The Left tries to reframe our expectations

Teacher affirmationIn September 2011, I wrote a post about the way teachers constantly present themselves as the hardest working, most underpaid people in America.  I have a great deal of respect for teachers and, to the extent I deliver my kids to their care, I want them to be decent, knowledgeable, skillful, hardworking people — and that’s not something that can be had for free.  Nevertheless, I don’t see them as the martyrs that they see looking back from their mirrors.

I touched upon that subject again just this past September, after I’d gotten deluged by Facebook posts from teacher friends, all of them reminding us in a cute way that no one works harder in America than a teacher or for less money compared to their work output.  Again, with all due respect for teachers, I think many people, including the troops, would quibble with this.  I contrasted the Democrats’ deification of teachers and compared it with their denigration of doctors, something expressed obliquely through Obamacare.  Doctors train for years in their profession, work heinous hours, and truly hold people’s lives in their hands — and Obamacare is intended to increase their work load and cut their compensation.  My conclusion was that socialism prefers propagandists, something that teachers are perfectly situated to do, over providers.

And speaking of socialists and the way they value different categories of workers, Daniel Hannan has written about the British deification of its National Health Service, a system that is above reproach.  It’s not above reproach because it’s so wonderful, mind you.  It’s above reproach because no one is allowed to reproach it.  Hannan notes that there are two classes that speak well of the system:  those who work in it or are ideological supporters of socialized medicine, and those who are loudly grateful to have received decent treatment from it.  Hannan makes two points about this second category.  First, they’re amiable followers of the more strident ideologues.  Second, their gratitude that the system works is itself an indictment of the system’s myriad failings:

What of the wider constituency? What of the undoctrinaire people who say, with conviction, “the NHS saved my grandmother’s life”? Well, to make a rather unpopular point, she was saved by the clinicians involved, not by Britain’s unique prohibition of private finance in healthcare provision. In a country as wealthy as ours, we should expect a certain level of service. We can be grateful to the people involved without treating the whole process as a miracle.

When else, after all, do we become so emotional? Do we get off planes saying “I owe my life to British Airways: they flew me all the way here in one piece”? Of course not: that’s what is meant to happen. Our assumption doesn’t insult the pilots any more than expecting a certain level of competence in healthcare “insults our hardworking doctors and nurses”. On the contrary, it compliments them.

The elision of the “hardworking doctors and nurses” with the state monopoly that employs them is what allows opponents of reform to shout down any criticism. People who complain are treated, not as wronged consumers, but as pests. People who argue that there might be a better way of organising the system are treated, not as proponents of a different view, but as enemies.

Naturally, the above passage made me think of the obeisance we’re expected to pay to America’s teachers.  The demand that we recognize what wonderful martyrs they are is a tacit acknowledgment that too many of them are government drones who are, quite rationally, milking a system that gives itself up for milking.  This doesn’t mean we should denigrate teachers or take them for granted, but there’s a strong element of a “methinks we all do protest too much” mindset when it comes to the ritual demand that we acknowledge that teachers are society’s new martyrs.  After all, as Hannan said, they have a job to do and they should be doing it.

Incidentally, while Hannan doesn’t address the issue of teachers, he does point out that our being bullied into expressing exaggerated surprise and appreciation when there’s competence in a public sector area isn’t limited to Britain’s NHS.  His other example is the UN, which you all know I believe is one of the most vile, evil, antisemitic, child exploitative, anti-American, money-wasting institutions on earth, as well as a few other institutions that, coincidentally, are also usually anti-American and antisemitic:

Any organisation that is spared criticism becomes, over time, inefficient, insensitive, intolerant. It has happened to the United Nations. It has happened to the mega-charities. It happened, for a long time, to the European Union (though not over the past five years). The more lofty the ideal, the more reluctant people are to look at the grubby reality.

Cheers to Hannan for stating that, while the Emperor isn’t precisely walking around naked, his clothes are scarcely the golden, bejeweled garments that his sycophants claim he’s wearing.

Wednesday’s wander through the internet *UPDATED*

Victorian posy of pansiesStella Paul notes something I haven’t seen discussed elsewhere when it comes to Obamacare: the devastating effect it will have on people who travel or divide their time between two locations. The new policies are narrowly locked into local care providers.  But people aren’t always in the same locality.  Both of my children have been hospitalized while we’ve been traveling. If our insurance company hadn’t paid, we would have been out tens of thousands of dollars. Knowing that sickness can happen and that our insurance might reject our claims makes travel much less enticing.

The Left needs censorship because it’s ideas do not work in the real world.  Only censorship can hide that fact long enough for the Lefts to have such a tight grip on the levers of power that, once the truth emerges, hapless citizens can do nothing to change the situation.  The latest example of this is Covered Oregon’s insistence that those who know about its healthcare debacle must forfeit their free speech rights.

Speaking of censorship, one would think that Britain would be doing everything in its power not to become the living incarnation of Orwell’s 1984.  Instead, though, it is hastening down that path, by refusing admittance to those who make factual statements about who Islamists really are and what they do.

Some people — most notably greedy insurers — have been voluntarily silencing themselves (self-imposed censorship, if you will), because they believed that the Democrats would reward them.  Now that Obama is actively trying to destroy them, Jonah Goldberg wonders if these corporate worms will turn.

Speaking of worms turning, is it my imagination or are some courts getting a little more courageous about taking on Obama’s overreach.  Gabriel Malor has what I think of as a great example of this judicial trend.  No wonder Reid went nuclear in order to pack the courts.

By now, of course, you’ve heard about the young metrosexual nattily attired in a plaid onsie pajama and clutching a cup of hot chocolate, whose image went out in a Tweet from Barack Obama urging people to “talk about getting health insurance.”  I call him “Princess Pajama Boy”:

Princess Pajama Boy

Other people, much more witty than I will ever be, have been having way too much fun with this one.  You can see collections of retweets and Photoshops here, here, and here.  There’s a bit of overlap between the three sites, but still a lot of original stuff on each.  Here’s my effort:

And finally, the ad that everyone is saying is a political game changer:

UPDATE: I’m still laughing over the Pajama Game posters that Steven Hayward found.

UPDATE II:  And still more posters, this time from National Review.

RIP to the late, very, very great Margaret Thatcher

Thatcher dismissing personal attacks

I was living in England in 1981 and 1982, so I was there for the coal miner riots and the Falkland War.  Since I was at a Northern University, the official posture of every student there was that Maggie Thatcher was evil.  I kind of admired her then, and I greatly admired her later.  This is the obituary I wrote for her at Mr. Conservative:

The indomitable Margaret Thatcher is dead at age 87, after having suffered a stroke. Thatcher was England’s Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990. She got elected after promising England that she would end the socialist hold over the British economy and, despite fierce opposition, that is precisely what she did.

Thatcher was absolutely sure of her convictions – she knew that Communism was evil; and that British socialism, a soft form of Communism, was simply a slow-moving evil sapping away the will and moral fiber that had once characterized the British people.

As is always the case when people who have been dependent on government benefits suddenly have those benefits pulled out from them, violence ensued. Thatcher was unmoved, and delighted in the fact that the British adopted the Soviet nickname for her: “The Iron Lady.’ She knew she was right, and she was not going to back down. She relished battle.

Thatcher on socialism

When, in 1982, Argentina attempted to take over the Falkland Islands, a small British governed island chain off its coast, Thatcher unflinchingly sent battleships off to war to take those islands back. The British, even those who hated her economic policies, cheered her on and celebrated what turned out to be a swift victory

Thatcher was the daughter of a conservative grocer and his wife. They raised her to believe in herself and in the fact that others had the right and the ability to be equally self-confident and self-sufficient. In the Thatcher family, dependency on government wasn’t just an embarrassment; it was a destructive force that had to be fought at every turn. This belief guided Thatcher’s entire career. Thankfully, her education at Oxford was in science and then law, so she was not indoctrinated in the leftism that was already then infecting Western liberal arts education.

Thatcher also had a wonderful gift for pithy sayings that readily encompassed serious conservative political thought. Small wonder that she and Ronald Reagan, whose presidency overlapped with much of her time as Prime Minister, delighted in each other so much:

Individualism has come in for an enormous amount of criticism over the years. It still does. It is widely assumed to be synonymous with selfishness…But the main reason why so many people in power have always disliked individualism is because it is individualists who are ever keenest to prevent the abuse of authority.

To be free is better than to be unfree – always. Any politician who suggests the opposite should be treated as suspect.

Because she understood socialism so well, she had the gift of prescience, predicting the socialist future with remarkable accuracy:

The European single currency is bound to fail, economically, politically and indeed socially, though the timing, occasion and full consequences are all necessarily still unclear.

I do believe that political arrangements which are based upon violence, intimidation and theft will eventually break down – and will deserve to do so.

Margaret Thatcher was a great lady, with the highest degrees of moral courage and political conviction. For a short, but golden time, she was able to stop Britain’s miserable slide into socialism. Although her control over Britain ended in 1990, it is her death that truly reminds us how rare her courage was, how difficult her conservative gains were, and how easily they were lost. All that’s left of Britain now seems to be embodied in an ugly, mean-spirited Leftist carpetbagger who seeks to destroy America as he and his kind have succeeded in destroying Thatcher’s Britain.

When it comes to guns, we need to follow the Left’s example: personalize, personalize, personalize

Defending your home against a break-in is about as personal as it gets.  The following email is a good example of taking that personal principle, then expanding to a narrative about a single third party, and finally discussing the broader policy implications that affect all citiziens (h/t Earl):

A LESSON FROM HISTORY:

You’re sound asleep when you hear a thump outside your bedroom door. Half-awake, and nearly paralyzed with fear, you hear muffled whispers. At least two people have broken into your house and are moving your way.

With your heart pumping, you reach down beside your bed and pick up your shotgun. You rack a shell into the chamber, then inch toward the door and open it…

In the darkness, you make out two shadows. One holds something that looks like a crowbar. When the intruder brandishes it as if to strike, you raise the shotgun and fire.

The blast knocks both thugs to the floor. One writhes and screams while the second man crawls to the front door and lurches outside.

As you pick up the telephone to call police, you know you’re in trouble. In your country, most guns were outlawed years before, and the few that are privately owned are so stringently regulated as to make them useless. Yours was never registered.

Police arrive and inform you that the second burglar has died. They arrest you for First Degree Murder and Illegal Possession of a Firearm.

When you talk to your attorney, he tells you not to worry: authorities will probably plea the case down to manslaughter.

“What kind of sentence will I get?” you ask.

“Only ten-to-twelve years,” he replies, as if that’s nothing. “Behave yourself, and you’ll be out in seven.”

The next day, the shooting is the lead story in the local newspaper. Somehow, you’re portrayed as an eccentric vigilante while the two men you shot are represented as choirboys. Their friends and relatives can’t find an unkind word to say about them. Buried deep down in the article, authorities acknowledge that both “victims” have been arrested numerous times.

But the next day’s headline says it all: “Lovable Rogue Son Didn’t Deserve to Die.” The thieves have been transformed from career criminals into Robin Hood-type pranksters.

As the days wear on, the story takes wings. The national media picks it up, then the international media. The surviving burglar has become a folk hero. Your attorney says the thief is preparing to sue you, and he’ll probably win.

The media publishes reports that your home has been burglarized several times in the past and that you’ve been critical of local police for their lack of effort in apprehending the suspects. After the last break-in, you told your neighbor that you would be prepared next time. The District Attorney uses this to allege that you were lying in wait for the burglars.

A few months later, you go to trial. The charges haven’t been reduced, as your lawyer had so confidently predicted.

When you take the stand, your anger at the injustice of it all works against you. Prosecutors paint a picture of you as a mean, vengeful man. It doesn’t take long for the jury to convict you of all charges. The judge sentences you to life in prison.

This case really happened.

On August 22, 1999, Tony Martin of Emneth, Norfolk, England, killed one burglar and wounded a second. In April, 2000, he was convicted and is now serving a life term. [See link below, explaining that he only served three years, but has had to go into hiding.]

How did it become a crime to defend one’s own life in the once great British Empire? It started with the Pistols Act of 1903. This seemingly reasonable law forbade selling pistols to minors or felons and established that handgun sales were to be made only to those who had a license.

The Firearms Act of 1920 expanded licensing to include not only handguns but all firearms except shotguns. Later laws passed in 1953 and 1967 outlawed the carrying of any weapon by private citizens and mandated the registration of all shotguns.

Momentum for total handgun confiscation began in earnest after the Hungerford mass shooting in 1987. Michael Ryan, a mentally disturbed man with a Kalashnikov rifle, walked down the street shooting everyone he saw. When the smoke cleared, 17 people were dead. The British public, already de-sensitized by eighty years of “gun control”, demanded even tougher restrictions. (The seizure of all privately owned handguns was the objective even though Ryan used a rifle.)

Nine years later, at Dunblane, Scotland, Thomas Hamilton used a semi-automatic weapon to murder 16 children and a teacher at a public school. For many years, the media had portrayed all gun owners as mentally unstable, or worse, criminals. Now the press had a real kook with which to beat up law-abiding gun owners. Day after day, week after week, the media gave up all pretense of objectivity and demanded a total ban on all handguns. The Dunblane Inquiry, a few months later, sealed the fate of the few sidearm’s still owned by private citizens.

During the years in which the British government incrementally took away most gun rights, the notion that a citizen had the right to armed self-defense came to be seen as vigilantism. Authorities refused to grant gun licenses to people who were threatened, claiming that self-defense was no longer considered a reason to own a gun. Citizens who shot burglars or robbers or rapists were charged while the real criminals were released. Indeed, after the Martin shooting, a police spokesman was quoted as saying, “We cannot have people take the law into their own hands.”

All of Tony Martin’s neighbors had been robbed numerous times, and several elderly people were severely injured in beatings by young thugs who had no fear of the consequences.
Martin himself, a collector of antiques, had seen most of his collection trashed or stolen by burglars.

When the Dunblane Inquiry ended, citizens who owned handguns were given three months to turn them over to local authorities. Being good British subjects, most people obeyed the law. The few who didn’t were visited by police and threatened with ten-year prison sentences if they didn’t comply. Police later bragged that they’d taken nearly 200,000 handguns from private citizens.

How did the authorities know who had handguns? The guns had been registered and licensed. Kind of like cars. Sound familiar?

WAKE UP AMERICA; THIS IS WHY OUR FOUNDING FATHERS PUT THE SECOND AMENDMENT IN OUR CONSTITUTION.

“…It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people’s minds.” –Samuel Adams

If you’re curious, here’s more information about Martin. Please note that the challenges against him came about because the state hadn’t given him permission to defend himself.

England’s welfare state is a victim of its own success

It’s no wonder Brits, contra Obama, want out of the EU.  Aside from exerting nit-picky control over every aspect of British life, the EU makes it virtually impossible for Britain to stem the endless tide of immigrants coming in, legally or not, and immediately getting public benefits that are not available to the Brits themselves.

Here are two articles and a video regarding that problem.

First, a woman talks about living the lush life on her benefits.

Second, some fed-up Brits raise their voices in protest song:

Third, a shy, unlikely voice emerges to oppose, not just the welfare state, but the lies that the ruling class tells about the welfare state.

Rather than debating gun control, we should be debating ways to diminish violent crime.

Glock 23

Words matter, President Obama once said.  He’s right.  How we choose words gives a very good insight into our feelings upon the subject under discussion.

In the current debate regarding the Second Amendment, conservatives have made the mistake of ceding oratorical control to the Left.  How?  By accepting the phrase “gun control” as the operative phrase to describe the debate.

Calling the debate “gun control” presupposes that there will be control — i.e., that government control over guns is the end, rather than the means.  The only question remaining in such a debate is how much control the government will ultimately exert over citizens’ guns.

Most people, though, if they thought about it, would say that what they’re really aiming for is “violence minimization.”  If one properly identifies minimizing violence as the goal, the debate changes dramatically.  It forces those participating in the debate to ask, not “how many guns can we take away or how many magazines can we limit?” but, instead, “what approach results in the fewest number of gun deaths or overall violence?”.

When it comes to overall violence, data from the world over easily answers that question.  Those Countries that have extremely strict gun bans also have extremely high violence rates — and those rates have often climbed in direct proportion to the increased gun bans.  England’s experience is the most stunning example.  From the time it imposed limitations on guns so stringent that almost all law-abiding citizens are now disarmed, England has seen its violent crime rate soar, to the point where the number of violent crimes per capita is the highest in the First World:

In the U.K., gun ownership is virtually banned. Even the police force in the U.K. is, for the most part, unarmed. Raw figures show that the UK has a lower homicide rate than the U.S., 1.2 per 100,000 of population in the U.K. versus 4.8 in the U.S. But when it comes to violent crime overall, the UK is a much greater hotbed than the U.S., with 2,034 violent criminal incidents in the U.K. per 100,000 of population versus 486 in the U.S.

Incidentally, when it comes to discussing murders in the United States versus those in England, don’t make the mistake of getting caught up in the fact that England has a lower homicide rate than we do.  It has always had a lower murder rate than America, which is not a surprise given that, until recently, it was a small, homogeneous nation, as compared to the brawling, sprawling frontier that is America.  In addition, it’s a sad fact — one that few have the courage to address — that America’s high gun crime numbers are rooted almost entirely in America’s black community.  If one subtracts that subset of America from the equation, our gun homicide rates are comparable to other majority Caucasian nations.  Comparing American and British murder rates is to compare apples to oranges.

However, comparing British to British murder rates over the period of the gun ban is edifying, since those rates have increased consistently for the first thirteen years after the 1996 gun ban.  They have tapered off again in the last three years, which suggests that the decrease in homicides is unrelated to the 1996 gun ban and may, instead, have more to do with the recession’s effects on England.

England’s violent crime statistics, while shocking, are not unique.  Putting aside anarchic areas (in the Middle East and Africa, for example), there’s a consistent correlation between government interference in private gun ownership and higher violence rates.  Take Australia, for example, a country that the New York Times touts as the example the U.S. should follow when it comes to government gun bans:

The homicide rate in Australia, low in 1996 at 1.9, increased in the three years after their gun ban before dropping to 1.3 in 2007. Regardless, overall, violent crime in Australia has exploded since gun control was imposed, with the sum of violent crime, including sexual assaults, robberies and assaults, increasing about 20% in just 12 years.


Russia and Mexico, two countries that have stringent laws controlling citizen access to guns, are two other countries frequently cited by Second Amendment supporters as proof that government restrictions on guns don’t work.

We really needn’t look so far afield, though, to determine whether people are safest when the government takes guns or when it allows law abiding citizens to hang onto their guns (including guns with high capacity magazines).  Reason.com has assembled a boatload of data showing that in America, as private gun ownership soared over the past 20 years, public violence — including violence in schools — decreased:

1. Violent crime – including violent crime using guns – has dropped massively over the past 20 years.

The violent crime rate - which includes murder, rape, and beatings – is half of what it was in the early 1990s. And the violent crime rate involving the use of weapons has also declined at a similar pace.

2. Mass shootings have not increased in recent years.

Despite terrifying events like Sandy Hook or last summer’s theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, mass shootings are not becoming more frequent. “There is no pattern, there is no increase,” says criminologist James Allen Fox of Northeastern University, who studies the issue. Other data shows that mass killings peaked in 1929.

[snip]

5. “Assault Weapons Bans” Are Generally Ineffective.

While many people are calling for reinstating the federal ban on assault weapons – an arbitrary category of guns that has no clear definition – research shows it would have no effect on crime and violence. “Should it be renewed,” concludes a definitive study, “the ban’s effects on gun violence are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement.”

Correlation is not causation, of course, but it’s very hard to avoid looking at the above data (fewer guns and more crime versus more guns and less crime) without coming to the conclusion that, in a nominally Judeo-Christian society with a rule of law, guns add to, rather than subtract from, public safety.

So we’re back at the beginning.  Do we want to debate gun control, which is the current nomenclature of choice,  or do we want to debate lessening violence overall?  The former discussion presupposes government restrictions on gun ownership, with the only question being how much restriction the government can and should impose.  The latter discussion, however, forces people to confront the fact that the best way to lessen violence would be to arm more law-abiding citizens, rather than to leave guns as the exclusive preserve of the criminal and the insane.

Bookworm's target

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People are violent even without guns

(I find that I’m too thrifty not to get the most mileage out of my writing.  People who get my newsletter — and if you don’t, you can fill out the subscription form to the right — will have seen this post already, but I couldn’t resist a slightly wider audience for it.)

I wrote the other day about the extraordinary violence in England, a level of violence that increased dramatically after the Labour Party outlawed almost all guns.  After reading that post, a friend send me a link to an article by Tom Gresham, writing at the Tactical Wire.  Gresham’s article bounces off of Bob Costas’ inane little homily asserting that Jovan Belcher and his girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins, would be alive if guns were outlawed.  After pointing out the most obvious fact, which is that Belcher could easily have killed Perkins with his bare hands, Gresham gets to the heart of the matter, which is the way the anti-gun Left abuses data.

Arthur Fellig photo of suicide 1936Gresham first tackles Costa’s claim that, even if guns aren’t used to kill innocent bystanders, they drive suicide rates.  Gresham has one word to demolish that argument:  Japan.  Japan’s laws almost completely prohibit guns.  Nevertheless, says Gresham, “the suicide rate in Japan approaches (sometimes exceeds) twice that of the U.S. No guns in Japan, but twice the rate of suicides of the U.S., which has perhaps 300 million guns.”

Gresham also points to a stunning statistic about America, one I hadn’t known.  In the 20 years since most states passed laws mandating issuance of concealed carry permits to qualified applicants,”the murder rate in the United States has fallen dramatically.”

We now have three interesting facts:  (1) Mostly gun-less Japan has twice the suicide rate of America; (2) mostly gun-less Britain has almost five times as much violent crime as armed America, a rate that increased dramatically when Britain banned most weapons; and (3) when American states enabled law-abiding citizens to carry concealed weapons, gun crime decreased, rather than increased.

Lion lying down with lambWe’ve talked before at the Bookworm Room about the fact that correlation is not the same as causation.  Those three facts taken together, though, indicate that it’s reasonable to assume a connection between guns and violent crime.  The connection, though, isn’t the one the Left wants us to draw, which is that guns increase the violent crime and suicide rate.  Rather, the connection is that an armed society is one that sees fewer violent crimes and fewer suicides.

An armed society is a civil society; a knifed and booted society is a dangerous one

I grew up deathly afraid of guns.  This wasn’t like my fear of snakes and spiders, which seems to be pretty atavistic.  Instead, this was a learned fear:  Guns kill people.  Guns also kill innocent animals that should, instead, die nice clean deaths in factory farms, before being sliced up and packaged in cellophane.  I knew the truth:  guns are bad, very, very bad.

Then I went to England and learned that guns aren’t the only bad things.  My sojourn in England coincided with the explosive rise of soccer hooligans, louts who traveled the length and breadth of England, and periodically spilled over into the rest of Europe, bringing jack-booted violence with them wherever they went.  (Among the Thugs is a horrifying account of these louts and the carnage in which they delighted.) Up in the north of England, where I lived, I could always tell when the local soccer team was having a home game because all the businesses near the soccer stadium boarded up their windows.  England may not have had mass shootings, but it had death by a thousands cuts and boot stomps.

When I returned to America, I still hated guns (I had, after all, been carefully taught to do so), but I began to wonder — Are guns really the only bad thing out there? Will doing away with guns turn America into an Eden that sees that loutish lion and the helpless lamb lie down together?  England, which was a less armed country than America, wasn’t necessarily a safer one.  People still got victimized; it was just that guns weren’t the weapons doing the victimizing.

Upon my return to the states, Second Amendment supporters to whom I spoke told me that, while bullets have the advantage of distance, in the close quarters of a bar fight, knives or broken bottles are much more dangerous.  They made the logical argument, then, that no one ever suggests outlawing knives or bottles.  Likewise, the fact that more people die from car accidents than gunshot wounds doesn’t mean we’re about to outlaw cars.  (Although, I must say, the climate change people are making a good stab at outlawing cars.)

When I was still in my liberal phase, I always had the right answer at hand when I heard these logical arguments:  knives and bottles and cars all have a primary utility separate from their secondary, dangerous uses.  Guns, however, exist only to kill.

With age, thankfully, I’ve gained wisdom. I’ve figured out that guns are extremely useful:  you can get your own food if you’re nowhere near a market with tidy cellophane packages; you can have the sheer pleasure of target practice; you can discourage looters in the wake of a disaster; if you’re a woman and a large man is threatening you, guns are the great equalizer; if you’re alone and a crazy man is at your door, you don’t have to die like the screaming teen in a slasher movie; and guns are the only defense against the single largest and most deadly entity known to man — a totalitarian government that has turned on its citizens.

As I know from my gun hating years, even though all of the above are good reasons to cheer the Second Amendment, these facts make no headway with the anti-gun crowd.  Instead, they just keep pulling out this tired old poster:


Well, I think we’ve finally got a new poster in our Second Amendment arsenal:


Here’s an interesting point about those numbers.  In 1997, Britain’s Labour government worked overtime to remove guns from the hands of law-abiding citizens:

After Hungerford [a massacre in 1987], the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1988 criminalised most semi-automatic long-barrelled weapons; it was generally supported by the Labour opposition although some Labour backbenchers thought it inadequate.After the second incident, the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997 criminalised private possession of most handguns having a calibre over .22; the Snowdrop Campaign continued to press for a wider ban, and in 1997 the incoming Labour government introduced the Firearms (Amendment) (No. 2) Act, which extended this to most handguns with a calibre of .22 (there are exceptions for some antique handguns and black-powder revolvers.)

And not coincidentally, since 1997, the year law-abiding Brits were denied arms, violent crime in England has skyrocketed:

The Tories said Labour had presided over a decade of spiralling violence.

In the decade following the party’s election in 1997, the number of recorded violent attacks soared by 77 per cent to 1.158million – or more than two every minute.

The figures, compiled from reports released by the European Commission and United Nations, also show:

  • The UK has the second highest overall crime rate in the EU.
  • It has a higher homicide rate than most of our western European neighbours, including France, Germany, Italy and Spain.
  • The UK has the fifth highest robbery rate in the EU.
  • It has the fourth highest burglary rate and the highest absolute number of burglaries in the EU, with double the number of offences than recorded in Germany and France.

But it is the naming of Britain as the most violent country in the EU that is most shocking. The analysis is based on the number of crimes per 100,000 residents.

In the UK, there are 2,034 offences per 100,000 people, way ahead of second-placed Austria with a rate of 1,677.

The U.S. has a violence rate of 466 crimes per 100,000 residents, Canada 935, Australia 92 and South Africa 1,609.

Britain used to be famed as a polite society.  It is no longer.  It is also a society that full lives up to the saying that “when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.”

People will kill.  They always have, and they always will.  Culture matters, in that cultural norms can encourage or discourage violent crime.  But only guns will be there when you’re small and alone, and that’s true whether you’re facing a home invader, a street thug, or a modern-day Hitler, Pol Pot, or Stalin.

The elusive quality of heroism rears its head in the Nanny State

In today’s Britain, when something bad happens, all people of good will are trained to stand by.  They watch and hope that the omnipresent CCTV will alert the authorities that someone needs help.  Indeed, they’re so well-trained that, sometimes, even the authorities stand aside in order to take a break or follow department rules.  That’s why it’s rather surprising to read about a 14-year-old boy who threw himself into a wild fight in order to help four security guards who were being assaulted by thugs (emphasis mine):

A teenager in his school uniform dived in to stop a fight which saw four security guards punched, kicked, head-butted and bitten.

Have-a-go-hero Jack Slater, 14,  did not spare a thought for his own safety until after he saved the security man from four attackers.

[snip]

Dozens of adults gathered to watch the  spectacle, but only Jack jumped in to help.

[snip]

Jack, who saw one of the four guards pinned to the ground, jumped onto the back of the assailant and pulled him away.

[snip]

The teenager, from Maidstone, Kent, said today: ‘The security guards were getting flung around a bit and one of them looked like he was getting overcome.

‘I ran over and grabbed the shoulders of the person he was struggling with and pulled him away.

‘I’ve never done anything like this before and it was only afterwards I thought, “I could’ve been hurt there”.

‘My friend tried to stop me and said I was stupid for getting involved but it was a spur of the moment thing.’

[snip]

His mother Michelle Slater, 42, said: ‘I told him off at the time for getting involved, but I’m very proud of him.

‘He won’t do anything like that again, hopefully.’

The salient points in that story are as follows:  British grown-ups, trained by the state into passivity, watched hooligans attack innocent people.  A young boy, whose state training clearly hadn’t taken hold (although it had taken hold in his peers), would not stand idly by but, instead, immediately helped, at no small risk to himself.  His mother was angry at him for taking the risk.

Wow.  Just wow.  That’s what the mighty British empire has dwindled to:  a single young boy who still has fire in his belly and courage in his heart.

British police can’t even defend themselves against dogs

Perhaps I’m misunderstanding things here, but as I read this article, five British police officers got badly mauled by a single dog because none had a gun.  It wasn’t until a SWAT team arrived that the attack ended.

In America, the police are minutes away when seconds count.  In England, the police are there, but who cares?  Even the dogs aren’t scared.

Double paying in Britain for health care

When I lived in England, those who could afford to escape from government medicine by paying twice did so.  I addition to their high taxes, they bought a private insurance that I remember rejoiced in the name BUPA.  Things haven’t changed.  I don’t know why I’m on the mailing list, but I just got this announcement in today’s email:

NHS Waiting Lists Soar by 50% in the Last Year !!

Can you afford to be without Health Insurance ??

With the NHS waiting lists out of control, it’s no surprise millions of UK residents are protecting themselves with medical cover.

Premiums have dropped dramatically in recent years and are now at an all time low due to increased competition.

There are more providers and more plans available which has had an impact on price. Providers also offer more flexible underwriting terms which means helps people switch even if they have pre-existing conditions.

For many people, medical insurance may seem like a luxury that they just cannot afford to have. The reality is that medical insurance is a necessity that they cannot afford to live without.

Whether you have still not yet taken out Medical Cover, or wish to review an old one – let us do the hard work for you and compare the leading providers for you.

If you don’t have Health Insurance Click here

If you are about to renew Click here

We’re actually all familiar with this situation. Everyone pays for public schools. Thanks to unions, though, even the best public schools indoctrinate as much as they teach. The worst public schools are dangerous slums where children learn basic survival skills. Parents who want out, in addition to paying high taxes, also end up paying tuition for private schools. Poor parents, of course, are trapped, and beg for vouchers, which their elite Democrat masters deny them. (And yet they still vote Democrat. Go figure.)

Socialized anything is low-quality, crowded anything. Only the rich, who can afford to double pay, escape.

Downton Abbey — a soap opera for the intellectual crowd

Have you watched Downton Abbey yet?  Or perhaps a better question is, have you even heard of Downton Abbey?  I’ve been aware of it for a couple of years, because I read Britain’s Daily Mail.  The show has been a monster hit there and, during the season, the Daily Mail has a steady stream of articles about the plots and the actors. I only started watching it recently, though, when it crossed my husband’s radar.  I didn’t have any reason to ignore it before; I’m just not a TV person.

The easiest way to describe the show is to say that it’s a 21st version of Upstairs Downstairs insofar as the plot tracks the lives of an Earl’s family and his staff, all of whom live in a magnificent English country house.  The first season, which is available on streaming video and disc, begins in 1912 and works its way up to WWI.  The second season, which is currently showing on Masterpiece Theater, picks up with the war and clearly intends to take us into the post war years.

The series is absolutely gorgeous.  I’m madly in love with every single “upstairs” costume the women have worn, silly hats included.  Highclere Castle serves as the set, and it really takes your breath away every time you see an exterior shot or an interior “upstairs” room.  Typically for a high-end British production, the acting is superb.  Every character seems is a fully realized person.

Putting all that aside, though, fundamentally the show is a soap opera for the elite crowd.  There’s illicit sex, homosexuality, cross-class romances, heroism, death, brutal sibling rivalry, class warfare, etc.  About halfway through the first season, I became exhausted with the dragging soap opera feel of it.  Take away the historical story line, the lovely clothes, and the Castle, and it could be All My Children.

There is really only one thing that distinguishes the show from any other soap, and that thing is a whopper:  Maggie Smith.  Smith plays the family matriarch, and she is so magnificent in the role, I think that when she wraps up her career it will be considered her finest moment.  The following clip shows Smith in action.  She is at her best when she is sparring with the heir’s mother (the Earl had no sons, so the heir comes from a middle class line), a kind woman whose slightly over-officious work ethic deeply offends Smith’s character.

I’m not suggesting that you rush out to watch Downton Abbey, but I do think you might enjoy it if you get the chance.

A lovely, lovely song to wish our military friends a Merry Christmas

You know what the number one song in Britain is this Christmas?  “Wherever You Are” a beautiful choral song, with lyrics based upon a poem drawn from letters between British service men and their wives, sung by those wives:

By the way, if you buy the song, not only will you have beautiful music to call your own, but you will also help support two military charities.

(Just FYI, America’s top pop songs this Christmas are not quite so inspirational, unless you really like Rihanna.)

Hat tip:  Gateway Pundit

The news out of England *UPDATED*

A few stories from England’s Daily Mail, all showing that the country is not in the best of health.  Each of these stories highlights, not the horrible things individuals can do, because those crimes transcend national boundaries, but the way in which England has rendered itself unable to react in any way to the insults occurring within its borders.

1.  An Eritrean national who helped plot an attempted jihad-inspired mass murder in England is not only free after serving just half his sentence, but the Brits cannot deport him for fear of violating his human rights.  Interestingly, concern about human rights didn’t seem to impinge on his activities when he helped the would-be bombers.

2.  Somehow England’s best, brightest and Leftest minds were unable to figure out that open immigration would depress wages.  This is what years of Leftist higher education will do to you — make you stupid.

3.  As a child, I remember reading that Soviet hospitals had something in common with medieval hospitals:  if your relatives weren’t there to take care of you, you died.  Turns out that you don’t have to be in a hardcore Communist nation or a medieval time warp for that to open.  Just go to England.  Soft socialism will do exactly the same bad job for you.

4.  Human rights don’t stop with Jihadists.  True blue axe-murdering Brits get their day in the sun too, as was the case with an axe murder with three notches on his blade who was nevertheless allowed out of prison to attend a course in chopping down trees.  Once an axe lover, always an axe lover, I guess.

UPDATE:  Sadie just sent me the worst article of all, one explaining better than anything else could, how Britain has arrived at this state:

From the Wicked Witch of the West in the Wizard of Oz to Meg, the good witch from the Meg and Mog children’s books, witches have always dressed in black.

But their traditional attire has now come in for criticism from equality experts who claim it could send a negative message to toddlers in nursery and lead to racism.

Instead, teachers should censor the toy box and replace the pointy black hat with a pink one, while dressing fairies, generally resplendent in pale pastels, in darker shades.

Another staple of the classroom – white paper – has also been questioned by Anne O’Connor, an early years consultant who advises local authorities on equality and diversity.

Children should be provided with paper other than white to drawn on and paints and crayons should come in “the full range of flesh tones”, reflecting the diversity of the human race, according to the former teacher.

Read the rest here.

And one more from Sadie:  police ban cafe owner from displaying Christian literature (including the Bible) and images, as they are an offense to public order.  The next thing, presumably, will be a raid on Buckingham Palace.  I’ve heard there’s an old woman living there who actually claims to be the head of a Christian church in England.  (I feel a satirical post coming on, if I can just keep my comic mojo going.)

You can’t fix stupid

Britain, apparently, has solved the puzzle of criminal recidivism (H/T Melanie Phillips of the Spectator).

I know that this story provides us with a most important clue as to the greater disease that afflicts Western Civilization.

I really just don’t know what to do with this story, so I am passing it on to all of you greater intellects and other Bookworm Room habitues for a more proper fisking while I try to reorient my conceptualization of the “real world”.

We are doomed!

England swings wildly between the extremes

In 1931, Nancy Langhorne Astor’s son Robert Gould Shaw III was arrested for committing a homosexual act (in a park, I believe).  This was a continuation of a long-standing British public policy of prosecuting “sodomists.”  Arguably the most famous prosecution was that against Oscar Wilde, for public indecency.  The trial, scandal and imprisonment destroyed the noted Victorian wit entirely, and he died in self-imposed, poverty-stricken exile soon after his release from prison.

How times have changed.  In 2010, Dale McAlpine, a Baptist preacher in England, was arrested for stating in a public place that homosexuality is a sin.

Have the English no sense of balance or proportion?  Do they think that criminalizing people’s thoughts and opinions is the only way to balance the scales for the humiliations they visited on homosexuals in years past?

Anyway, rather than opining more on the subject, let me refer you to my previous post on thought crimes.  I think it pretty much covers anything I want to say.

Matched story sets on freedom of association and recycling

Yes, my friends, it’s matched set time again.  I just love pairing stories (or, here, a prescient video and a current story), for your enjoyment and edification.

I’ll start first with a couple of stories that have their genesis in San Francisco and that have made it to the media this past week.  I’ve already mentioned one at my blog, which is the story about the softball players who lost their championship because some of their team members weren’t “gay enough.”  The problem for the winning team was that the league was, by definition, a “gay” league, and mere bisexuality didn’t cut the mustard.  Aside from the obvious identity politic problems inherent in the story, I was intrigued by the last few paragraphs (emphasis mine):

Beth Allen, an attorney for the alliance, said Wednesday that the suit has no merit and that none of the plaintiffs suffered any discrimination.

She said the San Francisco league’s suggestion to remove the heterosexual limit is problematic.

“Presumably, if that were to occur, teams could be comprised of heterosexual players only,” Allen said.

“This is not a bisexuals vs. gays issue,” she said. “It’s whether a private organization may say who may be a member of their organization. It’s an issue of freedom of association.”

Are you holding that emphasized thought? Good. Because now I have the next story, again arising in San Francisco. This time, it involves a case currently before the U.S. Supreme Court.  The question is whether U.C. Hastings, a public law school, can ban a Christian group from campus on the ground that the group excludes active homosexuals.  Mitch McConnell argued that, under the Constitution, Hastings cannot do so (again, emphasis is mine):

On Monday, McConnell argued a case called Christian Legal Society v. Martinez in the United States Supreme Court. His client, a Christian organization at the University of California’s Hastings College of Law, was subject to a law school policy that required it, in order to avail itself of law school facilities, to accept “all comers” as members of the organization–whether they are Christians or not. The CLS believes that this requirement violates its members’ First Amendment right to freedom of association.

McConnell argued that under Supreme Court precedents, a public agency like the University of California can ban discrimination based on status (e.g. race or gender), but not based on belief, since in many cases the whole point of freedom of association is to band together with those who share one’s beliefs. As is often the case in Supreme Court arguments, the justices pelted both lawyers with hypothetical questions, sometimes involving rather far-fetched scenarios. At one point Justice Stevens asked this question:

JUSTICE STEVENS: What if the belief is that African Americans are inferior?

MR. McCONNELL: Again, I think they can discriminate on the basis of belief, but not on the basis of status.

As is often the case with these matched stories, I’ll leave the comparison and analysis to you. After all, put enough dots together and most of us should end up with the same picture.

This next pair isn’t really a matched set of news stories.  Instead, the pairing shows that, no matter how extreme we think a hypothetical is when it comes to environmentalism, someone will make it a reality.

First, enjoy a video of Penn & Teller examining just how far people will go to save the environment. (Since this is Penn & Teller, does the blue language alert go without saying?  Eh, I’ll give it to you anyway:  Blue Language Alert.)

As you can see, what P&T are imposing on people is ridiculous — or is it?  England’s bureaucrats, apparently inspired by Penn & Teller’s manic ideas, are putting a massive recycling regime change in place across Britain:

In a regime set to spread across the country, residents are being forced to juggle an astonishing nine separate bins.

There has already been a storm of protest with warnings that the scheme is too complex and homes simply don’t have the space to deal with the myriad bins, bags and boxes.

The containers include a silver slopbucket for food waste, which is then tipped in to a larger, green outdoor food bin, a pink bag for plastic bottles, a green bag for cardboard, and a white bag for clothing and textiles.

Paper and magazines go in blue bags, garden waste in a wheelie bin with a brown lid, while glass, foil, tins and empty aerosols should go in a blue box, with a grey wheelie bin for non-recyclable waste.

[snip]

Pressure on councils to enforce recycling schemes includes rising taxes on everything they send to landfill and the threat of European Union fines if they fail to hit EU targets from 2013 onwards.

Compulsory recycling is commonly enforced by bin police who can impose £100 on-the-spot fines for breaches like overfilled wheelie bins, extra rubbish left out, or bins put out at the wrong time.

If people do not pay the fines, they can be taken to court, where they face increased penalties of £1,000 and criminal records.

[snip]

Under the previous recycling system in the borough, householders had to juggle with the five containers that have become common in compulsory recycling and fortnightly collection schemes throughout the country.

The new system was introduced by the local council to help boost recycling rates from 26 per cent in 2008 to a target of 50 per cent by 2015.

It means only food waste is now taken each week. All other rubbish has to be stored for a fortnight before it is collected.

I won’t add anything here. You’ve got all the information you need.

The Obama administration and England

England is not one of my favorite places anymore, because of the raging antisemitism that characterizes her politics and her street.  Nevertheless, she is our ally and has been our staunch ally for more than a century.  For Obama to abandon her over the Falklands is disgusting.  At Power Line, in a few words, John nails Obama’s policy vis a vis England (emphasis mine):

So, once again, the Obama administration has sold Great Britain, formerly our #1 ally, down the river, along with the inhabitants of the Falklands, whose opinions would seem to count for something. We are past the point where anyone could doubt that the Obama administration’s hostility toward the U.K. is intentional. Obama seems to have substituted personal pathology for national policy.

I’m careful about calling someone evil, which I think is in an entirely separate class from misguided or ignorant or any other negative adjectives.  With this kind of excuse for foreign policy emanating from the White House, though, I’m increasingly inclined to imagine that appellation attached to Obama’s name.

In England, it’s not how well you educate, it’s how politically correct you are

When parents think about what a school should do for their children, they think in terms of the three “Rs,” plus a lovely layering of science, history, and other subjects that maketh a full (and employable) man.  The politically correct Nanny State, however, cares little for education and a great deal for ideology.  It should therefore come as no surprise to you that the British government, rather than ranking schools based upon how well they educate children is ranking them, instead, on how well they indoctrinate children in politically correct shibboleths, and whether their student composition matches race and color grids that the government promulgates:

Top schools risk being branded inadequate by Government inspectors for failing to promote race relations, gender equality and human rights, it has been disclosed.

They could be plunged into “special measures” by Ofsted under new rules that place equality on a par with exam results and child safety for the first time.

In official guidance, inspectors are told to be aware of “gender imbalances” in upper-ability sets and ensure after-school sport is not dominated by pupils belonging to one ethnic group.

Some local councils are also warning schools to make sure staff and volunteers reflect the ethnic make-up of local communities and feature people with disabilities to provide good role models for pupils.

Look at England closely, my friends. The country that led the way, that provided the seeds for the American genius, is dying before our eyes.  Even worse, our politically correct, liberal, Progressive masters are hastening to drag us down that same path.

Let me say again what you’ll hear me say in post after post after post in 2010:  The November 2010 elections are pretty much our last chance to stop the PC car before it drags the whole nation over the edge of the cliff.  We must start supporting candidates with money now, rather than waiting until the last minute; we must go to rallies and make our presence know; and we have to vote with vigor in the 2010 elections.  Otherwise, no slamming on the brakes is going to help.  We’ll already be airborne and ready to fall.

The dismal state of the British citizenship test

If I were devising a citizenship test for Great Britain, I can think of some things I would ask.  Broadly, I would ask about her  history (what makes Britain British?), her form of government (details about Parliamentary Democracy), and the duties of a citizen.

But you see, I’m not writing the test one needs to take to become a British citizen.  Instead, the Labour government has written that test.  Labour’s role in the process means that, while there are a few historical or civics questions thrown in, your average test taker needs to know how many Brits are drug users, when women got the right to divorce, how many black people are in Britain, how many single parent homes Britain has, when people become eligible for government welfare, how many immigrants have come from Southeast Asia (that means Pakistan), etc.  The test has everything to do with reassuring Southeast Asian and African immigrants that they are not alone, instructing them on welfare and child labor laws, and giving them info about British substance abuse.

In other words, the test is an insane measurement of what it means to be a British citizen, and a very good guidebook to how to game the British welfare system.  It’s a very good indicator of the canker that is socialism, isn’t it?

(Thanks to Mr. Smith for correcting my geographic confusion.  I should have known better or, at least, been more careful.)

Britain, with Communist medicine, has Communist health outcomes: lots of death

Britain’s NHS, which is government-run (i.e., Communist) medicine, has, unsurprisingly, Communist outcomes.  Lots of people die unnecessarily in England under the government’s beneficent care:

British health care is little better than that of former Communist countries, which spend a fraction of the billions poured into the NHS.

A survey published yesterday by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development sees Britain languishing with the Czech Republic and Poland in international league tables on health.

The OECD – which represents developed Western countries, some former Soviet nations, Mexico, Japan and South Korea – compared healthcare standards among its 30 members and found that we lag even further behind the wealthiest nations, such as France, Sweden and Germany.

The figures showed:

  • British cancer and heart attack victims are more likely to die than almost anywhere in the developed world;
  • Asthma and diabetes patients are more than three times as likely to end up in hospital as their neighbours in Germany;
  • Life expectancy in Britain – 79 years and six months for a man – is far worse than in France, where men expect to live until 81. The deficit is similar for women.

Britain performed only marginally better than former Communist states whose governments spend only half as much on healthcare.

Read the rest here.

Do I need to say, again, that this is the ultimate goal the Democrats have for America?  Repeated evidence to the contrary (the entire Soviet bloc, England, Canada, etc.), the Democrats are convinced that, if you can just do it right, government health care will be better than health care in a market economy that is only subject to limited government constraints.  They can’t get it through their heads that, to the extent medical care in America is too expensive, that expense is driven by government interference in the free market.

As I always say, government should exist to police fraud and protect citizens from overreaching.  Government becomes a problem when it dictates what people must buy (as is the case in practically every health insurance market in America), and controls the available products.  Government becomes a threat when it takes over the market entirely, as it has in England.

There won’t always be an England: Britain’s greatest generation bemoans the nation’s decline

Disillusioned members of the World War II generation state honestly that, had the England that now exists been the England in 1939, they would not have believed it was a country worth saving.  Most feel that their fellow veterans, those who died in the fight, are rolling in their graves as they look at the corrupt, non-Christian, EU centered, increasingly Muslim, angry, immoral, criminal, dirty country that is England today:

They despise what has become of the Britain they once fought to save. It’s not our country any more, they say, in sorrow and anger.

[snip]

‘I sing no song for the once-proud country that spawned me,’ wrote a sailor who fought the Japanese in the Far East, ‘and I wonder why I ever tried.’

‘My patriotism has gone out of the window,’ said another ex-serviceman.

[snip]

New Labour, said one ex-commando who took part in the disastrous Dieppe raid in which 4,000 men were lost, was ‘more of a shambles than some of the actions I was in during the war, and that’s saying something!’

He added: ‘Those comrades of mine who never made it back would be appalled if they could see the world as it is today.

‘They would wonder what happened to the Brave New World they fought so damned hard for.’

Nor can David Cameron take any comfort from the elderly.

His ‘hug a hoodie’ advice was scorned by a generation of brave men and women now too scared, they say, to leave their homes at night.

Immigration tops the list of complaints.

‘This Land of Hope and Glory is just a land of yobs and drunks’

‘People come here, get everything they ask, for free, laughing at our expense,’ was a typical observation.

‘We old people struggle on pensions, not knowing how to make ends meet. If I had my time again, would we fight as before? Need you ask?’

Many writers are bewildered and overwhelmed by a multicultural Britain that, they say bitterly, they were never consulted about nor feel comfortable with.

‘Our country has been given away to foreigners while we, the generation who fought for freedom, are having to sell our homes for care and are being refused medical services because incomers come first.’

Her words may be offensive to many – and rightly so – but Sarah Robinson defiantly states: ‘We are affronted by the appearance of Muslim and Sikh costumes on our streets.’

[snip]

The loss of British sovereignty to the European Union caused almost as much distress. ‘Nearly all veterans want Britain to leave the EU,’ wrote one.

Frank, a merchant navy sailor, thought of those who gave their lives ‘for King and country’, only for Britain to become ‘an offshore island of a Europe where France and Germany hold sway. Ironic, isn’t it?’

[snip]

‘I am very unhappy about the way this country is being transformed. I go nowhere after dark. I don’t even answer my doorbell then.’

A Desert Rat who battled his way through El Alamein, Sicily, Italy and Greece was in despair.

‘This is not the country I fought for. Political correctness, lack of discipline, compensation madness, uncontrolled immigration – the “do-gooders” have a lot to answer for.

‘If you see youngsters doing something they shouldn’t and you say anything, you just get a mouthful of foul language.’

You can read the rest here.

Government health care rationing strikes again in England

Just so you know, Britain, the ne plus ultra of single payer care, is having a little bit of death panel trouble:

Liver cancer sufferers are being condemned to an early death by being denied a new drug on the Health Service, campaigners warn.

They criticised draft guidance that will effectively ban the drug sorafenib – which is routinely used in every other country where it is licensed.

Trials show the drug, which costs £36,000 a year, can increase survival by around six months for patients who have run out of options.

The Government’s rationing body, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) said the overall cost was ‘simply too high’ to justify the ‘benefit to patients’.

However, relatively few would be eligible for the treatment – around 700, or one in four of those diagnosed each year with primary liver cancer.

[snip]

Kate Spall, founder of the Pamela Northcott Fund, which assists cancer patients denied new therapies, last night said cancer sufferers had been sold down the river.

She said: ‘These policies were specifically designed to help patients with rarer cancer such as liver to access new treatments for a previously untreatable disease.

‘This decision will condemn patients to an earlier death than was necessary.’

Only 20 per cent of patients with primary liver cancer – where the tumour originates in the liver – are alive one year after diagnosis.