Magazine article The Spectator


Magazine article The Spectator


Article excerpt

Shallow Patten From Mr Herb Greer Sir: I was bemused (again) to read Chris Patten's views (`Commissioner Petain fights back', 2 November) on a) the Middle East and b) the chimerous thing called Europe.

His serious suggestion that the Palestinians will give up the idea of `swamping Israel' with homecomers, and blithely make Jerusalem a sort of mutual capital of Israel and a Palestinian state, is so shallow as to stun the intellect. The Palestinians are not the problem. They never have been. The problem is (or are) the massive majority of Muslim peoples in the Middle East who share Osama bin Laden's view of Israel: a modern cognate of the Crusader kingdom - which must, at any price, be extirpated, complete with its Jews, as that kingdom was.

The Palestinians are a relatively small part of that majority, are despised by it, and have been used by it quite cold-bloodedly over a generation to draw support and sympathy for Israel's enemies from suckers like Mr Patten. The famous Sharon stroll on the Temple Mount is an example of how superficial twits like Patten have consented to that manipulation. The Palestinian `defence minister' has admitted, long since, that the intifada was planned and organised long before that walk and would have happened without it. Verb. sap. As to Europe - what Europe? There is no such thing as Europe. No body politic, no citizens to give it loyalty, nothing beyond a geographical-cum-bureaucratic conceit peopled by corrupt, quarrelling, mendacious, undemocratic, unaccountable, dictatorial 'officials', who use pleasant figures like Patten to anaesthetise, celebrity-style, the intelligence of the British electorate; meanwhile steadily moving for a superstate-style bureaucratic takeover of this country. Patten, true to the style of his Middle Eastern complaisance, goes along with this game. Boris Johnson was far too easy on him. Herb Greer

Salisbury, Wiltshire From Professor A. Banerjee Sir: Boris Johnson in his interview with Commissioner Patten perpetuates the common British misconception that American universities `don't rely on state funding'. In fact, the majority of them do. Though the best universities there are private ones, several state universities - California, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania to name a few - are of a very high rank. Some of the most eminent Americans in different walks of life graduated from taxfunded state universities. A. Banerjee

Walton-on-Thames, Surrey Nannies can deceive From Mr Stanley Brodie, QC Sir: Norman Scott (Letters, 2 November) may have been an excellent nanny to Jeremy Scott's baby 35 years ago, but that does not necessarily mean that every statement he makes is truthful. The Old Bailey judge at the Thorpe trial found him to be a whiner, parasite, liar and crook; and the jury apparently did not accept his evidence. The assessment of the court after a searching trial would seem somewhat more persuasive than the opinion of a satisfied nanny employer of short duration.

About 40 years ago I employed a nanny (female) for my infant children; she was excellent in every way, and she lasted three and a half years. In the end she turned out to be a kleptomaniac.

Stanley Brodie Temple, London EC4 His holiness From His Honour Malcolm Potter Sir: In the course of his page-long book review of A Moral Reckoning (Books, 2 November), which he uses as a pretext for yet another attack on the memory of Pius XII, Gerard Noel refers to Eugenio Zolli without reminding the reader that Zolli was received into the Church in 1945 after having witnessed the conduct of Pius XII and the Church throughout the war years. Zolli makes it clear that his conversion was the result of a spiritual journey of many years, not a mere gesture of gratitude to the Pope, but nevertheless he devotes a whole chapter of his autobiography to `The Charity of Pope Pius XII': `There is no place of sorrow where the spirit of love of Pius XII has not reached.'

Mr Noel should read this chapter, or read it again. …

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