Thursday, 21 June 2018


"I do not support the Irish ban [on abortion], and it is easily evaded by taking the ferry to England but, if and when it collapses, Ireland as a country with a distinct moral culture of its own is finished; Ireland will have become a mere off-shore island." Christie Davies, 'The Strange Death of Moral Britain" (2004)

"Feminism is poison." Margaret Thatcher


When all the objectives of government include the achievement of equality - other than equality before the law - that government poses a threat to liberty. Margaret Thatcher

No-one can build the bridge on which you, and only you, can cross the river of life. 

Sunday, 17 June 2018

What the papers say - I have found four plums

In his upcoming book on US immigration, my brilliant friend Reihan Salam — himself the son of Bangladeshi immigrants — makes a bold argument: America must either restrict immigration or risk civil war as rising inequality and racial tension combine.
I hope Salam is right that the American melting pot can somehow be salvaged. But I have no such hope for Europe. No one who has spent any time in Germany

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Happy pride month in Canada!

CBC, the Canadian state-owned broadcasting company, has broadcast this clip 
which repays watching and posted it on the net under the rubric:
Happy pride month! Jessi Cruickshank talks with kids about gay pride and being gay allies
The children look about seven or eight and are ardent believers in sexual diversity.
Jessi Cruickshank asks the little innocents
I'm not gay but I'm a gay ally. Are you gay allies?

Friday, 15 June 2018


"In this world you either have an empire or you have to be part of somebody else's." Peter Hitchens, who says the EU is Germany's empire.

"Action may not always bring happiness; but there is no happiness without action." Benjamin Disraeli

Bucarest, mon amour

“There's not a city in the former Soviet Union [she meant Bloc] which hasn't been christened The New Prague (apart from Bucharest, and if you've been there you'll know why).”
Guardian travel article by Joanne O'Connor

I remember the 1989 Lonely Planet Guide to Eastern Europe (individual countries didn't merit their own guides) included Bucharest in its list of ten things to avoid in Eastern Europe. I don't remember what the other nine were but they were things not places.

Thursday, 14 June 2018

You can't generalise

No-one esteems aphorisms any more. Were Wilde around today (and not in gaol for going to bed with underage boys), every quip he made would get the response: Oscar, you can't generalise.

Or rather it was so until Twitter. A very useful achievement of Twitter was to relaunch the aphorism, before they increased the maximum number of characters in a tweet.


"It suffices for an intransigent minority –a certain type of intransigent minorities –to reach a minutely small level, say three or four percent of the total population, for the entire population to have to submit to their preferences. Further, an optical illusion comes with the dominance of the minority: a naive observer would be under the impression that the choices and preferences are those of the majority. If it seems absurd, it is because our scientific intuitions aren’t calibrated for that (fughedabout scientific and academic intuitions and snap judgments; they don’t work and your standard intellectualization fails with complex systems, though not your grandmothers’ wisdom)."
Skin in the Game by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

"Society is a shared inheritance for the sake of which we learn to circumscribe our demands, to see our own place in things as part of a continuous chain of giving and receiving, and to recognize that the good things we inherit are not ours to spoil" Sir Roger Scruton, How To Be a Conservative

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Ivano-Frankivsk in balmy summer weather

After Bucacs we went on, through green countryside glowingly fertile, to one of my favourite towns, Ivano-Frankivsk, known till 1962 as Stanislau or Stanisławów. 

It was founded as a Polish fortress in 1663 and was named after the Polish hetman Stanisław "Rewera" Potocki. Like Bucsacs, it became a largely self governing city and was later incorporated into the Austrian empire in the first partition of Poland.

Image may contain: people standing, sky, tree and outdoor
Greek Catholic church, Ivano Frankivsk

Saturday, 2 June 2018


I blogged about Buczacz last year and Professor Omer Bartov's excellent and searing book about the murder of the town's Jews. I have now visited the pretty little town. In warm weather on the first day of June it brought to mind Sherlock Holmes' remark about the vilest alleys not hiding as much sin as the smiling and beautiful face of the countryside

Buczacz was founded in the seventeenth century by Polish nobles in what was effectively the Wild East. The  nobles who started towns encouraged the settlement of Jews, desirable immigrants because of their commercial expertise. The Jews came east tired of constant friction with Poles. The Jews lived in their own community and were largely preoccupied by their own religion until the nineteenth century. In the 1920s 60% of the townspeople were Jewish.

Back in Cernauti/Chernivtsi (no longer the USSR) again

I just paid my fifth visit to Cernăuți. This is what I wrote after my third visit, two years ago. The Hotel Bukovyna is as good as ever, a four star hotel with a pool and good restaurant it costs EUR 30 bed and breakfast.

An unmistakable sense of freedom as soon as we arrive in Ukraine. A sense of normal people who think like human beings. A civilised place where people believe in God and love their country. Romania is like that too but is becoming EU-ised.

It took eleven hours to drive from Bucharest to Cernăuți instead of the eight we'd planned on. As happens every summer in Romania there were floods, a road was closed. At the border we waited over an hour. An argument for the European Union. All Romanian borders took half an hour to cross before she joined the EU.

Monday, 28 May 2018

Even if you are not interested in history, history is interested in you

Many people are completely ignorant of and uninterested in history, before about 1963. 

Ignorant, for example, of how very little immigration there was into Europe, after the Muslim invasions of the Dark and Middle Ages, which were halted and finally after long centuries rolled back by the warriors of Spain, Portugal, central Europe and the Balkans.  

But even if you are not interested in history, history is interested in you.

Sir Roger Scruton

"Mismanaged sexual feelings lead to a society of casual encounters, jealousies, and aggressions, in which there are neither lasting commitments nor sacrifices on behalf of children."

"This period of courtship was also one of display, in which men showed off their manliness and women their femininity. And this is what we mean, or ought to mean, by the 'social construction' of gender. By playacting, the two partners readied themselves for their future roles"

Abortion - the old landmarks are gone

Almost everyone outside Ireland seems to be cheering the Irish referendum resultBreitbart came up with this headline: 

Childless Emmanuel Macron, Theresa May Celebrate Pro-Abortion Vote in Ireland
When the Southern Irish voted to keep the ban on divorce it was understood that another referendum would be held on the issue. It was and divorce won the second time, by less than 51 percent of the vote. Had divorce lost the second referendum there would have been a third. Then no more referendums. 

So it will be with homosexual marriage and abortion. Everyone understands this but I wonder who decides, and on what grounds, that some decisions are final and others not.

Sunday, 27 May 2018

First woman to join infantry regiment since defence chiefs lifted ban on females serving in combat units quits after two weeks

A headline in the British press restores ones faith in human nature.
First woman to join infantry regiment since defence chiefs lifted ban on females serving in combat units quits after two weeks


"In 2016, then Prime Minister David Cameron said it was essential that the make-up of the Armed Forces reflected society and he lifted the ban on women serving in combat units."

I have to concede what people keep saying to me is true, that there was really virtually no difference between the Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Labour Blairites. Theresa May, of course, is a Blairite and so is Michael Gove.

The full story is here.

Saturday, 26 May 2018


People triggered by blood probably shouldn’t be in medical school. People triggered by ideas probably shouldn’t be in university.
Stefan Molyneux 

Myko Clelland‏ Verified account @DapperHistorian

In 1866 Liechtenstein's last military engagement sent 80 men to war. 81 returned, as they had made a friend.