Category Archives: mendacity

The pitiful centre-Right’s posture of surrender

Spineless, rude and grossly inept: James Brokenshire, described as the secretary of state for housing, communities and local government

By such cowards are we governed

Two days, writes Dalrymple,

after cables by the ambassador to Washington were published in the Press, in which he characterised the Trump administration as inept, divided, and chaotic, a Left-wing weekly, the New Statesman, belatedly published an apology to Sir Roger Scruton for the wilfully misleading — indeed, defamatory — version of an interview Scruton gave to its deputy editor, George Eaton. As a result of this truncated and mendacious version, Scruton was fired from his honorary appointment as chairman of a commission to try — not before time — to improve the æsthetic standards of modern British housing.

The minister who dismissed him was the one who had appointed him shortly before, a man called James Brokenshire.

Spinelessness, ineptitude, division and chaos of the British government

What unites these two episodes, Dalrymple points out, is

the ineptitude, division, and chaos not of the Trump administration but of the British, which is incomparably greater. To these qualities may be added spinelessness; indeed, spinelessness is at the root of the problem. It is hard to do the right thing, or even to do anything properly, when at heart you believe in nothing.

Mendacious: George Eaton, described as the deputy editor of what was once a journal of some quality, the New Statesman

Few people were better qualified for the job than Scruton, Dalrymple notes, and

to many Britons his appointment came as a surprise because he was so well-qualified for it, such being the contempt in which the politico-administrative class is held.

Rude, incompetent and pusillanimous

Scruton’s sacking

did not really come as a surprise, either. Brokenshire, who had so fulsomely praised Scruton on his appointment (which, incidentally, dismayed all the right people), went into retreat, like a routed army, the moment the distorted interview appeared in public. He dismissed Scruton not only without informing him, which was rude, but without informing himself, which was incompetent and cowardly.

Did Brokenshire immediately apologise and reverse his decision once the true extent of the distortion of what Scruton had said was revealed incontrovertibly by Douglas Murray of the Spectator?

Of course not, because that would have meant admitting that he was wrong — grossly so. Being a minister in Theresa May’s government means never having to say you’re sorry. The thought of resigning because he had behaved so badly probably never entered his head.

Theresa May: being a minister in her government means never having to say you’re sorry

However, very slowly, says Dalrymple,

by degrees, as if under torture or cross-examination by a brilliant attorney,

Brokenshire was forced to travel in the direction of an apology, and eventually he said sorry,

though he still states only that it is a possibility, not a certainty, that Scruton will be reinstated.

At every stage in the lamentable story, Brokenshire

has acted as if all that counted was his own short-term political advantage.

Fear of the Left-leaning Lumpenintelligentsia

What was Brokenshire afraid of that led to his decision to dismiss Scruton? The answer, says Dalrymple, is

the Left-leaning Lumpenintelligentsia that is so quick to take to social media. Because, like May, Brokenshire appears to believe in nothing, he is not able to face down opponents with arguments, instead falling back into an immediate posture of surrender.

The likes of Brokenshire, says Dalrymple,

are the people who govern us, whether we deserve them or not.

Mendacity of the Guardian newspaper

Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 09.03.09Dalrymple comes across an article on deportations in the London newspaper the Guardian. He explains that the article‘s

real point (exemplified by calling the migrants ‘undocumented’ rather than illegal) is rhetorical rather than informative: it wants to claim that the United States, or by extension any other country, including Britain, has no right to control who enters it to live there.

The article is accompanied by a photo of a man’s hand in a San Pedro Sula hospital. The man is waiting to be treated for a stab wound. There is a lot of blood. Only trouble is, the man turns out not to be a deportee from the US.

The photo was used only to raise the emotional temperature of the reader.

Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 09.05.45Dalrymple points out that since San Pedro Sula

is the city with the world’s highest annual murder rate, it is not difficult to take such photographs. Nor is it difficult to understand why anyone should wish to leave San Pedro Sula.

Dalrymple writes that in Birmingham in the English Midlands, where he used to work, there were

many migrants who had entered the country illegally. The officially accepted reasons for granting asylum—persecution because of race, religion, membership of a social group, or political opinion—didn’t by any means exhaust their reasons for leaving their countries, or even for justifiably fearing to return to them. Governments, alas, are not the only persecutors of people.

Irrespective of their reasons for immigrating illegally,

most of these people had had extremely hard, unenviable lives, and it was difficult not to sympathise with most of them as individuals.

However,

some were criminals pure and simple, seeking a more fertile field in which to sow and reap.

Bathtime at the Pecksniff Hotel

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 22.29.39Ne sutor ultra crepidam

Entering his hotel room, Dalrymple finds an

unctuous, mendacious, and mildly hectoring and even bullying notice on the towels in the bathroom.

It reads:

You care, we care, we all care about our environment and carbon footprint. Please take care and only have towels washed when needed.

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 22.51.56Yet it was necessary only

to step outside the hotel to prove that ‘we’ do not all care about the environment. Many of us drop litter; many of us tread our chewing gum into the ground; many of us make unnecessary noise; many of us render the world slightly more ugly than it need be by our careless appearance in public. Many, indeed most, of us consume vastly more than we need. Many of us take unnecessary journeys because we cannot think of anything else to do. Many of us would not even be able to define our carbon footprint, let alone care about it.

Seth Pecksniff, shield of virtue

Seth Pecksniff, shield of virtue

The very word ‘care’

now has a Pecksniffian ring to it, thanks to its use in this kind of canting message. ‘Let us be moral,’ said Mr Pecksniff. ‘Let us contemplate existence.’

The notion that ‘we’ of the hotel chain

do and ought to care more about the environment than, say, about reducing the chain’s laundry bill and thereby increasing its margin of profit (a perfectly respectable and reasonable thing for ‘us’ of the chain to do) is absurd and to me repellent.

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 23.31.26

A worthwhile movement

We despise

the Victorians for their habit of dishonest moralising,

but ours

is an age of ultracrepidarian hypocrisy in which everyone claims to care deeply for everything except that which concerns him most.