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How to make Britain stand proud again

A letter to the Sunday Telegraph which was published on 4th February 2007.

The way we can restore the notion of Britishness to our nation (Profile, Comment, January 28th) is by stopping the habit of deferring to people who appear to believe that the supposed interests of newcomers to this country should be the basis of policy in every sphere of Government.

Under this rule by minority interest, the genuinely great achievements of the British peoples, ones which from Alfred the Great onwards have shaped the world (the colossal literature, the scientific enlightenment of the 16th and 17th centuries, the industrial revolution, the founding of the colonies in North America and Australasia, plus the modern states in the Indian subcontinent, the tremendous victories in most major European wars) are ignored in favour of obsessive preoccupation with anti-racist themes designed to make indigenous Britons ashamed.

The democratic fightback has to start in schools: parents must insist that our children are taught a chronological account of our history with an emphasis on its achievements.  Actually, most immigrants like to be part of a successful country: they tend to approve of military and business success, not weedy New Labour preoccupations with failure and equality.

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Scots in Parliament

A letter to the Sunday Telegraph, the first paragraph of which was published on 19th June 2005.

As yet another Scot declares himself a contender for the leadership of the Conservative Party, the prospect arises that the leasership of all three main parties could be Scottish.  Whatever the personal merits of the Scottish contenders, might it just not occur to them, in all humility, that you can have too much of a good thing, particularly as Scots voices are already vastly over-represented on the English airwaves.

This year England cast more votes for the Conservatives than for Labour and Liberals and accounts for all but 4 Conservative seats in parliament. Might it not serve the Conservative cause better if the Scots would-be leaders in Southern English Seats applied themselves directly to reviving their party’s fortunes north of the border, which 50 years ago sent a majority of Conservatives to Westminster, but where today the Conservatives trail fourth behind the other three main parties.

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Silence of the Dons

A letter to the Sunday Telegraph, the first two paragraphs of which were published in July 2002.

Your editorial “Silence of the Dons” is an absurd condemnation of University academic staff in general.  It is no more sensible to issue such blanket condemnations of 50,000 people than if I were to condemn the staff of the Sunday Telegraph for the actions of one of you.

Although I have held a Professorial Chair at UMIST longer than almost anyone else currently in post, until your article I had never heard of Prof Mona Baker, still less of the journals she edits.

While head of a large department with staff and students from all over the world including the Middle East, there was only one occasion when Arab-Israeli animosities surfaced.  This never recurred after I made it clear to those concerned that nothing of that sort would be tolerated.  Likewise as a reviewer for science the engineering journals with editorial boards drawn from all over the world, I have never heard of anyone being removed from these boards for anything whatever to do with their race or nationality or political views – if anyone knew or cared about them.

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Swiss Referendum

A letter to the Editor of the Sunday Telegraph written on 5th March 2001 in response to an article from the previous edition.

Sunday’s article on Switzerland’s Referendum vote “Swiss decide whether to join the world” neatly captures politicians’ overestimate of their own importance.

Switzerland is very much in the real world, with international corporations like Nestlé, Ciba, Roche, Suchard, Zurich present in every major country, and goods exports per head of population nearly three times Britain’s throughout the 1990s.  And, although not in the EU, Switzerland manages to sell 63% of its exports to the EU, a considerably greater proportion than Britain’s.

Of course, the relatively small political class in Switzerland is keen to join the EU and UN, seeing as it does in Britain, lots of well-paid jobs skipping about from one international hotel to another attending this or that portentous-sounding conference, but 78% of the Swiss population (Referendum result) is sensibly having none of it.

One of the pleasures of reading the Swiss newspapers is the almost complete absence of journalists’ chatter about the doings and sayings of politicians.  Long may it remain so.

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Outlawing the Chancellor

A letter to the Editor of the Sunday Telegraph which was published on 19th February 1995.

Before Sir Patrick Sheehy (Business, February 12th) writes another article advocating abolition of the pound, he should read the Maastricht Treaty, particularly Protocol 3, which defines the powers and constitution of the future European Central Bank.  He will see that, far from Britain having “more control of interest rates in Europe than we do now”, we shall have no influence whatsoever.

Article 7 of Protocol 3 says that “when exercising the powers and carrying out the tasks conferred upon them by this treaty and this statute, neither the ECB, nor a national central bank, nor any member of their decision-making bodies shall seek or take instruction from Community institutions or bodies, from any government of a member state or from any other body.  The Community institutions and bodies and the Governments of the member states undertake to respect this principle and not to seek to influence the decision-making bodies of the ECB and of the national central banks in the performance of their tasks.”

Thus, not only will government ministers be unable to even speak with the board of the European Central Bank, but the Chancellor’s much publicised meetings with the Governor of the Bank of England will actually be illegal.

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Supply side puzzle

A letter to the City Editor of the Sunday Telegraph which was published on 21st June 1992.

In his perceptive “Working Brief” (June 14th) on the differences between Anglo-Saxon and Japanese-German capitalism, Tom Lloyd points to the puzzle which the success of the latter poses for the supply-side economists.  This puzzle arises because of the persistent failure of most economists to attach anything like their true weight to two ingredients of an economy besides the common ones of capital and labour.  The two missing ingredients are (a) technology and (b) the competence of the boards of companies in directing the other three ingredients.

Robert Solow (Nobel Prize 1987) has analysed in careful detail the respective contributions of capital, labour and technology to real economic growth in the United States over 40 years to 1969.  He found the ratio of contributions to be about 20:20:60.

With notable exceptions major British companies are dominated by men whose mentality and expertise, if it can be called that, are largely those of traders, who are happiest when engaged in acquiring other companies’ products and markets with borrowed cash, rather than applying themselves to the hard task of thinking and analysing how their own products and processes can be improved.  No effort is spared, on the other hand, in devising reward systems whose effect is to confer scandalously high chunks of wealth on themselves.  The chairman of Nippon Telephones, which has twice the turnover of BT, receives about a third of the pay of the BT chairman.

For the most part growth in real wealth comes from the tangible products.  Banking, financial services and the like have grown from the provision of essentially a simple service into being elaborate ways of spreading the wealth around, usually to the vast benefit of those doing the spreading.  Until Solow’s conclusion is properly understood and acted on, British industry will continue to lose ground, not just to Germany and Japan, but to Korea, Taiwan and beyond, no matter how free the capital markets are.

In 30 years, BMW, whose products are so popular with City types, has grown from a company smaller than Jaguar today, without any expensive City expertise, but with instead the dedicated input of retained capital, technology and hard work from the top.  It is technological capital, not cash capital, that is the most important ingredient of capitalism – and always has been.  That is the solution to the economists’ puzzle.

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Europe: why do we endure a nightmare?

A letter to the Sunday Telegraph which was published on 3rd December 1989.

I am not sure where Robert Jackson (Letters, Nov. 26th) gets his information about Germany, but as a recent visitor to West Germany I can say the Press and magazines are full of the prospect of reunification.

He seems shaky on the “philosophical basis” of the EEC, which was designed and still operates fundamentally as a system of war reparations by Germany to France.  Its basis is about as incompatible with the Anglo-Saxon way of government as anything could be.

The basis of the majority of the EEC’s pronouncements is the Single European Act (SEA), which is an enabling Act, a form of legislation abhorrent to our tradition, but completely in line with Continental practice.  It was after all the enabling law – Gesetz zur Behebung der Not von Reich und Volk – democratically passed by the German Parliament which was the legal foundation of the Hitler regime.

It is the claim that the SEA covers transport, health, education, etc which enables the EEC Commission, in its view, to issue to our government detailed instructions on matters which in our parliamentary tradition would have to be agreed individually and separately.  The problem posed by German reunification is not our crisis but France’s, whose policy of using German economic power as a prop to its own pretensions is now in ruins.  For us, the suggestion by Mr Andriessen, the Dutch EEC commissioner, that we should resume membership of an EFTA linked to the EEC in a wider European Economic System (EES) with all the Single Market freedoms, though derided by the Foreign Office, renders us everything we could possibly want.

While Germany unifies and draws closer to Russia, and France, Italy and Spain enter some form of Latin federation, we will be free to resume our position as a founder member of the Society of English speaking nations and that expanding society of nations outside Europe who have English as their language of business, industry and technology.

We would be excluded from EEC inner councils – but so what?  We shall also be excluded from the Common Agricultural Policy, from an annual levy likely to reach £3 billion in a year or so (removing which reduces our balance of payments deficit at a stroke), from artificially high food prices, affecting particularly the poorest, from the absurd hyprocrisy of Italian commissioners complaining about our water quality, from an Irish commissioner telling us, a great nation, what we can and cannot do with our industry, and so on.

In short we shall be excluded from a nightmare and wonder why we ever endured it for so long.

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The definition of true Englishness

A letter to the Sunday Telegraph which was published on 27th July 1986.

A lady from Kent wrote in after reading this letter: “As a very ordinary Englishwoman, but nevertheless proud to be so, may I take this opportunity of saying thank you for your letter in the Sunday Telegraph stating so succinctly, the definition of true Englishness.  I shall cut out your letter and keep it in my wallet.”

John Gaskell asks (last Sunday) who are the English?  Leaving aside the shame that one bearing so typical an English name should ask such a question, let me tell him.

The English are the race after whom England is named.  They were first mentioned by Tacitus in AD 98 and are the subject of the greatest historical work (by Bede) of the millennium after Tacitus.  They are known the world over in every language as the natural owners of the land England.

There are about 42 million of the English living in England, the vast majority of whom, Mr Gaskell please note, know perfectly well who they are.  There are probably twice this number of people of English descent in the other Anglo-Saxon countries.

Place of birth has nothing to do with being English.  The Duke of Wellington, when asked if the fact of his being born in Ireland didn’t make him an Irishman rather than an Englishman, gave the classic commonsense answer, looking directly at his questioner: “If you had been born in a stable would that alone have made you a donkey?”

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Powell and Britain’s future

A letter to the Sunday Telegraph which was published on 30th September 1985.

In your editorial last Sunday you say that Mr Powell’s proposal for re-emigration of a proportion of the New Commonwealth immigrant population has a disturbing vagueness.  In fact, government-promoted emigration goes back at least to 1822 when the then Under-Secretary for the colonies advocated State-aided emigration as a remedy for unemployment.

Gibbon Wakefield’s later scheme was of course the basis of settlement in New Zealand and South Australia.  In the present century the Empire Settlement Act of 1922, together with heavy government promotion formed the basis of State-aided emigration.  Clearly if the emigration of native British people has been so encouraged there can be no moral objection to profitable emigration to countries of their own race for minorities who have for the most part been established in England for less than 25 years.

Those member of the ethnic minorities who have settled in peacefully and industriously would presumably not want to re-emigrate, but others may well wish to take advantage of a properly organised and publicised scheme.

At a time when schemes for spending £5 billion or more per annum on public works are canvassed almost daily, the same sum paid once might resettle a quarter of a million families, say one and a quarter million people, in countries which would thereby gain the biggest injection of capital they are ever likely to have.  The unemployment figures here would tumble; relief would be given to our hard-pressed social services; those who find life among English people uncongenial would have an alternative.  All except those with an interest in stirring up touble would benefit.  So my question, following Mr Powell’s is: why do the politicians and the media refuse even to discuss the idea?

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White paint

A letter to the Sunday Telegraph which was published around 12th March 1985.

In your report (10th March) of Mr Powell’s address to Cambridge University Conservatives, your correspondent once again describes the native people of this country as white, like so many tins of paint, while dignifying the ethnic minorities by their, mainly national proper names – West Indian, Indian, Pakistani, etc.  We, the ancestral owners of this land do not even merit a capital letter.

Why does your paper continue to refer so slightingly to our own people in this way?  Do you not appreciate that this language usage is deliberately fostered by the race lobby to create a situation in which English people will not be identified as such, and therefore will have no particular claim on their own country England, which is named after them (not the other way round) incidentally.

Needless to say the Welsh and Scots are looked after by the media; in TV, radio and newspapers they are almost invariably referred to by their proper names.

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