Daily Express Friday, August 23, 2019 13
as adults in
eye of law
What cowardice of
the ‘great and good’
WHY IS CHINA DRAWING THE EYES OF THE WORLD TO ITS BEHAVIOUR OVER HONG KONG?
THE vast and mighty Republic of China is
making an international fool of herself in her
David and Goliath spat with the students of
Hong Kong. On our TVs we see teeming
torrents of young rioters bring the tiny
former British colony to a standstill.
The British-trained Hong Kong police keep
their calm and refrain from the massacres we
see so often when youth opposes
dictatorship. We know that behind high walls
the mainland’s brutal militia awaits – though
not yet issued orders. Remember Tiananmen
Square? The question nags – what is it all
for? The answer is short and bewildering.
Beijing – very much the capital of a
dictatorship – has instructed its puppet
government of this tiny enclave to utter a
new law. Simply that offenders in Hong
Kong may in future be extradited for trial on
the mainland under much more savage
Hong Kong is an oddity. When we
conceded that the UK-Chinese treaty
whereby we governed the colony was over,
we negotiated generous terms for the people
of the ex-colony – terms the mainlanders
would have given their eyeteeth for.
Technically the supreme governor had to
be a communist appointed by Beijing. But
he/she would rule with a light touch.
Hong Kong has always been extremely
valuable to mainland China as a generator
of wealth. Now China itself has become
immensely rich – practising capitalism
economically and communism politically –
something the Soviet Union never did which
is why it finally collapsed. Now it looks as if
China wants to impose its rule more
forcefully. But what a silly issue to pick.
The world would never have noticed if a few
law-breakers continue to be tried locally. Now
the world stares at these outraged teenagers
and China loses face – so vital in the Orient –
as never since that lone young man faced down
the tanks on Tiananmen Square and died for it.
Beijing would be wise to accept a compromise
so the world can move on. But has President Xi
that wisdom or will arrogance prevail?
EVERY time a teenager
plunges a knife into an
innocent bystander we are
told he cannot be named
and must perforce be acted
against by the legal
structure as if he were still
a minor, i.e. a child.
In a number of recent
cases those originally
arrested were under the age
Had a case proceeded
against them, they would
have been treated like a
juvenile, not responsible
really for their actions.
Seventeen is an age when
someone can legally drive
and a car is a potentially
lethal weapon. Surely they
can be held responsible in
law for their actions.
Time to change the law?
Time to acknowledge reality
- that nowadays 17 is old
enough to be an adult in
criminal law? I think so.
elsewhere on this
page, Boris Johnson has
improvements to all our
lives like a kid in the bath.
But where is the money
coming from? Borrow or
make savings? Debts have
to be paid off sooner or
later; savings are ours to
keep and spend on other
and better projects.
So where to save? Easy,
take a claymore to the vast
bureaucracy that enslaves
Bureaucracy – that edifice
of rules and regulations –
costs on three fronts: to
create, to enforce and most
of all to comply with.
And 50 per cent of them
achieve absolutely nothing
save to waste time, irritate
and alienate us all from our
with the bureaucracy are
the quango empires – 50
per cent a complete waste
of overpaid time and money
- voted for by no one,
answerable to no one.
There is masses to do,
of Canterbury avers that
siting the new Holocaust
Memorial right next to Parliament,
“the home of our democracy” will
have a powerful symbolism. It was not
lack of democracy that inspired the
Holocaust but the Nazi-inspired wave of
religious and racial hatred that swept
Germany back then. So surely our
memorial to all that might be more
therapeutic if placed next to Labour
Party HQ. That seems to be
where modern anti-Semitism
makes its home.
are plans for a new
HERE is something very
weird going on in this
country and it all
revolves around two
short words – No Deal.
We all know it takes two
to make a deal. If one refuses
absolutely even to sit down and
negotiate and as a result no deal can
be achieved, whose fault is that?
You’d think it would be self-evident,
not even a matter for debate.
In the matter now exhaustingly
called Brexit there are two sides –
London and Brussels. Our
Government has made plain over
and over again that it is ready and
willing to start talks tomorrow –
The EU has made equally plain
it has not the slightest intention
of attending any talks unless...
Well, unless Britain concedes
before the talks every single con-
cession Brussels demands – in all
a capitulation more complete
than any possible short of a coun-
try that has just lost a major war
and must sell its soul to be
allowed to survive.
You might think the UK would
be united in agreeing that we are
not a defeated nation in any war
or contest; that we are doing
rather well, the fifth biggest econ-
omy in the world with vast
resources and potential. Yet thou-
sands of our supposed high-ups
cannot let the sun go down with-
out spending the day trashing our
country and screaming that the
absence of a deal is all our fault.
We see it in the politics of the
Left and so-called Centre, in the
City, the Establishment and half
the media, the bureaucracy,
academia and the law.
I was raised to admire the lads
who flew the Spitfires and
Hurricanes in the Battle of
Britain, went up the beaches of
Normandy on D-Day, set all
Europe free from Nazism, fought
off the threat of world commu-
nism, gave sovereign independ-
ence to a vast empire and parlia-
mentary democracy to the world.
That took a lot of “bottle”. But
when it was needed, we had it.
And honestly, I never thought
that at the age of 80 I would see a
day when this same country could
produce such a phalanx of
cowards, appeasers and capitula-
tors in high places.
My bible, the Oxford English
Dictionary has a word for it.
Degenerate. Can nobody chuck
them out, bring them down and
consign these mediocrities to the
station in life for which Nature so
amply equipped them? Oblivion.
Come on, Boris, start firing.
Come on voters, start
IT IS now official – the HS
pipedream is now estimated to
cost something north of
£100billion. We have all known for
ages that the original £56billion
was complete poppycock. Surely a
Government splashing promises
right, left and centre – defence,
health, schools, housing, police –
is going to need all the folding stuff
it can find, and there is the great
white elephant staring at it. And
there is a possible alternative.
Years ago the Great Central Line
ran like a spine down the core of
England. It was closed down when
Dr Beeching (remember him?) took
a machete to the railways of this
land. At the time we were all taking
to the roads and rail travel seemed
to be dwindling. Thousands of
miles of little-used branch lines
had to go. But why the Great
Central? Anyway it is still there.
Overgrown, half-buried, rusted, but
still there. The bedrock and the
hard-core track have not gone
away. The cuttings, embankments
and tunnels are still there. It would
cost a fraction of even the first
stage of HS2 to restore it.
And while it will take many years
before the first over-priced seat on
HS2 is available for a pair of
executive buttocks the restoration
of Great Central could quickly see
trains running north-south again.
A rapid project study should be
authorised on three questions:
feasibility, budget and time.
Pictures: PA, MHCLG/SWNS