A New Place Of Exile

Richard Hutton

The Right-Minded View: Some thoughts on Period Poverty

While perusing a so-called “article” the other day – about a women’s-issue variant of poverty – I was appalled to be confronted with a questionable statistic. I can see from the comments posted in response to the piece that I am far from alone in being confounded.

A full thirteen pounds per month, being spent by women on the old you know-whats?

Thirteen pounds?

Per month?

I’m sorry, but it is my conviction that for the majority of men – no matter their walk of life – such a figure is completely unrecognizable.

To put it bluntly, I’m afraid that I just do not believe that women spend £13 per month – on average, no less – on personal sanitation.

 

Admittedly, not being a member of the fairer sex myself, this is hardly my area of expertise. However, I have an acquaintance who is very knowledgeable about these matters; and according to him, the average woman’s monthly budget could be expected to work out roughly as follows:

£20.50 groceries (£30.50 if you insist on brand loyalty)
£1.50 tissues
£1000 pot pourri

(and supplement this with whatever sum a generous male benefactor may impart to the lady, to spend on her own discretionary concerns).

Well, when you add a full thirteen of the Queen’s finest to this tabulation, then I’m afraid the figures just look completely wrong. The numbers simply do not add up.

In fact, having discussed this with several chaps – no less fair-minded than myself – I am obliged to state that our consensus was the figure should not be so high. It begs the question, therefore: could it be that the real numbers were too trivial to be taken seriously?

 

Now, I am not seeking to cast doubt on the main thrust of matter – poverty is undoubtedly unfortunate, and all that, in so far as it exists. I am simply questioning the numbers. There’s a lack of detail here which warrants inquiry.

In fact, without a full and comprehensive break-down of the subject’s income and outgoings, it simply is not possible for readers to know whether the problem herein is that someone genuinely doesn’t have enough to provide for themselves – or has more than enough, but manages that provision poorly.

And the full picture needs to be known when forming a conclusion about this sort of thing.

For example, how much of the lady’s monthly income is spent on fancy soaps? And is it not possible to cut back on luxuries, such as lightbulbs?

If truth be told, I would go so far as to say that we need to stop being theatrical about this whole subject; while all along we fail to teach people basic values – or, as I prefer to think of them: the rules needed to survive in life.

First, how to live within your own means. Second, be sure to have only the kind of children you can afford. Third (and most importantly), how to avoid any unplanned or unexpected financial difficulties arising in life.

 

Make no mistake about it – I’m all for helping out the poorest in our society; but free handouts to those who are frivolous and wasteful are not really the solution here.

We have to ask ourselves what standard of living those of us who work, and pay taxes, should be obliged to provide for those members of society who – for all anyone knows – could be spending anything in the region of £100 a day on scented candles.

Is it wrong to ask pertinent questions?

Can somebody please tell me how people used to manage a hundred years ago?

I feel that this enquiry deserves an answer. Rags, workhouses, rough sleeping, paupers’ graves, blacking factories, back street abortions, premature death – nobody is saying it was perfect; but there are plenty of standards from a hundred years ago that are perfectly valid today. People used to ‘get by’, so to speak, without penicillin or anesthetics, to take but two examples.

 

It is not that I do not have sympathy for people struggling to make ends meet; but people are asking legitimate questions – and when articles go making claims, which involve a questionable statistic, then that it is not unreasonable.

What is unreasonable, by contrast, is the fashionable attitude which abounds these days, that anyone who disagrees with the popular narrative about poverty and such like is being obdurate. People making judgments about you, when they don’t even know you – well, it’s not on.

Many people have seen their wages stagnate in recent years – but we’ve made adjustments to our lifestyles accordingly. Struggling and working, and doing all the right things; and yet not being able to get a break. Net contributors to the tax system. At times having to go without, because we had to pay a bill we were presented with suddenly, out of the blue.

So why should others be able to opt out of the same responsibility because of their lifestyle choices, like menstruation?

I think some people look on everyone as being a victim of society, and not an agent of their own life at all. It merely heightens the risk of decent minded sorts developing compassion fatigue.

I expect we would all agree with the general premise of this opinion piece – that poverty can impact certain groups of people in ways that others not in the same situation probably couldn’t imagine; but it is brought into serious doubt by a questionable statistic.

I will say no more about it.

 

 

p.s.

In light of the new Jane Austen £10 note, some people – questionable sorts, I might add – have encouraged hard-working, decent, fair-minded taxpayers to consider donating £10 to feminist causes. Naturally, not the sort of thing I would go in for – but I am, at heart, a democrat. So, if you should wish to make a donation, it would undoubtedly be welcomed by such organisations as:

http://www.sistersuncut.org/

https://www.gofundme.com/freedom4girls

https://orchidproject.org/

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The Right-Minded View: How Conservatives Can Gain The Youth Vote.

Very difficult to see why the Conservatives would struggle to gain votes from young people, these days. From those few who are blessed with moral fiber, at least. In fact, courting their support should be second nature to the Conservative Party.

I merely bring to mind the youth wing of my local branch. True, the youngest member is 87; but they are by no means lacking in vigour (very spry when the mood becomes them, I hear).

Admittedly there was a meeting recently, in which it became apparent that one of the
members in attendance had been deceased for several hours, before anyone noticed – but these things are difficult to tell with some people. What’s more, I see this as a strength; not a weakness: the element of surprise should never be underestimated in modern politics.

And certainly, if what I hear on the doorstep is correct, then young people will prove very receptive to an inspiring message of fiscal conservatism, and social liberalism. That is to say, reducing the tax-burden on those of us who have achieved something in life; while turning a blind-eye to the whole how’s-your-father goings on, which bedevil the modern world. Perhaps the odd military parade would not be amiss; but that is purely optional.

If allotments and jam are the best that the current Leader of the Opposition has to offer, well, merely consider the fact that most rank and file members of the Conservative Party can offer not only allotments but a dazzling array of seasonal vegetables. I think we all know which is the more appealing on that score.

Furthermore, rap ‘music’ is unjustifiably popular among young people, I hear. Well, why not offer something of the kind; but promoting sensible values?

I don’t care for the term ‘gangster rap’ as it sounds too much like a form of ruffian patter. However, there is no need to be overly hidebound about these things; so why not blend the old rhyming vernacular with trenchant social commentary – and time-tested facts of history – to create Tory rap?

For example:

The people’s flag is deepest blue –
It buffed oft our polished shoe.
And ere one’s limbs grew stiff with rickets,
Our hearts were stirred by village cricket.
So raise the azure standard low
Beneath it’s shade we’ll make root-crops grow.

If Winston Churchill was alive today,
He might very well roll in his grave.
But thanks to the efficacy of the free-market
He could at least purchase a microwave.
Though Bremainers flinch, Brexiters cheer.
Shakespeare once wrote a play called King Lear.

Something to that effect seems just the sort of thing that young people go in for, I gather.

Now go forthwith; and stop this shilly-shallying.

The Right-Minded View: the prospect of nuclear war between America and North Korea.

I can see why people are worried, frankly. This brouhaha has brought one or two home truths to light.

While there’s no way to be certain, at present, a nuclear conflict between America and North Korea could well turn out to be a very serious matter, indeed.

Therefore, we can only be thankful for our very own Trident to keep us safe from the prospect of apocalyptic warfare. True, Britain’s government accidentally fired a nuclear missile at Florida; then misled Parliament over the matter. But dropping atomic bombs on foreign countries is the only way to ensure that we will never have to resort to acts of nuclear war. And besides, a bit of radiation sickness never did anyone any harm in the long-run. It builds character.

And we should be more thankful still that it is Theresa May, not Mr Jeremy Corbyn, in charge of proceedings at a time like this. Any British politician who rules out nuking Russia, Iran – or wherever – is a danger to us all.

In fact, the media has been quite right to question the mental stability of any fellow who categorically renounces launching a nuclear device. I mean, we’ve spent all that money on building these weapons – it would be a terrible shame to let them go to waste. So, we may as well get some use out of them. Would anyone miss South East Asia, really? Or Dublin?

But back to the point at hand – the belligerent rhetoric of Messrs Trump and Kim is clearly the sign of dangerous personalities at work. As the media rightly point out, only a madman would even contemplate using nuclear weapons, after all.

 

The Right-Minded View On Personal Abuse In Politics: It’s Just Not Cricket.

People are being unpleasant to each other on the internet, I hear. This is a worrying development.

Never went in on my day, this online abuse, I can tell you. In fairness, the internet hadn’t been invented then; but that is merely the sort of pettifogging detail that only the most extreme of Lefties would consider relevant here.

Many a sharp word was exchanged via a well-timed telegram; and a good, stiff letter to the Daily Telegraph was often warranted. But there was certainly none of this “lol” malarky, until Jeremy Corbyn became leader of the Labour Party. Politeness reigned in political discourse, until that precise juncture, in fact.

Admittedly, David Cameron and his numerous admirers in the dailies have frequently referred to Corbyn and his colleagues as “terrorist sympathisers“; and a number of senior Labour insiders – sensible moderates all – declaimed that those who voted for him were “morons“, in need of “heart-transplants“. But this should not be confused with casual abuse. Good heavens, no – it is debating, at the very highest level.

In fact, online abuse has become so pervasive since Corbyn’s ascension to the second highest office in the land that Conservative MPs have even received threatening messages from themselves. Merely consider the case of Ms Lucy Allen, for example. Becoming the victim of abuse from yourself, just because you’re a Tory, merely goes to show how far this sort of thing has gone.

And you certainly never hear an impolite word about others from the Conservatives. That is because they hold themselves to a higher code of ethics: standards, which we can all aspire to.

True, earlier this week a Conservative backbencher was overheard using a certain term, which has largely fallen from common usage; but rap fellas such as Icey Tea and Scoopy Scoopy Dog Dog use that word all the time; so I don’t see why Tory MPs can’t.

And besides, it elicited no complaint from any of her colleagues at the time – and there were plenty within earshot. They wouldn’t even think of using that word. They may occasionally use that word without thinking; but that is by the by – so we should not judge too harshly. It certainly does not compare to Corbyn-supporters calling people “liberals” – but using the word in a pejorative sense!

In sum: it really is high-time that Jeremy Corbyn issued a big apology for all of this. It’s just not cricket.

The democratic right to protest has no place in a democratic society. There is a far more profitable solution to the Grenfell tragedy.

Your home burns down, you lose everything, your relatives are missing. Few people would begrudge a measure of discontent in such circumstances – but the stiff upper-lip has always been the British way; and must be maintained, for the good of a civilized country. It doesn’t do to be disobliging about these things.

Being upset about a tragedy is all well and good; but making a fuss simply goes too far. Quite wrong, I say, to make political capital out of this sort of incident, as well. After all, it’s just a natural fact of the world that landlords lease inflammable properties to people.

Very worrying, therefore, to see protesters raising a hue and cry. I even overheard one young ‘gentleman’ going so far as to cast aspersions upon the basic competence of local authorities. This went on for at least half a minute; and struck entirely the wrong tone.

It is not merely indecorous, but quite unbecoming. When you have been the victim of an inconvenience of one kind or another, you don’t take to the streets and protest – you take to the letter pages of the local newspaper, instead; and write a strongly-worded complaint, outlining your grievances in stiff terms if need be; but without personal reproach. Thus ensuring a satisfactory outcome for all parties, with no unpleasantness on either side. I see no reason why this should not apply to the conundrum of combustible human habitation, just as readily as it does to the tardiness of councils in addressing chronic problems with brusque tradesmen.

As for calls to rehouse people temporarily in empty properties – well, it beggars belief. Nothing wrong with a good, old-fashioned park bench, I say. Speaking from personal observation, you could fit an entire family in a derelict shop doorway, in fact. You can’t say fairer than that.

The apportionment of any blame to landlords is equally misguided. It is a simple question of risk versus reward. We should wait until we can establish that it was actually a bad calculation to pare back the old red tape, before condemning anyone who made the tough but fair decision to save £2 per square meter on the cladding. £5,000 of savings may very well have prevented the loss of lives; but look at the bigger picture herein.

If it costs more to construct buildings to house the lower orders, then rents will rise; and people will be forced to live in smaller spaces – or at least ones which are far away. Some of them, in fact, may be forced to commute by walking further distances – and therefore place themselves at greater risk of being struck by lightning, should there happen to be a thunderstorm at the time. These things have to be taken into consideration.

Obviously, a solution is necessary, if we are to avoid similar incidents in the near future. True, conventional wisdom says prevention is the better part of cure; but commonsense offers a far more profitable way forward.

Few people are willing to exchange their personal convenience for lower fatalities among their distant neighbours; and we have to live within our means. Installing sprinkler-systems, fire-proofing buildings, expanding rescue services, providing fire-extinguishers, creating emergency exits which aren’t simply painted onto brick walls – these may all sound appealing, but they could very well upset the taxpayer. I fear public disorder would not be far behind. Or, at least, the newspapers would have an uncomplimentary thing or two to say; as is their democratic right.

What I propose, therefore, is to harness the power of the free-market. Adopt an entrepreneurial approach to matters. Use a bit of initiative. The whole Grenfell thing has given me an idea. Namely, that we take the poor, the destitute, the indigent and the impecunious; and use them as a source of renewable fuel.

There’s never any shortage of them to begin with, after all; and should the need arise we can always make more poor people. A limitless resource, in many ways, within our society. It would allow us to do our bit for the environment, too; as the poorer somebody is, the more carbon neutral they are.

According to an acquaintance of mine – who knows about these things – a young, underfed adult in their twenties accounts for no more than 8.5 tons of carbon dioxide emissions. Very little is required by way of kindling, as well. Welcome news, I am sure, for any householders feeling the pinch by the end of the month; or even those who are simply frugal, as the times require.

There is a broader import, yet. The majority of hard-working and respectable people can only withstand so many demands upon their charity; before the wearisome task exhausts their goodwill. However, this venture would ensure that the poor need no longer be a burden on society. More importantly, they would not feel themselves to be so; and the full knowledge that they might prove a very serviceable resource for even the most homely fireplace or kitchen oven – and thereby contribute to the well-being of the elderly, during harsh winter months, for example – would obviously raise their self-esteem no end.

I see no reason why there can be no trade in this promising commodity, in fact. There is an abundance of low-quality housing, crowded with many occupants, throughout Britain; with abject squalor aplenty (admittedly, there is only relative abject squalor in our country; but the point remains applicable). Anyone with a flair for enterprise can surely apprehend the possibilities therein: a fair, cheap, and easy method of turning the poor into sound, productive members of our society.

Let it not be said that there are alternative modes of recourse open to us on this. We cannot simply rely upon governments to house people adequately; less still will improving the old health and safety reap dividends. Regulations are not like instant coffee – they take time to formulate; and would require a teaspoon the dimensions of a good-sized ship in order to stir them effectively into a large tower-block. Applying this method to every inadequate, high-rise dwelling place in the land would require further enormous teaspoons; and there is no warehouse large enough to store them all, so far as I am aware.

By contrast, requisitioning the poorest members of society, and turning them into a stockpile of ready-made fuel, offers a simple cure-all solution. For one thing, transforming people into a profitable produce would overcome the impossibility of paying rent without money.

In fact, the poverty-stricken would be actively welcomed by even the most reticent of landlords; once they realise they have a  perfectly salable commodity on their hands – at say £22, or perhaps £24 per square metre (taking the London differential into account). This would even make a virtue of obesity, where it exists among the malnourished. Indeed, while it falls beyond the scope of this proposal, the broader benefits to public health should not be overlooked by policy-makers.

The basic fact of the matter is that this proposal makes simple financial sense; and that is evidently the main thing for the preservation of a civilised, caring, and decent society. I have no motive beyond serving the public good; and barring the need for a refinement or two, I am confident this scheme will fulfill the purpose admirably.

The Right-Minded View: the General Election.

Much to its shame, Britain has just allowed democracy to overrule the will of the people.

To their discredit, ideologically-pure Corbyn types – who refused to vote for candidates just because they happened to be Conservative ones – turned a twenty point lead for the Conservative Party into a hung parliament. Quite frankly, there comes a time when you have to say that reality itself is wrong.

Radical wheat-farmers in key marginals – or the inhabitants of traditionally socialist enclaves such as Kensington – may think this sort of thing is fine and dandy, but I say it goes too far. It all goes to show the perils of too much democracy.

However, while the electorate may have got it wrong, there was never a faulty step taken by Britain’s rightful Prime Minister – Theresa May. Sure, in an ideal world, Ms May would only appoint Conservative MPs to her cabinet, with perhaps a UKIP politician for the banter.

But in the real world it is often necessary to borrow extra politicians from a completely different party, and country, in order to get the job done. I say you can do no better than the Democratic Unionist Party on that score. In my opinion, the one thing missing from the Old Testament was a firm commitment to fortnightly bin collections. Well, there the DUP fill the void admirably.

But then we turn to the political fortunes of the Labour Party. I am afraid to say that the most surprising electoral result since 1945 leaves me even more certain of the views I held before it even commenced. Quite simply, this was another disaster for the unelectable Mr Corbyn. When will people realise that you have to be sensible, like the Conservatives, in order to win a landslide hung parliament?

No party should propose policies that are actually good, because no right-thinking member of the public actually wants policies which are good. In so far as any gains were made, rest assured, this had nothing to do with Mr Corbyn’s endeavors.

So let us instead give credit were credit is due: the legacy of Owen Smith’s barnstorming leadership campaign of 2016 has clearly inspired the multitudes to vote Labour. ‘Smithy Lad, Smithy Lad, Smithy Lad’ the crowds imagined themselves chanting, as they pictured Owen Smith before them – a mug of frothy coffee in each hand; rather than the certain habitue of Islington in his stead. It was undoubtedly this factor which shored-up the hundreds of lads demographic, which plays such a key role in the banter marginals, increasingly encroached upon by the aforementioned Ukip.

By contrast, according to the Daily Mail – which interjected so much commonsense into the election campaign:

“the brazen harlot, Jeremy Corbyn, provoked outrage after posting racy snaps to his instagram account. Flaunting his bearded curves, Corbyn left very little to the imagination – going bra-less, beneath a beige jacket. Corbyn sizzled in a skimpy Lenin hat and revealing corduroy trousers. “Pert derriere…scantily clad…enviable pins…smouldering: so much for the kinder politics” said one Labour insider”.

What’s more, it transpires that in 20 years of scrutiny, Britain’s intelligence agencies never found this Corbyn fellow doing anything untoward. Highly suspicious, if you ask me. I also happen to have it on good authority that Corbyn may well have cheated in the 1975 Jam of the Year contest – but far be it from me to spread idle gossip.

And it’s all well and good to fault our Prime Minister for being evasive, and prevaricating; but it seems to me that people need to learn about a little thing called nominative determinism – it’s Theresa MAY, not Theresa WILL. This is topped-off with a strong and stable determination to make advisors take responsibility for any disappointments with the final outcome of her election campaign. You can’t say fairer than that.

In sum, the electorate were clearly in error; and have let everyone who matters down in the process. In times of too much democracy, it is worth revisiting the wise words of George Orwell:

“One sometimes gets the impression that the mere words ‘Socialism’ and ‘Communism’ draw towards them with magnetic force every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer, sex-maniac, Quaker, ‘Nature Cure’ quack, pacifist, and feminist in England”.

The man knew his onions.

If Jeremy Corbyn won’t nuke the world then I won’t vote for him. It’s simply a question of manners.

If Jeremy Corbyn loses this general election because he isn’t willing to initiate a nuclear holocaust, then he has only himself to blame. A bit of radioactive fallout never did anyone any harm. I mean, we’ve paid for Trident – we may as well use it. It would be a complete waste of perfectly good taxpayer’s money if we didn’t incinerate millions of people, and render the planet uninhabitable.

If Britain is not reduced to an irradiated wasteland, then would it really be a country worth living in? I would wager not. All of the previous nuclear wars which have kept Britons safe over the centuries serve as a clear precedent here. In fact, prevarications on this sort of thing lead straight to moral laxity – just the kind I had to call the police about recently; because some juvenile delinquents in the local neighbourhood were setting-off fireworks late in the evening (do they not think of others?).

However, one need only contrast Mr Corbyn’s virtue-signalling refusal to endorse a nuclear apocalypse, with the statesmanship of Britain’s rightful Prime Minister – Theresa May. News that Donald Trump would apply the withdrawal method to the Paris climate change agreement caused a measure of consternation among world leaders – resulting in many of them signing a letter of condemnation; but not Britain’s Premier.

Instead, Theresa May calmly urged President Trump to think again – and reconsider his course of action. Unlike Merkel-bros, Ms May understands that rather than speak out of turn, the best course of action in these scenarios is to charmingly correct the man with a tinkle of ladylike laughter.

Refusing to condemn prospective ecocide is very sensible, actually. Assuming the moral high ground, pursuing constructive engagement, asking respectful questions. These methods have proven their worth throughout history. You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, and all that.

Simply consider instances where these methods have not been applied. For example, the inhabitants of the Warsaw Ghetto shouldn’t have undertaken a violent uprising – instead, the Ghetto fighters could have handed the SS auxiliaries a leaflet, outlining their complaints; and aiming to broaden minds in the process, through free and fair debate.

This Hitler chap and his henchmen may very well have concluded that their way was the right way, when all was said and done; but at least the Ghetto Fighters’ etiquette could not have been faulted. As it was, however, civility unraveled on both sides. At one concentration camp, for example, inmates reputedly even went so far as to call the guards ‘fascists’. A most unsatisfactory outcome, for all parties.

These things are always a question of manners – and if somebody insists that we initiate a nuclear apocalypse, or decimate the biosphere, then it would be impolite to object.

People should not be afraid of a future where schools are run on a for-profit basis – it is very sensible, actually.

 

Any fair-minded person can see that the only alternative to the profit motive is the gulag. This holds particularly true for our nation’s schools.

It’s all very well for people to complain about shortages of funding; but they simply do not live in the real world. The fact is that we live in straitened times, and belts must be tightened, for the good of the nation. We are in an age of austerity – and just like the ice age, there is simply nothing which can be done about it. Not without unfairly burdening the taxpayer, at any rate.

What’s more, the wisdom imparted by life-experience far surpasses so-called academic knowledge, in my opinion. It is also much more time-efficient, and therefore cost-effective. Therefore, I say that a free-market oriented syllabus is the only commonsense solution to present quandaries. This should not be difficult to achieve.

For example, instead of classes on physics and the like, a school’s curriculum can be devoted to invaluable life-lessons: such as the development of self-sufficiency, and the merits of competing on a level playing field. Take football, cricket, and rugby for instance – so often given over to progressive ideals about team-work, and fair play. Well, why has nobody ever questioned why these games are only ever played with the one ball, being shared amongst many individuals? Isn’t this a prime example of the dead-hand of state regulation stifling choice and free enterprise?

We can also deliver fairness to the tax-payer by cutting back on unnecessary extravagances, too; such as books, lightbulbs (is it really necessary to have one in every classroom?), and paid staff. This would efficiently free up schools to concentrate on their core competencies – namely how best to use any budgetary surpluses: be it providing dividends for their shareholders, or increased yields for the businesses which own them.

And should an episodic cash-flow problem arise – from time to time – I would suggest that rather than have the inland revenue trouble the more aspirational members of society, we can simply take a creative approach to the endeavor instead.

Product placement, for example, offers a clear way forward here. Every student in the land could maximize their full potential by serving as a walking billboard, to advertise goods and services. Eight year-olds cannot expect the taxpayer to subsidize their poor life-choices by paying for them to ‘study’, after all; and if it’s good enough for professional athletes to wear sponsorship on their sleeves, then it’s good enough for British school-children too, I say.

I know these ideas may sound radical to some, but they are essential if we are to drag education out of its doldrums and into the modern world; and we need a government which will continue to deliver on that score.

The Right-Minded View: the war on terror has been a roaring success, give or take.

It is a simple fact that terrorism arises from the distillation of pure evil. Any suggestion to the contrary is no more than apologism, in my honest opinion.

Yes, the war on terror has produced insurgencies, civil wars, massacres, atrocities, war crimes, civilian casualties, ethnic cleansing, and the flight of refugees – struggling to keep afloat in the Mediterranean. But not terrorism. The world’s evil-doers may hate us for our freedoms; but they remain indifferent to our bombs.

What’s more, Britain’s middle eastern military adventures have always been conducted in good spirit; and invariably ended well. Give or take. At any rate, whatever mistakes arose were made in good faith; and the correct lessons were learned in due course – well in advance of any successive conflict.

The invasion of Iraq, for instance, was undertaken for the Iraqi peoples’ own good. Were they alive today, in their tens of thousands, then they would undoubtedly express their gratitude – no matter what the anti-war crowd may say, with their knee-jerk certainty that invading a foreign country and dismantling its infrastructure, causing a subsequent breakdown of law and order, and consequently leading to an insurgency which descended into a civil war that caused innumerable casualties – ultimately bringing years of chaos to the neighbouring region – was a bad idea; rather than the kind of regrettably necessary course of action, which nobody could have foreseen having any downsides.

While it is true that Libya, likewise, quickly descended into civil war; and that the country’s infrastructure collapsed – leaving thousands of noncombatants homeless, maimed, or (to use the overly emotive language favoured by progressives) dead – this was surely just the taste of freedom they would have wanted, had they survived our protection.

Not starting wars unless they are completely justifiable – or insisting that they be conducted in compliance with international standards of law – is all well and good; but in the real world, leaders have to take difficult decisions. This requires a willingness to act without considering the consequences – and I say that a succession of British Prime Ministers have lived up to that requirement, stoutly: leveling the august lance of Britain’s destiny at the windmill of terrorism, and charging without a moment’s thought or hesitation.

Now, ivory tower-dwelling academic-types may tell you that the use of torture on suspected terrorists was a self-defeating approach to reducing radicalism; and served no valid security purpose at all – while being in breach of international law. Little did they realise, however, that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights contains no less than thirty articles; and as many as twenty nine make no reference at all to the practice of torture. We can safely leave this matter aside, therefore.

All told, the war on terror has been a qualified success, these past 16 years. Bloody well go and win it.

We Must Condemn Terrorism – A Special Guest Post, By Reginald Horace.

A dreadful business and all that, this terrorism. To put it bluntly, terrorism is much more than a mere conversation-starter; and there are limits to one’s forbearance. Well might we question the character and motivations of anybody who does not condemn it.

The habit of blowing things up is unseemly – something which needs to be checked, and checked promptly. All well and good in the lesser parts of the world, perhaps; but we can’t have that sort of thing going on in a civilized country. A man of regular habits doesn’t like to find terrorists in his midst, after all.

We are British, however; and in moments of crisis, we Britons do not waver – we thrive. We keep calm and carry on. We make a cup of tea; and welcome the prospect of armed soldiers patrolling every street in the land, rifles at the ready. This will serve as a formidable deterrent to any would-be suicide-bombers; who are weighing-up whether or not to give martyrdom a try, but are concerned about getting hurt.

If anything, it simply does not go far enough. Society is too permissive these days – even though it could not be more imperative that we assert ourselves, and take a firm line. Only the other week, as it should happen, I casually walked in and out of the local supermarket – without so much as a glance cast in my direction by the so-called security guard. Had I been a terrorist, rather than merely buying a pint of the semi-skimmed, all shoppers within would have been placed in direst peril. As it was, the excursion passed without incident. Food for the proverbial, nonetheless.

There can be no prevarications on this issue. What’s needed here is the moral courage and intellectual clarity to say that terrorism is wrong; and terrorists are bad people. Once that has been established, I see no reason for further inquiry. We must simply condemn terrorism; and let our vigilance never falter with regard to seeking out those who do not follow suit (just whose side are they on?). Blaming anyone other than terrorists for terrorism is just plain wrong – and if reading the Koran is a factor underscoring Jihadism, then the liberal elite who push for greater literacy and more public libraries have questions to answer.

In sum, these terrorist chaps are frightful bounders, and we will have the dickens of a time bringing them to heel; but they will find that we are quite prepared to indicate our displeasure at their antics. Doubts – that’s what we’ll give them: doubts and qualms; if not a good dose of consternation.

 

 

 

Author note: Reginald Horace is a regular contributor to the more sensible British media publications; and often posts comments on Twitter. His book ‘A taste of freedom: the war in Libya was moral and necessary’ is shortlisted for the Orwell Prize.