PETER HITCHENS: If Tony Blair wants a gleaming gong, he can buy an Order of Lenin on the internet
If we had to mark the precise moment when this country finally disappeared up its own digestive tract, it was the day when Anthony Blair became a Knight of the Garter.
This title is a personal gift of the Queen, our Crowned and Anointed Monarch, the last true sovereign in Europe and the heir to a thousand years of law and splendour. She did not have to do it.
Because I cannot bear to believe any other explanation, I will assume that Her Majesty was making a bitter and sarcastic joke.
If we had to mark the precise moment when this country finally disappeared up its own digestive tract, it was the day when Anthony Blair became a Knight of the Garter
For, while it was famously once said that there is no merit in the Garter, there is honour. And even more, there is tradition. In all this flummery of banners, velvet and feathers there is a last persistent whisper of an older, fiercer, braver world than the one we live in.
And the Blair creature hates all that. On September 27, 1999, in Bournemouth, he made a speech attacking the ‘forces of conservatism’. Much of it could have been delivered by the Bolshevik fanatic Leon Trotsky.
As is the rule with revolutionaries, he pretended that the damage he was doing was justified by the benefits it would allegedly bring to the poor and needy, which of course it did not bring.
He derided the lawful opposition with personal abuse and openly promised to smash it forever. He proclaimed himself and his government ‘the new progressive force in British politics which can modernise the nation, sweep away those forces of conservatism to set the people free’.
He kept saying that thing about freedom, something for which he has little respect in fact. His semi-literate diatribe ended with the words ‘now, at last, Party and nation joined in the same cause for the same purpose: to set our people free’.
Why would such a person even want to be a Knight of the Garter? If he wants a shiny decoration, you can buy Orders of Lenin in good condition on the internet
These words reflected the astonishing, megalomaniac claim in his 1997 manifesto that ‘New Labour is the political arm of none other than the British people as a whole’.
But, until 1999, it was useless to warn the many worshippers of Blair (you know who you are, though you deny it now) of what this man and his party were up to. I can hardly bear to think of all the people, patriots, social conservatives, decent persons, who maddeningly assured me, in the first months of his premiership, that Blair was ‘the best Tory Prime Minister we’ve ever had’.
Then it happened. The taxes and the spending went wild, as did the mad borrowing of the Private Finance Initiative. The cheap, empty promises on crime and education went sailing out of the window.
The police, the Civil Service, the judges, the Armed Forces, the Speaker of the Commons were ruthlessly politicised.
The hereditary principle – on which the Crown was based – was directly attacked by the massacre of the old House of Lords (and who now says that what followed was an improvement?). Immigration on a scale never previously seen was encouraged.
The country was irrevocably broken up by the sabotage called devolution. The enemies of Britain could not have come up with a better scheme to smash us up and it remains one of the worst and most avoidable political mistakes ever made by any London government.
Instead of defending our national interests against our enemies, the Armed Forces were misused as mercenaries in wild, futile, immoral and doomed Left-wing interventions in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan.
By contrast they were forced to surrender to the worst terrorists in Europe, the Provisional IRA, an action for which Blair is still bizarrely praised by people who should know better. He then went off and smeared himself by advising foreign despots in return for dollars.
Why would such a person even want to be a Knight of the Garter? If he wants a shiny decoration, you can buy Orders of Lenin in good condition on the internet.
The only possible reason would be to mock and undermine the thing he joins, as he mocked and undermined Parliament. And here is the clue. There has never been a revolution like this before.
Cromwell killed the King. Robespierre openly despised the French Crown. Lenin dispersed Russia’s first democratic assembly with bayonets and ruled without it.
Iran’s ayatollahs drove the Shah from their land. But the Blair revolution left all the buildings standing, all the outward forms in place, but ripped the spirit out of the country.
Jury system has to be cherished
Please do not join in the attacks on juries, which many are making, after the Bristol verdict. First of all, the real failure of British law, when demonstrators openly threatened to pull down the statue of a slave-owner, was the performance of the police.
This Blairised organisation no longer stands for law and justice. It is there to negotiate between ‘offender’ and ‘victim’ on the assumption that the ‘offender’ probably has a good excuse. I do not know why we do not disband these futile militias of paramilitary social workers and replace them with real local police forces, which serve the public.
Secondly, the fact juries can make totally independent decisions is exactly what makes them so valuable. As Jacob Rees-Mogg said last week, juries are ‘such an important protector of our liberties that we must take the rough with the smooth’.
Most British people have no idea how rare juries are in the rest of the world and how much power the state has where there are no independent juries. It is this one thing that, above all, has prevented political trials in this country for centuries.
We have, alas, already lost two other priceless defences against despotism, thanks to foolish public outcry. Michael Howard abolished the right of silence and the Blairites abolished the protection against being tried twice.
Juries do need reform, as I have been urging for years. But they need to be more independent, not less. Weaken them much further and you’ll be about as safe from state power as you would be in Romania.
Why can’t Sadiq smell a rat?
Does Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, have no sense of smell? If his nose is in working order, how can he be unaware that the vast city over which he supposedly reigns smells of marijuana from end to end, and from side to side?
This is because, like the rest of the country, it has been the unwilling victim of a 40-year experiment in stupidity and laziness. Drug legalisers like to point to Portugal and Amsterdam as examples to follow (they are not). But the biggest drug liberalisation scheme in Europe is right here in the UK.
Although marijuana possession is technically illegal, the law is simply not enforced. Unsurprisingly, this means that its use has increased and is in some places virtually normal. Yet Mr Khan thinks we are too hard on dope smokers and wants to be nicer to them. Why on earth? Given the correlation between this vicious, potent hard drug and violent mental illness, the de facto legalisation of cannabis might even have something to do with the frightful knife crime which Mr Khan claims to be so worried about.
But it is not just a sense of smell that modern politicians lack when it comes to the subject of marijuana. With very few exceptions, they know absolutely nothing about the matter.
Yet they are Olympically gullible when the Big Dope Lobby comes along and feeds them propaganda about how the war on drugs, which does not exist, has failed and we must be even softer. How can we change this?
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