5 February 2011

Christopher Booker - why the truth has no power

"My long crusade for common sense" he writes to mark the Telegraph's 50th anniversary.
My reporting has ranged over countless other scandals in the past two decades, from the rise of the health and safety culture to the disastrous mishandling of the foot-and-mouth crisis, from the wind farm scam to the asbestos scare, from the ever-expanding powers of the EU to the destruction of our Armed Forces.

All this amounted to a mutation in the nature of our governance. And the consequence is that we are now ruled by a vast maze of bureaucratic structures, not answerable to Parliament, operating at every level, from Brussels down to the town halls and a plethora of executive agencies. The power of elected politicians at all levels of government has been immeasurably diminished – which is one reason why they are now held in such contempt by the public.

The dead hand of this system now stretches into almost every area of life, not just sapping businesses but exercising its grip over the NHS, the education system, the police and much more besides. And the most striking thing about this new presence in our lives is how it lives by its own peculiar values, talking only in its own stultifying jargon, unable to relate to the real world. Common sense, like democratic accountability, has gone out of the window.

The system damages all it touches, which is why it lands us with one disaster after another, from the pointless destruction of billions of fish to the shambles it has made of our rubbish collection; from the skewing of our energy policy in favour of useless windmills to the way our family courts have turned every principle of justice on its head to allow politically correct social workers to seize children from loving parents.
I wonder. It seems too easy to blame the deus ex machina of the EU. My own observations, made with the advantage of periodically returning from long periods abroad to get an "as others see us" view of British society, were that the country was becoming more and more like the third world countries I was travelling from - and that was before the surrenders of sovereignty that Booker laments. Rudyard Kipling expressed it well:
All along o' dirtiness, all along o' mess,
All along o' doin' things rather-more-or-less
Except - Kipling was contrasting the slovenliness of the "natives" with the discipline of the British soldier. He could not have imagined that the British would become an international by-word for the sluttishness of their women, the drunken brutality of their men and the foul behaviour of their children. Or that the "natives" would come to regard British politicians and civil servants with amused contempt.

Liberty cannot exist without at least the aspiration of virtue. That's gone, and we did it to ourselves. The EU has simply moved into the space left by the erosion of self-discipline, self-respect, honour and courage in our leaders and, by extension, the society that elects them.


  1. You must never, ever, ever fall into the leftist trap of blaming the British people.

    ALL the fault and all the blame lies with the Enemy Class - who are largely state-financed and unelected [see Sean Gabb] - and they are the ones who hate and mistrust the British people.

    Five minutes spent in the company of the "scum of the Earth" in Afghanistan would convince you that the British character is alive and well.

  2. Read what I wrote again. The Spanish say "the fish rots from the head" - I believe this is a tired and demoralized polity because it has been betrayed so often. But the end result is a society that no longer exhibits the qualities that once made me proud to serve my country.

  3. Point taken.

    My concern was this conclusion - "The EU has simply moved into the space left by ...our leaders and, by extension, THE SOCIETY that ELECTS them."

    I don't blame nor distrust the British - the British are the only hope that Europe has.

  4. We hear men speaking for us of new laws strong and sweet,
    Yet is there no man speaketh as we speak in the street.
    It may be we shall rise the last as Frenchmen rose the first,
    Our wrath come after Russia's wrath and our wrath be the worst.
    It may be we are meant to mark with our riot and our rest
    God's scorn for all men governing. It may be beer is best.
    But we are the people of England; and we have not spoken yet.
    Smile at us, pay us, pass us. But do not quite forget.

  5. They have given us into the hands of the new unhappy lords,
    Lords without anger and honour, who dare not carry their swords.
    They fight by shuffling papers; they have bright dead alien eyes;
    They look at our labour and laughter as a tired man looks at flies.
    And the load of their loveless pity is worse than the ancient wrongs,
    Their doors are shut in the evenings; and they know no songs.

  6. Well said - we surely can't endure much more of this.