Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Daniel Hannan MEP for Question Time

My friends, time to pull out your fingers and get on to the BBC.

We all know they censored Dan Hannan's brilliant speech to Gordon Brown, but they shouldn't be allowed to censor him in future.

So, write to the producers at Question Time by posting on this page and tell them you want Hannan on the panel and not the usual pop singer or comedian they cheapen the discussion with week in week out.

The devalued Prime Minister of a devalued Government

My friends, this is brilliant stuff - Dan is wasted as an MEP.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Give me Liberty, or give me Death!

My friends, an apology. Yesterday marked the anniversary of one of the greatest speeches in political history and I missed it. So here it is, a day late.

The speech was given by Patrick Henry (29th May 1736 to 6th June 1799), the first and fifth Governor of Virginia famed, along with the two Thomases (Paine and Jefferson) for being amongst the most influential and radical Republican advocates of the American Revolution. He was noted for his denunciations of government corruption and defence of historic rights.

It was given on 23rd March 1775 at St. John's Church in Richmond Virginia, with George Washington in attendance, and is believed to have swung the balance in convincing the Virginia House of Burgesses to pass a resolution committing the state's troops to the Revolutionary War.

Upon hearing the speech the crowd is said to have shouted "To arms! To arms!"

It still resonates to this day.

“No man thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism, as well as abilities, of the very worthy gentlemen who have just addressed the house. But different men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen if, entertaining as I do opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, I shall speak forth my sentiments freely and without reserve. This is no time for ceremony. The question before the house is one of awful moment to this country. For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at the truth, and fulfill the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.

“Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the numbers of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth, to know the worst, and to provide for it.

“I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past. And judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the British ministry for the last ten years to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves and the House. Is it that insidious smile with which our petition has been lately received?

“Trust it not, sir; it will prove a snare to your feet. Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss. Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our petition comports with those warlike preparations which cover our waters and darken our land. Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled that force must be called in to win back our love? Let us not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the implements of war and subjugation; the last arguments to which kings resort. I ask gentlemen, sir, what means this martial array, if its purpose be not to force us to submission? Can gentlemen assign any other possible motive for it? Has Great Britain any enemy, in this quarter of the world, to call for all this accumulation of navies and armies? No, sir, she has none. They are meant for us: they can be meant for no other. They are sent over to bind and rivet upon us those chains which the British ministry have been so long forging. And what have we to oppose to them? Shall we try argument? Sir, we have been trying that for the last ten years. Have we anything new to offer upon the subject? Nothing. We have held the subject up in every light of which it is capable; but it has been all in vain. Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplication? What terms shall we find which have not been already exhausted? Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves. Sir, we have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament. Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne! In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation.

“There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free - if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending - if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained - we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of hosts is all that is left us! They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength but irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable - and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come.

“It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace - but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”

Stirring stuff!

Monday, 23 March 2009

A taste of their own medicine

My friends, you'd need a heart of stone not to laugh at poor Chukka Umunna's plight. It seems his Liberal Democrat opponent, Chris Nicholson, is trying to make out the aspirant Labour MP comes from a “wealthy, privileged family background" and Chukka's getting all indignant about it posting open letters on his website.

Well I may be wrong, but I don't seem to remember Chukka decrying these tactics when they were used with disastrous consequences for his own party in Crewe.

Anyone? Anyone? Umunna? Anyone?

Mind you, you needn't fear that this Compass follower - you know, that group offering A Vision for the Democratic Left - is anything less than tough on crime. He is particularly proud of his grandfather's work as a British High Court judge, work in which he "earned a reputation for handing down particularly tough sentences to convicted rapists".

The hang 'em and flog 'em democratic left remains a force with which to be reckoned.

Monday, 16 March 2009

How Progressive Are You?

My friends, here is an interesting little tool with which you can assess your own political leanings:

Interactive Quiz - How Progressive Are You?

Coming, as it does, from the Center For American Progress you can guess straight away what it's hoping to achieve, nevertheless it's always instructive to see where your views pitch you in the overall political spectrum.

I scored 154/400 which makes me conservative. Apparently Americans average 209.5.

Clearly I'm not in the Center's target audience! What about you?

Monday, 9 March 2009

Today's Truth

"The Great Depression, like most other periods of severe unemployment, was produced by government mismanagement rather than by any inherent instability of the private economy. ... Roosevelt's policies were very destructive. Roosevelt's policies made the depression longer and worse than it otherwise would have been."

Milton Friedman - (1912-2006)
Nobel Prize-winning American economist, economic advisor to President Ronald Reagan