Wednesday 24 June 2020

The scrapping of Dfid is good news in Westminster. The attack on Churchill's statue is not: Norman Tebbit

Norman Tebbit showing that he has lost none of his abilities to lie, smear and insult. Pub bore fascism.

Setting aside the risks that the recent street protests over the death of an American black man might spark off a new wave of coronavirus deaths, the suggestion that Winston Churchill's statue should be torn down brought a sense of disgust and despair.

Churchill was the great wartime leader in the fight to save this country and liberate our friends on the continent from the curse of Hitler's extreme Left, anti-Semitic, German National Socialist Workers' Party regime. Unlike most of those on the streets last week, I grew up through the Second World War and at times carried in a cardboard box strung round my neck a mask, lest I should be unable to breathe during a gas attack.

Millions died in those years to keep us free here. We were then able to liberate the Jews in concentration camps, awaiting their fate in gas ovens where they would be unable to breathe until they died.

I hold no brief for the American police officer who shamelessly killed another American, but that wrong cannot be righted here on our streets by mobs attacking memorials to those who saved us from fascism.

Perhaps it is just as well that there is not a statue of JK Rowling in Britain, for I am sure that the mobs would have attacked that too. Her Harry Potter books gave so much pleasure to so many youngsters but her common sense views on sexual identity have provoked much ire among those confused on such matters.

The business of Parliament is best conducted face to face

In the last few days I have not only celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of being first elected to Parliament, but I have begun to learn how to participate in online proceedings in the Chamber of the House of Lords and even to cast my vote in divisions.

I find it all rather distasteful, and those of my colleagues I used to find the most awful bores when speaking in the Chamber itself strike me as even more boring when enabled to speak from their own homes.

How I look forward to being back in Westminster and able to talk to colleagues from all sides as we turn to the task of restoring the economy and normal life in the wake of the pandemic.

The aid we give should benefit Britain too

Last week's announcement of the takeover of the Overseas Aid Department by the Foreign Office is good news. For years we been giving our taxpayers' money to countries such as India - rich enough to have its own space program - while still doing too little to help really poor countries get clean drinking water to their poorest people. Too often there has been too much truth in the jibe that overseas aid has been about taking money from poor people in rich countries to give to rich people in poor countries.

Where possible our aid should not just give immediate benefit to people living in poverty but open the way to bilateral trade and promote honest and pro-Western democratic government.

Whither Labour?

Here at home it seems that the Government will continue cautiously moving away from lockdown to allow more social contact beyond individual households, allowing shops, pubs and food outlets to get back towards normal business and more schools to open.

The opposition of teaching unions to opening schools is no surprise. They seem to regard schools as places to feed the bodies rather than the minds of pupils.

With supporters like them, poor Sir Keir Starmer can but reflect gloomily on a report from "Labour Together", a group of Labour MPs, party members, union leaders and Labour-supporting media folk.

Their message is stark. Unless Labour makes a substantial comeback in Scotland it would need to take all but impregnable seats in England. But what would be Labour's message to Scottish voters? It would have to favour the union, in agreement with the Scottish Tories.

All Sir Keir can hope is that internal dissent within the Conservative Party will tear it apart.

Unlikely? Yes - but the impossible does happen now and again in politics.


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