Tuesday, 25 April 2017

France the sick man of Europe?

Is France the sick man of Europe or is that Turkey again, as when the phrase was coined? 

No, Turkey is no longer in Europe. Italy maybe? So many sick men in Europe these days... 

Only Germany enjoys rude health.

Civilisation and its discontents

I found this on the net by Bernard Lewis, the leading historian of the Middle East, in a debate with that insufferable bore Edward Said: 

The Roman Empire and the medieval Islamic Empire were not conquered by more civilised peoples, they were conquered by less civilised but more vigorous peoples. But in both cases what made the conquest, with the Barbarians in Rome and the Mongols in Iraq, what made it possible was things were going badly wrong within the society so that it was no longer able to offer effective resistance.
Bernard Lewis and Romanian historian Neagu Djuvara are both 100 and both think it is inevitable that Europe will become part of the Muslim world. 

Monday, 24 April 2017

A renegade English literature lecturer secretly voted leave

This blog post by Dr. Martin Robb (a lecturer in English at the Open University and all round good egg) is fascinating evidence of how academics are startling politically undiverse. What happened to the great High Tory dons at Cambridge like Cowling and Casey or Edward Norman?

It has taken him nine months to admit in his blog that he voted Leave and I am sure it is because of the stigma that attaches to Leave among academics (and not only academics). 

Just as people used to keep very quiet about being homosexual now they often feel they must not tell anyone they voted Leave.

Marine Le Pen won't win, but if she did she'd enjoy cohabitation

The main method of wealth acquisition in France is to wait for your parents to die. Why would you want your inheritance in devalued French France rather than Euro? Of course the French will vote for Macron. Le Pen isn't Trump and the French aren't Americans. So stop trying to translate the American experience into other countries.
David Goldman (Spengler in the Asia Times and one of the most intelligent political commentators you'll find).

I cannot imagine Marine Le Pen winning the presidency this year. I always thought she had almost no chance. I imagine she thinks the same. And if she did win I cannot imagine her party could win a majority in either chamber. In each it at present has two seats.

If she did win she'd be almost powerless. She'd have a bully pulpit but no power. But what a pulpit.

I am sure Macron, who I think is a creature of Hollande, will disappoint everyone, like Hollande has done. Then, I imagine, we shall probably see President Le Pen. 

If and when she finally does become President she will find it very hard to implement her promises of reducing immigration to 10,000 a year and leaving the Euro. She might find it much more enjoyable and useful to be a President co-habitating with a Parliament that hates her. She could blame the government for everything. 

I am not sure, though, that that would raise French prestige or influence in the world. Which is why it won't happen.

Bernard Lewis: Will the future see an Islamised Europe or a European Islam?

In 2010 the greatest historian of the Middle East, Bernard Lewis, predicted that by the end of the decade Iran would abandon political Islam, while Turks adopted some form of Islamist rule. The old man might yet be right.

He also said in 2010 that Muslims were making their third attempt to conquer Europe, an attempt which seemed to have a much better chance at success than the first two as it took the form of peaceful migration rather than military aggression.

“The only question remaining for us to answer regarding the future of Europe is will it be an Islamised Europe or a European Islam?"
I suspect that the country that poses the biggest danger to Christendom/Western Christian civilisation is not Iran or Turkey, and certainly not Russia or North Korea, but Saudi Arabia.

ISIS is a very big danger if we overreact to them, as the Americans overreacted to September 11th, and alienate many Muslims in Europe.

Finally politics is about things that matter

Thank goodness politics is now about important things like national identity, instead of tedious arguments about the economy.

Politics didn't become about economics until after 1945, when material considerations and welfare took the place of God and the nation. Politics used to be about interesting things, like Welsh Church Disestablishment.

Robert Tombs, who supervised me, said in his much praised book The English and Their History (I must read it) that after 1688 'politics was a branch of religion, rather as 21st-century politics is a branch of economics'.

It is now no longer only about economics.

Hollande rigged and won the French election

I blogged earlier:
Why are some talking about a bad day for democracy in France? This election was the most democratic in decades - a genuine choice between 4 very different platforms. 5 counting the very left-wing Socialist candidate.
This is the reason.

The explanation below for Macron's victory, posted on Facebook by a French professor does sound very plausible. Perhaps today is a very bad day for democracy in France.
Even in Putin's Russia the executive power would not have been able to rig the election like Hollande did
Macron is Hollande's surrogate and En Marche is a scam, a cover for the Hollandist fraction of the socialist party. Hollande is not stupid, he has an unmatchable expertise in electoral game, the cynical disciple of Mitterrand and a 30 years practice. The opposition leaders' phones, those of their families friends and attorneys are tapped 24/7. The media have been organized in a cartel by Macron himself breaching the law about competition, the outlets are subsidized by the State and journalists have tax breaks and perks. Public prosecution is under the command of the executive (i.e. Hollande) ... Otherwise, how one would explain that an investment banker with no political background, no party, no programme could come first in a fair electoral process?

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Macron will be President of France

French exit poll result:

Macron - 23%
Le Pen - 23%
Fillon - 19%
Melenchon - 19%

The Gaullist Fillon might have been a good President, despite the corruption allegations. Macron will do less well against Marine Le Pen than Fillon, so she will be happy to meet him in the second round. Nevertheless I am sure that Macron will be President.

He will be another Trudeau. Possibly another Hollande.

And bad news for Britain in the Brexit negotiations.

Voices in the election hubbub

Dan Hodges
One thing Reluctant Labour supporters must understand. Anything less than huge May win will see Corbyn claim pyrrich victory. And cling on

Brendan O'Neill
People saying: "Don't make the General Election all about Brexit. There are other issues too." But Brexit isn't just another issue. It isn't really an issue at all, in fact. It's bigger than that. It's a potentially new way of doing politics; it's a demand for democratising politics; it's the means of ensuring that all those "issues" -- the economy, housing, jobs, the NHS, law, war, regulation, etc -- are debated and decided upon in a more open, honest, populist way, by the public rather than by technocrats. Brexit, if properly acted upon, could help to make politics and all its "issues" radically different and more interesting than they are today. This is why you should cast your vote on the basis of the candidate's commitment to Brexit rather than what he or she thinks about "issues": because until Brexit is clarified and made stronger than it is now after nine months of elitist assault and demonisation, politics and its issues will remain the playthings of them rather than the property of us.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Both Theresa May's grandmothers were servants

The London Review of Books, a magazine that infuriates me by reflecting the unthinking left-wing consensus of British academia, has published a rather enjoyable review of a biography of Theresa May by Rosa Prince. 

It contains the interesting information that both May’s grandmothers were in service and one of her great-grandfathers was a butler. 

The biography contains an interesting explanation of why she took almost no part in the referendum campaign.


Time does not change us. It just unfolds us.
Max Frisch

If you want to work on your art, work on your life.

Anton Chekhov

The best way to control the opposition is to lead it ourselves.

Callaghan, the bent copper

Lord, how recent the 1979 election seems. I remember the Private Eye cover with Mr. Callaghan leaving church with his 2 granddaughters. 

One is saying:

I didn't know granddad believed in God.
And the other:
Once every 5 years he does.

Why should Great Britain or America fight for the Sunnis?

Obviously, the USA and UK should never have invaded Iraq. They should have launched a short punitive expedition into Afghanistan in 2001, restored the monarchy and then allowed the Taliban to come back. Nation-building was always (a liberal) folly: Afghanistan and Iraq were not post-war Germany, as should have been clear.

But having broken it, as Colin Powell warned, the USA bought Iraq. Leaving it alone led to ISIS. So what is the solution?

I don't know. Unfortunately, the USA may now back the Israeli-Saudi-Sunni alliance against the Shia crescent (Iran, Syria, Hezbollah). I hope Mr. Trump resists this temptation.

Almost all the terrorist atrocities against Western Europe and the USA are committed by Sunnis, yet we are constantly told that Iran, which is fighting ISIS and Al Qaeda, is the great threat. Why? 

Friday, 21 April 2017

Helen Szamuely has died

I was shocked to read of the death of Helen Szamuely, one of the founders of UKIP, whose obituary is here. I met her four or five times. She was perhaps the rudest person I ever knew, but on Facebook not in real life. She was clever and had the gift of mostly being right, especially about the EEC/EC/EU.

She died much too young, but I am very happy that she lived to see the result of the referendum. It was the triumph of her life's work.

Helen's rudeness was Waughian. 

“I notice you have no arguments just personal invective,” she wrote to one commenter. “I am proud of my enemies and you are an excellent addition to the group. I shan’t bother to reply to you again but be assured your self-satisfied silliness is appreciated.”

Will there always be an England, Europe or America, whatever the origin of their inhabitants?

But today, France’s most read and most discussed popular writers—novelists and political essayists—are conservatives of one stripe or another. They are not concerned, even slightly, with the issues that animate American “mainstream” think-tank conservatism—lowering taxes, cutting federal programs, or maintaining some kind of global military hegemony. Their focus is France’s national culture and its survival.
These words are from an article by Scott McConnell in the latest issue of The American Conservative called The Battle for France, which you should print off and read, whether or not you are interested in France. It is about the future, or lack of one, of Western/Christian civilisation. 

I came across it via Professor Tom Gallagher, the historian and commentator.

It contains a quite astonishing piece of information, which I had seen before.
Because the government does not publish statistics about race, some curious researchers have looked at the number of newborn babies screened for markers for sickle-cell anemia, a test given if both parents are of African, North African, or Sicilian origin. The figure has risen from 25 percent in 2005 to 39 percent in 2015. In the Greater Paris region it has risen from 54 percent to 73 percent.
Gentle reader, I don't suppose you have time or patience just now to read several brilliant articles about the effects on the West of mass immigration from the Third World. 

Still, I wanted to post links to another six 'must read' articles on the subject, which is almost the only important political issue of our days. You might want to bookmark this page or even print them off to read at your leisure. 

Like most nice people, I didn't give immigration from the Third World into Great Britain or Europe much thought until a few years ago. When a man I knew in MI6 tried to tell me about the dangers caused by Muslims in Europe I assumed he did so because he was a very rigorous Low Church Protestant. When Tom Gallagher told me about the late Oriana Fallaci and opened the subject of the 'Islamisation' of Europe with me I thought he was absurdly alarmist. I thought the same at first when Ruth Dudley Edwards talked about Islamisation.

Now, like everyone's, my views have changed, because the world has changed and we have all noticed. Despite the official propaganda. It is not that we become more extreme as we age, though we certainly become wiser and less inhibited. It's the world that has become more extreme.

The most important General Election in decades

I had thought this election was boring but reading this by Brendan O'Neill changed my mind. I think he is right.
The snap election in June will be the most important General Election in years, if not decades. For the simple reason that the old technocratic establishment, still reeling from last June's democratic revolt against their deathly, illiberal politics, are using it to try to regain territory, to push Britain back to the era in which they made the decisions and the rest of us nodded along. We can't let this happen. In recent General Elections, there hasn't been much at stake -- they've too often been choices between bean-counters, between managers masquerading as politicians. In this one there's a huge amount at stake -- nothing less than the idea of democracy itself and the supremacy of public opinion over priestly political diktat. It isn't left v right, or Labour v Tory: it's "I believe in democracy" vs "Democracy pisses me off". You can't sit this one out; you can't abstain -- you have to get out there and agitate against the Remainers who have spied an opportunity to dent Brexit and find your local candidate most committed to Brexit! Start today.

The glossary below by Craig Brown in the Daily Mail is worth reading too.

Brexit is not anti-European or even anti-EU

Wanting Great Britain to leave the European Union does not mean one's anti European - or even anti EU.

The United Kingdom and the EU were just not compatible, especially after the treaty of Maastricht for which John Major can be blamed (he could have vetoed it). As Douglas Murray said on June 24th,


Gisela Stuart (Labour MP):
'When we have nationwide referenda, we actually go directly to the people and it's an exercise of direct democracy. Therefore, it becomes our duty to implement that will.'

Bruno Waterfield (Times journalist):
'The Brexit vote is very much the first big moment in a new phase of European political history, where voters will not accept the idea that the political order has to be unrepresentative for the good of civilisation.'

Thursday, 20 April 2017

What people are saying about the election

Philip Collins:
More people think the moon landings were faked than think Labour will win on June 8.

Dan Hodges:

Also, remember the golden rule. The polls always overestimate Labour support.

I am also called Played-out and Done to Death

As an undergraduate I collected parodies and must dig out my ancient commonplace books. This is H.D. Traill, a great parodist, teasing Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

"Look in my face. My name is Used-to-was;
I am also called Played-out, and Done to Death,
And It-will-wash-no-more. Awakeneth
Slowly but sure awakening it has,
The common-sense of man; and I, alas!
The ballad-burden trick, now known too well, And turned to scorn, and grown contemptible-- A too transparent artifice to pass."

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Majoritarianism, the new threat

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Election blues

I realised today that this is the first surprise snap election in England since 1974, when there there were two. Yet I don't think anyone feels excited. Except the Daily Mail.

At least Theresa May will spare us a TV debate, an unwelcome American import, like grey squirrels.

By the way, I saw my first red squirrel since childhood on Saturday in Cernauti/Chernivtsi. It seemed symbolic of the superiority of (especially non-EU) Eastern Europe over the globalised West. 
I recall a leading British zoologist a few years back said complaining that grey squirrels had supplanted red ones was 'racist'. I thought about this and saw that he was right.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

A very unexciting election

This is the first election (don't ask me which is the first one I dimly remember) which doesn't interest me. It's so rĂ©chauffĂ©. 

And that's before I remembered that the luvvies will be back, telling us how to vote against Brexit.

The best comment on Brexit I've seen

I voted for the principle of national sovereignty and I expect to suffer for this choice. You do know there have been actual *wars* of independence, don't you? It will not be easily won. A lot of Remainers seem to be saying that they are *not* prepared to suffer for the principle of national sovereignty and that if we suffer just one jot of inconvenience or anxiety, we should have remained.

A strange election in which all parties will win big

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Theresa May summoned the television cameras and announced an hour and a half ago that she was ‘going to the country’. She told the Queen, who no longer has the power to dissolve Parliament, that she was holding an election.

The Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 is ignored, as it can be because no law can be entrenched under an unwritten constitution.

It’s a very odd election because all the main parties will probably gain.

The election is very good news for Labour because they will be annihilated now, not in 2020. They will therefore get to choose a new leader in June. There is no obvious leader but any leader will be very much better than the present extreme left leader, Jeremy Corbyn.

The election is very good news for the Liberal Democrats because Labour will be annihilated and the Lib Dems stand to gain many formerly Labour votes and some seats (though the Lib Dems are stronger in Conservative seats).

Many Conservatives will vote Liberal Democrat using the election as a second referendum on leaving the EU.

It is even possible that the Lib Dems might replace Labour as the second party. Seriously.

Seen on Facebook this morning

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Agnostics have commitment issues.

Olivia Fox Taylor

Monday, 17 April 2017

Somewhere people

I think it is the lonely, without a fireside or an affection they may call their own, those who return not to a dwelling but to the land itself, to meet its disembodied, eternal, and unchangeable spirit — it is those who understand best its severity, its saving power, the grace of its secular right to our fidelity, to our obedience. Yes! few of us understand, but we all feel it though, and I say all without exception, because those who do not feel do not count. Each blade of grass has its spot on earth whence it draws its life, its strength; and so is man rooted to the land from which he draws his faith together with his life.

Joseph Conrad (1857-1924), Lord Jim, chapter XXI.

I am copying this from the very commendable blogger Laudator Temporis Acti.

Quotations for Easter Monday

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Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol or morphine or idealism. Carl Jung

I’m pleased with what I’ve done. The Stockholm jihadi murderer

No generation has the right to impose wholly volitional yet irreversible changes upon the next generation. Yet for the past 60 years, this is precisely what Europe has been doing, with terrible short-term outcomes already, and huge existential challenges still to come. Whenever ordinary people are given the choice to vote on such transformations (engineered by elites who are immune to the consequences, though their children will not be) they reject them, as with Donald Trump and Brexit. Yet instead of these vetos being seen for what they are — proof of the essential unviability of the great immigration experiment — they are sneeringly dismissed as evidence of how bigoted and stupid the Great Unwashed really are. Even now, if you want an easy guffaw on a BBC comedy show, just say “Nigel Farage”. Kevin Myers in the Sunday Times

Thursday, 13 April 2017

12 pieces of careers advice

I don't like work — no man does — but I like what is in work — the chance to find yourself. Joseph Conrad

It's never too late to be what you might have been. George Elliot

Don't bend; don't water it down; don't try to make it logical; don't edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly. Franz Kafka