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PETER HITCHENS: Want to see extremists destroy a nation? Look at our liberal Taliban

Hush! Hush! Whisper who dares! The liberal elite is saying it cares. Oh, how they care about Afghanistan. In fact, you might be forgiven for thinking they care more about Afghanistan than they do about Britain.

The really intense carers even have a special way of speaking to show how much they care.

Instead of saying ‘Kabool’, the way British people have pronounced the Afghan capital for generations, they say ‘Karble’ or even, in advanced cases, ‘Korble’. 

The country itself is described as ‘Arfkharnistarn’, and the Taliban become the ‘Tarlabarn’.

Now, I make a complete exception here for any of these carers who actually plan to welcome Afghan refugees into their own homes, without time limit and at their own expense. 

A Taliban fighter is seen beating a man on the streets of Kabul. Who precisely is going to do the endless bloody fighting necessary to keep the Taliban away from power? Why, young men from the poor parts of our cities

These all mean what they say and deserve our respect. But the others want to make themselves feel and look good, a very different thing from doing good.

As for the rest of their concerns, no doubt the Taliban’s social policies are unlovely and cruel. 

But who precisely is going to do the endless bloody fighting necessary to keep the Taliban away from power? Why, young men from the poor parts of our cities.

And these young men live under our own Taliban, the fierce stone-faced Left-wing doctrinaires who in the past 50 years have created huge zones of misery in what was once a pretty happy society.

Our liberal Taliban – who claim so much to worry about the fate of Afghan girls – drove millions of women out of homes where they would happily raise their own children if they could, to drudge all day in call centres and such places for a pittance that pays for the ropey ‘childcare’ they must then use.

They destroyed lifelong marriage, depriving uncounted British boys of their fathers and dumping multitudes of children in ‘care homes’ whose very names are a mockery. 

Our liberal Taliban destroyed rigorous state education, depriving the British working class of skills and of ladders upwards into real careers. 

Our liberal Taliban told the British people to be ashamed of their history, their freedom and their religion and gave them nothing to believe in instead.

As for the rest of their concerns, no doubt the Taliban’s social policies are unlovely and cruel

As for the rest of their concerns, no doubt the Taliban’s social policies are unlovely and cruel

And they gave up protecting them from crime and disorder, claiming that such things were caused by deprivation, not by a lack of punishment and deterrence.

Try, as I have done for decades, to argue against these dogmatists and you get nothing in return but contempt. How they wish I did not exist.

If they can, they will silence and cancel opposition to their views, and you should realise that they will in the end do this, so that opinions such as mine will no longer be heard. 

But why is it so much better to care about how Afghan young women are deprived of proper schools, thousands of miles away, than to care about how British young men are deprived of the same thing, down the road? And there is so much hypocrisy here.

Taliban fighters are seen confiscating an Afghan flag

Taliban fighters are seen confiscating an Afghan flag

Let us turn to the mysterious, fascinating ex-soldier Tom Tugendhat, who was garlanded with praise for his odd, rambling speech in Parliament on Wednesday. 

I may be mistaken but he seemed to be arguing that Britain should have stayed in Afghanistan to save it from the medieval repression of the Taliban.

Yet back in February 2018, the same Tom Tugendhat told the Abu Dhabi newspaper The National that he thought very highly of the Saudi regime, perhaps the closest rival to the Taliban on Earth for repression of women, lack of freedom in general, religious intolerance and savage, steel-bladed criminal justice: ‘I welcome enormously the reforms that Mohammed bin Salman has conducted recently.

‘He is rightly showing a vision for Saudi Arabia that sees her taking a place as a player in the global economy and I think that is incredibly positive, not just for Saudi Arabia, but for the world.’ Eight months later the Saudis murdered the dissident Jamal Khashoggi.

This incessant making of allowances for the Saudis, a central part of our foreign policy implicating every Cabinet and the Royal Family itself, makes a perpetual nonsense of our pose as the enemies of repression in the Islamic world.

So I personally could do with a great deal less of this noisy piety. Good deeds, if you can manage them, should be done in private and without bombast. And they begin, as they always have, at home.

Can The Courier deliver for cinemas? 

The new Benedict Cumberbatch film The Courier really ought to bring audiences back into British cinemas.

It is based on the oddly moving true story of Greville Wynne, a very ordinary businessman inveigled by MI6 into risking his liberty and health by smuggling secrets out of the Communist bloc. It is a beautifully made and enthralling drama, full of thought and action and with some fine acting. 

It is just the right length – long enough to absorb and take you out of daily life, not so long that you begin to shift in your seat and wonder when it will end.

Yet when I watched it, there was hardly anyone there. I do begin to worry that proper cinemas may be one of the long-term casualties of the past 18 months of panic and fear.

The new Benedict Cumberbatch film The Courier really ought to bring audiences back into British cinemas

The new Benedict Cumberbatch film The Courier really ought to bring audiences back into British cinemas

Drug clue to another massacre 

Once again, a clearly unhinged crime is being treated as if it is a political action. Plymouth mass-killer Jake Davison could not have expected to achieve anything for any cause by these ghastly crimes.

I agree his record makes it absurd that he should have been allowed to own a gun of any kind. But why was he so crazy? It seems very possible that, as a bodybuilder, he used steroids, whose use is associated with several rampage killings.

He may also have been prescribed SSRI antidepressants, likewise associated with such acts, and I would be amazed if he was not a user of marijuana, again associated with many violent crimes.

If there is a causal connection between such drugs and violence, we need to know, and to act on it. Yet nobody is interested. When I asked Devon and Cornwall Police if they had any information on his drug use, they refused to discuss the matter. This is the invariable response of police forces in such cases. It shouldn’t be.

Assange does not deserve this jail hell

I have tried and failed to get an official explanation of why Julian Assange is being held in miserable conditions in Belmarsh, a maximum-security jail built for the most dangerous prisoners in the country.

Mr Assange is not a convicted prisoner and he is not in any way violent. He is on remand waiting for our tortoise-like court system to rule on his extradition, an unjustified and vindictive attempted state kidnapping by Washington.

If we still had a civil society, there would be a well-supported campaign to improve his conditions.

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