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I remember watching with horror on the night of the 13th November 2015 as the news of the Paris atrocities came through. RT, the BBC, and Sky were all of them thoroughly confused by the events and yet I stayed up until the small hours of the morning. When I woke up, the death toll was well over a hundred. It made me, and countless others, almost physically ill. It also made me very angry.
This morning, I sat down with my breakfast and switched on the television set with the intention of getting my 5-10 minutes of BBC propaganda. Instead, I was very nearly late for college. Just as in November, I was glued to the screen, only this time I don’t feel the same anger. Yes, I am repulsed. I would hope that the very idea that any one of us could be blown to smithereens by some lunatic while on the way to work or waiting for our luggage – in our own country – would repulse any sensible person. But I am incapable of reproducing the emotions of last year.Instead, what I mostly feel is déjà vu.
SYRIA: LET US DO NOTHING!
There’s a lot of talk of the recent debates over the Cameron regime’s proposed Syrian adventure being a good thing and that we are learning from the mistakes of Iraq and Libya.
No we aren’t. The vast majority of voices we are hearing are in favour of a military solution. While the wisdom of bombing is being questioned, it is the wisdom of ‘bombing only’ that is being questioned, with even a young lady from the Adam Smith Institute calling for working “with countries all over the world” in a Grand Coalition, arguing that boots on the ground “probably is necessary”.
PARIS: A FEW POLITICAL POINTS TO MAKE
I disagree that it is crude to make a political point out of atrocities such as that in Paris yesterday. Bad politics causes these attacks and better politics can prevent them. Here are a few political points I’d like to make.
In the first place, most of us have imperfect information about the events of last night. I was flicking back and forth from Sky to BBC, who, in turn, were getting their most reliable information from BFM. Even as I write, the death toll is disputed as is the question of whether the terrorists definitely were Muslims.
IN PRAISE OF DAVID CAMERON (& CO): A LIBERTARIAN FATWA
A fortnight ago, I wrote something nasty about Margaret Thatcher for the Libertarian Alliance. Yet even I will concede that in order to be so cruel about the old cow one must inevitably come across as sympathetic to some less than civilised people. In order to attack the Thatcher government and its record one must to some extent deny the existence of the many problems this country faced in 1979: the rampant inflation; the militant trade unionism; the lack of self-respect as a nation; the high rates of direct taxation; the low levels of home ownership. I will concede that even if one takes a dim view of the Thatcher government, there are many allowances that can, and indeed must, be made.
However, when considering the latest tax credits debacle, I am unable to make similar allowances for Mr Cameron and his government. This particular episode is a perfect example of economic illiteracy, legislative incompetence, and constitutional ignorance.
From New Year’s Eve 2014
While it’s still with us, and before the noisy and inconvenient midnight frolicking begins (making it almost impossible to write this later on), I thought I’d quickly offer a round-up of 2014. I must first make it clear that I do not watch the news; only since early December have I been paying the slightest bit of attention to it. If I have missed something, or if I am grossly misrepresenting some event, please jump in and correct me. Happy New Year!
2014: where to start? I won’t do it consecutively, since I can’t think of anything at the present moment that happened in the first months of the year.
In September, we had, or rather the Scots had, a plebiscite on whether or not to remain within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. In the first polls on the issue, it seemed that the Scots wanted to leave. But, really, I don’t think any of us for a moment thought that they would.