Cumberbatch: the Umbrage Police claim another scalp

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Benedict ‘Sherlock’ Cumberbatch has said he is “a complete fool”, an “idiot”, “thoughtless” and that he is “devastated” for having inadvertently used the term “coloured” to describe black people on a US talk show.

It’s depressing enough that he felt the obligation to apologise. But what’s worse is that he felt the need to do so so grovellingly, self-abasingly and profusely.

Yes, we all know why he did it. It’s Oscar nomination season coming up, Cumberbatch is a possible contender for his portrayal of fashionably autistic, gay code-breaker Alan Turing in The Imitation Game, and Hollywood is notoriously PC and squeamish about issues to do with race.

But if anyone who owes anyone an apology, here, it’s not poor put-upon Cumberbatch but the noisome professional offence-takers who by seeking to make political mileage out of such achingly trivial issues are creating a climate of linguistic fear in which good people suffer.

First, that word “coloured”. Yes, it may be a little old fashioned. As Sarah Vine rightly notes it’s “The kind of thing your granny might say and which might compel you to lean over and gently whisper in her ear: ‘No one says ‘coloured’ any more, gran. It’s not the done thing’. To which she might reply: ‘Really, dear? I had no idea.’”

What it definitely isn’t, though, is in any way malign or pejorative. Indeed, there was a time – back in the Seventies, when it was used pretty regularly and in the politest of company – when it would have been considered positively PC.

Second, the context. Cumberbatch was using the now-apparently verboten word in the course of a diatribe against the lack of job opportunities for ethnic actors in the UK film industry. In other words, he was making a point of almost toe-curling bien-pensant rectitude. That his reward for this should be to be taken to task by the Umbrage Police is almost as absurd as if a VC hero, having single-handedly taken an enemy machine-gun position, should then be disciplined for his cruel and unusual use of a bayonet.

Third, the hypocrisy. Are we to understand then, that from now on, the National Association For The Advancement Of Colored People will be changing its name to the National Association For The Advancement Of People Of Color? (Until such time, of course, when “People of Color” too becomes discredited and unfashionable, as no doubt it will eventually because that, unfortunately, seems to be the deal: today’s PC euphemism is tomorrow’s inexcusable racial slur).

This, though, unfortunately, is how the liberal-left rolls. As Alex Wickham pointed out here yesterday, it’s the liberals who are the new puritans that want to control your life.

One of the ways they are achieving this is in their vexatious and aggressive policing of the spoken word – on college campuses, in the media, on Twitter, on TV chat shows, in schools, in books. The purpose of this will be more than familiar to students of the Frankfurt school of Cultural Marxism and to readers of Saul Alinsky’s Rules For Radicals or George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. It’s about generating a cultural climate in which no one feels quite comfortable to express themselves freely for fear, as Cumberbatch did, of breaking some new unwritten rule of which they weren’t hitherto aware.

And it’s also, of course, about identity politics and power.

Read the rest at Breitbart London

Prince of Wales calls for climate Magna Carta to save the planet from global warming

Prince-Charles_Reuters-640x481The Prince of Wales has demanded a “Magna Carta for the Earth” in order to save the planet from global warming – thus calling into severe question the abilities of those hapless dons who were charged with teaching him history when he scraped into Cambridge back in the early Seventies.

Had those history professors done their job, Prince Charles would surely be aware that Magna Carta was – at least insofar as it matters to us most today – a charter which protected the rights of the many against the tyranny of unaccountable power. But the kind of sweeping, pan-global, UN-enforced climate treaty the Prince is proposing represents the precise opposite.

Prince Charles, who made his speech to an invited audience at his International Sustainability Unit’s meeting on Forests, Climate Change and Development in London yesterday, is the latest of a number of international celebrities, ranging from rapper Pharrell Williams and President Obama to the Pope, who have spoken of the urgent need for a new global climate agreement.

Nor will he be the last. The purpose of all these high-level declarations of intent is to pave the way for the UN’s next round of climate talks in Paris this December which, campaigners hope, will result in the most significant treaty of concerted international action since the Marshall Plan.

This is what Mary Robinson – former president of Ireland, now the UN’s special envoy on climate change – meant when she told the Guardian that “this is the most important year since 1945.”

What she failed to add is that 1945 (more specifically, Berlin after the Soviets had arrived) is exactly what the global economy will start to resemble if the UN green technocrats get their way. Despite mounting evidence that there is no connection between rising CO2 levels and catastrophic global warming, the UN’s climate “experts” remain resolutely wedded to the idea that “carbon” (aka the natural by-product of almost every industrial process) must be regulated out of existence.

Read the rest at Breitbart London

2014 was not the ‘hottest year on record’. So why did NASA claim it was?

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“2014 was the hottest year on record.”

Q: If the above statement is not true – and (see below) it isn’t –  would it make it any more true were it to be uttered in an important speech at Davos by fashion designer, songwriter and hip hop producer Pharrell Williams?

A: Nope.

Q: OK. Then how about if Pharrell, while chilling in the outdoor hot tub with George Soros, Bono and Paul Krugman at their  seven-star hotel in Davos, were to write a chart-topping song about it – something along the lines of Happy, only catchier, more uplifting – and it became, like this massive club hit across the world and all the kids everywhere were singing “2014 was the hottest on record.” Would that make it more true?

A. Nope.

Q: Sigh. How about if “2014 was the hottest year on record” was remixed as a Live-Aid-style all-star extravaganza starring One Direction, Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, Coldplay and others with a hilarious viral sensation video co-directed by Richard Curtis and James Cameron, featuring James Corden, Ricky Gervais, Matt Damon, Gillian Anderson and Marcus Brigstocke with a special cameo from Al Gore sending himself up as the Comedy Beached Whale who had lost his way because his sonar had been tragically disrupted by offshore wind turbines. Would that work?

A. Nope.

Q. OK – all the above, plus a speech by all the G20 leaders endorsing the statement that “2014 was the hottest year on record”, plus a statement from the heads of all the world’s leading scientific academies, plus a detailed analysis by Roger Harrabin on BBC Radio 4 and a supportive article in The Spectator by legendary journalist Nick Cohen declaring that anyone who doesn’t believe that “2014 was the hottest year on record” is a complete moron?

A. Still nope.

You may think that what I’m stating here is incredibly obvious. If an empirically verifiable statement – eg “2014 was the hottest year on record” – is untrue, no amount of repetition, from no matter how many celebrities, politicians and scientists can make it otherwise.

Why then, do all these people go on repeating the lie anyway?

Before I explain why, let me briefly rehearse the background to the “2014 was the hottest year on record” meme.

It began spreading earlier this month when NASA GISS’s director Gavin Schmidt held a press conference to declare that 2014 was the hottest year ever recorded. This sounded jolly impressive and naturally generated excited “2014 was the hottest year on record” headlines around the world, everywhere from the BBC and the New York Times to the Guardian, Nature, Slate and Vice. No half way informed person, we can fairly safely say, will have got through January without having seen at least once – and probably several times – a headline to the effect that “2014 was the hottest year on record”.

But there were, it subsequently emerged, several things wrong with this headline story.

The first – which, admittedly, you would have realised had you read reports like this one in the Guardian – is that “hottest year on record” isn’t quite so dramatic as initially sounds. That’s because the temperature records it is being compared with only go back to 1880. (Oddly enough though, no newspaper ran the headline “2014 hottest year since 1880″ or “2014 hottest in 134 years”)

The second is, as David Rose noted in the Mail On Sunday, that the criteria by which NASA declared “2014 was the hottest year on record” do not stand up to serious scientific scrutiny.

Yet the Nasa press release failed to mention this, as well as the fact that the alleged ‘record’ amounted to an increase over 2010, the previous ‘warmest year’, of just two-hundredths of a degree – or 0.02C. The margin of error is said by scientists to be approximately 0.1C – several times as much.

As a result, GISS’s director Gavin Schmidt has now admitted Nasa thinks the likelihood that 2014 was the warmest year since 1880 is just 38 per cent.

Odds of 38 per cent are not a racing certainty. If you translated it into a bet you’d lose more often than you’d win. NASA was lying to us. Or, at best, wilfully misleading us.

And the third problem, as Christopher Booker noted, is that the satellite temperature records tell a very different story from the surface temperature records quoted by NASA. This would suggest – as sceptics have been arguing for some time – that the land surface temperature data sets are untrustworthy. There are too few weather stations; too many of them are subject to the Urban Heat Island effect; and, in any case, the raw data has too often been adjusted by alarmists for reasons that appear to owe more to politics than science, since the adjustments always seem designed to make the early years of the 20th century cooler than they were in order to make the subsequent increases in temperature more dramatic.

Now you’ve got the background, let me return to my question.

If the statement “2014 was the hottest year on record” is untrue – and demonstrably untrue – then why are so many people who ought to know better continuing to claim otherwise?

The answer, as often where outbreaks of mass hysteria are concerned, can be found in Gustave Le Bon’s 1895 masterpiece translated in English under the title The Crowd: A Study Of The Popular Mind.

This brilliant study of how to influence the mob by engendering groupthink was admired by, among others, Freud, Hitler and Mussolini.

Here is Le Bon on the most important weapon in the demagogue’s armoury:

It was Napoleon, I believe, who said that there is only one figure in rhetoric of serious importance, repetition. The thing affirmed comes by repetition to fix itself in the mind in such a way that it is accepted as a demonstrated truth.

The influence of repetition on crowds is comprehensible when the power is seen which it exercises on most enlightened minds. This power is due to the fact that the repeated statement is embedded in the long run in those profound regions of our unconscious selves in which the motives of our actions are forged. At the end of a certain time we have forgotten who is the author of the repeated assertion, and we finish by believing it. To this circumstance is due the astonishing power of advertisements. When we have read a hundred, a thousand, times that X’s chocolate is the best, we imagine we have heard it said in many quarters, and we end by acquiring the certitude that such is the fact.

Now you understand why NASA GISS’s Gavin Schmidt held that press conference and why he said what he did. Like so many of those “experts” abusing the prestige of their distinguished institutions in order to push the great global warming scam way past its sell-by date, he has long since parted company with empiricism, rigour or ethical restraint. He and his ilk have largely abandoned science, in favour of propaganda. No offence intended to chocolate advertisers – but that, in essence, is what these charlatans have become.

From Breitbart London

Gotcha! The Sun gives the Breastapo a taste of their own medicine

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Professional lesbian and poverty chic Guardianista cookery writer “Jack” Monroe is unhappy.

She tweets:

Here’s the Sun ‘head of PR’ sending a collage of topless photos to targeted journalists. Creepy, abusive, harassment.

So too, we can safely infer, is former Equalities Minister Harriet Harman, who tweeted two days ago:

Glad that p3 gone. Women expect to be equal in C21. Not posing half naked. Well done Clare Short & 1000s of women campaign

So is Third Wave Feminist Caroline Criado-Perez:

When this is how the head of PR at the sun uses p3 how anyone can say this isn’t woman hating is beyond me.

So too, no doubt, is this veritable Smörgåsbord of angry birds (Deborah Orr, Stella Creasy, Polly Toynbee, “Bidisha”, the full set…) who, but two days ago, were crowing in the Guardian about their alleged victory in having denied less hatchet-facedly committed members of the sisterhood the right to bare their breasts on Page 3 of Britain’s favourite tabloid newspaper.

Why are they all so cross? Because the Sun has successfully deployed against them the weapon that tyrants fear above all: mockery.

At least I hope that that was the reasoning behind the Sun’s unexplained decision first to pull its traditional topless bird from page 3 and then to restore her in today’s surprise comeback edition.

M’learned friend (and ex-Sun columnist) Toby Young isn’t so sure. In this excellent post at the Spectator he has come up with a number of plausible competing theories which have more to do with business than they do with pleasure or ideological principle.

But let’s, for a moment, give the Sun’s strategists the benefit of the doubt and assume it was all just an attention-grabbing wind-up. If so, they have done a very right, very necessary and very responsible thing.

The tabloid press has come in for an awful lot of stick since the Leveson enquiry, the Sun especially which has had dozens of its journalists dragged through the courts, as a result of often needless, vexatious and politically-motivated investigations which have cost the taxpayer many millions of pounds in wasted police time.

By striking back in this way at its joyless enemies on the authoritarian left (the same people, of course, who are pushing so hard for Leveson-style press regulation), the Sun has reminded us why it is so important for the health of Britain that our tabloid press should remain robust, confident, unmuzzled and, yes, on occasion, offensive.

By “Britain” I don’t, of course, mean the spavined, mimsy, narrow-minded, egg-shell-treading, politically correct tyranny which exists in the warped imaginations of the progressive crowd and which they would dearly like to impose on the rest of us.

I mean the more traditional one which still exists, just about, and which the silent majority of us still inhabit. In this Britain – Real Britain – people look at the bare breasts on page 3 of the Sun and see not an assault on women or a threat to the very fabric of society but simply a bit of bawdy but essentially innocent fun.

Like Toby Young, I’ll leave the last word on this to the former Page 3 girl Jodie Marsh who, on the day of the ban-that-wasn’t, tweeted thus to the campaign group @nomorepage3:

may I humbly suggest that you now put your time & effort into something that actually matters like campaigning against FGM…

Yes the Greens are joke – but not a funny or a harmless one

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Many years ago, when I was a young diarist working for the Daily Telegraph’s Peterborough column, my bosses dispatched me to cover the Green Party conference. This wasn’t because I was particularly anti-Green at the time. Rather it was because, of all Peterborough’s staffers, I was known to be the one least interested in politics and the political process, so it seemed entirely appropriate to send me to the big joke event in the conference season, rather than to one of the more serious events.

The only thing I remember about the event was being inveigled into some fringe activity in which I was forced to participate with various Green delegates in some kind of non-competitive group bonding exercise where we all had to roll about on the floor. Someone let out the most repellent fart. It smelt evil but everyone present politely conspired to pretend that everything was normal. I sense something similar going on right now in the collective efforts of the media chattering classes to present the Green Party as a viable, vibrant and credible force in UK politics in the approach to the General Election.

Here are some reasons why I think they are wrong.

1. Green Party membership is on the up and up. Yes but so what?

Apparently the Green Party’s membership has now overtaken UKIP’s. I’m quite prepared to believe this but I think it says more about the fiendish zealotry of the sort of people attracted to environmental causes than it does about the Green Party itself. It’s not as though the Green Party has suddenly gone and recruited a brilliant, inspirational go-ahead new leader – au contraire: see Nathalie Bennett, below – nor as though it has undergone some manner of dramatic, Clause 4 style, policy reinvention.

Nope. It’s just that of all the parties, the Greens are the one whose target market accords most closely with the kind of people who flock to sign Change.Org petitions and join Twitter mobbings and go out on street demos (or better still, attend week-long protest camps where they can smoke dope, get to use the yurt and possibly get to rub shoulders with Vivienne Westwood). These people are signers, joiners, astroturfers. As a percentage of the population they are quite small but in terms of exerting political pressure they punch far above their weight by being highly committed and – for a bunch of dope-smoking crusties – surprisingly well organised. This Green Party membership surge is just another part of that strategy. I don’t believe that it will translate into anything significant at the polls.

2. Natalie Bennett

You know how at the beginning of each new primary school year there are one or two teachers you pray aren’t going to be the ones to whose class your children have been allocated? And it’s not that these teachers are malign, necessarily. It’s just that they’re wet, agonisingly prey to all the usual PC groupthink and frankly a bit thick – so, while you know your kids won’t necessarily be unhappy during their year with Ms X, they’re not going to learn anything  more useful than how to colour in a picture of Mary Seacole for their Black History Week project. Well I’ve met the Green Party’s leader Natalie Bennett and I’m afraid she’s one of those.

3. Watermelons

It stands, of course, for “green on the outside, red on the inside”. But as Matthew Holehouse rightly notes in this analysis of the Green Party’s policies, that doesn’t mean they’re as bad as Karl Marx whose main concern was the way wealth was distributed. No – and this really can’t be pointed out often enough – the Greens are much more dangerous than Karl Marx, because though they share his attitude to redistributionism they are also ideologically opposed to the one thing capable of offering each generation a better standard of living than the previous one: economic growth. A vote for the Greens is far more than a protest: it’s a vote for collectivisation, stagnation and immiseration.

4. They’re worse than a joke

Ohohoho yes, the Greens. When I originally started writing this piece, I couched it in flippantly humorous terms, with jokes about a world where your house would get confiscated and handed over to a bunch of crusties, with your garden shed being allocated for dogs-on-ropes they use for their street begging ventures and the suggestion that it would be like living under Enver Hoxha only with more dreadlocks, juggling and pois (Young Poi-oneers, anyone?).

Truth is, though, to laugh at the Greens is to underestimate the viciousness of their ideology – which is an unholy mix of economic illiteracy, pathological altruism, and misanthropy, built on a foundation of ignorance, self-delusion and mendacity. These people aren’t just misguided fools. The policies for which they have agitated over the years – punching far above their weight (see 1) – have caused the world and its inhabitants real harm. For the full ugly details read this damning new report by Andrew Montford for the Global Warming Policy Foundation called Unintended Consequences Of Climate Change Policy. These caring, nurturing hippies have blood on their hands. They should be ashamed of themselves and certainly have no place on the moral high ground.

5. In office they’re a disaster

As witness the hell they inflicted on the Green Republic of Brighton and Hove. It’s redolent of the loony left councils which ran various London boroughs in the 1980s, only with added eco-worthiness. So: out-of-control spending and uncollected rubbish, but with added nonsense like proposals that everyone should experience meat-free Mondays.

6. What all this is really all about, of course, is UKIP

The reason the “rise of the Greens” is getting so much enthusiastic coverage is because the mainstream media appears to have decided en masse that anything is better than UKIP, even a party which, if it got anywhere near the reins of power would bomb the UK economy back to the Dark Ages. An unfortunate side-effect of this shameless bias towards Cameron’s Conservatives (who, of course, fear and loathe UKIP far more than they do Labour) is that it means few journalists, commentators and broadcasters are subjecting the Greens to any kind of serious scrutiny. If UKIP had a single policy half as lunatic as the ones the Greens have got, it would be front page news for the next four months.

From Breitbart London

Seven Shoddy Excuses Lefties Use To Justify The Paris Massacre

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1. “You can’t shout fire in a crowded theatre.”

This hackneyed faux-truism is the Expecto Patronum of squishy liberal apologists. That is, when the going gets tough and they’re forced to do that difficult thing – defending free speech – they reach desperately for this magical formula, rather as Harry Potter does when faced with the Dementors. Once the phrase has been uttered, they seem to think, the argument has been made for them and the nasty, scary problem will go away – as no doubt the Lib Dems’ Vince Cable did when he used it in the most recent edition of BBC Question Time.

But the analogy just doesn’t work for at least three good reasons.

First, if the theatre wasn’t on fire, as seems to be implicit, why would anyone want to say it was? You just wouldn’t. Not unless you were mentally ill. So really, to observe that “you can’t shout fire in a crowded theatre” is a bit like saying “you can’t put your willy in a pit-bull’s mouth”. Trivially true. But so what?

Second, any legal restrictions there may be on shouting fire in crowded theatres which aren’t on fire have to do with protection of life and property rights. You might cause a stampede which could lead to fatalities; at best you would damage the theatre’s box office. These laws, therefore, are an expression of common consent. Not so the prescriptions on blasphemy which terrorists like the Charlie Hebdo murderers would like to impose on us. In order for them to become so, we would have all to agree that the precepts of Sharia law are something we should all obey, Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Currently we don’t, though it seems to be the case that people who wheel out the “crowded theatre” aphorism think that we should.

Third, as Mark Steyn argues here and here, the theatre is on fire.

2. “Offensive”

I see that in a Daily Guardiangraph leader today the Charlie Hebdo cartoons are described as “offensive.” Was this adjective really necessary? It seems subtly to concede the case that the French cartoonists had it coming. But last time I checked “offensiveness” in the West was not a capital crime. Indeed, freedom to cause offense is surely one of the defining qualities of a mature, socially liberal culture. It’s how we explore the boundaries of what is and isn’t acceptable, by testing ideas – good and bad ones alike – in the crucible of debate. If people are wrong, we are free to tell them so – and explain why they are wrong. If we simply decide that some things cannot be said simply because they are “offensive” this enables aggrieved minorities to close down any argument they dislike without its ever being aired in public. This is not freedom of speech, but the opposite.

3. “Provocative.”

The first time I heard this justification was – bizarrely – from an old university friend of mine in the aftermath of the brutal 2004 murder of Theo Van Gogh. Sure it was jolly sad and upsetting, she argued, but frankly the guy was an outrageous provocateur who deliberately courted controversy so we should hardly be surprised that he came to a sticky end.

Wow! I never met Theo Van Gogh but I’m pretty sure that, had I asked him, he would have said that being shot in the street was not part of his life plan. Nor was it for the Charlie Hebdo team. They did what they did not, I suspect, because they wanted to but because they felt they had to. Why? Because of precisely the kind of cultural surrender they would have recognised in my university friend’s response to Theo Van Gogh’s death.

4. “Islamophobia”

It’s a nonsense term, of course, because phobias are traditionally a fear of something irrational. But it’s also a classic example of something the progressives are forever enjoining us not to do: victim-blaming. Those millions who gathered in Paris and elsewhere yesterday at the Charlie Hebdo vigils: do we imagine that any one of them wants anything other than to live in peace and harmony with their Muslim neighbours? It’s really about time that lefty apologists like Owen Jones stopped responding to every new Islamist atrocity as if it were otherwise.

5. “Anders Breivik”

If Anders Breivik had never existed the left would have had to invent him. He is the (allegedly) right-wing bogeyman they can wheel out at every turn – as Vince Cable did on BBC Question Time – to ‘prove’ that modern terrorism is not an exclusively Islamic phenomenon. The correct response when they try to play this game is: “OK. Apart from Anders Breivik, name two more. Even one more….” (Note incidentally how Owen Jones goes for the double here: Islamophobia and Breivik)

6. “The spectre of the Far Right.”

Another favourite cliche of progressive apologists, as witness most BBC reports on the killings in Paris. Yes, all right, so it seems that most of the evidence – well, all the evidence, actually – points to the murders being the work of fanatical Islamist cells. But it never does any harm, if you’re a liberal, to spread the blame a bit by suggesting that Marine Le Pen and her resurgent Front National (aka “the spectre of the Far Right”) may have played their part in “stoking tensions…”

Oh and one more thing to be noted about “spectres”: being insubstantial, they lack the ability to kill people.

Actually, two more things: Owen Jones again. He’s gone for the treble! (“The favourite target of the Far Right in Europe is…Muslims”). Go on, my son! Back of the net!)

7. “Editorial foolishness”

This is quite similar to point 3, but let’s give a special paragraph of shame to the senior Financial Times editor Tony Barber for that disgraceful apologia for terrorist violence he published the day after the Charlie Hebdo massacre.

Charlie Hebdo has a long record of mocking, baiting and needling French Muslims. If the magazine stops just short of outright insults, it is nevertheless not the most convincing champion of the principle of freedom of speech. France is the land of Voltaire, but too often editorial foolishness has prevailed at Charlie Hebdo.

What Barber (and his craven ilk) don’t seem to realise is that are many, many of us out here who could produce any number of such niggling criticisms of Charlie Hebdo and who, too, secretly rather wish they’d never gone and published those bloody cartoons. But that’s really not the point. They did it to establish a principle. We may not agree with how they did it and few, if any, of us would have done it ourselves. But the principle for which they were fighting ought to be sacrosanct. Either you have free speech or you don’t. Any one trying to argue otherwise has no business being a journalist.

From Breitbart London

The NHS and Global Warming: two Tinkerbells that must die

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Nigel Farage says that nurses working for the NHS should be able to speak English. I agree. What a pity that this is about the most daringly controversial criticism of the NHS we’re likely to hear from almost any politician, of whatever political hue, in the run up to the General Election.

That’s because, though the Conservatives, Labour, UKIP, the Greens and the Lib Dems hold widely divergent views on many of the key issues – from taxation to welfare to defence to education – there is one topic on which they are all in full agreement: the NHS, gawd bless it, is the envy of the world and must be preserved at all costs. Why, as Danny Boyle reminded us at the London Olympics opening ceremony, it’s an achievement far greater than the Industrial Revolution.

And as David Cameron keeps telling us, it’s Our NHS – like a beloved old family pet only much more useful because your cat can’t cure you of cancer or treat you to heart triple by-pass surgery or a gastric band operation if you’re morbidly obese, nor does your dog wait patiently behind a desk in the doctor’s surgery to explain, no actually, it’s no good prescribing you antibiotics for that nasty cold you’ve got because a cold is a viral infection not an bacterial one, but no worries, I’m not charging you for this asinine waste of my time and taxpayers’ money because that’s what we’re here for, we’re this endless source of bounteous freeness…

It’s a brave person indeed who would dispute this rose-tinted assessment of our cherished National Treasure. And for a politician to say so – even one as outspoken as Nigel Farage – it would more or less amount to career suicide.

Don’t you think this state of affairs is rather sinister? I do. It reminds me of that awful period after the death of Princess Diana when, for weeks, you weren’t allowed to say that the national outpouring of untrammelled mawkishness was possibly a bit un-British and overdone. Or, worse, of those standing ovations that you had to give Stalin which went on for hours because the first one to stop clapping feared being taken away and shot.

And there’s one more thing it reminds me of – something I’ve been writing about for quite some time now, so I know whereof I speak. This sacrosanct status the NHS has acquired, where you can’t venture any kind of criticism, no matter how reasonable, for fear – at best – of being told what an awful person you are, and – at worst – of having your reputation publicly trashed and your career destroyed. It’s so painfully redolent of the Establishment omerta about another of the great religions of our time. The Global Warming religion.

My fellow Evil Climate Change Denier (TM) Andrew Montford has noticed the similarities too, in this post at his Bishop Hill site. It’s titled Why Do Good Intentions In The Public Sector Lead To Evil? – which is a question I could have answered by referring him to an aphorism of Christopher Booker’s.

“Evil men don’t get up in the morning saying ‘I’m going to do evil!’. They say: “I’m going to make the world a better place.”

This, of course, is why those working within the NHS have apparently so little compunction about destroying those within their ranks, however eminent and decent, who are not “with the programme.”

For chapter and verse on what happened to one senior NHS practitioner – cancer surgeon Joseph Meirion Thomas – who spoke out, I do recommend you read this excellent article in The Spectator by Freddy Gray.

Meirion Thomas was not afraid to point out numerous problems with the NHS in sundry articles, among them: that the NHS’s overstretched budget is being eroded by “health tourists” from abroad claiming services to which they are not entitled and for which they do not pay; that the politically correct obsession with gender equality is promoting too many female doctors who aren’t pulling their weight; that GPs are an anachronism.

Read the rest – there’s more! – at Breitbart London

What Ched Evans did was ugly and sleazy. But his lynch mob tormentors are barbaric

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I wonder how many of the thousands of people petitioning for Convicted Rapist Ched Evans not to be signed by Oldham Athletic Football Club are remotely interested in football, let alone the prospects of Oldham Athletic Football Club.

My guess is about six. Or possibly seven if you count Labour leader Ed Miliband (who I suspect only took up being a “fan” of his alleged team Leeds United in a desperate attempt to make himself look “normal.”).

Whatever the exact figure, we can be certain that it is going to be vanishingly small. That is because the people campaigning against Convicted Rapist Ched Evans are all either angry female Social Justice Warriors (who like football about as much as they like washing the dishes, jokes, or shaving their armpits) or (spiritually, if not always physically) castrated male Social Justice Warriors (who may once have liked football but now recognise that it is the very embodiment of the vile, misogynistic, racist, disablist machismo which makes modern Britain such an oppressive place for women to live, way worse than Mosul or Islamabad or Teheran, probably..)

Note, by the way, that I am calling Convicted Rapist Ched Evans by his correct media name. I believe he used to be called just Ched Evans, once. But apparently he lost that right when, despite having served two and a half years of a five year sentence for rape, he made the mistake of a) showing insufficient remorse (possibly on the advice of his lawyers, because he is appealing against the sentence; probably also because he feels that he is the victim of a miscarriage of justice, on which more in a moment…) and b) imagining that having served his sentence he would be able to pick up the pieces of his ruined life and attempt to continue with his career doing the thing he loves and which he’s apparently quite good at – being a professional footballer.

Personally, I’m suspicious of this Convicted Rapist Ched Evans tag. I don’t dispute that, technically it’s accurate. But it seems to me that it is being brandished not so much to enhance understanding of his case as to obfuscate its complexities and to tarnish his name beyond redemption.

“Convicted Rapist” to anyone unfamiliar with the case is a phrase which will surely conjure up images of the very worst kind of sexual crime: a powerful predatory male following a woman down a dark alley, perhaps, and raping her violently at knife point.

Except this isn’t what happened.  Far from it.

One of the very few people in the media brave enough to have pointed this out is columnist Allison Pearson. A proper journalist, Pearson did what few commentators on this affair have done: she read up everything she could about the details of what happened on the night of the crime. Here is what she found:

Sensitive readers should look away now. Footballer Clayton McDonald, a friend of Ched Evans, picked up a 19-year-old girl who was drunk at 4am, and went back to a hotel room with her. McDonald texted Evans: “I’ve got a bird.” McDonald and the girl then had sex. Evans turned up, and the court was told that the girl asked him to perform oral sex on her, which he did. Evans then had sex with the girl, whom he claimed was enjoying herself. A hotel porter said there was no sound of distress or cause for alarm. A few of the footballers’ charming mates showed up and filmed through a window. The next morning, Evans departed via an emergency exit. The 19-year-old awoke to find she was naked, with, she says, no memory of what had happened to her. That evening, she reported McDonald and Evans to the police.

Sordid, definitely. Rape? Well possibly, but it rather depends on your definition and the mood of the jury on that particular day. Personally, I’d say that detail about Evans performing oral sex on the girl at her request ought to have been the clincher: is that really the act of a brutal oppressor on a helpless victim?

And certainly, when Pearson asked the girls in her local beauty salon about the case they weren’t nearly so convinced as all the vengeful harpies screaming for Evans’s blood apparently are.

“Sounds to me like she woke up, realised she’d been dogging, felt really embarrassed about herself and called the police,” said Hayley, aged 22. The other young women agreed. Hayley told me she had almost been raped herself, when she was “totally pissed”, by her boyfriend’s best mate. She had never mentioned the incident because she thought it would make her unpopular with their social group, who would regard her as a prude. It would be Hayley who was shunned by them, not the guy. Another therapist said that lots of girls from her school went to posh London clubs to try and bag themselves the ultimate prize: a footballer. I’ll spare you the lengths those girls would go to.

But I really don’t get the impression that Ched Evans’s tormentors are particularly interested in nuance or mitigating circumstances, let alone in points of broad principle.

Read the rest at Breitbart London

Farage was stitched up by Steph and Dom and Channel 4

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Steph and Dom are the posh-sounding, drunk couple from Gogglebox – the surprise hit programme where people are recorded sitting on sofas giving a running commentary on the TV shows they are watching.

If they had been reviewing Steph And Dom Meet Nigel Farage, I like to think, they’d have been very rude. ‘What a right pair of slippery tossers,’ they would have yelled, chucking canapes at the incredibly bad mannered, disturbingly callous pair of smug hypocrites on the screen. ‘Leave the poor sod alone. He’s supposed to be your guest.’

All right, so the poor sod can take it. He’s Nigel Farage – taking it is what he does. But I still felt rather sorry for him, the way he was stitched up like a kipper on what he must have thought would be an agreeable, booze-filled romp with basically like-minded chums. They weren’t though. They were snakes in the grass.

The couple run Britain’s grandest B & B – a vast Lutyens/Jekyll pile in Sandwich, Kent called The Salutation. They’re clearly brilliantly successful at what they do and I bet that they’re the most delightful hosts. Which made it all wrong, somehow, that their job on this show was to mix hospitality with inquisition. It made for uncomfortable viewing because you were never quite sure how to respond: was this car-crash TV you were supposed to be watching or just light-hearted jolly japes?

Farage, clearly, was similarly confused. On the one hand, he obviously liked the idea of encountering the perhaps the only two people on earth with a bigger appetite for booze than he has. On the other, he was clearly thrown by their weird behaviour.

There was one scene, for example, where Steph threw a fit because Dom had taken Nige down to the boozer for a sharpener or three before dinner and they came back quite well oiled. (Which she must have known about well in advance because these TV reality docs are planned almost to the frame). Farage looked sheepish as she bollocked both him and Dom, which I thought was simply not on. Bloody rude in fact. You do NOT drag guests that you’ve barely met into your pervy marital head games.

But they did. At times they were like sinister giggling children in some sub-Henry James horror story, plotting by the grand staircase how best to make their guest look more ridiculous, while deluding themselves that this was all rather delightful, harmless fun. When Farage tripped down some steps and spilt champagne all over his pressed Farah-style trousers, for example, they gleefully whipped them off and offered the silliest replacements they could find in Dom’s wardrobe: ripped, faded Bros-style jeans; tartan trews; leathers.

Mind you, this did provide the programme’s single worthwhile insight: that our Nige, au fond, is not a very sophisticated type. He dresses like the golf club secretary because that’s basically where he’s coming from. He likes a smoke and a pint, likes fishing. But what he definitely doesn’t do is metropolitan trendy or Oxbridge louche or uber-country-smart-set feral craziness. There is – whisper it – a touch of the Pooter about him.

Read the rest at the Spectator

Sydney Siege: the left responds with its usual sensitivity

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We don’t know how the Sydney siege is going to end yet but of one thing we can be pretty sure: the main concern of Australia’s national broadcaster ABC will not be the suffering and fear experienced by those innocent people who have been held hostage; rather it will be that there might be some anti-Muslim backlash.

How do we know this? First, because ABC is so left wing it makes the BBC look like Fox News. Second, because this is how sensitive, progressive types always respond to incidents of this kind. (One of the BBC’s first reactions after the 7/7 bus and tube bombings was to despatch various reporters to Muslim “communities” to canvas them for evidence of growing Islamophobia).

Thirdly, because it has already started with a Twitter hashtag campaign called #Illridewithyou.

The story of how the campaign started is, admittedly, quite touching. An Australian woman called Rachael Jacobs saw a Muslim woman commuter on the train looking “isolated and fearful” and apparently trying to remove her headscarf so as to avoid attracting attention. Ms Jacobs approached her and said: “Leave it on. I’ll walk with you.”

Individual acts of kindness like this are lovely. But when they mutate into Twitter hashtag campaigns they acquire a smug, bullying sanctimoniousness which not only demeans the original act but which, worse, skews the debate about Islamism in a very unhelpful, self-defeating way.

One of the more notable facts about Islamist terror incidents in the West, be they 9/11 and the Boston marathon bombings or the 7/7 tube and bus bombings or the Bali bomb which killed so many young Australians, is how very little they have changed public attitudes to Muslims in general.

Which is to say that – despite the best efforts of organisations like Tell Mama to prove otherwise with dodgy stastistics – there has been NO significant anti-Muslim backlash and NO outbreak of “Islamophobia” in the West. People are more than capable of distinguishing between Islamist extremists and the broader Muslim community and – so far at any rate – have behaved towards the latter with just the sort of tolerance, sympathy and generosity of spirit displayed by Ms Jacobs towards that commuter.

What that Twitter hashtag campaign does is subtly to imply otherwise: “There are loads of bigots out there who’d like to take it out on innocent Muslims. But I’m not one of them. I’m lovely and caring and I’m bloody great,” it says.

Well I’m sure you are lovely and caring and bloody great, all you “Illridewithyou” luvvies. But you’re also – in my experience – so delighted by your own sensitivity, so certain that you hold the moral high ground that you feel it enables you to duck all responsibility for engaging with the Islamism problem seriously.

Being nice to peace-loving, law-abiding Muslims is a necessary condition for putting an end to Islamist extremism – but it is definitely not a sufficient one. You can perform as many random acts of kindness as you like – but it ain’t going to cut much ice with the girl-kidnappers of Boko Haram or the decapitators of Islamic State or the rogue operators like the Sydney cafe hostage-taker. They’ll just take you for a sap. Or, as Osama once put it, for a “weak horse.”

Read the rest at Breitbart London