I've spent the last month or so basking in what truly was a magnificent time to be in London. It was, on two occasions, a centre not of banal cultural emptiness, not of history shrines and hoards of tourists eager to look backwards, not of a sub-culture of misogynistic violent no-hopers eager to pillage and destroy in anger at their own uselessness, not a centre for Islamist horror, but of individuals as elite athletes, whether Olympic or Paralympic, striving and winning, and in a culture that truly glorified and celebrated them. Whilst Team GB got by far the greatest attention, there was never an ounce of resentment or denial of the wondrous successes of those from other countries, the remaining malignant nationalism that comes with the Olympics (and which China still pushes), was not apparent.
It was truly a celebration of the achievements and efforts of thousands of individuals, it saw a mood of benevolence and patience, as both the cost and the draconian approach to branding were largely ignored, and people celebrated. Yes, I wish it hadn't happened because it was destructive of wealth (proven also by July seeing a drop of around 200,000 overseas visitors and drop of spending by visitors of around £120 million compared to the previous year) and a travesty of a waste of money, but it did come with that beautiful element of human beings striving, succeeding, proud of success in any form (whether it be medals or personal bests), and others genuinely celebrating in their success.
The bubble of that culture has been well and truly popped. One minor event was at the Trade Union Congress, where t-shirts were being sold that said that when Thatcher dies a generation of trade unionists will be dancing on her grave. It was being sold by the Derbyshire Unemployed Workers' Centre, which itself is part funded by three local authorities. All of the nastiness of Marxism epitomised in one product, and whilst the TUC condemned it, Labour leader Ed Miliband chose to remain silent.
However, that minor piece of disgusting behaviour is nothing compared to the true travesty of justice over Hillsborough. David Cameron has apologised for the vile behaviour of the South Yorkshire Police and the emergency services, not just for their grotesque negligence that apparently allowed as many as 42 of the 96 who died in that tragedy to die unnecessarily, but their lies, manufacturing of evidence and perverting the course of justice to cover up their own ineptness. This conspiracy by agents of the state to cover up their own failings is not just disgusting, but criminal. There should be people charged for acts which, if they were private citizens, would see them in prison for many years. Altering statements and editing evidence to conceal failings is palpably inexcusable.
Many in police forces wonder why people don't trust them, why they are antagonistic or obstructive, it is because of this sort of activity. The willingness to flagrantly act without good faith.
Finally, it looks like a badly made film lampooning Islam and making it out to be a religion of violent bigots, has incited lots of groups of Muslims to act as violent bigots. Those who think that the act of private citizens in a country is the act of a state, those who believe that the appropriate response to being offended is violence.
Meanwhile, the US is led by an Administration which has as its first response is to sympathise with those offended, whose Secretary of State condemns the film as disgusting and reprehensible (as well as condemning the violent reaction to it).
Yet there is hope. Mitt Romney, who is easy to criticise for so many reasons, gets it right by saying:
America will not tolerate attacks against our citizens and against our embassies. We will defend also our constitutional rights of speech and assembly and religion. We have confidence in our cause in America. We respect our Constitution. We stand for the principles our Constitution protects. We encourage other nations to understand and respect the principles of our Constitution because we recognize that these principles are the ultimate source of freedom for individuals around the world.
“I also believe the Administration was wrong to stand by a statement sympathizing with those who had breached our embassy in Egypt instead of condemning their actions. It’s never too early for the United States Government to condemn attacks on Americans, and to defend our values. The White House distanced itself last night from the statement, saying it wasn’t ‘cleared by Washington.’ That reflects the mixed signals they’re sending to the world.
When was the last time you heard a major party US Presidential candidate standing explicitly behind free speech and freedom of religion? When was the last time that you heard one talk about those principles being a source of freedom for individuals around the world? Where is the stereotypical theocratic authoritarian that is the caricature that Democrats want to paint him to be?
What exactly could anyone of a classically liberal (not socialist liberal) bent oppose of that statement?