Dangerous consensus

Sunny Hundal

Last Saturday night (or rather the first hour of Sunday) I was doing the papers review with Sunny Hundal of the leftist blog Liberal Conspiracy  on BBC Radio Five Live.  That’s the Stephen Nolan Show, although Nick Conrad was standing in for Stephen on this occasion.  I was confidently expecting a right old ding-dong, and I was rather alarmed and disappointed (as I guess were the producers) when on issue after issue we found ourselves broadly agreeing.

Things started well enough.  I picked up a story from the Telegraph about Al Qaeda terrorists convicted in the UK, who were appealing to the European Court of Human Rights.  Predictably, Sunny was saying that Britain had signed up to international treaties, and that therefore these terrorists had the right to appeal to Strasbourg.  I was arguing that while they may have rights, those rights had already been considered and upheld in a British Court.

I take the same view on this as Enoch Powell, who said “I hold that man to be a traitor, who appeals over the heads of Her Majesty’s judges to foreign courts”.

But we also dealt with the issue of tickets to the Paralympics for disabled people, who have been obliged to use business-rate phone lines and have experienced great difficulties.  We agreed that this was unfair and unacceptable, though I was more prepared to give the organisers the benefit of the doubt, and attribute the problem to cock-up rather than conspiracy.

We agreed that Neil Armstrong was a great man, and that we regretted his passing, although Sunny had some doubts about spending so much money on space research when there were so many pressing needs on Earth.  This prompted what I thought was one of my better lines: That’s as if the King of Spain had said to Columbus “We really need to refurbish the drains, so we can’t afford to have you go and discover America right now”.  (Actually I said “King of Portugal”, but history was never my strong suit)

We discussed Prince Harry’s little contretemps in Las Vegas, and agreed that young men liked to party, and that there was little point in a show of righteous indignation.  We also agreed that we must have a free press, although I added that it would have been nice if the Sun had had the good taste and good judgement to refrain from publishing the offending photographs.  I pointed particularly to the story in the Sunday Express suggesting that Harry’s father Prince Charles might be more sympathetic than some commentators expected, given his own youthful experiences.

Of course the GCSE exams and grade inflation came up, and again we agreed that it was hard on pupils who had been marked down relative to those who took similar papers six months earlier.  Beyond that, I took a positive line — that at last someone had got a grip of grade inflation and was introducing some order to the system, after years in which it seemed mandatory for politicians to crow about “best ever results”.  Sunny took what I though was a rather curious line, suggesting that the political imperative now for Michael Gove was to say the opposite — that results are now so bad, that schools must be compelled to to become Academies, against their better judgement!  For me that was a conspiracy theory too far.

It’s scary, all this agreement.  Maybe I’m going soft in my old age.  This morning I found myself agreeing with Tim Yeo (Ugh!) on the need for more airport capacity in the South East, and later I was agreeing with ultra-greeny Lib-Dem MEP Chris Davies on the right-to-die (in the Tony Nicklinson case).  And I absolutely agree with Nadine Dorries about Louise Mensch.  How far will this outbreak of consensus go, I ask myself?

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10 Responses to Dangerous consensus

  1. Sean O'Hare says:

    After reading Hundal’s demolition job on Christopher Monkton and UKIP way back in May I’m not sure I would even have shared a platform with him.

    ,a href=”http://liberalconspiracy.org/2012/05/09/ukip-spokesman-calls-on-far-right-party-to-join-them/”>http://liberalconspiracy.org/2012/05/09/ukip-spokesman-calls-on-far-right-party-to-join-them/

    • Ah. If you want to be in national media, you have to be prepared to take on all comers.

      • Neil Craig says:

        Unfortunately that is only true for those who don’t support the state/BBC line.

        I am currently preparing a public debate in Scotland on global warming and, though our Parlaiment voted, unanimously, for the most expensive and constricting climate legislation in the world, so far, no MSPs are prepared to defend their views in public debate. The Green party have specifically said they won’t do so.

        Obviously, in a free society where the public are allowed to see, or even participate in, political discussion, and politicians who ewfused to take on all comers would be at an enormous disadvantage and could never persuade a large fraction of the people of their views (whether it be global warming, or any of the hundreds of other environmental scare stories which have uniformly turned out tom be false, or new fangled ideas like free market liberalism).

        Fortunately for the ecofascists they are guaranteed nassive free access to the state owned BBC without fear of having to face anybody who disagrees. Or without any slightest attempt by that state monopoly (a monopoly being 70%+ control of the field) to report the news with the “balance” their Charter nominally requires.

        By definition, the ability of so many groups to get away without debating freely is absolute proof that we live in a controlled society far less democratic than, say , Russia. We will be offering this debate to the national media and will find out if being willing to take on all comers does mean you get national media coverage.

  2. Neil Craig says:

    I think Ferdinand and Isabella would have had a stronger case than the British government now has for doing nothing. Medieval drains really were bad.

    There is also the fact that America was unknown then whereas not only the existence but the possibility of landing on the Moon is quite certain.

    Of course, since “all problems here in Europe/Earth” never have been and never will be solved Columbus, or his grandson ^18th would still be waiting.

    In fact many of Europe’s problems were solved by going to America (the shortage of chip shops for a starter) and even more of humanity’s problems will be solved by space development. Unlimited renewable solar electricity with zero running costs; unlimited resources in asteroids, and satellite communications many orders of magnitude more powerful & thus able to handle many orders of magnitude more communictions; to mention but 3, all far more evident than potatoes were to Columbus.

    UKIP’s policy of putting the money wasted in Europen ESA bureaucracy into a Space X-Prize Fund shows how infinitely more progressive we are than Sunny and any of the technophobe whiners on the “left” or in the traditional parties are.

  3. Chris Davies is a bridge too far. I want a divorce (grin)

  4. machokong says:

    No Roger what it means is it’s the rise of the right-wing and the peoples of Britain waking up which shapes mainstream debate to allow common sense to rule once again: right-to-die, freedom of press but with good taste and acceptance of misjudgements, airpot expansion, government miss management and space.

    Need I remind everybody that while the first industrial revolution brought about Britain’s role as the factory of the world, the second (the one we’re still living in) eschewing that role, the third will be space and a culmination of the two as a fusion of technology and manufacturing jobs to satisfy Britain’s needs (and indeed the worlds) in the future.

    That sector is the only growing one that could be considered manufacturing, its profits are only £9bn but set to grow exponentially, this will be Britain’s manufacturing base in the future.

  5. Thanks Machokong. Great to hear some optimism. I hope you’re right.

  6. Jonathan says:

    I feel the same way when I find myself (as a pro-European federalist and socialist) agreeing with you on the issue of climate change – maybe this is just adult politics where people can find a consensus on specific topics across party lines, rather than always having to toe the party line a la Mensch.

  7. Peter Staveley says:

    Actually using the great website SayNoTo0870.com you can use a telephone number to contact the ticketing department.

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