Friday, December 23, 2005

A Merry Christmas to All....

...and best wishes for 2006!

PS Click on picture to enlarge - it's very nice...

Atheists in Christian England

At some point I know I will want to write something meaningful about why, despite being an atheist myself, I am grateful for Christian England.

Until I do, I will bring to your attention this opinion piece by the Daily Telegraph's Simon Heffer who, as a fellow atheist, has nicely summed up the case for Christianity in our green and pleasant land:

I rejoice wholeheartedly as an atheist that I live in a Christian culture, and I know that, in that undeniably hypocritical act, I am not alone.

Indeed, it is not just those who, like me, were born into Christian families who feel this way: so do many Muslims and Jews, and it is one of the reasons that they are so happy to live in our country and be surrounded by that culture.


I don't believe he's being hypocritical at all. Like Mr Heffer, I do not share the theological beliefs of Christians but I do value the kindness of individuals who try to live their lives according to that code which, amongst other things, seeks to do well for the poor, the lonely, the ill or the dispossessed.

...if they shut themselves off from the Christian culture, whether from the beauty of the liturgy, the serenity of church music, or from admiring the reticulated tracery of an east window, then their lives can only be deeply impoverished.

Our oldest schools and universities have intrinsic links with the Anglican Church. Our very system of justice is implicitly Christian. Our history is Christian since the dawn of the seventh century. More to the point, it is by the will of the majority, in our democracy, that all this remains so.

Mr Heffer points out that other religions are strongest where they bow to their gods rather than the latest fashions:

One of the most admirable qualities of Islam is that, in Islamic states, it makes no apology for itself, but has all the self-confidence that makes old cultures so attractive and potent. Nor should Christianity in Christian states such as ours have to go on the defensive, or seek accommodations with modern fashions, alien customs, bigotry and ignorance.

The gradual elimination of Christianity - and its festivals - is done, apparently, to avoid offending the sensibilities of ethnic minorities. Yet I have not met one member of any ethnic minority who feels England should abandon its Christian heritage - but I've met several who are adamant that England shouldn't.

The modern Left exercises a militant anti-Christianity not so much because of a cultural cringe in the face of immigrant minorities, but because of its general wish to dismantle history. Once you have erased Christianity, you have erased (or at least made appear irrelevant) much of the past 1,400 years. "Modernisation" in all its political forms is about the tabula rasa, and there are few ways of creating one of those so effective as the destruction of the traditional faith.

The Left seeks to erase Christian England for its own purposes - primarily, I assume, because their credo will better take hold if it faces no competition. However, the stock excuse given for the various 'christmas bans' in England is that Christians celebrating their faith causes members of the various faith groups to feel left out or marginalised. But then the majority culture in this country resents the minorities for what they see as the subjugation of their own culture - giving the Left the opportunity to then portray themselves as defenders of the very minorities whose reputation they actually tarnished.

Finally, Mr Heffer issues a challenge for those of us who feel that Christian England is worth defending:

All of us, whatever our faith or lack of it, should see in Christmas a reaffirmation of a way of life that a few others wish to destroy, and the wonder of our benign sense of atavism. Atheist, Muslim and Jew can be part of this civilised, free-thinking resistance movement. And perhaps, if enough of us express this feeling now, our political leaders will feel it safe to jump aboard the bandwagon, with their usual lack of shame, in time for next Christmas.

Mr Heffer suggests it is unlikely that a politician will risk his reputation by doing anything so dangerous as speaking up for English traditions or the English way of life unless he can see a sizeable advantage to himself in so doing. Despite the fact that (as I believe, at least) England's ethnic minorities are sophisticated enough to not feel threatened by English assertiveness, the Left have successfully attached a whiff of racism to any attempts to promote love for or pride in England.

That being the case, it will almost certainly require the people to insist that their traditions and way of life are valuable to them and should not be undermined in the way they are being. One can only wonder though how the English might be roused sufficiently from their apathy to actually make the necessary stand.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Return to class war

From John Prescott, British Deputy Prime Minister:

I see a bit of 'class' is coming back with Cameron and his outfit. The Eton Mafia.

"We are always better against class. It's the Eton mob, isn't it? They used to fight their wars on the Eton playing fields. Now they win elections on the Eton playing fields.

"I always feel better fighting class anyway," he adds, laughing. "Bring the spirit back into the Labour Party."

[Source: The Sunday Telegraph]

So John Prescott has attempted to breathe life back into the dead horse of class-consciousness by declaring that the Conservative Party is being led by an Eton 'mafia'. This comment is prompted by the ascension of Eton-educated David Cameron to the Party's leadership - and, possibly, the Party's subsequent surge in the opinion polls.

But to admit that fighting class is what the Labour Party is best at not only creates the impression that he belongs to a Party whose whole raison d'etre is what it opposes but also makes one wonder if that's a form of admission that the government is currently doing what it's not best at.

Further, his comments lend legitimacy to the prejudicial writing-off of a group of people due to attributes they acquired at birth. The difference between Mr Prescott's pronouncements and those of the average racist, homophobe or misogynist seems pretty slim indeed.

To be fair to Mr Prescott, the likelihood is that he is referring to some 18th century version of class where a paternalistic sense of duty to the betterment and improvement of the lower orders grated along with an arrogance and spite which actually often kept people pretty much in their place for their entire lives.

But he must know these conditions are long gone and that his mutterings against class may well be seen as the last hurruhs of frustrated class warriors with nobody left to fight. And, importantly, nobody left to fight for. The working classes - no longer poor and down-trodden - had to be replaced. But the replacements - Muslims, women, homosexuals and so on - are a pale imitation of the Holy Grail of the political cause celebre - a whole class of people.

Mr Prescott is heading for a substantial disappointment. Nobody is excited by the iniquities of wholesale class injustice because it just doesn't exist. Labour's more pressing problems are to do with the high regulation, high tax, high spend nature of its government and the fact that, as the economy falters, it is showing that, in terms of tax-and-spend, under the veneer of 'New' Labour Old Labour is itching to get out.

Labour's job was pretty much done by 1947. Its NHS and council house building programmes were under way (partly through the use of American post-war aid) and its nationalisation programme was already becoming unpopular. Since then, social and economic improvements brought by both Labour and the Conservatives - Margaret Thatcher most notably - and the rewards of technological advancement have made life quite comfortable for most of the UK's citizens. A couple of decades of proper conservatism will deprive the Labour Party of a constituency and thus relegate them - and the others - to the status of historical curiosities.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Cameron for PM

Well, those of us who supported David Davis and who hoped ardently for his victory will be feeling a bit hung-over after the Conservative Party's leadership contest result.

We believe our man had the gravitas, the punch, the experience and the maturity of his years to be New Labour's Grim Reaper whilst also believing that Mr Cameron lacked all these qualities - and that he may continue to lack them for the foreseeable future.

Criticism of Mr Cameron wasn't necessarily personal. If the Conservative Party was looking for an image make-over - that 'change' we have been endlessly told we need - then David Cameron was a good choice. He's young, he's got a nice family, he won't frighten the horses and has banged on so much about how we've got to change and be compassionate that, maybe, he's convinced the electorate that that's what we've actually done. Further, Mr Cameron isn't a dope, isn't an incompetent and he isn't a fool.

Trouble is, in some areas we're not sure what he actually is. More dangerously, for those of us who believe, for example, that a firm line must be taken on drug use and an uncompromising line be taken with our Lords and masters in the EU, Mr Cameron seems, so far, decidedly unsatisfactory.

So how should conservatives view Mr Cameron's ascension to the Party's leadership?

First of all - and most of all - we've got to accept the result of the leadership election and support the Party's leader. Regardless of preference before the election, we're now after the election and Mr Cameron isn't the enemy, he's an ally against the enemy. Labour is the enemy and it is that Party on whom we should train our guns. We must direct our fire ferociously against a government that represents nothing that is decent or good in England but which is, in fact, conducting a huge social trick on us, one designed to keep them in power and us in their power. We should consider anybody who opposes Labour to be a friend.

Second, there is room for optimism. I'm not talking about his maiden performance in the Commons the other day which, I understand (I haven't actually seen it), was well-delivered and scored points on the government. The optimism I'm especially referring to is with regards to the cabinet appointments - Hague, David Davis and Liam Fox, particularly. The latter two will help keep the Party - and, hopefully, a future Conservative government - in line in case Mr Cameron has a Blair flush now and again. And they'll give the Party necessary experience and gravity without appearing old and grouchy.

Another reason for optimism is that Mr Cameron takes over when the government's tax-and-spend habits and all the rest of its lunatic mentality are coming home to roost. Further, Blair's in trouble because Mr Cameron may well support parts of his education Bill while parts of his own party will vote against it. A Labour leader pushing through legislation only because the Opposition supports it is asking for trouble from his own party - and he'll get it.

But, of course, just because things aren't looking good for the government doesn't mean they will look much better for the Conservative Party if the Conservative Party doesn't (a) properly capitalise on the government's numerous failings and (b) offer a concrete, precise and compelling vision for this country's future.

Mr Cameron must now prove to those of us who currently feel he is too whimsical and vague in his pronouncements that he has solid ideas and a clear-cut philosophy on all areas of government. It is, after all, from these ideas that we would expect meaningful and effective policies to spring. The difficulty for members of the Conservative Party for too long has been that we just don't know where we stand on anything that matters. At the moment we still don't and, even if it's too early for detailed policies, we must at least have a clear policy direction. The canvas is pretty blank and we must start filling it.

The friendly, internal fight is over. The real fight now begins. Our enemy is leftist Labour and our principles are the tried and tested, rooted-in-reality traditions and values of England and the English. Whatever else we might feel there seems to be a mood - and mood matters - of optimism, renewal and possibility in both the Party and in much of the press. If that's what it takes to have our ideas listened to with anything approaching an open mind then it's all for the good. Let's use the opportunity to remove this government and install something a little more sane. Before it's too late.

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