Monday, May 02, 2011
A joyful day... and, oh, what a rebuke to the sour-faced whiners of the British Left
For one glorious, uplifting, joyful day it was as if the everyday world had been faded out from the video screen and another picture altogether had taken its place.
Gone were the things that grind us down, terrify us, bore us rigid or turn us off altogether.
The economic crisis, war, voting reform, venal politicians and their idiotic name-calling, the endless litany of official incompetence, the vulgarity and ugliness of TV voyeurism and binge-drinking, the habitual cynicism and grey-faced indifference of the public in the face of all this: it all vanished from view.
Instead, there was quite simply an explosion of public joy at the wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton. Britain beamed, cheered, laughed, gasped, threw its collective hat into the air and choked with emotion.
And this was not merely generous-minded delight at the happiness of the new Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
It was an eruption of feeling that some would have had us believe had vanished for ever: a profound affection and support for the monarchy — and for the Britain that it embodies.
For me, as I’m sure for many others, what brought a lump to the throat was not just the poignant spectacle of Prince William, the casualty of the breakdown of his parents’ marriage, receiving his radiant bride in the very place where as a teenager he had stood by his mother’s coffin.
It was also the roar of approval that went up from the huge crowds outside Westminster Abbey when he and his bride uttered the words ‘I will’.
It was the enormous cheer for the Queen as she stepped out of her car at the Abbey door. And it was the full-throated singing of the National Anthem by the throng that stretched down the Mall.
Some would have us believe that it is all over for the monarchy. They paint it as the anachronistic, class-ridden and discredited residue of a country that must shed its history, traditions and very identity in the interests of multiculturalism, diversity and equality.
Last Friday showed up this claim for the unpleasant piece of wish-fulfilment that it is. For the reported million or so who turned out to line the streets, and the many millions more gulping with emotion over their TV screens, were not some ideological fantasy of social engineering but the real people of Britain.
And they want what the British people have always wanted: a monarchy that reflects a collective image of themselves and of their country that they can admire.
That includes characteristics they yearn for (although maybe cannot always achieve): a happy family life, stoicism in the face of adversity, courage and selflessness, duty and sobriety, and the sense of sharing in a worthy collective national project. Only the monarchy, standing as it does above and beyond politics, can sustain this benign projection of national aspiration.
Which is why, although it embodies the particular history and traditions of these islands, it gives people from diverse cultures and faiths something uniquely valuable with which they can all connect.
In a society which appears to be creating more and more that painfully divides us, the monarchy is the one institution that actually unites the nation.
And so the crowds were roaring their approval of a ceremony, a monarchy and a nation steeped in ancient tradition.
Sure, they want to see it adapt to a changing world. They want a monarchy which at one and the same time is regal and with which they can identify. And the new Princess William gave them exactly what they craved.
Her appearance was perfectly judged: that stunning dress, demure and exquisite yet at the same time grand and traditional; her poise as to the manner born and her ordinary family background and lifestyle.
What she exuded was a regal serenity; whether the result of studied artifice or natural grace, it is the quality associated with the Queen Mother and the Queen herself.
If that calm dignity continues, she will become the ‘rock’ not merely of her husband’s life but of the monarchy itself. No wonder Prince Charles reportedly said of his new daughter-in-law that the Royal Family was lucky to have her.
But it wasn’t just the bride. Everything that day was perfectly judged. In a society now mired in the mediocre and the philistine, this was a spectacle of soaring beauty and splendour to lift even unknowing hearts.
And only Britain could do this. Only Britain has the history and tradition; only Britain can stage such a pageant, to the wonderment and admiration of the rest of the world.
So it was that people suddenly experienced an almost-forgotten emotion: being proud to be British.
Not the synthetic Britishness of serial banalities which Labour politicians periodically try to create. This was the real thing, explicitly identified with Britain’s particular history, tradition and religion.
For here was one of the most striking aspects of that day. We are repeatedly told that Britain has now left religion far behind. And similarly, traditional marriage is said to be a thing of the past.
But last Friday, people in this apparently godless nation were held spellbound by a wedding ceremony which was explicitly not just religious but Christian.
What was even more notable was the special prayer composed by the happy couple themselves. For in this they prayed for help to focus on the important things in life, to serve and to help the needy — all ‘in the spirit of Jesus’.
This was in effect an explicit dedication of themselves to a life of service to the nation on behalf of the Christian institution of the monarchy.
What a massive rebuke all this was to the Left — those sour-faced whiners and whingers who have tried so hard to destroy the nation, its traditions and the faith upon which these rest.
Surely, you might think, only someone with a heart of granite could rain on this uplifting parade?
Step forward, right on cue, the Guardian’s Polly Toynbee, who is mortified that anyone might conclude from all the gaiety that Britain is not actually some benighted hell whose cowed populace is ground beneath the heels of the upper class (of which she herself happens to be such an illustrious member) and thus similarly consumed by her own hatred of the monarchy.
And so she sneers at the wedding as Britain’s ‘Marie Antoinette moment’, and complains that the picture of the nation painted by this day of celebration is merely ‘a grand illusion, the old conspiracy to misrepresent us to ourselves’.
Ah yes, the Left-wingers’ illiberal belief that no view contrary to their own can ever have any validity. At least Marie Antoinette said of the people ‘Let them eat cake’. Ms Toynbee appears to think the people are too stupid even to know what cake is.
Not for the first time, the Left has been caught flat-footed by the people whose cause it claims to represent, but whom it actually holds in such contempt.
For a day, Britain wore a huge smile on its face. Of course, this may soon fade as grinding reality resumes. But that smile has told us that the great heart of Britain — the authentic Britain, the one defined by a thousand years of history and more — still beats as strongly as ever.
Not one but two marriages were celebrated last Friday: between the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and between the monarchy and the British people. Our constitutional vandals should take note. This wedding changed something in the political ether — and for the better.
Being too PC led us to shelter terrorists, says British ex-minister
A former Labour minister admitted today that political correctness had led Britain to offer shelter to violent extremists.
Kim Howells, a former Foreign Office minister, said Tony Blair's government and other administrations had been afraid to criticise the conduct of radical preachers and others because they feared being accused of racism.
He said the policy had been pursued even though there was plenty of intelligence about the "evil" intent of such extremists and that it was only reversed after the 7/7 bombings. Mr Howells also said that he had been unable to find a single imam willing to say publicly that suicide bombers would go to hell. He further criticised a reluctance in Muslim communities to condemn the "murderous actions" of terrorists.
His comments came as a leaked diplomatic cable, published today by WikiLeaks, revealed Britain had been warned years before the London bombings to stop giving asylum to "very dangerous" terrorists.
The cable, sent by a former military attaché to the Algerian embassy in Washington on July 12 2005, told US diplomats that Britain had allowed extremists to raise money for terrorist causes.
"Did the English consider the risks of allowing Londonistan to develop?" the cable states. "The British thought that sheltering terrorists was a good solution, but they did not realise that one can never align oneself with the devil, and they did precisely that for years and years."
In a BBC interview today, Mr Howells admitted that the criticism was justified.
French football 'approved quotas on number of black players’
French football chiefs have been accused of secretly approving unofficial quotas on the number of “athletic” black and Arab players in favour of “intelligent” white players in youth academies groomed for the national squad.
Senior figures within the French Football Federation, including the national coach, Laurent Blanc, backed plans for a 30 per cent limit for the number of non-white players once they reach 13 years of age, according to Mediapart, the investigative news website.
It cites sources inside the Federation as naming François Blaquart, the newly-appointed head of the Federation’s National Technical Board (DTN), as a key proponent of the alleged plan.
In February, shortly after his appointment, Mr Blaquart spoke of the necessity to “prioritise intelligence in the game with respect to the technical and, above all, athletic aspect.” Mr Blanc is reported to have approved a selection process favouring young talent sharing “our culture, our history”.
The site’s sources added that Mr Blanc cited the current world football champions Spain, reportedly saying: “The Spanish, they say 'we don’t have a problem. We have no blacks’”.
During a DTN meeting last year, Mr Blanc is quoted as suggesting that a stereotype of player, which he reportedly described as “large, strong, powerful” needed to be changed.
He is said to have told DTN board members: “And who are the large, strong, powerful? The blacks. That’s the way it is. It is a current fact. God knows that in the training centres and football academies, there are lots.”
According to Mediapart, the idea of imposing a non-white ceiling gained ground within the DTN after France’s humiliating exit from the World Cup last summer in South Africa. France was appalled when several players mutinied, insulted the coach and refused to turn up for training.
At the time many, members of the DTN are said to have blamed black players like team captain Patrice Evra or Muslim players, including Franck Ribéry, as mainly responsible for the fiasco.
Mr Blanc yesterday denied any knowledge of the alleged plan, saying “there is no plan to introduce quotas. It’s a lie to say that the France coach was involved.”
He admitted he attended a meeting with federation officials last November but that the main item on the agenda was to “define a style of play and a training program aimed at having the best results in five years.”
“Today, small players are penalised, that’s discrimination,” he said. “What upsets me most is to add ’colour’ to this. When one accuses me of this type of discrimination, that annoys me. “Diversity exists, on the street as in football.”
Mr Blanc was a defender in France’s 1998 World Cup-winning squad, hailed for its diverse ethnic mix as the “Black, Blanc, Beur” team — a play on words with the national flag meaning black, white and of North African origin.
Mr Blanc’s supporters yesterday said Mediapart had mistaken this issue for racism.
But André Merelle, a former boss of the French National Football training centre at Clairefontaine, yesterday confirmed the DTN had tried to reduce the number of players of African descent. “It was under [current Aston Villa coach] Gerard Houllier’s helm,” he said. “There was no official quota policy at the time, but a reflection about the numbers of black and Arabs. According to them, and that includes Francois Blaquart, there were too many.”
Despite Mr Blanc’s denials, the French federation said it would hold an internal investigation into the claims. Chantal Jouanno, the sports minister, said she did “not dare to believe the claims” but that sanctions, including withdrawing public funding, would be imposed should they prove accurate.
Heretical Australian Bishop gets a well-deserved boot
The usual arrogance that goes with "liberal" opinions. The man thinks his personal opinion should override centuries-old church teachings! It sounds like the Pope has been exceptionally patient in fact. The guy will find a happy home in the Church of England, however
THE Catholic Bishop of Toowoomba, William Morris, has been effectively sacked by Pope Benedict XVI over doctrinal disobedience for his support for ordaining women priests and other liberal reform.
Bishop Morris, 67, complained in a letter to his followers, read at weekend masses, that he was leaving unwillingly and claimed he had been denied natural justice.
He said he had taken early retirement because "it has been determined by Pope Benedict that the diocese would be better served by the leadership of a new bishop", The Australian reported.
In his letter, Bishop Morris said the Vatican's decision was sparked by complaints to Rome about an Advent letter he wrote in 2006. In that letter, he argued that with an ageing clergy the church should be open to all eventualities, including ordaining women, ordaining married men, welcoming back former priests and recognising the validity of Anglican, Lutheran and Uniting Church orders.
It is believed the Vatican had also recieved complaints about the material included in sex education programs in diocesan Catholic schools.
The style of Bishop Morris's departure is unprecedented in that he has made his disagreements with the Vatican so public. In previous years, bishops who fell from favour have usually resigned on the grounds of ill health, or no reason has been given for their departure.
Priests called a meeting at St Patrick's Cathedral to consider what action can be taken, including the possibility of a mass resignation of clergy. But one senior priest who has followed the bishop's controversial career said Bishop Morris had brought about his own demise because "you can't keep telling Rome to get stuffed".
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.