Wednesday, 28 August 2013

We’re being dragged into war because our liberal elite is bored

Let’s face it, sorting out a moribund economy is no fun. Neither is reforming the welfare state. Or stopping hospitals torturing patients. Or dealing with the consequences of allowing two of the horsemen of the modern apocalypse – rampant immigration and multiculturalism – to ride roughshod over the land. It’s slow, painful, unrewarding, unpopular work. But ordering air-strikes against a cruel dictator in a distant country which now has nothing to do with us is peasy – and, with any luck, you’ll be out of office by the time someone has to sort out the consequences!

For a start, it allows leading politicians to look tough and decisive for a change: Cameron can appeal to traditional Tories by coming over all Churchillian, Nick Clegg can simper compassionately about dead children, and Ed Miliband – oh, who cares! A Labour MP of the female persuasion can burnish their lefty credentials by opposing the war and threatening to resign (then it was Clare Short, now it’s – who else? – Diane Abbott).

As for the BBC, well, it’s monumentally bored. If Labour were 20% ahead in the polls and there were no signs of recovery in the economy, or welfare reforms were proving unpopular, or viewers were swallowing all the propaganda about non-existent “cuts”, or Britons were indignant at the new anti-immigrant rhetoric emanating from the Tory Party, or the corporation wasn’t still embroiled in paedophile sex scandals and trying to rebuild its reputation following some appalling journalistic blunders, I suspect the Beeb would be whipping itself up into an anti-war frenzy right now. Instead, it has decided to back the political class,  just as it did before Iraq and the Falklands. Of course, at the first sign of things going wrong – a western missile killing civilians, a reprisal terrorist attack in this country – the corporation will immediately be clawing at the government’s throat.

Like most conservatives, I was a member of the “something must be done” majority over Iraq and Afghanistan. I still accept the basic neocon tenet that democracy is a good thing and should be encouraged everywhere, on the basis that democracies – among many other benefits - are generally less keen on starting wars than dictatorships. There was – I’ll admit it – a tear in my eye when the Iraqis first braved attack by terrorist swine to vote in free elections in 2005. I loathe fascist thugs and I enjoy seeing them being horsewhipped by the prefects. And the sight of shrieking anti-Western nihilists at anti-war protest rallies makes me wish I had the power to call in an air-strike myself. But I now classify myself as a former intervenionist who got mugged by reality.

There are – true – some reasons for intervening in Syria's civil war. But unless lobbing a few missiles into the country is a prelude to air-strikes against Iran to halt its nuclear weapons programme, the case for intervention looks extremely flimsy. Cameron’s line about the need to send a message to despots that chemical weapons are A VERY BAD THING just won’t wash. So are nuclear weapons in the hands of Islamofascists – and we seem to be doing sod all about sending a clear message to Iran's terror-funding mullahs.

Dave – get on with fixing the economy so we can pay our debts. Spain and Argentina are actually threatening British sovereign territory – if you feel the need to attack a foreign country, what about them? Better still, if you’re bored, find a hobby. As for you lot at the BBC, I'm sorry things aren't going your way - but that's rather your fault for doing what your charter specifically forbids by choosing to act as the chief propagandist for the main opposition party. Rather than reacting to recent setbacks by demanding that Britain becomes embroiled in a war, perhaps you could turn your attention to producing some decent drama series?


  1. Another good piece.Maybe Charles Krauthammer reads your blog.In The Washington Post Aug 30th.,the prevailing theme across the pond is also one of ennui over intervention in Syria,and add to this mix hubris-"the worst possible reason" and "shamed into action" are some memorable quotes.
    Could The British request Krauthammer as well as Sowell to join The House of Lords?
    Arise Sir Krauthammer also has a nice ring to it.

    1. All this frenzied activity on the part of the political class here and there appears to be because Obama dropped some comment about a red line on chemical weapons in some press conference and has now been embarrassed into acting on it.

      I love Krauthammer - he looks like he's just stepped out of a '30s monster movie.

  2. Like most conservatives, I was a member of the “something must be done” majority over Iraq and Afghanistan. I still accept the basic neocon tenet that democracy is a good thing and should be encouraged everywhere ...

    Roger Scruton has just finished a four-part series on democracy for BBC Radio 4's A Point of View in which he makes the point that there's a bit more to democracy than just casting a vote every now and again.

    Well worth downloading (1, 2, 3, 4). Or listening to on iPlayer (1, 2, 3, 4).

    Something has gone wrong with iPlayer's timings and the iPlayer version of the fourth episode ends with Roger in mid-flow, his conclusion withheld from listeners. I have brought this to the attention of iPlayer and of the producer, Richard Knight. Let's hope that this mistake is quickly corrected.

    1. I look forward to listening to all these. i read an excellent piece by him on the BBC website recently on why democracy failed in Egypt and I'm guessing that was actually a transcript of one of these talks.

      They're usually pretty good at correcting technical mistakes - I suspect because they're scared of being hauled up before the beak - i.e. Roger Bolton. Anyway, keep at 'em!

    2. From:
      Sent: 03 September 2013 12:54
      To: David Moss
      Subject: BBC iPlayer - Case number CAS-2291861-54K71S

      Dear Mr Moss

      Reference CAS-2291861-54K71S

      Thanks for contacting the BBC iPlayer Support Team.

      I understand you've contacted us regarding 'A Point of View', I note the programme was cut off before it had concluded.

      A number of users have reported this fault, it was since escalated to the relevant department for investigation and has now been corrected.

      We can only apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused.

      Once again, thanks for taking the time to contact us.

      Kind Regards


      BBC Audience Services

  3. "Dave – get on with fixing the economy so we can pay our debts." It is conservatively estimated that the UK dropped approx. £800,000 worth of ordnance during the recent Libyan civil war. And Dave got his big photo-op in Benghazi together with Sarko. And here we are possibly heading for another monumental "clusterfuck" - against a regime with a modern airforce who are prepared to come up and fight [unlike the Iraquis or Libyans] and modern missile defence systems thanks to Putin. Bring out Baroness Ashton, I say.

    What is also worrying me [as always] is the BBC and more specifically their correspondents Mark "Jellyroll" Mardell and Jeremy "Pinhead" Bowen. Mardell has recently been in a total flop sweat [see his coverage of the Obama visit to Berlin or his appearance on the 6 O'Clock news last night]. It is unsightly and off-putting. Bowen in Damascus has donned a macho tight shirt and even tighter jeans and is working the personal tragedy angle to the total exclusion of "the Big Strategic Picture" [see the BBC's coverage of the Beslan tragedy]. Soon he will don the full Brian Baron battle gear [hope they can find a helmet small enough for his shrinking cranium?]. He obviously wants to emulate Hastings or Simpson and single-handedly liberate a population centre from whoever. Plus ca change.

    1. Normally when pasty-faced BBC reporters are sent to work in America they become glossier by the day - snazzy suits, whitened teeth, perma-tans, shirts whose collars actually fit and expensive hair cuts: you can practically see them turning into Americans media folk before your eyes. By way of contrast, Mardell - who wasn't exactly svelte to start with - has become as fat as a pig, none of his clothes fit, and his face looks like an inept taxidermiist has been let loose on his head - weird blotches and crinkles and ridges and bulges all over the place. He does not look like a well man. Perhaps it's the strain of trying to pretend to be an unbiased commentator while doubling up as the president of the Barack Obama Appreciation Society.

      As for Bowen - don't get me started. Couldn't stand the man when I worked with him, and his subsequent "reporting" of Middle East affairs has done nothing to endear me to him. As with Mardell, something very strange is happening to his face - he appears to be morphing into a turtle as the years roll on. Some people (I am a very obvious example) become even more stunningly handsome as the years pass, whereas Bowen... well, just look at him. Whatever happens in Syria in the next few weeks, JB will be blaming America and Israel for it. On an unrelated matter, I really would love to get a peek at the Balen Report the BBC commissioned into its Middle East coverage in 2004 after complaints of anti-Israeli bias - and then spent a fortune in legal fees keeping hidden from license payers.

  4. We’re being dragged into war because our liberal elite is bored

    "Liberal elite"? "Left-wing"? "Progressive thought"? Bourgeois terms all. Decadent. Degenerate. Fetishistic.

    To be replaced with "gauche elite", "the gauche wing" and "gauche thought".