Syntagma Digital
Editor, John Evans

DIARY: Inequality Benedict, Blubbing Brown, Annoyment, Brown’s Five Tests, Booker opens the books, Dambisa Moyo

Pope Benedict Dominic Lawson has written a solid piece in the Sunday Times on that very un-British bit of potential legislation, Harriet Harman’s Equality Bill. It really is as ghastly as it seems.

The reaction of Pope Benedict to parts of it — although he doesn’t mention it by name — is what caught my eye. The Pope is after all defending the age-old practice of his Church against a dying, destructive shambles of a government, which is more than can be said for the leaders of our Established Church.

Readers of my new book will know I’m exceedingly ambivalent about Roman Catholicism which is largely built on a misleading redaction of evidence in the early centuries AD. However, I have rather taken to the last two Popes.

Benedict, it seems to me, says what he thinks in no uncertain terms, even if he’s had to make a few grovelling retractions in the past, especially to prickly Muslims.

John Paul II started his career with the Rosicrucians, followers of the Rosy Cross, a supposedly occult organization teaching that all is mind (Idealism).

Why can’t we have such leaders in Anglicanism? Archbishop Ramsey was the last one who openly espoused mysticism, if I’m not mistaken.

Let us earnestly hope that David Cameron is more like the two Popes and less like the current Archbishop of Canterbury.

* * * * *

Gordon Brown and his wife are reported to blub freely in a forthcoming friendly Piers Morgan interview on ITV.

What does he mean by that, we are entitled to ask, given the crafty nature of the man? I suspect he may be trying to set a trend.

We know how party leaders determinedly follow each other so they are not left behind on the latest behavourial fashion — David Cameron spent years imitating Tony Blair, and the latter tried but failed to ape Maggie Thatcher.

Here’s the lowdown: Brown has cunningly spotted that the country wants a strong leader, and recognizes that, apart from his brutalist manner, he has signally failed to project a Churchillian persona to the public.

By gushing on TV he may hope to lure Cameron into doing the same. If DavCam is caught whipping out a Kleenex or two in public, Brown may think he will lose votes by the truckload.

It’s only a theory, but with Gordon Brown you can just about believe anything.

* * * * *

Annoyment of the Week
A Gordon Brown Free Zone

Just down the road from me there’s a substantial building with an impressive sign over the door: Casting House.

Whenever I pass it, I conjure up a long line of wannabee hopefuls snaking down the road, waiting excitedly to do their party pieces before a panel of judges. Is that Cheryl Cole I see going in by the back door?

Imagine how they would feel if they ever got in only to find it’s an engineering works?

Too much imagination?

Yeah.

* * * * *

The fate of Greece is one of those “there but for the grace of …” situations in economics. Britain can’t be that far behind as we have a similar budget defict to the birthplace of European democracy.

The one element conferring protection on the UK is our monetary freedom outside the eurozone.

Arch Europhile Peter Mandelson is reported to have altered his language on the topic in recent days, praising our ability to set interest rates and allow the exchange rate to fall. You’d almost think he engineered it himself.

Gordon Brown is widely credited for having “kept the UK out of the euro”. At first glance his Five Tests required for entry certainly did the trick. It was his supreme triumph in office, the spinline goes.

But motive is all.

Was Brown as doughty a defender of the ancient pound as was Tory leader William Hague at the time? Or was he engaged in yet another spiteful battle for supremacy with Tony Blair?

I’d bet a house on the latter.

* * * * *

Ever reliable Christopher Booker has become something of a cult figure in the climate debate. The words Global Warming must be etched on his tonsils.

In today’s Sunday Telegraph he lists a catalogue of mysterious government payments to overseas lost causes, especially those caught up in the Weather-Wheeze bubble. He writes:

“… in its obsession with climate change, different branches of the UK Government have in recent years been pouring hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money into a bewildering array of ‘climate-related’ projects, often throwing a veil of mystery over how much is being paid, to whom and why.”

Another scandal for this wretched administration to shrug off as “political decisions” and therefore not subject to public accountability.

Why?

Shouldn’t these half-baked Che Guevaras be held to account for every penny of our money they’ve squandered over the past calamitous 13 years?

An aspiration perhaps for the next Government?

Or will there not be time enough?

* * * * *

Dambisa Moyo is a Zambian economist “known as a critical thinking realist who, for instance, has highlighted how well intentioned policies (such as foreign aid to Africa) can often have unintended consequences which have detrimental effects on an economy.” (Wikipedia). She’s also said to be one of the world’s hundred most influential people.

She appeared on the Marr show this morning as a paper reviewer. I should have liked a full interview instead.

Her book Dead Aid argues that foreign aid has harmed Africa and that it should be phased out. Note, this is the exact opposite of Handout Brown’s interminable reflex to shove other people’s money into Africa. Dambisa Moyo has the advantage of first-hand knowledge of the continent, plus a first-class, Oxford-educated brain. Brown should listen.

Isn’t it time we applied real evidence and common sense to the whole industry of foreign aid?

Another can of worms for the Tories to sort out. You can’t help feeling sorry for them, can you?

John Evans

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