Friday, May 19, 2006

Blair is living on borrowed time

If Americans want to have a better understanding of British politics, they would do well to read Gerard Baker's analysis in the Weekly Standard. It's clear that Blair and the New Labour project are well and truly finished. But don't expect any salvation from the Tories. As Gerard puts it:

"The worse news is that the resurgent Conservatives are unrecognizable as Margaret Thatcher's party of freedom-promoting radicals. Blair's unpopularity spilled over into mistrust of his public sector reform efforts, and the New Conservatives are distinctly wary of challenging the orthodoxies that hold British politics in thrall. Cameron thinks global warming is the biggest challenge his country and the world face--and in between photo ops in front of melting Norwegian glaciers, he seems committed to maintaining the high taxes, high spending, and nanny-state politics that are steadily driving Britons towards serfdom.

An old joke from the 1960s had a prime minister explaining to an impressionable young backbencher the ways of American politics. He put it this way: "In America there are two political parties. The Republican party is very much like our Conservative party. And the Democratic party is very much like our . . . Conservative party."

The same cynicism can now be applied by Americans to modern British politics: The Labour party is very much like our Democratic party. And the Conservative party is very much like our . . . Democratic party. An odd legacy for a prime minister who thought himself a worthy successor to Margaret Thatcher".

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

We need to do more than just rip up the Human Rights Act

Although I would be glad to see the Human Rights Act abolished, it would be foolish to think that this would be the end of our problems. Britain has been a signatory to the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) since 1951, and the Government was being constantly undermined by these laws long before Labour came to power. In 1996 for example, the Court ruled that Britain had acted illegally in killing several unarmed IRA terrorists in Gibraltar, this was despite the fact that the IRA were planning an atrocity.

Until Britain gets away from it's "rights" culture , little is going to change. For example, France has the ECHR signed into law, yet French Judges routinely deport terror suspects, and to countries with poor human rights records, which begs the question: Why can't we do the same? Britain is unlikely to leave the ECHR, as being a signatory to the ECHR is a condition for being a member of the EU, but unless we change the way we interpret the law, we're literally holding ourselves hostage to terrorism.

The futility of simply changing the law was highlighted in both in yesterday's Times, in Sunday's Telegraph, and also by Janet Daley.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Political correctness put before the child welfare

I read the following distressing piece in the Weekly Standard. A Catholic adoption agency has been forced to close it's doors because it won't recognise same-sex couples and so has fallen foul of Massachusetts orientation discrimination laws.

Is it possible that the State of Massachusetts may have got its priorities wrong?

Science and Torah

This evening, Miriam and I went to hear Rabbi Nathan Slifkin speak at the Ner Yisrael Synagogue. There was a lively discussion between himself, and Dr. Joseph Bodenheimer (President of the Jerusalem College of Technology) and Rabbi Alan Kimche as to whether Chazal were reliable in their knowledge of science.

Rabbi Nathan Slifkin highlighted two cases in the Gemarah: that of the mouse that was half earth and half flesh, and the ruling regarding the killing of lice on Shabbat (which were thought to spontaneously reproduce). Rabbi Slifkin emphasised that the Sages of the Gemara were simply following the most advanced thinking of the time, and that Science has moved on since then.

Dr. Joseph Bodenheimer was more direct in arguing that Halacha has always and will always need to change as our knowledge of Science changes. He gave as an example the case of a baby born at eight months that can't be handled on Shabbat. (It was thought that an eight month baby couldn't survive).

Rabbi Kimche argued that it isn't for us to say whether Chazal were wrong. We need to say Tzarich Iyyun. He argued that Science is constantly changing, whereas halacha doesn't. I'm not sure the audience were convinced. After all, does anyone really think the world is flat??!

It was heartwarming to hear from two Orthodox scholars with some common sense.

Activists or Terrorists?

Last week, four animal rights activists were jailed for a total of 40 years for their role in a six-year terror campaign against a guinea pig farm, which culminated in the theft of a pensioner's body from her grave. The pensioner's body has never been returned.

The media has referred to the four as "activists" but wouldn't the word "terrorists" be more suitable?

Time to rip up the Human Rights Act

Congratulations to David Cameron for finally taking a stand on something. The leader of the opposition has said he'll consider scrapping the so called "Human Rights Act". I use the words "so called" because it has very little to do with human rights and everything to do with undermining the freedoms of the law abiding majority. Only this week, it was revealed that the Police were unwilling to put up wanted posters for foreign criminals for fear of breaching their human rights.

The Human Rights Act has become a sick joke. Tony Blair must be wishing he never signed it.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Supping with the Devil

Ken Livingstone has become the latest in a long line of "useful idiots" to succcumb to Hugo Chavez's charms. Today, London's Mayor hosted the President of Venezuela, who has become the darling of the Left.

London's Mayor follows a well established tradition which states that "my enemy's enemy is my friend". As Ian Buruma points out in the Sunday Times, Hugo Chavez is sliding down the slippery road to autocracy, but Harold Pinter, Tariq Ali and Red Ken don't seem to mind. So long as Huga Chavez champions the cause of Anti-Americanism and Anti-Capitalism, nothing else seems to matter.