Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Theresa May must go now, today

Richard Litteljohn says Britain needed a coalition of Brexiteers from all parties in 2016 including Kate Hoey and Nigel Farage.

"Who would you rather have speaking for Britain in Brussels – Farage or May? Contrast his magnificent public putdown of the EU’s Herman Van Rompuy – “You have the charisma of a damp rag”, etc – with May’s pitiful, supine, grovelling, on-all-fours crawling to Barnier and Drunker. She approached the talks with all the dignity of a beggar sitting outside Westminster Tube station, yet still seems bewildered as to why they treated her with such overt disdain.

‘In the process, she has repelled millions of traditional Tory voters, brought her own party to the brink of electoral extinction, and put Britain’s fate in the hands of nonentities such as Pixie Balls-Cooper and that pipsqueak poison dwarf Jean-Claude Bercow."

Yes. Agreed. But she was dealt a terrible hand by history. Could someone else have done better?

Yes, had we had someone who reached out to form a coalition, who was unafraid of a hard Brexit and a hard border in Ireland. In other words a sceptic not an unimaginative, suspicious and secretive woman who needs to be told what to do by people with better brains.


A statesman is someone with commonplace opinions and uncommon abilities, said Bagehot. Her abilities are commonplace. Her opinions like wanting to legislate to require more women on the boards of private companies and her wish that the Church of England should conduct single sex marriages do not even have the great merit of being commonplace.

I could go on but the important thing is that she doesn't.

As for Richard Littlejohn, I usually am allergic to him. For one thing he is faux right wing. I don't like faux people. And he is not as fun as his namesake in Robin Hood. But an old school friend who I'm sure is a Tory recently told me recently that Farage and his Ukip are vile racists. I was interested that Richard Littlejohn disagrees. 

Tbilisi and Yerevan and existential threats

I wonder how people blog. They use laptops, of course, which I find heavy to carry around, but I wonder how they find the time and manage not to waste it on the net. But how do thy find time to get appointed to the cabinet or marry lovely women? Here I have 9 minutes as I sip a Campari in the Mercure hotel Tbilisi.

That's it, really. They have a Mercure and a Sheraton. They had just built the Marriot when I was here before but I lucked out and got to Tbilisi in 2005 or 2006 before tourism did. Now it's the jolliest and most enchanting city you'll ever visit but thronged with hotels and restaurants and wine shops. And a cable car that swoops down every few minutes, save the mark. Yerevan does not have this for a good and sufficient reason. Yerevan is a grey Soviet city, charmingly squalid.

I hate organised tours of course but they have many elegancies. I recommend Envoy Tours in Yerevan and Tbilisi (and oddly Phnom Penh). I have become bourgeois, which I said would never happen, and stay in hotels, but have decided to go back to private rooms in youth hostels. Apart from being cheap you meet interesting and intelligent people and find good tours. And they have desktops on which you can blog.

In 2006 I stayed somewhere expensive in Tbilisi filled with very boring people working for UNDP whose hotel bills were paid for by the poor. In developing countries avoid places where UNOcrats throng, on expenses. They are dull. No fun. They read reports at breakfast.

If you have not been to Tbilisi do come here. If you have, you probably should not come back but explore the rest of the country or the monasteries of Western Armenia - the western part of modern day Armenia, that is, and the Armenia that is now in Turkey.

The Armenian monasteries are not without some tourists but they are protected by their inaccessibility. They are eerily beautiful and very strange. Pure Romanticism. Gothick. Mrs. Radcliffe on cocaine. Do go.

The news is about Christians slaughtered in Sri Lanka and Nigeria and some time ago Muslims were killed allegedly by a white Anglo-Saxon wanting to avenge the Muslim conquest of the Balkans. 

I knew 1990 was not the end of history but now is a return to a history that was never finished. A return to history especially in Armenia, the oldest Christian country, and Muslim Azerbaijan. A sort of hot or cold war waged for centuries in the Caucasus, which was partly ethnic and partly religious, until Russia succeeded in stopping it for a time. The two countries are still in theory at war.

The Whigs of the 18th century put something they called religion into a box and pushed the lid down, to prevent the religious wars that had disfigured the 17th century but you cannot stop people killing for religion. You can't because religion means anything a group of people consider sacred. It includes Marxism, patriotism, human rights and even climate change. And anything sacred tends to move people to shed blood for it, though there have not been climate change martyrs yet.

Talking about wars and climate change, that annoying Swedish schoolgirl, who has Asperger's syndrome and who is campaigning about climate change in England, looks to me like the little girl who led the children's crusade. 

Now a reverse crusade is taking place and she should be concerned at the existential threat to Sweden from migrants from the Mahgreb, not the highly questionable climate change scare. But did she try to warn people of that threat she would face disciplinary problems at school. She would not be teacher's pet.

Genocides past, present and to come

I came across Benny Morris recently. He's an Israeli historian who exploded the myth that the Arabs left their homes in Palestine voluntarily in 1948 and the myth that the Arab monarchies asked them to do so.

In his book just published called "The Thirty Year Genocide" he and Dror Ze'evi look at the reasons for the Armenian genocide in 1895 and 1915 and the expulsion of the Anatolian Greeks in 1923. With both genocides we have little evidence about the proximate reasons for them or how long planned they were.

The authors are careful not to offend readers by suggesting that Islam is warlike (the word Sandy Arbuthnot uses, in Greenmantle, talking about Islam to Richard Hannay). He will offend Jews and Turks, in any case, by comparing the genocides. What is obvious from the Armenian genocide and the Jewish one is that "homo lupus est homini" and that ethnic mosaics lead to massacres, in an era where authority derives not from raw power but from rule by the demos (which demos?) and the principle of national self determination. So it will be again, unless we take very great care indeed.

I just saw this

Federica Mogherini, EU Commission vice-president and 'High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy’, was a leading member of the Italian Communist Party during the Cold War. She said on Sunday that the massacres in Sri Lanca, for which ISIS claimed responsibility, were an attack on multi-faith societies and “freedom of religion and the choice to worship” and constituted “acts of violence against all beliefs and denominations”.

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Return to Tbilisi

For a long time Cuba was the one country I really wanted to visit. After I made my second visit to Havana I decided that of countries I didn't know only Georgia, Armenia, Albania and, before the war, Syria interested me - so I visited and loved all four but Georgia or Tbilisi the best. After Havana it's the most interesting city in the world. I got here last night late and it is as spellbinding as in 2006, but now very much a tourist place. So many gleaming hotels and restaurants. Before I had it to myself. Tourism is one of the most vexatious forms of mass migration and globalisation. But the moving finger writes and having writ moves on. And it really is astonishingly lovely. And tourism is new enough for people still to be innocent and ardent about it. I hope. This is the view from my hotel.

I hate tourists but Eastern European ones are all right and this place gets lots of Russians. I love Russians. So much more civilised than many other peoples.

War against Christians not humanity

As you know, hundreds of Catholics were murdered at Easter Mass on Sunday in Sri Lanka.

Barak Obama, of whom I think increasingly badly, has denounced the killings in Sri Lanka as an attack on “humanity,” but this is not true. This was an attack on Christians.

It reminds me that he called the Bataclan Massacre on Paris an attack on "universal values". Mark Steyn corrected him. There are no universal values. It was an attack on Western values.

Hundreds of churches have been destroyed in Nigeria. A war is being waged against Christians by Muslim zealots everywhere and even some of the Catholic and Protestant clergy are beginning to notice.

Meanwhile the Americans tighten sanctions on Iran, a country that allows Christians to worship without hindrance. This is Donald Trump. Mr Obama and Mrs Clinton wanted to overthrow the Assad government which protected Christians. President Bush 2 overthrew Saddam who protected Christians. 

Monday, 22 April 2019

Sanahin

We reached the Sanahin monastery built in the late 12th century after four hours travelling from Yerevan on an appealing, pothole strewn road that reminded me of 1990 Romania but more so.

It's the only road from Yerevan to Tbilisi. It takes you through the winding and absolutely stunning Debed canyon. A Renaissance Italian or German painting.

There were annoyingly four or five other people at the monastery and Lonely Plant says it can be hard to find a parking space in high season. Apparently there is a cable car from the nearest town.

Armenia didn't have postcards last time I came, thirteen years ago, but tourism is still small beer so far. This lunch is wonderful huge and costs €10 with a glass of the local red.

Easter in Armenia

I asked Shushan if Armenia is in Asia. "That's a question to which no-one knows the answer."

It feels like Europe. Armenians are white and Christian and speak an Indo European language much close to Farsi than to French. For people who care about such things this makes them Aryans, like Brahmins.

Bernard Lewis got it right when he called Georgia and Armenia the Christian Middle East. Close to where I am staying is a 17th century church of St Ananias the man who received St Paul into the very early church. The church is said to house a relic of the saint.

People who have had the luck to visit Ethiopia will recognise the simplicity of Armenian churches without icons but instead with a few primitive paintings.

The Armenian Apostolic Church is different from the Orthodox church, Armenia was the first country to adopt Christianity before, in order, Georgia, Ethiopia and then the Roman empire.

Yerevan is ancient but, unlike Tbilisi, was not important before the Bolsheviks took over and was designed by a rather wonderful local architect. Lenin's invasion of the Caucasus was the moment when his revolution dropped the pretence of representing the popular will, as he recognised.

No time to write more. I have to leave Yerevan for Georgia via three gorgeous monasteries. 

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

Quotations

'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.