30 May

Have you used it yet?

Do you remember that line towards the end of Tony Hancock’s classic sketch The Blood Donor  when Tony, having given a pint of his blood, keeps phoning the clinic to ask what’s happened to it: “Have you used it yet?”

I thought of this when Eastbourne Tory HQ rang me up for the second time and said, “You’ve received your postal vote. Have you used it yet?” It’s unusual, to say the least, to receive such attention from politicians. So what’s the cause of this sudden outbreak of solicitousness?.

Blind panic, that’s what.

For the Lenin lookalike Jeremy Corbyn is coming up fast on the blind side. Who would have thought it – that a leader who has produced an economic policy which would condemn the whole nation to the debtors’ prison is, with just over a week to polling day, being taken seriously by an increasing proportion of the electorate? Add to that the fact that he’s a Jew-baiter with friends in the terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah, a mourner at the memorial of the Palestinian mastermind of the lethal attack on the Munich Olympics of 1972. Not to forget that he invited leaders of the IRA to the House of Commons not long after they had bombed Mrs Thatcher and her cabinet in Brighton.

The truth is that Corbyn  sees Tories as bigger enemies than any of the terrorist organisations which want to kill us.

He is no friend of the armed forces whose activities he wishes severely to restrict. His policy on nuclear deterrence is straight out of the madhouse as he declares he will keep it but would never use it.

He is so deluded when it comes to the historical record that he thinks the 1400 years war which Islam has waged against Europe is all the fault of Tony Blair.

A Corbyn  cabinet would contain caricature loonies and apostles of the politics of envy such as Emily Thornberry and the comically incompetent Diane Abbott.

So why would any even moderately sane person toy with the idea of voting Labour next week?

Elementary, my dear voters: elementary.

There is no Tory alternative.

May has shifted her party light years to the left. More power to the unions. More intervention in the economy – well, she said clearly last week she doesn’t believe in “the untrammelled free market.” So she’s setting about trammelling it with even higher business taxes and ever-more regulation.

Theresa May has always been a preposterous attention seeker and control freak. Now, aged 60, she disports herself like a frisky teenage girl. Her long career at the home office was a disaster. Wholesale rape and abuse of underage schoolgirls by Muslim men? The answer. Do nothing. Infiltration of schools by militant Islamists in Birmingham? Nothing. Charged with bringing immigration down to “the tens of thousands”? Nothing again. Well, not quite nothing. She claimed she was powerless to reduce immigration, “Because I’m bound by the EU’s Shengen rules about the free movement of populations.” Having so said, she then voted Remain! How’s that for joined-up thinking? The best that can be said of Mrs May is that she’s rather dim.

Do you still think that Brexit is safe in the hands of such a serially incompetent woman?

Rank and file Tories are a merciful crowd and they could perhaps forgive her all her errors and make allowances for her inconsistencies. But what grass roots Tories cannot do is retain affection for a leader who has turned against the party’s natural constituency and its core supporters . Her most recent policy announcements make it very plain that she does not believe in the right to own one’s own home and to hand on the value of of this inheritance intact to one’s children. That’s the Tory political equivalent of an Archbishop of Canterbury saying he doesn’t believe in God.

Are we all fools? After all, none of Theresa May’s left wing policies should have come as a surprise. Years ago she gave us fair warning when she declared the Tories of Margaret Thatcher’s governments “the nasty party.”

She is fiercely ambitious. And her ambition is to be remembered as the opposite of Margaret Thatcher.

We Eastbourne Tories are a fairly docile and biddable lot. But this bloody difficult woman has got our dander up.

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29 May

Hoo ha ha! Hoo ha ha!

A great part of the genius of the Church of England  authorities is their limitless ability to find ever new ways of wasting money to no significant purpose.

One of their wheezes is to finance congregations which model their worship on the pop concert. Prepare to clap and wave your arms in the air. Guitars at the ready. Bawl out times without number choruses so void of content that they weren’t worth singing once. This has been the trademark practice of Holy Trinity – chianti and pizza – Brompton for decades. It’s religion, but not as we know it, Jim. So what? It puts bums on seats and it brings in the cash.

Now the authorities are hoping it might just postpone the church’s final demise – for a few weeks, anyhow.

This method of “being church” has proved itself so successful that HTB now exports it in what are called “church plants.”  Churches in Derby, Portsmouth, Chelmsford and Bristol have…I suppose the word I am looking for is “benefitted” from this scheme and £1.35million has been given over two years to six of these HTB plants. In addition, St Luke’s, Birmingham, a church planted by the former director of worship at HTB, the Revd Tim Hughes, was given £350,000, while other HTB plants, St Swithin’s, Lincoln, and St Matthias’s, Plymouth, each received £200,000. St Swithun’s, Bournemouth, St George’s, Gateshead, and St Mark’s, Coventry, were each given £150,000.

Seven projects were paid for by the central authorities and, though six of the seven were operated by Holy Trinity Brompton, Andrew Brown, the secretary and the chief executive of the Church Com­missioners, insisted, “There is no bias towards HTB.”

Indeed not. For another new jape was launched in the Midlands when £2.6 million was given to Birmingham diocese’s Growing Younger programme.

I’ve just had a look at this jape and so I can tell you something about it.

It was started by the Bishop of Birmingham and the Archbishop of Canterbury with “star baker” Martha Collison. The two senior clergymen stood together on a platform in a darkened city centre church where they teased and chafed each other for a few minutes as if they were a comedy duo – which alas! they are not. Then they stepped down from the platform and called forth a group of teenagers called “The Sparklers,” Guess what they did next? That’s right, you’ve got it in one: they lit a sparkler and passed it around. This was supposed to symbolise something, but I forget what.

Those, myself included, who find it difficult to understand what Growing Younger is all about are in luck, for a commentary (in perfect Welby management-speak) is provided on their website. Let me try to give you the flavour…

There will be “facilitators” who will “work in a focussed way” be “highly skilled” (at what?) and they will “work flexibly.” The facilitators will bring “fresh thinking” to the project and “discern vision and strategy” while they will also “model good practice.” Then there will appear “a piece of commissioned evaluation” and the assurance that “research has been integrated” to provide “a baseline assessment” using “evaluation tools.”

There, there – don’t distress yourself: the mental nurse will be along in a minute, as soon as she’s finished tending to the Archbishop and the Bishop of Birmingham.

In fact I don’t feel very well myself. I know what usually wards of my hysterical collapses: it’s to quote Tom Eliot’s Sweeney Agonistes:

“And perhaps you’re alive. And perhaps you’re dead. Hoo ha ha. Hoo ha ha. Hoo. Hoo. Hoo. Knock. Knock. Knock. Knock. Knock. Knock. Knock. Knock. Knock.” 

There, that’s better – just a bit, anyway.

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26 May

The celebration of innocence is a British value

“They will never win…They can’t kill our values…”

Two of this week’s headlines in the gush and schmaltz sheets otherwise known as our newspapers. I had thought that was about it when it came to British values: gush and schmaltz – and, of course, appeasing the enemy.

But I was mistaken and so I apologise. From those same newspapers I have just learned that another of our values is the celebration of children’s innocence. Apparently we love the little ones and we will do anything to shield them from physical harm and moral corruption

(Pity then that we did nothing for years about the hundreds of Muslim men who systematically raped and otherwise sexually abused underage schoolgirls in a score of our towns and cities. But I’m sure that was just a rare lapse, so we can – as the home secretary at the time, Theresa May and her police forces did – turn a blind eye to it. All in the interests of appeasement, naturally)

According to the gush and schmaltz sheets and the gush and schmaltz telly, we have been particularly strenuous in our nurturing of children’s innocence this week. Parents, uncles and aunts, friends and brothers and sisters from all over the north of England took their preteens to Ariana Grande’s pop concert in Manchester.

Unfortunately, owing to our other value of appeasing the enemy, some of these youngsters were slaughtered. Put it down to another disagreeable lapse. We know it will never happen again.

All was for the fluffiest in the fluffiest of all possible worlds. Lots of pink. Rabbits’ ears

(The teddy bears put in their appearance later)

Here is part of what the delightful Ariana sang to the innocents:

“All you get, skin to skin. O my God…”

(So you see God too is part of our British values)

“…Don’t ya stop boy. Something about you makes me feel like a dangerous woman. All gals wanna be like that. Bad girls underneath like that.”

I was so captivated by the charm and innocence of these lyrics that I craved more. So I went into Ariana’s website. Here in an innocent state of semi-undress she pouts (innocently of course) as she sings an innocent little sexy number for the innocent preteens. As she does so, we see scenes of couples engaged in vigorous copulation. One couple on a car bonnet. Another couple – a charmingly whimsical touch, this – in a launderette. A big black man with a little white girl – no doubt in celebration of our other British value of antiracism – in an office. Finally, a  reassuringly cosy domestic theme emerged as the couple did it in the kitchen .

Can I just ask you all, at this particularly gushy and schmaltzy time, to put away your habitual cynicism and rejoice with me in our British values?

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21 May

Sexual Apartheid

The Bishop of Chichester, Dr Martin Warner, has appointed Fr Andrew Woodward, priest-in-charge of St Mary’s Kemp Town and Rural Dean of Brighton, as the first Bishop’s Liaison Officer for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered and Intersex LGBTi community in the Diocese of Chichester.

Fr Andrew’s job specification is to provide the bishops and parishes with up to date information about the pastoral needs of the LGBTi community and to make the church’s ministry among this community more effective.

The priest will “represent the church in this community so as to build bridges and enable pastoral support for a substantial group of people who feel the Church is alienated from them.”

A spokesman for the diocese added: “Many in the LBBTi community feel they are tolerated but not included.”

Dr Warner says: “This post is about pastoral bridges in line with our diocesan strategy, know, love, follow Jesus. It is primarily about building, opening and crossing new and existing bridges towards great understanding and mutual flourishing.”

The Bishop added: “I think it is important to stress that the post holder is not expected to be an advocate for change in legislation or theological position. Neither should the creation of this post be understood as establishing a particular policy change or a new direction of travel in the Diocese’s position on same-sex issues.”

For this relief, much thanks

Of course it is the responsibility of the church’s ministers constantly to be looking for ways in which to make their ministry among all people more effective. But I’ve got news for them:

There is no such thing as “The LGBTi community.”

There are individual LGBTi people but they do not live in community. Those who identify themselves by one of the letters LGBTi are simply making public their particular sexual preference.

Why anyone should wish to make public what always used to be regarded as a sensitive, personal and private matter is a question that defeats me. But nowadays, it seems, many  feel the urge to advertise their sexuality. And the love that once dared not speak its name now shrieks at us at the top of its voice from lewd processions along the high street.

Inexplicably, perversely, this display is called “Pride.”

I wonder, is it only sexual deviants who are expected to announce to the general public their preferences? Perhaps I ought to draw together a crowd of my “straight” friends and process with a banner reading, “WE SLEPT WITH OUR WIVES LAST NIGHT.”

But there is a bigger issue and it centres on that word “community.”

Chichester diocese tells us that LGBTi people “feel alienated.” Well then, why do they insist on alienating themselves by self-identifying as a distinct community? Groups setting themselves up as “communities” received its reductio ad absurdum some years ago when The Independent newspaper, in all seriousness, wrote about, “London’s sadomasochistic community.” In the face of such utter barminess, satire becomes impossible.

The self-ascription of the word “community” by specific separatist groups actually destroys community and creates a multiplicity of sects. When this was practised in South Africa, the British political establishment condemned it as Apartheid. Why then when the very same thing is practised here is it applauded as “a celebration of diversity”?

There is one community in this country and we are all part of it. And to say otherwise is to destroy all possibility of social cohesion. Why don’t the authorities – religious or secular – understand this plain truth?   

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19 May

A canting fraud

The dictionary defines “trammel” as “a hindrance or impediment to free action.”

Kindly bear that in mind for a moment.

Publishing the Conservative party’s election manifesto yesterday, Theresa May said, “We do not believe in untrammelled free markets.”

We should be grateful when any politician offers us such a plain, unequivocal statement. It follows from her words that she believes in trammelling or hindering free markets. We can express this in fewer words. Mrs May might have spared herself the bother of uttering the long word “untrammelled.” What she said yesterday means simply, “We do not believe in free markets.”

In fact the phrase “untrammelled free” is a tautology.

So there you have it from the mouth of a Conservative prime minister: the Conservative party does not believe in free markets.

Then it has ceased to be the Conservative party.

Mrs May’s speech was full of interesting phrases: “”We reject the cult of selfish individualism.”

This is meaningless. It’s like saying, “We’re against sin.” Of course we are. But individualism doesn’t have to be selfish. As Adam Smith and scores of others have pointed out, by pursuing his individual interests, a man often benefits many others. Make a £million by designing a better mousetrap and you will not only have enriched yourself but  made a huge contribution to the entire community.

That speech of Mrs May’s is crammed full of philosophy – but it isn’t Tory philosophy. She concluded lyrically: “True Conservatism means a commitment to country and community and to the good that government can do.”

There are indeed two good things that government can and should do: defend us from foreign enemies and keep the peace in our streets. Then it should get out of our lives.

The wretched woman Theresa May is a canting fraud: a socialist fraud at that.

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17 May

Humpty Rules OK?

What are the foundations of morality? The Ten Commandments? Our Lord’s summary of the Law in which we are commanded to love God and to love our neighbour? Does Aristotle “golden mean between the extremes” appeal? Or you might like to try Immanuel Kant’s categorical imperative: “Act only on that maxim which you would will to be a universal law.” In the philosophical bargain basement, you can find the utilitarianism of Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill which declare that the rightness of an action is to be judged by its consequences. if you fancy a bit of positivism and moral anarchy, you can take your cue from A.J.Ayer and C.L. Stevenson who said that the propositions of ethics are strictly “meaningless” and merely emotive: according to these two gentlemen, when I say, “Slaughtering the innocent is wrong,” all I really mean is, “I don’t like slaughtering the innocent.”

Bewildered, we turn to the church. But what do we find there?

In the Season of Easter edition of Faith in Sussex, the Chichester Diocesan magazine, the Bishop of the Diocese, clearly with the election in mind, writes:

“But essentially the vote is an expression of engagement with a process in which law and taxation provide the foundations of what we believe to be morally right.”

I’m sure that if we were to ask the Bishop to clarify this perplexing utterance, I’m sure he would oblige with a qualification something like this: “Of course, I didn’t mean to say that law and taxation are the foundations of morality; only that what we choose to tax and the sorts of laws we make reveal the things that we value most.”

But, if that’s what you meant, Bishop, why was that not what you said?

There is a foolish notion, widespread particularly in politics and social policy-making, that it is the speaker or the writer who means. As if the same sentence in the same context from two different mouths could carry two different and even contradictory meanings. This is not so. It is not we who mean: it is  words that mean. And, unfortunately even for bishops, the choice of words determines what is being said.

It is no defence to reply to a challenge by saying, “That’s not what I meant!”

Then why did you say it? If you meant something else, why didn’t you choose words which would state that something else?

Unfortunately for all our public conversations, politicians, journalists – and it appears, even bishops – have all been reading Alice Through the Looking Glass and they have become the disciples of Humpty Dumpty:

“’When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less’.”

No wonder Alice became irritated. And so am I!

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15 May

New! Talking Sex Doll

Got myself a crying, walking,sleeping, talking living doll  – as Cliff Richard used to sing in 1959 when we all still thought he would fall for one from those shoals of frenzied teenage girls who used to throw themselves at him.

Well, thanks to the boundless virtuosity of our technologists, Sir Cliff could now have his wish: a living doll, and especially the talking bit. The sex-boffins have created – no, that’s not right – manufactured – a living doll and they are promoting its distribution with the following exciting sales pitch:

“She offers all the action you could require and small talk too.”

Perhaps it would put some users off if she talked of small things during her ministrations?

I’m intrigued and might be tempted to buy one. But first I would want to know what the little rubber darling is going to talk to me about. It would have to be something interesting or I would only drop off, so to speak. Let me tell you my ideal…

I should like a rubber girl who would pour me a glass of Chablis and give me a ten minutes’ going over on the transcendental analytic – followed by chapter three of Grundlegung Zur Metaphysik der Sitten – by Immanuel Kant (1724-1804). Then I should like her to pour me a second glass and, with her other hand, flick through the pages of my King James Bible and read to me from the Old Testament. All those begats might prove to be an encouragement.

She comes with three speeds: quickie, standard (American regular) and tantric – which lasts for hours and is meant to be a spiritual as well as a carnal experience. So, when you push her (belly) button and turn it to tantric, she speaks gnomic and mystical paradoxes and texts such as “I hear the sound of one rubber hand clapping” from the classic Zen and the Uses of Latex by the Dolly Lama.

She also comes with the warning that the mystical ecstasies of the tantric masters have to be worked up to slowly. You have to start at the bottom. The manual recommends A Table of Kindred and Affinity which, as we all learned in our Confirmation classes, is found in The Book of Common Prayer (1662)

Several passages are offered but beginners are advised not to start with A man may not marry his wife’s father’s mother.

For heightened results you can programme her to repeat that sentence up to – but not more than – 1379 times.

She never gets a headache but you might if you hit the wrong programme and, just as you begin on your third glass of Chablis, she starts reciting the Labour Manifesto.

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14 May

Theresa May: the Red Tory

Behold, I show you two mysteries: the one mystery the greater and the other mystery the less.

The lesser mystery is of why the Daily Telegraph is so enamoured of Theresa May. This mystery is only partly explained by the fact that the Telegraph has sacked so many of its intelligent writers – including, by the looks of the layout, the grammar and the spelling mistakes – all the sub-editors. The so called “star writers” remaining there, with a couple of notable exceptions, are would-be dolly birds in their forties and fifties whose subjects are their emotions, the menopause, their self-esteem and their cellulite.

The greater mystery concerns the Daily Mail’s utter infatuation with Mrs May whom they regard as a reincarnation of Margaret Thatcher.

But May is no Maggie.

Mrs Thatcher won over the working class voters by allowing them to buy their council houses. Mrs May says she wants to build 300,000 council houses for rent. Why? To steal support from Corbyn’s Trots. One might say, “It’s the oikonomy, stupid!”

Thus she intends to create a great many more sink estates. Of course, to do this was not her declared purpose but, as the philosopher Elizabeth Anscombe pointed out in her book Intention, if you’re pretty certain that your actions will involve particular undesirable consequences and you persist in your actions anyway, then logically speaking you have intended those consequences.

Why does the Daily Mail persistently mistake the socialist Theresa May for a Conservative? Mrs Thatcher’s Conservative party was the party which the Mail knew and loved. But, according to May, this was “the nasty party.”

May will do nothing to reduce the burden of taxation or the other burden of business regulations. She will deliver a Brexit – if at all – soft as a lightly-boiled egg. After May’s Brexit, she will claim job done, we’re out. But the underlying practical reality will reveal that nothing has changed.

She voted Remain, remember.

She was a disaster at the home office, from her passports fiasco to her failure to prevent the rape and sexual abuse of thousands of girls in a score of our towns and cities by Muslim men; from her refusal to intervene in the infiltration of Birmingham schools by militant Islam, to her failure to honour her commission to “reduce immigration to the tens of thousands.” And, when she was confronted on this matter, she said she was powerless to act because she was bound by the EU’s Shengen rules on free movement of populations.

Then she voted Remain anyway! This explains both the shallowness of her mind and the depth of her duplicity.

Mrs Thatcher once said she intended that the Labour government which preceded her would go down in history as “the last Labour government.” In her inflamed lust for the capture of Labour votes, May is moving the Conservative party relentlessly to the left.

And the last state will be worse than the first – for all of us. 

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10 May

Waste and void, waste and void, and darkness at the heart of our schools

The Labour party and the Lib Dems are competing with each other to discover which party can spend the most taxpayers’ money on the most useless project.

Spending on state education is higher today than it has ever been, while nearly half of the pupils leave school after eleven years of full time compulsory schooling unable to read, write or count efficiently.

I can at least count sufficiently accurately to know that this does not represent value for money.

Now Labour have announced they will spend an additional £4.8billion. and the Lib Dems £7billion more. This is a scandalous misappropriation of public money. 

Labour say this increase will be paid for by increasing corporation tax from the current 19% to 26% by 2021, But even at its present level, corporation tax is far too high and a blight on industry and commerce everywhere. Corbyn and his gang ought to be made to understand that exorbitant business taxes aren’t just a wonderful example of socialists’ politics of envy and their obsession with bashing the bosses: companies employ workers – a few of whom might even be foolish enough to vote Labour  – and every corporation tax rise means more workers will get the sack.

A further increase in teachers’ salaries is included in Labour’s calculations. I would say teachers are generously paid already compared with most other workers. A head teacher (outside London) can earn as much as £108K – more, given extra allowances for special responsibilities. Senior teachers receive up to £59K and heads of department £38K. The average pay for a classroom teacher is £33K and even unqualified teachers receive £26K. There is a pension scheme more generous than most others can dream about. All this while a teacher spends 195 days each year in school when most workers turn up to the job on 241 days annually.

State schools are not only educationally incompetent and intellectually abysmal: they are also chaotic, violent and dangerous.

A recent survey by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) showed that four out of ten teachers had been physically assaulted by children over the previous year. More than three quarters said they had been pushed or shoved, around half were kicked or had had an object such as a piece of furniture thrown at them, and more than a third had been punched. Just under half said pupil behaviour gets worse year on year; and the figures back them up. According to the Department for Education 18,970 pupils at primary and secondary schools were temporarily excluded in 2013-2014 because of physical attacks on teachers and other adults – obstruction, jostling, biting, kicking, hair-pulling – compared with 17,190 the previous year. There is some dispute about the number of assaults in more recent years, but all available surveys reveal that these have increased still further. Three-quarters of trainee and newly-qualified teachers are considering leaving the profession, according to a 2015 ATL survey. Of those, 25% said challenging pupil behaviour was the reason. Meanwhile, a 2014 joint survey by the ATL and ITV News found that more than a quarter of teachers had faced aggression from a student’s parents or carers in the past year.

Does anyone think this moronic,  violent shambles should be handed even more of our money?

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09 May

Worse than the U-boats

Theresa May is turning out to be a Red Tory who takes her economic policies from Ed Miliband. When Labour pledged a cap on energy prices at the 2015 general election, this policy was rightly rubbished by the Tories – because such manipulations of the market always end up in higher prices in the long run. Anyone but a blockhead, or a Red Tory, would be able to see this at once.  Competition among the energy producers would diminish. For the energy firms would get together and agree to charge similar prices – to create a “cost cluster” just below the level of the cap.

The best way to reduce the cost of power for householders and for industry is to resource energy supplies from  cheaper and more readily available fuels.

But the Conservative government refuses to do this – having made the absurd promise to reduce Britain’s carbon footprint to zero by 2050. Incidentally, we are the only country to make this pledge.

Our present energy policy is an act of criminal insanity.

What economic sense is there in offering massive subsidies – at the taxpayers’ expense – to wind and solar power, especially when these sources are unreliable? The Red Toryism of Mrs May is hardly achieved by giving huge handouts to rich landowners to erect thousands of inefficient windmills.

Odd that fanatical environmentalists should so conspire to ruin the landscape.

A few years ago, new advances in technology enabled our mines to produce increasing supplies of “clean” and cheap coal. Now we have closed down the coal mines and the huge power station at Drax is importing, at colossal cost, massive amounts of biomass from the other side of the Atlantic – incidentally destroying whole areas of woodland

Such an absurd policy amounts to both economic profligacy and environmental vandalism at the same time.

In the USA there has been achieved, through the spectacularly successful fracking industry, a revolution in energy production and supply which in little more than a decade has changed America from being an oil-importing nation – dependent on the greed and chicanery of the Gulf States – to become a net exporter of energy. This bloodless revolution has resulted not only in gigantic economic benefits but in shifting the strategic geo-political balance to favour the western nations.  For the first time we are freed from Saudi Arabia’s economic blackmail.

To favour western nations? Well, at least to favour those western  countries which go in for fracking: Poland and Hungary come to mind.

Mrs May says she is the champion of those “just about managing.”  Given sensible energy policies the country would enjoy economic boom years and a considerable reduction in the cost of living – especially for those described by the new Red Tories as “vulnerable.”

With fuel prices constantly on the rise – the only possible result of our insane energy policies – those currently just about managing will be able to manage no longer.

Meanwhile, Britain is sitting on vast resources of shale gas and yet production has barely begun.

By these follies and by gross neglect, Mrs May’s government is imposing the sort of hardship on our people that would have been the envy of the German U-boat commanders.

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