Britain’s engagement with Europe is heading for the rocks.

 Britain’s days in the European Union are numbered, whatever the result of next month’s “Brexit” referendum.

British withdrawal will annoy, apart from the British government itself, our own foreign minister, who has informed the United Kingdom that Australia would “prefer” it stayed on in the EU. In this she is simply echoing her master’s voice, since a preference for supranational conglomerates lording it over individual nations is part of the package deal of opinions held by the leftish liberal establishment to which Malcolm Turnbull belongs

We might liken the EU debate in Britain to the republic debate in Australia. Voters rejected a republic in the last referendum, but the result was close, as it seems it will be with Brexit. Yet no one believes the possibility of an Australian republic has gone away. It still simmers, and could flare up to the point that no number of nostalgic visits by King Charles III to Timbertop or future royal babies blinking from the cover of the Women’s Weekly can reverse it.
So it will be with Britain and the EU. If David Cameron and his “Remain” buddies, in motley alliance with high finance and the anti-nationalists of the Guardian Left and the BBC, get their way and the referendum opts for staying in the EU, it will not be a final answer. Relations between Britain and the EU can only get worse, as the EU pushes its legislative ambitions deeper into the domestic affairs of its member nations, further restricting the already limited say national governments have in the running of their own countries. If, after 43 years of Britain in the EU, so many Britons wish to be out of it, how many more will come to this view after a few more years of increasing EU meddling? The referendum itself is proof of this dissatisfaction. The British economy is doing better than EU states, yet the better it does the more Britain’s net EU contributions go up, currently to about around $8.5 billion a year. Brexit supporters point out how much more usefully this money could be spent at home.
You can understand why European togetherness seemed a good idea back in the days of the Cold War, with Europe a huddle of smaller nations stuck between a grim and threatening USSR and the mighty if not universally loved USA. But the USSR is gone now and it was NATO, not the EU, that saw Europe through the Cold War. In a globalised world the notion of a “third bloc” is out of date.
Yet the EU programme towards greater integration grinds on regardless. Except on the Left, this doesn’t go down well in Britain, even in these days of muted patriotism. There are still many Britons who take a pride in their country and its constitutional record. Some of the crowds who celebrated the ninetieth birthday of the Queen last month will have noted the irony that as long as Britain is in the EU she is not really a sovereign at all. She, like them, is a citizen of a European superstate in gestation (she’s also Australia’s EU citizen head of state: there’s a nice thought for lovers of multiculturalism if not republicans). The EU was sold to the British as a “common market” but its subsequent conduct has brought home to voters what was always intended, that trade was only a first step to a united states of Europe.
For all the jibes of the “Remain” lobby, opponents of the EU can’t all be little Englanders and in 2016 there can be few nostalgics for empire among them or old codgers still fighting the Battle of Britain. Many “Brexiteers” have grown up with Britain part of the EU. That they should be dissatisfied with the EU is in part the EU’s own fault. While its market component declines its bureaucratic aggrandisement becomes more shameless. EU regulations intrude into every Briton’s lives – one more level of government to be funded by the taxpayer, and a level of government that, unlike national and local administration, the taxpayer can’t vote out of office.
It is this so-called democratic deficit that will drive Britain out of the EU, either next month or in the foreseeable future. Britain is the only major country in the EU in which the accountability of government is non-negotiable. Since 1660 no Briton has known any form of government except democracy. In continental Europe the democratic deficit weighs less, because democracy, especially in the last century, has not been the norm. Germany, Italy, and Spain have all been governed by dictatorships, and France under De Gaulle was hardly an example of democracy in full flower. European citizens with a tradition of being pushed around by dictators are less likely to notice, or object to, the high-handedness of unelected Brussels commissars. For the British it goes against the grain. David Cameron’s strategy is to play it down, and talk up the alleged benefits of EU membership and the frightful things he says will happen to the British economy if Britain leaves.
Nothing foreseeable will make the EU more popular in Britain. And as its capacity as a market for British exports shrinks, the EU will come to be seen more as a hugely expensive millstone, a solid platinum trough for the snouts of an army of apparatchiks – for what in return? For a treaty that allows Britons to travel around Europe without visas? They were able to do that without an EU before the First World War. More seriously, for a treaty that inter alia ties Britain’s hands in regulating unprecedented immigration and obliges a trading nation not to enter into bilateral trade agreements with countries such as India and China where economies are growing, and even with Australia and the rest of the “old Commonwealth” with which Britain once traded to much mutual advantage.
If Britain doesn’t vote on 23 June to leave the EU the tide of anti-EU sentiment cannot but swell. Politicians with prime ministerial potential such as Boris Johnson and Michael Gove have staked their careers on British withdrawal. If the referendum decides in favour of staying, they and the millions of other people who will have voted to leave will manage to ensure that every subsequent EU crisis and jurisdictional pretension becomes a rallying point in a continuing campaign for Brexit, until a national majority demands that Britain renounce its EU membership. Other EU nations may well follow. The tide against the EU is also the tide of history.
14 May 2016
Published in The Spectator Australia


 The Left loves accusing people of racism. But what does it actually mean?

I never quite know what is meant by “racism” and yet along with “sexism” and “homophobia”, etymological bastards all three of them, it must be the most frequently bandied epithet in the Left’s lexicon. Does it mean noticing the difference between people of different national types, as in being able to recognise that if there’s a Scandinavian in the room it’s probably the blonde chap over there and if there’s a Sicilian it’s presumably the dark-haired lady with him?

Yes, according to white liberal bien-pensants. To distinguish between one race and another as a description of individuals is “racist”. That’s why if someone’s attacked in the street by an assailant of distinctive ethnic appearance you can be sure ethnicity will not be mentioned by those news media that pride themselves on being correct in these matters. The police too, knowing which side their bread is buttered on, fall over themselves to issue descriptions in which racial appearance will not be an identifying element, unless the attacker is white, in which case it will be included so that you don’t racistically jump to the conclusion that the suspect is yet another newcomer to our shores.

All this beating about the bush applies only until the blonde chap from Scandinavia or the dark-eyed lady from Sicily turn against the bien-pensants and threaten their comfortable security. (Unlikely, you’ll say, but I use that example to show I’m not racist, in the same way that airport officials will advertise their non-racist credentials by strip searching anyone except the passenger who actually looks as though he might have a bomb in his intimate apparel.)

When Lefties get a fright the coy anonymity is instantly binned. We know this thanks to two youthful Melbourne gangs. When those gangs ran riot during Melbourne’s Moomba festival, they made the mistake of terrifying “ordinary families” having an evening out. Some of the terrified were doubtless readers of the Melbourne Age or ABC viewers – the kind of members of the respectable middle class for whom “racism” is something only rednecks indulge in. And all at once the silence was broken.

Police officers are timid when dealing with ethnic-based gangs because they fear being accused of racism,” intoned the Age reproachfully. You don’t say, and who pray has been doing the accusing up till now, or constantly implying it by harping on about the evils of “racial profiling” in the force? Why, the selfsame Age and its soul sisters now shouting the gangs’ Somali and South Pacific origins from the housetops. Talk about an irony bypass.

It therefore seems that to observe a racial difference between individuals is or isn’t “racist” depending on where one stands vis-à-vis the individuals whose race is or is not of relevance. As a definition of racism that’s a bit elusive. What then about old-fashioned racism, racial discrimination as it used to be called, that is, regarding someone as inferior because of their race and sneering at them or not giving them a job? Well, that’s mostly illegal now and scarcely encountered, at least in public. Even our esteemed Race Discrimination Commissioner, Dr Tim Soutphommasane, whose job depends on keeping racism going (“commissioner” sounds as though it’s his function to commission it – “tenders are now being invited for screaming abuse at asylum seekers”) admits that “great progress” has been made in getting rid of old-fashioned racism, as he told the Sydney Morning Herald in 2013:

Decades ago, it may have been commonly assumed that some races were superior to others; few would have batted an eyelid at racial abuse in public places. Today, things are much different. Old attitudes have largely given way to more progressive sensibilities.

Good to hear. Although it appears to have escaped Tim’s notice that some non-Anglos in our community are as yet untouched by “progressive sensibilities” and have a tendency to see themselves as superior to other races. Some folk – how can one put it? – from the Asian subcontinent – no, not rational and enlightened like Tim – have been known to show or express a certain disdain for people of other nationalities. I realise it’s probably racist even to hint at such a thing, and besides, racism of that kind is not really part of the “old attitudes” Tim is talking about. He means the old attitudes of ordinary Australians. It’s not racism if it’s not practised by the Anglo majority.

Tim’s SMH article was called “How best to tackle racism, Australian style” so he is probably the best person to define what racism, Australian style is. Launching his recent book I’m Not Racist But… (doesn’t that But make you feel guilty already?) he announced that, in spite of the “great progress” earlier referred to, “[o]rganised racist extremism appears to be revitalised, not unrelated to the emergence of cyber-racism” (by which I suppose he means nutters on the Internet). He cites some examples. “Anxieties about Islamist extremism have … fed a rise in the harassment of Muslim and Arab Australians.” Dear me, harassment. Well at least it’s not murder, a Muslim specialty. And, sorry Tim, but the “anxieties” about extremism are well grounded; to categorise them as racism is plain wrong. It’s not racist to be opposed to a culture some of whose exponents have made it clear they will kill or subjugate you if they can. It’s self-defence.

“At the same time,” Tim told his book launch, “there has been a marked increase in reports of anti-Semitism, along with signs of growing anti-Chinese sentiment.” Since anti-semitism is pretty well a preserve of Leftists, and it’s Leftists who installed Tim and his Human Rights employers in their sinecures in the first place, he’d do well not to tick them off too loudly. As to “anti-Chinese sentiment”, does it occur to him that where you hear examples of that – and you do, mainly in prosperous suburbs – it’s not on account of some generalised dislike of Chinese, which would be racial discrimination pure and simple, but because people feel that the districts in which they live and have grown up are being “taken over” and becoming alien to them? Most people prefer to live among people who speak their language at least. If that’s racism it’s also human nature, and Tim’s “ongoing challenge of building racial tolerance and cultural harmony” is not going to change that.

It says a lot about the absence of real racial discrimination from Australian life that in order to keep the anti-racist establishment going, racism has had to be redefined to cover perfectly natural human emotions that do not spring from any sense of smug superiority towards other people.

23 April 2016
Published in The Spectator Australia


Crusaders against paedophilia seem able to turn their outrage on and off.

Who wrote this, comparing paedophilia favourably with parental love?

How different then is that gentle, tentative sexuality between parent and child from the love of a paedophile and his/her lover?

Some serial abuser in a Catholic school? Gerald Ridsdale? George Pell? Wrong, wrong, wrong.

As we now know, thanks to an intervention in federal parliament a week ago, the author of this ardent tribute to the beauty of “intergenerational love” is one Gary Dowsett, a professor at La Trobe University in Melbourne. He wrote those words, and many more, in an article on “gay men and kids” in a 1982 edition of a publication called Gay Information. Dowsett is a former schoolteacher now employed in La Trobe’s department of Sex, Health and Society, the nest of thinkers who gave us the Safe Schools Coalition, that gay, lesbian and transgender recruitment programme masquerading in the sheep’s clothing of an anti-bullying campaign, which has had to be reined in by the federal government.

Dowsett went on to say that “love, warmth, support and nurture is an important part of the paedophilic relationship.” What a pity someone couldn’t have dug up such a quote and pinned it on Cardinal Pell. The media would have had a field day. Which brings us to our big question. Why are we not hearing anything on l’affaire Dowsett from all the outraged moral arbiters who savaged Pell and others for supposedly covering up “paedophilic relationships”? What do those who would have crucified Pell, though he never tried to defend or justify paedophilia and actually was a pioneer in seeking to curb it, have to say about a former teacher now working with young people in a university who openly defends it, or did 34 years ago and hasn’t disowned what he wrote then?

Why is pudding-faced Tim Minchin not writing a song about Dowsett and calling him “scum”? And above all, why is Julia’s bequest to the nation, the Star Chamber presided over by the Hon. Justice Peter McClellan AM, not interesting itself in the matter? I know it’s a Royal Commission into “institutional responses” to child abuse, but Dowsett has long been employed in institutions. How have they responded to his opinions?

Further, does a man who could write with such authority about paedophilia know of any cases of paedophiles “loving” children which ought to be drawn to the attention of the police? What about the chum he wrote about?

[a] friend, a paedophile, who is working very hard on making sense out of his relations with boys. These relations consist of, among other things, a large amount of nurture and support for these boys, a real caring for their welfare and growth.

Why aren’t police and media besieging the friend, or at least finding out whether he is still around and still busy caring for boys’ “welfare and growth”? Can’t Gail Furness SC find a way to haul Dowsett into the witness box and interrogate him for days on end on that and on what else the friend has been up to?

Surely the lynch mob can do better than this. Could it be that all that righteous outrage stoked up for months on end about young lives wrecked by paedophile priests has worn them out? I doubt it. If some new revelation to the discredit of the Roman Catholic Church suddenly emerged they would come to life like a watered flower. In fact some such revelation probably will be made sooner or later and the media vigilantes will be galvanised back into action. Just watch.

A pity that Dowsett is not a Catholic priest: that would wake them out of their torpor. Instead he is only a priest of the New Sexuality, but that’s enough to protect him. He’s on the right side. We don’t know how much if any direct input he’s had into Safe Schools – his association with which is what got his paean to intergenerational romance quoted in parliament – but lack of hard facts is no deterrent to a witch hunt when the quarry is someone or something that the Left and the media Left in particular disapprove of.

And that could never be said about Professor Dowsett. He’s one of the good guys. He’s had millions of dollars in public funds for his “work” exploring the world of non-heterosexual sexuality. LGBTI advocates like him are media pin-ups. Besides, Safe Schools has the full stamp of right-on approval and anyone who hovers in its orbit must ipso facto be enlightened and on the side of Life.

By the way, lest anyone think that Safe Schools is just the latest whim of an LGBTI establishment wanting to push its entitlements to the limit in a society which has lost its hitherto defining moral principles, Dowsett’s Gay Information article shows that initiatives of this sort are part a carefully thought out strategy, planned over the decades. Long before many of today’s advocates of gay “marriage” and such novelties were born, the future professor was stating that

a new political position is needed for there are significant political struggles at stake.  First, we have three legal/social questions to win: custody rights for gay men and lesbians; the legal right of paedophiles and their young lovers; and finally the sexual rights of children as a whole….

Hitler (and as with Main Kampf what “we” intended to do was all there to be read about for those who could be bothered to read it) could not have put it more clearly. This of course was back in the days when the ABC in its hippie mode was endorsing paedophilia as a “lifestyle choice” and the fashionable LGBTI demand, the gay marriage of the day, was for the age of consent to be lowered to eleven. But once the child sex-abuse dam burst and the accusations became a flood, toilers in the vineyard of “sexual rights” of the Professor Dowsett type went rather quiet on paedophilia, perhaps to avoid any collateral damage.

As for the object of Professor Dowsett’s third “struggle”, “the sexual rights of children as a whole”, perhaps that’s a campaign still waiting to be launched when LGBTI headquarters feels the time is ripe. When and if it is, it can be sure to enjoy the full support of the ABC and the rest of the Leftist establishment who were so vocal against Pell but who, confronted with an objective defence of paedophilia, suddenly find that silence is golden.

26 March 2016
Published in The Spectator Australia