A cut we can all afford
Britain's financial contributions to anti-Israel activists and Trotskyites should be halted immediately
It was Leo Tolstoy, I believe, who wrote that government is an association of men who do violence to the rest of us.
That thought, often ridiculed by the reductionist and rambling Left, has only ever been called to my mind so promptly once before.
When the NHS Mid-Staffordshire scandal broke, I was apoplectic as any right-minded person would be. The problem is in Britain, we have few right-minded people left, and more Left-minded people on the Right. Perhaps this is why the NHS in its current formulation persists in the fact of evidence that its structure is fundamentally flawed. But I digress...
Today's recollection of Tolstoy's testimony on government comes to me not as a result of domestic deviancy, but rather wherein Britain asserts itself incorrectly and imprudently on the international stage.
Regurgitations vis-a-vis our lofty international aid promises abound in this time of financial crisis, yet we as a nation are still unresolved in finding enough areas in which the Left and the Right agree, there must be cuts. Here's one I think we can all afford.
Thanks to some superb sleuthing by my friends Jonny Paul and Benjamin Weinthal at the Jerusalem Post, it has been revealed that Britain continues to prop-up some lesser-known academy which presents itself outwardly as a strange melange of the Trotskyist sympathiser and British imperialist sort.
I put it to you, dear reader, that whomsoever should take offence at either position should fall behind me in calling for an end to the government funding of the 'British Academy' - an entity which has been found to fund the 'Kenyon Institute' which in turn has promoted and publicised anti-Israel speakers and Trotskyists whilst maintaining the visage of an institution befitting 1920s Britain, rather than one that belongs in 2013.
It is, fundamentally, everything that is wrong with the public sector. Snooty, imperialist, morally bankrupt and looser than a Kings Cross whore where British taxpayer's money is concerned. My god, the opening lines to the British Academy's charter are still, "EDWARD - the Seventh - by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and of the British Dominions beyond the Seas, King, Defender of the Faith, to all to whom these presents shall come greeting..."
The £27m that it receives from the British government has subsidised the works of anti-Israel revisionists such as Ilan Pappe and Suzanne Morrison and the Socialist Workers Party International Secretary and arch-Trot Prof. Alex Callinicos.
The buck must literally stop here, surely.
In the never ending search for what the Left and the Right can agree upon as a 'fair cut', or whatever moniker one wishes to slap upon such a thing - surely an institution such as the British Academy can be cut loose to the charitable and academic sectors.
Is it really for the British public to fund seminars or conferences on "The Relevance of South Asian Studies", "The Story of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina" or indeed, "Levantine Epigraphy and History in the Achaemenid Period"?
To adopt the monotonous caterwauling of the Left, "at a time when ordinary folk are suffering, hospitals are closing and school children are being forced into cannibalism!?" Okay maybe I made that last one up.
Of course, there's nothing more I would like than for that £27m from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to be repatriated directly to the taxpayer, an amount which I'm sure some smart arse will point out means about 48p for every man, woman and child in Britain. But the question really is, if this kind waste is able to proliferate in 21st century Britain, right under our noses, imagine what else the public sector is hiding behind its bloated, burgeoning walls of excess?
Indeed, I think we may be able to find a few more 48 pences for all of us, and in that, while maybe it would be too much to think that we can end the violence that Tolstoy spoke of, perhaps we can at least successfully limit it.
Raheem Kassam is the Executive Editor of TheCommentator.com and tweets at @RaheemJKassam
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