Monday, October 29, 2012
An insubstantial screech from a politically correct Tory
He is a Warmist and an antisemite. How correct can you get? That he is associated with British Conservatism is a good commentary on the enfeebled state of British Conservatism. His argument against real conservatism below is remarkably gauzy. It seems to be no more than an assertion that the present British PM once got it right!
He headlined the article below as "Cameron should beware the Australian master strategist". If the heading is his own and not by a sub-editor, one wonders why he highlightred the nationality of the strategist. Did he intend to evoke old-fashioned contempt for "colonials"? Given his bigotry towards Israel, that thought does occur
By Peter Oborne
It has become commonplace to assert that there is a problem at the heart of the Government. Almost everybody says that it has become very hard to get a decision out of 10 Downing Street, while many ministers moan about incompetence and a lack of political direction. Even David Cameron seems to have woken up to this. Not merely that, he also appears to have alighted on the solution in the shape of Lynton Crosby, the Australian political strategist who masterminded Michael Howard’s 2005 general election campaign, and secured Boris Johnson’s election – and re-election – as London mayor.
The Conservative Party is now pleading with Crosby to come back, take control of political strategy, and fight the next election on their behalf. It is reportedly ready to offer him as much money as he wants, and even allow him to bring his own team with him. It is easy to understand this desperation. In a world largely populated by imposters and nitwits, Crosby is competent and strong. He has personal authority and vast experience. There is no doubt that he would bring a steadiness and direction that, so critics assert, has eluded the Government in recent months.
Yet I believe it would be a sad moment if Crosby became the Conservative Party’s strategist, an outcome that – if the reports are right – now looks almost inevitable. I acknowledge that the return of the Australian would certainly mean the restoration of good order at the top of the party. It might well mean a dozen or more extra Conservative seats at the next election. But it would also signal the end of everything that David Cameron has tried to stand for in his seven years as leader.
To understand the scale of this betrayal it is necessary to go back to Michael Howard’s 2005 general election campaign. Cameron started that election as Howard’s protégé, head of policy, de facto electoral strategist and chosen successor. By the end of it, he was none of those things. The reason was Lynton Crosby, and his insistence on placing crime and immigration at the heart of Howard’s campaign. The strategy was successful in the very important sense that the Conservatives gained 40 seats on a practically unchanged share of the vote, in an election that was stacked against the Conservatives. But the Crosby/Howard approach was all but disowned by David Cameron, who devoted more space to international development than immigration in his personal campaign literature in his Witney constituency.
When Cameron ran for the Tory leadership after the election, his campaign was an almost word-for-word repudiation of the 2005 election strategy. He emphasised green concerns, foreign aid, public services and the reinvention of the Conservative Party as outward-looking and generous.
By contrast, Lynton Crosby had concentrated on the visceral issues that have been proven to bring out the core Conservative vote. This is how he has always operated – and he should under no circumstances be underestimated. He is the genius behind the most successful Right-wing politician of the last quarter-century, Australia’s John Howard, who was elected four times between 1996 and 2004, and remains the second longest-serving Australian prime minister, after Sir Robert Menzies. Working for him, Crosby developed what opponents labelled “dog whistle” politics – campaigning techniques which sent out a covert message. John Howard’s enemies claimed that this was sometimes implicitly racist.
Michael Howard’s Conservative campaign of 2005 asked the question: “Are you thinking what we’re thinking?” Party literature, poster and TV campaigns contained such slogans as: “It’s not racist to impose limits on immigration”, or “How would you feel if a bloke on early release attacked your daughter?” Critics once again said that some of this was implicitly racist – a charge which Crosby would angrily deny, and which is impossible to substantiate.
It is certainly the case, however, that Crosby’s campaigns involve a set of sharply defined, Right-wing messages in which law and order and immigration tend to play a very prominent part. Boris Johnson’s recent lurch on immigration – having been very liberal about it, he suddenly highlighted it as a campaign issue during this year’s London mayoral election battle against Ken Livingstone – is a case in point. It was probably down to Crosby. With him out of the way, the Mayor has now reverted to his instinctive liberalism.
Some people admire this kind of hard-edged politics; others don’t. There are arguments either way. The point is that the David Cameron of the 2005 Tory leadership election didn’t, and nor did the David Cameron of the 2010 general election. So the Prime Minister will be making a powerful public statement if he hires Lynton Crosby. He will be making what effectively amounts to a public recantation. He would be following the path of his immediate predecessors (Howard, Duncan Smith, Hague), each of whom set out by tacking towards the centre, but ended up focusing on the core Conservative vote.
There is no question that most of the party would welcome this, and for understandable reasons. The return of Lynton Crosby would signal a new grip at the centre and – just as important – a new ideological rigidity. Ever since he became Prime Minister, David Cameron has been accused by activists and MPs of abandoning “true Tory” values and selling out to the Liberal Democrats. So the appointment of Crosby would come as an almighty reassurance to the Right-wing faction which now dominates Conservative Party discourse. But it would also mean a terrible defeat for everything that Cameron has stood for as leader.
When he emerged seven years ago, he offered the hope of a new, less rebarbative Conservative Party. This did not mean a betrayal of Tory values, as Cameron’s critics have unfairly claimed. On the contrary, the new leader was defining himself as part of a pragmatic, “one nation” philosophical tradition which stretches back through Macmillan and Baldwin to Disraeli and Burke. Cameron’s finest moments have come when he has been true to this ancient pragmatism, whether with the speech that won him the leadership at the Tory conference in 2005 or his “big, open and comprehensive” offer to Liberal Democrats immediately after the 2010 general election. He has been at his worst when he has turned his back on Conservative insights, as when he entered into his sordid little deal with News International.
Three weeks ago, at conference in Birmingham, the Prime Minister returned to the roots of “one nation” Conservatism with the finest speech of his premiership. That speech highlighted the three missions of his administration: educational excellence, welfare reform and economic stability. To restore strength and direction to his Government, he need do no more than concentrate on those three policies. There is no need to hire an Australian political strategist and lurch off to the Right. That would also not just puzzle the electorate; it would be untrue to the Prime Minister’s political vision, and deeply inauthentic.
Incest – a favoured cause of Britain's old Lefties
By Damian Thompson
My article last week about the radical Left’s defence of paedophilia in the 1970s provoked all manner of paroxysms from today’s Lefties. How dare I blacken the name of Hattie Harman by pointing out that she became legal officer for the National Council for Civil Liberties (NCCL) soon after it campaigned for a more relaxed approach to sex with children?
But I had private communications, too, from people who encountered the “libertarian” Left during those years. “In the late Sixties and early Seventies, I worked at a school operated by the Inner London Education Authority,” wrote a retired schoolteacher.
“The teachers there were almost all Marxists or, as they would have said, Maoists. They were supporting an initiative to lower or abolish the age of consent, which they said was just a way for the upper classes to keep the working classes in their place. According to them, children were sexual beings who had a right to express their sexuality. I was one of the few parents on the staff and said that this was just an excuse for dirty old men to abuse children… I was told that I was brainwashed and bourgeois.”
Another correspondent asked me to take a closer look at the NCCL Report on Sexual Offences (1976), which argued for a fundamental rethink on the subject of incest.
Yes, you read that right. Decriminalising incest was one of the pet causes of the brothers and sisters of the extreme Left represented by the NCCL. This is from its 1976 report:
“For hundreds of years the crime of incest has given rise to such intense feelings of revulsion that public discussion on the subject has often been ill-informed and irrational.” Note the distinctive finger-wagging.
“The present-day case against incest is firstly, that genetic damage may result in the offspring and secondly, that an incestuous union is disruptive of the union of the family.” Fortunately the NCCL was on hand to brush away these fusty prejudices.
“Recent studies” didn’t support the idea that incest caused genetic damage, it said, “and it is in contradiction to the practices of successful animal breeders. In any case the advent of reliable contraceptives and safer abortion weakens this argument.” So if a man had sex with his sister, he should use a condom or arrange for an abortion.
As for the effect of incest on families, “incest is not the cause but one symptom of a disrupted family… In our view, no benefit accrues to anyone by making incest a crime when committed between mutually consenting persons over the age of consent.” An age of consent which the NCCL wanted to lower to 14, incidentally, though only to placate public opinion: “It is both logical, and consistent with modern development, to suggest that the age of consent should be abolished.”
NCCL is now better known as Liberty and run by Shami Chakrabarti, Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University and secular saint of the Guardian/BBC conglomerate. I’d be interested in her take on this chapter in her organisation’s history. Has anybody thought to ask her? She likes to talk.
But what happened to the woman who was general secretary of the NCCL when these stomach-churning views were expressed? Did she retreat into the grumpy subculture of ageing Marxists?
Not quite. Like a number of Callaghan-era hard Leftists, she reinvented herself as a New Labour loyalist. Indeed, the Rt Hon Patricia Hewitt (for it was she) served as secretary of state for health from 2005 to 2007. Though, to be fair, I don’t recall her saying a single word about incest.
Royal Australian Air Force warns military personnel not to send gift-wrapped presents to Afghanistan
THE Air Force has warned staff against wrapping gifts for military personnel serving overseas in Christmas paper due to "cultural sensitivity".
A Flight Lieutenant based at RAAF Base Pearce near Perth sent an email to staff and cadets encouraging them to send Christmas care packages to Australians deployed in the Middle East Area of Operations this festive season.
After the usual warnings about not sending alcohol or pornography and some helpful gift ideas the officer offered the following packaging advice.
"Contents should be securely wrapped in stiff brown paper (no Christmas wrapping due to cultural sensitivities, please) and clearly addressed to: Australian Defence Force Member AFPO 60 Australian Defence Force NSW 2890."
Presumably he was concerned that bright paper featuring Santa Claus, a reindeer or baby Jesus might offend some Muslims.
Defence said it did not even have a policy on Christmas wrapping paper, but was aware of the "cultural sensitivity" issue. "We are aware of advice posted on a Defence web site and are taking steps to correct the information in the public domain," it said.
It is not clear if it was aware of the comments before News Limited asked several questions about the email late last week.
Opposition defence personnel spokesman and former army officer Stuart Robert said someone had lost the plot. "This is a case of political correctness gone mad. The Grinch this Christmas will be the government if it doesn't right this wrong," Mr Robert said. "On the back of 'no beer for Christmas' it's now no Christmas for Christmas."
The now infamous email told RAAF staff that the most popular gifts for troops overseas were; "Lollies, beanies, gloves, hand cream, chap sticks and lip balm, crossword puzzle books, newspapers (any date), magazines, including sports, Women's Day, home and gardening, Street Machine and similar. Packets of cappuccino sachets, Tim Tam biscuits and Christmas puddings."
Australia: Criminals reoffending while doing community service
CRIMINALS sentenced to community service are committing crimes every month while they should be cleaning up Queensland.
Shock figures show 62 per cent of offenders, or 1147 of 1840, broke the law while on the orders in the past financial year. That's almost 100 a month.
Instead of working in jobs such as sorting clothes at Lifeline, and council natural revegetation and graffiti removal projects, they've been caught committing fraud, breaking into homes, stealing cars, assaulting police and using drugs.
They originally fronted courts on assault, stealing, prostitution, vandalism, graffiti, drug and traffic-related charges but were spared jail time.
Despite committing crimes and being sent back to court, many remained on the orders.
Queensland Police Union president Ian Leavers told The Sunday Mail criminals were "making a mockery of the system" and called for harsher penalties.
Since 2008-09, 77 per cent of people on community service reoffended 6018 out of 7772.
Twenty per cent of orders were terminated in 2011-12 after people failed to meet court-imposed conditions.
The overall order completion rate was 2102 of 3499 orders or 60.1 per cent.
Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie said in a statement: "It is always concerning when offenders treat a community service order with contempt and it is something I will continue to monitor."
Queensland Corrective Services manager of operational practice Jo Dansey said the reoffending was a concern but it was a reality when there were no supervision or intensive rehabilitation programs involved.
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, 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. Email me (John Ray) here.