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يارب يسوع المسيح ابن اللّه الحيّ إرحمني أنا الخاطئ

Archive for the tag “UK politics”

By Jingo! Let’s have another war!

Over the last few days the Western media (well, Sky News anyway) has been banging the war drums, promoting war in Syria.

syria1Has anyone noticed how, since the end of the Cold War, there seem to have been a lot more hot ones? And most of them started, or aggravated, by the Western powers, especially Britain and the United States. usually by intervening in other people’s civil wars.

I think Tony Blair still holds the record as warmonger-in-chief — Yugoslavia 1999, Afghanistan 2002, Iraq 2003.

And we are now being subjected to the same barrage of media propaganda that we were subjected to in 1999. An intervention that we were told was necessary to avert a “humanitarian disaster” actually caused a humanitarian disaster far worse than anything they claimed to be averting.

And now we are hearing the same thing about “chemical weapons”. The US is already using chemical weapons in its drone strikes. Most wreapons nowadays reply on explosions caused by chemicals. The only ones that are not chemical are nuclear, and at least no one has used those yet. And the people killed in drone strikes are just as dead as those killed by any other means.

Is there any way of stopping this rush to war, or at least persuading people to stop and think about it before rushing into it?

I suggest there is one.

I suggest that the Liberal Democratic Party of the UK holds the key.

The LibDems are in coalition with the Conservative Party, whose leader, David Cameron, has been beating the war drums loudest. The LibDems and their supporters were the ones who were least enthusiastic about the Afghanistan War of 2002 and the Iraq War of 2003. So perhaps it is time for them to give notice to David Cameron that if he gets Britain involved militarily in the Syrian civil war, they will leave the coalition. Whether they have the guts to do that is another matter, but if they do, it will probably enable them to make a better showing in the next UK election than the oblivion that is likely to be their fate if they stick to the coalition to the end. So perhaps what is needed is for all Brit voters to urge their MPs, and especially all LibDem MPs, to vote against war, and if war is inevitable, to leave the coalition. Start tweeting, folks!

And if Cameron pulls back from the brink, perhaps Obama will think twice.

And then there are reports like this one:

US ‘backed plan to launch chemical weapon attack on Syria, blame it on Assad govt’: Report – Yahoo! News India:

The Obama administration gave green signal to a chemical weapons attack plan in Syria that could be blamed on President Bashar al Assad’s regime and in turn, spur international military action in the devastated country, leaked documents have shown.

A new report, that contains an email exchange between two senior officials at British-based contractor Britam Defence, showed a scheme ‘approved by Washington’.

Perhaps not the most reliable evidence, but the evidence about who the Western governments believe is responsible for the use of “chemical weapons” in Syria seems to be just as tenuous, and relies mainly on innuendo.

And there’s more here: Britain’s Daily Mail: U.S. ‘backed plan to launch chemical weapon attack on Syria” | Global Research:

We are reproducing herewith from Archives.org for the record the controversial Daily Mail article pertaining to a US sponsored intelligence operation to launch a chemical weapons attack on Syria and blame it on President Bashar al-Assad.

From the outset, the underlying objective was to provide a justification, on “humanitarian grounds”, for a military intervention directed against Syria.

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Agang lets us explain South African politics to Brits

The arrival of Agang on the South African scene at last lets us explain South African politics to Brits in terms they can understand.

  • The ANC is like the British Labour Party, having the support of Cosatu, one of the biggest trade union groupings.
  • The DA is like the British Conservative Party, and attracts the votes of conservative-minded voters in South Africa.
  • Agang is like the British Liberal Party, and appeals to liberals, though, unlike the British Liberal Party, it hasn’t sold out to the Tories yet.
  • Inkatha is like the Scottish National Party, and Bantu Holomisa’s lot (I forget their name) are like the Weslsh equivalent.
  • The Freedom Front is like the UK Independence Party.
  • That leaves the ACDP and the PAC which are rather difficult to explain in UK terms. Perhaps you could say that the PAC is also like the UKIP, except that it would like to be in Africa just as much as the UKIP doesn’t want to be in Europe.

I hope that makes everything clear.

Whenever I see Agang written I do a double take, because I tend to read it as “aging”.

Mamphela Ramphele

Mamphela Ramphele

But that’s OK, as it serves to remind aging liberals like me that we have something to vote for in the 2014 election, if we live that long.

Last year I was rooting for Mamphela Ramphele for president, and though she’s unlikely to be president in 2014, I think her voice needs to be heard in parliament.

Oh, I forgot Julius Malema.

Well, Julius Malema reminds me of Tielman Roos in a lot of ways. Appealing to the workers and playing the race card, for example.

You haven’t heard of Tielman Roos? Well, don’t worry — in 80 years’ time probably no one will have heard of Julius Malema either.

 

The day the Queen flew to Scotland for the grouse shooting

The Day The Queen Flew To Scotland For The Grouse Shooting: A DocumentThe Day The Queen Flew To Scotland For The Grouse Shooting: A Document by Arthur Wise

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There are some books that one reads and re-reads, others that one reads once and discards, and yet others that one re-reads once and reads again after many years. This book is one of the last category.

Sometimes books re-read after a long period are slightly disappointing, not quite as good as one remembered them. Others are better than one remembered them. For me, Jane Austen’s novels fall into the “better on re-reading” category; I think that the first time I read her books I was too young to appreciate them.

And then there are those books, like this one, that are much the same.

I can’t remember exactly when I first read The day the Queen flew to Scotland for the grouse shooting, but it must have been soon after it was published, when I had just returned to South Africa after spending a couple of years studying in England.

Because of the differences between the South African academic year and the English one, I had a few months to fill in before going to the University of Durham, and I spent them driving buses in London, and so learnt something about the South of England.

And though Durham University drew students from all over, there were several from the North, from whom I learnt that wogs came from South of the Trent.

So Wise’s book about a football riot between northern and southern teams escalating into a civil war seemed like a credible scenario. It was about an England that I knew 45 years ago. And one thing that struck me on re-reading it is that little has changed. The book was first published in 1968, and is set a few years into the future, but in the book there is little that might not be equally applicable to the England of 2015, even though much has happened in between.

It could easily have happened in the “winter of discontent” in the mid-1970s, or during the Thatcher years of the 1980s that saw the deindustrialisation of the North.

It could have happened, but it didn’t, so perhaps one can relegate it to the “unfulfilled prophecy” department.

But what prompted me to read the book was something someone wrote in a book discussion newsgroup:

What were the boys celebrating? And why should anyone outside Mali care? That is something I tried to figure out when I read that a group called Mouvement National pour la Libération de l’Azawad (MNLA; Azawad National Liberation Movement) had today, April 6, 2012, declared Azawad (comprising what used to be north-east Mali) to be an independent, sovereign state (so far unrecognized by any other country). It’s not every day that a new sovereign state is declared, after all, even one with a population as small as 1.3 million and one as far away from Europe and the West as Timbuktu (now located in Azawad).

Well, why should anyone outside Mali care? We should care because before we know, it could be happening to us. In the 1950s the Central African Federation was formed; in the 1960s it broke up. In 1960 Nigeria became independent, in 1967 it was wracked by civil war, as Biafra sought to become independent, and this at a time when the dream of some was a United States of Africa.

The European Union has drawn states together, but even today in the UK there are people who wish to see the end of the UK, to undo the ties that bound England and Scotland together for 300 years. Politicians speak of national unity, but local loyalty dies hard. The tensions that Wise writes about are still there, and occasionally make themselves felt.

And so in a sense it has happened. Not in England, perhaps, but in several other countries. One of them is Yugoslavia, which in some ways, in the 1980s, was like England upside down — with rich Slovenia in the north, and poor Kosovo in the south, and both straining to break away, and all the bitterness and hatred that Wise describes raged through the Balkans in the 1990s, though in real life the Americans were not as benevolent as he portrayed them in his book. But Wise died in 1982, and didn’t live to see that fulfilment.

Wise describes the destruction of Nottingham, and I remember when I first read it I thought he was getting carried away with hyperbole. I thought such cruelty and savagery could not happen in real life. But since then we have seen the destruction of Homs and Fallujah. Such things are not only possible, they have actually happened.

So though Wise’s extrapolation of trends of his day into the near future didn’t take place in precisely the way he predicted, they have happened, and will go on happening, and so his book remains fresh and readable.

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Britain’s Austerity Overdose – NYTimes.com

One thing that strikes me about the debate about Britains public spending cuts is how things aimed at alleviating human suffering are cut first and most drastically, while spending devoted to inflicting suffering, like military spending, is regarded as essential, and therefore cuts are made much more circumspectly.

I haven’t been following the debate about Britain’s public spending cuts very closely (after all, it’s a long way away), but catch snippets here and there — like this one: Britain’s Austerity Overdose – NYTimes.com:

There is a time and a place for aggressive deficit reduction. Now is not the time, especially not in Britain. The deep spending cuts announced by Prime Minister David Cameron’s government will hobble public services, strain poor families’ budgets and weaken Britain’s influence abroad. They could suffocate a feeble recovery.

Mr. Cameron and his team appear to be driven solely by Conservative Party articles of faith. They are gambling on the improbable theory that in a period of weak consumer demand, the private sector will generate enough business activity to replace the $130 billion the government will be withdrawing from the economy over the next four and half years. We are not sure why the Liberal Democrats, the coalition’s junior partners, are going along.

But I suppose that the Lib-Dems may have influenced their Tory partners to rein back on some unnecessary spending, like the Trident nuclear submarine replacement.

Politics: style and substance

I spent much of yesterday watching the TV, Sky News, most of it on attempts to form a government in Britain. Hung parliament. David Cameron speaks of the need for a “strong and stable” government, while Nick Clegg speaks of a “stable and good” government.

It’s a pity there Lib Dems didn’t win more seats, so they could negotiate from a position of strength. As it is, whichever way they go will actually be to their long-term detriment. Endless talking heads outside doors, speculating, speculating, speculating. I think of how different the atmosphere is from South Africa, or at least South Africa as it was in the glory days of the 1990s, where there was the African desire for inclusion, not just the Government of National Unity, which was a kind of constitutional mandate, but a real attempt to bring everyone on board, like getting Gatsha Buthelezi as Minister of Home Affairs, even though he made a total cock up of it.

There was a desire for consensus, rather than the British winner-takes-all system, which makes so many Brits uncomfortable with a hung parliament. Here only the Democratic Party refused to come to the party, and insisted on being a British-style opposition, opposing everything the government did, good or bad, as a matter of principle.

It’s all different now, of course — the ANC can’t even extend the politics of inclusion to their own party, and there are no longer any issues of principle, it’s all personalities and jockeying for position, and the media are only ever full of stories about who’s in and who’s out with not a hint of what policies they stand for. It’s all personality clashes.

In the evening it seemed that a deal between the Tories and the Lib-Dems was in sight, and Gordon Brown knew the game was up, and resigned. He made a rather touching speech outside 10 Downing Street before going to hand his resignation to the Queen. He walked off down the street with his wife and children to the car. I don’t recall any other British prime ministers leaving like that. I think most of them left almost surreptitiously, from the back door. But there is another contrast. Five years ago I thought that we in South Africa were fortunate to have Thabo Mbeki as head of government. For all his faults, he seemed preferable to Tony Blair, George Bush, or Robert Mugabe, or most of the other prime ministers or presidents in the world.

But now I think that Gordon Brown was better than Jacob Zuma, and seeing him walk down the road with his family, after saying that he was giving up his second most important job, as prime minister, but would continue the first, as husband and father, seemed to emphasise the contrast. It’s PR, of course, staged for the media, but there is some substance to it as well, and a huge contrast to Jacob Zuma’s family life.

But I only follow British politics sporadically, and from a distance. British bloggers are closer, and perhaps see more clearly. One British blogger, Tony Grist, remarked Eroticdreambattle: A good man?:

If a good man does bad things is he still a good man?

Or- to narrow things down more specifically to the career of Gordon Brown- can a person claim to be in possession of ‘a moral compass’ if he never seems to use it.

The defining characteristics of Brown’s career have been cowardice, lack of principle, corrosive ambition, sulkiness, disloyalty and double-dealing. He tacitly supported the Iraq war, encouraged the banking free for all, created a culture of paranoia around himself, persistently undermined his colleagues- including Tony Blair- and (behind closed doors) sulked and fumed and bullied. In what way are these the actions of a ‘good’ man?

I’m asking because I’ve just been reading this. Gordon Brown has failed in most things, but he’s somehow managed to sell us all on the notion that he’s a moral person- that whole son of the manse thing. Well, I beg to differ.

and a little later he elaborated

Brown comes from a very moral place- from Scottish Presbyterianism and Christian Socialism- and has betrayed almost everything he was taught and once stood for.

The young Brown would, I think, have been disgusted by the things his older self wound up doing in the pursuit and exercise of power.

But another British blogger takes a different view. Neil Clark: Farewell, Gordon Brown. You weren’t that bad:

Neil Clark: Brown should have strung the bankers up from the lamp-posts – it’s what the public wanted

He’s been called the worst Prime Minister ever – and that was by a politician from his own party. But was Gordon Brown, who announced that he was stepping down as Labour leader yesterday, really that bad?

And goes on to say Gordon Brown was not the worst prime minister ever | The First Post:

None of the candidates mooted as replacements for Brown have distinct ideological positions. You certainly couldn’t say the same about Jim Callaghan, Roy Jenkins, Tony Benn, Michael Foot, Tony Crosland and Denis Healey – the six Labour candidates who set out to replace Harold Wilson when he stepped down in 1976. Back then, the policies the politicians espoused – and not their personalities, or their media image – were decisive.

But in today’s neo-liberal, globalist era, where policy parameters are set by international capital and sovereignty-impinging institutions such as the EU and the IMF, politicians have largely been reduced to mere managers. And because the difference between their policies is so small, so the emphasis has shifted on to personality.

That many regard Brown’s premiership so negatively has little to do with the man’s actual record in office, but owes a lot to the fact that ‘Gloomy Gordon’, the man famous for having the ‘worst smile in the world’, was ill-suited to the personality-based politics of today.

True, there were many things he did do wrong: signing the undemocratic Lisbon Treaty, which surrendered even more sovereignty to the EU without a referendum; his failure to renationalise the railways; and his continuation of Britain’s military involvement in Afghanistan.

As Clark points out, politics today is certainly becoming a matter of style rather than substance. But on the positive side

He was certainly a better PM than his warmongering predecessor, who took us into military conflicts which will make us a target for Islamic militants for many years to come, and John Major, who destroyed Britain’s railways. And he also comes out favourably compared to Sir Anthony Eden, who led us into the Suez fiasco and Neville Chamberlain, whose appeasement of Adolf Hitler led to World War 2.

But there is one real issue, which is at the centre of the wheeling and dealing to form a government in Britain, and that is that the Lib-Dems are wedded to the idea of electoral reform, and this determines the extent to which they will support any of the other parties that wish to form a government.

The Liberal-Democrats want a system of proportional representation, which will more fairly represent the wishes of the voters. When South Africa had a constituency system only a minority of the population were allowed to vote, and even some of those who did have the vote were effectively disenfranchised because many constituencies returned unopposed candidates. Now we have proportional representation, and every vote counts.

The disadvantage, however, is that proportional representation with a list system makes members of parliament accountable to their parties rather than to the electorate. If media image counts for a great deal in British politics, it counts for very litte in South African politics. Julius Malema has had a poor media image for some time, but that counts for little. What counts is the party cabal.

As a non-Brit, my main interest in British politics is their foreign policies. The warmongering propensity of the Labour government of the past 13 years has helped to make the world a more dangerous place for all of us. Leftist socialist Brits say that the most important thing was to vote Labour for sake of the British working class, and they care a lot less about the fact that the Labour government has enthusiastically participated in the bombing of the working class in other countries. Working class solidarity and socialism that is no longer internationalist becomes National Socialism. Add to that the denial of civil liberties at home by enthusiasm for such things as 90-day detention manifested by Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, with the bulk of the British media calling that “the moral high ground”, and Labour’s record is not a good one. I’m not sure that the Tories would have been any better on those issues. The Liberal Democrats at least made some effort to oppose those things, and my thought was that a hung parliament would be a good thing if it enabled the Lib-Dems to restrain the worst excesses of Tories and Labour.

But in Britain, as in South Africa, I think it is well to heed G.K. Chesterton’s wise words

Much vague and sentimental journalism has been poured out to the effect that Christianity is akin to democracy, and most of it is scarcely strong or clear enough to refute the fact that the two things have often quarrelled. The real ground upon which Christianity and democracy are one is very much deeper. The one specially and peculiarly un-Christian idea is the idea of Carlyle–the idea that the man should rule who feels that he can rule. Whatever else is Christian, this is heathen. If our faith comments on government at all, its comment must be this — that the man should rule who does NOT think that he can rule. Carlyle’s hero may say, “I will be king”; but the Christian saint must say “Nolo episcopari.” If the great paradox of Christianity means anything, it means this–that we must take the crown in our hands, and go hunting in dry places and dark corners of the earth until we find the one man who feels himself unfit to wear it. Carlyle was quite wrong; we have not got to crown the exceptional man who knows he can rule. Rather we must crown the much more exceptional man who knows he can’t.

Brit elections: the elephant in the room

I watched a couple of the televised debates between the three front-runners in the UK election, and I’ve read several British blog posts about the hustings in various constituencies, and one thing that has struck me is that they all seem to be silent about the elephant in the room — that the Labour Party, since it came to power in 1997, has led Britain into not one, but three imperialist wars.

Nick Clegg of the Liberal Democrats did, to his credit, make a passing reference to the fact that the war in Iraq was illegal, but he did not follow it up, and Gordon Brown and David Cameron did not respond to it.

As an Australian journalist notes, t r u t h o u t | Voting for War. Take Your Pick:

All three party leaders are warmongers. Nick Clegg the Liberal Democrats leader and darling of former Blair lovers says that as prime minister he will ‘participate’ in another invasion of a ‘failed state’ provided there is ‘the right equipment the right resources.’ His one condition is the standard genuflection toward a military now scandalized by a colonial cruelty of which the Baha Mousa case is but one of many.

For Clegg as for Gordon Brown and David Cameron the horrific weapons used by British forces such as clusters, depleted uranium and the Hellfire missile which sucks the air out of its victims lungs do not exist. The limbs of children in trees do not exist. This year alone Britain will spend £4 billion on the war in Afghanistan and that is what Brown and Cameron almost certainly intend to cut from the National Health Service.

One other thing that all three front-ronners studiously avoided mentioning, and none of the public questions mentioned either, was the Labour Party’s attempts to destroy civil liberties and turn Britain into a fascist police state. Both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown tried to introduce 90-day detention without trial.

In the 1960s, when South Africa introduced 90-day detention, Harold Wilson’s Labour Party imposed military sanctions, and cancelled an order for Buccaneer aircraft destined for the South African Air Force. Now the British media laud Blair’s and Brown’s attempts to turn Britain into a Vorsterstan as “taking the moral high ground”.

My, how the mighty have fallen!

British politics gets interesting too

The British political scene has suddenly become more interesting after a televised debate between the leaders of the three main parties last week led to a surge in popularity for the Liberal Democrats, who have been out of power since the First World War. It was apparently the first time such a debate had been held, which gave British voters a chance to hear more than the occasional soundbite from the Lib-Dem leader, and most seemed to think he was the clear winner of the first round.

We watched last night’s second round of the debate to see what all the fuss was about.

Cameron Failure to Top Clegg in Debate Signals Hung Parliament – BusinessWeek:

April 23 (Bloomberg) — Conservative David Cameron failed to derail Nick Clegg in the U.K. campaign’s second debate, four instant polls showed, pointing to a hung parliament with Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s Labour Party as the largest bloc.

In a 90-minute televised debate, Brown, 59, compared his 43-year-old opponents to children “squabbling at bathtime.” Cameron, who led polls until Clegg’s surge after last week’s debate, said a government without a majority would prevent “decisive action” to narrow a record budget deficit. Clegg dismissed such warnings as “ludicrous scare stories.”

Of four surveys released immediately after the event, two showed Clegg won and a pair favored Cameron. That suggests the debate will produce little change in polls on the overall race in coming days. Most since last week show Labour winning a plurality of seats in the May 6 election.

From this distance the thing that was of most interest is foreign policy, and whether a new British government will continue or abandon the war-mongering of the belligerent Mr Blair, who has led Britain into three wars of aggression in the last 13 years.

Nick Clegg was the only one who mentioned the illegal Iraq War, while the other two steered clear of it. David Cameron’s contribution seemed to be mostly vague platitudes and aspirations without saying how these would be achieved. Gordon Brown got specific about things like jobs and recovering from the recession, but was also vague about protecting Britain from terrorism, which the others didn’t challenge him on, though it could be argued that Labour’s support for America’s wars of aggression in the Middle East actually made Britain more vulnerable to terrorism. Brown accused Clegg of being anti-American and Cameron of being anti-European, and implied that his “quiet diplomacy” would have more influence of American policy than Clegg’s promise of a more independent line — which is the kind of thing we used to hear from Thabo Mbeki about his approach to human rights abuses in Zimbabwe.

It will be interesting to see how things develop.

The Times – UK ‘more violent than South Africa’

We South Africans have got used to foreign journalists like PETER HITCHENS rubbishing South Africa in their columns, but now one of the papers he writes for has had to admit that violent crime in Britain is worse than in South Africa.

The Times – UK ‘more violent than South Africa’:

The United Kingdom has overtaken South Africa as the world’s most violent country.

# UK violent crime “worse than SA” – Daily Mail

# Britain’s crime wave is nothing to be smug about (editorial)

The UK has been left with some soul searching to do after findings that Britons experienced more incidents of violent crime per 100,000 citizens than South Africa, which is often depicted as the world capital of violent crime.

Commenting on a report in UK tabloid the Daily Mail, senior researcher at the Institute for Security Studies, Dr Johan Burger, said: “Maybe now those who have been pointing fingers at us will get their own house in order.”

The Daily Mail reported yesterday that the UK has a higher rate of violent crime than any other country, “beating” the likes of the US and South Africa.

Hat tip to Contact Online Weblog: UK ‘more violent than South Africa’.

Of course the problems that people like Hitchens writes about are here. We had a lot of electricity blackouts in January 2008, as he writes. But they have not continued. A long-term solution needs to be found, and people are whinging because they will have to pay for it (just as they do in Britain).

There was xenophobic violence between February and June 2008 — 2008 seems to have been a bad year — in which more than 60 people died — about the same number as in the Sharpeville massacre in 1960. And though the violence has dropped off, there is still racism and xenophobia. But the Brits elected two MEPs from the xenophobic BNP to the European parliament this year, so South Africa doesn’t have a monopoly on xenophobia either.

And yes, we have corrupt politicians, and we had the Travelgate scandal, but that was small beer compared with what has recently been revealed about British MPs fiddling their expense claims.

Tony Blair pushed Gordon Brown to hold Iraq war inquiry in private

Tony Blair pushed Gordon Brown to hold Iraq war inquiry in private: The Observer:

Tony Blair urged Gordon Brown to hold the independent inquiry into the Iraq war in secret because he feared that he would be subjected to a ‘show trial’ if it were opened to the public the Observer can reveal.

The revelation that the former prime minister – who led Britain to war in March 2003 – had intervened will fuel the anger of MPs peers military leaders and former civil servants who were appalled by Brown’s decision last week to order the investigation to be conducted behind closed doors.

Could this be the same Tony Blair? Blair Threatens Milosevic With War Crimes Trial

Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic will be held accountable for any further war crimes in Kosovo British Prime Minister Tony Blair said yesterday. Blair s threat was the first time any Western leader has singled out Milosevic for possible war crimes committed by forces under his command. Blair ‘President Milosevic and his commanders must … understand that NATO will not stand by in the face of renewed repression in Kosovoor atrocities like the one we witnessed in Racak. Nor can the International War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague’ Michael Evens London Times 9 Mar .

Could it be that the man who wanted others held accountable for their alleged warmongering is shying away from accountability himself? And remember that the “Racak atrocity” was shown to be a fabrication, unlike Tony Blair’s very real involvement in the invasion of Iraq.

It seems that the belligerent Mr Blair made a habit of lying to take his country into war.

Britain swings to the rift… er… leght

The election of two members of the fascist British National Party (BNP) to the European parliament has been the cause of some concern to British church leaders.

Bishop Alan’s Blog: BNP MEP’s: bring on the clowns?:

The disconnection of the Labour party from its own roots under Blair, Sun style pop Xenophobia, and disillusionment with parliamentarians, produced this result. Politicians must listen, not only pragmatically, but in a way that reconnects with this country’s historic Christian value base, or things can only get worse.

I wonder if the UK Sun is owned by the same people as own the South African Sun, because the latter’s pop xenophobia certainly played a part in inciting the xenophobic violence that erupted at the beginning of last year, in which over 60 people were killed, and which was discussed at the Amahoro Conference this week. Part of the problem in South Africa, as noted at Amahoro, is that apartheid deliberately disconnected the country from a historic Christian value base (while claiming to be protecting “Western Christian civilization” — whatever that means).

The xenophobic violence that lasted most of the first half of last year shows that we have not yet exorcised the demons of apartheid. And the demons that have been expelled seem to have emigrated to Europe, where they found the house swept and garnished, first in the wars of the Yugoslav succession, and now in the growing xenophobia in places like the UK.

But perhaps part of the problem in the UK could be remedied by voter education, which is very much needed, if the following example is anything to go by: Cranmer: Could the BNP now be sued for discrimination?:

The far-Left BNP may have won two seats on the Elections to the European Parliament, but, while this success undoubtedly constitutes something of a political and propaganda coup, Cranmer is not so sure that Nick Griffin will consider it much of a blessing when the lawsuits start being delivered.

“Far-Left BNP”? Perhaps that is the result of a misinterpretation of our Lord Jesus Christ’s injunction not to let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, but it seems more likely that it is caused by not being able to tell one’s left from one’s right. What does one call that? Political dyslexia, perhaps? So if the blogger Cranmer’s view is widespread, perhaps a lot of Brit voters simply voted for the wrong party, and thought that the “HITLER” tattooed on the chest of the gentleman in the picture spells “T-R-O-T-S-K-Y”.

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