He didn’t use the word ‘Reich’, of course: he’d be sensitive to shadowy historical undertones and averse to Godwin’s tendencies. But by warning that Germany risks being the centre of an ‘empire’ that ‘caused the collapse of the eurozone’, he certainly raises the spectre of a Fourth Reich, doubtless to the delight of those who have long believed that the ECSC/EEC/EC/EU is just a German racket to achieve by incremental treaties what they could not accomplish with bombs and bullets.
‘Soros warnt vor deutschem Weltreich’, read headlines in the German press. According to the multi-billionaire financier, the Reich re-emerges as the mechanism for effecting German foreign and economic policy: it is the kingdom or realm for the realisation of the dreams of kaisers long gone and chancellors not so long gone. Continue reading →
Fifty years after its release, the MGM musical tragedy West Side Story has been digitally re-mastered on Blu-Rayand returned to… err… the Royal Albert Hall. It’s not the sort of cavernous gulf you’d naturally think of visiting for a cosy cinematic experience of romantic Romeo and Juliet themes transferred to the edgy ghettos of New York – even in high definition. But if you add in a live 90-piece orchestra and erect a screen the size of a tennis court, you’re actually onto something special.
In this techno-cinema-orchestral conjunction, the Sharks and Jets keep all their original vocals and dialogue intact, but (somehow) the musical score has been ‘scrubbed’ – completely excised. This permits the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra (RPCO) to bring Bernstein’s sophisticated score to life in an exhilarating experience. While you’re listening to such legendary showstoppers as ‘America’, ‘Somewhere’, and ‘Tonight’ played live on stage, the eye is captivated by the clarity and crispness now given to Robert Wise’s seminal images and Jerome Robbins’ stunning choreography: the grainy blurs of 1961 have been transformed. It’s a celluloid icon digitalised to theatrical heights: the first meeting of Tony and Maria is especially a masterful moment of re-pixilated pizzicato. Continue reading →
The very mention of the name of Enoch Powell still divides the firmaments. There is no nuanced via media of opinion on the man: either you love him as the rightest of minds, or loathe him as a deranged bigot. Either he was a prophet of God and enlightened philosopher, or the spawn of Satan and reactionary extremist. For many – if not most – his premature demise was the salvation of the Queen’s multicultural peace. For others – the undoubted minority – it was the greatest philosophical injustice since the execution of Socrates.
John Enoch Powell was born 100 years ago this year, and this collection of commemorative essays, speeches (in their entirety) and poems (some quite touching) is edited by Lord Howard of Rising with a Foreword by Iain Duncan Smith. It is published by Biteback and will set you back £25. Continue reading →
In the midst of euro-economic turmoil, distracted by Leveson and the tedious texts and tweets of Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt, the Government is finalising its plans to monitor and log every website you visit and store every IM, tweet and text you send. The police already have draconian extra-judicial powers to intercept your email and telephone communications, but the surveillance state is an ever-encroaching beast of unquenchable omniscience, scattering all feeble libertarian squeaks in its wake.
In opposition, David Cameron categorically opposed Labour’s Big Brother agenda: he rejected national ID cards out of hand and objected to security requests for 90-detention without charge. Indeed, he said quite unequivocally: “If we want to stop the state controlling us, we must confront this surveillance state.”
In office, however, he is proving to be as centralising and authoritarian as Tony Blair and New Labour ever were, all under the guise of needing to prevent acts of terrorism and smash paedophile rings. So, if you’re practising shooting zombies on ‘Left for Dead’ or knocking off a few vanity years on Facebook, beware: we are all now suspects; your every move is being monitored. Continue reading →
Any right-minded person will be robustly in favour of the Government’s measures to reduce illegal immigration. Our resources are stretched, community cohesion is fraught, and our infrastructure is creaking, especially in the south-east. Some of the Government’s policies are frustratingly measured and incrementally tedious, but any workable policy which can help stem the tide of the thousands of foreign murderers, rapists and thieves who freely walk our streets is to be welcomed, especially if it can eradicate the formulaic appeals to ‘human rights’, and specifically those to the ‘right to a family life’.
Parliament is, of course, no longer entirely sovereign in these matters, and cannot be as long as there is cross-party consensus on the infinite beneficence of the European Convention on Human Rights, and blind obeisance to the activist judges who meet in conclave to dispense their infallible judgments as though they were discerning and developing sacred writ. Continue reading →
I wrote some time ago of Halima (not her real name) who was one of my delights to teach. I’d identified her as ‘Gifted & Talented’ after just one lesson when she came to me in Year 10. She loved philosophy and was captivated by politics and theology, especially issues relating to the Middle East. She also had a flair for public speaking and a charisma for debating which frequently left her peers floundering. I always remember intellects like hers, not least because they made getting out of bed in a morning so much more worthwhile. She told me at one point that she wanted to go into politics: I’d helped to nurture a little future Aung San Suu Kyi. Brilliant.
Then, one day, she arrived at my class wearing a hijab. Nothing wrong with that: hundreds of girls in the school wore one, and seemed very content to do so. But Halima was no longer arguing or debating; in fact, she was scarcely speaking. This went on for quite a few weeks; neither her form tutor nor head of year could elicit anything from her as to why her demeanour had changed so profoundly; why she was suddenly so sad and withdrawn. And neither could I, until one parents’ evening when her father and elder brother came to see. In front of Halima, they began to explain to me how this straight-A* student was such a disappointment to them: all she talked about was religion and politics – men’s things – and she showed no respect for them or interest in getting married and being a doctor – the imminent life they clearly had planned for her. I listened politely, trying very subtly to reason with them by drawing attention to Halima’s outstanding grades. She became visibly upset as I made the defence. Her father scolded her, told her she was a disgrace, and they moved on to their next appointment. Continue reading →