PETER HITCHENS: I will never forgive the clowns who cancelled Remembrance Sunday 


Normally I would go this morning to a small village war memorial and stand in the cold November air while we prayed a little, sang O God, Our Help In Ages Past, and observed the usual silence between bugle calls.

But a few weeks ago, I was told this was impossible. Apparently we would all be too close together, or something. So the event was to be switched to a nearby cemetery, where we could all stand a long way from each other.

‘There will be white crosses painted on the grass to indicate where people should stand to ensure social distancing… Masks are not compulsory in this scenario, but their use would be appreciated,’ said the parish circular.

And, of course, we were supposed to leave our names and addresses in case, in the wind and the cold, as we avoided each other, we somehow contracted or passed on Covid.

More public voices are being raised against this unjustified folly, out of all proportion to the hugely exaggerated risk. People are seen above at last year’s Remembrance Sunday ceremony in London

How, I wondered, would those we were commemorating have viewed these pathetic precautions and the spirit of subservience to the State (constantly advised by Church leaders) which they express?

I was getting ready to endure this parody, wondering if it would make me laugh out loud or lose my temper, or both.

But then Johnson and Hancock, our prison governor and chief warder, once again made normal life illegal. The feeble pseudo-ceremony was cancelled, as are all other religious services.

Quite a few people in the churches and in politics are beginning, too late, to seethe about this repression of an important part of national life. Any actual war veteran, should he take part in a Remembrance Service inside, could be fined on the spot by an official.

Johnson and Hancock, our prison governor and chief warder, once again made normal life illegal. The feeble pseudo-ceremony was cancelled, as are all other religious services. The Health Secretary is pictured above

Johnson and Hancock, our prison governor and chief warder, once again made normal life illegal. The feeble pseudo-ceremony was cancelled, as are all other religious services. The Health Secretary is pictured above

But the more we obey Hancock and his dubiously lawful decrees, the more he thinks he can boss us about. It is because the churches took the knee to him in March that he now feels he can kick them in the face. 

So it is good to mark that last week we began once again to have an opposition in this country. More public voices are being raised against this unjustified folly, out of all proportion to the hugely exaggerated risk. 

Back in March, as I know very well, anyone who spoke up against this was treated more or less as an outcast apostle of evil, callous and selfish, not to be listened to.

Now, a significant number of MPs are ready to vote against it. More and more of the media are examining it as severely as they should have done from the start, though the BBC remains mostly a shameful propaganda organ of Downing Street. I think we have reached the end of the beginning.

And one day we may yet liberate ourselves from these sinister clowns. When we do, there will be much to forgive.

But I am not sure I will ever be able to forgive the people who made it a crime to sing O God, Our Help In Ages Past at an English village war memorial.

In 2003, far too many in the media fell for dodgy dossiers. We were supposedly 45 minutes from an attack by Saddam Hussein’s secret arsenals of Weapons of Mass Destruction. 

Now we have a new dodgy dossier, a dud before it was leaked to the BBC, wrongly predicting 1,500 deaths a day from Covid. And we fall for it again. Doesn’t the old saying go: ‘Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me’?

At a railway station near me, there is a poster threatening fines of £6,400 for not wearing a face nappy. How many muggings would you have to commit to be fined that much?

Delusions make you see things, and in Vienna they made almost everyone see double on Monday, when a madman was on the loose, killing people. First reports insisted there was more than one gunman. 

They often do. It also happened in the mosque shootings in New Zealand last year, because police and the media have it in their heads that such attacks must be organised and political.

Some are, but most are not. I will be lied about and accused of excusing Islamist terror when I say it, as I so often am. 

But most of these attacks are by crazed individuals sent insane by marijuana, a terrible drug with great PR. We’d know if we looked. But we want to think they are something else.

Turning your children into Stasi spies 

The invention of ‘hate crime’ has turned this into a society where the police patrol our minds and opinions. 

When exactly did we start to slither down such a steep and frightening slope? Whose fault is it? It will end with something very like the East German Stasi, who were nothing like as nice as their portrayal in the film The Lives Of Others.

Now, tucked away on page 481 of a 544-page ‘consultation document’ from the highly influential Law Commission, is a suggestion that what we say in our own homes should in future be prosecuted. It is many years since our homes have been our castles, but this is a totalitarian idea, especially now that almost anything can be recorded.

You might think that you never say anything at home that could get you into trouble. But the rapidly tightening speech codes of our society grow narrower every day.

Nobody speaks as freely now as they did 20 years ago. Are you sure that your opinions, once normal, will not one day become a crime? I expect that expressing doubts about the CO2 explanation of global warming will become a criminal offence in my lifetime, and if you doubt it, look around you.

The other really nasty thing about this (apart from the opportunities for blackmail) is that your children could end up accidentally denouncing you, by a chance remark at school picked up by a zealot teacher and reported to the authorities. 

I would once have urged you to campaign against this. But with the sort of Government we now have, I say, prepare for it to happen.

Strangelove was mad – but this is far worse

One of the funniest moments in all the history of cinema is the point in Dr Strangelove, pictured left, where a scuffle breaks out in a Pentagon bunker between the Russian ambassador and an American general.

The President of the United States (sane and compos mentis by modern standards) scolds them both, snapping: ‘Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the War Room!’

But for black humour I think it is beaten by Hancock’s announcement last Thursday that ‘travelling abroad for the purpose of assisted dying is a reasonable excuse and so anyone doing so would not be breaking the law’.

The Government has practically reorganised itself into an anti-death league. Rather than have anyone die of Covid, however old and ill they are, it is prepared to destroy the entire economy. But if you actually want to do away with yourself, it will smile on your otherwise forbidden journey. You are excused from the laws which would normally force you to stay at home for your own alleged good – so that you can die.

By contrast I, aged 69, am prevented by law from taking the very minor risks with my life or yours, which would result from going to the pub, entering a shop selling ‘non-essential’ goods or getting the Prime Minister’s face tattooed on my backside (something I am increasingly tempted to do).

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