Wednesday, September 11, 2013
The election of Australia's new PM Tony Abbott is clear evidence that genuine conservative policies can win elections
Melanie Phillips compares Mr Abbott to British Conservative politicians such as PM Cameron
Something truly astounding has happened. The best political candidate for a country's future has won a general election.
In fact, even more astonishing is the fact that this achievement was something David Cameron and his inner circle had given us to believe was as impossible as ... well, being reincarnated as an olive.
So what is this miracle? That a true conservative has won a general election on true conservative principles.
This has just occurred in Australia, where the leader of the Liberal (conservative) Party, Tony Abbott, has been elected Prime Minister by a landslide.
As head of the Liberal/National coalition, he unseated a Labor government which had been in power since 2007. But here's the rub: Mr Abbott stands for all the things which, in this country, the Cameroons repeatedly claimed would make the Conservative Party unelectable.
An Oxford-educated devotee of the late Lady Thatcher, Mr Abbott wants to cut taxes and is against gay marriage, thinks man-made global warming theory is bunkum, wants to reduce immigration, and intends to end increases in overseas aid.
He also displays a robust understanding of the current threats to the West, and just who are its true allies and true enemies.
His views would not only make the UK's armchair appeasement tendency choke over its rhubarb crumble but also discomfit the current would-be saviours of Syria in the White House and No 10 Downing Street.
For unlike President Obama and Mr Cameron, the new Australian PM understands that, in Syria, the alternative to the bad guys may be even worse guys.
Needless to say, on account of Mr Abbott's views, the usual suspects (yes, they have them Down Under, too) duly wrote him off as unelectable and tried to finish him politically through scorn, insults and abuse.
He was called the 'mad monk' (he once trained to become a Catholic priest), 'Putin-esque' and 'misogynist and sexist' (that particular smear fell from the lips of Australia's then Labor Prime Minister, Julia Gillard).
He is none of those things. I have met him a couple of times. He is funny, clever, thoughtful and considerate. Now, after the election, he's had the last laugh.
True, he was up against a Labor Party busily committing electoral suicide through internal divisions, broken promises and general incompetence (sound familiar?) But unlike the British Cameroons - who bizarrely decided that, faced with the similar electoral meltdown of the Labour government under Gordon Brown, they nevertheless had to adopt Left-wing policies - Mr Abbott stuck to his conservative guns.
This meant that, unlike the poor old British electorate who were faced with a choice between Left-wing, very Left-wing and off the graph altogether Left-wing (you can decide for yourselves which party fitted which description), the Australians were presented with a clear choice of government.
Moreover, people positively respect principle, which they associate with courage and straightforwardness.
These characteristics produce, in turn, a measure of trust and respect, even from political opponents. This all leads to success at the ballot box. Who can be surprised by any of this?
Only the Cameroons, paralysed as they are by the fashionable prejudices aired at metropolitan dinner tables and the terror of getting on the wrong side of the BBC sneerocracy.
Even worse than that, they appear to have been influenced by the loathing the Left displays for them. Or maybe they have absorbed the views of some of their wives, as we are told happens in the Cameron household where the progressively-minded SamCam is said regularly to bend her husband's ear.
History is littered with examples of great men who made catastrophic errors of judgment because they didn't have the cojones to stand up to a woman with a hold over them.
Whatever the reason, the Cameroons have staked out positions which make then indistinguishable from the Left.
They are then mystified that they can't seem to win elections. In desperation, they grab hold of a few Right-wing policies - and become even more mystified when the public promptly condemn them as insincere.
Yet evidence is all around them that conservative principles actually do win elections. Stephen Harper has shown that repeatedly as Canada's Prime Minister, as did Mr Abbott's Australian mentor John Howard, who won four general elections in a row.
And at home, this is precisely where Ukip's appeal also lies. Tony Abbott is a 'conviction politician', with a strong moral sense rooted in his religious faith.
Indeed, while his social conservatism has made him a boo-figure for the Left, more thoughtful observers realise that it is those very same conservative principles which provide him with the compassionate edge which the Cameroons have so desperately tried to adopt.
What they didn't realise was that striking shallow poses over such fetishes as man-made global warming, gay marriage or international aid was not compassionate at all - quite the reverse, in fact.
Adopting positions which distort scientific, social or political evidence in order to support an unchallengeable belief sets one social group against another, supports the victory of the strong over the weak and replaces truth with ideological dogma.
In other words, this pseudo-compassion (which the Left wears on its sleeves to proclaim its own virtue) is actually responsible for creating a more brutalised, selfish and irresponsible society.
By comparison, Mr Abbott's beliefs are sincere: he lives a compassionate life - for example, doing community work among Aboriginal Australians to improve their lot.
And while he opposes gay marriage, he has a lesbian sister who has campaigned for him - thus giving the lie to the calumny that anyone opposing gay marriage is a bigot who poses a threat to homosexuals.
Above all, however, he is patriotic. That does not mean he indulges in sentimentalised lists of Australian achievements (in the way Mr Cameron did last week with regard to Britain's successes after a jibe from the Russians about us being a 'small island').
It means he always puts his country's national interest first. You could never imagine Tony Abbott surrendering Australia's ability to govern itself to some supra-national entity, as did British governments with the EU.
Nor claiming he would restore that sovereignty, then backing away from that undertaking, as Mr Cameron has done. In other words, in a world made super-cynical by the supreme slipperiness of politicians, Mr Abbott is as solid as they come.
By sticking to what he believes through thick and thin, he has shown he is not motivated by the desire to win power just for power's sake - the characteristic with which David Cameron is associated and which repels so many voters.
In addition, Mr Abbott did not buckle under the volleys of insults and brickbats hurled his way. He has thus achieved something rather more remarkable than just a general election victory.
He has faced down the intellectual thuggery and demonisation by the Left, and shown that a politician who refuses to be cowed by this apparently all-encompassing intimidation can win big.
Mr Cameron has congratulated the new Australian Prime Minister-elect, saying it would be 'great to work with another Centre-Right leader'.
One does wonder whether Mr Abbott sees Mr Cameron the same way. For the British PM has done everything he can to damn the positions Mr Abbott takes as being in 'closet racist, fruitcake' territory.
Not surprisingly, however, some Tory MPs have got the point and are calling on Mr Cameron to adopt similar policies.
After all, look at what Mr Abbott promises to do. Axe the carbon tax. Reduce overseas aid. Limit immigration. Cut taxes. Invest in infrastructure.
And he is a passionate Anglophile (another difference from many British politicians!). In short, Britain has every reason to be envious of its Aussie friends. Can we clone Tony Abbott, please, and put him into Number 10 forthwith?
Some more of that delightful Muslim diversity
Two schoolgirls were raped at a house where vulnerable youngsters were taken advantage of by older men, a court heard. A 14-year-old victim was held down by Abu Sufian, 21, and Raabsan Khan, 19, while Ferdoush Hasan, 22, raped her last February, it is claimed.
Newcastle Crown Court heard the sex attack was just days after another girl, who was also 14, was raped by Hasan alone. All three men, from South Shields, deny a joint charge of rape. Hasan denies a second, solo, charge.
Prosecutor Anne Richardson told the court the attacks happened at a house where the trio, who were all students at South Tyneside College, were living.
Miss Richardson told jurors: 'The crown’s case is these defendants took advantage of young girls who were vulnerable, who were drinking alcohol and smoking although underage and who came to the defendants’ house in order to have somewhere to do both of those things.
'No doubt you will take a fairly dim view of that and wonder what on earth young girls like this are doing in a house with men older than them, who speak little English and they had no friendly relations.
'The crown’s case is precisely because these girls were vulnerable and somewhat foolish and naive, the defendants felt they could act in the way the crown alleges.
'Basically, these girls could be used for sex and either they would not say anything for fear of getting into trouble or if they did say anything, the circumstances and background and how they came to be in the house would mean nobody would believe them.'
The court heard the first attack was in early February last year when the alleged victim turned up at the house with friends after drinking a half litre of vodka.
The girl told police 'all of the males were dark skinned, just lying on the beds in that room'.
It is claimed Hasan led the girl to a room in a different part of the house from where everyone had gathered and raped her.
Miss Richardson told the court: 'She was trying to push him off to no avail as her arms were pinned down by his hands.'
The second alleged victim had also gone to the house with friends.
Miss Richardson said: 'Effectively it was just somewhere to sit when it was cold.'
It is claimed the girl, who refused the men’s offer of alcohol but was smoking cigarettes, ended up left alone with the trio during the visit.
Miss Richardson said: 'Two of them grabbed hold of her arms, one on either side, and held her down.'
British criminal who sprained his ankle clearing brambles on community service given £73,000 taxpayers' cash in compensation
A criminal who hurt his ankle while cutting back brambles for community service was paid £73,000 compensation, it emerged today.
Probation Service bosses admitted this morning that offenders who injured themselves doing unpaid work had claimed hundreds of thousands of pounds of taxpayers' cash.
One convicted criminal was given £94,666 after he broke his arm falling from a ladder while doing community service with Surrey and Sussex Probation Trust, while another got £18,600 after injuring his back using a wheelbarrow.
The offender who sprained his ankle cutting back brambles claimed £72,952, while another criminal sued for £5,741 because he said blunders by Probation Service kept him in prison too long.
The compensation claims made by both offenders and probation staff total an estimated £1.4m each year.
Norfolk and Suffolk Probation Trust, one of 35 such trusts across England and Wales responsible for overseeing prisoners released on licence and offenders given community sentences, paid £45,000 to a worker after she tripped on a building site and was hit by seven wheelbarrows, hurting her back.
Essex Probation Trust paid £9,000 to a member of staff hit by a file falling from a shelf, while one in Devon and Cornwall claimed £15,000 compensation after saying their work had psychologically damaged them.
A spokesman for the Probation Service this morning admitted that the compensation claims had been paid.
He told MailOnline: 'Probation trusts are responsible for ensuring Community Payback work is properly supervised and that offenders make reparation to the community for the crimes they have committed.
'Vexatious claims are challenged and any payments are only made following clear legal advice.'
But a spokesman for the TaxPayers' Alliance hit out at Britain's 'crazy compensation culture' and said community service should be of benefit to the taxpayer, rather than another burden.
Matthew Sinclair, the Alliance's chief executive, said: 'Prisoners and even some prison guards are exploiting Britain’s crazy compensation culture at taxpayers’ expense.
'Inmates on probation should be making amends for their past deeds, not looking for ways to con money out of the system.
'Sensible precautions should be taken to ensure community service is a benefit for taxpayers and not another burden placed on them by those on the wrong side of the law.'
In 2008 Gary Chester-Nash stabbed 59-year-old Jean Bowditch to death in Cornwall while under supervision by the Probation Service.
Mrs Bowditch's widower Mike, 71, who was paid nothing after the tragedy, told the Sun: 'The Probation Service has a warped sense of priorities when they're paying money to people like that when there are real victims of their errors who don't get anything.'
And Conservative Witham MP Priti Patel said the compensation claims were an 'insult to every law-abiding citizen'.
USAF Cracking Down on Christians
A 19-year Air Force veteran who was relieved of his duties because he disagreed with his openly gay commander over gay marriage is now facing a formal investigation after he told me his story.
Senior Master Sgt. Phillip Monk found himself at odds with his Lackland Air Force Base commander after he objected to her plans to severely punish an instructor who had expressed religious objections to homosexuality. During the conversation, his commander ordered him to share his personal views on homosexuality.
“I was relieved of my position because I don’t agree with my commander’s position on gay marriage,” he told me. “We’ve been told that if you publicly say that homosexuality is wrong, you are in violation of Air Force policy.”
In one of her first meetings with Monk, the commander expressed concern about the chaplain who would deliver the benediction at her promotion ceremony.
“She said she wanted a chaplain but objected to one particular chaplain that she called a bigot because he preached that homosexuality is a sin,” Monk said.
After he was relieved of his duties, the Liberty Institute filed a religious discrimination complaint on his behalf.
Last week, Monk was supposed to meet with an Air Force investigator tasked with gathering facts about the complaint. But when he arrived, Monk was immediately read his Miranda Rights and accused of providing false statements in a conversation Monk had with me.
“I immediately got the sense that this was retaliation against me for coming forward with my religious discrimination complaint,” he said.
The accusations against Monk are a court-martial offense in the Air Force – and it’s quite possible that the 19-year veteran with a spotless record could be booted out of the military because of his Christian beliefs.
And he’s not the only Christian at Lackland Air Force Base facing persecution for opposing gay marriage, according to Monk’s pastor.
Steve Branson is the pastor of Village Parkway Baptist Church, about five miles from the Air Force base. He tells me that as many as a half dozen of his church members are currently facing persecution on the base for their religious beliefs.
“Sgt. Monk is just the tip of the iceberg,” the pastor tells me. “Anyone who doesn’t hold to the right view on homosexuality is having a very difficult time.”
Branson said one colonel is not even allowed to voice an opinion on the matter over fears it might cost him his job. Another airman has been brought up on charges eight times.
Christians are under attack, the pastor warned – and Lackland Air Force Base seems to be ground zero.
“I’m raising the warning,” the pastor said. “It’s not a good situation out here. The military’s job is not to fight these kinds of battles. Christians are having to walk so carefully. I hear it every Sunday at church.”
Hiram Sasser, of the Liberty Institute, is representing Monk in his battle with the Air Force. He said he’s very disturbed at what’s happening at Lackland.
“Lackland has been having some extensive problems,” Sasser told me. “It tells me there must be some sort of systemic problem in the Air Force. It’s leading to Christians not feeling welcome.”
Sasser said he was repulsed by the way the military has treated Monk.
“I can’t imagine someone having their Miranda Rights read to them like they did to Sgt. Monk simply because he is complaining about being mistreated and being discriminated against,” he said. “This kind of retaliation needs to come to a stop.”
Sasser said someone with such a clean military record deserves better treatment.
“We want to make sure we right all the wrongs and keep anyone from retaliating against Sgt. Monk,” he said.
Pastor Branson told me Monk is an outstanding member of the congregation.
“One of the finest men I’ve ever met in my life,” he said. “He lost his job because of what he thought. He’s paying the price.”
Monk tells me Christians are trading places with homosexuals.
“Christians have to go into the closet,” he said. “We are being robbed of our dignity and respect. We can’t be who we are.”
I asked Sgt. Monk why he just couldn’t keep quiet knowing that the Obama Administration has staffed the Pentagon with anti-Christian civilians. Why risk getting booted out of the military?
Sgt. Monk told me he decided to take a stand for his three teenage sons.
“Every night after dinner we read the Bible together,” he said. “I tell the boys we’ve got a lot of stuff going on in this world and we need people to stand up. My boys know what I’m going through. They are looking at me – wanting to know how I’m going to handle this.”
He said the Monk family has a “family ethos.”
“The Monk family will be strong in mind, strong in soul, they will have strong character and strong work ethic,” he said. “That is the ethos of our family. That’s what I hope they see in me.”
He hopes his boys will see “a man who stands upright and stands for integrity.”
Sadly, those values are no longer seen as virtuous in a military that’s been turned into a social-engineering petri dish
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.
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