On Those Lovable, Colourful Traveller Folk…

April 10, 2015


This week we heard the tragic story of a retired businessman who killed himself and his wife having told friends he was deeply worried about the fact that his rural neighbourhood had been surrounded, at the local council’s behest, by officially designated ‘traveller’ camp sites.
Which do you think is the most likely explanation for poor John Knott’s radical and desperate measure?

Was it

a) he had a pathological aversion to lovely, colourful people in their brightly painted, horse-drawn caravans with their rich cultural heritage, deep understanding of rural lore and their fine traditions of coloured-headscarf-and-hoop-earring-wearing, crystal-ball-gazing, heather-sprig-selling, fiddle-playing, horse-bartering jollity

b) he was a racist, that’s what he was, a racist who’d been taken in by all those appalling myths about the well-loved Roma people and Irish Traveller folk and is probably the kind of person who votes UKIP

c) he’d retired to what he thought was a rural idyll only to realise that by government fiat about £125,000 was going to be knocked off the value of his property, he’d never be able to leave his doors unlocked, his neighbouring fields would be filled with stagnant rubbish, there’d never be any peace by day or night, and he’d constantly have to worry about semi-literate urchins pilfering his toolshed and defecating in his hedgerows, while their feckless parents badgered him every other day explaining they’d got a bit of gravel left over from another job and did he want his drive tarmacked?

Well, obviously it couldn’t have been c) because under Tony Blair’s hate crime laws that would have constituted an offence which might have landed Knott in prison. So it must have been one of the others, clearly.

But it is slightly odd, don’t you think, that whenever – literally 100 per cent of the time on all occasions, ever – a gipsy/traveller/Roma encampment descends on a particular area, the response of all those living there tends to be less than enthusiastic; and that the longer that encampment manages to stay in place the more frantically desperate the local community grows to get rid of them?

Pure racism, I suppose.

Except here’s a thing. If you go to Ireland, whence many of these ‘traveller’ communities emanate, I think you’ll find that they are not – do correct me if I’m wrong – granted special ethnic status or peculiar legal privileges.

That’s why so many of them have left Ireland (where they own houses: the kind of things they’re theoretically supposed to hate living in because it’s their ‘tradition’) to take advantage of Britain’s more enlightened approach to the “traveller community” – as framed in official documents like this called Planning Policy For Traveller Sites.

Under these planning regulations, local councils are legally obliged to provide sites for traveller encampments.

It explains at the beginning:

“The Government’s overarching aim is to ensure fair and equal treatment for travellers.”

But clearly – you can tell this document was drafted by a Liberal Democrat – “fair and equal treatment” is precisely what these travellers are NOT being given.

On the contrary, they are being granted privileges over and above those accorded so-called “settled” communities. Some of these privileges are official (eg this allocation of “free” land for them to park their vehicles on, regardless of how their new neighbours might feel about this incursion). Some of them are unofficial. (Apparently, for example, you’ll never get the RSPCA intervening where it turns out that stray horses grazing willy-nilly belong to travellers).

This injustice was the subject in 2013 of a private members bill by Conservative MP Philip Hollobone, who in his speech to the House refused to mince his words:

Members may not realise that local residents have told me, on the basis of police evidence, that many distraction burglaries are undertaken by members of the Gypsy and Traveller community. It is a speciality of theirs. Likewise, farmers and rural dwellers are, frankly, terrorised at the theft of, and damage to, farm equipment and rural properties. The idea that these sites could be set up near to long-established communities both within towns and villages is bringing a huge amount of distress to my local residents.

Hollobone can say stuff like that under parliamentary privilege. The rest of us, unfortunately, have to be more careful – not least because there’s a particularly tenacious gipsy grievance lobby ready to pounce on any perceived injustice against their wholly delightful, thoroughly law-abiding and not remotely antisocial, whiny, vulgar, rapacious community of exquisitely dressed and superbly well-educated model citizens.

But it is a bizarre situation we’ve got, isn’t it?

One of the most basic obligations of any government is the protection of its citizens’ property rights. And one of the most basic principles of English common law is that everyone is equal before it.

Yet as regards travellers we have planning laws which flagrantly breach both of the above.

An alien landing from space would marvel at such an arrangement. “These traveller people must be very special to have been granted such privileges,” he might well wonder. “They must bring especial richness and joy and abundance to the communities they visit! They must pay vast sums in taxes to compensate for all the money councils seem to spend on policing and rehousing operations! They must be particularly law-abiding and morally upstanding! Their travelling traditions must be especially reverend and noteworthy for them to be protected in this way!”

“No, no,” you’d have to explain to the alien. “None of your assumptions are quite accurate. It’s more that, well, someone somewhere decided that they ought to be a protected minority whose special way of life needs preserving, even at the expense of everyone else, and no one in authority, not even Conservatives who are supposed to care about the country, has quite had the gumption to change it.”

“But aren’t burglars are also minority with a special way of life lived at the expense of everyone else? Aren’t locusts?” the alien might reply.

“Now you’re getting there…” you could say.

Read the rest at Breitbart London

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Why I’d Rather Eat Worms Than Renew My National Trust Membership

One of my favourite National Trust properties is Overbeck’s in Salcombe – the former seaside home of an eccentric inventor with a wondrous subtropical garden. The last time I visited, the nice lady at the entrance asked – as they always do – whether I might consider taking out a family membership.

“Sorry,” I said. “But I’d rather eat worms.”

She probably didn’t want to hear but I told her anyway. For years, like so many parents with younger children in need of distraction, I’d used the National Trust’s myriad glorious properties as the perfect weekend refuge: delicious teas, well-stocked bijou gift shops, historic houses with magnificent grounds to explore and play in. Joining the National Trust clearly made sense – with the added bonus that I’d be doing my bit to preserve the crumbling fabric of England and Wales’s heritage.

Unfortunately, I went on to explain, the National Trust had now been hijacked by left-liberal entryists completely out of touch with this once-splendid organisation’s charitable purpose. No longer, it seems, is the National Trust about preserving the glories of the English country house, connecting us with our past and conserving the 775 miles of coastline it owns.

Rather, it has been turned into yet another progressive activist organisation advancing political causes which are irrelevant to – and often inimical to – its charitable remit.

You could argue that the rot set in when it banned fox hunting on its land. But the moment it really started going downhill was in 2012 with the appointment of its new director-general Dame Helen Ghosh.

Ghosh is a classic beneficiary of the revolving door system whereby time-serving quangocrats with the appropriate politically correct views are shuffled from plum post to plum post regardless of their aptitude for the job.

A career civil servant with no particular expertise in or natural sympathy with heritage issues or the countryside Ghosh is, as Quentin Letts notes in this delightfully catty profile, “more at home in court shoes than gum boots”. She also has a reputation – Letts delicately hints with more generosity than I’m prepared to allow the dreadful woman – for being pretty low-grade and thick.

In other words, she would have been ideal for somewhere grisly and right-on and pointless like the Equality and Human Rights Commission, but could scarcely be more wrong for a charity whose meat and drink is toffs, antique furniture, well-spoken old ladies in tweed twin sets, and oak studded parkland, and whose membership largely comprises small ‘c’ conservatives.

Just how utterly unsuitable for the job she is, Ghosh has revealed in her organisation’s announcement that from now on one of its main priorities will be combating climate change which, it claims, ‘poses the biggest single threat’ to its properties so far.

No, it doesn’t. It simply doesn’t. This is purely an expression of Ghosh’s ignorance and of the misinformation foisted on her by the bien-pensant types in whose company she prefers to spend her time.

And if this were merely a case of a silly woman venturing a foolish opinion, perhaps that would be excusable. Unfortunately, Ghosh’s ignorance and idiocy is being transformed into policy in its vomitously named new strategy document Playing Our Part.

Besides relaxing its objections to wind farms – and if we’re talking about “the biggest single threat” to the British landscape, there’s your badger – the National Trust has announced a “20 per cent reduction by 2020″ of its energy use “with 50 per cent coming from renewable sources on the land we look after.”

Ghosh says:

“We will be meeting our commitment predominately from hydro schemes, and with biomass boilers at a number of our big houses. And we do have the occasional turbine. We do not object in principle to wind turbines in the right place. In sensitive historic environments, wind turbines are not the thing to do, but I think we object to two per cent of all wind turbine applications nationally.”

And almost inevitably, Ghosh agonises that the organisation is too middle-class and wants to make it “more relevant” to its membership.

She wants to move away from country houses and more towards the places like the childhood homes of Paul McCartney and John Lennon (because of course, if it weren’t for the National Trust it would have occurred to no private enterprise to turn them into museums, would it?).

“It’s things like the Beatles’ houses in Liverpool or back to back houses in Birmingham. And our visitors are absolutely loving them.”

Absolutely loving them. There’s a phrase that tells you all you need to know. But just in case it didn’t, here’s an even better one.

The challenge, she says, is to persuade people that they did not need to feel awkward “if they didn’t know who George II was.”

Yeah, that’ll be it, Dame Helen. Until you came along, the National Trust was going to hell in a handcart: four million members, almost of all them inexcusably middle class with an unforgivable predilection towards stately homes, denying social justice to all those disenfranchised ordinary folk who feel so alienated by the mention of any historical figure who isn’t Mary Seacole that the thought of visiting a National Trust property makes them come over like Damien in the Omen when his parents try to take him to church.

And if it’s signs of the End Times we’re looking for, I reckon that for our system to have allowed a creature like Helen Ghosh to get her claws on something as cherishably middle class, civilised and quintessentially English as the National Trust must be pretty near the penultimate one. All it requires now is for the ravens to leave the Tower and then that’ll be it: game over.

Read more at Breitbart London

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Why Losing Clarkson Is the BBC’s Biggest Mistake Since Keeping Jimmy Savile – James Delingpole

March 28, 2015

This isn’t so much a piece about Jeremy Clarkson as about all the other celebrities the BBC employs who aren’t Jeremy Clarkson. I call them the “Wankerati.”
Here are some examples:

Ian Hislop; Dara O’Briaiaiaan; Brian “PermaSmile Astro Boy” Cox; Bill Oddie; Russell Howard; Simon Singh; Noel Fielding; Marcus Brigstocke; Jeremy Hardy; everyone else on the News Quiz; the unfunny has-beens from the Now Show whose names I can’t be bothered to look up; Chris Packham; Rick Edwards; Graham Linehan; Lenny Henry; Emily Maitlis; Ian Katz; David Mitchell; Russell Howard; Bill Bailey; Jo Brand; Monty Don; Simon Schama; Russell Howard….

As you can see, the list is by no means complete because it needs to include more or less everyone at the BBC who isn’t Jeremy Clarkson. Some of you may be concerned at the fact that Russell Howard doesn’t appear nearly often enough for one so lame and annoying. Others may be perturbed by the presence of presenters they admire – such as, maybe, Ian Hislop who, I’d quite agree, is really, really good at fronting programmes on Victorian hymns, World War I or railway timetables.

But this isn’t about talent – or lack of – it’s about personal politics. Everyone on that list ranges in outlook from the nauseatingly bien-pensant to the rabidly left-wing, to the point where you could fairly confidently predict their position on any number of topics from Nigel Farage, Israel/Palestine and global warming all the way through to mildly racist jokes, foxhunting, bankers, positive discrimination and the European Union. Oh, and Jeremy Clarkson, of course. Few, if any of the people on that list would be able to find much good to say about Jeremy Clarkson. Which, of course, is one of the reasons why the BBC’s sacking of Clarkson is going to turn out to be such a massive mistake. He was the one major talent in the entire organisation who wasn’t like all the others…

And till Clarkson’s nemesis BBC Controller of TV Danny Cohen came along, the BBC appears instinctively to have understood his value. Not his commercial value (the BBC likes to think it’s above such vulgarities) but rather his propaganda value. Top Gear was the BBC’s equivalent of a Potemkin Village or – a bit of Clarksonesque bad taste here, why not? – those films the Nazis used to make of jolly, well-fed Jews playing in orchestras and sitting in cafes near their delightful new living quarters in the Warsaw Ghetto. Any time unhelpful people started banging on about the BBC’s entrenched left-wing bias and maddening political correctness, all the Beeb had to do was point at the self-evidently notleft-wing and not PC Top Gear as proof of the contrary.

Till the BBC sacked Clarkson, my view was that they were going to get away this game for many years hence. But now I am not so sure.

Over a million people signed that petition urging the BBC to reinstate Clarkson. A fair proportion of them, I suspect, will belong to precisely that demographic the BBC finds most embarrassing: white, obviously; probably Thatcherite in outlook, but quite fond of Nigel Farage; highly sceptical of “global warming”; petrolheads, again obviously; not averse to telling the odd racist joke when they’re with their mates, not so much because they have anything against “coloured” people (as they probably call them, not knowing the correct term) but more as a reaction against political correctness; might not have gone to “uni” because they could tell it was a complete waste of time. People who – at least in the BBC’s Weltanschauung – are pretty much beyond the pale.

Unfortunately for the BBC, however, these disgusting, frightful people, very few of whom live anywhere civilised like North London or have ever knowingly eaten cavolo nero, represent a much larger percentage of the population than any of the worthy groups it would prefer to cater to (the “Asian” community; gay people; disabled people; Roma; environmentalists; activists; etc). While Top Gear was on – the modern equivalent of “bread and circuses” – this mob were kept at bay. But with Top Gear gone, they may incline to feel that they have been cheated – like a serially abused child whose one and only toy has finally snatched away from him by his prissy, unloving, perma-stubbled, tofu-eating stepfather.

In short, for many years the BBC has been living a lie. It has pretended – as its Charter requires of it – that it’s for everyone when really it has continually and ruthlessly shut out any presenters, programmes or opinions which don’t fit into its narrow, metropolitan, left-liberal narrative. And what the Clarkson sacking has done is brought this issue to a head. Also – a bit like Gamergate did for gamers – it has woken large numbers of people who hadn’t hitherto thought of themselves as particularly political into an appreciation of how badly they’ve been conned and abused by a narrow, self-selecting and very political elite who despise them.

Read the brilliant pay-off at Breitbart London

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As Farage Has Just Been Reminded, There’s No Fascist Like a Liberal Fascist

March 23, 2015

Suppose Labour leader Ed Miliband had been out yesterday for a quiet bacon sandwich with his wife and kids only to be harassed and terrorised by a bunch of protestors from the Daily Mail. Can you imagine the coverage it would get on the BBC and in the Guardian?

And what about if Green party leader Natalie Bennett had a few friends round for a vegan barbecue, only to be driven from their supplies of tofu and mung beans and cucumber dip by a crowd of Spectator journalists dressed in pin stripe suits and bowler hats?

There’s a reason you can’t imagine these scenarios, except in jest. It’s because the right-leaning media just doesn’t promote or engage in political activism in the way that the left-leaning media does, especially not the kind of direct action stunt we saw yesterday being carried out against Nigel Farage by a mob led by an activist (and occasional Guardian columnist) called Dan Glass. (h/t Bishop Hill)

The Guardian clearly loves Dan Glass. Here’s what it had to say a few years back about his work “fighting to stop the injustice of climate change.”

Dan Glass, 27, activist

“Whenever anybody sticks their head above the parapet they’re seen as a lunatic, but we need to show the inadequacies of the legal system for protecting the earth.”

Youth climate activists blog : Dan GlassDan was recently named one of Attitude Magazine’s 66 new role models for his work on bridging the gay rights and environmental justice movements. He revels in creating militant but cheeky ways to be a “thorn in the side of those destroying the planet”; he has stuck himself to a former prime minister, occupied Aberdeen airport, danced with old ladies blighted by flightpaths, and worked in deprived inner-city communities with So We Stand. Dan has spent much of 2010 in court, over action he took with protest group Plane Stupid at Aberdeen airport, and is now on trial for allegedly conspiring to shut down Ratcliffe-on-Soar coal-fired power station (the verdict is expected today). You can read his article on the disproportionate effects of climate change on marginalised communities in December’s Attitude magazine – it’s the one with lots of naked men on the cover.

Besides having run three columns by Glass, the Guardian has also given space to the Trotskyite burblings of perma-revolutionary Eva Jasiewicz – another member of the fancy dress mob who harrassed the Farages at the weekend.  And also to this woman, Pennie Quinton who was also boasting on Twitter about her involvement in the anti-UKIP renta-mob. See also Guardian contributor Emily Churchill (no relation, one imagines), who crowed about having helped ruin the Farage family lunch with the phrase “We are family!”

Now you could argue that the Guardian can’t be held responsible for the actions of a few idiots who have written for it in the past. Maybe not. But what you can most definitely blame it for, I think, is the uncritical coverage it gives both to them individually (see flattering profile of Glass above) and collectively at protests everywhere from Kingsnorth to Balcombe.

Whether these protests are about breast-feeding or coal-fired power or fracking or neonicotinoids or bankers or air travel, what you find time and again is the same hardcore of activists at the heart of each protest. The cause seems to be almost an irrelevance. What counts far more is the intensity of their shrill self-righteousness and the corresponding passion of their hatred for whichever particular target they happen to be protesting against on that particular day.

You can see that self-righteousness in some of the comments below the Guardian’s report on the Farage affair. Here’s one from a charmer calling himself “Postcolonial”.

Well I suppose they could have tarred and feathered him. But we can still dream.

And here is the Guardian’s columnist Suzanne Moore telling us that the protestors who had Farage’s children fleeing in fear were just a lovely, harmless, playful bunch really and that the Farages over-reacted…

Those protesting against Farage were in fancy dress, which is why the pub owners thought it was some kind of birthday party. They called themselves “a cabaret of diversity” and were seeking to represent some of the groups Farage has offended: “Migrants, HIV activists, gay people, disabled people and breast-feeding mothers.” No doubt this boisterous group may have seemed a bit scary although, to be honest, it all looked harmlessly theatrical in the pictures.

The worst thing that Moore can find to say about the incident is that it may play to Farage’s advantage.

And actually, it may backfire for other reasons too, because increasingly Farage plays the victim. And this allows him to. He can present himself as the innocent victim of attacks by fruitcakes, when, in fact, he spends most of his time attacking the vulnerable.

(If Moore had wanted to make the point with the charm and wit of which unfortunately she is incapable, she might have nicked this, much funnier analysis from a Guardian commentator called Boynamedstu: “Because nothing will make people considering voting for UKIP change their mind than a coachload of inner city dwelling, unemployed drama graduates and soap dodgers intimidating him and scaring his kids while he is out for a Sunday lunch. These arsehats have probably done more to increase the UKIP vote than a front page picture of a Romanian eating a swan while shitting on a Princess Di commemorative tea towel.”)

Read the thrilling, insightful, moving pay off at Breitbart London

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BBC Radio 2 Audience in ‘Too White’ Shock

March 21, 2015

The BBC Trust is worried about the relatively small number of BAME listeners who tune in to BBC’s over-35s station Radio 2.

(BAME, by the way, is the latest PC term for people who aren’t white. It stands for Black and Ethnic Minorities. So remember that, Cumberbatch, next time you’re on TV and you want to demonstrate how impeccably right on you are. Remember, also, to pronounce it correctly. The “a” is long, as in “car”. And the “me” is pronounced as in “me no likee all this PC bollocks”. Get it right Ben, my friend, and this could land you your next potentially Oscar-nominated starring role in the forthcoming biopic The Lenny Henry Story).

I’m worried too. However few BAME people actually listen to Radio 2 it is still far, far too many, as I was reminded only yesterday while listening to BBC Radio 2’s star morning fixture, the Ken Bruce show.

Ken was wittering away – as Ken does – about alarm clocks. The thing about alarm clocks, he pointed out, is that you grow attached to them and never think to replace them till they’re broken. Because why would you, when they’re not broken? Why indeed, Ken? Why indeed.

Though I’m not a racist myself, I suspect that if I were I would be very, very enthusiastic about the BBC Trust’s recommendation that BBC Radio 2 “should address the disparity in reach among BAME listeners.” What I’d want is for ethnic minority people is to be rounded up off the streets a bit like the Child Catcher does in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (perhaps they could be lured into his cage with ackee fruit or samosas or fried noodles, or whatever the BBC’s Chief Diversity Officer believes is best suited to the local community), herded into a large room full of comfortable arm chairs and forced to listen to BBC2 Radio 2 for a whole day, with perhaps a double dose of Ken Bruce, then Jamie Cullum’s jazz programme and Sunday Night With Michael Ball.

Then they too will appreciate, as Radio 2’s mainly middle-aged and elderly white audience does already, that to become a regular listener of Radio 2 is to enter death’s waiting room. You can check out any time you like but you can never leave.

You might wonder, incidentally, what I was doing listening to Ken Bruce in the first place. The reason was, I had tried Radio 4 and it was the All Men Are Rapist Bastards Show (aka Woman’s Hour with Jenni “actually, I’m Dame Jenni Murray” Murray); then I’d tried Radio 3 – but instead of classical music it was an interview with some black opera singer talking about ethnic minorities and I just thought: “I simply don’t care. No one does. There’s no colour bar for opera singers – see, for example, the not exactly unstellar career of Jessye Norman. If I want to hear a black woman on Radio 3, I’d like to hear her doing Strauss’s Four Last Songs, not making some half-baked political point.” Things have come to a pretty pass, haven’t they, when you scan the BBC airwaves and you realise that Ken Bruce is the least worst alternative?

Reading further down the BBC Trust’s report, though, what puzzled me was its inconsistency. At no point in its discussion of the BBC radio Asian Network did it express concerns about the fact that fully 85 per cent of its listener base are of “Asian” (ie from the Indian subcontinent) origin. Oughtn’t the station to be doing more to broaden its audience, perhaps by ditching some of the programmes in “a range of South Asian languages” and maybe giving a slot to Jeremy Clarkson, who seems to be available at the moment? Just a thought.

Read the rest at Breitbart London

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Guardian Editor-in-Chief Hits Peak Stupid

I’d been meaning to write today about why Oxford University should divest itself of one of its zoology graduates. But I’m afraid that will have to wait because I’ve just read today’s Guardian cover story and have realised that the stupid runs much deeper than George Monbiot and goes right to the top.

The piece is sub-headed “Why it’s time to start divesting from the companies that already have far more fossil fuels than they can ever be allowed to use” and it’s written by the newspaper’s editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger.

Now in the past I have been fairly agnostic about Rusbridger. His Harry Potterish appearance, his Quixotic secret ambition to be a concert pianist, his £400,000 salary package and his public school education (Cranleigh) all led me to believe that, for all the ghastliness of his newspaper’s politics, he was deep down a loveably ramshackle closet capitalist and probably not nearly as brainlessly left-wing as the Guardian.

What changed my view first was the Guardian’s disgusting complicity in the Edward Snowden intelligence leaks. Amazingly Rusbridger’s newspaper shared a Pulitzer prize for this, despite growing evidence that these leaks have done untold damage to the security of both Britain and the US and have certainly aided and abetted Islamist terror groups like ISIS.

Now Rusbridger has jumped onto yet another suicidal bandwagon, this time cheerleading a campaign for all the world’s big institutions, fund managers and so on to “divest” their share portfolios of their fossil fuel holdings. (Among the logos of companies featured on the Guardian’s cover as examples of “the most polluting coal, gas and oil companies in the world” is that of Shell, which for a long time sponsored the Guardian’s Environment pages. I hope Shell appreciates this display of gratitude).

In vain, though, do you find in Rusbridger’s lengthy apologia for this campaign any evidence as to why it is justified.

It is, rather, little more than a collection of slogans and dubious assertions. This first paragraph gives you a taste.

The world has much more coal, oil and gas in the ground than it can safely burn. That much is physics. Anyone studying the question with an open mind will almost certainly come to a similar conclusion: if we and our children are to have a reasonable chance of living stable and secure lives 30 or so years from now, according to one recent study 80 per cent of the known coal reserves will have to stay underground, along with half the gas and a third of the oil reserves.

This is scientific, political, economic and social illiteracy. It presupposes, first, that the case for man-made global warming theory is proven (which – duh – it so totally isn’t); and second, that all the nations of the world will have the collective will refuse to take advantage of the natural resources beneath their seas and their soil on the say so of kooks like the Prince of Wales, Al Gore and Alan Rusbridger. I particularly love that phrase “anyone studying the question with an open mind….”, which clearly doesn’t apply to Rusbridger himself. If it did, he would surely at least have acquainted himself with the fact the 87 per cent of the world’s energy demand is currently satisfied by fossil fuels and that renewable energy has proved itself quite unable to replace them on any economically viable level.

Read the rest at Breitbart London

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No, Stephen Hawking, Science Doesn’t Need Any Help from The European Union

RODGER BOSCH/AFP/Getty

Stephen Hawking and 150 other distinguished scientists – all fellows of the Royal Society – have written a letter to the (London) Times saying that if Britain leaves the European Union it would be a “disaster for UK science.”

No it wouldn’t.

Only 3 per cent of science R & D funding in Britain comes from the European Union. And it’s not as though we should be grateful for this sop: not when you consider that Britain puts far more into the EU than it gets back in return. If we were out, we could decide for ourselves how much we want to spend on science – and on which projects – rather than having a bunch of incompetent foreigners decide for us.

When I say “a bunch of incompetent foreigners” I mean just that. Look at the example of the EU’s flagship GPS project in which 28 states have come together in peace and unity and utter pointlessness to spunk Euros 13 billion of taxpayers’ money on a satellite navigation programme that no one actually needs any more because there’s a perfectly good one available already.

Is that the kind of science project we’d tragically miss out on if Britain were to quit the EU? Thirteen years delayed, three times overbudget and the space age equivalent of a chocolate ashtray? If so, I can’t say I’m going to be weeping too many bitter tears for the scientists we would have paid for to do that particular job.

Oh but what about CERN? Imagine! If it hadn’t been for the EU we might never have discovered the Higgs Boson…

Bollocks we wouldn’t have done.

Another of the myths being put about is that leaving the political structures of the EU will affect our participation in the CERN project – the European Organisation for Nuclear Research and home of the Large Hadron Collider. This is simply not true. CERN is an international collaboration of many countries, including many non-EU nations. The UK were founding members of the project back in 1954, and are currently CERN’s third largest contributor. The official status of the EU in respect to CERN is that of an OBSERVER, along with UNESCO, Russia, India, Japan and the USA.

Freedom of movement for scientists then. Think of all the brilliant researchers who’d be denied entry to Britain…

Read the rest at Breitbart.

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What Do America’s Kittens Think about Global Warming? We Need to Know!

Today, we learn from the New Republic, a delegation of six schoolkids is visiting Washington DC with a view to educating Republican senators including Mitch McConnell, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz about the reality of global warming.

Let us pause awhile to relish the arrogance, stupidity and frankly borderline child-abusive nature of this ludicrous stunt, cooked up by the hard-left pressure group Avaaz.

One of the kids, Nadia Sheppard, 16 from North Carolina is quoted as saying: “Scientists have noticed that this was a problem for a really long time, like, maybe 20 years ago? Longer than I’ve been alive.”

Yeah, but, like, Nadia, what scientists have also, like, noticed is that there has been no statistically significant warming since 1998, the year before you were born. Does it not strike you as a bit suspicious that the thing you’ve been told by your teachers constitutes the greatest peril of our age – “global warming” – hasn’t actually happened at any stage in your entire existence?

Not that I’m blaming poor Nadia or those other hapless kids who have been dragooned into this stunt. Rather I blame Avaaz – and the broader climate alarmism movement generally – for co-opting innocents like this into their grubby propaganda wars.

Two points worth remembering about kids are a) their frontal lobes haven’t formed so they’re impulsive and irrational and b) the quality of their knowledge is dependent on the quality of their teaching, so if they’ve been taught idiocy then they will spout idiocy.

Later in the article, we learn of a separate poll, commissioned by Avaaz last year, which revealed that of more than a thousand US 12-year-olds polled, 90 per cent responded that climate change is real and “significantly” driven by human activity.

This devastating near-unanimity among America’s prepubescents on the reality of climate change I personally find moving, powerful and hugely persuasive.

I’m now just an opinion poll away from being forced to recognise the error of my ways. So tell us, please, Avaaz because this is really important and we’re dying to know:

Is America’s kitten population similarly convinced of the reality of global warming? And if it is, mightn’t this have the makings of a devastatingly effective media campaign with the potential to go viral like you would not believe?

Read the rest at Breitbart London

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  3. Why we can all stop worrying about ‘Global Warming’ for a bit
  4. Prince of Wales calls for climate Magna Carta to save the planet from global warming

 

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Eddie Redmayne, the Oscars and Why Eton Is a Four-Letter Word

There are many reasons to celebrate Eddie Redmayne’s Oscar last night – from his charming and refreshingly brief acceptance speech to the fact that the award didn’t go to Benedict “This is what a feminist looks like” Cumberbatch – is the wailing and consternation and gnashing of teeth it will cause among the chippy anti-public-school brigade, people who hate Eton (Redmayne’s alma mater) especially.

[US readers please note: when we say ‘public school’ in Britain, we are referring to ‘private schools’, not what you would call ‘public schools’ which we call ‘state schools’. Oh and we don’t know what you mean by ‘cilantro’ either. We call it ‘coriander’. Capisce?]

Eton College (Wikimedia)

As Redmayne’s fellow Old Etonian (OEs, as they are known), Damian Lewis, once quipped: “Eton is a four-letter word.” And he’s absolutely right, for a lot of people it is. They see the penguin uniforms (black tail coats; waistcoats; stiff white collars) and they see the products (which currently include the Prime Minister, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Mayor of London and the second in line to the throne, Prince William) and they’re filled with uncontrollable jealousy and rage and hatred which they try to dignify by couching it as an honest aversion to “elitism” and “unearned privilege” and “a sense of entitlement”.

True, Old Etonians can be irritating, as for example Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby reminded us recently with his lame-arsed attacks on capitalism and his feeble handwringing response to ISIS’s murder of those unfortunate Coptic Christians.

But if you’re going to blame an Eton education for Justin Welby (and David Cameron, Earl Spencer, the Hon Sir Jonathan Porritt, Oliver Letwin, etc) then how do you explain John Prescott, Dale Vince, Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin, and Jeffrey Dahmer – not one of whom, so far as I’m aware, is entitled to wear the black and turquoise striped OE tie?

hugh-laurie-reuters

No, the real reason people hate Eton is that its products are so spectacularly successful. In the world of acting, for example, besides Redmayne and Lewis, they include Tom Hiddleston, Harry Lloyd, Dominic West and Hugh “House” Laurie. And the reason they’ve succeeded – against the odds: the entertainment industry, like most industries these days is riddled with anti-‘elitist’ prejudice – is because they have benefited from the kind of classic, rigorous, old school, liberal arts education which the left has sought for so long to destroy.

Sure it probably helps having high cheek-bones, good breeding, and a natural affinity with the Queen’s English. But there are lots of boys from poorer backgrounds on bursaries at Eton too and these go on to perform at least as well in the outside world as the scions of the English upper classes.

Former student Tom Hiddleston (Reuters)

That’s because among the life skills Eton continues unapologetically to instill in its boys, in return for its annual fees (circa £30,000 pa) are: self-discipline; independence of mind (despite its traditionalist air, Eton is run more like a libertarian experiment: there are no official bed times, for example, and you do your homework when you want to do rather than when you are told to do); impeccable manners; extreme competitiveness; well-roundedness (they don’t care what you do, whether it’s beagling, DJ-ing, calligraphy, gaming, rowing, or drama, just so long as you cultivate interests beyond the school curriculum); humility (yes, really: most Etonians I’ve met are hugely grateful for the privilege of their education, which they are encouraged to repay through schemes like the one where they ‘mentor’ state school pupils); wit (banter, is, of course, very important and on a very high level at Eton); and the ability to mask the immense ambition most of them have with that quality known as “Etonian charm.”

Read the rest at Breitbart London

Related posts:

  1. Eton is a four letter word. What ‘School’ tells us about Boris and Dave
  2. Clarkson, the Baronet’s granddaughter and a pile of poo
  3. Shadow cabinet elections: new blood for the Eton Grocer’s cabinet?
  4. Free Schools: the stake in the heart of the Progressive vampire

 

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‘Compassionate Conservatism’ Is the Devil’s Urine

Oh great. A new manifesto arguing for “compassionate conservatism.” Only this time, the authors have hit on the ingenious variant “The Good Right.”

I’d love to tell Tim Montgomerie and Stephan Shakespeare exactly what I think of their limp-wristed apologia for precisely the kind of watered-down, damp-dishcloth faux-conservatism that has driven so many natural conservatives into the bosom of UKIP. But I won’t, obviously, because it will give them far too much masochistic pleasure.

So let me just quibble, gently, with one of the numerous bits I particularly hate.

It’s where they claim that “Government is Not the Enemy.”

Now I agree that, theoretically speaking, this is a delightfully warm and cozy affirmatory statement of kitten-stroking caringness.

To help us into the right frame of mind, they treat us to some heart-warming examples of just the kind of thing “Government” does to make all the horrid things go away.

If you are someone who is desperate for a roof over your head after a flood, hurricane or forest fire has destroyed your home or neighbourhood you are very grateful for help from the government.

If you are out of work and your relatives are too stretched to sustain you and your family you depend upon that government welfare cheque.

If drug gangs are outside your kids’ schools every morning and afternoon you are very grateful for government help.

All of which, of course, people on what they implicitly suggest is the “Bad Right” would like to do away with. Yes that’s right, Timmy. People who, a la Ronald Reagan, argue that “Government is not the solution to the problem. Government is the problem,” just want to crush the poor and oppressed under their jackboots and are so doctrinaire – no really, I’ve heard this argument being advanced, in a debate on libertarianism, by the Guardian’s Chief Political Columnist – that their idea of a perfect state is the bracingly government-free entity that is Somalia.

And there was I thinking that one of the key facets of conservatism is that it is a practical and honest creed. It’s not about airy-fairy theories about what might work if only we closed our eyes tight enough and said “I believe in Tinkerbell.” It’s about what actually does work in the real world, as demonstrated by hard evidence.

So let me give a few examples of government in action and invite Tim Montgomerie to explain exactly how they have made our world a better place.

1. Compulsory skimmed milk in schools.

In the last few months, successive reports have demonstrated that full fat milk is much better for you than skimmed.

So guess what the Department of Education’s latest “free school milk requirements” introduced last month tell us. Yes, that’s right: “You may only offer lower-fat milk (not more than 1.8 per cent fat content, such as semi-skimmed, skimmed, or 1 per cent fat milk).”

2. The ‘liberation’ of Libya.

No, of course, it wasn’t obvious to anyone with half a brain that overthrowing Gaddafi would create more problems than it solved. (cf also Saddam Hussein; the attempted defenestration of Bashar Al Assad)

Now we learn that Libya is being transformed into another ISIS stronghold which will be used as a launchpad for terrorist operations within Europe. But hey, again, who could possibly have predicted this?

3. The Climate Change Act

Under the 2008 Climate Change Act, voted for by all but five MPs, Britain is legally committed to a “decarbonisation” programme which will hamstring the UK economy with useless projects like the proposed mega windfarm 80 miles off the Yorkshire coast, blight our seas and landscape and cost the taxpayer £734 billion. To no practical purpose whatsoever.

4. Plain packaging for cigarettes

Plain packaging is not only illiberal (and ugly and anti-capitalist) but doesn’t even achieve the one thing it was designed to do: put people off smoking. (see also: the ban on smoking in public places, introduced to prevent the dangers of “second-hand smoking” which, all serious studies show are non-existent)

But hey, the government is going to go ahead with it any way.

5. Harriet Harman’s “if she’s drunk you raped her” laws on consent – now fully endorsed and aggressively pursued under this administration by the vengefully PC Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Saunders.

Nice one, government. You have just needlessly criminalised about 95 per cent of Britain’s male youth population.

6. The Housing Market Renewal Pathfinders Programme.

One from the Blair era, I know, but no heads have ever rolled for it, least of all the chippy, porcine incompetent in charge of it, John Prescott, who was, of course, instead elevated to the Lords.

What it did, in essence, was destroy the heart and character of many of Britain’s towns, by doing much the same that Ceausescu did in Romania: clearing and bulldozing Victorian streets (dubbed “slums” for propaganda purposes) and replacing them with modern buildings more suited to New Labour’s Year Zero. Except, oops, Labour ran out of money so a lot of the new buildings were never built; but by then the communities inhabiting the old buildings had already been broken up and moved on.

7. Rotherham et al.

Well Local Government counts as government too, doesn’t it? And it was definitely Local Government in Rotherham that allowed those Muslim rape gangs to operate with near impunity

I could go on and on. My list was never meant to be comprehensive. I’ve simply picked a few random examples of areas both great and small where government has tried (or possibly not tried) to do the right thing and made life almost immeasurably worse for everyone.

What I hope the range and variety of the idiocies cited shows is that incompetence and disastrous unintended consequences are not some unfortunate, occasional accident of government activity: they are its very essence. This is what politicians do: not just ghastly lefty Labour ones but supposed sensible “small government” (yeah right: they all go native in the end) Conservative ones. They meddle because they want to show they are making a difference – that government, as per Tim Montgomerie – is not your enemy but your friend. But they’re always too busy or politically compromised or plain thick to think it through properly. And even when they do think up clever ideas they only end up being sabotaged by Jeremy Heywood and his gang of wreckers in the Civil Service.

It’s no concidence about the only two worthwhile achievements of the Cameron administration were essentially anti-government in nature: Gove’s liberation of schools from the shackles of local government; Ian Duncan Smith’s simplification of the welfare system (which of course will have the happy side-effect of putting a lot of public sector bloatocrats out of a job).

If Montgomerie and Shakespeare’s drivel had been published after ten years of red meat Thatcherism you could just about it excuse its intellectual poverty and its wheedling desperation for change on the grounds of “well of course, the wetter fringe of the Conservative movement are going to be a bit upset.”

But it’s pretty rich, I have to say, for Monty and Shaggers to bring out this centrist tosh and try to advance it as something new and radical and different when centrist tosh is pretty much all we’ve had since David Cameron and his pals came to power and which is why this country is still in such a mess.

Read the rest at Breitbart London

Related posts:

  1. ‘Compassionate’ Conservatism isn’t Conservatism
  2. A refreshing weekend of real conservatism
  3. Mitt Romney and David Cameron: conservatives who won’t defend conservatism
  4. The ideological rot that is destroying English conservatism

 

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