Monday 19 September 2011

The Civilisational Crisis

Britain's navel-gazing politicians fail to see that they are locked in a battle for civilisation
By Melanie Phillips

Last updated at 8:05 AM on 19th September 2011

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The world may currently be convulsed by escalating cataclysms, but for British politicians the order of the day is navel gazing as usual.

The EU is about to implode, the UK economy is going under, urban youth in British cities have just burned down their neighbourhoods and the Arab world is in ferment.

And so what are the big talking points of the day in Britain? Gay marriage, bashing the rich and (a few days ago) cutting the length of the school holidays.

Navel-gazing: Lib Dem party members gather in the crowd during the conference in Birmingham
With the start of the Liberal Democrats’ annual conference, the full narcissistic frivolity of the political class has been on wearisome display as the LibDems have strutted and postured from conference hall to broadcasting studio.

Their leader Nick Clegg, anxious to shore up his own position against mutinous party members who want to keep the flame of LibDem ideological purity burning brightly, has described the Tories as ‘political enemies’ who must be fought in the national interest.

Posturing: Is now really the time for the Lib Dems to be antagonising their coalition partners?
But with Britain’s economy in such a parlous state, is this really the time for cheap point-scoring against Clegg’s coalition partner in government?

His bombastic colleagues present an even more absurd spectacle. His deputy Simon Hughes says, for example, that there is ‘absolutely no majority in government for Tory views’. Doesn’t it occur to Mr Hughes that there is absolutely no majority in government for LibDem views either?

And while Mr Hughes was saying in one interview that the LibDems had to rein in the Tories, his parliamentary colleague David Laws was arguing that they must ‘not serve as this government’s brake, but its engine.’

So it appears they don’t even know whether they are pushing or pulling.
Meanwhile, the world is going through extraordinary convulsions. The West is teetering on the edge of an abyss. Britain is at war on three fronts, in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.

The American economy is in dire trouble. President Obama is now increasingly regarded as a chronic liability even by Democrats who once compared his election to the Second Coming.

This creates a potentially devastating vacuum where the leader of the free world should be situated.

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In regard to the imploding EU, the fall-out for Britain, even though it is not in the Eurozone, will be severe. Nevertheless, the crisis presents a tremendous opportunity for Britain finally to free itself from a project which has so badly eroded its democratic sovereignty and crippled its economy.

Yet the Prime Minister seems frozen like a rabbit in the headlights. He is trapped by the fact that the euro crisis makes it impossible to continue to talk like a Eurosceptic while doing nothing in practice to rock the EU boat - the fudge upon which he has relied so far to maintain party unity.

To make things even worse, his eurofanatic Coalition partner Nick Clegg departed Planet Reality altogether by observing yesterday that the Eurozone would ‘stabilise things’ by ‘integrating a bit further in certain ways’, and that it is ‘essential’ to British prosperity.

That prosperity, however, is being undermined already by Coalition policies which owe everything to left-wing posturing and nothing to common-sense. In particular, Britain’s alarming lack of growth is being made far worse by the Coalition’s ludicrous green energy policies.

These have already added a ‘stealth tax’ on electricity prices of more than 20 per cent for businesses, threatening to block the expansion of these companies and even drive them abroad and destroy thousands of British jobs.

Even more crazy is the Coalition’s devotion to wind power in pursuit of the holy grail of renewable energy sources.

Madness: Wind farms were closed down during the tail-end of hurricaine Katia
Surreally, 11 wind farms were closed down last week - because they were actually generating too much electricity as a result of the tail end of Hurricane Katia. As a result, the foreign operators of these wind-farms were paid some £2.6 million – which of course will be added on to household bills and paid for by consumers.

This is surely the policy of the madhouse. Economic power is currently leaching out of the West, and new economic suns are rising in India and on the Pacific Rim.

Yet Britain’s response is to adopt the faddish fixation with man-made global warming, for which no shred of reputable scientific evidence exists, and thus to sacrifice prosperity on the altar of New Left green ideology along with Old Left class war.

For according to Mr Clegg yesterday, cutting the 50p tax rate for the highest earners would be ‘incomprehensible to struggling Britons’. But what is really incomprehensible is a policy which will drive wealth producers out of the country, thus impoverishing it and increasing the pressure on those who are already struggling.

Along with such shallow gesture politics at home, the Coalition’s foreign policy displays a startling superficiality and disregard of realities.

In hailing the ‘Arab Spring’ as the harbinger of democracy in the region, David Cameron has displayed ignorance and arrogance in equal measure.

His triumphal victory lap in Libya last week was distinctly premature. It is not just that Gaddafi still has not been captured and the war is still continuing.

Premature: David Cameron has been too hasty in declaring victory in Libya
More disturbingly – and although the Prime Minister denied this -- there is a significant Islamist presence among the rebels, with the commander of the Tripoli Military Council even having affiliations with al Qaeda.

In Egypt, too, those who are best organised and look most likely to come to power in the end are Islamic extremists.

So Mr Cameron could wake up one day to find that in both Libya and Egypt, he has merely helped replace tyrants and monsters who were to some extent useful to the west by tyrants and monsters pledged to destroy the West.

Meanwhile, Britain is havering over whether or not to support Mahmoud Abbas’s unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state at the UN later this week.
Will Britain seriously recognise a Palestinian state committed to ethnic cleansing?
Yet the Palestinians have not only made plain that such a state is the precursor to destroying Israel, but they have also repeatedly declared that not one Jew will be allowed to live in Palestine.

So Britain is seriously considering endorsing a racist state committed to ethnic cleansing, and which is designed to destroy Britain’s crucial ally in the defence of the West. If Britain does endorse this declaration, which drives a coach and horses through international law, it will cover itself in shame and disgrace.
And all the while, Iran steadily builds its nuclear bomb which would pose such a dire threat to western interests. Yet our posturing politicians don’t even mention this terrifying problem.
The core reason for this perplexing dislocation is surely that Britain is part of a civilisation in decline. The EU itself grew out of a catastrophic loss of confidence in the nation states of Europe after the Nazi period.

The subsequent demoralisation led to a process of eroding the fundamental moral building blocks of the West.

Busily trying to reinvent society and even redefine humanity itself, the political class fails to see that it is locked in a great battle for civilisation.

What’s needed is a response to the enormous challenges of the times that puts Britain on the right side of history rather than sucking up to the wreckers of western civilisation both within and without

The world is changing under our feet. If British politicians don’t lift their gaze from their collective political navel their legacy will be a Britain that is as irrelevant as the self-regarding policies they are now promoting.
Explore more:People: David Laws, Nick Clegg, Simon Hughes, David Cameron Places: Libya, Egypt, Israel, Islamic Republic of Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, United Kingdom, India, Palestine, Europe

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