Peter Hitchens: Killed on his way to church, the latest victim of smug 'liberals'



03:39 GMT, 30 December 2012

Alan Greaves, 68, from Sheffield, who died after being brutally attacked on his way to midnight mass on Christmas Eve

Alan Greaves, 68, from Sheffield, who died after being brutally attacked on his way to midnight mass on Christmas Eve

Those of us who know what is going on in this country are often derided by smug, wealthy Londoners.

They accuse us of ‘moral panic’ and of exaggerating the breakdown of our society.

I ask these complacent people to consider the terrible death of Alan Greaves, attacked on Christmas Eve itself. He was on his way to play the organ at Midnight Mass. Instead he met evil on a suburban road, as it is now all too easy to do.

Our safety on the dark streets does not depend on police patrols, which is a good thing as they have virtually been abolished. It depends on an invisible web of goodness and restraint, conscience and courage – all things encouraged by the Christian belief that Mr Greaves did so much to support, and which we celebrate and recall at this time of year.

Yet these protections could not be relied upon. A gentle, kindly man could not walk safely from his home to his church. His wife’s casual goodbye to him turned out to be a final farewell.

The horrible, diabolical injuries he suffered suggest that his assailant’s mind is in some way unhinged, quite possibly by the drugs which we have effectively legalised in our pursuit of pleasure at all costs.

Yet no general conclusions will be drawn from this by those who take all the decisions in our society. Those who pontificated grandiosely about a school massacre in America will see no lesson in this, because it does not suit their views.

The loss of Mr Greaves, a 68-year-old grandfather, has left a great dark gap in the lives of many people who loved, liked or respected him.

But it is the manner of his death that ought to wake a feeling of alarm – and shame – in the minds of those who have subjected this country to a vast, 50-year liberal experiment.

Mr Greaves was on his way to St Saviour's CoE Church in High Green to play the organ when he was attacked

Organist: Mr Greaves was on his way to St Saviour's CoE Church in High Green to play the organ when he was attacked

We were going to be so enlightened and progressive that we would no longer have to be good.

Authority, punishment, morality, self-discipline, patience, thrift, religion were all deemed to be outdated and unnecessary, not to mention repressive, backward and unfit for this wondrous new century.

It was, of course, a terrible mistake, though none of those responsible will admit it, so it goes on and on. And now we live in a country where an organist can meet a violent end on his way to a Christmas service, and the police can explain such an incident as ‘a robbery gone wrong’.

Who thought of this idiotic, insulting phrase Do our modern non-judgmental police think there is ever a robbery that goes right The trouble is that they probably do.

He flushed the Tories down the drain, and you’ll take the blame

THE horrifying undead figure of Anthony Blair is sniffing around the edge of politics again, hoping to revive his old campaign for the presidency of Europe.

Presumably the great apostle of democracy has tired of making 4,500-a-minute speeches at power stations in Azerbaijan, that grubby despotism. Or he has made so much money his bank has asked him to stop.

This reminds me of the many similarities between Princess Tony and his keen imitator, Mr Slippery, our Prime Minister. Both believe in nothing very much. Both loathe their own parties. Both were the future once, but aren’t any more.

As wet as his policies: David Cameron scrambles through a tunnel during the Great Brook Run in Oxfordshire last week

As wet as his policies: David Cameron scrambles through a tunnel during the Great Brook Run in Oxfordshire last week

Old Slippery slipped himself into the papers last week by getting as wet as his policies have become since he failed to get elected on a Thatcherite platform in Stafford back in 1997.

I have seen rare pictures of his face the night he lost, and his surprised disappointment is striking. But I am told there is evidence, mouldering in the archives of an Oxford freesheet, that it took him quite a while to come round to the positions he now so passionately espouses.

He is said (does anyone have copies, from May and July 2000) to have jeered at Mr Blair’s pro-homosexual policies as a ‘fringe agenda’ and condemned Labour for ‘ripping the last recognition of marriage from the tax system by abolishing the married couples’ allowance’.

What we definitely know is that he wrote to a national newspaper in December 2000, sneering at Shaun Woodward, the Tory defector to Labour who then occupied his Witney seat. Amusingly, he attacked Mr Woodward for supporting a hunting ban, and also for backing ‘the promotion of homosexuality in schools’. Of course, Mr Woodward was behaving quite logically, hoping for a safe Labour seat, which he got.

But why is Mr Cameron deliberately riling his own supporters by rushing through same-sex marriage, while forgetting his support for hunting and old-style marriage My guess is that he knows he cannot possibly win the next Election (he’s right about that). So he is deliberately creating rows with traditional Tories, so that he can blame them for his defeat and general utter failure. You read it here first.

Mrs Cable: Touching but wrong

The Liberal Elite normally prefer to ignore me as if I were a bad smell. So I was rather touched by last week’s letter, published in The Mail on Sunday, from Rachel Smith, who is also Mrs Vince Cable – and probably thinks much as he does.

She wrote to criticise my article about how cultural revolution and mass migration have destroyed the country we used to know.

She accused me of nostalgia for the Fifties, and argued that independent-minded individuals could flourish without the married family. She claimed that we need mass immigration, and that a property tax would narrow the gap between rich and poor.

First, she needs to know that I have no great affection for the Fifties, which I recall as grubby, smoky and chilly, with bad food and a general feeling of skimping and unacknowledged national decline. I don’t want the past back. I just think we chose the wrong future.

The best way of bridging the gap between rich and poor would be to rebuild the old middle class, open to all with talent. But it has been squeezed half to death by confiscatory tax, an expanding State and by the destruction of grammar schools – like the one her husband went to.

It is in childhood that the stable married family promotes private life, allowing one generation to pass on its morals, faith, language and traditions to the next. These days most children are swiftly indoctrinated either by the TV or by the State, as their parents scrabble to pay the mortgage.

As for her idea that we ‘need’ the skills of migrants, who does she mean by ‘we’ Certainly not the British-born people priced out of work by newcomers.

If Britain does need these skills, then why can’t it impart them to the millions of young people already living here, now idle on benefits Could it be because of the disastrous failure of comprehensive education, evident to almost every thinking person in the country, except for politicians like her husband

Coming from a Naval family, I’ve grown to mistrust the claim that Mrs Thatcher saved the Falklands. It was the Royal Navy that did it.

And I’d rather hoped this year’s Cabinet Papers would remind us that in 1981 the Iron Lady had approved the scrapping of the carrier Hermes, plus the assault ships Fearless and Intrepid, and the sale of Invincible.

If the Argentinians had waited a few months longer to invade, we would not have had a task force with which to win the islands back. As for the ‘special relationship’ with the USA, bitter laughter is the only response to this stupid phrase.