The Judge RANTS!
'Pon My Oath!
I'm beginning to get an understanding of where the great Tom Lehrer was coming from when he said that satire died the day that Henry Kissinger was given the Nobel Peace Prize.
I meanter say, Agnes, just look at this:
And what might these 'British values' be?
Oh, the darling little token True-Blue Wog (who actually looks in that photograph like an alien from a cable TV sci-fi series with rather low production values, or else a send-up of same) tells us what he thinks they are:
"...tolerating the views of others even if you disagree with them...believing in freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from abuse...a belief in equality, democracy, and the democratic process...respect for the law, even if you think the law is an ass."
In other words, the standard variant on the 'applehood and mother pie' crap that the Americans imbibe with their supersized mothers' milk. But let's consider how these aspirations (always a good word to throw in when you're trying to flatter the flattened) actually play out in practice, shall we?
- Is this the sort of "tolerating the views of others" which sees the increasingly febrile and feral audience of Question Time scream and howl down a Polish woman who tells of how fearful she has become of her safety in this country in the wake of the EU referendum?
- Is this the sort of "believing in freedom of speech" which means that your speech (whether in the open air or on your telephone or in your e-mails) is 'free' to be intercepted automatically by any one of an ever-increasing number of publicly-funded busybodies?
- Is this the sort of "freedom of religion" in which you effectively have no freedom from religion because of the legal and financial privileges given to religious establishments, including the automatic placing in the legislature of twenty-six members of the board of directors of one particular sect?
- Is this the sort of "freedom from abuse" whereby you can be subject to draconian penalties in court without actually having to be convicted of anything, or have your property stolen from you simply because a copper thinks you're a wrong'un?
- Is this the sort of "equality" where the inalienable right to defend yourself against malicious accusations in those self-same courts is utterly dependent upon how much wealth you have?
- Is this the sort of "democracy and the democratic process" where over half the members of the legislature aren't even elected, and the remainder who are are there as a result of a hopelessly skewed and discredited voting system? And who are, in any case, submissive to an executive which has quasi-regal powers to by-pass any and all 'checks and balances', or even the slightest hint of meaningful scrutiny?
- And finally, Esther, is this the sort of "respect for the law" which has the scummiest, most populist press in the developed world describing High Court judges as "ENEMIES OF THE PEOPLE!" simply for doing their job properly and not subverting law and constitution alike to the rule of the mob, and all this without much more than a subdued tut-tut from the minister who is supposed to be the guardian of the judiciary's independence (as far as that goes)?
Of course, one of the main problems facing the über-patriots of our new dispensation is that - unlike, say, the US, where worship of The Flag, The Anthem and The Pledge have over time hardened into a combination of religious dogma and unconscious sexual fetish - 'we' have no actual Constitution whose values most of us might want to buy in to, relying instead on a collection of old saws and batty judicial sentiments which justify the concentration of all power in the hands of people it is impossible to depose by peaceful means.
Oh sure, in some circumstances - such as the member of my family who is at present training to become one of Our Brave Boys™ - an oath of allegiance to the unelected head of state and her 'heirs and successors' to all eternity is required at present; but the idea that everyone on the public shilling - yea, even down unto the local dog warden - should be required to make a pledge to such a one as she would in normal circumstances be deemed unenforceable, if not risible.
(And I notice that the dear pixie-eared one does not - in his endeavours to be plus Brit que les Brits-mêmes - include 'freedom of conscience' in his list, nor does he mention that other great 'British value' of our time, namely the grabbing of publicly-owned assets and the flogging off of them to the governments of France, China and Qatar. And his assertion that , without such an oath, "...you'll struggle to play a positive rôle in British life" is simply insulting, rather like those who claim that unless you believe in a sky-fairy of some description you can't be remotely moral.)
That a minister in a government which is by far the most extreme of my lifetime should be floating (that's 'floating' as in 'that which will not flush away even when bombarded with half a ton of bog roll') this idea off speaks not only of a desperate appeal to cheap poopulism (*), but also of a further example of how the current climate is generating a stampede towards the sort of incipient fascism which we have seen in other lands, in other times, and well within living memory.
Where does it end when children are to be enjoined - that is to say, 'forced' - to give allegiance to a set of concepts that they may not understand, which may be too amorphous and protean to understand, and which they might see being violated every day of their lives by those set in power over them, especially when they find that one of their classmates has been abducted by the government, put in a privately-run concentration camp and then deported in shackles at dead of night to a land where their life expectancy could be measured in months rather than years (and how long before the future serfs of this sacred realm will be required to begin each school day with the national equivalent of The Company Song and salute The Flag and the portrait of The Queengawdbless'er on the classroom wall with that peculiarly emetic hand-over-the-heart gesture that the Yanks insist upon)?
Where it always does end. Where it always has ended. The gulag, the death camp or the modern media-managed and outsourced equivalents of them.
And so I take advantage - while I still can - of honouring one of what I take as being a 'British value', and happily tell Sajid Javid to chase my Aunt Fanny round the gasworks. And I'll swear to that...
(* - this was a mis-typing, but it seemed to be so apposite that I have left it as it stands)