Duncan Wu (in the Spectator, here) reviewing Richard Ingrams’ forthcoming “The Sins of G. K. Chesterton”, says his subject ‘wilfully followed the idiotic, bigoted views of fascists and anti-Semites, irrevocably tarnishing Chesterton’s posthumous reputation, something most biographers have preferred not to accept’; that Ingrams’ ‘predecessors are guilty of trying either to ignore or to cleanse whatever might blemish the appearance of saintly virtue’ (Review, ‘No saintly innocent’, Spectator, 21 August, 2021).
As the author of “Chesterton and the Jews: friend, critic, defender” (2015) I examined in detail his views on Jewish matters, fascism and race, concluding that although Chesterton did on occasion use terms that could be seen as anti-Semitic – especially through the lens of the Holocaust – he was not an anti-Semite but condemned the religion of race and was among the first (along with Churchill, now also smeared as a fascist sympathiser) to attack Nazi anti-Semitism.
He died in 1936, before the War and the Holocaust, but his support for the Jewish homeland is now offered as evidence of anti-Semitism, even while an unholy alliance of Islamism and the Left attack the very existence of the State of Israel. Significantly, Chesterton’s left-wing contemporaries, notably H. G. Wells and George Bernard Shaw, have escaped woke scrutiny; and while fascism was a new movement, largely a reaction to communism (whose crimes Wells ignored), racism and eugenics were not. It is not Chesterton, but Shaw (who alluded to the lethal chamber for the ‘unfit’) and Wells, who supported eugenics and promoted a worldview with no place for the Jews, who are now on ‘the wrong side of history’.
Significantly, too, views of Chesterton as an anti-Semite emerged long after the War, and it has taken until 2021 for the ‘fascist’ slur to emerge. Mr Wu says Chesterton’s ‘depredations’ (his alleged anti-Semitism and fascism) were ‘worse in both degree and kind’ than those of Byron, a ‘self-confessed “lover” of 15-year-old boys’. Now, in an age when ‘sexual diversity’ is promoted to 15-year-olds and even four-year-olds it comes as no surprise that Chesterton’s ‘crimes’ are viewed as even worse than paedophilia.
Mr Wu, who criticises Richard Ingrams for asking readers ‘to imagine Chesterton as a tragic hero’, does not even pretend to even-handedness but condemns anyone with a good word to say for him – ‘biographers, acolytes, scholars, groupies’, while ignoring those who take a more nuanced approach.
Historical heroes are now besmirched as racists and their statues toppled, and although there is no statue to Chesterton – he is almost forgotten in his own country – some are more than willing to take a hatchet to him. At a time when Communism is still alive and killing, along with the Taliban, there is no shortage of real villains; and anti-Semitism, masquerading as criticism of Israel, is still with us.
Respectfully, Ann Farmer
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James Kirkup (Spectator 13-08-21) highlights the falling cost of solar and wind energy. But he fails to mention that on some winter days, the associated capacity totals only around 1% of UK maximum demand. Adding more solar and wind generation will not change that.
The shortfall has to be made up by nuclear or fossil fuelled power plant, or by energy storage plant, which costs money to install and maintain. How much money James?
Ross Clark’s article in the same Spectator is more enlightening, with a National Grid estimate of £3trillion just to decarbonise the Grid. Add to that the replacement of domestic gas boilers, with electric heat pumps, plus new radiators and pipework for 28 million households and the cost rises to around £3.5trillion, or £125,000 per family.
As Ross points out, the cost of decarbonising transport and industrial systems etc must also be added, bearing in mind that petrol and diesel duties (around £30 bn pa – or £10,000 per vehicle) will have to be raised by other means.
No business would embark on such a costly strategy, without a fully tested cost/benefit analysis. Indeed, Physicist Prof Richard Lindzen is clear that atmospheric levels of CO2 lag global temperature – not the other way around. He concludes that “The influence of mankind on climate is trivially true and numerically insignificant”.
Add to that the fact that CO2 comprises only around 0.04% of the atmosphere, that human activity contributes around 3% of that, while the UK contributes around 1% of that. Next multiply the product of those percentages, by the % contribution of CO2 to the greenhouse effect and you are likely to come to a similar conclusion to Prof Lindzen.
The UK is in danger of becoming a laughing stock, as it drives many into fuel poverty for limited benefit – while big coal burners such as China, India and Germany delight at our ever declining competitiveness – and our PM continues to burnish his green credentials.
Respectfully, Roger Arthur
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I thought that April 1st had come early, on reading the report on page 12 of the print DT,02-09-22, that “walking on wooden boards could generate power.”
To generate one kW of power requires the expenditure of one kJ per second in energy, by those treading the boards. So instead of buying kWhs from the grid, they will need to eat more, emitting more methane as a consequence – unless of course they cut back on other forms of exercise.
Respectfully, Roger Arthur
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Here’s my latest submission to my worthy representative in Westminster (who has still refused to answer), following the scandalous situation regarding illegal immigration as reported by Michael Heaver in his video:
Dear Mr. Tomlinson,
I seem to have missed your last few replies, Mr. Tomlinson, but, as always, hope springs eternal and I look forward to receiving your informed opinion on the issue highlighted underneath, and, if it’s not too much trouble, in addition I would also be interested to hear your thoughts on Priti Patel’s performance in this area of concern, the Prime Minister’s handling of lockdowns, health passports, mandatory vaccinations (especially of children without parental consent), the dubious qualifications and political background of the SAGE team of advisors, the continued exploitation of UK waters by EU fishing fleets, the non reporting of protests against all of the above by the Mainstream Media, not forgetting , of course, the plight of Julian Assange.
I am aware that these are just some of the concerns which must be taking a lot of your time (as well as inaugurating new health centres), but your opinion on just ONE of these topics would not only be most welcomed by my friends and readers to the letters section of the paper I write to, but also, it may even convince me to vote for you again as my worthy representative in Westminster at the next election.
Yours most sincerely, Jim Etherington
Thanks for publishing this letter,
Respectfully, Jim Etherington