Monday, November 30, 2020

A Word on "Cultural Marxism"

Sean Gabb is right below to see that the heavily oppressive version of political correctness that has emerged in recent years is not well described as "Cultural Marxism". It has in fact very little to do with Marxism, except insofar as both bodies of thought are heavily oppressive.

The fact that Marxist regimes do have oppressive speech codes is a link between the two but exactly what speech is forbidden today has only a passing kinship with what Marxist regimes forbad. In fact it was criticism of the existing order that Marxist regimes most heavily forbad whereas the current movement is heavily in favour of criticizing the existing order.

The practitioners of the current obsession usually describe themselves as "woke" and the term "woke movement" seems an adequate descriptor to me. As far as I can tell, the term "woke" first arose among South African blacks who saw even black rule as oppressive towards blacks -- which it undoubtedly is. So it was simply another critique of the exiting order. It mainly manifested itself in a desire to tear down colonial-era statues, for whatever good that was supposed to do.

The term was however gladly adopted by enemies of historic statuary in Britain and the USA. It was hard to see what good the iconoclasm did but it became the vanguard of a movement that aimed to tear down conventional vocabulary. As such it mainly has nuisance value only. By adopting new words for old one can usually escape its attacks and all sorts of people are doing just that. As long as we can get on with whatever we normally do, let the vocabulary critics expend their energies on trivia.

It seems that Conservative politicians are now forbidden to use the term Cultural Marxism. The alleged reason is that it describes a Jewish conspiracy theory. The Cultural Marxist hypothesis traces the rise of political correctness and the growing use, both formal and informal, of political censorship to a group of neo-Marxists collectively known as the Frankfurt School. Since these neo-Marxists were mainly Jewish, the claim is that anyone using the term has to be anti-semitic. I accept that some who use the term have ethnic origins uppermost in their minds. Most, however, do not, but are trying to understand the connection between ideas and political action. Melanie Phillips, indeed, one of the most liberal users of the term, is herself Jewish. Whether she must now be defined as an anti-semite I leave to others. What cannot be doubted is that, wherever it started, there is an increasing censorship of political opinion, and that both Britain and America are sliding into a strange sort of outsourced totalitarianism – a totalitarianism that has no basis in written law, but proceeds by way of omnipresent propaganda and the sacking of anyone who refuses to agree with what the propaganda claims.

This being so, I am disturbed that any term of analysis for what is happening has itself become a victim of informal censorship. I am equally disturbed, though hardly surprised, that the Conservatives have so little interest in winning a battle of ideas that they are willing to let their opponents set the terms of debate. On the other hand, I do not think that Cultural Marxism is the right term of analysis. Though I have used it myself, and may even have helped introduce it into this country, I have long since come to what I think a more accurate analysis. I do not now use the term Cultural Marxism, and I do not recommend its use, because I do not believe that the present attack on liberal civilisation is in any meaningful sense Marxist.

So far as I understand him – and I write as an outsider to any school of Marxist ideology – Marx made five essential points. First, there have been, since the French Revolution, two classes – the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. Second, the bourgeoisie owns the means of production and exploits the proletariat through the extraction of surplus value. Third, this is an unstable parasitism, as the reinvestment of surplus value leads to periodic crises of over-production. Fourth, these crises concentrate wealth in fewer hands and expand and immiserise the proletariat. Fifth, there will be an inevitable revolution, in which the expropriators will be expropriated and a communist society will emerge. A further and perhaps optional sixth point is that the inevitable revolution can be hurried by the defection of informed bourgeois intellectuals to radicalise and form a vanguard for the proletariat.

Now, where is any of this in the present mix of climate alarmism and obsession with the alleged oppression of racial and sexual minorities? How is capitalism supposed to be overthrown by getting Sainsbury to fill its advertisements with pictures of black people eating Christmas dinner? Ditto boycotts of Israeli pharmaceuticals? Ditto arguing with or against radical feminists over the exact status of men who change sex?

The answer, of course, is the Cultural Marxist hypothesis – that the present culture wars are a product of the writings of Antonio Gramsci and the Frankfurt School. These men took the Marxian concept of “false consciousness” – that the bourgeoisie keeps the workers quiet by making them believe that all is for the best – and enlarged it into a project for achieving a counter-hegemony by taking over the means of cultural reproduction.

There is some truth in this answer, so far as these writings are prescribed in most university humanities departments, and many advocates of the new totalitarianism have at some time called themselves Marxists. It is, even, so a weak answer. Before about 60 AD, most Christians were Jews, and Christianity ever since has retained some Jewish religious writings among its core texts. But nothing is achieved by describing Christianity as “Gentile Judaism.” The differences between the two faiths are too essential to define either by reference to the other. In the same way, the present totalitarianism has nothing to do with the essential claims of Marxism. It lacks any interest in the analysis of surplus value, and its belief in the instability of unregulated markets derives mainly from a reading of Keynes and the welfare economists of the Cambridge School.

I prefer the term “cultural leftism.” I prefer this because the present totalitarianism is based on belief in an appearance of equality mediated by the State. It therefore has elements of socialism as reasonably defined. But it is in no sense Marxist. Its revealed preference is for a ruling class that is a coalition of politicians, administrators, policemen, lawyers, educators, plus media and business interests. So far as individuals move freely between them, these groups are mutually permeable. If they disagree over incidentals, they preside collectively over a mass of the ruled who are mostly well-nourished, but who are too atomised and intimidated by often meaningless words to combine in opposition.

Indeed, if I prefer my chosen term, I see little point in arguing against what it describes. Undoubtedly, this must be explained and opposed. But too much analysis of particulars can risk an overlooking of the much more important generality. This is that, in every time and place, there have been those who want to get on with their lives and those who want to control others. These latter will take up whatever body of ideas is most likely within the prevailing assumptions of their age to legitimise their urges.

I have written about this already – here and here. I will therefore only summarise my opinion. This is that, during the religious controversies of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the will to power was dressed in the clothing of radical Protestantism. My own reading of The New Testament shows no condemnation of any rational enjoyment, and certainly no call for censorship or the regulation of lifestyle. As refashioned by those who took it up, radical Protestantism became a doctrine of guilt and gloomy thoughts, and an excuse for controlling others. Though often shown to be ill-made, this particular clothing was only abandoned once it had become threadbare with the passing of time and the rise of new concerns. In the early twentieth century, Marxism was the main preferred legitimising ideology. It was to little effect that the predictions of monopoly and immiserisation were falsified, and to none that the Austrian School showed how the analysis of surplus value was based on a misunderstanding of price formation, and how economic activity could not be coordinated without market prices. Orthodox Marxism was progressively abandoned in the West after about 1950 by everyone who mattered, only because the mass-murders had given it too bad a name, and because the workers plainly wanted more and nicer consumer goods than a planned economy could deliver.

The significance of the neo-Marxists is that they were at first the intellectual equivalent of Pethidine for the more effective advocates of total control. They were an exit from the apparent dead end of Marxism. They were then incorporated into a new legitimising ideology that, with its fanaticism and guilt-laden puritanism, might not have been recognised by Gramci and Adorno and Marcuse. This movement was driven by a need to explain why predictions of working class impoverishment had been falsified, and why the workers were happy after the Great War to support non-leftist authoritarian governments. It was a thing of its own age. It is not substantially to blame for my present fear that I shall be sacked for thinking it a good idea to leave the European Union without a deal, or my scepticism about the existence of a Great Plastic Patch – or for believing in freedom of speech and association.

On this analysis, the new totalitarians are only contingently cultural leftists – just as their predecessors were only contingently Marxists or eugenicists or Calvinists. Given a change in prevailing assumptions, their successors might easily be Moslems or white supremacists. Ideas come and go. The will to power is always there.

The problem, therefore, is not to be solved by proving that men like Adorno were wrong, or perhaps saying that they were Jewish. The problem is the existence of a State that is able to enforce the whims of people inherently inclined to totalitarian control and who are permanently in search of the most appropriate ideology to legitimise their inclinations. Now that I am growing old enough to be wise, and now it is plain there can be no conservative reaction, I see more clearly than ever that there is only one permanent solution to these waves of fanaticism that were destroying lives long before Marx was born. This is to withdraw sanction from the powers that be and to work for the destruction of the State and its replacement by a mass of autonomous communities too small and too easily escaped to oppress those living in them. This is not to be achieved by political activism, but by a process of individual defection.

I return to the term Cultural Marxism. It emerged for historical reasons. Libertarians and conservatives spent much of the twentieth century arguing against Marxism. It was comforting after about 1990 to see the new threat to freedom as a variant of something they could believe they had already defeated. But, if it really worries Jews – and many libertarians are Jewish – let it go. If using it can get you sacked from your job, let it go. It is, after all, a bad term of analysis. And whatever other terms may or may not be allowed, the facts analysed remain facts. We face a ruling class that is more than usually trying to get its way by censorship and intimidation and the ruining of careers. Make it law that we must call these people “devoted friends of humanity” – they would still be the sworn and obvious enemies of the liberal civilisation that emerged in the Enlightenment.

Potential Biden Appointee Shuts Down Hobby Lobby

A week before Thanksgiving, shoppers in Albuquerque, New Mexico strolled the aisles of Hobby Lobby, some perhaps shopping for glue guns and glitter to help with holiday decorating. Their shopping ended abruptly after an alarming announcement came over the store’s intercom.

“Attention shoppers. Attention shoppers. We regret to inform you that the sheriff’s department has decided to close us down. We need to close down immediately.”

According to local news reports, shoppers were escorted out of the store by sheriff’s deputies who were called to the store to enforce Governor Michelle Lujan-Grisham’s new Covid lockdowns. Lujan-Grisham is one of several Democrat governors who in recent weeks has reimposed heavy-handed Covid lockdowns on her state.

It is unclear if shoppers were able to make their purchases, or if that posed too great a risk for Covid spread.

Albuquerque shopper Leslie Butikofer is a frequent shopper at that Hobby Lobby. She was outraged when she heard of the governor’s draconian edict.

“It’s out of control!” she said. “If Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes, Costco, and Sam’s can stay open, what difference does it make if Hobby Lobby is open?”

Butikofer said she had planned to buy red holiday bows to decorate her home for Christmas, but says it was easier to just order them online from Amazon than to try and do a curbside pickup from Hobby Lobby.

“Money is still being spent,” she said. “People are still shopping, but just not at the local stores. Everyone is shopping online.”

Butikofer said the governor’s lockdown is an attempt to slow the spread of Covid, as cases spike in the state. “New Mexico is a Covid hot spot right now, but so is the rest of the country.”

According to Politico, Lujan-Grisham is under consideration in a potential Biden administration for the position of Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Politico reports, “The next secretary will play a key role in managing the Covid-19 response and convincing a fatigued and distrustful public to buy into the tough public health measures needed to suppress the virus.”

Don Berwick, a former Obama administration Medicare and Medicaid Chief told Politico, “It’s Covid 24/7 now. It’s got to be dealt with.”

Presumably, someone in the Biden camp thinks Lujan-Grisham’s handling of Covid in her state has been a model for the rest of the country.

Butikofer said she’s watched the governor’s weekly Covid news briefings and has seen nothing that instills any confidence in her ability to handle the pandemic at a national level.

“We have been under some of the tightest restrictions in the country since spring and it hasn’t made a difference,” she said. “Closing schools, wearing masks, closing gyms, nail salons and everything else hasn’t made a difference.”

Which makes one wonder if Gov. Lujan-Grisham’s headline-grabbing lockdowns are part of a PR campaign to gain the national spotlight to extend her career once she’s out of office. She’s been a disaster for her state and it’s hard to imagine New Mexico voters electing her to a second term.

The statewide unemployment rate was 8.1% in October, well above the 6.9% national rate. New Mexico depleted its unemployment insurance fund in September and has begun borrowing money from the federal government to fulfill claims to residents who have lost their jobs.

If that is the kind of leadership we’ll get from a Biden administration, our economy will flatline by spring. We’ll be hearing from the White House, “Attention shoppers. Attention shoppers. We regret to inform you that our country is closing down.” RIP America.

A Major Legal Victory Against LGBTQ Tyranny

With all the focus on the aftermath of the presidential elections, you might have missed an important victory in the courts last week. As reported November 20 by Liberty Counsel, which litigated the case successfully, “A three-judge panel of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals struck down laws that ban counselors from providing minor clients with help to reduce or eliminate unwanted same-sex attractions, behaviors, or gender confusion.”

This was a victory for freedom, for tolerance, for individual rights, and for therapist-client privilege. Above all, it was a victory for minors.

Liberty Counsel, led by Mat Staver, represented “Dr. Robert Otto, LMFT and Dr. Julie Hamilton, LMFT and their minor clients who challenged the constitutionality of ordinances enacted by the City of Boca Raton and Palm Beach County which prohibit minors from voluntary counseling from licensed professionals.”

These local, Florida ordinances were part of a disturbing national trend that prohibits minors with unwanted same-sex attraction or gender confusion from seeking professional help.

Of course, under these same ordinances, had these minors wanted help to reinforce their same-sex attraction or gender confusion, that would have been allowed. By all means, let professionals help minors embrace their homosexual desires or their transgender identity.

But God forbid that a 15-year-old male should not want to be attracted to another male. Or an 8-year-old should not want to feel like a boy trapped in the wrong body. No professional help could be offered to them. This is how LGBTQ activists have turned our society upside down.

Let’s say, then, that this 15-year-old male had been raped repeatedly by an older, male neighbor from the ages of 7 to 9, unbeknownst to his parents. As he came into puberty, he felt confused about his sexuality, ultimately realizing he was attracted to males, not females.

He had always dreamed about getting married (meaning, to a woman!) and having children, and he was repulsed by his same-sex attraction, now sharing everything with his parents.

They say to him, “We will get you all the help you need,” and they find a highly-recommended family therapist. But when they share their situation with the therapist, the therapist replies, “Oh, I would love to help you, but it’s against the law. However, I’d be glad to help your son embrace his same-sex attractions. That is perfectly legal.”

What a perversion of fairness, of freedom, and of personal dignity. What an unrighteous and oppressive imposition of the state. Really now, what on earth gives them the right to make rulings like this?

Or consider the case of the 8-year-old girl who is troubled by feelings that she’s actually a boy in a girl’s body. This makes her very uncomfortable, causing confusion for her and her siblings. So her parents reach out to a well-trained professional, feeling they are at their wits end and unable to provide adequate help.

But when they sit down with the family counselor, the counselor says to them, “I would love to help your daughter embrace her girlhood, but I’m strictly prohibited by the law. However, here’s how I can help.

“We’ll work with your daughter to embrace the fact that she’s really a boy, sending her back to school with a new name and dressed like a boy. The school will allow her – actually him – to use the boy’s bathroom. Then, in two years, we’ll start him on hormone blockers to stop the onset of puberty, then have his breasts removed when he’s 18, then schedule him for full-scale gender confirmation surgery at 20, supplemented by male hormones for life. Isn’t that a wonderful option?”

And remember: under these oppressive ordinances, to sit and talk with the child was forbidden by law if that child wanted to feel at home in her own body. But to put her on puberty-blocking hormones as a child, then remove total healthy parts of her body, then put her on hormones for life, was allowed by the law.

To call this perverse is an understatement. Child abuse would be more accurate.

Outrageously, 20 states now ban such counseling, which they label “conversion therapy,” alleging that such therapy is harmful to minors. And last year, California almost passed a ban on such counseling for people of all ages. It would have even prohibited religious leaders from offering such counseling.

Yet this is where things are going unless believers, in particular, joined by all freedom-loving people, push back.

The LGBTQ tyranny must be challenged. The assault on individual rights must be resisted.

No one has the right to tell a young person (or any person), “You must be gay” or “You must be trans.”

Absolutely, categorically not. And that’s why this Florida victory is so important.

As to the notion that sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE) are harmful, Peter Sprigg and the FRC just released a 37-page report titled, “No Proof of Harm. 79 Key Studies Provide No Scientific Proof That Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (SOCE) Are Usually Harmful.”

In short, “While these 79 studies do provide anecdotal evidence that some SOCE clients report the experience was harmful, they do not provide scientific proof that SOCE is more harmful than other forms of therapy, more harmful than other courses of action for those with SSA, or more likely to be harmful than helpful for the average client. If alleged ‘critical health risks’ of SOCE cannot be found in these 79 studies, then it is safe to conclude that they cannot be found anywhere.”

Old lies die hard, but for those seeking the truth, the data is undeniable.

Last year, in New York City, an Orthodox Jewish therapist challenged the city’s prohibition of SOCE counseling for people of any age “for violating his freedom of speech and infringing on his religious faith and that of his patients.”

With the help of the Alliance Defending Freedom, the city quickly reversed course, leading to this exuberant announcement from Tony Perkins and the FRC in September, 2019: “The last place anyone would expect liberals to rethink their extremism is New York City. But, thanks to a new lawsuit, even the Big Apple seems to understand when it's vulnerable. ‘Pinch yourself,’ FRC's Cathy Ruse says. One of the most radical cities on earth is about to walk back its LGBT counseling ban. All because one courageous psychotherapist fought back.”

In Florida, in the 2-1 opinion, Judge Britt C. Grant wrote that, “We hold that the challenged ordinances violate the First Amendment because they are content-based regulations of speech that cannot survive strict scrutiny.”

Precisely. These ordinances represent a fundamental assault on freedom of speech, among other things. May this be the beginning of a national trend.

In fact, as Liberty Counsel noted, “The 11th Circuit decision was foreshadowed by comments in a 2018 U.S. Supreme Court decision, NIFLA v. Becerra, dealing with California's efforts to regulate speech by pro-life pregnancy centers. In the course of rejecting the argument that governments can regulate ‘professional speech’ without offending the First Amendment, the Supreme Court directly criticized earlier appeals court decisions that had made the same argument in upholding state therapy bans. Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that ‘this Court has not recognized “professional speech” as a separate category of speech. Speech is not unprotected merely because it is uttered by “professionals.”’”

There is reason for real hope. May the righteous pushback continue unless freedom of self-determination is restored for minors across America.

Trump ‘truth tellers’ need a refresher course in history

The ABC chairwoman [Ita Buttrose] said some leaders did not need much encouragement to oppress the media. She added: “Outgoing US President Donald Trump declared journalists to be the enemy of the people. Dare I say, Mr Trump — that’s fake news. Journalists are truth tellers.”

It so happened that Buttrose’s declaration that journalists are truth tellers coincided with the apology issued by CNN chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour for comparing Trump’s term in office with Nazi Germany.

On November 12, Amanpour said on CNN: “This week, 82 years ago, Kristallnacht happened. It was the Nazis’ warning shot across the bow of our human civilisation that led to genocide against a whole identity and, in that tower of burning books, it led to an attack on fact, knowledge, history and proof. After four years of a modern-day assault on those same values by Donald Trump, the Biden-Harris team pledges a return to normal.”

Amanpour is an intelligent, well-informed and much travelled journalist. So how did she go as a truth teller? Not well at all. For starters, Kristallnacht had nothing to do with a “tower of burning books”. It would seem the CNN correspondent confused Kristallnacht on November 9-10, 1938, with the massive book burnings undertaken by Nazis on May 10, 1933 — not long after Adolf Hitler’s regime came to power.

Certainly the works of Jewish writers went up in flames in German cities and towns in May 1933. But so did books written by liberal, social democrat and left-wing authors who were not Jewish.

On Kristallnacht, however, Nazis attacked hundreds of synagogues and Jewish homes and businesses. Around 100 German Jews were murdered. This was an attack on Jews and was the forerunner to Hitler’s genocide directed at European Jewry.

Amanpour’s comments on Kristallnacht itself were well meaning. But they were not accurate. In any event, there was a bigger truth that she missed; namely that this was an attack on Jews, not books. That’s why her attempt to link the Trump administration with the Nazi regime was misleading, and dangerously so. Which is why she felt the need to apologise.

At the end of CNN’s Amanpour on November 16, the presenter said: “I observed the 82nd anniversary of Kristallnacht, as I often do — it is the event that began the horrors of the Holocaust. I also noted President Trump’s attacks on history, facts, knowledge, and truth. I should not have juxtaposed the two thoughts.” Even Amanpour’s apology is hopelessly inadequate. The problem was not merely that Amanpour juxtaposed the events in Germany in 1938 and those in the US between January 2017 (when Trump came to office) and November this year. Rather, the error was that Amanpour believes that Trump and his supporters share the “same values” as Hitler and his supporters.

This is not a truthful statement. As writer Richard J. Evans has documented in his books The Coming of the Third Reich and The Third Reich in Power, Hitler came to power following widescale violence and intimidation. And he remained in power by establishing a ruthless totalitarian dictatorship — until defeated on the battlefields of eastern and western Europe.

Trump, on the other hand, won a democratic election in November 2016 and his administration has governed in accordance with the requirements of the US Constitution.

Amanpour apologised to Jews — but not to Trump. She could have gone further.

It does a grave disservice to history to compare like with unlike. However emotional the citizenry of social democratic or conservative run countries may feel, their circumstances cannot be compared with those who suffered and died at the hands of fascist, Nazi or communist dictatorships.

It is simply ahistorical for someone living in the US or Canada to compare their plight with those who lived in Hitler’s Germany or Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Union. With respect to the latter, anyone who has read the disgraceful work of Pulitzer prize-winning New York Times journalist Walter Duranty would know he was not a truth teller, just a pro-communist liar. The likes of Buttrose would be well advised to read SJ Taylor’s Stalin’s Apologist, if they have not already done so.

The historical hyperbole of an Amanpour encourages the likes of other Trump haters such as actor Alec Baldwin. On November 16 he tweeted: “Bury Trump in a Nazi graveyard and put a swastika on his grave. The majority of Americans made the right choice. Trump is a maniac.” The evidence suggests that Baldwin is into projection — in that it is the actor, not the President, who is manic.

Look at it this way. No US president has made himself as available to the media as Trump. And no US president has experienced such a hostile media as Trump. During the Trump administration, more journalists than usual became activists in the political contest — overwhelmingly on the anti-Trump side, led by CNN with a little help from MSNBC.

If Trump shared the same values as Hitler, he would have closed down CNN and Amanpour would have been incarcerated and possibly murdered. Baldwin would have suffered a similar fate. Hollywood would have been shut and its actors, directors and producers purged. Or else the film industry would have been compelled to make Leni Riefenstahl-style propaganda documentaries in support of the Trump regime.

Sure, Trump at times engaged in fake news. But not as much as Amanpour, whose critique of the US President involved a complete misreading of the history of the 20th century.




Sunday, November 29, 2020

Jordan Peterson inflames the Assemblies of Wokeness

Leftists can be reduced to tears by a book they have not read! How come? Because they are complete authoritarians. They slavishly accept what Leftist authorities say. Rather than think for themselves they have a few themes handed down to them that govern all their responses. Their opinion leaders in the media and elsewhere declare somebody or something to be bad and the Leftist followers acccept that as a simple all or nothing rule. If their leaders declare someone to be a racist they fully accept that regardless of what the evidence indicates. They are essentially robots.

So their tears make sense if you allow for their crippled minds. Peterson has been declared to be a "racist" (etc.) by Leftist information sources so they completely accept that as truth. And being disturbed that your employer is supporting racism is reasonable enough by itself. It is the deficient information source about racism that is the problem. Slavish acceptance of what Leftist information sources say is the problem. It is essentially a problem of empty heads

If you don’t have any matches handy, let alone a book to burn because it is not yet published, then maybe crying in anticipation of publication makes sense.

Scrap that. Little of what happened at Penguin this week makes good sense. This single small episode shows that little cliques from the Assemblies of Wokeness have big aims to kill off a vibrant, free and intellectually diverse culture. The timing was perfect too. Just as Donald Trump (almost) conceded his defeat, it has become clear why Trumpism is here to stay.

On Wednesday VICE World News reported that emotion boiled over at a staff meeting when employees of publishing firm Penguin confronted managers about its decision to publish Jordan Peterson’s latest book, Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life.

Some Penguin employees spoke to VICE about their reasons. One mentioned a co-worker who thinks Peterson “radicalised” their mother and ­father. Another mentioned how publication will “affect their non-binary friend”.

Another staff member described the heightened emotion: “People were crying in the meeting about how Jordan Peterson has affected their lives.”

Penguin employees followed a well-worn path: to prove that diversity in the 21st century cannot make room for the likes of Peterson, Penguin staff accused him of being transphobic, an icon of hate speech and white supremacy.

It is true that Peterson once stood next to a fan who wore a T-shirt that said: “I’m a Proud Islamaphobe.” And that is evidence of precisely nothing.

Another employee criticised Penguin for not acknowledging that it wants to make money from Peterson’s book. Ye Gods, a company wants to make profits from goods it sells in the open and free market.

Then Twitter exploded. More woke warriors tried to tear down Peterson and his upcoming ­sequel to Twelves Rule for Life: An Antidote to Chaos. Peterson was accused of being an anti-communist. And the problem with that is … what exactly? The author was also accused of being anti-Semitic. Again, no evidence is mentioned.

Peterson in an interview in June posted on his YouTube channel.
Since news of the brouhaha at Penguin broke on Wednesday, many have suggested that the emotional staff members objecting to the publication of Peterson’s book should find a job outside publishing, or at least read his first book before wanting to ban his new one.

That overlooks the fact that the woke are, if nothing else, strategic. Reading the book would strip them of blissful ignorance. And there is a reason they choose to work in schools, at universities, in bureaucracies, at public broadcasters and in the arts, too. There is no creative space for pursuing a woke agenda if you’re a welder, a plumber or running a pizza shop.

As one literary agent told The Times last month, the tension arises “from an industry in which staff are left-wing but the structures are entirely capitalist and market-driven”.

“The main way for the young to express their idealism is through protest,” said the agent, adding that this tension created headaches for publishing bosses.

Not to mention the bigger headache for a functioning democracy. Wokeness has moved beyond the university campus. For many fully fledged adults, it is their secular religion, call it the Assemblies of Wokeness. The movement is tribal, increasingly well organised and, importantly, premised on a new morality. Not all woke pursuits are bad. But those parts that undermine basic values in a democracy are rotten. For example, when followers of the Assemblies of Wokeness dismiss dis­senters as immoral apostates who must be silenced. Unlike many other religions, wokeness often struggles to offer redemption to sinners.

The staff uprising at Penguin is part of a much deeper and broader battle over diversity waged inside a growing number of industries and institutions. Most people are understandably attracted to nice ideas such as ­diversity and tolerance. These people often fall prey to more canny members of the woke movement, whose dual aims, like most religious leaders, are power and control. They colonise different spheres of public and private life, from corporations to the kitchen table, if Gillian Triggs had her way. And taken to its logical conclusion, they will usher in a stifling, intolerant puritanism that will beat historical antecedents hands down.

In a modern-day parody of Orwell’s 1984, they use phrases such as “diversity” and “inclusion” to cleanse ideas from dissenters so that their utopian vision is not threatened. For them, a Peterson book cannot be ignored, it must be pulped.

These visionaries employ “sensitivity readers” to ensure new books won’t “upset” people by presenting different views. They shame authors such as ­Lionel Shriver for cultural appropriation because, as a middle-aged white woman she dares to write fiction that deviates from her own life experience. Shakes­peare would not survive woke culture. And JK Rowling is their numero uno nemesis for pointing out that some trans rights impinge on the rights of others.

On the other side of this raging battle are people who understand that genuine progress is messy, exhilarating, nonlinear and beyond the wit of authoritarian social engineers: that progress relies on a robust marketplace of ideas where even a weird chap who consumes only meat, salt and water can write freely about his 12 rules for a good life.

Slowly, more people are coming to realise that a great deal rides on maintaining such a healthy marketplace of ideas. While zealous adherents of wokeness may not be well suited to listening to other points of view, others might be prevented from joining the hardliners if they are encouraged to wonder about where wokeness leads.

Who, for example gets to call the shots in a woke world? And who will be left standing when a woke mob come for you if you question their increasingly dogmatic diktats? How can we work out that a consensus has become both wrong and dangerous, except through dissenting voices? A few chats about courage of dissenters from the past, and the empowering morality of freedom of expression won’t go astray either.

To its credit, Penguin put out a statement this week defending its right to publish diverse points of view. What a win-win week for the publishing company. Given the ideological make-up of its staff, Penguin surely knew that a town hall-style meeting would become a platform for emotional outbursts, public controversy and lots of free publicity. Job well done.

Apart from guaranteeing healthy books sales, Penguin employees have also boosted Peterson’s celebrity. Just as more people might be questioning ­Peterson’s credibility as a role model for his earlier preaching about an ordered life, the behaviour of Penguin staff reminds us why this deeply flawed Canadian psychologist speaks for those who are marginalised and mocked by woke folk. These will include many who voted for Trump in 2016, and many who added nine million more votes to Trump’s final tally, even as he lost to Biden.

Interesting, the staff disturbance at Penguin over Peterson erupted the day after Netflix released Hillbilly Elegy, a movie that surely overlaps with Peterson’s base. Ron Howard’s movie is based on the memoir by JD Vance, a bestseller in 2016 as elites in coastal metropolises struggled to understand the rise of Trump. The movie and reaction to it offer more evidence of a continuing cultural divide that can only fuel Trumpism.

Vance grew up poor in the midwest rust-belt of Middletown, Ohio. He spent summers with his mother’s family, a ragamuffin crowd of hillbillies from Kentucky. There is no father, only a revolving door of men who hook up with his drug-addicted mother. And a smoking, cursing, loving grandmother — his “Mamaw” — who extracted him from a destiny where kids leave school early and end up jobless and hopeless. Teenage pregnancies are rife, along with crime, addiction and violence. Against all odds, Vance joined the military, served in Iraq and went to Yale Law School.

The movie recaptures the ­social decay of deindustrialised America in Vance’s memoir. Though Trump is not mentioned in the book, or the movie, Vance’s bootstrap story of survival and success explains why millions of Americans, left behind by globalisation and other elite obsessions, sided with a wealthy insider who campaigned for the working class as a boisterous and shameless outsider.

Curiously, critics who have panned the movie complained that it has been cleansed of ­politics. What, precisely, do these highly educated writers need S-P-E-L-L-E-D O-U-T for them? In one scene, at a Yale dinner for prospective interns, an urbane law partner from New York asks the young Vance what it’s like when he returns to home to the “rednecks” in Ohio. He may as well have called them deplorables.

The movie is a two-hour screen adaptation about politics being downstream from culture. So is the tearful outburst of staff at Penguin. At polar ends of the spectrum, both show that dysfunctional cultures produce dysfunctional politics.

Politics might become less polarised when there is less mocking and more genuine engagement by people trying to step into the shoes of others, regardless of their class and cultural backgrounds.

For all their years of higher education, the woke have not worked out that while Trump will soon be gone, Trumpism thrives on their misguided quest for power.

Be Grateful for Capitalism This Thanksgiving

Yes, we've got the pandemic, lockdowns, a worsening deficit, etc.

But we still live in a relatively free country at the most prosperous time in human history.

The pandemic showed that when people are faced with crises, we adjust. Restaurants switched to takeout and outdoor dining. Grocery stores began curbside pickup. Companies mass-produced masks, hand sanitizer, ventilators, and, now, vaccines. I hide from COVID-19 by staying home; yet, thanks to new services such as Zoom, I can research this column and make my weekly videos from my couch.

That's brought benefits. I no longer have to deal with traffic congestion.

Traffic jams are a good example of what ecologist Garrett Hardin called the "Tragedy of the Commons."

Because roads are free, more people drive, and roads are often congested. If roads were subject to "peak-load pricing, charging higher prices during times of peak demand and lower prices at other times," Hardin wrote, then we'd have fewer traffic jams.

I bring this up now, before Thanksgiving, because a similar Tragedy of the Commons nearly killed the Pilgrims. When they landed at Plymouth Rock, they started a society based on sharing.

Sharing sounds great.

But sharing, basically, is collective or communal farming, which is socialism. Food and supplies were distributed based on need. Pilgrims were forbidden to selfishly produce food for themselves.

That collective farming was a disaster. When the first harvest came, there wasn't much food to go around. The Pilgrims nearly starved.

Since no individual owned crops from the farm, no one had an incentive to work harder to produce extra that they might sell to others. Since even slackers got food from the communal supply, there was no penalty for not working.

William Bradford wrote in his "History of Plymouth Plantation" that the colony was ridden with "corruption" and "much was stolen both by night and day, before it became scarce eatable."

People eager to provide for their families were less eager to provide for others. Bradford wrote, "young men, that were most able and fit for labour, did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men's wives and children without any recompense."

Ultimately, said Bradford, shared farming "was found to breed much confusion and discontent and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort."

The Pilgrims "begane to thinke how they might raise as much corne as they could, and obtaine a beter crope (so) they might not still thus languish in miserie."

Languishing in misery is what people in Venezuela do now.

The Pilgrims' solution: private property.

In 1623, the collective farm was split up, and every family was given a plot of land. People could grow their own food and keep it or trade it. "It made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been." wrote Bradford. "Women now went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn; which before would allege weakness and inability."

The Pilgrims flourished because they turned to private property.

So, this Thanksgiving, be grateful for private property, a foundation of capitalism.

Your grocery may not have the small turkey you wanted this year, but they have much more of what you want than people in the Soviet Union ever got.

When you're shopping for dinner or stocking up for Lockdown 2.0, be glad that you have so many options available.

If government controlled the production of turkeys and toilet paper, this would be a very, very unhappy Thanksgiving.

Late-Night SCOTUS Ruling Saves NY Religious Groups From Onerous COVID Restrictions

The Supreme Court worked late going into the holiday weekend, ruling in favor of New York Roman Catholic and Orthodox Jewish groups that sued over the state’s COVID-19 limited religious service attendance rules.

Yahoo! News:

WASHINGTON (AP) — As coronavirus cases surge again nationwide the Supreme Court late Wednesday temporarily barred New York from enforcing certain attendance limits at houses of worship in areas designated as hard hit by the virus.

The court’s action could push New York to reevaluate those restrictions. But the court’s action also won’t have any immediate impact since the two groups that sued as a result of the restrictions, the Roman Catholic Church and Orthodox Jewish synagogues in Brooklyn and Queens, are no longer subject to them.

The groups sued to challenge attendance limits at houses of worship in areas designated red and orange zones, where New York had capped attendance at 10 and 25 people, respectively. But the groups are now subject to less-restrictive rules because they’re now in areas designated yellow zones.

As we have seen, these zone situations can be fluid, so both groups may yet need this reprieve.

More importantly, this ruling puts the spotlight on the arbitrary nature of the actions of the petty tyrants, which don’t have anything to do with science:

Andrew Cuomo and Bill de Blasio have been among the worst of the tyrants, often seeming to target the Orthodox Jewish community. Their actions have definitely appeared to be more about religious persecution than public health policy.

Chief Justice John Roberts continued his express ride to David Souterland:

The justices split 5-4 to bar the state from enforcing the restrictions against the groups for now, with new Justice Amy Coney Barrett in the majority. It was the conservative’s first publicly discernible vote as a justice. The court’s three liberal justices and Chief Justice John Roberts dissented.

This court really isn’t going to be the 6-3 conservative majority that liberals have been fearing. Roberts simply can’t be trusted. It’s going to end up being more like a 5 1/2-3 1/2 conservative split, with each important decision being held hostage by Roberts’s inconsistent, fickle nature.

I’m writing this in the early hours of Thanksgiving Day morning. At the moment, I’m thankful for President Trump, Mitch McConnell, and Amy Coney Barrett.

Coronavirus Australia: Wake up and smell the sickly stench of government control

Lucky we seldom use cash any more; it would be impossible to physically swirl the dollars fast enough between taxpayers and governments. For instance, if I spend $10 at a local Sydney cafe, one dollar heads to Canberra as GST, while perhaps another one will cover company tax on any profit; some of the federal tax is funnelled back to the cafe for JobKeeper payments and most of the GST dollar is returned to the NSW government which, after an initiative in its post-COVID budget this month, then sends some of it back to me in vouchers to be spent at a local hospitality businesses — such as my local cafe.

It might have been simpler to just let my barista keep the $10 — or are we worried that leaves too many work-from-home state and federal public servants with too little to do. Imagine the money wasted and the efficiencies forgone in this endless churn; it is a wonder cash is not turned into butter.

Yes, this is a simplistic and stylised example, but it illustrates the never-ending expansion and reach of government. While the mortality rate from COVID-19 is trending downwards worldwide, the virus has proven lethal against pre-pandemic notions of small government.

On the macro scale, the impact is frightening; where once we were traumatised by Wayne Swan’s $50bn deficits we have flipped this year from a projected $7bn surplus to an $85bn deficit — a record shortfall that will be almost tripled next year with a $213bn dollar deficit. Swan can finally have a Christmas where he fancies himself as Scrooge.

Government spending as a percentage of GDP snuck above 25 per cent in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis, after which even Labor agreed it should be kept below that mark. But it surged to 27.7 per cent last year, and will hit almost 35 per cent next year. So, while we once considered it prudent to keep federal spending to less than a quarter of the economy, Canberra’s splurge is about to account for more than a third of GDP.

When John Howard lost government, 13 years ago this week, the nation had cash in the bank — negative net government debt. We started to worry when debt rose above $150bn after the GFC, ballooning to more than 10 per cent of GDP. Now it has hit $500bn — half a trillion dollars, or 25 per cent of GDP — and within five years it will top $1 trillion, or equivalent to 44 per cent of the ­national economy.

Never before has the federal government sent more money to more people and more businesses. We are reacting to the corona­virus pandemic like it is a once-in-a-lifetime challenge that we can bet the bank on — best hope there is not another pandemic, natural disaster, global depression or war around the corner.

While interest rates are at record lows, we have been prepared to burden future generations with enormous risks. The big privatisations are behind us and all hopes hinge on the tumultuous cycle of economic growth. Most of us under 80 years of age can thank previous generations for the prosperity we have enjoyed — yet we seem happy to do the opposite, make ourselves comfortable in the here and now, while forwarding the bill to future generations.

The same people who argue it is immoral to leave behind a carbon footprint for future generations have no qualms about leaving them more debt than has ever been imagined. There must be an argument that we could have been more prudent and avoided any sense of intergenerational theft — but this discussion seems absent from the political debate.

Perhaps even more debilitating than the lifetime of debt is the rapid and unbridled escalation of the Nanny state. What has long been an alarming trend has run rampant since Wuhan first shared its virus with the world.

We have long observed the politicians’ predilection for increasing spending, launching new initiatives, imposing new rules and inveigling themselves into every aspect of our lives in order to win our gratitude and boost their prospects. Yet it is even more disturbing to see how great swathes of the population have lapped this up and played along — “gimme more free stuff”.

Nonsensical interventions

Worse still is the way we see people enthusiastically yield to the feverish and often nonsensical interventions imposed upon them. Melburnians heeded a drastic, inconvenient and muddle-headed curfew slapped on the city with no medical imprimatur. They also were forced to wear face masks outdoors, even many ­metres away from fellow citizens.

Daniel Andrews and his barrackers claim the absence of infections as vindication, when the whole point was supposed to be about controlling the pandemic without crushing communities, businesses and livelihoods. Around all the states except NSW, signs are that these lessons are yet to be learned.

Worryingly, police officers in Victoria and elsewhere enforced curfews and other nonsense with ruthless disregard for civil rights — officers on horseback and in ­patrol cars moved people on in Sydney parks, pregnant women were arrested over Facebook posts in Melbourne, drones spied on Western Australians in the streets, and there were Checkpoint Charlies set up along a string of interstate borders.

Most of us accepted these intrusions. People compliantly kept their children home from school, for months on end, when there was no medical basis for doing so. We stayed apart from family because of closed borders, we cancelled overseas holidays, worked from home, and kissed goodbye to a wide range of social activities.

Curfews weren’t enough

But it was not enough; governments wanted more control. They banned people in Adelaide and Melbourne from leaving their homes; restricted how many people could visit our houses; set stringent attendance limits for funerals, weddings and church services; demanded we did not sing; or dance; made us commemorate Anzac Day on our own but let the protesters do as they pleased; and they shut beaches

All this in a blessed Land Down Under where the people were once renowned for their self-­reliance and anti-authoritarian streak. Has the Nanny state eaten away our resilience and national character?

Sure, most of us have understood the aims and surrendered to authority, in part because we believe in the project of “flattening the curve”. But much of what has been imposed has been irrational, over the top and not based on ­science — yet we went along with it anyway. Were we too compliant, too ignorant, or too frightened to object?

There are Australians right now, kept apart or sweating it out in home isolation in Western Australia because Mark McGowan still insists on hard borders with Victoria and NSW, even though there has been no community transmission for weeks in the two most populous states. Some will be proud of this — “we are all in this together” — but it speaks more to fearmongering and ignorance.

Politicians have spoken of a “dangerous” situation and how they need to “keep people safe” which is a ridiculous way to frame attempts to control a virus that is mild to asymptomatic in more than 95 per cent of cases, makes a small percentage of people seriously ill and, in the main, is only life-threatening to people who are very old or already very ill.

This is not to dismiss the vulnerable — it is a call to focus on protecting them instead of trying to scare children and paralyse communities.

No such thing as a free lunch

Have we become so molly­coddled that we look to governments to prevent us from getting sick? Are politicians so conceited they believe they can manage all risk out of our lives? Do they fret about paying a political price because a virus hops from one ­person to another?

Ideas for government intervention have proliferated like a contagion. We have governments siphoning taxes from us only to regurgitate some of it back as vouchers to cover kids’ sport fees or, now, for us to spend in restaurants. There is no such thing as a free lunch — we are paying for these gimmicks ourselves.

Governments now proffer paid sick leave for casual workers, subsidies for wages, bonuses for employing people, refunds on car registration, funding for solar panels, bonuses for first-home buyers, freebies in childcare, schooling, healthcare, social housing, public broadcasting, and whatever else. We are dining out on the taxpayers of 2050.

No matter how successful or futile the vaccines turn out to be, no matter how far this pandemic has to run, we can say one thing about its duration. It will never outlive the propensity for governments and bureaucracies to constantly mutate and expand, infecting every aspect of our lives.




Friday, November 27, 2020

Penguin Random House staffers ‘broke down in tears’ over release of Jordan Peterson book

One hopes that the tears of a few nuts are not heeded. The book will be a big money-spinner so the publisher will not easily be deflected from publishing it

Peterson's messages are all positive so it seems unlikely that the disturbed staffer has in fact read the book: She has just been misled by all the lying Leftist propaganda

A reader writes:

"I have listened to many of Jordan Peterson's lectures, and read many of his essays and his first book, 12 Rules for Life. The book is basic good sense. There is nothing in it that could be offensive to any mature person. Mostly he talks about maximising one's individual responsibility and developing a sense of purpose and meaning in life. He encourages the reader to be helpful to those around them, to family, neighbours, and at work. And he speaks and writes as if he is communicating to men, using short sentences and everyday language, and when he does use an uncommon word he defines and explains it, so the reader understands and learns. He writes pictorially, in images, stories and analogies. He communicates as men communicate.

Unlike most contemporary psychologists who are manipulative feminists, Peterson does not write as if speaking to self-centred self-righteous women. He does not stroke the reader's ego, he does not encourage a sense of victimhood, or stir resentment against western society, or tell the reader to honor their emotions and follow their feelings, and he does not use vague sentences full of emotional leftist buzz words like empowerment, agency, equality, caring, non-judgemental, empathy, etc, and psychology jargon without explanation. He does not try to make the reader feel good, he simply tries to assist the reader to be the best they can be for their self and for those around them. Peterson's writings do not stroke the egos of those who are selfish, emotionally focused, envious types who hate society and resent their own individual responsibility. He is not trying to stir discontent and resentment under the guise of "empowerment". He is just trying to help individuals. And that is why leftists/feminists hate him."

Staff at a publishing house have reportedly been in tears over news that their company was set to publish the latest book by divisive Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson.

Employees at Penguin Random House Canada (PRHC) are now putting pressure on the publisher to cancel the release of his third book Beyond Order: 12 More Rules For Life, reports Vice.

According to the outlet, “several” employees confronted management at an internal town hall on Monday and “dozens more have filed anonymous complaints” about PRHC’s plans to release the latest work from the controversial academic.

“He is an icon of hate speech and transphobia and the fact that he’s an icon of white supremacy, regardless of the content of his book, I’m not proud to work for a company that publishes him,” one town hall attendee told Vice.

Another employee said: “People were crying in the meeting about how Jordan Peterson has affected their lives.” One staffer said Dr Peterson had “radicalised their father” and another insisted the publishing of Dr Peterson’s book will “negatively affect their non-binary friend”.

“The company since June has been doing all these anti-racist and allyship things and then publishing Dr Peterson’s book completely goes against this. It just makes all of their previous efforts seem completely performative,” the employee told Vice.

Dr Peterson is a psychology professor at the University of Toronto and hosts a popular podcast. He announced on Monday that he is releasing the new book, which is set to hit shelves in March next year.

PRHC told Vice in a statement, “We announced yesterday that we will publish Jordan Peterson’s new book Beyond Order this coming March. Immediately following the announcement, we held a forum and provided a space for our employees to express their views and offer feedback.

“Our employees have started an anonymous feedback channel, which we fully support. We are open to hearing our employees’ feedback and answering all of their questions. We remain committed to publishing a range of voices and viewpoints.”

Vice’s report quickly went viral on social media with critics mocking the crying employees, suggesting they should quit or be fired by the publisher for their emotional response to Dr Peterson’s work.

PRHC did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.

Jeremy Corbyn supporter bursts into tears as he is spared jail after calling Jewish Labour MP Margaret Hodge a 'racist Zionist' in terrifying anti-Semitic trolling campaign

A weed

A Jeremy Corbyn supporter today burst into tears as he was spared jail after calling Jewish Labour MP Dame Margaret Hodge a 'racist Zionist' in a terrifying anti-Semitic trolling campaign.

Nicholas Nelson targeted three Labour MPs with 'vulgar, obscene and threatening' abuse through phone calls and emails.

In one incident the 31-year-old rang the office of Dame Margaret and said: 'I hope you die, you Tory c***.

Along with Dame Margaret, Nelson also abused then Labour MPs Lord John Mann and Dame Louise Ellman - who he accused of 'smearing' then party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Nelson had previously given a suspended sentence in December 2018 for trolling then Labour MPs Luciana Berger and Ruth Smeeth.

But he was spared prison once more today after he admitted three counts of sending communications of an offensive nature.

Deputy Chief Magistrate Tan Ikram sentenced Nelson, from Norfolk, to 30 weeks' imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, at Westminster Magistrates' Court.

The court heard how the offences took place between July and September 2018.

The charges relate to phone calls and emails to Dame Margaret, MP for Barking, east London, Dame Louise and Lord Mann, who were also both Labour MPs at the time.

Prosecutor Jason Seetal said the offence against Dame Margaret, who is Jewish, was 'religiously aggravated', highlighting a phone call to her office in July 2018.

Nelson said: 'Margaret should f*** off, you f***ing racist Zionist c***. You need to get out of the party and I hope you die, you Tory c***.'

In a further phone call the same day, Nelson added: 'Margaret Hodge is an apartheid-supporting disgusting scumbag bitch.'

Dame Margaret said in a victim impact statement: 'I considered the emails to be threatening and was left feeling nervous and unsure about my personal safety.

'For the first time, I now feel under threat because of my Jewish identity.'

The court heard Dame Louise's parliamentary assistant said she felt 'extremely uncomfortable and distressed' after reading an email sent by Nelson on August 2 2018.

'Louise Ellman is a hypocritical Tory c*** who is so thick she is trying to smear Corbyn with an event she herself attended,' it said.

Lord Mann received an abusive phone message, played in court, on September 3 2018, which said: 'Kill yourself. When are you going to have a stroke?'

In sentencing Nelson, magistrates Mr Ikram said he would not repeat the words used, adding: 'They are the most vulgar, obscene, threatening vocabulary I can think of.'

He said: 'I'm of the view that these offences are so serious that they cross the custody threshold.

'People should feel able to come forward and serve as MPs without fear of violence and threat. Certain communities have felt particularly under threat.

'And these courts will send a clear message to those who threaten members of those communities, who attack them because of their faith.'

The judge said that he would have jailed Nelson had he sentenced him for all of the offences in 2018. But he added: 'I have considered carefully whether I can suspend the sentences and I felt just about able to do so. 'That doesn't take away the seriousness of the offences.

'That simply reflects we are now two years down the road, that there have been no further offences and that I see you are now seeking the assistance of a psychiatrist and dealing with issues you say were a feature of your life then.'

Jeremy Corbyn's 'Red Reverend' gets defrocked after cheating on his wife with a church organist

Steven Saxby, 49, was a hard-Left cassock-wearing ally of Jeremy Corbyn and ran for the key seat of Cities of London and Westminster.

He planned to be the first serving minister in centuries to retain his dog collar while sitting in the Commons.

But he was shamed when his wife discovered his affairs with the organist and an international pianist.

Christine Saxby told friends in the congregation their marriage looked doomed then kicked him out of the Edwardian vicarage they shared with their four children.

The Daily Mail revealed her claims in March last year and the Church of England suspended him. He apologised for ‘mistakes’.

Remarkably, Labour retained him as a candidate until separate claims of sexual harassment within the party followed, and he resigned before the general election while denying wrongdoing.

Now the Church of England has completed his disgrace by sacking him from his parish in east London.

A spokesman for the Diocese of Chelmsford said last night: ‘Steven Saxby has been removed from his post as vicar of St Barnabas, Walthamstow, by the Acting Bishop of Chelmsford for conduct unbecoming of a priest in relation to adultery.

Mrs Saxby last year told friends of her ‘great pain and sadness’ at her husband’s betrayal, including the affair with the pianist.

Before being unmasked as an adulterer, Mr Saxby had dispensed pious advice on Twitter such as: ‘Blessed be the politician who personally exemplifies credibility.’

Before his antics were exposed, he had gained critics by accusing the Government of ‘extremism’ for involvement in the Syrian civil war, and of ‘stigmatising Muslim children’ through anti-terror measures. Last night Mr Saxby told the Daily Mail: ‘I am no longer in the Labour Party and am trying to move on with my life.’ Mrs Saxby declined to comment.

Labour did not respond to questions about its separate inquiry into alleged sexual harassment when he was a candidate. Even after his wife exposed his affairs, a Labour spokesman had said: ‘Steven will make an incredible MP.’

Australian public broadcaster facing harsh backlash over claims of lack of diversity

The ABC is copping a wave of online backlash after revealing its upcoming line-up of news presenters for 2021, with people questioning the lack of cultural diversity among the broadcaster’s key programs.

The broadcaster released its 2021 programming schedule on Wednesday but it was the publicity photos of the presenters runnings its flagship news programs that left many unimpressed.

Viewers and even some ex-staff members were quick to call out the lack of diversity, with the majority journalists leading its top news programs, including Insiders, 7.30, ABC News Breakfast and The Drum, appearing to mainly be from caucasian backgrounds.

Former Four Corners and ABC News reporter Sophie Mc­Neill tweeted a collated picture of the broadcaster’s white presenters, branding the lack of diversity “disappointing”.

Ex-deputy editor of ABC Life, Osman Faruqi, also shared the promotion images for the ABC’s leading news programs to his Twitter.

“Do the people who run ABC News not understand how weird this looks?” he asked.

“At some point, when you’re assembling these photos, you’d pause and think ‘Hmm something not quite right here’. It should so embarrassing that they shouldn’t be able get away with it. But who is going to hold them to account? Everywhere else is even whiter, lol.”

Australia’s former Race Discrimination Commissioner and Culture Strategy Professor at Sydney University, Tim Soutphommasane, said the ABC has a “long way to go” in terms of diversity.

“Let’s remember the ABC has it in its charter that it should reflect the cultural diversity of the Australian community. So where is it?” he wrote on Twitter.

“And thanks to those who highlight there is diversity elsewhere on the upfront. That is of course good to see. But the diversity is not there in many of the flagship and other high-profile programs, especially news and current affairs.”

In response to the backlash, the ABC released a statement saying it was proud of the “diverse talent” across its programs.

Our 2021 slate reflects our commitment to representing and reflecting modern Australia, across diverse backgrounds, ages, genders, abilities and cultures,” the broadcaster said.

The ABC said increasing diversity across its workforce and programming was a priority, pointing to its current Diversity & Inclusion Plan and Reconciliation Action Plan.

“There’s no doubt that, like all media organisations, the ABC has significant work to do to live up to our goal to reflect the full diversity of our community,” the ABC said.

“But we are making progress.”

The broadcaster also released a collage of all the diverse programs and presenters that will be appearing on the ABC in 2021.

However, this still wasn’t enough to impress some, with Mr Faruqi and Ms McNeill pointing out there was still a lack of representation in the ABC’s top news programs.

“There is a significant gap between what appears to be coming of factual and entertainment TV and news in terms of whiteness, but it’s very funny the ABC is responding to concerns about the lack of diversity on news shows by saying “We also make Superwog!” Mr Faruqi wrote on Twitter.

He added: “It’s really weird that the ABC’s response was to subtweet everyone by pointing to shows about Chinese restaurants (which I can’t wait to watch tbh). They really are in denial, it’s very sad.”

Ms McNeill said, while it is true the ABC has diverse talent across many of its programs, it was still lacking in some major areas.

“It’s not really diversity in ‘Super Wog’ or ‘Chopsticks or Fork’ that I’m chasing. It’s in the flagship, heavy hitting, political programs & at an editorial level,” she wrote.

Seemingly in response to these claims, the ABC released an image showing a few more of the people working as presenters for ABC News.

But not everyone was so quick to criticise the ABC, with some viewers praising the broadcaster for featuring a wide range of programming and working towards even more diversity on screen.

“This is an easy attack but if we move beyond the ‘glam’ of TV, the ABC provides a diverse but not perfect platform. It does provide a variety of voices. Let’s not belittle it or grandstand in front of nodding heads, let’s look at the alternative & commit to make the ABC better,” one person wrote.

“I think ABC Australia has done a much better job of diversifying its presenters than any other visual media here has. Well done ABC,” another person said.




Thursday, November 26, 2020

The Left Targets Kids, Teens With Gender Fluid Ideology

It’s no wonder our children are confused about their gender, since even the dictionary can’t define it. In an announcement that will make people’s heads swim, Oxford University Press agreed to change the meaning of the words “woman” and “man”—because of an online petition.

Incredibly, some of the most respected lexicographers in the world have thrown in the towel, caving to cries that certain words should be more “gender neutral.” And dictionaries, Apple TV makes clear, are just the tip of the iceberg.

The left’s high-speed gender train aren’t just coming for your bookshelf, but your sons and daughters too. This week, Apple TV is debuting a new docuseries meant to persuade parents that all children are gender fluid.

“Becoming You,” the show that LGBTQ activists are hailing as groundbreaking, follows 100 girls and boys around the world over their first five years, making the case that moms and dads shouldn’t hold hard and fast to biological realities.

“We hope the viewers take away an understanding that although young children talk about gender, their sense of it is much more fluid than ours,” executive producer Hamo Forsyth said. “So much so that kids of [3 and 4] can imagine they are genuinely going from one gender to the other as they change clothes during dressing-up games, for example. It isn’t really until they go to school at 5 that they start to think of gender as something more permanent.”

In a country where 12% of millennials now say they identify as transgender or “nongender conforming”—more than 1 in every 10—the last thing our children need is a generation of parents indulging these dangerous fantasies. And yet, that’s exactly the goal of Apple TV and their extremist cheerleaders.

Of course, Family Research Council’s Peter Sprigg points out the irony here is that by trying to brainwash every family, these LGBTQ activists are actually contradicting their own argument.

“If ‘all kids are gender fluid,'” Sprigg explains, “that means that not every kid who engages in gender-nonconforming behavior is innately ‘transgender’—and it certainly shouldn’t be a license to alter and mutilate their bodies.”

In some cases, maybe forming a “gender identity” is a developmental process that takes a few years, he agrees. “The problem with the aggressive transgender movement is that it disrupts that normal process by telling kids that what they like to do is ‘who they are’ and their bodies are irrelevant.”

It’s bad enough that America has a presidential candidate encouraging transgender treatments for elementary school kids. But suggesting that every parent should embrace this radical rejection of their child’s biological reality is a pathway to self-destruction and misery.

Just ask author Abigail Shrier. She’s talked to hundreds of families who are dealing with the fallout of this devastating ideology—many of them lifelong LGBT supporters who cannot understand why doctors, counselors, teachers, and activists are trying to lock their children into a future of gender confusion.

She was so compelled by the stories of heartbreak that she wrote a book warning parents, “Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Girls.”

In it, Shrier explains that this is an issue of consensus for most parents, regardless of where they fall politically. “Unsuspecting parents are awakening to find their daughters in thrall to hip trans YouTube stars and ‘gender-affirming’ educators and therapists who push life-changing interventions on young girls—including medically unnecessary double mastectomies and puberty blockers that can cause permanent infertility.”

Not surprisingly, the fringe activists pushing this agenda have gone ballistic that someone like Shrier has the nerve to tell the truth about their agenda. They bullied Amazon into blocking ad buys for the book. Then, this past week, a single tweet was all it took to persuade Target to pull the title from its shelves. The move hardly came as a shock, since this is the same company that still allows men in its girls’ restrooms and changing rooms.

Before long, the American Civil Liberties Union jumped into the fray, with one of its attorneys tweeting, “Stopping the circulation of this book and these ideas is 100 percent a hill I will die on.” So much for the ACLU defending free speech.

Conservatives fumed, circulating the story across social media. Ultimately, the attention was too much and Target, probably fearing another boycott, backtracked.

Twenty-four hours later, the company released this statement:

Yesterday, we removed a book from based on feedback we received. We want to offer a broad assortment for our guests and are adding this book back to We apologize for any confusion.

It was the right decision. If only, shoppers would agree, Target would show that same common sense in its bathroom policy.

To hear the truth about the transgender agenda that the left would do anything to hide, check out this interview with Shrier.

John MacArthur Makes Sense of COVID-19 Abuses, Abortion, America's 'Moral Free-Fall'

Earlier this month, San Diego, Calif., experienced a COVID-19 outbreak and fell back to the most severe tier of the state’s coronavirus restrictions. This meant that schools, restaurants, museums, retail businesses, and even churches would close — but for some reason, strip clubs were allowed to remain open. Grace Community Church Pastor John MacArthur made sense of this bizarre scenario by explaining America’s “moral free-fall.”

“America is in a moral free-fall,” he told Fox News’ Laura Ingraham on Thursday.

“Just look at it as I would as a pastor,” MacArthur began. “You murder the babies in the womb. If they survive the womb, you try to seduce them into transgender sexual deviation when they’re young. If they survive that, you corrupt them with a godless education. If they survive that, you have divorce in the family and if they grow to be adults, you drown them in a sea of pornography.”

“This is a nation so far down in the sewer of immorality and wickedness that nothing surprises me,” the pastor continued. “In fact, I would be shocked if a judge said, ‘Open all the churches and close all the strip clubs.'”

A recent Los Angeles Times story accused MacArthur’s church of enabling an outbreak, but MacArthur explained the real story. As it turns out, three part-time security guards at GCC had tested positive for COVID-19 unrelated to their work duties but had no symptoms. They returned to work within a few days. Los Angeles County cleared the church of responsibility for any such “outbreak.”

MacArthur has long fought excessive COVID-19 restrictions and their double standards against churches. He warned that power-hungry politicians have blown the coronavirus pandemic out of proportion.

In the interview, Ingraham noted that Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-Calif.) broke his own lockdown rules by dining with lobbyists and executives from the California Medical Association at the three-Michelin-star restaurant The French Laundry. “He doesn’t really believe what he’s saying about COVID,” she argued.

MacArthur hit the nail on the head by warning about how power-hungry politicians have expanded their authority during a supposed crisis.

“Just a quick run through history,” the pastor began. “Go back to Julius Caesar. Go back to Napoleon. Go into the modern era. Every revolution — including Hitler’s revolution and the revolution in Russia — every revolution took place in a time when the powers of the people in authority were enlarged because of a supposed emergency.”

“Power-hungry people are using this emergency to gain greater power,” MacArthur said of COVID-19. “This is historic. This is nothing new, and if people don’t fight back, they’re going to fall victim to whatever the intention of this revolution is.”

Given the moral decay the pastor mentioned earlier, the prospects don’t look good.

Resigned to the pandemic, Brits are now indifferent to the death toll

When Boris Johnson announced England's second national shutdown on October 31, my phone lit up as family, friends and colleagues in Australia shared disbelief over Britain's mounting death toll and expressed sympathy about facing another lockdown.

They had good reason to raise the former - in the 25 days since, 8796 people have died from COVID-19 in the United Kingdom, and about 34,000 were admitted to hospital. While deaths are not spiking as sharply as earlier this year, they are high and likely to stay high for the next few months.

Compliance with lockdown rules has collapsed after many shifting rule changes and mixed messaging.
Compliance with lockdown rules has collapsed after many shifting rule changes and mixed messaging. CREDIT:GETTY IMAGES

But my Australian friends needn't have worried about the latter because this lockdown has looked and felt nothing like the one in April and May. As cases climbed, the public largely carried on with life. Crowds rammed weekend markets at Greenwich and queued in long lines for the click-and-collect service at Apple's Covent Garden store. The line to get into Borough Market on Saturday snaked around the block.

They were out and about because the rules mostly allowed it. Lockdown 2.0 has been much less strict than the first and much less severe than Melbourne's shutdown even though the health situation is far worse.

But something profound has happened: rightly or wrongly, most here no longer fear the virus. In the great balancing act between health and the economy, the scales are now overwhelmingly lean towards jobs and social cohesion. Deaths hardly rate a mention in parliamentary debates and press coverage. The brutal truth is that Britain has become indifferent to the 440 average deaths each day.

People are also thoroughly confused. They have been bombarded by mixed messaging, shifting rules and contradictory policies. The unprecedented nature of this pandemic requires nimble decision-making but the government has often been all at sea. Predictably, the level of compliance needed to make lockdowns work has collapsed.

Hungary and Poland plunge EU into political crisis by blocking £1.65trillion covid rescue budget that 'blackmailed countries into accepting migrants'

Hungary and Poland plunged the EU into political crisis by blocking a £1.65 trillion coronavirus rescue budget that they claimed 'blackmailed countries into accepting migrants'.

On Monday, the two countries blocked the 2021-2027 budget and the recovery plan, worth a combined 1.85 trillion euros (£1.65 trillion), because access to the funds would be conditional on respecting the rule of law.

On Wednesday, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban accused the European Union of seeking to 'blackmail' member states that did not toe its line on immigration.

Orban, whose nationalist government is under investigation for undermining the independence of Hungary's courts, media and non-governmental organisations, linked his veto to his continued opposition to mass immigration into the EU.

'Once this proposal gets adopted, there will be no more obstacles to tying member states' share of common funds to supporting migration and use financial means to blackmail countries which oppose migration,' Orban said in a statement published by state news agency MTI.

Orban's ally Poland, also under a formal EU process for alleged backsliding on democratic principles, struck a softer tone on Wednesday, saying it sought dialogue with its EU partners.

'(But) if some countries are determined to break EU law, Poland will use its veto right,' Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki's chief of staff said, in a reference to the efforts by some western states to establish a direct link between the allocation of funds and the rule of law.

The eastern states are big recipients of EU subsidies.

Ambassadors of EU countries on Monday accepted a deal struck with the European parliament which establishes a clear link between EU money and the respect for the rule of law. They agreed because this vote required only a qualified majority and the opposition of Warsaw and Budapest could not stop it.

But when it came to voting on the 1.1 trillion euro budget itself and the 750 billion euro (£670 billion) recovery package, which require unanimous support, 'two EU member states expressed reservations' the German presidency of the EU said.

The Polish and Hungarian veto was discussed at a meeting of EU European affairs ministers on Tuesday and then at a video-conference of EU leaders on Thursday. But finding a solution might take longer than that, officials said.

The European Union said it was studying 'practical solutions' for resolving the impasse over the recovery plan, but could proceed without Hungary, Poland and Slovenia, France's Europe Minister Clement Beaune said Wednesday.

'With the German presidency of the EU, we are looking for practical solutions,' he told senators in Paris, but 'we are looking, as a last resort, at how to proceed without the countries that are blocking' a deal.

Beaune said EU officials would consider 'clarifications' to the rule-of-law requirement, 'but certainly not by calling it into question, because our values and our European project are at stake.'

'Europe cannot be held hostage by a certain number of governments that do not want to move forward, that do not respect the bedrock of our political project,' he warned.

The budget and recovery package do not have any specific clauses about immigration, which Orban has long opposed as a threat to national and European identity and culture.

Political Capital analyst Patrik Szicherle said Orban's comments were aimed at shoring up support among his nationalist base and also at broadening his options in upcoming talks.




Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Boris is NOT a small government conservative

First Trump ditched free trade as a conservative value and now Boris is ditching small government. So what is going on?

For a start, Trump was well within the conservative tradition in using tariffs for his ends. But what about Boris?

He seems to be in a European mould, where stability is the main objective. European conservatives prioritize keeping in control of the country in order to thwart destructive leftist policies -- revolution in particular. Europe does have a sad past of revolutionary episodes.

So Boris seems to believe that anything is legitimate that entrenches strong government

Britain does have a semi-insane Left so having a free hand to deal with them could be helpful. The Labour party was led into the last election by Jeremy Corbyn, a Communist and terrorist sympathizer!

Dominic Cummings, the all-powerful adviser who masterminded Brexit and had Boris Johnson in his thrall, has been ousted by a triumvirate made up of Allegra Stratton, the prime minister’s press secretary, Munira Mirza, his policy chief (who used to be a revolutionary communist—but that’s another story) and his girlfriend, Carrie Symonds. Those who disapproved of Mr Cummings not just for his appalling manners but also for his radicalism, of whom there are many both inside and outside the Conservative Party, are hoping that Mr Johnson will revert to being the pragmatic One Nation centrist he was as mayor of London.

That is certainly the impression that the prime minister gave this week when he launched a ten-point plan to turn Britain green. But Mr Cummings’s great project will roll on without him.

The plan, which has the support of the Tory party and was outlined in the 2019 manifesto, is to weaken the judicial, political and administrative limits that have been placed on the power of the executive. Brexit is only the beginning. By the time of the next election, ministers will have control over more policies, enjoy more discretion and face fewer restraints than they have for decades.

Meg Russell, director of the Constitution Unit at University College London, warns of “democratic backsliding”. Charlie Falconer, the shadow attorney-general, sees Britain falling “under a majoritarian dictatorship”. Some see parallels in America or even Hungary, yet this is a distinctly British story: a conservative counter-revo-lution against checks and balances to executive power built up over half a century.

In a televised lecture in 1976, Lord Hailsham, a former Lord Chancellor, called for the overthrow of Britain’s ruling dictatorship. There was no junta of mustachioed generals and secret policemen; James Callaghan, the Labour prime minister, was a gentle fellow. Rather, Hailsham argued, Britain was an “elective dictatorship”. Parliamentary sovereignty, the underpinning principle of Britain’s uncodified constitution, granted the legislature the power to make and undo any law it wished, he explained. A government which commanded a majority in the House of Commons enjoyed a power absolute in theory and constrained in practice only by political realities and mps’ consciences. “Only a revolution, bloody or peacefully contrived, can put an end to the situation,” he said.

Hailsham proposed a written constitution, inspired by those in Australia and Canada, which would curb the power of Parliament. He wanted a federal system of devolved parliaments for Britain’s nations and regions, a bill of rights and an elected House of Lords. The new arrangement would be overseen by the courts. The queen would stay, of course.

Yet the regime he criticised was already being dismantled. From the 1960s, judges and legal academics responded to the everbossier post-war state by developing the doctrine of judicial review. In a series of cases, they marked out the scope for judges to overturn the decisions of ministers who had overstepped the powers Parliament gave them, failed to follow a fair process or behaved irrationally.

In 1973, Britain joined the European Economic Community. In the following decades, control of many areas of policy once dealt with in London went to Brussels. In exercising their remaining powers, ministers were constrained by European laws on state aid, procurement and the environment. Margaret Thatcher was enthusiastic, for the process limited the scope for them to mess with the economy. Brussels required the courts to strike down domestic laws and decisions that contradicted European law.

Tony Blair, who took office in 1997, thought Britain over-centralised and remote from citizens. The revolution he led looked a lot like the one Hailsham envisaged. He set up new devolved governments in London, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. (An assembly later planned for north-east England was rejected in a referendum after a campaign on which Mr Cummings worked. Its slogan was “More doctors, not politicians”.) A Supreme Court was created, independent of the legislature. A Human Rights Act, with which laws and ministers’ decisions had to conform, was passed. There was more oversight and less secrecy. Thatcher had set up the National Audit Office to scrutinise government spending; Mr Blair’s Freedom of Information Act created new rights of access to official papers.

David Cameron, a small-state moderniser, abolished the prime minister’s power to trigger elections. He strengthened Whitehall’s hand, recognising the civilservice code, which asserts officials’ political impartiality, in law. He bolstered the regime of ministerial directions, under which senior civil servants can publicly caution ministers if they believe a project is undeliverable or wasteful.

Vernon Bogdanor, a constitutional historian, concluded in 2009 that Mr Blair’s reforms were a classically liberal project in limited government, “seeking to secure liberty by cutting power into pieces.” Before proposing a law, ministers had to check that it was compatible with European and human-rights legislation, as well as the devolution settlement. Ministers could expect their decisions to be scrutinised by judges, auditors and the public. The elective dictatorship had been toppled.

The Conservatives miss the ancien régime. They blame judicial review for gumming up decision-making, and humanrights law for hobbling immigration policy. The crude carve-up of policy areas between London, Edinburgh and Cardiff has, they think, left the British government too feeble to tackle crises like covid-19. Devolution was meant to save the Union but, they maintain, has only boosted separatists. On November 16th, in a moment of candour, Mr Johnson expressed this view, telling a gathering of mps he thought Scottish devolution a “disaster” and Mr Blair’s “biggest mistake”.

What Hailsham saw as a dictatorship, the Tories see as a bond between voters and the government. Institutions and watchdogs created during Mr Blair’s tenure masquerade as independent, argues an official, but instead form a parallel political class. According to this view, Blairism weakened rather than strengthened democracy: voters are disillusioned not because Westminster is too mighty but because those they chose to run the country are constrained by people who have not been elected.

The restoration

For many Tories the prorogation debacle of 2019 confirmed that things had gone badly wrong. It was the culmination of a battle around Brexit which, said the Conservative Party manifesto in the subsequent election, “opened up a destabilising and potentially extremely damaging rift between politicians and people”.

Mr Johnson had promised, “do or die”, to deliver Brexit on October 31st, but without a working majority, and unable to call an election, he was blocked by Parliament. He prorogued Parliament, but the Supreme Court, which heard interventions from the Scottish and Welsh governments, blocked his move. The judges described their decision as a defence of Parliament, in keeping with the courts’ role in settling constitutional questions for more than 400 years. Brexiteers saw it differently, and are determined to prevent the executive from losing control again.

In most countries, changing the constitution is hard. In Britain, it is easy. The new checks and balances were passed by Parliament, and what Parliament has created, it can take away. The reforms of the past 40 years will not be overthrown, but there will be a course-correction to assert the primacy of the politicians over judges and officials. Danny Kruger, a Tory mp, calls it “a restoration of politics to its proper place at the apex of our common life.”

Brexit, which comes into full effect on January 1st, ends the supremacy of European law in Britain. As Mr Cummings’s campaign slogan of “take back control” promised, both the workload and the el-bow-room of ministers will expand. They will take charge of the sanctions imposed on Russian kleptocrats, the allocation of airport landing-slots and the chemical composition of toilet unblocker. David Frost, Mr Johnson’s negotiator, sees Brexit as a zero-sum game in recovering lost sovereignty. Ending Europe’s control over state subsidies and emissions is “the point of the whole project.”

Parliament has passed a stack of laws to patch the hole left by Brussels in running Britain. But whereas in Brussels powers are distributed among the eu’s institutions, in Britain they are concentrated in ministers’ hands. mps will have less freedom to block future trade deals than their counterparts in the European Parliament or America’s Congress; ministers will have wide powers to rewrite regulations on agriculture and medicines. A new environmental regulator has been set up, but campaigners think it weedier than the European Commission.

While ministers get mightier, the courts are being weakened. They will no longer be able to strike down decisions and acts incompatible with eu law. A review led by Edward Faulks, a critic of the prorogation ruling, will ask whether judicial review is being abused “to conduct politics by another means”. It will look at placing some of the prime minister’s prerogative powers, such as deploying troops or appointing ministers, beyond the reach of judges, and at “streamlining” the burden placed on government by disclosure rules.

Robert Buckland, the Lord Chancellor, is considering changing the Supreme Court’s name to downgrade its status. A further review of how the courts apply the Human Rights Act will be launched this month. Mr Johnson wants to reclaim the power to trigger elections by repealing Mr Cameron’s Fixed-term Parliaments Act.

Critics argue that this will result in worse, not better, government. If disclosure is limited, the scope for bringing unlawful behaviour to light will be too. Judi-cial-review cases are usually about everyday matters in which officials have administered lousily, rather than grand constitutional questions. Judges enter political terrain rarely, reluctantly and only with good reason—which, many would argue, they had in the case of the prorogation of Parliament.

More here:

Why Obamacare Needs to Die: One Man’s Healthcare Nightmare

Mason Bishop’s Obamacare nightmare began nearly eight years ago when the 52-year old launched a consulting business. With enactment of the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, Bishop’s family has embarked on an annual quest of finding affordable health insurance, which has become nearly impossible.

In October 2012, he enrolled his family in a group insurance plan under his company’s name, which was allowed in Virginia for small businesses with two or more employees as he and his wife were both employees. His 2012 monthly premiums were $1,043, which went up to $1,342 by 2014. However, his premium’s were his only healthcare costs as his group policy had no co-pays or deductibles.

It was in fall of 2013 when Bishop went to renew his policy for 2014 when he was given some stark news by his health insurance rep. “It’s a good thing your renewal is December 1,” the rep said. “Because if it was January 1, you would not be able to have this insurance for another year.” That is when Bishop found out a little advertised part of the Obamacare law—group policies were banned for companies with family-only employees. Insurers could no longer enroll businesses in group plans unless at least one non-family member was employed by the business.

“So, boom. I lost my health insurance,” Bishop said. “President Obama promised ‘if you like your plan, you can keep your plan.’ That was a lie.”

Ever since then, Bishop has scrambled each year to find affordable insurance for his family. On the front end, he puts in hours of research, and then once he finds a plan, there are hassles on the back end with billing each time he changes plans. “It just never ends,” he said.

The ACA was supposed to help people such as Bishop and his family. What went wrong?

Instead of expanding insurance options for individual buyers, Obamacare narrowed them for most people. Bishop said prior to Obamacare, he could choose from between six or seven plans. But because many insurers opted out of Obamacare due to expensive mandates, Bishop now can only choose from two providers. And costs are decidedly unaffordable. In 2017, he would have paid $1,742 in monthly premiums under Obamacare with a $5,000 deductible.

“What ACA did was create a health insurance market of only policies with high deductibles and high premiums,” Bishop said. “You are paying high premiums for garbage insurance. And if you can’t afford it, you pay a penalty!”

If Bishop, who makes well over six-figures-a-year, cannot afford Obamacare options, which run a minimum of $2,000 per month or more, how can anyone afford it? With the help of federal subsidies. Under Obamacare, people who earn up to 400 percent of the poverty level (about $48,500 for an individual and $100,400 for a family of four in 2019) are eligible for premium subsidies. Eighty-seven percent of the 10.6 million people with Obamacare plans in 2018 received a subsidy. While Bishop said his income may appear high to some, in the high-cost suburbs of Washington, D.C. premiums of $2,000 or more for $5,000 per person deductibles makes health insurance unaffordable.

“I was perfectly happy with my health insurance before Obamacare,” he said. “What’s happened since then is outrageous.” And he said he’s not alone in his insurance woes. “I hate the ACA. Every time I post on social media about it, I get at least ten comments back from people dealing with similar problems.”

According to a study from the Heritage Foundation, nationally, Obamacare more than doubled premiums for individual plans, halved individual insurer offerings, and increased enrollment in government programs. Obamacare increased premiums in 49 of 50 states. Some states experienced premium increases of less than 50 percent, while others saw insurance premiums triple.Heritage also notes that 86.3 percent of the newly covered during Obamacare’s first four years came by way of expanded access to Medicaid.

This latest case to reach the U.S. Supreme court, brought by Republican officials in 18 states, contends that the ACA’s mandate for all Americans to obtain insurance became unconstitutional after Congress reduced the penalty for not having such insurance to zero. By eliminating the mandate, they say, the entire law collapses. The law has operated without the mandate for years. Last year, 8.5 million people were covered by ACA-funded insurance plans.

Bishop said he would love for the court to get rid of Obamacare, but doesn’t think they will, because of concerns about insurance for individuals with preexisting conditions. “But Congress can institutionalize coverage for preexisting conditions tomorrow. They can pass a law protecting health insurance for those individuals. We don’t need Obamacare to do that.” He also adds that President Trump deserves credit for eliminating the individual mandate. “At least now, there are ‘short-term’ insurance options that I can shop for and I don’t have to pay a tax to the government because they don’t fit the Obamacare definition of good insurance.”

Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning said Obamacare has been a disaster for Americans, doing more harm than good. He said surprise medical billing, in which patients get billed from an out-of-network provider in a situation they cannot reasonably control, such as being treated by an out-of-network anesthesiologist at an in-network hospital, is on the rise because of Obamacare.

“I’d like to see the court kill the law once and for all. We can do better.”

The rise of Newsmax

As described by the NYT:

Flanked by aides in the Oval Office on Wednesday, President Trump dialed up a friend in the news media with a message: Keep up the good work.

“He said that it’s just incredible, the ratings you’re getting, and everyone’s talking about it,” recalled Christopher Ruddy, the owner of Newsmax, a niche conservative cable network that has yet to declare a winner in the 2020 presidential election.

Based in Boca Raton, Fla., the network features lo-fi production values and off-brand personalities like Sean Spicer and Diamond and Silk. Even finding it can be a chore: It appears on Channel 1115 in some major markets. But since Election Day, Newsmax has become a growing power in a conservative media sphere that has been scrambled by President- elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory and Mr. Trump’s refusal to concede.

Hundreds of thousands of new viewers have tuned into Newsmax programs that embrace the president’s debunked claims of voter fraud and insist that Mr. Trump can keep the White House. Until recently, the network’s top shows attracted a paltry 58,000 viewers. On Thursday night, the network drew its biggest audience ever, notching 1.1 million viewers at 7 p.m.

The out-of-nowhere rise has come as Fox News — the No. 1 network in TV news and long the destination of choice for many Trump partisans — has experienced a rare decline in dominance. Ratings for the Rupert Murdochowned network have dropped since election night, when its early projection that Mr. Biden had won Arizona infuriated Mr. Trump and his allies.

“The great @FoxNews daytime ratings CRASH will only get worse!” the president tweeted on Friday.

“CRASH” is overstating things: Fox News remains the mostwatched cable news network in prime time, averaging about 3.5 million viewers the week after the election. But the shift underscores a volatility among conservative audiences as Mr. Trump denies the reality of his defeat.

While Fox News is home to Trump cheerleaders like Sean Hannity, it also runs a decision desk and a daytime news operation that have declared Mr. Biden the president-elect. That is something many Trump fans do not want to hear, and Newsmax, which frequently reminds viewers it has not projected a winner, is rushing to provide an alternative.

“This whole idea of a presidentelect, it is a media fabrication,” Greg Kelly, the 7 p.m. Newsmax host, told viewers last week. “This is not done. This thing could turn.” On Thursday, Mr. Kelly recorded his best numbers yet, pulling 1.1 million viewers for his hour.

Mr. Kelly, a former Fox News correspondent and a son of the former New York City police commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly, said in an interview that his belief in Mr. Trump’s chances is genuine. “I really believe he’s going to prevail,” he said. “It’s a sense I have. Can I articulate perfectly why I thought he was going to win? No.

But I’ll say the media has been wrong about him so many times.” In fact, Mr. Biden won a decisive victory. Newsmax’s founder, Mr. Ruddy, contends that he is merely staying open-minded. “My view is that it’s an uphill battle for the president to change the vote, but he should be given the right to have a recount,” he said in an interview. Newsmax is an unusual tribune for baseless accusations of voter fraud.

Mr. Ruddy is a longtime confidant of Mr. Trump and a member of his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach. But he calls himself a “Reagan conservative,” belongs to no political party and is a friend of Bill Clinton — despite having built his career in part as a New York Post reporter who cast doubt on the investigation into the death of a Clinton aide, Vincent Foster. Mr. Ruddy later contributed large sums to the Clinton Foundation and has a photograph of himself with the former president on his wall.

The 12th of 14 children, Mr. Ruddy grew up on Long Island and attended the London School of Economics before founding Newsmax in 1998 as a conservative website. The TV network followed in 2014, originally positioned as a centrist alternative to Fox News.

These days, Newsmax is a cozy clubhouse for Trump allies who speak emphatically about a purported second term and have taken shots at Fox News. Mr. Kelly expressed his contempt on his Thursday episode after playing a clip of a Fox News White House correspondent, Kristin Fisher, calling claims by the Trump legal team “light on facts.” “The nerve they have, the arrogance,” Mr. Kelly said.

Newsmax says it is available in more than 70 million households, but on many cable systems it is listed alongside obscure channels like Newsy, Cheddar and United Nations TV. (Newsmax is still more prominent than One America News, another network that Mr. Trump has promoted.) Mr. Kelly recently thanked viewers for their “deliberate effort” in finding the network.

Its Manhattan studio is barebones — Mr. Ruddy called his cable operation “fledgling” and suggested it did not yet turn a profit — and its visuals are more public access than prime time, lacking the splashy graphics of better-financed rivals. Some of its guests have been shunned by other networks, like Mark Halperin, a political journalist accused of sexual misconduct. (Mr. Kelly was the subject of a sexual assault claim in 2012; prosecutors declined to file charges.)

Shows that embrace debunked fraud claims lure viewers.

Then, there are the technical snafus. Wednesday’s episode of “Greg Kelly Reports” opened with a blank screen. After 12 seconds, the host appeared, midsentence in a monologue.

None of this has stopped Mr. Kelly from now drawing an audience about four times larger than CNBC’s Shepard Smith, a former Fox News anchor whose heavily promoted new program airs against it at 7 p.m.

Fox News, which benefited enormously from Mr. Trump’s rise, easily beats Newsmax in overall viewership. But since the network called the race for Mr. Biden, Trump supporters have chanted “Fox News sucks!” at demonstrations in Arizona and Washington, and its ratings have fallen well below pre-election levels.

Much of the drop has come during daytime hours, when its news anchors acknowledge Mr. Biden’s victory. But several Fox News opinion shows have seen a drop, too: Earlier this month, for the first time in 19 years, “Fox & Friends” drew a smaller weekly audience than MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

The loss of viewers has set off alarm bells inside Fox News, said several people with ties to the network who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid straining relationships. A new slogan promoting its pro-Trump opinion hosts — “Standing Up for What’s Right” — is now in heavy rotation. “There’s a ton of discontent with Fox News in conservative circles,” said Nicole Hemmer, a Columbia University scholar who studies right-wing media.

The tensions have spilled into Fox News programming. On “The Five,” Geraldo Rivera attacked a pro-Trump colleague, Jesse Watters, for endorsing baseless claims about a stolen election. In prime time, Tucker Carlson cast doubt on the claims of Sidney Powell, a Trump lawyer, saying she had failed to produce evidence of election fraud. But in the next hour, Mr. Hannity invited another Trump lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, to share his baseless claims with viewers.

Fox News declined to comment. But the network remains a ratings goliath: This summer, its primetime audience was not merely the largest on cable, but the largest across all of television. And many in the TV industry expect the network to thrive once Mr. Biden takes office, capitalizing on the same conservative “resistance” viewership that fueled its success during the Obama years.

Even if Newsmax is more willing to indulge the outlandish prospect that Mr. Trump can serve a second term, Mr. Ruddy said that Newsmax would not become, in his words, “Trumpmax.”

“I don’t see him becoming a partner in the company,” he said, adding that he doubted that Mr. Trump “would want to tether himself to one news organization.” A Trump-hosted talk show, he added, would be “terrific,” but he has not made a formal approach.

“He’s confident he has a good shot at winning, and I think he’s focused on that,” Mr. Ruddy said. “I wouldn’t want him to lose his focus.”

5 ‘Terrifying’ Policies to Brace for Under Biden

Donald Trump has been a unique president for a lot of reasons, but one in particular: he keeps his promises.

Anyone who’s seen former Vice President Joe Biden’s priorities has to be praying he doesn’t become president. They make Hillary Clinton, who ran on the most extreme platform of any candidate in history, look like a Sunday School teacher.

And unfortunately, Biden’s agenda isn’t a collection of radical policies we think he’ll push. These are things he’s said he’ll do. And as CNS News’ Terry Jeffrey points out, it’s a terrifying list.

Most conservatives don’t want to think about a Biden presidency—let alone what it would mean for our country. But as the clock ticks on and the election drags out, we can’t ignore what might be around the corner if the former vice president takes the reins.

Based on what we’ve outlined to people over the past several months, it will be an all-hands-on-deck moment for every God-fearing, freedom-loving American in the country.

Now, Jeffrey must have been limited on space, because he only highlights “5 evil things” Biden plans to do as president. If you’ve read the Biden-Sanders manifesto or perused Biden’s campaign website, you know there are many, many more.

For now, though, Christians, pro-lifers, and anyone who cares about freedom needs to brace themselves for these significant moments—and be prepared to fight back.

The very first, Jeffrey explained on “Washington Watch” on Wednesday, is to codify Roe v. Wade—making it impossible for states to limit or ban abortion for any reason. “Joe Biden wants a federal law that makes abortion nationwide a quote-unquote ‘right.’ Which I say is evil.”

And, to add to that evil, he wants to force every American to pay for it.

That’s No. 2: Biden wants to end the Hyde Amendment. In other words, every federal spending bill could be used in some way to fund abortion. The pro-life Hyde Amendment, which has stood in the way of that radical free-for-all for more than 40 years, would be gone, Jeffrey said.

Beyond that, he wants to create a ‘public option’ under Obamacare, which he describes as a Medicare-like health insurance plan that would cover abortions. So, in two different ways … he would make everybody who pays taxes in America fund abortions.

And then he would go beyond that to force businesses, private family-owned businesses to provide health insurance that covers abortion-inducing drugs.

No. 3: Biden would reinstate the Obamacare mandate, demanding that every business and nonprofit cover abortion-causing pills and contraception in their health plans.

As Jeffrey points out, “Unfortunately, the Supreme Court never really settled that issue, [so] this is a place where Joe Biden right away could do some serious damage.”

No. 4: Biden says that on Day One, “he’s going to force public schools and colleges to treat biological males as if they’re females. He literally says they’re going to have to let transgenders pick their own gender identity … So literally, Joe Biden will order public schools to say that anatomical males can play on the girls sports teams, use the girls’ shower rooms, and use the girls’ restrooms. Completely outrageous, absolutely evil.”

Last but certainly not least, the Obama vice president says he would order insurance companies to cover gender-reassignment surgeries—not only for adults, but young, impressionable children. Similar to [the] Hobby Lobby case, he’d make family-owned businesses provide that “treatment,” which is actually mutilation.

“These issues, particularly those last two,” Jeffrey said, “did not get nearly the kind of exposure and discussion they deserved before the election. I think there are many Americans who have no idea that Joe Biden is going to order public schools to let boys play on their girls sports teams and let boys use the girls’ locker rooms.

“To me, that’s such a huge [overreach]. And it’s not just evil. It shows a distortion of [Biden’s] mind and heart. And I don’t think there’s any way he could defend it … .”

Some of these things, of course, he can’t do without Congress’ help. And that’s where you and I come in—encouraging our senators and congressmen to stand firm.




24 November, 2020

New Jersey police chief won't enforce governor's 'draconian' coronavirus order limiting holiday gatherings to 10 people because it's 'detrimental to our relationship with our community'

A New Jersey police chief has said he will not enforce some of Gov Phil Murphy's 'draconian' COVID-19 orders ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Last week, Murphy imposed a 10-person limit on indoor gatherings just before the holidays. The order went into effect on November 17.

'Keep Thanksgiving plans as small as possible. The smaller the gathering is the less likely it is that someone is infected and putting loved ones at risk,' the order from the governor's office reads.

In an interview with Fox & Friends Weekend, Howell Police Chief Andrew Kudrick, Jr explained why he wouldn't be enforcing parts of Murphy's restrictions.

'Our community is hurting,' Kudrick said. 'I live here. I grew up here. I shop here. I go out to dinner here. And I talk one-on-one with our business owners… and I see how much they're hurting.'

'So as a police chief, in charge of 100-plus police officers, I felt it was just incumbent upon me just to let them know, and let my community know, that we're not going to enforce some of these executive orders which I feel are basically draconian,' he told Fox & Friends Weekend.

Kudrick also released a statement regarding his department's position on the new restrictions.

According to the statement, Howell police officers will not go door-to-door to enforce the governor's restrictions.

'We the police will not be used to carry out orders I feel are detrimental to our relationship with our community,' Kudrick said. 'Or, will put officers in a no-win predicament such as being called for a social distancing or mask complaint.'

Kudrick said that 'the only time we will consider a response would be for an egregious violation such as a packed house party'.

New Jersey, which has a positivity rate of about 7.9 per cent, has reported 4,679 new positive COVID-19 cases, bringing the state's total to 302,039.

The state recorded 34 new deaths, bringing the total to 14,934.

'The numbers speak for themselves. Please take this seriously. Wear a mask. Social distance. Avoid large gatherings,' Murphy said in a tweet on Saturday.

A New Jersey police chief has said he will not enforce some of Gov Phil Murphy's 'draconian' COVID-19 orders ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Last week, Murphy imposed a 10-person limit on indoor gatherings just before the holidays. The order went into effect on November 17.

'Keep Thanksgiving plans as small as possible. The smaller the gathering is the less likely it is that someone is infected and putting loved ones at risk,' the order from the governor's office reads.

Newsom Wanted Snitches to Turn in Thanksgiving 'Scofflaws' But Several California Sheriffs Say They Will Not Comply

Snitches need not bother to inform on their neighbors who choose to flout California Governor Gavin Newsom’s COVID-19 lockdown orders this Thanksgiving because many of the sheriffs won’t enforce it.

The governor announced a month-long, pre-Thanksgiving lockdown this week, following his COVID rule-busting dinner party at The French Laundry restaurant on November 6th.

Newsom said case numbers are rising, though death counts are not.

“The virus is spreading at a pace we haven’t seen since the start of this pandemic and the next several days and weeks will be critical to stop the surge. We are sounding the alarm. It is crucial that we act to decrease transmission and slow hospitalizations before the death count surges. We’ve done it before and we must do it again.”

But despite the alarm bells, which we’ve all heard before, sheriffs, in ever-growing numbers, apparently believe that enforcing Thanksgiving dinner and COVID curfews doesn’t make much sense when they’re freeing prisoners because of COVID.

The Sacramento police and sheriff departments said they won’t enforce Newsom’s new orders — even in the seat of the state capital.

Newsom issued a ban on “non-essential businesses” and personal gatherings in the 41 of California’s 58 counties in the so-called “purple tier” – the worst category in the state’s new color-coded coronavirus alert system. Newsom also imposed a one-month-long 10 p.m. – 5 a.m. curfew that is scheduled to end on December 21st.

Orange, Riverside, and Los Angeles County Sheriffs have all announced they will not be the Thanksgiving police. Orange County Sheriff Dan Barnes put it this way:

Let me be clear – this is a matter of personal responsibility and not law enforcement. Orange County Sheriff’s deputies will not be dispatched to, or respond to, calls for service to enforce compliance with face coverings, social gatherings or stay-at-home orders only. Deputies will respond to calls for potential criminal behavior and for protection of life or property.

In the Central Valley where four county sheriffs will not be playing Thanksgiving police, Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims said she had no desire to make “criminals out of normally law-abiding citizens.”

We have got our hands full with crime real crime issues and this is not a law enforcement issue.

She’s joined by Merced, Kings, and Tulare County sheriffs.

In Northern California, ABC 10 reports that 13 counties there won’t be enforcing the Thanksgiving dinner rules or the month-long curfew, including Sacramento County, home of the state capital where all of these rules are coming from. Sacramento police won’t be enforcing them, either.

In addition to the Sacramento law enforcement, eleven other county sheriffs and police departments will be focusing on actual criminal behavior during Newsom’s post-French-Laundry meal diktats.

San Diego is the skunk at the garden party, threatening to send out two-man enforcement teams to crack down on Thanksgiving revelers and curfew breakers.

The state’s huge homeless population is exempt from the rules. And, of course, as Instapundit points out, what are lockdowns anyway? Someone needs to make, deliver, and serve the people who stay at home or go to The French Laundry in violation of his own rules.

UK: Labour will never win power until it stops hating the working class!

Ex-union official PAUL EMBERY accuses the party of despising its natural supporters for their traditional values and opposition to mass immigration

I warned them until I was blue in the face. At Labour Party gatherings, in trade union meetings, in the media, I tried to convince my colleagues on the Left that we were close to meltdown. The schism between us and millions of working-class voters was widening and, unless we took drastic action, Labour would be destroyed at the polls.

Yet every time I sounded the alarm, I was accused of being some kind of ‘reactionary’ with a nostalgic view of the working class. Fellow activists told me my Labour Party was dead and gone. It was now a modern, mass-membership party. Jeremy Corbyn, the glorious leader, was playing to packed houses everywhere.

And then came December 12, 2019 – Labour’s worst election result since 1935. Lifelong Labour supporters in the party’s working-class heartlands voted in their thousands for a Conservative Party led by an Old Etonian.

Today, Labour has become a middle-class party with a militantly cosmopolitan world view.

Disavowing its roots, it is a movement almost exclusively for the managerial and professional classes, graduates, social activists and urban liberals. And many inside the party have started to look upon old-fashioned values with contempt.

There is no place on the modern Left for the small ‘c’ conservatism of the traditional working class, with its love of community and nation and its desire for social solidarity and belonging. Instead, this shiny, progressive, bourgeois Labour elevates things such as personal autonomy, open borders and identity politics over all that ‘faith, family and flag’ nonsense.

There had always been a compromise between the worlds of Hartlepool and Hampstead, but today it is almost all Hampstead and no Hartlepool. For some time, Labour has been travelling the road to the imagined sunlit uplands of cosmopolitan liberalism and global market forces. Now it’s in a quagmire, flirting with irrelevance.

I had no interest in seeing the British Left collapse. On the contrary, I wanted it to succeed. I still do.

I joined a trade union at 16, when I landed a Saturday job stacking shelves in a supermarket. I signed up as a member of the Labour Party at 19 and became an activist in the Fire Brigades Union when I began my career as a professional firefighter at 22, going on to serve on the union’s national executive as a full-time official.

My dad was a shop steward for the old Transport and General Workers’ Union at his works depot and my mum was a secretary for the GMB. I knew from an early age which side I was on. I learned about the history of the labour movement and its proud role in advancing the interests of ordinary working people. And I wanted to be part of it.

But the historical thread linking the movement to the working class was already starting to fray.

I witnessed the fallout between Labour and the working class at the closest quarters in the early years of this century. In my home borough of Barking and Dagenham in East London, where I was born and brought up – a proud, stable, blue-collar community centred on a sprawling 1930s council estate – the impact of globalisation and a liberal immigration policy was profound.

Today Labour is almost all Hampstead … and no Hartlepool
Dagenham’s world-famous Ford motor plant had become a shell of its former self as production was shipped abroad and the area was undergoing change at breakneck speed.

Between 2001 and 2011, the area’s foreign-born population grew by 205 per cent – by far the highest increase of any London borough. I have no criticism of them as individuals but their arrival in such large numbers not only placed considerable pressure on local services but compromised the continuity and the cultural familiarity that are the rocks on which stable, working-class communities are built.

As the borough’s social cohesion began to fall apart, residents pleaded for respite. Locals were disorientated and bewildered.

But whenever they called for better control over immigration, they were patronised with lectures about how their new environment would bring cultural enrichment and improved Gross Domestic Product.

Worse, they were often dismissed as ‘bigots’ and ‘nativists’ by a political class – including Labour politicians and activists – who knew nothing about their lives and couldn’t be bothered to learn.

This attitude drove thousands to vote for the British National Party (BNP) at the council elections in 2006, propelling that party to its best-ever performance in local government. A Labour heartland had turned to the far Right, and I watched it happen.

It was a vote driven by alienation. The people of Barking and Dagenham were not anti-immigration but they were most certainly opposed to the type of mass and uncontrolled immigration that had transformed their neighbourhoods – and their lives – so quickly.

When, eventually, the BNP also failed them, many decided to simply up sticks and leave.

In the years 2001-11 there was a mass exodus from Barking and Dagenham, with 40,000 residents departing for pastures new. Many of my friends and neighbours were among them.

A working-class community once at ease with itself had, in a few short years, become a toxic political battleground.

In 2014, Barking played host to BBC1’s political discussion programme Question Time.

A woman in the audience, Pam Dumbleton, asked: ‘Isn’t it time the Government listened to the people about the impact immigration is having in changing our communities? The Government need to come and walk through our town and just see how we now live.’

Another audience member, a middle-aged local man, agreed: ‘Listen to the indigenous people here, the people that have been here all their lives,’ he pleaded. He went on to criticise what he felt was the disproportionate Government assistance afforded to newcomers, at which point he was noisily rebuked.

Desperate still to make his case, the audience member explained he was homeless and saw it as unfair that, as a local man, he was being neglected by the Government in favour of others. He had applied unsuccessfully for a hundred jobs, he said.

But panellist and Times columnist David Aaronovitch – a loyal foot soldier of the liberal elite army, if ever there was one – upbraided him for ‘blaming the wrong people’.

‘Why is a street not yours because some of the faces in it are black?’ Aaronovitch said, illustrating that he had completely missed the point. No one mentioned black faces.

Seconds later, the man in the audience gave up. He put on his coat and walked off the set – an example in microcosm of how the people of places such as Barking and Dagenham are patronised by the liberal and cultural elites.

I knew what I was seeing was a portent of things to come. And I said so openly – not a terribly popular thing to do when you are an active member of the Labour movement and hold a senior position in a trade union.

When I dared to criticise leaders of the Labour movement for their attempts to overturn the referendum result at a Friday night pro-Brexit rally – in my own time – I was sacked from my position with the union.

I realised that unless my colleagues across the movement started acknowledging the legitimate anxieties of working-class folk and stopped treating them as though they were some kind of embarrassing elderly relative – in some cases actively despising them and dismissing them as small-minded racists – then divorce was on the cards. And so it proved.

At the 1997 General Election, 59 per cent of Labour votes came from the C2DEs (the working class) and 41 per cent from the ABC1s (middle class). In 2010, for the first time, Labour won more votes from the ABC1s than it did the C2DEs.

Labour had abandoned the working class and now the working class was returning the favour. The 2019 Election marked the nadir in the relationship, with the Tories securing the votes of 48 per cent of C2DEs compared with Labour’s 33 per cent.

When I speak to voters in Barking and Dagenham and other working-class communities, they want the conversation to be about their own anxieties and concerns.

They prioritise things such as family, law and order, immigration and national security – the type of issues that, when they are raised on the doorstep, cause Labour activists to look down at the ground and shuffle their shoes in embarrassment.

These activists are usually much happier obsessing over LGBT rights, Palestine, climate change and gender identity – issues that, while not unimportant, are not uppermost in the minds of hard-pressed working-class voters suffering the stresses of everyday life.

And while it is true that Labour under Corbyn began to talk more of the need to tackle wealth and income inequality – a welcome step – what the Corbynistas failed to appreciate is that promises of economic security are not enough. Traditional voters want cultural security, too.

Labour must change itself before it can even think about winning power. And, in particular, its members must stop hating large sections of the nation’s working class.

Voters in the Labour heartlands don’t demand miracles. But they do want a chance to secure dignified work and decent wages. For their children to get a foot on the housing ladder. For the streets to be safe.

They may well have socially conservative views and probably object to being viewed as museum pieces in their own country. And when they speak through the ballot box, as they did with Brexit, they expect their wishes to be implemented. They want to live in a nation characterised by stable families and communities, and of which all citizens feel proud to be a part. It isn’t complicated.

Once upon a time, these communities were perfectly comfortable about voting Labour. And, in turn, the party was proud to have their support.

For Labour was a patriotic, communitarian party that understood the importance of tradition and place in our society – a party that, in the words of Harold Wilson, ‘owed more to Methodism than to Marx’.

But then it went and made a catastrophic error and forgot the politics of belonging. It paid the price in millions of lost votes.

There is, for Labour, no route back to power that does not pass through its lost working-class heartlands. I hope, as someone rooted in the movement for more than a quarter of a century, that it is not too late. But I fear it might be.

And if it proves to be so, then the damage would have been entirely self-inflicted.

Australia: The next Uluru? Fears iconic mountain could be shut to climbers after local Aboriginal tribes said it was a sacred place

Why all this catering to Aboriginal superstition? Why is Aboriginal religion privileged?

Australia does not have an explicit separation of church and state but there is no doubt that such a separation is widely agreed as proper. There should be no favoritism shown to any particular religion.

Many churches have aims that they would like government support for. So why are Aboriginal aims given such respect? It is quite simply racist and wrong

An iconic mountain could be the next Australian landmark banned to hikers for good after it was named as an Aboriginal sacred place.

Mt Warning, on the Tweed Valley coast in northern New South Wales, was closed to tourists in March this year as a precaution against crowds spreading Covid-19.

The popular scenic destination, traditionally known as Wollumbin, was scheduled to allow to sightseers back in May 2021, however, the re-opening will now be reviewed, according to The Courier Mail.

Since the last tourists ascended Uluru in 2019, debate has arisen around whether climbers should be allowed on other natural landmarks such as Wollumbin and the nearby Mt Beerwah on Queensland's Sunshine Coast.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service said the delay to re-opening Wollumbin was to assess safety issues around landslides and the chain section of the hike, but also said they would be holding discussions with Indigenous groups.

'NPWS will now consider the future of the summit track, in consultation with key community and tourism stakeholders, including local Aboriginal Elders and knowledge holders,' a spokesperson said.