-of-the-earth-to-the-scum-of-the-earth/

 

The curse of the Blair Doctrine

The blueprint for the present international mess lies in the overthrow of Milosevic

Robert Henderson

The first Gulf War was the last Western intervention with force under the old Cold War rules. It was limited to evicting Saddam Hussein  from  Kuwait  and establishing a no-fly zone established over the Kurdish part of Iraq . No attempt was made to overthrow Hussein .  Indeed, the reverse is the case because the first President Bush deliberately lifted the no fly order in the immediate aftermath of  the War to enable Hussein to re-establish control, the USA’s  judgement being that it was the lesser of two evils, the greater  evil being  Iraq as a client state of Iran.  This was still recognisably the world of Communist East versus  capitalist West.

The wars which eventually occurred from the splitting of Yugoslavia after Tito’s death gradually  increased the West’s liberal imperialist tendencies and culminated in NATO bombing  – action unauthorised by the UN and illegal under NATO’s own rules because Slobodan  Milosevic offered no threat to a NATO member –  what remained of  the  Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. There was also something new, the desire to remake territories in the West’s image by imposing conditions on a sovereign state over part of its territory, in this case Kosovo. The first steps towards ignoring the UN Charter’s protection of national sovereignty  (chapter 7) had been taken not merely in actuality,  but intellectually.

It was the experience of the wars resulting from the break up of Yugoslavia  and the continuing difficulties represented by Saddam Hussein that persuaded Blair to develop what became the Blair Doctrine. He first outlined this in 1999 in a speech to the Economic Club in Chicago, viz:

The most pressing foreign policy problem we face is to identify the circumstances in which we should get actively involved in other people’s conflicts. Non -interference has long been considered an important principle of international order. And it is not one we would want to jettison too readily. One state should not feel it has the right to change the political system of another or foment subversion or seize pieces of territory to which it feels it should have some claim. But the principle of non-interference must be qualified in important respects. Acts of genocide can never be a purely internal matter. When oppression produces massive flows of refugees which unsettle neighbouring countries then they can properly be described as “threats to international peace and security”. When regimes are based on minority rule they lose legitimacy – look at South Africa.

Looking around the world there are many regimes that are undemocratic and engaged in barbarous acts. If we wanted to right every wrong that we see in the modern world then we would do little else than intervene in the affairs of other countries. We would not be able to cope.

So how do we decide when and whether to intervene. I think we need to bear in mind five major considerations

First, are we sure of our case? War is an imperfect instrument for righting humanitarian distress; but armed force is sometimes the only means of dealing with dictators. Second, have we exhausted all diplomatic options? We should always give peace every chance, as we have in the case of Kosovo. Third, on the basis of a practical assessment of the situation, are there military operations we can sensibly and prudently undertake? Fourth, are we prepared for the long term? In the past we talked too much of exit strategies. But having made a commitment we cannot simply walk away once the fight is over; better to stay with moderate numbers of troops than return for repeat performances with large numbers. And finally, do we have national interests involved? The mass expulsion of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo demanded the notice of the rest of the world. But it does make a difference that this is taking place in such a combustible part of Europe.

Milosovec  lost a Presidential election in 2000, was arrested on April 1, 2001 and extradited to the Hague Tribunal on June 28, where he died in detention in March 2006, before his trial was completed.

What Blair saw  the fall of Milosevic as a success for the Blair Doctrine and this has  laid the foundation for all the misbegotten Western intervention since. Nor has it been simply a matter of military force.  The EU had a hand in making sure that Milosovec  did not survive by dangling carrots such as eventual membership of the EU for Serbia.  From this the EU became more and more ambitious in its expansionist plans to the East, something which is all too apparent in the EU’s messy hand in creating the Ukraine conflict we are presently witnessing by pressing for it to move close to the EU with eventual membership the end of the game.   The imperialist mindset of the EU is  unambiguously  described in an EU document  The Western Balkans and The EU:  ‘The hour of Europe’  (Edited by Jacques Rupnik Chaillot Papers,  June 2011), viz:

Today, more than fifteen years after the end of the wars of Yugoslavia’s  dissolution, the ‘Balkan question’ remains more than ever a ‘European question’. In the eyes of many Europeans in the 1990s, Bosnia was the symbol of a collective failure, while Kosovo later became a catalyst for an emerging Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). In the last decade, with the completion of the process of redrawing the map of the region, the overall thrust of the EU’s Balkans policy has moved from an agenda dominated by security issues related to the war and its legacies to an agenda focused on the perspective of the Western Balkan states’ accession to the European Union, to which there has been a formal political commitment on the part of all EU Member States since the Thessaloniki Summit in June 2003. The framework was set, the political elites in the region were – at least verbally – committed to making Europe a priority and everyone was supposedly familiar with the policy tools thanks to the previous wave of Eastern enlargement. With the region’s most contentious issues apparently having been defused, the EU could move from stability through containment towards European integration.

There are favourable trends to make this possible: the EU has emerged as the unchallenged international actor in the Balkans; the region, exhausted by a decade of conflict, is recovering stability and the capacity to cooperate; the EU has no other equally plausible enlargement agenda in sight and could use the direct involvement of some of its Member  States in the region to facilitate the accession process.

I wrote the essay below in 1999 for Free Life, the magazine of the Libertarian Alliance.  Reading it now I am glad I placed a question mark after Milosovec in the title. Milosevic  might be said to have won the war and lost the peace, for it was Western interference which did for him. Had he been left,  as Saddam Hussein was after the First Gul War, to fight to retain power in the rump Yugoslavia without international interference he would probably have remained in office. As it was when the Presidential Election was run in 2000 Milosovec

What the 1999 essay does do is show how the move from non-intervention to regime change and nation building was well under way fifteen years ago, with all the disastrous consequences we have seen since, including creating false hopes in many countries democracy could be magicked up simply by removing  a dictator.

Rousseau wrote that people must be forced to be free for their own good : the Blair Doctrine states that people must be forced for their own good  to live by the rules of political correctness.

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A victory for Milosevic?

Robert Henderson

Now that the big boys toys have been put back in the  cupboard and Mr Jamie Shea is returning to run his whelk  stall in the Mile End Road, we really do need to ask why this bizarre act of aggression by Nato occurred because it  has profound implications for Britain. What was it all about?  Well, we all know that, don’t we? To put the Albanians back  into Kosovo, stupid! Wrong! The war started because  Milosevic would not accept the Nato proposals drawn up at  Rambouillet, which was scarcely surprising for they might  have been designed to ensure their refusal.

Not only did the Rambouillet Proposals give foreign soldiers  the right to enter any part of Yugoslavia, they provided for a referendum on independence for the Kosovan population. Add to that the demand that Serb troops withdraw from Kosovo and the refusal to allow Russian troops to be part of a peacekeeping force, and it is all too easy to see why  Milosevic refused them. Moreover, the Rambouillet proposals were not put forward as a basis for negotiation, but as a  fait accompli. They then became the subject of a naked  ultimatum, issued effectively by the US in the egregious  person of Madeleine Albright.

The Rambouillet proposals would have reduced Yugoslavia to the status of a dependent territory, with the virtual  guarantee that the land (Kosovo) which had the greatest  emotional significance for the majority Serb population would  be lost to the hated Albanian minority. Moreover, they had  the knowledge that the loss of Kosovo through a referendum  would almost certainly result in the expulsion of the two  hundred thousand Serbs normally resident in Kosovo, assuming  that they had not already left after the withdrawal of  Serbian troops. Milosevic was offered the prospect of  tremendous humiliation and nothing else. If Nato had wished  to ensure a war they could scarcely have done better. As  Henry Kissinger remarked in a interview with Boris Johnson of  the Daily Telegraph (28/6/99,) Rambouillet was a provocation.

But the Rambouillet proposals were only the immediate cause  of the conflict. The war was really about the imposition of  Liberal Internationalist ideals. Since 1945, the Liberal  Internationalist cause have been growing in strength until it  has become the ostensible ideology of the ruling elites  throughout the West. During the Cold War the territorial  ambitions of the Liberal Internationalists were considerably  constrained. Since 1989 those constraints have been removed.

The result has been an unhappy sequence of interventions,  covered by the fig leaf of UN colours, which have  demonstrated the utter impotence of the Liberal  Internationalist creed by invariably creating situations the exact opposite of those intended by the interveners: Somalia  is a mess of anarchy, Bosnia a UN protectorate with the  warring ethnic groups largely segregated and future conflict  just waiting to happen. The war against Serbia marked a new stage in Liberal Internationalist ambitions: naked  aggression was undertaken without even the indecent cover of  the UN fig leaf.

The persistent failure of international intervention has not  deterred the Liberal Internationalists because, like all  fanatic ideologues, the Liberal Internationalist is  incapable of admitting that his creed is plain wrong no matter have often events prove it to be so. For the Liberal  Internationalist any failure is simply the result of  insufficient resources and time, a spur to behave in an ever  more totalitarian manner; from peacekeeping through outright  war to de facto colonial occupation. Consequently those with  the power in the West continue to intervene ineptly in  conflicts inherently irresolvable in liberal Internationalist  terms. Their response to failure or the contrary evidence of  events is to embark on ever more intervention regardless of  the havoc caused or the long term consequences.

What the war was not about was morality, despite Blair and  Clinton’s inordinate and deeply risible posturing. (In fact  war is never about morality. It is always about territory,  aggrandisement, the removal of competitors and the  imposition of the victor’s will.) The nations attacking  Yugoslavia had stood by during many greater man made horrors  such as the massacres in Rwanda. Most pertinently, the West  had not merely stood by while hundreds of thousands of Serbs  were expelled from Croatia, but in the guise of the UN had  actively assisted in that expulsion by providing arms and  airpower to support the Croat military. Most tellingly, and  most repellently, because it was utterly predictable, Nato  has not meaningfully protected the Kosovan Serbs since the  end of the war. Nor could they have had any reasonable expectation of doing so, for the size of even the projected  peace keeping force (50,000 – which numbers have not been  met) was obviously inadequate to mount a general police  action against an Albania population of nearly two million in  which there were plentiful arms. A cynic might think that  Nato’s aims were from the beginning to produce a Kosovo  ethnically cleansed of Serbs.

The course of the war laid bare the stupidity, incomprehension, incompetence and amorality of the Nato members’ leaders. The objective facts say that the conflict  has greatly worsened a naturally fraught situation. Before the war, the vast majority of the Albanian population of  Kosovo was in Kosovo living in their homes. Since the war  began the, vast majority have either left the country or  remain in Kosovo having been driven from their homes. Thus,  just as the Second World War signalled the beginning of the  Holocaust, so Nato’s action signalled that of the Kosovan  Albanians’ tragedy. Without the war, it is improbable to the  point of certainty that the greatest movement of a  population in Europe since 1945 would have occurred.

The hypocrisy of the whole business was graphically  demonstrated in the Nato members’ attitude towards the  refugees. The public posturing on the need to provide for the refugees was all too clearly balanced by the fear that  any large scale import of refugees to Nato countries outside  the Balkans would arouse considerable dissent in those  countries. Amongst many stomach heaving moments, Clare  Short’s protestations that Britain did not want to move the  refugees away from the Balkans simply because Britain did not  wish to unwillingly assist Milosevic rank very high. The double standards, both amongst politicians and the media  have continued with the end of the war, as the Liberal  Ascendency quietly tolerates ethnic cleansing of the Kosovo  Serbs and the gross acts of revenge taken by the Kosovo  Albanians.

What if there had been no war? Judged by what had gone  before, there would have been continued harassment of  Kosovan Albanians by Serb paramilitaries and some action by  the regular Serb forces, the latter primarily directed  against the KLA. One simple fact alone gives the lie to  Nato’s claims that wholesale ethnic cleansing would have  occurred regardless of Nato intervention. Prior to the war,  Milosevic had ten years to undertake the task and did not  attempt it. Fine ideals are not fine at all if  they are so  out of keeping with reality that they produce evil ends.

Who won the war? Well, let us follow the Dragnet example and just look at the facts. Milosevic remains in control of  Yugoslavia minus Kosovo. Two of the prime demands of the Rambouillet proposals – that the Kosovo population be given a  referendum on independence within three years and the right of peacekeeping troops to go anywhere in Yugoslavia – have been dropped. There is also to be no referendum and the  peacekeeping force will operate only within Kosovo. In  addition, Russian troops are involved in the peacekeeping  force, a token Serb presence will be allowed in Kosovo and  there are signs that the force may eventually come under UN  not Nato auspices. Those are very significant political gains for Milosevic.

Let us make the assumptions which most favour Nato. That the agreement which was reached between Milosevic and Nato was not ambiguous. That Milosevic will keep his word. That the  peace keeping force will be Nato led under a unified  command. That the Russians involved in the peace keeping will not subvert the process on the ground. That money will be forthcoming in sufficient amounts to rebuild Kosovo. That the  KLA will allow themselves to be disarmed. A collection of pretty improbable occurrences. But no matter, let us grant  them. What then?

Even under such propitious and unlikely circumstances, it is  highly improbable that Kosovo will be quickly returned to  normality. The destruction of housing and the spoliation of  farm land alone make that immensely difficult, but given the  will and the money, the material damage might be repaired.

But material renaissance is not the heart of the problem.  That lies in the all too simple fact of the existence of  two incompatible ethnic groups occupying the same territory,  both sides replete with ancestral hatreds and recent hurts.  In such circumstances a peaceful multicultural Kosovo is a  fantasy.

We have the example of Bosnia before us. Stripped of all cant, it is now a good old fashioned League of Nations Protectorate, a mandated territory. It has the experience of several years of UN control. Yet the vast majority of the displaced populations in Bosnia have not returned to their homes and the various ethnic groups there lead largely segregated lives.

But the post bombing situation in Kosovo is unlikely to be anything like so favourable as I have described. The KLA have shown no more willingness to generally disarm than the  IRA. The agreement which was reached is not unambiguous.

Milosevic cannot be relied to keep his part of the bargain.  The Russians have shown that they are not willing to accept  Nato command unconditionally. Money in the quantities suggested as needed for rebuilding (anything between 15-25  billion pounds) may well prove to be too great a hurdle for  politicians to sell to their publics who are being told of  the need for cuts in welfare – The USA and Europe are already  squabbling over who should bear the cost of rebuilding  Kosovo.

Milosevic also has one great general political advantage; he  knows that political life amongst the Nato powers is ephemeral. While he may be in power in five years time, the  majority of his opponents will not. He can afford to sit and  wait until a propitious moment comes to regain all or part of  Kosovo. Milosevic’s position is not as strong as that of  Saddam Hussain in purely authoritarian terms, but he has a vital quality which Saddam does not, namely his authority does not rely entirely on force.

Before the war started the Nato leaders must have known that  a western led occupation of Kosovo would simply replace one   form of repression with another. At best they could expect  a replica of Bosnia: at worst, an ethnic cleansing of Serbian  Kosovans. Since the end of the war, all too predictably the  worst has occurred as the western disregard shown for the welfare of ordinary Serbs elsewhere in the Balkans has been  repeated. The peacekeeping force has stood ineffectually by  whilst Kosovo is cleansed of Serbs by the KLA and their associates.

Perhaps no one has won the war, but that is often the way of  wars. The real question is who has suffered the most damage.  At the moment it may look like Milosevic, not least because the Nato countries in truth had nothing material to gain and  everything to lose from the War. Yet Milosevic has reduced  the Rambouillet demands, probably tightened his control on  Yugoslav politics and large parts of Kosovo has been ethnically cleansed. The Nato countries have made  significant concessions and committed themselves to massive expenditure and the deployment of troops indefinitely. This  will both take money from their own electorates and influence  their future foreign policies. It is a strange sort of victory if victory it be for Nato.

For Britain there is much about which to be ashamed and worried. We have bombed defenceless targets which plainly  were not in any meaningful sense military. This places us in an impossible moral position in dealing with terrorist  action. What moral argument could we have against Serb  reprisal bombs in Britain? That it is wrong to bomb innocent civilians?

More worryingly Blair has shown himself to be an unashamed warmonger. I would like to believe that Blair’s public words were simply a cynical manipulation of the public to promote his reputation and were made in the certain knowledge that  Clinton would not commit troops to a land war. Unfortunately I think that Blair was anything but cynical in his belligerence. The Observer reported on 18 July that Blair had  agreed to send 50,000 British troops to take part in an invasion force of 170,000 if Milosevic had not conceded Kosovo to Nato. Incredible as this may seem, (and it was not  denied by Downing Street) such recklessness fits in with  Blair’s general behaviour. So there you have it, our prime  minister would have committed the majority of Britain’s armed  forces to a land war in which we have no national interest,  regardless of the cost, deaths and injuries. The danger  remains that Blair will find another adventure which does  result in a land war. Over Kosovo, he behaved like a reckless adolescent and nearly came a fatal political  cropper. Yet this government appears to have learnt nothing  from the experience, vide the unpleasant and malicious fanaticism in Blair and Cook’s declarations of their intent to both unseat Milosevic from power and bring him before an international court, vide the humiliation of Russia, vide the ever more absurd declarations of internationalist intent  since hostilities ceased. That adolescent idealists’ mindset could lead Britain down a very dark path indeed. It is also incompatible with a foreign policy that supposedly encourages  elected governments (however imperfect they are) over  dictatorships.

What other lessons does this war teach us? It shows above  all the utter powerlessness of the democratic process and  the sham of international law. In the two countries which have taken the lead, US and Britain, parliamentary support  was not formally sought nor given, funds voted or a  declaration of war sanctioned. The other members of Nato have  been impotent bystanders.

The American Constitution was designed to prevent aggressive  acts of war without congressional approval. That  constitutional guarantee has been severely tested since 1945, but perhaps never so emphatically as in the past months. If  an American president can commit such considerable forces to  a war regardless of Congressional approval, it seriously  brings into question the value of the constitutional  restraint. Where exactly would the line be drawn in the Constitutional sand?

In Britain, the matter was debated at the government’s  convenience but at no one else’s. Incredibly, many will  think, support for the war was never put to a vote in the  Commons.

As for international law, that has been shown in the most  unambiguous manner to be a sham. The war was fought without a  declaration of war, in contravention of the UN Charter and in  a manner guaranteed to cause significant civilian casualties.

Yet Judge Arbour at the War Crimes Tribunal does not indict  the likes of Clinton and Blair, only Milosevic. (Readers might like to note that formal complaints to Judge Arbour about Blair and Clinton have been ignored). Law which is not  equally applied is no law, but merely a tool of the powerful  against the weak. Moreover, there does not appear to be any  illegality at which the US would draw the line. Apart from  incitements to murder Milosevic, there have been newspaper  reports of attempts by the CIA to illegally enter Milosevic’s  bank accounts and drain them of funds (we honest folks call that theft). If governments do not obey the core moral and  legal commandments of their own societies, law does not  effectively exist.

If international law meant anything, the Nato action would  be deemed objectively illegal. It was so first because of an  absence of lawful international authority, there being no  UN sanction for the War. On a national level, neither the  British nor the American Parliaments sanctioned either the  action or the expenditure which permitted the action.

The war also drove a coach and horses through the UN Charter  and the Nato Treaty. The UN Charter was breached because it  prohibits action to amend a sovereign state’s borders. As for  the NATO treaty, this only provides for action to be  taken in defence of member countries. Clearly the Yugoslav  government had offered no direct threat to NATO members because there was no attempt to act outside the territory  of Yugoslavia. Moreover, the only NATO countries  which might have called for assistance to a perceived  threat – Greece and Hungary – did not do so and made it  clear that they were far from supportive of the Nato action.

In general terms, it was impossible before the war began to  make a convincing case that Yugoslavia could present a threat  to the peace of Europe. It is a country of ten  million souls, poor with an underdeveloped industrial base. Moreover, its natural poverty had been greatly  increased by years of civil war and UN sanctions.

Balkan history tells a single story: any of its peoples  which become possessed of the advantage of numbers, wealth  or arms will oppress as a matter of course any other of its  peoples. If the Albanians gain control of Kosovo, rest  assured that they will behave as abominably towards the Serbs  as the Serbs have behaved towards them. The disputed territory is Serb by history and Albanian by present  settlement. There is no absolute right on either side.

 

The reckless mass medication of Britain

Robert Henderson

The reckless and even the enforced medication of the population grows apace.  State bodies are pressing for widespread or universal medication. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)  recommends the universal  use of statins by men over 50 and women over 60, ministers are considering  making compulsory  the addition of folic acid to flour  and  councils are being encouraged by Public Health England  to put fluoride in the water supply .

That is direct government action. But there are many drugs with potent side effects which are being given out wholesale without any government interference. Potentially the greatest risk comes from  antibiotics to which resistance is being built up all the time. The World Health Organisation warned this year that  overuse was potentially creating a crisis more serious than Aids . Dr Keiji Fukuda, WHO’s Assistant Director-General for Health Security, claimed : “A post-antibiotic era — in which common infections and minor injuries can kill — far from being an apocalyptic fantasy, is instead a very real possibility for the 21st century.”

Antidepressants are being prescribed in record numbers and the side effects, which often make people feel as though they are going around in a mental fog,  can make people feel the cure is worse than the disease. Moreover, they can be prescribed for people who either are not seriously depressed but suffering from a physical illness  or people whose severe depression is the consequence of a physical illness.

There is also the problem of addiction to such drugs with severe withdrawal symptoms experienced by some people, symptoms such as these suffered by a patient identified only as Henry“It was torture. I thought I was going to die, and I didn’t care. For two years, I was in severe physical pain and so weak I lay all day on the sofa. My cognition was severely affected, I was dizzy, with blurred vision, I couldn’t read a bedtime story to my son and couldn’t remember things that had happened just a few seconds previously.”

But even where there is no psychological problems or unpleasant but not immediately obvious damaging physical effects,  drugs can have dramatic consequences. For example, aspirin  is routinely prescribed to thin the blood, especially to those who have suffered heart attacks, but  recent research found that aspirin’s daily use  “ leads to 37 per cent increased risk of internal bleeding and 38 per cent increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke,”  while the  long term use of the contraceptive pill doubles the risk of glaucoma..

Probably the most controversial widely used medication in Britain  at present are statins. Side effects can be extreme.  Statins (which are used to reduce cholesterol)  have been the subject of much complaint by patients. There are studies which claim that statins have little or no side effects,  but the  catalogue of complaints against them is so huge that it is difficult to see how they could have come to such conclusions.

I have taken statins  for many since suffering   a heart attack,  I can I can vouch for the fact that they have powerfully obnoxious side effects. Luckily I did not  suffer psychotic episodes  such as those  which afflicted the unfortunate Dr Allan Woolley before his suicide,  which was attributed to the side effects of statins . However,  I  have experienced severe  disabling symptoms such as intense aching, especially in the hands, a permanent fatigue and a diminution of mental function, especially of memory and concentration (I had  to consciously concentrate on what I was doing rather than simply doing it without thinking, while my power of immediate recall, previously very good, became unreliable.

I only realised statins were responsible for such symptoms in 2007  – for years I attributed them to the  process of ageing and the after effects of the heart attack – after I read several articles by Dr James Le Fanu who both questioned the general value of  statins and described the side effects:  ” Statins are useless for 95 per cent of those taking them, while exposing all to the hazard of serious side-effects and  detailed the side effects….they seriously interfere with the functioning of the nerve cells, affecting mental function, and muscles.” (Sunday  Telegraph  17 3 2007).  He concluded that only those with a personal or family  history of heart trouble should take them.

But even that advice is debatable. Eating an apple-a-day is as effective as taking statins according to a recent piece of research, viz:

“Prescribing either an apple a day or a statin a day to everyone over 50 years old is likely to have a similar effect on population vascular mortality. Choosing apples rather than statins may avoid more than a thousand excess cases of myopathy and more than 12 000 excess diabetes diagnoses. The basic costs of apples are likely to be greater than those of statins; however, NHS prescription prices and convenience may drive people to purchase their apples from a store rather than through a pharmacy, thereby reducing direct NHS costs, or the NHS may be able to negotiate apple price freezes (although defrosted apples may not be so palatable).23”

There are also doubts about whether cholesterol levels have anything to do with heart attacks and strokes, so the concentration on bringing  down cholesterol levels may be pointless.

It might be thought with the ever increasing range of medications available that overall  life expectancy would be increasing and go on increasing . Not so.  In  recent years in the UK the trend towards greater life expectancy after the age of 65 has flat-lined for men and actually declined for women. “Life expectancy at age 65 in 2012 has been projected as 18.3 years for men and 20.6 years for women on average….In 2008 life expectancy post 65 was 19 years for men on average and 21.3 years for women on average. In 2010 it was 18.7 for men and 21.1 for women.”

This suggests that medication of the elderly is at best ineffective in extending lives on average and  may even be a  cause of the stagnation of increases in life expectancy amongst the old.

There is also a  moral question, namely,  how much medication should be given to a patient   regardless of the quality of life  they can experience?  The idea that living is desirable regardless of the nature of the life is difficult to sustain morally.  That is particularly true of the old. I have never encountered anyone over the age of 85 whose life I have known in some detail who has been averagely happy or physically comfortable.   Almost invariably by that age the body has developed some serious malady whether physical or mental.  That is not to say such elderly people generally  want to die.  Rather, it is simply that the life being led is normally miserable at worst and unfulfilling at best.  If they are loaded down with  medications, many or all of which will have obnoxious side effects,  this may extend their lives by a few  months or years,  but the patient  may well feel that there is a case for saying let nature take its course if those few extra months and years will be suffered rather than enjoyed because of the side effects of medication.

Why do patients submit to drug regimes regardless of the ill consequences? Patients generally trust their doctors and are inclined to accept advice in the vast majority of cases. But even if they do not want to carry on with a drug because of the side effects – and many commonly prescribed drugs have effects which make the enjoyment of life seriously difficult – they find it difficult to refuse a doctor’s advice. Often it is not a simple matter of refusing a single treatment, because many patients, and especially elderly ones, will have a range of ailments and  will fear that refusing to take one medication may ruin their relationship with their GP or a hospital consultant, with a consequent diminution in the quality and scope of their  future  medical care. Even if unfounded , such fears will drive patients to carry on with medication which is causing them serious discomfort.

Things could be improved if doctors were required to discuss the side effects of drugs with patients. The only warning I have ever been given voluntarily by a doctor – and I have spent a great deal of the past twenty years with chronic complaints – about side effects is drowsiness, yet most drugs which seriously interfere with the natural workings of the body will have a list of serious side effects.  For example, diuretics, a very commonly prescribed drug to increase fluid removal from the body has these side effects according to  the BUPA guidance :

Side-effects of diuretics include:

mild gastro-intestinal problems, such as feeling sick

a fall in blood pressure that is related to posture (postural hypotension), which causes you to feel faint or dizzy when you stand up

altered levels of salts in your body, such as low levels of potassium (hypokalaemia) and sodium (hyponatraemia)

Less common side-effects of diuretics include:

gout (a condition that causes pain and swelling in your joints)

impotence in men (the inability to achieve or sustain an erection during sex)

skin rashes

headaches

certain blood disorders, which can make you more likely to get infections

What can be done to reduce overmedication? First, if doctors explained the side effects to patients that in itself would probably reduce too ready prescription of medicines because the patient would be put off taking those with serious side effects simple by their recital by the doctor  and doctors would be much less likely to prescribe such drugs  unless they honestly believed a patient desperately needed them if they had to explain the side effects and overcome the resistance of patients who did not really need the medication.

Second, non-medical directions and incentives to doctors to prescribe certain medications widely, whether that be government authored or supported schemes such as folic acid in bread or drug companies peddling medicines to doctors, especially GPs, which materially benefit doctors  should be banned.

 

 

Wall Street, the Wolf of Wall Street  and the decline of moral sense

Robert Henderson

 

Wall Street (1987)

Main cast

Michael Douglas  as Gordon Gecko

Charlie Sheen as Bud Cox

Daryl Hannah  as Darien Taylor

Martin Sheen as Carl Fox

Terence Stamp as Sir Larry Wildman

Hal Holbrook as Lou Mannheim

Sean Young as Kate Gekko

James Spader as Roger Barnes

Director Oliver Stone

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The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

Main cast

Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort

Jonah Hill as Donnie Azoff

Margot Robbie as Naomi Lapaglia

Matthew McCaughey as Mark Hanna

Kyle Chandler as Patrick Denham

Rob Reiner as Max Belfort

Director  Martin Scorsese,

Twenty six years lie between Wall Street and The Wolf of Wall Street (TWOWS) hitting cinema screens. Wall Street is fiction, although there are reputedly people in real life from whom the film’s main characters were developed, for example  Sir Larry Wildman is supposedly drawn from  on the British financier Sir James Goldsmith. The Wolf of Wall Street (TWOWS) is based upon the autobiography of a Wall Street trader Jordan Belfort. How much of that is fact  is debatable, although the general tone of the man’s life given in the book  is plausible.

Both films  begin their action in 1980s. Both deal with the shady world of finance. Both are vehicles for the unbridled egotism of their main characters.    There the similarity between them ends.  Wall Street is about  corporate raiders, men who seek to take over companies and then  asset strip them,  sell them on  quickly for a profit or run them as a business for a while, reduce costs (especially by cutting jobs ) and  then sell them . The main criminality involved in the film is insider dealing.

TWOWS  is simply about making a fast buck and the faster the better, with not even a show of doing anything beyond making money.   These people use   any method from the huckster selling of penny shares to insider dealing and celebrate each success in the spirit of the man successfully  running a hunt-the-lady scam in the street.  They are the masters of the universe and those who lose out are suckers.   There is zero concern for or even awareness of the greater general good of a society in the film.

The protagonists in Wall Street are a young stock trader Bud Fox, and a corporate  raider  Gordon Gecko.  Bud idolises Gecko and manages to work his way into Gecko’s circle by passing on privileged information to him, information which he has received from his father Carl who is a union leader at Bluestar Airlines.

Once inside Gecko’s circle  Bud  sheds  his morals and is content to help Gecko  engage in insider trading until the point where he discovers that he is being used as a catspaw by Gecko , who is trying to take over Bluestar  to dissolve the company in order to access cash in the company’s overfunded pension plan. Bud rediscovers his conscience after a fashion and outmanoeuvres Gecko by making an agreement with  Wildman – whom  previously he had helped Gecko to  defraud  through insider trading when Wildman wanted to take over a steel company –  to buy a majority shareholding in  the airline on the cheap  and run it as a going concern.  In doing this his  motivation is more revenge for being betrayed than suddenly being disgusted with what he had become under Gecko’s influence.

DiCaprio’s Jordan Belfort is a trader who loses his job  with a Wall Street broker when the firm crashes, moves into boiler-room trading in penny shares (which are barely regulated and allow for huge commissions to be charged to naïve investors who are often buying shares which are next to worthless). He makes a small fortune doing this.

Belfort then decides to strike out on his own account in rather more up-market  surroundings. With a friend , Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill),  he sets  up  a suitably Ivy league sounding firm of brokers Stratton Oakmont.  They operate on the principle of “pump and dump”  (artificially inflating a company’s share price by tactics such as spreading false rumours or simply buying heavily and then selling the shares rapidly). Stratton Oakmont is given lift off by an article in Forbes magazine which calls Jordan a ‘twisted Robin Hood and the “Wolf of Wall Street”,  which appellations prove a first rate recruiting sergeant for Stratton Oakmont  with hundreds of young stock traders flocking to make money with him.  From that point on he becomes seriously rich.

What the films do admirably  is show the difference between the cinematic portrayal of  the American financial world  in films released  in 1987 and 2013.   To refresh my memory I watched Wall Street again before writing this review. The striking thing about the film is how restrained it is compared with TWOWS.

Michael Douglas’  Gordon Gecko is far more disciplined than DiCaprio’s Belfort.  He  has some semblance of intellectual and arguably even moral  justification for what he does, most notably in a scene where he is addressing a shareholders’ meeting of a company he is trying to take over. This is where Gecko utters the most famous words in the film “Greed is good”. The words have serious context. Gecko is peddling  the laissez faire  line that competition is an unalloyed good because it is the agency which creates natural selection amongst companies and it is only that which keeps an economy healthy. He also  puts his finger on a real  cancer in big business: the development of the bureaucratic company where the company is run for the benefit of the senior management rather than the shareholders. Gecko  rails against  the huge number of senior managers on  high salaries  in  the company he wishes to buy, a business  which has done little for its shareholders.  Whether you agree with the raw natural selection argument in business  – and I do not – at the very least it shows that the likes of Gecko feel the need to  justify what they do, to provide an ethical cloak for their misbehaviour.

There is also a serious difference in the general behaviour of  Gecko and Belfort.  Gecko  for all his faults is not a libertine. For him money is both an instrument and an end in itself. It gives him power and status, a medal of success in his eyes and the eyes of the world he inhabits.  There is purpose in Gecko.  He enjoys the material trappings of wealth but is not overwhelmed by them. In Belfort there is merely an ultimately empty grasping of licence  with drugs,  whores  and absurd status symbols such as an outlandishly large yacht , which his ego drives him to wreck by ordering the ship’s captain to sail in weather which the captain tells him is unsafe to sail in. He acquires a trophy girlfriend , He dumps his wife. There is no solid foundation to any part of his life.

The other big general difference between the films is ethical.  Wall Street has a moral voice which acts  as a  foil to Gecko’s amorality.   Bud Fox’s father Carl puts the case against capitalism red in tooth and claw. After Bud’s  discovery of Gecko’s attempt to buy Bluestar Carl’s dissenting ideological  voice  is added to by Bud. In TWOWS there is no moral voice or pretence by Belfort (or any other character) that what they are doing has any social function or ethical content. Instead the public are simply viewed as a bovine herd to be milked as ruthlessly as possible.  The fact that what is being done – whether it be selling penny stocks in a boiler room or using insider information in more sophisticated company –  is no better than a confidence trick does not cause Belfort and his fellow participants the slightest discomfort only unalloyed joy. They are getting rich at the expense of suckers. It’s all a game whose only end is to make the individual rich and to be rich is a validation of their existence.

Gecko and Belfort end up in prison, so in that respect at least they honour the old American  film tradition of never showing the criminal getting away with it, although  in the case of Belfort he ends up in a place which is not so much a prison as a country club.

Both films are strong in all the technical ways – script, plot, characterisation and acting – that are used to judge films. Michael Douglas’ is a more studied performance than that of  diCaprio who brings an amazing energy to the role.  But arresting as Douglas’ performance is  the film the film has ample space to fill out other characters. Indeed, in terms of screen time it is Bud who wins out.

DiCaprio’s   Belfort has strong claims to be the  best performance in an already  long career, but it utterly dominates the film and consequently the other characters have little room to develop than TWOWS.  They either remain one rather dimensional or like Matthew McConaughey  appear only in cameos.

The quality of the films as films is reason enough to watch them, but their primary value , as a pair,   is their charting, unwittingly,   of the decline of moral  sense between the 1980s and now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Civitas Meeting  – The trouble with Europe  19 May 2014

Robert Henderson

The sole speaker was Roger Bootle of the Daily Telegraph and Capital Economics

Bootle was  promoting his book The trouble with Europe.  The main thrusts of his argument  were

-          Europe is a declining political and economic power.

-          The growth rate within first the EEC and then the EU has been poor overall compared with economies outside the EU.

-          The EU has undermined European economic performance through promoting too generous welfare states.

-          That much of the regulation comes not from the EU but national governments within the EU.

-          That the EU has smothered competition between nation states and this has hindered innovation and enterprise.

-          That Europe’s period of  greatest world dominance was a time of intense competition between European powers.

-          That EU countries have suffered a loss of identity through mass immigration and those with empires had  a further blow to their national self-confidence through their loss.

-          That European elites have had their energies eaten up with trying to create uniformity within the EU to the detriment of such things as investment and productivity.

-          That the Euro is the biggest  economic disaster the EU has suffered,  dwarfing the Common Agricultural Policy.

-          The EU as it is presently constituted is obsolete.

Bootle laid down his terms for Britain  remaining within the EU: an end to ever closer union,   a guarantee of no second class status for the UK if she remains a member, a reduced EU budget, repatriation of powers to EU member states. National governments to be empowered to reject EU legislation and restrictions on the free movement of labour.

These conditions  are  so improbable that it is reasonable to conclude that Bootle in reality wants Britain out of the EU. If Britain does leave the EU, Bootle is in favour of what he called the WTONLY option if a good free trade agreement with the EU cannot be arranged. The WTONLY option is to simply leave the EU and then rely on World Trade Organisation rules to give Britain access to EU markets.

During questions it was heartening to see how many of the questioners were utterly hostile to the EU, despite the fact that many  of those there came under the heading of the great and the good, the sort of people who would normally be considered unvarnished  Europhiles.   Most promisingly, voices were raised against the wholesale takeover by foreigners of British business and the ill effects of multinationals.

I raised the question of how Britain should deal with the mechanics of leaving bearing in mind that the entire British political elite were Europhiles who would do everything to subvert the wishes of the British electorate by stitching Britain back into the EU through an agreement which included the four so-called EU freedoms, the free movement of goods, services, capital and labour within the EU. I suggested to Bootle that Article 50 was a poisoned chalice which would enable British politicians to do just that.  Rather surprisingly Bootle said that he did not think that the mechanics of leaving were important.  I was not able to question him further because of the number of people wanting to ask questions. However, I have addressed the subject and others in the email I sent to Bootle after the meeting. If I receive a reply I will add it to this blog post.

———————————————————————————

E mail sent to Roger Bootle 31 5 2014

Dear Mr Bootle,

A few points I  was unable to put to you at the Civitas meeting of  19 May.

1. How much do you think the status of the  Euro as  the second largest reserve currency has contributed to the survival of the Euro?  I enclose a note on this at the bottom of the email.

2. You advocate giving both sides of the story, of admitting that leaving the EU will not be without costs both material and moral.  The problem with that is twofold.

a) political knowledge and understanding amongst the electorate  as a whole  is  minute. Most will respond to the fear factor points not the reassuring points simply because they do not know enough to assess the situation rationally.

b) all the STAY IN camp will be peddling is the fear factor. Hence, the electorate will be hearing the fear factor language from both YES and NO camps but only the reassuring points from those who wish Britain to leave.

3. How the UK leaves the  EU is not a trivial matter as you suggested. The danger is that regardless of the wishes of the electorate ,  the British political elite will stitch us back firmly into the EU if they are given a free hand over the negotiation. This is so because we have a political class – especially the leading members of the class –  which is  overwhelmingly prepared to act as Quislings (Quislings in the service of the EU in particular and internationalism in general) to ensure that Britain does not escape the tentacles of the EU.

Of course such a betrayal could apply regardless of whether article 50 is activated or a simple repeal made  of the various Acts binding  us into the EU, but  Article 50 carries far more dangers for those who want us out of the EU than a simple repeal of the Acts  would do.  If Britain accepted the legality of Article 50  we  would have to put up with any amount of prevarication and dirty tricks for two years.  Worse,  the time to reach any  agreement between Britain and the EU under article 50 can be extended if both parties agree.

As those negotiating on behalf of Britain would inevitably be politicians who have sold their souls to the “European Project”, the odds are that they would use any obstruction and delay by the EU to justify making an agreement which would practically speaking nullify the vote to leave.  As sure as eggs are eggs, the agreement would  place  us  firmly back into the EU’s clutches  by signing Britain up to the four EU “freedoms” (freedom of movement of goods, services, capital and labour)  and all the rules regulating the single market.  If the break with the EU is done simply by repealing the various Acts which bind us in, our politicians will not be able to use the restrictions and difficulties raised by Article 50 as an excuse for selling the voters down the river with an agreement such as I have described.  Instead, they would have to take full responsibility for whatever they agree to.  Article 50 is a particularly toxic poisoned chalice.  Don’t drink from it.

It is essential that before any referendum takes place that all mainstream UK parties make it clear that whatever  agreement  is reached by those negotiating on behalf of Britain this should only be ratified if the British people vote for it in a second referendum.  Unless this happens the political class will give us something which binds us back into the EU.

5. It is a dangerous argument to claim that competition between governments is a good thing if you are relying on the historical example.  In your Telegraph article Europe’s politicians must embrace competition or face slide into obscurity (19 May) you write:

It is very striking that Europe’s golden age, when European countries bestrode the world and European influence was at its height, was an era of competition between nation states. Admittedly at times this competition went too far and spilled over into war …

The reality of European history is that it has been primarily a history of war as far as you care to go back. War not peace has been the norm. The period of European ascendency was no exception to this and because of technological developments became more and more efficiently brutal.    Use the European historical example and you are simply inviting the Europhiles to say “Told you so. Nation states can’t be trusted to behave”.

6. At present I also have a problem with  all political discussions  and especially those referring to the economy.   We are within striking distance of the production of general purpose robots which will be able to do not only most of the jobs humans now do but most of any new ones which arise.   The implications of this are so profound that they bid fair to render any political solutions or policies currently in play obsolete.  Politicians should be planning for such developments but they are simply ignoring them.  If you read  these two pieces you will see where I am coming from:

http://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2011/07/01/robotics-and-the-real-sorry-karl-you-got-it-wrong-final-crisis-of-capitalism/

http://livinginamadhouse.wordpress.com/2013/06/23/technology-out-of-control/

Yours sincerely,

 

Robert Henderson

 

 

 

Surveillance and the insurance industry

Robert Henderson

“Under EU plans, every new car sold in UK will have a ‘black box’ device Gadget contains a phone-like SIM card which tracks drivers’ movements Designed to help emergency services find vehicles in the event of crash Government believes the device will add at least £100 to the cost of cars  Officials also fear it could be used by police to monitor motorists’ moves But ministers admit they are powerless to stop Big Brother technology All new car models will have to include ‘eCall’ device from October 2015” Daily Mail

This is the thin end of a very intrusive wedge.  Even those with  cars without the device fitted – only vehicles  produced or sold before October 2015 – will feel its force because the insurance industry will increase premiums substantially, perhaps grossly,  for cars  without the system.  It is reasonable to believe that within a few years ecall will have become to all intents and purposes compulsory.

The system will allow the monitoring of a person’s driving habits, how often they brake, the severity of braking, speed and so on and possibly the maintenance of the vehicle.  Drive in a way which the insurer considers dangerous and your premiums will go up or your insurance be withdrawn.  Consider  how vital a vehicle is to millions of people simply to enable them to live normal lives –outside the larger British cities public transport is a joke –  and  how many jobs are dependent upon the possession of a driving licence.  Allowing insurers to make judgements based individuals  not on making or not making  insurance claims made by an individual  or general markers such as the age of the person is to place into their hands a massive power over individual lives.

If Insurers can monitor how we drive because technology allows them to you can bet your life  that other areas of life with follow that example. You want some form of personal insurance – accident, life, medical – the insurers may start offering highly preferential rates to those willing to wear a device to monitor their biological functions  as these are affected by  things such as  drinking, smoking, eating and exercising . Indulge too much when it comes to drink  or take too little exercise and  your premiums will rise or your insurance be removed. Such monitoring could also have effect of identifying diseases which could produce the same result.  Perhaps the insurers will require any children you have to be similarly monitored.

You want to insure your house? Insurers could insist that monitors are fitted to record how you live, whether you smoke, whether you leave on taps or  electrical and gas devices when you should not.  Perhaps  insurers will insist on CCTV in every room especially if you have children. Or how about insurers monitoring how many people visit you and how they behave?  You are given to throwing boisterous parties? Up goes your premium or away goes your insurance.

Enjoy pets and want to insure against vet’s bills? An insurer  may require you to fit your animal with monitors to check their health, weight, diet and exercise.  Insurers could even insist on monitors in your house to see how the pet lives.

How about employers? They need heavyweight insurance  for their premises, people, equipment and  damage to people and property not working for or belonging to the employer. Are they to be subject to a general monitoring of their premises, equipment, staff and customers?  You can bet they will be.

Schools, hospitals and care homes would provide a particularly fertile ground for insurers. Not only would these enterprises  have all the surveillance burdens of employers generally, insurers would  probably ask for a much  more intrusive surveillance regime. This would be because of the vast  potential for things to go wrong and the likelihood of claims and court actions arising,  for these are areas of employment  to which the law has long been no stranger, a problem amplified since the 1990s  by the introduction of  “No Win, No Fee” practices into English law.

There are some insurances which are not absolutely necessary,  but most insurances have the potential to become in practice obligatory. If you own a house you must have it insured if you have a mortgage and frankly anyone who did not insure their house even if it is unencumbered by  a mortgage would be mad.  The same applies to home contents.  Vehicle insurance is  legally required. If you travel abroad,  travel insurance is a must and  outside the European Economic Area (EEA) so is medical insurance. Indeed, even within the EEA, medical care can be problematic for those in a country other than their own. The huge sums vets charge these days make owning a pet dog  or cat  a risky proposition without insurance.

There would also be a general reduction in choice for those insurances which really are option such as private medical insurance. Those will of course  be subject to whatever surveillance the insurer decides is needed.  It is not essential that a person have private medical insurance but it does leave everyone with the Hobson’s choice of the NHS if private medical insurance comes with a hefty moral price tag in the form of gross invasion of privacy.

The insurances which an employer must have will frequently  force an individual  to submit to the surveillance if they want the job. This is because employers will  understandably mostly  go for the cheapest insurance. In this scenario, the cheapest insurance will be the one with the greatest surveillance. In time there  would almost certainly be  few employers not requiring  such surveillance.

Apart from gross invasion of privacy which surveillance for insurance purposes could involve, there is also the danger of  the  data  being  misused: for commercial reasons, by the state ,  by criminals or simply by malicious and unscrupulous individuals.

Prospective employers could insist on seeing data collected by previous employers or even the whole life data collected on an individual.   Employers could use data collected on their employees to regulate their  lives, for example, by intervening if an employee is found to be drinking regularly or eating unhealthy food. This interference in private lives could be driven not just by the employer’s wishes,  but also by the insurance companies asking for higher premiums from employers if the data they collect shows some  employees are more likely to be sick or injured .

Data collected, whether by an  employer’s insurer or an  insurer employed by an  individual,  could be sold, legally or illegally,  and used to effectively blacklist  people, both from jobs and from obtaining all forms of credit, everything from  credit cards to mortgages.

The potential for state misbehaviour would be next to unlimited because they could both use actual data collected from an individual to look for any information which could be used to put pressure on the individual or to simply harass them. The state could also arrange to have false insurance  data  about someone put into the public fold to harass and discredit them.

Criminals could use such data to blackmail people or simply disrupt their lives at the behest of a client. Finally, there is the potential for personal revenge. An aggrieved individual with access to the highly intimate data collected by insurers could use it to cause considerable  trouble for someone against whom they  had an animus

In principle, this is an issue which government can stop in its tracks if they have the will. All they would need  to do is pass a law which prevents insurers from using such surveillance strategies.  I say in principle because in the case of the black box in the car the British government’s hands are tied by the EU’s majority voted insistence that all cars will have such equipment fitted in the near future. ( The answer to that particular problem is to leave the EU).  But the British Government is free to legislate to ban  all the other insurance related possibilities for hyper-surveillance.

The scenarios I have outlined may seem far fetched, but who would have believed even a few years ago that a black box in a car would become a legal requirement , a piece of technology which will not merely log your driving and probably car maintenance habits , but where your car (and consequently you) are  for most of the time. All of the equipment needed to intrude into the life of the individual as I have described  already exists: cameras, audio recorders, health monitors, technology monitors.   Moreover, technology is advancing at a frightening pace and it is a certainty that ever more efficient methods to keep people under surveillance will be coming along.  It is also only too likely that the EU will try to extend its surveillance plans beyond the black box in cars. Nor can we have any confidence that out own government will not go down the same controlling route when left to their own devices. There are plenty of  people amongst the British elite who love nothing more than to interfere minutely with other people”s lives.

There will also be an element of voluntary servitude. Many people already willingly wear the technology which allows them to monitor  heart rate, the number of steps taken in the day and blood pressure and so on. Such personal monitors will become every more all encompassing  to allow, for example, diet in detail.  Many people are happy to have CCTV not only in public spaces but in and around their homes.   Children are routinely kept under surveillance at a distance by their parents through smart phones and tablets.

All of this is preparing the ground for insurers ( and employers, commercial firms and governments) to  demand that people wear monitors and carry technology which allows a person’s movements to be tracked.

The stark, hideously unpalatable truth for anyone who  cares for their freedom  is that surveillance is one of those practices which has no natural limit.  There is literally no area of insurance where increased surveillance would not appeal to an insurer for the simply reason they would believe they were minimising risk.  There is literally no limit to what  surveillance powers the state unhindered will  take to  itself on the spurious grounds that it is for the protection of the country.  We need to stamp on this now or we shall wake up in ten years or so and find ourselves in a surveillance society  even more comprehensive than that envisaged by Orwell in 1984. Stopping insurers from being grossly intrusive  would be a good start.

The Camp of the Saints  tested against reality

English translation from the French by Norman Shapiro, Professor of French Romance Languages and Literatures Department 3089, Wesleyan University,  Connecticut, USA.   Email nshapiro@wesleyan.edu

The full English text can be found at https://archive.org/stream/CampOfTheSaints/Camp_of_the_Saints_djvu.txt

Robert Henderson

The French writer Jean Raspail’s The Camp of the Saints  was  published in 1973. It is notorious or famous,  according to your politics,  for its story of  the Third World poor successfully invading the First World. The invaders come  armed not with guns and bombs,  but the potent weapons of  their huge  numbers and  the knowledge  that  the self-destructive  ideology of Western elites  – what we would  nowadays call  the “anti-racist” part of political correctness  – had warped the minds of most of those  elites  and also  those  of the masses of  the First World,  who  have been beaten into a state  where they either cannot see when their own interests are being sacrificed on the altar of one worldism or are cowed to the point where  they are paralysed into inaction.

At the time of its writing the  book  was set in twenty or so years in  the future. As the story opens a  fleet of 100 ramshackle ships  dubbed the Ganges Armada  gathers in India and soon  sets off  for Europe.  In the ships are one million of the subcontinent’s poor.  The intention of the Armada is to run  the ships aground on European shores – this is a strictly one way voyage – decant their cargo and present the land on which they descend  with a dilemma, namely,  allow the million  to invade or resist them with force with the ultimate sanction being mass slaughter of the invaders.

It takes  the ships fifty daysto arrive on the northern shores of the Mediterranean with Southern France as the final  destination.   As the Ganges Armada sails the Western elites are either  starry eyed about their dream of a world in which there is no us and them – no nation states, just Mankind  with a capital M –  or paralysed by the one-world propaganda which has been so assiduously fed to them.

Even those members of the elite who do not  believe in the One Worldism  have developed the  peculiar state of mind which arises  when  propaganda is not only incessant but gainsaying the propaganda is seen as   dangerous.  Such people do not embrace the content of the propaganda,  nor play along out of abject and immediate  fear. Rather, they sublimate the fear and develop a feeling that to rebut the propaganda is somehow wrong, although if asked they could not say exactly where the wrongness lay.   The state of mind is akin to that of a person who feels that a sick joke is inappropriate if expressed in company even if it makes them inwardly laugh.  In short, they have been conditioned to think of certain ideas and words as unclean for no other reason that they have been told over and over again that these things are beyond the Pale.   As for the masses,  they have variously bought into the propaganda,   had their true feelings suppressed  by the constant propaganda as described above or  been censored out of public life.

But human nature has not been utterly transformed.  There is the natural  human response to trouble of thinking it will not happen. While the Ganges Armada is a long way off heads are buried in the sand with non-pc thoughts such as that the ships will all be sunk by rough weather and seas  before they reach Europe because of their decrepit state.  Hardly anyone in a position of authority or influence is realistic and honest about the outcome of the Armada if it reaches its destination , namely,  that it will be an invasion which if not resisted will overturn the societies into which the human cargo,  full of misery  and entitlement, is decanted.  Instead they either preach the  message that  the arrival of the Armada will be a great blessing for it will allow the West to show its generosity of spirit by welcoming the invaders with open arms or indulge in the hypocrisy of secretly hoping the ships will founder at sea.

But the weather is unusually clement and the Ganges Armada comes closer and closer until its arrival off the French Mediterranean coast is imminent.  This causes the vast majority of the population of the South of France  to abandon any pretence of seeing the ships’  arrival as anything other than a threat  and the vast majority  flee to the North of France. This is only a temporary place of safety and before  long much of the French elite also hot-foot it  to Switzerland ,  thinking wrongly that it will be a haven against the One Worldist mania –eventually the Swiss fall prey to the same lack of will to resist the invaders and open their borders to the invading Third World hordes.

The most naïve of the  One Worlders advance towards  the point at which the ships will make landfall in the sublimely silly expectation that they will be welcomed with open arms  by the invading one million. Once they  arrive the One Worldist simpletons are at best ignored and at worst attacked. They also find that they are at risk from the Third World immigrants and their descendants who are  already in France.

When the Ganges Armada finally  arrives and  sheds its cargo of one million there is little resistance because not only have most of the population fled , but the  French armed forces prove worthless, most having been robbed of the will to resist the invasion with  brute force by the ceaseless propaganda which has been fed to them.   The result is mass desertions.

The Ganges Armada is only the beginning.  Other fleets full of  Third World  misery to west upon the West  are being prepared. Nor is it just a seaborne invasion. Even as the Ganges Armada is at sea huge numbers of Chinese are massing on the Chinese border with the Asiatic Russian territories.

The novel ends with France overrun and the white native French population reduced to not exactly slavery but an irrelevance as power shifts to the non-white migrants who were either in France before the Armada arrived or are part of the Armada and its successor Third World invasion. The same general thing happens throughout the West, with the white native population everywhere becoming subordinate, becoming strangers in a strange land which was once theirs but is now utterly changed.

How prophetic is  the Camp of the Saints? Raspail understood when he published the  book that it would not  be prophetic in the detail of his imaginings,    but only in his  general  message. Indeed, in  his short preface  he admits that the detail of the action in the book is unrealistic: “I had wanted to write  a lengthy preface to explain my position and show that this is no wild-eyed dream; that even if the specific action, symbolic as it is, may seem farfetched, the fact remains that we are inevitably heading for something of the sort. We need only glance at the awesome population figures predicted for the year 2000, i.e., twenty-eight years from now: seven billion people, only nine hundred million of whom will be white.”

The invasion of the First World has not occurred as  dramatically as Raspail portrayed it. If it had perhaps even the Quisling politically correct  politicians of the West would have been forced to resist it with force,  both because they feared the fury of the people they supposedly represented and for fear of what the reality would be if such an invasion force had landed.  Instead the immigration  has  happened piecemeal, surreptitiously.  There has never been a dramatic massing  of Third World immigrants to gain entry to the First World Promised Land in one fell swoop, just an  incessant trickle through numerous points of entry. The nearest events  to what Raspail describes  are the various boat people  arriving in the West  from Latin America, Africa and Asia. But although large in aggregate,  each individual attempt at invasion contains hundreds at best and most commonly in numbers of less than ten. When seaborne they come not as an imposing  fleet but singly or as a small flotilla  at worst.  More commonly their illegal entry is by plane, train or motor vehicle, a handful at a time.

Where Raspail was  strikingly astute is his prediction of the immense weight of “anti-racist”  politically correct propaganda which the West has seen. He l catalogues all the politically correct grotesquery  we have today with definitive characters.   There are those in positions of authority and influence such Albert Dufort, the trendy radio journalist,  who prostitute themselves and their country by representing  the  Ganges Armada  and the other soon to be launched Third World invasion fleets, not as a threat but as a great opportunity to show their humanity.  There are those drawn from the ethnic minorities already well ensconced in French society such as the  Algerian Ben Suad (who goes by the name of Clement Dio)  whose lives are devoted to biting the hand that feeds them.  Perhaps most forlornly there are the French  young who have  had their natural tribal feeling sucked from them: “ That scorn of a people for  other races, the knowledge that one’s own is best, the triumphant joy at feeling oneself to be part of humanity’s finest — none of that had ever filled these youngsters’ addled brains, or at least so little that the monstrous cancer implanted in the Western conscience had quashed it in no time at all. In their case it wasn’t a matter of tender heart, but a morbid, contagious excess of sentiment, most interesting to find in the flesh and observe, at last, in action.”  Chapter 1

All of this is most impressive because when the book was written political correctness was in its  early stages.  In Britain  a couple of Race Relations Acts  had been passed in 1965 and 1968, and one worldism, especially with a Marxist tinge, was very popular in academia. But there was no general  propagandising of the British population and punishments for being non-pc about race and immigration had barely begun to get a hold on British society. Even in the United States, the most advanced of states promoting  “anti-racist” measures ,  measures such as “positive discrimination” and “affirmative action”  were still in their infancy.  The secular inquisition of individuals accused of pc “crimes” that we know today with people increasingly  being sent to prison or routinely losing their jobs  did not exist. The long march through the institutions still had a good  distance to go.

The book’s general argument that the West would be subject to massive immigration which would radically change their societies  is correct.  In Britain the last national census  in 2011 showed this for the population of England and Wales combined :

White was the majority ethnic group at 48.2 million in 2011 (86.0 per cent). Within this ethnic group, White British1 was the largest group at 45.1 million (80.5 per cent).

The White ethnic group accounted for 86.0 per cent of the usual resident population in 2011, a decrease from 91.3 per cent in 2001 and 94.1 per cent in 1991.

White British and White Irish decreased between 2001 and 2011. The remaining ethnic groups increased, Any Other White background had the largest increase of 1.1 million (1.8 percentage points).

The population of England and Wales at the time of the census was”  56,170,900 in mid-2011, with the population of England estimated to be 53,107,200 and the population of Wales estimated to be 3,063,800”. In a generation the white population, British and foreign , has dropped by 8% and those describing themselves as white British  were only 45 million out of 56 million.

There is also strong evidence that the idea of deliberately encouraging mass immigration of the unassimilable to change Western societies  has been practised by  Western Governments. Think of the words of a Tony Blair special adviser  Andrew Neather :

Eventually published in January 2001, the innocuously labelled “RDS Occasional Paper no. 67″, “Migration: an economic and social analysis” focused heavily on the labour market case.

But the earlier drafts I saw also included a driving political purpose: that mass immigration was the way that the Government was going to make the UK truly multicultural.

I remember coming away from some discussions with the clear sense that the policy was intended – even if this wasn’t its main purpose – to rub the Right’s nose in diversity and render their arguments out of date. That seemed to me to be a manoeuvre too far.

Ministers were very nervous about the whole thing. For despite Roche’s keenness to make her big speech and to be upfront, there was a reluctance elsewhere in government to discuss what increased immigration would mean, above all for Labour’s core white working-class vote.

This shone through even in the published report: the “social outcomes” it talks about are solely those for immigrants.

And this first-term immigration policy got no mention among the platitudes on the subject in Labour’s 1997 manifesto, headed Faster, Firmer, Fairer.

The results were dramatic. In 1995, 55,000 foreigners were granted the right to settle in the UK. By 2005 that had risen to 179,000; last year, with immigration falling thanks to the recession, it was 148,000.

In addition, hundreds of thousands of migrants have come from the new EU member states since 2004, most requiring neither visas nor permission to work or settle. The UK welcomed an estimated net 1.5 million immigrants in the decade to 2008.

In May 2014 the British  think tank Policy Exchange  published a report  on racial  and ethnic minorities entitled A portrait of modern Britain.  The headline grabbing statistic in the report is the claim that ”the five largest distinct Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities could potentially double from 8 million people or 14% of the population [now] to between 20-30% by the middle of the century. Over the past decade, the UK’s White population has remained roughly the same while the minority population has almost doubled. Black Africans and Bangladeshis are the fastest growing minority communities with ethnic minorities representing 25% of people aged under the age of five.”

Because immigrants and their descendants  have a substantially greater propensity to breed than that of the native white British population and that fact coupled with  the  much younger average age  of immigrants than that of native Britons means that the Policy Exchange projections are realistic.

What the Camp of the Saints should do is force people to accept at both an intellectual and emotional level what mass immigration represents.   It is a form of conquest,  and conquest of the most pernicious and fundamental   kind when it consists primarily of  those who cannot or will not fully assimilate into the native population. Oncesuch  immigrants are  in a country in large numbers,  the country is faced with two terrible choices:  either capitulate to the fact of  their conquest and allow the country to dissolve  into a motley multicultural mess occupying a single territory or forcibly remove the  immigrants and their descendants through expulsion or  massacre.  Nor should it be imagined that the dissolution of the country into racial/ethnic  blocs will mean an absence of war. History tells a single simple story about racially and ethnically divided territories: violence is an inevitable and ineradicable  part of such societies and the more the different groups within a territory begin to be of equal size the greater the risk of conflict.

The question which Raspail brings us to is this, is the invasion to be permitted through an excessive and fatal excess sentiment or is it to be  resisted through force, including in the final extremity the    mass killing of men , women and children,  or will the invaders be permitted to come, breed and settle the territory of the original population? Mass immigration is conquest, just as surely as an armed invasion is conquest.  A people who forgets that or buries their collective head in the political sand hoping the bogeyman will go away is doomed.

There are weaknesses in the novel purely as a literary work,  although the fact that I am commenting on an English translation should be born in mind. There is little character development, the dialogue is feeble,  the language flowery, there is a good deal of Gallic intellectual exhibitionism and a considerable amount of what I can only describe as a third person stream of consciousness.  The last I must confess is not to my taste. Raspail also gives his story a strong flavour of the leftist student protest of 1968 and the widespread attraction to the Western intelligentsia of Marxism, especially in its Troskyite manifestations.  This seems like another world today  even though the period  is only 40 odd years ago and may make the work seem alien or simply dated to some readers.

But these  weaknesses do not diminish the importance of the book, for it is  Raspail’s general  message which   matters. The message is important both because its general thrust is true and for the shameful fact that it is saying things which if expressed in a new work being offered for publication today would ensure that it did not find a mainstream publisher in the West.

Operation Elveden and Piers Morgan – My attempt to enlist the help of Leo McKinstry

Robert Henderson

After I met him at  the Campaign for an Independent Britain meeting of 26 April  I tried to enlist Leo McKinstry’s help to make public Piers Morgan illegal receipt of information from a Met Police officer    He refused. A copy of what I sent McKinstry and his replies to my emails are below.

Because I needed to explain the background to Piers Morgan’s letter to the PCC in which he admits receiving information from the police in circumstances which can only have been illegal, I also presented McKinstry with the details of the Blairs’ attempt to have me prosecuted, Blair’s use of the state security apparatus to harass me throughout Blair’s premiership and the persistent refusal of the police to investigate Morgan and others. I also offered him the story of the refusal of Leveson to use the story despite the fact that Morgan was questioned under oath at the Leveson Inquiry about receiving information illegally from the police.

McKinstry represents himself as someone who is willing to challenge the abuses of authority and political correctness. I offered him at least  four major political scandals. What does he do? He refuses to take them any of the  up because of the length of time which has passed and the  large number of people in positions of power and influence are involved.  A disinterested observer might think those are reasons  to become involved.

The age of the general story is of no account because (1)  serious crimes are should be and frequently are prosecuted are far longer periods have passed than those relating to the Morgan  (2) crimes involving the powerful and famous have a considerable attraction for the general public and  (3) part of the scandal is the determination of everyone who could and should have made the matter public to have censored it over such a period.

His  second reason for not taking up the story, that his not an investigative  reporter, is ridiculous because he is a political commentator. That inevitably means he will routinely have to do some fact checking and digging. Moreover, he does not need to do any investigation because I can supply him with the  objective evidence he needs. Yes, that’s right, every single part of this story is substantiated by documents or recordings. Suppose he wanted to run just the Morgan story. All he needed was Morgan’s letter to the PCC and the written refusals of the police to investigate, both of which I had supplied to him.

McKinstry gave  the game away after I suggested he pass the story to an investigative reporter. He came up with the pathetically weak excuse that he does not have the time, viz:

 I’m afraid I can’t spend time on chasing up this story or liaising with any colleagues over it, especially as it has been already investigated in such detail – though not to your satisfaction – over a long per

Not have the time to write a short note along the lines of “these stories requires investigation  which is not my cup of tea, but it looks to be right  up your street”  and forward my email to him to  a colleague  Ten minutes work.    As for his claim that the story ha s been investigated in great detail, this completely ignores the fact that my general complaint is that it has never been meaningfully investigated,.

Apart from the inadequacy of his reasons for refusing to take up the story, there is another pointer to something going on beyond what is overt. There is nothing in the information I sent him to suggest that there were “a huge number of people involved”. That means he was  either well aware of the story from the Blairs onwards before I sent him the material or  he has learnt about the story since receiving the material, either from my Living in a madhouse blog or from his journalist colleagues.  The living in a madhouse blog can be ruled out because there has been no wide-ranging traffic on the Blair and Morgan stories in the day it took him to reply.

Ever since the Blairs tried to have me prosecuted I have made a conscious effort to avoid paranoia driving me to believe every person in  the media is intimately aware of my story. However,  I have encountered a surprising number of people in the media who initially claim they have never heard my story,  but who in the course of conversation make it very clear they are well acquainted with it by revealing familiarity with details of the story which I have not supplied to them.  I suspect that is the case with McKinstry.

 

Robert Henderson  1 May 2014

 

—– Forwarded Message —–

From: leo mckinstry <mckinstryleo@hotmail.com>

To: robert henderson <anywhere156@yahoo.co.uk>

Sent: Tuesday, 29 April 2014, 11:30

Subject: RE: The political scandal I promised you at the CIB meeting

 

Dear Mr Henderson

I’m afraid I can’t spend time on chasing up this story or liaising with any colleagues over it, especially as it has been already investigated in such detail – though not to your satisfaction – over a long period.

Yours sincerely

 

Leo McKinstry

 

Date: Tue, 29 Apr 2014 08:59:14 +0100

From: anywhere156@yahoo.co.uk

Subject: Re: The political scandal I promised you at the CIB meeting

To: mckinstryleo@hotmail.com

Dear Mr Mckinstry,

How about passing the story on to one of your investigatory reporter colleagues?

Yours sincerely,

 

Robert Henderson

 

———————————————————————————————–

 

From: leo mckinstry <mckinstryleo@hotmail.com>

To: robert henderson <anywhere156@yahoo.co.uk>

Sent: Monday, 28 April 2014, 16:52

Subject: RE: The political scandal I promised you at the CIB meeting

 

Dear Mr Henderson

Thank you for your message and for sending me all the detailed documents and correspondence about the story you mentioned.

However, I am afraid that I cannot pursue the matter, for two reasons.

- Firstly, this case is not a new story but has been going on for years.   A huge number of people have been involved, including the police, the Crown Prosecution Service, other members of the press and a large phalanx of MPs.      I don’t think any purpose would be served by adding my membership to this substantial cast.

- Secondly, as you are no doubt aware, I am a columnist and commentator, rather than a reporter.  I therefore rarely carry out individual investigations.

So I am sorry but I will have to leave it there.

 

Yours sincerely

Leo McKinstry

 

———————————————————————————————–

Date: Sun, 27 Apr 2014 17:21:16 +0100

From: anywhere156@yahoo.co.uk

Subject: The political scandal I promised you at the CIB meeting

To: mckinstryleo@hotmail.com

 

Tel: 0207 387 5018

 

27 4 2014

Dear Mr Mckinstry,

As promised at the CIB meeting yesterday, I attach a facsimile copy of a letter from a Fleet Street editor to the PCC in which the editor admits receiving information from the Met Police in circumstances which can only have been illegal. The man in  question is Piers Morgan when he edited the Daily Mirror – you will see on the second page Morgan writes “The police source of our article (whose identity we have a moral obligation to protect) ” .

In January 2013 I supplied Operation Elveden with a copy of this letter and other evidence incriminating Morgan and his one-time chief crime reporter Jeff Edwards together with evidence against a senior  (now retired) Scotland Yard detective superintendent Jeff Curtis showing he failed to investigate Morgan when I first submitted the complaint.

Elveden refused to investigate and the matter has now worked its way to the top of the Met’s complaints system, the Directorate of Professional Standards. They are currently attempting to stop an investigation being made.

Since I referred the matter to Elveden in 2013 I have made persistent attempts to meet with the police face to face and give a formal statement. These requests have been ignored.

I have two problems in presenting this story to you.  The first is the volume of correspondence which has been generated by the failure of Elveden to act. That I shall attempt to deal with by giving you just a few sample pieces of correspondence to let you get a feel of the complaint. The documents are my original submission to Elveden, the refusal of my complaint by Elevden and my latter correspondence with the Directorate of Professional Standards. You will find them below.

The second problem is more difficult. When you read Morgan’s letter you will see it tries to paint me as a racist. As you know anyone who makes the slightest stand against the politically correct view of race and immigration gains that epithet. In my case it came in the unlikely form of an article I wrote for Wisden Cricket Monthly pointing out that an England cricket team stuffed with South Africans and West Indians made a mockery of the idea of national sides. I think you follow cricket so you may well remember the stink it caused. As you can imagine, no article which was in any meaningful sense racist would get into a mainstream publication  like WCM.

As for the Blairs I wrote to them asking for their help after I had been refused any opportunity to reply by the media to the torrent of abuse which occurred after the publication of the WCM article and the PCC had utterly failed me. This resulted in a highly libellous piece about me in the Daily Mirror claiming I was a dangerous racist threatening the Blairs. (this was the cause of the  Morgan letter).  This was utterly false.

 

The Blairs went to the police to try to get me prosecuted for sending malicious communications. The police immediately  sent the letters to the CPS who in a matter of hours  sent them back to the police marked NO CRIME. This was unsurprising because (1) I had never made any threats against the Blairs  and (2) the Blairs did not go to the police when I sent them the letters, but only later after I sent copies of my letters and the non-replies I was getting from the Blairs’ offices to the mainstream media during the first week of the 1997 Election campaign.

Despite all that Special Branch were set on me (the Mirror story blithely reported this) and I spent Blair’s entire premiership being harassed  by what were almost certainly state agencies, everything from death threats to the ostentatious opening of my post.

Sir Richard Body put down this EDM in 1999 on my behalf after my own MP Frank Dobson refused to help me:

10 November 1999

CONDUCT OF THE RIGHT HONOURABLE MEMBER FOR SEDGEFIELD 10:11:99

Sir Richard Body

That this House regrets that the Right honourable Member for Sedgefield [Tony Blair] attempted to persuade the Metropolitan Police to bring criminal charges against Robert Henderson, concerning the Right honourable Member’s complaints to the police of an offence against the person, malicious letters and racial insult arising from letters Robert Henderson had written to the Right honourable Member complaining about various instances of publicly-reported racism involving the Labour Party; and that, after the Crown Prosecution Service rejected the complaints of the Right honourable Member and the Right honourable Member failed to take any civil action against Robert Henderson, Special Branch were employed to spy upon Robert Henderson, notwithstanding that Robert Henderson had been officially cleared of any illegal action.

This motion is now part of the official House of Commons record – see  http://edmi.parliament.uk/EDMi/EDMDetails.aspx?EDMID=16305&SESSION=702

 

I think the best thing I can do to place the Morgan letter in context is to reproduce the letter with my comments interposed in brackets with RH at the beginning. Here it is :

 

FROM THE EDITOR

Piers Morgan’s letter with Robert Henderson’s comments interpolated

By fax (0171-353 8355) & by post

16 October 1997

Your ref: 970738

Christopher Hayes Esq

Press Complaints Commission

I Salisbury Square

London

EC4Y 8AE

 

Dear Mr Hayes

Mr Robert Henderson

I refer to Mr Henderson’s complaint as outlined in his letter of 23 September.

As you are aware, we have been in contact with Mr Henderson for some time due to his propensity to bombard individuals and this office with correspondence. [RH Translation: Mr Henderson sent more than one letter because the Mirror refused to reply].

There are certain irrefutable facts that escape emphasis in Mr Henderson’s correspondence.

Far from ignoring any of his correspondence we have written to him on the 20 May, 22 July and 6 August. [RH The letter of 20 May merely said he was not going to enter into correspondence. The other two letters were from his legal department in response to Subject Access Requests I made under the data Protection Act]. We have consistently made it clear that we have no intention of entering into any further correspondence  with him.

Be that as it may I will address his concerns:-

In essence, the basic “sting” of the article, of which he complains, was that he had been sending numerous insulting letters, some with racist undertones, to Mr and Mrs Blair which had been passed to the Crown Prosecution Service for consideration.

Mr Henderson himself admits that he sent Mr and Mrs Blair at least thirteen letters. [RH I sent each an initial letter detailing the problem and then follow ups along the lines of "I have  yet to receive a meaningful answer to my letter of ...." ] I have no way of directly knowing of the content of those letters because I have not had sight of them. However, clearly they sufficiently concerned Mr Blair’s office to be passed to the Crown

Prosecution Service [RH The CPS said as soon as they saw the letters that they were entirely legal] and I think the Commission is perfectly entitled to draw an adverse inference on the contents of those letters as a result of that referral.

I cannot accept Mr Henderson’s explanation for writing to Cherie Blair.

To do so was clearly designed to intimidate.

In Mr Henderson’s draft article “Moral Simpletons Target Innocent Man” the bile that he shows on the second page of that article clearly illustrates his capacity to insult in his letters to Mr and Mrs Blair [RH an absurd deduction. What I wrote to the Mirror says nothing about what I wrote to the Blairs] (to the extent that they be referred to the Crown Prosecution Service). I would also refer the Commission to Mr Henderson’s gratuitous reference to a “Blaireich”.

He also admits to expressing his disgust (we can only guess in what terms) of the decision of Mr and Mrs Blair not to send their son to a school whereby a white schoolboy was, apparently, murdered by five  other boys (and that that murder was racially motivated). [RH This was the Richard Everitt murder].

The police source of our article (whose identity we have a moral obligation to protect) [thus the police informant behaved illegally by supplying the information] gave us the detail of the letters that we then published. Nothing that Mr Henderson writes has convinced me that the article was anything other than accurate.

Perhaps one can get a flavour of his correspondence with Mr and Mrs Blair by examining the final sentence of his draft article in which he states “It was a cargo of ancient male gonads”.

The Commission may be aware (I am attempting to get hold of the article) that the article of Mr Henderson’s that appeared in Wisden’s Cricket Monthly in 1995 gave rise to an extraordinary amount of controversy and resulted in Wisden paying substantial libel damages to the Cricketer, Devon Malcolm, whom the Commission will be  aware is a coloured fast bowler for England. As I understand the  matter, and Mr Henderson will correct me if I am wrong, the article implied that coloured players will not try as hard when playing for England as white players. [RH The article put it forward as a possibility, no more].

I have discussed the legal position with the newspaper’s solicitor, Martin Cruddace [Cruddace is a proven liar. He made a declaration to my Subject Access Request under the Data protection Action to the effect that the Mirror held no qualifying documents. Eventually after I had done some detective work, he had to admit that the Mirror had a small matter of 118 pages of documents relating to me], and he has assured me that the law has recently developed whereby words (be they written or spoken) can constitute assault if the pattern of those words is such as to make the  recipient of them either anxious or ill. It has developed as a reaction to the former impotence of the law on stalking. [RH: No person in the UK has been convicted of such a crime. The definition of GBH has been extended to non-physical abuse such as abusive phone calls but it requires a psychiatric illness to be proved to be caused by the alleged abusive behaviour. Mere emotions such as fear do not qualify. The failure of the police to consider such a course and the CPS’ immediate definition of the case as “NO CRIME” shows that my letters were entirely lawful] .The law has therefore developed since the publication of the dictionary reference on which Mr Henderson relies.

I cannot accept that the taking of the photographs of Mr Henderson, given the clear public interest concerning the subject matter of The Mirror article, could possibly constitute harassment under the Code.[RH it was an unequivocal offence because the photographer took the photograph within my property].

I am most concerned not to waste any further time in dealing with Mr Henderson’s complaint but, naturally, if the Commission wishes me to address any further matters then I will endeavour to do so.

However, I hope that the above is sufficient to convince the Commission that the basic “sting” of the article is accurate and that Mr Henderson’s complaint ought to be dismissed.

Yours sincerely

 

Piers Morgan

Finally, Leveson refused to use any of the material relating to Morgan and the Mirror, this despite the fact that Morgan was asked under oath whether he had received information illegally from the police. Leveson was so desperate to write me out  of the story that he arranged for my name to be omitted from his report as one of those who had made submissions to the Inquiry.

I would dearly like to meet you to take you through the detail of the case.

Yours sincerely,

 

Robert Henderson

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