Rubbish in, rubbish out
These are days of momentous, world-shaking, events. But none can match the global impact of the wise words, delivered with all the weight and status that his exalted position as Mayor of Mosman, Sydney, invests in them, that Israel, apparently, is the source of all evil in the world.
The good Mayor Abelson has taken time out from his onerous responsibilities ensuring that the garbage is collected, that mutts and moggies are registered, de-sexed and not biting too many local voters, to reply to a civil and well-mannered invitation to attend a Service at the Great Synagogue with a refusal and an anti-Israel diatribe. Word on the street is that the government of Israel has been fatally destabilised by the Mayor’s politically inspired and incisive words.
One wonders if such a policy towards Israel was foreshadowed in his electoral campaign and whether the Mosman councillors all had an opportunity to vote on and show their support for the Mayor’s radical anti-Israel stance?
Clearly Mayor Abelson has spent so much time organising the rubbish that it has gone to his head – he states that ‘there is no discrimination against Jewish or any other race in Mosman’ (sic). It is good to know that the Salvation Army race, the Presbyterian race, the Islamic race and the Scientologist race etc are welcome in Mosman.
Dr Bill Anderson
Surrey Hills, Vic.
Particle of faith
Sir: Fraser Nelson draws our attention to the most worrying aspect of economists getting it wrong, which is their reluctance to recognise it (‘Don’t ask the experts’, 14 January). Some economists, seduced by sophisticated mathematical models, aspire to the status of, say, particle physicists, who can tell us they have found something called the Higgs boson. The fact that we tend to believe the particle physicists despite being more familiar with prices, jobs and buying and selling than with quantum equations comes down to physicists having a long track record of heeding the biologist E.O. Wilson’s advice: ‘Keep in mind that new ideas are commonplace, and almost always wrong.’
Sir: Rod Liddle lists some of the reasons that have been put forward to account for the current crisis in the NHS and adds another of his own (‘The lies we tell ourselves about the NHS’, 14 January), but short of urging that we don’t give the service any more money, he has no suggestions of how to improve matters.
May I suggest the opposite? Of all the developed countries in Europe, Britain spends the lowest proportion of its GDP on health, and half what the USA does. How can we expect a first-class service if we spend the money elsewhere?
Dr Ian McKee
Sir: Last week’s Spectator (14 January) achieved a remarkable meeting of minds. Your tame leftie (Rod Liddle) and your equally excellent in-house right-wing ideologue (James Delingpole) both excoriated the ‘liberal left’. But they’re both wrong. In its intolerance of views other than its own, its ambivalence about freedom of expression, its assumption that bigger government is better government and its arrogant, self-satisfied hypocrisy, today’s left is anything but liberal.
Fascist may be too strong a word and one that’s been debased as a general term of political abuse (ironically, by the left). But the original fascists, Mussolini and Mosley, began as socialists impatient with the democratic process. At the very least, Rod, James and others, can we please stop calling these people ‘liberal’?
Sir: As a professor at King’s College, Christopher Prendergast does it no service as an advertisement for success in imparting the skills of reasoned argument — to adapt the words he uses of Charles Moore (Letters, 14 January). Of course the University of Cambridge has only recently come to rely on running water and electricity, just as it has enjoyed European funding for only 40-odd years. But two points have eluded Professor Prendergast’s less-than-vigilant attention. First, Cambridge has had donors for the whole of its existence, whether those benefactors be monarchs, bishops, nobles, businessmen or ministers of the Crown. Secondly, as the United Kingdom has always been a net donor to the European Union, any money gained by Cambridge from Brussels really comes from British tax revenues. Once departure from the EU is achieved it is to be hoped — if not indeed expected — that this money will come directly from its source rather than through an external organisation.
Strike a balance
Sir: Your cartoon about a man striking at home (14 January) reminded me of the dilemma clinical psychologists faced in 1984. We were advised by the British Psychological Society that it would be understandable if we wished to take action in support of the miners. However, as professional persons employed in the healthcare sector, we were disbarred from strike action.
The concluding recommendation was that we should do our work as usual, but pretend we were not there. I duly used the unpicketed back gate to my hospital.
Consultant clinical psychologist