Posts Tagged history
– A series of defence contracts signed shortly before the election, including a £13 billion tanker aircraft programme whose cost has “astonished and baffled” ministers.
– £420m of school building contracts, many targeting Labour marginals, signed off by Ed Balls, the former schools secretary, weeks before the general election was called.
– The troubled £1.2 billion “e-borders” IT project for the immigration service, which, sources say, is running even later and more over-budget than Labour ministers had admitted.
– A crisis in the student loans company where extra cash may be needed to prevent a repeat of last year’s failure to process tens of thousands of claims on time.
– The multi-billion-pound cost of decommissioning old nuclear power plants, which ministers claim has not been properly accounted for in Whitehall budgets.
– A £600m computer contract for the new personal pensions account scheme rushed through by Labour this year, which will still cost at least £25m even if it is cancelled.
Jack Straw, who is presumably free to speak the truth because he is past all personal ambition, put it most explicitly last week. In order to recover, he said, Labour would have to get back the votes of “decent, hard-working families” who felt that “we had not been listening enough on issues such as immigration, benefits and fairness”.
Every word of this statement is significant. “Decent” implies not feckless or irresponsible. “Hard-working” means not choosing benefit dependency as a way of life. “Families” suggests people who are maintaining more or less stable relationships in which to raise children. In other words, Mr Straw is acknowledging that Labour had come to be associated with the interests of people who were irresponsible, not hard-working and had no commitment to family life in any sustainable form.
OH has links in his article to his source material
by Meshack Mabogoane
THIS month is the centenary of the South African state, whose founders would have marvelled at their creation — the foremost in Africa and a world-class entity, which is now being undermined.
An inspired act of courage, vision and determination, it brought together diverse peoples when Europe’s overarching multinational entities were disintegrating into separate nation states.
Former colonies, republics and kingdoms were forged into a unitary and variegated state, the first — and still the only modern state — founded by natives on a continent whose other states were created outside by foreigners.
The founders — Louis Botha, Barry Hertzog, and Jan Smuts — were war-seasoned generals, who had led a genuine anti-imperialist struggle in a true people’s war. These great men laid the foundations and frameworks that have enabled the evolution of a complex and dynamic country with a thriving economy and vibrant society.
The generals had valiantly fought with their troops within the country, which stands in contrast to the history of another liberation movement — the African National Congress (ANC), which was led by a globe- trotting former lawyer who now, appropriately, has an airport named after him. He lacked military courage, unlike his legal partner, who trained and then returned to fight — but was betrayed and islanded.
The forces under the exilic former lawyer “fought” away from the country, hurling spears from afar, a tactic Shaka discarded with contempt as cowardice. The hurlers returned to stab an unsuspecting nation in the back, typical of cowards.
Without these founders — Botha, Smuts, Hertzog — and their successors, SA would not have existed and developed. Their outstanding statecraft, which has still to be emulated in sub-Saharan Africa, is now being destroyed by un patriotic elements.
Even black and other movements owe their existence to the creation of the state by these men. Black people benefited from these inheritances without the commensurate initiatives of blood and sweat, hence their estrangement and nonappreciation.
Undoubtedly, racial inequity existed and full democracy was absent. But social, health and material provisions — the best in Africa — existed for black people. Long before 1994, blacks had voted directly, at least, for urban and rural councils and executives — izibonda and bungas. Now all races don’t even vote for central and provincial legislators but for mere party representatives.
If apparent or real oppression and the absence of liberal democracy are criteria for condemnation, the worst is elsewhere. The US was founded by only the Virginia aristocracy; most whites were not enfranchised and blacks were enslaved; however, its history and founders are acknowledged.
Democracy never existed in the Soviet Union and there is still none in China. But everyone is indifferent to this, including the ANC, its proteges and friends now selling the economy to imperialistic Beijing as it monkeys around in international relations.
Racism raised its head elsewhere: Jim Crow and lynching for blacks in the US; from pogroms to the Holocaust for European Jewry. Providence and goodwill mercifully saved SA from terrible racist manifestations, but the current regime’s evil racial programme is catastrophic.
The centenary of Africa’s greatest state is eclipsed by a sports jamboree; Blatter overshadows Botha. A fake “patriotism” is being whipped up to opiate the masses. National challenges and historic events are ignored, much befitting a banana republic in crisis.
The early statesmen tackled a complicated state energetically and responsibly with creative initiatives, however controversial some were, unlike the current impotent and parasitic incumbents, who are short on substantive initiatives and solid responsibility.
This month, let us salute Botha, Hertzog and Smuts for their creative genius and their great legacy — as meanwhile, inveterate non-white elites and their non-black fellow travellers insidiously manipulate this highly centralised state in a manner that is unsuitable for such a diverse society.
– Mabogoane is a freelance writer.
Taken from the South African publication, Business Day.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote a cracking war history – in fact one of the most exciting books I have ever read concerning war – called “The Great Boer War”.
Here is an extract concerning such a toff, who was not only toff, not only a hereditary peer, but also a politician. I quote verbatim:
The action had cost us, altogether about seventy men. Among the injured was the Duke of Norfolk, who had shown a high sense of civic virtue in laying aside the duties and dignity of a Cabinet Minister in order to serve as a simple captain of volunteers.
You can download this most exciting history of the Boer War, where Sir Arthur shows a high regard for the enemy and reports them with considerable fairness, from The Gutenberg Project. In fact, the first paragraph of Chapter one has this say about the Boers…
Take a community of Dutchmen of the type of those who defended themselves for fifty years against all the power of Spain at a time when Spain was the greatest power in the world. Intermix with them a strain of those inflexible French Huguenots who gave up home and fortune and left their country for ever at the time of the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. The product must obviously be one of the most rugged, virile, unconquerable races ever seen upon earth. Take this formidable people and train them for seven generations in constant warfare against savage men and ferocious beasts, in circumstances under which no weakling could survive, place them so that they acquire exceptional skill with weapons and in horsemanship, give them a country which is eminently suited to the tactics of the huntsman, the marksman, and the rider. Then, finally, put a finer temper upon their military qualities by a dour fatalistic Old Testament religion and an ardent and consuming patriotism. Combine all these qualities and all these impulses in one individual, and you have the modern Boer—the most formidable antagonist who ever crossed the path of Imperial Britain. Our military history has largely consisted in our conflicts with France, but Napoleon and all his veterans have never treated us so roughly as these hard-bitten farmers with their ancient theology and their inconveniently modern rifles.
I was brought up as a child among these bastards, but I love them!