Peter is the younger brother of the late atheist Christopher Hitchens. As a foreign correspondent in cold-war Moscow, Peter realized that there had to be a God, because life without Him is just to horrid.
The mystery of sex education is that parents put up with it at all. It began about 50 years ago, on the pretext that it would reduce unmarried teen pregnancies and sexual diseases. Every time these problems got worse, the answer was more sex education, more explicit than before.
Since then, unmarried pregnancies have become pretty much normal, and sexual diseases – and the ‘use’ of pornography – are an epidemic.
It is only thanks to frantic free handouts of ‘morning after’ pills and an abortion massacre that the number of teenage mothers has finally begun to level off after decades in which it zoomed upwards across the graph paper.
In a normal, reasonable society, a failure as big as this would cause a change of mind. Not here.
If you try to question sex education, you are screamed at by fanatics. This is because it isn’t, and never has been, what it claims to be. Sex education is propaganda for the permissive society. It was invented by the communist George Lukacs, schools commissar during the insane Hungarian Soviet Republic in 1919, to debauch the morals of Christian schoolgirls.
It works by breaking taboos and by portraying actions as normal that would once have been seen as wrong. Last week we learned that the Government has officially endorsed material which says sex at 13, ‘for those of similar age and developmental ability’, is normal.
This is, no doubt, a point of view. In a free society, people are entitled to hold it, even if it is rather creepy. But do you want your child’s school to endorse it? And how does it square with our incessant frenzied panic about child sex abuse?
If we are so keen on the innocence of the young – and I very much think we should be – then surely this sort of radical propaganda is deeply dangerous. We do not give schools this huge power over the minds of the young for such a purpose.
How odd it is that we teach 13-year-olds to go forth and multiply, but can’t somehow teach them their times tables. Shouldn’t it be the other way round?
What is it about Theresa May? She is walking proof that nothing succeeds like failure. She is herself a militant, politically correct liberal, oddly reluctant to admit she went to a grammar school.
Crime is out of control, inefficiently concealed by fiddled figures. Immigration is out of control, a fact that can’t be concealed. She can’t even organise a public inquiry. Yet her media sycophants portray her as a steely guardian of the State, and a potential premier. I ask you.
Here’s another conundrum. A party leader is losing by-elections, is hopelessly low in the polls (as he has been for years), is daily exposed as having no serious policy on the EU (the biggest issue that faces him), recently nearly lost Scotland and slighted the Queen, and is directly personally responsible (thanks to his attack on Libya) for one of the greatest humanitarian disasters of modern times.
And yet he is treated with continuing respect, while his rival (whose problems are small by comparison) is constantly smeared in the newspapers and on the BBC as being ‘not up to the job’ and under threat. Please explain. I can’t.
Have drugs dodged the blame again?
The whole country was puzzled by the dreadful case of the schoolboy who coldly murdered his teacher, the lovely and irreplaceable Ann Maguire. Countless people in the media called the crime ‘inexplicable’.
I also have no explanation. But I think we might have tried harder to find one. I have made a study of such killings, and have found that in almost all cases where the facts are known, the culprit had been taking mind-altering drugs, sometimes legal, sometimes illegal.
Two very powerful interests don’t want this link investigated. The first is the billionaire lobby for cannabis legalisation, which knows that the drug from which it hopes to make an even bigger fortune is correlated with serious mental health problems. It fears that wide knowledge of this fact will torpedo its campaign.
The other is the giant pharmaceutical industry, which is already garnering tremendous profits from ‘antidepressants’, and does all it can to counter any suggestion that these dubious and inadequately tested pills might have unpleasant side effects.
But that doesn’t explain the inertia of my own trade, journalism. Nor does it explain the seeming lack of interest in this among the police. Two things strike me about the boy involved. One is that he is at the age when many children are exposed to cannabis, and at the age when this drug has sometimes been connected with severe mental illness.
How many British secondary schools can truly say that this drug does not circulate in their corridors and classrooms?
The next is that the day after the killing in Leeds, it was reported by two newspapers that the boy had at some stage taken antidepressants.
I asked West Yorkshire police if they had looked into either of these possibilities. Had they asked his GP about antidepressants? Had they inquired at the school about his possible cannabis use?
Despite repeated requests, they have not given me a specific response to either of these easily answered questions. They have stuck to a bland and unrevealing formula – that the possibility was ‘looked into in detail’. But then they have declined to go into any detail about what that ‘detail’ was.
What a pity. You won’t find anything unless you look for it. Is it too much to ask that we at least examine this possibility properly? And is another schoolboy in another city quietly – and preventably – turning himself into an ‘inexplicable’ killer? I fear so.