HUMAN EVENTS editor Jed Babbin’s exclusive interview with James Delingpole, author of “Welcome to Obamaland: I Have Seen Your Future and it Doesn’t Work”:
Jed Babbin: James Delingpole: You claim to have seen America’s future because Britain is living it. What do you predict for us under Obama’s administration?
James Delingpole: I predict he’s going to spend America into another depression. Your Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, wondered aloud why they call it “the Great Depression.” She mused that it wasn’t so great. But that’s where you’re headed.
JD: They’ve got an agenda that can only be described as a smorgasbord of expense and misery. Higher taxes. Number two, aruinously expensive, ever-expanding, ever-worsening universal heath care system. I predict increased government interference in areas of your life where you might feel that government has no darned right to interfere. For example, things like your freedom to hunt, how you look after your pets — even rules governing how you dispose of your trash. You might even have spy cameras in your trash cans like we do in England.
JB: Whoa, whoa — spy cameras in your trashcans?
JD: Yeah, sounds crazy but it’s true. We now have places where you have spy cameras in your trashcans to find out whether you are disposing of your rubbish in an ecologically-sound way or not. This is happening in England now. Then there are rules governing how much you eat, how much you drink. Actually, just out of interest, this is one of the many unpleasant side effects of a state health care system. The state believes that given that it is so generously providing you with medicine it therefore ought to take control of your body: what kind of food you eat, whether or not your smoke. Something similar applied in Nazi Germany.
JB: Let’s go right to health care. We are promised a health care system that is going to take better care of us. It’s going to bring cost down. Well, … that’s what they’re promising. Didn’t Mr. Blair promise that too?
JD: Oh my goodness. Do you know how much our National Health Service costs in Britain?
JB: No idea.
JD: 95 billion pounds. That is about 20 billion pounds more than we spend on education. That’s about three times our defense budget. It is the single biggest government department of all.
JB: But now, that pays for everything, right? I mean, it pays everybody’s medical costs everything.
JD: Well, that’s the theory. Free universal health care at the point of need. The problem is, I think something like 60 % of doctors do not use the system. We have the lowest cancer survival rates of any, any G-8 nation. The more we pumped into our health care system, the worst it seems to have got. All that money has gone into layers of administration. Our National Health Service, I believe, is the world’s third biggest employer after the Chinese army and the Indian state railways. It’s maybe the envy of the third world, but with all the health tourists we get coming to sponge off our system. But if you’re a taxpayer who has to use this system, it’s, it’s a joke, and, if Obama’s talking about it costing you between 50 billion and 65 billion dollars…
JD: If it costs anything less than a ten times that, I’m a banana. It’ll be ruinous. And, get this: once you’ve started it, it will never stop. It will suck up more, and more, and more of your money. Whichever administration comes in in eight years time to replace — yes, I’m afraid it will be eight years — to replace Obama, they aren’t going to be able to shut off the faucets that easily.
JB: But the issue of education: liberals are always telling us that everything they do is “for the children.” And President Obama wants a big part of his so-called “economic stimulus” bill for school construction. Is that what worries you?
JD: No, not entirely. The spending is only half the problem. With Obama and other entirely dedicated liberals, you get elitism. Excellence, and traditional learning will be replaced by touchy-feely, esteem-boosting, non-competitiveness. You’ll see old-fashioned subjects being hijacked as a way of advancing the left liberal agenda. For example, geography will no longer be about rivers, and capitals, and borders — physical geography. It will be about feeling guilty about global warming and why it’s all our fault. History will become about — not about the greatness of Jefferson and Washington, it will be about feeling guilty for the slave trade.
You will also see in the name of multiculturalism still further surrenders to the aggression of Islam. You will see more affirmative action programs, which of course are supposed to make things fairer but will inevitably make things less fair and create greater social resentment and greater social injustice. You will see further unsustainable immigration, both legal and illegal, but what you will not see is the assimilation that America so desperately needs if immigration is ever gonna work. You’ll see further division of America into Spanish speaking and English speaking parts, because nobody can be bothered to insist that, that immigrants learn English as they should.
JB: Now you claim to be able to see into the future for America. Why do you think Mr. Obama is going to do to England, do to America rather, what Mr. Blair did to England?
JD: Because I think they come from the same mold. For a start, they’re both ex-lawyers and they are people of the liberal left. When the English electorate, British electorate, voted in Tony Blair in 1997, I think a lot of them thought they were getting something else. A bit like people in America now see Obama as this wonderful all-purpose solution to all their problems . When Blair started talking about this wonderful thing called “the Third Way,” people really were gullible enough to believe in this emperor’s new clothes, which is what it was. Blair gave this impression that he had this wonderful new idea where you could have on the one hand a fully functioning capitalist system with healthy economy and on the other hand social justice. And he would achieve this through a magical process of triangulation.
JB: Let me stop you right there. That sounds an awful lot to me like the promise of hope and change.
JD: Yea absolutely, the audacity of hope. Can I just say that hope is not an audacious thing, hope is a desperate thing. It should have been called the Desperation of Hope.
JB: Mr. Obama clearly revealed himself through Joe the Plumber with that remark about wanting to redistribute wealth. What did Mr. Blair do? Did he go about redistributing the wealth of England?
JD: Yes, he did it. As I’m sure you know he has a nasty henchmen called Gordon Brown, who was his chancellor of the exchequer
JB: And is now the prime minister.
JD: Gordon Brown is much more obviously left wing than Tony Blair, much more avowedly left wing — he’s an old school socialist. And in order to disguise the socialist nature of the government, what they did was introduce these stealth taxes. The first thing, the first major policy move that Gordon Brown made was he gave independence to the Bank of England to set interest rates and people decided to interpret this as a sign of bi-partisan, pragmatic, business-friendly, market-savvy government. And it fooled a lot of right wing commentators, It gave Brown a false reputation for fiscal responsibility which effectively gave him pretty much a free pass over the next few years to drift as leftward as he liked. He did this very sneakily, mind you, in the form of “stealth taxes”
Rather than bump up income tax by 5%, which is effectively what you did in taxation terms, instead he hid these taxes in other forms he started taxing pensions started taxing the pension funds so that the public the public didn’t see these very complicated financial instruments. Americans should expect this same sort of stealthy taxation,.
JB: Didn’t Mr. Blair also sort of tilt British politics toward the green side? He was trying to make everything eco-friendly?
JD: Yes, he did, but that came later on in his regime. I think that whole green thing really is a phenomenon of the last 5 or 6 years rather than the first 5 years of Blair’s regime. I mean, he was in office about 10 years.
JB: So we have an issue of raising taxes, redistributing wealth going to the global warming whacko side.
JD: Yeah, I don’t think Americas realize, preoccupied as they are with their own economic woes, just how badly screwed the English economy is of all the G-8 nations (the IMF has told us this [is] the one officially least likely to come out of the recession any time soon). And the reason for that is we have just enjoyed a period of the most extreme tax and spend socialism.
We’ve been spending money that we don’t have. One of the worst things that Gordon Brown did was sell our gold reserves in order to fund this spending spree. He sold them at about a quarter of the price, I think. When he sold, it was about 200 dollars an ounce and it’s now about $850 an ounce — aquarter of the price, and then he went crazy with the money — our money — like it was his money and he’d just won the Lottery. And now of course he can’t keep to his spending plans because he’s not getting the tax income because the economy is shrinking.
JB: In terms of some of the other things you see coming from Mr. Obama, I mean, I’m wondering if things like restrictions on political speech and free speech have come about in England and how they work. We’re looking down the gun barrel of this so-called “Fairness Doctrine.”
JD: One of the things that delighted me in coming to America is realizing how much more freely I can speak my mind over here than I can in England. This is partly of course because I’ve been talking to some good old right wing talk shows. I felt very much at home there. But it’s mainly, I think, because there are various forms of censorship in Britain ranging from direct censorship — for example we have new laws circumscribing what they call hate speech which is basically a euphemism for any criticism of Islam whatsoever.
There are new rules actually telling comedians the sort of jokes they’re allowed to tell. You are not allowed to tell jokes about religion anymore. But it’s not religion in general. You know people have been mocking Christianity for years — look at Monty Python’s “Life of Brian,” a very funny film that is still legal. But when it comes to the “religion of peace,” people start getting uncomfortable.
Without ever acknowledging it, our government has introduced this two-tiered legal system where there’s one rule for everyone else and another special one for the Muslims in case they get upset about anything. This is the direct form of censorship I mentioned. Then there’s indirect censorship in the form of what you might call self-censorship.
The sort of views I’m expressing in America I wouldn’t feel very comfortable on British radio.
JB: Well in terms of that, one question about the BBC itself. I mean, it seems to me that that’s part of what the American Revolution was about. Taxation without representation. Conservatives can’t get an equal voice on BBC, but everybody pays the BBC tax, right?
JD: Yes, just digressing for a second. You might make the same point about Europe. Europe is a classic example of taxation without representation. 80% of all our new laws in Britain — 80%! — we have no control over. They come direct from the EU and are rubber stamped by their amen corner in the British left liberal government. But, sorry, to go back to your point about the BBC, yea its absolutely true. Dear old BBC, they try, they want to be neutral, but the problem is because everyone that they employ is recruited through a left wing newspaper called The Guardian, which is where they run all their media recruitment ads, their idea of neutrality, in the center of the road, is what anyone else would call quite far left. So what do you do? As a right-winger, I’m sometimes wheeled on as the sort of freak to scare the babies and the grandmothers. I’m the comic turn.
JB: Well we see some of these things coming, and I don’t know that we can see that in America’s future. Do you think were in that much danger of this sort of thing?
JD: Well, because of The Fairness Doctrine I see it happening. Look, America may try and delude itself that it has always been a land of free speech and the center ground and common sense. And you talk to any of my left liberal friends, and they would tell you that, but look at Woodrow Wilson. Look at FDR. Look at what Kennedy would have done if he’d lived. Look at Lyndon Johnson. These were all what Jonah Goldberg would call approximations of liberal fascist dictatorships.
JD: Can I give you one example which is kowtowing to the Green lobby? I cannot understand how, as the world approaches its greatest depression since the 1930s, how President Obama can talk about nailing his clothes to the mast of this whacko ideology which was developed during a time of economic plenty by krypto communists who joined the green movement because they needed a new base from which to destroy the capitalist system after the Berlin Wall came down. Does he really imagine that imposing carbon taxes on U.S. industry is going to help your economy in its direst hour of need?
JB: Now you’ve tried that already in Britain, haven’t you?
JD: Yes, we have, and, let me tell you, it hasn’t just affected us negatively in our economy, it has also affected our energy security by lessening it.
JB: And jobs, I suspect.
JD: And jobs too, yes. Because the Green Lobby has so bullied successive governments, but particularly this left liberal one, into ducking the issue of nuclear power. Nobody has plucked up the courage to say we need to generate power, nuclear power, we must build nuclear power stations. It takes about 10 years to build a nuclear power station. The result of this is that we are reliant on Russia for our gas supplies. We got rid of most of our coal because of the battle that Margaret Thatcher fought with the unions in the 1980s. We have no nuclear power. But our Labour government has committed us to following the impossible carbon-reduction agenda of the bullying EU into building all these wind farms which don’t work when it’s not windy enough and don’t work when it’s too windy. All they do really is ruin the countryside. Which is kind of weird when you think that environmentalists are supposed to love nature.
JB: Parallel to all the green stuff that we hear from Mr. Obama, I see in England something that is really much as dark and probably as restrictive of personal freedom. I’m not sure its quite as much effect on the economy. We have a very large and very active hunting and shooting community here. Now Britain has already banned fox hunting, and the Countryside Alliance folks are telling me well the next thing they’re going to do is ban shooting. Where is this coming from? Do you see roots of this here in America?
JD: Well you’ve got PETA as we’ve got PETA. The problem with the animal rights lobby is give them an inch, and they’ll take a mile. First of all, fox hunting goes, then they start coming after the shooters, next it’ll be the fishermen. They’re never satisfied. Once you believe animals have rights, what does PETA call fish now? Is it sea kittens?
JB: Sea kittens?
JB: Is this ban on fox hunting another stealth infringement on peoples’ rights and privileges? Did Tony Blair just slip that past Britons?
JD: That’s exactly what Tony Blair did. It was his way of winning over the left because, particularly with fox hunting, which is associated with the English upper class. In fact, one Labour MP explicitly stated that he saw this as revenge for the miners strike. Which is when Margaret Thatcher, in order to destroy the dinosaur unions’ power base, broke the mining unions. And you know, I mean, I’ve been fox hunting, which is the most fun thing you can do with your clothes on or off.
JB: Hmm. I’m a fan of internal combustion, not horses, so let’s leave that one there.
I would like you to think for just a moment about the restrictions of religious freedom in a number of places over hear, and over here restriction of religious freedom takes the form of people trying to drive God out of the public place. It seems to me it’s a different form over in England, that the only religion that is protected anymore is Islam. Is that true and how does that arise and do you see that that happens here?
JD: It’s because Islam is so much more shrill and less tolerant than any other religion. Despite its claims to be the religion of peace. I think one of the curses of the relative peace we’ve enjoyed since World War II and the Cold War is that people have forgotten in our society what it means to stand up for your principles, which is why militant Islam has got us over a barrel.
We’re used to this idea that we should all care for each other and live and let live and all that. And suddenly we’re confronted with this very hard-line religion which does not take prisoners and does not compromise, and our way of dealing with that so far as a society has been to think that, if we just give them a little what they want, they’ll be happy and go away. And they won’t.
JB: James, many thanks for talking to us.
JD: My pleasure.