Monday, 28 November 2011

The European Left and the Fall of the Euro

My latest article in the American Thinker is up.  The essay focuses on the idea that Europe has somehow learnt from its mistakes and will now abandon the Euro and the European project as a whole.  It is the argument of the article that this thesis is false, and that the elites of the European governments have no intention of admitting their mistakes.  It is therefore necessary to understand that the bailouts will continue until the right can take control of individual national governments and slowly dismantle this failed project.

The article can be found in its entirety here.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Now Italy too?

Greece, Spain, Portugal and now Italy? Well, as bonds go beyond 7% it seems inevitable that they will need bailing out - if that is even possible, which many economists doubt.

What is so interesting about the downfall of the Italian economy is that it is one of the world's largest economies, and it has demonstrated just what a nasty machine the Euro is when it can take down a giant as big as Italy.

Certainly some responsibility lies at the feet of Berlusconi and his party - especially as it was under him that Italy went into the European project with a full throated cry - but it also shows just how false the promises of the New Europe were.

The idea was one enormous superstate with layers of government, "fair" taxes paying for more and more government projects, and a united currency encouraging everyone to, you know, just get along. How did that work out for you?

The result has been a continent submerged in debt, with too many free-lunchers and not enough people paying into the system. It is no coincidence that Italy is borrowing at 120% of GDP and is the third biggest borrower behind the US and Japan. It is entirely symptomatic of the continental mentality that has throttled the European economies.

What is truly frightening about this whole thing is that there is no reason why this can't happen to most EU countries, who have all been encouraged to borrow and spend beyond their means.

Two Prime Ministers have resigned this week. As the Eurozone falls deeper into turmoil, how many more will follow?

Monday, 7 November 2011

The Tories Are Lacking Principle

So, George Osborne has announced that there will be no new tax cuts before the next election. Hopefully Cameron will do another one of his Heath-like U-turns on this in the next year or so; if not, we won’t see the economy recover for the foreseeable future, and the Tories could get panned at the next election as a consequence.

No amount of massaging the figures can hide the obvious – our economy is stagnant. Granted, we aren’t in an economic crisis yet, but Britain is not moving forward in the way that we would like. This shouldn’t surprise anyone who adopts a conservative economic analysis. Britain’s specific economic problems are twofold – excessive spending and a dwindling private sector. It is a common myth that it is just “the deficit and debt” that are the problem. It is true that they are worrisome, but the enormous deficits are symptomatic of the real problem – excessive spending. Part of this spending problem is because our job-creating private sector is being scared abroad by oodles of red tape and high taxes, meaning we have to spend more money on unproductive public sector jobs and welfare.

Fixing the problem from a conservative (small c) perspective is simple – cut the spending (which we’ve already started to do, albeit slowly) and make Britain a more pro-business country, after hard-left socialists like Miliband, Cable, Balls and Brown have scared businesses away, or discouraged them from forming in the first place with their anti-business policies and taxes.

Therefore to most conservatives the answer is clear. Get us out of the EU – the number one source of stupid costs and red tape, cut useless spending projects, and limit government spending to the legitimate roles of government. Finally, cut taxes to a level that fosters the private sector and maximises revenue, not one designed to punish “the rich” and to try and redistribute wealth. This is the road to recovery and everyone with a conservative brain knows it.

Yet this is not a Tory party with a conservative brain; it is a party that is like an eighteen year old girl wanting to win X Factor. As a consequence it is more interested in what it looks like than doing the right thing; hence Cameron’s determination not to be seen as the party of those evil, horrible rich people.

If the Tories are the eighteen year old wannabe-singer, then the Lib Dems are the fat, loser friend that offers bad advice, convinced of their own self-importance because they happen to be friends with the popular girl. It is this useless, misguided friend that no-one likes anymore who is calling for property taxes, caps on bonuses, and the retention of the 50p tax rate on successful job-creators. The problem is that the Tories are listening.

Britain is a tired country, just like it was in the 1970’s, with unions too powerful, no private sector, high taxes propping up inefficient public sector industries, and too many people unable to find employment and stuck on welfare. Thatcher found a way out of this by following a pure conservative ideology, and by the end of the 80’s she had won three terms, and had turned Britain into a prosperous economic powerhouse.

The Tories can have the same success this time round, but only if they stop paying attention to their image and what people think of them in the short term, and stop listening to their annoying little friend that no-one else likes or cares about.

Osborne and Cameron have the opportunity to put Britain back on the road to prosperity – cut spending, reduce red tape, drop the EU, and cut taxes across the board to stimulate the private sector. Failure to do this will cost them the next election, and the blame with be on their shoulders. Unfortunately, from Osborne’s statements last week, it seems that they do not have the courage to do what they must.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Anders Breivik is No Conservative

If you’re a conservative, you can guarantee that if there’s a terrorist attack or an act of violence, there is going to be a pack of leftists letting you know that it is somehow your fault.  The rise in Irish terrorism was blamed on conservatives because apparently it was Margaret Thatcher that had upset them; when the planes hit the Twin Towers on 9/11, we had academic leftists like Noam Chomsky informing us that this was actually the fault of neoconservative US foreign policy; when London was bombed on 7/7, that was because Britain had bent the knee to conservatives in America on Iraq; when Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot earlier this year along with other innocent civilians, this was due to “hateful rhetoric” from right-wingers such as Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck (despite the fact that the shooter identified himself with anti-capitalist left-wing views).

So when it was first reported that some nutter had set off bombs and had started shooting people in Norway, I knew that conservatives would be blamed for it somehow.  To prove my points, when the first reports came in that a radical Islamic group had taken responsibility, lefty journalists started pointing towards Norway’s involvement in Afghanistan – “Shouldn’t have gotten into bed with Bush” was the implication.  It was the fault of conservatives!

And of course when it turned out it was in fact a blonde haired, blue eyed (did you ever hear a news report inform you about the colour of someone’s eyes before?) Norwegian, it was still the fault of conservatives.  However, this time it was actually partly justified; as drips of information came in, we found out that Breivik actually claimed to be a conservative, was against forced multiculturalism, opposed the appeasing of radical Islam, wasn’t a fan of the European Union and opposed his nation’s open immigration policy.

Could this be the case, could we have found this “violent conservative” that the left have been warning us about?  Whenever a conservative group gets momentum, such as the Tea Party in America, we have hysterical leftists telling us about how it’s going to provoke violence etc, despite the fact that almost all political violence belongs to either Islamists, radical leftists or plain old nutjobs.  Was this the exception that proves the rule?

In short, no.  A closer look at Breivik doesn’t fit the model of “angry conservative” that many in the media are trying to fit Breivik into.  My first suspicion that something wasn’t right was when the media told us that this guy was right-wing “just like Timothy McVeigh.”  I winced at this, because the “Timothy McVeigh = Rush Limbaugh Republican” is one I hear a lot in America.  Yet although McVeigh was a registered Republican and was against the federal government, that was about as far as it went.  His primary motives for the Oklahoma bombings were the attack on the Waco compound (which garnered more objection from the left than from the right) and his opposition to the Gulf War, in which he accused the US of hypocrisy for having WMDs and not letting Iraq have them too – a staple left-wing view of the time!  I’m not arguing that he was left wing, just that McVeigh doesn’t fit the mould made for him.

Suspicions were raised further when we were told that Breivik’s manifesto had enormous chunks of it lifted from the manifesto of Unabomber Ted Kaczynski.  Would this be the same Unabomber who, although opposing what he called “leftism”, was motivated primarily by his ardent anti-capitalism and called for a “worldwide revolution” against industrial-technological society, and described the Industrial Revolution and its consequences (i.e. global capitalism) as the biggest disaster ever witnessed by the human race?  The Unabomber’s manifesto was not a right-wing document by any stretch, so why is Breivik using it?

The real answer is that there is some truth to the media reports, but the correct conclusions are not being drawn as they are based on false premises.  There is a widespread view that both McVeigh and Kaczynski were right-wing terrorists and that by association Breivik is too.  Throw in his anti-EU, anti-multiculturalist sentiments and we have the classic right-wing terrorist, right?
Wrong.  The fundamental flaw with this logic is that it assumes McVeigh, Kaczynski and Breivik all had coherent political ideologies, and close examination proves this to be false.  Picking out a few beliefs that sounds right-wing is not a sufficient analysis.  Yes, Breivik was anti-EU (does this make anti-EU politician Tony Benn a right-winger then?) and yes he rants about the effects of cultural Marxism, but he is also anti-individualist, anti-globalisation, anti-free trade, he uses Kaczynski’s anti-capitalist rants as his own, his actions don’t suggest he is pro-life, and he spends much more time wittering on about reforming the “Knights of the Templar” than talking about anything else – perhaps it’s all Dan Brown’s fault?

Again, I am not trying to paint Breivik as a left-winger, nor do I deny that there are elements of conservative thought quoted in his manifesto, but ultimately Breivik is not a socialist loon, nor a conservative loon, he is just a loon.  His final tweet was a quote from John Stuart Mill, but I have not seen anyone try to say that he Breivik is a libertarian.  Whatever political “viewpoints” he espoused were the expression of his deranged anger, not the cause of it, and desperate attempts to crowbar him into a coherent political ideology are opportunistic and pointless.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Ed Miliband Reveals His Inner Marxist

It’s always nice to be proven right when making a political prediction, and thanks to Ed Miliband, it’s happened to me once again.  For in last week’s article, I predicted that the Murdoch hysteria would be so great that it would open the door for meddling politicians to initiate entirely unnecessary legislation and unconnected governmental interference.

Hey presto, a week later and we are being told by Ed Miliband, along with a whole host of other left-wing politicians, journalists and bloggers that the Murdoch empire needs breaking up.  Miliband has called for drastic new laws governing media ownership, and slammed Mr Murdoch for having “too much power over British public life.”  Ouch!

First of all, this condemnation may or may not be true, but it has nothing to do with phone hacking.  As we have been told repeatedly over the past few weeks, phone hacking can be performed quite easily by those with the knowhow and the will to do so; it matters not what sort of market share that person commands.  Additionally, any corruption by the Met Police is an issue to do with the integrity of the police force, and has little to do with the size of News Inc and/or News Corp.

So as predicted Miliband et al have been using this scandal to promote an agenda that has nothing to do with the phone hacking saga.  It is also interesting to note that neither Miliband nor Harman (who also condemned Murdoch’s structure as “too powerful and too rich) nor Kinnock (who has this week called for a press entirely regulated by the state) didn’t see a problem with all this when The Sun was supporting Labour from 1997 to 2010.

Yet what all this really shows is Labour’s condescending belief in the Marxist concept of “false consciousness” – the idea that the working masses can be duped by big powerful capitalists and will therefore actively fight against what the Marxists say are their real interests.  This get-out clause has been trotted out time and time again when middle class Marxists discover that the proletariat they claim to be fighting for actually don’t want any of their hard left nonsense.

It is this understanding that underpins Miliband’s attack on the power of Murdoch.  For when he calls Murdoch “too powerful” what he actually means is “too successful.”  For all Murdoch has done to become powerful is to provide news sources that people want to read or watch.  For in the free market the only people who are powerful are those who are successful in continuing to meet the needs and wants of the consumers, who have their own free choice whether or not to buy the product in question.

So when I (along with millions of Brits every day) walk into my newsagent and peruse the morning’s papers, I have a choice.  I can certainly choose to read a Murdoch paper like The Sun or The Times, or I can go for The Daily Mail, The Daily Express, The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Mirror, The Daily Star, The Independent, The Observer, The Guardian or The Financial Times, along with a range of other papers that are perhaps not in wide circulation in the UK such as The Morning Star and The Wall Street Journal.  If I don’t like those choices I can shun newspapers altogether, and get my daily fix from online sites, blogs and Twitter.

Unlike the BBC – which forces taxpayers to fund it whether or not they approve of the service it provides or the views that it presents – the Murdoch Empire cannot force a single penny out of your pocket.  I for one have not purchased a Murdoch paper for years – that is the choice I have made.  Similarly, the people who do buy those papers make their own free choice every day whether or not to buy them, and read the views held inside.

Murdoch is therefore not powerful in the same way the BBC or the government are; he cannot force any money out of your pocket without you first giving it to him via the purchase of one of his products.  The only power he holds is due to the fragile and free relationship between business and each individual consumer that chooses to buy their products.  If people don’t like what is being produced, or are disgusted with the way in which they have gone about their business, they can stop buying the product immediately.  There is nothing forced about this relationship; that is, unless you subscribe to the Marxist view that the masses are nothing by mindless “sheeple” who can be brainwashed at the drop of a hat.

If the law has been broken, then the law should investigate and prosecute those involved.  Yet this should not be used by the left as an excuse to promote some pseudo-Marxist critique of the free market.  Murdoch’s power is nothing more than the fruits of success in providing the people with what they want, and in a modern Britain there should be no politicians slamming anyone for being successful in doing that.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Dunblane Syndrome Strikes Again

So, The News of the World is gone. Yet if you think the high-pitched outrage that has been yelled at you over the last week is over, think again. Not only can we be sure of a constant drip of stories over the coming months, there is also too much political capital at stake for this to just be about getting The News of the World shut down.

For by breaching every code (written and unwritten) of decency, The News of the World have created the kind of public outrage that can be very dangerous if political opportunists are allowed to get their hands upon it – and this is exactly what is happening now. It is reminiscent of a phenomenon that can correctly be termed “Dunblane Syndrome.”

The Dunblane massacre in 1996 triggered spontaneous outrage and grief from the British public. The public mood in the months after the tragedy was emotionally sensitive to say the least, drifting between grief, anger and the desire that “something must be done” to prevent another massacre of innocent schoolchildren.

It was this emotionally taut mood that Tony Blair (at that point Leader of the Opposition) used to push forward his drastic anti-gun legislation. In his 1996 speech to the Labour Party conference, he famously responded to Tory criticisms that he was guilty of emotional blackmail with this sickeningly cheap shot,

“Well, if they had been in that gym, if they had talked to those parents, sitting on the tiny chairs where once their children sat, they would have been emotional too.”

The implication was clear; if you opposed Blair’s gun legislation (which would have done little to prevent Dunblane) then you didn’t care about dead children, or were too ignorant to understand – after all, you hadn’t seen the tiny chairs! The fact that Blair’s visit to Dunblane was a bipartisan visit with the Tories, and therefore they had talked to the parents and seen the tiny chairs, wasn’t allowed to get in the way of Blair’s “passionate” speech.

Say what you like about Blair, the fact is he knew how to get things done, and this was no different. The Tories didn’t want to be seen as people who didn’t care about dead children, and so shut up, and in 1997 the legislation was passed. Fourteen years later and the fact that gun crime has almost doubled, and that we have the highest burglary rates in Europe is still irrelevant – anyone who tries to revoke or change any of those laws will be tarred with not caring about Dunblane. Poor legislation described by the Home Affairs Select Committee at that time as “panic legislation” and that would never have been passed under normal circumstances was allowed through as wily, agenda-driven politicians tapped into an emotionally sensitive atmosphere.

Fast forward fourteen years and we have The News of the World scandal; a scandal that appears to be constantly evolving. It seems that the outcry from this will not be a short thing, but will be long lasting as more and more sordid details are drip fed to the public over the next few months. This opens the door for left-wing politicians and journalists with a grudge against Murdoch (“How dare he be successful and mildly right-wing!”) to steer this outrage to implement far reaching restrictions on press freedom that have nothing to do with the News of the World scandal.

The activities The News of the World engaged in are illegal, and therefore they should be investigated and prosecuted by the police. If there are questions of police corruption (as there were in the 2006 investigation) then it is that is a separate matter and should be looked at. As David Cameron correctly stated (over the hoots and jeers of the hyenas that pass for Labour MPs), now is the time for the rule of law to work and to take its course.

But that isn’t enough for the politicians and journalists looking to use this for their own political purposes. We are hearing the constant refrain that “there must be regulation.” Ignoring the fact that there are already press regulations, one should always be cautious when one hears cries for “regulation.” For “regulation” in and of itself is neither a good nor a bad thing; it is a question of what kind of regulations we are looking at, what specific regulations will be implemented, and what problems will it seek to solve that are the important questions.

Yet in this whipped up emotional frenzy, we will not see any of those questions asked nor answered. Instead, those with a long standing grudge against a successful media empire will call for the law to be bypassed with whatever haphazard, half-arsed, over the top legislation some slapdash committee of MP’s with no clue about journalism have come up with. Then, it will be forced through Parliament, with anyone who objects to it being put down as “not caring” about Milly Dowler, the Soham girls, Gordon Brown’s son and the 7/7 victims.

The big victim of all this will be press freedom – the most fragile of all freedoms, and the first to fall on the long road to tyranny. Dunblane Syndrome strikes again.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

The Importance of Economic Freedom

This is a great little video about just how important economic freedom is.  In both the UK and the USA, even the limited economic freedom we enjoy today is under attack, and many people don't understand just how important it is, or believe that economic freedom only benefits millionaires and billionaires while hurting the poor.  This video helps to dispel this myth, and show the precise opposite to be true.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Have Labour Destroyed Britain's Democracy?

We often see democracy as a sturdy political machine; leaders and parties come and go, but the system of democracy remains.  This is not reality however, merely wishful thinking.  The history of man is one of tyranny after tyranny, with democratic freedom being unusual in both history, and even in our world today where most people live not in a free society, but under the iron fist of tyranny.

The quote often attributed to James Alexander Tytler states, “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government.  It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship.”
Who actually said these words and where does not change their truthfulness, and the last Labour government has given our democracy an uncertain future.  For Labour exploited one of the “flaws” with democracy; namely that you can get elected time and time again on the back of promises to spend other people’s money, whilst leaving the economics and the bill to future politicians to deal with.

The consequences of this were on display last week, with public sector workers striking about renegotiations of what are laughably unsustainable pensions.  It gets worse when one realises that not only did Labour make these outlandish pension promises, but they made no effort to provide any sort of money to pay for it.  The tiny contributions that workers are paying into the system are only being used to dole out money for current pensions, and even that is making a loss.  There is absolutely nothing in place to pay for the public sector pensions in the future, where there will be more pensioners living for longer, and with bigger pensions.  There is no money – Britain is in denial.

Yet none of this mattered to Labour – they promised big money and contracts to the unions, and the unions responded by giving money back to the Labour Party and making it clear which way their members should vote.  Labour bought votes with taxpayer money and have left future generations to worry about how to pay up on those promises – it’s that simple. We have seen this time and time again.  The Private Finance Initiative was nothing more than a way to get schools, hospitals and other buildings built so the Labour could take the credit and the votes, while booting the bill down the road for future politicians (preferably the Tories) to worry about.

Additionally, the culture of welfarism exploded under Labour, with them even allowing the shipping in of more people from abroad to live off the back of our glorious welfare system.  This has encouraged vast segments of our population to believe that they have a right to live off the back of the state without ever working; and who will therefore vote for any party who allows this to continue.  Even those who are not relatively poor have fallen into this trap.  Recent proposals to cut housing benefit so that taxpayers are no longer paying for other people to live in expensive houses that they themselves cannot afford have been met with outright hysteria.  Polly Toynbee declared the plans to limit housing benefits to £400 a week as the Tories’ “final solution” for the poor.

Although it is laughable that £400 a week in housing benefit is remotely close to austere, Toynbee has a point in the sense that even a reduction of benefit to remotely sensible levels will cause major disruption for some families.  They have been taught that they are entitled to extravagant amounts of benefits, and have adapted their plans as a consequence.  All sorts of people, (working or not) rely on massive handouts from the state, having been promised them by Labour with the assurance that “someone else” will pay for them.  French economist Frederic Bastiat’s description of government as “that fiction whereby everybody believes that he can live at the expense of everyone else” seems apt in this situation.

Labour has therefore inculcated the myth that it is legitimate for more and more people to vote themselves more money from the public purse, and the way to do this is to vote for Labour.  Should anyone (such as the Tories) try and cut this gravy train even slightly, then they face the wrath of those people riding on that gravy train, who now make up such a large percentage of the population that it scares off any politician from making any significant cuts in fear of losing their job.

It is for this reason that the minor cuts the Coalition has made (that will not even start reducing the deficit for another three years – who knows when we will ever start working on our £1 trillion debt) have been met with such hostility.  The responsible option is the tough one, and Labour have been choosing the irresponsible easy option for years – promise to spend more on anyone who promises to vote for you, and boot the bill forward a few decades for someone else to worry about.

If Labour keep doing this, failing to acknowledge both their blame in this crisis, and not accepting that it is morally reprehensible to make unsustainable promises for future generations to deal with, then it will make it very difficult for democracy to survive.  For the road to economic meltdown is clear, and if our nation lacks the political will to get off that road due to the mass entitlement mentality created by Labour, then destruction and tyranny can only follow.

Friday, 15 July 2011

A Conservative's Guide to the Republican Primaries: Part 2

Newt Gingrich

The former Speaker of the House can be described as the veteran of the group.  Gingrich headed the Republican midterm campaign of 1994, which resulted in an unprecedented landslide for the GOP that forced President Clinton into the political centre.  Although this unwittingly allowed Clinton to win re-election in 1996, and then allowed him to take credit for the success of Republican measures, it means that Gingrich is a man who knows how to get things done politically.  He is also very eloquent when speaking — preferring cold hard logic to buzzwords — and is armed with a library of statistics at his fingertips.  However Gingrich has also been the source of infighting within the party, recently criticising Paul Ryan’s budget in a way that many felt was unnecessarily harsh.  Also, his softness on certain issues leads many of the more ideological conservatives to turn their nose up at him.  A potentially very strong candidate, with a medium chance of winning the nomination.

Sarah Palin

If you ask any man or woman in the street for the name of one Republican who may run for President, I would gamble that a comfortable majority would say “Sarah Palin.”  Since 2008 she has become (for better or for worse) an international sensation, both loved and hated in America and beyond.  Both inside and outside the Republican Party, Palin has surprisingly strong support, yet for a presidential run, those numbers quickly turn sour.  Palin is becoming the female version of radio host Rush Limbaugh; conservatives love her, but understand that a presidential run would be disastrous.  Apart from her folksy attitude that many see as unpresidential, most Republicans want the next election to be just like 2010, i.e. a referendum of the policies of Barack Obama.  Yet a Palin run would make 2012 about Sarah Palin, not about Barack Obama, leading many people to vote for Obama simply because he isn’t Sarah Palin.  It is for this reason above all that make Sarah Palin unlikely to win the nomination, if she chooses to run for it at all.  The conservative mood seems to be that Palin has a great number of skills, but becoming president isn’t one of them.

Jon Huntsman

Every set of candidates always has a “centrist” amongst them; one who eschews “ideological” politics, choosing instead that lovely buzzword of “pragmatism.”  Jon Huntsman is that candidate this year, having served as the Ambassador to China under Obama, and the one posing as the moderate.  This moderate stance is based mainly on attitude rather than policies (fiscally Huntsman is very conservative, although liberal on climate change, immigration and gay marriage), recently stating that he wanted his to be a civil campaign based on only differences of opinion rather than nasty attacks and loud rhetoric.  Such a statement has put him out of the race for many conservatives, who see this as naive in the extreme.  What is worse for Huntsman is that he is being labelled as this election’s John McCain – who also posed as a moderate obsessed with civility.  Most Republicans would be unlikely to pick yet another candidate who could only mumble in disagreement while being more concerned with not offending Obama than winning the election.  Republicans seem determined not make the McCain mistake again, and are therefore unlikely to go for Jon Huntsman.

Rick Perry

Rick Perry has been Governor of Texas since 2000, and has long been rumoured to be running for President in 2012; but as of yet he has not declared.  He is worth mentioning not only because he is likely to run, but because the conservative base is so excited about him.  A run from Perry, even late on, could be a real game changer. He is seen as a strong conservative who would still have excellent national appeal, and he has a long career of success as a tax cutter who balanced budgets.  In the Bachmann/Cain style of candidates, he has the ability to speak powerfully and inspire audiences with his fierce conservative rhetoric, and would be competing to be the candidate of the right if he were to run.  Yet his likeability and record of success means that a Perry candidacy could appeal to the mainstream as well, and it is here wherein lies his power.  Perry is seen by his supporters as proving that one does not have to be a wishy-washy moderate in order to appeal to mainstream Americans.  Whether they are correct is yet to be seen.

Rick Santorum

Rick Santorum is in the Pawlenty school of candidates in that he is running and yet it is difficult to get too enthusiastic about him.  Although known for his confrontational style of politics, he has failed to show that style in recent debates, and has failed to make a significant impression on the race so far.  The former Senator for Pennsylvania has solid conservative credentials, but often fails to offer anything particularly unique.  He is a fiscal and social conservative who was also a Senator for a while; but that’s about it.  Additionally, many conservatives are bothered by certain statements he has made in the past; for instance, while speaking on the Boston Catholic Church sex abuse crisis, he placed some of the blame on the shoulders of Boston cultural liberalism, declaring “it is no surprise that Boston, a seat of academic, political and cultural liberalism in America, lies at the center of the storm.”  Although such statements are rare, they could provide the final nail in the coffin of a candidate who already doesn’t offer a great deal.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

The Conservative's Guide to the Republican Primaries: Part 1

Although the Republican nomination for the next Presidential election will not be chosen until early 2012, those who intend to run for the position are beginning to make themselves known, with two notable debates taking place over the last month. Over the next two article, I’m going to give a brief rundown of some of the main candidates.

Mitt Romney

If you were a betting man or woman, the wise money would be on Romney. The former businessman and governor of Massachusetts was a strong candidate for the 2008 nomination, but just missed out to John McCain, and therefore has been named “the establishment choice.” Strong in debates, good with the media, generally solid on conservative issues and with a somewhat presidential look about him, he has the potential to be a strong candidate for 2012. He has three big problems facing him; the first is the Massachusetts’ healthcare law he passed, dubbed “Romneycare”. With one of Obama’s weaknesses being his unpopular healthcare reforms, Romney will find it difficult to take advantage of that particular weakness due to the similarities between the two laws. His second problem is linked to the first – many conservatives are sceptical about whether he is a “true” conservative; with commentators pointing both to Romneycare, and to his flip-flopping on the subject of abortion. Finally, his Mormon faith – although more common in the USA than the UK – is still perceived by many Americans as weird, and will also make the evangelical segment of the conservative grassroots uncomfortable. Romney is still the bookies favourite, but he is by no means perfect, nor is he a shoe-in.

Michelle Bachmann

Unfairly, Congresswoman Bachmann was, until a few months ago, seen by many as a poor man’s Sarah Palin. A darling of the Tea Party, the ex tax attorney and mother of 5 (as well as foster carer of 23) was known for her strong conservatism, combatative stances on issues, and fiercely polemic rhetoric against the Democrats and the current President, and was seen as much more of a fringe candidate – possibly second in line to Palin. Yet her performances in the Republican presidential debates have been outstanding, and she was considered by many (including this writer) to have easily won the most recent debate. A lot more straight-laced and less folksy than Palin, and with a fiercer, clearer speaking style as well as a successful record of leading and getting things done in Congress, Bachmann has the potential to be a powerful candidate. She is still an outsider, but as is a rising star within the GOP who is even beginning to eclipse the once mighty Sarah Palin, it is by no means impossible that she could gain the nomination.

Tim Pawlenty

In any set of candidates, there is always one about whom there is little to say. Tim Pawlenty fits that role perfectly. The governor of Minnesota is running on a strongly conservative campaign, but it is sometimes difficult to tell due to his flat language and often poor delivery. His emphasis has been on social issues, specifically on opposing gay marriage and on limiting abortion for all but the most extreme cases. This could easily be a misstep, as the conservative mood at the moment tends to be less concerned with social issues and more concerned with the economy. Also, however socially conservative he may be, Bachmann will always match him, and do it convincingly. Some conservatives have also questioned his conservative credentials, pointing to some large tax-hikes as governor, a state-wide smoking ban and mandatory ethanol mixtures with gasoline. Ultimately, Pawlenty is supported by those who believe that all that is needed to win 2012 is to elect a standard candidate who won’t rock the boat and who will point to Obama’s failings. Those of us who believe that it will need more than that to beat Obama will want someone other than this uninspiring governor.

Ron Paul

Ron Paul is the true radical of the Republican Party; he is best described as an out and out libertarian as opposed to a conservative. Famously given the motto by The Onion – “Fiscally I’m a right-wing nutjob, but on social issues I’m f**king insanely liberal”, this sums up Paul’s strengths and weaknesses at the same time. He has shown himself to have a broad base of support that reaches out well beyond traditional areas of Republican support. His fierce dedication to the free market and his small government, low tax economics makes him attractive to conservatives, while his isolationist foreign policy stance and social liberalism on issues such as gay marriage and drugs (but not abortion – he is pro-life) opens his appeal up to many on the left as well. Yet, while he has been winning straw poll after straw poll, leading many to believe he can win the nomination, his broad base is also his potential weakness. A Ron Paul presidential run risks falling between two stools by failing to appeal to conservatives due to his socially liberal policies and pacifist foreign policy, while failing to appeal to the left due to his economic policies. Simply put, a Ron Paul run would be an enormous gamble, and could result in a landslide for the Republicans, or an easy second term for Obama – there is no middle ground with Ron Paul.

Herman Cain

The Baptist minister and former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza is easily the character of the bunch so far. Sounding strangely like Samuel L Jackson (one is waiting for him to yell “They speak English in What?” at any moment), Cain has won many people over with his straight-talking yet jocular debating style. The unique appeal of the only black candidate currently running lies in his success in the private sector: he boasts that he is not a know-it-all politician, but instead a business man who knows how to get the right people in to get things done. In a straw poll as to who won the first Republican presidential debate, Cain won easily and has support from both the Republican mainstream and from the Tea Party. His strength is certainly his private sector experience, as well as his excellent debating style which leads many conservatives to believe he could destroy Obama in the debates. His biggest weakness is that his jocular style means people don’t take him seriously as a candidate. Additionally, his unusual claim that he would be uncomfortable appointing Muslims in his Cabinet as they may support Sharia Law is one that has drawn criticism from all sides of the political spectrum, and leaves many wondering whether Cain is a lunatic disguised as a legitimate candidate. Cain is still an outsider, but not be dismissed outright.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Britain Needs It's Own Sarah Palin

If you ever wish to hear the dulcet tones of a snort of derision, the best way to do so is to wander into a middle class left-wing dinner party, or a trendy university halls of residence (preferably one where there are pictures of Che Guevara on the wall, and all the boys look like girls, while the girls look like boys) and say two words – “Sarah Palin.”

The resultant snorts of haughty condescension will be loud enough to shatter windows and will result in severe sinus trauma for many of the occupants. For what “we all know” about Sarah Palin is very clear, especially to the left. Sarah Palin is a moron, a stupid imbecile who represents everything that is wrong with America; she is a hard-right nut job who makes gaffe after gaffe, and the only people who support her are gun toting red necks who hate gays and evolution. It is widely accepted that she cost the Republicans the 2008 election, and if she receives the nomination for 2012, she will certainly hand the election to Obama instead. Right?

Wrong! In fact, everything in the above paragraph is wrong. I could go through everything that is wrong with the paragraph, but it would take more space than this article allows. I could point out that most “gaffes” that Palin is known for are usually either not gaffes (but instead opinions with which the Guardian and the New York Times disagrees) or were not said by her at all – such as the famous “I can see Russia from my house” gaffe, which was actually spoken by Tina Fey. I could say that she is only hard-right if you class someone who believes in free market economics as “hard-right” or point to her consistently high poll numbers as governor of Alaska (where her approval rates reached the 90%+ mark), and the wide success of both her TV show and two books.

Yet instead of going through these arguments, I instead want to point to her biggest strength – the venom with which the left hate her. For as a Palin fan myself (although I think there are better candidates for 2012) it is obvious that I am going to claim that she isn’t a stupid, illiterate moron who has hit a good patch. But the left also unwittingly agree with this assessment by their hatred and obsession for her.

For when I hear Sarah Palin mentioned by various left-wing friends, they spit out her name with the same revulsion and disgust that most people say “aggressive yeast infection.” Furthermore, it seems that it is the left-wing media that want to report on her the most. Streams of journalists and camera crews have been following Palin’s tour bus, while at the same time tutting at how she is getting above her station. However, what is really interesting is the way in which the media has reacted to the release of her emails, with the New York Times and the Guardian both asking their readers to help them scour through the emails for dirt or possibility of scandal.
Why anyone would want to spend their free weekend going through a political opponent’s dull emails unpaid is beyond me. The fact that there have been thousands of unpaid lefties spending a June weekend going through these emails, as well as an organised campaign by the Guardian, the NYT and other media outlets, shows an unhealthy obsession for the ex-Alaskan governor.

It seems a strange hatred to have if we are expected to believe that Palin is a no-hoper. I think of left-wing no-hopers here in England such as Ed Miliband and Diane Abbott, and I have no hatred for either; in fact I enjoy their presence on the television as I know that the longer they speak, the more harm it does to their cause. I don’t react to the very mention of their names by foaming at the mouth, nor would I spend a sunny weekend scouring through Diane Abbott’s thousands of emails telling her friends just how racist everyone is.

The obvious explanation for this hatred is simply that Palin is not as stupid or as useless as the left try to make us believe – and they know it. They know that despite her folksy Alaskan accent and occasionally peculiar ways of expressing herself, that Palin has an incredible appeal. A strong independent woman (without needing to be reliant of left-wing radical feminism) who stands for common sense conservatism and core American values as found in the Declaration of Independence and the American Constitution, Palin is admired by many Americans and has the skills to be able to change the media narrative and set the debate with a mere tweet or Facebook update.

Whether she becomes President or not, Palin is going to have a powerful influence on both American conservatism, and American politics as a whole in the upcoming future. British conservatives should not buy into the left-wing smears of Palin and should learn from her. Conservatism is at its best when it isn’t hidden away in buzzwords or sound bites; but when it is expressed clearly and simply as an expression of liberty, common sense and personal responsibility. Britain needs its own Sarah Palin; and when the left begins foaming at the mouth at the mention of their name and spending days going through their emails, we will know that we have found them!

Thursday, 9 June 2011

The Public Sector Unions Just Don't Get It

Although I always enjoy watching Vince Cable get booed, I was curious to see the GMB Union giving him such a hostile reception, and even resorting to booing and heckling him, during his speech at their annual conference this week.

That a non-Labour Cabinet Minister gets booed at a public sector union conference should not be a surprise in and of itself.  Past experience tells us that union cronies rarely have any manners whatsoever, and love to enjoy acting like thugs in ties whenever the opportunity arises.  Additionally, given that unions almost exclusively fund Labour, it is not surprising that anyone who does not belong to Labour is seen as the enemy.

Yet Vince Cable is probably as left-wing as they come, and is probably more left-wing, anti-business and pro-union than many Labour MP’s.  One may therefore be forgiven for thinking that he would receive a positive reception in a union that, like many other public sector unions, appear to have stopped fighting for workers and are instead acting as arms of the Socialist Worker Party.

Cable’s speech was a clever and shrewd warning from a socialist to a fellow socialist organisation.  He noted that while the right to strike was an important right, there was a strong movement in the government to update and tighten up strike law.  He went on to state that as long as strikes remained limited and low (as they have been for the last year) then “the case for changing strike law is not compelling.”  Yet Cable was clear that if there was an attempt at widespread, organised mass industrial action designed to provide another “winter of discontent”, then the case to update strike law would be stronger, and that there would be little that he could do about it.

The message Cable was sending was clear and correct; the Conservatives wish to update strike law to make sure that the public sector unions can’t throttle the nation like they did in the 1970’s and tried to in the 1980’s.  Yet while strike rates are low, such a move is politically impossible.  Only if the unions try to bring the country to its knees and damage the national economy would the Tories have the support needed to clamp down on union action.

Cable finished this part of his speech (after pausing while he was booed and abused) by saying “that is something that you and I will both collectively want to avoid.”  In other words, “I’m on your side, but if you engage in mass industrial action, I can’t keep the Tories at bay.”

Yet he was booed and jeered anyway.  What the GMB members do not appear to understand is that Vince Cable is being a friend not a foe.  He is warning them that there are plenty of Tories (this writer included) who want to see the hand of the public sector unions loosened from around the throat of the British taxpayer, and are looking for the opportunity to do so.  Cable is not stating opinions or views, but is simply observing reality; if strikes are limited, the Lib Dems can keep the Tories at bay, but if there is a 1980’s insurrection, the hands of the Lib Dems are tied, and we Tories get to crush the unions like we did under Thatcher.

This is not what the unions, nor Vince Cable wants to happen; and this is what Cable’s speech to the GMB was trying to prevent.  Yet if public sector unions like the GMB are unable to distinguish friend from foe, then their narrow minded pseudo-communist mindset will surely lead them to destruction, just like it led the NUM to destruction in the 1980’s.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

The Parade of Bleeding Stumps in Britain

There was an interesting billboard doing the rounds here in Manchester around the local elections, and I’m sure it was being plastered up all over Britain, so you have probably seen it as well.  It was paid for by UNISON and has writing at the bottom that is supposed to depict David Cameron’s Big Society.  It read, “Fewer 999 operators, fewer bin men, fewer ambulance drivers, fewer lifeguards” etc etc.  The message was clear, “Minor spending cuts mean that nothing will every work for anyone ever.”

We’ve seen this tactic time and time again, so much so that it even has a name – the parade of bleeding stumps.  It is a well known civil service tactic, by which the head of a department faced with spending cuts would overlook cutting executive salaries or trimming the fat from the department, and would instead threaten to slash front line services as brutally as possible.  The Minister in charge would panic at the idea of slashing services, and back down on the spending cuts, leaving the public sector gravy train as it was.

We have seen similar tactics ever since the Coalition took power in May 2010. Left-wing groups like UNISON have been promising us an apocalypse unless we stay committed to our unsustainable increases in public spending.  Apparently, unless spending keeps going up and up, there is no way that bins can be emptied or that ambulances can be driven.  The fact that these cuts (which aren’t actually cuts, spending is set to rise for the next few years) could be met by cutting spending on executive pay and by cutting waste has been completely ignored; according to the narrative, any cut must directly affect front line services and the left’s favourite go to word – “the poor.”

This nonsensical stance by Labour and their left-wing cronies has been exposed this week, first by the Telegraph’s access to various council and civil service credit cards.  Civil servants at the Department for Communities and Local Government spent thousands of pounds at top restaurants, on theatre and exhibition tickets, and went on shopping sprees at the public’s expense, totally £865,000.  They also disclosed that despite many town halls moaning about how brutal the cuts will be, it has not stopped them from spending millions of pounds on everything from iPads to video games, to Tiffany jewellery and Gucci products.  It seems that cuts to front line services are preferred to cuts in spending on Michelin-starred restaurants, five star hotels and first-class plane tickets!

This week has also brought the news that bonuses of senior executives at the Department of Health have doubled in the past five years, with around 1,600 NHS managers earning over £150,000 a year – more than the Prime Minister.  Some NHS executives will retire with annual payouts of up to £110,000.

It is tempting to throw scorn at such civil servants and executives, but really they are only accepting what is offered to them.  There are not many people in the world that would turn down an enormous honey pot pension on principle, and we should not expect it of others.  Instead we should be looking at who it is that has made the decision not to reform such lavish lifestyles funded by the tax payer, and has instead chosen to play the “bleeding stumps” card and to cut frontline services, when little if any cutting was required.

The idea that there is minimal waste that can be cut in the public sector, and that any cuts must therefore come from frontline services and hurt the poor and vulnerable is ridiculous; and yet it is a myth that is successfully being spread around our country by various left-wing groups committed to a big government agenda.

The public are being lied to, and it is time for those of us who believe in fiscal responsibility and accountability in the public sector to stand up against the parade of bleeding stumps.  We do not need to bankrupt our country in order to pay for hospitals and schools, and curbing spending to responsible levels does not require a Dickensian nightmare on our streets, despite what UNISON and Ed Balls might say to the contrary.

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Enviro Nut Jobs Shoot Themselves in the Foot.

It's worth saying from the outset that I am neutral on the subject of man-made climate change.  Although I am sceptical, I wouldn't go so far as to call myself a determined "sceptic."  A better term to describe my views would be "agnostic" - the science behind climate change is flawed, and has been shown to have a great deal of corruption around it, but I don't believe that makes it all false.  I am yet to be persuaded either way.

Yet one thing I am absolutely determined on is that, if man-made climate change is real, big government solutions are not the answer.  My main thrust for this belief is that government solutions have rarely achieved anything efficiently or cheaply, especially when one compares it to the private sector.  Therefore if we are really facing a global crisis, a government solution is not going to save us.  The only way for "sustainable and green" technology to be produced is for governments to get out of the way of private sector companies who build new technologies, to lower taxes, and to allow the race for profit to motivate these companies to invest billions into producing these new technologies as quickly as possible in order to satiate consumer demand.  Once these new technologies are discovered, then there will be a race to the bottom by companies trying to make these new developments as cheap as possible for the public - companies get rich by selling products as cheap as possible, not by keeping them artificially expensive (see Henry Ford for a classic example of this.)

Increased government interference will not be as efficient as the private sector, and in addition will in fact hinder the private sector in doing its job.  This has been shown today by a story in "The Guardian" of all places, that reports that so-called "environmental taxes" are threatening green energy research and crippling development.  The case study is the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy, which faces an estimated £400,000 bill next year, raising the prospect of job losses and operational cuts.

Sources quoted by the lefty newspaper claim that there should be exemptions for companies and research groups that can be shown to be promoting government policy.  But why should it stop there?  How does one define whether or not they are promoting government policy?  Yes, it is clear that the Culham Centre is promoting green energy, but taxes will be hurting all sorts of research that will contribute, even in a small way, to these goals.  Additionally, these sort of crippling taxes don't just hurt research, they hurt growth as a whole, and the way we are going to get ourselves moving forward to green energy is to allow the whole economy to grow via market forces, which will in turn allow more private investment in all kinds of Research and Development; some that will be explicitly "green based" and others that may only help implicitly.

The only way to move forward with green technology is for government to get out of the way, allow market forces to decide which are the best technologies to invest it, and then allow the profit motive to motivate these powerful corporations in producing the efficient and cheap green energies that people want.  Government will only make bad choices, impose freedom destroying taxes, and ultimately slow down growth and technological advancement.  Scrap enviro-taxes now!

Friday, 27 May 2011

Ken Clarke is Wrong and Must Go

Dave Gee – the UK’s leading authority on rape investigation – said he felt “despair” last week when he heard Kenneth Clarke appear to suggest some rape cases were more serious than others.  I know exactly how he feels.

Ken Clarke has long been a thorn in the side of those of us in the Tory Party who want the party to stand for conservative principles.  His rambling interview about rape, and the lax sentencing policy that he proposes proves that he should be nowhere near the Cabinet, and nowhere near the Conservative Party.

Tories have always been popular with the public when it comes to the question of crime.  The British public have never bought into trendy left-wing theories about criminals being victims themselves, and that it’s really society’s fault.  They are wise enough to know that most of the time “rehabilitation” is just a magic word said before releasing dangerous criminals early, and that only a tough attitude to criminality can keep society safer.  Indeed, the only way that Tony Blair was able to win the public over on the subject of crime in 1997 was by sounding exactly like a Tory.

So, when Ken Clarke announced that he is looking at lowering the already low sentences for rapists even further (by introducing an even higher sentence discount of 50% for those who plead guilty), then he was already on thin ice.  The average sentence a rapist serves is five years, and the Justice Secretary wishes to make that average even lower.  Yet to make matters worse, in defending the bizarre policy, his implication that date rape was a less serious form of rape than violent rape has rightly provoked a furore that should have taken his job from him by now.

Date rape takes many forms, and Clarke has noted that these situations can vary greatly, and can be complex.  This is true, but this often comes from woolly definitions about what constitutes rape; if this is the case, then a redefinition of rape is required, not a lax form of sentencing for the crime.  Indeed, sentencing for date rape should be being made stronger than it already is, as there is evidence to suggest that it is on the increase.

Only last year did the UN’s International Narcotics Control Board conclude that the use of date rape drugs was rising dramatically, and anyone who is a regular club goer will know that date rape drugs are a common hazard for women, and even for men who might get their drink spiked by accident.  Additionally, the tactic of plying a woman with alcohol until she is so drunk that she loses her ability to resist is one that, while frowned upon, is still not seen as rape in the eyes of many.
Clarke’s attempt to disagree that “rape is rape” by offering the case of an 18 year old having sex with their 15 year old girlfriend is a pathetic attempt at a get out by using a tough case that in reality is rarely prosecuted.  To quote Jane Martinson’s excellent column on the subject, “We’re still waiting for the statistics on the number of teenagers who subsequently go to the police to press rape charges if what they are doing is having happy, consensual – if under the age of consent – sex.”

Clarke’s subsequent half-apologies come across as meaningless when he is still trying to go ahead with finding ways to lower what are already pitifully low sentences for rape.  David Cameron made a bold effort at Prime Minister’s Questions to affirm just how serious any form of rape is; but his words are betrayed by his government’s proposal to limit the already miniscule sentences even further.

If our society wishes to make it clear that rape is a very serious crime in whatever form it takes, then sentencing must match this intention.  This is something that the Conservative Party has always understood, and yet Ken Clarke seems to want to do the opposite.  It is for this reason that he has no place on the Conservative front bench, and he should be fired immediately.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Conservatives Can Relax: Trump Isn't Running

The announcement that all sane people on the American right were waiting for has finally arrived; Donald Trump is not running for President of the United States. Such an announcement has not come a moment too soon, and there are many conservatives breathing a huge sigh of relief.

It was always tempting to dismiss Trump as a joke candidate from the beginning who never had any chance of gaining the Republican nomination. This may or may not be true, but it doesn’t mean that Trump did not pose any danger to a Republican victory in 2012. He had already caused a great deal of damage by first pretending to speak for American conservatives, and then going off on a wild goose chase for Obama’s birth certificate; making conservatives look like a bunch of conspiracy believing loons. The media had lapped up the sideshow, and it seemed that Trump would take the spotlight from any other candidate until he was defeated at the primaries early next year.

By that time however, it could have been too late. It seemed like Trump was set to also go after Obama’s education records in order to prove that the President was not smart enough to have gone to Harvard, and that he was therefore a recipient of affirmative action policies. Even if such statements were true, it would hardly reflect badly on Obama (he didn’t ask to receive special treatment) and regardless of the outcome the issue would be used against conservatives to demonstrate that Republicans were more concerned with side issues than with the real problems facing the country.

Trump represents one of two paths that the Republicans can go down for 2012. In football terms, they can either play the man or the ball; and Trump would represent trying to play the man. Trump is certainly not alone in wanting to attack Obama instead of the issues; with other candidates such as the irritating Michelle Bachman standing strong with a fair amount of Tea Party support should she choose to run. Such a path is doomed to end in failure. Although his nastier side has come out over the last year, Obama is still seen by many as a likeable guy, and his personal popularity ratings are much higher than his ratings on the issues – which remain stubbornly low.

It is on the issues where the Republicans can win big. This has been proved already; the 2010 midterms barely made any personal references to Obama at all, and focused almost entirely on the economy. It resulted in annihilation for the Democrats at the polls, and one of the biggest swings in United States political history. A similar swing for the Presidential Elections in 2012 would not only hand the Republicans the Presidency, but give them a landslide as well.

Obama is not a steady President. Despite figures in the media telling us that Obama would receive a massive boost from the death of Bin Laden, there has been very little of this, and Rasmussen actually reports a drop in approval for Obama over the last week. With gas prices at a very high level, 1 in 6 Americans on food stamps, Obamacare extremely unpopular, and unemployment stubbornly refusing to go down, Obama’s go to excuse of blaming Bush is wearing thin and will not carry him into 2012. It is on the issues where Obama is weak, and he has run out of ideas.

In a generally conservative country like America (where Obama’s ideas were never particularly popular), the Republicans only need to make sure that they have a candidate that will draw attention to the issues, and also to Obama’s failure to deliver anything but warmed up socialism. They therefore need to pick a solid, upstanding candidate with no hang ups, strange beliefs (nothing weird on evolution, please), or obsessions with birth certificates and college transcripts. If they can pick someone who can stick to the issues, and not get drawn into conspiracy theories and personal attacks, then 2012 could seal Obama’s fate as a one-term President, and 2013 could usher in a fresh era of conservatism in America.

Should the Republicans fail to do this, Obama will not need to win the 2012 election – the Republicans will lose it on their own.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

How Obama Went From Hero to Zero in a Week

On Monday 2nd of May it was not looking cushy for the American right.  Yes, along with the rest of America they celebrated the death of global terrorist Osama Bin Laden, but politically they had taken a significant beating.

Only a few days before the death of Bin Laden was announced, the White House had revealed the long version of President Obama’s birth certificate, effectively ending conspiracy monger Donald Trump’s presidential ambitions.  While many on the right (myself included) were thankful that it finally killed off this nonsensical obsession with Barack Obama’s birthplace, it also meant that the entire American right were tarred with the “conspiracy theory” brush – even though the birthers only represented a minority of right-wingers.

The announcement of the death of Bin Laden only made the birther issue worse.  The narrative became that while the right-wing were thumbing through copies of Obama’s “Dreams of My Father” to find evidence that he was a closet Kenyan, Obama was off focusing on bigger issues such as killing the world’s number one terrorist.  Not only did the right look defunct thanks to its loony fringe, but Obama had overcome his reputation of being useless on foreign policy by killing the man that George W Bush had been searching for since 2001.

Immediately, commentators in both American and the UK were drooling over Obama’s prospects for re-election, claiming that his boost in the polls would be enormous, and that the 2012 election was all but over.  Yet a week later, no-one is saying that anymore, and the boost in the polls has (depending on whose polls you read) been either non-existent, or a small jolt that no pollster expects to last until November 2012.  A recent Gallup poll stated that 95% of respondents stated that the death of Bin Laden would not change who they’d vote for.  So what happened?

The first thing that went wrong was that Obama tried to do what he usually does – make himself the hero.  So instead of praising the men and women on the ground, and those who had been doing intelligence on Bin Laden for years, Obama’s announcement speech was filled with continual references about himself and self-congratulatory remarks about his administration.  People like applauding for an actor on stage, but are less likely to do so when the actor starts applauding himself as well.

Also, the blatant hypocrisy of Obama trying to take sole credit of this feat (along with the victory tour to Ground Zero) was fully exposed when it was revealed that the information that found Bin Laden was obtained at Guantanamo Bay (which Obama wants shut down) using waterboarding (which Obama banned) back in 2007, when Obama wasn’t even in office.  Trying to take credit for something that was achieved by methods that he expressly condemned has rightly struck many Americans as trying to have one’s cake and eat it too.

This childish display of taking credit for other people’s work (notably that of President George W Bush, who had to fight tooth and nail against lip trembling lefties like Obama in order to keep such effective methods in place) has been followed up by a laughable show of incompetence from the White House in providing information.

First we were told Bin Laden used his wife as a shield, then he didn’t, then he was armed, then he wasn’t, then he made an act of aggression, then he didn’t, then it was a kill order, then it wasn’t, then it was again, then they were going to release a picture, then they were definitely going to release a picture, then they definitely weren’t going to release a picture.  Even a political junkie like myself still cannot make out exactly what happened in that compound.
This isn’t just about information though, it is about how the Obama administration has been trying to both celebrate and cover up this action at the same time.  The truth is clear; Obama doesn’t like this and neither do the left.  From arch-leftists in Britain such as Ken Livingstone and the Stop the War Coalition to the usual leftist cronies in America such as Michael Moore and Noam Chomsky, we have seen condemnation after condemnation as to how this action was carried out.

Don’t be mistaken; if this was a Republican President, Obama would be amongst those howling in agony at the thought of Bin Laden being “murdered in cold blood”, wailing about his human rights and the abandonment of “our common values of justice.”  Yet because he is President and his numbers were falling, he has had to become part of the American jubilation and patriotism that he finds so distasteful.

On that first day he was fine, but since then his attempt to balance his hard-left credentials with taking the credit for what was essentially a right-wing act performed predominately by other people, has made him seen weak, confused and hypocritical.

Back to business as usual for President Obama

Monday, 2 May 2011

Why Bin Laden's Death Matters

It is tempting to look at the death of Osama Bin Laden and, while being pleased that the terrorist can no longer harm anyone, dismiss it as a merely symbolic act that will only stoke hatred for West in the Middle East.  I believe this analysis is incorrect.

It is true that in the short term, America will receive a much needed morale boost, while the Middle East will have pockets of anger erupting.  However, I believe that when one looks at the long term picture, it is then when the significance of Bin Laden’s death can be seen.  It is first necessary to understand why Bin Laden was so important to the West.

Bin Laden’s death is important in the first place not because of what it says about Al-Qaeda necessarily, but because of what it says about the United States of America.  Shortly after 9/11 President Bush promised that America would hunt down and capture or kill those responsible for the atrocities on American soil.  President Bush understood that this was necessary in order to communicate to America’s enemies that fighting against them was only ever going to be a losing battle.  No weakness could be shown.

Bin Laden broke that narrative; his escape and avoidance of Western forces indicated to the world that it was possible to attack America and get away with it.  Bin Laden represented the decline in American superiority: despite what the American government was saying, there was indeed somewhere to hide.  From this could be drawn the conclusion that it was also possible to beat America, as Al-Qaeda had beaten the Soviet Union in the early 1980’s.  There the odds had been stacked against them, yet they pulled through and triggered the end of the USSR.  They hoped to do the same with America.

Osama Bin Laden came therefore to represent not only defiance, but possible victory.  As long as he could avoid capture, it could never be ruled out in the heads of its supporters that Al-Qaeda could destroy the USA as they had destroyed the USSR all those years ago.  Bin Laden’s death ends this myth once and for all.  It shows that whoever attacks the USA will lose.  It may takes years, but eventually they will be tracked down and captured or killed.  To fight against the USA in the modern world is to fight a losing battle.

One might think that this does not matter to Islamic extremists, who are intent on killing themselves anyway in the hope of paradise.  Those who have no fear of death will surely have no fear of losing a war either?  However, the Islamic martyrs form only a small part of a very large organisation with a very broad base of support.  The cries from the left that Al-Qaeda represents only a very tiny minority of Muslims is only partly true – they do represent a minority of Muslims, but by no means a tiny one.  Behind the nut job martyrs are millions of people who fund them, work for them, or just support them vocally.  Additionally, sympathetic rogue states will be prepared to shelter and accommodate such individuals if they see it as serving their political aims.

It is these people that Bin Laden’s death will dissuade.  Yes, his death might make those wannabe martyrs hate us even more, but the signal sent out to the millions of more “moderate” Al-Qaeda supporters is an unnerving one – “If you support these people, you will lose.”  Therefore, those who are fighting for financial or political reasons as opposed to purely theological reasons will want to pause and reflect on their support for their war against America and the West.

Al-Qaeda cannot survive on ideological purists and martyrs alone; in order to be the global organisation it once was, it requires millions of financers, politicians and run of the mill citizens to support them on their quest.  Bin Laden’s death will not only strengthen American resolve, but it will also trigger reflection amongst those who have given tacit approval to Al-Qaeda until now, and it could cause a significant wave of people to desert the once fashionable organisation.  It could be this that signals the end of Al-Qaeda as we know them, and this would truly be something to celebrate!

Saturday, 30 April 2011

How Britain Became a Haven For Islamic Extremism

Wikileaks must be running out of stuff to reveal; the latest revelation is that London is a haven for wannabe terrorists and terrorist recruitment.  They show how by the late 1990’s Finsbury Park mosque had become a haven for migrant extremists, who were then radicalised along with British born Muslims, and then shipped off to Al-Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan.  One US intelligence official describes London as a “haven for Islamic extremists from Morocco and Algeria” and “an attack planning and propaganda production base.”

To anyone living in the real world as opposed to an imaginary multiculturalist daydream, the above will not come as a surprise.  The multiculturalist ethos – which essentially meant that all cultures were to be seen as good as one another, and that integration was unnecessary – contributed to cultural ghettos filled with toxic cultures such as the extremist brands of Islam.  Throw in lax immigration and asylum policies, and an unquestioning and overly generous benefit system, and you have a pretty attractive prospect for those who want to come over and spend less time working and more time spreading hate.

This problem has been around for years, and yet since then we have been unable to fix it by the hard left telling us that mentioning or trying to deal with this problem and its causes is “Islamophobic.”  This has led to a situation whereby radical nutjobs can come across unchallenged, live off benefits, and spread hate as openly as they like in full knowledge that if anyone raises a finger against them they will have an army of armchair leftists throwing a hissy fit on their behalf about “fwee speech.”

I’d love to ask a radical Islamist what they find more amusing; the fact that we let them do all this, or the fact that we are all shocked when we discover that the perpetrator of the latest terrorist attack is British born, or has spent time in Britain.  Perhaps instead they would point me in the direction of another of the latest leaks that states that 16 Guantanamo detainees sent back to Britain – who are labelled as “high risk” and therefore likely to commit a terrorist attack – have been paid a reported £1 million in compensation.  That’s right; we are now giving money to likely terrorists.  Maybe next time we could just plant the bombs for them and save them the hassle?

The left-wing narrative that Islamic terrorism originates from countries that have been attacked by “imperialist” Western countries such as Britain and America does not even come close to being a legitimate explanation when dealing with British born Islamic lunatics.  Instead, we are brushed off with the explanation that radicalised British youth are simply “disaffected” by British society.  No more detail or explanation is given, as long as we realise that this is all our fault, and not theirs, and that more government spending in the forms of “outreach” programmes are required.

In this the left are correct – it is our fault.  It is our fault that we have a stupidly lax immigration and asylum policy.  It is our fault that we hand out benefits like sweets so that people like Abu Hamza can live a comfortable life while spouting hatred.  It is our fault that we have such a warped understanding of free speech that those calling for the death of Britons are protected, but those protesting those speeches are not.  It is our fault that we have allowed ourselves to follow a warped doctrine of multiculturalism that means that even the most vile and evil of cultures must be tolerated and “celebrated” as legitimate forms of diversity.

The revelations by Wikileaks should be yet another wake up call to the evil that we are allowing to fester and grow in our society.  Welcoming foreign people and cultures into Britain is something that has always reaped great benefits for Britain, but removing the normal checks and balances – both from the law and from societal pressure – that usually accompany the process, has allowed those who would harm Britain to benefit and to progress in their aims.