A New Place Of Exile

Richard Hutton

Category: Uncategorized

The democratic right to protest has no place in a democratic society. There is a far more profitable solution to tragic circumstances.

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.

The Conservative Manifesto: a magnum opus of commonsense and gut-thinking.

I consider it my civic duty to declare the Conservative Party’s manifesto a masterwork of plain old-fashioned commonsense. Just the ticket for the twenty-first century.

If you won’t take my word for it, then simply pay heed to the many newspaper columnists saying much the same thing – and these are people who hold Britain’s most important opinions. It is high-time that the democratic will of the papers was respected, in my view.

Many have faulted the pledge to end free school-meals; but it is very sensible, actually. The best way to end hunger among children is to deprive them of access to food. This is just commonsense. I ask simply this: what use would free school meals be without a sound digestive system to begin with? Instead of relying on the nanny state, therefore, the young should learn about looking to themselves, first and foremost – cultivating sound digestive autonomy, by hunting and foraging in their school grounds. Not only would this instill self-sufficiency, but it would clamp-down on the propaganda underscoring many state-sponsored recipes – in the form of left-wing meals, such as green curry; or vegetarian anything.

The vow to require voter ID at ballot-boxes is a firm step in the right direction, likewise. Quite frankly, I do not see why my vote should only have as much value as a member of the hoi polloi’s. If anything this measure simply does not go far enough. I say that the voting age must be raised to 65 for men – and 67 for women, due to greater life expectancy; and should entail a property qualification – to ensure that the decent among us can have our say without interruption from life’s underachievers. I am of the mind that between elections, any attempt to be involved in democracy is undemocratic – or at the very least uncouth. It really is high time that people remembered their place.

This manifesto also provides a welcome assurance aimed at becalming those of us who have very real concerns about immigration. In fact, it is not long since I myself witnessed the devastating impact that the sweeping and rapid cultural change which foreign introductions have wrought upon this once benighted nation. In the aisles of my local supermarket, I encountered as stouthearted and sensible a chap as ever I met – who was no stranger to roughing it, having spent 30 years working in the cut-throat world of importing soft-furnishings. Yet there he stood, completely overcome – and weeping tears of bitter lament. Several other experienced men – retired officers from the merchant navy, all – were close by; rapt in a similar state of anguish. The cause of their distress? A bottle of Polish beer being sold in full view of the unsuspecting general public, on a shelf in the drinks section.

This whole incident was symptomatic of the horrors faced by the embattled British population; who comprise a mere 94% of the local community, these days. Thankfully, the Conservatives intend to put an end to this sort of thing, forthwith. Not before time.

On a related note, many people mocked our Prime Minister for saying “we want to lead the world in preventing Tourism”; but this manifesto proves that they were quite wrong. A loss of tourism is actually good for Britain, as it means there will be smaller crowds on piers; so there is less chance of people falling off them, into the sea. In today’s culture of health-and-safety gone mad, that is no minor blessing.

The true fulcrum of this manifesto, however, is social justice. For instance, many of Britain’s impoverished multi-millionaires are barely able to get by on their meager incomes as it is these days. Even the slightest increase of taxation among this downtrodden group could lead to a catastrophic decline in the ownership of second homes. Therefore, we can but be grateful for sensible measures on that score, contained in this manifesto. Besides, if the resultant shortfall in government revenue becomes noticeable, then we can simply make good any deficit through levying fines on people who are caught burning poppies.

There are various other things which are unlikely to be of general interest. So, to summarize:

Foreign policy – wars just happen; a bit like the weather. There’s simply nothing that can be done to prevent them.

Brexit – if EU countries sign up to a post-Brexit deal with Britain before the end of the year, they will receive a free pen or carriage clock.

Environment – green measures should be abolished; as it’s not like global warming is real.

Pensioners – winter fuel allowance should be abolished; as it’s not like winters are cold these days.

If there is one noteworthy absence from this manifesto’s pages, it is a pledge to make patriotism tax-deductible; but it is perhaps unreasonable to ask for too much.

In short, this progamme is a blueprint for a proud nation, and a bright future: one which will restore us to our present economic standing, after no more than several years of turbulence.

The Right-Minded View: The Labour Party’s Draft Manifesto.

The word on the doorstep, I hear, is that the Labour party’s manifesto is very good; and would materially improve the lives of most British people. This is a bad thing – and it behooves me to restore sound, right-thinking commonsense to proceedings.

From the outset, it seems Mr Corbyn’s “kinder politics” do not extend to private companies who want to exploit tax loopholes, while underpaying their employees – only to people who are visiting their relatives in hospital; along with the NHS staff who take care of them.

As for the broader issue of a well-funded health service – well, I ask simply this: do we need hospitals at all? All that health treatment does is cure illness; it certainly doesn’t teach people the virtues of self-reliance. Is it really beyond the pale to suggest that those who happen to be unwell simply take an aspirin, and find a quiet place to lie down; so as not to inconvenience those of us engaged in wealth-creating endeavours? You would think so, to judge by this manifesto.

Domestic policy is no better, I am afraid to say – Labour will take us back to the 1970’s, by reversing the privatisation of train services, which began in 1994; ending tuition fees, which were introduced in 1998; and returning the Post Office to public ownership, which it left in 2013 – to much financial merry-making among the government ministers who decided matters.

And strengthen employment rights? This fails to account for the fact that there is no need for employment rights in the first place; as business leaders are naturally altruistic sorts – who gladly pay the lads (and where applicable, lasses) as much as they can. This must surely suffice.

Improve wages? I say that this goes too far. Paying people to work simply degrades them: nobody wants to see their hours of labour being turned into an unseemly financial transaction. Certainly if my experience is anything to judge by, modern staff much prefer a well timed expression of praise to a salary-handout. The hard-working majority don’t care about job-security or well-paid employment. If people have done right by their employer and any stockholders, then that is all the reward they seek.

Eliminate child poverty? Why, it can be overcome very easily – by the simple expedient of a paper-round. This would have the added benefit of clamping down on the childhood obesity epidemic, which has spread throughout this country like wildfire due to the overbearing machinations of the nanny state.

End homelessness? There is of course no real homelessness in Britain – only relative homelessness. A person may be without a fixed abode, certainly; but many’s the rent-free doorway in this day and age – and while they may lack a permanent address, there is nothing to stop them inscribing their initials on a park bench, or a newly cemented paving slab. Would that hard-pressed taxpayers were so fortunate.

Improve opportunities for women? That sounds suspiciously like feminism to me. I have an acquaintance who is in the know about such things; and according to him feminism is entirely unnecessary in this day and age.

For example, women don’t need equal pay legislation – as they can simply work additional hours (and overtime during weekends) until they have earned as much as their male colleagues. What’s more, rather than worry unduly about reproductive rights, they might embrace a lifetime of celibacy instead.

Nor does the 1967 Abortion Act need to be extended to Northern Ireland. Women can simply receive one-to-one abortion counselling by virtue of communing with whichever Pope was most recently canonized.

Labour’s foreign policy proposals are equally superfluous. We don’t need state-intervention on the whole Brexit thing. Let our unelected betters decide things for us appropriately, I say; and the free-market will take care of the rest. Early indications are that this will revolve around placing British jam, tea, and biscuits – along with the odd game of cribbage – at the heart of the Brexit negotiations; before promptly instructing the rest of the world to stop mucking about, and put us back in charge once again.

Nor is there a need to be unduly cautious with the launching of nuclear weaponry – should any happen to go awry, and incinerate the odd continent, then we can simply conduct a Parliamentary inquiry – which discerns the mistakes which were made in good faith; and which of the correct lessons we have learned in the course of making them.

All told, Mr Corbyn’s Labour only offers voters free giveaways, such as liberties and rights – instead of sensible, pragmatic and carefully thought-through policies; such as tax-cuts for those of us who have made something of ourselves.

Also, there was a typing-error on page 2 of the manifesto – which invalidates the whole thing, in my view.

Labour have 3 key problems heading into this general election; and none of them are its leader. But there is a more important issue at stake: the prospect of ‘hard’ Brexit.

The Labour Party has three main difficulties confronting it, this general election:

1) Brexit put them in an impossible position. However they responded to the EU referendum, it would alienate many voters. This situation was borne-out when a number of loyal Shadow Cabinet Ministers had to step down over the Article 50 vote.

2) The coup/leadership-challenge of last year damaged the party badly in terms of wider public confidence.

3) Ukip’s dissipation has led to a significant number of voters boosting the Conservatives.
Contrary to the media narrative about Ukip’s electorate being former Labour-supporters, who became disaffected with Labour because it wasn’t sufficiently hostile towards migrants; the bulwark of Ukip’s vote-base were ex-conservatives.

A fourth point could be added to this list: namely, the way that the issue of Independence-Unionism has distorted the political landscape in Scotland; a former stronghold of Labour’s. Labour suffered heavy losses in the recent council elections – and predictably, it was cast as being Jeremy Corbyn’s fault. This demonstrates a particularly woeful misunderstanding – if not a willful one – of the political situation which currently applies in Scotland.

There is a simple question that could have been asked by any commentator venturing their tuppence-worth here: why did Labour lose so many seats to the Conservatives, rather than to the SNP? Or, for that matter, to Ukip – the supposed beneficiaries of disaffection among Labour voters; who were themselves wiped out in Scotland. Why did the much-vaunted ‘Lib Dem revival’ fail to materialise? Because it’s the same journalists and publications who have pushed these three narratives persistently during recent years, who suddenly decided that actually none of it applied. No, it was all Jeremy Corbyn’s fault. Presumably it was also his fault that Labour’s MPs were wiped out in Scotland during the General Election of 2015? He must also have been the cause of Scottish Labour losing its governing majority in 2007.

Either Labour have been in long-term continuous decline within Scotland, for over a decade; or their problems only materialised the moment Corbyn was elected to lead them – and began travelling back through time to wreak his havoc. It cannot be had both ways. It is fairly clear which reading is supported by evidence; and which one is not. Perhaps when people feel like being honest about any of this, they might begin to offer some constructive input into remedying it.

There is another issue which requires more immediate attention, however. Journalists have spent the past fortnight bemoaning an inability to ask questions of the Prime Minister; but they could question her nonetheless, by asking why we are having a General Election now, rather than in 2020. They could also ask why the Conservative Party’s election campaign is so idiosyncratic – why is it being advertised as ‘Theresa May’s team’? Why are the press events so tightly-controlled? Why do the public seminars exclude members of the general public?

The fulcrum of May’s campaign – which is being so circumspectly avoided via the choreographed electioneering – is that she intends to commit Britain to a position of ‘hard’ Brexit. Her administration lost two court cases in an attempt at preventing Article 50 being put before Parliament. When forced to do so by law, May again tried to ratify the most extreme version of Brexit – and failed once more; due to the amendments that Parliament secured. Sufficient evidence indicates that this is precisely what May intends to undertake – and it will require a strong Parliamentary majority to deliver it: not merely to overcome external opposition, but to override any internal rebellions. This course will not end well for Britain.

Brexit is not the only issue which matters in this General Election – but it will affect every area of public life and social policy; and thereby determine the future of our country for many years to come. It is important for honesty, now, about where we are headed, and why.

Somebody was rude to me on the internet!

Somebody was rude to me on the internet! One moment, I had published a trenchant critique of established wisdom, explaining how the popular consensus was wrong about a certain novel; and the next, I received a barrage of disrespectful replies from common members of the hoi polloi.

“Before reading Mr Swift’s novel, Gulliver’s Travels,” I began, “I’d held strong suspicions that the travels would prove to be more fantasy than fact; and I am afraid to say my doubts were swiftly confirmed”. I thus continued: “I have to say that I was appalled by the author’s lack of citations. It was impossible to check whether or not this so-called ‘work of satire’ represents a fair commentary on the social attitudes of its author’s day. In fact, I would be tempted to conclude that Mr Swift was simply making the whole thing up. Nobody I know would ever be sufficiently petty as to divide an entire nation over something so trivial as the best way to crack a boiled egg”. And there the matter rested. Or so I thought.

To my surprise – in fact, disgust – the response I received can at best be described as dismissive; if not impertinent in every conceivable particular. Having read a number of comments to the effect that it was I – rather than Mr Swift – who had the problem, it reached a point where the effrontery simply went too far. One young ‘gentleman’ even had the audacity to suggest that I read the novel again – as if I hadn’t understood it properly the first time!

Consequently I contacted – in quick succession – the local council, social services (the office was closed, typically), the central library, and the local newspaper; before finally coming to my senses and dialing 999. I consider it my civic duty to remark that the inability of these respective offices to grasp the urgency of the situation offers irrefutable proof that they must be privatised forthwith. I would add that by contrast to all of the above, the sympathy I received when mentioning this outrage to neighbours was beyond reproach.

Far too many people are under the wholly false impression that this sort of thing exists only in the fervid minds of tabloid journalists, or the wilder elements of popular imagination; but my experience proves that it is only too real. In fact, this entire episode demonstrates everything that is wrong with our country, these days.