Why Would Anyone Want to Vote Tory? (Pt 1)

At dinner the other night with a leading conservative thinker, I asked the question many of us have been pondering more and more worriedly of late. “Can you give me one single positive reason why any true Tory should vote Conservative at the next election?”

My friend thought for a while and then said: “Michael Gove.”

“Yeah, yeah, apart from Michael Gove,” I said, reminding my conservative chum that this was almost as obvious and pat an answer as “Well they could hardly be any worse than Gordon Brown.”

At which point my friend was stumped. Like me, he’s a natural Tory, truly, madly desperate for a Conservative government to get into power and act according to true Conservative principles: limited government, low taxes, liberty, etc. Also like me, he sees no sign whatsoever that the current Opposition has any understanding of what true Conservative principles might possibly be.

Even the Gove point is moot, I fear. I have tremendous respect for the Tories’ shadow schools secretary. He’s super bright, indefatigably (and naturally) charming, sound on a lot of issues that matter (Islamism, for example, as you’ll see if you read his incisive Fahrenheit 7/7) and, unlike most of Dave Cameron’s inner circle, he was not born to the purple. As the adopted son of a decent, hard-working, but by no means wealthy Scots couple who made tremendous sacrifices to give him a good education, Gove understands far better than any wallpaper-heir or landed Old Etonian can the case against excessive taxation and intrusive government.

Despite my reservations, if the Tories were to come clean now and say: “Look, we might as well admit it. We’re a bunch of neo-Blairite water-treaders who won’t do anyting to undo any of the damage wreaked by New Labour, except in one area. Education. By the end of our term of office, you shall have schools and universities to which – for little or no money – you will not be at all embarrassed to send your children,” I still think I might just be persuaded to vote for them.

So why – given that Gove is the shadow secretary responsible for education, and given that he is always speaking up for higher standards and against dumbing down – do I remain unconvinced by his supposedly bold new plans for sweeping ’supply-side’ reform on the Swedish model?

Because even when they’re trying to be tough and radical, Cameroon’s Tories are so irrevocably craven and lightweight they just can’t help pulling their punches. No, I don’t necessarily believe the stories in one of the paper’s yesterday that the Tories education policy is “in disarray” – for the Ed Balls spin machine is a powerful and terrifying thing. But I do believe if you’re going to come up with a bold new plan, as Gove has, to encourage the creation round Britain of thousands of new schools, you’re shooting yourself in the foot right from the off if you announce that you don’t want any private operators making money out of it.

What, in the name of Margaret Thatcher (or Adam Smith if you prefer), is wrong with making a profit? How, pray, will anyone be persuaded to go to the hassle and expense and risk of establishing a new school if the only reward is their own virtue? Is there any more effective way to kill a policy before it has even begun than to hedge it with rules which, let’s face it, have absolutely nothing to do with giving our children a better quality of education, only with the Tories’ increasingly ridiculous terror of being seen in any way to come across like enthusiasts of the capitalist system.

You’ll notice the “Pt 1″ in the headline. That’s because I’ve a nasty feeling that for stories about the inexorable decline of ideological conservatism in Britain, Dave Cameron’s Tories are going to be the gift that goes on giving.

Related posts:

  1. Gove v Humphrys: reason enough to vote Conservative
  2. Why would anyone want to vote Tory? (pt II)
  3. Jamie’s Nightmare School
  4. Reason no 12867 why not to vote Tory: the NHS


City Bonuses Make a Comeback but Recession Never Left

June 28, 2009

‘Bab!” is the new toast in the City champagne bars. That’s banker-speak for “Bonuses are back.”

Perhaps you may have read about it in the papers. “Oh, good,” you’ll have gone, as you cancelled your annual holiday in the Med, scrapped the children’s riding and judo lessons and changed the mince on your grocery order from Premium Aberdeen Angus to Budget Extra Fat and Donkey Gristle.

“I’ve been feeling the pinch quite a bit this year,” you’ll continue, “what with the negative equity and losing my job and the sky-rocketing bills. So how utterly marvellous to know that Henry Red-Braces in the big house up the road can still fund his heli-skiing jaunt to the glaciers of the Andes.”

If this is starting to sound like the sort of rant you’d more usually associate with the Guardian, there are a couple of things I want to make clear. First, some of my best friends are bankers – my little brother, too – and by no means do I hate any of them so much that I wish them to die in agony, covered in pustular sores. I fully recognise that they have virtually no social life; that they work long hours; and that, yes, they do deserve some reasonable level of compensation for their arid, joyless toiling.

Second, I am not an anti-capitalist. Au contraire. It is my firm belief that one of the very worst things to emerge from the financial crisis is the glib, poisonous, Leftist, Franco-German canard that somehow “capitalism is to blame”. If the capitalist system had been left to its own devices, we’d all be out of this mess by now. Heavy-handed government intervention (mortgages for the unsuitable; artificially low interest rates; bail-outs etc) has much more to do with it than Gordon Gekko-approved greed.

But just because all this is so, it doesn’t let bankers off the hook entirely. Sure, they didn’t bring about this new Great Depression, but they did gleefully devise all those tricksy financial instruments that have made the crisis so long and so deep. They all knew that the system had grown so warped and inflated that it was little more than some giant Ponzi scheme. And still none of them had the moral courage to blow the whistle; still they kept their snouts in the trough.

So what, we might reasonably ask, has so dramatically changed in the City that these troughers have earned the right to be paid huge bonuses again? Have the banks now paid back all that bail-out money that propelled us into the ranks of the world’s most indebted economies? Nope – nor will they do so for many years to come.

Is the pool of available City talent now so small that only by offering the most insane bonuses can any banks be sure of securing decent staff? Hardly. Are the green shoots of recovery bursting forth with such vigour that only a fool would fail to bet on massive growth by 2011? No, no and thrice no. In fact, with a modest 50p spread bet, which I reckon will make me £500 by Christmas, I’m banking on quite the opposite.

Look at the shops. Look what’s happening to your friends. Does anything at all in your realm of experience suggest the recession is even halfway over? Of course not. The only place those green shoots exist is in the bankers’ imaginations.

How did they get there? Well, in order to make money, bankers need extreme peaks and troughs, and if those peaks can only be made by manipulating the markets and telling the odd porkie pie, that is what a greedy pig
must do. When – and only when – a real recovery begins, the bankers will start to earn their bonuses. Until then, they should starve like the rest of us.

Related posts:

  1. Dizzee Rascal speaks up for the City. Probably.
  2. If ever we get out of this economic mess, it’ll be thanks to City AM – not the Financial Times
  3. If I could go back in time to my Oxford days, I’d warn myself against idolising Cameron
  4. Climategate: this is our Berlin Wall moment!

Cap and Trade: Which Part of ‘We Can’t Afford It’ Doesn’t Obama Understand?

Obama's crazy new Bill will do nothing to stop this

But they still don’t produce as much hot air as Al Gore…

Wakey wakey America: nightmare day is here. The day when the House of Representatives votes on probably the most pointless, damaging, wrong-headed and suicidally dumb piece of legislation since…

Well I was going to say Prohibition, but even Prohibition had a certain twisted logic to it. (You know: “Daddy, why does your breath smell funny? Why do you keep hitting Mom? Why’s there no money for food again this week?” etc. I’m not saying I’m persuaded by this argument but at least you can concede the Temperance movement had one).

So that must mean then that the Climate Bill – aka Waxman-Markey after the two, rather sinister-looking representatives who wrote it – being pushed through the House today is quite simply the worst piece of US legislation in living memory. And possibly beyond.

Why? Well at the cost of the biggest tax increase in American history, it will achieve precisely zilch.

(Actually, not quite zilch. There are one or two people who are going to be doing very nicely out of it, from the Libtard apparatchiks and Algore fellow travellers who’ve invested in the right carbon-trading companies to all those vested interests in the Mid-West who have been bought off with the inevitable pork barrelling concessions designed to ease the bill’s awkward passage.)

According to an analysis by the Heritage Foundation the Waxman-Markey bill –  whose centrepiece is a tax on carbon emissions, often known as “cap and trade” because it sounds innocuous and no one understands what it means – will by 2035 reduce aggregate gross domestic product by $7.4 trillion. (That’s more than 6 times the projected cost of President Obama’s ENTIRE universal healthcare programme).

But the misery doesn’t end there:

“In an average year, 844,000 jobs would be destroyed, with peak years seeing unemployment rise by almost 2 million.”

“Consumers would pay through the nose as electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket, as President Obama once put it, by 90% adjusted for inflation. Inflation-adjusted gasoline prices would rise 74%, residential natural gas prices by 55% and the average family’s annual energy bill by $1,500.”

And how exactly will the world benefit from this swingeing tax on the stuff every one of us breathes out every minute of day?

“According to an analysis by Chip Knappenberger, administrator of the World Climate Report, the reduction of U.S. CO2 emissions to 83% below 2005 levels by 2050 — the goal of the Waxman-Markey bill — would reduce global temperature in 2050 by a mere 0.05 degree Celsius.”

There’s ‘no debate on carbon pollution’ jeopardizing the planet, claims President Obama, who clearly gets all his information from the liberal broadcast media and the dead tree press, both of which for reasons known only to themselves cleave to the Al Gore “Anthropogenic Global Warming” meme like cognitive dissonant rats to a sinking ship.

Out here in the real world, meanwhile, there are fewer and fewer of us who want any more of their money of wasted on this bizarre eco-fascist fantasy. It was an exciting and novel distraction in the good old days when we still felt rich and a bit guilty for being rich and wanted to devise new ways of punishing ourselves for our (perceived) eco sins. But not any more. We haven’t the money to bribe the Third World to reduce its carbon emissions; nor are our economies nearly strong enough to absorb the burden of green taxation and zealous  and intrusive green legislation.

What’s more, the science is increasingly with us. Today I shall be praying with all my heart that Waxman-Markey dies the death it so fully deserves. So too will everyone else in the world who values liberty, a healthy global economy and plain common sense.

Enough ManBearPig already! The beast must be slain!

Related posts:

  1. Bloody marvellous Aussies kill carbon emissions bill
  2. Pope Catholic; Obama energy official profits from AGW
  3. Welcome to the New World Order
  4. Is ‘Kojak’ Obama losing all his hair?

Good Pop Is about Sex or Authenticity: Jacko Had Neither

Michael Jackson nearly killed me once. It was a dark and stormy night and I was motorcycling back on the M4 to London having been sent to cover one of his excruciating “Heal the World” concerts in Cardiff, when all of a sudden I was blown by a gust of wind across the rainswept carriageway into the path of a mighty pantechnicon.

“Ohmygod!” I remember thinking to myself in those slow-motion seconds. “Is it really my fate to be killed in so cruel and random a way? Not after a concert by Radiohead or Led Zeppelin but by the pop star I loathe more than any in the world: Whacko bloody Jacko!”

Yes, I know it’s sad that that the poor, troubled man has gone so young. But do please let’s get a sense of perspective. Sure, he was nimble on his pins. Sure, that werewolf video was really quite scary for its time. Sure, he sold millions of records. But the fact still remains that the self- styled “King of Pop” was responsible for some of the most excruciatingly dreadful music in history.

And some of the worst lyrics too. “Sunshine. Moonshine. Good Times. Boogie”. Why on Earth would anyone ever have thought to have blamed such very odd things for anything? “I’m bad. I’m really, really bad.” No you’re not. You’re a wuss. “Heal the world. Make it a better place for you and for me.” No! Please!

The first time I encountered him I would have been about 10. That was when my mother bought a soppy single called One Day in Your Life.

(to read more, click here)

Note: Link permanently broken.

Related posts:

  1. Oasis: just how rubbish were they?
  2. London riots: Cameron has learned nothing, will do nothing
  3. Sir David King condemns green scaremongering; Herod condemns child abuse; Osama Bin Laden condemns Islamist terrorism; etc
  4. Rodney King saved my life


Conservative Blacks Are Fed up with Being Patronised by Liberals and Bureaucrats

A friend who teaches at an old-fashioned Sussex boarding school has a zero-tolerance approach to racism. The moment he hears one of the foreign boys claiming to be a victim of it, that’s them chucked out of the class for the rest of the lesson. ‘Well I’m sorry,’ says my friend Duncan, quite unapologetically. ‘But they’re bright kids and they’re enjoying the best education money can buy in a multi-ethnic school where racism just isn’t an issue. I think it’s an absolute bloody outrage that they should try that line…’
Had he been working in the state sector, of course, he would be out of his job by now. Which is an awful pity because people of Duncan’s courage and robust convictions are what the world sorely needs. That overused ‘r’ word has done more to stifle open political debate and poison social cohesion than perhaps any other word in the English language. It’s time we stamped on it and stamped on it hard. But how? To appreciate the scale of the problem, you only had to observe the way an incident involving attacks by locals on over 100 Romanians in Belfast was reported last week. What wasn’t at all clear from any of the initial reports — neither in the BBC, nor, more surprisingly in the right-leaning newspapers — was what had brought the natives of Belfast to this unfortunate pass. Other than their disgusting, abominable and thoroughly to-be-condemned racism, that is.

I first heard the story myself on the Today programme. In the news report, the victims were all carefully described as Romanians, with no clue offered as to their ethno-cultural identity. But then, a Belfast race-relations worker interviewed by the BBC let the cat out of the bag by referring to them more accurately as ‘Roma’. At which point, I swore a lot at my radio then blogged about it for the Daily Telegraph. My main complaint was that we listeners were being treated here like children: children who could not be trusted to be told the whole truth lest they reach the ‘wrong’ conclusions.

(to read more, click here)

Related posts:

  1. What the BBC didn’t want you to know about the Belfast ‘Romanians’
  2. The Right to Swear is Integral to Being a True Conservative
  3. The Tory test that all Conservative candidates should pass
  4. The science is settled: US liberals really are the dumbest creatures on the planet


Burqa Ban: What Barack Obama Could Learn from Nicolas Sarkozy about Islam

Almost every idea that ever came out of France has been bad for America, from the structuralist philosophical gibberish which has poisoned US academe to the grotesquely over-regulated tax and spend socialism which is now ruining the US economy. But if there’s one area where the French do get it SO right it’s in their uncompromising approach to Islam.

President Sarkozy once again showed the way yesterday when in a presidential address to France’s two houses of parliament, he said the burqa is not welcome in his country and should be banned.

As he rightly went on to say the full-body garment which makes women in Afghanistan look like a cross between a prison cell and a walking tent is “not a sign of religion” but a “sign of subservience.” He added: “We cannot have in our country women who are prisoners behind netting, cut off from all social ife, deprived of identity.”

Compare and contrast, the appalling cultural appeasement of President Obama’s speech in Cairo on June 4 when he boasted that the United States prized freedom of religion and would not “tell people what to wear.” And there was I thinking it was the French who were supposed to be the surrender monkeys, not the Americans.

Was there ever greater proof that, where the great clash of civilisations is concerned, President Obama is turning out to be the Islamists’ useful idiot par excellence?

Does Barack Hussein Obama really not understand that supposed “freedom” he is granting US Muslim women to wear the veil is in fact the most surefire way of guaranteeing their continued subservience to their men folk and their failure to integrate with the broader society?

It’s for precisely this reason – would that the rest of Europe had the courage! – that France bans religious head coverings in state schools. France understands, as so many in the pusillanimous, multi-culti West do not, that female Muslim girls of school age need protecting from the heavy pressure put on them by male relatives to wear the veil. Banning the veil in French schools is not the sign of an oppressive state taking away religious freedom. It is a rare example of a government setting a moral example and standing up for freedom: a girl’s freedom to choose whether she wants to spend the rest of her life in a kind of religious apartheid or whether she wants to integrate more closely with the host culture.

That President Obama cannot understand this reflects disgracefully on his supposedly vast intelligence. As a Democrat, he ought at the very least to be championing progressive values, and foremost among those values – for which generations of feminists have fought so hard  – is female equality. So here, just to remind you, is what he really thinks about female equality – at least where America’s Muslim girls are concerned:

“The U.S. government has gone to court to protect the right of women and girls to wear the hijab, and to punish those who would deny it. I reject the view of some in the West that a woman who chooses to cover her hair is somehow less equal, but I do believe that a woman who is denied an education is denied equality.”

In other words: typical Obama lazy moral equivocation and disingenuous fluff. These “some in the West” who believe that “a woman who chooses to cover her hair is somehow less equal” are straw men. They simply don’t exist. In parts of the Islamic world, on the other hand, such men are rife. And hair coverings are the very least of their women folks problems. How does being dressed head to toe in a sack compare with being banned from driving; or murdered for trying to attend school; or being stoned to death for adultery because a bunch of local lads have decided to gang rape you?
America, you won’t often hear me say this but in this particular case it’s true. Where Islam is concerned, you have a lot to learn from those pesky cheese-eaters.

Memo to the FT: Neda Agha Soltan Did Not Die in Order to Foment Anti-Israeli Propaganda

Memo to the FT: Neda Agha Soltan did not die in order to foment anti-Israeli propaganda

The killing of 27-year old philosophy student Neda Agha Soltan on the streets of Teheran – filmed and posted on YouTube – has rightly become a focal point for Iran’s democratic protests against the tyrannical clerical regime. But what, pray, does it have to do with the fictionalised death of a Palestinian boy who wasn’t murdered nine years ago by Israeli security forces?

A great deal if you read this extraordinary report from the Financial Times, whose reporter clearly believes considers the link so vital and overwhelming as to constitute the main part of the story.

Here is how the FT’s report begins:

“The footage of a Palestinian man being shot dead next to his 12-year-old son, Muhammad Jamal al-Durrah, by Israeli forces in Gaza in 2000 has been etched in the minds of many Iranians, as state television has continually replayed the images to highlight the ‘Zionist regime’s brutality.’”

Only in the second paragraph does the reporter get round to mentioning the assassination of this perfectly innocent – and, sadly, very real – young woman by a pro-government militiaman as she spoke to friends on her mobile phone:

“Now, the Islamic regime itself has become the subject of similar allegations at home and abroad after gruesome footage of a dying young woman during the suppression of an opposition protest on Saturday was released on the internet.”

This corruption of a tragic, moving and very newsworthy story with so tendentious and misleading an intro is a disgrace, not least because it completely distorts reality and history.

If the “Muhammad Jamal al-Durrah” story really has been etched into the minds of many Iranians, that’s only because they are victims of a pro-Palestinian, anti-Israeli propaganda story which has since been exposed as a complete lie in a court libel action.

As Melanie Phillips and others have comprehensively demonstrated the film footage of a 12-year old lad (not his father, as the FT reports) being deliberately shot by Israelis in a street battle was faked. This hasn’t, of course, stopped it being believed as gospel truth throughout the Muslim world and used to justify everything from the second Palestinian intifada to the beheading of Daniel Pearl.

The Muhammad Jamal al-Durrah blood libel, in other words, represents exactly the kind of vicious, destructive, Islamist extremism which poor Neda Agha Soltan died trying to prevent – not encourage.

Hat-tip: Tom Gross

Related posts:

  1. A little light Islamist propaganda to liven up your Sunday
  2. The BBC: Al Gore’s UK propaganda mouthpiece
  3. Memo to Prince Charles: CO2 is not a pollutant. CO2 is plant food.
  4. Welcome to the New World Order


Dumbing Down: The Awful Truth

I know we still have a couple of months before the GCSE results come in but already I can make a confident prediction: Britain’s 16-year olds will be proved with a record number of A and A* grades to be the brightest 16 year olds in the nation’s history.

Any commentator who dares to use unhelpful phrases like “grade inflation” will be dismissed by the current Schools Minister (presuming Gordon Brown can find any MP still willing to serve under him as far hence as August) as an ‘elitist snob bent on undermining the very real achievements of our hardworking children and their hardworking teachers who have done so much to position Britain at the forefront of international league tables of academic excellence, comfortably beating Afghanistan, Chechnya and Sudan, and only a notch or two below such well-known scholastic hot-spots as Burkina Faso, Albania and Somalia.’

Meanwhile, here is some recent research comparing difficulty levels in Maths papers in the last four decades.

1. Teaching maths in 1970

A logger sells a truckload of timber for £100.

His cost of production is 4/5 of the price.
What is his profit?

2. Teaching Maths In 1980
A logger sells a truckload of timber for £100.
His cost of production is 80% of the price.
What is his profit?

3. Teaching Maths In 1990
A logger sells a truckload of timber for £100.
His cost of production is £80.
How much was his profit?

4. Teaching Maths In 2000
A logger sells a truckload of timber for £100.
His cost of production is £80 and his profit is £20.
Your assignment: Underline the number 20.

5. Teaching Maths In 2005

A logger cuts down a beautiful forest because he is selfish and inconsiderate and cares nothing for the habit of animals or the preservation of our woodlands.

Your assignment: Discuss how the birds and squirrels might feel as the logger cut down their homes just for a measly profit of £20.

All right, these are actually made-up examples from a joke website, but can anyone spot any major difference between the satire and reality? Have a look at the joke in full at this site. It goes on to satirize health and safety legislation, Government incompetence and the rise of Islamism. If it weren’t all so depressingly true, you’d almost find it in your heart to laugh.

Related posts:

  1. Television: Weekly shockers
  2. Channel 4’s Jon Snow on Gaza: fair and balanced, anyone?
  3. Does the Queen know the truth about her Archimedes screw?
  4. David Cameron at Oxford University: the truth


BBC – Radio 4 Woman’s Hour

June 19, 2009

BBC – Radio 4 Woman’s Hour

James discusses men’s relationships with male friends on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour.


Related posts:

  1. Paternity leave? Any man who says he wants it is really a liar…
  2. A speech, a radio interview, and the strongest cannabis I’ve had for 15 years
  3. What BBC Radio 2’s Chris Evans thinks about global warming
  4. Radio Free Delingpole: Stupid Liberal Things


C4 Podcast Interview

James weighs in on Obamacare on C4’s (Clarence Mitchell IV’s) show. Click here to listen.

One Response to “C4 Podcast Interview”

  1. Michael says:June 17, 2009 at 2:45 pmCongrats on the interview. Just one question though; isn’t it true that returning the provision of healthcare to private interests could lead to a monopolising oligarchy that, in the final analysis, treats it shareholders prior to its patients? How can healthcare be provided in a way that doesn’t finally become a bloated private-sector version of the ineffective State sector that it is trying to replace – or, more briefly, how can we keep monopoly out of healthcare?The ideal is of course independent hospitals and clinics, and independent health authorities, but surely the market will swallow these up and impose a uniform and inflexible health care system much like the one that many people seem to be disenchanted with…