31 Mar

Free At The Point Of Death

Lord Norman Warner, a former Labour health minister, has suggested that we all pay a £10 per month membership fee to save the NHS from financial catastrophe. The suggestion has provoked the usual excoriating shrieks from the metro-political elite who predict that this will mean an end to free health care. But “free health care” is just a lying slogan, like something out of 1984 or Animal Farm: “four legs good; two legs bad,” for instance. We all pay massively, from the cradle to the grave you might say, for the failed, neglectful (and sometimes murderous) NHS through taxes and national insurance. Why?

Because, say the propagandists of the corporate state, “The NHS is the envy of the world.” The laughing-stock of the world, more like and a national disgrace. There was a time when the NHS was admired: in the 1940s and 50s when it was a lean organisation run with military efficiency. This happy condition began its demise in the 1960s when the NHS embarked upon its relentless bureaucratisation. And we all know what always happens to socialist bureaucracies, especially in the public services: there comes a point when they no longer exist for the benefit of those they were appointed to serve, but for the nomenclature of highly paid bureaucrats in their ever-expanding numbers and the highly-unionised people who are employed in it. But “employed” is not the right word, suggesting, as it does, people put to some useful purpose.

Dr James Le Fanu has produced the awful statistic that, whereas as late as the 1970s the NHS was run by 500 senior managers, now their number is 70,000. And that’s the senior managers, mind you. Add to that the assorted multitude of hangers-on, box-tickers and jobsworths appointed by a statist ideology which is always dreaming of systems so perfect that no one will need to be good. And that’s the root of it: socialism, for all its vile sentimentality, replaces heart with system. Why do socialist governments – and we are all socialists now, including Mr Cameron – do this? Not, dear reader, because they care but because they love to be in charge and control

The Labour party used to be a workers’ party. Now it has decayed and diseased itself into a sullen, over-weaning politburo which bribes an increasingly docile and moronic underclass by paying them to be idle. The “intelligentsia” supports them because so many of the intelligentsia make a good – one is tempted to say – entrepreneurial living out of it. And the big lie is that public health is so important that its securing must not be left to private individuals and groups. It was not always so. The truth is the very opposite. The rot started in 1948.  Things were better before the creation of the NHS. Just look at the signature vocabulary of health care: nurses called “sisters;” hospitals named after saints; “hospital” and “hospice” themselves creations of medieval Christianity. But now that most excellent gift “charity” is just a dirty word and so must be improved upon by bureaucratic diktat

Do you have to be told that such attainments as we can boast in way of polite society will hardly survive the faith to which they owe their significance? Do you have to be told that what once was can be again? I should like, please, extensively to quote James Bartholomew who understands the details of all this better than anyone:

“Many people would think it quite impossible that a medical system worthy of the name could possibly be based to a significant degree on charitable donations and unpaid work. The pre-NHS system was not based just on that, but, before 1948, charity was indeed a major part of it.Think of the major London teaching hospitals of today, such as Guys and St Bart’s. Every one was set up prior to the NHS. Every one was a charitable – or “voluntary” – hospital, set up specifically to treat anyone, whether they could afford it or not.

“Charitable giving came from all sorts of people, those of modest means as well as the rich. Celebrities such as Handel and Reynolds contributed to earlier hospitals. The Royal Family was instrumental in stimulating charity, notably through the King’s Fund, which was established by Edward VII. There were Sunday collections in churches and Saturday collections in workplaces.Increasingly, people contributed to regular hospital care plans. In 1938, 52% of the income of the voluntary sector came from paying patients and the proportion was rising fast. There were also the municipal hospitals, in which local people took some pride.

“But the voluntary hospitals were gaining in importance as the 20th century progressed. By 1936, the voluntary hospitals took 60 per cent of those requiring acute care. British medicine was widely admired around the world. It was a leader in medical innovation, its greatest triumph being the discovery and development of penicillin. This was just in time to save thousands of lives during the liberation of Europe and subsequently has saved millions of lives around the world.

“Healthcare in Britain was very substantial and impressive prior to 1948. Even the Labour Party pamphlet, which recommended a “National Service for Health” in 1943, could find little to criticise. There is mention of only one waiting list, for “rheumatic diseases”. That implies that there were no waiting lists for all the other specialties and no waiting lists to see consultants. There was no mention of any shortage of doctors (which is so chronic now) or, indeed, of nurses. There was no complaint either, about the quality of care.

“Why, then, was this system thrown out, to be replaced by a socialist model? Because, said the pamphlet, a good medical service should be “planned as a whole”.

“It is certainly true that pre-NHS medical care was not ‘planned as a whole.’ On the other hand, it worked.”

The true indication of our descent into the totalitarian state is that discussion of these matters has become impossible.

You might say my today;’s blog is the archetypal example of the Thought Crime

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30 Mar

Accommodating Archbishop Welby

Archbishop Justin Welby has told The Guardian: ‘I think the Church has reacted by fully accepting that  same-sex marriage is the law, and should react on Saturday by continuing to demonstrate in word and action, the love of Christ for every human being.” He added on this morning’s Sunday programme that the government was “perfectly within its rights to make this law.”

Two things then.

First, we know that Christians should continue to demonstrate the love of Christ for everyone. Welby’s words are just cliche, cant and touchy-feeliness. Secondly, while we might agree with him that the government was within its rights to pass this law, does this entail that Christians must accept it? Whatever happened to the Scheltrede and the Drowert – the prophetic word of judgement? Marriage is a Christian Sacrament instituted of God in the time of man’s innocency for, among other things, the procreation of children and the avoidance of fornication. Neither of these two things is possible in same-sex “marriage.” A same-sex “marriage” is not a marriage. The Book of Common Prayer directs us to the second chapter of St John’s gospel which tells how Christ “ordained and beautified with his presence” the wedding at Cana. In The Book of Revelation, Christ is the Bridegroom and the Church is his Bride. Thus the Sacrament of marriage – which includes the definition of marriage – belongs to the Church. And the Church says it is between a man and a woman.

This is not to say that there are no other forms of personal and sexual relationships. But whatever they are, they are not marriage. It follows that anyone who declares marriage to be something other than what the Church celebrates and defines thereby desecrates the Sacrament

And it is the duty of the Archbishop to say so.

Christians in New Testament times suffered persecution rather than conform to pagan laws. Christians have been ready to die for the faith throughout the 2000 years of the Church’s history. The Archbishop seems to depart from this model when he announces an accommodation with this new example of sacrilege.

In The Book of Daniel and in the gospels there are the prophecies concerning the Abomination of Desolation   – the desolating sacrilege – being set up in the holy place. The new law is just that and nothing else. 

The Archbishop’s accommodation merits a little verse:

After lunch at The Athenaeum

He may convene an ecumenical commission

For the late repudiation of Original Sin.

Even at three in the afternoon

Among the members of that yawning Babel

He is much respected for his subtle mind:

An eminent man of tolerant religion,

Of flexible principle and estimable pragmatism,

Unrestricted by the petty syllogism and

As easy in agreement as St Janus himself.

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26 Mar

History is not junk

The Dean of King’s, Cambridge – Wittgenstein’s college – said something good on Thought for the Day this week. It would have been even better if he had not delivered his talk as one struggling with English as a foreign language. But that’s academics for you. It was laboriously constructed and took me back to the days when we were nine and were asked to write a composition. And, discarding the bad influence of the Bible, we must not begin a sentence with and or finish it with of.

Never mind his charmless fabrication, the Dean said something that needs saying. He said we should not think of the period between the departure of the Romans and the start of the Renaissance as the Dark Ages. Great things were accomplished in science, literature, philosophy and art during those centuries.

Well said Mr Dean

But he spoilt it at the end by saying that the phrase Dark Ages could be consigned to “the dustbin of history.”

This is a common enough misunderstanding, though perhaps not one we should expect from a senior Cambridge man. History is not a dustbin. And history is not the past – as if it still enjoyed a shadowy existence way back like a fading tapestry. History, I repeat, is not the past. History is our conversation about the past in the here and now. History is not a place, or a collection of events – still less a dustbin.

History is ideas of the past in the minds of historians now living.

For a fuller explanation of how this is so – in good, plain English – see The Idea of History by R.G. Collingwood.

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25 Mar

The prophet hath honour except in his own country

Please forgive me for  banging on so loudly about our incipient decadence. I have been challenged by kind readers of this blog concerning my representation of the Frankfurt School of cultural Marxists who, by their policy of undermining and destroying western society not by armed revolution but by “infiltrating and corrupting western institutions from within” determined to destroy our civilisation.

I am accused by my readers – at least there are some readers – which is more than the prophet Jeremiah could boast – that I am indulging in cliche and conspiracy theory.

Have I been a philosopher for sixty years for nothing?

The anarchic-nihilistic agenda has penetrated and taken over all our institutions and we are dead in the water. Not just the Christian Church and the national polity, but little companies such as the Girl Guides…

Here, if I can manage to download the bloody thing, I will repeat:

It goes like this: “Free to be me….free to be me….free to be me…” The song is spin off from the new “Free to be me” badge just introduced for Girl Guides. There is in-depth training to be gone through before the award of this prized emblem. Candidates are instructed to “value their bodies” – I do hope this is not with the idea of selling them – and to “celebrate diversity.”

I read on the Guides’ website that the new badge is designed to increase girls’ “self-esteem.” These blind Chief Guides have forgotten that it is oneself that precisely one is not meant to esteem. Another word for self-esteem is phariseeism.

Here are a few more of the recently-introduced Guides’ badges:

Confectioner (“Know how to make three kinds of icing; know how to melt chocolate successfully….”)

Healthy Lifestyle (“Make up a TV or magazine advert that shows why it is important to look after your feet…”)

Discovering Faith (“With your Patrol or other Guides, take part in a ‘Reflections’ or ‘Thought for the Moment’ in your unit. Use songs, drama, mime, music and so on. You should use at least one story from your own faith.”)

World Issues (“Find out about as many peace symbols as you can. Why were things like the olive branch and the dove chosen? Design and make a mobile using peace symbols.”)

Music Zone (” Listen to pieces of music from other countries or cultures. Share them with your Patrol and explain what you like about them.”)

Culture (“Learn ten words and their meanings from your chosen culture’s language or dialect. Teach them to your Patrol.”)

Personal Safety (“Be able to describe three things that might cause you harm or make you feel unsafe, while (…) heating up baked beans on the stove and toasting two pieces of bread in the toaster”)

That noise in your ear  is Lady Baden-Powell spinning in her grave,

The point is that this fight against our destroyers – well-represented in all out debased institutions , especially the church – is a fight to the death. It is not a hobby. I am not in it for the frisson. Of course we (no less than the nihilists and Stalinists) have our useful fools and fellow travellers. There are so many who will nod and pay lip service to what I am saying all the time – but then will be very happy to douse themselves in Downton Abbey and Strictly Come Whatsit; or, worse, the Veronese exhibition at the National Gallery.

Brute beasts with no understanding

Now then, my dears, I seek your advice: should I grow up and become more liberated , more accommodating, more sophisticated, emancipated, diversified… and any of the other sickening adjectives you can conjure; or should I struggle however feebly to preserve what’s let of anything that was ever any good?

I guess what some might say: “But who’s to say what is good?” Easy: Sophocles, Plato, the Lord Jesus Christ. Bach Mozart, Giotto told us.

Why are those who say they are our friends really members of the other side by their acceptance of the values which the other side proclaims? You don’t need to say anything…

I won’t give up. But the certainty is that I shall fail

Cheer up! – there;’s another exhibition of human Renaissance anthropomorphic art coming up at the Nat Gal any minute now.

And may God have mercy on your souls – if you are allowed to have souls

peter

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25 Mar

The Narcissistic Camp Fire Song

It goes like this: “Free to be me….free to be me….free to be me…” The song is spin off from the new “Free to be me” badge just introduced for Girl Guides. There is in-depth training to be gone through before the award of this prized emblem. Candidates are instructed to “value their bodies” – I do hope this is not with the idea of selling them – and to “celebrate diversity.”

I read on the Guides’ website that the new badge is designed to increase girls’ “self-esteem.” These blind Chief Guides have forgotten that it is oneself that precisely one is not meant to esteem. Another word for self-esteem is phariseeism.

Here are a few more of the recently-introduced Guides’ badges:

Confectioner (“Know how to make three kinds of icing; know how to melt chocolate successfully….”)

Healthy Lifestyle (“Make up a TV or magazine advert that shows why it is important to look after your feet…”)

Discovering Faith (“With your Patrol or other Guides, take part in a ‘Reflections’ or ‘Thought for the Moment’ in your unit. Use songs, drama, mime, music and so on. You should use at least one story from your own faith.”)

World Issues (“Find out about as many peace symbols as you can. Why were things like the olive branch and the dove chosen? Design and make a mobile using peace symbols.”)

Music Zone (” Listen to pieces of music from other countries or cultures. Share them with your Patrol and explain what you like about them.”)

Culture (“Learn ten words and their meanings from your chosen culture’s language or dialect. Teach them to your Patrol.”)

Personal Safety (“Be able to describe three things that might cause you harm or make you feel unsafe, while (…) heating up baked beans on the stove and toasting two pieces of bread in the toaster”)

That noise in your ear  is Lady Baden-Powell spinning in her grave,

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25 Mar

A lefty Love-in

Are you in the mood for love first thing in the morning? Evan Davis and Harriet Harman were on the Today Programme at 7.45 today. My, what a torrid affair it was too! Forget Romeo and Juliet, Tristan and Isolde, Abelard and Heloise, the love affair between the BBC and the Labour Party is truly enduring. Sometimes lovers require a pretext for their trysts and today the ostensible occasion was the question of whether non-payment of the TV licence fee should be decriminalised. That was only the foreplay. Hands on knees. The bumps-a-daisy soon followed. Harriet explained tenderly that the licence fee “guarantees the BBC’s independence from government.” As an engaged lover, Evan was too kind to ask the obvious question, “Well, then, darling, who or what guarantees the independence of ITV, SKY or any other of the myriad commercial channels which regularly manage to criticise governments while lacking the financial cushion of what amounts to a tax?”

As this rude question went all unasked, it had to go all unanswered. Evan merely moved the cushion, so to speak,

He asked Harriet why Labour was under a cloud following its recent set-back in the polls. When dealing with Harriet (or any of her sisters – and brothers in the Labour Party) Evan is never anything other than gentle. His soft imploring gave Harriet the perfect opportunity to say that Labour was not at all under a cloud and that indeed, given the stirring leadership of Ed Miliband, all was working for the best in the best of all possible parties.

This was the climax of their love scene and it subsequently faded. But never fear, it will be revived again…and again…and again, The passion of our two lefty lovers is insatiable – and of course all their trysts are paid for out of our taxes

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23 Mar

The Real Church of England

I have at last discovered where the real Church of England has been hiding out. This has taken some time. I moved to Eastbourne last May and for the last ten months I have been trying to find a place to worship where prayer remains valid. In the process I have come across a great variety of tomfoolery, religion so trendy it sets your teeth on edge, sackless thespian parsons who put the stress on all the wrong words: one said, every week, “He took bread and gave IT to them.” Liturgies at once so tedious and infantilised they might have been written by a partnership between the circumlocution office and Enid Blyton’s Noddy. One church so fastidiously committed to interior design it could have had its own stall at the Daily Mail’s ideal homes exhibition: instead of Epistle and Gospel candles, one on each side of the altar, rather a candelabra all at one end. And then the politically-correct prayers about “rights” and right-on causes, the intercessions elaborated into something resembling the grand tour. They forget, these clerical politicos, Evelyn Waugh’s saying, “Praying for Nicaragua when you live in Tunbridge Wells is the first sign of madness.” There are many other such signs following: the Peace, which is invariably the noisiest part of the service with all its froth and phoney friendliness; the aisle-dancing; the bloody guitars; the inane and unmusical choruses which repeat half a dozen time words that were not worth singing once.

Well good bye to all that.

I have found the real Church of England alive and well in the parish of St Thomas A Becket, Lewes. And it only takes me three-quarters of an hour to get there, door to door. I take the train. But honestly, I’d go if I had to walk it. The Service is Book of Common Prayer Holy Communion and nothing else – except the welcome addition of four traditional hymns. No burbling on with imbecile mentions of parishioners whose birthdays fall that week. No more of that sickening new version of the Prayer for the Church in which the bishops have accorded themselves precedence over the Queen.  English in all its lapidary simplicity and easy-goingness.

The priest is a priest. He has presided there for thirty years and he is well past retirement age. There is no vicarage. Fr George lives in his own house in the parish. He is not paid. I said Fr George but he is known to all his parishioners as Brother George – because he was once a monk who left the monastery to come to Lewes to look after his mother when she became frail, and he has been there ever since. Sage and the nearest thing to a saint I’ve ever met. He preaches with disarming plainness and invariably about fathomless truths. So easy and all unaffected. One of the reasons he comes across so well – quite apart from the learned holiness of the man – is that his words echo those found in the real Bible and the real Prayer Book. There is no jargon, no pretence, no thespian frolics, no thrashing around to force a link between St Paul’s Epistle and what they were banging on about on the BBC news bulletin; and no affected sincerity. He is the complete natural, a man as at home inside his own skin as i have ever come across. There is a tangible bond of love between Brother George and his people: the real thing, all calm and unstated, not the hyper-inflated emotionality and sickening touchy-feelyness which is the aroma filling the air in so many parish churches.

The proper words. Scholarliness. Honesty. Brotherly love. I am healed of my ten months’ distemper by the mere touch of the hem of his garment.  

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22 Mar

Prophets To Tickle Our Ears

Christians with traditional beliefs about issues such as homosexuality should be given “reasonable accommodation” in law, Britain’s most senior woman judge has said.  Lady Hale, deputy president of the Supreme Court, said the UK is “less respectful” towards people with religious views than other countries, despite its long Christian traditions.  She questioned whether the current “hard line” approach to discrimination claims, based on EU law, could be sustained in the long term. Her comments, in a lecture at Yale law School in the US, follow a series of cases in which British Christians claimed to be suffering religious discrimination but lost their cases. They include Shirley Chaplin, a nurse from Exeter, who was banned from wearing a cross at work as well as Gary McFarlane, a former Relate counsellor, and Lillian Ladele, a marriage registrar, who both lost their jobs after resisted performing tasks they said went against their religious beliefs.

Well said, Baroness Hale!

We should compare and contrast her words with those of Archbishop Justin Welby, the man who ought to be in the forefront of the promoting of Christian values – and indeed the truth of the Christian gospel. But given friends like Welby, Christians have no need of enemies. He says, “It is absurd and impossible to ignore overwhelming changes in social attitudes.” This echoes Rowan Williams’ remarks last year to the effect that Christians “…have a lot of catching up to do with secular mores.” Thus we might phrase the Welby-Williams revised gospel as “Repent not, but be ye indeed conformed to this world.”

So here we see those who were appointed to defend the Christian faith and its moral teachings instead undermining both faith and teachings. It’s as if they should have declared, “And the Lord said unto his disciples, ‘Go ye into all the land and set up focus groups that ye might understand and know what it is that is desired of the people: that give unto them.”

Can you imagine Isaiah the prophet or Jeremiah the seer preaching to King Ahab or to the apostate Jeroboam, son of Nebat, “Keep not the Law of the Lord but what seemeth pleasurable unto the crowd, that do. And behold, I give unto thee a new commandment: Thou shalt do as thou bloody well likest”?

There are words to describe the Welby-Williams axis: “Beware of false prophets which come to thee in sheep’s clothing but underneath they are ravening wolves…white sepulchres which indeed appear beautiful outward but within are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.”

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20 Mar

Benn Will Lie Overnight

Following a suggestion from John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons, Black Rod is to seek permission from the Queen for the body of Tony Benn to lie overnight in the chapel of St Mary Undercoft on the eve of his funeral. Baroness Thatcher is the only other politician to have been accorded this honour. De mortuis nil nisi bonum. Of course. But still we might ask whether such an honour is appropriate in Benn’s case. And, since Baroness Thatcher was the only other recipient of the honour, comparisons are both fair and inevitable.

Margaret Thatcher cleared up the mess which the socialist policies advocated by Tony Benn had made of the country. She defeated the destructive and illegitimate miners’ strike of 1984-85. Benn publicly and vigorously supported the miners’ leader, the Communist Arthur Scargill whose intention was to bring down the Tory government – aided and abetted by money in brown envelopes from the Soviet Union. (This is not an urban myth but its truth is testified by Peter Walker, the then energy secretary and closely concerned). Mrs Thatcher defeated the Argentinian aggression in the Falklands. Benn opposed that defensive war. She was a patriot with a strong belief in private property and political liberties. Benn presented himself as a democratic socialist but his extreme ideological commitment would, if ever we had suffered the catastrophic misfortune to see him in power, have reduced Britain to the sort of state tyranny and economic failure of East Germany under the Communists.

John Bercow said last week: “Tony Benn’s time as an MP spanned more than fifty years and he is one of only two MPs to be awarded the Freedom of the House – the other being Edward Heath – in recognition of his very long and distinguished service as an MP.”

Says it all really

Tony Benn will only lie overnight. Edward Heath lied all the time.

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13 Mar

Alas, I Shall never Be Queen!

Suddenly I find my career options have disastrously narrowed.

The Government now realises that same-sex “marriage” will require a massive re-write of legislation dating back to AD 1285 – including the permanent abolition of the terms “husband” and “wife” from many of our laws. Crucial safeguards will also have to be introduced to safeguard the Monarchy.

The Government is scurrying to introduce all these changes through ministerial orders.

Among other atrocities, the proposals specifically include changing the law:

  • To prevent a man from becoming Queen in the event a King ‘marries’ another man
  • To prevent a man from becoming the Princess of Wales in the event that the heir to the throne enters a same-sex marriage
  • To stop the ‘husband’ of a male Peer being referred to as Duchess, Lady or Countess
  • To replace the terms “husband” and “wife” with “partner” or “spouse” in a huge raft of English law

NB: My today’s ‘blog is not a piece of satire

And it’s not just my ambitions which have been so cruelly curtailed. We are all diminished. Destroy a language and you destroy a world, irretrievably, irreversibly. By these revolutionary innovations, 1500 years of Christian civilisation are officially repudiated. This is the nightmare out of which it is impossible to wake up. Our old world is dead. Welcome to brave new world that hath such people in it.

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