Spiked quartet

Is THIS the most dangerous man in Europe?
France’s new foreign minister, Dr Bernard Kouchner, personifies the ‘right to intervene’ that was invoked in the ‘humanitarian military interventions’ of the 1990s and in post-9/11 arguments for ‘regime change’. It is a prescription for mayhem, and now that he has taken on a powerful role in a powerful state, we should keep a close eye on him.
In defence of the offensive
Like many pervasive malaises in history, such as anti-Semitism, or being fanatically against McDonalds and Murdoch, the urge to take offence is something that transcends left and right. The Deeply Offended are as likely to be lefties who sense the phantom of institutional racism everywhere as they are to be those who cry ‘It’s political correctness gone mad!’ The howls of outrage over Channel 4’s decision to show photographs of Diana, Princess of Wales’s fatal crash illustrated the vacuity of this predisposition. As usual, ripe condemnation came from people who had not actually seen the programme, Diana: The Witnesses in the Tunnel. In the end, the photographs weren’t outrageous, and the only one featuring Diana explicitly had her face blacked-out. There were consequently less than 20 complaints made to Channel 4 after the programme was aired on Wednesday night.
G8: the myth of ‘them and us’
In demanding more debt relief, the protesters are only calling on the G8 leaders to do what they promised to do, and effectively conferring further legitimacy on the narrow and backward G8 agenda. Both inside and outside of the G8 fence, leaders and protesters share a low-horizons view of what is possible and desirable for Africa.
Prohibition by stealth
This is all the logical outcome of the ‘politics of behaviour’ - New Labour’s drive to change the way we think and act. Once human action is judged only to have a detrimental impact on others - and on the environment and ourselves - then it follows that nearly everybody has something to feel guilty about. That is the same assumption that underpins the sermonising on climate change: that our actions are destructive, and thus we must always think about what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. The latest anti-drink campaign aims to have a similar insidious effect on our day-to-day lives as the orthodoxies of environmentalism.It is notable that while the government wants to make drunkenness in public ‘socially unacceptable’, a major theme of its latest whinge binge is the problem of drinking in the home. Yet again, the authorities are trying to smash down the divisions between public and private. The private sphere is being re-defined as part of the ‘social���, a place where we can be monitored and hectored by the powers-that-be. How long before we have an In Your Home Office, alongside the old Home Office?