Saturday, 16 February 2019

Bucharest

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Quotations

"Of all the tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under the omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber barons cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”
C. S. Lewis


"Human society, as established by God, is composed of unequal elements, just as the different parts of the human body are unequal; to make them all equal is impossible, and would mean the destruction of human society"
Pope Pius X


"An unspoiled view isn't a view without architecture. It's a view without modern architecture."
Caroline Macafee 


"Europe is the community of Christian, free, and independent nations; equality of men and women; fair competition and solidarity; pride and humility; justice and mercy. This time the danger is not attacking us the way wars and natural disasters do, suddenly pulling the rug from under our feet. Mass migration is a slow stream of water persistently eroding the shores. It is masquerading as a humanitarian cause, but its true nature is the occupation of territory. And what is gaining territory for them is losing territory for us." 
Viktor Orbán 2016



"Sex is the mysticism of materialism and the only possible religion in a materialistic society."
Malcolm Muggeridge


“'Can I help you?' he said, in a manner which indicated very clearly that not only did he not wish to help them, but also that he resented the implication that he ought to.”
Graham Austin-King, 'Fae - The Realm of Twilight'.

Friday, 15 February 2019

A church for our times

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"The church of Hal-Farrug,with its contrasting dynamic balance, tries to give an all-encompassing answer to the needs of today, while it remains anchored to the fundamental principles of faith."

So writes Maltese architect Richard England about his design for a church in a Maltese village which seems to express in architectural terms a lot about the modern Church and the modern world. I don't think the church has been built 

The eurozone’s coming recession will confirm Brexiteers’ warnings

From a good article by Allister Heath City Editor of the Daily Telegraph yesterday.
Between 1999, when the euro was launched, and the start of 2017, the latest period for which IMF data is available from Bloomberg, the eurozone’s GDP grew by 26 per cent, against the UK’s 44 per cent and 42 per cent in the United States. Italy is up by just 6.7 per cent and Greece by 1.3 per cent; both have suffered two wasted decades.
If being part of the single market and customs union mattered so much more than any other policy, the eurozone would have boomed. Yet it didn’t, and the voters know they have been sold a pup. If you want to see proper growth, you need to turn to the emerging world, to China (which has multiplied the size of its economy in extraordinary fashion), to India, to Singapore, to Israel (up 98 per cent).
.....The euro’s failure is even more disastrous. The huge boost to growth it was meant to generate by eliminating transaction costs and uncertainty never materialised. There was no free lunch, no spurt, no permanent upward shift in performance. The downsides have been cataclysmic – mad booms and busts in peripheral economies and the incompatibility between national social democracy and European fiscal policy exposed for all to see
These points are good ones. The single market, the euro and even the customs union have been remarkable disappointments and stages in Europe's downward trajectory from the continent that dominated economically, politically and culturally most of the Eastern hemisphere in the 1930s.


Thursday, 14 February 2019

Tweets

Roses are Red But they soon fade away For romance that lasts Sign a new FTA!


If Britain went back to free trade we should gain and the EU would lose a lot

A very appealing possible Brexit, suggested by Liam Fox, would mean Britain leaving the EU with no customs deal and levying no tariffs on imports into the UK. The EU would levy small WTO tariffs on our exports. We would import goods from around the world without tariffs and this would reduce EU exports to the UK dramatically, because they could not compete with cheap Chinese prices. This makes no deal seem pretty darn attractive to me but would be very scary for the Europeans.

Unfortunately this will not happen and instead the EU will probably make concessions on the backstop to defuse the Brexit crisis, and a deal will be made allowing the European Court to have jurisdiction over the UK, the continuation of the acquis, fishing quotas and many other undesirable things, plus a huge divorce settlement. A pointless sort of Brexit in name only.

Writing rapidly I forgot to mention the most important thing about what Olly Robbins was overheard saying in the bar the other night. He said that he, and presumably his (political) mistress, see the backstop as "a bridge" to a long-term trading relationship between the UK and EU, which sounds like Britain remaining in some version of the customs union forever. 

Which is what Jeremy Corbyn and many (former) Remainers want. The British government denies this but no-one believes the government or Theresa May any more.

In fact something similar to a customs union makes good sense to Britain, even at the cost of following most EU rules, but the price would involve either free movement or a lot of other painful things.
Unless the UK remains in a customs union with the EU there have to be customs barriers of some sort in Ireland. This is normal and nothing to worry about. 

A hard border does not breach the Good Friday Agreement but is what Theresa May has pledged will never happen and what the Southern Irish Prime Minister does not want, though if it happens he will blame it on the British.

He may have a hard job making that stick if the British do not erect barriers and the EU force the Irish to do so, but whom the Southern Irish blame is not important.


However thee is an alternative - the customs could be levied on the big importers away from the border and the small traders and farmers who make up 80% of the cross border trade could be exempted. This was suggested in a European Parliament report “Smart Border 2.0” prepared by Lars Karlsson, former head of the World Customs Organisation.

If we copy Norway's example we shall have almost complete regulatory alignment with the EU. In fact I'd rather like us to copy the Norwegian model completely for the time being, even though it means free movement of people. Norway is not in the EU customs union and does not have to share its fisheries with the EU. The Swiss have regulatory alignment but put big tariffs on European agricultural goods.  


Some think leaving with no deal is likely but John Rentoul in The Independent thinks the hard Brexiteers have lost already.  I fear he is probably right though I hope I am wrong.

The next decision point will come in two weeks, when Yvette Cooper, the real leader of the opposition, is likely to bring back her plan to legislate against leaving without a deal. This time she is likely to succeed. Then the Tory Eurosceptics will find the no-deal option shut in their face and they will have to decide whether to back the prime minister’s deal – with whatever cosmetic amendments have been agreed in Brussels by then – or to allow parliament to seek to delay Brexit.
Then Theresa May’s zigzag may finally end, and she might even get her deal through.

Bernard-Henri Lévy laments the death of the West

From a review in the Wall St Journal of ‘The Empire and the Five Kings’, the latest book by Bernard-Henri Lévy.
'...Mr. Lévy used his growing trans-Atlantic prestige to champion Western intervention in Bosnia, Kosovo, Libya and Syria. He did this in part by cultivating a style of unembarrassed brio, which his detractors called self-promotion or shallowness. But, to those who’ve loved him, Mr. Lévy’s romanticism is more than justified by his almost cosmic ambition: to bring an older reality to the doorstep of a newer one, often from the front lines of the most dangerous places on earth.
Now Mr. Lévy is reckoning with the fact that his project appears to have failed. The new world—the “Empire” of his title—no longer wants much to do with the old; cares not a whit about the Syrians or the Kurds or the Uighurs; will not face what Mr. Lévy calls the “Five Kings”—the “cartoonish yet terrible” actors China, Russia, Iran, Turkey and Sunni radical Islamism—that are taking advantage of our confusion to persecute peoples and limit our reach. On the surface at least, Mr. Lévy responds to this failure in ways longtime readers might expect: by conjuring the spirits that have always powered his romanticism—the Hellenists and Virgil; Voltaire, Husserl, Sartre—to advocate for a replenishment of the breadth and depth of the Western soul.

'But what is most striking about these 250 pages of often arresting, always heartfelt prose is the doubt, even despair, that this most self-confident of men is honest enough to disclose. Sometimes the despair is overripe—you sense the author using language to evade his own emotions: “The idea of the West,” he says, “having become gaunt, plain, and barren, has begun to melt in the sun like a beached jellyfish.” Elsewhere he is less overpolished—simple, sure and almost heartbreaking: His heritage is now “the empire of nothing, a West that no longer knows what it is or what it wants but that, in knowing nothing, risks demoralizing those within it who still believe.”'

I loved Virgil as a schoolboy, do not care for the ideas of Voltaire and hate those of the Communist Sartre. About Husserl I know nothing. But the idea of the West is Christianity. The enlightenment, Marxism and Mr. Levy's liberalism are all Christian heresies. It is the decline of Christianity that leaves the West with no ideas. 


If one idea that is disappearing is the idea that the West should make war to spread democracy so much the better. Let's go back to the old idea that a just war has to be in self defence or in defence of an ally.

Mr. Levy was the man who originally had the idea of overthrowing Gaddafi to show Muslims that the West could do a good thing for them. He is an essentially frivolous man. Fatally for the Libyans he persuaded his patron, Nicolas Sarkozy.

The history of the civilised world starting with the French revolution can be seen as the search to find something to believe in. People have tried to make substitutes for Christianity out of liberalism, human rights, welfare considerations, evolution, socialism, art, paganism and New Age ideas. 

A religion is very much more than values and values do not make a continent. Still less do they make a country, though we are seeing in the New and even the Old World attempts to use values to define nations. They are doomed to failure, especially in the Old World.

Of Mr Levy's five kings Turkey and Iran are no threats to the West. Russia has the will to threaten us but not the strength. Islamism is a threat but Islamification is a much bigger one. 

Saudi Arabia is therefore a much bigger threat than Iran. There are far too few Shia Muslims. 

China is a very big threat, but in economic and political terms. China does not represent an alternative to the liberal ideas that Mr Levy champions. Islam on the other hand does.

The biggest threats, though, are internal not external.

From an article by Tom Slater in Spiked this week

'As political scientist John Curtice has found, only nine per cent of voters now identity as a ‘very strong’ supporter of a political party, while 44 per cent say they are a ‘very strong Remainer’ or a ‘very strong Leaver’. 

'At the last General Election, middle-class Remainers bolted for Labour while many blue-collar Brexiteers bolted for the Conservatives. This was, remarkably, the election in which the Tories took Mansfield and Labour took Kensington.'

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

The Silence of Colonel Bramble by André Maurois

'A gentleman is never in a hurry.'
'To desire to be perpetually in the society of a pretty woman until the end of one's days, is as if, because one likes good wine, one wished always to have one's mouth full of it.' 
'He who has found a good wife has found great happiness, but a quarrelsome woman is like a roof that lets in the rain.'

'We don't go to school to learn, but to be soaked in the prejudices of our class, without which we should be useless and unhappy.'

I have picked up and am rereading a book I loved at 12, The Silence of Colonel Bramble by André Maurois. (We had to translate a passage in a French lesson at school and then I found it in a 2nd hand bookshop). It is so funny and beautiful, so touching, but whereas the hierarchical virile aristocratic England of 1914 seemed outdated in 1974 now it seems so utterly dead. I feel like I want to cry for what we have lost.

The book is available for free here.

American Jews defend Ilhan Omar

Noah Kulwin is a senior editor at Jewish Currents, an American quarterly magazine about the thought, culture, and activism of the Jewish left. He writes in Jacobin, which is a more or less Communist site, to defend newly elected Muslim congresswoman Ilhan Omar's attack on the influence of the Israeli lobby in Washington. Other left-wing American Jews have done the same.

Left and right are increasingly hard words to use. Questions like Israel and Syria make bedfellows of right and left. So does Brexit, which the old hard left supports (Dennis Skinner, Jeremy Corbyn secretly). 

Marxism is increasingly out of date and identity politics increasingly important. 

Of all Marxism's mistakes, Marx's idea that class conflict not national conflict drove history (and therefore, in György Lukács's phrase, nations and ethnicity were false consciousness) was the biggest. 

National and ethnic loyalties and conflict in fact drive history, as does religion, but the left and right often prefer to talk of values when discussing conflicts. Liberals (whether classical liberals, modern liberals or American Democrats) always did. For conservatives this is a habit they got into when opposing Communist Russia. For the left ethnicity is now becoming crucial too in the sense that non-whites are replacing the white proletariat as the progressive cause.

The happiest days of your life

Researchers claim people are at their happiest at 16 or after the age of 50. So says an article in The Times.
"Some factors were less immediately explicable. People in Northern Ireland were significantly happier than people in London." 

That's easily explained. NI is divided into two very homogeneous close-knit ethnic groups, is very traditional, family minded, well educated and people there believe in God. Very like Romania.

Being a member of the clergy gave the greatest contentment, closely followed by being a professional sports player or an air traffic controller. Politicians were fourth most contented.

Immigrants and Muslims in European prisons

In Berlin and Hamburg more than 50% of prisoners are foreigners. With the recent influx of migrants the Muslim population of Germany now numbers around six million, or 7% of Germany's overall population of 82 million. By contrast, roughly 20% of the 65,000 inmates in the German prison system are Muslim, according to data collected from regional justice ministries. 

This is partly, of course, because there are many more Muslim young men suddenly.

In an article entitled, "German Becomes a Foreign Language in Many Prisons,"the Berliner Morgenpost reported on the growing number of conflicts between German prison officers and foreign inmates because of a language barrier.

I learnt this from a piece published today by Soeren Kern of the Gatestone Institute (an American conservative body chaired by John Bolton) and it led me to doing some research on statistics for foreigners, immigrants or Muslims in Sweden, France and the UK.

The Washington Post and many other sources have said that 70% of the population of France’s prisons are Muslims, despite only 8-10% of the population being Muslim. This statistic is attributed to a book called Islam in Prisons by Farhad Khosrovkhavar, a Franco-iranian sociologist, but he says he never said it. He says that he reckons a true figure is ‘around half’, 40%-50%. The French government does not record these things.

Back in 2013 18,300 of French prisoners registered for Ramadan, out of a total prison population of 67,700, or 27%, back in 2013 according to Agence France Presse. Professor Khosrovkhavar suggests that this is an underestimate, because some Muslims fear being ‘noted’ by the intelligence services. 

A Brookings Institution report says that 
“Muslims are greatly over-represented in prisons and within the eighteen- to twenty-four–year-old age group in particular: they make up only 8.5 percent of that age cohort in France, yet 39.9 percent of all prisoners in the cohort.” 
Muslims represent only 4.7% of the UK population, but 15% of the prison population, which again is tied to their age and social class.

In 1991 Sweden stopped keeping statistics on immigrant crime in the comprehensive way that they had done. The last survey that was made, in 2005, found that immigrants were 2.5 times more likely to be registered as crime suspects than people born in Sweden, but 
"if one standardizes in order to take into account differences in relation to age, gender, level of education and income, the relative risk among those born outside Sweden diminishes to 2.1"
In 2006 90% of all robberies reported to the police in Malmo were committed by gangs and gangs in Malmo, are according to Fjordman understood to be Muslim gangs. 

A report on immigrant-related crime in Sweden in 2006 by Ann-Christine Hjelm from Karlstads University found that 85% of those sentenced to at least two years in prison for rape in 2002 were foreign born or second-generation immigrants. The Swedes, it must be remembered, count many things as rape that other countries don't and have a very high rate of reporting rapes.

I quoted last year Bojan Pancevski of the Wall St. Journal saying.
"There is data about the ethnic background of convicted rapists in Sweden. Over 58% of them were foreigners in the 2012-2017 period. This obviously does not include people of immigrant origin who are Swedish citizens. This trend goes back decades. Ethnic background of criminal offenders was last included in the annual government report about crime in 2005, when foreigners were vastly over-represented. After that the government stopped including ethnicity in the reports. But the data can still be gathered in different ways. The 58% is from court records."
The proportion of "assault rapes" committed by foreigners might be higher than 58%. Anecdotal evidence suggests that it is very much higher.

42 out of 43 of those convicted in Sweden for gang rape in 2016-2017 had foreign backgrounds, says Pelle Neroth Taylor, Anglo-Swedish journalist and director of Sweden Dying to be Multicultural. 32 were born abroad and 10 were born in Sweden of foreign parents.

I met a Swedish prison office in a pub in the Scotland last year and asked her how many of the prisoners in her prison (for criminals whose offences were drug-related) were non-white and she said about half.

In defence of the Pope

In defence of the Pope allowances must be made because he is clearly not nearly as intelligent as the last two popes. The last one was a stunningly gifted intellectual. On the other hand Pope Francis is very cunning, which is not a quality we immediately expect of a Pope.

William’s creator deserves a statue

I love Just William, on whom I was weaned before I learnt to read. For once I agree with David Aaronovitch, who in this article argues for a statue for Richmal Compton. It will probably be the last time.

Florida could have saved the world

Florida could have saved the world from Bush 2 and disaster both in 2000 and 2004.


But in 2016 it informed a startled world that the world had changed utterly and forever.


I remembered about 2004 when I read this article The Democrats don’t have a Star by Daniel McCarthy in The Spectator. I have the impression somehow that the Democrats expect to lose to Donald Trump again. If they do it will be the second defeat that is game changing as was New Labour's second landslide victory over the Tories in 2001.


The American South should have been allowed to secede in 1861. Obviously. I wonder if the American left would let it secede now. If so that probably would be its best bet.

Andrew Marvell on the Character of Holland and Lord Acton on moral judgments

I always loved this not very well known poem by Marvell. It is rather long. Here are the opening stanzas.


Holland, that scarce deserves the name of land,

As but the off-scouring of the British sand,

And so much earth as was contributed

By English pilots when they heaved the lead,

Or what by the ocean's slow alluvion fell

Of shipwrecked cockle and the muscle-shell,—

This indigested vomit of the sea

Fell to the Dutch by just propriety.


There were 9.4 million (legal) immigrants living in the UK in 2018, out of a population of 65 million

On the subject of 'nativism' (which means the wish to halt immigration and which many are intent on making a thought crime) here is some useful information.

In 2011 just under seven million people living in Britain were immigrants – enough to fill a city the size of London. In 2016 the total number of people living in the UK who were not born in the country, which includes those who became UK citizens, was 9.2 million. It rose to 9.4 million in 2017.

Theresa May and the EU will not permit No Deal

An ITN reporter drinking at a hotel bar in Brussels overheard Olly Robbins, the British civil servant who is in charge of the Brexit negotiations and on whom Theresa May relies, with two colleagues in the bar saying that, in his view, he expects the choice for MPs to be either backing May’s deal or extending talks with the EU. He said he expects MPs in March to be presented with backing a reworked Brexit deal or a potentially significant delay to Brexit. He said:
“The issue is whether Brussels is clear on the terms of extension. In the end they will probably just give us an extension.”
As we all knew Theresa May's plan is to play MPs for fools and to run down the clock as Jeremy Corbyn pointed out in the House yesterday. John Rentoul the Blairite Political Editor of The Independent tweeted yesterday
Straw poll of 10 Westminster journalists this morning: average chance of no-deal Brexit 25%
but the journalists are foolish. There is, alas, little chance of No Deal. Neither the Tory or Labour leaders want it.

The remain proposition goes well beyond attachment to EU membership

"The remain proposition goes well beyond attachment to EU membership: it is driven by revulsion at the nativist spirit of Brexit’s marauding generals – Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees-Mogg – and shock that they have hijacked Britain’s political identity. But that dismay is not exclusive to Labour."

Rafael Behr writes badly in The Guardian, but he touches on something that interest me very much. Enthusiasm, visceral enthusiasm, for Remain is about more than economics and I am not sure what.  Can anyone explain please? 

Neither Messrs Rees Mogg nor Johnson are nativists and I don't understand what is objectionable about nativism, though it's a silly American term, very out of context in the Old World. And even if some people do find it objectionable why should they find it very objectionable? 

I don't believe there are any 'Little Englanders', that's just a literary device, but in any case why are they spoken of with loathing and contempt?

There are deep emotions here. Patriotism is always a very strong emotion, the strongest there is in politics, but what feeds the intense emotional pull towards international organisations? More and more, patriotism is considered suspect in Great Britain (not in Northern Ireland).

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Brexit, the world’s most boring thriller

I disagree with Matthew D'Ancona on almost everything but he is right about how inexplicably boring the Brexit crisis is. I turn to Brexit news first, like Charles Moore who thinks he is alone in doing so, read it insatiably, but it is so dull. And even I cannot bring myself to watch or read Theresa May's speeches. To quote Mr. D'Ancona, who recently announced that he is no longer a Tory (as if he ever were one):


It all has the feel of the world’s most boring thriller. Though there are only just under seven weeks left until Britain’s official date of departure from the European Union, public life seems drowsy with a lethal brew of fatalism, insouciance and burrowing cowardice.

Here is something from an article by George Soros today in - where else? - The Guardian today which cheered me  up immensely:

Monday, 11 February 2019

The clever men in Oxford know all there is to be knowed

The journalists, the neo cons, McCain, Graham, Hillary, the American deep state etc were wrong and the Syrian government has won, finally defeating ISIS. And better it did, absolutely ghastly though it is, than the rebels. I predicted this as soon as Russia intervened and welcomed it. Everyone said I was wrong. Obama thought it would be Russia's Vietnam.

What to remember is not to trust the press for insights into what is happening. Donald Trump's biggest achievement may be to make everyone realise that the press is a political actor, not an objective source of information.

Barren Europe

Pope Francis has repeatedly criticised the European Union over the past five years for its perceived lack of vision, drawing the ire of German Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2014 when he described the Europe as an elderly woman who was "no longer fertile and vibrant".

Conflict between Germany and the papacy goes back a long way to Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV's walk to Canossa, where Pope Gregory VII was staying, in 1077 to seek absolution of his excommunication and to Bismarck's Kulturkampf. This time both the Christian Democrats and the Papacy are left-wing but pretending to be conservative.

In fact Europe is barren these days. The attack on Pearl Harbor marks the end of the long era of European supremacy and the continent, though never richer, more humane or more advanced, does not seem to lead the world in any thing or to have world changing ideas. How different to the days of Freud, Jung, or Keynes, not to mention Lenin.

An American historian I met on a train told from Bucharest to Belgrade told me that all European cities seemed like museums to him except London. 

(I'd say that London is not a European city, because an island is not part of a continent, but that is pedantry.)

Uncle Harold

Harold Macmillan's thought on becoming Prime Minister, as reported by the Duchess of Devonshire: 

"He told me it was wonderful because at last he had time to read."

“The pluralism and the diversity of religions are willed by God in his wisdom"

“The pluralism and the diversity of religions, colour, sex, race and language are willed by God in his wisdom, through which he created human beings.”
Pope Francis in a “Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together,” signed by him and Ahmad el-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Egypt’s al-Azhar Mosque, at Abu Dhabi on Monday of last week.

"The most urgent task of the Church in our time is to care about the change of the spiritual climate and about the spiritual migration, namely that the climate of non-belief

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Confessions of a Feminist Heretic

From a very interesting article entitled

Confessions of a Feminist Heretic

by a feminist who became a Catholic after becoming a mother.
"While this is hard to admit, my feminism was, in good part, self-centric. It was very much concerned with my identity, my power and potential. Of course, this expanded to include an interest in womankind more generally, but my passion for feminism nonetheless sprang from an exaltation of my own experience. I extolled the ideals of autonomy and independence—until those ideals were utterly undone by the realities of pregnancy and motherhood, the reality of Julian.

Quotations

'The man who never alters his opinion is like standing water, and breeds reptiles of the mind.' William Blake

'A state is called the coldest of all cold monsters. Coldly lieth it also; and this lie creepeth from its mouth: "I, the state, am the people." It is a lie!' Nietzsche

'The harvest of this world is to the resolute, and he that is infirm of purpose is ground betwixt the upper and the nether millstone.' E.R. Eddison, The Worm Ouroboros


'In this world it is essential always to be pushing, but fatal to seem so.'  Benjamin Jowett 


'People can lose their lives in libraries. They ought to be warned.' Saul Bellow


 
'This life is slow suicide, unless you read.' Herman Wouk, The Caine Mutiny


'You will find that the woman who is really kind to dogs is always one who has failed to inspire sympathy in men.' Sir Max Beerbohm

'You gotta have a body.' Jayne Mansfield

'White people live in an arrogant fantasy land that ethnic persecution will never happen to them'

I quoted from Rod Dreher's article about the verbal attacks on the Covington boys, the Catholic boys wrongly accused of smirking in a racist manner. It refers to a Marxist historian who writes about medieval Jewish of pograms and makes distant analogies between the pogroms and the verbal attacks on the Covington boys. 

I think it might be interesting to give you part of a comment on that article that I saw on the net.
'Funny, I have an Orthodox Jewish friend who says 

"White people live in an arrogant fantasy land that ethnic persecution will never happen to them, even though it has in the past and is the historical norm."
'He thinks once Whites are out of power, and a minority, since they've become the Girardian lightening rod for all evils, the masses will then take their revenge.'

The end of the film

You know the end of The Italian Job when the bus is hanging off the cliff & one false move means everyone dies but they still want to get the gold at the other end, which is now just a fantasy, and Caine says, "Hang on lads, I've got a great idea"? That's Theresa May, isn't it?

Story in the Mail today


A mother was arrested in front of her children and locked up for seven hours after referring to a transgender woman as a man online.

Three officers detained Kate Scottow at her home before quizzing her at a police station about an argument with an activist on Twitter over so-called 'deadnaming'.

The 38-year-old, from Hitchin, Hertfordshire, had her photograph, DNA and fingerprints taken and remains under investigation.

Ben Lowry: Theresa May is still reluctant to challenge Irish nationalist narrative on Brexit

The best Brexit that could happen would be leaving with no deal, the hardest Brexit possible. The Norway option is probably the hardest Brexit that could happen given that Theresa May, who is not very clever, has been persuaded by Irish nationalists that a hard border would bring back the Troubles. She has been sold a pup by the Nationalists and another by the EU. 

Left and right share blame for the 2008 financial crisis

Someone pointed out to me that I have no right to endorse the US Ambassador criticising the EU as a regulation factory, when American bank deregulation caused the 2008 financial crisis. 

Well it did. No-one is arguing that all regulation is bad, but social engineering is another factor. 

The 2008 crisis had many fathers but one is Bill Clinton's Housing and Urban Development Secretary who gave banks higher ratings for home loans made in "credit-deprived" areas, i.e. bad parts of towns inhabited by Democrats. Banks were rewarded for loans to those who were at high risk of defaulting. These rules lowered down payments from the traditional 20 percent to zero in some cases by 2000.What Clinton was doing was social engineering to help his voters buy their homes. Such as the 'unemployed black man sitting on a crumbling porch somewhere in Alabama in a string vest" that John Wells mentions in a funny sketch. At 3 minutes 10 seconds.

Lennonism, not Leninism, is the great danger to mankind

Someone called Ben Shapiro, of whom all I know is that he has been de-platformed by American universities, agrees with me in this clip that the ideas of the Beatles' song 'Imagine' are inconceivably ugly. He uses the word evil. That's a word to be very careful about. I think I'd stick with horribly, wickedly misguided.

He goes on to talk about the need to stop Donald Trump being Republican nominee (this i\s from 2016) and the need to prevent an establishment nominee. Looking on the net I see that he is still a never-Trumper.

First legally recognised "non-binary" American has reverted to being male



The first person in the US to be legally recognised as non-binary has announced on his blog that he has reverted back to being male.

'I will not be a party to advancing harmful gender ideologies that are ruining lives, causing deaths and contributing to the sterilization and mutilation of gender-confused children.'

Cișmigiu yesterday

Image may contain: tree, sky, outdoor and nature

I love Cișmigiu in winter. The avenues of trees are so Cold War. Perfect for a dead drop.

The Fate of the Roman Cities of the Near East and North Africa

I was trying to remember the details of the theory that North African agrarian land became desert because Muslim invaders introduced goats. I recently by accident stumbled across the article in which I read about it years ago, here. The author has no footprint on the internet except on a conservative intellectual site called New English Review, which makes me wonder about him. I'd prefer him to be tenured academic.

Abandoned Trump casino view from boardwalk

Image may contain: sky, night and outdoor

The future for the American Democrats could be Trumpian

I used to support the Democrats despite their enthusiasm for abortion until 1993. This article makes an American Hindu woman Democrat called Tulsi Gabbard sound a good thing, apart from her strong support for abortion, which will lose her working class votes. 

Western civilisation's masculinity crisis

An interesting article in Crisis headlined

Christianity’s Masculinity Crisis


argues that society is now too feminised (or is the word effeminate?) and the churches too. The Catholic Church too has started to become less masculine.


I quote:

G.K. Chesterton observed that “it ought to be the oldest things that are taught to the youngest people.” In other words, children should be first exposed to the time-tested ideas and facts that we’re most sure of. But in today’s educational wonderland, Chesterton’s formula has been turned on its head. These days, educators feel they have a mandate to introduce the most novel and untested theories to the youngest people. 

One of the fashionable new theories is that traditional expressions of masculinity, such as roughhousing among boys, are “toxic” and ought to be eliminated. But whatever the dangers posed to society by masculine aggression, a greater danger arises when men lack the instinct to resist aggression.

Gordon Sondland sounds like a man after my own heart

Gordon Sondland, Donald Trump's Ambassador to the EU: 

“The Commission is like a factory churning out regulation after regulation after regulation. Even regulating things that don’t exist today on the theory that someday, someone is going to get hurt somewhere. ”

Almost half college educated American young men think violent acts are acceptable to achieve a better society



Americans get heavily into debt, or their parents do, to be indoctrinated in far left ideology. 

48% of male students and graduates in America aged 18 to 29 think violent acts are acceptable to achieve a better society. I wonder what the figure was in Germany in 1932 or Russia in 1917.

Note the difference between male graduates in their twenties and those in their 30s. Has reality mugged them or was the teaching ten or twenty years ago less left-wing? Probably mostly the former, but the zeitgeist is becoming less rational and more nihilistic. 

Eastern Europe is a refuge but East European arts graduates from Western universities are importing the killer bacillus here.



Saturday, 9 February 2019

How to make ducks pay

This meme (dread word) seen on Facebook made me burst out in very prolonged loud laughter this afternoon. People in the restaurant turned round.

Conservatives are now the peace party

The hard left nowadays hates revolutions whether they are in Iran, Venezuela, France or Britain. The hard left hated the revolution in Ukraine and the rebels in Syria (they were right about Syria, which the liberals got and get very badly wrong). Meanwhile the soft left have gone from opposing American intervention abroad to opposing Donald Trump when he advocates, for example, leaving Syria. Once German left disliked American interventions, but were appalled when Trump the candidate said (truly) that Nato is obsolete.

Conservatives, real ones, are now the peace party, as they were in Dr Johnson's time in England and in Herbert Hoover's in the USA. Fear and loathing of Communism had made comservatives adopt the liberal idea that foreign policy, and therefore wars, should be about values.

What is the point of Nato and what is the point of inviting Macedonia to join?

I ask for information. 

I have not thought it through yet.

Feminist women are a fairly small minority in Europe

The BBC puzzles over the fact that three quarters of women in the UK , 92% in Germany and 78% in Denmark - don't call themselves feminists, according to a 2018 Yougov poll. Since modern (or third wave) feminism is a kind of disguised and destructive socialist doctrine I am happy about this.

What is noteworthy is that in one country 40% of women do consider themselves feminists and this is the one that is facing huge problems, including among other things rapes and violence against women: Sweden. 


These things are not unrelated. A left-wing political culture seeks to create social cohesion (which they anyway had too much of in Sweden) but achieves the very opposite. In Sweden's case not for the usual reasons why social democracy does not work, because Sweden has a Lutheran culture which encourages hard work and thrift despite very high taxes, but because for idealistic reasons internationalism leads Swedes to take astonishingly high numbers of refugees. 

About ten years ago I accidentally stumbled across this site and read this article which horrified me. It is still topical and worth reading. 

The author, who uses the pseudonym Fjordman and writes with a Swiftian relish, has since achieved a certain fame, partly from his writings and tweets but more because he was mentioned by the Norwegian mass murderer Breivik as an influence on his thinking, though some confidently say that Brevik did so in order to harm Fjordman whom he despises.

Elegy for the young fogey

The Young Fogey Handbook came out just after I went down from Cambridge, consule Planco as we young fogeys say, and I suddenly discovered that I belonged to a youth sub-culture. Like Teds and Rockers.

I much later met and loved Monsignor Alfred Gilbey, the Apostle to the Young Fogeys. This elegy to the Young Fogeys makes me feel very sad and it is itself old now. The wind has blown them all away, in Belloc's phrase, along with Sloane Rangers. Tempus fugit.


For an elegy to Monsignor Gilbey, let Sir John Mortimer's wonderful interview with him suffice.

Blackface

Two Washington Post headlines yesterday:


Poll: Only 58% of Americans oppose blackface

Blackface is a global problem


A global problem.

There's a quiet pseudo-state contained within Moldova’s borders: Gagauzia

This article in Vice reminded me to visit Gaugazia, the forgotten semi-country in the Republic of Moldova. I must also explore the rest of Moldova. Transnistria I can recommend for people of a nervous disposition: it is the most peaceful place on earth. Peaceful and boring are synonyms but I meant peaceful as a compliment.

Suffering and responsibility - these are the hallmarks of masculinity

"Suffering and responsibility - these are the hallmarks of masculinity."
Archbishop Fulton Sheen

"Ability is what you're capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it." -Raymond Chandler


Henry David Thoreau wrote that most people lead 'lives of quiet desperation and die with their song still inside them''


As I sat in Le Café I said to myself,
They may talk as they please about what they call pelf,
They may sneer as they like about eating and drinking,
But help it I cannot, I cannot help thinking
How pleasant it is to have money, heigh-ho!
How pleasant it is to have money. -- Arthur Hugh Clough



“Biden was never very smart. He was a terrible student. His gaffes are unbelievable. When I say something that you might think is a gaffe, it’s on purpose; it’s not a gaffe. When Biden says something dumb, it’s because he’s dumb.

...I hope I haven’t wounded Pocahontas too badly. I’d like to run against her!””

Donald Trump



Donald Trump the peace president

Donald Trump's State of the Union speech got mixed reviews in the British press. It did show that his second year in office was short on achievements other than winning the Judge Kavanaugh tussle. Pat Buchanan says it also reveals a winning strategy for the President in the election next year (so soon!) based on opposing abortion and socialism. 

If he succeeds in doing something about illegal immigration so much the better for him and everyone else. If he does not then his failure should win him votes. Unless electors ask why he did he not build his wall, or whatever it will be, when his party controlled both houses of Congress. 

They might. They are not fools. 

Theresa May's policy will take us to hell in a handcart - no deal is far better

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Donald Tusk's expectation that a place in hell has been reserved by Brexiteers was not as shocking as it would have been sixty years ago, when many people still believed in hell, but it was considered by many impolite coming from a foreigner.  

Others agreed with Mr Tusk. An academic in Northern Ireland, where people still believe in hell and who specialises in conflict resolution, said that hell was too good for them.

This is a distraction from the real issues, of course, but the backstop itself is a very bigger distraction. 

Thursday, 7 February 2019

Things start to become clearer: we shall leave the EU but stay in something like a customs union

Theresa May speaking in Northern Ireland yesterday said that under no circumstance would she permit a ‘hard border’ between Northern and Southern Ireland.

That was very stupid. A hard border would not conflict with the Good Friday Agreement by which the British government accommodated the IRA terrorists, but Mrs May sounds like she means it and that means there will be no hard Brexit.

If so, the backstop does not matter.

If the British government leaves the EU's customs union and single market, as Mrs May wants, checks would be required on products coming in and out of Northern Ireland, though possibly these checks could be made electronically. If checks happen, there is some sort of hard border. If customs officers are standing at the border it is what she means by a hard border. 

Nowhere in the world is there a border between countries that are not in a customs union where there is not some sort of hard border, though sometimes it is almost invisible. The more customs duties, the harder the border.

Quotations

"Your first house was a woman. Respect and thank." 
Mariana S. Rüppel

"My two cents: if any one cares about my respect for them, please stop posting flags or naive tree-hugging messages in response to innocents being slaughtered by islamic fundamentalists. Do your citizen duty and vote for anyone proposing something competent, practical and rational about the preservation of our European culture, civilisation and society. Anything else is simply disqualifying. And by the way: no, not all cultures are equally humane, nice, desirable or progressive. You have to make a choice, assume it, be proud of it, and be ready to defend it."
Florin Ilie


“An American who had served in France during World War One told me that he had been quartered in a castle where he and his ‘buddy’ wanted to surprise the old countess. He sat down at the piano and they both sang the Marseillaise with gusto. The good lady thanked them with a sad smile and remarked softly: ‘You must realize that this was the first and, I hope, the very last time that this dirty song was ever heard in our home.’ Actually, this anthem has a text unacceptable to any Christian. Here the two Americans indeed encountered the ‘other France.’”
Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn



"I wish I was as sure of anything as Tom Macaulay is of everything." 
Lord Melbourne

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Quotations found by Karl White




"Christianity, and especially Catholicism being, as I said in "The Country Doctor", a comprehensive system of repression of the depraved tendencies of man, is the greatest social element. Catholicism and Royalty are two twin principles. I write in the light of two eternal truths: Religion and Monarchy, two needs that contemporary events proclaim and to which any writer of common sense must try to bring our country back." Balzac

This is appropriate today when Queen Elizabeth competes the 67th year of her reign. 

Quids in

Why is the pound (the unit of money, not of weight) colloquially called a quid? 

The Oxford English Dictionary says: "Late 17th century (denoting a sovereign): of obscure origin" and records quid used in 1661, citing the pseudonymous Peter Arentine’s Strange Newes from Bartholomew-Fair, or the Wanderer-Whore Discovered: “The fool lost his purse, but we knew how not; for the reckoning being suddenly brought in, his Quids were vanisht.” 

Some naive people say that quid is taken from Quidhampton, a town near Salisbury claimed to have had a mill that produced paper for Great Britain’s first banknotes. Obviously this is rubbish. Others talk of the Irish cuid, ‘portion’ or ‘share’, once used by Irish-speaking soldiers in the British army for their salary. 

I thought about it for five seconds and knew it is from the Latin quid, meaning ‘what’, specifically used in the expression quid pro quo, or ‘one thing for another’. This, I find, is considered, according to the net, to be what dons used to call the better view.

Tony Abbot on Brexit

Tory former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said this recently. 

He should be invited to become England's Prime Minister. He makes one proud of the imperial family, so to speak.

"It’s pretty hard for Britain’s friends, here in Australia, to make sense of the mess that’s being made of Brexit. The referendum result was perhaps the biggest-ever vote of confidence in the United Kingdom, its past and its future. But the British establishment doesn’t seem to share that confidence and instead looks desperate to cut a deal, even if that means staying under the rule of Brussels. Looking at this from abroad, it’s baffling: the country that did the most to bring democracy into the modern world might yet throw away the chance to take charge of its own destiny.Let’s get one thing straight: a negotiation that you’re not prepared to walk away from is not a negotiation — it’s surrender. It’s all give and no get. When David Cameron tried to renegotiate Britain’s EU membership, he was sent packing because Brussels judged (rightly) that he’d never actually back leaving. And since then, Brussels has made no real concessions to Theresa May because it judges (rightly, it seems) that she’s desperate for whatever deal she can get.

“Don’t touch me, you black heathen”

The film Mary Poppins is racist according to a US academic writing in the New York Times, who accuses Dame Julie Andrews of 'blacking up' with soot while dancing with chimney sweeps.

Professor Daniel Pollack-Pelzner criticises the moment when Mary Poppins joins Dick Van Dyke's Bert to dance on a rooftop for the song Step in Time.

He writes: 


"When the magical nanny (played by Julie Andrews) accompanies her young charges, Michael and Jane Banks, up their chimney, her face gets covered in soot, but instead of wiping it off, she gamely powders her nose and cheeks even blacker."
"This might seem like an innocuous comic scene if Travers’s novels didn’t associate chimney sweeps’ blackened faces with racial caricature. “Don’t touch me, you black heathen,” a housemaid screams in “Mary Poppins Opens the Door” (1943)."

Calling things by their names

I wish employment law were still called master and servant law. Mental health law used to be the law of lunacy.

Free speech so long as what you say is kind


Mrs Margaret Nelson is a 74-year-old woman, living in a village in Suffolk, who on Monday morning was woken by a telephone call from Suffolk police. The policeman wanted to speak to Mrs Nelson because the police had received complaints that she had argued that sex is real but gender is not on her Twitter account and her blog.

The Death of Clothing

I discovered yesterday that clothing is going out of fashion. And it is true. People often no longer have work and lesiure clothes and express themselves on Facebook rather than through their choice of apparel.Which is a shame for someone like me who loves hats, suits and ties. They also prefer spending money on weekends away in foreign cities.


From the article to which I linked:


In 1977, clothing accounted for 6.2 percent of U.S. household spending, according to government statistics. Four decades later, it’s plummeted to half that. 

Apparel is being displaced by travel, eating out and activities—what’s routinely lumped together as “experiences”—which have grown to 18 percent of purchases. Technology alone, including data charges and media content, accounts for 3.4 percent of spending. That now tops all clothing and footwear expenditures.