|The Things They're Saying||Extracts from the mainstream media|
Death penalty in Britain
Opponents of the death penalty argue that it is wrong for the state to take life. This is the line that Tony Blair takes. Yet, to be consistent, holders of this view would also have to be against the state taking life in times of war. As Aldous Huxley once wrote, "it is impossible to be an 85 per cent pacifist; it is all or nothing." It is interesting in this context to think back to the 1999 war against Yugoslavia. Then, by and large, the most enthusiastic supporters of the NATO bombing campaigns on Belgade were those politicians and journalists (such as Tony Blair, Robin Cook, Clare Short and the Guardian duo Polly Toynbee and Martin Woollacott) who are fierce in their opposition to any reintroduction of the death penalty in Britain. It seems to be a rather strange morality that justifies the killing of innocent make-up girls and cleaners in a Yugoslavia television studio, but not of convicted serial killers at home.
Neil Clark, The Spectator (9.6.01)
I want to feel proud of my country and to be free to value its best traditions, its history and its people. I want to live in a land that is clean, safe and cared for...
I'd like our hospitals to be run by doctors, not administrators.
I think the BBC has been utterly irresponsible in allowing the kind of lewd language that is used by many broadcasters.
I want to live in a country that values childhood and doesn't attempt to turn eight-year-olds into mini-Lolitas.
I'd like competitive sports restored to our school curricula so that pupils are encouraged to run till they're exhausted.
I'd like to see a government that believes that the best chance children have for happy lives is to he brought up within a stable marriage.
I'd like a tax system that is favourable to those who marry before they have children, and stay married.
Linda Lee Potter, Daily Mail (13.6.01)
The Tory Party and the "middle ground"
Donating £5 million to the Conservative Party, Sir Paul Getty says he believes it is "the party best equipped to defend the British way of life"...
Conservative politicians, as they accept Sir Paul's money should try to embody that resistance. At present, they are assailed from every side with advice to "move to the middle ground", "drop all right-wing (that is, Conservative) tendencies": "accept the tolerant inclusive Britain of today", and so on and so forth.
That is the very last thing they should do. The "middle ground" is where almost everything that is wrong with this country flourishes and proliferates. It is the home of left-liberal orthodoxy, of every kind of fashionable nonsense, or moral degeneracy "political correctness" and "anti-racism" trash culture, vulgar barbarism, submission to the mob as well as militant homosexuality and feminism, mindless worship of "change " and, above all, the false and pernicious doctrine of human equality.
Peter Simple, Daily Telegraph (15.6.01)
The worst race riots in years have blighted Northern England recently. The rioting makes it clear that today's ethnic youth are willing to challenge the mainly white society which their parents were simply happy to accept. It typifies the struggle for identity that many immigrants now endure in modern British society...
The violence of Asian youth in Northern England is simply a reaction to the oppression, the taunts and the hostility to which they are subjected in modern British society.
Leader Article, Asian Times (12.6.01)
Glaswegian political correctness
Snapshot of the week in Glasgow. The City Council is planning to erect signs such as "No parking" in Punjabi and Urdu in the Woodlands district, home of the city's Asian community.
Now the Gaelic speakers are jumping up and demanding their own road signs.
Funny how the Asians have managed to find their way round Glasgow in English for the past 30 years.
If you close your eyes, most Glaswegian Asians sound like Rab C.
Elsewhere in Glasgow, police are hunting a gang of Albanian asylum-seekers in connection with the stabbing of four night-club bouncers.
Presumably, when they are arrested, they will he able to plead not guilty on the grounds that the council had failed to put up any signs in Albanian reading "No stabbing".
Richard Littlejohn, The Sun (15.6.01)
We spent most of the 20th century destroying the concept of a hero. The process began in 1918 when Lytton Strachey published his Eminent Victorians, a wicked book, which proved to be one of the most destructive in our literature. Its sneering tone, its refusal to admit the existence of simple goodness and the importance of "duty", entered into the life blood of our history and poisoned it. We have been hacking away at our heroes ever since, toppling them, pounding them to fragments, smearing them with the filth and corrosive venom of our worst imaginings, and spitting on what is left. As I look around our country today and see its immense and daunting problems, I think to myself: how can we expect the youth of our country to set about repairing the damage we have inflicted upon ourselves, when we have deprived them of the most important item in a civic faith - the belief in heroism.
Paul Johnson, The Spectator (9.6.01)
Hot on the heels of those massive pay increases for Ministers and MPs, the begging bowl goes round again. What do they want now? Another £20,000 in office expenses, for a start. At present, MPs can claim up to £52,000 for their offices and staff - on top of free megabucks luxury offices in Westminster. Yet the House of Commons has never been such a lifeless, degenerate, intellectual slum, nor been so inefficient in controlling an ignorant and incompetent Government. Now Parliament is to be treated like the NHS - throw money at it and call it "investment"; give it a spin and call it reform. It will not work. We have a Third-World NHS and a Third-World parliament - and the most expensive health services and parliament in the Third World.
Norman (Lord) Tebbit, The Mail on Sunday (24.6.01)
Troops to the Balkans?
Once again, bloody mayhem erupts in the Balkans. And once again British troops seem likely to be sent into danger - disgracefully without even the suggestion of a parliamentary debate.
As Macedonia teeters on the brink of civil war, Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon blithely signals that 1,000 British soldiers could move within a fortnight.
But our over-stretched forces are already bogged down in Bosnia, Kosovo and Sierra Leone. Another 1,600 troops were sent yesterday to riot-torn Belfast. To take on yet another task seems to border on recklessness.
Leader Article, Daily Mail (23.6.01)
The recent riots in Belfast and Portadown suggest that Northern Ireland could be on the verge of some of the worst disturbances since 1969. That much could have been predicted... But what few can have predicted is that Tony Blair... would devise a security policy worthy of a loony-left Lambeth police committee circa 1981.
Leader Article, Daily Telegraph (22.6.01)