Category Archives: politics

21 Mar

Our New Whited Sepulchres

There are things to admire about John Gray’s article The Dangers of Higher Education in the current issue of Club Comment, the magazine of The Monday Club.

Gray suggests that perhaps the world would not be better managed if those in charge were intellectuals: “History offers no support for the belief that the world would be better ruled by graduates or PhD’s.” He supports his view with evidence – examples of intelligent, educated men who made catastrophically misguided judgements in political life.

He cites the philosopher Martin Heidegger who was an enthusiastic Nazi, Kim Philby who spied for the USSR and Eric Hobsbawm who remained a card-carrying Communist despite knowing all about Stalin’s purges and genocides and the atrocities committed by the Soviets in their suppression of uprisings in Hungary (1956) and Czechoslovakia (1968)

Gray’s article is intelligent and readable, but there is one omission so startling that only an academic could have made it: there is not a word about right and wrong in his piece, and he writes as if there is no such thing as morality in public and political life.

Instead these misguided men were simply easily led. The poor things were “often more easily taken in by mass delusions.”

Now I say that if a man possesses the intellectual capacity to understand the vileness of Communism and Nazism but persists in his allegiance to one or other of these foul ideologies, then it is not his intelligence which is in deficit, but his morality.

Heidegger understood Hitler’s programme only too well, but he maintained his support for him. A man who does such a thing does not lack brains, but he conspicuously lacks morality. In a word, that man is wicked. And i don’t care if he does happen to be Martin Heidegger, the author of Sein und Zeit.

Kim Philby was well aware of Stalin’s genocides and yet he supported the USSR until his dying day, becoming a traitor to Britain, his own country, in the process. That was an irretrievable wrong.

Eric Hobsbawm is the most culpable of the three because, as an eminent historian, he had intimate knowledge of the machinations of the murderous Soviet regime. But he was a devoted Stalinist to the end of his days. The word to describe such a man is evil.

How could John Gray not notice these things staring him in the face? Why no mention of the overriding ethical nature of the matters he discusses?

Because he wouldn’t want to be seen as “judgemental.” And that despite the fact that the capacity to form moral judgements is the one thing which renders meaning to the phrase “the dignity of man.”

I am a student of Plato who in The Republic declared that philosophers should be our kings. But we should notice what Plato meant by a philosopher: not some tenured theoretician scratching around on the edges of Deconstruction and the other diseases of Postmodernism, but one who is devoted to the Form of the Good.

When Christianity took over from Plato, we recognised this Form of the Good as God.

Gray’s colossal omission really arises out of the fact that he is himself a representative of the class he doesn’t think are fit to run the world.

He suffers from the terminal impediment of being an intellectual.

21 Feb

A Snowflake Writes in The Guardian

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a piece which I titled “The Guardian: a psychiatric casebook.” In the light of new clinical information I need to revise the judgement I made there. I originally thought the mental disease which The Guardian is suffering from is some form of neurosis. It turns out to be much worse – a full-blown psychotic illness. You know the difference between a neurotic and a psychotic? The neurotic builds castles in the air while the psychotic lives in them.

Young Owen Jones is the psychotic in question. He has written an article in The Guardian which qualifies him for immediate transportation to the nuthouse.

He says, “Corbyn is no enemy of Britain.” And he alleges that recent media coverage of Corbyn’s dalliance with foreign agents is the sort of baseless propaganda we used to hear a lot of in the cold war. Owen says all this stuff has been got up by “the right wing press.”

I’ll come to Corbyn in a minute, but there’s stuff to be got out of the way first. Owen claims that the right wing press has made false allegations in the past. He cites the Zinoviev letter of 1924 and attempts to smear Harold Wilson,  Michael Foot and Neil Kinnock as communist agents or sympathisers.

But Owen dear: just because false allegations were made in the past does not guarantee that all allegations made at present or in the future will be be false too. This is the sort of elementary logical howler which you ought to have been taught to spot while you were at your university and certainly before you picked up your pen to write for a national newspaper – even, Owen, a left wing national newspaper.

(Just by the by and to get the facts straight: Michael Foot did take money from the KGB and used it to finance his left wing rag called Tribune. And, Owen, before you wander far and wide you might as well take a look at what’s been going on on your own midden: a past literary editor of The Guardian admitted that he had been a Russian agent)

But the main event here is Jeremy Corbyn who, Owen says, is not an enemy of Britain. Well, let’s see…

Britain has a nuclear deterrent, but Corbyn has told all our potential enemies that he would never order its use. When is a deterrent not a deterrent? When it’s Mr Corbyn’s deterrent. Corbyn regards the state of Israel as a pariah and he has repeatedly refused to rebuke members of his party who have expressed violent anti-Semitic views. He has an organized rabble of supporters ready to take to the streets in all those 300,000 extra members who were allowed to affiliate to the party at £3 a time

There is worse. Only months after the IRA’s Brighton bomb of 1984, designed to wipe out Mrs Thatcher and her cabinet, Corbyn invited its perpetrators, the Irish Republican leadership, to visit him in the House of Commons. Corbyn is a supporter of terrorists of many hues – refusing to condemn Palestinian violence against Israel and affectionately describing Hamas and Hezbollah as “our friends.” And, turning to Venezuela, Corbyn says of the architect of its destruction Hugo Chavez, “He did a lot of good for Venezuela and the wider world.” Thanks to the policies of Chavez and his successor Maduro, Venezuelans are starving, critically short of medicines and killing zoo animals and domestic pets for food.

That’s how it will be here too, Owen if Jeremy Corbyn – enemy of the people – ever, with The Guardian’s help, gets into Number Ten.

13 Feb

Fallen angels

It’s lovely when it’s one of theirs, isn’t it? A sexual predator, that is. It seems so often it’s one of ours. By ours I mean priests, freemasons, Tory MPs from the shires and such like. By theirs I mean the worldwide community of institutionalised do-gooders – specifically Oxfam.

Now, let me give credit where credit is due. This morning on The Today Programme Justin Webb and John Humphrys were reading out the newspaper headlines. Webb said, “The Oxfam sexual abuse scandal is the lead for them all – even The Guardian which had not previously reported this story with much enthusiasm.”

Of course not! Do-gooding lefties don’t go in for sexual abuse – or money-laundering, drug-trafficking, wife-beating or omitting to pay their library fines. Lefties, Guardianistas and Oxfam-wallahs were all immaculately conceived and sinless from the start.

But – praise God – there is such a thing as truth after all. Oxfam representatives have been at it all over the world: in Haiti in particular and even in their own charity shops. I know it’s hard to believe – as if one were asked to believe that St Bob Geldof once refused to take an old lady to the other side of the road.

But heck, it’s true. So true that Oxfam’s deputy boss has had to resign. Rejoice!

In the wake of these sordid revelations I took a look at Oxfam’s website to make sure they were still there. Oh yes, they’re there all right, their self-righteousness and sanctimony shining as brightly as ever. When it comes to self-glorification Oxfam beats that Pharisee in the gospel who exclaims: “I thank thee that I am not as other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers. I fast twice in the week. I give tithes of all that I possess” (Luke 18:12)

Ah but Humphrys and Webb were right: Oxfam’s sins have been found out and all the world knows of it. How are the mighty fallen!

Their website still advertises their do-gooding in ever so many world crises: in Syria, in Yemen, among the Rohingya and in the DRC.

Oddly, they don’t mention the crisis in their own high street shops where teenage assistants have been sexually-abused.

All their favourite slogans still appear though and their propaganda. For example:  “To spread that change and make it last, political solutions are also needed to tackle the root causes of poverty and create societies where empowered individuals can thrive. We will always act, we will speak out, and we won’t live with poverty.”

The lefty ideology is still unabashed, plain (and ugly) as a wart on your cheek: “Political solutions” (But I thought you were a charity, not a quasi-Marxist pressure group); “root causes” (ie not droughts, floods and natural shortages but exploitation and corruption which is, of course, the result of centuries of the West’s imperialism); “empowered” (ie politically radicalised).

There are other notices on their website which I didn’t quite understand: “New in: women’s accessories”

I’m not joking. I’m quoting. Can anyone enlighten me, please?

And then, “Run for Oxfam.” I suggest they change this to “Run away from Oxfam.”

Today Oxfam. Who knows what tomorrow might bring? Sexual predators exposed in the vegan community? In the Woman’s Hour studio?

But give thanks for that the truth is out. No one is immune against the peccatum originale – not even the saints in Oxfam

26 Jan

“Evil is the privatio boni: a mere nothing”–St Augustine

F.R. Leavis said, “Show me what you value and I’ll tell you what you’re worth.” One glance at the most popular shows on TV, or at the sort of “music” most listen to, must make us conclude that the worth of the British public at large is not very much.

Most of the productions of what is now called “arts” and “culture” are just not worth looking at: the Oscars, the BAFTAS, the daubs and installations that pollute our galleries and the glossy tat of the West End theatre can be ignored without conspicuous loss of aesthetic enjoyment.

Why anyone should spend a minute on all this rubbish has always been a mystery to me – because it’s not that we haven’t been offered countless treasures and endless riches in those things that can actually give us pleasure and, by the by, make life worth living: The Odyssey, The Iliad, Dante, Shakespeare; Bach, Mozart, Haydn, Schubert, Beethoven, Stravinsky, Benjamin Britten, James Macmillan; Giotto, Rembrandt, Turner and Van Gogh…    I mention just a few eminences at random when I could have filled the whole page, filled many books, with the names of those without whom our lives would be empty; without whom the words “civilisation” and “culture” would be meaningless.

We don’t need to go within a mile of the rubbish. Unfortunately, we don’t have to – for the rubbish is everywhere

This is not a matter of being highbrow or elitist but of simply preferring the things that can nourish us. Or what man is there of you whom, if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? (Matthew 7:9)

Another word for the rubbish that engulfs us like a sea of plastic is “trivia.” You can die of it.

There are many kinds of trivia in the productions of words, music and pictures. And there is also political and social trivia. We were given an illustration of this last category only this week when we observed Mrs May – the very embodiment of trivia and fuss – poking her nose into the sordid affair of the President’s Club.

Now I don’t mind particularly if Theresa May, as Theresa May in her private life – and even politicians have the right to a private life – wants to posture and roll around in trivia and fuss. But it is shocking to see her involving the office of the prime minister in such mush

It is not the duty of the prime minister to involve herself in the minutiae of administration and the daily agenda of the newspapers. It is the duty of the prime minister to secure the integrity of her government – as it is the duty of the Queen to secure the integrity of the nation.

The good prime ministers – even the passably decent prime ministers – understand this. It’s only once in a long while that a buffoon such as John Major comes along and makes it his personal responsibility to arrange the supply of motorway cones.

“Show me what you value and I’ll tell you what you’re worth.” What does that show us about the worth of a prime minister who leaves off  the more serious matters of state to meddle in the seedy mores of clubland?

25 Jan

Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin

The writing has been on the wall for Theresa May for a long time. And the words form the same judgement that was delivered to Belshazzar, as recorded in Daniel 5:25: Thou art weighed in the balances and found wanting. 

Mrs May, the most useless home secretary and the most incompetent prime minister we’ve had since Methuselah was a boy, is clearly at the end of her tether. She is fragile and histrionic. She cried on election night when it was borne in on her that she is so pathetic she couldn’t even see off Jeremy Corbyn. In the Brexit negotiations she appeared schizoid and frantic. She talked tough for ten minutes, then wept and pleaded. Naturally, her tormentors the apparatchiks Juncker and Barnier – and of course Monsieur le-vanity-case Macron and Frau Fuhrer – played on May’s mood swivels to perfection. They kissed, cuddled, flattered and cajoled her, then they shouted and threatened  Their enjoyment of her tortured hopelessness was excruciating to watch. She conceded their every demand and called it her triumph.

And the conclusion of it all? It is clear that, under the Remainer May, we are on the way to a Brexit so soft you could dip your toast soldiers in it. The EU will give no ground on the movement of populations. We shall most likely end up still in the single market and the customs union. In other words we shall be out in name but very definitely still in in reality.

Like Mr Eliot in Ash Wednesday, I hardly dare to hope for fear of hoping for the wrong thing. But…I detect a glimmer, a faint stirring, the thinnest ray of light in the encircling gloom: at last something seems to be afoot.

Last Monday Juliet Samuels wrote a flagellating article in the Daily Telegraph which, being summarised, said it was time for May to go. The Telegraph followed up on Tuesday with a shoal of readers’ letters in enthusiastic agreement with Ms Samuel. On Wednesday, writing in the same space, Philip Johnson  said: “The prime minister’s detractors fail to see that it is they who lack boldness and weaken the Tories. Her critics should be prepared to do more than wound her.”

Well, what more can you do to a person than wound? There’s only kill, isn’t there?

There is no let-up in the barrage of criticism, nor in its caustic fury. In Thursday’s Telegraph, Nick Timothy – remember him, the orchestrator of her pathetic election campaign? – has popped up saying: “As Conservative MPs are beginning to realise, they need to govern with more urgency and greater purpose. The key to finding that purpose lies not in a further excess of liberalism, but in a modern application of real philosophical conservatism.”

Real philosophical conservatism, as even Nick Timothy must understand, is about as far away as you can get from Theresa May’s fancy of socialism-lite. If Mrs May is reading Timothy’s article in Davos, she must me tempted to repeat the dying words of Julius Caesar: “Et tu Brute?”

Perhaps all this can be shrugged off as merely a bit of kite-flying by one newspaper. Hardly – because the Telegraph is, or at least purports to be, the Tories’ loudest cheerleader. But wait, the Telegraph isn’t the only paper to be saying these things. Also on Thursday morning Iain Martin in The Times came out saying that May has failed, her time is up and she should go and make way for someone else.

So I repeat my tentative question: So late in the day, so far and so deeply into May’s calamitous premiership, is there something afoot at last?

If it were done when ‘tis done, t’were well it were done quickly. The Tory grandees should despatch the men in suits and tell her her time’s up. They could quote those words of Daniel the prophet if they liked

End the long-running farce. Return to traditional conservatism. Send for Jacob-Rees-Mogg!

05 Jan

It’s not the economy, stupid!

The heart is always gladdened when someone in authority makes a definite and determined statement. So congratulations are in order for Sadiq Khan, mayor of London, who stated in his election manifesto of 2016:

“I shall challenge gang culture and knife crime head on.”

Well said, Sir! So how’s he doing at the end of his first year in office?

Homicides in London rose by 27.1%. Youth homicides increased by 70%. Serious youth violence is up 19%. Robbery up 33.4%, while home burglaries rose by 18.7%.

That’s a remarkable increase in serious offences of all sorts. But there’s more…

Thefts increased by over 10,000 incidents in a year, up 33.9%, Alarmingly, there were more than 4000 additional knife crime incidents, a rise of 31.3%.

Rape in the capital rose by 18.3% and there were 2,551 incidents of gun crime, a rise of 16.3% on the previous year.

Meanwhile, we have seen new and ingenious forms of sociopathic behaviour, such as the epidemic of acid attacks.

First the mayoral authorities crack down on the possession of firearms: then incidents of gun crime increase to surpass those in New York.

Secondly, these same authorities “challenge knife crime head on”: then we get those 4000 “additional knife crime incidents.”

Can we expect a ban on sales of Domestos end to the terror of acid attacks?

Mr Khan continuously blames central government’s “police cuts” for this shocking increase. Is he right? There has been a small reduction in the number of police officers but there are still 30,379 of them in the Metropolitan Police. The Met has an annual budget of £2billion and £240million of reserves.

The mayor says it’s all a result of central government’s economic policies as people are impoverished and deprived of adequate social infrastructure by the Tories in Westminster. But London is booming and there are more people in employment than ever.

So instead of subscribing to the prevailing Marxist explanation that increases in criminal behaviour – and just about everything else, actually – are the result of immutable economic forces, let’s try looking somewhere else to find answers. If economic depression leads inexorably to an increase in crime, why is it that – as Christie Davies pointed out in his book The Strange Death of Moral Britain – “Crime persistently decreased in the long economic depression at the end of the 19th century and crime has increased terrifically during the long period of economic expansion since the Second World War. The only people who believe the opposite to be the case are sociologists and left wing politicians.”

Oh, and Mr Khan of course.  

For him and for all those sociologists and lefties, I have a question: “What if virtue and vice, law-abidingness and criminal behaviour are not mere functions of economic forces, as Karl Marx vainly believed, but have actually to do with the individual freedom which makes possible personal and public morality?

14 Dec

A new Puritan Commonwealth?

We have complete freedom of speech in this country. It’s just that we’re not allowed to say anything. Our politicians are forever boasting of our freedoms and telling us what a wonderful country we are privileged to live in – unlike Johnny Foreigner in any number of dictatorial regimes abroad.

But this week the government has threatened – not for the first time – to invoke Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013.

What’s that when it’s out?

Just about the most unjust and iniquitous piece of legislation you could imagine in the worst of your Orwellian nightmares. Section 40 will force newspapers to pay the legal costs of those who sue them – even when a newspaper wins the court case against its accuser.

This is beyond outrageous.

Consider this comparison: my neighbour is building a low wall between our properties and I don’t like it. He assures me that the wall will do nothing to obscure my view or reduce the amount of sunshine I enjoy in my garden. His proposed wall, he says, is less than a foot tall and merely ornamental. But I am renowned for being obstreperous and uncooperative and I tell my neighbour I still don’t like his wall and I’m going to sue him.

The case comes before the court which rules that there is nothing offensive or intrusive about my neighbour’s wall and that I am just being unreasonable. My action is thrown out.

If Section 40 were to be applied in this case, my neighbour – who has been adjudged to be in the right – could be forced to pay my legal costs.

In other words, Section 40 is a charter for mischievous litigants. It will permit any crank out to make a fast buck to sue any newspaper about anything, secure in the knowledge that, win or lose, his costs will be paid by the paper.

It’s easy to see where this will lead in pretty quick time: newspapers will be bankrupted and titles will close down.

Who could possibly have dreamed up a process so manifestly unethical? Answer: the commissars in Lord Leveson’s Press Recognition Panel.

The government – any government – will rejoice to see newspapers shut down – because it will mean they are no longer held to account. If Leveson’s recommendations had been in operation at the time of the MPs’ expenses scandal, there would have been no expenses scandal because there would have been no free press to investigate and report it.

A free press is the first requirement of a free society and every totalitarian dictatorship from Maduro’s Venezuela to Putin’s klepto-fascist regime in Russia seeks to curtail and even abolish press freedom.

Even the Puritan John Milton, who was employed by Oliver Cromwell as his censor, fervently defended press freedom in his Areopagitica  saying: “Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.”

Section 40 would impose upon us a restrictiveness and repression worse than that of the Puritan Commonwealth of 1649-1660

07 Dec

A world of sugared lies

When the whole world rises up and rails against you, cheer up! It probably means you’re doing something right.

This morning every organ from The Guardian to Hamas -whose spokesmen often seem interchangeable – to Russia Today, CNN, the EU and the EU’s spokesmen in this country who go by the name of the BBC, has condemned Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

But Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and the seat of government since 1948. This is a fact. All those agencies I mentioned above are news media. If dealing in facts is not their business, then pray what is?

In 1995 the government of the USA promised officially that it would recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. But every president since that time – Clinton, Bush, Obama – has waived that official promise. Now Donald Trump has done the honest thing and made good his country’s word.

Yet he is excoriated for so doing.

This can only mean that the worldwide media values more highly men who betray their promises than the man who keeps them.

The international media and politicians everywhere have no moral principles – or they claim to be Utilitarians, which amounts to the same thing. They don’t look to principles – whether something is right or wrong in itself – as the guide to moral judgement: instead they look to the likely consequences of any action. Will these consequences turn out to be good or bad? They don’t know. They can only judge the consequences in terms of some predicted future consequences; and so the issue of morality – right and wrong – is forever postponed.

This is the model of Jeremy Bentham’s Utilitarian Calculus which Nietzsche rightly dismissed as “pig philosophy.”

But let us look at the international media and politicians worldwide this morning and judge them by their own dim lights.

Why are they unanimous in their condemnation of Donald Trump’s decision?

Because they say it will undermine the “peace process.”

Well now, do you know the difference between a neurotic and a psychotic? A neurotic is one who builds castles in the air. The psychotic is one who lives in them. The politicians and the international media are the psychotics, for there is no peace process. Every time an attempt has been made to get a peace process going, it has been sabotaged by the Arabs and their sympathisers. Let me offer one spectacular example. In 1998 Bill Clinton sponsored peace talks at Camp David which concluded in a commitment by all sides to “a two-state solution.”

The treacherous Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat stood next to Clinton on the lawn and signed up to this agreement. Then he returned to the West Bank and promptly announced the second intifada – the violent and murderous uprising against Israeli civilians.

Let me give you other examples. Hezbollah frequently subject Israeli towns and villages to a barrage of rockets from Lebanon…Hamas do the same from Gaza…The Arab terrorists in Gaza place their rocket-launchers in schools and hospitals and then announce to the willingly gullible international press that Israel’s leaders are child-murderers.

Let me give you even more examples…

On second thoughts, what’s the point? In a world of sugared lies, only the truth-teller is the villain.

06 Dec

They’re pulling our leg again, aren’t they?

All sing along with me: ‘Tis the season to be hyperbolic…

Last night at a fastidiously pretentious “ceremony” in the Ferens Art Gallery, Hull, the African artist Lubaina Himid was awarded the Turner Prize. What more can be said when the whole damn thing is beyond satire? Compared with Ms Himid’s stuff, the act of throwing a pot of paint in the public’s face represents high cultural achievement. What’s it like then? There’s a fair chance that anything I might write would be a bit on the biased side. so let one of her supporters describe it:   

“Himid’s work has long been concerned with black creativity, history and identity and this animated throng represents the Africans who were brought to Europe as slave servants. There are drummers, dog trainers, dancers, potters, cobblers, gardeners and players of the viola da gamba, all decked out in vivid versions of 17th century costume. Labels on their backs identify each individual, giving both their original African names and occupations as well those imposed by their new European owners, and these poignant texts also form part of an evocative soundtrack, interspersed with snatches of Cuban, Irish, Jewish and African music.”

Much of her output looks like a gaudy collage produced by a mildly psychotic six-year-old with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

But don’t take my word for it. Listen instead to the singer Goldie who appeared at last night’s shindig to praise Ms Himid’s work for “Digging deep and challenging people’s perceptions.” Gliding over the surface and massaging familiar prejudices, more like. Another enthusiastic commentator said that Ms Himid’s agenda is “Black identity and the slave industry” And he reminded us that Ms Himid was awarded the MBE for services to “black women’s art.” All of which sounds rather racist to me and it doesn’t say anything about her art.

She produces some of her work on old copies of The Guardian and includes photographs of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher clipped out from that newspaper. In other words Ms Himid is not about art but about trendy-lefty racial “activism” and, instead of throwing pots of paint in our faces, she is, by her own admission, busy “reclaiming identities.”

Well, it’s trash isn’t it? if works awarded the Turner Prize were not trash, we would all come away disappointed.

Fair enough that it’s trash. But it’s not fair enough that it’s lying trash. Ms Himid claims to be about “correcting false impressions.” Yes, we are all going to have the scales removed from our eyes and see the world as it really is – that is the world portrayed by “the black women’s art movement.”

So why does she peddle palpable untruths? Here’s one: “In the 1980s black people were totally invisible.”

I suppose she means as invisible as Courtney Pine, Sir Bill Morris, Sir Trevor McDonald, Chris Eubank, Cleo Laine, Shirley Bassey, Martin Offiah, Frank Bruno, Ben Okri, Floella Benjamin, Bernie Grant, Diane Abbott, Lenny Henry, Benjamin Zephaniah, Lennox Lewis, Linford Christie, Paul Ince and Ian Wright?

At the time I was living in Bolton – not far from Professor Himid’s hideout at the University of Central Lancashire. I numbered many black people among my friends and acquaintance there  and, so far as I can recall, none of them was invisible.

I must not protest too much and we should be grateful for the crap because it makes us return and repose again in things of quality.

All may be forgiven. Except that the name of the great J.M.W Turner is contaminated with this slime.


28 Nov

Theresa’s Romantic Fantasy

Theresa May is very angry with Prince Harry. There was the great lady – Theresa, I mean, not Harry’s intended – with more press releases than she has pairs of shoes. For yesterday was to mark the launch of the government’s Grand Industrial Strategy: to give it its full title, The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. Acres of newsprint had been set aside for the publication of details of this great national plan. I nearly wrote Five Year Plan, after the manner of the former Soviet Union. But Theresa is far more ambitious than Joseph Stalin and her strategy looks forward as far as 2040. Television and radio schedules were cleared in advance for exciting ministerial appearances. Then, wouldn’t you just know it: the Prince and his Yankee girlfriend – “I’m just wild about Harry” – are the only news in town. Surely Theresa must be our unluckiest prime minister: first she loses a general election which even a pussycat would have won; then she cocks up the Tory conference with a coughing fit; and now her big strategic launch lies smothered under a pile of royal fluff.

Theresa did actually say something yesterday but, since nobody was listening, I’ll give you the gist of it here:

“Our modern Industrial Strategy will shape a stronger and fairer economy for decades to come. It will help create the conditions where successful businesses can emerge and grow, and support these businesses in seizing the big opportunities of our time, such as artificial intelligence and big data, whilst also making sure our young people have the skills to take on the high-paid, high-skilled jobs this creates.

“As we leave the European Union and forge a new path for ourselves, we need to focus on building a better future for our country and all the people who live in it. With the Budget last week, and our Industrial Strategy in the years ahead, we will build a Britain fit for the future.”

So you see, whatever the deficit in its other capabilities, our government can still be relied upon to produce shoals of jargon.

In the strategy, the government has identified Four Grand Challenges. (Have you noticed how, whenever the country is in the middle of some irretrievable mess, it’s always referred to as a “challenge”?) 

Brace yourself for another fusillade of gobbledegook: “…global trends that will shape our rapidly changing future and which the UK must embrace to ensure we harness all the opportunities they bring. The Four are: 

Artificial intelligence – we will put the UK at the forefront of the artificial intelligence and data revolution

Clean growth – we will maximise the advantages for UK industry from the global shift to clean growth.

Ageing society – we will harness the power of innovation to help meet the needs of an ageing society

Future of mobility – we will become a world leader in the way people, goods and services move.”

You will be wanting to know how much it will cost you – not Harry’s wedding but the Grand Industrial Strategy (GIS). It will, of course, cost as much as it takes – but £725million for starters.

To be honest, there were a few paragraphs about the GIS in today’s papers, but these were most depressing. All the newspapers assumed that industrial strategy has something to do with the business of government. Then, after much head-scratching, I twigged what’s going on here: Theresa May is doing a Tony Benn and reinventing the National Enterprise Board which – as the GIS will be – was doomed from the start. For the government doesn’t know anything about industrial strategy and there’s no reason why it should. The government’s job is to defend us from foreign enemies and keep the peace at home. So why are we spending more on the GIS than on our armed forces? And why has expenditure on the police forces fallen steadily for the last five years?

There are plenty of people in our country who know loads of stuff about industrial strategy, inventiveness and entrepreneurialism.  Government intervention is the last thing they need. All they require is for the government not to get in the way, but to step back and let the hands-on people get on with the job. They would best do this by creating the conditions which will allow industry and enterprise to flourish: that is make huge cuts in taxation and scrap business regulations.

But Theresa and the corporatist gang of left-wing ideologues who surround her won’t do this one thing needful.

Britain today is unique among the nations: we have a socialist opposition and a socialist government.

As for the GIS, it’s a bigger romantic fantasy than any royal wedding