Category Archives: Politics

The truth is the British are  against further mass immigration full stop

British Future report says 25% of British adults want all immigrants repatriated

Robert Henderson

The desperate attempts of the Remain  side to paint those who wish to leave the EU as,   at one and the same time,  racist and unrepresentative of the British as a whole are ludicrous. Both claims cannot be true because  polls  show  that the numbers  wanting to vote to leave are at worst on a  par  with those who wish to leave.

Polls and research on immigration to the UK invariably give a majority against future mass  immigration despite the strong incentive of those canvassed for their opinion to give either the politically correct answer  for fear of being called a racist or to look for what they consider is a safe proxy for saying they want an end to mass immigration or at least see  a severe reduction in numbers. The proxies they choose  are statements   made by mainstream politicians which are  deemed safe to repeat simply because  they have been sanctioned  by their use by politicians.  This leads  people to say things such as “It is alright provided they work and pay their way” or “We should have a points systems like Australia”. This of course does not address express the  real wishes  of most of the British public , but those making such statements  feel  they  dare not get  nearer  to the truth  of what they feel because that is the limit of what is permitted by the  politically correct elite.

What are the real feelings about immigration  of the British? They are far more antagonistic  to it than  politicians or the mainstream media allow.   In 2014 the think-tank British Future  published  the report How to talk about immigration based on research conducted by ICM, Ipsos MORI and YouGov. This  purports  to provide a blueprint for both the pros and antis in the immigration debate  to manage the subject  most effectively in public discussion.  This is not something which they achieve because they have bought into the internationalist agenda, viz: “Some three or four generations on from Windrush, it is now a settled and irreversible fact that we are a multi-ethnic society. Managing immigration effectively and fairly in the public interest  should and does matter to Britons from different ethnic backgrounds. We should be suspicious of approaches that sharply polarise British citizens along racial lines, in whatever direction”.

Nonetheless the research  does have much of interest.  One finding  is truly startling. Faced with the question  “The government should insist that all immigrants should return to the countries they came from, whether they’re here legally or illegally”  the result was Agree 25%, disagree 52% and neither 23%. (P17 of the report).  In addition, many of those who said no to forced repatriation were also firm supporters of strong border controls and restrictive  immigration policies.

The fact that 25% of the population have overcome their fear of  falling foul of the pc police and say that they do not merely want immigration stopped but sent into reverse is  stunning. Moreover, because political correctness has taken such an intimidating place in British society it is reasonable to assume that a substantial number of those who said they disagreed did so simply out of fear of being accused of racism.

The obverse of the immigration coin was shown by the question “In an increasingly borderless world, we should welcome anyone who wants to come to Britain and not deter them with border controls” (P16 of the report).  The results were 14% agree, 67% disagree and 19% don’t know.

That only 14% support such a policy compared to the 25% who  wished for forced repatriation is striking in itself, but  it is even better for the  opponents of immigration than it looks for two reasons. First, the 14%  of those who agreed with the question will be the honest figure because to say that you want open borders carries with it no penalties from the pc police  and will gain the person brownie points amongst the politically correct elite and their auxiliaries. Second,  as already mentioned, the 25% of those wanting forced repatriation of all immigrants will understate the true position because a significant proportion of those questioned with be lying out of fear.

The report also shows that older voters are more likely to be those who are most strongly opposed to immigration (P11 of the report).  That is important because older voters are the most likely to vote.

Taking all that into account  it is reasonable to assume that a referendum with the question “Do you wish to end mass immigration?”  would result in a solid probably an overwhelming YES vote.

These facts  should persuade politicians that they would risk nothing if they move much further to restrict  immigration than they have already done and in so doing  that they would  gain  considerable  extra electoral support.

This may well happen. Public rhetoric  about immigration is rapidly hardening There will come a tipping point where  the rhetoric  has departed so far from the politically correct position that serious  action to restrict immigration will occur because the stretch between rhetoric and action will  become too great to sustain in a society where governments are elected.

A party political  bidding process on the  subject of immigration is already taking place  and there will come a point where serious action has to follow  or there will be a very real chance that either one or more of the mainstream parties will become irrelevant and be superseded, or members of the mainstream parties will wrest control of these parties from their pc indoctrinated leadership  and adopt a policy on immigration  closer to what the public wants.

The other important effect of greater political honesty in political utterances about immigration is that it makes  it much easier for people generally to speak openly about their feelings on the subject and to lobby for radical action.   In  turn this will feed the desire of politicians to gain electoral credibility by being  ever former in their immigration policies.  Indeed, the only reason that the present immigration has been allowed to develop is because the subject has been effectively wiped off the public debate agenda since the1970s.

In the immediate context of the EU referendum those supporting the leave campaign should have no fear or embarrassment in making clear that after the question of sovereignty – from which all else flows – that the most important issue is immigration.  That is what will win the referendum  for the leave side.

 

 

Criticism of Israel and anti-Semitism

Robert Henderson

The politically correct (and safe) attitude for those who wish to distinguish criticism of Israel as a state  from anti-Semitism is that Israel is one thing and worldwide  Jewry quite another.  Intellectually this is a respectable position  for  many Jews are critical of Israel’s actions and there has always been a residue of Jews who have been opposed to the existence of the modern state of Israel. The problem is that many Jews, including very influential ones, do not make such a clear distinction. Consider these recent words by the Chief Rabbi of Britain Ephraim Mirvis:

“It is astonishing to see figures on the hard Left of the British political spectrum presuming to define the relationship between Judaism and Zionism despite themselves being neither Jews nor Zionists. The likes of Ken Livingstone and Malia Boattia claim that Zionism is separate from Judaism as a faith; that it is purely political; that it is expansionist, colonialist and imperialist.

“It is unclear why these people feel qualified to provide such an analysis of one of the axioms of Jewish belief. But let me be very clear. Their claims are a fiction. They are a wilful distortion of a noble and integral part of Judaism. Zionism is a belief in the right to Jewish self-determination in a land that has been at the centre of the Jewish world for more than 3,000 years. One can no more separate it from Judaism than separate the City of London from Great Britain.

“To those who so eagerly reach for a vicious Holocaust reference in order to exact the maximum amount of pain and offence upon “Zionists”, I say: You are spreading that ancient and insidious virus of anti-Semitism. Look around you”

“Open a Jewish daily prayer book used in any part of the world and Zionism will leap out at you. The innumerable references to the land of Israel are inescapable and demonstrative. Throughout our collective history we have yearned for a chance to determine our own future, to revive an ancient language and return to rejoice in our love for this tiny sliver of land. Zionism is a movement celebrated by people right across the political spectrum, all over the world, and requires no endorsement or otherwise of the particular policies of any Israeli Government at any time.”

There are two serious problems with that. To begin with the Chief Rabbi is saying that no one but a Jew or a Zionist (and probably only a Jewish Zionist) is qualified to have  an opinion on the subject.  That is always the sign of someone without an argument to support their position.   Then   he makes a claim which to the vast majority  of non-Jews and I suspect a considerable number of  Jews will seem absurd,  namely,  that  Jews have a claim  to a land that they controlled only intermittently during the millennium before the Christian era and which ceased to be even  a  vassal state  of Rome after  the Emperor Titus effectively  destroyed the ancient kingdom of Israel in 70 AD.

Stripped of all pretension. A  people’s right to land of their own is won by occupation and retained by  the ability and willingness of a people to defend the territory,  whether by their own efforts  or in alliance with other people.   There is no God-given or legal title to a land.  To claim a land as sovereign territory after a lapse of  two millennia is best described as bizarre.

The idea of a homeland for the Jews was boosted by the British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour  during the Great War. What became known as the  Balfour Declcaration  was contained in this letter:

Foreign Office

November 2nd, 1917

Dear Lord Rothschild,

I have much pleasure in conveying to you. on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet

His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.

I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.

Yours,

 

Arthur James Balfour

Although it has  often been  treated as a quasi-legal pledge by  Jews , all  the Balfour Declaration did was commit  the British Government  of the day to do  was  support and facilitate the idea.    It is simply a pledge by a government at a particular time. At any time a future British government could simply refuse the commitment. A later British government had no qualms about refusing to honour pledges to Arabs made on the government’s behalf by T. E. Lawrence.  It is also worth noting that the Balfour Declaration conflicted with the promises of self-determination Lawrence made  to the Arabs.  In no way can the Balfour Declaration be considered as providing a legal right to establish the modern state of Israel. Moreover, Balfour’s  condition “that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine” is problematical to say the least . It is difficult to see how a Jewish Homeland  formed not simply from Jews already in Palestine and to be swelled potentially by millions of Jews around the world  could not interfere with the “civil and religious rights” of non-Jews already in situ. As for the UN’s vote granting recognition to the

But even putting aside the views such as those held by the Chief Rabbi it is difficult to disentangle anti-Israeli feeling  from anti-Semitism. The state of Israel is  an explicitly  Jewish  state which operates what in our very  politically correct world would be considered by the politically correct to be  a racist immigration policy  if practised by any other state  –  Jews will be, with a few exceptions such as  a history of criminality,  accepted automatically as citizens under the “right of return”  but non-Jews will not (an exception is made for non-Jews who have some Jewish  ancestry ). It is also true that Jews outside of Israel do have a strong tendency  to be uncritical supporters of Israel, and in the case of the American Jewish lobby, they can exercise a dangerous amount of influence, especially over US foreign policy in the Middle East to support the interests of Israel at the expense of America’s interests. The ex-Labour MP Tam Dalyell expressed similar reservations about undue Jewish influence over British  foreign policy in 2003: “Mr Dalyell said: “I am worried about my country being led up the garden path on a Likudnik, [Ariel] Sharon agenda”, adding that “Straw, Mandelson and co” were leading “a tremendous drive to sort out the Middle East”. “   His reward was to be threatened with investigation for inciting race hate.

Nonetheless, despite these serious complications  I think a distinction can be made between anti-Semitism and being anti-Israel.  Let me use myself as an example.  I am against Western support for  Israel on the simple British and Western national interest ground that it is  a never to be healed running political sore promoting  anti-Western sentiment  in the Arab world and increasingly so amongst Muslims generally.   I would  not suggest  any positive Western action to overthrow the state. All I  advocate is that the West should withdraw, military, economic and diplomatic support from  the country.  That I would argue is not anti-Semitic merely the following of Western national interest.

The existence of Israel is ultimately to the detriment of Jews generally because it generates hostility to them  everywhere, not necessarily from simple  anti-Semitism but  also because the repeated police/military  actions against  Arabs  and Palestinians in particular represents  Israel  to the world as brutal.  This is a propaganda  battle Israelis cannot win.

 

What should  reasonably count as illegal sexual activity with a minor ?

Robert Henderson

The   conviction of the Sunderland and England footballer Adam Johnson  for six years after he admitted   one charge of  grooming  a 15-year-old girl primarily through  the Internet  and one charge of sexual activity with the girl which consisted of kissing her   “in  a sexual fashion”. . He pleaded  not guilty to  two further charges of  sexual activity with the  girl and  was found guilty of one  charge by a 10-2 verdict of  the jury and innocent of the other.  The case is of general public interest because of  the severe  sentence  and the nature of the charges.

What had Johnson done to get such a heavy punishment? Raped the girl? No. Had sexual intercourse by consent whilst the girl was under age occurred?  No.   The sexual activity Johnson was convicted of was kissing and heavy petting,  including  putting his fingers inside the girl’s vagina. He was found not guilty of allowing the girl to perform fellatio on him. Johnson is appealing against sentence and   conviction

There was also an investigation of  pornography acquired by Johnson  which was described as classified as bestiality, presumably  involving women simulating  sex with an animal.. This matter did not result in any  charges.

Those are the bare facts.  Most people will probably consider Johnson’s behaviour distinctly unsavoury. However,   did it constitute what most people would regard as a crime and if it did would it be reasonable to expect the general public to understand that such behaviour was criminal?

Most  people in Britain  understand that intercourse with a girl under the age of 16 is illegal, but I would very much doubt that they imagine kissing or even penetrating a 15-year old  girl’s vagina with their fingers would be illegal. Indeed, they might  conclude that a man would have done  the latter  rather than attempt intercourse  precisely because he  thought it an act which would be legal.  Yet  section 10 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003  does make such penetration illegal,  viz:

Causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity

(1)A person aged 18 or over (A) commits an offence if—

(a)he intentionally causes or incites another person (B) to engage in an activity,

(b)the activity is sexual, and

(c)either—

(i)B is under 16 and A does not reasonably believe that B is 16 or over, or

(ii)B is under 13.

(2)A person guilty of an offence under this section, if the activity caused or incited involved—

(a)penetration of B’s anus or vagina,

(b)penetration of B’s mouth with a person’s penis,

(c)penetration of a person’s anus or vagina with a part of B’s body or by B with anything else, or

(d)penetration of a person’s mouth with B’s penis,

is liable, on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years.

(3)Unless subsection (2) applies, a person guilty of an offence under this section is liable—

(a)on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or both;

(b)on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years.

Ignorance of the law might be a legal dictum in England but there is such a volume of criminal offences today  and the law  so often changes these days that in practice it is simply unreasonable to expect  the ordinary Briton  to know  what is illegal except in the case of  clear cut core offences such as murder, rape and robbery.

Many will say that the age difference between Johnson and the girl  (he was 27 and she 15) make them feel queasy, but had the girl been 16 Johnson would have faced no charges and could legally have had intercourse with the girl.  Indeed, if the girl’s parents consented they could have married.  Thus a matter of months  stood between Johnson and a heavy  prison sentence. His  sentence is less than the average for rape,  which is around 8 years, but is still severe  being at the upper end of the the sentencing guidelines.   He will serve at least half the sentence unless he can persuade the Parole Board to release him early on licence. The part of the sentence he does not serve in prison will be on licence.  As he is a professional footballer that will end his career at any serious level even assuming any club would employ him.

The age of consent is also  contentious.   Even Western countries vary considerably.  In Austria, Germany, Portugal and Italy it is 14, and in France, the Czech Republic, Denmark, and Greece it is 15. The position is further complicated by  exemptions  based on age, for example, if both parties are under the age of consent but  close in age,  prosecution will not normally occur if there is consent; if  one of the parties is over the age of consent and one is not  but  the age difference between the two is small, say, the boy 17, the girl 15,   prosecution may well not occur.

Another troubling  thing about the case is the fact that Johnson was effectively given the same status as someone such as  a teacher who is deemed to be in a position of trust.  This is a very odd because Johnson is just a footballer.  His football club may get him to go into schools or  do charity work involving children but that does not mean he is employed to act in loco parentis to any person under the age of 18 he meets.  In this case according to media reports all Johnson has done here is encounter an adoring fan on a casual basis.  Section 22 of the Sexual Offences Act of  2003 states:

(1)The following provisions apply for the purposes of section 21.

(2)Subject to subsection (3), a person looks after persons under 18 if he is regularly involved in caring for, training, supervising or being in sole charge of such persons.

(3)A person (A) looks after another person (B) on an individual basis if—

(a)A is regularly involved in caring for, training or supervising B, and

(b)in the course of his involvement, A regularly has unsupervised contact with B (whether face to face or by any other means).2003 section 22 states

It is difficult to see how Johnson could have been in a position of trust as defined by the act.

Johnson has not behaved well, but not behaving well is not in itself a crime let alone one deserving four years in prison.  There is no doubt that under the law as it stands  he was liable to conviction on at least one of the sexual activity charges.  Nor can the sentence he was given be judged utterly unreasonable in view of the sentencing guidelines for sexual activity  convictions.   Looked at narrowly Johnson could have no complaints at his treatment even if his designation of  being in a position of trust is more than a little questionable .

The real concern is the state of the law. It  could well capture many people who  are oblivious of its present extremely wide remit and who honestly believe that provided no sexual intercourse occurs with someone under the age of consent, particularly with someone just under the age of consent,  no crime has been committed.   It is probable that hundreds of thousands of men over the age of 16 have kissed a girl under 15  in what the  law terms “sexually” or has engaged in heavy petting.  As for grooming, we already are seeing the police taking an interest in sexting. Do we really want large numbers of young men and women being criminalised,  many of whom would  be classified as children because the UK has signed up to the definition of a child as being  anyone under the age of 18, for behaving as the young  have always behaved, namely, explored their sexuality?

There is a good case for looking again at the age of consent with a view to reducing it to 15 and anything short of sexual intercourse where there is consent should not be a crime. Those who would argue that a girl of 15 would automatically be damaged by sexual experience at that age should reflect on the facts that many girls of that age are already engaging in such experience and that prosecution will rarely be taken against them or their sexual partner if there is not a large age gap.

The liberal internationalists idea of debate on immigration

The present state of the refugee crisis – report of meeting 20 January 2016

Venue: Church of St Mary-le-Bow

Meeting chaired by Andy Burns Executive Director of Capital Mass, a charity coordinating the Anglican church in London’s response to the flood of migrants heading for Europe

Speakers

Rt Revd Dr David S Walkerm, Bishop of Manchester

Emily Bowerman Programmes Manager at the Refugee Support Network with an MSc in Migration, Mobility and Development from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

I went to this meeting because from the personnel involved it looked nailed on to be an orgy of self-congratulatory political correct mutual grooming. Well, orgy would be the wrong word to describe what occurred because the two speakers were curiously lacking in energy with little to say beyond the banal and the meeting lasted for less than 90 minutes.  Nonetheless, the occasion was instructive for it demonstrated nicely both the blindness of the open borders supporters as to the wishes of the ordinary man and woman regarding immigration and their unspoken arrogance in imagining that they do not need to engage in debate with those who oppose mass immigration because they smugly imagine that such views can always  be safely censored out of public debate. In fact, it is not just that such people are unwilling to debate the issues raised by mass immigration , they simply do not know how to go about trying to refute the anti-immigration case so long is it since such debate regularly took place in public.

The meeting had barely begun than Martin Webster began a series of heckles with a complaint that the speakers and chairman were all drawn from the politically correct pro-immigration side. Andy Burns tried to stop Webster’s heckles by promising that he could ask questions at the end of the meeting,. This ploy was only partially successful. I must confess I am not a great fan of heckling generally because it invariably turns the audience against the heckler and if the intention is not simply to disrupt a meeting but rather to say something which you want the meeting to hear that is toxically counter -productive . Nonetheless, there was a more than an ordinarily strong case for using the tactic here because the two speakers made absolutely no attempt to address the problems, either immediate or long term, raised by mass immigration.

The Bishop produced a stream of platitudes and factual falsehoods about immigrants. He celebrated the fact that the BBC had begun to use refugees rather than migrants in their reporting of the story, blithely claimed that the immigrants were a net economic benefit to Britain and that immigration had negligible effects on the provision of public services and came out with the trite moral dictum t that to do a good thing for the individual regardless of the consequences for society was morally better than refusing to do the good thing on the grounds that it would have adverse consequences for society because the means could never justify the ends. This meant that all refugees should be helped because they were in immediate need of the good moral act.  When challenged by Webster’s heckling over why he was not addressing the effects of mass immigration and the British public’s discontent with what is an invasion by any other name, the Bishop blandly said that the wider debate about immigration was not for the meeting. He also refused to discuss the recent events in Cologne where hundreds of women were sexually and physically assaulted by immigrants.

Emily Bowerman’s role was simply to regale the audience with stories of immigrants from places as diverse as Afghanistan and North Korea who had come to Britain. The examples given were all tremendous advertisements for immigrants and immigration (natch) with no embarrassing references to immigrants behaving badly.

When it came to questions little time was given to Martin Webster or myself to put the contrary arguments against the politically correct open borders position.  However, I did manage to ask whether the speakers would support a referendum on immigration. The Bishop trotted out the weasel worded excuse that referendums were not part of the English tradition and he would not support one. I pointed out that he was no democrat but this produced no response.

Had I been allowed to speak at some length I would have made these points:

  1. Conquest does not have to be by force. Mass immigration permitted by ruling elites to whom treason is second nature is arguably the most effective conquest of all because it is diffuse and gradual, while the elites who permit it can use their power to intimidate the population through the criminalisation of anti-immigrant views and that part of the elite which controls the mainstream media can be relied upon to exclude public criticism of mass immigration and its consequences.
  2. That immigration on a massive scale results in a very strong tendency to form ghettos of immigrants from the same foreign places and this tendency is strongest where the immigrant groups is racially or ethnically strikingly different from the native population of the territory to which the groups migrate. The ghettos formed are unacknowledged colonies.
  3. Once ghettos are established the separation from the native population is carried down the generations.
  4. When an immigrant group becomes large enough to have political clout it can subvert the national interests of the native population and gain privileges and policy changes which suit them and disadvantage the native population. This can happen through native politicians selfishly putting votes for them and their party above the interests of the native population; from fear of threats of violence of immigrants within the national territory ; fear of a large nation from which the immigrant group comes acting against the recipient nation or simply adherence to an ideology such as political correctness which includes internationalism and the universality of homo sapiens.
  5. There are approximately 7 billion people in the world. At the most generous estimate only one billion live in advanced developed countries which have majority white populations. For convenience let us call that the West. Of that one billion probably 200 million are non-white. Already the basis for a conquest of the West through mass immigration is established.
  6. If high rates of immigration of non-whites into the West continue this will continue to dilute the ethnic balance and advantage of the Western native populations.
  7. Immigrant groups, and especially those coming from outside the developed world, have larger families on average than the native white populations of the West. This will further dilute the ethnic balance and advantage of Western the native populations.
  8. By 2050 the world population is projected to reach 9 billion with the increase overwhelmingly coming from non-white populations. The increase in the populations of countries from outside the developed world will cause millions more to try to reach the West.
  9. The larger the immigrant populations in Western states the harder it will be to control future immigration, because the immigrant populations which have not assimilated will have ever increasing political clout and in extreme cases, immigrant populations may become the majority. For example, it is easy to see how. a country such as Sweden, with a small native population of less than ten million, n could be overrun in as little as twenty years if immigration from the developing world continues at its presents rate.
  10. The threat to the native populations of the West is intensified because of the large proportion of immigrants who have been and continue to be Muslim. There is no Muslim majority country which does not disadvantage, formally or informally, non-Muslims within its midst.
  11. There are precious few countries in the world with a long continuous history of representative government. The UK, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Scandinavian countries and Switzerland qualify but no others. Some may raise an eyebrow at the omission of France but she has had five separate constitutions since the French Revolution began in 1789. The current immigration crisis could easily become so severe that the quite recent and fragile representative political systems in most of Europe broke under the strain to be replaced by dictatorships, disguised or otherwise.
  12. The most striking thing about the public debate amongst established mainstream politicians throughout the West is that while the interests of the immigrants are constantly lauded the interests of the native populations are invariably ignored .

You aint no realist bruv

Robert Henderson

The latest Muslim atrocities in the West  (ParisUSA and London) has been met with the frantic  recitation of the liberal internationalist’s favourite mantra to explain away such terrorism, namely, it is not committed by Muslims.

The attack in the Leytonstone tube station in outer London set the ball rolling in Britain when the   lone black attacker  shouted  “This is for Syria” prompting the response  “You ain’t no  Muslim bruv” from an onlooker,  a black Londoner  judged by his accent and the fact that he addressed the attacker as “bruv”, a term only common amongst blacks in Britain. The context also suggests  that the man is a Muslim.

The hashtag “You ain’t no  Muslim bruv”  was soon alive on twitter  and lavishly lauded by the politically correct as an example of how  to respond to  someone claiming to be a Muslim who had  stabbed  someone  and tried to  behead them.  The British PM  David Cameron aka NuTory Boy embraced the twitter tag using the cry while in the US Thomas Friedman came up with the all too predictable tag of “You ain’t no American bruv” to describe  Donald Trump after Trump had called for a temporary halt (note the temporary)  to Muslims visiting the USA.

To see how absurd it is to insist that that any person  who commits a violent act in the name of Islam is not a Muslim apply a few cases of  X cannot be a Y because X has committed a violent act to  non-Muslims:

– Christianity  from the time it became the official religion of the Roman Empire  was forced on people whether or not they wanted to be Christians. Hence,   none of the enforcers or the coerced  were Christians.

– The crusaders were not  Christians because they engaged in religious war against Muslims.

– The Catholic Church cannot be Christian because (1)  for the vast majority of its existence  it conducted or supported war against pagans and (2)  for the vast majority of its existence it persecuted mon-Catholics , most notably through the Inquisition.

– Protestants of almost all colours (pacifists like the Quakers are an exception) cannot be Christians because they have persecuted and fought against other Christians, both Protestant and Catholic.

Similar judgements could be made against  those who behaved in an immoral  way in the context of  other religions, for example, Buddhists who are  wilfully  violent, and  Confucians who  rebel against rightful authority. In fact there is not a religion or secular system of morality whose practitioners have not in huge numbers breached the beliefs of  their professed religious or ethical position. This is so because the history of human beings is predominantly a history of aggressive (as opposed to defensive) war, everything from the vendetta to formal warfare.

Then there is the question of the historical behaviour of  Muslims.  Islam from its beginnings was often , if not invariably, spread by the sword.  If   Muslims today are not Muslims if they engage in violence  other than in self-defence against non-Muslims, or Muslims of a different stamp whom they consider to be non-Muslims,  logically it must follow  that all those who have called themselves Muslim in the past were not Muslims if they had committed similar offences.

In short,  it is literally absurd to claim someone is not a true believer of any creed, whether  sacred or profane,  because no ideology is without its heresies,  schisms or the complications of a range of permitted belief.

There is also the ticklish problem that religions or secular ideologies often have concepts of what is moral which clash with other religions and ideologies. Those societies with the vendetta will view  revenge killings as a matter of honour and  entirely moral, while those without the vendetta will see such killing as a murder.

The claim that Muslims engaged in terrorist acts are not true Muslims is made doubly absurd by the fact that the Koran gives plenty of support to Muslims to engage in violence against non-Muslims, something which for groups such as ISIS includes huge numbers of Muslims of the “wrong” stamp.

Absurd or not the politically correct  politically correct  will continue to use the “they are not Muslims” because they desperately   wish to avoid  acknowledging  the frightening truth: that there are now tens of millions of Muslims in the West  who are there because of the immigration policies of the politically correct elites over the past 50 or 60 years . There are nearly three million Muslims in the UK , an increase of 45% since the 2001 census.  The figure for the EU including Britain is 44 million.  The USA has 2.75 million.

It would be no comfort if 99.9% of these people would not dream of engaging in terrorist acts for if even a tiny proportion of such populations   is willing to become terrorists that would mean large numbers of terrorists.  If one Muslim in a thousand in Europe is willing to become a terrorist  that would mean  44,000 Jihadis.  That is what the politically correct are hiding from and which increasingly terrifies them.

Understanding the mind of Jeremy Corbyn and co  

Robert Henderson

There will be many watching  the antics of the  Labour Party who will be wondering what on Earth is going on.  Corbyn  and his close associates  are constantly at war with most of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP)  including members of the Shadow Cabinet  while being regularly assailed with embarrassing political  connections from the past such as a rather cosy relationship with Irish Republicans and quotes which show them to be very  Hard Left personnel  indeed.   The unrelenting  absurdity of the situation was starkly demonstrated when  Corbyn attacked his shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn  for supporting  British military action in Syria.

The behaviour of Corbyn and those who surround him will seem inexplicably   bizarre to most, but to anyone used to the ways of the Hard Left it will come as no surprise for  Corbyn and his supporters are acting  exactly as one would expect such people to act.  They  are not interested in exercising democratically gained power because it  involves  compromising and that  would mean  they cannot remain ideologically pure. This is anathema to any true ideologue, so they prefer to behave  in ways ever more divorced from reality to remain within their ideological boundaries for that is , their first and end, to remain ideologically consistent. Consequently, they do not look at the practicality or consequences of a  policy or action  or even whether it will achieve their  overt ends. To have made their ideological statement is enough.  If they are Marxists, and most members of the Hard Left are, either self-consciously  or  simply because  Marxism  was the original foundation  of their ideology and has left its mark, they have the certainty of a believer  that although their policies may not appeal to a majority of voters theirs is the true way and the failure of the great mass of people  to recognise  this is simply false consciousness.  Best of all if they are self-conscious Marxists,  they are sure the historical process is unravelling to achieve the ends they desire regardless of how they behave,  for at best the Marxist can only hasten the process of history not change it fundamentally.  The Marxist also has no time for morality because that is merely a bourgeois  device to delay the inevitable end of history which is communism.   Because of this the Marxist never has any problem with allowing the end to  justify the means. This, incidentally, is a weakness of  the left generally.

Any normal person would be terminally embarrassed by both the lack of support  Corbyn is getting from the PLP and  the positions and people which Corbyn and others have embraced in the past.  The most embarrassing example is probably   Corbyn’s feeble  response to the Defence Review which Cameron immediately quashed by  quoting Corbyn as follows: “Why do have to be able to have planes, transport aircraft, aircraft carriers and everything else to get anywhere in the world? Why?”

“Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every politician around the world, instead of taking pride in the size of their armed forces, did what the people of Costa Rica have done and abolished the army and took pride in the fact that they don’t have an army, and that their country is near the top of the global peace index. Surely that is the way we should be going forward.”

But  the Hard Left are not normal people.  For them the fact that they are constantly shown to be inconsistent at best and wilfully dishonest at worst is irrelevant because  the only people they take any heed of are those who are part of their group of  true believers.  Any embarrassment they suffer is viewed by them as an honourable wound in the revolutionary fight.

There are two types of people who are attracted to ideology. The first and rare type are  the intellectuals who gain not only a sense of security  but an intellectual pleasure  from mastering   the ideology and twisting it into whatever bizarre shapes ideological purity requires when faced with reality. The second  and common type are the intellectually underpowered who crave a system of thought which does their thinking for them by providing them  with answers to everything.  Corbyn gives every indication  of being the second type, the strongest  indication of this  being the feebleness of his responses to subjects such as the Defence Review  and his  evasion of debate or hostile questioning whenever he can manage it.  It is also worth noting that his academic history is  weak, the best he could  muster being  two’ Es’ at A-Level, despite having had the advantage of a private education.  This is important because the less intellectually competent Corbyn is, the more stubborn he is likely to be.

What people like Corbyn want is to use prominent public positions as a propaganda platform and bring change not through the ballot box and a majority in the Commons, but by supporting and encouraging agitation by groups  outside of mainstream  politics such as trade  unions, pro-immigration bodies and students to gain by protest and strikes that which the ballot box will not deliver.  In fact, people with Corbyn’s mentality would probably secretly welcome being overthrown from within the Labour Party by a coup staged by the large majority of the  PLP who are utterly  dismayed by him , for this would  be seen in the mind of the Hard Left  as proof of what they have always said, namely, that democratic politics is a sham.  There is also a strong probability that Corbyn would be absolutely terrified at the prospect of becoming PM because he has zero political experience beyond being an infant terrible as a back bench MP who  voted hundreds of times against the Labour whip. He has not held  even the most humble of government or  shadow positions or chaired  a Commons committee.

Ridiculous as Corbyn may seem it is important understand that he is forging ahead with remaking the Labour Party.    Since he became leader Corbyn has pursued a  classic hard left strategy. Get a foothold on the power positions in an organisation; then expel the dissenters and bring your own people in.  Of course this cannot be done overnight when the organisation to be captured  and moulded is a major party in a parliamentary democracy because by its nature such a party is a broad coalition.  Nonetheless, Corbyn has already  placed many like minded people in his shadow cabinet such as John McDonnell as shadow chancellor and  employed special advisers from the Hard Left Like Seumas Milne as  Executive Director of Strategy and Communications who unburdened himself with this in 2006 in the Guardian: “ For all its brutalities and failures, communism in the Soviet Union, eastern Europe and elsewhere delivered rapid industrialisation, mass education, job security and huge advances in social and gender equality. It encompassed genuine idealism and commitment… Its existence helped to drive up welfare standards in the west, boosted the anticolonial movement and provided a powerful counterweight to western global domination…”

That is just the beginning of the Corbynisation of the Labour Party.  The Momentum organisation which has grown out of the  political engagement   generated by  Corbyn during the Labour leadership campaign.  What does Momentum seek to do? This:

Organise events, rallies, meet ups and policy consultations to encourage mass mobilisation for a more democratic, equal and decent society.

Encourage those inspired by Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign to get involved with the Labour Party. Assist members in making their voice heard in Labour Party debates.

Facilitate and coordinate people to build new and support existing organisations that can make concrete improvements to people’s lives. Through these actions, we aim to demonstrate on a micro level how collective action and Labour values can transform our society for the better.

So far Momentum’s main public showing has been for some members  to engage in the type of vicious trolling which taints the SNP cybernats.  Further down the line  the Corbyn plan is to push through compulsory re-selection of Labour MPs  and use Momentum to ensure the deselection of anti-Corbyn Labour MPs and their substitution  with Corbyn followers. Momentum will also be working to replace anti-Corbyn candidates who are not MPs with Corbynites.

In the meantime an attempt to silence Corbyn’s  many critics in the Parliamentary Labour Party  by controlling what they say on social media. Labour’s National Executive Committee are have agreed to the creation of a code of conduct on social media for Labour MPs  which will inhibit criticism of Corbyn.

It might be thought that  with a majority of Labour MPs opposed to Corbyn it would be easy enough to unseat him as leader within the next year  for only 20% pf the PLC need to nominate a challenger.  But the politics of the situation are much too messy for that to be the case.

The first stumbling block is Corbuyn’s overwhelming victory in the leadership election. To gain nearly 60% of the vote in a four horse race is astonishing. It shows how much a large segment of the Labour Party and its supporters are sick to the back teeth  with the Tory-lite of Blairism.  Nor is that support  a passing fad.  A recent YouGov  poll  showed 86% of Corbyn supporters in the leadership election  think he is doing a good job as leader, a view  shared by 66% of Labour voters.  Corbyn’s electoral mandate alone makes it difficult to mount a challenge to him and  the continued high levels of support he is getting from Labour members  bolster that mandate.  There is also the embarrassing lack of a strong candidate to challenge Corbyn.  Alan Johnson would be an obvious choice but he has more than once made it clear that he is not interested in becoming leader.

But suppose a challenge did arise, would Corbyn be required to gain 15% of the PLP to nominate him or would he be allowed to stand simply because he is leader?  This is not clear because Labour’s “politburo”  the National Executive Council  (NEC) would probably decide the matter.  But which ever  way the NEC decided the PLP would be  in a bind.  If Corbyn  did stand he would in all probability win the contest again, for it is difficult to see how it could be run on a different franchise than the vote which elected Corbyn leader.  Alternatively, if he  was unable to run because the NEC decided he had to meet the 15% of the PLP to nominate him and he was unable to do so,  that would quite reasonably be seen by both Labour supporters and to some degree the public at large as at best shabby and at worst straightforward chicanery.

Ironically, Corbyn has supported the idea of regular  vote to elect or re-elect a leader. During the leadership  election he said this:

“I think there should be an opportunity to elect or not elect the leader regularly, every one or two years – so that we don’t go into this idea that ‘The leader’s vulnerable, we’ve got to get rid of the leader or not get rid of the leader’, because the system is already there in place. Bring back democracy into the Labour Party and the labour movement.”

But even if such a regulation  was put in place,  if the franchise remains much as it is now Corbyn would probably win.   The problem for the anti-Corbynites is the fact that,  for all the absurdity of the day to day circumstances created by his election,  Corbyn represents not just the Hard Left but also a substantial number of voters  who do not want to see Britain getting into yet another futile war, who would be happy to see the utilities (the railways, energy companies and water companies) taken back into public ownership and above all those who have found their lives become more and more  precarious over the past decade or so as inequality has grown.

There are other  methods by which Corbyn might be persuaded to go   such as a mass resignation from his shadow cabinet, a large number of Labour MPs stating publicly he should go   or a vote of no confidence in Corbyn, all depend on the man not being stubborn and resigning. If  Corbyn refused to  resign,  and I suspect he would, they would be a dead letter.

The sad truth is that the Labour Party are in serious danger of ceasing to be a serious Party.  If Corbyn remains for any extended period there is every chance that the Party will split and become as irrelevant as a contender to form a government , either on their own or even  as the dominant party in a coalition.  That would not be healthy because it is not healthy for any democracy to have only one party or political grouping which has any hope of holding office.

The Tories and Blairites were ideologically hidebound fools to underestimate Corbyn

Robert Henderson

The attitude of Tories towards Jeremy  Corbyn ranges from amused condescension to  an unseemly childlike  and profoundly undemocratic glee as they  dream of a country with no serious political opposition to hinder them .   Blairites respond with poorly disguised incredulity  to the probability  that  a man who does not buy into the NuLabour credo will become the next Labour leader and gnash  their teeth and wail that  a Corbyn led  Labour Party will be at best  cast into the wilderness of opposition for a decade or more and at worst rent asunder never to be a serious political force again. In the mainstream media, most of whom  have sold their souls to the idea of free markets, free trade and the general paraphernalia of globalism, articles and editorials  forecast the end of days if Corbyn becomes  Prime Minister.

Interestingly, this hysteria  has not diminished   Corbyn’s popularity one whit and will  probably help fuel   his rise to what promises to be victory in the leadership race without the second preferences being counted.   Why has Corbyn  garnered so much support? The quick answer is he  offers  an alternative to the free market, free trade religion which has been fed incessantly to the public for decades as the only possible economic system for a modern state.

This immediately gives  the man  pull with those who have old Labour values, but he has attracted a much  wider range of support.  The young have flocked to his meetings.  Surprising at first glance in view of Corbyn’s age, but readily understandable  when it is remembered that   British politicians generally have either failed to comprehend or refused to admit that the world they have created over the past 30-40 years is much tougher and more uncertain for today’s young than it was for them when they were young,  with housing now hideously expensive, well paid jobs difficult to come by and university education leaving graduates with a debt of £40,000 or more and no suitable jobs to go to.   Corbyn is offering concrete policies to help them, not least a huge social housing programme.

But it is not just the young who are suffering.  There are millions of older people of working age through to those in retirement who no longer live a life with any real security, as they struggle with ever increasing private rents and zero-hours contracts.   Corbyn speaks to them as he speaks to the young.

Finally,  there are the huge numbers of people from  across the political spectrum who detested the  wars which Blair dragged Britain into and have a strong animus towards Blair himself.   Corbyn shares their views,  going so far as to state  that Blair should be tried for war crimes.

Why did the  British political class so misread Corbyn’s potential?  The Tories as a breed are simply insensitive in their approach to the poorer sections of society.  This is epitomised by their inability to understand that to those  living lives of great economic  uncertainty  there is nothing more enraging than to be constantly told  the colossal lie “We are all in this together” by rich politicians, as happened  in so often Britain after the Lehmann crash in 2008. They simply assumed that those who were not comfortably off and secure in their jobs and housing  could be ignored.

The most striking thing about  the Corbyn phenomenon is not that he looks as though he will win the leadership election with policies which bear some resemblance to Labour’s old core values. No, the real eye-opener is  how out of touch the Labour elite have become with the lives of ordinary people.  They  either believed  they could manipulate the vote to get the result they wanted  no matter what the electoral process was or so believed the Blairite gospel  of free markets and globalisation that they simply could not conceive of people voting for someone who had the audacity to suggest that Old Labour ideas of state ownership and a disengagement from military adventures  were the way forward.    Whichever reason it was, the Labour leadership was willing to agree to a new electoral process which chooses  the party leader  on the basis of  a  one man one vote  with the vote   granted   to  not only existing party members , but also to affiliated union members and every Tom, Dick and Harry who coughed up £3 to register as a supporter..

The potential dangers for the  Blairites in such a system (entryism from the left, enemies of the Labour Party voting and so on)  should have been obvious,  but they would have remained unimportant  had  Corbyn  been unable to get sufficient support from Labour MPs to go on the ballot form. If there was no Corbyn in the race all that would have been left were varieties of  Blairite to choose between.  The Labour elite’s blind belief in the unshakable dominance of Blairism is shown in the readiness of Labour MPs to give Corbyn enough votes to put him on the ballot.    Many who gave him their  vote  admitted it was simply to ensure there was a left wing candidate in the leadership, race much as Diane Abbott  was placed on the ballot for the previous leadership election.   When Corbyn entered the race his candidature was treated as a joke by the Tories and as of no more than a sentimental wave to Labour’s past.

In summary Corbyn is running rings around the other candidates because:

1) He offers something different. With him there is an alternative. The Blairites have been so  feeble because like all dominant politicians they have not had to argue their case within Labour  for a very long time. They ended up believing their own propaganda. Moreover, their case was never strong because Blairism is essentially Tory-lite plus political correctness writ large.

Blair hollowed out the Labour Party of all its core values: Thatcher did the same for the Tory Party. All we are left with are two neo-liberal internationalist parties wedded to globalism and political correctness.   Corbyn is offering the  chance of restoring some of those lost values to Labour.

2) Blairites and Tories are portraying Corbyn as  a member of the extreme left. This is objectively wrong.   Had Corbyn been putting forward his present ideas  thirty years ago as Labour MP he would have faced accusations of being a centrist sell-out. Worse for the Blairites they do not understand that many people who are  not rabidly left wing would welcome the energy companies, water companies, the Royal Mail and British Rail being returned to  public ownership because they understand instinctively that absolutely essential aspects of the economy should be in public hands. For such people this does not seem like leftwingery but a government just looking after the national interest. Ditto protectionist measures to protect British industry.

3) The people who attack him including the other candidates and many Labour MPs  offer no real argument against him. All they do is point at him  and say either that he is absurd or is living in the past.  They offer no  real argument against what he proposes. On economics his opponents simply assume that anyone who does not unreservedly  buy into the laissez faire religion is either mad or bad. The Tories and the Blairites are both making the mistake of imagining that pointing at Corbyn and shouting “socialist”, “looney left”, “nationalisations”,  “unions” will make him   profoundly politically toxic to the British electorate.

4) When he is attacked over potentially seriously damaging  issues such as  being rather too eager to sup with  terrorists or  the anti-semitic,  his accusers go way over the top.  For example, on his supposed  equivalence between Isis and the USA in Iraq, Corbyn has condemned Isis pretty emphatically and simply said that where the USA has behaved badly it is reasonable to say that should be condemned as well. Or take his wish to see the railways renationalised by letting the licenses run out. All the laissez faire gentry are saying it cannot be done because of the cost and legal quibbles over ownership of assets such as rolling stock.   This is obvious nonsense because the East Coast line was taken back into public ownership without any cost or difficulty and run efficiently.   The effect of such exaggeration negates the criticism which could reasonably be put on Corbyn.

5) In the present circumstances Corbyn has the priceless asset of not having an aggressive personality. That makes the increasingly angry  attacks on him seem absurd.

6) Corbyn actually answers questions rather than trotting out soundbites. Moreover, his answers mostly show he has been well prepared on anything which is likely to crop up. You may  not agree with his policies – I disagree with many of them – but at least Corbyn presents a coherent plan of action for this policies.

7) He doesn’t panic when asked awkward questions.

8) Unlike the three other candidates Corbyn is a recognisable human being, someone untrammelled by focus groups and advisers or years in office being controlled by the party elite

  1. The other candidates haven’t got an ounce of personal authority between them. You watch them robotically trot out the NuLabour mantras and think, God, is this the best the Labour Party can do for a leader?

All that Corbyn promises may well turn out to be pie-in-the-sky. But that is to miss the valuable public service the man is doing.  If Corbyn becomes leader, and perhaps even if he does not but makes  a strong showing, the timeworn  consensus between the Tory and Labour Parties will be broken. That alone  would be a healthy development because it would force not merely the Labour Party to develop and justify its ideological position but also shift the Tory Party from a blind belief in laissez faire economics.

Corbyn, although a strange bedfellow, also has great utility for those who wish to leave the EU. He has given strong indications that he might well move to the OUT camp. To have the leader of one of our two major parties  campaigning to come out would be a massive boost to the OUT campaign.

The digital tyranny – The threat posed by a cashless society

Robert Henderson

We are in danger of sleepwalking into a cashless society. More and more purchases are made by electronic means , through standing orders,  direct debits, debit cards  or credit  cards.   Debit and credit  card purchases already account for over a third of UK GDP and more than three quarters of retail purchases (up from 46% in 2003), while  card and computer purchases have just overtaken UK cash sales.

The next logical step  towards  a cashless society is to have laws which allow private businesses  and any public body  which charges for  its services  to refuse cash payment.  Denmark is seemingly  taking the first tentative steps along that road.  The Danish Government has proposed legislation which if passed  will  remove the obligation to take cash from retail outlets such as petrol stations,  clothes shops  and restaurants next year.

With the combination of more and more people using  methods of payment other than cash and the willingness of technologists to  feed the trend with ever more sophisticated and comprehensive  systems of  cashless payments, there is no reason to think that this trend towards  making cash dysfunctional will stop unless governments take a hand and prevent cash from becoming  defunct by law.  This development  is alarming because the abolition of physical money would  carry  tremendous dangers in terms of  the opportunities for  state authoritarianism  and simple practicality.

The dangers  from state authoritarianism are:

  1. There would be no money which could be held which was not potentially known to the state, because with only electronic money available it would have to be stored electronically and be accessible via the Internet  if it was to be useable.

But what about using virtual currencies such as Bitcoin?  Apart from the dangers of such a means of exchange – the great volatility in value, the frauds which are occurring where Bitcoin is stolen, the lack of a lender of last resort and a restricted range of  goods and services which can be bought – Bitcoin still  needs  to be stored electronically and hence is  potentially identifiable and accessible to governments. There would also be an audit trail from an individual’s source of electronic money  to the purchase point of a virtual currency  like Bitcoin. The only exception would be if someone sold something or did paid work for someone and was paid in a virtual currency like  Bitcoin.

If Britain  went cashless and others did not the likelihood is that a black market in foreign cash such as dollars would  arise in Britain.  There would also be the possibility of exchanges made by barter or a product such as cigarettes becoming a de fact currency.

  1. A cashless system would allow the state to have all  electronic money stored in a central government controlled place.  This would leave  the  individual  at the mercy of the state which could deny electronic money to anyone within their jurisdiction by cancelling or blocking their means of payment.
  2. The state could more readily control the money supply if all bank accounts were  under the control of the state and physical cash did not exist.  The state would be able to manipulate public economic behaviour by  imposing a negative interest rate when increased spending is deemed desirable  – people save less because it costs them money – and a transaction tax every time a purchase is made  – people spend less if because it will cost them to make a purchase – if it is thought an economy is over heating.
  3. The state could remove money from your account at will.
  4. The opportunities for general surveillance of the individual both by the state and by private corporations or individuals would be greatly increased.

The problems of practicality are:

1.The idea  assumes that everyone can  afford a  computer of some sort, whether that be a mobile phone, tablet or desktop, and can afford to replace their means of getting access to the Internet  every few years at best.  The reality is that millions of people are too  poor to be able to meet such costs.  The taxpayer would have pay for access to electronic money for those too poor to buy their own.

  1. Many people cannot use the digital technology.  Huge numbers of people  are still not using  this technology. The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates that  11% of the UK population (approximately 6 million) has never  used the Internet.  Moreover, the ONS did not ask for frequency of use merely whether someone had used the Internet When the ONS asked whether people had used the Internet in the three months prior to the question being asked,   only 86% answered yes.  Thus 14% of the population had either not used the Internet for more than three months  or   had never used it and, importantly,  only 68% of disabled people had used the Internet in the previous 3 months. Clearly there will be large numbers of people, including  the most vulnerable in society,  who will seriously struggle to use digital technology for the foreseeable future. If cash becomes illegal many of  these people will literally not be able to live if they cannot understand the technology or have no one to operate it for them.

3.The computer systems which support a cashless society will inevitably be subject to  regular disruption, whether from hacking or simple failure because,  as we all know,  digital technology frequently goes wrong and the system downtime can be considerable.   Imagine being unable to access the only means you have of paying for something.  It would probably be necessary to have more than one electronic payment device because of this, although that would not help if the fault was not with your payment device but with that of those from whom you wished to make a purchase.

  1. Many people will have their means of accessing electronic money stolen  or lose it themselves.  They would then need to replace their equipment which allowed them to access their electronic money.  Many would not be able to afford to do so and those most likely to lose or have their electronic money access  equipment stolen  would be the old and the disabled.

A cashless society would have considerable attractions for a government. It would greatly extend the power of the state over the individual. Crime generally might  be reduced without  physical cash to oil the felonious wheels, although cybercrime would become more tempting in the absence of banks to rob and people to mug. Tax evasion would become very difficult for most people (the rich would simply move their money to other jurisdictions) .  There would also be the saving on the abolition of the need to maintain a physical money supply.  Banks  and other financial institutions would also welcome the abolition of cash as it would remove the considerable cost of physically handling cash and maintaining a branch network.

The danger is that cash will become defunct by default,  because the Government shows no interest in protecting cash and arguably is surreptitiously encouraging  its demise by making it either impossible or very difficult to access public services in any way other than through the Internet.  We could reach a point where, say, 90% of the population use electronic money  and a government simply says it is time to go cashless ignoring the fact that millions of people who cannot use electronic money will be left in the soup. Politicians need to be lobbied now to ensure that  the maintenance of cash remains a legal requirement.

But it is not just a case of ensuring that cash remains a legal requirement. Even a  widespread refusal to accept cash  by businesses and other corporate bodies which charge for their services  would be seriously socially disruptive. That idea also needs to be knocked on the head  by making it illegal to refuse cash in payment for anything.

Get writing to your MP.

What can we learn from the  2015 British General Election?

Robert Henderson

  1. With First Past The Post less than 37% of votes cast (and less than 25% of registered voters) can give you a majority in the House of Commons , while nearly four million votes (for Ukip) can get you one seat in the House.
  2. The Conservative performance in terms of Commons seats was better than it looks because the size of UK constituencies varies considerably and  on average it takes substantially more votes to elect  Conservative MPs than it does a Labour MP in England  or MPs  in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.  Had the boundary changes put forward  in 2013 to produce more equal  sized  constituencies  not been blocked by the LibDems,  this would have favoured the Tories significantly, perhaps giving them another 20 seats.
  3. The reason for the failure of the pollsters to come anywhere near to the election result is simple: they tend to rely on telephone  and online polls.  Both routinely  result in samples which are not representative of the population. Telephone polls are  undermined by  the large number of people who are unwilling to answer questions  and the time of day  when calls are made, for example, if you ring during the day you are likely to get  a different sample than if you ring in the evening.  Online polls rely on (1) people being online and moderately  IT savvy – which excludes many people – and (2) what are in effect focus groups formed of people who put themselves forward  (which will mean they are unrepresentative   of the general  population regardless of the attempt to choose them in the context of their backgrounds ) who are questioned regularly( which precludes even the basic shuffling of the sample pack created every time an entirely  new sample is questioned.)
  4. The exit poll came much closer to the actual result because (1) it was a very large sample (20,000), (2) people were interviewed face to face and (3) the people interviewed had actually voted.  The pollsters need to go back to face to face interviewing and more rigorous selection of polling samples.
  5. The Conservative Party has a formal Commons majority of 12. Sinn Fein have  four  seats and if they follow their normal practice of not taking up those seats the majority would effectively  be 16.  Add in the Speaker of the House who does not  vote except when a vote is tied,  and the majority is effectively 17  (The  Commons has 650 MPs. Deduct the Sinn Fein MPs and the Speaker and a practical majority is 323. The Tories have 331 seats. That leaves 314 opposition MPs.  The practical majority is 17).   Such a majority is just about a working one.
  6. Even a twelve seat majority is functional because though it may look fragile, in practice all opposition MPs will  not vote against the government on many  issues. This can be for  ideological reasons (they broadly  agree with the legislation), they think voting against a Bill would play badly with the public or the simple fact that the Scottish, Welsh, Northern Irish and many opposition English seat MPs have constituencies which are hundreds of miles away from London.  Tory seats tend to be much nearer London than opposition ones. Moreover, if the government wants to play difficult , they can  always refuse to allow pairing of MPs (MPs of different parties agree not to vote, thus cancelling one another’s votes  out) .  That would put a burden on their own MPs,  but much less of a one than that placed on opposition MPs, because, as  already explained,  Tory   MPs  on average have much less distance to travel to and from their constituencies than do opposition MPs.
  7. The size of the Conservative majority will give their backbenchers far more leverage  on the government. This will be healthy because it will re-assert the power of the Commons over the executive .
  8. In the first couple of years much of the major legislation going through will command widespread support amongst Conservative MPs. However, if the Cabinet starts backtracking on their manifesto promises the Tory backbenchers will want to know the reason why  and will rebel if pushed too hard in a direction they do not wish to go. (Cameron  was rash  enough at the first Cabinet meeting  of the new government to promise that the Tory manifesto would be implemented in full – go in at 11.32 am ) .
  9. Because of the small majority, the Conservative government should push through as soon as possible all their most important legislation. This  includes the EU referendum , English votes for English laws, the delayed boundary changes and  the repeal of the Human Rights Act.  The House of Lords can delay passing a Commons Bill for about a year. After that the government can force it through using the Parliament Act.
  10. The government would be well advised to repeal the Fixed term Parliaments Act, not least because the small majority is likely to diminish before the end of the Parliament and even if it does not it will be very difficult for the government party to maintain its discipline for five years. The danger is a repeat of the last years of the Major government  which saw  constant Tory infighting and precious little being done in the last eighteen months or so.
  11. The election told us that both the Tories and Labour are parties devoid of principle. Thatcher hollowed out the Tory Party converting it from a party which stood broadly for the national interest, strong on defence, protectionist where strategic industries such as coal were concerned  , with its  natural paternalism of the past sublimated into an acceptance of the welfare state.  Blair  cut out the central moral purpose of the Labour Party (to protect the poor  and unfortunate) and replaced it with a  toxic hybrid  of Thatcherism with its the  mania for  privatisation both wholesale and piecemeal  and greatly  increased state spending, much of which was spent to no good purpose and whose justification seemed to be no more than the spending of the money for its own sake to show how “caring” NuLabour were.
  12. While the SNP remain strong in Scotland Labour has no realistic chance of achieving an overall majority in the Commons.  It is worth noting that Labour  won  232  seats  in this election compared with compared with 258 in the 2010 Election, a loss of 26 seats.  As Labour lost 40 of their 41 seats in Scotland  and only one seat in Wales this means they gained 13 seats in England. Thus there is some small glimmer of hope for Labour to if not win form a coalition as the leading party in it after  the next General  Election  if the SNP vote collapses and the  Labour vote increases by a few percentage votes in England. However, it is a very slim hope at present.
  13. For the foreseeable future Labour are only  likely to  form a coalition government  with the SNP.
  14. Labour primarily did poorly because they have for long neglected  the white working class (which was the natural bedrock of their support)   and instead pandered to a motley collection of minority interest groups,  most notably racial and ethnic minorities. Because they had split their support they ended up trying to produce a message which would appeal to wildly disparate groups. Their “core vote” strategy, which involved appealing to around a third of voters and then either adding a few more votes to gain a majority  or at worst  to  be the dominant partner in a left of centre coalition, was both contemptible in a democracy because it ignored the interests of the majority and, as it turned out, a  hideous failure.
  15. If the Labour Party had been in a position to form a coalition they would have found themselves between the devil and the deep blue sea. If they had been able to form a majority  in  coalition with the SNP that would have finished them as an English party: if  they refused to form such a coalition they would have been ruined in Scotland and damaged  them in Wales on the grounds of having let in the Tories.
  16. SNP political leverage within the House of Commons can only exist while there is no English Parliament. Create an English Parliament and the SNP are emasculated . The popularity of the SNP in Scotland is unlikely to last because there is growing dissatisfaction in Scotland at both its economic mismanagement and its increasingly authoritarian behaviour. Time is the enemy of the SNP as the dark reality of what they have created comes to fruition.
  17. It has been claimed by many political commentators that a Tory government was just what the SNP wanted because it would fan the flames of Scottish nationalism and bogus  victimhood.  If this was the reasoning of the SNP leadership it was extremely stupid because it has rendered their party impotent at Westminster .  The intelligent strategy for Sturgeon to have followed  before the election would have been to say that the SNP  would  not have any formal relationship, whether coalition or a looser agreement , but would  support any legislation which fitted in with SNP policies.   There should have been no ruling out of any agreement with anyone, no demonising of any other Westminster Party, no threatening of England, no  trying to portray the SNP  as forcing left facing  policies on England  as being for England’s good .  Had she done that the Tories might well not have been able to form a government off their own bat.  Instead Sturgeon handed the Tories a victory which, if the Party was run by someone willing to look to England’s interests,  would have left the SNP to twist impotently in the wind .
  18. Wales and Northern Ireland have no serious wish to become independent, not least because they are economic basket cases which are heavily dependent on English taxpayers’ money.
  19. This was a profoundly dishonest election. There was a disturbing lack of debate by the major parties on  important policy areas with   foreign policy, defence, energy ,  food self-sufficiency and  the imbalanced devolution settlement which grossly disadvantages England  being  barely addressed.  Other major issues, for example immigration and the still massive deficit in the UK’s public finances were mentioned often enough,  but  without any proposals being put forward which would plausibly  tackle the problems involved.  Apart from Ukip, parties were either   for open borders (The Greens)  or restricted  to promises to cut benefits for immigrants and operate a points system to ensure only skilled migrants came.( Even if such things could be done, there would not necessarily be a reduction in migrants because no upper limit was put on numbers).    Proposals for increased government spending were either not costed at all or relied on fantasy  money coming  from “efficiency savings”  within public service or absurdly optimistic forecasts of how the British economy would grow.
  20. The housing crisis is the prime toxin in not only the British economy but also British society. The absurd cost of  both renting and buying is reducing large parts of the population (and particularly those under 35 who have never got on the housing ladder)  to a miserable, insecure existence.  All the major parties made promises of building hundreds of thousands of new houses a year  without meaningfully explaining where the money was coming from.  Moreover, much of what   they did promise  – 200,00 to -300,000 new flats and houses a year  – will inevitably  be taken by  immigrants because no major party could say these homes would  be reserved for native Britons because no major party is willing to pull out of the EU. Net immigration is currently running at  around 300,00 a year . If it continues at that level new immigrants will want at least 100,000 homes a year.  This fact went unmentioned by the Tories, Labour and  the LIbDems. To put the cherry on the housing mess, the Tories attempted to bribe, probably successfully, 2.5 million housing association tenants with an extension of the Right-to-Buy to such properties (this gives substantial discounts on the market price of a property).  This will reduce the number  properties which people can actually afford to rent in places such as London even further.
  21. David Cameron sanctioned a number of very  risky manifesto  commitments such as promising English votes for English laws, a referendum on the EU and  the repeal of the Human Rights Act. The most plausible explanation for this is he  did not believe the Tories would win an overall majority and had put these items into the Tory manifesto simply to use as bargaining chips which he could discard  in the event of another coalition with the LIbDems.  If that was Cameron’s  strategy it reinforces the idea of the leading politicians in Britain being complete cynics.  The Tories also recklessly  promised no rise in income tax, national insurance or VAT in the next Parliament.  They will have to live with that millstone around their necks for five years.
  22. Political correctness still has a terrible hold on those permitted a public voice. The most notable example of this was probably when the  Ukip leader Nigel Farage had the courage in one of the leaders’ debates  to raise the question of foreign  HIV sufferers  coming to Britain for very expensive and ongoing treatment on the NHS.  He was howled at by the studio audience and berated by  other politicians taking part as though he had placed himself beyond the Pale.
  23. The fact that Ukip are routinely described as “right-wing” and not infrequently “far right” by both mainstream politicians and the mainstream media nicely demonstrates the dominance of politically correct thinking amongst those given the privilege of a public voice. Apart from their wish to leave the EU, Ukip’s policies  are not radically different from those  espoused by the Tories and Labour over the past twenty-five years.  That applies even to immigration, because neither the Tories nor Labour has ever publicly  advocated an open door policy.
  24. The party for adolescents, the LibDems, will now be able to return to their pre-Thatcher role of being able to all fit into a telephone box at the same time.
  25. The party for the pre-pubescent, the Greens, can be safely left until the next election dreaming up ever more ever more febrile fantasies  of what the electorate wants. They will have some work to put in because they set the bar very high in this election with their plea for  open borders and increased foreign aid.

Three-parent babies – Redesigning Nature

Robert Henderson

The House of Commons has voted  382 in favour to 128 against to allow babies with genetic material from three people to be born.  Scientists will be able to replace an egg’s defective mitochondrial  DNA with healthy mitochondrial DNA from a female donor’s egg to eliminate genetically  determined diseases such as muscular dystrophy.  This is germline  gene therapy which results in the  genetic alteration being passed on to any  children and their descendants. Britain is the  first country to legalise the procedure.

If it was merely a question  that  the technique  will be used to prevent children  being born without a serious disabling disease it would be emotionally  very difficult to argue against it simply because of the tremendous suffering  which  such diseases cause for both the children themselves and their families , whose lives are often turned upside down with the burden of caring with which they  are left.  Nonetheless, there are possible  biological dangers of genetic manipulation because material is being introduced into a body which is foreign to it. They could perhaps cause cancerous tumours or result in rejection by the immune system.

The thin edge of the wedge

It is a certainty that if three-parent children are allowed it will be the thin end of the wedge which leads  to much more radical alterations of a child’s genome. If gene replacement therapy is deemed ethically acceptable for preventing certain  inherited diseases,  there could be no absolute  moral bar to any manipulation of genes, whether this is  either be through the introduction of genetic material from one or more persons other than the parents into the egg or sperm or to methods of  genetic engineering of humans  which do not require  the introduction of genetic material from a person who is not one of the parents.  Moreover, it is probable that in the not too far distant future the manipulation of  a person’s genes will be done either by direct restructuring of the person’s genetic material (perhaps through the   re-writing of the code of a faulty gene) or the introduction of genetic material not taken from a human  being  but created artificially in a laboratory.

The effect on the children born of genetic manipulation.

Even at its most basic, such as the proposed replacement of mitochondrial DNA to prevent diseases such a muscular dystrophy,  is it not likely that a  child born from the procedure will feel  a freak knowing that they are the product of three people’s DNA, and have serious doubts  about their identity?  Could they ever  have the same relationship with their parents as a child conceived naturally?  That is debatable because the recipient of the replacement DNA  to correct a genetically determined illness might well view it simply as being equivalent to a transplant of a cornea or heart, although there would be the difference that the replacement DNA would be handed down the generations if the person receiving it had children.

But what if  the genetic modification was much more radical, for example,  determining elements of personality, intellect and physical appearance ? That would be much more  likely  to cause psychological disturbance in both the child and the parents.     The child might feel they were not people in their own right but simply the toys of their parents, machines cut to a template consciously planned by another.  If a child’s  life  did not go well,  would not they be inclined to blame their parents for making the genetic choices that they did?   Sadly, if genetically altered children do  blame the parents,  then it is all too easy to imagine that children would sue their parents for making what the children deemed to be bad choices.

The effect on the parents of children born of genetic manipulation

The parents  could also have psychological issues. It is one thing having a child naturally who is born disabled, deformed or just   turns out to be a disappointment in some way, quite another to have a child who disappoints after the parents have made decisions which helped  to shape the child’s physical and mental  qualities.  The parents would run the  risk of  not only being disappointed ,but of knowing they were in part responsible for what the child was, something  which could  engender either feelings of guilt or the anger which can arise when someone knows they are responsible for something but cannot accept that reality. Again, the law could come into play with parents suing the scientists who had performed the genetic manipulation for misleading them.

The creation of a genetic divide in a society

If a society leaves genetic manipulation to the market with only those with the means to afford it receiving the manipulation, the difference  between the haves and have-nots  could become  so large that there were objectively   two  grades  of human beings in the society.   The mere fact that some were genetically engineered and some were not could and probably would  result in an elite which was biologically as well as materially and intellectually different from those who had undergone genetic manipulation, a difference which could translate into a caste system with the genetically manipulated only breeding amongst themselves .   An alternative scenario could be the genetically unaltered have-nots – who would be in the large majority – seeing the elite as other than human and slaughtering them without compunction.

State interference

Would governments be able to resist insisting that characteristics such as intelligence were enhanced by the genetic manipulation  of all members of a society whether or not the parents wanted it?  A  dictatorship  could insist on certain characteristics being enhanced in all their population. Alternatively, the could deny such  genetic manipulation to all but those with power . A third possibility would be, in Brave New World style,  to use the technology  to have people genetically altered so that there were people with different abilities and personality traits produced in different quantities.

Even a representative democracy  might find itself driven to act in such an authoritarian way if it was feared that the society could not compete with other societies which adopted government inspired genetic changes.

Genetic manipulation after conception

Genetic manipulation will not stop at point of conception.   As the technology advances we can expect to see opportunities for much genetic manipulation from the foetus to the aged human. However, this would be  Somatic gene therapy which would be introduced into non-sex cells and would not , unlike germline gene therapy, become part of the person’s genome and consequently could not be passed on to any children or their descendants.

In the case of those old enough to give their consent to somatic gene manipulation  much of the psychological problem which exists with genetic manipulation of the sperm and egg is removed because adults, unless they are mentally handicapped or living in a society where the state forces all to undergo such procedures, they will be able to make the decision for themselves as to whether they have  such a procedure.  Even if they do not like the result of their gene manipulation  they would  not be in a worse psychological situation than someone who has had a replacement organ or plastic surgery which does not give them what they anticipated.

The dangers of a rapid genetic alteration within a population

Rapidly changing the proportions of  characteristics in  a population could  damage the viability of the society. Very little is understood about the importance of the distribution of different qualities and abilities within  a society. Suppose a society opts to rapidly increase the IQ of its people.  A society of highly intelligent people might not work because homo sapiens naturally forms hierarchies and if everyone is highly intelligent this might  make the creation of a stable hierarchy impossible.  .  Or suppose personality traits such as aggression, caution and extroversion could be  manipulated. If the choice was left to parents the favouring of one of such traits might make a society too aggressive or too placid.

What can be done to guard against the worst possibilities?

As genetic manipulation of humans will undoubtedly spread rapidly throughout the world, there will  be no realistic way of preventing  individuals from availing themselves of the technology short of closing the borders and allowing no one to travel out of the country to have the manipulation done abroad with regular checks on every individual to make sure there was no illegal operations being done

If gene manipulation  is banned in one country, but foreign travel is not, banned those  who can afford it and think it worthwhile will go abroad to have the procedure . It would be  possible for a country to make genetic manipulation a  crime regardless of where the act took place.  But that would open up a can of worms. The manipulation would have already have taken place.  The altered human being, whether child or adult,  would exist.  In the case of a child,  the individual would not have broken the law because the decision to have the procedure would not have been theirs. What would the state do?  Imprison for life every adult who had broken the law? Take every genetically altered child into care?   A ban on individuals seeking  gene manipulation would be a non-starter.  If it is widely seen a desirable thing, the only thing which might stop gene manipulation  would be a high proportion of procedures resulting in serious problems such as tumours or deformities dissuading most of the public against it.

Guarding against state enforced gene manipulation is a more practical proposition, but only  in countries with some regard for constitutionality and the law in general. It would be possible for such countries to include in their constitutions absolute bars on any state imposed genetic manipulation.

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