Corbyn clause iv 2
Labour Party

The cult of Comrade Corbyn

 

A cult is a small, unpopular religion. A religion is a large and fashionable cult. When the disesteemed and shunned become desirable and popular, there follows respect, if not dignity and honour. All religions begin as subversive cults, extended and advanced only by the allure of their confession mediated by the charisma of their prophet. The task is to mesmerise, captivate and enthuse. When your disciples truly believe the faith, there’s no stopping them.

Jeremy Corbyn is on track to become the leader of the Labour Party. On the plus side, he objects to assisted dying (or did in 1997); opposes the notion of religious hate-speech (or did in 2001) and supports freedom of religion (or did in 2005). He is staunchly against identity cards (or was in 2004); opposed to the extension of gambling (or did in 2005); and is very much in favour of a referendum on the UK’s continuing membership of the EU.

On the downside, he keeps company with the IRA, Hamas, Hezbollah, anti-Semites, Holocaust-deniers and Owen Jones. He has a beard, wears a crumpled suit and looks a bit like a geography teacher from the 1970s. Speaking of the 1970s, he wants to re-open all the coalmines, re-nationalise the utilities and railways, bring back Clause IV and make fax machines mandatory. It would be as if Margaret Thatcher had never existed, let alone her creation Tony Blair and New Labour.

And perhaps that is his dissimulative and dominatory objective. All revolutionary religious movements are zealous to establish a new social order. In order to achieve that, the fanatical followers deface images, burn idols and smash the offending altars. In their ideological march for progress, they seek to turn back the clock to the old and trusted paths; to rebuild the foundations and revive the truth.

In the pursuit of freedom and equality, security and adventure, personal worth and community cohesion, the question of who might lead Her Majesty’s Official Opposition is of acute importance to us all. Labour’s political philosophy is a social reality. Jeremy Corbyn’s ideology is a behavioural consistency. Bring the two together, and you revive the party’s collective conscience, and their instinct is to superimpose their dogma upon all institutions because the people are lost and don’t know what’s good for them.

At the time of writing, an astonishing 478 people are praying for Jeremy Corbyn to become leader of the Labour Party via the Amen prayer facility on the Home Page. God might yet choose a socialist to restore the freedom to attack certain opinions, criticise behaviour, reprove actions or proclaim the unfashionable truth of beliefs and practices which have become de riguer. And then we might learn that not everything is dichotomous: politics is diminished and philosophy impoverished when self-reflection is reduced to Manichæan ineliminable values. Perhaps our political discourse needs liberating. Why else would God raise up someone who says what he means and means what he says?

  • Martin

    You do seem to be rather taken up with politics recently.

    • Inspector General

      More fun than religious navel gazing, what!

      • Martin

        IG

        When was politics ever interesting?

  • Matthew Parris wrote an interesting piece in the latest Spectator suggesting (unsurprisingly) that a Labour Party under Corbyn would become an irrelevance, as it did during the parties’ 1979-97 ‘wilderness years’, a decline that might over time trigger a fragmentation of the Tories – no longer bound together by their fear of ‘the barbarians’ – which would see a restructuring of the political landscape in a manner more consistent with modern sensibilities. I think Corbyn is keeping the ‘fax machine card’ firmly up his sleeve, to be produced shortly so as to wrong-foot his rivals and sway undecided party members to his cause.

    • Sam

      Peter Hitchens makes a similar argument in the daily mail. Although he also argues what might be seen to be unelectable today, might be electable tomorrow, e.g. rise of left of centre parties in Europe in reaction to austerity.

    • Bring back the Spinning Jenny … all is forgiven.

  • Albert

    Without agreeing with him, I rather like him. It’s good to think there might be an old-fashioned socialist leading the Labour Party, rather than a stupid liberal fundamentalist.

    • Jack liked Michael Foot for similar reasons and he was an honest politician.

  • Inspector General

    Isn’t he a gift! A relic from a bygone age of failure when even the recently dead did their bit and refused to be disposed of. It’s rather like finding one of the Bolshevik old guard that escaped Stalin’s purges. Still alive, still with the revolutionary zeal that had by then become a threat to Uncle Joe, who certainly didn’t want any challenges to his idea of perfection.

    You won’t find the Inspector amongst Cranmer’s 478. Some things are just meant to happen. Perhaps Miiliband can join in his support. Every little helps…

  • Dreadnaught

    He may well be doing the nation a service in shaking the apathetic public out of their apparent disinterest in democracy and in waking politicians from their sleepwalking once elected.

  • Sam

    People are drawn to Corbyn because he has an “authentic” feel about him, despite his far left agenda . The others are basically coming across as typical made in the vat “professional ” politicians who’ll say anything to get elected and have done politics all their lives, unconnected with reality (same with the Tories ).

    I think the Tories who want him to be elected are playing with fire : this isn’t the 1980s and the political climate and demographic is much different, no Mrs Thatcher type on the right, no “enemy within”trade unions , SDP and the liberals are a spent force.. The Tories won by destroying the lib dems and English fears of the SNP propping up Miliband. Populism of the right and left and of the nationalist variety (in Scotland), seems to be filling the vacuum of mainstream politics.Demagogic populism is dangerous, but had potent appeal when people feel patronised or ignored.

    • CliveM

      Demagogic populism is dangerous, but I’m not entirely sure that Comrade Corbyn has the necessary charisma. Actually I suspect there is one party who are shaking their head in disbelief at the opportunities his election would present them. The Lib Dems (remember them? Odd little party), may just be about to be rescued from political oblivion. With Clegg gone and the more left leaning Fallon in charge, they may be looking at additional votes and one or two defections.

      I also see that the political weather vane Andy Burnham has again changed course and is tacking in the Corbyn direction.

      • gunnerbear

        I also see that the political weather vane Andy Burnham….” Well Burnham is a total tool……

        • CliveM

          Well yes, that goes without saying!

  • Gordon Tough

    Whilst keen for their allies to know about Corbyn’s list of alleged friends, I’m sure Tory HQ would like us to forget about their links with General Pinochet, Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, Phillip Green, The Dirty Digger and News International, Lord Ashcroft, Geoffrey Archole, Ronnie Reagan, Mark Thatcher…..

    • Inspector General

      One was rather hoping that the country’s beloved muslims would be spending the next 5 years switching their allegiance to the tailor made party for the same, to wit, RESPECT. Apparently with Corbyn in charge, there will be no such desertion as there will be no such need.

      • Gordon Tough

        Respect were like UKIP – a vanity project for their media hungry leaders. Only difference is Respect became a busted flush first.

  • Orwell Ian

    Surely in such a short time His Grace cannot have forgotten that God has already raised up someone who says what he means and means what he says. 4 million of the electorate believed in him. Is he the one who is to come or must we look for another?

    Seriously though, unlike his uninspiring, predictable, elitist opponents, Jeremy Corbyn not only believes in things but also articulates his beliefs in a way mere mortals can understand. In this sense he might be considered the best candidate by far. Why he has even suggested that St Tony, no less, should face trial for starting an illegal war. He knows how to play the popular mood.

    However, his left-wing creed is more in tune with the No Borders brigade and a fossilised command economy. Do we then conclude that he is really worst candidate? Not necessarily. Comrade Corbyn could march his troops over the cliff into electoral oblivion, but we should beware that it might not work out that way. Would this veteran dyed-in-the-wool socialist really restore the freedom to attack certain opinions, criticise behaviour and reprove actions or would he default to his own brand of repressive State orthodoxy? This leadership election is a classic case of “be careful what you wish for.” (Or pray for)

  • bluedog

    One imagines, Your Grace, that if Corbyn is swept to power by a grateful nation he would arrive at Number 10 in a Morris Marina (1275cc model), if such a vehicle could be found in a road-worthy condition.

    • Inspector General

      He walks everywhere, blue.

      • bluedog

        Hence the Morris Marina as preferred motor-vehicle.

        • Inspector General

          A most suitable Prime Ministerial vehicle for the successful small m Marxist is surely the rickshaw…

          • bluedog

            Possibly right, Inspector. It must be said that Corbyn projects an almost Ghandian simplicity and austerity. If the electorate is looking for an end to austerity, Corbyn is hardly going to satisfying that longing.

          • Inspector General

            Perhaps he can holiday in a Derbyshire cave. Or as you say, perhaps not…

          • Albert

            A socialist parking in London would probably enjoy a SZD. You could lease them from the government:

          • bluedog

            Excellent choice, Albert. Although unfamiliar with the marque one can appreciate its merits. Hopefully the environmental lobby will not be too offended by the hideously blue and presumably oily smoke emitted by what must be a 34cc chain-saw motor.

          • Albert

            I am sure that the environmentalists will be prepared to turn a blind eye when they know it is all in a good socialist cause! Moreover, they will rejoice that, as it is running on a chain-saw motor, that chain-saw motor cannot be put to the terrible use of cutting down trees!

          • Inspector General

            …as they currently do with air flight. After all, when one jets all over the world to attend climate conferences, it’s rather embarrassing when the first item on the agenda is the damage YOU have caused the planet by travelling…

          • Albert

            I was once told of an eco-warrior who, before dying, decided to spare a poor tree, and chose to be buried on some kind of eco-friendly coffin, rather than a wooden one. This eco-friendly coffin had to be flown in from the US, and when it arrived, the Council refused to let it be buried because its chemical contents would contaminate the ground.

          • Albert

            I’m even more convinced that it is the right vehicle having watched this informative video with Russia’s very own Jeremovich Clarkski:

            The windscreen wipers at 1.55 would be a fitting memorial to Corbyn’s Britain.

          • Dreadnaught

            Yeah – pulled by an ex-tube driver on two grand a week.

          • Inspector General

            Hmmm. One understands these glorified door opener and closers are more like on fifteen hundred a week…

      • CliveM

        Or takes public transport

      • Bikes … unless his knees have given in.

    • David

      I say, that model car is a bit grand for a socialist ! Surely a cramped 1100cc Austin Allegro would be his conveyance – especially the type fitted with a quartic (square) steering wheel ? That would seem very fitting, given that his policy direction would be distinctly unsteady ?

      • bluedog

        As you wish, David, but you get the point – anything that celebrates the achievements of Longbridge.

        • David

          Yes, indeed !

      • He rides a bike … The police will just have to escort him … Or he invests in a specially designed bikemobile.

    • Corbyn with his hat on looks just like an old sea dog. “The Ancient Marina” 🙂

  • Inspector General

    Cranmer’s allusion to the man resembling a 1970s geography teacher reminds the Inspector that Will Hay make a music hall career as well as several films out of portraying a seedy old school master who knew less than his pupils. Perhaps His Eminence can picture the two side by side in a future post…

  • IanCad

    “On the downside,———- He has a beard–“
    What on earth YG, is the downside to a beard??
    And further – his sartorial preference should be of no concern except to himself.
    Keep going like this and I’m going to like the guy.

    • Inspector General

      Don’t you find bits of egg and beer froth stick to yours, Ian?

      • IanCad

        The worst is nasal debris. Just because I can’t feel it doesn’t mean it’s not there.

        • Inspector General

          If you’ve never seen a woman with a beard, there’s a trans man on PN right now…

          • Dreadnaught

            no need – just go to Eurovision Song Contest and the Austrian entry a year or so back. Dunno which is more nauseating PN or ESC: yer pays yer munny and picks yer dog.

          • Inspector General

            Conchita was born a man. Not a very good example thereof granted, but over on PN is a real live Jenny with a beard.

          • Well, Jack went over and after attempting to locate said story got so sickened by the other headlines, he left. It really is a walk among the dead – God help them.

          • Inspector General

            Jack, the tile of the headline is “This trans guy answers the question about sex you want to ask but shouldn’t”.

          • Jack will give it a miss, Inspector. That site sickens him.

          • Dreadnaught

            If that is so its a rare genetic disorder known as hypertrichosis not really a lifestyle choice.

  • carl jacobs

    Man is by nature a religious being. So to where does the religious impulse remove itself when a nation becomes secularized? Man wants to worship himself, but that is possible only in fat times. The prospect of deprivation exposes his own failure as substitute god. This presents him with a problem. He recognizes no deity anymore. What then does he see when he looks upward? Where may his hope be found? He looks upward and sees the state, and beyond that an awful emptiness. So he cries out to the state.

    The Conservative says “The laws of economics are immutable. Accept your fate.” Which translated means “Work harder, live poorer.” It is the gospel of a remote and distant god – a gospel that takes no account of the fears or felt entitlements of the many. It is the message of the god of the diligent and the fortunate – a god who consigns the hindmost to the devil’s grasp. Men did not look upwards to be told “You are your own hope in this world.” They turned to the state because they have already failed as gods in this life. They do not want to hear “Save yourself!” when they cry out “Lord, save us lest we perish!”

    The Socialist mounts his soap box across the street and calls out to the fearful and the disaffected and the hindmost “The laws of economics are a snare and a trap laid by men who would exploit you for their own gain! We can reshape the universe according to our own will!” Which translated means “I will give you milk and honey and you will live at ease within your own vineyard.” This is the gospel of an indulgent and foolish god who promises what he cannot deliver. Yet the faithless faithful cling to their remnants of an entitled life, and say to themselves “This is what we want to hear! We cry ‘Save us!’ And he answers.”

    Why do men turn Left when they turn away from God? Because they must look somewhere for salvation from the pitiless reality of existence. And what will they do when they discover this foolish and indulgent god is in truth foolish and indulgent? Where will they turn when they discover the laws of economics are in fact immutable – that there is neither milk nor honey nor vineyard but only hard bread and harder labor? To what god of war will they turn in their fury and resentment? And make no mistake – it will be a god of war.

    • In Perfect Ignorance

      So are you saying that God is a Conservative and that he does, in fact, consign the hindmost to the devil?

      • carl jacobs

        Capital is much more mobile than labor. That means the comfortable Western life (predicated as it was upon a restricted labor market) is going to suffer from low-cost labor competition in other parts of the world. How do people on the wrong end of that economic potential deal with the reality of a declining standard of living?

        Man by nature is a religious being. He doesn’t stop being religious when he rejects God. He finds a substitute god. By nature he wants that god to be a Bread King – a god whose primary purpose is to satisfy man’s material wants. The Lord Jesus did not come to be a Bread King. He could have established a large following by simply feeding the 5000 every day. But that wasn’t his purpose. He rejected the role so the crowd rejected Him. God was chucked out of this story many years ago. Men didn’t want Bread from Heaven. They wanted bread. But now men are afraid, and increasingly so. They want someone to give them bread.

        The conservatives say “There is no free lunch. Deal with it. If you work hard and are intelligent, you can thrive.” What if you don’t work hard or if you are aren’t so intelligent? Then you won’t fare so well in the competition. Conservatives will say that there isn’t much of anything that can be done about it. They can assist you with working hard and becoming more knowledgeable, but they can’t guarantee you the old standard of living by virtue of birthright. And the conservatives are correct. But that isn’t what people want to hear. They want to hear “You can be restored to your previous wealth and privilege.” They want the promise of a Bread King. What kind of Bread King demands that you find your own bread? But reality is pitiless, and the king can’t give out bread he doesn’t have. Unlike the Son of Man, this king cannot make prosperity out of five loaves and two fish.

        Is God a conservative? No. Does He consign the hindmost to the devil? No. But He isn’t a bread king either. And as God writes the story, the hindmost isn’t defined according to how much bread a man has in his pocket.

        • Albert

          Of course, the interesting thing is that probably few things have done for Christianity in the West more than the welfare state. The welfare state takes the role of the family. As such, the family becomes more and more irrelevant and therefore prone to collapse. This of course removes the most potent way of passing on the faith, and by removing the inner logic of sacrifice and fatherhood, makes the Gospel of the Son of God, born into the Holy Family, with a heavenly Father less easy to understand.

          • In Perfect Ignorance

            Drat! Pushed the wrong button…

          • Albert

            Never mind. This was a better post.

          • Malcolm Smith

            All these arguments against man being naturally religious can be used against man being naturally users of language. Every society has a language, and all languages have some things in common, but every human has to be taught the language of his own people. Similarly, every society has a religion, all religions have certain things in common, and every human has to be taught his religion. Human beings have just as much propensity for religion as they do for language.
            Also, even the irreligious admit that there is such a thing as a “religious experience”, which is more than just the acceptance of certain propositions.

          • Albert

            Yes, I was thinking about this too. The confusion seems to arise over the use of the word “natural”. Something can be natural to us insofar as we learn it without needing to be taught (e.g. breathing, being conscious etc.). But for the most part, something being natural to us means we have a natural propensity for something, and that that something is good for us, but it doesn’t come from within.

            I think faith is a bit like being in love. Being in love is entirely natural to us, but it won’t happen unless someone is introduced to us from the outside and certain other conditions are met, and it doesn’t follow that, because being in love is natural to us that therefore we will just love anyone. Ergo God.

            The comparison with love is useful because love involves a range of entirely rational, but unprovable beliefs, like X loves me. There will be evidence for this, but not proof. It is entirely rational however, even though the belief outstrips the evidence.

          • In Perfect Ignorance

            Why the derision and the superior attitude?

            I apologise for not being a great thinker. My reasons for doubting are probably full of holes. But they seem reasonable enough to my limited intellect.

            If you think that sneering is a good way to deal with doubters, perhaps you should make more of a study of human nature.

            Right now all I’m convinced of is that here we have someone who needs to put others down in order to raise himself up, which isn’t at all what I expected of this blog.

            It’s all rather disappointing. If the Faith can’t be defended without resorting to the devices of the Enemy, can it be defended at all?

          • Albert

            Why the derision and the superior attitude?

            I apologise if I misjudged you. But here we have secular types all the time who are derisive and superior towards religion (while being almost totally ignorant of the issues). Their posts tend to begin looking like yours and using the arguments you did. If I misjudged you as being like that then I truly apologise for any offence I have cause.

            If the Faith can’t be defended without resorting to the devices of the Enemy, can it be defended at all?

            You have a point there, but such posts as I am referring to tend to come from pride and the assumption that we must stupid because we are religious. It does strike me that bursting that particular bubble is a good strategy. If a secularist comes from this blog feeling he looked a bit silly because he was all superior and then got shot down, then I think that is a good thing. In this case, I obviously completely misjudged you and am very sorry.

          • In Perfect Ignorance

            I’ve experienced the derisive nature of the secular response to religious questions and those who ask them, so I understand the anger and irritation they cause. I’ve been personally ridiculed and belittled in public by the “great” Richard Dawkins himself. It was very embarrassing, although my stuttered response to him did gain enough applause to make him look slightly (only slightly) uncomfortable before he dismissed me as a religious fool and moved on to the next question.

            The thing is, if Christianity’s characterisation of Dawkins and those like him as deceived by the Enemy is true, that’s exactly how you’d expect them to act. Whereas you’d expect Christians to respond very differently, which they almost never do. At least not in my experience.

            If one is condemned by his reaction, then so is the other. Or maybe the secular proposition that we’re all just highly developed animals who lash out in anger whenever we feel threatened makes the most sense of all.

          • Albert

            The purpose of ridiculing a derisive secularist is not to convert him to Christianity. By being derisive and ignorant at the same time, the secularist shows he has no interest in taking religion seriously, of him, Jesus says, “Cast not your pearls before the swine.” Now the Christian can leave him there. But if he does that, then the secularist, and anyone who reads him is likely to think that the secularist is right to regard Christians with intellectual contempt. Wet Christianity is off putting, and actually isn’t what we find in Christ or scripture.

            But if the Christian exposes the secularist’s incoherence and the irony of him regarding the Christian as ignorant, illogical, irrational etc. then he might just convince the secularist (and anyone watching) that perhaps Christians are not so stupid after all. If so, then he has at least stopped one set of damaging and misleading secularist ridicule. And if people stop regarding Christianity as thick, then they might in time start to take it seriously.

            I can only repeat my apology that in your case, I misjudged you. If you read your original post, can you see how I made the mistake though? This is not in anyway for me to blame you for my mistake, but just note that the argument about religion often takes the form of: Christians are foolish, they only believe because of their upbringing.

            Or maybe the secular proposition that we’re all just highly developed animals who lash out in anger whenever we feel threatened makes the most sense of all.

            But there’s another possibility: original sin.

          • In Perfect Ignorance

            If we’re religious beings then why should the family be the only efficient way of passing along the faith?

            What you’re talking about is indoctrination. A child raised in a religious family is more likely to be religious himself because he’s been conditioned to believe.

            But if we’re naturally religious, why is this conditioning necessary? Shouldn’t we believe no matter what the circumstances of our upbringing?

          • Inspector General

            Children are brought up to be law abiding. More of your unpleasant indoctrination then. You are either with us or against us. What is it to be?

          • In Perfect Ignorance

            I’m not making any kind of value judgment about indoctrination. I’m merely observing that raising a child to be a Christian in a traditional Mum and Dad family is a form of indoctrination that surely shouldn’t be necessary if we’re all naturally religious.

            I think most of us would agree that human beings are not naturally law abiding, so indoctrinating respect for the law into children is necessary in order to enable society to function. But the previous poster was maintaining that as humans we are naturally religious, so surely no indoctrination should be necessary in order to make us believe in God. We should come to such beliefs naturally. But so many of us don’t.

            How can that be if we’re naturally religious? Why is a traditional family with a strong male role model needed to make us believe in a patriarchal God if we’re naturally predisposed to believe in Him anyway?

          • Inspector General

            Think of ‘naturally religious’ as a human template. After all, we don’t want our children to get the wrong idea about religion and start worshipping pop stars, now do we?

          • In Perfect Ignorance

            But children shouldn’t worship pop stars if their souls are yearning for God. They should take one look at the pop star and realize that he (or she) doesn’t have what it takes to satisfy their longing for the divine. How can a yearning for the divine be satisfied by something as mundane and temporal as another human being?

            It’s the claim that we’re naturally religious that I find very hard to reconcile with the reality of the world around me. I know so many people for whom the concept of God means nothing. For the most part they’re good people whose philosophy is sociopolitical rather than religious. Most often they been raised in secular families. But they don’t yearn for God. For them a world without a higher power seems normal and natural. But that shouldn’t be so if they’re naturally religious. There should feel as though there’s something missing. But they don’t.

          • Inspector General

            You obviously have never met a football fan(atic). A man who will spend his time and money following around a squad of men whose only purpose is to kick a ball into a net. And it need be said, at the cost of impoverishing and neglecting his family. There you have man’s natural and God given drive to acknowledge a higher power. But a football team of all things?

          • In Perfect Ignorance

            Well yes, but isn’t there a difference between a love of football, which is all about tribalism and belonging, and a love of God, which is a personal relationship supposedly based on parental love?

            I know plenty of Christians who love football and who don’t confuse that love with their love for God. The two are so different that it’s hard to see how they could be confused.

          • Inspector General

            You don’t do empirical evidence, do you?

            Try fear of God. Much better starting position…

          • Albert

            But the previous poster was maintaining that as humans we are naturally religious

            Where has this been said?

          • In Perfect Ignorance

            Carl Jacobs said it in two separate posts in this discussion.

            In fact it forms the backbone of his entire argument and was stated as an unsupported fact.

            The problem, at least as I see it, is that everything he then goes on to state unravels completely if this one fact can be disputed. Which in my personal experience, it most certainly can be.

            “Man is naturally religious” should surely be a question rather than a fact.

          • Albert

            Carl takes that a theological truth, not something that could be obviously verified.

          • In Perfect Ignorance

            But how true can a theological truth be if it can’t be logically supported?

            Unsubstantiated assertions are so dangerous. They set up false conditions that undermine the most convincing of arguments.

          • carl jacobs

            The idea that all men are equal is an unsubstantiated assertion. There are no observables can be used to justify the assertion. In fact, every observation will establish exactly the opposite. Men are decidedly unequal by every emprical measure. The idea of human equality is founded upon moral equidistance from God. So is the unsubstantiated assertion of human equality therefore dangerous?

            Man cannot of his own authority establish any moral proposition. He does not have the capacity to bind the conscience of other men. So in a very real sense, all moral propositions are unsubstantiated. We receive them from authority – an authority by definition above ourselves – or we do not have them. Without God, we have no access to moral knowledge at all. Any moral proposition can be refuted by the application of superior power. We cannot create absolutes on our own.

          • In Perfect Ignorance

            As always with this kind of argument, my first reaction is to point out that even the most plausible theory remains entirely theoretical until it can be supported by solid and verifiable fact.

            If you consider any theory, you also have to consider how things would be if the theory were not true. What if there is no superior force, no higher power to obey and to appeal to? What if as the (as yet) most highly evolved intelligence on this planet we are really are alone and only have our own sense of what we define as “moral” to rely on?

            Whether or not this horrifies us, the prospect has to be considered. My problem with faith at the moment is that when I do consider the possibility of a godless world, all the evidence seems to stack up on the side of that argument. There’s no knock-out argument that proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is impossible, but many, many arguments that make him so improbable as to be effectively impossible. My inner voice says “yes”, or at least “I hope so”, whereas the thinking part of my mind says “come on, stop fooling yourself, how can He possibly exist?”

            Others probably see things very differently and see possibility and hope where I see none, and who’s to say they’re wrong and I’m right? I continue to speak to God, or at least utter words that I hope he hears if he exists to hear them, but if there’s any reply, I’m incapable of distinguishing it from the background noise of my own thoughts and ideas.

            And if we are alone, and morality as an absolute concept doesn’t exist, and we’re prey to whatever moral fad happens to be in vogue at any given time, well that’s the way it is and all we can do is our best to survive and even flourish. We’re not dead yet, although maybe that’s where we’re heading as a race. If there are other intelligent races in the universe, perhaps the reason we haven’t heard from any of them is that their attempts to work out moral behaviour led to their extinction. Do all intelligent races end up exterminating themselves?

          • Albert

            but many, many arguments that make him so improbable as to be effectively impossible.

            I think we can all be sympathetic to the difficulties you have. But what are these arguments that make God so improbable as to be effectively impossible?

            As always with this kind of argument, my first reaction is to point out that even the most plausible theory remains entirely theoretical until it can be supported by solid and verifiable fact.

            I don’t think that’s true. What Carl has done is to give you a kind of moral argument for God’s existence. Now a moral truth is not a verifiable fact, like “water boils at 100 degrees Celsius.” Therefore, different reasonings are required here. Carl is saying perhaps that without God we have no morality, but there is morality, therefore there is God. You could say that his argument is one of a process of elimination.

          • In Perfect Ignorance

            I can reply by saying that morality is perfectly possible without God if we accept that morality is always relative and never absolute.

            Attempt to describe to me an absolute moral imperative. Thou shalt not kill? So if I had had the opportunity, I shouldn’t have taken out Anders Breivik when he was in mid-rampage on that Norwegian island? Thou shalt not lie? So if I was one of those unfortunate Norwegian teenagers, I shouldn’t have said I loved fascism and would help Breivik to spread the word if he’d offered to spare my life in exchange? How about thou shalt not steal? So if I had been on that ferry and realized what a nutter Breivik was, I shouldn’t have stolen his gun and hurled it over the side if the opportunity had presented itself?

            What is immoral in one situation may be moral in another if the consequences dictate it. The ends don’t always justify the means, but they may.

          • Albert

            I can reply by saying that morality is perfectly possible without God if we accept that morality is always relative and never absolute.

            If morality is never absolute then it disappears. For if there are no absolutes then any moral claim can be relativised by another. You cannot even have a hierarchy of moral claims. Thus “It is always wrong to torture small children for fun” can be relativised by something trivial or even something non-moral. But this is false and results in a non-morality. If on the other hand, you deny that and say that it cannot be so relativised, then you have at least one moral absolute.

            Secondly, I can see no reason to think that we can have moral values without God. This is not to say that atheists cannot be moral, only that if they behave morally in a way that is genuinely contrary to their interests, they act irrationally because there is no basis for grounding their moral behaviour.

            Now you’ve raised some questions about circumstances. But really it is not the circumstances that determine whether the same action is right or wrong. It is that the actions themselves are different depending on the circumstances. So when one looks closely at “Thou shalt not kill” for example, it means “Thou shalt do no murder”. The principle expressed morally would be that it is always wrong directly to take innocent human life – and I hold this to be a moral absolute. But Breivik wasn’t innocent. Therefore, there is no reason why force, proportionate to the violence he was committing should not be used to protect people from that violence. Using violence to protect the innocent from the guilty is a different moral action from the guilty using violence to harm the innocent.

          • Albert

            I don’t think Carl would say his position is unsubstantiated. He would say that it is taught in scripture, or else inferred from it. In other words, there’s a kind of wilful blindness that prevents us from seeing the reality of our condition, but scripture can open our eyes. BTW, I’m not sure that this theology is right!

          • carl jacobs

            Correct. Although it can be established by the authority of Scripture

          • Albert

            This is what I said:

            This of course removes the most potent way of passing on the faith

            Now, I cannot for the life of me see how you have inferred the following from that (emphasis mine):

            If we’re religious beings then why should the family be the only efficient way of passing along the faith?

            But, to answer your more general question, if we are religious beings by nature, then, with no direction at all, we will be inclined to make a religion of anything. And if there is one thing we can all agree on I suspect, it is that we should not make a religion of anything.

            What you’re talking about is indoctrination.

            What do you mean by indoctrination? If you mean (as the word literally implies), simply teaching, then yes I am. If you mean (as the word is commonly used) to brainwash someone, then again, I am left wondering by what logic, you reach that conclusion from my premise.

            It seems you have a problem with logic. Have you been indoctrinated (in the modern sense) to be unable to consider religion in a rational way, per chance? Perhaps you were brought up in a non religious household and so have been conditioned not to believe. Now if that is false, and you had a religious upbringing, then clearly you are evidence yourself of the falsity of your own inference. But if it is true, and you had no religious upbringing, then I am left asking why, if there is no God, is such irreligious conditioning necessary? Surely, in that case, we shouldn’t believe no matter what the circumstances of our upbringing?

          • In Perfect Ignorance

            The above responses really capture the essence of my increasing problem with Christianity and those who try to defend it.

            What do you hope to achieve by casting ad hominem aspersions on my ability to think logically? Do you think I will bow down in awe before your display of intellectual authority and just agree with everything you say? Faith by ridicule and intimidation? What sort of faith is that?

            Answering the accusation though, being raised to believe in something that cannot be logically proven can certainly be characterised as indoctrination. Nobody can prove to me that Christ died on the Cross and rose again in glory. All you can do is claim that it happened as described in the Bible and hope I’ll accept that claim if you repeat it often enough. To me that equals indoctrination.

            The secular view that death is irreversible can however be proven by simple observation, and backed up by properly witnessed and independently attested cases from medical literature. That’s not indoctrination. It’s an appeal to logic justified by evidence.

            Logic does not argue in favour of the Christian version of the events of the Resurrection. Indeed, in order to accept that version, you have to forget about logic altogether and just rely on blind faith.

            When I ask myself if I believe in the Resurrection, a persistent voice inside my head says “yes, in spite of all the logical arguments against it”. But that doesn’t make the logical arguments go away, so I have to actively suppress them in order to justify my belief, which is not easy to do. Especially when those who would defend that belief resort to derision and mockery as justifications.

            The Church tells me that derision and mockery are not fruits of the Spirit and that I should therefore be deeply suspicious of those who use them as weapons in defence of the Faith. And even if I’m having more and more trouble accepting what the Church says about the key events of the Christian story, logic forces to accept the idea that if you have to resort to derision and mockery to justify yourself, then you’ve lost the argument completely.

          • preacher

            Can I interject & possibly be of help ?. I was strongly agnostic, really bordering on atheism until I was 30, I’d grown up quickly due to the death of my father when I was 16. I had no faith to believe in (except myself) I never went to Church & ridiculed it as a place for the weak & credulous.
            However I had an experience that changed my views when I reached 30. I was not searching or unhappy, but the logic & truth of the gospel was proved to me without doubt by an unexpected experience. Why ? I don’t know !. Two conditions were given to me before I committed myself to Jesus Christ,
            1/ Face facts.
            2/ believe the truth.
            I did both & was convinced beyond all doubt. However the decision remained my own – to accept or reject. My choice is history.
            My advice would be to read as many accounts of former non believers as you can, people like Lee Strobel spring to mind, a cynical reporter of a top American newspaper. or The Classic “Who moved the Stone?” an investigation by a non believing lawyer called Frank Morrison into the truth of the resurrection.
            The Choice is then yours after reading the evidence.
            You will probably find all sorts of people who will question any positive decision you make for faith, but they have to make their own choices, as you have made yours.
            Happy hunting!.

            God Bless. P.

          • In Perfect Ignorance

            I’ve exhausted the ability of the Internet to provide inspiring conversion (or at least anti-apostacy) stories.

            Every story always boils down to a personal decision to set aside a rational need for convincing evidence in favour of the warm reassurance of blind faith. But not all of us experience blind faith as either warm or reassuring. I have to say it makes me deeply uncomfortable, as if I’m wilfully ignoring reality in favour of a comforting story.

          • Albert

            Every story always boils down to a personal decision to set aside a rational need for convincing evidence in favour of the warm reassurance of blind faith.

            I just don’t think this is true. Since your main interest seems to be in the resurrection, try reading this:

            http://www.reasonablefaith.org/the-resurrection-of-jesus

            It’s not an inspiring story of conversion, it’s a philosophical defence of the reasonableness of believing in the resurrection.

          • In Perfect Ignorance

            And in addition to my last response, can I just add that I’m not really an agnostic. Agnosticism implies no belief in anything except the possibility of belief. I’m more of an embarrassed Christian than an agnostic. Christian because I just can’t shake off my belief in the Resurrection, and embarrassed because I can’t think of any rational justification for that belief. I can’t even attend Mass any more without feeling like a fool and a fraud, so perhaps I’m not technically a Christian any more. But does that make me an agnostic? Is there another category that describes a Christian teetering on an edge that no secular argument has ever been able to topple him off completely?

          • Albert

            hat do you hope to achieve by casting ad hominem aspersions on my ability to think logically? Do you think I will bow down in awe before your display of intellectual authority and just agree with everything you say? Faith by ridicule and intimidation? What sort of faith is that?

            I hope I’ve addressed that now.

            Answering the accusation though, being raised to believe in something that cannot be logically proven can certainly be characterised as indoctrination.

            Let’s just pause there. When you say logically proven, do you mean “rationally demonstrated”? I don’t think that we can logically prove God exists, in the same way that we can prove triangles have three sides. But I do think that evidence can be brought forth for God’s existence, that makes belief in God’s existence reasonable, and certainly more reasonable than atheism. It’s important to notice that we do not in fact have “logical proof” for many of our beliefs. As Wittgenstein said, “At the core of all well-founded belief lies belief that is unfounded.” I’m not sure that that is true, BTW but then I would regard faith as well-founded not unfounded. The point would be though that someone who just doubts because of lack of evidence is likely to believe something else even though it has a similar amount of evidence.

            All you can do is claim that it happened as described in the Bible and hope I’ll accept that claim if you repeat it often enough. To me that equals indoctrination.

            I’m not trying to convince you to become a Christian by argument. I am simply hoping I may be able to convince you that Christianity is more rational than you might think. I think that there is good evidence for the resurrection for example.

            The secular view that death is irreversible can however be proven by simple observation, and backed up by properly witnessed and independently attested cases from medical literature. That’s not indoctrination. It’s an appeal to logic justified by evidence.

            All science can do is tell us what happens to physical nature under normal circumstances. It can tell us nothing about spirit or what might happen to physical nature under unusual circumstances, such as if God causes nature to operate differently from how he normally causes it to operate. As I say, I don’t accept that there is no evidence for the resurrection, neither do I accept that there is no evidence for the immortality of the soul.

            When I ask myself if I believe in the Resurrection, a persistent voice inside my head says “yes, in spite of all the logical arguments against it”.

            What logical arguments are against the resurrection?

            Especially when those who would defend that belief resort to derision and mockery as justifications.

            I did not resort to derision and mockery as justification – I simply played back what I thought you were doing to us. I used argument to show that the position you seemed to be defending resulted in contradictions.

          • James60498 .

            My parents “indoctrinated” me into lots of things.

            Football. Caravan holidays. Cricket. Religion. Pets.

            Three of those I have now absolutely no interest in whatsoever, in fact positively detest two of them. Clearly their attempts at indoctrination have failed badly.

            I have retained those that are worth retaining. And, yes, religion is one of the two retained.

            So what about you? Were you indoctrinated into not believing? Are you indoctrinating others into not believing Or is it not indoctrination if you don’t believe?

          • In Perfect Ignorance

            Who says I don’t believe?

            It seems to me that it’s important to understand how belief is inculcated. If I hadn’t been raised in the Faith, it’s highly unlikely I would now be a Christian. If my parents had been atheists, given that they were wonderful parents and provided me with a wonderful example to follow, there’s a good chance I would be an atheist too.

            This being the case, I don’t think we can talk about humans being any more naturally religious than we are naturally truthful or brave or compassionate. What we may be however is easily led and naturally dogmatic.

            In my experience an idea received is an idea regurgitated, which I find rather worrying as it makes me wonder exactly what the rational basis of my faith is. Do I believe because I’m parroting what I learned as a child? Or do I really believe it?

            I have spoken to my priest about these doubts, and his response worries me even more. “Have faith like a child” is the philosophical equivalent of “shut up and be a good boy”. It doesn’t go even part of the way to dealing with the question “is my faith innate or acquired?” Or if it does, it makes me think that I’m only a Christian because I’m copying my parents, which seems to be what the previous poster Albert was advocating.

            “Give me the boy until he’s seven years old and I will give you the man” is a saying popularly attributed to Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus. It’s widely used among Catholics to justify sending their children to faith schools. But what sort of Catholic does it create? Is my faith real or was it simply ground into me by rote and repetition?

            Quite frankly I don’t know.

          • James60498 .

            Ok. Apologies for that assumption.

            But in response then, do you follow everything else that your parents taught you? Looking back at my own list, do you like the same sports, the same holidays, etc.?

            Do you vote the same way? I was the first in my family, ever as far as I know, to vote Conservative and although they would deny following me, my parents did so for the first time at the same election, four years after I campaigned at the age of 17.

            Of course, that was long before Cameron.

            My religion is far stronger now than it ever has been. Though of course I too wonder from time to time.

            There are lots of internet resources from people who perhaps can give you fuller answers than your priest.

            Scott Hahn, a former Presbyterian Minister, now Catholic will help.

            And if you would rather something else, there is an excellent television programme called The God Debate on Revelation Channel, involving three Christian (non Catholic) Oxford Professors, all of whom have written interesting books.

            Of course, you were introduced to Christianity by your parents and that has had some effect on you. But that does not mean that you have blindly followed it, and it certainly doesn’t make it wrong. (You know all that already).

          • DanJ0

            Muslims typically have Muslim parents, Hindus typically have Hindu parents, and Christians typically have Christian parents. It’s interesting that being able to hear the ‘knocking on the door’ seems to depend heavily on who your parents were.

          • The Explorer

            An interesting question (to which I don’t know the answer) is how many people have responded to the knocking without specifically knowing that they have responded to the knocking because they have never been told about it. In which case, an eventual encounter with Christ might be a recognition of that existing relationship, rather than a discovery of something new. Not, “Who are you?” so much as, “So it was you all the time.”

          • DanJ0

            The thing I can’t get over most is the overwhelming inefficiency of the mechanism. This is a god who is supposed to be sustaining the very particles of our entire universe moment by moment but seems unable or unwilling to say unequivocally inside someone’s head “I’m Jesus in the Bible. Order it from Amazon if you haven’t read it, and forget the Roman Catholic Church as they’re essentially just a man-made corporation.” Or whatever.

          • William Lewis

            i think you underestimate the tawdry nature of mankind. Even when God walked the Earth, performed miracles and explained His will for everyone, there were those who believed and wanted to follow Him, those who wanted nothing to do with Him and those who wanted to kill Him and His followers.

          • The Explorer

            The Christian message is not that we are children of God, but that we can again become so. The natural link that humanity once had with God has been broken, leaving only the blurred memory.

          • In Perfect Ignorance

            So in other words we’re naturally irreligious?

            I don’t know whether we are or not. But I do know that such claims have to be supported by solid evidence in order to convince. Snatching a claim out of thin air and presenting it as a basic fact of our existence really, really, REALLY undermines the credibility of the arguments based on it.

          • The Explorer

            The sort of solid evidence required would go way beyond what’s feasible with a blog entry.
            But in summary, I’d say the Fall (however it actually happened) was a reality that has affected the human race ever since. Not only do we have to regain what was once a natural link to God, but our natural condition is now one of rebellion. Our will is involved, as well as our intellect. (“I don’t want to believe,” as well as, “I can’t believe.” Never better summed up than in Augustine’s, “We were made for thee, and our hearts are restless till they rest in thee.”
            Naturalistic presuppositions, of course, have a completely different explanation. Belief in God, although an illusion, may have been a useful evolutionary tool in fostering group solidarity etc. For an idea to be temporarily useful, there is no need that it should be true; provided it unites.

          • In Perfect Ignorance

            I think you’re right when you say that a blog entry is unlikely to provide the kind of evidence that could fully allay my doubts. But I have known discussions like this to throw up new ways of looking at a problem that can take me off in an interesting new direction.

            Up until now all avenues have always converged on the same junction, where all exits are labelled “Pull the other one”. But who knows, there may be another way out, even if I have to double back on myself again and again to find it.

        • In Perfect Ignorance

          But should it be surprising that people want to hear that the handicaps and weaknesses they were born with won’t consign them to a life of poverty and deprivation?

          What you seem to be arguing for is a world in which predestination and resignation should define our social structures. The poor and unexceptional should reconcile themselves to poverty and not seek to use their democratic power in order to improve their lot in life.

          Hasn’t this been the refrain of aristocracies and oligarchies throughout history? The sort of system you’re advocating can only work in a society where power is concentrated in the hands of the few. Give the common man the vote and socialism is the inevitable result.

          • carl jacobs

            Give the common man the vote and socialism is the inevitable result.

            I’m not sure that is historically true. The modern secularized world has seen a distinct turn to the Left. Whether that is generally applicable I doubt. But even if I grant your proposition, all it proves is that democracy is an inherently unstable form of government. People can demand that they tide stay out. They can pass laws and create bureaucracies to enforce their will. That doesn’t mean they have power over the tide. The people can demand that the cost of labor be established by an expected standard of living and not by the law of supply and demand. That doesn’t mean they can repeal the law of supply and demand.

            In practice, the only way that Socialism can be made to “work” is through the application of coercive police power. That means the market has to be closed and consumers must be stripped of options. External markets must be surrendered and the Socialist country must become self-sufficient. How does it get hard currency? How does it import materials? The Soviets sold weapons and primary resources. They didn’t possess anything else that anyone would want to buy.

            So, yes. The public can vote itself large sums of money from the public treasury. And it can suffer the inevitable consequences of doing so. But it has no ability to outlaw the consequences.

          • In Perfect Ignorance

            Ever hear of the One World Government and the Global Elite? Perhap’s there’s an evil plot afoot to circumvent the problem of external competition by eliminating the notion of “external” altogether. A global command economy couldn’t be undercut, after all.

            It sounds ludicrous and probably is. But as bastions of free enterprise like the US start to look more and more like socialist command economies with the imposition of “free” health care and a liberal social agenda, it’s certainly one interpretation of where we’re all heading.

            Ask yourself: given current US demographics and the lack of any credible Republican candidate for the presidency so far (Trump in the White House in any capacity except that of unwelcome dinner guest? Really?), how likely is it that the current march of your country towards European-style socialism can be halted?

            I’m no fan of Hillary Clinton. But I see no signs of the kind of shift in support that would be necessary to prevent her future election, or the election of another Democrat president just as committed to following in the footsteps of Obama.

            I make no predictions of course. Who knows what scandals could erupt between now and the next election? But current trends are against the kind of reassertion of right wing values that would be needed to change the direction your country is headed in. What will the US be like after 12 or 16 years of a Democrat presidency? What will the world be like?

        • Royinsouthwest

          Man by nature is a religious being. He doesn’t stop being religious when he rejects God. He finds a substitute god. By nature he wants that god to be a Bread King …

          Who taught us to pray “Give us this day our daily bread”?

          • carl jacobs

            It’s not the first thing for which He told us to pray. Neither is it the only thing. God is not a giant dispensing machine for the deliverance of product on demand. That’s just what men desire of Him.

    • David

      Interesting short piece – contains useful chunks of wisdom, I’d say, as history demonstrates.

  • Do we deserve a return to the politics of Scargill, Benn, Hatton,Foot and gang-extreme left views which made Thatcher necessary as an antidote?

    Probably.

  • I am sorry to disagree with you. Fax machines were a job destroying innovation in their time. I can recall Labour authorities in Yorkshire which severely restricted their use, if only forced to have some for contact with businesses. If we do restore office practices of the past as well as industrial ones then it will be back to manual typewriters, buildings full of filing cabinets and clerks and teams of messengers. How nice it would be. My old Imperial Typewriter will become state of the art.

    • Inspector General

      Imperial typewrite? The Inspector has one of those. Well, imperialist typewriter really.

      • Dreadnaught

        Don’t you mean TRIPEwriter 🙂

        • Inspector General

          The Inspector enjoyed your attempt at humour, Dreadnaught, and awards you 1 bonus point. For the effort, you understand if not for the content…

          • Uncle Brian

            I still have my old Olivetti portable, bought in the nineteen seventies. It’s been several years since I last took it out of
            its case, but I expect it’s still in good working order. I had an electric portable, too, at one time, but I never really liked it very much and ended up giving it away.

    • saintmark

      Buy shares in TippEx

  • Mike Stallard

    When I was little, the Catholics were the Irish at Prayer, the CoE was the Tory Party at Prayer and the Methodists were the Labour Party at Prayer. Today, the Catholics and terminally ill CoE seem to be the Labour Party at prayer and the Methodists seem to have died the death.

  • Inspector General

    Paul O’Grady paying Cilla Black (or Cilla Blick, as the Afrikaners would have known her) a warm tribute on his BBC Radio 2 programme right now.

    How do you know when you are talking to a wealthy Liverpudlian? Well, they go on about how they really miss the place and wish they had the time to go back and visit…

  • balaam

    The largest excuse I heard before the last election that the parties were the same, and there is some truth in that. Labour under Corbyn means that they will no longer have that excuse.

    Corbyn will cost Labour some votes, after all the Sun and Daily Mail won’t like it, but he will attract others. I am one of those who think the the nett result will be positive. From what I have heard from Corbyn, he’s not as communist as the press paint him, though he is to the left of Milliband.

    Having a real alternative could make politics interesting again.

    • ZX10

      Hmm throwing Westminster open to terrorists and anti Semites will make the place more interesting ,if only for the violence on the streets the mix of those and the hard left will bring !

  • Dominic Stockford

    Do you think we can get him to say he’d like Section 28 brought back as well, nostalgia and all that….

    • Inspector General

      In a word ‘No’. He is a deviants champion, or should that be diversity…

    • James60498 .

      Almost certainly not.

      However of course if he wins it would most likely free up Party members and MPs to follow his lead and say what they really believed and then I am sure that there would be some who would want to bring back Section 28.

  • Uncle Brian

    The long and ultimately successful campaign to delete Clause 4 was motivated, above all, by the awareness that it made Labour unelectable. I suppose that must be why so many readers of this Conservative blog are praying for Corbyn to bring it back.

  • bluedog

    The potential return of Clause IV demonstrates that Corbyn does doesn’t understand the British economy in 2015.

    The era of steel-making, heavy engineering and nationalised extractive industries is gone, replaced by a knowledge economy that is increasing committed to an e-commerce model. In 1981, the UK was the 4th largest coal producing nation in the world – by 2012 the UK was ranked 15th. What exactly would Corbyn Labour nationalise? The banks – that was a huge success in 2008, the retailers, foreign owned car-makers? Manufacturing is now some 21% of GDP, scarcely a commanding height of a highly decentralised economy. Agriculture is now only 0.7% of GDP, but if aggregated with food processing, manufacture and distribution, emerges as the largest single area of economic activity.

    This leads directly to a under-reported weakness in the UK’s position. As late as 1984 the UK was 78% self-sufficient in food. Population growth and the stagnation of agricultural production has seen this drop to 60%. Over the same period the Royal Navy has been slashed to just 13 frigates capable of acting as convoy escorts. If a situation ever arose in which the non-domestically produced 40% of food required by the UK had to be imported in a hostile environment, it couldn’t be done.

    An ascetic such as Corbyn might be tempted to welcome the inevitable end of obesity.

    • David

      Thank you for reminding everyone of the vulnerability of the UK’s food supply. That is a vital point you draw attention to.
      I have found before, on this and other forums, that it is not a topic that people seem to take very seriously. That I believe is because humans are very poor at identifying slow moving, long term threats, a tendency reinforced by our political system and then greatly, recently, exacerbated by the the ultra-short term media.

      • The Explorer

        I remember some commentator on a programme about immigration pointing out how much empty space Britain has. Of course we could take a few million more. I believe it really had not occurred to him that some empty space (ie without roads or houses) might be necessary for the production of food. (Especially if he wanted a few million more consuming it.)

        • David

          Exactly !
          The lefty urban mindset is quite removed from physical reality.

        • CliveM

          Explorer

          Food security is another one of those issues that the Govt (this and previous) have given up concerning themselves with. It’s no secret that our ability not to starve is now entirely dependent on imports. I remember reading that a Senior Civil Servant admitted that internal food security is no longer possible.

      • bluedog

        The problem is that the expansion of the conurbations needed to accommodate the rising population all takes place on the best agricultural land. It’s a lose/lose situation. If you want to restore UK food security, just clear the Thames Valley flood plain and its estuary, returning them to agriculture.

        • David

          “just clear the Thames Valley flood plain…”
          Do you mean remove all built structures ?

          • bluedog

            That would do the trick, wouldn’t it? But it’s clearly not a practical solution. At this time of year with the harvest just in and the fields that have held wheat still golden with the stubble, you can easily see the extent of the problem. Essex has become terribly built up in a very short time and to the West, as Reading merges into Basingstoke, London starts to leap-frog out of the M25 perimeter, becoming ever bigger.

          • David

            A quick reply there -most impressive turn of speed !

            Ah yes, the ever expanding “urban city state”, known to Jeremy Bentham, I think I recall, in his “affectionate” way as The Great Wen. Nowadays I agree with him, desperately sad thought that is.

            Have you considered that, IF the two keys duties of Government are : 1. Feed its people, 2. Defend its people.
            The British “right on” governments of the last several decades are a total failure ?

          • bluedog

            So far, so good. The current orthodoxy is that the market must remain supreme, and ideas about tilting the playing-field are heresy. Of course, Defence is Darwinian rather than libertarian, although one can see the parallels between the two. The problem with free-market theory is that free markets only work when everyone does it. Mercantilists and command economies can shut free-marketeers out of market access. In a world in which the Western free-market liberal democracy is becoming the norm, the rogue state may prove to hold the upper hand.

          • David

            Points well made !

            In a reasonably well ordered world I would back free markets for most supplying most things; but never for the basics for life and survival, because calm is so often, almost inevitably history teaches, punctuated by …. war !

    • Royinsouthwest

      What exactly would Corbyn Labour nationalise? The banks – that was a huge success in 2008, …

      The banks that were nationalised would have gone bust otherwise. The performance not only of those banks but also most of the ones that did need to be nationalised was hardly a good advertisement for unbridled free enterprise.

      • bluedog

        On reflection you are right, Roy. But the forced merged of Lloyds and HBOS meant that a very good bank, Lloyds, was wrecked by a profligate Scottish Bank, HBOS. This wasn’t of course nationalisation, but more akin to the State passing the need to nationalise coercively to the private sector. With RBS you are absolutely right.

        • Royinsouthwest

          I’m glad you agree, bulldog, and I agree in turn with the points in your reply. In general I’m not in favour of nationalisation but in certain situations it might be the best option.

          One distressing thing about our banks is that so many people in senior positions seem to be motivated by greed. Although people like Corbyn would probably say that is true of the capitalist system in general I think that would be an exaggeration.

          High-flyers in advanced IT companies like Apple, Google etc., are certainly well-rewarded financially but I think that most of them genuinely enjoy technical challenges and get satisfaction out of overcoming them. Do our senior bankers get satisfaction out of any aspect of their jobs apart from their salaries and bonuses?

  • The Explorer

    I would draw the attention of commentators to the disappearance of Linus’ comments on the previous thread.

    • carl jacobs

      I noticed that. I wonder if it wouldn’t be best not to comment on it. If it does indicate some sort of repentance for his behavior, then we would do best to treat it with generosity.

      • The Explorer

        It hadn’t occurred to me that Linus might be responsible. I had assumed it was Cranmer. If it’s Linus himself, that changes things completely.

        • Hm..?

          • avi barzel

            A minor scuffle over a little nothing, Your Grace. Our Linus wrote a florid, impassioned and rather lengthy attack centred on my use of the the French word “pissoir,” those stand-alone men-only loos one finds in that otherwise charming country. This word, Linus claimed, does not exist, whereupon our Carl, being a systematic engineer sort of a fellow, searched the word and found that indeed it does. All of Linus’ deletions appear to relate to that thread, leading one to the speculation that he found his failure embarrassing or unbearable. One trusts he will recover.

            PS: Perhaps we can bake a cake for him?

          • Ah. If they need to be restored, they are secure in the eternal archive.

          • avi barzel

            A gracious offer, Your Grace, but not on my account at least, ‘though others may prefer otherwise. Linus’ threats to inform on the Inspector to the authorities with regards to a perfectly legal advocacy for chamges to the criminal and penalties codes have also been deleted. I suspect Linus has had a bad week.

          • The Explorer

            He appears to have deleted himself from other threads as well. Maybe he has retired from the blog altogether, or from disqus.

          • William Lewis

            Yes, it looks like he has completely deleted himself – from this blog at least.

          • The Explorer

            That may be his way of announcing his departure, or saying his goodbye: metaphorically shaking the dust of us from his feet.

          • William Lewis

            Who knows. I find it hard to guage how much of his invective he believed and how much was bait for “poor, deranged Christians” to react to.

          • The Explorer

            I’d say the focus for Linus was gay marriage. Despite his repeated assurances to us about the irrevocability of Christianity’s decline, he seemed to have a horror that it might regain social influence. (And so annul his marriage?)
            HIs presence here seemed to have two purposes: a. prevent any new converts, b. topple existing believers into apostasy. It would be a nice irony if the conversation that prompted his departure was initiated by somebody Jewish.

          • Anton

            Could we stop guessing and start praying for him?

          • The Explorer

            Don’t our guesses direct the nature of our prayers? Start praying? Who says we haven’t been?

          • Anton

            Fair enough re your last sentence. But i’d rather base my guesswork on my prayer than vice versa.

          • carl jacobs

            And there was much rejoicing. (Yaaaaay)

          • William Lewis

            Yes. He certainly couldn’t carry on hurling all that gratuitous abuse around all of the time. If he’s had second thoughts then so much the better for everyone.

          • avi barzel

            Forsooth! Let us hope all is well at Casa Linus.

          • Royinsouthwest

            If Linus thought that there was no such word as “pissoir” doesn’t that suggest that he is not really French? Perhaps he is really an Englishman posing as a Frenchman, like Peter Sellers playing the part of Chief Inspector Jacques Clouseau in the Pink Panther series of films.

          • avi barzel

            Or else he’s a teen and his mom found him out and told him to get off. Or he made one too many threats to sue and Disqus dumpted him. A mystery we’ll never solve.

          • CliveM

            Personally I suspect his husband told him he was spending to much time on the blog and it was time he got on with the housework.

          • avi barzel

            The honeymoon’s over, then.

          • CliveM

            He’ll be complaining that his husband isn’t the man he thought he married!

  • len

    I would agree that not all ‘progress’ is good especially the downward path into decadence we seem to be taking in the West.’The system’ is breaking down and the evidence of this is apparent everywhere.
    What the world needs is not socialist doctrines but a return to the Judeo/ Christian foundation which it has deserted..Socialism cannot work because it rules out the basic source of goodness and equality which is God Himself.
    I expect( as mankind seems unable to learn from past mistakes?) that things will have to get considerably worse before some people seek a lasting solution to the problems we are all facing.
    God has supplied the solution(the only solution) to all the problems mankind faces which is contained within the gospel of Jesus Christ.

  • Nothing wrong with beards.

  • sthildawasafeminist

    Jeremy Corbyn does not propose to reopen all the coal mines. He has suggested that some are reopened if clean burn technology can be utilised. Not quite the same thing, though I would still prefer my kids not to go down the pit for a living.