Thursday, 29 October 2009

Principles come at a price

For some little time I have been pondering the gap between ideals, ideology, principles and the realities of the world. To listen to those in the UK currently holding influence, no price is too high if one's principles are at stake. The media too is very quick to defend "prinicples" yet show a remarkable inability to adhere to these same ideals when there is a good story to be got by devious practices. A recent BBC Hardtalk programme displayed this dichotomy quite nicely, when those who wanted the PanAm bomber to die in jail were accused of being "no better than the regime he served" and failing to apply "Christian principles". The latter was a bit rich coming from a presenter who doesn't hold to Christianity anyway. But the mantra that we must show "compassion" to murderers, criminals and those who cause untold heartbreak and heartache is always quickly trotted out to stifle any counter argument that "compassion" for the victims and for society at large requires that criminals and those who insist on breaking the law should be punished and kept where they cannot harm society or their victims is completely ignored.

All too often the brutal prison regimes and the blatantly unjust sentencing of past centuries is held up as the "alternative" to the soft and "forgiving" justice the liberal left wants imposed. But any visit to a country this same liberal left wants isolated and "punished" for its failure to recognise the "benefits" of following the left-socialist-secularist-humanist ideology and you soon realise that Britain in particular is busy isolating itself from the world in spectacular fashion - and at huge cost to its own economy and working classes.

I am currently in Iran, a country with huge problems and a legacy that will take several generations to resolve. The Shah's regime was brutal, oppressive and as corrupt as it could be. But the Shah was a "friend" to the West and a buffer againts the Soviet Union in the Cold War so we swallowed our principles and dealt with the devil. Then came the Revolution and I am sure that many who supported that hoped, not for thr Theocracy they now have, but for a freer, less corrupt and oppressive regime. Unfortunately, revolutions seldom produce that sort of outcome. Look about you - look at the French Revolution, look at the century that followed it and in particular look at the countries established by violence and revolution in the twentieth century. The ideologies and the realities are so far apart that it makes one want to weep.

I look around me in Iran, conscious of the public condemnation poured on this nation and this people by my own government and of the daily diet of negative imagery in our media both in the UK and in the US. Surprising as it may seem to most of those who stumble across this blog, Iran is an importer of petrolem and oil, their major export is natural gas and many of their vehicles have been converted to run on it. They want nuclear power because their natural energy needs can't be met by hydro-schemes, wind turbines or oil. Yes, the West is probably right to be afraid of the creation of nuclear weapons, but we could achieve a great deal more by being far less confrontational. After all, this nation was a huge empire before the Greeks invented democracy. This nation is as old, if not older than that in the Nile valley, it has seen conquests, it has seen nations rise and fall and it has survived. Around me as I write are the descendents of a civilisation that measures its existence in thousands, not hundreds of years. They do not share our driving ambition to amass wealth - at least not all of them - and they are devout in their observance of their faith which is a great deal more than can be said for the denizens of Whitehall and Westminster who pour scorn on this people and patronise them.

Our French, German, Italian and Central European partners in the EU are far more pragmatic about the differences between ideology and reality. While I see nothing with a "Made in Britain" label here, the markets are full of French, German, Italian, Korean, Japanese and Chinese goods. The UK Government officially discourages trade with any regime (And the Iranians are just one of several) they disapprove of. The argument is that we in the UK have to show a lead in the application of our "principles". But there is a cost. And it is a huge cost in jobs, in incomes, and ultimately in lost business which will never return to the UK. Remarkable isn't it, that those who argue for these sanctions and defend these "principles" never have to pay the price. Their incomes come from those of us who have to actually get out there and do business, who have to struggle with the strictures and restrictions created by the politicians and bureaucrats whose "principles" we are bound by, and from trust funds, share holdings and other sources with money invested in companies and industries they have driven out of Britain at a huge cost in jobs lost. Nor are they helping the legitimate ambitions of those in places like Iran who aspire to improving their own nations image and political spectra.

They never feel the price of their "principles". They never face the threat of losing their jobs because their "rpinciples" have closed a company, or caused its Board to move it to a part of the world with less restrictions on trade. It is sad to reflect that none of the jobs sacrificed in the UK to these Ideologues "principles" will ever return or be replaced and the country now faces an ever declining spiral of shrinking job markets, reducing industrial output and GNP, with the wealth going ever upward into the hands of those who, as in Iran and those other countries we "don't do business with on principle" can afford to shift their capital offshore and into companies and countries less run by Ideology and more pragmatic and practical.

The Left/Liberal/Socialist Principles come at quite a price. Industrial decline (Lost markets), Commercial shrinkage (We may currently be the "Banking Centre" but for how long if the idiots in Westminster push the tax take up?), and resrictions on trade that mean even smaller businesses struggle to make ends meet or to address market needs. The rise in Joblessness over the past decade has been a severe indictment of the UK's insistence in politics and the media, to apply "principle" rather than dialogue - 2.5 million out of work and rising and it certainly isn't all down to the recession. Though a lot of THAT may well be down to "principle" applied to the exclusion of commone sense.

It is an enormous price - but it isn't being paid by those whose "principles" are so important that "any price is not too high" for it to be paid. As long as its by someone else.

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