Saturday, 12 December 2009

Climate Change- The Beginning of decline and fall, and the end of the Enlightenment in British Parliamentary Politics.

Waugh’s quintessential novel depicts the down-ward spiral of the life of Mr. Pennyfeather who, having left behind common-sense at University, is marred with the frustrations of tutoring at a minor Public School. Though the novel principally flagellated and marred the minor Public School into the English psyche, its plot is a tempting metaphor for the effects of the current debates on climate change upon British politics.

Climate change is fascinating and disturbing for one clear reason: it reflects the fantastical, fanatical and dangerous truth that bottom-up politics still exists. That the media are the true purveyors of the public’s opinions and that their vintage liquor can not only immediately affect political discourse, but also vehemently soak through the agenda of policy. Take a step back from the rows over whether a particular approach or empirical outcome is veracious and deliberate over the overall methodology used to promote the debate. The first overreaching of reason is the following logic, expressed in general terms: That there does not need certain proof of a matter for it to take up Government time, and resource. Secondly, that it is now possible to contend that the greater the supposed harm of an issue, the more the requirement certainty of empirical proof can be over-reached. Taken to its logical conclusion, we enter into a new primitive approach to political agenda setting- namely that the more ‘hue and cry’ and ‘hyperventilation’ over an issue to which there is a supposed general, undefined harm, the greater the priority that issue should take. The fundamental risk this leaves us with is to undermine the very requirement of political agenda setting, and to falsely prioritise one or more issues over others, leaving important matters of Parliamentary consideration at the bottom of the heap. The Victorians tried very hard to iron this ‘shout and leap’ approach out of Parliamentary debates; though, one would concede, with mixed success. Note this following reflective passage in Anthony Trollope's 'The Prime Minister' concerning the debates regarding Irish home rule: 'Had some inscrutable decree of fate ordained and made it certain,- with a certainty not to be disturbed, that- no candidate could be returned to Parliament who would not assert the earth to be triangular, there would rise immediately a clamorous assertion of triangularity amongst political aspirants. The test would be an innocent one- candidates have swallowed and do swallow many a worse one'. A persistent Westminster problem that had to be overcome was that the more emotion an issue caused the more time it would take up in the house. This is where acute reason, one that does not seek harmony or concord on an issue to further expediency over legitimacy, is needed. I for one, (and this maybe an immense failing of mine) cannot recall a debate over legitimacy of this issue with respect to overall policy agenda. If this has occurred, then it is surprising to me that those who see questioning the validity of the issue do not raise this in counter-argument.

That man has an impact on his climate is by no means clear. Further, that man has ‘detrimental’ impact is no means clear, particularly as the word ‘detrimental’ here is primarily anthrocentric- yes life on this planet would not necessarily continue with respect to man, it not being implausible that some obscure aquatic specie might not benefit from supposed man made climatic changes. Then there are general arguments, sociological, not scientific that are ignored- society as it stands would have to change. It is not as if this would not happen anyway, but there is a strangely Delphic presumption that this would be harmful. What is and is not ‘harmful’ is not necessarily important to qualify, mere change to common behaviour and contemporaneous societal customs is enough. One could go one with the various oversimplifications and assumptions that lie in the heart of presuming the issue once the debate moves beyond science. Another key one that has been overlooked is the weakness of scientific methodology itself. That statistics fuelled scientific research is by its nature empirically questionable, that when one demonstrates a trend one has to, importantly, demonstrate the non-existence of a counter-trend. This latter issue is not placed at the heart of the debate, because it has not had to be as the agenda is set and the legitimacy of the issue is assumed. Thus the approach of presumption makes it harder, not easier, to vindicate any truth in the argument in the long-run. One obvious solution might be is to have a separate Parliamentary committee or body where the skeptics can put their own papers forward. Perhaps, only such an approach is fair and democratic.

APG Pandya
Copyright Birkenhead Society.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Revival of old Economic Theory to match these uncertain times is needed:

Labour has fluncked Britain’s economy, as much as Britain’s economy has flunked itself. The Government of course is only to blame if the huge rise in public spending, is related to the lack of credit in the markets. The link would have been clear to even the most disgruntled, asinine of economists twenty years ago: multiple raising of taxation, to slowly and surely dry the credit swamp. And credit swamp it was. When rebranded old-Labour first came into power in 1997 the economy was in a period of growth and there was a steady increase in working capital in the country to allow for a slow expansion of the market.

The problem today resulted from an acute ideological short-coming in the New Labour propoundment of the mythology of a socialist brand of commerce. In simple terms: that whilst Blair was pretending to show he loved business, his Party had never truly signed up to free-market ideology. It forgot about the premise of low taxation and more importantly that this premise should run through all areas of policy making and Government function. Au contraire, Labour’s post 1997 strategy was in tight fitting with much of its traditional socialist economic position: (i) tax and spend and (ii) oppose the free-market with increased cost associated regulation. The Tories, however, doing well in the polls are missing a trick here. Whilst current Shadow Treasury focus is to emphasise the deficit, and thus lay the ground for an agenda of cuts (which both mainstream parties have now conceded), they are not taking the opportunity to bring back free-market ideologues into the current economic discourse. It should be made clear to the City that Friedman style approaches to fiscal policy that resulted in an overall paradigm of growth in the 80s and 90s, shall once more become the mainstream- and there shall be a gradual claw-back of taxation on all fronts. Basic macro-economics will show a relationship between taxing the end of any line of consumption and the primary producer of credit: thus cutting tax on all fronts for a member of the public or corporations, will assist the lenders and the market as a whole. Excessive critiques of bankers should also be curtailed: the modern economy is credit based, and in large parts credit driven. Bankers are thus one of the cornerstone and first foundation stones of our economy. They turn its first wheel. We could do more than reflect on whether the fault lies with them or, more truly, with New Labour. As long as we have our modern economy and society, we will need them and their revival will be, in both short and medium term, the path to our economic recovery.

APG Pandya
Copyright Birkenhead Society.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Effective Border Controls Could Protect our culture:

Since Labour came into power in 1997 immigration has reached unprecedented levels, incomparable to any figure in recent centuries. The Times recently reported that Labour had deliberately told immigration officials to overlook borderline migrant cases (Minette Marrin 01/11/09). This insidious approach was also an abrogation of duty; there were several thousand unemployed in Britain that may have lost job opportunities or the resources to create businesses (such as credit). It is hardly surprising that so many of those struggling to get on the social ladder voted for the BNP in the European Elections this year.

However, Immigration Controls are not just there to prevent resources, but also to protect culture. To protect our culture rates of assimilation are relevant. The post Enlightenment rational approach to society, education and politick is not only uniquely Western, but is more uniquely British. Victorian liberal values of toleration, including not censoring speech that others might want to hear because of selfish sensitivities, took time to absorb and become main-stream social norms. The idea of free-discussion for national interest in politics that formed the key to Parliamentary democracy, was of course first developed in Britain as a result of post-reformation progress based on individual reason. British culture, which is intrinsically humanist, is not everyone’s cup of tea. It is a product of a rare formation of a myriad of factors that makes it difficult for any foreigner to digest. Few that arrive will pick up copies of Macaulay, Dryden or any abridged account of our culture. Often it is not just the comparative poor literacy amongst migrants that is the issue, but rather their cultural traditions, based often in superstition, that are incompatible with the intellectual rigor that British cultural integration requires. The indigenous common man does not have such a problem, as great British thinking is his through being filtered down socially. There is also the issue of will and motivation amongst some, though not all, newcomers. Once migrants are here, they often do not wish to jump several hundred years of history and assimilate. Thus immigration controls need to be in the hundreds, with rigorous testing designed to determine cultural assimilation, rather than the thousands or tens of thousand that politicians arbitrarily claim.

For those that are already here accepting freedom and individual responsibility in a liberal society is a tough choice, and scary. People need to come out of their foreign cultural shells and embrace British plurality. Language and lack of local knowledge are huge barriers. Assimilation can only effectively work through direct personal contact, when others have time to give to foreigners. Huge numbers of migrants will not make this possible. Huge numbers will alienate most people from indigenous folk who aware of important nuances of local history and society. Political correctness, and multi-culturalism do not help assimilation either. Developing states all aspire to market-liberalism and freedom of society, yet multi-culturalism denies all the important cultural aspects that go into allowing this, to migrants in the UK. It fetters assimilation, which has already been made so difficult by the huge swathes of foreign folk that now swamp the concrete social housing ghettoes of inner cities. Worst of all multi-culturalism was disguised as a moral approach, whereas in reality it was an abnegation of social and Governmental responsibility to assimilate migrants. When huge numbers of those with foreign culture (not race as the BNP have tried to flag the issue upon) are given votes, they can work to operate against the British cultural value of toleration. Without assimilation their primary affinity may also be with their state of provenance. This means that they may be willing to vote for measures or people who have interests other than Britain’s at heart. This may be particularly acute in the field of foreign policy as the 2005 electoral success of George Galloway showed.

Lack of willingness to compel assimilation is also a result of a maligned understanding of the global contribution of British culture. The Nehru’s and Gandhi’s of this world were created through the post-enlightenment British education method. Political activists for rights, such as Mandela, had found their values from their education in both Anglican Christianity and post-Enlightenment English Common Law. The victory over the closed autocracy of communism of the Soviets, was predominantly based on two key enlightenment philosophers: John Locke (who conceived the importance of protecting private property rights, which had a significant impact on ideologies that formed the market state) and Adam Smith (whose work placed effective resource usage into the process of Government). Many immigrants from Less Developed Countries, have little appreciation of the importance of upholding contracts and how a rule of law state operates. The difficulties of bringing the idea of individual responsibility and institutional accountability to the developing world, is something that those who work in the field of law and development are all too familiar with. All these problems are too quickly overlooked in Parliament. Time is pressing. The time is now here to put our culture back at the heart of our nation, and to ensure that immigration numbers are curbed significantly to protect it. Or else we are at risk of not losing who we are, but the essence of all we are.

APG Pandya
Copyright Birkenhead Society.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Soft-boiled Egg? Time and Cameron will prove otherwise.

It is interesting to note Charles Moore’s piece in this Saturday’s Telegraph (03/10/09) where he discusses David Cameron’s ‘pointlessness’. However much a soft-boiled egg Cameron may seem to some at the moment, there is no doubt that the fortitude of Cameron will show over the next decade. His biographers Francis Elliott and James Hanning noted a school contemporary of Cameron’s describing him ‘as the hardest of all’ in the class. This was not a reflection of outward demeanour or crass physical power, but an intimation of a rather more subtle strength. This is force of will and determination, coupled with self-belief. These are qualities so evidently lacking in our current Prime Minister, which the electorate can sense under Brown’s skin.

Whilst Brown let Blair and Mandelson trample all over him in the 1994 Labour Leadership bid, Cameron’s boldness took him to the top of his Party at the age of just 39 years. Politicians can be crudely divided into soft-boiled and hard-boiled eggs. Heath was inextricably the soft-boiled egg; self-involved, self-pitying and sybaritic. Another Conservative Politician of similar age, and perhaps greater standing, Enoch Powell was off the hard-boiled type. Powell’s resilience to Europe, brought visible the soft-egg characteristics of Heath. Whilst Powell espoused the laissez-faire economics of the future during the economic turbulence of the 1970s, Heath, for all his skills, locked himself in Downing Street drowning out the discontents with heavy chords from his piano. In the end the piano was far harder to remove from number 10, than the former Prime Minister himself.

Thatcher was different. She was a hard-boiled egg that got so hard that it turned from dairy product to product of metallurgy. She became the ultimate hard-boiled egg. She was more Churchillian than Churchill because she was less self-involved. There is no doubt that the lack of this characteristic makes one more of the hard-boiled specimen. The nature of politics dictates this. If one looks closely at Cameron and Brown, sybarticism is extra-ordinarily deficient in Cameron. In Brown it is on its face. Perhaps, this is what is giving Cameron the edge at present. Of course only time will tell what type of egg David Cameron really is, however Charles Moore is being rather quick to judge. He would not have done so with the dessert wine of Lord Pearson that he was imbuing during his discussion of ‘pointlessness’. Neither should he do so for David Cameron.

The advantages of being a so called member of the ‘political class’, as Moore puts Cameron, disproportionately outweigh the negatives. Some voters are even intuitively drawn towards political elites. It is this very gravity that some members of UKIP seek for from the election of Lord Pearson. Pearson carries weight because he is balanced and not drawn to unnecessary introspection. This much I have learnt from the short-period I have known him.

In the end ‘pointlessness’ will be seen for the incongruent adjective it is, when in front of the name of the Tory leader. This is not necessarily when the election is won, but at present when the majority of the country now seemingly are behind Cameron. Further, no politician, in a representative democracy, is truly pointless. At the very least they reflect an important choice of some voter.

Copyright APG Pandya
Copyright The Birkenhead Society

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Al Megrahi-The Fallacy of Devolution

The Prime Minister has been rightfully shot at for the farce surrounding the deportation of Al-Megrahi, but little focus has been made thus far on the systemic failure that caused it. Devolution is the key reason that a convicted terrorist is now on the loose. To devolve national security matters to a regional electoral body with limited decision-making capacity is a error waiting to turn into catastrophe. Decisions such as this do not just affect everyone in the British Isles, the nature of threat of Islamic extremism is such that they affect everyone in the civilised world. This is why they require a full debate and discussion at Westminster so that our own territorial security is preserved.

Devolution was always a bad idea, there was nothing wrong with national representation as far as consensus in political decision-making was concerned. It was brought in by wishful Labour sentiment, that wanted to see further fragmentation of the British Isles and erosion of our extra-ordinary common history since the Act of Union in 1707. It was only a matter of time before blind regionalism of the SNP was seen for the fallacy that it is, and Alex Salmond’s ridiculously flawed political judgment surfaced. Once you fragment law and policy making power, territorial integrity weakens. The formation, for example, of England from the 9th to 11th Centuries from weak fiefdoms was done on the fundamental and important premise of territorial security; I.E. to protect us from invaders.

Complete individual representation in political process is always done at a trade-off for the security of larger consensus. It is inherent in this correct approach that regional and local needs are inevitably diluted. Because security is the primary reason for the state (I wont bother citing Hobbes here), it justifies a compulsory enervation into the ideal of absolute and perfect representation. Devolution, leading to the opposite concept, is thus inherently flawed. Thus supporters of extremism are not laughing just at the weakness shown to violent intimidation of this decision has demonstrated by us, but also the weakening of our Union. Once the foundations of the latter are weakened to a sufficient degree, the terrorists have won a far greater threat than just blowing up an airline.

APG Pandya
Copyright Birkenhead Society.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Churchill -a voice from the past.

I was called in my dreams,
by a nation asleep.
Whose times had gone hard, troubled
and bad.
Whose liberties and reasons, had
been stifled by quarrel and vice,
whose lands were at risk from
the storms of the night.

In my youth my vigour,
led to courage and endeavour.
To fights unexpected, I drew my breath
both in the house and abroad,
Later my soldiers and navy were glorious and

I defeated a dictator, liberated the world,
fought for Empire and your freedom.
My passion, my fervour gave rouse,
to feelings of greatness, in a nation cast down.
I did this for freedom inherent in our way of life,
for the victory of reason
over self-interest, complacency and apathy
to fight.

Do as I do, stay awake and fight; don't stand for the erosion
of freedom; and liberty
will be yours, a treasured right.

APG Pandya Copyright 2009
The Birkenhead Society Copyright 2009
No reproduction in part or whole without permission

Monday, 6 July 2009

Is a multi-dimensional approach to knife-crime needed?

Serious benefits can be gained from a broad approach to knife-crime, that deals not only with deterring putative offenders, but also one that changes the culture of conduct amongst young-people. Knife crime is a serious issue harming a significant portion of society. Hackney in London, for example, has more than one knife crime incident per day. There is much that can be done for those who are likely to be knife-crime offenders. Many of them do not even know that it is illegal to carry a knife, hence the Government’s change of law will have limited deterrence impact in the short-term. To change this a simple remedy of out-reaching this information into schools, youth organisations, young-offenders and school absconder units with a message of illegality can go someway. The other method, through videos and small-talks, is education in these units of the harmful effects of knife-crime on families to young-people. This would, hopefully, bring about a culture change of young-people, including instances where they might ostracise others who are willing to carry knives.
One of the key reasons why young people are susceptible to carrying knives is due to fear of being bullied and intimidated. Thus removing the fear, and the bullying and aggressive behaviour towards one another is key in solving this problem. The message of harm and illegality, as described above, needs to be put in with a message that demonstrates that bullying is cowardice, and that it is only carried out by those who are fearful. This may cause some young people to ostracise bullies and minimise gang groupings that are likely to offend. Further, by reducing the fear of being picked on it will disincentivise those who feel like picking up a knife to defend themselves.

For those who are ostracised from out-reaching programmes to deal with knife crime, specialist group out-reaching may be needed. This may link into other crime prevention programmes in youth criminal justice policy. For example, New Labour t introduced the social assistance category called NEETS (Not in Education, Employment or Training). Part of the reason for doing this is to analyse in-group those that are disaffected so as to minimise long term reliance on social benefits, and to assist them in returning to the mainstream of society (See the Labour Government’s flawed 2001 White Paper on Transforming Youth Work). Identifying young people who are socially disaffected, such as some of the NEETS, is the first step in preventing them falling into the criminal justice system. By then doing the secondary analysis of factors that are likely to create NEETS categorisation, or those socially disaffected, and eliminating the causes of those NEETS and absconders who are likely to turn into offenders can be minimised. Even if this is possible, it will not enervate wholly the numbers of youth offenders, but it may however reduce numbers. Some of the factors that go into NEETS categorisation will range from the following, either cumulatively or individually. They demonstrate some of the difficult, though manageable causes of youth disaffection and offending:

(i) Single parent family background without adequate support.
(ii) Unemployment history amongst parents.
(iii) Lack of higher education amongst parent(s)
(iv) Being brought up in social housing
(v)Lack of family or schooling based awareness on the importance of education to employability
(vi) Being brought up in particular areas where opportunities are less with a lack of incentive to travel for and search for labour.
(vii) Lack of appreciation of benefits of employment to social choice and lifestyle. Several disaffected youths have never seen an employed environment or ever noted the capital benefits of labour.
(viii) School truancy.
(ix) Lack of assistance in destitute or violent homes and family background.

As a general proposition, it reduces cost to national revenue in the long-run to remove those going through the criminal justice system and place them on the labour-market. This further increases their chances of benefiting society (assuming that necessarily skills can be transferred). Thus it is worth investigating the above factors as part of a number of chronic causes of crime and treating them one by one, as far as possible. Many of the above criteria are related to two key issues: (i) understanding the benefits of socially acceptable behaviour and; (ii) understanding the benefits of education. Due to lack of external factors, such as schools and families, educating and training these ‘benefits’ to the disaffected there is little culture change in conduct or approach to life. Thus the reason not use a knife on a victim is never fully appreciated.

Copyright APG Pandya
The Birkenhead Society

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Mock the BNP? – No it’s time to really look close at the issues.

It’s a shame that Nick Griffin got pelted with eggs after his Party won two seats in the European Elections. In a civilised society even the most impalatable of subject matter needs to be discussed and reasoned out. Despite much ill-logic in Griffin’s views, what needs to be determined is why people voted for him. Are they just racist? Or is there something important in the discontent that went to his favour in the European Elections? The answer may be a hybrid of the two, but the latter can be weeded out by the main political parties, particularly by the up and coming Conservatives. The Conservatives can show, as they have done in the past, that patriotism does not have to harbour prejudice. Further that true patriotism could not involve the ostracisation of any British person, and would seek to harmonise all our differences of race or religion for the service of the national interest.

With New Labour’s drive for multi-culturalism and irreverent equating of cultures, in the last twelve years we British have lost sight of who we were. Flag waving was done by a frightened few, and to speak of the greatness of the British Empire was to revive the ghosts of an abhorrent past. Why? This was despite the fact so many races and nationalities fought for the Empire in two world wars. Coupled with Islamic extremism in the UK, and the recent corruption scandal the more visceral voter would have felt his or her anger drawing him to cross the BNP box. But all these things can be remedied by a cultural resurgence drawn on by the Conservative and Unionist Party. The Conservative Party can not only make flag-waving occur with pride, but also with an inimitable British disdain, richly deserved, that we are better than anyone else in the world. Only the briefest look at history is needed to support this.

However, this will not wholly subjugate the BNP vote. Only a formidable curtailment of immigration itself can do that. To realise the depth of this issue and concerns regarding it, and to air those impalatable views is a challenge yet to be met by any leader of a major political party. The BNP voters fears, based on cultural unedification, are also based on loss of job opportunity and weakening of social benefit and public service resources. This is because the BNP despite all its pretensions to the right, and such opportunistic portrayal by Labour politicians, is a left-wing organisation. Let me say that again: the BNP are left wing- they are socialists like the NAZIs. They believe in the abolition of the Monarchy and despite their tactical portrayal of soldiers being harassed by some moslems at home- do not believe it is appropriate for British soldiers to be in Iraq and Afghanistan. Such sentiments, in my view, betray the history of these Isles and the extraordinary ability of its armed-forces. In terms of geo-political strategy they also miss the real-politik, but the BNP does not campaign on or realise the subtleties of what an effective foreign policy involves.

But let me return to immigration. It was practice for people in this country, to come down to London and the South to work from the North. This is now affected by the extension of our borders through the EU. In London the quickest jobs now go to EU immigrants, and non-discrimination laws prevent preference for domestic workers. I for one, would advocate preference. It would bring the challenge of motivating our own people and providing them with opportunities back into the political arena, where it belongs. It would minimise foreign dependency on workers and thus give us a bargaining foreign policy advantage. It would also preserve our own culture, and the culture of the so-called British working man (the disaffected Labour voter likely to vote BNP). It would cut costs for the state by not having to institutionalise assimilation processes for mere work-force availability. It would also increase movement and capital throughout the United Kingdom, and regionalise and not centralise industry and service. All these things are linked, and the concatenations are not always appreciated by policy makers.

There is no reason for people to vote BNP on these lines, if major parties can whip up protectionist policies with respect to the labour market. Nick Griffin is forever playing the sympathy card- note what he says after the egg pelting on Parliament- ‘the police were ordered to do nothing’. It’s as if there’s a conspiracy against his party, against the putative truths that it represents. His arguments are filled with lack of logic and sentiment. When asked why his was an all white party, he simply refers to the existence of the Black Police Federation with simultaneous banning of BNP police officers. Is the existence of the two measures not somehow linked? Further his cited police scenario is one of political and not racial discrimination. However, the number of votes he gained at the European Elections should not be ignored. At the very least a brief analysis should be attempted as to why this is so.

Harsher measures should not be shied away from, therein lies the true art of statecraft. Here’s one suggestion, and the question that follows it is why is this so controversial? Should it be?: Immigration without imposition of British culture should not be allowed. Otherwise we fear losing toleration, a cornerstone of British political culture. Toleration is alien to many alien cultures and this should not be forgotten. It is incompatible, for example, with the singularity of radical Islam.

APG Pandya
Copyright Birkenhead Society.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Expenses Scandal- The Politicians merely represent a morally bankrupt society.

Don’t wholly blame the politicians for the expenses scandal. A scandal that has destroyed the legitimacy of Parliament. The scandal that has fuelled the ever-growing political apathy amongst the people. The behaviour of these MPs merely reflects a morally bankrupt society. A society, which has perverted toleration to a degree that sources of value such as church, and family have been gradually eroded to make way for libertarianism and its related character flaw, extravagance. A society that has allowed religions that value an education based on racial discrimination and the imprisonment of women to be funded by the state. A society that has no moral voice, no clear moral philosophy of what is right and wrong and hence whose politicians have no clear yardsticks for accountability.
The joys of wealth and materialism is what we are all told to aim for, and few of us, including many of the journalists putatively outraged, have the moral integrity to challenge the values of our society. Self-fulfilment at the cost of ethics is the new code of aspiration for Britain. Educational certificates from GCSE’s to Degrees are watered down to be turned into simple permits, to be obtained for the sake of gaining access to the economy rather than to serve intellectual fulfillment. Hence many young people will merely enter the world with a weakened and dubious sense of scrutiny and an enervated ability to question. Community concerns are now useful in forming pithy sayings to create image, yet we live in a world where politicians work in Westminster only miles from abhorrent teenage drunkenness in Soho. No one is willing or able to yell at these people wasting their lives on cans of larger. In today's Britain the next door neighbor is too afraid to take the parents of the misbehaving youth to account. There is too much fear of censure, or at worse legal action. In this way community responsibility for each other is eroded and carelessness about our people and country ensues. Apathy is quick to follow, first of local society, and then of the nation. Politics, too self-absorbed in contenting itself rather than realising its responsibility, allows this illness to increase weakening a once proud nation. It is that apathy that distances the electorate from those who govern, and weakens electoral accountability of Governmental action. For this, echoing the words of Cassius: 'the fault is in ourselves'. That is of the people and not of their servants in Parliament.
In an age of sound-bites, where form over substance erodes accountability in politics it is not surprising that so many MPs thought they could get away with it for so long. People at large were too apathetic, too self-contented to question those in charge, the manner in which they Governed. Foolishly, after two centuries of difficult campaigning for the voting franchise, the British electorate left Governing to the Government. The popular substance-less politics has finally had its day of judgment. Though, let us not forget they were voted for. It is the peoples role to be dynamic to provide an alternative, whether by individuals coming forward as candidates or to form new parties in the absence of alternatives. That would be a sign of a people who are aware that the true responsibility of Government lies with them. The indictment of the people is clear. The politicians in the modern age only reflect the values of those who choose them. It is hard to imagine a 19th Century moral reformer such as William Wilberforce MP having a place in the Parliament of today. Both spin and sound-bite, the hall-marks of modern politics, have no time for difficult moral argument and ethical discourse. Wilberforce would not make entertaining news coverage or assist the sale of newspapers.
The MPs reflect so many of society, and the Labour Government. The Government and so many spent beyond their means in extravagance, taking a joy-ride on the economic good-times without any regard as to importance of national responsibility and impact. It’s as if the MPs were so spoilt in their upbringing that they had never learnt to say ‘no’. We now need to turn and take a deep look at ourselves, and our Parliament, and ask ourselves what we, as people, really stand for. Therein lies the first step to any hope of accountability.

APG Pandya
Birkenhead Society.
(Copyright Birkenhead Society 2009)

Thursday, 23 April 2009

The Economy: Is New Labour now beyond redemption?

There have been some great trials in the history of mankind. Nuremberg was one, set-up to determine the guilt of various Nazis. Another has been going on for the last 12 years. This was whether the Labour Party is capable of running an economy and not destroying it. In essence, whether the Labour Party could ever credibly be a party of Government. Initially it managed to hoodwink the public, remarkably, for three successive general elections. However, as the final curtain calls, in this great trial it has inextricably failed. Miserably. It spent with no caution. Its expenditure had no control or accountability. Whilst millions were pumped into public services, there was no account of whether expenditure was used efficiently or viable over the long run. Whilst continuing to spend for public services, it lost billions of pounds to the service industry in order to forge ineffectual public-private partnerships. It pretended to have it all under control by creating fake fiscal institutions like the FSA with no teeth. It made the Bank of England independent, but did not assess its lending through the Treasury.

More shockingly, now, as the country continues to spiral into debt, its extravagant spending reaches new unlimited bounds. With an IMF bailout looming, the Labour party has a secret plan to buy votes irrespective of damage caused to the nation. Highlights include £500M set aside towards environmental policies, part of which will be used to create wind-farms. Millions of pounds will be spent on giving motorists money to buy new cars. Vat will rise, causing a fluctuating tariff that will lend towards consumer uncertainty.
Despite thousands of people losing their jobs, these are the Labour Government’s priorities. Are these the signs of Government that is not only completely incompetent, but in fact going mad? The worst part of this is the immoral introduction of a 50% tax bracket, to continuously feed the extravagance. A failing public-sector, which is relied upon by many that cannot, for whatever reason, endeavour to take self-responsibility for their own health or the schooling of their children, is to be assisted in its destruction by financial assistance. Those most needing public sector support will inevitably, due to inefficiencies encouraged by extravagant funding, get the worst services. The Labour Government has failed to realise that funding without accountability leads to waste. The public debt now is the worst in British history since the establishment of the Bank of England over three hundred years ago. The economy will take decades to repair, and a balanced budget or surplus are not unlikely to come about within the next decade. Billions spent to create and expanded public sector will go to waste as the income will no longer be present to support the projects the Government created. Like the ones at Nuremberg, the current indictment, is one that will not be forgotten. The Labour Government has proved, without doubt, that it cannot run a modern economy. It will be dangerously negligent, destructive, and doing the UK enormous disservice for anyone to vote Labour in next years General Election.

APG Pandya
Birkenhead Society

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Obama, EU, the Rift and where we stand now:

Obama’s call to Europe to send more troops to Afghanistan was ignored last week. It’s odd how the Germans and the French leaders do not seem to quite grasp, that there is a war for civilization currently being fought out in that part of the world. The Taliban, notorious for their medieval repression including throwing acid on the faces of women and burning down women’s schools, are fighting against any form of modern liberal Government. Pressure is such that the current incumbent, Hamid Karzai, is forced to follow some policies only found in the most radical Islamic doctrine in order to pacify factions in his populace. The German and French leaders don’t quite value the importance of fundamental freedoms and open Government as much as some of their populations do, and certainly not as much as the US and the UK.

There is an evident fundamental difference in approach here (as there was with the invasion in Iraq in 2003) that should demonstrate to those who fantasise about a Federal European project, with an over-arching super-national foreign policy, that this is another reason why that project is doomed. This problem of cohesion is as great as another, often raised, problem. That is the complete lack of democratic accountability for European Institutions. Lord Hoffmann recently criticised the European Court of Human Rights, for usurping powers that were never given to it. The European Court of Justice, in conjunction with the European Commission and European Council (and previous European Institutions), has been doing that since the late 1950s. It is only self-interested lawyers in the UK, in positions of influence, and of a generation that can recall the Second World War that have continued to sponsor the democratically illegitimate European Project. In their weak understanding of international relations they seem to believe that continued power to the European Union is needed in case another Hitler comes to power in Germany. This approach has reached a certain level of irony that is difficult to muster: the authoritarian law-making by the European Commission and Council is such that one might pinch one’s self to argue that the Nazi’s had a greater mandate to Govern vis-à-vis their own people. No British National has a vote on a European Regulation, nor the conception of policy by the European Commission. Even European Directives only become consented to by forgone Parliamentary Constitutional anomalies that were designed to give assent to Treaties of Peace in forgone centuries. No British National was given a vote on which states should join the continuously expanding project. Like the German people in the late 1930s who found themselves in one moment allied to the French, then to the Russians, we have no say in which peoples will have an allowance from our own taxpayers money, when the European Commission decides to give more subsidies to its newest members. This European project seems to be, a farce by our modern understanding of representative Government. Why do we suffer it?

Further, there is no financial accountability in European Institutions. An official report showed that the European Court of Auditors has not been doing its job. Nor is there any control or accountability of expenditure within European Institutions. Auditing reports demonstrate instances in Brussels were institutional expenditure was rife with corruption and excessive claims. Further to mock the intelligence of the British People a false, almost, powerless institution is created where one can vote for its members. It is mockingly called European ‘Parliament’. The role of the European Parliament is so opaque, that if one was to do a door to door canvass of streets in the UK, anyone who had heard of it would have no ideas what its role or powers are. These were problems with the European project in its very inception. The unelected technocrats, such as Schuman and Monnet, were so concerned with function and purpose of the system that they overlooked mandate. The search for a European Economy or market was so great, that the words ‘Economy’, ‘union’ and ‘market’ simply ran riot and embezzled every other right of a sovereign state to meet their ends. The citizens of nation states did not realize that every law making power that they had delegated to their Government’s could be usurped and re-defined so that it could fit with notions such as ‘market’ and ‘Union’. In this way slowly and surely the entire legislative autonomy of a nation state, and thus its people, has been slowly and continuously filtered off to Brussels.

This current foreign policy difference highlights the reality that the EU’s desire for unlimited ‘centralised’ power cannot belie the individual character of States of the European Union. Both France and Germany are states with huge social characteristics in their domestic policies. It is not all together remarkable that these Fabian instincts of pacifism and wilting to foreign bullies are embedded in their foreign policy instincts. The socialist instinct of selfishness is inherent within this; we are content and complacent in our own nest the rest of the world can go to hell. This is why neither the French nor German Empires created enduring institutions like the British. It also shows that further integration would be a nightmare for Britain. Our culture and instinct are vastly distinct to other Europeans, even those states that are supposed to be most like us. We must reverse the trend of integration, to a national conscious position in Europe where we, the people, can have a right to scrutinize the Commissions Policy Making. There should even be considered a Centre for European Policy installed in the UK with public access to policies and access to clear accounts of expenditure. Any further integration into the European project ought to be stopped, including jettisoning the Lisbon Treaty and its enervation of the nation state. I dare not imagine the day when a Sarkozy has a veto on whether we should invade the Falklands.

APG Pandya

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Weekly Public Parliamentary Expenditure Assessments Needed?

On a train back from the picturesque green fields of the Midlands, pleasantly smiling at the beauty of these Isles from the speeding window, I suddenly found myself sighing sadly. I turned and faced the newspaper and read the news on Jacqui Smith’s husband. Whether this was private impropriety is an issue that I did not want to ponder. However, when I read that tax-payer’s money had been spent for her own family’s pleasure, albeit erotica, I wondered whether there was any moral basis left in this Government. How can a senior cabinet Minister hold such a post, yet not keep control of her Parliamentary allowance? Surely, negligence in one, must relate to incompetence in the other? I forgot that the Labour Party plays on the fallibility of human-beings, in the perverse socialist world where there is a search for meaningless equality. These character traits appeal, somehow they are reflective of all of us and thus acceptable. The Prime Minister condones her conduct by not sacking her on this basis. Voters do, fortunately have a choice between the decency and integrity offered by David Cameron’s Conservatives and the continued corruption of New Labour. Such was the cocksureness of New Labour, that it is attempting to pass a motion to permit MP’s to edit their expenses prior to their release to the public. Have you every heard of such a travesty of transparency, and to the notion of 'open and accountable' Government, that is supposed to be at the heart of every democracy?

Here’s another thought that hit me on the train. One cannot ignore that there is a subtle similarity between the complacent and negligent conduct of the Home Secretary, Lord Milners and the FSA. This is a Government that appoints persons that lack that fundamental important value in a politician, the ability to be 'self-critical' in one’s acts, pertaining to the characteristic of 'self-accountability'. That prevents or reduces one’s personal flaws from entering into politics. If one is not accountable to one-self, then one is hardly going to know the margins of accountability (to the electorate) as a politician. The institution of Financial Services that the Labour Government created, mirrored its personalities. The FSA failed to act to extravagant lending, for two key factors attributable to the Government. Firstly, it had no clear powers to do so (in the same-way Brown is limiting accountability for expenditure) and it was not guided to do so by its Directors. The latter was through not enlarging upon the limited discretion given to it, characteristic of the appointing Government's wish to avoid scrutiny. The word ‘accountability’ is not in the New Labour vocabulary book. Only such a Party could revive Lord Mandelson continuously, choosing political exigency over a shameful past record. With a few months of New Labour coming into power, the door of unaccountability was left wide open and the warning signs given by the secretive and disingenuous conduct of Geoffrey Robinson. The same attitude towards ‘accountability’ is why New Labour tried to make so light of the extremely serious Cash for Peerages scandal. It is a Party machine that thinks it is above these fundamentals of democratic Government: openness and accountability. Fortunately, the British electorate knows better. It values accountability, integrity and honesty as having a place in the heart of politics. This is why next year many people will be finally be glad to be casting their vote away from the Party in red.

As far as the ‘unaccounted’ expenditure is concerned there is now a mistrust held by many members of the public towards the elected. It is now important to militate against this mistrust, by edifying the public faith in Government. What is, perhaps, needed is a short weekly, monthly or annual session in the House of Commons where a general summary, or audit, of personal expenses are read-out. This would be true transparent Government. It would also be a better solution than trying to curb expenditure, or to limit it altogether. To do so would make the life of an MP wholly impracticable.

APG Pandya
[Copyright Birkenhead Society]

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Why no one should vote Labour in the next General Election.

There are somethings so fundamental to our way of life, and the functioning of our society that without them, it will cease to function. The freedom of speech, or communication, is one of those things. If and when a state proscribes what to say and what not to say; it prescribes thought. We cannot function as a society if our thoughts, on what we feel is right and wrong, cannot be expressed in words so that they can be disagreed with or influence others. If so, we will not know what the truth is, what is useful and what is harmful to us. This is all, seemingly, self-evident. However, when Jacqui Smith, the Labour Home Secretary, prevented Geert Wilders for coming to the UK she was doing more than stopping another human-being entering a country. She was proscribing his ideas, and precluding his thought and views AND, more importantly, preventing us from thinking the same. How dare we hear and thus possibly think those things? It is strange today that politicians have usurped such power. Through fear and complacency of our electorate, us, politicians have enacted laws (whether to deal with terrorism or public order), that allow them to proscribe what is right and wrong- through precluding thought and speech. Why, so unreservedly, have we given away this important right, won historically with such difficulty, so cheaply?

This is, partly, because we don't recall or know what type of a state controls ideas. Ask anyone who lived in Stalin's Russia, Mao's China or any American, who was left-leaning (irrespective of degree) during Joseph McCarthy's witch-hunts. The autocratic government sees the controlling of ideas as the first-step in maintaining absolute power. This month a small theatre in London is showing a piece starring Corin Redgrave as Dalton Trumbo. It depicts the actions of the 1947 'HUAC' or House of Un-American Activities Committee (not to be confused with McCarthy's attempts to imprison communists). This committee sought to destroy the careers of those who were thought to be Communists. But these were not Communists who were trying to take-over the US. Frighteningly, they were writers. Those whose views were impalatable and of concern to those in power were put on a blacklist. Those in power felt that the opinions of the blacklisted were a security risk and thus had to be made unlawful. (Like the Nazis, and other autocratic regimes those that founded HUAC failed to see that there is a illogicality in this approach and something important missing. This is whether those proscribed opinions though a threat to existing power (including existing structures or institutions of a state) could still 'legitimately' change power. (It is in precluding the idea, that the nature of these measures is autocratic. As it is the autocratic Government that precludes and usurps the exercise of choice of political ideology through the exercise of its authority).

I can thing of nothing more frightening to a liberal mature democracy who values the expression and reception of ideas as one of the key ways of human evolution than 'HUAC'. 'HUAC' created a blacklist of those opinions that were considered 'dangerous'. These approaches do not have the necessary mandate, or when they do, the mandate is sought through scaremongering of the people or qualified through their fears. One doesn't need to ponder whether the current Government has a 'blacklist'. In the Anti-Crime and Terrorism Act of 2001 the Government has given itself (due to the climate of terrorism) the power to proscribe organisations due to their ideology. Note, that according to this act a nursing organisation going on strike, thereby risking the lives of their patients, can be proscribed. It is frightening to see quite how powerful a piece of legislation this is. Here the Government has given itself the power not only to create a blacklist, but also to enlarge it as it sees fit. Who knows when this Act will be repealed, if ever. The public by and large has said nothing. It seems to think that to save lives it is ok to turn 'a little autocratic', as one girl told me. 'Why then did we fight the Nazis and not just join them?' I replied. This kind of usurpation of power must need a democratic mandate. I am not sure I want to live in a state that fights for terror most effectively, when it is being autocratic. To the current Home Secretary public peace is more important than the cost of policing-riots or a public march that arises from airing a view-point. That is not democracy, but dictatorship arising out of fear of losing control. If that is the case than the Labour Government is taking us backwards in time through the development of democracy and the modern world. No one should forget that recently in the early 17th C Galileo was bullied in front of a powerful inquisition for daring to say that the Earth moved around the Sun. The US Government failed to see the glaringly obvious, that by trying to proscribe the Communists it was emulating Stalin. People say 'but people get offended by some views, so those views should not be aired'. Is it not the responsibility in a mature democracy of those whose powers of reason are above the passions of taking offence to teach the others to 'offer the other cheek'? Or should we worry as Jacqui Smith and the 17thC Papacy did about public unrest and loss of authority due to the launching of an opinion? That response is a mark of Governmental failure; where a Government has to proscribe views it has lost control. This continuous enervation of our democratic society, feasibly deserves a national no vote against Labour in the next General Election. Another irrelevant thought comes to me here. This conduct by the State fosters lack of toleration amongst our people; it tells us not to tolerate the views of others, the state may even step into defend us from being offended. So many youth violent crimes occur due to 'he/she was disrespecting me'. It is surprising from this view why the Government is giving into possible violent reaction to Wilders.

The freedom to impart and receive ideas was placed specifically in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Convention of Human Rights. This followed a harsh reflection on the dangers of book-burning and its relationship with totalitarian regimes such as that of the Nazis. Now within these sentiments is a reason why Geert Wilders maybe wrong to call for the banning of the Koran. More pressingly, however, there is a similarity, a frightening, one that is over-looked. This is between his views towards the Koran and the Home Secretary's decision to ban him. Both I submit are wholly misconceived and wrong.

APG Pandya
Copyright Birkenhead Society.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

What Wilders would have said if the dhimmi British officials had allowed him in:

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much.
Thank you for inviting me. Thank you Lord Pearson and Lady Cox for showing Fitna, and for your gracious invitation. While others look away, you, seem to understand the true tradition of your country, and a flag that still stands for freedom.
This is no ordinary place. This is not just one of England’s tourist attractions. This is a sacred place. This is the mother of all Parliaments, and I am deeply humbled to speak before you.
The Houses of Parliament is where Winston Churchill stood firm, and warned – all throughout the 1930’s – for the dangers looming. Most of the time he stood alone.
In 1982 President Reagan came to the House of Commons, where he did a speech very few people liked. Reagan called upon the West to reject communism and defend freedom. He introduced a phrase: ‘evil empire’. Reagan’s speech stands out as a clarion call to preserve our liberties. I quote: If history teaches anything, it teaches self-delusion in the face of unpleasant facts is folly.
What Reagan meant is that you cannot run away from history, you cannot escape the dangers of ideologies that are out to destroy you. Denial is no option.
Communism was indeed left on the ash heap of history, just as Reagan predicted in his speech in the House of Commons. He lived to see the Berlin Wall coming down, just as Churchill witnessed the implosion of national-socialism.
Today, I come before you to warn of another great threat. It is called Islam. It poses as a religion, but its goals are very worldly: world domination, holy war, sharia law, the end of the separation of church and state, the end of democracy. It is not a religion, it is a political ideology. It demands you respect, but has no respect for you.
There might be moderate Muslims, but there is no moderate Islam. Islam will never change, because it is build on two rocks that are forever, two fundamental beliefs that will never change, and will never go away. First, there is Quran, Allah’s personal word, uncreated, forever, with orders that need to be fulfilled regardless of place or time. And second, there is al-insal al-kamil, the perfect man, Muhammad the role model, whose deeds are to be imitated by all Muslims. And since Muhammad was a warlord and a conqueror we know what to expect.Islam means submission, so there cannot be any mistake about it’s goal. That’s a given. The question is whether the British people, with its glorious past, is longing for that submission.
We see Islam taking off in the West at an incredible speed. The United Kingdom has seen a rapid growth of the number of Muslims. Over the last ten years, the Muslim population has grown ten times as fast as the rest of society. This has put an enormous pressure on society. Thanks to British politicians who have forgotten about Winston Churchill, the English now have taken the path of least resistance. They give up. They give in.
Thank you very much for letting me into the country. I received a letter from the Secretary of State for the Home Department, kindly disinviting me. I would threaten community relations, and therefore public security in the UK, the letter stated.For a moment I feared that I would be refused entrance. But I was confident the British government would never sacrifice free speech because of fear of Islam. Britannia rules the waves, and Islam will never rule Britain, so I was confident the Border Agency would let me through. And after all, you have invited stranger creatures than me. Two years ago the House of Commons welcomed Mahmoud Suliman Ahmed Abu Rideh, linked to Al Qaeda. He was invited to Westminster by Lord Ahmed, who met him at Regent’s Park mosque three weeks before. Mr. Rideh, suspected of being a money man for terror groups, was given a SECURITY sticker for his Parliamentary visit.
Well, if you let in this man, than an elected politician from a fellow EU country surely is welcome here too. By letting me speak today you show that Mr Churchill’s spirit is still very much alive. And you prove that the European Union truly is working; the free movement of persons is still one of the pillars of the European project.
But there is still much work to be done. Britain seems to have become a country ruled by fear. A country where civil servants cancel Christmas celebrations to please Muslims. A country where Sharia Courts are part of the legal system. A country where Islamic organizations asked to stop the commemoration of the Holocaust. A country where a primary school cancels a Christmas nativity play because it interfered with an Islamic festival. A country where a school removes the words Christmas and Easter from their calendar so as not to offend Muslims. A country where a teacher punishes two students for refusing to pray to Allah as part of their religious education class. A country where elected members of a town council are told not to eat during daylight hours in town hall meetings during the Ramadan. A country that excels in its hatred of Israel, still the only democracy in the Middle-East. A country whose capitol is becoming ‘Londonistan’.
I would not qualify myself as a free man. Four and a half years ago I lost my freedom. I am under guard permanently, courtesy to those who prefer violence to debate. But for the leftist fan club of islam, that is not enough. They started a legal procedure against me. Three weeks ago the Amsterdam Court of Appeal ordered my criminal prosecution for making ‘Fitna’ and for my views on Islam. I committed what George Orwell called a ‘thought crime’.
You might have seen my name on Fitna’s credit role, but I am not really responsible for that movie. It was made for me. It was actually produced by Muslim extremists, the Quran and Islam itself. If Fitna is considered ‘hate speech’, then how would the Court qualify the Quran, with all it’s calls for violence, and hatred against women and Jews? Mr. Churchill himself compared the Quran to Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf. Well, I did exactly the same, and that is what they are prosecuting me for.
I wonder if the UK ever put Mr. Churchill on trial.
The Court’s decision and the letter I received form the Secretary of State for the Home Department are two major victories for all those who detest freedom of speech. They are doing Islam’s dirty work. Sharia by proxy. The differences between Saudi-Arabia and Jordan on one hand and Holland and Britain are blurring. Europe is now on the fast track of becoming Eurabia. That is apparently the price we have to pay for the project of mass immigration, and the multicultural project.
Ladies and gentlemen, the dearest of our many freedoms is under attack. In Europe, freedom of speech is no longer a given. What we once considered a natural component of our existence is now something we again have to fight for. That is what is at stake. Whether or not I end up in jail is not the most pressing issue. The question is: Will free speech be put behind bars?
We have to defend freedom of speech.
For the generation of my parents the word ‘London’ is synonymous with hope and freedom. When my country was occupied by the national-socialists the BBC offered a daily glimpse of hope, in the darkness of Nazi tyranny. Millions of my country men listened to it, illegally. The words ‘This Is London’ were a symbol for a better world coming soon. If only the British and Canadian and American soldiers were here.
What will be transmitted forty years from now? Will it still be ‘This Is London’? Or will it be ‘this is Londonistan’? Will it bring us hope, or will it signal the values of Mecca and Medina? Will Britain offer submission or perseverance? Freedom or slavery?
The choice is ours.
Ladies and gentlemen,
We will never apologize for being free. We will never give in. We will never surrender.
Freedom must prevail, and freedom will prevail.
Thank you very much.
Geert Wilders MPChairman, Party for Freedom (PVV)The Netherlands

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Lord Ahmed- Why Labour’s search for ‘forced’ minority representation is shown to be flawed by the peer.

This week Lord Ahmed was imprisoned for dangerous driving. Though his imprisonment may have been caused by his pushing buttons on his mobile-phone; he has in the past committed far graver offences against Parliament. Recently, he, inadvertently or not, attempted to create a possible mass public order offence, by stating that the presence of a Dutch MP would be met by something akin to muslim riots. Benjamin D’Israeli once set a bench-mark for decency in politics when he said: ‘I equally decry the appeal to the passions of the many of the prejudices of the few’. Lord Ahmed has a lot to learn on that front, for he was doing quite the opposite. Perhaps, he felt that his own position was unsafe unless he was out slaying the myriad phantoms of discontent in his head. Through his visceral and ill-reflective manner of debate, he encouraged feelings of disenchantment amongst a few of the muslim community, rather than sought to reduce their fears and search for national and community solidarity. Instead of encouraging muslim vigilance and toleration when Geert Wilders MP was invited he was far too quickly and thoughtlessly up in arms ‘crying havoc'. He thus lost an opportunity to show those of us that are non-muslims and are sceptical about peaceful co-existence with Islamic communities that they are wrong, and that their fears are unfounded. His response was thus lacking in sound judgment and deliberation, questioning as to how much the Government had pondered a possible ‘band-wagon approach’ problem on appointment. His approach was particularly questionable as he himself had allowed a book-launch by a supposed anti-semite, Israel Shamir, in the Lord’s. This picking and choosing of speakers palatability belies a want of understanding of the importance of freedom of speech and intimates an agenda. It also indicates that this is perhaps not a man necessarily to be trusted with his self-appointed representation of British muslims.

There is also a graver and more worrying political issue here. Lord Ahmed became the Lord’s first Muslim Life Peer in 1998, a part of Blair’s search for minority representation in politics. This is a product of recent postive discrimination drives in political appointments, demonstrating the flaws in this unfair approach. Unfair, as it not only pushes out other candidates on the basis of background, but also deleterious as the better candidate is often marginalised. This positive discrimination approach can thus weaken the institution of appointment, as persons are chosen on representation as opposed to calibre. This problem is acute in other areas of appointment, including employment, which suffers from the malaise of interference by so called anti-discrimination laws. It may not be as clear a problem in political appointment to the Lords, which has much more to do with the current shambolic system of appointment to the upper chamber based on party whim. Positive discrimination encourages and re-inforces differences through unfair selection (a non-muslim, non-ethnic minority is thus not picked)that different racial and religious communities need their own representative factions in politics. This undermines the spirit of a singular national identity. Thus forced categorised representation enforces an existing divide that at present feasibly separates communities. We should, of course, be endeavouring to do the opposite. Simply put a policy that seeks a fair representation of ethnic and other minorities can also be harmful to community cohesion. Further, there is at present, perhaps, too much a drive for fair representation, that may leave such appointment processes open to abuse. Not all of our politics are such that we feel only comfortable if there are those from our own superficial ethnic sub-divisions in charge. Some of us, would rather choose someone more able from another back-ground, race or gender in positions of influence if it is in the best-interests of our country. In this spirit, the better of us may even prefer to elect those whom we do not like and those that also dislike us. A similar unfairness exists in the promotion of women over men, though unlike racial, ethic or relgious promotion it does not necessarily come with the same cost of community cohesion.

APG Pandya.

(The Birkenhead Society. The Birkenhead Society does not accept legal responsibility for the factual content or accuracy of its blog or website).

Friday, 13 February 2009

'Golliwog'- All those that are offended please apologise

Over the last two weeks the story of Carol Thatcher's comment has been drizzled over the press like some overdone and excessively ascerbic vinegrette that often, inadvertently, floods one's caesar salad due to the chef's recklessness. Though foul tasting it might seem to some of us, at least to others, in taste, it may be rather quite different. The point being that offence is very much a matter of personal sensitivity and emotional sensibility, as opposed to something that one can have a fixed judgment on, say like rape. Further proscribing those that express themsleves in the way they wish to is an attack on liberty, as the freedom of choice of expression is very much a part of a human's personal autonomy, and thus dignity. To excoriate people for the intolerance of others, would create a nation in which relations between people were based on of mistrust of one another, if not fear. A nation that censures those who wish to express themsleves using a golliwog against political correctness, rather than an attack on race, is a mark of an intolerant nation.

Personally, I laughed. I told my uncle (who, like myself, has a rather dark complexion) that she was specifically referring to him. As a chair of a free-speech society my intuition was, of course, surprisingly rather different. But who would honestly not be embarresed by being offended by such a comment- it would be child like, surely? We Brits, we take it on the chin. Reading the papers day after day, I was looking for a list of apologies for those who were willing to own up to their childish reaction of 'I am offended'. But none was forthcoming.

The immaturity was put forward by those I expected. Some of the coloured lot of our society for starters (who seem to be suffering from some bout of self-induceable post-colonial race complex) and some left-leaning, quasi-liberal apologists. The rants of the former went along the following lines: That their forefathers had been slaves or governed by force or some other irrelevant and illogical gibberish, thus 'How could she?' 'Are you a slave?'I thought- then grinned, realising that, of course, another more subtle slavery was at work. This was the limit of a human mind that could only digest what it was not senstive to. What I would term 'obtuse perception'. It should become a psychiatric's diagnosis. 'I cannot accept this idea, or thought or speech as it makes me uncomfortable'- a fortiori, I am a child. Please treat me as one; censor all that affects me. And if that is the truth' well- who cares?' I'd rather not know than be offended. Of course, I am making a leap here, that between a statement or a piece of speech and an opinion. But are they so disparate? Does one not follow from the other? And if so, is to censor one not to censor the other? Since when has the nation of ideas and enlightenment become the nation of visceral censorship? We are, dangerously, heading that way. The decision of the Home Secretary to ban Geert Wilder, yesterday, is another example of this. We ban to stop people from being offended. We thus treat them like children, and the state then moves into that dangerous corridor when it can control ideas and opinion by approval or disapprobation. We need to treat both of these instances with more care and think deeply about the implications of this approach. Once we move into the realm of offence and violence, we move away from discussion and Parliamentary democracy and into the breakdown of the rule of law. In this only might is right, by virtue of offence, and those that are liberal and mature in their outlook with more reflective views get pushed on the way-side. With the loss of ideas becomes the loss of thought that can be valuable to our nation as a whole. For this reason we should preserve our hard fought freedom of speech with absolute rigidity-it is the catalyst that makes Parliamentary democracy (Government by choice and election) function. I would thus urge for those who are offended to grow up and apologise, as there is something more at stake here than their selfish, visceral sensitivities.

(Copyright Birkenhead Society).