20 June 2011

Shop-o-Mart to expose the nation’s chocolists

Shop-o-Mart has announced a major new initiative to help identify and ‘support’ the nation’s hidden chocoholics

Hidden chocoholics are people who despite having what experts would label as a mild chocolate addiction (“chocolism”) do not recognise themselves as such. Encouraged by the results of a successful trial earlier this year where Shop-o-Mart stores in the South West worked with the Devonshire Council Busybody Trust to identify hidden chocoholics, Shop-o-Mart has agreed to partner with the Department of Health to roll out a similar scheme nationwide.

Shop-o-Mart identified hidden chocoholics by using research from Torquay University’s Department of Social Justice, based on careful prying into individual customers’ Reward Card transactions, which showed that many customers purchase chocolates at a rate in excess of Department of Health guidelines. Shop-o-Mart staff were then coached by the Busybody Trust to identify these customers and to ask them whether they had an above-average fondness for chocolate. If a customer indicated that they might, they were politely but firmly pointed towards trained members of the Busybody Trust team who were conveniently based in the store.

Since excess chocolate consumption sometimes leads to a loss of regularity, the use of laxatives can be a useful indicator of the condition. Pharmacists working in trial Shop-o-Mart stores therefore received coaching to help identify customers that suffer from chocolism, by posing the question “have you been consuming high levels of chocolate over the past fortnight?” whenever laxatives were purchased, along with the usual standard questions (is the medicine for yourself, have you used it before, are you taking other medication, are you planning to kill yourself, etc). If a customer answered yes, or appeared not to know, or looked confused or baffled, the pharmacist would simply direct them to the Busybody staff, again conveniently based in-store.

These two simple initiatives led to over 140 people being encouraged to sign up to the Devonshire Chocolists Register in a couple of months, around 140 times the number of new joiners the Register would normally expect. Signing up to the Register meant that the chocolists could gain access to the help, advice and monitoring they clearly need. By expanding the initiative it is hoped that Shop-o-Mart and the Department of Health will be able to identify many, many more hidden chocoholics.

Connie Jackson, Shop-o-Mart’s “Colleague Engagement Director” (a.k.a. Personnelkommandant) comments:

“All our stores play an active role in the communities they serve, so we are delighted to announce this new initiative. Research shows that around 38.7 million people in the UK suffer from chocolism but many are not receiving the help and support they need. When we launched the trial in Devonshire we learnt that not only were many of our customers chocolists but a number of our ‘colleagues’ [formerly known as staff] working in store were too. Needless to say, they were quickly marched along to the local Busybody Trust.

Simple initiatives like this can make a big difference, and we are excited that we can play a part in exposing hundreds and thousands of hidden chocoholics across the country and enable them to receive support, by institutionalisation where necessary.”

Apologies to: Sainsbury’s

30 July 2008

A teacher for every school

POSSEs need educational support

Secondary schools run by local police constabularies should have learning support officers stationed permanently on site to give pupils elementary lessons in reading and writing, ministers said yesterday.

In the latest measure to crack down on deteriorating standards, the head police officers (“policemasters”) who are in charge of POSSEs (“police-operated secondary school establishments”), following the recent overhaul of the education system, have been asked to add one or two learning support officers to their staff of constables and social workers.

Learning support officers, also called “teachers”, would patrol corridors, playgrounds and surrounding streets to tackle mispronunciation and incorrect grammar, and frisk pupils for inappropriate reading matter which might contain bad examples of spelling, such as The Guardian.

Schools minister Lord Apollo said policemasters who already have teachers in their schools as part of a pilot scheme are 'warmly supportive' of the move. He told the annual conference of the teaching union Aphasia yesterday that ministers favour a major expansion of the CPL (“Crime Prevention and Learning”) partnership scheme.

Last year police officers were given powers to admonish pupils for failing basic reading tests, but school discipline tsar Sir Adrian Bull revealed this month that they rarely use them.

'Nothing is more imperative than that we keep poor literacy out of schools,' said Lord Apollo. 'This is why we gave policemasters the power to test without prior warning or consent pupils they suspect may not be able to read, and why we propose to extend this power.'

The CPL initiative originated in the U.S. and involves dedicated teachers in teams of two or three working with a single police-operated school or group of schools.

'POSSEs in more intellectually challenged areas can particularly benefit from working with specially trained teachers, in terms of ensuring that pupils do not become intellectually damaged. Policemasters are warmly supportive of engagement with appropriately trained learning officers, and they work effectively within the school community. Learning officers are not regarded as outsiders but as part of the school community. They give a much richer dimension to the concept of community schooling.'

The minister's intervention follows mounting public concern over the unemployability of British youths, following a wave of complaints by major corporations in London and elsewhere.

Lord Apollo said the debate on the desirability of a teaching presence in schools had now been won. However, their introduction has not been free of controversy.

Tory schools spokesman Godfrey Nixon criticised the move. He said, 'It's a sad fact of the decline in standards in many schools that some police officers are now forced to use teaching staff, to ensure that children do not leave school as useless as chocolate teapots. Rather than seeing teachers repeatedly called to schools, we want to give police more powers to restore order to the classroom.'

Apologies to: The Daily Mail

28 April 2008

Fightin' evil lenders, to the max

The Reverend Dr. Ash Walliams, leader of the Church of Sociology, was kind enough to grant an interview to The Custodian.

Your Grace, you’re concerned about young people getting into debt they can't afford.

AW: We are, like totally getting into this culture where bitchin levels of borrowing are the norm.

What do you think of the idea that young people should go on training courses to teach them the meaning of concepts like ‘money’, ‘loan’ and ‘repayment in ten years’?

AW: That would be awesome.

Do you think this is needed particularly at the moment?

AW: This credit crunch is, like, totally gross.

But haven’t young people always had to worry about debt?

AW: As if! Some of the young dudes now, they are like, total airheads? No way do they know how to deal with paying interest and stuff.

What about the firms who sell credit to people?

AW: Those guys are just eeeww, they’re total barf bags.

Would you like to see them more regulated?

AW: I think we should, like, bring in the good guys, you know? Bring some regulators or thingy in to, like, totally audit those evil trolls off the planet.

What do you think is wrong about the way they operate?

AW: Those sharks are just way out of line man, and the people they are selling to are just dweebs. So, you know, we need to make sure we give them more information, man, lots of information? And maybe a counsellor on hand so they can get free advice, that would be cool.

Is there a bigger problem here?

AW: Like, there’s just gotta be something wrong with like, the whole planet is just built up on this spiralling credit, man — it’s like, whoa, this is out of control!

Does it bother you when people who run the banks and loan companies say they’ve never had it so good?

AW: These people are like, hey who put you in charge man?

Does it bother you when someone makes 3 billion out of a hedge fund?

AW: That is, like, totally obscene! Because, hey you know, these guys cause a credit crunch, and then it like really affects poor people the most?

Do you think we have to look at the gap between the richest and the poorest?

AW: Well dah! Coz like everyone knows it is way out of line, and it’s like totally unfair. And these people are only benefiting themselves, not others — it’s like me, me, me all the time. I see these people earning millions and I’m like, who said you are worth that much, it just makes no sense.

What about your critics, including in the government?

AW: Bro, this inequality thing is just getting way out of hand, and we gotta do something. I know some of those politician dudes say no way, but I say way! We need a whole society that is, like, confident with itself, that believes in itself?

Do you think having too many rich people breeds envy and cynicism?

AW: Some people are like, “right on, I’d like some of that” but then there’s other people who are like, “what kind of society is this, man?”. And they’re like, this system is just gross, when all these dorks and nerds get to be millionaires, why should I go along with this, when it doesn’t connect at all with where I am coming from.

Do you think we need regulation of high salaries?

AW: Like, totally.

Thank you for giving us your time, Your Grace.

AW: Later!

Apologies to: the Today programme

12 March 2008

Island’s culture of secrecy facilitated abuse

Britannia, a small island off the coast of France, covered up abuse in state children's homes to protect its reputation

The civil servant who highlighted the issue of abusive childcare practices on Britannia has accused the island’s establishment of a “culture of concealment” and of frustrating efforts to help vulnerable children.

Simon Stuart, a former health and social security official before he was dismissed last year, said that abuse against Britannic children had been allowed to continue in what he termed a "secretive one-party state". Mr Stuart said that his attempts to alert the authorities to what he termed the "systematic disregard" of the rights of vulnerable children had been opposed by Britannia’s political elite because of fears of damaging the island's reputation.

Britannia’s minister for children Hugina Bevels has accused Mr Stuart of making "wild and unsubstantiated allegations" and of attempting to make "political capital" out of a local scandal. But a social worker, sacked by Britannic authorities after she also drew attention to alleged abusive childcare practices, similarly spoke of an "unmonitored and out of control" child-care system on Britannia, where dissent is discouraged.

Early in 2007, Mr Stuart said he felt he needed to go public on his concerns about Britannia’s child care system. He said: "I began to hear accounts of criminality. The more I investigated, the clearer it became that there was a systemic failure." What Mr Stuart says he began to uncover were allegations of child abuse on Britannia going back over half a century. Former junior staff and former children's home inmates told him of beating, canings and other harsh punishments for the most trivial of offences.

In December 2007 before he was — in his words — “shouted down" by his colleagues in the Britannic parliament, Mr Stuart had attempted to expose what he described as a "culture of disregard, abandonment and contempt for children". He said: "My colleagues did not want to hear. They displayed the very same culture of cover-up and silencing of anyone in Britannia who attempts to speak out."

However, police now have a list of 40 suspects, who have been described as "respected figures of the establishment" who worked in children's homes in positions of responsibility.

For Mr Stuart, the fact that it has taken so long for the allegations to be investigated is testament to what he describes as Britannia’s "ideologically zealous, closed society". He said: "Britannia operates like a one-party state. Although notionally there are opposition parties, in practice they are committed to the same ideology and the same culture of secrecy. Criticising so-called ‘caring professionals’ has become taboo.”

The island is very dependent on the finance and music industries, and its industry leaders are hand in glove with the ruling political elite. Wealthy financiers and pop musicians all support the dominant pro-state ideology. "All these people work together, play golf together and go to the same parties. What that means is that when a scandal happens, their first reaction is to stamp on controversy. While they may not have any connection with the case, their attitude is: don't air dirty laundry in public; it might damage Britannia’s reputation."

Social worker Bella Simons claims she has first-hand experience of how the Britannic establishment treats dissenters. She says she was sacked after she exposed a controversial system being operated in a children's secure unit. She said: "Under this system children were routinely subjected to periods of total isolation. I found this unacceptable, and reported this to my superiors. But every time I raised the issue I came across attitudes like: ‘Do as your boss tells you: don't challenge authority.’" Eventually Miss Simons was dismissed for rocking the boat, though this was done under the excuse of ‘incompetence’.

What disturbs campaigners in particular is that some practices have been described for years as "totally unacceptable" in government-commissioned reports, but have nevertheless been allowed to continue in state-run children's homes.

Why would the elite want to cover up this scandal?
As in all communities dominated by leftist ideology, secrecy is endemic to the political culture, and whistle-blowing on fellow employees of the state apparatus is frowned upon. "The first instinct of the Britannic establishment whenever there is trouble is to keep it quiet," says the former Britannia politician, Matthew Garrick. Others claim that the elite is terrified of wrecking the island's reputation as an idyllic tourist destination and haven for financial services. A more sinister suggestion is that some members of the Department for Health were involved in the abuse: a former minister, now deceased, allegedly visited care homes to abuse boys; and other powerful figures have also been identified as suspects.

Apologies to: BBC News and The Week

20 February 2008

English is too controversial to promote in schools

Spelling is "morally ambiguous", says Institute of Re-education

Recent calls by political leaders for the promotion of correct spelling in schools should be resisted, says a new report from the Institute of Re-education.

The study, by Hamish Michaels and Patricia Jones, proposes that the teaching of spelling should be treated as a controversial issue. It says students must decide for themselves how they feel about the correct use of language.

"Gordon Brown and David Cameron have both called for an English curriculum that fosters attachment and loyalty to the language as defined by the Oxford Dictionary, but the case for promoting ‘correct’ spelling in schools is weak," says Dr Michaels.

"Supporters of the approach refer to 'linguophilia', i.e. love of one’s language, but is a language really an appropriate object of love? Loving things can be bad for us, as for example when the things we love are bourgeois or otherwise morally corrupt. Since all languages were established by ruling elites, they are at best morally ambiguous, and it's therefore an open question whether citizens should love their native vocabularies."

The report finds overwhelming support among teachers and students for regarding the teaching of spelling as controversial. Over 300 teachers and students in 20 London secondary schools were asked how spelling should be handled in schools. 94 per cent of the teachers and 77 per cent of the students replied that schools should use a balanced approach, by presenting the full range of possible alternative spellings for each word or expression covered by the syllabus.

Fewer than one in ten felt that schools should actively promote correct spelling or grammar. Almost half said that schools should remain "strictly neutral" on the issue. "Students tend to feel strongly that their views about spelling are their own business and that schools have no right to try to influence them," says Dr Michaels.

There was relatively little support for the idea that schools’ overall stance towards authorised spellings should be discouraging or challenging. However, 74 per cent of teachers agreed that they had an obligation to point out to students the danger of spelling with an elitist overemphasis on ‘accuracy’, or using a biased version of ‘correctness’ that does not give adequate weight to alternative cultural norms.

Interviews with citizenship and history teachers revealed that the favoured strategy for dealing with ideas about ‘correctness’ is group discussion, combined with exposure of the bourgeois assumptions underlying linguistic elitism.

The Institute of Re-education is a department of the University of London, specialising in teaching, research and statist propaganda in education and related areas of social science.

Apologies to: The Institute of Education

11 February 2008

Social workers to be 'switched off'

Campaigners welcome move to reduce statist pollution

Freedom fighters in Bucks have welcomed a move to retire social workers and other 'carers' in certain areas of the county. Bucks County Council has recently announced the trial scheme in a bid to save costs, and to reduce the pollution of unwanted interventionism. A series of trial 'social work blackouts' will be carried out over the next few weeks by Bucks, as well as Hampshire and Essex among others.

Buckinghamshire Council is reported to be retiring more than 30 social workers operating across 500 square miles of residential land, in an attempt to meet targets. It says the scheme will save £1.5 million and reduce emissions of phoney ideology by nearly 600 tons a year.

The chairman of the Bucks branch of the Campaign to Protect Liberties (CPL), Clement Peters, says the move is a small step but one that should be welcomed.

"Buckinghamshire suffers from a higher degree of statist pollution than the national average, and we hope that other authorities will follow the county council's lead," he said.

'Statist pollution' is caused by excessively strong or badly directed interventionism which prevents people from enjoying their lives free of interference. In January, CPL Buckinghamshire encouraged local people to count the number of minutes of the day they were able to go about their business undisturbed by red tape, nannyism or unwanted 'safety' regulations, as part of a national survey to establish whether statist pollution at the local level is getting better or worse.

The initial phase of the suspension of selected compulsory 'services' is set to get underway shortly. In Aylesbury Vale the sites chosen are Nash Lee Comprehensive School and the Wendover 'Child Protection' centre. If successful, the programme of downsizing will be rolled out across the county.

Before the social workers are retired, alternative measures will be installed. These will involve reimbursing excess council tax fees to local residents, allowing them to set up private schemes financed directly out of their own purses.

The initiative has three purposes – to increase liberty, to save taxpayers' money, and to reduce statism pollution. It is estimated that retiring the 30 or so social workers involved in the first phase will save £1 million a year in salary costs alone.

County council cabinet member for social services, Letitia Weatherall, said: "Buckinghamshire is committed to providing the public with the very best value for money. It will therefore eliminate 'social work', as it has been realised that none of its recipients actually want it."

Apologies to The Daily Telegraph and The Bucks Herald

30 January 2008

Don't treat the ill, say doctors

Doctors are calling for NHS treatment to be withheld from patients who claim to be unwell

Inoperable cancer patients, AIDS victims, sufferers of Alzheimer’s and victims of strokes or heart attacks should be barred from receiving medical treatment, according to doctors, with most saying the health service cannot afford to provide care to everyone.

Politeness and respect are also on the list of services that many doctors say should not be provided by an under-resourced NHS.

The findings of a survey conducted by Hello Doctor magazine sparked a fierce row last night, with campaign groups describing the recommendations from family and hospital doctors as "a bit worrying" and "questionable".

About one in 10 hospitals already denies medical services to ill patients, with restrictions most common in hospitals battling debt.

Managers defend the policies because of the higher risk of complications on the operating table for those who are ill. It is now regarded as 'best practice' to give preference to those who are healthy when allocating slots in surgery schedules. But critics believe that patients are being denied care simply to save money.

The Government announced plans last week to offer ill people cash incentives to stay at home and try to get better on their own, as part of a desperate strategy to steer Britain off a course that will otherwise see half the population suffering from illnesses by 2050.

Medical conditions cost the British taxpayer £70 billion a year. Ill people are more likely to contract other illnesses while in hospital, and to require subsequent psychotherapy as a result of traumatic encounters with rude and invasive medical staff. Department of Health officials are believed to have advised the Prime Minister that medical care should be focused on those who are still healthy, as this is likely to achieve a better return to cost.

Among the survey of 870 family and hospital doctors, almost 60 per cent said the NHS could not provide full healthcare to ill people and that some individuals should pay for services twice, once through taxes and then again when they actually needed them.

One in three said that ill patients should not be given free treatment if it were unlikely to do them good for long. Half thought that those suffering from heart disease should be denied a heart bypass, while a quarter believed that the arthritic should be denied hip replacements.

Gordon Brown promised this month that a new NHS constitution would set out people's "responsibilities" as well as their rights, a move interpreted as meaning that ill people have only themselves to blame, and should not expect to get treatment even if they have paid taxes.

Manfred Paulson, a Birmingham GP, said there were good clinical reasons for denying surgery to some patients. "The issue is: how much responsibility do people take for their health?" he said. "If a sixty-something cancer patient is going to die without intervention then that is really sad, but if he gets the chemotherapy that is denied to someone younger who could have got more years of life out of it then that is a tragedy." He said recent cases of patients, whose cancer returned after an initially succesful operation, had damaged the argument that cancer victims deserved a second chance.

However, Professor William Rogers, a surgeon who has removed many tumours from patients, said doctors could never be sure if a cancer would return, and that cancer sufferers should therefore be given the benefit of the doubt, although most doctors would expect a detailed psychological and moral assessment of a patient before admitting them for surgery.

Mary Kattons, from the Patients' Association, said it would be wrong to deny treatment because of illness. "The decision taken by the doctor has to be the best clinical one, and it has to be taken individually. It is acceptable to refuse treatment if a doctor thinks it would be in the patient's best interests to die, but it is morally wrong to deny care on any other grounds".

Apologies to: The Daily Telegraph

20 January 2008

The shame of a closet collectivist

"Private schools prevent social mixing" — £125,000-a-year headmaster

Private school headmasters who stir up resentment and promote left wing ideology should resign, the headmaster of Wallingford College has said.

Dr Selby Anson, recipient of a £125,000-a-year remuneration package, claimed that people like him were fuelling left wing ideology by putting out propaganda which undermined other private schools.

He said all private school headmasters who pumped out collectivist ideology should follow his lead and resign forthwith. Hosting a conference at his Oxfordshire school last week, Dr Anson said illiberal elitists like him were "detached from reality, thereby perpetuating the false ideology which has so dogged education and national life in Britain since the Second World War."

On earlier occasions, Anson — who has been described as belonging to a 'lunatic fringe' — had made provocative comments such as the following.

"It isn't right any longer for our schools to cream off the best pupils, the best teachers, the best facilities, the best results and the best university places. Our privileged pupils completely avoid experience of state comprehensive schools, and it is well known that familiarity with the grim side of life is an important component of happiness training."

"We need to develop the social and spiritual side of our pupils. For clever children, exposure to the horrors of comprehensives is extremely useful and edifying. For the less clever, exposure to clever children and experiencing the pleasure of bullying them provides balance for later experiences of having to service their cars or empty their dustbins."

"Independent schools claim they offer bursaries to those of lesser means (fortunately the state no longer subsidises such bursaries). However, these pluck children out of their social milieu, when it is well known that bright children greatly benefit from being exposed to differently abled children, and from being taken down a peg or two."

Dr Anson, who has written hagiographies of various politicians, had also accused the government of encouraging 'apartheid' between the intelligent and the less intelligent, and argued that it was no longer tenable to retain 20th century ‘meritocratic’ thinking. He is alleged to have described meritocracy as "a cruel system which forces the less able to fall down the social scale".

Parents who feel they scrimped and saved to pay private school fees, so that their children could avoid being damaged by the state system, were furious with Dr Anson and have demanded he step down from his role. Dr Anson has now admitted that he feels "ashamed", and that he has failed in his duty of care towards parents and pupils. An annoucement of his resignation is expected shortly.

Apologies to: The Daily Mail

8 January 2008

Bogus university scam uncovered

An education scam that targets young people desperate to acquire ‘degrees’ has been exposed by a Custodian investigation.

The bogus University of Camford, a formerly prestigious seat of learning, has been allowed to offer sub-standard and worthless degrees — virtually unchecked by the government — for the last twenty years.

Camford, which has 10,000 students from around the world, maintains the illusion of a valid education through its elaborate but highly misleading programme of interventionist ideology and training in vacuous jargon.

This illusion is enhanced by its continued use of ancient award ceremonies.

After each event, photographs appear on the Camford website showing happy students receiving awards at the UK's best seat of learning, when in fact the value of what they have learnt is highly questionable.

The website also claims that Camford’s educational programmes are accredited and quality controlled by the impressive sounding QAA — the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education, based in Gloucester.

During secretly filmed meetings, the chief executive of Camford told our undercover team that the QAA was an "independent body" that maintained the quality of education in the UK and elsewhere. In fact, our team discovered, the QAA has a clearly ideological agenda, aimed at promoting a programme of ‘egalitarianism’.

The QAA website lists an impressive roll-call of staff including several Professors and a couple of CBEs. A check at Companies House revealed that, far from being "independent", the QAA is in fact a branch of the government, and reflects government ideological policies.

Bona fide academic Professor Aldous Jeffs gave evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee on the subject of bogus institutions. He told us: "Some of these colleges will say, 'sure we carry out research which advances human knowledge', but when you say 'who actually reads your research', they are only able to name individuals belonging to their own faculties."

Our reporter, posing as a fake postdoc student, arranged to meet Professor Walter Bradley, a high-ranking academic at Camford. We secretly filmed this meeting.

Professor Bradley admitted to our undercover reporter that the image of Camford was an illusion: "When you look at the material which is taught, especially in economics and philosophy, it's a figment of someone's imagination. Someone's dreamt up what a university should look like in a postmodern world, and that's what we’ve got."

Professor Bradley told us that students paid a lot of money to attend Camford, adding: "Because of the historical associations and the resulting snob value, you only have to mention the name ‘Camford’ and the whole world thinks that it must be a good university."

He then said of the university's operation: "The whole thing's dodgy."

Another Custodian reporter then openly confronted Professor Bradley:

Reporter: You said the whole thing is dodgy.

Prof Bradley: It is dodgy!

Reporter: Oh so you admit it's dodgy?

Prof Bradley: Of course it's dodgy.

In spite of our investigations, Professor Bradley refused to quit his post, stating that most Camford students were happy and that the university was good value for money, providing them with a passport to higher salaries in spite of its curricula being largely worthless.

Professor Arnold Grimm of the University of Berlin has seen coursework from a Camford graduate.

He said: "Students are paying for this, what I would regard as worthless and bogus qualifications. I would say, buyer beware from the point of view of students. You know I really think that they'll probably be getting qualifications which are unlikely to be taken seriously in China or India."

Apologies to: BBC News

3 January 2008

Mediocracy is bad for our mental health

The growth in mediocracy over the past 20 years is taking a heavy toll on our wellbeing

By far the most significant consequence of 'mediocracy' (state interventionism, dumbing down, aggressification, ideological brainwashing, etc.) has been a startling increase in the incidence of so-called 'mental illness' in both children and adults since the 1970s.

It is notable that citizens of countries severely infected with mediocracy are twice as likely to suffer mental illness as those from countries in mainland western Europe, which are still running affairs in a relatively efficient manner, and are less tainted by anti-individualist ideology. The message could not be clearer: mediocracy is extremely bad for your mental health. But why is it so toxic?

Some commentators argue there is a link with changes in wealth distribution. However, mediocracy has increased the wealth only of a tiny minority who provide for mass consumption of such things as football and pop music, while most middle class individuals have – after allowing for above-average inflation in school fees, medical fees and so forth – effectively become poorer. While the supposed “rise in inequality” has been trumpeted by journalists and academics from all sides of the political spectrum, there has in fact been no rise at all once the effect of the super-rich is stripped out.

What actually causes the damage is a combination of a reductionist ideology preaching that everyone is essentially the same, with a pseudo-egalitarianism that is aimed at penalising the able. As some critics argued when the state first began to take over large chunks of the service economy, the ‘welfare state’ was never going to stop at the minimum safety net. A high value is now placed on every person coming out 'equal', even when everyone already has enough income to meet their fundamental needs.

Mediocracy seeks to frustrate people's aspirations and their belief that those aspirations can be fulfilled. It therefore denies people one of the most important sources of psychological benefit, namely hope. It wishes to make the middle class miserable (in mediocracy-speak, “mentally ill”) by forcing them to become anxious about being able to afford private education, private medicine or other essentials.

High levels of misery are probably necessary to mediocracy, because needy, miserable people give up on their own aspirations, and become tempted by the fake salvation which the ‘therapeutic state’, with its army of phoney ‘helpers’, seems to provide.

The mediocratic society fosters the delusion that anyone can be Alan Sugar or Bill Gates, if they are only provided with enough interference at a sufficiently early age. In the Big-Brother/It-Could-Be-You society, great swathes of the population believe it takes no special characteristics to become rich and famous, and if they themselves aren't it must be because the system is unfair. This is most damaging of all – the ideology that material affluence is not linked to hard work or ability, but simply a result of unfair advantages. If you don't succeed, there is only capitalism to blame.

There is much tearing of hair across the media, and advocacy of disgust about “fat cats” and other socio-economic winners. Sooner or later, this is bound to translate into political action. I predict we will soon get a passionate, charismatic, probably female leader who advocates more stringent penalisation of the ‘privileged’ middle class. I am told there is already one possible candidate for this role, in the United States.

Apologies to: Oliver James

29 December 2007

What on earth do men want?

by Custodian reporter Goldie Tang

Like every single woman, I walk through life asking: what do men want? Why are my high-maintenance, ambitious female friends living alone? A month ago, I devised an experiment to find the definitive answer. I decided to attend a speed-dating night as a fabulously successful and politically progressive treasury bond analyst, and then another as a sweetly innocent girl who works as a florist. Who would the men fall for?

As the analyst, I walked into a Soho bar. My first date appeared. I smiled at him, and announced: "I am a treasury bond analyst. I work 60 hours a week." And watched him shrivel up. "I'm an engineer," he said. And then he was silent, so I told him I was reading Heidegger. He stared at me as if I had told him that I boil men's heads.

Then came Eric, and I invented a PhD in left-wing politics and feminism from Cambridge. "It was incredibly rewarding. Are you interested in progressive social policy, Eric?" He wasn't; he slunk off, and was replaced by Tony. I told him I have two cats and he looked hopeful. "What are they called?" "Roe and Wade, after the United States Supreme Court case that resulted in the legalisation of abortion." No smile after that, just a chair where a man had been.

I fought about the Arab-Israeli conflict with a fourth man, and about shoes with a fifth. "My shoes are leather, but they have holes in them" he joked. "Don't buy leather shoes," I advised sternly, but he appeared reluctant to take my eminently sensible advice.

As the florist, I went to another bar. I tried to project unthreatening sexiness and willingness to be submissive. Surprisingly, men soon approached. The first was Alan. "Hello," he smiled. "What do you do," I asked (giggle). "I am a geneticist," he said. "What is that," I asked. He told me, and I looked impressed. I told him about my job as florist. He replied: "I'll email you." I bagged one with my florist net! Then came Robert. "I'm a florist," I smiled. The reaction was instantaneous: "Can I buy you a drink?"

I went home and sifted through the evidence. Only one in 20 of the men I met in the Soho bar wanted to date a highly ambitious corporate financier who was passionate about Heidegger. Yet eight out of the 12 men who thought I was a sweet florist who wouldn’t challenge their masculinity, or seek to compete with them in the career arena, wanted to see me again. I just can’t understand it.

Apologies to: The Guardian

19 December 2007

The government as paedophile

The topic of government responsibility is a complex one on which opinions are divided. Do governments have a responsibility not to harm individual citizens? Or simply an obligation to ‘society’, i.e. to the mythical collective, and the dominant ideology? How should obligations to individuals, if they exist, be discharged? Are we right to be suspicious when governments bang on about how 'committed' they are to improving our welfare, our environment, or even our liberties, especially if their preferred method for doing so is the introduction of additional laws?

Beckham Jolly’s excellent book, The Government*, presents a credible argument for the government as a psychopath. The government's overriding belief in its responsibility to ‘society’ renders it incapable of sustaining long-term relationships with individual voters, or of experiencing guilt, or considering the harm its actions may cause others, and so on.

The model of psychopathy is highly apposite. The manipulative skills of some politicians may be valued for providing audacious leadership. However, these individuals will often cause long-term harm, both to the existing institutions of government and to society as a whole, due their manipulative, deceitful, abusive, and often fraudulent behaviour.

The government, like a psychopath, is:
• irresponsible — it puts individuals at risk in pursuit of social goals;
• manipulative — it manipulates voters’ opinions in pursuit of its goals;
• grandiose — it always insists that it knows best;
• reckless — it refuses to accept responsibility for the negative effects of its actions;
• remorseless — it cannot feel remorse;
• superficial — government agents relate to other individuals in ways that are ‘official’ rather than human.

Psychopathy may also be an apt description for social workers and other state-authorised agents of intervention. Psychopaths have been described as predators who use charm, manipulation, intimidation, and violence to control others and to satisfy their own destructive motives. Lacking in conscience and in feelings for others, they take what they want and do as they please, violating domestic and other private arrangements without guilt or remorse.

But another characterisation, that of the government as paedophile, is equally apt. Like the paedophile, the government in a mediocratic society thinks of itself as the friend of those it seeks to exploit; it uses its unequal power relationship with communities and groups (e.g. minorities) to manipulate them for its own ulterior motives. A paedophile might use a puppy and a van, but the government might use promises of higher welfare payouts, more ‘training’ for currently inept teachers and nurses, and so on. And, like the paedophile, the government sees nothing wrong in its conduct: doing well (to society) by doing harm (to the nasty bourgeoisie), as Marxists never tire of saying.

If I’m a seventeen-year-old kid and some multi-billion dollar government agency says it cares about me and wants what’s best for me, and only wants to incarcerate me in an unruly state school because it will improve my future quality of life, I know what to do. Oh wait, I don’t – I'm disenfranchised, therefore powerless.

(* Sadly unpublished, as it was considered too reactionary by media corporations — unlike a similar book trashing capitalism, which was lapped up by the ‘liberal’ intelligentsia.)

Apologies to: John Brissenden

14 November 2007

Socialist hate crime law planned

Bullying by ‘bloggertarians’ against socialists is a growing problem, groups say

Inciting hatred against people of a leftist persuasion is to be outlawed under government plans outlined in the Queen's Speech. It will be added to proposals announced last month to make it a crime to incite hatred against gay people, black people, Muslim people, old people and disabled people.

David Congdon, of the Institute of Public Propaganda Research (a left wing 'think' tank), said it made sense to extend the law to cover people with socialist leanings.

The new offence of inciting hatred against gay, lesbian, transgender, socialist, communist, paternalist, collectivist or ‘social democrat’ persons is outlined in background papers to the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill.

Ramon Dose, editor of the BBC's ‘Help Me I’m A Socialist’ website, said he had seen increasing stories about socialists being bullied.

"There is something about the ‘happy fisking’ culture which hasn't helped well-meaning socialists. Leftists are 'interesting' targets in that way," he said.

"There doesn't seem to be a concept of hate crime against liberals, who are nowadays often referred to pejoratively as ‘il-liberals’. People don't understand the problem is there, in the same way Queen Victoria maintained that lesbians did not exist."

Simon Aspic from the British Council of Socialist People, which represents 350,000 members, said a "huge number" of Labour-voting people were being victimised.

"At the moment people don't take it as seriously as other forms of hate crime. Research suggests that you are four times more likely to be a victim of blogosphere satire if you are a socialist."

And David Kingdom, head of policy at think tank Medos, said it was important to try to "change the culture, to ensure people value each other equally".

"We know a lot of bloggertarian bullying goes on. A report we commissioned showed that nine out of 10 people with leftist beliefs have been fisked," he said. "Anything which makes it more difficult to do that is good."

Asked whether there was a risk of getting a surplus of arbitrary ad hoc laws, each one made up on impulse to target the latest problem, the commentators interviewed all agreed there wasn't. "We just love laws, and we want as many as possible," said Mr Kingdom.

Apologies to: BBC News

30 October 2007

Illiberal elitists are the true social parasites

By means of greater regulation, corporations are turned into our slaves. Instead of draining wealth from the poor, they are forced to return it. Many, perhaps most, will go under in the attempt, and we should delight to see them drown.

Thus wrote Jeremy Moonbat, the privately-educated son of affluent middle class parents, in 2003.

I used to read Moonbat’s columns religiously. Published by a leftist newspaper throughout the noughties, they were well-written, closely-argued and almost always wrong. He railed against capitalism, and mocked less enlightened beings for their failure to understand collectivist ideology. The left-wing press loved him because he appeared to provide a scientific justification for the regulation of business.

Moonbat’s core argument, which he explains at greater length in his books, is that humans, being the products of natural selection, act only in their own interests. Only by sacrificing our freedom to collective entities do we come out behaving in ways that appear altruistic. By cooperating to oppress the individual in the name of ‘society’, we earn other people’s approval. This, we hope, allows us to advance our own interests (that of doing down our rivals) more effectively than we could by more obvious cheating, stealing and fighting. To permit these tendencies to flower, governments should be allowed to intrude into our lives as much as possible. Moonbat has proposed an ecologist’s version of Hegel's the-state-as-mystical-entity, harnessing humanity’s more destructive motives as a way to keep everyone in line.

Professor Moonbat, who has held visiting professorships at Oxford and Bristol, is no stranger to logic and science, and his explorations of our ecological history are often fascinating and provoking. But whenever a conflict arose between his logical training and his collectivist instincts, he would discard the logic. Ignoring research which came to different conclusions, and drawing instead on the support of an ideological lobby group referred to by some as 'climate alarmists', he argued that global temperatures have dramatically increased as a result of capitalist activity, so that we should be getting very worried indeed about climate change.

He has raged against tax reductions, private schools, the National Trust, and libertarians. He has called for “new forms of collectivism” which will implement his vision of ‘social justice’.

Like Professor Moonbat, I am a biological determinist: I believe that much of our behaviour is governed by our evolutionary history. I accept the evidence he puts forward, but draw completely different conclusions. Moonbat believes that modern humans are destined to behave well if (like doctors, policemen and social workers) they are given power by the government to interfere in other people’s lives; I believe that they are likely to behave badly. If you belong to a small group of intelligent hominids, all of whom are well-known to each other, you will be punished for unwanted meddling and other destructive behaviour within the group. (Though this would not prevent the majority of your group from ganging up on the minority.) If, on the other hand, you are an anonymous agent distinguished only by the authority granted to you by the state, and not answerable to the individuals over whom you have power, you will gain more from acting only in your own interest, i.e. against the interests of your victims.

Professor Moonbat and I have the same view of human nature: humans are inherently selfish. But the question is whether or not this nature is subject to the same conditions that prevailed during our evolutionary history. I believe that they have changed: we can no longer be scrutinised and held to account by a small community. We need restrictions on the powers of government agents, to provide the limits that were lost when our tiny clans dissolved in favour of mega-societies.

Wherever modern humans, living outside the narrow social mores of the clan, are allowed to pursue, in the name of society, their rivalrous interests without constraint, they will hurt other people. They will smash up people’s families; they will prescribe them drugs that harm rather than cure; they will persecute them for expressing ideologically incorrect opinions; they will mistreat and abuse the vulnerable, both young and old. And if they have the power of the state behind them, no one will be able to stop them except (possibly) those who are state agents themselves.

Our genetic inheritance — as well as our knowledge of events in places such as former East Germany — makes us smart enough to see that when the old principles of liberty break down, we serve our interests by appeasing those who are more powerful than ourselves (members of the state apparatus), and exploiting those who are less powerful (civilians). The survival strategies which once ensured cooperation among free individuals now ensure subservience to those who have gained power from the rise of the interventionist state.

I wonder whether Professor Moonbat would be able to sustain his beliefs in a place where statism has advanced to the point that privileged middle class individuals are no longer able to profit from private sector publishing activities. Even when taxpayers’ money and public services are in theory available to repair the destruction it causes, statism destroys people’s savings (by inflation), wrecks their lives (by means of low grade 'education' that demoralises people for life) and ruins their health (with damaging state medical services).

Collectivism is the belief system of the middle class elitist, who is perpetually buttressed by his privileged background and totally insulated from ordinary citizens. As social critics Moonbat and I both know what this means. Self-interested as libertarians (like everyone else) may be, the true social parasites are those who demand collectivism for other people while being themselves relatively protected from its consequences.

Apologies to: The Guardian

25 October 2007

Nose size affects academic outcomes

Urgent policy action needed to help nasally challenged children

Children with big noses perform significantly worse in exams than those with average-sized ones, even up to GCSE level, according to new research published today by ISP (the Institute for Socialist Propaganda). Policy changes are needed if this unfair disadvantage is not to damage the chances of nasally challenged children.

New work by researchers at ISP draws on data covering the state school population in England, and shows dramatic differences between the proportions of nasally-challenged (NC) and nasally-normal (NN) children reaching expected attainment levels.

The data of the research shows that, while the attainment gap between NN and NC children decreases over time, worryingly it still persists at age 16, when pupils are sitting their GCSEs. While 61 per cent of NN girls (50 per cent of NN boys) achieve at least 5 A*-C grades at GCSE — the expected level — only 55 per cent of NC girls (44 per cent of NC boys) do the same. This means that access to further and higher education, and hence future success in the labour market, is likely to be significantly affected by the size of your nose.

To put these differences into perspective: at age 11, the attainment gap between NC and NN students (of around 14 percent) is only slightly less than the (marvellous) average improvement in results since Labour came to power in 1997 (around 17 percent).

Janette Smyth, one of the authors of the report, said "Our research highlights the penalty that nasally-challenged children face, simply because they are unlucky enough to have been born with a big hooter. This cannot be acceptable on either equity or efficiency grounds, and urgent steps must be taken to eliminate this unfairness.”

Asked whether it mattered that boys do significantly worse than girls, to the extent that the performance of nasally normal boys is well below that of nasally challenged girls, Ms Smyth replied: "Not really. That disadvantage is socially just, since it corrects for the male oppression of women over the last few millennia."

Apologies to: Institute for Fiscal Studies

17 October 2007

Intervention addicts must receive help

We can only deal with the compulsive behaviours of interventionist politicians and social theorists by first recognising their underlying motivation

Two important reports came out this weekend. One says the government’s preference for creating new laws and other forms of intervention will eventually cost the UK £45bn a year by 2050 if current trends are not reversed. Another shows the number of people admitted to hospital with depression caused by living in an authoritarian society has risen by 30% since 2002.

Banning sugary and fatty foods, railing against thin models, anti-alcohol legislation, prohibiting smoking in pubs, threatening compulsory medication, pursuing drug users: what do they have in common? In his report as chair of the Tories' Social Justice Policy Group, Iain Duncan Smith does not mention that they are the result of our "broken society". This omission isn't convincing, however. The addictions to intervention, prohibition and general meddling are wide-spread. Affluence or being highly educated is not a protection against them and may, in some cases, make people more vulnerable.

Addiction is compulsive behaviour. When the initially pleasurable experience of making up a new law or regulation becomes a fix, politicians have lost control of their behaviour. To regain the intensity of the initial high, they have to introduce more stringent legislation, or introduce legislation more frequently.

Why is the desire to legislate and prohibit so common in modern society? It seems to be linked to the increased scope for lifestyle choice. We are potentially freer now than 40 years ago to decide how to live our lives. Greater autonomy means the chance of more freedom of action, which many do not approve of. The other side of that freedom is the risk of interventophilia (colloquially referred to as 'bansturbation'). The rise of interventophilia coincided with the great rise in global GDP commencing in the 1980s. Freedom became available without the need for approval from authority, even to those of relatively low economic status.

The fact that prohibition-addiction may have a political dimension might lead us to suppose that it should be separated from other compulsive behaviours. But that would be a false approach: all addictions have a common basis in compulsive repetition — habits that are hard to break because of their emotional content. The psychology of intervention-addiction is a relatively unexplored area but has become hugely consequential. How should the individual voter approach it?

To some extent this requires generalisation of existing attitudes. For instance, regulation and monitoring of interventophile politicians has to be stepped up — a process that is still in its early stages. Voters can try to persuade legislators to behave more conservatively. A great deal can be done to improve the quality of higher education, above all in the humanities, and to make it freer of statist ideology. What is taught at university has great influence on the orientation of graduate professionals who become active in framing legislation. Pressure on academics to produce only 'politically correct' (i.e. pro-intervention) material needs to be eliminated.

There are some principles to establish. One is to spend less money on government before legislation-addictions have a chance to be formed; the other is to orient public policy towards self-criticism. Intervention-addiction almost always goes with excessive confidence in the value of ‘public’ (i.e. government) policies. Whenever politicians’ or social theorists’ preferences are shaped by compulsive beliefs which they should learn to suppress, we are at the fulcrum of the relationship between domination and freedom. Individuals have been reluctant to question what politicians and other ‘experts’ get up to, but now they must.

Apologies to: The Guardian

17 September 2007

Disaster socialism

The modern Western state has grown exponentially since World War Two. In 1940, UK tax revenue (for example) was about $100 billion in today’s money; now it is getting on for $1 trillion per annum. Some right-wing politicians have attempted to reduce the size and power of the state by trying to cut back on public expenditure. Often, given the political difficulty of doing so, they have resorted to selling off assets from the public sector.

Left-wing politicians have appealed to voters by promising them more, or better, public services. Some electors realise — though many do not — that increased government spending comes at the cost of higher taxes even if this fact isn't advertised. As a result, Western democracies have experienced fairly regular oscillations between governments of the left, and governments with some free-market sympathies.

This pattern lasted until a number of left-wing academics, and radical leftist journalists such as Will Hutton and Naomi Klein, came along. Academics and activists have spent the latter half of the 20th century developing a strategy for overcoming public resistance to overt left-wing agendas. This strategy, which has been called 'disaster socialism', involves waiting for a health scare, child abuse scandal, terrorist attack, climate-related catastrophe, banking crisis, or similar disaster. The upheaval throws citizens into a state of shock and fear, providing a window of opportunity for far-reaching changes in legislation, increases in the power of 'social workers' or other arms of the state apparatus, the lifting of restrictions on police and other interventionist agencies, and the proliferation of bureaucratic red tape.

Legions of philosophers and sociologists, trained in the ideology of leftist intellectuals such as John Rawls, Michel Foucault and Noam Chomsky, have travelled the world, offering intellectual support to politicians seeking to exploit opportunities for increased statism. Temporarily overwhelmed citizenships have been pressured into exchanging their liberties in return for ‘protection’ from the state. Important rights bought painfully over centuries with the sweat and blood of freedom fighters, such as habeas corpus and the right to a jury trial, are being sold off at fire-sale prices.

Certain elements of the left-wing intelligentsia openly praise crises and upheavals as conducive to 'progressive' (i.e. pro-state) social change — although their agenda is often kept more covert than this. Will Hutton, for example, has written that

No state has been able to recast its society to the extent that Britain must do, without suffering defeat in war, economic collapse or revolution ... *

clearly implying that crises might be the only way to achieve significant change in a left-wing direction. Other left-wing writers stress the need for radical transformation, referring scathingly to 'capitalism' or 'markets', when what is really meant is the freedom of individuals to engage in commercial exchange without interference. Al Gore, for example, has argued that

Minor shifts or moderate improvements — these are forms of appeasement, designed to satisfy people’s desire to believe that a wrenching transformation of society will not be necessary. **

Initially, the focus of disaster socialism was on the specific emergencies of war and dealing with terrorist threats. More recently, leftist intellectuals have realised that similar opportunities arise as a consequence of less extreme problems such as health scares (e.g. AIDS, smoking, obesity), the failures of the state education system, and the violence and chaos fostered by a pseudo-proletarianised culture that encourages yobbishness and irresponsibility.

A 'corporatist' alliance has emerged between social-democratic governments and mega-corporations catering for an economically empowered but culturally impoverished mass. This alliance has now moved on to its final frontiers: the world outside the Western ideological system, where a similar philosophy combining mass consumerism with state-sponsored reductionist education and culture is to be introduced as the new hegemony.

Disaster socialism succeeds only by deliberately stupefying and brainwashing hundreds of millions of innocent people. Among the victims may be counted, for example, the 50 million Britons forced to rely on inadequate state medical and educational services, which leave many of them iller and stupider than before.

The novel and important concept of 'disaster socialism' calls for a fuller treatment, in the form of a research thesis or book. However, given the hegemony of the left-wing viewpoint in academia and other cultural institutions, such a treatment is highly unlikely to be forthcoming.

Apologies to: The Vancouver Sun

* The State We’re In, p.319
Earth in the Balance, p.274

28 August 2007

How to overcome bias

To deter crime, why does the state not consider amputation as a form of punishment?

In many situations it would be better to impose a punishment of amputation than imprisonment. The fact that the U.S. justice system rejects amputation as a punishment is the result of an anti-amputation bias.

Amputation has two benefits over imprisonment. It’s cheaper for the state to impose and it doesn’t prevent the criminal from engaging in useful labors (such as parenting and working at a job) for long periods of time. To determine who should be amputated as opposed to imprisoned we need to consider the benefits to society.

Prison serves three purposes: deterrence, retribution and incapacitation. Fear of prison deters many would-be criminals from committing crimes. Fear of amputation, however, could do likewise. Imprisoning criminals can satisfy victims’ desires for vengeance and so make victims feel better. Amputating criminals’ limbs could, however, also satisfy victims’ desires for retribution. Finally, prison prevents imprisoned criminals from attacking people who are not in prison. The primary disadvantage of amputation is that it doesn’t result in the full incapacitation of criminals and so leaves them free to strike again.

Many convicted criminals, however, don’t pose a risk to society. Men convicted of securities fraud, for example, are frequently barred from the stock market and so their freedom won’t endanger society. Because of its far lower cost, the U.S. should amputate rather than imprison white-collar criminals.

Some would argue that it’s excessively cruel to amputate. But both prison and amputation impose costs on criminals. Why is one type of cost crueler than the other? If a convicted criminal is indifferent between receiving a certain type of amputation or being imprisoned for a given period of time then why would it be excessively cruel to amputate but not to imprison?

In the U.S. many prisoners face a significant chance of being raped by a fellow inmate. This high chance doesn’t seem to bother many people, and is often the subject of jokes. Yet our society considers it barbaric for a criminal justice system to amputate the limbs of criminals in ways that may well impose less physical and emotional costs than rape does. I find these conflicting moral views about amputation and imprisonment to be irrational.

Apologies to: James Miller.

25 May 2007

Reid in terror attack on liberties

The economist and philosopher Damian Tomaso, author of two books on libertarian issues, made clear today he is prepared to declare a "state of philosophical emergency" to suspend intellectual support for the legitimacy of the UK government, if the Law Lords overturn — as Home Secretary Dr John Reid has demanded — a series of judgments that have weakened the anti-terrorist control order regime partially reaffirmed British civil liberties.

Tomaso's warning follows Dr Reid’s acute embarrassment yesterday when he had to confirm to MPs that three terror suspects whom he had placed under "control orders", to prohibit them from travelling to Iraq (supposedly to prevent them killing British troops), had all absconded on Monday night. (None of the three men has been charged or prosecuted for terrorist offences.)

MPs fear the control order regime attempt to get round civil liberties by using “prisons without bars” is in danger of becoming a public laughing stock, since six of the current seventeen terror suspects subject to orders have managed to disappear.

Dr Reid is threatening to "opt out" of a key part of the European human rights convention. Such a move — which can only properly be justified by war, or a public emergency threatening the life of the nation — will represent a new round in the continuing struggle between ministers and the courts the public, over liberty versus the fight against terrorism goal of creating a police state.

"There is a very serious threat to our liberties," said Tomaso, "and I am the first to admit that the means we have of opposing it are so inadequate that we are fighting with one arm tied behind our backs. So I hope that, when the government brings forward its dubious proposals in the next few weeks, we will have a little less misplaced utilitarianism and a little more support for basic moral principles."

Dr Tomaso said he was prepared for the first time to take the "nuclear option" of refusing to accept the legitimacy of the democratically elected (Labour) government, if the Home Secretary proceeds with the plan of "derogating" from Article Five of the European Convention on Human Rights (which guarantees the right to liberty).

Apologies to: The Guardian.

9 January 2007

My kind of people

Today's sermon is on the loss of religious faith among contemporary Church leaders

Where do we get our religious leadership today? Is there something more to religion than endless talk of social deprivation? Increasingly it is our Muslim leaders rather than our Cardinals Popes or Bishops who attempt to answer the difficult and pressing question of whether there is a God.

For me, as an agnostic, this is unsettling. Many Christians I know feel trapped inside a politically correct Church that only adapts itself to the interests of the State. Because it is state ‘welfare’ that now dominates our politics, it is the ideology of ‘social justice’ that dominates our morals – or lack of them.

It might seem strange that there are signs in Christianity of an increasingly aggressive secularism that borders on a hatred of religion. Our Church leaders appear far more concerned with the politics of envy than with belief in Christ's role as redeemer. This was revealed most starkly through attitudes to the Goldman Sachs Christmas bonuses.

So why are some of our Christian leaders so hostile to faith? Perhaps it is an example of classic Freudian displacement activity, as an increasingly unloved and unattended Church turns its impotence and ire on the belief in God. If the surrender of our bishops to the nostrums of collectivism denies them moral purpose, they will attack those who are prepared to stand with traditional Christian beliefs.

As the lifeblood of traditional belief drips from our body religious, it leaves a small pumping heart of non-Christians prepared to defend old-fashioned religious values. I don't care if they are Muslim, libertarian, anarchist or South Park Republican - if they preach the cause of civil liberty, and the right to reject the il-liberal/technocrat consensus, then they are my kind of people.

We live in a society of smug complacency. All too often it is only right wing bloggers who puncture the anaesthetised contentment of our left wing hacks and other mainstream media apparatchiks. Left wing ideology, packaged as “art” and “education”, has replaced religion as the opiate of the masses.

Apologies to: Neal Lawson.