Marchessini Blog & Forum

How Gay are You?

Editor
The Times

Dear Sir,
In your editions of today, your correspondent, Guy Dinmore, reports from Rome, and quotes Mr Berlusconi as saying “It is better to like beautiful girls than to be gay”. Mr Dinmore describes this remark as “homophobic”.
In other words, Mr Dinmore is suggesting that it is better to be gay than to like women. It seems he wishes to turn human nature upside down. It seems unfair to criticise Berlusconi on the one occasion that he is telling the truth.

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Women in Church

Editor
The Telegraph

Dear Sir,
In your Letters Column, Mr Philip Binding insists that Jesus wanted women to be equal with men in every way. He somewhat torpedoes his own argument, however, by quoting Matthew 15 3-7, which says nothing about women. If, however, he had looked at the very beginning of the Old Testament, Genesis 3-16, he would have seen that God said to women “Thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee”. Or alternatively, he could look at St Paul’s First Epistle to Timothy, 2 – 12, where St Paul says “But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.”
As regards the question of women priests, the point is that there had been women priests in all pagan religions since the beginning of civilisation. They were not invented today. But Christ got rid of women priests, and in the Christian religion, none of the Apostles or the Disciples were women, nor have there been any women priests for 2,000 years. Does Mr Binding think that he knows more about Christianity than 80 generations of Christian Bishops?

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Letter to The Daily Telegraph – Old Lefties Turn Right

Dear Sir,

In your Leader today, you quote François Guizot regarding being a republican at 20. This quote has, of course, been attributed to others. I believe the best version came from the Belgium writer Maeterlinck, around the turn of the century. He said “If one is not a Socialist at 20, one has no heart. If one is still a Socialist at 40, one has no brains.”

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Is ISIS right?

Ed Conway, the Economics Editor of Sky News, wrote an article that appeared in the Times today, entitled “The smart money’s on Isis destroying itself”, in which he makes an extraordinary statement. He suggests that Isis is “heading for disaster” by adopting the Gold Standard. If it were true, that Isis is heading for disaster, we should all be delighted, but gold has proved itself the most reliable form of money in the world for thousands of years. The idea that Isis is thus committing financial Hari-kari is absurd.

In order to support this amazing thesis, Mr Conway makes several major misstatements of fact. He says that “currency is destiny”. If that is true, the fact is that no paper money in history has ever lasted, whereas gold has lasted thousands of years. So, Isis is going in the right direction, and we are not. Indeed, between the Battle of Waterloo and the First World War, a period of almost exactly 100 years, most of the world was on the Gold Standard, and there was no inflation. A pound in 1913 could buy the same as a pound in 1815. In contrast, since the world went off the Gold Standard, there has been inflation of currency of 100 times in the roughly 100 years that followed. A pound today can only buy what a penny could have bought 100 years ago, and a dollar today could buy what one cent could have bought 100 years ago. Mr Conway maintains that kings and emperors in the past often debased their currencies by shaving the metal. That is quite true, but it is irrelevant. It does not mean that we have to do the same, or that we would be able to do the same in this technological world.

He further suggests that Victorian workers had their pay cut, because of shortages of gold in the Bank of England vaults. This, with respect, is quite untrue. Mr Conway clearly does not understand the Gold Standard. Transactions within the country are made with paper money, but are backed with gold. It is international financial transactions which have to be settled in gold. The Bank of England did not require gold for domestic transactions. Gold simply controlled countries from spending, or borrowing abroad, beyond their means. Mr Conway also brings up the old canard about the Gold Standard causing the Great Depression. In fact, it was the other way round. The Great Depression was caused because the world had gone off the Gold Standard, due to the enormous debts relating to the First World War. Following Churchill’s ill fated acceptance of the Gold Standard in England at an unrealistic rate, money had to be loosened in the UK and the US, leading to the Crash of ’29.

Finally, Mr Conway makes another astounding statement – Gold Standards tend to be “incompatible with democracy”. This too is the opposite of the truth. Gold Standards defend freedom, and they last. But, as mentioned above, gold lasted 100 years together with democracies, but democracies did not last with, or without gold. What Mr Conway means, although he is reluctant to say it, is that Gold Standards are incompatible with printing money, and democracies need to print money in order to continue. That certainly is true. If one considers the start of democracy to be around the middle of the 19th Century (the start of universal suffrage in the UK, and the American Civil War, etc) that means we have had about 165 years of democracy so far. How many years of paper money are left?

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Galloway Prize of 2015

Emma Barnett of the Telegraph has been nominated for the 2015 Galloway Prize, which is awarded each year to the journalist with the most factual errors in one article.  Miss Barnett is nominated for her recent article about Julian Assange.

Here is the list of her inaccuracies:

1.    She keeps repeating that Assange is “hiding”, when everyone knows that “hiding” means “concealment”, and Mr Assange is not concealed.  Everyone knows where he is.

2.    She states that Swedish prosecutors want to question Assange about “allegations of rape and sexual misconduct”.  This is quite untrue.  There are no charges against Mr Assange.

3.     She says that during his visit to Sweden in 2010, he “supposedly slept with two women”.  There is no “supposedly” about it.  Both women invited him to their homes, and spent the night with him.

4.     Miss Barnett suggests that Assange’s fear of being extradited to the United States was specious.  In fact, when he was asked to go to Sweden, he asked the Swedish authorities to guarantee that he would not be extradited to the United States, and they refused.

5.     She insists that Assange had been accused by one of the women of raping her while she slept, and that this allegation has not expired, but, in fact, there have been no charges against Assange.  Furthermore, the woman in question had slept with Assange and made love.  It is hard to see how she can have been raped.

6.    She says that Assange was unwilling to answer the Swedish questions.  He declared himself prepared to do so, as long as it was in the UK.

7.      Miss Barnett also is worried that this matter will go on for another five years, and that there will be a further £20 million bill for Britain.  In fact, it is clear that the matter is going to be dropped very quickly, and no one will have to imprison Mr Assange anymore.

8.       Miss Barnett goes on to say that Assange’s fear of US extradition is not supported by “a shred of evidence”.  In fact, as already has been mentioned, the Swedes refused to give any guarantee of not extraditing Assange.

9.       Nor was the siege “self-inflicted” – it was simply self-preservation.

10.    Miss Barnett has the question completely upside down when she says that it was costing us £4 million a year to “protect someone accused of such crimes from answering a few questions”.  But we are not “protecting” him.  On the contrary, we are guarding him – we are trying to stop him from leaving the country.  In other words, we are doing the bidding of Sweden and the United States.

We congratulate Miss Barnett for arriving at double figures in her errors.  This is one of the highest totals we have had.

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Reality or Hypocrisy?

During the notorious Watergate hearings in the U.S., one of President Nixon’s aides said to him, “Mr President, there is a cancer eating at the Presidency”. Today, in the U.K., one could say the same thing. There is a cancer eating at the Government, and that cancer is the hypocrisy that pervades our Government at all levels.

Take the question of the EU, for example. Before he was elected the first time, Cameron made it very clear that he was opposed to leaving the EU. After his election, he repeated these views. But when electoral pressure was put on him by UKIP some months ago, he quickly backtracked and agreed to have a referendum. Of course, that did not mean that he had changed his views about Europe, it simply meant that a referendum had to be held to keep the Euro-sceptics happy, while at the same time, making sure that we do not leave the EU. It is hard to imagine anything more duplicitous.

Cameron says there must be negotiations to try and change the rules of the EU.   Now, anyone who has studied the matter knows perfectly well that is not possible under EU rules. The only way this could be done is under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, when a country must declare that it wishes to leave the EU. Furthermore, it is perfectly obvious that the other countries have no desire to give the UK any concessions of substance, and that if the EU were to make concessions to the UK, it would have to make the same concessions to the rest of the members. In other words, it is quite impossible. But Cameron and those who support him, are pretending that it is possible. That is hypocrisy with a vengeance.

Furthermore, as Cameron does not wish to leave the EU, how can he negotiate the matter? He refuses to state what concessions he will ask for, and he refuses to threaten the EU with Britain’s exit. Without that threat, why would the EU pay the slightest attention to the UK? More hypocrisy.

And then there is the question of how the referendum will be worded, which has not yet been determined. Indeed, not only is it perfectly possible, but it is very likely, that Cameron will declare himself satisfied with whatever crumbs he receives from the EU, and he will tell us a referendum is no longer necessary.

In 1974, Harold Wilson promised a referendum, but that never took place.

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Putin or Put Out?

I refer to a column today in the Times by Edward Lucas, the author and Russian “expert”, entitled “Truth is our best weapon in the new Cold War”, in which he includes Putin and ISIS in the same phrase. He also says that it is necessary to fight the lies of Russia with facts. Is it a fact to connect Putin and ISIS?

May I set out some facts about Putin and the Ukraine, although I am quite sure that most people are familiar with them?

  1. The Russians and the Ukrainians are members of the same race, which is called “Rus”. Hence the word “Russian”.
  2. For centuries they spoke the same language, and even today, they can understand each other.
  3. Until Russia allowed the Ukraine to become independent twenty-five years ago, the Ukraine had not been independent since the year 1240, when Kiev was sacked by the Mongols.
  4. For centuries, the Ukraine was ruled by various foreign states, until about two hundred years ago, when it became part of the Russian Empire.
  5. When the Ukraine gained independence twenty-five years ago, no mention was made of joining the EU or NATO.
  6. Much Russian blood has been spilled in defending the Ukraine. The only country in the West which spilled blood in the Ukraine was Germany, and they were on the opposite side.
  7. The Crimea has also been part of the Russian Empire for about two hundred years. It was given arbitrarily to the Ukraine in the 1950s by Khrushchev (whom, as you know, was a Ukrainian). As both the Crimea and the Ukraine were part of the Russian Empire, no one gave much importance to it at the time, but when the Ukraine became independent, the Crimea went with it.
  8. The Russian Black Sea Fleet has always used the Crimea as its base.
  9. 82% of Crimeans speak Russian in their homes.
  10. Russian blood has been spilled defending the Crimea, particularly in the Crimean War, against the same Western powers who are now pretending to defend it.
  11. The West has interfered with force in both Bosnia and in Kosovo

Does anyone really think that Putin can be compared to ISIS?

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Little Adults

One of the phenomena of the UK today, is the way children behave so badly in public – in airports, in planes, in trains, in restaurants etc. The reason, of course, is that traditional upbringing has been discarded in the UK, as has discipline. Perhaps the clearest way of explaining the difference, is that children today are considered “little adults”. This is, of course, absurd, because the one thing that children are not, is “adult”, and it is unrealistic to expect them to behave like adults.

Indeed, small children are primitive little animals, when they are born. If they are well brought up, they will eventually become civilised people. If they are not well brought up, they will never become civilised. One must accept that until they grow up, they are NOT adults. One must also accept that while they are growing up, they are often irrational, and unreasonable. In short, ALL CHILDREN ARE NAUGHTY by nature, even when they do not mean to be naughty. In order to control them, there must be discipline in their relationship with their parents.

It is well known that the two requirements for bringing up children are affection and discipline. The affection gives them security, and the discipline teaches them how to behave. A good example was a young boy recently, who was repeatedly doing something annoying and obnoxious – whether he meant to be naughty is irrelevant. The fact is that he was being naughty. Despite several reprimands, he continued this behaviour. His mother did not reprimand him. The only thing she said was, “He forgets”. But the whole point of discipline is that children must not be allowed to “forget”. If a reprimand is not enough, then they have to be punished in some way, so that they do not forget again. That is what discipline is all about.

Contrary to popular belief, smacking is not the only possible discipline. Indeed, it is possible to make an impression on children just by talking to them in the right way. A four-year old granddaughter was so naughty that she terrified her parents. She was invited to stay on holiday by her grandfather, on condition that her parents would not be invited. This arrangement pleased everyone. When she arrived, it was summertime, very hot, and the staff had prepared a delicious iced tea. The child immediately started whining that she did not want iced tea, and that she wanted orange juice. So her grandfather said to her, “My darling, you have a very important decision to make. If you drink your iced tea, like a good girl, I will give you a chocolate later. If you are naughty and do not drink your iced tea, then I will give you a smack. Now which one would you like to have?” She looked up, thought for a moment, and then said that she would like to have the iced tea. For the rest of the week, she behaved like an angel. There are many other ways of disciplining children.

But to pretend that children should be treated as adults is the way to disaster. They will never be brought up properly that way, and will never know what to do.

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Swearing

With reference to the incidence of swearing in tennis, the reason it should not be allowed is that it is vulgar and uncivilised. Tennis, like golf, has always been considered a game for gentlemen. It has 150 years of tradition, like golf, in gentlemanly behaviour.

What Gordon Ramsay does on TV is of no relevance, because Gordon Ramsay is not a gentleman. Nevertheless, the TV channels should forbid swearing by anyone on television – it offends all refined and civilised people.

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Compassion

In Tim Montgomerie’s recent column, he used the phrase “compassionate conservatism”. That suggests that there is such a thing as “uncompassionate conservatism”. I must say that there is no such thing. Conservatism is simply based on freedom, as opposed to Socialism, which is based on dictatorship. There can be no such thing as “uncompassionate freedom”, or “compassionate freedom”. Either there is freedom, or there is dictatorship.

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