Saturday 22 June 2019

Honour at the top.

Our politicians and press like to bang on about "British Values" and are very keen that immigrants should make themselves more acceptable by absorbing them.

it is a nonsense of course that these values, however defined,  are exclusive to Britain.  They are what are, or should be, observed by decent people in all civilised societies.

On my younger days  "honour" was an important one.  We were taught  in Sunday School to "honour" our fathers and mothers (with the incentive that if we did our days would be long in the land which the Lord had given us.)  When I was 11 and enrolled into the Scouts I promised  "On my honour" to "do my duty to God and the King." (then George VI.)

At school it was drilled into us that the honour oft school was in our hands, and we absorbed , from  our avid reading of "Smith of the lower third" (Wizard, on Tuesdays) and Red Circle (Hotspur, on Thursdays) that pupils in establishment far superior to ours held this value in great esteem, even to the "honour of the House." (See Lindsay Anderson's film  “If .) Those who were drafted into the army heard a lot, I understand, about the honour of the regiment.

The definition of honour in my dictionary is quite long, but includes "reputation, good name, nobleness of mind."

These characteristics have not been all that evident in the conduct of the Tory leadership so far, or in the character of the front runner.

In the conduct of of the election we understand "beyond reasonable doubt" that  Michael Gove was pushed out of the final round because votes were "loaned" to Jeremy Hunt "  from the Johnson team.  Not that I feel much sympathy for Gove, given the damage he did to the education service.

 I do however feel sorry for Rory Stewart,who polled 19 votes in the first round (just enough), shot up to 37 in the second, and then fell back to 27 in the third.  We understand that his "surge" in the second round was through "loaned "votes in order to eliminate Dominic Raab, which they did.

On the radio this morning political correspondents of both the Sun and the Guardian were asked if such chicanery were likely and acceptable and both said yes:  "They are playing for high sakes."

So both extremes of our political spectrum agree that decent behaviour is for the Plebs and needn't apply to those vying for the top.

In an article in the Guardian earlier  this week an occasional  columnist, George Pitcher, wrote:

"[Johnson] is a serial liar, philander and shirker .  He was fired from the Times for making up quotes as a reporter, and as an opposition spokesman  for lying to his leader about an affair; a spendthrift mayor of London, who relied on is deputies while he played to the gallery with vanity projects ; incompetent beyond belief as foreign secretary; said to have deliberately misled the people on the post-Brexit economy; and a provocateur of racism and hate crime  through his casual insults  of our ethnic minorities."

Strong stuff.  You'd think it would be actionable, but the Guardian must be prepared to defend it, probably  on the grounds that it is a) true and b) in the public interest, which I believe is one of the defences for libel.

Certainly there's not much sign of "reputation, good name, nobleness of mind."  I wonder what  "hidden curriculum" they aim for at Eton?

Higher standards are, however, prescribed for those in authority lower down the pile.  A friend of mine Emailed this to all we enthusiastic Remainers in this part of Yorkshire:

I was reading through some of the Town Councillors handbook references this morning and came across this interesting piece of information:

Councillors’ conduct and interests

The seven Nolan principles apply to the conduct of people in public life – they are:

Selflessness – you should act in the public interest
Integrity – you should not put yourself under the obligations to others, allow them to improperly influence you or seek  benefit for yourself, family, friends or close associates
Objectivity – you should act impartially, fairly and on merit
Accountability – you should be prepared to submit to public scrutiny necessary to ensure accountability
Openness – you should be open and transparent in your actions and decisions unless there are clear and lawful reasons for non-disclosure
Honesty – you should always be truthful
Leadership – you should promote, support and exhibit high standards of conduct and be willing to challenge poor behaviour.

It would be good to circulate this to all those 160 000 Tory members who are entitled to decide between Johnson and Hunt..   

But the really sad thing to me is that, knowing all of the above, 160 Conservative MPs, over half the parliamentary partly, are prepared propose a character almost  as far away from traditional British values as it is possible, to be our future  prime Minister.

PS (added Monday 24th June)

According to a graphic in last Saturday's Guardian (22/06/19) 75% of Conservative Party members believe that "Young people  today don't have enough respect  for traditional British values."  Let's hope they put their votes where their mouths are.


  1. Honour is not the top interest in the Eton,conservative elite,winning at all costs is. The Tory MPs are fighting for their plushy seats (well off chickens do not vote for Christmas) They have been too used to ruling the roost (chicken shed!?) These qualities do not count with them. Honour has to return to make Great Britain proud again (sorry Mr Trump for nicking your words) to take our place at the top table.

    1. So it's "winning at all costs."

      And there was I thinking:

      “For when the One Great Scorer comes to mark against your name,
      He writes not that you won or lost, but how you played the game!” –
      Grantland Rice

      Now I discover that's American, not British.

      You live and learn.

  2. Now, I loathe Boris and always have. Back in 2016 I was very glad to hear Theresa May had won the leadership, not only because I hoped our second female Prime Minister would be as great as our first, but also because I hoped that that would be the end of the nightmare prospect of Boris Johnson in Number 10: I assumed by the time the job became vacant again he would be yesterday's news.

    Well, we all know how that turned out.

    However, the thing that confuses me is why BoJo causes such unusually intense fury among those who lean left. The things I hate about him — his sexual immorality, his extreme social liberalism, his habit of spending public money as if it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven — are the sorts of things that progressives usually adore. And I mean, yes, he was privately educated and he's posh, but then lefties often go head-over heals for posh private-school types: Polly Toynbee, the third Viscount Stansgate, and of course Seumas Milne and Jeremy Corbyn.

    And I know there's a certain amount of reflexive hatred people on the left have for anyone in a blue rosette, but to me Boris seems indistinguishable, politically, from David Cameron. He's exactly the same type of metero-liberal without a single truly conservative bone in his body. There's the competence issue, of course, and there's no doubt Boris isn't up to the job; but then Cameron wasn't exactly that brilliant at it either, governing famously by essay crisis and getting lucky (until he wasn't). George Osbourne famously hated Boris but that always seemed to me less about them having any fundamental disagreements than the opposite, that they were basically identical on pretty much all issues, so he knew that when the time come for the fight to be Cameron's successor they would be fighting over the same votes.

    And yet, while Cameron did get a lot of stick from the left, it wasn't the same utterly visceral hatred that Boris seems to inspire.

    And it's that which confuses me. Boris seems to touch a nerve on the left, to inspire such a deep, gut-wrenching level of hatred, that no conservative leader has since the Great Margaret. But with her you can see why, because she stood and fought against everything the left held dear. But Boris? Politically, he's practically the same as Blair. He is in no way, really, conservative or really actually at all right-wing. He's no Anne Widdicome, no Esther McVey.

    So why do lefties hate him so very very much? Is it the narcissism of small differences? Are they scared of his popularity?

    I really don't get it.

    1. You're adopting the ploy of deflecting the criticism from the accused to the accusers, just as Johnson's supporters have done in attacking the couple who called the police to Johnson's flat during the domestic fracas, rather than trying to defend Johnson's apparent behaviour.

      And not all the criticism is from the left: there's plenty from the Tories themselves -Michael Heseltine, Chris Patten, Dominic Grieve, Malcolm Rifkind et al in today's Guardian. Not to mention a perceptive comment from his housemaster at Eton.

      True David Cameron was no great shakes as PM but he hadn't had the chance to display his incompetence in public office, as Johnson has, both as Mayor of London and Foreign Secretary.

    2. You're adopting the ploy of deflecting the criticism from the accused to the accusers, just as Johnson's supporters have done in attacking the couple who called the police to Johnson's flat during the domestic fracas, rather than trying to defend Johnson's apparent behaviour.

      I don't want to defend Boris's behaviour! I hate Boris's behaviour! The man is a serial adulterer, a flagrant libertine!

      Why on Earth would I want to defend such a moral vacuum of a man as Boris Johnson?!?!

      It disappoints me greatly to see people such as Jacob Rees-Mogg, who I hoped would have higher moral standards, signing up to support such a person.

      What confuses me is that he seems to be hated beyond reason by people for whom, say, leaving his wife for his mistress is not seen as moral turpitude of the highest order — indeed the sorts of people who would like to see divorce in this country made even easier than it already is (something which, actually, I'm pretty such Boris would be perfectly willing to throw his weight behind — and even now that's not an inconsiderable weight).

      Boris would seem to me to have far more in common with the socially liberal left then with me — and yet they hate him.

      I know why I hate him. But why do they? He is on their side!

    3. I'm not too happy about the word "hate." I suppose it's my church upbringing and the idea of hating the sin and loving the sinner. Just trying the make the word more impersonal, I think the Labour left "hate" anyone who strays onto their patch and wins, as Johnson did in London. I've certainly heard "hate" used in this context with reference to Liberals - that Labour "hates" us more than the Tories where we've operated in areas they regard as their fiefdom and won, as we have done in many council areas. Dedicated Labour Party members tend to believe that theirs is the one true and unique solution to society's ills and anyone with an alternative should get off their patch and not queer their pitch.

      Back to Johnson, I think his "sin" (upbringing again) is that he takes a frivolous attitude to thing which earnest people on the left regard as very serious and even sacred (oops) and gets away with it.

    4. I think his "sin" (upbringing again) is that he takes a frivolous attitude to thing which earnest people on the left regard as very serious and even sacred (oops) and gets away with it.

      You know, I've asked this question of many people in many venues and that may be the most perceptive answer I have yet gotten.

    5. It explains, for example, why the 'picaninnies' and 'letterboxes' comments keep being brought up. No one who read them in context could think that Boris was being racist at all. In the former case he is actually mocking patronising racists who see Africa as a backward continent useful only for giving them an ego-boost (and also rather crudely claiming that Her Majesty is a racist, which again, I don't understand why people on the right wing like him) and the latter comes in the course of an article arguing against the bans of face-covering Muslim dress which have been enacted in some European countries.

      But what he is doing both times is using the whole area of racism and multiculturalism as a source of humour, as a topic of light-hearted banter. And I think you're right: it's this they object to. You could imagine a leftie writing exactly an article with exactly the same argument as Boris did in his 'letterbox' column: there are legitimate reasons sometimes to require people to reveal their faces, the writer personally wouldn't wear that kind of dress, but outright bans are unjustified and counter-productive.

      But the leftie would have treated it as a deadly serious subject. No Laughing Matter. Not an appropriate topic for levity. Boris, he barges in, he makes exactly the same case, but along the way he stuffs in as many gags and turned phrases as he can. And people laugh. Not appropriate!

      Hm, I wonder how many of Boris's haters found themselves laughing at his gags — and this made them hate him all the more?

      [Comparisons with the villain in The Name of the Rose are left as an exercise for the reader]

  3. Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.