THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
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July 2009
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September 2009

August 2009

A degraded nation

Baby P's father to sue Haringey Council - Telegraph.

The natural father of Peter Connelly, "Baby P", with no apparent sense of irony, is suing Haringey Council for negligence in the discharge of its duties. The council's social workers, he says, failed to protect his son. For shame.

Relationships end, of course. Fathers often have to leave their children in the care of their ex-partners. Indeed, due to what Harriet Harman might (if she were at least consistent in her foolishness) call "institutional sexism" on the part of the family courts, men can seldom obtain custody. Yet if ever a father could have done so, it was this man. If there exists a mother less fitted to the care of her child than Tracey Connelly, I hope never to meet her. His father must have known the true character of Peter's mother. Knowing it, how could he leave his son in her care?

Peter's parents lived together for the first three months of his tragic life. After their relationship ended, and the monsters who killed Peter moved in, the father had continued access to his son. Given what we know now, it is hard to conceive that a loving parent could have failed to notice his distress. A loving father with occasional sole charge of the boy had more opportunity to clean off the chocolate smeared on Peter's injuries than a social worker. We are told that Peter reached out to him, screaming "Daddy, Daddy!" when handed back to his tormentors shortly before he died. The best that can be said for this hopeful litigant is that Peter thought him a better carer than his mum. It's hard to think him more than slightly better.

So, the more true his accusations against Haringey's social services, the greater his own guilt. If he is innocent because he was deceived by Ms Connelly (who would have to be considerably more cunning than she looks), so much more so (given their lesser knowledge of her and access to the child) are the social workers.

StepfatherAccomplice If I were him, I would be too tormented with guilt to function, let alone to calculate the monetary value of my loss. But this product of the Welfare State is made of sterner stuff than me. He confidently denies all suggestions that he might be to blame. He believed his ex's explanation for Peter's injuries; that the child was "clumsy," though he had opportunities to observe Peter himself. Are we to believe he didn't know his son was on the child protection register? Are we to believe he could not discern the true nature of the brutes who lived with Peter and his mother?

I am sure he is as sincere in his claim as in his desire for £400,000 in damages. It makes sense in the warped logic of underclass Britain. How could he think himself to blame when the Welfare State denies the very notion of  personal responsibility? The "caring" apparatus of the "progressive" British state deplores the concept, as witness the agonising over the cruel fate, not of the dead child, but of his killers. After all, they are not responsible either. They are the products of their social environment; mere automata to be successfully reprogrammed if only the taxpayers would not be so mean about employing enough social workers. Haringey Social Services may not like being sued on this occasion, but they share Peter's father's underlying objective; to supplant the responsibility of the parent with that of the state. If he wins his claim, they will soon realise they have been given a stick with which to beat the ungenerous taxpayers.

Not only the jobs, but the ideological integrity of its employees depends upon the notion that the citizen is a passive product of his environment; that he can't take care of himself, can't educate his children, can't look after his family without their benevolent intervention. By their own logic, as they are the only truly responsible people, this man's claim should succeed. But by the same logic, since in truth the health and welfare of every human depends on self-reliance and the loving support of family and friends, we are all damned to some (let's hope lesser) variant of Peter's fate.


Who? Whom? That is the only question.

A request to snoop on public every 60 seconds - Telegraph.

The British electorate has taken its eye off the ball. More precisely, it has taken its eye off its political and administrative classes. It has failed in that eternal vigilance that is the price of liberty.

This blog and many others have been making these points for years, only to be sneered at by the "progressives" who believe the state benign. They tell us that, if we have nothing to hide, we have nothing to fear. One request every 60 seconds suggests that an awful lot of us are perceived to have something to hide. Or that your aunt who works at the local council has a lot of prurient curiosity.

These intercepts are mostly not being performed by the security services in counter-terrorism operations, as was intended. They are being used routinely by all arms of the British state. It is time to put these jobsworths back in their boxes.


Blue meanies?

The Osterley Times: Abbey Road 40th Anniversary - London.

There was much coverage yesterday of the 40th anniversary of the Beatles' Abbey Road album cover. In some ways it was a classic "silly season" story, but as can be seen from the linked post, many really wanted to celebrate. And why not? It's a great album and the cover picture is one of the most recognisable images ever made.

Two local councillors, however, feel that it's time to end the odd little North London tourist attraction. Both of them, sadly, are Conservative. They won their 15 seconds of Telegraph fame by calling for the iconic zebra crossing to be removed, claiming tourists cause accidents there. The annual rate has risen from 18 to 22 in the course of a single decade; none fatal. Of course nothing else has happened to the traffic in North London since 1999 which might possibly account for a whopping 22% increase in cuts and scratches.

I wonder if they have even heard of the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy?

What is it about politics that attracts joyless, control-freaks? What hope for a freer, jollier, less dour British society if we simpy replace the nannyism of New Labour with the paternalism of the Tories? Will our politicians never learn to let it be?

Here, wearing the faces they keep in their jars by the door, are the Tory ladies in question.

Warner Hall

Step forward, Councillors Judith Warner and Lindsey Hall.

Oh darlings, as loyal subjects of Her Majesty, is there no way we can come together to bring the end to the golden slumbers of liberty in our country? Don't you want to stop having to carry that weight of being a grouch and a busybody? I don't pay council tax in your wards so you may say to me "You never give me your money", but nonetheless I want you to do something for me. As a Tory national victory approaches - I want to cry joyfully "here comes the sun", not feel I have to borrow Maxwell's silver hammer to fend off mean Mr Mustard. Polythene Pam feels the same way and she's your neighbour so does have a vote. You remember her. She came in through the bathroom window last week when she locked herself out. Anyway, here's the deal. I am tired of politicians endlessly interfering in our fun and games. I want to feel like the Sun King in my own country again. I don't want the tentacles of the state all over me, as if I were living in an octopus's garden.

So, please don't be blue meanies again.


Change? Yes, we can. But will we?

120 Labour MPs plan to stand down at next general election | Politics | The Observer.

This could be good news. In our parliamentary democracy, unbounded by constitutional limits, everything depends on the quality of our Members of Parliament. Leaving the expenses scandal aside, the present crew has failed us badly. They have failed in their basic duties; to control the executive and scrutinise legislation.

Any lawyer will tell you the quality of parliamentary drafting is in dizzying decline. Is that surprising? Look at the intellectual calibre of the cabinet. These are the creme de la creme, people, so consider how poor the backbenchers must be. The sad fact is that our MPs are representative of the general population. Which is to say they are barely literate, completely innumerate and every bit as poorly informed about economics, law and the constitution as the people they represent.

They no longer seem even to query the need for legislation. Laws are bad things per se. They are evils only to be resorted to when necessary. They increase burdens on business; raising costs and damaging international competitiveness. They are burdens for private citizens too, who have a duty to know and observe them. This is the logical corollary of "ignorance of the law is no excuse". How much law do you actually know, gentle reader? I am afraid that if you are sued successfully or convicted of a crime, there is a very good chance you will (in an ethical, if not a legal, sense) be innocent. There is just too much law.

Typically, unless the law is founded on what is left of our common morality (or on the rags and shreds of our former religion) only lawyers and other specialists in the field it covers will even know about it. Most lawyers only really know the law in their own specialised field. Even then, they still need to check details. Of course, laws need adapting to changing circumstances, yet there are hardly ever any repeals. Layer is added to layer; increasing complexity and maximising error.

One might expect a parliament imbued with common sense, even a parliament as weak in the collective head as the present one, to take this point. But it hasn't.

It's easy to cheer at the thought of such losers departing, but it will not help unless they are replaced with higher quality human material. And the auspices are not good. The party leaders are still taking more interest in the willingness of their troops to be led, than in their intelligence, courage and initiative. David Cameron is no better than Gordon Brown in this respect. He may even be worse. Archbishop Cranmer predicts;

Out will go the ‘Right-wing troublemakers’, and in will come ‘a new breed of youthful and inexperienced “Chloë-bots”,’ as the telegenic, smooth-talking, compliant candidates are known, named after the 27-year-old Chloë Smith, who was recently elected MP for Norwich North. David Cameron said she is ‘exactly the sort of MP I want to see in the House of Commons for the Conservative Party’.

His Grace soberly adds;

It should not be for the Leader to declare, but for the people to decide 'the sort of MP' they wish to elect.

Quite. In the end, we have only ourselves to blame if the next Parliament is as stupid, lazy and greedy as the last. In the campaign for the next general election, voters should take every opportunity to challenge candidates on their skills, their experience and their ethics. An election campaign is, finally, a job interview like any other. It should be approached (by both employers and potential employees) in that spirit.


Back in the PMR

Parliament of the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (Pridnestrovie).

LogoTop

Via A Fistful of Euros, I discovered the existence of the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (aka Transnistria). Its website is, as he says;

Like glimpsing an alternate universe where the USSR survived into the age of the internet

It's hard to believe the whole thing is not an elaborate hoax. All of those photos of officials in the classic "General Secretary of the Communist Party" pose. It's wonderful.

Where else (outside Bill Clinton's holiday destination) can you read such prose as this?

On  September 2, 1990, the second  Extraordinary congress of People's Deputies of all levels of Pridnestrovie «expressing the will of the multinational  population of Pridnestrovie expressed at the referendums and meetings of citizens» between 1989 and 1990, respecting and recognizing the rights to sovereignty and self-determination of all peoples of Pridnestrovie, understanding the historical responsibility for the fate of the Pridnestrovian people with their historical culture and traditions and with a view to creating conditions for preserving the Moldavian nation being guided by the article 2 of the Constitution of the USSR establishing sovereignty of the people the Second Extraordinary congress of people’s deputies of all levels of Pridnestrovie proclaimed the formation of a sovereign state of Pridnestrovian Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic as a part of the renewed Union.
Finally, a place Renfrewshire's Councillor Terry Kelly would feel at home.

War and Peace

What I Learned From My Old Dad - Washington Rebel.

Do please click the above link to read a very touching piece about "Washington Rebel's" father's experiences on Omaha Beach, and how they affected the rest of his life.

He explained to me how do-gooders and reformers were little Stalins looking for a corpse to feed on.  He understood these things because he saw through their pretenses -- which they could not see in themselves.

They don't seem to have affected his judgement though. Do read it all, it's good stuff.


Guardian TV poll: let's keep up the pressure

Poll: What's the best TV show of the decade 2000-09? | Media | guardian.co.uk.

Come on, ladies and gentlemen, please click on the link above and infuriate the Guardianistas who are posting such exasperated comments as;

Top Gear is not fit to grace any list that has the likes of the office, the west wing and arrested development on it.

The Wire is catching up fast on Top Gear with one day of polling still to go, so if you want to see Jezza ending the show with the poll results and the words "...and on that bombshell..." you need to get over there and vote. Urging on family, friends and work colleagues, not to mention posting a link to the poll on your blog (and in comments to every blog you frequent) would do no harm either.


Annoy a Guardianista; vote now!

Poll: What's the best TV show of the decade 2000-09? | Media | guardian.co.uk.

The Grauniad is having a poll on "the best TV show of the decade" and the results are annoying its precious journalists.

Monday 2pm: we are aware that there has been some *ahem* multiple voting and we are investigating how to eliminate this. In the meantime, please keep voting - legitimately

Oh, dear. How shocking. I am sure they would never have complained were, say, Andrew Marr's Sunday Socialist Sycophancy Show in the lead. So which show has people clicking so enthusiastically? Yes, there is justice in the Universe occasionally. It's the one they hate the most (click to enlarge). Delicious!

Guardian pain

Please go over there and add to their pain.