Lefty bishops rumbled. Thought for the Day is hugely biased against the market economy – The Conservative Woman

BBC_TV_CentreThis is interesting. Yes, it’s about the BBC, and so maybe not directly relevant to us. But then again, I think what Britain (and the world) think of us has at least some relevance. In addition, I wonder if it doesn’t apply full force to NPR also because it seems to me to have much the same set-up, and the same biases as well.

Of the many compelling arguments the respected Institute of Economic Affairsmakes today for privatising the BBC commercially the one that struck me most was the BBC’s bias.

Most TCW readers are more than aware that the BBC is no longer fit for purpose; that its market power – especially in terms of news provision – coupled with its compulsory funding method and its closeness to the political process is hugely problematic.

Many hope that commercial competition will soon render it irrelevant. But that’s not likely as long as it holds onto its licence fee monopoly. That’s why this new evidence from the IEA is so important – proving as it does that BBC no longer deserves its privileged position.

The IEA argues that all media outlets are likely to have biases. However, the BBC’s is more problematic for reason of its trusted reputation, the inability of its customers to withdraw payment and the fact it provides 75 per cent of all televised news and thus has a ‘monopoly’ over  public opinion.

The IEA’s new case studies are a shocking demonstration of  how the BBC fails the public’s trust.

To take just some examples:

Its analysis of Radio 4’s Today programme – from March 2004 to July 2015 – revealed gross bias by omission. One guess as to whose voices were omitted: those favouring Britain’s exit from the EU of course. Over the period the IEA found of the 4,275 guest speakers on EU themes only 3 per cent of these were explicitly in favour of Britain’s withdrawal from the EU.

Seven in ten of these speakers were from Ukip, and over a third were Nigel Farage alone. We can but wonder where John Redwood, Richard North, Owen Paterson, Lord Pearson of Rannoch, John Mills, Jacob Rees Mogg, Dominic Raab, Sir Archie (now Lord) Hamilton, Frank Field and Kate Hoey were – to name but a very few leading Eurosceptics. In hiding? Were they refusing to take Today’s calls?

When it came to the official 2015 General Election campaign, Today fielded 25 business speakers to discuss the EU referendum. What did the IEA uncover? That over three-quarters of these speakers saw the referendum as a worry or a threat to business, despite the contemporaneous polling finding that two thirds of businesses back the holding of a referendum. […]

Of the 167 items that included discussions and opinion on capitalism, markets and business they found only 8 per cent gave any sort of positive perspective. Negative commentary outweighed positive commentary by a factor of more than eight to one. […]

There is more – our worst fears at TCW of the BBC’s biased ‘gender agenda’ were confirmed, demonstrating once more that the BBC in no way deserves its reputation for fair coverage.

The particular example the IEA’s scrutinised was the BBC’s News website coverage of the government’s new measures to try to combat the gender pay gap through imposing new requirements on large companies. It contained neither expert economic opinion on the use of crude average gender pay gap figures nor dissenting opinion on the effectiveness of the policies.

via Kathy Gyngell: Lefty bishops rumbled. Thought for the Day is hugely biased against the market economy – The Conservative Woman

Kathy’s right here, I think, and I think that because I too listen to the BBC (a lot), in fact as I write this I’m listening to BBC Radio Norfolk, which is my favorite office station. I even watch it a good deal, and that is how it sounds to me, as well. Sort of like NPR, but on some really good steroids. And I treat it the same way, in anything but the hardest of news, I simply disbelieve it. Hardly a trusted voice of news, but then few are, and as I’ve said, their biases are predictable, and so one can discount, and revise, and get within shouting distance of the news. But how many do?

They’re right, kick ’em loose, and let them sink or swim.

Christ is offensive and outrageous

maxresdefaultIt doesn’t get much better than this. One of my favorite writers, Laura Perrins,  Co-Editor of The Conservative Woman, interviewing one of my favorite writers, Tim Stanley, a historian, leader writer for The Daily Telegraph, and contributing editor for the Catholic Herald.

Yes, most Americans have little interest in Brexit, after all, we have no vote, but like the British interest in our presidential election, it matters. It will affect us.

But keep going they discuss several issues that have direct applicability to us as well.

It’s an outstanding interview. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Laura Perrins: Why should Britain leave the EU?

Tim Stanley: There are logical reasons and then there are emotional reasons. Logically, the EU is turning into something that we don’t belong in. The only way to make the single market work is to integrate politically. Not only do we not want to do that but we’ve also made it clear – by staying out of Schengen and the Eurozone – that we’re not going to change. Hence, the British future within the EU is actually a future on the fringes of the EU. We’d have to suffer all the consequences of European decisions without full democratic control over the decision making. We’ve reached a point where the UK and the EU have to part company.

But I also have “sentimental” reasons for favouring Brexit. Culturally, legally, economically – we’re a very different place to the rest of Europe. Our future lies within the Anglosphere, trading globally. I’m tired of our Parliament being undermined. I don’t like pooling sovereignty, especially when the benefits are unclear.

LP: You support Brexit but many in the Catholic Church and hierarchy believe the EU is a force for good. Arguably the Union has stabilised the Continent twice ravaged by war in the last century. It has also brought huge economic benefits to the people of Europe. The idea of solidarity is essentially a secularist version of Christian charity. Surely, it is unchristian to want to leave?

TS: Yes, we Christians are universalists – and that should logically make us favour of political unions. But if they lead, as the EU has led, to economic chaos in constituent countries then the case for them collapses.

The Union has done nothing to defend the Continent or bring peace. If it had, that would imply that it has a political or military dimension to it – something Cameron denies and wouldn’t be desirable anyway (another natural conclusion to integration is a single army, and few actually want that). The Cold War only brought a veneer of stability to Europe: nuclear deadlock prevented war but not terrorism or post-colonial conflict overseas. After 1989, the Continent suffered genocide in the Balkans and now chaos in Ukraine. The EU isn’t a guarantor of democracy either. It has cut a new integration deal with Turkey, despite its government’s war on the press.

And, yes, solidarity is a secularist version of Christian charity and, therefore, inadequate. To stand with someone is not the same as to suffer with them – a literal translation of compassion. Christian action is best expressed through charity, aid, giving. Not regulations about the correct shape of bananas.

LP: In a recent piece in the Catholic Herald you discuss the dilemma facing American Catholics who might have to choose between Trump or Hilary Clinton for President.

via The Laura Perrins Interview: Christians have to fight back, says the Telegraph’s Tim Stanley – The Conservative Woman

BRUSSELS ATTACKS: SUPPRESSING THE FACTS AND MUZZLING THE TRUTH

The Embattled Farmer

The Embattled Farmer

Well, we’re going to let the real world in here, for a bit. I seem to think I should mention a bit about the terrorist attack in Brussels.

It’s a terrible tragedy, and the victims and their families have my sympathy. But no one should really be surprised.

Weakness always invites attack. That’s one of the things Jessica was talking about yesterday as she spoke of The Man who shot Liberty VallanceBecause Ransome Stoddard looked weak to Liberty Valance, and indeed in a physical sense he was, but moral courage sometimes needs to be protected by rough men like Tom Doniphan.

And so it is today in Europe, as western civilization crumbles back into chaos. Europe has a dearth of rough men willing to challenge Islamic terrorism. Maybe the continent is simply worn out from the wars of the twentieth century, but that’s how history works.

Today, I hear some crying that we should simply nuke them. Well, one doesn’t fight evil by becoming evil. I think we really are degrading them, we could likely work harder at it, but we are having an effect. One does not if he is a real man, indiscriminately kill whole populations, at least if he has other options. We do.

The weapon that symbolizes America is the rifle, not the IED. Why, because a rifle defends against evil, only going after the evil, not all. And that ethos is exactly why we have developed missiles that can be used almost like a sniper rifle. It’s an extension of the old American canard, “One man, one bullet. Yes as Jess said earlier, men, all men, do bad things in war, that is the way it is. But civilized men do not do evil things by plan. Civilized people do not murder. That’s why the cold war, for all the tensions, never went hot.

But, understand this, this is not a political ploy, although many will fit into their reference as His Grace outlines below. It will be settled only one way, with cold steel, and hot lead. If Europe can not deal with that; Europe will die. And if America has learned anything in the last 20 years, it is that we cannot make men free, that is their right, and their duty, and they shirk it at their peril.

Here’s a bit from Archbishop Cranmer.

To every thing there is a season..
..a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak..

(Ecclesiastes 3:1,4,7)

Horror, disgust and incredulity come first, usually followed by tears, heartbreak and compassion. And sometimes there’s a prayer, even from the non-believer.

Each of us processes dismay and deals with grief differently. For some, they are dissected, scrutinised and embalmed within minutes; for others, they gnaw at the soul for weeks and months, and the consecrated mourning becomes a shrine in the temple of sacred memory. Anyone who profanes the holiness, let him (or her) be anathema.

Telegraph journalist Allison Pearson tweeted this swift response to the terrorist atrocities in Brussels:

Allison Pearson

“What a horror you are,” responded the SNP’s Alyn Smith MEP in equal haste. “Dust not even settled and you try to make a political point? For shame.”

Perhaps Ms Pearson had processed her dismay and grief a little quicker than Mr Smith managed to, but either way, it seemed insensitive and indecent, to say the least, to score points off Islamist bombs in Brussels for the Leave/Brexit cause. And yet..

via Archbishop Cranmer.

A wise dead white man once said:

Si vis pacem, para bellum

That man was Vegetius, and his people, the Romans didn’t listen.

It translates as,”if you want peace, prepare for war.” True then, true now, will be true until the second coming.

Obama’s wrong. Americans should back Brexit – and so should you

1776Because Americans love Britain, and because we are a presumptuous lot, we often advise the United Kingdom on its foreign policy. And not only the UK, but Europe. Successive US administrations have urged European nations to form a United States of Europe as an answer to the question attributed to Henry Kissinger: ‘Who do I call if I want to call Europe?’

The latest such unrequested advice was offered to your Prime Minister by no less a foreign-policy maven — see his successes in Libya, Middle East, China, Crimea — than Barack Obama. The outgoing president informed David Cameron that his administration wants to see ‘a strong United Kingdom in a strong European Union’. He seemed to assume that, in the words of the Sinatra ballad, you can’t have one without the other.

But many of us here in the US are rooting for Brexit, and not just because we want what is best for Britain. We think Brexit would be in America’s interests.

Britain has long been America’s most valuable ally.

via Obama’s wrong. Americans should back Brexit – and so should you » The Spectator.

Yup, a full hundred years now, and our history of cooperation goes back even further, to almost immediately after the War of 1812. We’re proud of that, but there’s more. In many ways we are you. We, like you, look back at the long sweep of history and we see our political ancestors, fighting for liberty, against the Stuarts, the Plantagenet’s, and the Normans, all the way to Alfred the Great and perhaps further to Aethelbert of Kent, who wrote the first written law code in any Germanic language. Here, with the codification of Aethelberts’ Law is the origin of The Common Law, our joint heritage, and the one thing above all others that has made Britain and the America the only modern superpowers.

And mind you, the common law is the basis of the entire modern age, without its protection of lives and property from random seizure by an autocratic king, the world we jointly have made, would not exist. It would likely still be Hobbes’s vision, “Nasty, brutish, and short.” Look around, at the world, and where our influence is strongest, the people, not just the rulers prosper, where it wanes, the people suffer.

Dr. Suzannah Lipscomb made a video a few years ago that is on point, I think

I think she correct, and you know, if the Tudors made you what you are, you, at the height of your freedom, made us, it is above all the common heritage of the Anglosphere, and one that the whole world envies. If you would know why Britain and America are hated, look no further, it’s all based in envy of the people, and fear on the part of their rulers. Because we, and pretty much only we, have done all the things required to make it work. The rest, including most of Europe, give our principles only lip service, if that, and that is why thrice in the twentieth century, we, led by Britain and America, have had to rescue them from tyranny. Thrice, no less!

What I see in the European Union is still another attempt to bring Britain back under the control of Europe. One of the best analyses on this I’ve read is from Think Defence, an excellent British defense blog. He ends this way:

From a short to medium term operational defence and security perspective, I actually think the impact of BREXIT would be minimal either way. The advantages and disadvantages of EU membership, at least from this writers view of the defence and security landscape, seem to be hugely exaggerated by both sides of the debate.

NATO would remain, bilateral cooperation would continue and develop in other ways, defence spending will go up and down depending on threats and mechanisms for intelligence sharing explored, developed and implemented.

There are risks and opportunities on either side, but short term doom and gloom or the wide open uplands, in defence and security, you are looking in the wrong place.

At moment, more EU defence generally means more HQ’s, marching bands and flags, but after a remain vote and a period for dealing with the migrant crisis, calls for actual, real and tangible integration will get louder and louder.

For me at least, this is the question we should be dealing with, do we want a single EU state with a single EU Navy, Army and Air Force?

Everything else is a minor detail.

As an American, I can’t help but believe that the day the White Ensign is furled for the last time, succeeded by that obvious rip-off of the canton of the American flag, the chance of real freedom in the world, for all of us, will be reduced immeasurably. The Tudors made you (and us), it would be a shame to let Europe undo six hundred years of improving the human condition.

Why Americans Should Back Brexit

What the UK decides to do about the EU is really none of our business, or is it? Britain and the Commonwealth are the only real friends we, as Americans, have in the world. We have many interests, and allies, but they are our only friends, and if you look, they pay much attention to what we’re doing as well. Most of the news (as opposed to views) that I get on our elections back through 2008 has come through the UK. They pay attention to us, and we should to them, even as we do our personal friends.

Even before our nominating conventions, the British will decide whether or not to leave the European Community. I strongly think they should, Europe has become non-democratic, when I was young there was talk of a United States of Europe, that might have been a reasonable idea, if it had recognized the contribution of Anglo-Saxon law has made to the freedom of man. But what it has emerged is, and increasingly, a reasonable soft dictatorship or the bureaucracy and the judges; exactly what we are trying to fight off here.

We all know, that Obama, Kerry, and the USG support staying in the EU. Well, does anyone really think they have the best interests of the United States, let alone the UK at heart. They are proponents of the ‘one world government’ by almost any means. They would happily throw our sovereignty away carelessly, so why would they be different about Great Britain’s, or Austrailia’s. they’re not. The just want power and influence, and yes to get rich(er) on corruption. Britain has a heaven-sent opportunity to return to the return of rule “under and through the law”. It’s likely the last chance, it would be a shame if they sold out the heritage of over a thousand years of developing freedom, for a very short-term safety.

Because Europe qua Europe is dying, the are not repopulating themselves, they are simply repopulating the landmass with Moslems. There is essentially no hope of France or Germany surviving as we have known them until 2100. Britain is in a little better shape, not least because of the Commonwealth (and America). It can be saved, but not if shackled to the dying continent.

Dan Hannan has something to tell us as well:

The campaign is in full swing. On June 23, Britain will decide by referendum whether to leave the European Union (EU). Most of the political establishment, including the leaders of all the main parliamentary parties, are arguing for a “remain” vote. But the country is unimpressed, and opinion polls remain evenly balanced.

In Britain, the vote is a very big deal. We have had only two national referendums before, and one of those, back in 1975, was also on leaving the EU. Those campaigning for withdrawal, including me, see it as an opportunity to restore our independence, our democracy and our economic freedom. We want to reorient Britain away from the enervated and declining eurozone toward the rest of the world. Since 2007, the GDP of China and India have both roughly doubled; but that of the eurozone, incredibly, remains the same size.

Those who want to stay in, by contrast, argue that we mustn’t take risks. In a sound-bite that they trot out in every interview – they’re very disciplined at this sort of thing – they insist that a British exit, or “Brexit,” would be “a leap into the unknown.”

Why should Americans care either way? For two reasons: first, because it touches the question of U.S.-U.K. relations; and second, because it says something about what kind of world we want.

Continue reading Why Americans Should Back Brexit | PA Pundits – International.

Michael Gove on the EU, and a comparison

Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Justice, came out the other day with a statement on the referendum for Britain to leave the EU. I found it most impressive, so here it is in its entirety. I’ll have a bit to say after.

For weeks now I have been wrestling with the most difficult decision of my political life. But taking difficult decisions is what politicians are paid to do. No-one is forced to stand for Parliament, no-one is compelled to become a minister. If you take on those roles, which are great privileges, you also take on big responsibilities.

I was encouraged to stand for Parliament by David Cameron and he has given me the opportunity to serve in what I believe is a great, reforming Government. I think he is an outstanding Prime Minister. There is, as far as I can see, only one significant issue on which we have differed.

And that is the future of the UK in the European Union.

It pains me to have to disagree with the Prime Minister on any issue. My instinct is to support him through good times and bad.

But I cannot duck the choice which the Prime Minister has given every one of us. In a few months time we will all have the opportunity to decide whether Britain should stay in the European Union or leave. I believe our country would be freer, fairer and better off outside the EU. And if, at this moment of decision, I didn’t say what I believe I would not be true to my convictions or my country.

I don’t want to take anything away from the Prime Minister’s dedicated efforts to get a better deal for Britain. He has negotiated with courage and tenacity. But I think Britain would be stronger outside the EU.

My starting point is simple. I believe that the decisions which govern all our lives, the laws we must all obey and the taxes we must all pay should be decided by people we choose and who we can throw out if we want change. If power is to be used wisely, if we are to avoid corruption and complacency in high office, then the public must have the right to change laws and Governments at election time.

But our membership of the European Union prevents us being able to change huge swathes of law and stops us being able to choose who makes critical decisions which affect all our lives. Laws which govern citizens in this country are decided by politicians from other nations who we never elected and can’t throw out. We can take out our anger on elected representatives in Westminster but whoever is in Government in London cannot remove or reduce VAT, cannot support a steel plant through troubled times, cannot build the houses we need where they’re needed and cannot deport all the individuals who shouldn’t be in this country. I believe that needs to change. And I believe that both the lessons of our past and the shape of the future make the case for change compelling.

The ability to choose who governs us, and the freedom to change laws we do not like, were secured for us in the past by radicals and liberals who took power from unaccountable elites and placed it in the hands of the people. As a result of their efforts we developed, and exported to nations like the US, India, Canada and Australia a system of democratic self-government which has brought prosperity and peace to millions.

Our democracy stood the test of time. We showed the world what a free people could achieve if they were allowed to govern themselves.

In Britain we established trial by jury in the modern world, we set up the first free parliament, we ensured no-one could be arbitrarily detained at the behest of the Government, we forced our rulers to recognise they ruled by consent not by right, we led the world in abolishing slavery, we established free education for all, national insurance, the National Health Service and a national broadcaster respected across the world.

By way of contrast, the European Union, despite the undoubted idealism of its founders and the good intentions of so many leaders, has proved a failure on so many fronts. The euro has created economic misery for Europe’s poorest people. European Union regulation has entrenched mass unemployment. EU immigration policies have encouraged people traffickers and brought desperate refugee camps to our borders.

Far from providing security in an uncertain world, the EU’s policies have become a source of instability and insecurity. Razor wire once more criss-crosses the continent, historic tensions between nations such as Greece and Germany have resurfaced in ugly ways and the EU is proving incapable of dealing with the current crises in Libya and Syria. The former head of Interpol says the EU’s internal borders policy is “like hanging a sign welcoming terrorists to Europe” and Scandinavian nations which once prided themselves on their openness are now turning in on themselves. All of these factors, combined with popular anger at the lack of political accountability, has encouraged extremism, to the extent that far-right parties are stronger across the continent than at any time since the 1930s.

The EU is an institution rooted in the past and is proving incapable of reforming to meet the big technological, demographic and economic challenges of our time. It was developed in the 1950s and 1960s and like other institutions which seemed modern then, from tower blocks to telexes, it is now hopelessly out of date. The EU tries to standardise and regulate rather than encourage diversity and innovation. It is an analogue union in a digital age.

The EU is built to keep power and control with the elites rather than the people. Even though we are outside the euro we are still subject to an unelected EU commission which is generating new laws every day and an unaccountable European Court in Luxembourg which is extending its reach every week, increasingly using the Charter of Fundamental Rights which in many ways gives the EU more power and reach than ever before. This growing EU bureaucracy holds us back in every area. EU rules dictate everything from the maximum size of containers in which olive oil may be sold (five litres) to the distance houses have to be from heathland to prevent cats chasing birds (five kilometres).

Individually these rules may be comical. Collectively, and there are tens of thousands of them, they are inimical to creativity, growth and progress. Rules like the EU clinical trials directive have slowed down the creation of new drugs to cure terrible diseases and ECJ judgements on data protection issues hobble the growth of internet companies. As a minister I’ve seen hundreds of new EU rules cross my desk, none of which were requested by the UK Parliament, none of which I or any other British politician could alter in any way and none of which made us freer, richer or fairer.

It is hard to overstate the degree to which the EU is a constraint on ministers’ ability to do the things they were elected to do, or to use their judgment about the right course of action for the people of this country. I have long had concerns about our membership of the EU but the experience of Government has only deepened my conviction that we need change. Every single day, every single minister is told: ‘Yes Minister, I understand, but I’m afraid that’s against EU rules’. I know it. My colleagues in government know it. And the British people ought to know it too: your government is not, ultimately, in control in hundreds of areas that matter.

But by leaving the EU we can take control. Indeed we can show the rest of Europe the way to flourish. Instead of grumbling and complaining about the things we can’t change and growing resentful and bitter, we can shape an optimistic, forward-looking and genuinely internationalist alternative to the path the EU is going down. We can show leadership. Like the Americans who declared their independence and never looked back, we can become an exemplar of what an inclusive, open and innovative democracy can achieve.

We can take back the billions we give to the EU, the money which is squandered on grand parliamentary buildings and bureaucratic follies, and invest it in science and technology, schools and apprenticeships. We can get rid of the regulations which big business uses to crush competition and instead support new start-up businesses and creative talent. We can forge trade deals and partnerships with nations across the globe, helping developing countries to grow and benefiting from faster and better access to new markets.

We are the world’s fifth largest economy, with the best armed forces of any nation, more Nobel Prizes than any European country and more world-leading universities than any European country. Our economy is more dynamic than the Eurozone, we have the most attractive capital city on the globe, the greatest “soft power” and global influence of any state and a leadership role in NATO and the UN. Are we really too small, too weak and too powerless to make a success of self-rule? On the contrary, the reason the EU’s bureaucrats oppose us leaving is they fear that our success outside will only underline the scale of their failure.

This chance may never come again in our lifetimes, which is why I will be true to my principles and take the opportunity this referendum provides to leave an EU mired in the past and embrace a better future.

And if that is not a call to action to his countrymen, I never heard one. But I have, from another British scholar, protesting impositions by a German King. You might remember what he wrote because it is as applicable to the rights of free-born Englishmen now as it was then.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, —That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

{emphasis mine}

I don’t agree with everything Michael Gove says, that’s fine, I suspect that will be true of most of his countrymen as well. But so it was also with Adams and Jefferson, whose committee wrote the above clause.

We are indeed proudly Albion’s seed, and our rights came from God as they do in England, some day the benighted nations of Europe may figure out why the Anglo-Saxons always outstrip them, but this is not that day, and I don’t see it in their future either.

So as it was necessary for our founders to separate from England, it appears to me necessary for the UK to separate from the EU. I think Michael Gove states that case nearly as well as Thomas Jefferson did.

[UPDATE: Apparently, I’m not the only one thinking this way, read Can an Older Generation Learn From a Younger?]

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