Once the lure of communism seduced the idealistic. Today’s environmental ideologues risk becoming just as dangerous
Britain is, thankfully, an ideologically barren land. The split between Right and Left is no longer ideological, but tribal. Are you a nice social liberal who believes in markets, or a nasty social liberal who believes in markets? Anthony Blunt’s memoirs, published this week, reveal a different age, one in which fascism and communism were locked in a seemingly definitive battle for souls.
Blunt talks of “the religious quality” of the enthusiasm for the Left among the students of Cambridge. There is only one ideology in today’s developed world that exercises a similar grip. If Blunt were young today, he would not be red; he would be green.
His band of angry young men would find Gore where once they found Marx. Blunt evokes a febrile atmosphere in which each student felt his own decision had the power to shape the future. Where once they raged about the fleecing of the proletariat and quaked at the march of fascism, Blunt and his circle, transposed to today’s college bar, would rage about the fleecing of the planet and quake at its imminent destruction. If you squint, red and green look disarmingly similar.
Both identify an end utopia that is difficult to dispute. The diktat “from each according to his ability, to each according to his means” sounds lovely on paper. Greens promise a world in which we actually survive a coming ecological apocalypse. A desirable outcome, undoubtedly.
But the means to these ends seem similarly insurmountable. Both routes demand an immediate suspension of human nature.
Ideologies often credit man with either more nobility or more venality than he deserves. In reality he is a mundane creature. He wants a home for himself and those he loves, stocked with food. And he wants to have the right to control his own destiny, own his own stuff, and to acquire more if he can without interference or fear of imminent death. Such low-level acquisitive desires support high concepts: property rights and the rule of law, without which there would be no foundation for democracy.
My desire to live a free, mundane life is a fundamental cog in our messy, glorious, capitalist democracy. It is built on millions of such small entrenched postitions. Red-filtered, my desires are despicable and bourgeois and must be beaten out of me with indoctrination or force. Green-filtered, my small desires are despicable acts of ecological vandalism. My house is a carbon factory. My desire to travel, to own stuff, to eat meat, to procreate, to heat my house, to shower for a really, really long time; all are evil.
The word evil is used advisedly. Both the green and red positions are infused with overpowering religiosity. Dissenters from the consensus are shunned apostates. Professor Ian Pilmer, the Australian geologist and climate change sceptic, could not find a publisher for his book Heaven and Earth, which questions the orthodoxy about global warming. He is the subject of hate mail and demonstrations. It is entirely immaterial whether he is right or wrong. An environment that stifles his right to a voice is worse than one that is overheating.
Even within the convinced camp, dissent from certain party lines is frowned upon. Nuclear power is the cheapest, greenest alternative to fossil fuels that we possess, yet it is anathema to advocate its proliferation at the expense of wind and sun. Fans of nuclear are the Trotskys of the movement, subject to batterings by verbal ice pick.
The great ecological timebomb is population growth. By 2050 the United Nations’ demographers expect the world’s population to reach 9.2 billion, compared with 6.8 billion today. That’s 2.4 billion extra carbon footprints. Half measures seem futile. We all hope for some new technology to rescue us. But what if it never materialises? The logical position is to be a cheerleader for swine flu, but not in my backyard. Do we have to pray for swine flu to ravage foreign children, to save our own from frying in the future?
We are at the early stage of the green movement. A time akin to pre-Bolshevik socialism, when all believed in the destruction of the capitalist system, but were still relatively moderate about the means of getting there. We are at the stage of naive dreamers and fantasists. Russia was home to the late 19th-century Narodnik movement, in which rich sons of the aristocracy headed into the countryside to tell the peasants it was their moral imperative to become a revolutionary class. They retreated, baffled, to their riches when the patronised peasants didn’t want to revolt. Zac Goldsmith and Prince Charles look like modern Narodniks, talking glib green from the safety of their gilded lives.
Indulge me in some historical determinism. We, the peasants, are failing to rise up and embrace the need to change. We will not choose to give up modern life, with all its polluting seductions. Our intransigent refusal to choose green will be met by a new militancy from those who believe we must be saved from ourselves. Ultra-green states cannot arise without some form of forced switch to autocracy; the dictatorship of the environmentalists.
The old two-cow analogy is a useful one. You have two cows. The communist steals both your cows, and may give you some milk, if you’re not bourgeois scum. The fascist lets you keep the cows but seizes the milk and sells it back to you. Today’s Green says you can keep the cows, but should choose to give them up as their methane-rich farts will unleash hell at some unspecified point in the future. You say, sod it, I’ll keep my cows thanks. Tomorrow’s green, the Bolshevik green, shoots the cows and makes you forage for nuts.
If the choice is between ecological meltdown, or a more immediate curtailment of our freedom, where do those of us who are neither red nor green, but a recalcitrant grey, turn? Back to those small desires, and a blinkered hope that the choice never becomes so stark. If it does, I’ll take my chances with Armageddon.
Hooray! Brits catch and jail yet another lying bitch
But she only got 18 months so will be out in 9. I noted another such incident just days ago. So much for the feminist assertion that women don't make false rape claims
A woman who falsely accused her ex-boyfriend of rape when he broke off their relationship was jailed yesterday for her 'vile lies'. Louise Johnson, 37, drove Andrew Tutty to the brink of suicide after he was arrested and suspended from his job. After accusing the care worker of the rape, Johnson then took out an injunction against her former lover whom she claimed was continuing to harass her. The mother-of-one then contacted police again to claim Mr Tutty had turned up at her home with a knife, ordered her to strip and then threatened to rape her.
Yesterday a judge told Johnson she was guilty of telling 'lies of the most vile kind' as Mr Tutty told of the 'devastating' impact of the case on his life. The 41-year-old was arrested twice, had his DNA swabbed and spent two-and-a-half months on police bail until he was able to prove his innocence when CCTV proved he was with his son at a train station 160 miles away when Johnson claimed he turned up at her home with the knife.
Mr Tutty, from Dudley, West Midlands, said: 'I couldn't believe it when I was arrested by the police. It was devastating - especially as I was suspended from my job over it. 'It has been a long slow two years during which my name has been dragged through the mud. I have been through hell. 'It has been a nightmare and I would not be on this earth if it had not been for the support of friends and family. I would be six feet under.'
The couple met through their jobs as carers at a residential care home for disturbed young people. They had only been going out for two months before Mr Tutty ended the relationship in March 2007.
Alka Brigue, prosecuting, said Johnson took Mr Tutty's decision to finish the relationship 'very badly'. He was first arrested on suspicion of rape in July 2007. Johnson claimed he had forced her to perform a sex act on him but the incident never took place. The following month Johnson took out the injunction and a short time later Mr Tutty was arrested again after she claimed that, armed with the knife, he arrived at her home in Tividale, West Midlands, ordered her to strip and threatened to rape her.
Miss Brigue said: 'Johnson claimed he turned up at her home and assaulted her. He took clothes off and attempted to rape her. 'She said there were blows to various parts of her body from his hands and fists. He also brandished a knife.' Wolverhampton Crown Court heard at that precise time Mr Tutty had been filmed on CCTV boarding a train in Gosport, Hampshire, with his son.
In a victim impact statement filed with the court, Mr Tutty described how Johnson's lies caused him 'considerable distress and discomfort'. He has since been reinstated to his job.
Johnson then complained she had received a string of text messages from Mr Tutty and that he had again assaulted her but, at the time, he had been attending his mother's 67th birthday party before going straight to work. Analysis of Johnson's phone suggested she had sent the messages herself, a source said.
The court heard Johnson had made a string of allegations against other people over the previous 12 years. It is understood she had accused a man of raping her in 2005, although charges were never proceeded with.
The court heard Johnson suffered from a personality disorder. Samantha Powis, defending, said Johnson had suffered from abuse as a child. Her alleged tormentor was acquitted after a trial. Miss Powis said Johnson 'accepts these were gravely serious allegations and they not only undermined him but those who make genuine complaints.' Johnson admitted perverting the course of justice. Judge Nicholas Syfret QC told her the two arrests had a 'huge impact' on the life of Mr Tutty.
Jailing her for 18 months, Judge Syfret said: 'He felt suicidal and it affected his work. These allegations were not only embarrassing but they meant he was suspended fromdoing his job.' The judge said there were people who felt 'there is no smoke without fire' and, while he was completely innocent, they would believe there was some truth in the allegations. 'There was not a word of truth in what you said,' the Recorder told Johnson.
'A colossal strain was put on police resources while they investigated these complaints and you also undermined the causes of genuine people who had been the subject of serious complaints.' He told her only a custodial sentence could be justified because the offence she had committed made it notoriously difficult for women who had been raped to get justice.
Competition has become a dirty word in British schools, says Dame Kelly
Dame Kelly Holmes yesterday launched a stinging attack on the decline of competitive sport in schools and said it risked spawning a generation of bad losers. The double Olympic champion and former Army physical training instructor blamed a culture of political correctness for making 'competitiveness' a dirty word. Her comments come a year after Gordon Brown admitted Labour had made a 'tragic mistake' by allowing dozens of mainly left-wing councils to scrap competitive sports in schools in the 1980s.
This meant huge numbers of inter- school matches and tournaments were cut from state schools after theorists claimed children on losing teams could end up psychologically traumatised. After the Beijing Olympics in 2008, the Government pledged to end a 'medals for all' culture in which sports days have been cancelled and field sports 'dumbed down'.
But Dame Kelly has criticised established policies that continue to allow health and safety concerns to ride roughshod over sporting rivalry. The 39-year-old former middle distance athlete said: 'Too often, in these politically sensitive times, it seems that competitiveness is seen as a dirty word. 'I was surprised by how many schools I came across where sports day had been abandoned. It's very important to learn how to lose. 'What you should do is pick yourself up, dust yourself down and start all over again. If everyone gets a prize, where on earth is the incentive to push yourself to do better next time?'
The retired British recordbreaking athlete, who won two gold medals at the 2004 Athens Olympics, called for competitive sport to play a much larger part in the school curriculum.
Dame Kelly, who was awarded an honorary degree from Brunel University this week, told Heat magazine: 'Competitive sport can increase a child's confidence, develop their social skills and get them fit into the bargain.'
The Prime Minister has promised to reverse the longterm decline in competitive school games in the run-up to the London Olympics. Fixtures between schools dropped 70 per cent in the early 1990s following a steady decade-long decline, according to figures from the Secondary Heads Association. But in 2007, Government figures showed numbers were still falling. One million fewer school children were pitted against their classmates than the previous year.
In total, 3.1million pupils aged five to 16 - equal to more than four in ten school children - did not play any competitive sport, while 438 schools did not hold a sports day, a survey for the Department for Children, Schools and Families showed.
Last year the Football Association banned children under the age of eight from playing in football leagues and cups amid fears they are under too much pressure. Youngsters can still play matches but results must be kept private and no league tables can be compiled. They should not compete in knockout tournaments where trophies or medals are at stake, FA officials said.
Heart valve patients recalled after three die from deadly bug infection following operations at same British government hospital
More than 100 heart surgery patients are being recalled for urgent tests after three died from an infection. A further five patients given new heart valves at Nottingham City Hospital face having repeat operations. All were suffering from staphylococcal infection, similar to the antibiotic-resistant MRSA which has killed hundreds of hospital patients in recent years.
Nottingham University-Hospitals NHS Trust says it is sure the infection, which is common and carried on the skin, was not spread via contaminated operating theatres. One of the most likely routes of transmission was via a surgeon who transferred it to patients during surgery, possibly through poor hygiene or contaminated equipment.
The 'precautionary' recall involves all patients who have received heart valve replacements at the hospital's Trent Cardiac Centre since January. The deaths occurred between May and this month. Dr Stephen Fowlie, medical director of the trust, said no other types of heart operations or other surgery have shown any cause for concern.
Results are awaited from checks on a further 28 patients who had very similar operations, with one patient still being sought. In addition, 79 patients who had a different kind of heart valve operation at the heart centre this year are being contacted but they are considered low-risk. All patients are aged between their early 60s and 80s and the deaths happened between May and July.
Dr Stephen Fowlie, medical director at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, said 'It is with great regret that we confirm that some patients who underwent heart valve operations since January developed an infection with the same bug. 'There have been eight confirmed cases so far, three of whom have died. The other five are receiving treatment and remain stable.
British motoring guru Clarkson in row over four-letter abuse of Prime Minister
Amazing what you can get away with in Britain if you are popular. The fact that a naughty comment was made off-air did not save Carol Thatcher, one might recall
"Jeremy Clarkson has been given a 'ticking off' by a BBC boss after using the most offensive swear word to describe Gordon Brown in front of a studio audience. The Top Gear presenter made the remark as part of his warm-up act before filming at the Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey, where the BBC2 car show is made.
Although some of the audience 'burst out laughing' at his comments, BBC2 controller Janice Hadlow later gave Clarkson a 'dressing down' in front of crew.
The 49-year-old host's remarks come less than six months after he was forced to apologise for calling Mr Brown a 'one-eyed Scottish idiot' during an interview with Australian journalists.
On Wednesday, Clarkson is understood to have told fans: 'I get into trouble talking about Gordon Brown, he is a silly c***.'
Witnesses say Miss Hadlow approached him at the end of the show and that Clarkson reacted angrily to her concerns. One insider said Clarkson was always 'irreverent' and used colourful language during his warm-up. They also pointed out that his comments were made off-air and were part of the usual banter before the show.
Despite this, Miss Hadlow and Clarkson 'had it out' near the programme's green room, where the BBC boss made it clear she had been annoyed by his behaviour and that it was unacceptable. However, a spokesman for the BBC last night denied claims that the pair had had an argument or that the matter had been referred to both the BBC Trust and its director-general.
'Janice Hadlow went to watch a recording of Top Gear as it is BBC2's top-rated programme, and as controller of BBC2, she holds both the programme and Jeremy in high regard,' he added.
Britain's Labour Party loses another by-election: "British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Labour Party has suffered another embarrassing by-election defeat. It was the first poll triggered by a recent scandal over politicians’ expenses. Labour was pushed into second place by the main opposition Conservatives in the Norwich North constituency in eastern England. The Conservatives overturned Labour's majority of 5549 at the last election in 2005 to take the seat by more than 7000 votes. The sitting lawmaker, Ian Gibson, quit last month after revelations that he claimed nearly £80,000 ($162,000) in second-home expenses on a London flat which he later sold cheaply to his daughter. Mr Brown admitted it was “clearly a disappointing result” but said voters were disenchanted with all main parties in the wake of the expenses furore. Although it comes as little surprise, the defeat shows Mr Brown's government facing a struggle to beat David Cameron's Conservatives -- who are well ahead in opinion polls -- at a general election which must be held within a year. Mr Cameron said the Tory victory showed people had “had enough” of Mr Brown and “want change in our country”. Chloe Smith, the victorious Conservative candidate, is only 27 years old and will be the youngest politicians in the House of Commons. She will take her seat when parliament returns in October from its summer recess, which started this week."
British Fuel scheme “failing the poorest”: “A scheme aimed at improving households’ fuel efficiency and cutting fuel poverty is ‘failing the poorest and most vulnerable,’ MPs have said. Nearly a fifth of the funding for the multi-million pound Warm Front scheme was going to households that were already energy efficient. And £15m was spent on measures that did little to pull households out of fuel poverty, the committee of MPs said.The government is aiming to end fuel poverty in England by 2016.”