|What We Think||Nationalist comment on the month's news|
Does Mandy have a 'secret weapon'?
The way in which Peter Mandelson manages to rise above repeated scandal and not only survive politically but advance further up the career ladder would strike many as amazing. Last month Tony Blair eased Mandelson's passage into one of the most coveted jobs in Europe when he nominated him to become the EU's trade commissioner, an appointment which now only needs formal ratification by the European Parliament in November for him to take up the position.
And all this after Mandy has experienced public disgrace, not once but twice! First there was the affair in 1998 in which he was caught out failing to disclose a loan of £373,000 from a fellow minister, Geoffrey Robinson, to buy an expensive property. This forced his resignation as Trade Secretary. Then, after returning to the Government a year later as Northern Ireland Secretary, he quit two years after that following disclosure of his alleged role as go-between in the issue of passports to the Hinduja brothers, billionaire donors to the Labour Party. He was cleared of wrongdoing on this count by a Hutton-type enquiry but not subsequently reinstated because of the public stink which by then had surrounded his name.
But Mandy seems to have an uncanny way of bouncing back. Barring formalities, he will now get the job in Europe which he has long sought, and if he does take that job it will be because boss Tony is solidly behind him.
There seems absolutely no political sense in Blair's continual loyalty to Mandelson. The Prime Minister will have earned no brownie points whatever by nominating his scandal-prone colleague to the big Euro job, whether it be from the media or among the public.
All of which raises once again the question: what is that keeps Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson stuck together as if by super-glue? Or, to put it even more directly, does Mandy 'have something' on Tony?
It is well known that the 'gay' Mr. Mandelson and Mr. Blair have been very close friends from their very early days in Labour politics. Just how close is a matter of speculation.
We are left wondering whether there is any connection between all this and a little story which appeared in The Mail on Sunday on August 8th. This concerned the nickname 'Miranda' which our Tone somehow earned himself when a young lawyer in the 1970s. One of those then acquainted with him was barrister and later-to-be cook show hostess Clarissa Dickson Wright. In the MoS story Miss Dickson Wright was reported as saying that the name originated in the Prime Minister's "then boyish good looks and effete mannerisms."
In addition she said:-
Masculine as he appeared? Miss Dickson Wright is surely not serious! But maybe she just chose her words carelessly. The point was nevertheless made. Photos of Labour's future leader in his student days rather underline it.
Spearhead does not particularly like engaging in tittle-tattle of the kind that belongs more fittingly to gossip columns in the tabloids. We rather despise people who make lucrative livings out of this kind of journalism, which deals mainly with the empty lives of useless people and appeals to equally empty and useless readers.
But this kind of stuff normally involves folk who do nothing of any real importance. When it concerns prime ministers who make decisions affecting major nations - decisions, for instance, to take their countries to war and risk many good lives - it attains a completely different dimension. Then it becomes something of justified public concern. The same, of course, can be said when such people have the power to make appointments to major political offices. Then matters otherwise trivial become matters deserving of the most serious scrutiny.
So, it must be asked again: does Peter Mandelson 'have something' on Tony Blair? Do others 'have something' on him too? Could that 'something' explain actions of our nation's Head of Government which not only make no sense from the nation's point of view but make no sense from his own either?
This most certainly is a space to watch carefully.
Guards regiments for the chop?
There should be no surprise at the latest idea being floated in government circles for changing Britain's armed forces, namely the proposal to merge the respective Guards regiments into one single regiment. Making the forces more efficient and cost-effective has nothing whatever to do with this; the move, if it occurs, will be just one more intended nail in the coffin of tradition - the tradition, special to this country, that is so passionately hated by New Labour.
The regimental system under which soldiers identify, not only with units associated with particular parts of the British Isles, but also with the history and battle achievements of those units, has long been a key factor in maintaining the discipline and pride of our fighting troops. Our enemies, external and internal, know this, and know well that if that system and all its traditions can be broken down Britain will be gravely weakened, not only in war but in peace.
The Guards regiments have sometimes taken stick from other regiments on the supposed grounds that they have been more impressive on parade than in battle. This, however, is hardly the point at issue. The present assault on the Guards tradition is in fact an assault on all tradition pertaining to our armed forces, air and naval as much as on land. All units in warfare have their less noble moments, depending greatly on the quality of their current command. The point is that the tradition lives on, and gives the men something to live up to. Without it, fighting units are way below strength.
All this aside, it is curious that we have a government which, just as it is cutting our forces to the bone in the supposed interests of economy, is increasing our military commitments all over the world at the same time - most of these commitments being wasteful and pointless. Does the Government really have a clue what it is doing? Or is there a purpose behind these contradictory policies which is not being revealed to us?
We are in no doubt as to the answer.
About music and health
Not for the first time in recent years, tests have demonstrated the value of classical music in inducing soundness of mind in the hearers.
In the Kosice-Saca private hospital in Slovakia experiments in playing music to new-born babies has established that they sleep better and are in every way more relaxed and healthy when classical music is played to them frequently in the days after birth. When they hear it they fall asleep or lie awake peacefully.
Mozart is the favourite but other classics such as Brahms's Lullaby and Vivaldi's Four Seasons also have greatly soothing effects.
Not long ago, researchers at the University of Berlin discovered that students listening to Mozart before exams did much better than who listened to other composers or to no music at all. It was judged that the rhythmic qualities of Mozart's music mimic some of the rhythmic cycles which occur in the brain.
None of this is a surprise to us. The music of Mozart, perhaps more than that of any other leading composer, is the music of order. It induces order in the mind and an ordering of the emotions. By contrast, so much of what today passes for 'pop' music is the music of chaos. It has a fundamentally disordering' effect on the human brain - particularly among white, western peoples, to whom it is neither native not natural.
It seems not coincidental that the British yob who makes his (and sometimes her) presence so objectionable to people both at home and abroad is nurtured on a diet of the most moronic, mind-bending noise to which the word 'music' is all too often erroneously applied.
We now await some irate letters!
A generation of know-nothings
The foregoing may not be unrelated to another phenomenon highlighted in a report which appeared in the Daily Mail on the 5th August. This was about a survey recently conducted by the BBC which revealed the almost unbelievable ignorance of many young Britons about their country's and others' history.
In the survey almost half of those between 16 and 24 could not identify William the Conqueror as the victor of the Battle of Hastings. More than one in five believed it was Alexander the Great and 13 per cent said it was Napoleon!
Fewer than half knew that Sir Francis Drake fought against the Spanish Armada. One in five thought the victor in that battle was Christopher Columbus.
And the same number thought it was either Horatio Hornblower or Gandalf - both fictional characters.
An ignorant and stupid British population is a population more easy to control and keep servile. Perhaps that is why the 'progressive' education so widely supported in the ranks of New Labour and the political left relegates education in these basics of knowledge to a background place. Where history is concerned this is particularly damaging. If we don't know where we are coming from, we won't know who we are. And if we don't know who we are, we'll be that much easier to destroy.
And isn't the destruction of Britain a cardinal aim of our political class of today?