Thursday, 18 April 2019

Adevarul: 'Romania wants to engage 1 million foreign workers. 40,000 drivers will come from Pakistan'

Adevarul, the Romanian newspaper of record, headlined this story:
Romania wants to engage 1 million foreign workers. 40,000 drivers will come from Pakistan.  Foreign Ministry's position. 
The headline seems inaccurate.

  1. The article said that the Pakistani Minister of Human Resources told the Associated Press on Thursday that he had agreed with Romania's Ambassador to Pakistan, Niculaie Goia, to send Pakistani workers to Romania by 2020. Mr Goia told AP that, given the massive migration from Romania to Western Europe, Romania needs to attract one million foreign workers from different countries. He said that the Romanian labor market is ready to offer a range of employment opportunities for Pakistani people in various sectors, including information technology, construction, medicine, engineering and others.

Notre Dame architect discusses possibility that the fire was arson

A reader has posted this very interesting interview with the retired 'architect of Notre Dame' about the fire. 

He seems to think arson is possible. 

I have no idea and don't particularly suspect arson, but it is very strange, very telling and very dismaying that people who merely ask if it was arson are being demonised in left-of-centre newspapers like the Independent. 

I asked a British journalist friend if it could be arson at 21.30 French time on the night of the fire and he said the police had ruled it out. I said aren't journalists meant to ask awkward questions? His reply: journalists should not repeat baseless and provocative allegations. 

I was reminded of what Douglas Murray said about journalists seeing their role as negotiating between their readers and the truth.

I assume that the fire was not terrorism because what would be the point of terrorists setting fire to Notre Dame and not claiming responsibility? In fact, I am writing this mainly to annoy people who think one should not write about the possibility of arson.

This is the news

Once, before the war, the BBC news reader on the wireless announced
Good evening. Today is Good Friday. There is no news.
This will never happen again. There is always news now and the state broadcaster saying 'Today is Good Friday' would attract criticism from the left-wing newspapers.

Today is Maundy Thursday in the Western Church and there is, as ever, plenty of news.

Brexit has divided British in a way no political issue has since - for a few days - Suez in 1956. Remainers will not go out on dates with Leavers. Very interestingly, it seems to be becoming a wider “culture war”, according to a Politico poll.

Leave voters of all parties in the East Midlands and North West, the poll says, are much more likely to think "standing up for common sense and tradition", "being tough on crime" and restricting immigration important, while Remain voters in London are much more relaxed about immigration and value "being part of an international community’ and "protecting the environment for future generations".

The Euro elections will be a sort of second referendum. 

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

The far left is once more seeking to take over Europe

The far left is once more attacking and seeking to take over Europe as in 1918 and the late 1940s.

Meanwhile, imaginary Nazis are a distraction from real Communists.

But a greater danger than Marxists are modern liberals and the two can often be allies, though some liberals do a very good job of fighting the far left. Immigration idealism and open borders are as much a liberal idea as a communist idea and the same is true of identity politics, which old-fashioned Marxists dislike. We now have a new kind of far left. It is allying with an illiberal liberalism and influencing an unconservative conservatism.

The fire in Notre Dame is a symbol, but of what?

I don't want the terrible fire to be symbolic but it is, of course. Notre Dame is a monument to belief in the Holy Trinity, not to Western civilisation, but it seems to symbolise Christendom. I wish I had properly visited it when I had the chance. There are no words for how I feel about this.

Inevitably, Notre Dame has a different symbolism for different people and is being used for political purposes by conservatives, liberals, liberal and conservative Catholics, communists and fascists. A left-wing online magazine in New Zealand called The Spinoff:
The far-right wants to identify Notre Dame as a pinnacle achievement of “Western civilisation” – a dog whistle term for white civilisation. In many cases, this is blatant. In his YouTube video, [Stefan] Molyneux described Notre Dame as a Western achievement, then went on to argue that white men were responsible for “way more than 90 percent of scientific innovations from 800 BC to 1950 AD,” a reference to a debunked statistic from race scientist Charles Murray
Here is something from an article in Rolling Stone:
But for some people in France, Notre Dame has also served as a deep-seated symbol of resentment, a monument to a deeply flawed institution and an idealized Christian European France that arguably never existed in the first place. “The building was so overburdened with meaning that its burning feels like an act of liberation,” says Patricio del Real, an architecture historian at
Harvard University. If nothing else, the cathedral has been viewed by some as a stodgy reminder of “the old city — the embodiment of the Paris of stone and faith — just as the Eiffel Tower exemplifies the Paris of modernity, joie de vivre and change,” Michael Kimmelmann wrote for the New York Times.....

Monday, 15 April 2019


'All quotations are out of context.' 
Enoch Powell

'If it bores you your reader is asleep.'
Jerry B. Jenkins

'There's a Tesco in Ko Samui, that palm-fringed isle in the Gulf of Thailand. In fact, there are over 200 Tescos in Thailand.'  Times article from 2007. 

'There’s nothing unfathomable about ‘Brexit’. It means economic and political independence. It’s called being a country.'
Lionel Shriver last month

"In 50 years' time Notre Dame will be a mosque."

I got home from dinner to learn that Notre Dame is on fire and the spire has fallen.

Into my mind comes what Emil Cioran said in 1987 that, 

"In 50 years' time Notre Dame will be a mosque."

How saddened I am that at this moment France does not have a Catholic King but instead the Republic and the probably godless homunculus Macron.

'Trump vs. the Multiculturalist Insurrection'

'Trump vs. the Multiculturalist Insurrection', an article by Conrad, Lord Black is worth reading as his articles always are, especially those about the easily misunderstood President Trump. I quote from it.
"Multiculturalism is bad policy when large groups of immigrants decline to assimilate to their new country. Virtuous and sincere and successful immigration need not mean cultural deracination. But immigration requires a conscious, determined decision to assimilate to the society where the immigrant arrives. The waves of desperate people in the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America who have tried to swarm into Europe and North America more closely resemble, though they are less organized, the barbarian masses who surged into the Western Roman Empire in the fifth and sixth centuries. Then, as now, even fiercer peoples with more advanced weapons pushed them forward from behind. This sort of invasion has nothing to do with multiculturalism by any definition.

"....Technically, this is an insurrection, and historians of the future will be astonished that the United States allowed twenty million people into the country illegally, under administrations and Congresses of both parties, while they uttered pious frauds about seeking “comprehensive immigration reform.”

Sunday, 14 April 2019

Cișmigiu Park and its chess players after the rain this afternoon

Image may contain: tree, plant, outdoor, nature and water

Today's News About Nazis

Every day's news is dominated by the Nazis in our era, which was not at all the case in my 1970s adolescence. 

I just went to Google News and see that there are almost 150 entries for the word 'Nazis' in the last 24 hours, whereas there are fewer than 100 for 'Trump'.

The post-war history of the 'Western world', it is clear, is a meditation on the Nazis. 

This is not so in the Second (ex-Communist) or Third Worlds. In India, so I read, Hitler is rather admired. He fought against England, after all.

In England, on the other hand, people who want to be ruled by foreigners are considered patriots. 

Those who don't are very possibly, even probably Nazis. In fact, Nazi often isn't a strong enough word.

But in the strange world of political correctness being a Nazi is unforgivable but making an unwarranted accusation of Nazism against a person with protected status can be almost as bad.

Saturday, 13 April 2019

Salvini wore 'Benedict is my Pope' t-shirt after Bannon told him 'Pope Francis is the enemy’

I was interested to read in the Guardian that Mateo Salvini wore 'Benedict is my Pope' t-shirt after Steve Bannon told him at a meeting in April 2016, 'Pope Francis is the enemy’.

Bannon told him, “You can go around Europe and it’s [populism] catching fire and the Pope is just dead wrong."

Both he and Salvini are what Brendan Behan said was the only thing to be, bad Catholics. Bad Catholics in the sense that they have divorced and found new relationships, but they consider themselves defenders of Christendom against infidel invaders.

Before they rush to condemn Mateo Salvini and Steve Bannon, Catholics should bear in mind that they regard the Pope as infallible when he is enunciating a new dogma, which he has promised he will never do, or an old dogma or when he teaches what was taught at all times and in all places by the Church. Dogmas apart, they may even disagree when he teaches what was taught at all times and in all places by the Church if they follow their conscience, after properly educating themselves, though if they commit a mortal sin as a result they cannot receive communion. 

When the pope speaks about politics or climatology, he is stepping outside his area of authority and everyone is free to disagree with him. 

His attitudes towards divorce, sex and many other things have aroused controversy but in these areas he is supposed to be authoritative. On day to day political questions he is certainly not.

To any Catholic who thinks mass immigration at an unprecedented level from Africa and the Mahgreb is an incalculable danger to Christian Europe the Pope is, in a sense, a political enemy. It is possible to regard him and obey him as the Vicar of Christ and regretfully but firmly to oppose his politics.

In an interview given this week the wonderful Cardinal Sarah from Guinea, who would make a great pope, says that migration, 'encouraged by commercial liberalism', is tragic for the identities of peoples. Obviously he is right and this is what Messrs Bannon and Salvini are saying.

The Tories would be fools to contest the European elections

Obviously the Tories should not contest the European elections on the ground that we are leaving the EU shortly. 

If they do, I doubt they will win a single seat.  I see Brexit Party sweeping up the Tory Brexiteer vote and some Tory Leavers voting for the woefully misnamed Change.

Since MPs are scared of the votes they would lose by not leaving the EU or by leaving without a deal and because they rightly do not want the awful deal on offer, two attractive options are still available: the Norway deal or the Canada option, either option involving levying duties collected electronically or remotely on things coming into Northern Ireland from the South. A completely frictionless border, though, is impossible unless we stay in the single market and customs union.

But the Tories and the country need a new leader to sell one of these options.

A quarter of the Swedish population are immigrants

Today Sweden has a population of 10.2 million, with a quarter of the population born abroad. 

According to a new report, this proportion is expected to reach 30% by the mid-2030s. By 2070, the population of Sweden is expected to be 12.8 million, despite a declining birth rate, because of immigration, though predicting immigration rates is an exercise in futility because they depend on unpredictable political decisions in the future.

Friday, 12 April 2019

What the papers say

"... 'Breksit’ has even become a word in Russian for claiming that one is about to leave a party or the like and yet never actually heading out the door."
Mark Galeotti in today's Spectator.

"In the capitals of Europe—Budapest, Berlin, Paris, Rome, London, Madrid—the gnawing fear is not of Vladimir Putin leading a mighty Russian army back to the Elbe to recreate Stalin’s empire, but of the African and Muslim hundreds of millions looking north to the pleasant lands of the former mother countries."
Pat Buchanan two days ago.

"When it comes to elections, most policy is mood music." 
Sam Bowman in CapX this week. 

(For most people political views are about mood not facts.)

"To again quote Mahler and Rutenberg: “The Murdoch empire did not cause this [populist] wave. But more than any single media company, it enabled it, promoted it and profited from it.” Given the narrowness of Trump’s victory and the Brexit majority, it is extremely

likely that Fox News and the Brexit press were respectively the difference between defeat and victory."
Simon Wren-Lewis, Oxford Emeritus Professor of Economics splits an infinitive in this week's New Statesman.

The Tories have handled Brexit appallingly, but if they lose office Brexit will never happen

Britain will not leave the EU without a deal and the EU will not kick Britain out. This impasse could continue for a very long time until Britain withdraws Article 50, holds  another election or holds a second referendum. 

Before any of those three things happen, we need a new Prime Minister, who will be a Leaver and prepared to leave with no deal, though if he does this Parliament will not allow it.  

However many Remain Tory MPs are deselected nor will the next one, assuming Nigel Farage's party does not win hundreds of seats. This is one reason why there is not much point in another election for now. 

Another is that Jeremy Corbyn would probably win, in coalition with the various nationalist parties including his friends in Sinn Fein.

Thursday, 11 April 2019

Mrs May and Mr Corbyn are both lying

I really do recommend you read this article by Rupert Darwall. He gets what is happening. 

"The existence of the backstop forecloses the possibility of Britain having its own trade policy and keeps us permanently and tightly aligned to EU rules and import taxes. For the Prime Minister, conceding the Customs Union therefore makes a great deal of political sense. It’s something she wants anyway, but kept her silence for reasons of party management, a concern made otiose by her offer to resign if her deal is passed. 

"For Jeremy Corbyn, the trade looks more challenging. Being bound to the Customs Union means abiding by EU competition rules and rules against state aid which, in the eyes of the Left, constitute the twin neoliberal pillars of the EU they loathe. It’s reasonable to suppose that the Customs Union carrot is not one the Labour leader wants, but has to be seen to go through the motions demanding it. Getting a green light for Brexit therefore depends on Corbyn accepting something he doesn’t value in return for the certainty of substantial political cost by angering the best-organised, most vocal part of Labour’s base."

A second referendum does now look very possible, and is better than another election, which Jeremy Corbyn would probably win, but first let see which or her colleagues replaces our appalling, duplicitous, incompetent Blairite Prime Minister. 

In any case, the European elections and the local elections will be a surrogate referendum. Let's see how Nigel Farage, the father of Brexit, does and the new Remain party, Change, so called because it wants the Blairite consensus to continue.

Attractive though giving people the option of no deal is, Mr Darwell is probably right that a second referendum should be a rerun of the first. 

I think and hope Leave would win, but no-one knows. Dianne Abbot keeps saying that Leave would win but this is because she is a Leaver pretending to be a Remainer who does not want another referendum.

My blood is still boiling at Jonathan Freedland's throwaway line, while arguing for a second referendum, that it  would be 'irresponsible' to allow a no deal Brexit to be an option in a second referendum. 

Irresponsible to allow the country to vote to leave. 

This is the scam these people have in mind: a referendum to choose between a deal which has been repeatedly defeated in the House of Commons because it is so bad and staying in.

The man mainly to blame for this imbroglio is Michel Barnier, who played very strong cards extremely well but who was too clever by half. Had the House accepted his Carthaginian terms he would have been a hero to Europe, but he tried to drive too hard a bargain.

Brexit delayed - to the Greek calends?

Brexit has been delayed until Hallowe'en, 31st October, but could be sooner than that or later. 

President Macron persuaded the other states to accept a shorter extension that they had wanted. He said it was to respect the wishes of the British public which had voted to leave. What was his real reason? Probably to look good at home refusing to give les rosbifs what they asked for. But the date of Brexit will be extended if necessary.

In a press conference late last night, Theresa May said she was still hopeful of getting a Brexit deal through parliament before May 22 and so allowing the government to cancel the European Parliament elections and leave the EU on June 1. She says she refuses to resign unless this happens. As I said before, she has the relentless implacability of zombies in horror films of my youth.

Whatever the outcome of the European elections in the UK they will make no difference to Europe, but they will make a big difference to the UK.

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

No deal was an empty threat by the EU

To try to convince the House of Commons to vote for the Withdrawal Agreement, the EU threatened that the alternative was Britain leaving with no deal, for which the Continent was well prepared. In fact there was always a vanishingly small possibility of our leaving with no deal, despite President Macron's threats aimed at his domestic audience (and despite ITV Political Editor Robert Peston's insistence for months to the contrary). Now the threats are being quietly dropped.

Were the EU to refuse an extension British Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond predicted yesterday that MPs would probably force the government to revoke Article 50, rather than leave with no deal, but for the EU leaders this would be too big a risk for them to take.

As Michel Barnier said yesterday, the EU will never force us to leave with no deal. The British civil service, which advises the Prime Minister without much competition from political advisers, now that Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill have been banished, is also determined to prevent the UK leaving with no deal. The Cabinet Secretary went so far as advising the cabinet that it could not vote on the Withdrawal Agreement.

Mrs May is not the collegiate, clubbish person that a Prime Minister should be, who confides in the cabinet and is first among equals. She is secretive, unclubbable, isolated and suspicious. She confides in no-one except her husband and a very few, very close advisers, whose names I do not know. 

She has been captured by the civil service, because she needs someone to tell her what to do and because she does not give them a clear line.  She is out of her depth, but embarrassingly reluctant to leave the stage. 

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement is “a deal a nation signs only after having been defeated at war"

Yanis Varoufakis, the Greek Finance Minister at the time when the EU forced austerity on Greece, said on the BBC TV programme Question Time, on the day Britain was supposed to Brexit, March 29th, that Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement is “a deal a nation signs only after having been defeated at war".

"Theresa May. Look, first she triggers Article 50 on the basis of red lines that boxed her into impossibility – and that is a crime against logic. Secondly, it failed to recognise that Michel Barnier, when he announced the two-phase process, announced a declaration of hostility against the Government. May never even saw this coming.

“If I come to you and say let’s have a negotiation between us, and I say, first, you tell me everything you want, and then, we will tell you everything we want, clearly, you will say ‘No mate. I’m not going to have a negotiation with you along those lines.’

8 reasons why young voters are turning away from the Conservatives

Here are eight reasons why few British voters under thirty intend to vote Conservative, collected by James Kanagasooriam. 

They include: the fact that 20% of voters under 30 are non-white; the young's dislike of Brexit; their approval of progressive measures likes single-sex marriage and euthanasia that most Conservative MPs opposed; left-wing indoctrination in universities, for which the Conservatives steeply increased the fees, is a double whammy; and, above all, high property prices.

If you want to understand someone's political outlook think of how the world looked when he was 20. The young grew up in a time of financial crisis attributed to greedy bankers and deregulation of financial services. The youngest formed their world view taking account of the result of the Brexit referendum and Donald Trump. 

Socialism is something from history lessons and my nephew was taught at school that Lenin was an improvement on the Tsars.

Only one Church of England bishop voted Leave

If slam dunk proof were needed that Britain should leave the EU, I offer it. 

112 Bishops of the Church of England voted Remain, according to well informed Anglican blogger Archbishop Cranmer, and one voted Leave. I am a bit doubtful about there he got the figures. I suspect he knew of one Leaver and assumed the rest were Remain, but the assumption would have been based on studying the hierarchy closely for years.

Catholic bishops in Great Britain probably have similar views. Oddly, though UKIP was the only party that opposed single-sex marriage, it is said to have fairly few adherents among the Catholic clergy, who tend to read anti-Catholic newspapers like the Guardian and Observer. Pro-abortion, pro-feminist parties get their vote instead.

“For the vast majority of people Brexit isn’t about the EU"

“For the vast majority of people Brexit isn’t about the EU, it is a proxy for a world view that includes their attitude to diversity and climate change as well as Europe. They would prefer to have parties which much more clearly reflect those values. Either Labour and the Tories rotate into those positions or they will be challenged by new parties rooted there.”

This is a quotation from Lord Cooper of Windrush, the Downing Street director of strategy under David Cameron, in today's Times. His lordship is right that attitudes to Brexit are about deep emotions that have little to do with the question in hand. This is the most interesting and least examined aspect to the crisis through which Great Britain (not to mention Northern Ireland) is living.

Of course, he is also completely right in thinking that cultural politics is now more important than economics.

How odd that important people who write newspaper articles find this surprising or hard to explain, when the reasons are obvious: grave threats to nation-states. These, of course, trump (no pun intended) everything else.


“If all printers were determined not to print anything till they were sure it would offend nobody, there would be very little printed.” 
Benjamin Franklin

“The pleasantest of all diversions is to sit alone under a lamp, a book spread before you, and to make friends with people of a distant past you have never known.”
The 14th-century Japanese priest Kenko in the Tsurezuregusa (“Grasses of Idleness”)

“All country people hate each other. They have so little comfort, that they envy their neighbours the smallest pleasure or advantage . . . From not being accustomed to enjoyment, they become hardened and averse to it — stupid, for want of thought — selfish, for want of society. There is nothing good to be had in the country, or, if there is, they will not let you have it. They had rather injure themselves than oblige anyone else.”
William Hazlitt reviewing Wordsworth's Excursion.

The Marxist capture of knowledge

Claire Lehmann is the founder of the wonderful magazine Quillette and a very good thing. She is a genuine liberal and a few years ago I'd have thought real conservatism and real liberalism were very close - now, in the era of Brexit, Trump, Merkel and Salvini they are obviously very far away. She is an instinctive internationalist, admires the EU and dislikes populists intensely.

I enjoy her stuff very much and urge you to watch this interview about the way in which a form of Marxism has taken over academia and public discourse and turned arts disciplines into examinations of power and oppression, centred on class, feminism and post-colonialism.

Her hope is that new forms of university education on the internet will take over from conventional universities. I have long argued that this is inevitable, desirable and needs to be hastened (to break down the academic closed shop and the use of degrees to strengthen class barriers). Rather obtusely of me, I did not make the connection between breaking up the academic industry and the restoration of freedom of thought.

A customs union does not mean frictionless trade

Trade policy is extremely complex and even professors of European law get it badly wrong. The best source of information I know of is Richard North's irascible blog in which he speaks contemptuously of the crass ignorance of politicians and journalists on the subject. In fact the tone is very unattractive but the contempt seems often to be justified. Almost all British MPs are scandalously ignorant about the EU, as are leading columnists.

Michel Barnier and European leaders hope Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn will agree to leave the EU with "a" customs union (a non-EU country cannot be part of "the" EU customs union, apparently) and thus avoid a long delay to Brexit. But it is important to understand, in spite of what you have read, that exiting the EU on customs union terms does not mean "frictionless trade" between the UK and EU or even prevent customs being levied at the Irish border. 

Anyone who has crossed the land border between Bulgaria and Turkey, which is in a customs union with the EU except for agricultural produce, coal and steel, should know this. 

Also, of course, a customs union does not cover services, which make up three quarters of the UK's economy but this is a different point. No tariffs are levied on services. Regulatory alignment is what matters with services.

The Economics Editor of the Guardian argues that the value of the customs union to the UK is overrated here

Monday, 8 April 2019

Where we are today - heading to a delayed Brexit

The Solicitor-General, Robert Buckland, came clean on the BBC Radio Four’s Westminster Hour last night.
“Whilst I don’t pretend it’s ideal — I think there are some real drawbacks with it — it does mean we deliver the end to freedom of movement, and it does mean that we deliver the vast majority of the aims of Brexit. It’s not perfect, but frankly in this particular hung parliament none of us can get perfection. We need to compromise … Something approximating a customs arrangement or customs union I think would be the most likely outcome.”
A Labour source told the Sunday Times that they were happy to let Downing Street give the customs union a different name, (“Customs arrangement” and “customs partnership”?) to persuade Tory MPs that it’s not a customs union.

“They can call it ‘Alan’ if they want to. But it needs to have a common external tariff and comply with the WTO definition of a customs union.”
Rod Liddle, writing on Saturday in the Spectator, thinks the mess we are in is because Brexit is in the hands of a Conservative party three quarters of whose MPs are Remainers - and, also, not conservatives at all.
"If there were a few more Conservatives on the Conservative benches then the government wouldn’t have dreamed up a bill designed to inform infant school children about the undoubted joys of transgenderism, nor indeed voted for its passage by a huge majority.