The Laura Perrins Interview: Twenty years after Diana’s death, the monarchy is under greater threat than ever – Peter Hitchens

Laura Perrins: It has been twenty years since the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. In your book, The Abolition of Britain, you contrast the funerals of Sir Winston Churchill in 1965 and the princess in 1997 to illustrate a transformation in British culture and habits.

You say: ‘In 1965, the people of Britain may have been poorer, smaller, shabbier, dirtier, colder, narrower, more set in their ways, ignorant of olive oil, polenta and – even – lager. But they knew what united them, they shared a complicated web of beliefs, attitudes, prejudices, loyalties and dislikes. By 1997 they were unsure and at sea. Those over 40 no longer felt they were living in the country where they had grown up, and while they may secretly have held to older views and customs, they publicly accepted the new arrangements with a tolerant smile. Those under 40, for the most part, had only the sketchiest notion of who they were and of how or when their surroundings had come to be as they were, had little common language with either parents or grandparents, and despised much of what the previous generation had admired.’

Twenty years on, this seems pretty prophetic?

Peter Hitchens: Kind of you, but I am not sure about ‘prophetic’. It just seemed quite obvious to me at the time (as did many other things about Britain which are now accepted by conventional wisdom but weren’t then). I’ve no idea why other people find it so difficult to see what is in front of their noses.

L P: In that chapter, you speak about the public reaction to the princess’s death and the turn of sentiment against the Queen. ‘The convenient fiction of a stuffy and obstructive establishment was never more blatantly and falsely employed than during the miserable few days when the Queen and her family were urged to snivel in public over the death of Diana, and Buckingham Palace was forced to fly the wrong flag at half-mast, to placate a supposedly enraged populace. How widely this enraged view was truly held it is now impossible to say . . . It is hard to believe that a real majority of British citizens were thirsting to humiliate their Queen in this fashion, but it appeared to be so on television.’

Twenty years on I believe this manipulation is still happening. I watched one BBC programme which seemed dedicated to the notion that the monarchy was on the edge and only Tony Blair and Alastair Campbell saved it. Is this just straight-up fake news?

P H: We can’t know. Certainly it was a moment of great danger for the monarchy, which it (sort of) survived, though it is now a ‘people’s monarchy’, whose relationship to the public is entirely based on the Queen being the nation’s favourite grandmother, and on the two young princes being Diana’s children. This is a pretty fickle basis on which to base a monarchy. The events of the past few weeks, especially the various interviews given by the young princes, must make Charles wonder if his legitimacy is now dangerously weakened. He is not the nation’s favourite anything, and Diana’s supporters will never warm to him. He is a largely decent, thoughtful man (I say this though I disagree with him on several issues) who until 1997 was well-qualified for the throne. But can he now ever ascend it?

The collapse of Protestant Christianity in Britain, under way for a century, which had accelerated since the 1960s, left people with no language or ritual with which they were familiar. But they continued to hunger (who does not?) for collective responses to great events. My own view is that the British people long ago ceased to be grown-up enough to accept the contract of constitutional monarchy. In this bargain, the sovereign symbolises our own free sovereignty over ourselves, and also symbolises on a grand scale the principal constituent part of our pre-revolutionary free society, the Christian married family. Who wants that now?

Sentiment and inertia prevent much criticism of the current monarch, though this truce will end once the next monarch ascends the throne. Australia’s growing republicanism presents a particular danger which, like the crowd applause at Diana’s funeral spreading into the pews occupied by the establishment, could bring about a copycat reaction in the home country. All the social, cultural and moral movements which coalesced into New Labour are viscerally opposed to monarchy. We now know for certain that Blair himself was a university Trotskyist, as he has told Peter Hennessy so on Radio 4. We know less, but a bit, about the revolutionary Marxist leanings of many of his senior colleagues. But I do think people should grasp that Blair’s one-time close aide Peter Hyman was telling the truth when he confessed last Christmas that New Labour’s project was far more radical than Jeremy Corbyn. Dim people can’t seem to grasp that the absence of Little Red Books or plans to storm the Winter Palace doesn’t mean there’s no revolution going on. This lot captured the BBC, the schools, the civil service and the courts, not the railway station, the barracks and the post office.

Monarchy is Christian, and Gramscian Marxists see Christianity as a rival and foe. Its remaining traces prevent the fulfilment of the egalitarian, borderless utopia they long for. It is patriarchal. Need I say more? It is morally conservative, but weak marriage, or no marriage at all, are essential in a society in which people are subjects of the parental state whose coming was prophesied so terrifyingly by Helen Brook in 1980: ‘From birth till death it is now the privilege of the parental State to take major decisions— objective, unemotional, the State weighs up what is best for the child.’ A conflict between New Labour and the monarchy was inevitable. After all, by driving the hereditaries out of the Lords they had left the monarchy as the only remaining hereditary institution in the country, and made clear their opposition, in principle, to the idea of inherited authority. The monarchy was, and is, next. Labour’s only official public discussion of the subject, back in the 1920s, ended with a decision to put abolition off till later (by implication: when it might be easier). Diana didn’t have a political thought in her head, but paradoxically, she was an instinctive genius at politics. She just knew, as she picked her many public gestures, how to strike at the heart of the institution she believed had used and wronged her.

And equally instinctive republicans, such as Alastair Campbell (another political genius) and his glove-puppet, Blair, could see in Diana a weapon to be used against the monarchy, while still keeping the sentimental, patriotic parts of the population on their side, or at least neutral.

L P: The reaction of those people who did trudge down to Kensington Palace and Buckingham Palace to lay their flowers and openly weep over a woman they had never met was extraordinary. Today, Princes William and Harry, although always respectful of the public, do say that their younger selves wondered why these people were weeping over someone they had never met: ‘Diana was my mother.’ Snatching the grief that properly belongs to two children who have lost their mother is an incredibly selfish act. Why do you think so many indulged in it?

P H: See above. They needed it. It had very little to do with the events, except that Britain these days contains a lot of wronged women, or at least women who think they have been wronged, who identified with Diana. So did various other outcasts from the mainstream (‘for his mourners will be outcast men, and outcasts always mourn’). The collapse of formal religion, of its hymns and ceremonies, had left a hole waiting to be filled. Christianity knew it had to satisfy this hunger in some way, hence its festivals, its music, its huge ornate buildings – that ‘vast moth-eaten musical
brocade . . .’ and in some versions, its worship of saints and cults of the Virgin. Films and pictures of Diana had huge emotional power. She was one of those people whom the camera loved (on the one occasion I saw her close to, even though I was looking for her, I did not recognise her. The camera gave her a mysterious, essential beauty which I wish I could explain).

But all Christianity’s ritual power had gone. Here was a substitute. I regard the piling of flowers and the assembly of emotional crowds as a sort of revival of the paganism or polytheism that Christianity had long suppressed (mind you, I take the same view of the football cult, and some aspects of the rock music cult).

L P: The cultural and political differences between 1965 and 1997 were indeed huge. However, arguably the differences between 1997 and 2017 are even greater, and have occurred at a quicker pace. For instance, believing that marriage is between one man and one woman for life and to the exclusion of all others was not seen as a hate crime back in 1997. How do you see the next 20 years shaping up?

P H: I don’t agree. 1997 and 2017 are recognisably the same world, but with more electronic knobs on. We even still have a New Labour government, though it has a different name and doesn’t understand the policies it pursues. By contrast, 1965 and 1997 are two different planets. As for the future, I daren’t say. It depends so much on economic circumstances, which I suspect will grow much worse and divert us from many of our current preoccupations into new, harsher and more basic matters.

L P: Finally, social media has had a massive impact, arguably diluting the power of the mainstream media. Do you think the reaction to Diana’s death and the same media manipulation of the public could occur today, or do you think it would be even worse?

P H: I think it could have happened only once. The events of those days destroyed much of the moral and social architecture of this country, and they have gone for good. As for the future, who knows? Who could have predicted the events after Diana’s death? Whatever happens next will not be the same, though I have no doubt that social media will make these events worse than they otherwise would have been, whatever they are.

(Image:Mark Reinstein/Shutterstock.com)
Laura Perrins

  • It was the tragic death of a young mother. But it suited Blair and friends firstly because they wanted to give Prince Charles a good kicking and secondly enabled Tony to present the Blair family as The First Family as far as the media were concerned. Instead of a family funeral with quiet dignity and sorrow we were given a celebrity loaded media fest.

    • Little Black Censored

      There was a rumour (at the time when Cherie was being referred to in newspapers as the “First Lady”) that Blair was planning to move out of No 10 into something more suitably presidential, and that he had a particular house in mind, one I believe with a grand entrance and carriage drive. Is there any trace of this rumour in the records and was it true, and if so, which was the house?

      • Peter Hitchens

        The rumour was that it was the very beautiful Dover House, on Whitehall. This was the era in which Mrs Blair once hosted wives at G-something summit on the Royal Train. The fury from Downing Street when I discovered this was great, and the story was cleverly killed (but emerged in another newspaper some months later).

        • Little Black Censored

          I might have guessed it was you! Thank you.

    • Mary Ann

      There really shouldn’t have been a state funeral at all, They were divorced. She held no position.

  • Sheik Rhat el Anrhol

    I was always a cheerleader for the monarchy but what a bunch of limp wristed twirps and no hopers we have now to look forward to.

    I am embarrassed

    • mudlark2

      Sadly, Prince William and his brother are representative of the spirit of our times in which emotions are a substitute for thought and sentiment is put before a sense of duty. It’s hardly surprising, since their mother followed her own impulses, regardless of the damage it would cause, egged on by self seeking politicians, the BBC and a large portion of the British public who should have known better.
      I still remember the week which preceded Diana’s funeral and the palpable sense of mass hysteria it generated – the feeling of unpredictability and a fear that if one raised any criticism about the Princess of Hearts it would provoke a lynching. I’ve never quite got over that and whenever I hear about an incident like Grenfell Tower fire or the shooting of Jo Cox, I inwardly brace myself for the inevitable hysteria and the threat of violence.

      • Sheik Rhat el Anrhol

        I think one reason for this is the very inept handling of the issue by The Royals.

        Comprehensively tin eared in fact. This has permeated into the national consciousness in many ways as you rightly suggest..

        • mudlark2

          Yes but what chance did The Royals have to handle the matter? They were pretty much taken over by the revolting Alaistair Campbell and the Prince of Darkness, aka Mandelson, with Tony Blair basking in the reflected glory. I think the whole episode illustrated the vulnerability of the Royal Family in an age where people put so much store by the superficial and the ability to emote sufficiently in front of the cameras.

          • Sheik Rhat el Anrhol

            You may be right to some extent or other but the public’s interpretation is everything, and presumably the people you mention are (and were) well aware of this, or alternatively were as incompetent as I have always believed them to be.despite the `prince of darkness’ and other labels.

            Neither Mandelson or Campbell have exactly covered themselves with glory, have they? So not that clever.

            Neither It seems are the royals, despite my longterm enthusiasm for the monarchy – but wearing a bit thin now.

          • mudlark2

            I think we are in danger of missing the point here. It’s not about whether or not we are enthusiastic about the particular personalities involved or how clever they are. We either accept the principle of a constitutional monarchy or we don’t. There many other important traits such as steadfastness, courage and fidelity and a large does of common sense which the monarch requires. I would rate these above cleverness.

          • Sheik Rhat el Anrhol

            `I think we are in danger of missing the point here. It’s not about whether or not we are enthusiastic about the particular personalities involved or how clever they are’

            The two are inextricably interlinked.

  • Sheik Rhat el Anrhol

    ` This lot captured the BBC, the schools, the civil service and the courts, not the railway station, the barracks and the post office.’

    `We even still have a New Labour government, though it has a different name and doesn’t understand the policies it pursues.’

    He has in those two sentences, nailed the terrible state of the United Kingdom.

    I do not think it can be reversed now. It is sadly too late.

    I have voted Conservative since I was able to vote. I am now seventy two and will never vote for them again. I am in Witney, West Oxfordshire too. We now have a Cameron clone.

  • Ravenscar

    We now know for certain that Blair himself was a university
    Trotskyist, as he has told Peter Hennessy so on Radio 4. We know less,
    but a bit, about the revolutionary Marxist leanings of many of his
    senior colleagues. But I do think people should grasp that Blair’s
    one-time close aide Peter Hyman was telling the truth when he confessed
    last Christmas that New Labour’s project was far more radical than
    Jeremy Corbyn. Dim people can’t seem to grasp that the absence of Little
    Red Books or plans to storm the Winter Palace doesn’t mean there’s no
    revolution going on. This lot captured the BBC, the schools, the civil
    service and the courts, not the railway station, the barracks and the
    post office.

    Imho, that is the key paragraph. and I’ll add another rather relevant quote:


    “A nation can survive its fools, and even the
    ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the
    gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly.
    But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly
    whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of
    government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in
    accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their
    arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of
    all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in
    the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body
    politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear.”

    Undone by those we thought were with us and of us, perfidy, betrayal and sedition – that’s Bliar’s legacy, my worry is that call me cast iron and mother may continues ‘the works’…………

  • timbazo

    ‘She (Diana) just knew, as she picked her many public gestures, how to strike at the heart of the institution she believed had used and wronged her.’ I think it’s worthwhile discussing just how she felt she had been wronged. Charles made the normal promise of exclusive fidelity in his marriage vows while, Diana alleged, he fully intended to continue an emotional and sexual relationship with another woman. It is relevant to the discussion as to how the British changed between 1965 and 1997. Perhaps in 1965, it was acceptable to the British public for a member of the Royal Family to take a virgin commoner, use her womb for the procreation of heirs and then to discard her. However, in 1997 this was no longer acceptable to the British people.

    Hitchen’s analysis of the fragility of the British people’s attachment to the Monarchy is close to the mark (as is his analysis of why so many women attached themselves emotionally to Diana). He does though probably underestimate the personal qualities of the two Princes that appeal to the public. The logical conclusion of this analysis is to see Charles’ accession to the throne as a great danger to the Monarchy. The best chance for the Monarchy to survive would be a lower key, lower expenditure Monarchy with William succeeding his grand-mother.

    There was nothing new about the desire of New Labour to use the Monarchy for its own ends. The conflict between Parliament and the Monarchy started before the Civil War. Both have tried to use the other for political ends ever since Charles I returned in 1660. Their claims to power are diametrically opposed: Parliament’s claim is based on being the elected representatives of the people; the Monarchy’s on the divine wish that they rule over a people whose nationality and language they may not even share. For its own ends, Parliament imported Protestants in 1689 and 1714 and installed these foreigners as King. The Monarchy only relented on its claim not to have to share the nationality and culture of its subjects during World War I, when it felt obliged to change its German name Saxe-Coburg and Gotha to the British name Windsor. Subsequent Monarchs have made increasing efforts to ingratiate themselves with the British public. The present Queen’s practice of doing walkabouts was as revolutionary in its introduction as Diana’s use of the media. The Monarchy has been resilient, its great advantage being the short duration of any politician’s prominence. Thatcher was always going to lose in her rivalry with the Queen. It’s other great strength is the personal failings of the politicians. Charles’ patronage of the intelligence services is probably no accident.

    Finally, if we are to dismiss everything Blair subsequently did or said on the grounds that he was a ‘university Trotskyist’, should we also not dismiss everything Hitchens says on the same grounds?

    • mudlark2

      It is precisely because Hitchens was a Trotskyist that he is one of the few commentators to fully comprehend and explain how the left operate. I think that having once got so close to that heart of darkness one’s sense of hope for the future must be pretty nearly extinguished.

      • timbazo

        The same argument would apply to Blair. Better than anyone in Labour, he understood that the party had to be taken out of the hands of the Left if they were to win elections. That’s why he’s hated by the Trots. Where he and Hitchens differ is not in seeing the dangers of Trotskyism, but in the alternatives they prescribed.

        Blair has also converted to Roman Catholicism. Not a theology compatible with Trotskyism. In any case, I would not take Blair’s word for anything. By most accounts, he was disinterested in politics at university. His narcissistic tendencies found their outlet in dreaming of being a rock star. Like many former public school boys, he found difficulty in socialising with women. As a young man, he was probably prepared to state allegiance to any political creed in order to get into some poor girl’s pants.

    • joseph mackay

      No.

    • Where as Mr Hitchens openly renounced his communism, did Mr Blair ever do the same?

      • timbazo

        Blair had Clause IV removed from the Constitution of the Labour Party: “To secure for the workers by hand or by brain the full fruits of their industry and the most equitable distribution thereof that may be possible upon the basis of the common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange, and the best obtainable system of popular administration and control of each industry or service”.

        In any case, other people’s accounts indicate that Blair was not interested in politics during his student days. Don’t believe him when he says he was.

        • Frank

          I thought he was much more interested in a life on the stage!

          • timbazo

            A point I have been trying to make! He is essentially a narcissist who wanted attention. Having failed as a rock star, he went into politics. The Brazilians says that politics is showbiz for ugly people.

          • Cranmer

            In the case of Benedict Cumberbatch, Lilly Allens and Bob Geldof, I would proffer that in turn, showbiz is politics for the ugly.

        • The removal of the clause is not proof of renouncing communism. It was a PR stunt to make Labour more palatable.

          Blair still made revolutionary changes to the country.

          • timbazo

            Hitler made revolutionary changes to Germany. That doesn’t mean he was a communist.

            The only nationalisation I can think of was that of the national rail system and that was caused by Railtrack’s evident failure to maintain a safe system. The partial nationalisation of HBOS and RBS occurred after he left office and was again forced on the government by their insolvency. The public sector was able to leech off PPPs instead of being funded by QE. Corporate profitability was strong and Blair let in workers from Eastern Europe to keep wages down and profits up. Within the spectrum of the EU, the UK was regulation lite. Blair even allowed monetary policy to be handed back to the bankers – something that Thatcher never did. If you don’t like what Blair did, criticise his policies by all means. Don’t try to stick an ill-fitting label on his mistakes.

    • SimonToo

      The Hon. Diana Spencer was an aristocrat, not a commoner, of a family that had been courtiers for 400 years odd, since the time of Queen Elizabeth I. In those circumstances, naivety hardly washes.

  • PierrePendre

    Diana herself said the crown should skip a generation when the queen died and the idea has never gone away.

    In the meantime, people have learned to accept Camilla which their media mouthpieces swore never to do and Australians voted against the odds to keep the monarchy. They did so because they realised what a rebarbatively arrogant and narcissistic clique were the metropolitan republicans who expected to inherit control of the presidency.

    The “skip a generation” argument – Blair’s absurd Cool Britannia in another form – will be at the forefront of the republican campaign to undermine the monarchy by interrupting the natural succession when the throne becomes vacant. But I would expect it to fail, for Charles to accede and William to replace him when he dies in turn.

    The monarchy will always be endangered in the egalitarian modern world but the silent majority never believed Blair’s fantasy that British history began in 1987. Brexit showed that and there is no reason why Brexit should not strengthen the monarchy as an expression of Britain’s history, it’s independence and its continuity as a unique nation. We keep our monarchy and they keep their five presidents.

    Modern Britain is an odd mix of apparently casual, unthought-out change and rejection of deference on the one hand and adherence to tradition on the other. There are now millions of non-native British voters who have no attachment to the monarchy but this is still a recognisably British Britain in large and small ways. It rallied behind the retaking of the Falklands, it said no to unstable government by rejecting AV and it voted against the EU by supporting Ukip at the European elections and at the referendum. What other country would have a cake baking contest on television?

    I’d bet the same patriotism will protect the monarchy from the republicans who will essentially be the Remainers wearing another of their large collection of anti-British hats. President Kinnock? No thanks.

    • Giambologna

      The problem occurs when a member of the family does something deeply unpopular. Is there a majority in the country who would back the monarchy even when they are unpopular? Will a majority even matter, when the establishment is set against them.

      • SimonToo

        That depends on how unpopular. The Prince Regent became and remained King George IV. The Stuarts, on the other hand, kept coming unstuck.

    • Mary Ann

      You are wrong to assume that republicans are all remainers or remainers are all republicans, the Queen is a remainer (remember the hat) she certainly isn’t a republican.

  • therealguyfaux ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    George Orwell, England Your England, essay, 1941:

    “England…resembles a family, a rather stuffy Victorian family, with not many black sheep in it but with all its cupboards bursting with skeletons. It has rich relations who have to be kow-towed to and poor relations who are horribly sat upon, and there is a deep conspiracy of silence about the source of the family income. It is a family in which the young are generally thwarted and most of the power is in the hands of irresponsible uncles and bedridden aunts. Still, it is a family. It has its private language and its common memories, and at the approach of an enemy it closes its ranks. A family with the wrong members in control – that, perhaps, is as near as one can come to describing England in a phrase.”

    Orwell himself in the essay reminds us that there are other parts of Britain besides England, but that England is the hegemon. It is after all the English throne, albeit with German-descended monarchs’ arses firmly ensconced therein. And to the extent that the Royal Family is a reflection to some extent of the land over which they reign, one could offer it is the Orwellian England, and they are the embodiment of that somewhat-more-normal-looking Addams Family Orwell describes (“They’re creepy and they’re kooky…their house is a museum…” seems to sum up the RF to an uncanny degree, to some people).

    • Frank

      The alternative is someone like Blair and his ghastly wife Cherie, so much better the royal family (so long as they keep the old lip buttoned).

  • Dominic Stockford

    The continued deification of Diana by much of the media does this country no favours whatsoever. neither do the attempts to force Camilla on us as a worthy future ‘queen’.

    • Frank

      Just the media churning out yet more rubbish that is easy to write and where they can say anything. Amazed some of the well known individuals (eg Lawson) think it a good idea to appear on TV – ego over rationality! As for Camilla, I would rather have her than simpering Kate.

      • Dominic Stockford

        I don’t know the cause for your dislike for Kate. I can say however, that to have a double adulteress who treated various people with disdain whilst acting that way, and who technically committed treason, is unsuitable as a queen.

        • Frank

          Katie gives new meaning to vapidity. Camilla may be full of faults but the ones you mention were all caused by her lover being a bit of a plonker. I think most people can identify with Camilla, much harder with Kate!

          • SimonToo

            Being a man, I have difficulty identifying with either.

        • Mary Ann

          It was Diana who technically committed treason, for the Prince of Wales to have an affair is not treason, for the Princess of Wales it was. Look at the press has been trying to throw doubt on the paternity of Harry over the years. Imagine if Prince William and his family were killed, this nasty piece of gossip would raise its ugly head again.

          • Dominic Stockford

            It is treasonable to commit adultery as Camilla did. There is absolutely no evidence that Diana, for all her many undoubted faults, ever committed adultery (before her marriage to Charles was ‘ended’).

    • SimonToo

      That is the joy of the hereditary system. She does not have to be worthy. She needs only to be married to the heir when he accedes to the throne. Usually children outlive their parents, but not invariably : were the Prince of Wales not to outlive HM, the Duchess of Cornwall would remain Duchess of Cornwall and never become a queen, no matter how worthy she might be.

      • They aren’t married. It’s a fake marriage.

        • SimonToo

          It is a legal marriage according to the laws of England and Wales, and of the UK generally. Despite recent legislation, it is still legal for a man to be married to a woman.

          • Yes, but the law is an ass. It is not a marriage in real terms.

          • SimonToo

            In this instance it does not look as though it is the law that is the ass.

          • Why?

          • You mean, you disagree with me. Cretin.

          • SimonToo

            Slow, slow!

            I see that, after some time, you changed your original response of “Why?”.

          • I knew what you meant, I just wanted you to state it. You wouldn’t answer my question, so I did it for you.

  • Giambologna

    ‘As for the future, I daren’t say. It depends so much on economic circumstances, which I suspect will grow much worse and divert us from many of our current preoccupations into new, harsher and more basic matters.’

    This is the worry. There is some unity at present because most people can survive. But if people cannot, then what happens? It seems increasingly possible that a sudden drop out of the Single Market in 2019 could be the catalyst for a spiral downwards.

    • Bogbrush

      I think you meant to say “decreasingly possible…..”

  • Bogbrush

    Peter Hitchens makes me smile because his default answer to any question, no matter how close the questioner thought they were placing it to his opinion, is “I don’t agree”.

    It’s a real pity that he doesn’t grasp that Marxism and Christianity aren’t the only choices; in fact they are quite similar in the one respect that they both give the supplicant something to worship and to which they must prostrate themselves. I prefer my atheism, which demands of me responsibility and productive, beneficial conduct in pursuit of informed self-interest.

    • timbazo

      “(I) wonder if he isn’t simply Britain’s greatest contrarian. I am sure he’d disagree.” Boom boom!

      • Bogbrush

        😉

    • Your name is perfect

  • The Duke of Umberland, England

    I can recall listening to women in the office talking about the deaths.

    There seemed to be two issues dominating their conversations:

    The first was that Charles had betrayed Diana – and that’s what seemed to attract their support.

    The second was; they felt Diana had finally found her prince charming in Dodi; as he was a foreigner, the Establisment had them killed. The women (white), seemed convinced that race did play a part.

    I found listening to these conversations interesting: people recognised that race could play a part and they did not trust the Establishment (these women were not university educated and were in their late 40s).

    • timbazo

      ‘ … they felt Diana had finally found her prince charming in Dodi …’ Just goes to show how little they knew. If Diana had met a Prince Charming, it was Hasnat Khan.

      Perhaps significantly this relationship was kept out of the public gaze. Did Diana care so much for him that she was not prepared to use him in her media battle with Charles?

  • Silly girl should have worn her seat belt, silly boyfriend shouldn’t have been showing off in a fast car. But more to the point, the people of Britain should have realised we were being sold a pup by clever Marxists in disguise. We will get what we asked for.

  • The Wiganer

    When Dianna died the nation split into two distinct groups.

    Those who were wailing and crying about her death. Then a huge quieter group who were left wondering what the hell was going on.

    I remember me and my friends looking at the outpouring of grief and being bewildered by it all.

    • Rintintin

      …actually there were some in between. I remember finding myself quite taken aback by her death and wondering why….

      • Mary Ann

        I felt sorry for her children, but then I would feel sorry for any child who had lost their mother.

  • Chingford Man

    The problem with Hitchens is that he is prone to suggest that something is a lost cause when it probably is not. He is too much of a pessimist, I think, to try and turn back tides and possibly also lacks the energy to do so.

    • Peter Hitchens

      Tides turn whether we want them to or not. That is what they do. But in sinking ships, once the battle to close the breach in the hull is lost, the water rises inexorably, and anyone who thinks he can stop it, or that it will mysteriously drain back into the sea, is a fool.

      • Frank

        National moods change and I suspect / feel that there is immense public anger at our “progressive” establishment over what they have done to Britain. It has been a very long time since our last outpouring of anger (1649), and it might not take much to trigger another reaction.

      • The Buttscratcher Jimmy

        I’m glad you’re not my grandad!

      • Chingford Man

        Thank you for replying. I have enjoyed your work for the last 20 years, especially the first edition of your book on crime. Perhaps turning tides is the wrong metaphor. So more accurately, I would describe myself as a foot soldier in a culturally conservative army who is up for a fight. I think you are far too defeatist when it comes to pushing back against the left when you could be giving the rest of us a lead. Situations do change, sometimes quickly. Nothing is inevitable.

      • Damaris Tighe

        Peter, ships are inanimate objects subject to the laws of engineering and nature. Humans on the other hand have minds and will – there’s nothing inevitable about society, norms can and do change, sometimes in unpredictable ways (unlike a sinking ship). Like other commenters here, I do wish you wouldn’t be so defeatist. Minds can change, especially when a tipping point is reached, and I suspect we’re getting very close to that point.

    • General James Oglethorpe

      We do not own the future. Our children and grandchildren will.

      Hitchens needs to recognise that the Almighty always has his remnant. Those who have not bowed or kissed Baal.

      The Psalmist says:

      Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.
      Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.

  • paul parmenter

    It has been pointed out many times that the monarchy has sought to modernise itself by becoming some sort of real-life soap opera. This was seen as the only way to keep the institution in some way “relevant”. This seems to be an implied undercurrent of the above interview, although not overtly discussed.

    But of course the soap opera didn’t take the turn that it was supposed to, which was to portray the royals as really quite a normal family that we plebs could relate to. Instead Diana successfully took it over and wrote her own script. She became the primary character: the beautiful but lonely, betrayed princess, locked into a loveless marriage, desperately seeking a way out, and countering her own private (but actually very public) misery by great-hearted acts of charity and compassion far and wide. And the whole mega-emotional story played out in the full glare of the cameras and an army of twittering commentators. Her shocking death was quite unforeseen, but quickly became the ultimate story line; it has run and run. It was almost as if it had to be scripted that way. Which is maybe why there was the explosion of conspiracy theories.

    It may be that the only way the monarchy can survive is to continue the soap. The Queen has been a wonderful character for so long, but is clearly winding down. Philip has already taken his final bow, save for perhaps the odd cameo appearance in future. Charles and Camilla are respected but not loved. In any case they are too old and nowhere near interesting enough to carry the story line any further on their own. Hence the focus is now on the younger generation of William, Kate and Harry. They have to continue to play the parts demanded by their audience, with the politicians trying to manipulate them for their own ends.

    It’s still a soap, and soaps are notorious for their longevity. So the monarchy may still have plenty of mileage. The only problem is that the story lines have to become more and more outrageously unbelievable, and the characters more bizarre. So can the royals survive as a reality show? Do we even really want them to?

    I also think of Harry’s recent comment, that nobody in the royal family actually wants to be the monarch. I can well understand that. It would be the last job I would ever want, too. So maybe the whole shebang is going to grind to a halt at some point. It would seem to be a fitting reflection of everything else that was once revered but has now gone to pot.

  • ChrisH

    I was one of those wondering what all the fuss was about. Just why were all these people blubbing over someone they’d never met? I still don’t really know why.

    • Fred Uttlescay

      I guess empathy and altruism have passed you by.

      Incidentally Peter Hitchens outed himself as a complete pillock some while ago.

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/columnists/article-131579/Im-sorry-Mr-Duncan-youre-gay-Tory.html

      • Frank

        Gosh, you seem to be more than slightly biased, that article was cogent, logical and sane.

        • Fred Uttlescay

          Read the article in the link. Do you think a gay person can’t be a Tory?
          Sadly the Hitchens brother with intelligence died.

          http://www.dailymail.co.uk/columnists/article-131579/Im-sorry-Mr-Duncan-youre-gay-Tory.html

          • Frank

            That is not what he said. His view was that Duncan should have kept quiet about it (and Cameron pushing for gay marriage just destabilised British society). I think his point about Cameron was right.

          • Fred Uttlescay

            It’s the name of the piece!!!!

          • Frank

            So what are you objecting to?

          • Fred Uttlescay

            The appalling attitudes to gay people that prevail in some of the more retarded parts of society today.

          • Rintintin

            Why are you bothered though…they have very little power. The combined onslaught of political correctness and the BBC has made it “de rigeur” to not only not object to gay people, but something that must be “celebrated”. ( For what it’s worth, I have no objection to homosexuality although I’m not inclined to prosletize it either. No doubt that means I am an appalling person too).

          • Nockian

            Some people dislike homosexuality being thrust down their throats 24/7, nor homosexuals being rewarded with anti-discrimination privilige (many homosexuals never asked for it, or wanted it) which is in effect hetrophobia, it doesn’t mean people are retarded.

            Attitudes are simply non physical expressions of discrimination and judgement based on moral values, they are not violent actions, they are not an initiation of physical force.

          • Fred Uttlescay

            It isn’t being shoved down your throat except in your imagination.

          • Nockian

            If you cannot speak against it, if you cannot discriminate freely, then it is being forced.

            If an employer cannot discriminate against a homosexual on the grounds of homosexuality without penalty of the law; if a baker cannot refuse to make a cake for homosexuals without being fined; if a church cannot refuse marriage without the courts dealing with it. Then force is being employed.

            The sensible way to stop that kind of descrimination is by boycott and free speech, but look what’s happening in our universities and schools-no platforming, safe spaces and free speech bans. No dissent allowed, no alternative opinions voiced. At your own peril. One only need look at the events in Russia during and after the revolution to see where that goes.

          • Fred Uttlescay

            It is illegal to discriminate against a person based on their innate characteristics. The Asher bakery accepted the order until their bronze age ignorance kicked in, then, days later, they rejected the order.

          • Nockian

            I know it’s illegal, that’s the point, it shouldn’t be. It’s the use of force to gain the unearned . It does not matter what you, I, or anyone else thinks about their actions, they did not initiate force, they were subject to it. They should have had a right to reject the contract and then it was a civil case involving damages for breaking the contract.

          • Fred Uttlescay

            They initiated force by rejecting his order once they accepted it. Just as I would initiate force by parking on yellow lines and getting a ticket.

          • Nockian

            They broke a contract, there was no initiation of force. In your example you are using the breaking of a state defined law applied to unowned property, where as the baker clearly did own his property and was deprived of it by force.

            There is a principle here that is important to understand and that is property rights. If you don’t understand the need for property rights in a society, then you are at risk of losing your own liberty and surrendering your life to the will of men who wish to take it. Sans property rights we are all slaves to whoever wishes to own us. Slaves were made the chattel of the slave owners-the slaves could not own property and that applied to themselves.

          • Fred Uttlescay

            If you supply a service to the general public you are not entitled to discriminate against anyone just because of the way they are. If you don’t like that you are free to not supply a service.

          • Nockian

            Having a law that prohibits such a thing in order to give unearned priviliges to specialist groups demanding it is entirely different from reality. You can make laws for anything, it doesn’t mean reality obeys them. No one can stop anyone discriminating against anyone else-they need not give a reason for doing so and not run foul of the law.

            Draconian laws simply deprive a person of his rights and solve nothing. Do you think a slave likes his master any better because he holds a whip ? Force solves nothing, it prevents open discussion and where open discussion cannot flourish then hatred certainly will. When there is enough hatred built up, prepare for the backlash. The more force is applied, the greater will be the force resisting.

          • Fred Uttlescay

            There is nothing remotely draconian about a law that applies to all and ensures that everyone is treated fairly.

          • Nockian

            Fairly by which standard ? I might insist that ‘fairly’ means having a private jet, or having my neighbours sent into hard labour because I work in a quarry.

            If you mean justly, then that means no initiation of force and the freedom to act in your best interest.

          • Fred Uttlescay

            Laws are enacted for the benefit of society in general, which will invariably infringe the freedom of individuals to ride roughshod over the rights of others. Without law we have anarchy. The baker should have made that cake, because making cakes is the service they offer to the general public.

          • Nockian

            Laws are for the benefit of individuals. There is no such thing as a society as an entity, it is an aggregate of all the individuals.

            Rights are expressed in the negative. In other words, what cannot be taken from you. The law did not equally cover the rights of the baker and the customer. The homosexual couple had priviliges the baker did not. The problem that you refuse to see is that the homosexual had positive rights and that, in effect is racism (if we regard homosexuals as a tribal group-which is how the liberal left see the world).

            The homosexual rights would mean they were not forced to buy from one particular baker, nor that the baker could take their money but then refuse to supply the goods and refuse to refund the money. Likewise the baker is not forced to supply goods to any particular customer. That’s fair. The homosexual couple could have set up their own bakery and refused to make cakes from hetrosexuals and that would have been fair.

          • Fred Uttlescay

            Wrong, laws are for the benefit of society in general. The speed limits are a good example. An individual might consider that driving at 90 mph on a motorway is perfectly safe, society has introduced enforceable speed restrictions to prevent him from doing so. An individual might want to smoke in a pub, our elected government introduced a perfectly justifiable law that prevents it.

          • Nockian

            How can it benefit a society in general if you just singled out an individual ? Surely you can see the society isn’t an entity, you can’t point to it, you can only point out individual members of the aggregate.

            A speed limit is an arbitary thing. The U.K. Had no mandatory motorway limit until the fuel crisis which mandated a temporary limit due to fuel consumption.

            As it is, I often travel much slower than the arbitary limit because I choose to do so in regard to the environment. I do so because I don’t want an accident, either to damage myself or my property, or to have the hassle of sorting out damage I might cause to others. It benefits me as an individual to act that way regardless of the laws imposed on me. We always need rules to follow such as traffic signs and such, which help every individual achieve their goals – we don’t want chaos which prevents us doing that.

          • Fred Uttlescay

            If you travel far too slowly you are more likely to cause an accident. Everyone has to abide by the laws against discrimination, surely a good thing.

          • Nockian

            Men and women discriminate against almost half the population by rejecting a same sex marriage partner, even if they rejected a different sex partner they would still be discriminating against half the population. Discrimination and judgement are reality, wake up and smell the coffee….or maybe you prefer tea.

          • Fred Uttlescay

            Not the same thing at all and you know it.

          • So the headline is wrong. Duh.

          • SimonToo

            A gay person cannot be a Tory? What planet are you from? ROFL !

            I seem to remember Ken Livingston once remarking on the number of gays in the Conservative Party.

          • Fred Uttlescay

            It was a headline in the Daily Mail, a headline from an article by the gormless religious lunatic called Peter Hitchens.

      • General James Oglethorpe

        Back to the shadows Fred

        • Fred Uttlescay

          Did you know Hank Marvin is a Jehovah’s Witness?

      • That’s so gay

    • Nockian

      Neither do they. It’s all about outdoing each other in the emotional trauma stakes. In other words ‘I am sadder than you, it impacted my world to a greater extent than yours’ me, me, me, me.

  • SimonToo

    The day that the Princess died and the days that followed seemed to be a peculiar period of artificial emotions. It seemed to me to have been fanned by television abandoning all its schedule to bring non-stop non-news, from a situation in which there was extremely little likelihood of any rapid development in the news. If TV insists on banging on about something at such extreme length, many people will be driven to an emotional response; one that they were unlikely to have experienced, at least with anywhere near such intensity, had the audio-visual reporting been continent.

  • Nockian

    Another example of exactly why Conservatism has failed. The natural fall back of Conservatism is Faith, family and tradition. In a nutshell, this is a full on retreat from reason and it gives the baton to the enemy who replace tradition with progression and faith with scientific reason.

    Conservatives have no moral argument to support free market capitalism, they have no moral argument to support individual freedom other than the mysticism of Christian Faith and tradition which is no argument at all.

    The monarchy is an irrelevance, as is Christianity, tradition and family values. Conservatives may as well dress up as Druids and issue incantations as far as rational people are concerned. It is no wonder the young are confused; between faith and tradition and reason and progressivism, there can only be one winner.

    I generally enjoy reading Hitchens, I agree with him on many issues and enjoy his writings, but he is a man who has surrendered and taken on the mantle of a voyeur of nihilism by hiding in a bubble of the past from which he hacks at the present with his ostrich feather and ink. He offers no lead, no hope and he appears to relish the idea of anything outside his self made bubble disintegrating as confirmation that he is correct.

    • “The natural fall back of Conservatism is Faith, family and tradition. In a nutshell, this is a full on retreat from reason… ”

      Hilarious!

      • Nockian

        Laughter is healthy.

        • Mrs May is not a conservative for a start.

          • Nockian

            That’s pretty difficult to deny when she is head of the Conservative party.

          • The Tory party is not conservative

          • Nockian

            PH would say that also. What do you imagine happened to it ? Is it not obvious ? How many have noted here that there is no left and right ? They are hewn from the same philosophical bedrock and are hence interchangeable. Both are authoritarian ideologies that deny freedom. The right deny the body freedom and the the left deny the mind freedom. It’s why Conservative scandals never revolved around money, but of a sexual nature, just as the left were rocked by money scandals, but sexually they could do what they wished. The body cannot live without the mind, nor mind without the body. The left seek to control the mind, the right to control the body-there is no freedom either way. It stands to reason that they can merge.

          • “They are hewn from the same philosophical bedrock and are hence interchangeable. Both are authoritarian ideologies that deny freedom. ”

            Well, they are both from Liberalism.

          • Nockian

            That man has no right to his own life.

          • Why? Because conservatives scold him for fornicating and aborting his babies?

          • Nockian

            Scolding is different from prosecution.

          • What prosecution?

          • Nockian

            You are free to scold all you like, but to deny a woman an abortion on punishment by the state is something different. By all means barrack and object, it’s your right, but don’t impose your belief system on women who disagree with you.

          • I hate Ayn Rand, and I can’t stand her disciples either. Killing little kids is just about the most evil thing there is. You disgust me.

            The state ought to punish the people who procure, or conduct abortions, but in fact does not.

            This is because no-one has the right to kill innocent human beings.

          • Nockian

            If it was ‘killing little children’ I would quite agree, however it isn’t and more killing than removing a wart, although it will likely prove more traumatic for the potential mother and the doctor.

            We aren’t going any further at this juncture and we already have abortion laws in place.

          • “although it will likely prove more traumatic for the potential mother and the doctor.”

            removing warts does not have this effect on women or doctors

          • Nockian

            Yes, that’s what I meant. It’s impossible not to realise the potential of those few cells and I doubt many women can undergo an abortion without some sense of that-which is where the responsibility part lies, the woman always has that knowledge and the emotions that go with it-there is no reason for others to step in to punish her further.

          • “Few cells”? At 39 weeks? or 20 weeks?

            You said, I think, that abortion is no more killing than is the removal of a wart. Is that not what you said?

            It’s clear that if women are emotional about it it’s because they know they’re killing a baby.

            Since nobody is prosecuted for any perversion you love, I can’t see why you’re so bothered about conservatives.

          • Nockian

            They know they are giving up the chance of producing a life which they believe will make their lives worse. They have to balance one thing against another and make a difficult decision for the best outcome. However, they are not ‘killing a baby human being’ regardless of how you continue to pose it. By all means go out and talk with women considering an abortion and see if you can tip the balance, perhaps you can help out, take the baby so that mum can get a job, or baby sit, or maybe you can go talk to the parents (particularly in some Muslim families) and explain why they shouldn’t kill their daughters, or send her packing.

            The problem with people like yourself is that you won’t take responsibility for your own actions but you moralise for everybody else. Put your courage, your effort and your money where your mouth is and go help anyway you can instead of lobbying the state to prosecute and deny those who have already paid a price. Be a Good Samaritan if you have it in you, otherwise shut up.

          • How could you possibly know what I do or don’t do?

            “The problem with people like yourself is that you won’t take
            responsibility for your own actions …”

            I won’t?

            This seems to be the main reason you don’t want to believe in God. How many abortions have you paid for?

            “They know they are giving up the chance of producing a life which they
            believe will make their lives worse.”

            Why would this be a hard decision?

            “They have to balance one thing
            against another and make a difficult decision for the best outcome.”

            If it’s not a baby, why would this be in any way a difficult decision?

          • Nockian

            Because it is you who takes the side of the potential over the existent-as if the woman should have no say, as if she is no more than a flask. Don’t sacrifice the existent to the potential and stay out of other people’s business and the decisions they have to make for themselves.

            It is not that you disagree with abortion, it is your belief that the state must punish the potential mother to salve your conscience on the matter, to meet the values you claim based on nothing more than a delusional belief in an interdimrnsional creator that speaks through ordinary men by some form of transcendent connection that cannot be proven. It makes your morals highly questionable to the same extent of my saying that an Irishman told me what moral values to take because he listens to magic, invisible leprechauns.

            I don’t interfere with people’s choice to give birth, or to have an abortion. It has nothing at all to do with me what others choose to do in that respect-but most especially I don’t lobby the state to punish women for a mistake which is victimless in regard to an actual fully existent human life.

            It’s not ‘that I don’t want to believe in God’. It is that the existence of such a God is without proof-hence a rational person would be damaging their own consciousness by acting that way. This is why faith is antithetical to reason. If you want to believe in God, if that fills a need you have, if it makes your life happier then good luck to you, but I’m afraid faith and rational law are not compatible for obvious reasons laws must be related to objective reality, or we will be back to burning heretics at the stake.

            I can only answer anecdotally in respect of women having abortions-I was once a personal coach, so often past histories came to the fore-and women often felt a great deal of guilt later in life because of vastly changed circumstances, which, had they existed at the time they might have made a different decision-but that kind of thinking is a fruitless.

            Does that mean it’s a difficult decision for ALL women ? I can’t answer to that, but I believe it’s something that many do consider to be difficult. I wouldn’t pay for someone’s abortion, neither would I attempt to talk them out of it. I believe women must have the freedom to decide free from state pressure either way. The one thing I would say is that the tax payer shouldn’t foot the bill-but then I apply that to the entire NHS not one specific part of it.

          • “Because it is you who takes the side of the potential over the
            existent-as if the woman should have no say, as if she is no more than a
            flask. Don’t sacrifice the existent to the potential and stay out of
            other people’s business and the decisions they have to make for
            themselves.”

            I can’t even make sense of what you’re saying now. What is this an answer to? How many abortions did you encourage? How many abortions have your partner/s had that were the, um, result of your insemination?

            “Does that mean it’s a difficult decision for ALL women ? I can’t answer to that”

            Why would it be difficult at all? These are just warts, you know.

          • Nockian

            A foetus in the early stages of pregnancy is not a conscious, existing human being, but the mother is. You refuse to understand because it hacks at the entire morality of the Christian church which is altruism-sacrifice to God. In your churches morality all life is God given and hence a woman can have no say in the process of procreation once it is underway. In other words it is the sacrifice of the woman’s life to Gods will. If she happened to die during childbirth-well that would be Gods will wouldn’t it ? This is the sacrifice of the potential to the existent, but it doesn’t mean that sacrifice is the ultimate I.e death, but of her own moral purpose of achieving happiness. It doesn’t matter to the religious that a woman’s life maybe made harder and more miserable as a result of forcing her to continue with the pregnancy ? This was Reece Moggs recent revelation-even a pregnancy as a result of rape/incest should be preserved. It’s just a step away from stoning women for being rape victims.

            I have never encouraged or denied abortion, it’s the woman’s choice, she is free to make that decision, even if it were my wife I would respect it. I have no rights over another existent human beings rights ‘freedom to choose’.

          • “You refuse to understand because it hacks at the entire morality of the Christian church which is altruism-sacrifice to God.”

            Nope. It’s basic science and logic. Plenty of non-Christians believe a foetus is a baby. Go look at some abortion pics and get back to me about how it’s not a human being. You can’t solve your problems by killing innocent human beings.

          • Nockian

            It’s not a human being just because it is shaped like a human being. This is why doctors specify the point at which the foetal brain becomes developed enough for it to become consciousness. This is the basic science carried out by scientists and not your gut, emotional feelings on the matter, which aren’t logic.

            I’m not killing innocent human beings, but you are all for punishing human beings because of your misguided, illogical, unscientific emotionalism. It’s why you believe God exists, not because you can prove it, but because you feel it is true.

          • It’s shaped like a human being, but it’s not a human being? Consciousness has nothing to do with anything in this debate. At the moment of fertilisation it is a tiny human being, a living entity, with its own human DNA. It is a human being at the early stage of development, that’s all. We don’t pick on humans just because they’re smaller.

            My belief in the existence of God has nothing to do with my opposition to abortion, which is a basic matter of reason and science. As I noted, even atheists can see that abortion is wrong.

            But suppose, for argument’s sake that you are correct and that the brain must be developed for consciousness and that this defines the beginning of human life (it doesn’t, but I’ll humour you) at what point is that then? And are abortions done after this time?

            By the way, some abortionists now simply admit they kill babies.

          • Nockian

            It isn’t just smaller, it isn’t yet a human being. It has no cognition. You appear to have no empathy for the woman who is a full human being and cognitive of that fact.

            Reason tells me that for a fact there is a fully cognitive conscious human in the form of the woman – an existent fact. There is only a potential human, that is wholly dependent on that existent woman to develop to the point of conscious existence. Then there is the doctor who must decide for himself if he will perform the operation. In each case there is a moral responsibility for those actions on each participant. They have to decide whether abortion benefits the existent mother, not the potential child.

            For arguments sake I did not say that it did not define the beginning of human life, I said that a cluster of cells does not yet make a conscious human being. I’m not a scientist, but as I understand it, those that are err on the side of caution in that respect. The only time they may choose a later abortion is if there is a danger to mother and child, or there is an abnormality which would result in a damaged/suffering child-but that is again the mothers choice and many still will choose to have the child.

            I wouldn’t understand the ethics of someone who knowingly killed any human being which isn’t initiating force against them. Doctors in the UK at least, are not forced to give abortions and nurses are not forced to participate in those operations either.

          • Cognition is not what makes us human. Can you show that it does?

          • Nockian

            To show or prove to someone who discounts the idea of proof is really an exercise in futility.

            If you are serious then you have to accept proof as the arbiter of reality and you aren’t at that stage. I may as well come up with some Dawkin atheistic nonesense which I could equally ascribe to faith, then it would just be one proof less belief against another. Pretty much every religious war ever fought.

          • I don’t discount the idea of proof, you simply can’t do it.

          • Nockian

            Proof requires tangible physical evidence. I can’t prove to you what does not exist. No one can show anyone evidence of non existence, that’s the catch 22 of any faith system, asking those who aren’t part of it to prove it isn’t real.

            It’s hard to convince a child that monsters don’t hide under the bed the moment the light is turned out; it’s hard even to explain to many that a tree falling in a wood does produce the same energy vibrations regardless of anyone being around to experience them, but it is man who hears that sound he describes as a falling tree when those waves of energy interact with his sensory organs and nervous system. He can only call it a tree falling if he has absorbed the concept of tree, Gravity, causality, sound etc from previous exposure to those things physically.

            Humans have a unique ability to hold floating concepts in the mind devoid of proof. For instance a unicorn, dragon, or fairies. We don’t need an exact description to hold the concept, it only needs to be related in kind to concepts that we know have sensory data about, such as horse, rhinoceros, lizard, dinosaur fossils, dragonflies. That’s sufficient for the mind to accept the possibility of such a thing. The next step is probability, then finally certainty following the direct sense experience of that object.

            However, we also have emotions which are not tools of cognition, but are very powerful signals in the way our lives are going. Sometimes we can seek the emotional sense of joy over the rational truth. In other words we can swap reality for feelings and eschew any proof of existence because of the way we wish to feel.

            What you are really asking me is whether your feelings are real. You don’t need proof of that. What you would need to do is to understand that your feelings are a result of ideas that you hold. To do that is very difficult, not impossible. However, one must first be willing to accept reality as it is, then put feelings in the right place in the line.

            This is why faith is difficult to eradicate, because it appeals at a deeply emotional level in and are considered by those who haven’t investigated their premise, as being proof in of themselves. Then who can prove that your feelings aren’t real ? They are to you, so who would I be to tell you that you are wrong, that you don’t have those feelings ?

            The feeling of having God can fill a void of unhappiness, doubt, despair and other negatives, it can blot out the worst of realities that people prefer were not true. It gives hope simply by believing and that’s what faith is. In that respect the faith is as real to you as anything you can feel or see, indeed it may be even more real.

          • Did you go look at those pictures?

          • Nockian

            I’ve seen them many times. It hasn’t changed my view. I’m sympathetic to yours, but I disagree with it. I see the mother first and understand that she has a life to live. It is not my place to condemn her actions.

            The conundrum which you seem to miss, is one which is easier for objectivists. We see the world of human interactions pivoting on the desire for freedom from the initiation of force. In the case existent of mother and potential child, if the state acts against the existent mother then there is a clear initiation of force as her freedom to abort the child to serve her own life is prevented.

            Can there then an initiation of force equally against the potential child by the mother ? This is more difficult, because in effect there is no distinction at that point between the woman’s body/mind and the potential child. It would be similar to a kidney removal in that the kidney does not constitute a full human being if it cannot function independently once it is removed from the body. Once a foetus is capable of independence outside of the woman, when it’s conscious, then it’s a different story.

          • Sorry, I’m allergic to Ayn Rand Disciples, you are incredibly selfish people. I have to go puke.

          • Nockian

            I regard that as a compliment, although there are no Ayn Rand disciples, there are people who read her work and parse it for logical fallacies just like any other philosophy and accept the premise.

            It is the altruists that made selfishness a dirty word just like the Maxist did to capitalism. Altruism mean selflessness, sacrifice or duty. It means you have no ownership of yourself-always interesting to note that communists/fascists use that same ideology to control the people, but then, when they need something producing, or inventing, they suddenly forget all about this selflessness and rely on the selfishness of the individual to make things happen. Suddenly they don’t wish for robots. During wars a selfless soldier wouldn’t care less if he survived or not, so they are encouraged to care in order to fight properly.

          • Selfishness is disgusting and is almost entirely what’s wrong with the world and you certainly are a Disciple of Ayn Rand, with a capital D.

          • Nockian

            I really think you should investigate objectivist philosophy before leaping to such conclusions.

            At least now you have defined your view of selfishness; but a refusal to take responsibility for ones actions is either evasion or ignorance and not selfishness. Indeed it is selflessness – it is to prefer duty over thought. Rational selfishness requires the fully conscious eradication of evasion and ignorance. It is total responsibility for the self in relation to reality as it is.

            The virtues are, but not limited to; reason-independence-honesty-integrity-justice-productivity and pride.

            None of those virtues allow the possibility of shirking responsibility, or evasion, nor ignorance intentionally. It does not mean error free, but trying to get as close to the elimination of personal cognitive error as possible. It means investigating all feelings and emotions and checking the premise behind each one. Asking ‘is this true’ ? And are those concepts provable in reality.

          • Nockian

            I thought you might be interested in seeing an interview which might at least give some perspective which you might not have been exposed to – rather than the the sort of religion bashing practised by the likes of Dawkins who has nothing to replace the religious moral framework with, it’s just nihilism (which is why I call him a desperate atheist).

            https://youtu.be/pxGCOH6_h4g

          • “even if it were my wife I would respect it”

            Beta male

          • Nockian

            Sticks and stones. 🙂

          • How are your Golden Books, sweetie?

          • Nockian

            Quite lovely. Good store of value.

          • “to salve your conscience on the matter”

            Why would my conscience need salving? I’m not the one having abortions.

          • Nockian

            Exactly. You are not the one, so why on earth do you feel it necessary to ask the Government – the monopoly of force-to act against an individual based on your opinion. By all means have your opinion, by all means voice it, but it’s only an opinion on someone else’s life-apply it to your own, don’t go off looking it to apply it to others when it isn’t an act of an initiation of force against any existing person. Instead it is Catholic moral value.

          • Oh, and now I’m Hitler! LOL! Do you read that Golden Book, “Everyone I don’t like is Hitler” ?

            “Exactly. You are not the one, so why on earth do you feel it necessary
            to ask the Government – the monopoly of force-to act against an
            individual based on your opinion.”

            So you admit you’re spouting nonsense.

            You said I’m trying to salve my conscience. Now you agree that it’s not about my conscience. You’re as thick as a plank.

            It’s not about forcing people to act, it’s about punishing people who act by killing innocent humans, thus deterring more people from doing it in future. Simple.

            “Having a child doesn’t end with the birth does it ? A child is a massive
            burden of responsibility and cost for at least 18 years, but often
            longer. Even a prisoner is less burdened to that extent.”

            A d o p t i o n

            Heck, even my atheist, pro-life friend says “It’s only 9 months of your life.”

            My moralising is fantastic. I love it.

            You’re kind of cute how you describe defenders of innocent human beings as “cruel”.

        • “Look at Ms Mays recent statement ‘the unacceptable face of capitalism’ which means ‘the unacceptable face of individual freedom’. In the Conservative world A is not A, freedom is to be controlled by the state because it is dangerous.”

          I doubt I agree with Mrs May on anything much, but in your comment here you are assuming that capitalism = freedom, which might not be the case.

          • Nockian

            I’m not ‘assuming’ capitalism is freedom, it is freedom. This is why Conservatives continually fail to defend it and then socialists/fascists win.

            What is capitalism but a social system based on the recognition of individual rights. Rights that are negatives-what cannot be initiated by force. It is the use of force which negates each individual’s freedom to act in pursuit of the happiness of his own life as an end in itself and as this applies man to man consistently.

            Since rights means the subordination of a group to a moral law, then capitalism is the ONLY moral system.

          • You are assuming it’s freedom. That’s ridiculous. You have to show that it is.

            Belloc would oppose you. I included his excellent essay on my blog, in case you are interested in reading it. Capitalism has real problems with it.

            https://louiseyvette.wordpress.com/2017/07/01/capitalism-belloc/

            What are rights? Where do they come from?

          • Nockian

            I’ve answered that in already; rights are a sanction to independent action and are only applicable within groups of men and the laws they make.

          • Nockian

            I read that piece. It’s unintelligible. Belloc uses a descriptor ‘industrial’ capitalism, but fails to define capitalism. That’s the same linguistic trick the socialists use. Land owners at the time saw the migration of their flock to the mills and away from their land/influence. The church had a vested interest in trying to smear the industrial revolution as their power and influence over the people failed. Men were getting wealthy not by prayer, but by production. It looked and smelt like hell to the church and the peasants were becoming Godless-heck, what is a good Christian to do ?

            Here it’s obvious what Belloc was attempting to do. It comes back to the same Conservative values of keeping things as they were, to maintaining the status quo to which it applies a rosy glow of faux spiritual well being. Faith, tradition and Christian family values should be upheld regardless of the cost.

          • Whatever it is, it’s not unintelligible

          • Nockian

            It is if you aren’t a mystic. I have the same issue with new agers – they begin everything from an floating epistemological concept which isn’t tied to reality. It’s like finding yourself in the middle of a Harry Potter book in which reality is discussed in terms of wizards spells and the power of wands.

          • Not everything you disagree with is “mystic.” This is no way to conduct a discussion, especially for someone who considers himself intelligent.

          • Nockian

            It’s mystic if it stems from faith and not reason. If it comes from the supernatural and not from the direct perception of the senses of reality. It is impossible to argue with someone who professes a faith, that is to say that is a person who does not relate to reality and for whom rational argument is antithetical. It’s like arguing with a child who believes in fairies without proof of a fairies existence, I can ask the child to show me a fairy and they will point out what their imagination conjures for them-they haven’t yet developed the critical thinking needed to distinguish between perception and conception. To a child anything is possible, it’s real if they think it is, but an adult should be tracking reality as it is because their survival is dependent on being certain.

          • The Catholic faith does not contradict reason and adheres to it and corresponds closely to reality.

          • Nockian

            How do you know ? It’s a faith, it requires no reality, it’s sources of knowledge are divine revelation to a select few, which have no basis in fact.

            Again, I have no issues about someone wishing to follow a faith, we all must choose what philosophy to live by and I respect that choice even if I fundamentally disagree with that philosophy.

          • All you do is assert stuff.

            For some reason I didn’t get the notification of your reply, but if the Catholic Faith did not correspond with what I can see, I wouldn’t believe in it.

          • Nockian

            You can prove the existence of God ? Even Aquinus failed to that and he had a damned good attempt-a classic for studying logicians to find where the fallacy occurred.

          • I don’t have to prove it. I said that the Faith corresponds to reality. That means that nothing I believe can be proven to contradict reality.

          • Nockian

            That appears to be circular reasoning. It’s up to you wether you want to prove it or not. Proof requires the senses to confirm what you believe is true. Faith is contrary to proof in that proof is unnecessary to the faithful.

          • You are the one asserting that my beliefs are not in accord with reality. You’ll have to prove it.

          • Nockian

            What use is proof to someone who accepts the unproven as truth ?

          • How many well-informed Catholics have you had discussions with?

          • Nockian

            Several.

          • Good. You need it.

          • Nockian

            They needed it more.

          • Bogbrush

            I prefer the term “free market” to capitalism myself, and the best definition I ever heard was that a free market is an environment where everyone is free to decline any offer made to them.

            I believe we need nothing more; certainly not the socialist subordination to the State and nor the subjugation to fictional supernatural beings and belief that they define morality. Both are severely damaging, and the product of damaged minds.

          • Nockian

            Capital(ism) was hijacked by Marxism, also, if you read one of the replies to my post it can be clearly seen that Christians were doing the same think by terming it ‘industrial’ capitalism.

            The term often used is laissez faire capitalism, to denote the specific kind of capitalism you and I agree on, but ‘laissez faire’ is also a redundant descriptor.

            ‘Everyone free to decline an offer’ is really the basis on which rights exist-in the negative sense-so that fits well enough.

            Where things get sticky is that people don’t ask themselves the logical question-why do we need rights? Why do we need freedom ? And to both of those ‘against what standard’ ? If we agree they are required. There is this dogmatic assumption that rights and freedom are important, but not why they should be, nor how they should be defined. This makes rights and freedoms as fluid and foggy and has allowed the attempts by the LBGT groups to nullify gender. In other words, we must first link freedom and rights to the reality our senses are engaged with and not leave them pure floating conceptions to be constantly manipulated by anyone with an agenda.

          • Bogbrush

            If there’s only one thing worse than “rights” it’s “Human Rights”. I mean, where the Hell did that concept come from? Are we seeking to distinguish right for humans from those for animals, in which case we really should be focusing on the right not to be slaughtered for food and the like.

            Anyway, I always go back to the point of birth and to the concept that all obligations can only be freely entered into. Therefore no child can be born with compulsory obligations, not even to their parents (they might feel compelled to reciprocate but that’s to satisfy their own internal needs, not because their parents have a claim on them) and any obligations must be consciously accepted.

            Inherent (“human”) rights requires imposition on others (which nobody has a right to do so they cannot exist. This includes even the right not to be harmed: not because I’m for harm that but because there is no need for such a right because as the operative principle is that we have no entitlement to impose on another a “preventative right” is redundant. Being left alone is the default.

          • Nockian

            Yes, ‘human’ rights is a redundancy.

            As with children, so too their parents. There is no obligation for parents to sacrifice to their children. In practice it is not ‘obligation’ but the value of the children to the happiness of their parents which keeps families together.

            ‘Being left alone is the default’-absolutely agree. However, we must go further and ask why. As you say, there are no inherent rights-anyone adrift on the sea after a ship wreck will quickly realise that they cannot appeal to a court in order to save their lives.

          • Bogbrush

            You might argue that a parent, having imposed existence on a child who will suffer unless supported, has freely taken an obligation. It’s arguable I’d say.

            There will be people reading this thinking you & I are some kind of psychopaths!

          • Nockian

            Ive long accepted that particular burden LOL

            ‘Freely taken’ an obligation is what makes the difference. This is a person who has applied reason to a decision and not someone to which mindless ‘duty’ is the guide. People confuse duty with responsible choices based on rational judgement. Kant says that anything one does which is rationally chosen is in effect problematic-that one has a duty sans reason and value, that it should be an unthinking, unfeeling, uncritical action.

            That people use the term duty and sacrifice implies that man is a mindless vessel devoid of reason and values who’s only purpose is to serve the greater good, state, God or whatever.

        • “No attempt at a reasoned argument just stick with the past, go to church and accept Christian family values and everything will be just fantastic.”

          Well, not in this interview, perhaps, but elsewhere in his writings PH gives his reasons to believe that the family is very important, also religion, although I take a different approach on the latter.

          • Nockian

            The ‘family’ as an entity ? See the problem. There are good and bad families, there are people who did better when they escaped from their families. In other words, just like the socialist argument that ‘society’ exists as an entity, so PH makes the same philosophic error.

            However, PH can have his opinions on what is important to him, but must rationally support his argument when he begins to argue what he thinks should be important for everyone. He fails. I’ve read sufficient of PH writings to see that he throws reason under the bus when it comes to faith, yet he sees no contradiction, he simply ‘feels’ that life would be empty without a creator, without his faith.

          • In law, abuse does not negate use. Similarly, the family is the basic unit of society, and this does not change as a principle, just because some families are bad. This is basic.

          • Nockian

            A family is not ‘the basic unit’. The basic unit is the individual. Otherwise where do you call a halt to lineage ? How big is your family unit ultimately ? It is the same as the socialists ideology of a society-you just happen to call it a family.

          • For most practical purposes we limit this to a man and his dependents, surely.

          • Nockian

            It’s funny how you put things. What constitutes a ‘dependent’ ? If you had put it as ‘what man values’ then it becomes clear. A man/woman has no duty to sacrifice for his children, parents or anyone else. Once you have the idea of dependency, you have the idea of duty to others and hence a man has no ownership of his own life.

          • If freedom means anything at all, it means that a man is free to father children, which doesn’t just mean knocking up a woman, which any moron can do, but to bring his children up decently. If the economic or social milieu he lives in prevent him doing it, then he is not free.

          • Nockian

            You aren’t defining freedom. You are giving an example of what you think freedom should be.

            Do you really think adults are more than just biological breeding machines who sole purpose is to sacrifice their lives for that of their offspring ?

          • You’re not defining it either and yes I was giving an example of what I think it means.

            “Do you really think adults are more than just biological breeding machines who sole purpose is to sacrifice their lives for that of their offspring ?”

            That’s a nice looking straw man you’ve got there. It would be a shame if something were to… happen to it.

          • Nockian

            It’s what you implied by your statement that freedom was for men to produce children.

          • Freedom to does not mean compulsion to

          • Nockian

            Not with you ? What are you saying. Try defining what you think freedom should be from. Freedom from what ?

          • A man is free to marry and have a family, if he wants to. He is free not to. I had just been arguing that since most men do want to marry and have families (or at least, they used to) then society must be arranged to enable this for the good of the children, who need both mother and father.

          • Nockian

            Then you require freedom for individuals to do so and freedom from the kind of welfare/taxation/laws that interfere with decision making.

          • We do have duties to others. Are you a disciple of Ayn Rand?

          • Nockian

            Disciple ? That’s beneath you.

            If you feel you have duties then that’s up to you, but your belief imposes no obligation on me. If you wish to wear sack cloth, live in a cave and beat yourself with thorns then go ahead, I won’t try and make a law to stop you.

          • That explains a lot. Look, you can do whatever you want, but children, as a matter of fact, do need someone to bring them up. Children, at least, are not independent (neither are adults, but I won’t go into that now) and the best people to look after them are usually their mother and father. That is normative. From this, it can be seen that the State has an object to foster the family, and at least not persecute it or make things harder for it. Do what you want, but most people do *want* to have families, even if they also want to do other things like be a wage-slave.

            If you really think you’re independent you should go out and live in the wild.

          • Nockian

            You are missing the point, you talked about duty. There is a massive difference between rational responsibility and duty. It’s important not to mix these two up because one denies reason and mans need for rational choice. Duty isn’t responsibility, it is selfless, altruistic action with no thought of reward-it is joyless action devoid of reason and choice, it is the work of a soulless automaton.

          • Duty is rational and responsible.

          • Nockian

            No, they are opposites. To be responsible requires rational choice, but duty is despite rational choice. This is the same as ‘sacrifice’ as often, indeed one of the writers here used that word in terms of the losses at Dunkirk, but it wasn’t sacrifice, it was rational choice based on ones values. Duty and sacrifice require no values, they require obedience. Where there is a sacrifice there is one to whom that sacrifice is made. Duty is merely sacrifice by consent.

        • “Ms May also says ‘an economy which works for everyone’ which means we should look after the shirker, the fraudster, the wife beater, the thief ? This is Christian altruism, the idea that one owes his life to his brother and vica versa, yet not one person has ever offered a moral argument to support that idealism. It must be taken on faith, because Christian mystic dogma says so. Faith over reason.”

          You need to read St Thomas Aquinas. I can’t answer for the CofE etc. Meanwhile, Mrs May is not a conservative, and never at any point has the Catholic Church taught that workers should be coerced into looking after people who won’t look after their own families. E.g. 1 Tim 5:8 “But if any man have not care of his own, and especially of those of his house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” It is true, that a lot of commies have infiltrated the churches in recent decades and have diluted or distorted doctrine.

          • Nockian

            That’s fine, but you are reading dogmatic morals. If applied to yourself and others that support that ideology, then, it’s fine by me also, but not as a code for the rest of us who do not adhere to mystic dogma.

            This why I said that it’s as hard to argue with a Conservative as it is with a Corbynite socialist-both are dogmatic mystic ideologies only varying in application.

            What argument can you offer against a socialist who says capitalism is evil and that we should have equality within society ? In the end, only, because this book said it and this book was written by someone of faith from divine revelation. That’s not an argument is it ?

            Thanks for giving a sensible reply. I don’t disagree with what you are saying on the subject of altruism as you interpret it, only on the source of your knowledge.

          • I was replying to your errors about Christianity, which is why I was talking about doctrine in the first place.

            “What argument can you offer against a socialist who says capitalism is evil and that we should have equality within society ?”

            From natural law: I would say that capitalism does have some evils attached to it, but that the solution is not socialism, because nobody has the right to another man’s labour, without offering him proper remuneration. (The exception to this is the wife and the child, and other dependent family members such as elderly parents, but I won’t here deal with that, I just have to include it).

          • Nockian

            ‘proper renumeration’ by what standard ? Socialists would say for the good of society, fascists would say duty and sacrifice to the state. Christians let Jesus die on a cross to serve the mass of mankind -sacrificing the perfect good to the lesser good. Sacrificing good to evil.

            Unless you can argue the moral good of capitalism, then there will be no capitalism. You will have bartered away reason for faith and freedom for force.

            A right is a sanction to independent action and rights are only applicable amongst groups of men. There is no efficacy of rights to the man alone on an Island, it’s only together than man agrees not to initiate force against his brother in return for the same. It is each mans guarantee not to live as slave to another and that is what civilisation is.

          • Fred Uttlescay

            Altruism predates God by millions of years. We would have become extinct many years ago had that not been the case.

          • I’m not arguing that the irreligious can’t be altruistic, idiot.

          • Fred Uttlescay

            I can feel the Christian version of love in your comment.

          • I’m immune to such girly attempts at emotional manipulation

          • Fred Uttlescay

            But strangely not immune to a belief in the utter nonsense of religious faith.

          • That’s your opinion

          • Fred Uttlescay

            It’s also objectively true.

          • No, it’s only your opinion

          • Not to mention St, Paul, “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.” What could be clearer?

    • Snoffle Gronch

      Oh, dear.

      Where’s this stuff from? Ayn Rand, or some logical positivist nut job?

      • Nockian

        Are you denying what I have said isn’t true ? Do Conservatives deny they believe in mystic religion, tradition and Christian family values ?

    • It looks like you just want capitalism, not conservatism. In which case, why criticise conservatism for being… conservative?

      • Nockian

        It’s a good point. I also criticise socialism for being socialist 🙂 I aim to challenge any political system which disputes capitalism is the only moral system. Conservatives have always touted themselves as advocates of capitalism as opposed to socialists that reject it completely. It is therefore necessary to challenge Conservatives who are the faux champions of the free market and have always used capitalism as an argument against socialism. Conservatives will rightly argue that capitalism produces greater wealth, but this is incidental, if Conservatives aren’t for capitalism.

        • Yes, dear, I don’t blame you for criticising either. What I was getting at is that you were unclear about exactly what you are criticising and why, although it has become clearer now.

  • John P Hughes

    If, heaven forbid, Prince William or Kate or both were to be killed (in an air crash or by an assassination) there would be a similar level of national grief and mourning as happened in 1997. That is the only tragic event one can conceive of which could outdo the death of Princess Diana in its effect on people.

    When the Duke of Edinburgh passes away there will be respect and people will watch the funeral on TV, but there won’t be any ‘national grief’. As with HM the Queen Mother in 2001.

    When the Queen dies, it will be not just a national but a world event. But it won’t be a shock – and the plans for it are widely known, having already featured in a long ‘Guardian’ article. When the monarch dies her successor becomes King instantly and there is a positive new national mood very quickly. That happened when George VI died in 1952 and a ‘new Elizabethan age’ was promoted by the Palace and by the media very quickly..

    • Part of that I think is that the Queen and the Duke have lived a full life and done it well. Diana was cut down in her prime with many things left undone, like raising her kids,and her good works. We always mourn for unfulfilled potential. And that may be part of the difference between Churchill and Diana as well. For many it likely had much the same feeling as burying one’s own child, which is not natural while we all expect to see our parents pass.

      Kipling’s phrase on the loss of his son resonates deeply.

      “Oh, dear, what comfort can I find?”
      None this tide,
      Nor any tide,
      Except he did not shame his kind—
      Not even with that wind blowing, and that tide.”

  • What is the monarchy for? Well, it binds to the modern or postmodern State people who might otherwise experience various degrees of estrangement from it. Thus, the pioneering social democracies have been in the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, Scandinavia and the Benelux countries, with institutions such as the National Health Service enjoying more or less universal support even among the downright reactionary.

    In death, however, Diana has had the role of binding to the State, through the monarchy, a very different category. Those are the people defined by the social revolution since the 1960s, the economic revolution since the 1980s, and the constitutional revolution since the year of her demise. The people most likely to regard the monarchy as pressingly irrelevant or offensive. And why would Diana not serve that purpose? The Spencers are one of the great Whig dynasties. They played no small part in engineering the accession of the present Royal line, and they bankrolled its indigence for much of the eighteenth century.

    Now, not dissimilarly, the allegiance of a sufficiently large and vocal section of society is conditional on the great expectations of Diana’s son and grandson. What matters to those people is that William V and George VII are the coming kings of Dianese descent. Some of them even demand, although they will always do so in vain, that a generation be skipped, so that Diana’s heir might ascend the Throne immediately upon its next becoming vacant.

    That is a kind of Whig Jacobitism. But it has probably secured the monarchy well into the twenty-second century. And with it, the support of even the downright reactionary for the social democracy of the modern or postmodern State.

  • BSO

    The emotional need to identify and express grief for people
    we have never met seems to elude Laura and Peter. I follow their arguments and
    think they have intellectual rigour. But there is a counter perspective that
    actually starts with the heart. Sentimentality is a key element of human beings
    and unevenly distributed in the sexes. Detachment and reserve has a lot to commend
    it but sentimentality need not be innately shallow. The heart after all is the seat of the Holy Spirit.

    I tended to disliked Dianna. At the time I was more a Charlie
    supporter. I was a passive, not-really-thinking-about-it-to-much republican who
    respected the Queen and the voluntary work the monarchy did. The morning after
    the accident and death I had my radio on whilst working on my allotment and by
    the end of that morning I had changed my mind about Dianna. My one sided view of Dianna was challenged and I felt a civic emotional pull the same thing that gets me to stand in silence on Nov 11th, or got me to rush from my paper round in 1974 just to glimpse the Queen and Prince Phillip drive past on the high street.

    What had changed me on that morning? Radio 5 opened its
    telephone lines to the general public and individual after individual, genuine,
    normal people, rang in to not only express their sadness at Princess Dianne’s
    loss but also to recount innumerable examples of private acts of kindness and
    good works by her that seemed to go far beyond the call of duty. To be honest the majority of the voices were ordinary people, working class, many had been in correspondence
    with her for years. It was extraordinary. The way she and Dodi Al Fayed died was part of the shock as well of course and would fill the TV screens and news papers.

    This flawed lady who’s inflated beauty, weakness, caprices and
    narcissism remain evident and of her time, had also touched innumerable people personally,
    with letters and personal visits, unrequired and otherwise unrecorded. I made time
    to sign the book in the local council chamber and allowed myself to feel a
    connection with those expressing loss. I felt something that did not lead me
    astray but was of the good and not the hysterical. Blair and the media rode the
    wave and wove a narrative but the wave was real.

    It’s the same feeling I get when the liturgy starts at church…when England rolls past me as I drive through the countryside, when a fellow citizen (or subject) achieves something extraordinary, when a politician tells the truth about this countries potential and challenges mediocrity and deceit. And even then there is something hard to explain that involves
    proximity to royalty. When they speak to us at a functions or write to us. It’s something
    we invest in them because of the roles they assume. It is something like the Arthurian
    connection to the land or a Christian legacy. It is immaterial.

    Consequently I have viewed Dianna the remix coverage and the recent
    over exposure of her children with mild distaste and scepticism. But I still
    know that what I experienced with Dianna’s death was not shallow or simpering but
    a sense of collective revaluation and compassion which can still move me today.

    But strip monarchy of the embodiment of a nations goals and civility
    and I am not sure what you have left. Whilst I agree with much of Peter’s grand
    analysis of the decline of these Isles; and when ever I do not I am still
    enriched by it, those placing flowers and weeping were not just hysterics no
    doubt some projected their own losses but many were just like me a decent, prominent
    person, connected to royalty and capable of public service, had died tragically
    and I was deeply and surprisingly moved not manipulated.

    • Cranmer

      Excellent post which chimes in with much of what I have been thinking. The mourning for the death of a person we have never met, for example, is surely part and parcel of Christianity. Or has Mr Hitchens never sung ‘My Song Is Love Unknown’ in church on Good Friday?

  • DespiteBrexit

    Cheery sod, isn’t he? However he does seem to have the measure of what is happening.

  • Denis

    The hysteria that greeted the death of princess Diana was everything to do with self regard and nothing whatsoever to do with empathy. It was a disgusting blubfest based on the inability to accept that anyone rich, famous and very self aware should ever die. It marked a very dark period in British social history from which, I fear we shall never recover.