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December 2006

The Season Of Goodwill

A seven-year-old quadraplegic boy in a wheelchair was banned from his school's Christmas party because his Christian parents had asked for him to be excluded from lessons on Hinduism.

His no doubt whey-faced tormentor, headmistress Mary-Jane Hinchcliffe of St Anne's Infant School in Bristol, explained that since Liam's parents had withdrawn him from one religious event he could not attend another.

There are no Hindus at the school.

Merry Christmas Britain!

The Totalitarian State

Little by little, Britain is being propelled towards a totalitarian state.

Now the crushing of democracy in the hands of politicians pursuing what they claimed to be glorious schemes for social improvement was the central feature of the 20th century world. We are endlessly reminded about it by the media. What they do not say is that the version of liberalism they and the political class have pursued for near 50 years is guaranteed to end in much the same by the necessities forced upon it as a result of its own flaws.

Unlike communism, the system was not introduced on the basis that overbearing central power would be needed to force through change. Quite the reverse. Liberalism promised a more vibrant and more participatory system. What is happening is a monument to how good intentions turn to bad ones in the hands of those who believe that their system can be made glorious with one more push.

The public are being given a warning glimpse from many directions but have been diverted from recognising the dreadful path upon which we are now embarked by the unwillingness of most of the political system to break ranks. Thus we now have a Tory party anxious not to offend the bloated public sector which has so many votes it can withhold.

What people have failed to grasp is that totalitarianism can be expressed in a multitude of small social controls each justified by the internal logic of the whole. For most people that is what it usually amounts to. But in Britain we think of the term as meaning the midnight knock on the door by the political police. There will certainly be more of that before long but it will only affect a minority unwise enough to speak too openly. For most of us, the main effect will be the perception that you cannot breathe without some member of an arrogant and cosseted public sector workforce watching, taxing or fining you.

Labour has introduced a vast number of new criminal offences for infringements of rules which should never come near a criminal court - witness the man who became a convicted criminal after a piece of paper with his name on it was found in the wrong recycling bin. Echoes of the ingenious communist tactic of making it near impossible not to fall foul of the system's rules. Even the highest could then be purged in one way or another if was convenient to the state. Everyone lived precariously watching their steps.

This is the essence of the dreadful everyday reality of what it means to live under totalitarian rule. It is coming fast to Britain.

The Tories and 'Pollyism'

The Tory's latest bizarre attempt to woo the left-wing media has perhaps been a little misinterpreted - but its outcome in practice would be identical to that of New Labour's policies.

David Cameron says that relative poverty should be a target of government action - not merely absolute poverty where people struggle to eat and keep warm. But, as he said himself, Labour largely relied on redistribution of money by clumsy governmental enterprises.

In so far as it goes he is right. But his party is no different from Labour in seeking to introduce cheap labour from mass immigration and thus keep wages down for the worst-off. In fact, it is not worth working for millions of Britons. Yet a reduction in relative poverty can only come about by people at the bottom earning a living.

Now unless Cameron is willing to tackle both low wages and the welfare system he can do little except to provide what he called the 'supporting structures' designed to induce people to go forth and labour. Tackling the welfare system would be instantly condemned by the entire liberal media as the 'nasty party' showing it true colours. Any real controls on immigration likewise, with the business lobby joining the fray to complain about lost profits.

So that leaves a party wishing for the approval of Guardian columnists like Polly Toynbee with only one avenue by which to pursue a reduction in the disparity of incomes - the 'supporting structures' Cameron speaks of. In practice, this will mean another round of Job Centre style 'advisors' with yet more ingenious titles for their latest great plan - 'Restart, Restart Plus, Restart Plus Plus, and now perhaps 'Polly Plus' or 'Polly Filler'.

The 'clients' projected through these procedures will shrug their shoulders as usual and calculate the odds with the ingenuity of bookmakers. Unless you can earn a good wage you are better off on benefits. Unless you can save a great deal of money don't bother. You'll only lose another raft of benefits. . 

Quotes of the month

'Conscientious homeowners in 2005 carefully sorted millions of glass bottles for recycling collection - 190,000 tons of which failed to find any buyer because there is no market for recycled coloured glass. But still the recycling tsars insist we must keep on filling the bottle banks. So by 2008, it is estimated there will be 500,000 tons of coloured glass sitting in rubbish depots across the country.

The NHS now has 264,012 administrators - and 175,646 beds.

The DVLA withdrew the number plate GO05TEP on grounds it might be offensive to Germans.'  

Daily Mail November 21 2006

'A school where pupils went home in tears after being told that Father Christmas did not exist is changing its policy.

After a meeting, a governor, who did not wish to be named said: 'It's not just Father Christmas that's the problem. We also have issues with things like the Tooth Fairy. From now on, when a child asks if Father Christmas exists the teacher should say, "I'm not sure. Go home and ask your parents".'

Daily Mail November 23 2006

'Tory leader David Cameron let his guard slip at the launch of Lord Ashcroft's book, Victoria Cross Heroes, at the Imperial War Museum.

The incident occurred as Sir Peter de la Billiere related the courage of one VC winner. When he noted that the soldier 'exposed himself' to the enemy, Cameron and his Shadow Cabinet colleague Alan Duncan sniggered at the back of the room.

'They were like a pair of schoolboys and it did not go unnoticed' says a fellow guest.'

Richard Kay Daily Mail November 8 2006

'Every �1 of revenue for the next decade has already been committed or will be needed desperately by existing services. Raising taxation will fail because of the adverse effects of increased taxes on growth. The happy years of spend and tax are yesterday's news.

The fiscal cupboard is almost bare, even for Polly Toynbee.'  

William Rees Mogg - Mail on Sunday November 26 2006

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